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The Potter's Clay

Scripture, Theology, the Christian worldview, and other ramblings.

29 June 2006

But God

by William Plumer, "Theology for the People"

No two things are more contrary to each other,
than the vileness of man and the purity of God.

Sin is hateful to God.
It has dug every grave.
It fills hell with groans.

"From the sole of your foot to the top of your
head there is no soundness--only wounds
and welts and open sores." Isaiah 1:6

The whole nature of man is affected by sin:
the understanding is darkened;
the will is corrupt;
the conscience is defiled;
the memory is polluted;
the imagination is depraved;
the throat is an open sepulcher;
the tongue is deceitful;
the mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;
the feet are swift to shed blood;
the eyes are full of adultery;
the heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked.

The whole head is sick,
the whole heart is faint!

Man is by nature ruined. He is lost.
Men are . . .
sinners,
wicked,
ungodly,
unrighteous,
corrupt,
deceitful,
vile,
ungrateful,
children of the devil,
slaves of iniquity.

"But God, who is abundant in mercy, because
of His great love that He had for us, made us
alive with the Messiah even though we were
dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved!
He also raised us up with Him and seated us
with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, so
that in the coming ages He might display the
immeasurable riches of His grace in His
kindness to us in Christ Jesus." Eph. 2:4-7

23 June 2006

A new creature

"If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things have passed away; behold, all things
have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

What condemnation do these words pronounce upon
the shallow, meager religion so common among
us--making us feel that hardly any description of its
professors could be more exaggerated or unreal,
than that of being "new creatures."

Take yon member of the church. He wears the
garb and bears the name of Christ. He is a fair
average specimen of a large class. He has the
profession of being a Christian; yet . . .
he is fond of the world;
he grasps at its gold;
he loves its fashionable gaiety;
he reads its novels;
he frequents its haunts of amusement;
he enjoys its company;
he relishes its foolish talking and jesting.

Is he "a new creature" in Christ Jesus?

Is it possible that, with . . .
so much worldliness,
so much selfishness,
so much self-indulgence,
so much pleasing of the flesh,
he can have been "born again,"
whatever his profession may be?

"A new creature!" Then . . .
old feelings,
old habits,
old tastes,
old hopes,
old joys,
old sorrows,
old haunts,
old companionships
--all are gone! Old things have passed
away, all things have become new!

Formerly, I sought the things of this world.
So now, by the necessity of my new nature,
I seek the things above. Sin has become
hateful, holiness supremely attractive.

My vision has been purged, so that now I see
everything as with a new eye; the evil, with an
eye which loathes it; the holy, with an eye which
loves it. I approach everything with . . .
new feelings,
new tastes,
new sympathies,
new antipathies.
I behold everything in a new light, and from a new
point of view. Myself, this world, the world to come,
God, Christ, and the everlasting joys--all these are
to me now, what they have never been before! My
whole inner man has changed respecting them.
There has been a new creation! What, then, have I
to do with sin, with the flesh, with the vanities of so
vain a life, as the men of this world are leading?

Oh, the unimaginable blessedness of those on whom
this new creation has taken place! Oh, the unutterable,
the endless misery of those on whom no change has
passed--in whom old things still remain!

--Horatius Bonar, "Christ and the New Creation"

15 June 2006

Currently Reading - The Man of Sin


I just picked up Kim Riddlebarger's latest work, The Man of Sin, at the local bookstore. I enjoyed Kim's last work on amillennialism, so I expect this to be a good read. So far, so good. I may do a book review when I am done, we'll see, so long as I don't get freaked out too much reading it. :-)

13 June 2006

"Salvation through Spiritual Warfare" - A Divine Miracle

2 Cor 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. {We are} destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and {we are} taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (NAS)

Spiritual Warfare has nothing to do with human strategy. Let me unpack a little passage of scripture for you. It is found in 2 Cor 10:3-5. Paul says that we are engaged in a spiritual war. We talk about spiritual warfare a lot, but the weapons of our warfare (he says) are not fleshly, what he means by that is that they are not human. We are fighting a war and we can't use human weapons. We can't use them. This war is not a time space war, this is not a material war, it isn't fought on an intellectual level. This is a spiritual battle. This is on another dimension, we can't use human ingenuity, human gimmicks, humans tricks, etc, etc. (I love this passage) He says, "but our weapons are (the Greek says) mighty unto God". We got to fight this spiritual war with divine weapons (ok, I understand that you say but what does that mean? What is this divine weapon?) Well then he goes on to say, "For we are destroying fortresses" "Fortresses" is a word (in the Greek) that means "massive fortification". If you have been in the Middle East or you have traveled in Europe and you have seen those great granite, and stone fortresses. It is the same word for "prison" and it is the same word for "tomb".

So here we have this picture, we are engaged in war and the enemy that we are assaulting is a massive granite fortification, it is not something that falls easily, it is not a paper house, it is not a card board box. What are we going to use against this? Well, what is this fortress? The next verse he says, "We are destroying speculations". In verse 4, he says, "we are destroying fortresses". In verse 5, "we are destroying speculations". Therefore fortresses equal speculations. Speculations is the Greek word "logismos" - ideas (ideologies, concepts, philosophies, psychology's, theories, religions), further defined as, "every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God". Spiritual warfare is not chasing demons around and pronouncing formulas on them. Spiritual warfare is fought against ideologies. Any theory, and idea, any viewpoint, any religion, any belief raise up against the knowledge of God. That is to say any anti-biblical idea, any anti-biblical idea.

