Posted in theology

“IF in fact the Spirit is in you” ?

By Elizabeth Prata

Paul wrote in Romans 8,

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:9-11).

The little words in the Bible matter. Paul often says, “therefore” which, when we encounter such a word, my Bible teacher says we should mentally say to ourselves ‘what’s it there for?’ The word ‘however’ at the start of the excerpt means Paul has been explaining something and is now contrasting the previous something with what is coming next. My focus today, though, is on the word “if” that Paul uses here.

What a weighty thought; “IF” the Spirit dwells in us or IF the Spirit does not dwell in us.

We should not be constantly engaging in introspection, mulling over our past life prior to salvation, or pondering our sins to a gross extent, or constantly wailing ‘woe is meee, I’m such a vile sinner’… but a bit of introspection is often warranted. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:5, that we should examine ourselves to see if we pass the test. In 1 Corinthians 11:28 we must examine ourselves before we take the cup of remembrance and the bread at the Lord’s table.

John MacArthur said, “Churches are full of spiritual cripples, paralyzed by the grudges, bitterness, sins, and tragedies of the past. Others try to survive in the present by reliving past successes. They must break with that past if they are to pursue the spiritual prize.” Source, MacArthur, J. F. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Philippians.

Here, Paul makes a flat statement, ‘If the Spirit is in you, then…’ The word ‘if’ warrants a quick look-see in this case. What does it mean IF the Spirit is in us? It means then we are changed and changing. We know the Spirit is in us because when we examine ourselves, we discover that our affections have changed. We now hate sin. We enjoy the word of God. We bring glory to Jesus, not ourselves. No one in the flesh will do those things. The flesh is only ever selfish.

Genesis 6:5 says, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.” That verse is not meant only for people living in the pre-flood times (antediluvian) but it applies to all living and dead humans who are not in the Spirit.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says of the Romans 8:9-11 verse-

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,…. That is, ye are not carnal, but spiritual men; or ye are not in a state of unregeneracy, but in a state of grace: the reason proving this is, if so be, or “seeing”

“that the Spirit of God dwell in you; the inhabitation of the Spirit is a distinguishing character of a regenerate man; which is to be understood not of his omnipresence, nor of a participation of his gifts, whether ordinary or extraordinary: nor does the Spirit of God only dwell in his people by his graces, but in person as in office, and in a way of special favour; as a spirit of illumination, regeneration, sanctification, and faith, as a comforter, a spirit of adoption, an intercessor, and as a pledge and seal of happiness:”

“which inhabitation is personal; is not peculiar to him to the exclusion of the Father and of the Son; is expressive of property and dominion; is not confined to the souls of men, for he also dwells in their bodies; it is operative, powerful, and perpetual; it is the security of the saints’ perseverance, and the pledge of their resurrection and future glory.”

“This is owing not to any goodness in them, or to any fitness and preparations of theirs to receive him; but to a federal union to Christ and relation to him, to our Lord’s ascension and intercession, and to the love and grace of the Father; and this proves a man to be a regenerate man, to be in the Spirit, and not in the flesh; for the Spirit of God is never in this sense in an unregenerate man, nor is he in any such sense without his grace; so that the indwelling of the Spirit is the grand evidence of relation to God, of an interest in Christ and union to him, and of a man’s state and condition God-ward;” –end Gill’s

If you have been saved by grace for any length of time, and you look back, do you notice changes in yourself? Do you feel pricked by sin more? Is your conscience softer? Do you understand the Bible better? Are you releasing attachment to sins you used to enjoy, finding you enjoy them less or have abandoned them altogether? This is the Spirit at work in you. In that case the Spirit IS in you! Rejoice for the Lord is gracious and powerful to save sinners!

The End Time Blog Podcast Season 2, Episode 275

Posted in theology

Cessationism vs. Continuationism

By Elizabeth Prata

I had listened to Phil Johnson lecture in the Wretched series Drive By Pneumatology. ‘Drive By’ means short lessons of 7-11 minutes that you can listen to on your driving commute. (Or anywhere else). Johnson defined cessationism and continuationism. Here is Phil’s definition- I transcribed it, that’s why it is in quotes-

Link below to the Drive By Pneumatology series for sale at Wretched Store

“The Holy Spirit is at work in us in the ordinary things of life. A lot of people have an idea that the Holy Spirit is only working if He is doing miraculous or phenomenal things. If it’s not something that takes your breath away, or amazes you, that if He is not doing things like that, that He is not at work at all. But I believe that scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit is at work in all the ordinary aspects of life. He orders every minute detail of our lives. It is He who actually gives us life. That’s what it says in Romans 8- He gives life to our mortal bodies… . Most of what He does seems ordinary but it is really extraordinary because He is the Holy Spirit.”

