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Justification

Martin Luther was trained as a lawyer but due to a vow made to God he entered a monastery. As a monk he tried to live a righteous life, sometimes spending as much as six hours out of a day in confession of sins. In spite of this he still struggled with the impossibility of being made righteous. Here is the account, in his words, of his conversion experience. 

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O Thou of Little Faith

O thou of little faith,
God hath not failed thee yet!
When all looks dark and gloomy,
Thou dost so soon forget-

Forget that He has led thee,
And gently cleared thy way;
On clouds has poured His sunshine,
And turned thy night to day.

And if He’s helped thee hitherto,
He will not fail thee now;
How it must wound His loving heart To see thy anxious brow!

Oh! Doubt not any longer, To Him commit thy way,
Whom in the past thou trusted,
And is “just the same today.”

-Author Unknown

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Consciences in Conflict

The Disney classic “Pinocchio” popularized the saying “Let your conscience be your guide.” In a previous article we cautioned against individuals thinking that because they have peace about acting in a certain way, it is something of which God approves. We saw that, in the Scriptures, the charge to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts” is addressed to a group and not just to one person. That begs a question: What then is the value of an individual’s conscience?

Conscience is the inner voice that approves or disapproves of what you have done or are thinking of doing; it is more like a judge than a guide. The verdicts it hands down can be accurate or misleading depending on how long ago it was calibrated or tuned.

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New Year

Dear Master, for this coming year

Just one request I bring:

I do not pray for happiness,

Or any earthly thing-

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Editorial: Hid In God… Now Revealed

It has been observed that the universal church is in view in Ephesians and the local church in 1st Corinthians. And while that is true, it should not be pressed too rigidly. For we find there are complementary truths in both epistles. In particular the truths of the universal church found in Ephesians have a practical bearing on the life of the local church.

One of the driving forces of Paul’s life and ministry was the revelation given to him (and the other apostles, Eph. 3:5) that God had brought both Jew and Gentile together in one body, the church (Eph. 2:11-22). Further, the church would be the means to educate and enlighten for all to see the ‘manifold wisdom of God’ (Eph. 3:10).

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The Sleuths

What quests the world has witnessed! In my boyhood days we were thrilled every now and again by the daring attempt of some gallant explorer to reach one or other of the Poles. The adventure was invariably whelmed in failure, if not in disaster; and few of us really believed that the Poles would ever be discovered.

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The Spiritual Importance of Christian Baptism

It takes only a few minutes to be baptized but it takes the believer all the remaining years of his life to live out what it means. Baptism is simple but its spiritual meaning is most important. It is not necessary for a person to understand all of this before he is baptized, but of course it is good for him to think about these things.

The Israelites did not understand all the spiritual meaning of the feasts of the Lord, the tabernacle or the offerings. But this did not stop them from keeping the feasts and offering the sacrifices. They simply obeyed the instructions God gave them in His Word. The same is true when it comes to baptism.

God commands believers to be baptized and we should obey.

Baptism is a simple act of obedience to the Lord. It is the duty of every Christian to obey his Lord without hesitating, because a good disciple must be obedient. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “If you love Me you will obey what I command,” John 14:15. Again he said, “If you know these things you will be happy if you do them,” John 13:17. Nothing can take the place of obedience to the known will of the Lord.

It is a divinely given picture of the believer with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.

Baptism shows the Christian as having died in the person of Christ the One who took his place. This is an important truth. We know it is true because it is clearly written in the Word of God. Paul knew he had been put to death with Christ on His cross, so that it is no longer he himself, but Christ who lived in him. This life that I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me, Galatians 2:20.

Death is the end of a person’s life. The life lived by a person before salvation was separate from the life of God. When the believer trusted Christ as Saviour his old life ended. The old has gone, the new has come, 2 Corinthians 5:17. The believer can now say, “When Christ died I died to all that for which He died, there I count myself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus,” Romans 6:11

In baptism the believer shares Christ’s burial. We were buried with Him through baptism and shared his death, Romans 6:4. Burial proved that a person has died, for only the dead are buried. So going under the water is the only reasonable picture of baptism. The one to be baptized stands in the water. He allows himself to be buried under the water as a picture of his burial with Christ who died for his sins.

The believer also shares with Christ in His resurrection. He rises out of the water to show that he has been raised from death with his Lord, in order to live a new life. See Romans 6:4, 5.

So baptism has a deep spiritual meaning for the Christian. We must not be careless about it. We cannot say it is not necessary: to say so would question God’s wisdom when He commanded believers to be baptized. It is just as wrong to say that baptism is necessary for salvation. The real meaning of baptism would be lost if we were to sprinkle believers instead of putting them under the water. There is no command in the Bible to christen babies instead of baptizing believers.

A person confesses his faith in Christ openly before other people when he is baptized.

There were no secret baptisms in the New Testament. Believers were baptized before others to show that they had faith in the Lord. In the early years of the church this brought real trouble to the believer and often death. The Lord had said it would be so, John 16:33; 15:20.

– Excerpt from Believer’s Baptism by Alfred P. Gibbs published by Everyday Publications Inc. Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada.

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It’s Good To Know

  • Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. Hosea 6:3
  • This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. John 21:24

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The Glories of Christ – His Pre-Incarnate Glories

In the early chapters of the book of Revelation, the apostle John emphasizes the critical importance of having their focus directed upon the glorified Christ. In Revelation chapter one the Lord is seen in all of His awesome glory in the midst of the golden candlesticks – the seven churches. When we come to chapters two and three, the apostle John looks into each of the seven churches in turn, and without exception, he shows that the panacea for all of their ills, or the source of encouragement midst their trials, can only be found in a fresh focus on the glorified Christ. Undoubtedly this is the much needed, highest priority, in the assemblies today, and with this in mind, we will consider the glory of Christ in three different aspects.

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The Ages To Come

 

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:7

The Christian life is lived in expectation of better things to come. This has always been the character of the one who lives by faith. Hebrews 11 reminds us: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God… These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from when they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better county, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared or them a city.”1

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