Saturday, April 30, 2011

PERSECUTED CHURCH - Mother sentenced to Death for the Name of Jesus

Please remember this sister in prayer, Asia Bibi, a wife, a mother and a believer, in Jesus Christ.  I heard of her case from recent news reports and learned more in detail From Voice of the Martyrs website where we read:

Asia Bibi, the wife and mother who was imprisoned and charged with blasphemy in June 2009, was sentenced to death on Nov. 7, 2010, according to Asia News.

Please Pray!
Pray that Asia Bibi and her family will find comfort and peace in the Lord. Pray that her sentence will be overturned, and pray for a repeal of the blasphemy law that has been abused repeatedly to cause undue
harm to many Christians.

Asia’s husband, Ashiq Masih, and their children are constantly on the run in Pakistan due to death threats. Other vocal supporters of amending the blasphemy law have had to flee the country because of threats to them and their families.

You can learn more about Asia Bibi, how to pray, and how to intercede in her behalf with the Pakistan Government on the Voice of the Martyr's Website:   - Search for "Asia Bibi" to find several VOM articles.

Asia Bibi's Husband and daughters pictured below when she was first arrested in 2009.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress: The man named Temporary

Back when I first read Pilgrim's Progress and times prior, I struggled with the concept of "Eternal Security" or "Once Saved Always Saved."    I remember as I read through Pilgrim's Progress, being struck by the realization that John Bunyan didn't really portray those doctrines in the characters within his book.   In fact, as I read, I begin to realize Bunyan allowed for a Temporary Faith.   Nothing of this "I-led-him-in-the-sinners-prayer-myself-thus-he-is-once-saved-always-saved" in Bunyan.   Bunyan did certainly embrace eternal election.  Bunyan understood that salvation is of the Lord and not a matter of man's personal decision.  Bunyan could affirm the security of the believer but grounded it fully upon the WORK of Jesus Christ and the eternal electing-love of God and not the mere decision or will of a sinner.    At first intrigued, but then so thankful was I, to have Bunyan express the Fulness of the grace of God in Jesus Christ.  Bunyan expressed truly a Grace that makes a man something he wasn't before, that causes a man to be no longer what he was.  I realize today that this really is everywhere found in the Holy Scriptures, and all the time preached by those who understand them correctly.  But back then, as far as I could tell, Decisional-Regeneration ruled the day, and I had no voice to tell me otherwise except by the grace that caused me to keep reading, keep looking, keep seeking to understand and make sense of it all.

AND SO, still walking through the enchanted ground we pick up the conversation between our two  hero's Christian and Hopeful as they consider the case of the man named TEMPORARY.

Christian: Well then, did you not know, about ten years ago, one Temporary in your parts, who was a forward man in religion then?

Hopeful: Know him! yes; he dwelt in Graceless, a town about two miles off of Honesty, and he dwelt next door to one Turnback.

Christian: Right; he dwelt under the same roof with him. Well, that man was much awakened once: I believe that then he had some sight of his sins, and of the wages that were due thereto.

Hopeful: I am of your mind, for (my house not being above three miles from him) he would oft-times come to me, and that with many tears. Truly I pitied the man, and was not altogether without hope of him; but one may see, it is not every one that cries, “Lord, Lord!”

Christian: He told me once that he was resolved to go on pilgrimage, as we go now; but all of a sudden he grew acquainted with one Save-self, and then he became a stranger to me.

Temporary was "a forward man in religion."   Back then says Christian, you could mark him as a RELIGIOUS MAN  and a man who was very OPEN About it.

Hopeful knew him,  and if the truth be told, Temporary actually lived in a town named GRACELESS.  And through the name of this town we know that this open and very religious man was actually without GRACE!

The man, Temporary, did have "some sight of his sins"  and even some understanding of "the wages that were due thereto."

Temporary came often to HOPEFUL with "many tears."   And as my eleven year old pointed out, Hopeful was true to his own name and  "was not altogether without hope of him."  

BUT the scriptures tell us "not every one that cries, "Lord, Lord!"  Mat 7:21

And Christian lastly says, Temporary spoke of being resolved or decided to become a Christian himself, but then all of the sudden he turned back. 

Lord willing, in a future post, we can see some of the reasons why Temporary had only a temporary faith.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I'm Praying to Pray:  "GOD give more grace to pray for my sisters, for my brothers in the persecuted church.  More grace to pray for those suffering for Jesus Sake in China."

You can read a great deal more about persecution of Christians in China on the Voice of the Martyrs Website:

Plus click here for VOM articles about China:

At Voice of the Martyrs you can also read the following telling us about China and how it is considered a Restricted Nation:
China was declared the People’s Republic of China in 1949 by Chairman Mao Zedong, who quickly sought to purge society of anything religious. In recent years, living standards have improved in urban areas while little has changed in the countryside, promoting discontent. Political controls remain tight. The human rights record in China is one of the worst in the world. Its system of “re-education through labor” detains hundreds of thousands of people each year in work camps without a court hearing. In Tibet, an autonomous region within China, Christians are trapped between the oppression of Buddhism and the oppression of communism. On May 8, 2009, after the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended China remain on the U.S. Department of State’s list of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said the report was “an attempt to smear China.” Each year, China forcibly repatriates around 4,000 refugees to North Korea — where they face imprisonment, torture and even execution.

Category: Restricted Nation
Religion: Non-Religious/Other 49.58%, Chinese 28.50%, Christian 7.25%
Ideology: Communism
Head of State: President Hu Jintao

More Christians are in prison or under detention in China than in any other country. House churches (unregistered churches), which make up approximately 90 percent of China’s Christians, endure unimaginable persecution. But they stand by their commitment to preach the gospel, no matter the cost. In Tibet, most of the persecution against Christians comes from militant Tibetan Buddhists. On Feb. 11, 2009, Chinese authorities arrested 60 house church leaders, including two South Korean pastors who were attending a seminar in Wolong district, Henan province. Police
officers disrupted the meeting, arrested the Christians and confiscated phones, books and money. Authorities forced the believers to register with the government and pay a fine. Elderly believers were released, but the South Korean pastors were deported three days later for “engaging in illegal religious activities.” They have been banned from entering the country for five years. Other house church Christians remain in detention, and several churches have been forced to close or relocate.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Albert Mohler wrote about the Persecuted Church in China this week on His Blog.   Persecution that is taking place right in Beijing and right out in the open.   Read about here, and note the excerpt I include below:

Evicted yet again from its meeting place by the authorities, Shouwang announced this month that its congregants would worship outside rather than disband or go back underground. Its demands were straightforward but bold: allow the church to take possession of the space it had legally purchased. Officials responded with a clenched fist. On Sunday, for the second week in a row, the police rounded up scores of parishioners who tried to pray outdoors at a public plaza. Most of the church’s leadership is now in custody or under house arrest. Its Web site has been blocked.

