CMF eZine The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship. 9 September Romans 2:08 - Selfish Ambition By Bob Flynn Romans 0 Comment Romans 2:8 Rom 2:1-16 The Jews thought themselves a holy people, entitled to their privileges by right, while they were unthankful, rebellious, and unrighteous. But all who act thus, of every nation, age, and description, must be reminded that the judgment of God will be according to their real character. The case is so plain, that we may appeal to the sinner's own thoughts. In every wilful sin, there is contempt of the goodness of God. And though the branches of man's disobedience are very various, all spring from the same root. But in true repentance, there must be hatred of former sinfulness, from a change wrought in the state of the mind, which disposes it to choose the good and to refuse the evil. It shows also a sense of inward wretchedness. Such is the great change wrought in repentance, it is conversion, and is needed by every human being. The ruin of sinners is their walking after a hard and impenitent heart. Their sinful doings are expressed by the strong words, “treasuring up wrath.” In the description of the just man, notice the full demand of the law. It demands that the motives shall be pure, and rejects all actions from earthly ambition or ends. In the description of the unrighteous, contention is held forth as the principle of all evil. The human will is in a state of enmity against God. Even Gentiles, who had not the written law, had that within, which directed them what to do by the light of nature. Conscience is a witness, and first or last will bear witness. As they kept or broke these natural laws and dictates, their consciences either acquitted or condemned them. Nothing speaks more terror to sinners, and more comfort to saints, than that Christ shall be the Judge. Secret services shall be rewarded, secret sins shall be then punished, and brought to light. Matthew Henry Concise Commentary "but to those who are selfishly ambitious2052 and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation." (NASB) "But unto them that are contentious2052, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath," (KJV) "But He will pour out His anger and wrath on those who live for themselves2052, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. (NLT) "but wrath and anger to those who live in selfish ambition2052 and do not obey the truth but follow unrighteousness." (NET) "I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark. I will not judge those who hear Me but don't obey Me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject Me and My message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken." John 12:46-48 "And I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from His presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire." Rev 20:11-15 NLT "Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth." 2 Th 2:12 NLT Dr. John Gill give us some interesting insight into the description of this first phrase wherein he describes those who would be disrupters within the church! "But unto them that are contentious,.... This is a description of the other sort of persons to whom God will render according to their deeds, "who are of the contention"; who contend for victory, and not truth; strive about words to no profit; are quarrelsome, and sow discord among men, and in churches;" Once again the warning words of Jonathan Edwards ring in my ears where the resident terrorist walks freely within the body of Christ and delivers a great harm. "For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition2052, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind." James 3:16 NLT "The former proclaim Christ from selfish ambition2052, not sincerely, because they think they can cause trouble for me in my imprisonment." Phil 1:17 NET "For I am afraid that somehow when I come I will not find you what I wish, and you will find me not what you wish. I am afraid that somehow there may be quarreling, jealousy, intense anger, selfish ambition2052, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder." 2 Cor 12:20 NET What then is the attitude of my heart? Do I serve Christ for all the wrong reasons? Is my heart moved by the mercies of Christ? Am I really in fellowship with Him? Real fellowship with Christ is always the answer! Yet the natural man is quarrelsome against the very person of God and chooses instead to obey unrighteousness. "Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any affection or mercy, complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose. Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition2052 or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself." Phil 2:1-3 NET 2052 Thayer εριθει?α eritheia Thayer Definition: 1) electioneering or intriguing for office 1a) apparently, in the NT a courting distinction, a desire to put one’s self forward, a partisan and fractious spirit which does not disdain low arts 1b) partisanship, fractiousness G2052 Strong εριθει?α eritheia er-ith-i'-ah Perhaps from the same as G2042; properly intrigue, that is, (by implication) faction: - contention (-ious), strife. A person’s habitual conduct, whether good or evil, reveals the condition of his heart. Eternal life is not rewarded for good living; that would contradict many other Scriptures which clearly state that salvation is not by works, but is all of God’s grace to those who believe (e.g., Rom. 6:23; 10:9-10; 11:6; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). A person’s doing good shows that his heart is regenerate. Such a person, redeemed by God, has eternal life. Conversely a person who continually does evil and rejects the truth shows that he is unregenerate, and therefore will be an object of God’s wrath. e.g. exempli gratia, for example Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ro 2:7). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. Romans 2:8 Rom 2:1-16 The Jews thought themselves a holy people, entitled to their privileges by right, while they were unthankful, rebellious, and unrighteous. But all who act thus, of every nation, age, and description, must be reminded that the judgment of God will be according to their real character. The case is so plain, that we may appeal to the sinner's own thoughts. In every wilful sin, there is contempt of the goodness of God. And though the branches of man's disobedience are very various, all spring from the same root. But in true repentance, there must be hatred of former sinfulness, from a change wrought in the state of the mind, which disposes it to choose the good and to refuse the evil. It shows also a sense of inward wretchedness. Such is the great change wrought in repentance, it is conversion, and is needed by every human being. The ruin of sinners is their walking after a hard and impenitent heart. Their sinful doings are expressed by the strong words, “treasuring up wrath.” In the description of the just man, notice the full demand of the law. It demands that the motives shall be pure, and rejects all actions from earthly ambition or