So the simple question is, What is the one weapon we have against lies? What is the one weapon we have against error? Truth! So we go out to make battle (and I love what it says) with a view to smashing the fortresses of lying viewpoints and ideologies and then it says, and leading everyone in there and bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." That is what we do in this world. We smash the fortresses. It is not a matter of chasing demons, it is a matter of smashing ideological fortresses with the power of Biblical Truth, made clear to the mind that is captive and Then you watch the fortress fall and you lead the person out and bring every thought they have captive to Christ. That is having the mind of Christ. That is not mystical, I have the mind of Christ and you have the mind of Christ revealed right here (pointing to the Bible). As you know this, you have His mind. That is what we do. That is the great struggle and the great strategy. If you want to get in the war, you learn how to wield the Sword. That is the only weapon that we really have.


By John MacArthur
Not Ashamed of the Gospel Conference - September 21, 1999

12 June 2006

Let Him Reign Supreme

"I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I will have
compassion." Exodus 33:19

Because God is the maker, and creator, and sustainer of
all things, he has a right to do as he wills with all his works.

“Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it,
Why have you made me thus? Has not the potter
power over the clay of the same lump to make one
vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?”

God’s absolute supremacy and unlimited sovereignty
naturally flow from his omnipotence, and from the fact
that he is the source and support of all things.

Moreover, if it were not so, the superlative excellence of
the divine character would entitle him to absolute dominion.

He should be chief who is best. He who cannot err, being
perfect in wisdom; he who will not err, being as perfect in
holiness; he who can do no wrong, being supremely just;
he who must act in accordance with the principles of kindness,
seeing he is essentially love, is the most fitting person to rule.

Tell me not of the creatures ruling themselves: what a chaos
would this be! Talk not of a supposed republic of all created
existences, controlling and guiding themselves. All the creatures
put together, with their combined wisdom and goodness- if, indeed,
it were not combined folly and wickedness -all these, I say, with
all the excellencies of knowledge, judgment, and love, which the
most fervid imagination can suppose them to possess, could not
make the equal of that great God whose name is holiness, whose
essence is love, to whom all power belongs, and to whom alone
wisdom is to be ascribed.

Let him reign supreme, for he is infinitely superior to all other existences.

--Spurgeon’s sermon, “Election No Discouragement to Seeking Souls”

10 June 2006

Edwards on Regeneration

"As the prejudices that are in the heart, against the truth of divine things, are hereby removed [by God]; so that the mind becomes susceptive of the due force of rational arguments for their truth. The mind of man is naturally full of prejudices against the truth of divine things: it is full of enmity against the doctrines of the gospel; which is a disadvantage to those arguments that prove their truth, and causes them to lose their force upon the mind. But when a person has discovered to him the divine excellency of Christian doctrines [by God's grace], this destroys the enmity, removes those prejudices, and sanctifies the reason, and causes it to lie open to the force of arguments for their truth."

- Jonathan Edwards

07 June 2006

Human Depravity 29,000 ft. up

Here is a fine (and sad) example of the depravity of fallen man.

06 June 2006

On Doctrinal Clarity

It is vain to shut our eyes to the fact that there is a vast quantity of so-called Christianity nowadays which you cannot declare positively unsound, but which, nevertheless, is not full measure, good weight and sixteen onces to the pound. It is a Christianity in which there is undeniably 'something about Christ and something about grace and something about faith and something about repentance and something about holiness,' but it is not the real 'thing as it is' in the Bible. Things are out of place and out of proportion... It neither exercises influence on our daily conduct, nor comforts in life, nor gives peace in death; and those who hold it often awake too late to find that they have got nothing solid under their feet." Holiness, 9-10.

--J.C. Ryle

01 June 2006

A man's views of sin

Sin digs every grave, and wrings out every sigh and wail
from earth and hell. Sin is the worst of all evils. Nothing
can compare with it. It is worse than the plague. Sin is
unspeakably hateful. God calls it horrible and abominable.
Godly men in every age lament it--lament it much in
others, most in themselves.

A man's views of sin give a complexion to all his
character. If he regards it as a trifle, he will laugh at
it, when he should weep over it. He will make a mock
of it. He will dally with it. He will take his fill of it. He
will have low thoughts of God, and low estimates of
salvation. He will despise Jesus Christ.

If, on the other hand, he considers sin as very dreadful and
very hateful--he will hate every false way. He will long for
holiness. He will hunger and thirst after righteousness.
He will loathe and abhor himself on account of sin. He will
have exalted thoughts of the being, perfections, word, and
government of God. To him Christ will be most precious,
the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely.

Job's sense of sin was vastly increased by the great
discoveries he had of God's majesty and glory: "I have
heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye
sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust
and ashes!" Increased views of God's glory had the same
effect on Isaiah, and made him cry out, "Woe is me! for
I am undone!" (Job 42:5-6; Isaiah 6:5).

God's presence is infinite; His power is infinite; His nature
is infinite; His existence is infinite; and so to sin against Him
must be an infinite insult and wrong. Sin is an infinite evil.
Sin is that abominable thing which He hates. He hates sin
with infinite loathing.

--William S. Plumer, "The Christian", 1878