Phil Johnson went on to explain the difference between revelatory gifts and ministry related gifts. Revelatory ones (the Charismata) are utterance of wisdom, utterance of knowledge, prophecy, miracles, healing, tongues and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians). This is compared to the gifts in Romans 12: preaching, service, exhortation, generosity, leadership, mercy, and teaching. These gifts are ministry related, neither supernatural in character nor revelatory. Revelatory means giving new revelation, or new information, outside of and apart from what is revealed in the Bible.

Phil again: “The distinctive claim of the Charismatic movement is that these revelatory gifts of healing, miracles, tongues knowledge/wisdom and prophecy are continuing today just as they were in Apostolic times. The Charismatic person says they continued since then and never ceased. That these gifts are available and operational just as they were since Pentecost. This is the continuationist view.

“The opposing view is cessationism. This is the belief that these revelatory gifts, these sign gifts, have ceased. That they pertained uniquely to the Apostolic age and that those gifts ceased sometime at the end of the first century upon the death of the last apostle”. (Phil is a cessationist).”

“So the question is, is the Holy Spirit doing everything exactly as He was doing as He did in the book of Acts? Has that stopped, or has that continued? And is there a proof text that shows it has stopped?”

“The miraculous gifts of the apostolic era had a specific and clearly defined purpose. I contend that it is also clear in scripture that they did diminish in frequency and importance and in fact, faded from use after the era in the Book of Acts ended.”

“However, cessationism is today a minority opinion. It was practically standard evangelical theology for many centuries until about 60-75 years ago. Prior to the 20th century, it would have been hard at any time to find any Protestant who believed that the charismata, the miraculous gifts, continued uninterrupted from the time of the apostles thru all of church history. It is a fact that the most orthodox church theologians all believed the miracle gifts ceased.”

“The reason they say this today, that the charismatic gifts continue, is that they cannot find a proof text or a verse that would support the view that the spiritual gifts of this nature have ceased. Specifically there is no verse in scripture that says the miracle gifts have stopped at a particular date or time. Bottom line there is no proof text that states that the miracle gifts would end at the conclusion of the Apostolic era. I grant you that.”

“There is no proof text to show the Jehovah’s Witness to show their flawed view of the Trinity, either. You compare scripture with scripture to show the Trinity. I would say the same method applies to cessationism.”

“Those of us who are cessationists base our conviction not on a single proof text but is a theological conclusion that is drawn from a number of biblical, historical, and doctrinal arguments.”

“Scripture does teach that the charismata had a specific, foundational and temporary purpose. They are part of a hierarchy of supernatural signs and wonders that were associated with the founding of the church. That hierarchy is listed in 1 Corinthians 12. It specifically states not all the miracle gifts were given to all in the church. (Phil goes on to explains some verses here). Scripture does not have a specific proof text that shows the Apostolic age ended, that there are no more apostles. There is no specific proof text that the canon of scripture is closed. Those arguments are the same exegetical arguments used to also say that the miraculous gifts ended too.

——————end Phil Johnson——————–

So in effect,

–tongues were for a sign to the unbeliever, fulfilling prophecy that judgment has come,
–they, as all miracle gifts, were for a sign to confirm the message and the messenger,
–we no longer need such signs because we have the Bible to compare a message and can confirm the messenger if he brings a message consistent with it,
–they were real languages,
–they were not the highest gift,
–they were to be interpreted or people were to be silent,
–they were dying out as the Apostolic Age came to an end,
–they obviously ceased for 1900 years,
–they were not the gibberish we see today.

So that is the continuationist vs. the Cessationist view. Continuationists believe the sign gifts (or the miracle gifts) continued unabated from the NT era. Cessationists believe they ceased at the end of the NT era when the last verse was written and the canon of God’s word closed.

