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In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: How Blest Is He Whose Trespass


How Blest Is He Whose Trespass
WIE LIEBLICH IST DER MAIEN Psalm 32

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How blest is he whose trespass
hath freely been forgiv’n,
whose sin is wholly covered
before the sight of heav’n.
to whom the Lord in mercy
imputeth not his sin,
who hath a guileless spirit,
whose heart is true within.

While I kept guilty silence
my strength was spent with grief:
Thy hand was heavy on me,
my soul found no relief;
but when I owned my trespass,
my sin hid not from Thee;
when I confessed transgression,
then Thou forgavest me.

So let the godly seek Thee
in times when Thou art near;
no whelming floods shall reach them
nor cause their hearts to fear.
In Thee, O Lord, I hid me;
Thou savest me from ill,
and songs of Thy salvation
my heart with rapture thrill.

Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017).

The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, recently published by Religious Affections Ministries. This is such a good hymnal that I’m pretty sure I could happily post every hymn it contains, but I’ll be limiting selections to hymns I have never posted here before, especially those unfamiliar to me (of which there are many). For more information and to purchase this hymnal, visit Religious Affections Ministries.




Frivolous Friday: Take It

Friday··2018·09·21
This is a serious blog, so I feel obligated to temper the following frivolity with a serious note. So here you go; this is serious: From comedians who preach their opinions to athletes who kneel during the national anthem, I really dislike (to put it mildly) entertainers who use their platforms to make political statements. As others before me have said, “Shut up and sing!” On the other hand, as long as they don’t get too obnoxious about it, and are truly entertaining, I can still enjoy their work. Such is the case with the Smothers Brothers. I was just a wee lad during their heyday, so wasn’t a witness to the Vietnam-era political satire that irritated my parents and got them fired from CBS in 1969, but I’ve always got a kick out of their act whenever I’ve seen them, and I pity those who can’t. Here endeth the serious portion of this post. Ladies, Gentlemen, and Postmodern Undecideds, I give you [drum roll] the Smothers Brothers.

Put Away Empty Thinking

Thursday··2018·09·20
We live in a mindless age marked by entertainment that appeals to the emotions of a numb audience. Unfortunately, this deficiency has invaded the evangelical church and captured the minds of many Christian leaders. As a result, ministries are content to spread superficial thoughts drawn from the base thinking of the world. This hour calls for men to step forward and give themselves to the disciplined study of Scripture in the manner of Anselm. Now is the time for a new generation of Anselms to seize the moment, men who, in an age of spiritual darkness, will serve as beacons to light the true path. As in any age, God has guaranteed the success of His church and ensured that the light of His gospel will never be extinguished. Therefore, the time is now for us to put away empty thinking that reduces authentic Christianity to a cheap imitation of worldly trivialities. Now is the time to bring forth the great truths of the Word. Whatever is to be the impact of Christianity in this day, it can be no greater than its search for, discovery of, and commitment to the grand doctrines of Scripture. At the top of that ascent are the doctrines of grace. Will you apply your mind to the quest for this truth? Will you rivet your gaze on the pages of Scripture? Will you wrestle with the biblical text until it yields its one, true, God-intended meaning? Will you set your mind to pull these doctrines together into one system of truth until they all speak with one voice? Where are the truly profound thinkers of this day? Where, I say, are they? —Steven J. Lawson, Pillars of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2011), 310–311.

Scholastic Monergist: Anselm of Canterbury

Wednesday··2018·09·19
Anselm (1033–1109), Bishop of Canterbury, on divine sovereignty: If those things which are held together in the circuit of the heavens should desire to be elsewhere than under the heavens or to be further removed from the heavens, there is no place where they can be but under the heavens; nor can they fly from the heavens without also approaching them. For whence and whither and in what way they go, they still are under the heavens; and if they are at a greater distance from one part of them, they are only so much nearer to the opposite part. And so, though man or evil angel refuses to submit to the divine will and appointment, yet he cannot escape it; for if he wishes to fly from a will that commands, he falls into the power of a will that punishes. —cited in Steven J. Lawson, Pillars of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2011), 305.