ends. In the description of the unrighteous, contention is held forth as the principle of all evil. The human will is in a state of enmity against God. Even Gentiles, who had not the written law, had that within, which directed them what to do by the light of nature. Conscience is a witness, and first or last will bear witness. As they kept or broke these natural laws and dictates, their consciences either acquitted or condemned them. Nothing speaks more terror to sinners, and more comfort to saints, than that Christ shall be the Judge. Secret services shall be rewarded, secret sins shall be then punished, and brought to light. Matthew Henry Concise Commentary "but to those who are selfishly ambitious2052 and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation." (NASB) "But unto them that are contentious2052, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath," (KJV) "But He will pour out His anger and wrath on those who live for themselves2052, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. (NLT) "but wrath and anger to those who live in selfish ambition2052 and do not obey the truth but follow unrighteousness." (NET) "I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark. I will not judge those who hear Me but don't obey Me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject Me and My message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken." John 12:46-48 "And I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from His presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire." Rev 20:11-15 NLT "Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth." 2 Th 2:12 NLT Dr. John Gill give us some interesting insight into the description of this first phrase wherein he describes those who would be disrupters within the church! "But unto them that are contentious,.... This is a description of the other sort of persons to whom God will render according to their deeds, "who are of the contention"; who contend for victory, and not truth; strive about words to no profit; are quarrelsome, and sow discord among men, and in churches;" Once again the warning words of Jonathan Edwards ring in my ears where the resident terrorist walks freely within the body of Christ and delivers a great harm. "For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition2052, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind." James 3:16 NLT "The former proclaim Christ from selfish ambition2052, not sincerely, because they think they can cause trouble for me in my imprisonment." Phil 1:17 NET "For I am afraid that somehow when I come I will not find you what I wish, and you will find me not what you wish. I am afraid that somehow there may be quarreling, jealousy, intense anger, selfish ambition2052, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder." 2 Cor 12:20 NET What then is the attitude of my heart? Do I serve Christ for all the wrong reasons? Is my heart moved by the mercies of Christ? Am I really in fellowship with Him? Real fellowship with Christ is always the answer! Yet the natural man is quarrelsome against the very person of God and chooses instead to obey unrighteousness. "Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any affection or mercy, complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose. Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition2052 or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself." Phil 2:1-3 NET 2052 Thayer εριθει?α eritheia Thayer Definition: 1) electioneering or intriguing for office 1a) apparently, in the NT a courting distinction, a desire to put one’s self forward, a partisan and fractious spirit which does not disdain low arts 1b) partisanship, fractiousness G2052 Strong εριθει?α eritheia er-ith-i'-ah Perhaps from the same as G2042; properly intrigue, that is, (by implication) faction: - contention (-ious), strife. A person’s habitual conduct, whether good or evil, reveals the condition of his heart. Eternal life is not rewarded for good living; that would contradict many other Scriptures which clearly state that salvation is not by works, but is all of God’s grace to those who believe (e.g., Rom. 6:23; 10:9-10; 11:6; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). A person’s doing good shows that his heart is regenerate. Such a person, redeemed by God, has eternal life. Conversely a person who continually does evil and rejects the truth shows that he is unregenerate, and therefore will be an object of God’s wrath. e.g. exempli gratia, for example Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ro 2:7). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. Related True Ambition True Ambition I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13. Dr. Joseph Barber Lightfoot, Lord Bishop of Durham Great S. Mary’s Church, 22nd Sunday after Trinity, 1883. Πάντα ἰσχύω ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με, ‘I have strength for all things in Him that empowereth, enableth me.’ Ambition, the love of power, the thirst after influence—its use and its abuse, its true and its false aims—this is no unfit subject for consideration from a University pulpit. Ambition in some form or other is an innate craving of man. All men desire power; they cannot help desiring it. The desire is as natural to them as the desire of health. Power and influence occupy the same place socially, that strength and vigour of limb do physically. Other desires, though veiled under various disguises, resolve themselves ultimately into a love of power. Knowledge is power. The cultivated intellect has a command of the resources of the universe. The selfish exaggeration of this feeling is a testimony to the underlying fact. The self-satisfied soul congratulates herself that she is Lord over nature, Lord of the visible earth, Lord of the senses five. She communes with herself— All these are mine, And let the world have peace or wars ’Tis one to me. Again, money is power. A man desires wealth, not for the sake of the stamped metal or the printed paper in themselves. These represent to him a command of resources. The miser indeed by base indulgence forgets the end in the means. In his own domain he resembles the spurious mathematician, to whom the letters and symbols are all in all, who sees in them so many counters and nothing more, who is blinded to the eternal relations of space and number which they represent. But traced back to its origin, the miser’s love of money is a love of power. Ambition, emulation, rivalry, plays a highly important part in the education of the world. We cannot shut our eyes to its splendid achievements. In politics, in social life, in mechanical inventions, in literature and art, its stimulus has produced invaluable results. If ambition has been the last infirmity, it has also been the initial inspiration, of many a noble mind. If by ambition angels fell, by ambition men have risen. It has heightened their ideal, and drawn them upwards from lower to higher. If it is chargeable with the worst evils which have devastated mankind, it must be credited also with the most splendid advances in human progress