Shouwang’s latest troubles began again three years ago, shortly after its application for official recognition was denied. Officers from the Beijing Public Security Bureau burst into Sunday services, pronounced the gathering illegal and wrote down the personal details of everyone in the room, one by one. In the days that followed, calls were made to congregants’ employers or college administrators. Many congregants say they were threatened with dismissal from jobs or school if they did not switch to an official church. Some left, but Shouwang’s ranks continued to grow.

Let's pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ - Let's remember them that are in Bonds.  Let's pray that their faith will remain steadfast in the midst of great adversity.  

Finally hear what this brother said, as quoted also by Albert Mohler:

One Shouwang member spoke with Christian courage. He told The New York Times, even as his doorway was blocked by police: “I am fully prepared to go to jail for my church. I belong to the Lord, and if this is what God intended, so be it.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Unto Him We Live: God's Work of Grace in Adoption


There are a handful of incredible blogs I'm blessed to read on a regular basis.  One of those which really challenges me, teaches me, wounds me, rejoices my heart, and stands as an example is Unto Him We Live.

Unto Him We Live is a family blog, and you will have opportunity to read posts by both Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who are the parents, as well as many insightful posts by several of their children.   But I want especially to draw your attention to those posts that speak specifically to adoption.

Check out especially this post, describing how after 5 1/2 months since coming home with the Beavers from Russia, little Oksana is beginning by wonderful grace to put three words together in English - Praise the LORD, Hallelujah. Reading this you will be praising and rejoicing: A Helen Keller Kinda Week

And this post where we get a little glimpse of the POWER OF GOD as we read of the transformation of a little orphan girl into a beautiful believer in Jesus Christ: Transformation

And then this post really challenged me last Father's Day.  We read of this young ladies love and appreciation for her Father, and find ourselves called to higher and holier Fathering to the Glory of God.   51 reasons why Tatiana Loves her Dad, called DEAR DADDY.

Actually as I page back through all the posts at "Unto Him We Live" with the label "Adoption" I'm hard pressed to pick out only a select few.   I strongly encourage you to go back to the beginning of their blog, which started just over 1 year ago, on April 15, 2010 with this post discussing the possible halting of Russian Adoption:  click here,   and read the entire story and then keep reading as this work of God's Grace continues.  Thanking God to have such friends.      

To see All posts with the Label Adoption: Click here

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friendships in the Family

I love my kids!  I delight to see them enjoy sweet friendship with one another.   The quote below reminds me not to take such family-love for granted.   Care is required - WE MUST WIN one another's Love inside the home doors!!   Good counsel and good exhortation to me as Father, to seek to cultivate such love within the home.   I fear I've often failed through neglect - but other times I rejoice to see and hope that sibling friends in our home are best friends.   The lack of Family Friendships is wounding but the practice and display of GODLY brotherly love between brothers and sisters towards each other works to the GLORY OF GOD.  God give us more of this daily! 

In every home where there are brothers and sisters, there is a field which needs only wise, patient culture—to yield life’s richest and loveliest things. Are we cultivating this field or is it lying neglected, covered, perhaps, with weeds and thorns, while we are spending all our strength in trying to make harvests grow on some bare, rocky hillside?…

Friendships in the family require care and culture—as do other friendships. We must win one another’s love inside the home doors just as we win the love of outside friends. We must prove ourselves worthy; we must show ourselves unselfish, self forgetful, thoughtful, and kind, tender, patient, helpful. Then when we have won each other we must keep the treasure of affection and confidence, just as we do in the case of friends not in the sacred circle of home.
J.R. Miller , 1882 (source)

HT: Becky  -- thank you Becky for the great example.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Young and Married

I have been BLESSED with some incredible friends who write WONDERFUL Blogs.  As a means of expressing my appreciation for the efforts they put forth  I've added a "Great Blogs To Follow" listing to the right. Plus today I want to draw your attention to a wonderful new blog called, Young and Married.   I encourage you to go check it out.  Their purpose statement  especially captured my attention because by the Grace of God in our house we do Love Marriage:


 "...we live in a culture which strongly encourages couples to wait until much older to be married and frowns upon those who desire to marry young. We wish to turn this notion upside down and show that not only can a young couple survive when married young, but thrive. We also wish to encourage young men and women to pursue marriage if God is calling you to it, and not to wait, merely because it is culturally acceptable."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress: Ignorance Falls Behind

Now having had dialog with Ignorance for some time - Ignorance making his Confession of a Fantasy, False and Deceptive Faith - Christian and Hopeful making a good explanation of the True Gospel including in wonderful summary who Jesus IS - The son of God from all eternity manifest in the flesh, and what HE has DONE: Living and Dying and Raised again as our substitute and representative, in whose righteousness we are covered and will be safe and spotless on the judgment day - Ignorance having no stomach for anymore GOOD NEWS falls behind saying as follows:

Ignorance: You go so fast I cannot keep pace with you; do you go on before: I must stay a while behind.

Then they said,

“Well, Ignorance, wilt thou yet foolish be,
To slight good counsel, ten times given thee?
And if thou yet refuse it, thou shalt know,
Ere long, the evil of thy doing so.
Remember, man, in time: stoop, do not fear:
Good counsel, taken well, saves; therefore hear.
But if thou yet shalt slight it, thou wilt be
The loser, Ignorance, I’ll warrant thee.”

I REALLY ENJOY THE POETRY of John Bunyan. Perhaps it because having invested so much in the Pilgrim's Progress these poems are full of meaning. I suggest READ the above poem ALOUD and you to will find it wonderful.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress: Revelation - Awaking from a dream

Today Ignorance reviles Hopeful and Christian at the very thought of REVELATION from Heaven. Note in this:
1) The mocking of the unenlightened worldling.
2) The absolute necessity of Revelation
3) The comfort of believing as the result of God's revealing.

We open up with Hopeful directing Christian to address Ignorance thus:

Hopeful: Ask him if ever he had Christ revealed to him from heaven.