Monastic Monergist: Gottschalk of Orbais

Tuesday··2018·09·18
By the ninth century, Semi-Pelagianism had gained a firm foothold in the church. Among the few who still held to the biblical doctrines of grace was a German monk, Gottschalk of Orbais (805–869). As a boy, Gottschalk was sent to the convent at Fulda where, at his father’s insistence, he took monastic vows. Upon reaching adulthood, he attempted to escape his vows on the ground that vows taken by a child should not be binding. His request was brought before the Synod of Mainz in 829, and was accepted. Maurus, the abbot of Fulda, not wanting to lose a promising pupil, appealed to the emperor. His appeal was successful, and Gottschalk was bound for life. He was, however, allowed to move from Fulda to Orbais, France. It was there that he began studying the writings of Augustine and embraced the doctrines of human depravity and sovereign grace. His awakening to these doctrines became the fuel for heated controversy. At the center of debate were the doctrines of election, predestination, and human will. Over a period od seven years, four synods were convened. “First, the Synod of Chiersy (853) adopted a Semi-Pelagian position, affirming the teaching of Maurus and Hincmar [Archbishop of Riems]. But the Synod of Valence (855) and the Synod of Langress (859) took a strong Augustinian stand. Finally, in an attempt to find unity, the conflicting parties met at Toucy in France in 860. This synod resulted in a devastating defeat for predestinarianism in France.” Gottschalk was interrogated and ordered to recant. Standing firm, he was condemned as a heretic. He was publicly flogged, his books were burned, and he was imprisoned in the monastery at Hautvilliers, near Reims. There he died in 869, having, in spite of a captivity-induced nervous breakdown, stood firm to the end. Gottschalk may be best known for his predestinarian teaching, but as I read Lawson’s summary of his theology, I was most impressed by his understanding of the atonement vis-à-vis predestination. Some seven hundred years prior to Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, Gottschalk provided the first clear statement of a definite atonement in church history. His statement marks a major development in the church’s understanding of the extent of the atonement. In one of his few surviving statements regarding this doctrine, he succinctly writes, “Our God and master Jesus Christ [was] crucified only for the elect.” This statement testifies to Gottschalk’s belief in particular redemption for those chosen for salvation. Although previous men had made similar declarations concerning the basic aspects of this doctrine, Gottschalk was the first to demonstrate the strong relationship between predestination and the atonement. For Gottschalk, the doctrine of the atonement was a direct corollary of predestination. Gottschalk left no doubt that he believed no one can come to new life in Christ unless God wills it to happen. This means that those who do believe on Christ were predestined to do so. He affirms: “All those whom God wills to be saved without doubt are saved. They cannot be saved unless God wills them to be saved; and there is no one whom God wills to be saved, who will not be saved, since our God did all things whatsoever He willed.” He adds, “All those impious persons and sinners for whom the Son of God came to redeem by shedding His own blood, those the omnipotent goodness of God predestined to life and irrevocably willed only those to be saved.” Christ’s atoning work was particular to the elect. Gottschalk repeatedly turned to God’s Word to support this teaching. Commenting on Romans 5:8–9, he logically reasons, “If Christ died even for the reprobate, then the reprobate too, having been justified in His blood, will be saved from wrath through Him. But the reprobate will not be saved from wrath through Him. Therefore, Christ did not die for the reprobate.” With these words, Gottschalk resolutely affirmed that Christ died exclusively for the elect. —Steven J. Lawson, Pillars of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2011), 286.