and civilisation. Ambition has its proper home in a University. Ambition is the life of this place. What would Cambridge be without its honourable emulations, its generous rivalries? Body and mind alike feel the stimulus of its presence. Remove this stimulus, and the immediate consequence will be torpor and degeneration and decay. The athletic ambitions and the scholastic ambitions of the place, each in their own province, are indispensable to its health and vigour. To one who, revisiting the scenes amidst which the best years of his life were spent, asks himself what topic may be fitly handled in this pulpit, the subject of ambition will naturally suggest itself. The University has lived through a period of exceptional restlessness and change during the last three decades—change far more considerable than during the preceding three centuries. Yet the spirit and life of the place are unchanging. It is the ceaseless, orderly-march of a mighty army moving forward. Cross it where you will along the line, the gesture, the tread, the uniform, is the same; the faces only are different. It is the broad, silent, ever-flowing river, changeless, yet always changing. Wave succeeds wave; you gaze on it at intervals; not one drop of water remains the same; and yet the river is not another. The main currents of University life are the same now as thirty years ago. Its moral and social condition is mainly, we may say, the resultant of two divergent forces, its friendships and its emulations. It is the latter alone that I purpose considering this afternoon. I speak to you, therefore, as to ambitious men. Those only are beyond hope who have no spirit of emulation, no craving after excellence—those only, in short, who are devoid of ambition. I invite you, therefore, to be ambitious. Only I ask you to purify your ambition, to consecrate it, to direct it through worthy channels and to worthy aims. I desire to shew you the more excellent way. If indeed ambition has achieved splendid results, it can only have done so by virtue of splendid qualities. It must contain in itself true and abiding elements, which we cannot afford to neglect. Thus it involves a love of approbation. This cannot be culpable in itself. As social beings, we have sympathies and affections which lie at the very roots of our nature; and the desire of approval is inseparably intertwined with these. Who would blame the child for seeking to win its mother’s good opinion? But the principle cannot be limited to this one example. It is coextensive with the whole range of our social relations. The end sought is commendable. Only it may be discredited and condemned by the means taken to attain it; as, for instance, if we disguise our true sentiment, or withhold a just rebuke, or connive at wrong-doing, or sacrifice a noble purpose, for the sake of standing well with others. It is then, and then only, that the praise of men conflicts with the praise of God. Again, ambition implies a spirit of emulation. Neither is this wrong in itself. If it were, this University would stand condemned root and branch. Emulation is not envy; emulation is not jealousy; emulation does not seek to injure or rob another. An apostle avows it to be his aim to ‘provoke to emulation.’ This provocation—this stimulus of comparison and contrast—is an invaluable influence. We measure ourselves with others; we see our defects mirrored in their excellencies; our ideal is heightened by the comparison. Thus there gathers and ferments in us a discontent with ourselves—not indeed, if we are wise, with our capacities, not with our opportunities, not with the inevitable environments of our position, but with the conduct of that personality which is free to discipline, to mould, to direct, to develop our endowments. This dissatisfaction with self is the mainspring of all high enterprise and all moral advancement. But the chief element in ambition is the pursuit of power. The consciousness of power gives a satisfaction quite independently of the exercise of power. Whatever form the power may take—whether intellectual eminence, or social influence, or physical strength, it is a thing which man desires, which he cannot help desiring, in and for itself. It is a seed of God’s own planting—a germ of splendid achievements, if rightly trained and cultivated. It is only culpable in its excesses and aberrations. By our very constitution we feel a happiness in making the best of ourselves, as the phrase runs—in developing and improving our faculties, irrespective of any ulterior results. But a faculty improved is a power gained. Brothers, I desire before all things to kindle in you a lofty ambition to-day. Therefore I have striven to justify ambition to you as God’s very precious gift. I wish—God helping me—to inspire you with that inward dissatisfaction, that discontent with self, that ceaseless, sleepless craving after higher things, which gives you no rest day or night, because it pursues an ever-receding goal. I would stimulate in you that high spirit of emulation which, fermenting and seething in your hearts, impels you to unknown enterprises. I ask you to pray for power, to pursue power, to grasp at power, with all the force and determination which you can command. How can I do otherwise? Are not you the men, and is not this the season, for the handling of such a topic? Are not you the men? Who among you has not felt, at one time or another, the spark of a divine fire kindling within you? Who has not yearned with an intense, if momentary, yearning to do something worthy, to be something worthy? Youth is the hey-day of hope, of enthusiasm, of lofty aspiration. You have felt that there was within you a latent power, a heaven-born capacity, which ought to work miracles, if it were not clogged by self-indulgence, or cowed by timidity, or choked by sloth and indolence. Are not you the men? As I have said to such audiences before, so I say to you now. You do not know, you cannot know, with what reverence—a reverence approaching to awe—older men regard the glorious potentiality of youth, in all the freshness of its vigorous life, with all the promise of the coming years. Our habits are formed; our career is defined; our possibilities are limited. The wide sweep of moral victory, still open to you, is closed to us for ever. But what triumphs may you not achieve, if you are true to yourselves? What instruments may you not be in God’s hands, if only you will yield yourselves to Him, not with a timid, passive, half-hearted acquiescence, but with the active concentration of all your powers of body and soul and spirit? And again I ask, Is not this the time? The first volume of your life’s history is closed. A clean page lies open, and with what writing shall it be filled? This is the great crisis of your life. These earliest few weeks of your University career, with which perhaps you are trifling, which you are idling thoughtlessly away, are only too likely to determine for you what you shall be in time and in eternity. It is the great crisis, but it is also the signal opportunity. Thank God, this is so; for the two do not