July 2018

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For today’s post, we have the Rev. Caleb Cangelosi, associate pastor at the Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church in Ridgeland, MS, as our guest author, writing on one of the most renowned men of the old Southern Presbyterian Church.

It is a great honor to be elected as Moderator of the General Assembly of a Presbyterian denomination. Yet one man was given this honor twice. His name was William Swan Plumer, and though he has fallen out of general knowledge in our days, he was a titan of the nineteenth century Presbyterian church. Moses Drury Hoge, who served under Dr. Plumer for several years in Richmond, Virginia, had this to say about his mentor:

plumerws02Probably no man in our time was more widely known in these United States than Dr. Plumer. His reputation as a preacher secured for him great audiences wherever he went. Those who did not care for the ordinances of God’s house, and who rarely attended any place of worship, would flock to any church where it was known that he would officiate. He touched society at so many points and had so many ways of impressing himself on the public that his reputation extended far and wide. As an editor; as a contributor to the periodical press; writing for reviews, for magazines, for the publication boards of all denominations; as the author of commentaries on the Scriptures, and many religious books, some of which were republished in Europe, and others translated into German, French and Modern Greek; as a professor in two theological seminaries, which have sent forth hundreds of ministers, with his impress upon them, to labor in every part of the world; as a lecturer before literary institutions and benevolent associations; as a correspondent, writing innumerable letters, especially to those whom he knew to be afflicted and bereaved, letters full of sympathy and consolation; in all these and many other ways, he gained the eye, the ear and heart of the great public, by availing himself of every channel of communication and every avenue of usefulness.

Born on this day in 1802, Dr. Plumer passed into glory on October 22, 1880. Thus his life spanned nearly the entire nineteenth century, and his ministry traversed the high points of that century’s controversies. He was born in Greersburg, Pennsylvania, a small town northwest of Pittsburgh, to Presbyterian parents. His family eventually settled in Washington County, Ohio, along the banks of the Ohio River outside present day Marietta. His father was a river trader, and as he grew up he desired to obtain a liberal education and one day become a doctor.

Though he had grown up in a Presbyterian home, hearing the gospel from his earliest days, yet it was not until the age of 17 that the Lord saw fit to convert him, through the ministry of a Congregationalist minister serving in a Presbyterian Church under the 1801 Plan of Union. In Plumer’s own words, “I surrendered to God’s will & ways. I saw a beauty & fitness in the plan of salvation. I saw it was right that God should rule everywhere, in particular in me & over me. I at once desired to honor him in every possible way, &, in particular, if he would open the way, I desired to serve him in the ministry of the gospel. For my idol, medicine, I now cared nothing. I was not ashamed to let all the world know that I loved Christ.” His sense of call to the ministry accompanied his conversion, and he moved to Lewisburg, Virginia, to study at the classical school of Dr. John McElhenny. In 1822 he began attending Washington College, in Lexington, Virginia, and in 1825 he enrolled at Princeton Seminary. He completed his studies in September 1826, and was ordained as an evangelist in May 1827.

His ministry was primarily in the South. He planted several churches across Virginia and North Carolina, and after marrying in 1829 he became the Stated Supply of Briery Church in Prince Edward County, Virginia. In October 1830 he was, for the first time, installed as pastor of Tabb Street Presbyterian Church in Petersburg, Virginia. In 1834, he moved to First Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, where he labored until 1846. It was during this pastorate that he cemented his reputation as a preacher, presbyter, and theologian. He was present as a commissioner at the 1837 General Assembly that saw the Plan of Union abrogated, and the Old School and New School split. In fact, though only 34 years old, he was one of the primary advocates for abrogation; William Henry Foote states that Plumer’s speech “changed the fate of the question,” swaying those on the fringe to vote against the Plan of Union. Upon returning home, and discovering that Amasa Converse and his Southern Religion Telegraph supported the New School, Plumer began the Watchman of the South, an Old School newspaper he edited until 1845. Due to Plumer’s sound theology and wide influence, the 1838 General Assembly elected him as Moderator at the young age of 35.