Not waiting for Christian to speak, Ignorance, mockingly with incredulous disbelief, utter disgust, a kind of "HUH - what in the world are you thinking you complete moron" which is directed back at Christian and Hopeful. The very idea of God revealing from heaven is beyond the pale of any acceptability in the eyes of ignorant Ignorance.

Note the words of Ignorance but also try to get the awful sentiments.

Ignorance: What! you are a man for revelations! I do believe, that what both you and all the rest of you say about that matter, is but the fruit of distracted brains.


As I tried with my most disgusted voice and screwed up facial expressions to impersonate the mocking of Ignorance this morning my 11 year old asked: "What are Revelations"

I tried to explain that before we come to faith in Christ we are dead but God resurrects us to a living faith. We were blind but God opened our eyes. That except God awaken us we sleep on in ignorance. We must be born again.

With all solemnity, my eleven year explained some thinking she had lately been contemplating:

"For sometime now I'd been thinking how before I became a Christian it was like I was in a dream. You know how when you are in a dream you try to think things and they seem to make sense to you but really they are not quite right. But because you are dreaming you think in your dream that they are right. That's how I was before I was saved, like I was in a dream thinking I was thinking right when I really wasn't. It was just dream thinking that was really confused thinking. But then when I was saved it was like waking up from a dream. Now I thought about things in the right way. I was no longer in a dazed dream way of thinking but awake to the truth. My thinking is now right. I can see now, how before I was saved that thinking that seemed right then wasn't. I had woke up from the dream to reality."

Thanks be to God, Christ has been revealed to her from heaven. She has woken up from the dazed dream state of not really knowing to a delicious reality in Christ. Knowing truth for he is TRUTH.

Ignorance mocks at revelation, but except for the grace of revelation there is no knowing him.

Mat 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

1Co 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Read on as Bunyan through the lips of our Heroes responds to such mocking ignorance.

Hopeful: Why, man, Christ is so hid in God from the natural apprehensions of the flesh, that he cannot by any man be savingly known, unless God the Father reveals him to him.

Ignorance: That is your faith, but not mine, yet mine, I doubt not, is as good as yours, though I have not in my head so many whimsies as you.

Christian: Give me leave to put in a word. You ought not so slightly to speak of this matter: for this I will boldly affirm, even as my good companion hath done, that no man can know Jesus Christ but by the revelation of the Father: yea, and faith too, by which the soul layeth hold upon Christ, (if it be right,) must be wrought by the exceeding greatness of his mighty power (Matt. 11:27; 1 Cor. 12:3; Eph. 1:17-19), the working of which faith, I perceive, poor Ignorance, thou art ignorant of. Be awakened, then, see thine own wretchedness, and fly to the Lord Jesus; and by his righteousness, which is the righteousness of God, (for he himself is God,) thou shalt be delivered from condemnation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress: Ignorance Protests Imputed Righteousness

Previously we saw Ignorance make his Confession and Christian respond by demonstrating the faith described by Ignorance as Fantasy, False and Deceitful. In making his response Christian made no empty denouncements but along with them made also gospel declarations. And because the gospel is such good news Ignorance protests as follows:

Ignorance: What! would you have us trust to what Christ in his own person has done without us? This conceit would loosen the reins of our lust, and tolerate us to live as we list: for what matter how we live, if we may be justified by Christ’s personal righteousness from all, when we believe it?

As we read this my 15 year old quoted Rom 6:1, "Shall we continue in sin that Grace may abound?"

How would answer Ignorance at this point? True the gospel is so good, Chris has indeed in his own person done without us. But is it true that "this conceit" as Ignorance terms, will lead us into all lust. Does the gospel truly understood free us to all kinds of SIN?

And we also answer as in Romans 6:2, NO, GOD FORBID, May it never be! How can we that are dead to sin live any longer therein. Even at the indeed of his book, does Bunyan repeatedly address also this matter of sanctification on gospel terms.

My 11 year old this morning reminded us that Though the law shows us very well what we must do it does not give us the ability to do it. The law condemns but it does not save.

How Christian responds to Ignorance's Protest:
Christian: Ignorance is thy name, and as thy name is, so art thou: even this thy answer demonstrateth what I say. Ignorant thou art of what justifying righteousness is, and as ignorant how to secure thy soul, through the faith of it, from the heavy wrath of God. Yea, thou also art ignorant of the true effects of saving faith in this righteousness of Christ, which is to bow and win over the heart to God in Christ, to love his name, his word, ways, and people, and not as thou ignorantly imaginest.

I love it all, but note especially this word: "thou also art ignorant of the true effects of saving faith in this righteousness of Christ, which is to bow and win over the heart to God in Christ, to love his name, his word, ways, and people, and not as thou ignorantly imaginest."

The Answer lies in this: "the true effects of saving faith."

Saving Faith is effectual in the life of the believer. We believe because we have been born again. And being born-again we are new creations in Christ Jesus. We live from new principals. The Spirit of the Living God indwells us now, and He works in us both to WILL and TO DO of his good pleasure. Phil 2:9.

Ignorance says: "This gospel is too good, believe that and there will be nothing to restrain you from all manner of loose-living, sin, and high treason. HOW IGNORANT is Ignorance to the true effects of saving faith! How can we who are dead to sin live any longer therein?"

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress: Part 3 Ignorance's Confession and Christian's Response

Christian has been making a good response to Ignorance's Confession of Faith. Previously we saw that the Faith of Ignorance as described by his own confession was both FANTASY for not founded upon the word of God and FALSE for it takes away from the justification based upon the personal righteousness of Jesus Christ and instead applies it to our own. And further it is False for it makes Christ not the justifier of the person but of his works and then the works the justifier of the person. Now as a final point Christian shows this faith is a DECEPTIVE FAITH.

Christian: How dost thou believe?

Ignorance: I believe that Christ died for sinners; and that I shall be justified before God from the curse, through his gracious acceptance of my obedience to his laws. Or thus, Christ makes my duties, that are religious, acceptable to his Father by virtue of his merits, and so shall I be justified.

Christian: Let me give an answer to this confession of thy faith.

1. Thou believest with a fantastical faith; for this faith is nowhere described in the word.

2. Thou believest with a false faith; because it taketh justification from the personal righteousness of Christ, and applies it to thy own.

3. This faith maketh not Christ a justifier of thy person, but of thy actions; and of thy person for thy action’s sake, which is false.