always coincide. As the great break in your lives, it is the great season for revision, for repentance, for amendment, for the strong resolve and the definite plan. The old base associations must be abandoned; the old loose habits must be cured; the old indolence shaken off; and the old sin cast out and trampled under foot. Never again will such a magnificent opportunity be given you of rectifying the past; for never again can you reckon on the leisure, the privacy, the aids and environments, needed by one who is taking stock of his moral and spiritual life. Who would not shrink from the responsibility of addressing you at such a crisis? And yet I speak boldly to you. Do I not know that, though the hand of the swordsman is feeble, yet the weapon itself is powerful—keener than any two-edged sword? Am I not assured that, though the preacher’s words may be feeble, faltering, desultory, without force and without point, yet God may barb the ill-fledged, ill-aimed shaft, and drive it home to the heart? It is possible that even now the live coal from the altar may be brought by the winged seraph’s hand, and laid on the sinful lips. I have undertaken to glorify the power of God, and to hold it up to you as your truest goal. How can I hope for a hearing, if I begin by distrusting it where I myself am concerned? It is here, then, that I bid you seek and find the true aim of your ambition—in realising, appropriating, absorbing into yourselves, identifying yourselves with this power of God. It alone is inexhaustible in its resources, and infinite in its potency. There is no fear here lest the conqueror of a world should sigh and fret, because nothing remains beyond to conquer. If the craving is infinite, the satisfaction is infinite also. Star beyond star, world beyond world, will start out into view, as your vision grows clearer, spangling the moral heavens with their glories. πάντα ἰσχύω, ‘I can do all things.’ πάντα ὑμῶν, ‘All things are yours.’ Yes, but this promise of limitless strength has its condition attached, ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με, ‘In Him that empowereth me;’ yes, but this pledge of universal dominion is qualified by the sequel, ὑμεῖς δὲ Χριστοῦ, ‘Ye are Christ’s.’ How can we better realise this power of God than by taking S. Paul’s statement as our starting-point? The Cross of Christ is ‘the power of God.’ The Cross is the central revelation of God. The Cross has not unfrequently been preached as a narrow technicality, which shocks the conscience and freezes the heart. It thus becomes a mere forensic subtlety. But the Cross of Christ, taught in all its length and breadth and height and depth—the Cross of Christ, taught as S. Paul taught it—the Cross of Christ, starting from the Incarnation on the one side, and leading up to the Resurrection and Ascension on the other, contains all the elements of moral regeneration and of spiritual life. (1) It is first of all a lesson of righteousness. It is the great rebuke of sin, the great assurance of judgment, the great call to repentance. Think—no, you cannot think; it defies all thinking—yet strive to think, what is implied in the human birth, the human life, the human suffering, the human death, of the Eternal Word. Ask yourselves what condescension, what sacrifice, what humiliation, is involved in this. Summon to your aid all analogies of self-renunciation, which history records or imagination suggests. They will all fail you. No reiteration of the finite can compass the infinite. You are lost in wonder at the contemplation. And while your brain is reeling with the effort, try and imagine the awe, the majesty, the glory of a righteousness, which could only thus be vindicated. Then, after looking upward to God, look inward into your own heart, and see how heinous, how loathsome, how guilty your guilt must be, which has cost such a sacrifice as this. God’s righteousness, your sin—these are brought face to face in the Cross of Christ. (2) But, secondly, while it is a denunciation of sin, it is likewise an assurance of pardon. If the infinity of the sacrifice has taught you the majesty of God’s righteousness, it teaches you no less the glory of His mercy. What may you not look for, what may you not hope for, from a Father, Who has vouchsafed to you this transcendent manifestation of His loving-kindness? ‘He that spared not His own Son … how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ Is any one here burdened with the consciousness of a shameful past? Does the memory of some ugly school-boy sin dog your path, haunting and paralysing you with its importunity? You feel sometimes as if your whole life were poisoned by that one cruel retrospect. Brother, be bold, and dare to look up. I would not have you think your sin one whit less heinous. But if God’s righteousness is infinite, so also is His mercy. The Cross is reared before your eyes in this moral wilderness, where you are dying, where all are dying around you. Dare to look up. The bite of the serpent’s fang is healed; the venom coursing through your veins is quelled; and health returns to the poisoned soul. Yes, and by God’s grace it may happen that through your very fall you will rise to a higher life; that the thanksgiving for the sin forgiven will consecrate you with a fuller consecration; and that the acute moral agony, through which you have passed, will endow you with a more helpful, more sympathetic, more loving spirit, than if you had never fallen. (3) But again; the Cross of Christ is not only a condemnation of sin, not only a pledge of forgiveness; it is likewise an obligation of self-sacrifice. ‘God forbid,’ says S. Paul, ‘that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ But what next? Not ‘whereby I am saved in spite of myself,’ not ‘whereby I am spared all personal exertion,’ but ‘whereby the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.’ This conformity to Christ’s death, this crucifixion of self with Christ, always forms part of the doctrine of the Cross in S. Paul’s teaching. The dying with Christ, the being buried with Christ, is the absolute accompaniment of the atoning death of Christ. We cannot be at one with Christ, unless we conform to Christ. The work done for us necessitates the work done by us. The potentiality of our salvation—of yours and mine—wrought through the Cross of Christ can only then become an actuality, when Christ’s death is thus appropriated, realised, translated into action by us—by you and by me. But it remains still the work of God’s grace. Human merit is absolutely excluded still, as absolutely as by the baldest and most unqualified doctrine of substitution. (4) Fourthly and lastly; the Cross of Christ is a lesson of the regenerate and sanctified life. Dying and living, burial and resurrection, these in the Christian vocabulary are correlative ideas. The Crucifixion implies the Resurrection and the Ascension. The raising up on the cross demands the raising up from the grave, the raising up into heaven. The lifting up of the brazen serpent in the wilderness is the symbol alike of the one and the other. And as with Christ, so also with those who are Christ’s. ‘If we died with Christ, we shall also live with Him.’ Those only can be made conformable to Christ’s resurrection, who have been made conformable to His death. The power of His resurrection is the counterpart to the power of His cross. Herein then—in the Cross of Christ—resides this power of God, which is offered to you as the true aim of your ambition, inexhaustible, omnipotent, infinite. Will you close with the offer? Then reverence yourselves; believe in yourselves; consecrate yourselves. Reverence yourselves. Begin with reverencing this your body. Reverence it as God’s handiwork fearfully and wonderfully made. Contemplate it; yes, contemplate it with awe, if only for its marvellously subtle mechanism. But reverence it still more as the consecrated temple of God’s Spirit. Do not neglect it; do not misuse it; before all things do not defile and desecrate it. Young men, the problem of social purity is thrown down for your generation to solve. Will you accept this challenge? The conscience of England is awakening to the terrible curse. To redress the crying social wrong, to raise womanhood from degradation and shame, to hold up to reverence the ideal of a pure, chivalrous, manly manhood—this is the crusade in which you are invited to enlist. Will you, as consecrated soldiers of the Cross, claim your part in the glory of this campaign? If so, the work must begin now, must begin in yourselves. There can be no success against the foe, where there is disaffection and mutiny in the citadel. Believe in yourselves; yet, not in yourselves as yourselves. Believe not in your strength, but in your weakness. Believe in God Who dwells in you. Give full rein to your ambition. Trust this power of God. It will not stunt nor mar, will not crush, will not annihilate your natural gifts—your social endowments, your political instincts, your intellectual capacities. It will only elevate, harmonize, inspire, purify them. Trust this power. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, which you may not do, if you will only trust it. πάντα ἰσχύω, ‘I have strength for everything,’ everything in heaven and earth. You have youth, health, vigour, enthusiasm, hopefulness, everything on your side now. Seize the great opportunity which can never return. Consecrate yourselves. Empty yourselves of yourselves, that you may be filled with God. Yield yourselves to Him, not with a passive acquiescence, a sentimental quietism, but with the earnest, energetic direction of all your faculties to this one end. A period must still intervene for most of you before the active independent work of life begins, a period of discipline and waiting. Only by patience will you win your souls. But the self-dedication must be made at once, and it must be complete. Half-heartedness spoils the sacrifice. Postponement is perilous. The opportunity despised turns its back on you for ever. Consecrate, consecrate yourselves, body and soul and spirit, to God now, this night. I have been asked to plead before you a cause of the highest moment to the welfare of this town. I shall dismiss it very briefly. I will not do you the dishonour of supposing that long and earnest pleading is needed from me. You have brought together large populations in the outlying suburbs to minister to your wants, to your convenience, to your pleasure—alas, in some instances to suffer shame and wrong from your recklessness. The provision for their spiritual wants is therefore a first charge on your temporal wealth. This fund, for which I plead to-day, is in many cases the only instrument, in all the chief instrument, in providing for these wants. But its finance is always precarious, unless on these occasions we raise about a hundred pounds. For a hundred pounds therefore I ask. Let those who have not brought ample gifts, send them afterwards, that there be no shortcoming. But there is another matter also, which I desire to lay before you. Eleven years ago an effort was made to build a church at New Chesterton, a rapidly growing suburb, inhabited largely by college servants. The preacher from this pulpit then appealed to the undergraduates. He asked if there were not among the younger of his hearers twenty-five men who would offer themselves as collectors among their companions. Not twenty-five, but thirty-two, offered themselves in answer to this appeal. A very considerable sum was collected by these means from undergraduates. With the contributions gathered in this and other ways the Church of S. Luke was erected, an incomplete structure to be finished hereafter. The parish work has gone on vigorously ever since. The clergy give their services for very inadequate remuneration, or no remuneration at all. There is daily service, morning and evening. The church is full on Sunday mornings, crowded to overflowing on Sunday evenings. The communicants have increased manifold; the offertories are large for a poor parish. The spiritual ministrations are thus cramped for want of room, and the completion of the structure is a pressing need. Has not the time arrived for another such appeal to the undergraduates? Are there not five-and-twenty, are there not fifty young men now, who would undertake a like charge? I cannot suppose that undergraduate zeal has waned in these eleven years. Everything that I see and hear leads me to take a far more hopeful view. In Christ’s name and for Christ’s sake come forward and offer yourselves for this work. Lightfoot, J. B. (1890). Cambridge Sermons. London; New York: MacMillan and Co. (Public Domain) Romans 3:28 - The Liberty of the Yoke Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude, etc. - Seeing these things cannot be denied, viz., that all have sinned: that all are guilty, that all are helpless: that none can deliver his own soul, and that God, in his endless mercy, has opened a new and living way to the holiest by the blood of Jesus, Hebrews 10:19-20, etc: therefore we, apostles and Christian teachers, conclude, λογιζομεθα, prove by fair, rational consequence, that a man - any man, is justified - has his sins blotted out, and is received into the Divine favor, by faith in Christ’s blood, without the deeds of the law, which never could afford, either to Jew or Gentile, a ground for justification, because both have sinned against the law which God has given them, and, consequently, forfeited all right and title to the blessings which the obedient might claim. Dr. Adam Clarke Romans 3:28 Justification: Justification and righteousness are inseparably united in Scripture by the fact that the same word (Greek, "dikaios", means "righteous"; Greek, "dikaioo", means "to justify") is used for both. The believing sinner is justified because Christ, having borne his sins on the cross, has been "made unto him righteousness" (1Corinthians 1:30). Justification originates in grace; (Romans 3:24); (Titus 3:4); (Titus 3:5) is through the redemptive and propitiatory work of Christ, who has vindicated the law; (Romans 3:24); (Romans 3:25); (Romans 5:9) is by faith, not works; (Romans 3:28-30); (Romans 4:5); (Romans 5:1); (Galatians 