In 1847, Plumer was called to Franklin Street Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Here he began writing in earnest, and became what Moses Drury Hoge alluded to, one of the most prolific authors the Presbyterian Church in America has known. His writings were of a practical nature, yet they were filled with theological meat as well, as evidenced by his election in 1854 to the chair of Didactic and Pastoral Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. His Christ-centered and experientially-oriented piety is clearly seen in his Inaugural Address to the Seminary:

In proportion as men are truly pious, they make [Christ] the foundation and top-stone, the sum and substance and centre of all their hopes and rejoicings. He is believed on in the world, not merely because there is no other way of salvation, but because this way is so admirably adapted to all the necessities of sinners, and because it brings glory to God in the highest. The true believer not only trusts in Christ; he glories in him. He not only makes mention of him; he admits none into comparison with him…We sadly err, when we begin in the spirit, and end in the flesh; when we regard Christ as the author but not the finisher of faith. A legal spirit is the bane of piety. It is as great a foe to comfort as it is to gospel grace. Through the law believers are dead to the law that they might live unto God. This is the gospel plan. Here is the secret of growing conformity to God. Here is power, here is wisdom, here is life. We are complete in him.

Though nineteenth century Presbyterians, especially in the South, are well known for their reflection on ecclesiology, Plumer’s writings demonstrate that there was a breadth and depth to their theologizing that we often fail to see in them.

Plumer’s time at Western Seminary came to an end in 1862, as members of the Central Presbyterian Church (which he had pastored since 1855) became upset that he would not during corporate worship ask “God’s blessing upon the Government of our country in its efforts to suppress rebellion,” nor would he “give thanks to God for the victories which God has granted our armies.” Some have interpreted his inaction as due to pacifism. It is more likely that he was motivated by a conviction that the question of the war was a political question with which God’s ministers had nothing to do as such, coupled perhaps with Southern sympathies. Further research would be needed to discover the truth, but in any event, he resigned both pulpit and seminary chair, and five years later the Southern Presbyterian Church elected him to fill Dr. Thornwell’s chair of Didactic and Polemic Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary. During those intervening years, Dr. Plumer continued to write. Some of his most familiar books, including treatises on the law of God, experimental piety, and a commentary on the Psalms, were produced during this time.

Till his final months he was actively involved in preaching, teaching, writing, pastoring God’s people, and participating in church courts. In 1871 he was elected for a second time as Moderator of the General Assembly, this time of the Southern Presbyterian Church. Commentaries on Romans and Hebrews, as his Helps and Hints in Pastoral Theology, came out during the last years of his life. Unfortunately, though, his time at Columbia ended on a low note, as he was embroiled in disputes with other seminary professors, and many became disillusioned with his pedagogical effectiveness. At the 1880 General Assembly he was, against his wishes, made Professor Emeritus. A few months later, following complications from kidney stone surgery, he died.

To our loss, no Life and Letters was ever written of Dr. Plumer, perhaps in part because he had only two daughters and no sons (though one of his grandsons was a minister in the Southern Presbyterian Church). Yet his life was full and useful, and his writings call for our perusal and digestion. Several of his last words close this brief survey of his life and work. Upon being asked, “Do you suffer much, Doctor?” he replied, “Not nearly as much as my Saviour did.” When a visitor exclaimed, “I am sorry to see you suffer so, Doctor!” he responded, “One who loves me better than you do put me here.” When the word submit was used, he said, “Perhaps acquiesce is a better word for the Christian to use. We may submit, because we are obligated to – but the Christian cheerfully, joyfully yields all to his Lord’s will.” These sayings show the heart of this servant of Christ, devoted in every way to our reigning King who suffered for our salvation.

I have a peaceful study, as a refuge from the Hurries & Noise of the World around me; the venerable Dead are waiting in my Library to entertain me, & relieve me from the Nonsense of Surviving Mortals.”

Following yesterday’s post, these oft-quoted words from the Rev. Samuel Davies seemed an appropriate opening for today’s post. All the more so when we noticed our friends over at the Log College Press had posted about the letter in which this statement appears. And we would be remiss not to mention that PCA pastor Dewey Roberts has earlier this year published what I think is the first book-length biography of Rev. Davies. Click here to learn more about this biography.

An Apostle Becomes a President
by Rev. David T. Myers

We cannot say enough about Samuel Davies, the apostle to Virginia in the colony of Virginia since 1747.   Establishing preaching points with permission from the Anglican governor, Davies had preached with boldness God’s salvation through Christ alone to the people around each of these points.  Often, he had to take journeys of five hundred miles on horseback to minister to his many parishioners.  By 1755, churches had been established for a Hanover Presbytery to be organized.  This was the first Presbytery outside the northeast part of the colonies.  It was under the oversight of the New Side Presbyterians of New York!