4. Therefore this faith is deceitful, even such as will leave thee under wrath in the day of God Almighty: for true justifying faith puts the soul, as sensible of its lost condition by the law, upon flying for refuge unto Christ’s righteousness; (which righteousness of his is not an act of grace by which he maketh, for justification, thy obedience accepted with God, but his personal obedience to the law, in doing and suffering for us what that required at our hands;) this righteousness, I say, true faith accepteth; under the skirt of which the soul being shrouded, and by it presented as spotless before God, it is accepted, and acquitted from condemnation.

This Faith is deceitful for in the great day of judgment you will still be under the wrath of GOD and will not stand but fall. True Justifying faith covers one in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and thus covered we will be spotless before God, ACCEPTED and Acquitted from condemnation.

And so Ignorance's confess of Faith thus shown to be described a:

Ignorance is not done yet - he has a couple of remaining arguments which we consider in the next post, Lord willing.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Octavius Winslow: Intercession of the Holy Spirit

Below is an extract from Octavius Winslow's Book, No Condemnation, describing what is meant in Romans 8:26 in the interceding work of the Holy Spirit. Click here to read the whole chapter on v. 26

"We know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." The Holy Spirit is here represented in the character of a pleader, or advocate for the saints. To form a vivid conception of this truth, we have but to imagine an anxious and embarrassed client prosecuting some important suit, or, perchance, battling for his life in a court of justice. At his side stands his counselor, thoroughly acquainted with the nature of his case, and deeply versed in the bearings of the law. He is there to instruct the suppliant how to shape his course, with what arguments to support, with what pleas to urge, with what words to clothe his suit. Such is the advocacy and such the aid of the Spirit in the matter of prayer. We stand in the presence of the Lord- it may be to deprecate a deserved punishment, or to plead for a needed blessing. "We know not what we should pray for as we ought." How shall we order our cause before the Great Judge? With what feelings, with what language, with what arguments shall we unburden our heart, unveil our sorrow, confess our sin, and make known our request? How overcome the remembrance of past ingratitude, and the conviction of present guilt, and the pressure of deep neediness, and the overwhelming sense of the Divine Majesty? How wake the heart to feeling, how rouse the dull, sluggish emotions of the soul, how recall the truant affections, and how concentrate the mind upon the holy and awesome engagement? But our Counselor is there!
"The Spirit itself makes intercession for us." And how does he this? He indites the prayer. Think not that that spiritual petition which breathed from your lips and rose as an incense-cloud before the mercy-seat was other than the inditing of the Holy Spirit. He inspired that prayer, he created those desires, and he awoke those groanings. The form of your petition may have been ungraceful- your language simple, your sentences broken, your accents tremulous, yet was there an eloquence and a power in that prayer which reached the heart and moved the arm of God. It overcame the Angel of the Covenant. And whose eloquence and whose power was it? The interceding Spirit. He also teaches us what to pray for. Many and urgent as our needs are, we only accurately know them as the Spirit makes them known. Alas, what profound ignorance of ourselves must we cherish when we know not what we should ask God for as we ought! But the Spirit reveals our deep necessity, convinces us of our emptiness, poverty, and need, and teaches us what blessings to ask, what evils to deprecate, what mercies to implore.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress: Part 2: Ignorance's Ignorant Confession and Christian's Response

First Christian points out that Ignorance has a Fantasy Faith not founded upon the word. Now consider points 2 and 3 where Christian shows easily it also a False Faith.

Christian: How dost thou believe?

Ignorance: I believe that Christ died for sinners; and that I shall be justified before God from the curse, through his gracious acceptance of my obedience to his laws. Or thus, Christ makes my duties, that are religious, acceptable to his Father by virtue of his merits, and so shall I be justified.

Christian: Let me give an answer to this confession of thy faith.

1. Thou believest with a fantastical faith; for this faith is nowhere described in the word.

2. Thou believest with a false faith; because it taketh justification from the personal righteousness of Christ, and applies it to thy own.

3. This faith maketh not Christ a justifier of thy person, but of thy actions; and of thy person for thy action’s sake, which is false.


This confession is False for it described a faith that takes from being justified by the personal righteousness of Christ and instead describes being justified by your own personal righteousness. Though it adds that your works are made acceptable by the virtue of Christ it cannot be escaped that it is the works that are themselves the righteousness upon which acceptance is found.


Further the faith described by Ignorance is shown to be a FALSE FAITH because in his confession JESUS CHRIST IS NOT THE JUSTIFIER of the PERSON BUT OF HIS WORKS. And then the Person is actually Justified by the WORKS. This sounded so much like New Perspective theology whereby one is justified not by the imputed righteousness of Christ but on the basis of the whole life lived that I wanted to put a picture of N.T. Wright at the top of my post.

Bunyan says it so well as he shows the falsness of this ignorant Faith: "This faith maketh not Christ a justifier of thy person, but of thy actions; and of thy person for thy action’s sake, which is false."

Christ is the justifier of the person. Take this away and you have a false faith. Worse yet in Ignorance's system work's are the grounds of one's acceptance and entrance into heaven. Christ justifies the works says Ignorance and these works then justify the person. When reading Ignorance's Confession, I actually missed this. So thankful then was I when Bunyan made it so plain, and so applicable to a whole host of false system with this confession of Ignorance at their very core. ie. Federal Vision, Roman Catholicism, New Perspective, Ignorant beleivers in a multitude of ignorant churches - GOD HAVE MERCY.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Intercession of the Spirit - Rom 8:26

Samuel Bloomfield in Recensio Synoptica (see links to all the volumes of Recensio Synoptica at the right) explains the intercessory work or advocacy of the Holy Spirit of God as we read in Rom 8:26 as follows:

In order, however, more clearly to comprehend this little understood point of Christian Theology, especial attention must be paid to the primitive sense of entugxanein and intercedere, which is, " to go between any two persons, to manage any one's business with another." Now this may be done in various ways; either by acting as Speaker, and Advocate, or as Pleader, (which last office belongs to our Saviour), or (as is that of the Holy Spirit) suggesting the best means of accomplishing any business; and therefore aiding and acting uper hmwn, on our behalf, or (to use an illustration drawn from human affairs) as a Solicitor or Attorney acts on behalf of another, by suggesting to him what is proper for him to say, and putting him in the right way to proceed
in any business. And it is truly observed by Taylor, that " the Spirit of God makes intercession for the Saints, not by making supplication to God in their behalf, but by directing and qualifying their supplications in a proper manner, by his agency and influence upon their hearts; which, according to the Gospel scheme, is the peculiar work and office of the Holy Spirit." And I would add, that this answers to the description of the Paraclete, or Holy Spirit, Joh. 14, 16 & 17., by which is meant Teacher, Helper, Comforter. (See the Dissertation there on the sense of Paraclete.) Click here for Recensio Synoptica Rom 8:26
Click here for Summary concerning Recensio Synoptica

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress: Part 1: Ignorance's Ignorant Confession and Christian's Response

To Ignorance's Confession of Faith Christian responds by describing his Faith as follows:


Christian's response is FULL OF TRUE GOSPEL and very instructive. My girls and I enjoyed very much pondering in detail the truths contained within.