2:16); (Galatians 3:8); (Galatians 3:24) and may be defined as the judicial act of God whereby He justly declares righteous one who believes on Jesus Christ. It is the Judge Himself (Romans 8:31-34) who thus declares. The justified believer has been in court, only to learn that nothing is laid to his charge. (Romans 8:1); (Romans 8:33); (Romans 8:34). C. I. Scofield "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law." (NASB) "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (KJV) "So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law." (NLT) "For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law." (NET) Nothing is more maligned today than the meaning of these few words! All manner of confusion, deception, error and even heresy have been born from wrongly dividing these words of truth. Let us consider that the reason this is so is because there is a dynamic tension present in the very concept of Grace. Jesus invites us to find rest by taking on His yoke. Lewis Sperry Chafer, in Grace, over emphasized the concept of liberty to the point of entertaining unintentionally antinomian thought. Liberty by definition is deliverance from oppression and not necessarily the freedom to do what we please. Yet if you preach Grace hard enough that is the very thought that comes to mind (thus the warning from the Apostle Paul in Romans 6:1 — should we sin more so that Grace might abound?). Grace, recorded in Titus, says that we should deny the realities of our fleshly nature and rather live according to our new nature: For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. (Titus 2:11-13 NLT) The idea that salvation is a wonderful gift and yet cost us everything that we are remains a paradox but like God and country are not mutually exclusive concepts. Today we suffer because iniquity abounds and the love of many grows cold (Matthew 24:12). But we my also abound in hope because the comforter has been given and lives within those who call Christ Savior and Lord. We are not free to follow the carnal desires of the flesh but rather are empowered to live abounding in the Spirit (2 Corinthians 8:7). I read in the newspaper this morning of a new church where you can believe whatever you want. People come there because the did not like the message elsewhere. We do not want to hear the real truth but instead search for a truth we like! One that will allow us to cling to the vile creatures we are and thus begin the slow downward spiral of self-deception that leads to eternal separation. We are saved because we were surrounded by the fullness of Christ's love for the lost. His love is providential and brings us to that place where we can say yes to His wondrous forgiveness and say no to the sin that so easily entangles us. The liberty of the yoke! Romans 3:26 - The Wonder of the Gospel Romans 3:21-26 Must guilty man remain under wrath? Is the wound for ever incurable? No; blessed be God, there is another way laid open for us. This is the righteousness of God; righteousness of his ordaining, and providing, and accepting. It is by that faith which has Jesus Christ for its object; an anointed Savior, so Jesus Christ signifies. Justifying faith respects Christ as a Savior, in all his three anointed offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King; trusting in him, accepting him, and cleaving to him: in all these, Jews and Gentiles are alike welcome to God through Christ. There is no difference, his righteousness is upon all that believe; not only offered to them, but put upon them as a crown, as a robe. It is free grace, mere mercy; there is nothing in us to deserve such favors. It comes freely unto us, but Christ bought it, and paid the price. And faith has special regard to the blood of Christ, as that which made the atonement. God, in all this, declares his righteousness. It is plain that he hates sin, when nothing less than the blood of Christ would satisfy for it. And it would not agree with his justice to demand the debt, when the Surety has paid it, and he has accepted that payment in full satisfaction. Matthew Henry Concise Commentary Romans 3:26 For a demonstration of his righteousness - Both of his justice and mercy. That he might be just - Showing his justice on his own Son. And yet the merciful justifier of every one that believeth in Jesus. That he might be just - Might evidence himself to be strictly and inviolably righteous in the administration of his government, even while he is the merciful justifier of the sinner that believeth in Jesus. The attribute of justice must be preserved inviolate; and inviolate it is preserved, if there was a real infliction of punishment on our Savior. On this plan all the attributes harmonize; every attribute is glorified, and not one superseded no, nor so much as clouded. John Wesley "for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (NASB) "To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (KJV) "for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He declares sinners to be right in His sight when they believe in Jesus." (NLT) "This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus' faithfulness." (NET) It is a hard thing for me to understand even after all these years how Christ could look from eternity past to beyond the cross and make a way for lost sinners like me. This is a good place to reflect upon our own lives and to take ownership for our inner emotions! Is this the way we look at our neighbors and even the people we love? Or do you find, like I do, that sometimes and even oftentimes that I fall way short of this attitude that was in Christ Jesus (Philippians Chapter 2). This is not something that the human heart can conjure up via intestinal fortitude or sheer power of the will. All we can do is confess our sin (the absence of His Grace) in this area of our life. Why has Christ bestowed such favor upon fallen man? For "no reason" (the same way Christ was persecuted). Because of Christ we are justified! It is the same each day of our life! In now way can we repay by our actions, "not as a result of works." We cannot take credit for His Grace in any way! (Ephesians 2:8-9) This should give way to thankfulness that grows each day as we begin to see the length and breadth of this amazing pardon. Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time - To manifest now, by the dispensation of the Gospel, his righteousness, his infinite mercy; and to manifest it in such a way, that he might still appear to be the just God, and yet the justifier, the pardoner, of him who believeth in Jesus. Here we learn that God designed to give the most evident displays both of his justice and mercy. Of his justice, in requiring a sacrifice, and absolutely refusing to give salvation to a lost world in any other way; and of his mercy, in providing The sacrifice which his justice required. Thus, because Jesus was an atonement, a ransom price, for the sin of the world, therefore God can, consistently with his justice, pardon every soul that believeth in Jesus. This is the full discovery of God’s righteousness, of his wonderful method of magnifying his law and making it honorable; of showing the infinite purity of his justice, and of saving a lost world. (Dr. Adam Clarke) Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness,.... This end is further explained, it being to declare the righteousness of God "at this time", under the Gospel dispensation; in which there was such a display of the grace, mercy, and goodness of God: that he might be just; that is, appear to be so: God is naturally and essentially just in himself; and he is evidentially so in all his works, particularly in redemption by Christ; and when and while he is the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus: Jesus, the Savour, is the object of faith, as he is the Lord our righteousness; the believer in Jesus is a real, and not a nominal one; God is the justifier of such in a declarative way, and God only, though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit; and which sentence of justification is pronounced by him on the foot of a perfect righteousness, which neither law nor justice can find fault with, but entirely approve of; and so he appears just and righteous, even though he justifies the sinner and the ungodly. (Dr. John Gill) Romans 3:26 To declare ... at this time — now for the first time, under the Gospel. his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus — Glorious paradox! “Just in punishing,” and “merciful in pardoning,” men can understand; but “just in justifying the guilty,” startles them. But the propitiation through faith in Christ’s blood resolves the paradox and harmonizes the discordant elements. For in that “God hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin,” justice has full satisfaction; and in that “we are made the righteousness of God in Him,” mercy has her heart’s delight! Note, (1). One way of a sinner’s justification is taught in the Old Testament and in the New alike: only more dimly during the twilight of Revelation; in unclouded light under “its perfect day” (Romans 3:21). (2). As there is no difference in the need, so is there none in the liberty to appropriate the provided salvation. The best need to be saved by faith in Jesus Christ; and the worst only need that. On this common ground all saved sinners meet here, and will stand for ever (Romans 3:22-24). (3). It is on the atoning blood of Christ, as the one propitiatory sacrifice which God hath set forth to the eye of the guilty, that the faith of the convinced and trembling sinner fastens for deliverance from wrath. Though he knows that he is “justified freely, by God’s grace,” it is only because it is “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” that he is able to find peace and rest even in this (Romans 3:25). (4). The strictly accurate view of believers under the Old Testament is not that of a company of pardoned men, but of men whose sins, put up with and passed by in the meantime, awaited a future expiation in the fullness of time (Romans 3:25, Romans 3:26; see on Luke 9:31; see on Hebrews 9:15; see on Hebrews 11:39, Hebrews 11:40). (A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown) Romans 1:17 - God's Righteousness Revealed Romans 1:17 "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.'" (NASB) "For therein is the G1343 righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The G1342 just shall live by faith." (KJV) "This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, 'It is through faith that a righteous person has life.'" (NLT) G1343 (Strong) δικαιοσυ?νη dikaiosune? dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay From G1342; equity (of character or act); specifically (Christian) justification: - righteousness. G1342 (Strong) δι?καιος dikaios dik'-ah-yos From G1349; equitable (in character or act); by implication innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively): - just, meet, right (-eous). Righteousness (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) ri?´chus-nes (?????, caddi?k?, adjective, “righteous,” or occasionally “just” ???, cedhek?, noun, occasionally = “riahteousness,” occasionally = “justice”; δικαιος, di?kaios, adjective, δικαιοσυ?νη, dikaiosu?ne?, noun, from δι?κη, di?ke?, whose first meaning seems to have been “custom”; the general use suggested conformity to a standard: righteousness, “the state of him who is such as he ought to be” Righteousness (Noah Webster) RIGHTEOUSNESS, n. ri'chusness. 1. Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion. 2. Applied to God, the perfection or holiness of his nature; exact rectitude; faithfulness. 3. The active and passive obedience of Christ, by which the law of God is fulfilled. Dan 9. 4. Justice; equity between man and man. Luke 1. 5. The cause of our justification. The Lord our righteousness. Jer 23. Our misery and ruin being the product and consequent of our iniquity, that which will show us the way of salvation must needs show us the way of justification, and this the gospel does. The gospel makes known a righteousness. While God is a just and holy God, and we are guilty sinners, it is necessary we should have a righteousness wherein to appear before him; and, blessed be God, there is such a righteousness brought in by Messiah the prince (Dan_9:24) and revealed in the gospel; a righteousness, that is, a gracious method of reconciliation and acceptance, notwithstanding the guilt of our sins. Mathew Henry (1662 - 1714) Righteousness by Faith Orville J. Nave (1841-1917), A.M., D.D., LL.D. (Army Chaplain) Go Army! Genesis 15:6 "And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith." (NLT) Romans 4:3 "For the Scriptures tell us, 'Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.'" (NLT) Romans 4:5 "But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners." (NLT) Romans 4:9 "Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith." (NLT) Romans 4:11 "Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith." (NLT) Romans 4:13 "For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith." (NASB) Romans 4:22 "And because of Abraham's faith, God counted him as righteous. (NLT) Romans 4:24 "for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in Him, the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead." (NLT) In Christ we have all that we require. His Gospel reveals His righteousness whose purpose is our redemption, transformation, and adoption. The concept that began the reformation, that we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone. Dear Heavenly Father how amazing is your love. It is like the words of the song: The love of God has been extended to a fallen race, Through Christ the savior of all men, there's hope in saving grace The Love of God is greater far, than gold or silver ever could afford, It reaches past the highest star and covers all the world! His power is eternal..eternal, His glory is supernal..supernal! When all this earth shall pass away, there'll always be the Love of God! It goes beneath the deepest stain that sin could ever leave, Redeeming souls to live again, who will, on Christ believe- will believe! The love of God is greater far, than gold or silver, ever could