In 1758, the third president of the College of New Jersey, Jonathan Edwards, died from smallpox.  The trustees asked Samuel Davies to assume his office.  The minister was not unknown by the college, since he had raised funds for it earlier in England.   But Davies refused the offer, citing his open door for effective service in Virginia.  They offered him the position a second, and third, and fourth time.  Finally, he yielded to the request, and on July 26, 1759, Samuel Davies was inaugurated as President of the College of New Jersey.  He was described by one trustee as a man upon whom the Spirit of God had given uncommon gifts.

At the College, which later on became both Princeton Seminary and Princeton University, Samuel Davies worked with the same zeal which had characterized him in Virginia.  At age 38 however, he died of pneumonia in 1761.  His aged mother said of  him at his burial, citing the sovereign providence of God, “There is the will of God, and I am satisfied.”

Words to Live By: 
God makes no mistakes.  The Spirit of God led him to Virginia, to enter the open door of evangelism and church planting which was necessary for that future state.  (The site of his congregation, north of Richmond, Virginia,  burned during one of the battles of the War Between the States, and is now marked as a historical spot.)  Then God led him to the College of New Jersey.  Historic Biblical Presbyterianism was established in the hearts and minds of many Virginia’s spiritual sons and daughters, as well in the students of the College.  Pray for your faith, that it may be established in hearts and minds today, starting with yourself, your family, your neighbors, your work associates, and your church.

A few years back, an alert ruling elder at the Hixson Presbyterian Church spotted an old copy of The Central Presbyterian at a local sale. Purchasing the old newspaper, he then graciously donated it to the PCA Historical Center. Reproduced here is one of the articles from that July 24, 1858 issue. The language reflects the era, and the piece is obviously sentimental in nature, but interesting nonetheless —

A Pastor’s Farewell to his Study.

Providence has assigned me another location, and I must leave, among other places greatly endeared, that upper chamber, called the study.  It is now more than twenty years since I first took possession of it.  It seemed an interesting locality then; but how much has occurred since to give the place a deeper hold upon my mind.


Sermons have been studied out here, with long and earnest thought.  And there they lie on that shelf, piles of them.  They have had their day.  The simple author thought quite highly of, now and then, of one of them, when in the glow and excitement of effort he finished the last sentence.  But the mist in which they loomed up so auspiciously, has passed away and their glory has drooped sadly.  He does not exactly know how much light they gave at first; but he has tried some of them lately, and he has the comfort of saying, they ignite freely, and give a cheerful radiance in the place of the ordinary kinds of in-door illumination.

[Above right: A drawing of Charles Hodge’s study, where he met his classes from 1833 to 1836, when he suffered from lameness.]

There are ranges of books.  Old men are there—fathers and ancients.  And young men are there; some of them wiser than their fathers—others less so.  They have stood there through slowly rolling years.  They disagree, some of them, with each other.  And the words of some of them are like those of a fierce hussar in anger with his fellow.  But they have not broken the peace of the study, standing quietly side by side.

There is a book.  As I look at it in its place upon the shelf, it awakens interesting trains of thought.  I will take it down and read the inscription on the fly-leaf.  The hand is fair, and the heart was warm that dictated the utterance made by that pen.  But they use no such things where the writer has gone.  It is a good book—a good man gave it, who has gone to be with the good.  And good the work did me.  It will outlive me, and do good to others.  I love to pray for those who may yet use those books.  They will soon be scattered.  Let them go.  They have been my pleasant and profitable companions in the study; may they go and do good, yet greater good to others.

I look round about the study.  That map of the world, how often I have gazed upon it, as I looked to see where moral darkness yet reigns unbroken and again to see where the kingdom of Christ has come in the place of Satan’s kingdom.  That map has been a powerful preacher.  Silently it revealed to me those works of God, the continents, the islands, the oceans, the kingdoms.  That map has hung long against the wall.  Often as I rested from driving the pen, and looked up, it caught my eye.  There was the world—light and shadow—civilization and barbarism—delusions hoary with age, fortified as by mountains and rocks, in the depravity of the heart, and there was Christianity, a little cloud in the vast horizon, but bright and growing brighter, and hastening to fill all lands with its brightness.  I am much obliged to that map.  It has made many valuable moral impressions upon my mind.

Another book arrests my eye.  A note, in a fair hand, is pasted on a fly-leaf, and it reads, “Presented to our pastor by his Bible Class: a small token of their gratitude for his labors for their good.”  The writer was one of the liveliest of youthful saints, and long since went to the presence of that other Teacher, who leads his friends to living fountains of waters.

