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Caleb Rodriguez


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Andrew Gray (Works, pp. 217, 218):

Were we daily tasting of that pure river of life that flows out from beneath the throne of God, and of its sweetness, which causeth the lips of those that are asleep to speak, we would be more taken up in giving obedience unto this precious command of prayer; and if we were sleeping more in the bed of love, we would be less sleeping in the bed of security; we would likewise embrace more abstractedness from the world, and more familiarity with God. O! but our visits are rare, because we are not constant in prayer, and fervent in spirit, seeking the Lord. It is no wonder that we forget what a one he is, because it is long since we did behold him; we may forget his form and loveliness—there is such a number of days and woeful space of time intervening betwixt our enjoyments of him.​
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Satisfaction in Christ—what does this look like? When the thought of Him brings bliss to the heart in the midst of suffering and sorrow? Or worse—sadistic dehumanization against innocent, honorable women... I mean the Nazi-forced public unclothing of the ten Boom sisters, God-fearing Christians. Yes, it is raw; but it is poignantly beautiful. I admit, this is my favorite passage from The Hiding Place:

"Fridays—the recurrent humiliation of medical inspection. The hospital corridor in which we waited was unheated, and a fall chill had settled into the walls. Still we were forbidden even to wrap ourselves in our own arms, but had to maintain our erect, hands-at-sides position as we filed slowly past a phalanx of grinning guards. How there could have been any pleasure in the sight of these stick-thin legs and hunger-gloated stomachs I couldnot imagine. Surely there is no more wretched sight than the human body unloved and uncared for. Nor could I see the necessity for the complete undressing....

"But it was one of these mornings while we were waiting, shivering, in the corridor, that yet another page in the Bible leapt into life for me.

"He hung naked on the cross.

"I had not known—I had not thought.... The paintings, the carved crucifixes showed at the least a scrap of cloth. But this, I suddenly knew, was the respect and reverence of the artist. But oh—at the time itself, on that other Friday morning—there had been no reverence. No more than I saw in the faces around us now.

"I leaned toward Betsie, ahead of me in line. Her shoulder blades stood out sharp and thin beneath her blue-mottled skin.

"'Betsie, they took His clothes too.'

"Ahead of me I heard a little gasp. 'Oh, Corrie. And I never thanked Him....'"
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[Man walks out of restroom without washing hands.]

Me [muttering to myself]: “Brother, I cordially invite you to partake of the cleansing freely offered you.”

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What sacrifice would you give to see your fellow Christians prosper? $1000? Your house? Your life?

Such extremity is not enough. There is a higher love.

The place of Anathema is the status reserved for those who love not the Lord Jesus (I Co. 16.22), those who preach a false gospel (Ga. 1.8-9), the status of curse and alienation, excommunicated. This is the extent of the apostle’s love for his brethren.

I could wish that myself were Anathema from Christ for my brethren.
(Ro. 9.3)

Stand still and consider. Is this hell on earth, or Hell itself? I know not, but the thought is horror enough to imagine separation, disdain, cursing—from my beautiful Christ, He who captivated my heart.

What? Would it be worth it, to fall under the curse of our blessed Christ, that our brethren may find grace? Here Paul says, that he could find comfort, under the heartwrenching curse, in the knowledge that his fleshly kinsmen were safe in Christ's arms, in stead of us.

But what do we do? Instead of wishing excommunication upon ourselves for our brethren's salvation, we excommunicate our brethren in spirit through our scornful words, our slander, and our sharp, searing tongues. Let this testimony startle our cold hearts.
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At this point of life, my relationship with Christ could be simplified thus:

Christ: Look at Me.
Me: But I—
Christ: No! Look at Me.
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O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear!
All because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

–J. Scriven
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To suffer as a Christian is to beg for the answer to one desperate plea: “Where is He?” Some might call it irreverent to thus question God's omnipresence, or His omnipotence, or His omnisapience—except that David himself employed such cries in many of his psalms, such as this: “Lord, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?” (Ps. 88.14).

The struggle is not the sin. The only sin endangering us is who, in the end, might replace our only Hope.

And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, “Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.”

But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, ‘Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron?’ Now therefore thus saith the Lord, ‘Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.’”
(II Ki. 1.2-3)

When we are in dire distress, we reach a point where our current understanding of God is too shallow to suffice our needs, and then, as in an illusion, God appears absent. What do we do here? Do we resort to other gods, the gods of our self-reliance or the gods of worldly wisdom?

Herein lies our crucial test; do we believe God is deeper than our troubles, though we see not the extent of His depth? If He is, then it is not irreverence but utmost respect to God when we cry out after Him in the dark, as David did. Implicitly, we thereby say,

“Whom have I in heaven but thee?
and there is none upon earth that I desire
beside thee.” (Ps. 73.25)
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William Tyndale, himself a brilliant, studious man, strikes hard at the intellectual compromise of his day. It is many times more true today.

"For though that the philosophers and worldly wise men were enemies above all enemies to the gospel of God; and though the worldly wisdom cannot comprehend the wisdom of God, as thou mayest see [in I Co. 1 and 2]; and though worldly righteousness cannot be obedient unto the righteousness of God, yet whatsoever they read in Aristotle, that must be first true; and to maintain that, they rend and tear the scriptures with their distinctions, and expound them violently, contrary to the meaning of the text, and to the circumstances that go before and after, and to a thousand clear and evident texts."

—Parable of the Wicked Mammon
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This post by Mr. Kowalski is excellent.
Yet Another Post on Penal Substitution

I realize that I have posted several times about the essential doctrine of penal substitution. I would just add here that it seems that each contemporary person I have read who has abandoned this doctrine in favor of some alternative explanation of the cross has done so with one error at the foundation of their reasoning. They note correctly that God is love (1 John 4:8) but then incorrectly assert that this is incompatible with the notion that God could have any justice that needed satisfaction or wrath that needed to be propitiated. They assert this in spite of a host of passages that teach these very things they reject.

It is neither wise nor safe to choose only one truth taught in Scripture (such as one of God's attributes) and simply ignore or reject others that seem to us incompatible with the one we prefer. "It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them" (Eclessiasastes 7:18 NASB). We should embrace all truth taught in Scripture and search for ways to reconcile the ones we find, on the surface, to seem incompatible.

The love of God and wrath of God are not opposed to each other. God's wrath is a logical extension of His love. He so loves the good that He is eternally wrathful toward the bad. If it were not so he would be less than God. Jesus certainly did not teach a sappy version of a purely affable God who need not be feared and with whom we can trifle: "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him" (John 3:36 NASB); "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28 NASB). The NT authors echoed this sentiment -- as Paul does in Colossians 3:5-6 (NASB):

"Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience"

God's eternal justice had to be satisfied and His wrath toward sinners had to be propitiated. In one of my previous posts I explained this as follows:

"Essentially, God's justice must be satisfied for sinners to be reconciled to Him (and we are all sinners). Only God is qualified to pay the price for our sins but man is the guilty party that must pay. Thus, God becomes man in Christ and pays the price Himself. In this way God remains just (by not simply overlooking sin) and is at the same time the justifier (as it is He who satisfied the debt and propitiates [turns away] the wrath we deserve). See what Paul says in Romans 3:21-26 (NASB):

'But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 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.'"
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