afford, It reaches past the highest star, and covers all the world! His power is eternal...eternal! His glory is supernal...supernal! When all this earth shall pass away, there'll always be, the Love Of God! (Bill Gaither) From faith to faith; that is, as say some, from the faith of God to the faith of men; from the faith of preachers to the faith of hearers; from the faith of the Old to the faith of the New Testament saints; or rather from one degree of faith to another; for faith, as it grows and increases, has clearer sights of this righteousness, as held forth in the Gospel. For the proof of this, a passage of Scripture is cited, Habakkuk 2:4 Dr. John Gill (1690-1771) Romans 1:18 - The Wrath of God Revealed Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness," (NASB) "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;" (KJV) "But God shows His anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness." (NLT) John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (NASB) Luke 3:7 "So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (NASB) Luke 21:23 "Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people;" (NASB) Romans 2:5 "But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God," (NASB) "The Word of God continues to stand in the World. The cross of Christ, although it occurred nineteen hundred years ago, continues to stand as the great witness to the wrath of God. Similarly, the wrath of God is being revealed continuously upon those who break the laws of God in nature. It is a standing revelation" Dr. Alva J. McClain, Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace. "Notice the object of God's wrath. Paul, in two words, has summed up all of human sin, placing it in two great divisions: ungodliness and unrighteousness. 'Ungodliness' is a sin against the being of God. Man is not only a moral sinner (he is unrighteous), but man is a religious sinner (he is ungodly). The unrighteous man live as if there were no will of God revealed; the ungodly man lives as if there were no God." Dr. Alva J. McClain, Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace. 1. Divine Wrath: Wrath is used with reference to both God and man. When used of God it is to be understood that there is the complete absence of that caprice and unethical quality so prominent in the anger attributed to the gods of the heathen and to man. The divine wrath is to be regarded as the natural expression of the divine nature, which is absolute holiness, manifesting itself against the willful, high-handed, deliberate, inexcusable sin and iniquity of mankind. God's wrath is always regarded in the Scripture as the just, proper, and natural expression of His holiness and righteousness which must always, under all circumstances, and at all costs be maintained. It is therefore a righteous indignation and compatible with the holy and righteous nature of God (Num 11:1-10; Deu 29:27; 2Sa 6:7; Isa 5:25; Isa 42:25; Jer 44:6; Psa 79:6). The element of love and compassion is always closely connected with God's anger; if we rightly estimate the divine anger we must unhesitatingly pronounce it to be but the expression and measure of that love (compare Jer 10:24; Ezek 23; Amo 3:2). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia When I see that I have been delivered from an abandonment in hell, the exhortation of Paul, "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;", becomes more sobering in the midst of this chaotic world. Grace becomes larger still when I consider that my very presence is, in the flesh, an offense against God's perfect holiness and righteousness. I am blessed beyond an ability to express in words the thankfulness in a heart redeemed. Heavenly Father let my mind ponder these thoughts throughout the day that I might in some small way comprehend, in some small way, the length and breadth of your love. Romans 5:11 - A New and Greater Joy! G2643 καταλλαγη? katallage??; gen. katallage??s, fem. noun from katallásso? (G2644), to reconcile. Reconciliation, restoration, exchange. A change or reconciliation from a state of enmity between persons to one of friendship. Between God and man it is the result of the apolútro?sis (G629), redemption, the divine act of salvation, the ceasing of God's wrath. In the NT, it means reconciliation, i.e., restoration to divine favor by bringing about a change in man, conversion (Romans 5:11; Romans 11:15), the means or occasion of reconciling the world to God. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary - General Editor: Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D.) Reconciliation RECONCILIA'TION, n. [L. reconciliatio.] 1. The act of reconciling parties at variance; renewal of friendship after disagreement or enmity. Reconciliation and friendship with God, really form the basis of all rational and true enjoyment. 2. In Scripture, the means by which sinners are reconciled and brought into a state of favor with God, after natural estrangement or enmity; the atonement; expiation. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression and to make an end of sin, and to make reconciliation for iniquity. Dan 9. Heb 2. (Noah Webster) And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (NASB) And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (KJV) So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. (NLT) Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation. (NET) Rom 5:11 And not only so, but we also glory - The whole sentence, Romans 5:3-11, may be taken together thus: We not only "rejoice in hope of the glory of God," but also in the midst of tribulations we glory in God himself through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation. (John Wesley) We also joy in God - In Romans 5:2, he had said that we rejoice in tribulations, and in hope of the glory of God. But he here adds that we rejoice in God himself; in his existence; his attributes; his justice, holiness, mercy, truth, love. The Christian rejoices that God is such a being as he is; and glories that the universe is under his administration. The sinner is opposed to him; he finds no pleasure in him; he fears or hates him; and deems him unqualified for universal empire. But it is one characteristic of true piety, one evidence that we are truly reconciled to God, that we rejoice in him as he is; and find pleasure in the contemplation of his perfections as they are revealed in the Scriptures. (Dr. Albert Barnes) “The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity) We often hurry past this amazing verse and in doing so miss out on the revelation of the Greatest Gift Ever Given! What is more amazing than Jesus Himself living in me? The airwaves are replete with country songs sharing the heartaches of unrequited love or love lost. I think as believers we settle for the counterfeit deception that is "mere milk and water" of sorts. If our relationship with the Savior cannot be described as an "ecstasy of love and delight" then we have been deceived already! Fear not because this union with Christ Jesus is available to "everyone who believes"! Comments are closed.