I muse on.  In this room have been numbers of anxious inquirers.  “Hit of the archer,” they came in here, sore wounded, and would fain know how they might be healed.  Some were healed while here, for the Great Physician was present; and many more, following counsels here given, went away and soon after, “touching the hem of his garment, were made whole.”  They will never forget this room.

Here have been those—their number is great—who came here to ask, if Zion’s gates were open to them, for, hoping in the Saviour’s mercy, they would fain confess him before men.  They told us, who watched at Zion’s gates, why they wished to come.  And most touching tales have here been told of the anguish of conscious guilt, and of the terrible gloom of a soul that had no God, of conflict and struggle and temptation, of light dawning upon darkness, of the calm that followed the storm, of a Saviour found, trusted, loved, enjoyed. Ornaments they became of Zion below, though not a few of them have gone up higher.

Sons and daughters of sorrow have come in here.  It would relieve them to tell their griefs, even to so poor a representative of “the Man of Sorrows,” as the pastor.  Some of them sorrowed as does the world, and groped after comfort, and found it not because of their unbelief.  Others were children of the Highest, passing under the rod, and through the fire.  They came to see if they could not pick up a crumb that had fallen from the Master’s table, to see if sorrow’s solace could not be found in what they might hear of Him “who carried our griefs.”  In cases not a few, the weary found rest, and sorrow’s tears were wiped away, and the retiring mourner could say, “Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.”

Little children have been here in the pastor’s study.  He welcomed them, seeing the Great Shepherd’s example, and was interested in their childish wonder at so many books, and pleased their curiosity by such pictures as a place so lean of that material as the study, could furnish.  Those loved little ones!  Childish things have dropped from their hands, for years and years are gone.  They are scattered—some to distant regions of this land, and some to the farthest realms of the earth; though some in childhood fell asleep, and others later fell asleep,—

“That sleep
From which none ever wake to weep.”

But I must leave the study.  Much it has to do with time, more with eternity—a place of wearisome toil though often of joyful labor; a place of anxiety and care, mingled with gleams of light from the celestial land; a place where God was sought for the anxious pastor’s own soul—oftener for the souls of others; a place, a humble Pisgah, where glimpses were caught, at times, of the Delectable Mountains and the Celestial City!

My study!  Others will look out of those windows on the pleasant scenery—on the verdant hills and meadows here, and on the glorious ocean yonder.  Other voices will be heard within these walls.  Others will be here, who have never known what joys and sorrows have been here before them.  May it still be a hallowed place, honored by the occupancy of Pilgrims to nobler mansions above; a place where others shall try the power of prayer, and know the sweetness of submission, the strength of faith, the joy of hope, and all the sacred pleasures which flow from communion with God, the Infinite One, and the invisible world.

– H.B.H.

[excerpted from The Central Presbyterian, vol. 3, no .30 (24 July 1858), pg. 1, and originally published in The Boston Recorder.]

Words to Live By:
We seem to be designed for places. Whether our home, our study, or our church, we place a special value on these places and derive an earthly comfort from them unlike any other. But this world is passing, and God has designed us to have an eye on our eternal home, that we might walk before God in the light of the living. As we seek His mercy and grace, may our surpassing comfort be found in Christ alone. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, may we be made ready to worship God in sweet fellowship, through all eternity.

For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
(
Psalm 84:10, ESV)

Truths declared to-day by the mind of man are denied to-morrow by the same mind of man. On that basis, what can a man believe? But if we cling to the whole Bible, we have a stabilizing standard which has held the heart and hand of the believer from the time of its first revelation.


In our post today, we cast the calendar aside to take a brief look at some very basic terms and a bit of history.

We will start by noting that Dr. J. Gresham Machen did not like the term “fundamentalist.” He considered himself a “confessional Presbyterian” (though I’m not sure that exact term was ever in use in his time). But as to what has been called fundamentalism, our post today provides an early description and assessment of the Fundamentalist Movement. There was still a fair unanimity within the Movement in the early 1920s, though division over millennial issues was soon evident. It took another decade for that division to become more formalized and more divisive of fellowship among conservatives.
Implicit in this article, as you will see later, were the attempts by modernists to foster division among the fundamentalists. Those attempts had been recognized as early as 1921 and, it might be argued, finally bore fruit in the mid-1930’s. Yet again in the 1940’s, in the Southern Presbyterian Church, there are indications that behind the effort to speak to the issue of dispensationalism there was a similar effort by modernists seeking to divide conservatives.