Christian: How dost thou believe?

Ignorance: I believe that Christ died for sinners; and that I shall be justified before God from the curse, through his gracious acceptance of my obedience to his laws. Or thus, Christ makes my duties, that are religious, acceptable to his Father by virtue of his merits, and so shall I be justified.

Christian: Let me give an answer to this confession of thy faith.

1. Thou believest with a fantastical faith; for this faith is nowhere described in the word.

FANTASY FAITH - the word does not describe a faith of this kind as you have ignorantly declared. That we enter into heaven for reason that our WORKS are MADE acceptable is not found within Holy Writ. This is a fantasy faith having no solid foundation in the word of God.

We are reminded to ground all our Faith upon the Eternal Word of God alone.
Tit 3:5-6
Eph 2:8-9
2Tim 3:16-17

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pilgrims Progress: Christian's reponse to the Ignornant Confession

Christian and Hopeful traveling through the Enchanted Ground have joined up with Ignorance. Through a time of questions and answers which have culminated in Ignorance's own ignorant confession, we now come to Christians response.

Christian: How dost thou believe?

Ignorance: I believe that Christ died for sinners; and that I shall be justified before God from the curse, through his gracious acceptance of my obedience to his laws. Or thus, Christ makes my duties, that are religious, acceptable to his Father by virtue of his merits, and so shall I be justified.

Christian: Let me give an answer to this confession of thy faith.

1. Thou believest with a fantastical faith; for this faith is nowhere described in the word.

2. Thou believest with a false faith; because it taketh justification from the personal righteousness of Christ, and applies it to thy own.

3. This faith maketh not Christ a justifier of thy person, but of thy actions; and of thy person for thy action’s sake, which is false.

4. Therefore this faith is deceitful, even such as will leave thee under wrath in the day of God Almighty: for true justifying faith puts the soul, as sensible of its lost condition by the law, upon flying for refuge unto Christ’s righteousness; (which righteousness of his is not an act of grace by which he maketh, for justification, thy obedience accepted with God, but his personal obedience to the law, in doing and suffering for us what that required at our hands;) this righteousness, I say, true faith accepteth; under the skirt of which the soul being shrouded, and by it presented as spotless before God, it is accepted, and acquitted from condemnation.

I would like to point out something I noticed reading this time through the Pilgrim's Progress. WE are now Almost at the end of the book. For from the Enchanted Ground we enter Beulah Land, and from Beulah Land we cross the river and enter the Celestial City. WE ARE ALMOST THERE! Only a few pages remain, only a short distance to go. Yet, I note, John Bunyan, our dreaming allegorist, has at the end of his book taken several occassions now to plainly assert the gospel of Jesus Christ who is himself our righteousness. Plainly and repeatedly in these last pages have we read of the Representative Office of Jesus Christ, of Jesus's own Righteousness imputed to us who believe. -- DOES THIS UNDERLINE FOR YOU, as it does for me, that we NEVER out grow the gospel. We never move beyond it. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation at the beginning of our walk and ongoing and even up to the very end as we cross the river to the Celestial City.

And so we should learn to, Preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Holy War and the Intercession of the Spirit in Rom 8:26

Teaching from Roman 8 verse 26, I was reminded of something I read from John Bunyan's Holy War around 24 years past. This passage from Holy War very wonderfully illustrates what is meant by the Intercession of the Spirit in Roman 8:26. For we should understand not that the Spirit himself prays for us, pleading for us, which is the office of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. But rather, he is the intecessor or advocate who teaches us both what-we-ought-to-pray and in what-manner-we-should-pray. Christ is our advocate IN heaven with the Father. The Holy Spirit is the advocate who is WITH us. 1John 2:1 and John 14:16

In Bunyan's allegory, Holy War, the LORD Chief Secretary, is the allegorical representation of the person of the HOLY SPIRIT. Read below first some necessary background and then Bunyan himself allegorically expressing the truth contained in Romans 8:26 concerning the intercession of the Spirit of God.

Some background:
Because of former rebellion and allegiances with Diabolus, the city of Mansoul has long been under his harsh rule. The people of the city now longing to come to Emmanuel, plead with him for forgiveness, seeking him as the Saviour of their city, they send out petitions for help and forgiveness. But time and again these petitions are refused, unheard and unreceived. It comes to their attention that the only proper way to offer up a letter to Prince Emmanuel is to have the Lord Chief Secretary make out the petition, who is in allegory the Holy Spirit of God. And so we pick up the story:


After the town of Mansoul had been in this sad and lamentable condition for so long a time as I have told you, and no petitions that they presented their Prince with, all this while, could prevail, the inhabitants of the town, namely, the elders and chief of Mansoul, gathered together, and, after some time spent in condoling their miserable state and this miserable judgment coming upon them, they agreed together to draw up yet another petition, and to send it away to Emmanuel for relief. But Mr. Godly-Fear stood up and answered, that he knew that his Lord the Prince never did nor ever would receive a petition for these matters, from the hand of any whoever, unless the Lord Secretary’s hand was to it; ‘and this,’ quoth he, ‘is the reason that you prevailed not all this while.’ Then they said they would draw up one, and get the Lord Secretary’s hand unto it. But Mr. Godly-Fear answered again, that he knew also that the Lord Secretary would not set his hand to any petition that himself had not an hand in composing and drawing up. ‘And besides,’ said he, ‘the Prince doth know my Lord Secretary’s hand from all the hands in the world; wherefore he cannot be deceived by any pretence whatever. Wherefore my advice is that you go to my Lord, and implore him to lend you his aid.’ (Now he did yet abide in the castle, where all the captains and men-at-arms were.)

