Friday, April 11, 2014

Losing Salvation or Never Saved

by J. C. Ryle

A common reason why many do not hold perseverance is an incorrect view of the nature of SAVING FAITH. They regard faith as nothing better than a feeling or impression. As soon as they see a man somewhat impressed with the preaching of the Gospel and manifesting some pleasure in hearing about Christ—they set him down at once as a believer! By and by the man’s impressions wear away, and his interest about Christ and salvation ceases altogether. Where is the faith he seemed to have? It is gone. How can his friends, who have pronounced him a believer, account for it? They can only account for it by saying, that “a man may fall away from faith,” and that “there is no such thing as perseverance.” And in short, this becomes an established principle in their religion.
Now this is a mischievous error, and I am afraid sadly common in many quarters. It manifestly may be traced to ignorance of the true nature of religious affections. People forget that there may be many religious emotions in the human mind—with which saving grace has nothing to do. The stony ground hearers received the word with joy—but had no root in them. The history of all revivals proves that there may often be a great quantity of seemingly religious impression, without any true work of the Spirit. Saving faith is something far deeper and mightier than a little sudden feeling. It is an act not of the feelings only—but of the whole conscience, will, understanding, and inward man. It is the result of clear knowledge. It springs from a conscience not grazed merely—but thoroughly stirred. It shows itself in a deliberate, willing, humble dependence on Christ. Such faith is the gift of God—and is never overthrown! Make faith a mere matter of feeling—and it is of course impossible to maintain perseverance for such a one. . .
Not a few are ready to pronounce any change for the better in a man’s character, to be a conversion. They forget that there may be many blossoms on a tree in spring, and yet no fruit in autumn; and that a new coat of paint does not make an old door new. Some, if they see anyone weeping under the influence of a sermon, will set it down at once as a case of conversion. Others, if a neighbor suddenly gives up drinking or swearing, and become a great professor—at once rush to the conclusion that he is converted.
The natural consequence in numerous instances is disappointment. Their supposed case of conversion often turns out nothing more than a case of outward reform, in which the heart was never changed. Their converted neighbor sometimes returns to old habits—as the pig that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire. But then unhappily the pride of the natural heart, which never likes to allow itself mistaken, induces people to form a wrong conclusion about the case. Instead of telling us that the man never was converted at all, they say that “he was converted—but afterwards lost his grace and fell away.”
The true remedy for this is a right understanding of conversion. It is no such cheap and easy and common thing as many seem to fancy. It is a mighty work on the heart, which none but He who made the world can effect, and a work which will abide and stand the fire. But once take a low and superficial view of conversion, and you will find it impossible to maintain final perseverance.
I entreat you to observe how important it is for Christians to be sound in the faith, and to be armed with clear Scriptural knowledge of the whole system of the Gospel. I fear the increasing tendency to regard all doctrinal questions as matters of opinion; and to look on all earnest-minded men as right, whatever doctrines they maintain. I warn you that the sure result of giving way to this tendency will be a vague, low, misty theology—a theology containing no positive hope, no positive motive, and no positive consolation—a theology which will fail most, just when it is most needed—in the day of affliction, the hour of sickness, and on the bed of death.
I know well that it is a thankless office to offer such warnings as these. I know well that those who give them must expect to be called bigoted, narrow-minded, and exclusive. But I cannot review the many errors which prevail on the subject of perseverance, without seeing more than ever, the immense need there is for urging on all to be careful about doctrine. Oh, learn to know what you mean when you talk of believing the doctrines of Christianity! Be able to give a reason of your hope. Be able to say what you think is true, and what you think false in religion. And never, never forget that the only foundation of soundness in the faith, is a thorough textual knowledge of the Bible.
- J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) An excerpt from: Never Perish.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

One of you is a devil!

(J.R. Miller, "The Shining Light" 1911)

"Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" John 6:70

In studying the character and the sin of Judas, the following lessons may be brought out:

1. We must not be surprised if some unregenerate men enter the Church, for even among the twelve apostles, was one Judas.

2. It is no proof that Christianity is untrue, when some of its professors prove hypocrites. The defection of Judas did not leave a stain on the name of Christ, nor did it disprove the loyalty and fidelity of the other disciples.

3. One may be very near to Christ--and yet not be made holy in character. Judas was three years with Christ, heard His words, lived in the atmosphere of His love--and remained unchanged. An empty bottle, tightly sealed, may lie long in the ocean and continue perfectly dry within. Just so, a heart sealed to Christ's love, may lie in His bosom for years and not be blessed.

4. Sin grows, and we never can know to what terrible extent a wicked thought or desire may reach!

*Compliments of Grace Gems!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Night Before Jesus Came (sobering thoughts)

'Twas the night Jesus came and all through the house
Not a person was praying, not one in the house.
The Bibles were left on the shelf without care,
For no one thought that Jesus would come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And mom in her rocker with baby in her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the east there rose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and lifted the sash!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here!
The light of His face made me cover my head--
It was Jesus returning, just as He said.

And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said, "It's not here" my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above. 

With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I'd known that this was the night.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is now drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call
We'll find that the Bible was true after all

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving- Give thanks to God for all your blessings!

"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best." - George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789

Monday, September 30, 2013

Perhaps the only chance for true Peace!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Please pray for Pastor Youcef

Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also. Hebrews 13:3 Iran: Letter from Youcef Greetings from your servant and younger brother in Christ, Youcef Nadarkhani. To: All those who are concerned and worried about my current situation. First, I would like to inform all of my beloved brothers and sisters that I am in perfect health in the flesh and spirit. And I try to have a little different approach from others to these days, and consider it as the day of exam and trial of my faith. And during these days which are hard in order to prove loyalty and sincerity to God, I am trying to do the best in my power to stay right with what I have learned from God’s commandments. I need to remind my beloveds, though my trial has been so long, and as in the flesh I wish these days to end, yet I have surrendered myself to God’s will. I am neither a political person nor do I know about political complicity, but I know that while there are many things in common between different cultures, there are also differences between these cultures around the world which can result in criticism, which most of the times response to this criticisms will be harsh and as a result will lengthen our problems. From time to time I am informed about the news which is spreading in the media about my current situation, for instance being supported by various churches and famous politicians who have asked for my release, or campaigns and human rights activities which are going on against the charges which are applied to me. I do believe that these kind of activities can be very helpful in order to reach freedom and respecting human rights in a right way can bring forth positive results. I want to appreciate all those are trying to reach this goal. But on the other hand, I’d like to announce my disagreement with the insulting activities that cause stress and trouble, which unfortunately are done with the justification (excuse) of defending human rights and freedom, for the results are so clear and obvious for me. I try to be humble and obedient to those who are in power; obedience to those in the authority that God has granted to the officials of my country, and pray for them to rule the country according to the will of God and be successful in doing this. For I know in this way I have obeyed God’s Word. I try to obey along with those whom I see in a common situation with me. They never had any complaint, but just let the power of God be manifested in their lives, and though sometimes we read that they have used this right to defend themselves, for they had this right, I am not an exception as well and have used all possibilities and so forth and am waiting for the final result. So I ask all the beloved ones to pray for me as the holy Word has said. At the end I hope my freedom will be prepared as soon as possible, as the authorities of my country will do with free will according to their law and commandments which they are answerable to. May God’s grace and mercy be upon you now and forever. Amen. Youcef Nadarkhani