The Rise and Growth of the Fundamentalist Movement
by the Rev. Raymond J. Rutt
[The Presbyterian 95.1 (1 January 1925): 7-8.]

[This article is a brief of the one read by Rev. Raymond J. Rutt, pastor of the Oliver Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, before the Presbyterian Ministers’ Association of Minneapolis, on December 8, 1924.

I regret very much that it has become necessary to classify groups in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. I abhor being called theologically by any other name than Christian, because no other name can fully represent a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

But when there appears a group of people within the church who deny the final authority of the whole Bible in faith and practice, and put the human mind in the place of final authority, then I am compelled to submit to a classification of believers, who have always, and do now, believe in the final authority of the whole Bible in all matters of faith, by whatever name they may call themselves.

The name “fundamentalist” has been given to, and quite generally accepted by, those believers in the Christian church who rely upon the whole Bible for their authority. And in contrast, the name “modernist” has also been given, and as generally accepted by those who do not accept the whole Bible as authoritative, but put their own minds above the statements of Holy Writ. I know there are some who feel that fundamentalists and modernists are two extremes, and they prefer to take a middle-of-the-road policy between them. To me, this seems impossible. It is very evident that among modernists, the mind of man has rejected great portions of the Bible. If the mind of man is made supreme over any portion of the Bible, what will keep them from destroying the whole testimony of the Word? The difference between these two elements in the Christian church is not a matter of method or interpretation, but rather a matter of premesis [i.e., premise(s)] of authority. Fundamentalists all agree on the authority of the whole Bible. The question is often asked, “Are the modernists our brethren in the Lord?” I think that depends on how much of the Bible they reject. It is dishonoring God to reject any portion of his Holy Word. And when that rejection continues to the extent of denying doctrines that are essential to salvation, then I cannot consider that person a brother in Christ. Many modernists have gone beyond this limit, and I do not consider them brethren.

There are two kinds of fundamentalists, and yet they both accept the final, absolute and supreme authority of the whole Bible, and agree in the essentials of salvation. Premillennial fundamentalists believe that the coming of the Lord before the millennium, which they feel is imminent, is fundamental to a right understanding of the prophecies, but not fundamental to salvation. The post-millennialist fundamentalists feel the same about their position. Thus we find that both kinds of fundamentalists agree as to essentials of salvation.

I think it is commonly agreed that the fundamentalists are the descendants of historic Christianity, for they are generally satisfied with the statements of faith as handed down to them by the Fathers. Not because their statements were infallible, but because they, who have given to us our great church of Christ, have done so from the standpoint that the whole Bible is the absolute, supreme and final authority in all matters of faith. This must not be interpreted to mean that we do not welcome research, study, and new truth that may be shed on the sacred page by the work of the Holy Spirit. We do believe that the Bible should be critically scrutinized and studied from every possible angle and applied to modern life in all its complexities. We welcome constructive criticism. Every believer has a creed, and unless he holds to the final authority of the whole Bible, he will have difficulty in holding it. Truths declared to-day by the mind of man are denied to-morrow by the same mind of man. On that basis, what can a man believe? But if we cling to the whole Bible, we have a stabilizing standard which has held the heart and hand of the believer from the time of its first revelation.

There has been a desire on the part of fundamentalists to be associated together in fellowship and to promote efforts to defend the authority of the whole Bible against the destructive penknife of the modernist. The premillennial fundamentalists, gathered from all the states but two, and Canada, in Philadelphia, for a Bible Conference, in May, 1919, and organized the World’s Christian Fundamentalist Association. At that time they elected Rev. W.B. Riley, D.D., pastor of the First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, as their executive secretary. The association has met each year since then, and each time re-elected Dr. Riley, who has given one-half of his time to the promotion of Bible conferences all over the continent. Many state organizations have been organized under the World Christian Fundamentalist Association. Again, many local fundamental associations have been organized in cities and counties, some as premillennial fundamentalists and others as associations of all fundamentalists. Of the latter kind, one of the oldest and best known is the Rocky Mountain Bible Conference, of Denver, Colorado. Recently, such an organization has been effected in Minneapolis, and is known as “The Twin City Bible Conference.”