I am a cessationist. I believe scripture shows that the sign gifts ceased. A common charge by continuationists is that they say cessationists claim that our position means the ‘Holy Spirit isn’t operating anymore’. Of course He is. He regenerates hearts every day. He draws men to the Lord every day. He brings scripture to mind every day. He does a ton. He just doesn’t dispense the sign gifts anymore because we have the sign in writing: the New Testament, which is completely profitable for all training, education, reproof.

List of the Holy Spirit’s ministries and activities, from John MacArthur Daily Bible

So that is a quick lesson on the distinctions between the two positions on the sign or miracle gifts. Here are further resources:


Is cessationism biblical? What is a cessationist?

What is continuationism?

It is finished

How would you persuade someone that the sign gifts have ceased?

Wretched Store: Drive By Pneumatology

Posted in theology

I died … to the law

By Elizabeth Prata

Such is the confidence we have toward God through Christ. Not that we are adequate in ourselves so as to consider anything as having come from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).

In this 2 Corinthians verse, Paul is explaining that following the ‘letter’ of the law is a shallow, external conformity to the commands of the Law and not an internal faith and belief. Think: Pharisees. The Pharisees were rebuked for swallowing a camel but straining out a gnat. It means they were hyper-vigilant over little things (going after a gnat), but ignored the big need- forgiveness from sin. They tithed cumin but their sacrifices to God were empty. They observed rites and ceremonies to the letter but missed the spiritual significance of its intent- to demonstrate their need for a Savior.

They adhered to the letter of the Law but entirely missed its intent: which was to make a person recognize his sinfulness and total inability to reach the Law’s required perfection. Anyone who relied on the Law for salvation would die (i.e the Law/letter kills). Paul admitted his own inability to reach perfection after salvation, seeing in hindsight that his adherence to the Law was only shallow works that meant nothing to God, it was all rubbish.

Paul explains further in Galatians. He is re-teaching the Galatians that justification is by faith alone, apart from the works of the Law of Moses. Legalistic Jews had insisted that Christians must keep the Mosaic Law and their stance had confused the Galatians. Galatians 2:19 says –

For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live for God.

Barnes’ Notes says of that verse’s meaning:

that by contemplating the true character of the Law of Moses itself; by considering its nature and design; by understanding the extent of its requisitions, he had become dead to it; that is, he had laid aside all expectations of being justified by it.”

Or, if you’re Italian like me, “the Law is dead to me!” It’s all of grace!

Knowles in The Bible Guide says,

The key question is this: did they receive the Holy Spirit by following the law or by receiving the gospel? And if keeping the law can achieve salvation, why did Jesus go to the cross? The answer is, of course, that they have come to spiritual life only through the death of Jesus and faith in the gospel.

I’m reminded of the Dagon incident of 1 Samuel 5. Dagon was a false deity in the form of a half-man, half-fish. He was supposedly the father of Baal. The Philistines were feeling joyful because they had captured the Ark of the Covenant and put it in their temple next to Dagon. When they got up the next morning, the Dagon statue was on its face. They set it right. The next morning, the Dagon statue’s trunk was in its place, but the head and hands had been cut off and were on the threshold. Gulp! They were so spooked, “This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.” (1 Samuel 5:5). Whether a false god is a fish or any other image, it is empty. Clinging to the Law as a work for salvation is just as empty as the mere block of wood that Dagon was.

People have been trying since Cain to approach God in the way they want to, not in the way He demands. The Gentiles think they will be heard for their many words repeated in prayers. The modern version of this is Contemplative prayer, or for Catholics, penance (repeating the same prayer a certain number of times, or doing a work, or making an offering). The Judaizers thought that works like circumcision were the pathway to God. The modern version of this is Oprah’s good works and generosity religion being one pathway to God – among many. (Oprah’s words- “There are many paths to what you call God. Her path might be something else, and when she gets there she might call it the Light, but her loving and her kindness and her generosity, if it brings her to the same place it brings you, it doesn’t matter whether she calls it God or not.”) Mystics think that pursuing wisdom and higher knowledge will get them to God, as satan said to Eve in the Garden, ‘you will be wise’.