So they heartily thanked Mr. Godly-Fear, took his counsel, and did as he had bidden them. So they went and came to my Lord, and made known the cause of their coming to him; namely, that since Mansoul was in so deplorable a condition, his Highness would be pleased to undertake to draw up a petition for them to Emmanuel, the Son of the mighty Shaddai, and to their King and his Father by him.

Then said the Secretary to them, ‘What petition is it that you would have me draw up for you?’ But they said, ‘Our Lord knows best the state and condition of the town of Mansoul; and how we are backslidden and degenerated from the Prince: thou also knowest who is come up to war against us, and how Mansoul is now the seat of war. My Lord knows, moreover, what barbarous usages our men, women, and children have suffered at their hands; and how our home-bred Diabolonians do walk now with more boldness than dare the townsmen in the streets of Mansoul. Let our Lord therefore, according to the wisdom of God that is in him, draw up a petition for his poor servants to our Prince Emmanuel.’ ‘Well,’ said the Lord Secretary, ‘I will draw up a petition for you, and will also set my hand thereto.’ Then said they, ‘But when shall we call for it at the hands of our Lord?’ But he answered, ‘Yourselves must be present at the doing of it; yea, you must put your desires to it. True, the hand and pen shall be mine, but the ink and paper must be yours; else how can you say it is your petition? Nor have I need to petition for myself, because I have not offended.’

He also added as followeth: ‘No petition goes from me in my name to the Prince, and so to his Father by him, but when the people that are chiefly concerned therein do join in heart and soul in the matter, for that must be inserted therein.’

So they did heartily agree with the sentence of the Lord, and a petition was forthwith drawn up for them.

Pilgrim's Progress: Ignorance's Confession and the Meaning of Words

We have been studying the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith as a group of brothers every Tuesday morning and it has been wonderful. Not moving too fast but carefully considering each chapter and each point. IN the Main we are affirming all that we read and we are often taken to depths of understanding that we had previously not known.

With this post I want to present to you Ignorance's own confession of faith in response to Christian's probing and tactical question, "How dost thou believe?" I would remind us of how only a few paragraphs back. Ignorance made his own affirmation of justification by faith when he said:

: Do you think that I am such a fool as to think that God can see no further than I; or that I would come to God in the best of my performances?

Christian: Why, how dost thou think in this matter?

Ignorance: Why, to be short, I think I must believe in Christ for justification.

Now, though Ignorance uses such good words here, more important than words is the MEANING Assigned to them. The meaning becomes quite clear as Ignorance answers the question, "HOW DOST THOU BELIEVE?"

Christian: How dost thou believe?

Ignorance: I believe that Christ died for sinners; and that I shall be justified before God from the curse, through his gracious acceptance of my obedience to his laws. Or thus, Christ makes my duties, that are religious, acceptable to his Father by virtue of his merits, and so shall I be justified.

"I believe that Christ died for sinners." -- words that are true when invested with the correct meaning. But this morning as my three little girls and I discussed, it was the 13 year old who said in answer to my question, "Does Ignorance speak truth here or error when he says, "I believe that Christ died for sinners," 13 yr old said, "he speaks falsely, for though the words are true what he MEANS by them is not really that Christ died for sinners. He doesn't mean it in the true way."

"and that I shall be justified before God from the curse," The same goes for the second part, though the words are true when meant in the true way, Ignorance understands them to mean something quite different from the truth.

What does Ignorance mean when he says, "I believe that Christ died for sinners and that I shall be justified before God from the curse?"

This question is answered in the remainder of Ignorance's Confession of Faith:

Ignorance says, I am justified... "through his gracious acceptance of my obedience to his laws."

Q. But Ignorance says "gracious" isn't Ignorance affirming that we are saved by GRACE in this statement?
A. Though Ignorance speaks of grace it is not the grace that saves. For Ignorance speaks not of being saved by Grace apart from works but GRACE that accepts my works. Grace that makes MY WORKS the grounds of acceptance.

And finally, further does the meaning of IGNORANCE's words become clear and how though they were RIGHT WORDS they had WRONG MEANING as he confesses:
"Christ makes my duties, that are religious, acceptable to his Father by virtue of his merits, and so shall I be justified."

Q. But Ignorance says it is by VIRTUE of the MERITS of Christ by which I am justified. Is that not a true statement.
A. NO, the statement is false though part of the words are true their meaning is FALSE. For Ignorance makes the merit of Christ the justifier of my WORKS -- Not my PERSON. The grounds of Justification in the eyes of Ignorance is my own works which are made acceptable by the merits of Christ. YET it is my WORKS says HE that are the grounds by which I shall be justified.

Lord willing, in our next post we will consider Christian's answer to this IGNORANT CONFESSION OF FAITH.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rom 8:26 - Intercession of the Spirit

I am experimenting with a website I recently discovered whose purpose is to enhance one's study of the Holy Scriptures by providing access to many versions and commentaries and other resources.

I encourage you to check out

Realizing the difficulty of grasping what is meant in Romans 8:26 as the Interceding Work of the Holy Spirit, I gathered together some of the comments I found on the same at

Click here for biblos's search results on Rom 8:26.
King James Bible
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Maketh intercession - The word used here ὑπερεντυνγχάνει huperentungchanei, occurs no where else in the New Testament. The word ἐντυνγχάνω entungchanō, however, is used several times. It means properly to be present with anyone for the purpose of aiding, as an advocate does in a court of justice; hence, to intercede for anyone, or to aid or assist in any manner. In this place it simply means that the Holy Spirit greatly assists or aids us; not by praying for us, but in our prayers and infirmities.