As fundamentalists, we regret very much the sharp differences that exist between fundamentalists and modernists. We are sorry our modernistic friends have deemed it necessary to revolt against the historic standards of the Christian church. I feel that a great deal of ill feeling has been caused by the wrong representation of the one by the other on both sides. As a fundamentalist, I have not appreciated being called a “funny-mentalist,” and I dare say many modernists have resented being called “funny-monkeyists.” Such classifications are but the way of bluff and do not reflect the spirit of the Master.

In conclusion, let me say we fundamentalists are not trying to make a new church, or even a division in the church. We are trying to preserve the church because we believe her Standards have been given to us by God-fearing Fathers, who accepted the whole Bible as their sole authority. We would not curb men’s minds or try to have all believers see alike, but we do believe in the absolute, supreme and final authority of the whole Bible. And if believers will take that stand, there will be little, if any, trouble as brethren together in the Lord.

Words to Live By:
Rev. Rutt closed his message with these eloquent words :

“Christianity is no quiescent thing, but an eternal, omnipotent energy that has been at work in the world, not only in the past, but which is at work in this and every time, yet its specific content was given it once for all by Christ and his apostles, and that this content found authoritative expression in the New Testament. Each generation must, in some degree, express this content in its own language, and its own terms of thought, but the content itself, according to the fundamentalist, like Christ himself, as generation succeeds generation, abides the same to-day, yesterday, and forever.”

STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 84. What doth every sin deserve?

A. Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.

Scripture References: Gal. 3:10. Matt.25:41. Ezrp. 9:6 2 Cor. 5:21.

Questions:

1. What is meant by the wratn and curse of God?

The wrath and curse of God is the punishment that God has threatened to inflict upon all sinners for the sins they commit.

2. What is this punishment that God will inflict upon sinners?

The punishment is all the miseries of this life, death itself, and the pains of hell forever (see Question 19, Shorter Catechism).

3. Does every sin we commit deserve this wrath and curSe of God?

Yes. every sin we commit deserves it. Every sin that is committed is against the Holy, Righteous God who hates all sin. He is the just God and He desires and requires satisfaction for the sins committed.

4. Why is sin so hateful to God?

Sin is hateful to God becanse it is the very opposite of God’s holy nature and God’s holy law. Therefore, sin is exposed to the wrath and curse of God.

5. Do the sins of believers deserve this same punishment?

The sins of believers deserve it but their persons can never be exposed to, or liable to, God’s wrath, either in this life or in the life to come.

6. What is it that we can learn from this Question of the Catechism?

We may learn once again to look up to God and thank Him and praise Him for saving us, even when we were not worthy of it. We should look up to Him and thank Him for His mercy, His pardoning mercy, knowing we are such great sinners. We should repeat daily the words from Ezra 9:6: ” … O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.”

DELIVERED FROM THE WRATH TO COME

It Is my prayer that the reader has a well-grounded hope In Jesus Christ, that he is truly saved, for then he will be delivered from the wrath of God. The Bible says, ” … even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (l Thess. 1:10). If a person is born again he will be proving it day by day. He will live in such a way that there is proof lhat his whole life Is governed and controlled by the Book. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones says this person, this saved person, has been taken up by Christianity; he has not simply taken up Christianity. This is the person that has been delivered.

If there is that well-grounded hope, if there is present that God-given ability to know what he is, where he stands, and where he is going, then the believer should be very thankful to God for the deliverance. He will know that Jesus suffered, bled and died for him. He will know that Jesus shed His blood and took the curse that the believer will not have to suffer the wrath of God. There should never a day pass without the believer looking upward and thanking Him once again.

Now the believer must understand that though he is delivered from the wrath to come it does not mean that God will not inflict things upon him in this life. Afflictions will come and the believer must be willing to submit to them with good grace. I once knew a dear brother in the Lord who lived with affliction. It seemed that his every day was filled with it. He hnd physical afflictions, he had material afflictions. One night in his study I asked him how he kept such a wonderful attitude in the midst of such trouble. His answer went something like this: “Certain!y my affliction is heavy but it is nothing compared to what I deserve to suffer eternally in hell.” He had found the right perspective, he knew that his present state was far better than he deserved. And for this he praised God by living day by day knowing he was surrounded by the amazing grace of God.

The deliverance He purchased for us is from God’s wrath. It was a perfect redemption. No affliction, no trial, no sorrow, no trouble on this earth can take it away frem us. Praise God for making “him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Published by The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Dedicated to Instrnctlon In the Westminster Standards for use as a bulletin insert or other methods of distribution in Presbyterian churches.

Vol. 6, No.1 (January 1967)

Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor.

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