Rebutting Objections to the Pro-Life Position

by James Anderson


Many observers thought the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court would end the public debate over abortion rights. The issue had been legally settled, it was thought. Subsequent history has proven otherwise. The question of abortion remains as controversial as ever. Nothing close to a consensus has emerged. Polls confirm that public opinion is polarized.

Given the current state of the debate and the cultural influence of the pro-abortion lobby, it’s imperative that Christians from all walks of life—not only those involved in politics—express their pro-life convictions in a consistent, confident, and intelligent fashion. This is no time to back down. We must be ready to give cogent responses to the common charges leveled against the pro-life position.

Before we explore those responses, two points need to be established. First, we should recognize that there’s no serious dispute about whether the Bible and Christian tradition reflect a pro-life stance. Scripture teaches that all human beings are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27; 9:6; James 3:9) and that the taking of human life, apart from divinely sanctioned exceptions, is not merely immoral but criminal (Ex. 20:13; Mark 10:19; Rom. 13:9). Furthermore, multiple biblical texts indicate that human life begins at the point of conception (Job 31:15; Pss. 51:5–6; 139:13–16; Jer. 1:5). For these reasons, there has been a consensus among Christians throughout history that abortion is a grave sin. Only in the last half-century, under pressure from a post-Christian culture, has there been any challenge to this consensus.

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Proverbs 6:6-11

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,  Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.  How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:  So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

‘It is a shame’-said the heathen philosopher-‘not to learn morals from the small animals’ Yet what a proof is it of the degradation of the fall, that “man, created in the image of God,” and made wiser than the creation (Gen. 1:26. Job, xxxv. 11), should be sent, as here, to this insignificant school for instruction! The ant, having no guide to direct her work, no overseer to inspect her, or ruler to call her to account yet I gathereth with diligent foresight the summer and harvest store for her winter need. Let the sluggard consider her ways, and be wise. He sleeps over his work, and, if for a moment half-hearted by some rousing call, still pleads for a little sleep, and folds his hands to sleep. Present ease is all he calculates on, all he provides for. The future he carefully keeps out of sight, to be provided for, like the present, when it comes. Thus life runs to waste. Poverty comes step by step as one that travelleth, and, like an armed man. With irresistible violence. (Chapter 10:4; 13:4; 19:15, 24; 20: 4; 21:25; 24:33, 34.)

Perhaps he perverts his Master’s word to excuse his sloth. But, if we are to “take no anxious thought for the morrow” (his true meaning), are we to take none at all? Care is a duty, a parental obligation (2 Cor. 12:14. Comp. Gen. 30:30; 41:33), and therefore, a component part of godliness. Carefulness is a sin (Luke 10: 41. 1 Cor. 7:32), a needless burden to ourselves and unworthy distrust of God. (Matt. 6:25-33.) The diligent use of providential means honours God. (Chapter 10:5; 24:27.)

But much more loudly would we call to the spiritual sluggard. Thou art sleeping away the opportunities of grace “striving to enter in at the strait ate” (Luke 13:24); taking thy salvation for granted; hoping that thou shalt “reap that which thou hast not sown, and gather where thou hast not strawed” (Matthew 25:26)-Go o the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Improve, after this pattern, the summer and harvest season-the time of youth, the present, perhaps the only, moment. The ant hath no guide. How many guides have you-conscience-the Bible-ministers! (Job 32: 8. Ps. 119: 105. Mal. 2:7.) She has no overseer. You are living before Him, whose eyes are as a flame of fire.” (Chapter 15:3, Rev. 1:14, 2:18.) She has no ruler callingher to account. “Every one of us must give account of himself unto God.” (Rom. 14:2.) How long hen wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? – is the solemn remonstrance of ty God. (Comp. chapter 1:22. 1 Kings 18:21.) Thy sleep is not like that of the body refreshing at the dawn of day; but it is that of the poisoned draught, heavier and heavier; the slumber of death, “Awake, thou that sleepest, and Christ shall give thee light.” (Eph. 5:14.) Slight not the call of the present moment. The spell grows stronger as resistance is delayed. Ever day’s slumber makes it more improbable, whether thou wilt ever awaken at all. The intended struggle of to-morrow is a delusion. A thousand such tomorrows there may be; and yet thou mayest be found at last perishing in thy poverty, and the King of terror will come as an armed man to summon thee to judgment.

But how one is made to feel that from this dep slumber no voice but Omnipotence can rouse! Enter the sluggard’s chamber; put aside his curtain; hang over is bed; sound a solemn cry in his ears-How long? Endeavour even to open his eyelids to see the light of day; and yet the spell is too strong for man. He shifts his posture, murmurs his cry-a little more sleep-and slumbers again. Christian! You feel the helplessness of your work. Then call in the power of God in your brother’s behalf-“Lighten his eyes, lest he sleep the sleep of death.” (Ps. 13:3.)