...but the Spirit itself maketh intercession, for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered; not the spirit of a man; or the gift of the Spirit in man; or a man endued with an extraordinary gift of the Spirit; but the Holy Ghost himself, who makes intercession for the saints: not in such sense as Christ does; for he intercedes not with the Father, but with them, with their spirits; not in heaven, but in their hearts; and not for sinners, but for saints: nor in the manner as Christ does, not by vocal prayer, as he when on earth; nor by being the medium, or way of access to God; nor by presenting the prayers of saints, and the blood and sacrifice of Christ to God, as Christ does in heaven; nor as the saints make intercession for one another, and for other persons: but he intercedes for them, by making them to intercede; he indites their prayers for them, not in a book, but in their hearts; he shows them their need, what their wants are; he stirs them up to prayer, he supplies them with arguments, puts words into their mouths, enlarges their hearts, gives strength of faith in prayer, and all the ardour and fervency of it; he enables them to come to God as their Father; and gives them liberty and boldness in his presence, which requires an heart sprinkled from an evil conscience, faith in the blood and righteousness of Christ, and a view of God, as a God of peace, grace, and mercy: and this intercession he makes, "with groanings which, cannot be uttered"; not that the Spirit of God groans, but he stirs up groans in the saints; which suppose a burden on them, and their sense of it: and these are said to be "unutterable"; saints, under his influence, praying silently, without a voice, as Moses and Hannah did, 1 Samuel 1:13, and yet most ardently and fervently; or as not being able to express fully what they conceive in their minds, how great their burdens are, and their sense of their wants.

Geneva Study Bible:
(h) Incites us to pray, and tells us as it were within, what we will say, and how we will speak.

But the Spirit itself. The Spirit himself (Revised Version). Observe the climax: The creation groans; we ourselves groan; the Spirit himself groans. The Spirit within us intercedes by groaning which are his, in that they are prompted by the Spirit. Augustine says:
It is not in himself, nor in the substance of the Eternal and Blessed Trinity that he groans, but in us because he makes us groan.''
Groanings which cannot be uttered. Speechless groanings.
Wesley's Notes:
We know not - Many times. What we should pray for - Much less are we able to pray for it as we ought: but the Spirit maketh intercession for us - In our hearts, even as Christ does in heaven. With groanings - The matter of which is from ourselves, but the Spirit forms them; and they are frequently inexpressible, even by the faithful themselves.

But the Spirit himself intercedes, [266] etc. Though really or by the event it does not appear that our prayers have been heard by God, yet Paul concludes, that the presence of the celestial favor does already shine forth in the desire for prayer; for no one can of himself give birth to devout and godly aspirations. The unbelieving do indeed blab out their prayers, but they only trifle with God; for there is in them nothing sincere, or serious, or rightly formed. Hence the manner of praying aright must be suggested by the Spirit: and he calls those groanings unutterable, into which we break forth by the impulse of the Spirit, for this reason -- because they far exceed the capability of our own minds. [267] And the Spirit is said to intercede, not because he really humbles himself to pray or to groan, but because he stirs up in our hearts those desires which we ought to entertain; and he also affects our hearts in such a way that these desires by their fervency penetrate into heaven itself. And Paul has thus spoken, that he might more significantly ascribe the whole to the grace of the Spirit. We are indeed bidden to knock; but no one can of himself premeditate even one syllable, except God by the secret impulse of his Spirit knocks at our door, and thus opens for himself our hearts.

"Intercedit -- huperentunchanei -- abundantly intercedes," for so huper, prefixed to verbs, is commonly rendered. This is the proper action of an advocate, a name given to the Spirit by our Savior, allon parakleton -- "another advocate," not "comforter," as in our version, and Christ is called by the same name in 1 John 2:1, and the same work, "interceding," is ascribed to him, Hebrews 7:25. But we learn in John 14:16, that the Spirit is an advocate with us -- "that he may abide with you for ever;" and in 1 John 2:1, that Christ is an advocate in heaven -- "with the Father." The same name and a similar kind of work are ascribed to both. Some, as Doddridge, to avoid the blending the offices of the two, have rendered the verb here by a different term, but not wisely. -- Ed.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pilgrims Progress: Ignorance, Christian and Tactics

To the right in the center of the picture is IGNORANCE. We have heard from him before in our Pilgrim's Progress. Let's pick up in our story as Christian and Hopeful wait up for this solitary traveler.

I saw then in my dream, that Hopeful looked back, and saw Ignorance, whom they had left behind, coming after. Look, said he to Christian, how far yonder youngster loitereth behind.

Christian: Aye, aye, I see him: he careth not for our company.

Hopeful: But I trow it would not have hurt him, had he kept pace with us hitherto.

Christian: That is true; but I warrant you he thinketh otherwise.

Hopeful: That I think he doth; but, however, let us tarry for him. (So they did.)

Then Christian said to him, Come away, man; why do you stay so behind?

Ignorance: I take my pleasure in walking alone, even more a great deal than in company, unless I like it the better.

Sometime back my two oldest daughters (14 and 22 yrs at the time) and I read together a book called TACTICS by Greg Koukl.

One of the main TAKE-AWAYS for us in reading TACTICS was the realization of how effective questions can be in furthering the conversation, and furthering the GOAL of making the TRUTH Known.

See below, the questions posed by our our HEROES, which I have Highlighted in red, and in which BUNYAN effectively illustrates TACTICS and Question-Posing's similar to those described in Koukl's book in the conversations between Christian, Hopeful and Ignorance, who are yet in the Enchanted Grounds. (whew - that's a long sentence.)

Christian: Come, how do you do? How stands it between God and your soul now?

Ignorance: I hope, well; for I am always full of good motions, that come into my mind to comfort me as I walk.

Christian: What good motions? Pray tell us.

Ignorance: Why, I think of God and heaven.

Christian: So do the devils and damned souls.

Ignorance: But I think of them, and desire them.

Christian: So do many that are never like to come there. “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing” (Prov. 13:4).

Ignorance: But I think of them, and leave all for them.

Christian: That I doubt: for to leave all is a very hard matter; yea, a harder matter than many are aware of. But why, or by what, art thou persuaded that thou hast left all for God and heaven?

Ignorance: My heart tells me so.

Christian: The wise man says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Prov. 28:26).

Ignorance: That is spoken of an evil heart; but mine is a good one.

Christian: But how dost thou prove that?

Ignorance: It comforts me in hopes of heaven.

Christian: That may be through its deceitfulness; for a man’s heart may minister comfort to him in the hopes of that thing for which he has yet no ground to hope.

Ignorance: But my heart and life agree together; and therefore my hope is well-grounded.

Christian: Who told thee that thy heart and life agree together?

Ignorance: My heart tells me so.

Christian: “Ask my fellow if I be a thief.” Thy heart tells thee so! Except the word of God beareth witness in this matter, other testimony is of no value.

Ignorance: But is it not a good heart that hath good thoughts? and is not that a good life that is according to God’s commandments?

Christian: Yes, that is a good heart that hath good thoughts, and that is a good life that is according to God’s commandments; but it is one thing indeed to have these, and another thing only to think so.