Monastic Monergist: Isidore of Seville

Monday··2018·09·17
The fall of Rome in the fifth century marked the beginning of the medieval era. Civilizations crumbled as scholarship faded and literacy all but disappeared. True religion was eclipsed by superstition. During these Dark Ages, as the early medieval era is known, the Scriptures and other literature was preserved largely by monks who dedicated their lives to devotion, study, and service in monasteries. Although monasticism is, for the most part, associated with Roman Catholicism, monks like Isidore of Seville (ca. 560–636), Gottschalk of Orbais (805–869), and Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153) preserved the doctrines of grace. As Steve Lawson writes, “A few isolated figures found their places in history as teachers of sovereign grace, for even amid dark times, God always has men who remain committed to the doctrines of grace.” Isidore of Seville was the youngest of a noble Roman family in Cartegena, Spain. Having lost his parents at an early age, his education was supervised by his brother Leander, writes Lawson, is considered by theologians and church historians to be “the foremost churchman of his time in Spain.” Isidore grew to be a great scholar and promoter of scholarship. “His spiritual leadership,” ">Lawson writes, “brought about a new day of learning in the Scriptures, and his influence promoted a new breadth of education. Through this resurgence, he had a profound impact on the educational practice of medieval Western Europe and the broader culture. Thanks to these successful efforts to educate the people, Isidore is considered one of the ‘brightest ornaments’ of the church of Spain.” The foundation of Isidore’s theology was his belief in the sovereignty of God. He acknowledged that everything that exists and comes to pass is a part of the master purpose of God. He writes: “There are many forces, virtues, in the arrangement of this world, angels, archangels, princes, powers, and every rank of the heavenly army; and He [God] is the Lord, Dominus of them. All are under Him and subject to His sovereignty.” . . . Moreover, Isidore maintained that God is all-powerful and therefore can accomplish all that He desires to do. He writes: “Shaddai . . . is ‘Omnipotent,’ because He can do all things, omnia potent; doing what He wished, but not undergoing what He does not want. If anything could happen to Him, He would by no means be omnipotent. He does whatever He wants, and thus He is omnipotent.” . . . Because of his strong commitment to Scripture, Isidore was convinced of the Augustinian doctrine of sovereign election, the biblical teaching that God freely chooses some to be His own. He writes, “In a wonderful way, the Creator who is just to all, predestines some to life.” Here Isidore distinguished between “all” and “some.” He taught that only some are predestined to salvation. However, he also contended that God is just to all. This is because God does not owe grace to any sinful creature. Consequently, God is absolutely free to bestow unmerited favor on whomever He chooses. Further, Isidore said the elect have been predestined to mercy and others to wrath. In commenting on Romans 9, he writes, “Some are predestined to His most gracious mercy . . . and made vessels of mercy; others, however, are considered reprobate and predestined to punishment, condemned, and are made vessels of His wrath . . . just as through the prophet God Himself says: ‘Jacob I have loved, and Esau I have hated.’” . . . Isidore also was less than explicit on the doctrine of God’s preservation of believers, but one comment strongly suggests he believed that Christians cannot fall from grace. He spoke of the Holy Spirit as a gift from God that is given to those who love God, that is, Christians. He writes: “So far as [the Holy Spirit] is a gift from God, it is given to those who, through it, love God. In itself, it is God; with us, it is a gift. The Holy Spirit is an everlasting gift, distributing to each person, as it wishes, its gracious gifts.” The Bible is clear that the Spirit’s abiding presence guarantees that believers are secure in Christ. The fact that Isidore here spoke of the Spirit as an “everlasting gift” may indicate that he believed that those who trust Christ cannot fall away from Him. —Steven J. Lawson, Pillars of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2011), 261–263.

Lord’s Day 37, 2018

Sunday··2018·09·16
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.—2 Corinthians 11:12 Battle-Song Against Satan Jehovah, judge my cause, Avenge me of my foe, Fight against Satan and his host, Oh lay the strong one low! I have cast off his yoke, Renounced his cursed sway; For this he doubly hates, and longs To seize me as his prey. To thee, and to thy cross, For help, O Lord, I flee;— He must prevail, if thou do not, O Lord, deliver me! For thou hast vanquished him! Let him not conquer me: Put him to shame, O Lord; Give me the victory. It is not strength that wins: My weakness is my shield; In lowly trust we fight the fight, And meekness wins the field. Give me the lowly heart, Cast out each thought of pride; Let gentleness and love come in, And as my guests abide. Thy will, not mine, be done; I would not choose my own; But let me ever, ever be 129 Thy servant, Lord, alone. Jesus, to thee I flee, Jesus, thy cross I clasp; Save me from Satan’s hellish power, Oh pluck me from his grasp. So shall I praise thee, Lord, And thy great name adore, With Father and with Spirit one, For ever, evermore. —Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about #LordsDay from:thethirstytheo !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");


2018·09·15
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: God, Be Merciful to Me
2018·09·14
The Evolution of Armininism
2018·09·13
Watch and Pray
2018·09·12
Monergist Father: Augustine of Hippo (5)
2018·09·11
Monergist Father: Augustine of Hippo (4)
2018·09·10
Monergist Father: Augustine of Hippo (3)
2018·09·09
Lord’s Day 36, 2018

2018·09·01
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: A Debtor to Mercy
2018·08·31
Monergist Father: Gregory of Naziansus
2018·08·30
An Early Church Mother
2018·08·29
Monergist Father: Basil of Caesarea
2018·08·28
The Guest of God
2018·08·27
Monergist Father: Athanasius of Alexandria
2018·08·26
Lord’s Day 34, 2018

2018·09·08
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: From Depths of Woe
2018·09·07
Monergist Father: Augustine of Hippo (2)
2018·09·06
Monergist Father: Augustine of Hippo (1)
2018·09·05
The Parable of the Porta Potty
2018·09·04
Monergist Father: Ambrose of Milan
2018·09·03
Disciplining an Emperor
2018·09·02
Lord’s Day 35, 2018



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