And then as for thyself-grow in intense energy in thy high calling. Remember, faith without diligence is slumbering delusion. Faith is the practical energy of a living faith. Always, therefore, look at sloth, not as n infirmity, but as a sin, affecting the whole man; growing upon us with unperceived power. Allow it therefore no rest, no time to root itself. Resist it in all its forms-bodily mental, spiritual: indulgence of sleep and appetite: self-pleasing in all its subtle and plausible workings. Live by rule. Have your time strictly arranged. Be employed in early work for God. Store the mind with useful knowledge; ever reserving the first place for an industrious and prayerful study of the book of God. “Mortify” this baneful lust “through the Divine Spirit” (Rom. 8:13); drawing all your motives from the death (Ibid. 6:6), the life (Mark. 1.32-35), the rules of Christ (Luke 9:23. Rom. 13:11-14.) Victory will soon declare for you; and how enriching will be the spoil!

  Charles Bridges

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Proverbs 5:15-19

Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

Desire after forbidden enjoyments naturally spring from dissatisfaction with the blessings in possession. Where contenment is not found at home – drinking out of thine own cistern – it will be sought for, how every vainly, abroad. Conjugal love is chief among the earthly goods in mercy granted by God to his fallen and rebellious creature. Enjoy then with thankfulness thine own, and desire not thy neighbour’s well. (Prov. xx.17. 2 Sam. xi. 2, 3.) If a happy issue is given (Psalm xxvii. 3-5; cxxviii.), let it be as fountains (Comp. Num. xiv. 7; Deut. xxxiii. 28; Psalm lxiii. 26; Is. Xliii. 1) dispersed, abroad to fertilize with godly influence the way through which their course may be directed (Comp. Zech. viii. 5.) Rejoice with the wife of thy youth (Deut. xxiv. 5. Eccles. ix. 9.) Regard her as the special gift of thy Father’s hand. (Chap. xix. 14.) Cherish her with gentleness and purity (Gen. xxiv. 67), as being the loving hind and pleasant roe. Whatever interrupts the strictest harmony in this delicate relationship opens the door to imminent temptation. Tender, well-regulated, domestic affection is the best defence against the vagrant desires of unlawful passion. Yea – it is consecrated by the Word of God itself to the high purpose of shadowing out “the great mystery – loving and cherishing our own flash, even as the Lord the Church.” Eph. 5:25, 29.)

(Charles Bridges)


APOSTASY

(Hebrews 10:25-27)

Chapter Fifty-Two

We have now reached one of the most solemn and fear-inspiring passages to be found not only in this epistle, but in all the Word of God. May the Holy Spirit fit each of our hearts to approach it in that godly trembling which becomes those who have within their own hearts the seeds of apostasy. Let it be duly considered at the outset that the verses which are now be before us were addressed not to those who made no profession of being genuine Christian, but instead, unto them whom the Spirit of truth owned as “holy brethren partakes of the heavenly calling.” (3:1). Nevertheless He now dehorts them from stepping over the brink of that awful precipice which was before them, and faithfully warns of the certain destruction which would follow did they do so. Instead of replying to this which arguments drawn from the eternal unity of God’s saints, let us seek grace to honestly face the terrible danger which menaces each of us while we remain in this world of sin, and to use all necessary means to avoid so fearful and fatal a calamity.

In the pass, dear reader, there have been thousands who were just as confident that they had been  genuinely saved and were truly trusting in the merits of the finished work of Christ to take them safely through to Heaven, as you may be; nevertheless, they are now in the torments of Hell. Their confidence was a carnal one; their “faith,” no better than that which the demons have. Their faith was but a natural one which rested on the bare letter of the Scripture. It was not a supernatural one, wrought in the heart by God. They were too confident that their faith was a saving one to, to thoroughly, searchingly, test it by the Scriptures, to discover whether or no it was bringing forth those fruits which are inseparable from the faith of God’s elect. If they read an article like this, they proudly concluded that it belonged to some one else. S cocksure were they that they were born again so many years ago, they refused to heed the command of 2 Cor. 13:5 “prove your own selves.”  And now it is too late. They wasted their day of opportunity, and the “blackness of darkness” is their portion forever.

In view of this solemn and awful fact, the writer earnestly calls upon himself and each reader to get down before God and sincerely cry, “Search me, O God: reveal me to myself. If I am deceived, undeceive me ere it be eternally too late; Enable me to measure myself faithfully by Thy Word, so that I may discover whether or no my heart has been renewed, whether I have abandoned every course of self-will and truly surrendered to Thee; whether I have so repented that I hate all sin, and fervently long to be free from its power, loathe myself and seek diligently to deny myself; whether my faith is that which overcomes the world (1 John 5:4), or whether it be only a mere notional thing which produces no godly living; whether I am a fruitful branch of the vine, or a new creature in Christ, or only a painted hypocrite.” If I have an honest heart, then I am willing, yea anxious to face and know the real truth about myself.