Satan is the originator of all the paths to God that aren’t Jesus, and he recycles them over and over. Why? Because they are successful on the unwary. There are two religions. Jesus as the way to God, and all the others which are satan’s. In those ways, satan has twisted even the New Testament’s Gospel into a killing letter. Matthew Henry said:

But even the New Testament will be a killing letter, if shown as a mere system or form, and without dependence on God the Holy Spirit, to give it a quickening power. (2 Timothy 3:5).

Faith is through grace alone. Beware of twisting even the good and great Gospel into mere rites and ceremonies and form letters. The power of the Spirit quickens us, enlivens us, gives power and might to live according to all that is holy and right. “Such is the confidence we have toward God through Christ.

Letter of the Law
Posted in theology

The Holy Spirit Changes Everything

By Elizabeth Prata

Before the Spirit came to them:

The Pharisees loved the chief seats (Matthew 23:6)

Diotrephes loved to put himself first. (3 John 1:9)

James and John wanted to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand. Mark 10:37.

Peter denied knowing Christ. (Mark 14:72).

After the Spirit came:

Pharisee Nicodemus donated in today’s dollars $150,000 in spices to bury Christ, publicly.

James and John labored well for Christ all their lives, boldly, courageously, doctrinally.

Peter boldly preached to the Gentiles, Jews, and faced down the Pharisees, accusing them of killing the Messiah. (Acts 5:30).

We never do find out what happened to Diotrephes. Without the Spirit, all his work for Jesus is in vain and will be rejected. The Spirit makes all the difference.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We see that new-ness in the above mentioned Bible people (except for Diotrephes). We should see that newness in anyone who converts, repents, and claims Christ. Their life pattern should be ever-upward-conforming to Christ. Conversion is a Triune activity, God set the plan into motion before the foundation of the world, Jesus effected it, and the Spirit applies it.

Posted in theology

How to be comforted in troubling times

By Elizabeth Prata

Sometimes when the world is going crazy, the best thing to do is simply read some scripture. Feed on it, be bathed in its refreshing waters of truth, let it wash over you and calm your spirit. On days like these days, when there is so much calamity, I just read. It is different than studying, or searching, or listening, or skimming. I just read His word and He restores me to equilibrium.

As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” (Proverbs 25:25) Let His word wash over you as cold water, refreshing you in good news!

Continue reading “How to be comforted in troubling times”
Posted in theology

God doesn’t leave you alone to figure it out

I follow Ayanna Mathis on Instagram. She puts together a good word of encouragement and exhortation. Here is another one by Ayanna.

By ayannazariya

Have you ever felt like you’ve been given a task to do that you felt alone in? Maybe you can recall a time when given an assignment in school in which the instructions were very detailed, but you still felt like you lacked the support you needed? Or perhaps you were in a position in which you had to give instructions for a task, but the person on the receiving end of those instructions felt like they couldn’t ask for help or they just didn’t know how…

I want to encourage you to know that God is neither extreme. He doesn’t give instructions without help or help without instructions. His Word gives us parameters to work within, and His Spirit promises to never leave us and to always guide us as we journey through this life, fulfilling the instructions of God. They aren’t arbitrary. They aren’t so secret that they can only be known by certain people. God from the beginning of time has been making Himself known in ways unimaginable. And He also continues to do so today.

We live in a culture and time where Christian messages can tend to get away from our dependency on God when preaching sermon points that can leave you feeling as if this walk is all up to you. I’m here to remind you that it’s not. God’s good work didn’t start with your capability nor does it end with it. He goes FIRST, every single time. He went ahead of you, first with Jesus, laying down His life so that you may live, flourish, know Him and eternally live with Him. He went FIRST when you wanted to take temptation’s bait and sin your way until you could do nothing other than repent, by giving you a way out before you got started. He GOES FIRST, every single day, showing up for you, even when you can’t show up for Him.


Because He’s a good God, who is also so much wiser, stronger, knowledgeable, powerful, gracious, loving and merciful than you are. And that’s a blessing, friends! Be encouraged. Don’t let the pendulum swing towards legalism or apathy when it comes to living out God’s instructions outlined in Scripture. Know them well so you don’t do the most, or the least. Undergird ALL of your efforts, with the knowledge that God extends help ALWAYS! —-end Ayanna Mathis

instruct verse

Posted in theology

The wind blows

By Elizabeth Prata

The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)

I lived in Maine for almost 30 years. It’s cold. It’s windy. A fun trip we’d take was to the top of Mt. Washington Observatory in the White Mountains of nearby New Hampshire. That is a place known for its wild and erratic weather, and for holding the record for most of the 20th century for highest ever recorded wind speed of 231 mph.