Ignorance: Pray, what count you good thoughts, and a life according to God’s commandments?

Christian: There are good thoughts of divers kinds; some respecting ourselves, some God, some Christ, and some other things.

Ignorance: What be good thoughts respecting ourselves?

Christian: Such as agree with the word of God.

Ignorance: When do our thoughts of ourselves agree with the word of God?

Christian: When we pass the same judgment upon ourselves which the word passes. To explain myself: the word of God saith of persons in a natural condition, “There is none righteous, there is none that doeth good.” It saith also, that, “every imagination of the heart of man is only evil, and that continually” (Gen. 6:5; Rom. 3). And again, “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21). Now, then, when we think thus of ourselves, having sense thereof, then are our thoughts good ones, because according to the word of God.

Ignorance: I will never believe that my heart is thus bad.

Christian: Therefore thou never hadst one good thought concerning thyself in thy life. But let me go on. As the word passeth a judgment upon our hearts, so it passeth a judgment upon our ways; and when the thoughts of our hearts and ways agree with the judgment which the word giveth of both, then are both good, because agreeing thereto.

Ignorance: Make out your meaning.

Christian: Why, the word of God saith, that man’s ways are crooked ways, not good but perverse; it saith, they are naturally out of the good way, that they have not known it (Psa. 125:5; Prov. 2:15; Rom. 3:12). Now, when a man thus thinketh of his ways, I say, when he doth sensibly, and with heart-humiliation, thus think, then hath he good thoughts of his own ways, because his thoughts now agree with the judgment of the word of God.

Ignorance: What are good thoughts concerning God?

Christian: Even, as I have said concerning ourselves, when our thoughts of God do agree with what the word saith of him; and that is, when we think of his being and attributes as the word hath taught, of which I cannot now discourse at large. But to speak of him with reference to us: then have we right thoughts of God when we think that he knows us better than we know ourselves, and can see sin in us when and where we can see none in ourselves; when we think he knows our inmost thoughts, and that our heart, with all its depths, is always open unto his eyes; also when we think that all our righteousness stinks in his nostrils, and that therefore he cannot abide to see us stand before him in any confidence, even in all our best performances.

Ignorance: Do you think that I am such a fool as to think that God can see no further than I; or that I would come to God in the best of my performances?

Christian: Why, how dost thou think in this matter?

Ignorance: Why, to be short, I think I must believe in Christ for justification.

Christian: How! think thou must believe in Christ, when thou seest not thy need of him! Thou neither seest thy original nor actual infirmities; but hast such an opinion of thyself, and of what thou doest, as plainly renders thee to be one that did never see the necessity of Christ’s personal righteousness to justify thee before God. How, then, dost thou say, I believe in Christ?

Ignorance: I believe well enough, for all that.

Christian: How dost thou believe?

ASKING QUESTIONS - that I by grace might learn to ASK more questions. I think Christian accomplished as much and much more with the asking of questions than ever he could have only making declarations. Though Ignorant remains ignorant still - I did note that eventually even Ignorant asked such questions as enabled Christian to instruct him truthfully.

I see that in spiritual conversations much good can come from effectively asking questions. We learn better where the lack truly lies, we gain the attention of our audience more effectively, we actually show more respect by striving to really understand the one with whom we are conversing. When we are discussing spiritual things with an unbeliever we have TRUTH and RIGHT on our side and so by asking a good question we place a burden of proof on the one who is truly in the wrong -- which helps them to see also they really have no grounds for what they mistakenly and sinfully believe.

READ AGAIN THE QUESTIONS FROM ABOVE and see if maybe you find some helps there for yourself to further along spiritual conversations in which you may soon be engaged.
How stands it between God and your soul now?
What good motions?
But why, or by what, art thou persuaded that thou hast left all for God and heaven?
But how dost thou prove that?
Who told thee that thy heart and life agree together?
Why, how dost thou think in this matter?
How, then, dost thou say, I believe in Christ?
How dost thou believe?

With the last question we will leave off, and with my thinking that Ignorance's answer of this last leads to some most wonderful gospel-insight as described by Christian, I hope next time to discuss the same.

Click here for a TACTICS book review by Tim Challies.
Click here for a TACTICS blog tour.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Going through the River

Death, for the believer in Christ, is the wonderful entrance into the presence of Jesus Christ. Yet it is a journey into what we only see by faith. How the journey will commence we do not know exactly. The greatness of the other side we know by faith but not sight. In his book, Help Heavenward, by Octavius Winslow there is an analogy somewhat related to this certain but unknown journey.


A father and mother were living with their two children on a desert island in the midst of the ocean, on which they had been shipwrecked. Roots and vegetables served them for food, a spring supplied them with water, and a cavern in the rock with a dwelling. Storm and tempest often raged fearfully on the island.

The children could not remember how they had reached the island; they knew nothing of the vast continent; bread, milk, fruit, and whatever other luxury is yielded there, were things unknown to them.

There landed one day upon the island four Moors in a small boat. The parents felt great joy, and hoped now to be rescued from their troubles; but the boat was too small to take them all over together to the adjoining land, so the father determined to risk the passage first.

Mother and children wept when he embarked in the boat with its frail planks, and the four black men were about to take him away. But he said, “Weep not! It is better yonder, and you will all follow soon.”

When the little boat returned and took away the mother, the children wept still more. But she also said, “Weep not! In the better land we shall all meet again.”

At last came the boat to take away the two children. They were frightened at the black men, and shuddered at the fearful sea over which they had to pass. With fear and trembling they drew near the land. But how rejoiced they were when their parents appeared upon the shore, offered them their hands, led them into the shade of lofty palm-trees, and regaled upon the flowery turf with milk, honey, and delicious fruits. “Oh, how groundless was our fear!” said the children; “we ought not to have feared, but to have rejoiced when the black men came to take us away to the better land.”

“Dear children,” said their father, “our voyage from the desert island to this beautiful country conveys to us a yet higher meaning. There is appointed for us all a still longer voyage to a much more beautiful country. The whole earth, on which we dwell, is like an island. The land here is, indeed, a noble one in our eyes, although only a faint shadow of heaven. The passage hither over the stormy sea is—death; that little boat resembles the bier, upon which men in black apparel shall at some time carry us forth. But when that hour strikes, then we, myself, your mother, and you, must leave this world. So fear not. Death is, for pious men who have loved God, and have done His will, nothing else but a voyage to the better land.”