Perhaps some readers are ready to Ay, I already know the truth about myself: I believe what God’s Word tells me: I am a sinner, with no good thing dwelling in me; my only hope is in Christ. Yes, dear friend, but Christ saves His people from their sins. Christ sends His Holy Spirit into their hearts, so that they are radically changed from what they were previously. The Holy Spirit seeds abroad the love of God in the hearts of those He regenerates, and that love is manifested by a deep desire and sincere determination to please Him who loves me. When Christ saves a soul, He saves not only from Hell, but from the love of the world; He delivers him from the far of man, the lusts of the flesh, the love of self. True He has not yet completed this blessed work. True, the sinful nature is not yet eradicated, but one who is saved has been delivered from the dominion (Romans 6:14). Salvation is a supernatural thing, which changes the heart, renews the will, transforms the life, so that it is evident to all around that a miracle of grace has been wrought.

Thus, it is not sufficient for me to ask have I repudiated my own righteousness, have I renounced all my good works to fit me for heaven, am I trusting alone to Christ? Many will earnestly and sincerely affirm these things, who yet give no evidence that they have passed from death unto life. Then what more is necessary for me to ascertain whether or no my faith be a truly saving one? This, there are certain things which accompany salvation” (Hebrews 6:9), things which inseparable from it; and for these I must look, and be sure I have them.  A bundle of wood that sends forth neither heat nor smoke, has no fire under it. A tree, which is in summer, bears neither fruit nor leaves, is dead. So a faith which does not issue in godly living, in an obedient walk, in spiritual fruit, is not the faith of God’s elect. O my reader, I beg you to diligently and faithfully examine yourself by the light of God’s unerring Word. Claim not to be a child of Abraham, unless you do the works of Abraham John 8:39).

A.W.Pink  

Psalm 119-verse 38.-“Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.”

DOCTRINE.-That man is indeed God’s servant who is devoted to his fear.

There may be weaknesses and failings, but for the main he is swayed by the fear of God.

1. What it is to fear God.

2. Why this is a sure note of God’s servant; because it removes all the lets of obedience.

1st. What is the fear of God. There is a servile and a filial fear; a fear of wrath which the worst may have: “The devils believe and tremble” (James ii.19). And a fear of offending which the best must have: “Happy is the man that feareth alway” (Prov. xxviii.14); a reverend disposition of heart towards God as our sovereign lord and master, yea, as our Father in Jesus Christ.

For the first of these: –
1. A fear of wrath. Every fear of which is not sinful; it is a duty rather than a sin; all God’s children are bound to have tender sense of God’s wrath or displeasure against sin, to make them awful and serious in the spiritual life, as, “Let us serve God with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. xii.28). Mark, upon that account and consideration, as “he is a consuming fire” that should have an influence upon our godly fear; and, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell” (Matt. x.28). The words do not only contain a description of the person who ought to be feared, but the ground and reason why he is to be feared, and therefore it is not simply the fear of which that is sinful, but it is the servility and slavishness of it. Now, what is the servility and slavishness of the fear of wrath? parlty when our own smart and terror is feared more than the displeasing of God; and they have a mind to sin but are afraid of Hell, and it is fear accompanied with hatred.  Servile fear, though it keep us from some sins, as a wolf that may be scared from the pray, yet keeps its devouring nature. It is accompanied with hatred for God; all that fear God they hate him; and indeed they could wish there were no God, none to call them to account; they could wish he were not  so just and holy as he is; and so here lies the evil of it, not so much as fear of wrath (for that is a grace rightly conversant about its object), but as it tends to this hatred of God; and partly, too, servility lies in this, as it makes us shy of God, and run away from him, rather than draw near to him, as Adam ran into the bushes to hide himself. Holy fear is an awe of God upon the soul, but that keeps us in a holy communion with him; “I will put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not depart from me;” but that fear which makes us fly from God is slavish, and partly as it hath torment and perplexity in it, and so hindereth us in God’s service: “Fear hath torment” in it. The fear of wrath, that is a duty, but slavish fear is such a fear of wrath makes us hate God, and shun his presence, and afraid more of wronging ourselves than wronging of God, and such a fear that hath a torment and perplexity in it, that cannot serve God so cheerfully.

