John Calvin – Our Only Comfort In Light Of The Law

The Old Guys

But just because the iniquity and condemnation of us all is sealed by the law’s testimony, this is no reason for us to fall into despair and with despondent heart to dash to destruction. That we have indeed been condemned by the law’ judgment the apostle testifies, “that every mouth may be stopped and the whole world may be subject to God.” He teaches the same thing elsewhere: “god has consigned all to unbelief,” not to lose them or even to let them perish, “but that he might have mercy on all.” The Lord, therefore, with the faithfulness of his power and mercy consoles us, having warned us through the law both of our weakness and our impurity. And this is in his Christ, through whom he shows himself a kindly and propitious Father to us. For in the law he is recompensed of perfect righteousness alone, of which we…

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The Parable of the Prodigal Son (4)

“All that I have is yours.”                                                  Lk 15:31 NKJV

The older brother couldn’t rejoice about his younger brother’s homecoming because he resented it. He said to his father, “You threw a party for him, but you’ve never thrown one for me! I served you faithfully for years and you never once acknowledged my service or celebrated my accomplishments” (See vv. 29-30). We learn three things from the older brother. The first is about attitude. Even though he was invited to the party, his anger kept him away. Why are you angry? You won’t talk to anybody, or forgive anybody. You’re afraid to love anybody, or reach out to anybody, or learn from anybody. You’ve blamed everybody for everything; now you’re blaming God. Don’t let anger lock you out, rob you of blessing, poison your spirit, and destroy your joy. Forgive, celebrate your brother, and walk in fellowship with your heavenly Father. The second is about abundance. “Son…all that I have is yours” (Lk 15:31 NKJV). Note the word “all.” God is a God of abundance, and if He blesses your brother and sister, He will bless you too. Indeed, when He blesses them, He still has more than enough left to bless you. The third is about access to your Father. As a redeemed child of God, you can approach Him at any time, ask for what you need and be confident that He will respond to you. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb 4:16 NIV). You say, “When will God answer my prayer?” He replies, “In your time of need.”

John Owen: Christ the Cornerstone

The Old Guys

“Wherefore also,” saith he, “it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner-stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe, he is precious; but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: where-unto also they were appointed:” 1 Peter 2:6–8.

Unto them that believe unto the saving of the soul, he is, he always hath been, precious—the sun, the rock, the life, the bread of their souls—every thing that is good, useful, amiable, desirable, here or unto eternity. In, from, and by him, is all their spiritual and eternal life, light, power, growth, consolation, and joy here; with everlasting salvation hereafter. By him…

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The Parable of the Prodigal Son (3)

He was lost and is found.”                                                Lk15:32 NIV

The Prodigal Son didn’t really know who his father was or how his father felt about him until he left home. Looking back he thought, “I left the best thing I ever had.” After ending up in a hog pen he “came to himself” (v. 17). Looking around, he thought, “This is not how I was meant to live.” At that point his life took a dramatic turn. Upon his return his father threw a big party. When the Prodigal Son got a revelation of who his father was, he discovered who he was, then he could really celebrate. Until you discover who God is, and who you are, there’s nothing to celebrate. You’ll just keep trying to buy love, get people to like you, try to win their friendships, try to make connections, try to be with the right people at the right place at the right time in order to get to the right destination, etc. But once you know Who your Father is, and who you are, you get to go back home and take your rightful place at the table. No more loneliness. No more guilt. No more lack. Listen to the Father’s words: “We had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (v. 32 NIV). When he left home the Prodigal Son was saying, “Give me my share of the estate” (v. 12 NIV). But he discovered that you can have all the “stuff” in the world, yet it means nothing without the assurance of your Father’s love. Get the idea?

Geerhardus Vos – Truly “Knowing” God

The Old Guys

God’s self-revelation to us was not made for a primarily intellectual purpose. It is not to be overlooked, of course, that the truly pious mind may through an intellectual contemplation of the divine perfections glorify God. This would be just as truly religious as the intensest occupation of the will in the service of God. But it would not be the full-orbed religion at which, as a whole, revelation aims. It is true, the Gospel teaches that to know God is life eternal. But the concept of ‘knowledge’ here is not to be understood in its Hellenic sense, but in the Shemitic sense. According to the former, ‘to know’ means to mirror the reality of a thing in one’s consciousness. The Shemitic and Biblical idea is to have the reality of something practically interwoven with the inner experience of life. Hence ‘to know’ can stand in the Biblical idiom for…

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John Calvin – When The Fewness of Believers Disturbs You

The Old Guys

If God has willed this treasure of understanding to be hidden from his children, it is no wonder or absurdity that the multitude of men are so ignorant and stupid! Among the “multitude” I include even certain distinguished folk, until they become engrafted into the body of the church. Besides, Isaiah, warning that the prophetic teaching would be beyond belief, not only to foreigners but also to the Jews who wanted to be reckoned as members of the Lord’s household, at the same time adds the reason: “The arm of God will not be revealed” to all [Isa. 53:1 p.]. Whenever, then, the fewness of believers disturbs us, let the converse come to mind, that only those to whom it is given can comprehend the mysteries of God [cf. Matt. 13:11].

~John Calvin~

Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volumes 1 & 2, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles…

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The Parable of the Prodigal Son (1)

There was a man who had two sons.”                               Lk 15:11 NIV

The real star in the parable of the prodigal son is the father. He had two boys. One was rebellious, the other was religious. But he loved each of them. And because they were his family he refused to give up on them. While the younger brother was away wallowing in sin, the older brother was at home wallowing in self-righteousness. One was guilty of the sins of the flesh (the obvious ones); the other was guilty of the sins of the spirit (the not-so-obvious ones). Only when the younger brother lost everything, did he discover that living in submission to his father’s rule was the safest, most fulfilling place you can be. Only when the older brother discovered the difference between rule-keeping and relationship, was he able to understand his father’s words, “Everything I have is yours” (Lk 15:31 NIV). One was a miserable rule keeper; the other was a miserable rule breaker. (Which are you?) The problem was, neither boy really knew the heart of their father because they were self-centered. But that changed when they discovered that he loved them in spite of their flaws, and planned to bless them. Understand this: you can read the Bible, go to church, keep all the rules—and not really know God’s faithfulness, His love, and His plan for you. Until you really know God, you’ll have no anchor in life; you’ll be tossed to and fro by every circumstance, emotion and temptation. But when you know Whose you are, you’ll begin to understand who you are, what you’re supposed to do, and where you’re supposed to be.
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