When you live in and near the mountains and there is a lot of wind, you notice that many of the trees are stunted. It’s hard for them to grow in severe conditions. There’s actually a “tree line”, the line where trees stop growing and at higher elevations and it’s just scrub and rocks to the summit.

You also notice that the trees are bent away from the wind. Trees are actually structures, and wind creates a heavy load against them. Constant aerodynamic drag eventually sculpts or molds the tree. The tree’s resistance declines and it conforms to the direction of the wind. Like these trees:

Photographer: Andrew Bone from Weymouth, England. Wikimedia CC

Windswept “Bent Tree” on Big Island, HI. Photographer- mccready. Wiki CC

We might look at a windswept tree and notice it standing tall. We might return in 30 years and notice that it has conformed to the prevailing wind and it’s been shaped. However, if we were to return to the mountain top or the field where the tree is every day, we would not notice the slow transformation of it.

It is like that with us. The Holy Spirit slowly transforms His people. He chips away at our resistance. Day by day in increments not seen, we are being transformed into Christ’s likeness. If we knew someone as an unregenerate person, celebrated their salvation, but then went to work in another country for 30 years, and then returned, we would notice a massive change in their character, morals, spirit, and mind. But it’s something one does not notice as much day by day. We cannot see the Spirit but we know where He has been by the people He has conformed.

Now imagine the multiplication of His work among an entire congregation. Like this:

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Holy Spirit is amazing. He is always at work, conforming, transforming, changing, producing fruit. Yet He is invisible, and only always points to Christ.

Our one God in three Persons…the Trinity…God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, worthy to be praised.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14).

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

The wind blows where it will

I was years and years upon the brink of hell—I mean in my own feeling. I was unhappy, I was desponding, I was despairing. I dreamed of hell. My life was full of sorrow and wretchedness, believing that I was lost. ~ Charles Spurgeon as a teenager


Charles Spurgeon’s torments in wanting to be saved are well-known. Spurgeon knew he needed salvation because of his sins, but also knew he couldn’t decide to save himself. He needed the external specific call.

He didn’t just sit around and wait though. He read his Bible, he prayed, and he sought- resolving to visit every church in his district one at a time, repeatedly.

John Bunyan’s experience was similar. In his spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, he was tormented by his sin and knew he needed Jesus. He read his Bible, tried various things, until he realized conversion is all of God, election. He wrote,

With this scripture I could not tell what to do: for I evidently saw, unless that the great God, of His infinite grace and bounty, had voluntarily chosen me to be a vessel of mercy, though I should desire, and long, and labour until my heart did break, no good could come of it. Therefore this would stick with me, How can you tell that you are elected? And what if you should not? How then?

O Lord, thought I, what if I should not indeed? It may be you are not, said the Tempter; it may be so indeed, thought I. Why then, said Satan, you had as good leave off, and strive no farther; for if indeed, you should not be elected and chosen of God, there is no talk of your being saved; For it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth; but of God that showeth mercy.

By these things I was driven to my wits’ end,

But Bunyan didn’t leave off, and didn’t sit and wait for grace to drop into his lap as Spurgeon didn’t wait around for grace to fall into his lap. Though conversion is only from Jesus, the sinner can prepare, inquire, be active. Bunyan kept reading the scriptures, pleading, and praying.

At one point in his faith journey, Bunyan had been wracked with torment, and he laid down to rest and nap. He had a dream that he was trying to get thru a wall to go from the cold side of a great mountain into the sun on the other side. Eventually he found a passageway but it was exceedingly narrow. He got his head in, barely, and wriggled his body sideways, very narrow and could hardly get thru. He realized he had dreamed of the narrow gate. He wrote,

that none could enter into life, but those that were in downright earnest, and unless also they left that wicked world behind them; for here was only room for body and soul, but not for body and soul and sin.

But what now? Bunyan asked. What if one is not elected? And if one was elected, how would one know that salvation had come? Bunyan again-

Neither as yet could I attain to any comfortable persuasion that I had faith in Christ; but instead of having satisfaction here, I began to find my soul to be assaulted with fresh doubts about my future happiness, especially with such as these: Whether I was elected. But how if the day of grace should be past and gone? By these two temptations I was very much afflicted and disquieted, sometimes by one and sometimes by the other of them.