2. There is a filial fear, a fear of reverence. This fear of God was in Christ as mediator (Isa. xi. 1, 2). Among other graces there reckoned up which do belong to Jehovah “the Branch,” to Christ Jesus, this is one, “The fear of the Lord.” Christ, as man, had a reverend affection to his Father whom he served, and this fear it continueth to all eternity in the blessed spirits that are in Heaven. The saints and angels have this kind of far, a dread of the holy God, and a reverent and awful respect to his majesty. It is an essential respect which passeth between the creature and the Creator, and can never be abolished. Now, this fear of reverence consisteth in a high esteem of God, of his majesty, glory, power, and in the sense and continual thoughts of his presence. And then a loathness to sin against God, or to offend in his sight, to do anything that is unseemly when God is a looker-on.  What! Can a man sin freely that lives in the sight of the holy God, when he hath a deep sense of his excellency imprinted in his heart? This is that fear which is the note of God’s servants.  2ndly, This must needs be the note of God’s servants because it is the great principle that both hindereth us from sin, and quickeneth us to duty. The fear of God is one of the radical and essential graces which belongeth to a Christian. It is a mighty restraint from sin. The beasts were made to serve men, and how are they held in subjection and obedience to man? “The dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth” (Gen. ix. 2). So we are made for the service of God. Now, how are we kept in subjection to God? When the fear of God is upon our heart, that will not suffer us freely to do anything that is displeasing to God. “God is come to prove you, that his fear may be before your faces that you sin not.” (Exod. xx.20). It is a great remedy against all temptation of gain, and worldly profit, and temporal convenience. Looks, as that man that had a fear of the king upon his heart: “Why didst thou not smite him to the ground?” saith Joab; and the man answered, “Though I should receive a thousand shekels, yet would I not put forth my hand against the king’s son.” (II Sam. xviii. 11, 12). Just such a fear hath a child of God of his heavenly king; no, though I should have never so much offered me to tempt me from my duty; no, I dare not, the Lord hath charged me to the contrary. Or, as when the Rechabites were tempted to drink wine, pots were brought before them to inflame their appetite; no, we dare not. These passages express the workings of heart’s in one that fears God, though temptation be present, and never so much convenience thereby, yet how can they do this wickedness and sin against God.

USE.- It informeth us who are God’s servants. Those that have most of this fear of God planted in their hearts: “He was a faithful man, and feared God above many.” (Neh. vii. 2). And then that they express it in their conversation; God will not take it planted in our hearts, if we do not obey him in those things that are contrary to our interests and natural affections. When God tried Abraham that was to offer his Isaac: “Now I know that thou fearest God, since thou hast not withheld thine only son,” 7c. (Gen. xxii.12). Why was Abraham unknown to God before that time? As Peter told Christ, “Lord, thou knowest all things;” cannot God see the inward springs and motions of our souls, and what affections are there? Could not God tell what was in Abraham? But now I acknowledge. For God will not acknowledge it in this sense until we express it. They are the true servants of God that have his fear planted in their hearts, and express it upon all occasions. (pp. 378-380)

Thomas Manton

The Psalms

Probably more commentaries, study guides, and helps have been published on the book of Psalms than on any other book of the Bible. It is not my purpose here to supplant those other works. Rather, I want to offer some suggestions to the Christian on how to use the Psalms so that he can then more profitably use these other works on the Psalms. 

The Psalms themselves were written throughout the entire period of Old Testament revelation, from the time of Moses (Psalm 90) to the period after the exile (Psalm 126). The titles of seventy-two psalms ascribe them to David, while others are by Solomon, Asaph, Heman, and the sons of Korah. Some of the psalms may have been used in temple worship (hence the phrase “to the choirmaster” in more than fifty psalm titles). The psalms are of different types. Some are laments, both individual (Psalm 42) and corporate (Psalm 44). Some are psalms of thanksgiving (Psalm 100), while others are hymns, or songs of praise (Psalm 96). Some of the psalms are commonly referred to today as “wisdom” psalms, such as Psalms 1 and 119. These psalms tend to be reflections on the Word of God. Some psalms, such as Psalms 69 and 109 are referred to as “imprecatory” psalms, in which the substance of the psalm is a prayer against the enemies of God (an imprecation).

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Remember Me!

“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Luke 23:42

Everyone mocked the Christ when he hung on the cross.

The people stood beholding.

The rulers derided him, but also with them, that is, the people.

The soldiers mocked him.

Even the written word meant to deride him. The superscription on the cross was meant as a taunt of the ruler, the governor: This is the King of the Jews! Imagine: a King on a cross??!!

Yes, and even a man who was in the same judg­ment with Jesus mocked him, saying, If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us!

Everyone derided and mocked Jesus.

But wait! There is one solitary exception: the other murderer.

He turns his tortured body toward the other mur­derer and after chiding him for mocking Jesus, he turns to Jesus and says: Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom!

Marvel of marvels!

There is one in the whole universe that believes in the crucified one!

And he is a murderer.

____________

I love that murderer.

No, not as a murderer. A murderer is an ugly per­son. He takes the life of his fellow. And that is hor­rible. There is only one who can do that, namely God, who killeth and maketh alive. He is the great God who is the creator and sustainer of life. He speaks and there you are! He speaks again and you stop breathing. You are dead.

Man may not kill man.

And this man was a convicted murderer. Also, he sustains the judgment and condemnation. Just a mi­nute ago he admitted that before the whole world. And since then the whole world, wherever this gospel is preached has heard his assent to the just condemnation of himself. He said: “And we indeed justly!”

But I love him because he is my representative. Indeed, he is the representative of all God’s elect peo­ple. We all are by nature murderers. Jesus said that whoever hates his brother is a murderer. And I admit that many times I have hated where I should have loved my brother. Yes, we all are murderers.

But this murderer is a converted murderer. Thru the ages the church has given him a beautiful name, he is called the penitent.

That he is penitent is evident. The whole world knows that. Penitence begins by admitting our sin. And he has done that in the preceding verse. We in­deed justly.

Moreover, he said to the other, mocking, murderer: Dost thou not fear God? And that surely implies that he feared God even though the other did not. The fear of God was implanted in his heart. And he showed it.

He is penitent. He is sorry for his sins.

____________

But there is more.

He does what no one thinks of doing in this dread­ful hour when the church and the world combine to crucify the Savior of the world: he is going to con­fess him.

He calls him Lord!

I do not know how much this poor sinner knew of Christ’s lordship. He is a little premature too. We know that God made Jesus both Christ and Lord, but that was after, or, rather, at his glorification at the Father’s right hand. But this man calls him Lord when he hangs on the accursed tree. Did I say too much when I cried out: marvel of marvels?

Lord is he who has the regiment over the whole universe. I do not think that this murderer was pres­ent when Jesus said: You call me master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. No, I do not think that he heard those words. It was not necessary: God must have told him later, later perhaps on the cross. Flesh and blood had not revealed it to him. But you may be sure that he knew. His very little speech carries conviction: Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom! What a little speech, but how fraught with beautiful conviction! Jesus, thou art my Lord!

Oh, I am sure that God told him in his heart. He hung in the light, in the dazzling light of the ever­lasting gospel. And when you hang in the light, even though you hang on the cross, you see clearly: you re­cognize God, and God’s Son.

____________

When thou comest into thy kingdom!

How utterly marvelous! This man is talking of a kingdom while his addressee is hanging on the ac­cursed tree! If anyone seemed to be far from do­minion and royal majesty it surely was Jesus at this dreadful hour. Dominion? He is bound hand and feet, and what bonds! He is nailed to the tree! He cannot move.

But this penitent knows: Jesus is on the way to his kingdom of light and glory.

How did he know? I do not know. Perhaps he was instructed by a god-fearing mother or father. Maybe he had heard of the coming of Goel, of Shilo, of the Messiah. And now that God gave him life and light, perhaps all that knowledge was applied to his heart. But I do not know. Perhaps he had enough of the word of God in that little wooden board above the tortured form of Jesus. You know, that board that read in three languages: This is Jesus the King of the Jews. Maybe that was enough. God needs very little to preach his gospel. He is the Almighty.

But he knows.

Jesus, my Lord, thou art on the way to inherit a glorious kingdom!

Here on this cross, the cross that clearly reveals what kind of man I have been and am, I feel the urge to confess thee. Thou art the Lord of the universe, and thou art the King of God’s Zion! Thou art on the way to unspeakable glory and honor. Yes, Lord, and thou art also on the way to wondrous dominion. All things testify now that thou art bound, nailed, tortured, dying, but this is the way to the kingdom!

I know, Lord, that all appearances are against thee having either lordship or royal majesty, but I know that thou art both Lord and King!

Marvelous faith of the penitent!

____________

But Lord, my Lord and King, I have a little peti­tion, a very little petition: remember me! When thou art in thy kingdom, surrounded by honor and ma­jesty; when thou art on the great throne, the great white throne in the heaven of heavens, then, O Lord, remember me!

Two words: remember me!

What a little prayer!

But, dear reader, what an immensity of blessed­ness is asked for.

In case Jesus would give him his petition he will have everything that is blessed and lovely. If Jesus remembers him he is safe, safe for the little time he has, and surely for all eternity.

O, all we need, really need is to be remembered by God, by Jesus.

There is a hymn, but I do not know the correct reading of all the stanzas. It must have been com­posed with an eye to this beautiful story, for there is a line: And when thou sittest on thy throne: O Lord, remember me! It is the penitent murderer’s song.

It was a little prayer, but how dared he utter it?

Remember him? A foul murderer?

If a poll would have been taken at the very spot, I am sure that the unanimous verdict would have been: No, he is not worthy to be remembered by Jesus the king. Everyone, both the church and the world had decreed that he was worthy of death, and so he found himself on the cross.

Yes, and note the little detail, little but important: he voted for his own condemnation (vv. 40– 41).

He was worthy of death, physical and eternal.

And now: remember him? With all that it im­plies?