The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)

We don’t know who will be saved or when. We can’t control the wind.

We can see its effects, though. Here is my favorite Paul Washer story. It’s 3 minutes and I think it will bless you. It seems to me to be a good example of the Wind moving in a soul. When one isn’t saved one can read the Bible and read it and read it, but it will not make sense because one cannot discern spiritual things, as the verse says-

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. (1 Corinthians 2:14).

But when the wind moves in a man’s soul, it moves so we can see the effect! Suddenly the scales fall and the Bible’s verses have extreme meaning!

The wind blows where it will…but keep praying for salvation for your dear lost ones, and keep looking for fruit in those who say they have felt the Spirit move in them. Tomorrow, more on fruit.


Posted in bible reading plan, Uncategorized

Bible Reading Thoughts: What are the reins?

I will bless the LORD, who has given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. (Psalm 16:7)

I am not sure what this means but the poetic language moves me. Here is Matthew Henry on it:

He repeats the solemn choice he had made of God for his portion and happiness (v. 5), takes to himself the comfort of the choice (v. 6), and gives God the glory of it, v. 7. This is very much the language of a devout and pious soul in its gracious exercises.

Making a good use of it. God having given him counsel by his word and Spirit, his own reins also (his own thoughts) instructed him in the night-season; when he was silent and solitary, and retired from the world, then his own conscience (which is called the reins, Jer. 17:10) not only reflected with comfort upon the choice he had made, but instructed or admonished him concerning the duties arising out of this choice, catechized him, and engaged and quickened him to live as one that had God for his portion, by faith to live upon him and to live to him. Those who have God for their portion, and who will be faithful to him, must give their own consciences leave to deal thus faithfully and plainly with them.

All this may be applied to Christ, who made the Lord his portion and was pleased with that portion, made his Father’s glory his highest end and made it his meat and drink to seek that and to do his will, and delighted to prosecute his undertaking, pursuant to his Father’s counsel, depending upon him to maintain his lot and to carry him through his undertaking. We may also apply it to ourselves in singing it, renewing our choice of God as ours, with a holy complacency and satisfaction.

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 763). Peabody: Hendrickson.

So, one does their best to adhere to God’s statutes, acting in His best interest and according to His will. Where we stumble, we repent. And then in the night seasons, let the conscience percolate, giving space and room to the Spirit to convict, admonish, encourage, or bring things to mind. Is that how you see the verse too?

“Night”, by EPrata

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Bible Reading Plan thoughts: Lavish Love

loveIn our Bible Reading plan today we are progressing through Romans. We are to read today chapters 5-6. Romans, a book that a famous pastor had said he thought is the greatest philosophical treatise of any kind ever written down anywhere. (Sorry, I forget which pastor said it). Romans certainly is demanding, and the thoughts I have about the first few chapters, especially the interplay between the Law & Grace, are immature and unformed. I dare not offer anything of my own because I don’t think it would be of value.

But except for this: Romans 5:5

and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

I love the visual picture here, God’s love is a liquid poured out, gushing, lavishly splashing into our hearts. And that love is the Holy Spirit Himself, who is God. He is said to be almost the forgotten member of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is introduced in this epistle. And here he is shown to be a full member of the Triune God and a token of God’s love for His people lavishly given to us.

Before salvation: Enmity. War. Rebellion. Struggle. Uncertainty.
After salvation: PEACE

Preacher S. Lewis Johnson said of this passage

So the apostle’s argument is this. We were enemies. When we were enemies, when we hated God, when we did not want him to minister to us, he came to us, and through the alluring power of the Holy Spirit, he wrought within us, in his own mysterious way, a change of our wills, a change of our disposition, so that the thing that we did not want we ultimately came to want. We, who hated him, by the work of the Holy Spirit, were reconciled as the Holy Spirit brought to us the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. As he says, “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son.”

The Holy Spirit’s part in this is that He draws us to Jesus, and He dwells in our hearts to sanctify us, each one of us, throughout our post-salvation lives. What joy.


Further reading

John MacArthur, article The Ministry of the Holy Spirit

GotQuestions: What does the Holy Spirit do?