What are the implications? This: he would be forgiven all his sins. He would be justified before God’s tribunal. He would receive the beauty of heaven and heaven’s God in heart and soul and body. He would be changed into a fit companion of the angels, of Christ and of God. He would receive all the hap­piness of heaven unto all eternity.

That, my friends, is contained in this little peti­tion: remember me!

Was it not presumptuous to pray for all that?

____________

No, my brother. It was not.

Jesus, the crucified one, fits such penitent mur­derers.

That is exactly why he came on the cursed earth. It was his mission to seek out and find all those mur­derers, thieves, adulterers, idolaters and corrupters. No, not all. He came and wrought salvation only for those evildoers that were written in the book of life. But all those written in that book deserve such ter­rible names as I wrote down. That is our natural name.

We thought this man presumptuous for asking for so much blessedness, while we all know that he de­served so much cursedness. And no wonder. Instinc­tively we feel that it is not correct to reward the mur­derer with heaven.

But we must remember that Jesus came and will­ingly stood in the place of all his beloved people who in history became murderers, thieves, adulterers, idol­aters and corrupters.

And God treated Jesus just as though he himself had done all that abomination.

That is the everlasting gospel.

____________

It is not in my text, but I better tell you anyhow. This man’s little petition was heard.

Remember you? Yes, I will remember you. I have paid, I am now paying for your entrance into the same kingdom toward which I journey.

I will precede you by a few hours. But even to­day, this very day, shalt thou be with me in paradise!

And it came to pass. Both Jesus and this murderer are now, while I write this, in God’s paradise.

Someday we will see him there.

I do not think that we marvel so much that he was taken to that beautiful kingdom of God.

When the light of the gospel shines in our hearts, discovering all our terrible sins, we softly sing to our­selves: And when thou sittest on thy throne, O God, remember me!

Trembling: O God, remember me!

This Article was written by Rev. Gerrit Vos/Standard Bearer/ November 1, 1953

Proverbs iv: 3-9

3. For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. 9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.


Solomon here claims our attention as a teacher of youth, on account of his own godly education by such a father. He was a tender child (1 Chron. xxii. 5: xxix. 1), well-beloved, as an only son. The more dearly he was loved, the more carefully was he taught. Thus we are brought into the family of “the man after God’s heart,” to hear him “commanding his child” in the fear and service Of the Lord. (Comp. also 1 Kings, ii. 2-4; 1 Chron. xxii. 6-16; xxviii. 9, 10, 20. Comp. Gen.  xviii. 19. Deut. vi. 7.) A special mercy is it to us, if we can tell of an Abraham or a David—of a Lois or an Eunice, having taught and bound us to the ways of God! (2 Tim. i. 5; iii. 14, 15.) Parents remember, a child untaught will be a living shame. (Chap. xxix. 15.) Training discipline, not foolish indulgence, is the truest evidence of affection to our tender and beloved ones. (Chap. xiii. 24; with 1, Kings, i. 6.)

 But let us examine this beautiful specimen of parental instruction. Observe the anxiety for his son’s heart-religion. Let thine heart retain my words. Often (and this is a comfort to a weak memory) words may be lost to the memory, yet practically retained in the heart. This heart-keeping is the path of life (Verse 13; vi. 23; viii. 34, 35. Isa. lv. 3. Zech. iii. 7), without which all is dead. Observe again, the extreme earnestness of the exhortation. Many a parent, like Augustine’s father, insists—‘Get wealth, worldly honour, or wisdom.’ This godly parent inculcates “line upon line”— Get heavenly wisdom; get it with all thy getting-at any cost and pains (Chap. xxiii. 23. Comp. 1, Kings, x. 1; Matt. xii. 42), as the principal thing; and when thou, hast got it–forget it not—decline not from it—forsake it not-loveembraceexalther. Such a keeping is she for thy soul! (Chap. 10-18.) Such a treasure for thy happiness! Such a promoting honour even in this life! Such an ornament of grace in the Church! Such, a crown of glory in heaven! This is not the style of a cold pleader, enforcing with decent seriousness some unimportant truth. It is the father, feeling that his child’s soul is perishing, unless it be taught and led in wisdom’s ways. Parents! do we know this stirring concern, anxiously looking out for the first dawn of light upon our child’s soul? Do we eagerly point out to him wisdom as the principal thing, to be gotten first (Matt. vi. 33.) Is it our own first choice, infinitely above this world’s glitter (1 Kings, iii. 5-12. Phil. iii. 7, 8); not only important, but all-important? It can have no place, if it has not the first place. If it be anything, it will be everything. Earthly wisdom may be “a goodly pearl.” But this “wisdom from above is the pearl of great price;” worth getting. Indeed; but only to be got, by “selling all that we have, to buy it.” (Matthew xiii. 45, 46).

(Charles Bridges) Commentary on Chap. IV. verses 3-9. 

Maternal Instinct

A couple of years ago, I was working as a vet tech at a regional equine hospital during the spring foaling season. A foal came in with its dam due to an illness, and unfortunately the foal had to be humanely euthanized after trying our best to correct the problem. Now, the protocol for such an event (since, in veterinary medicine we can’t explain things to the mare) is to perform the euthanasia and leave the mare with her deceased foal for a few hours to give her time to understand. Then, either the foal is removed, or the mare is transferred to a different stall. In this case, I was instructed to move the mare. So, I clipped a lead rope on her and she followed me calmly and willingly across the facility. Until she saw another mare and foal; then she pulled at the lead, and turned to try to go back to her old stall (where her foal was still laying). She whinnied frantically and kicked me in the hip. I was fine, but very upset. What is wrong with her?? She KNOWS her foal is dead, why freak out now?? I wondered. I’d understand soon enough.

This past spring, my husband and I welcomed our first child to our family. However, in February of 2018, I had a miscarriage with my first pregnancy at about 6 weeks along. I was shocked at how heartbroken I was.  Not because I don’t value life, but because I thought that since I only knew of the pregnancy for a few short weeks I should have gotten over it pretty quickly. When I first realized that I was in the beginning stages of miscarriage I was devastated. The only way I knew how to describe how I felt was the way that mare panicked and cried out when she left her dead foal behind.

I felt this horrible maternal instinct, but had nowhere to go with it. For the next six months I wanted desperately to have a baby, and cried over what felt like hundreds of negative tests. Every pregnancy announcement and image of moms with their kids killed me, and every time I felt that way I understood a little better why that mare kicked me that spring day a year or so before. Maternal instinct isn’t just for people. God created animals to feel that powerful, protective desire as well.

It’s for that reason that the recent battle between pro-life and pro-choice has me so upset. If I hurt so badly after knowing about my baby’s existence for only 2 weeks, how could a mother go on living life normally after aborting her child at any stage, but especially late term? Even the animal kingdom knows better than to abandon their young and not feel pain over it. I even thought that once I had my son in my arms this spring, I would recover more completely from my losses, but I was wrong. I still mourn my miscarriages. It still hurts; I expect it always will. After all, it’s not just about how many kids are in your family pictures. It is about life itself.

Of course, this is only my story. There are many others with similar and even more painful stories out there. God declares that children are a heritage of the Lord (Psalm 127:3), and they are to be valued! The price to pay for hurting one of God’s precious children is high: Luke 17:2 says “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea than that he should offend one of these little ones.” That’s a very vivid picture of the absolute sanctity of life.

I certainly don’t have all the answers to society’s problems, or even the answer to the abortion crisis happening right now, but this I know for sure: life is precious. Deep down, we all know it. Even the animal kingdom knows it. We may not ever succeed in improving the society we live in, but may God help Christians to hold fast to His Word and value our children the way He calls us to.

Suzie Altena     youngcalvinist    

Christianity and Theological Liberalism

by Burk Parsons

The nineteenth century witnessed the rise of theological liberalism in the Protestant church. It wasn’t new. It was an old liberalism repackaged with attractive branding and a clever marketing strategy, and the Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries laid the perfect foundation. The Enlightenment viewed reason and empirical evidence as the primary way to construct a comprehensive system of all things pertaining to scientific and religious knowledge, as well as a way to understand ethics, government, and aesthetics, providing man with the supposed ability to obtain objective truth about reality. The Enlightenment was heralded as the “Age of Reason,” as opposed to the “Age of Faith.” Theological liberalism was simply the Enlightenment applied to theology, and so it was the obvious child of the Enlightenment.
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The Reformation and the Lord’s Supper in worship

Introduction

The Lord’s Supper in the dialogue of worship was not always understood the scriptural way we have described it in these articles. In our previous article we examined how Rome views the Lord’s Supper in worship. In this article we want to understand how and why the Reformation was used of God to restore the church to a proper understanding of the Lord’s Supper in worship.

Restoration of the gospel

When the Reformation returned the church to the truth of the gospel, everything changed also in worship. In God’s sovereign mercy, Martin Luther, who had access to Scripture, began to see the truth of the Word of God. Particularly, he saw that Scripture taught the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross that effectually atoned for the sins of all His people, so that they are justified by an imputed, alien righteousness alone.

He, and all the Reformers after him, saw what is taught in Hebrews 7. The priesthood was fulfilled in Christ who offered Himself the full and final sacrifice, from God’s side for us, so that there are to be no more priests offering sacrifices for sin. The entire book of Hebrews is written to early Jewish converts to the faith. These converts were being pressured heavily by their unconverted families and friends to go back to the Jew­ish system of priests and sacrifices. These family and friends repeatedly said to them, “You need a daily sacrifice as atonement for your sins. Because you sin daily, you need a sacrifice daily. Who are you to think you do not need the priests?” And the book of Hebrews was written to show these converts tempted by this that

Christ is the great Priest to end all priests, and He is the great sacrifice to end all sacrifices.

The Roman Catholic teaching is eerily similar to the Judaism of the time of the book of Hebrews. Hence, Hebrews was written, you could say, also to combat the heresy in the Roman Catholic Church. Both points, about Christ the Priest and Christ the sacrifice, are made in chapter 7. First, by connecting Christ to the priesthood of Melchizedek, the writer shows that the Old Testament prophesied of one priest who was coming who would fulfill and supersede the whole Levitical system. And then, second, Hebrews 7 says, this priest who is priest forever, is both priest and sacrifice. Hebrews 7:27, “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”

By doing so, He redeemed us once for all. Christ is the great sacrifice, the spotless Lamb, offered once to bear the sins of many and to pay for them once for all. All of that is finished; there is no more need of sacrifices. We ask for forgiveness daily, and that reality of Christ’s sacrifice is applied to our consciences, but the sacrifice itself is over. He really meant it when He said, “It is finished.” We are justified by this one sacrifice of Christ alone. Everything necessary for our salvation was finished by Jesus Christ upon the cross. By grace alone, on the basis of the cross alone, you may be assured you are forgiven, now and forever. And God delights to tell His people this.

Restoration of worship

This meant that everything about the worship service had to change. Now the whole event switched gears. Traffic changed directions. It mainly flowed from His side to ours, with believers only giving response. The Reformers took Ecclesiastes 5:1 seriously, “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear [more ready for God to speak to you, and to only respond to Him] than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.” (Was this not written to describe the mass? Do not come to the house of God to offer the sacrifice of fools; come to hear God speak to you.) God calls us to the covenantal assembly primarily that, as the sovereign of the covenant, He might speak to us about what He has done and is doing; and when we speak, it is merely to respond in praise for what He says.

The Scriptures then began to be read in the language of the people. Preaching came back to its central position as the voice of God to His people. The sacraments took their rightful place as signs and seals of what is preached, adding nothing new, but functioning as a different way God speaks to His people to assure them. The worship service became a place not where we offered a sacrifice to appease a God vengeful toward His people, but where God speaks of covenant mercies, of His wrath propitiated by His own work on behalf of His dear children, and of a life of gratitude.

Restoration of the Lord’s Supper in worship

The Lord’s Supper itself was stripped of all the man-made elements and returned to what it was in Scripture. It became a celebration of the finished work of Christ applied to His people. The altar was removed and a table was put in its place. The table was on the ground level, as a sign that God was coming down, condescending to give to His people. The priest was turned into a minister, and he was turned around. No longer was his back to the people, as though he represented the people giving something to God. Rather, he faced the people for he spoke for God to them. In the Supper he showed the once-for-all death of Christ to God’s people, and gave them the elements so that they could be assured it was for them. And their part was to receive it by the faith God gives and respond in prayer and praise.

Truths for which to die

Do you see what our heritage is by the sovereign providence of God? People are losing it, in part because they do not know why they have it. Do you see how serious these matters are? People are losing it because they do not know how serious it is. The heart of the gospel was recovered in the Reformation and that changed everything about worship too, including the element of the Lord’s Supper. Rome’s is a false gospel. Rome’s belongs to a false church. Rome’s mass consists of false worship.

And that is the reason why so many were willing to die for rejecting Rome’s heresy at the time of the Reformation and beyond. Rome said at the time of the Reformation, and still says, “If anyone denies that in the sacrament… are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ…but saith that He is only in the bread and wine as a sign…let him be anathema.”[1] And they took that anathema seriously at the time of the Reformation, backing it up with steel and fire.

In order to hold on to their power, the Roman Catholic Church and her servants put to death hundreds if not thousands of people for denying Rome’s false gospel and holding to the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ upon His cross. At the time of Bloody Mary in England over 200 believers were killed, not just for the truth generally, but for this truth about the Lord’s Supper. The sixteen-year-old rightful Queen of England (Lady Jane Grey) was beheaded for it. John Rogers, the faithful Calvinist minister, was also killed for it. Rogers was burned at the stake, and this was his crime: denying the real, physical presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper brought down to the earth by the Roman Catholic priest to be re-sacrificed for sin. On the way to the stake Rogers was met by his wife and his eleven children, one an infant in her arms. A painful parting. Yet the record says, “Cheerfully and patiently he continued to Smithfield where he was burnt to ashes in the presence of a great number of people, and his soul ascended to his Redeemer.”[2]

May God give us such love and zeal for His glory, for His truth, and for His worship.

This article is written by Rev. Cory Griess

1] Canons of the Council of Trent. “Concerning the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.” Canon 1.

[2] Hallihan, CP. The Authorized Version: A Wonderful and Unfin­ished History (London: Trinitarian Bible Society, 2010), 35.