In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Have you ever wondered what was before the Earth? What was God doing before he created the heavens and the earth? I know, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God” (Deuteronomy 29:29) and most of the answers to the question remain a mystery known only to God. However, I have often wondered and consequently given some thought to the matter.
God is totally self-sufficient
To hear some preachers and teachers tell it, God must have been lonely. Continue reading
This is the third installment of a series from the book with the above-named title. You may read the earlier installments here.
The Nature and Forms of Self-Deception (cont’d and concluded)
Others are deceived by taking reformation for regeneration.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart will indeed bring forth good things. His character will be determined by his conduct. The heart is no better than the life. If the fountain be pure, the streams will be so too. In vain however do we attempt to cleanse the streams while the fountain remains corrupt. Such was the case with the Pharisees. Our Savior appropriately compares them with “whited sepulchers,” which, however beautiful they may be without, are “within full of all uncleanness.”
It is no uncommon thing for one form of sin to be exchanged for another. A man may abandon a course of open profligacy only to settle down upon a system of self-righteousness. We read of those who “turn to the Lord feignedly, but not with their whole heart.”
Nothing short of a radical change can constitute us Christians. Continue reading
This post originally appeared on August 24, 2007. It appears here in updated form.
I have had the opportunity to counsel a number of people with problems of a spiritual nature. People coming for counsel can be divided into three groups:
- those who are curious about something and those who have hypothetical questions,
- those who have worked through their difficulties mentally and just need confirmation;
- and those who are in serious straits. Those who are in serious straits have certain common traits.
This is the second installment on a series from the book with the above-named title. You may read the first installment here.
The Nature and Forms of Self-Deception (continued)
There may be also an intellectual approbation of the truth where its sanctifying power is
wholly unknown. The manifestation which God has made of himself in creation has sometimes called forth expressions of the highest admiration, while the heart has shown itself to be in a state of decided enmity against his character. It is related of a lecturer on philosophy that, in discoursing on the wisdom and power of God as displayed in the immensity of creation, he with his audience was wrought up into a rapture of apparent devotion, and yet in less than an hour’s time after leaving the room, he was heard to curse and swear, as was his usual manner of conversation.
This is the beginning of a short series in which I shall post a portion of the above named book by Jacob Helffenstein. Jacob was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1802 and died in 1884. He was a pastor in the German Reformed Church. You may find the complete book by searching for it on the Internet. My copy was published by the American Tract Society in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
This little volume is affectionately commended to the serious perusal of every one bound to eternity, and especially of every professor of religion. It addresses them on a subject of infinite moment, involving their highest interest both for this world and the next. The writer would not excite the least unnecessary distrust or pain in a single bosom. He is well aware that there is a weak as well as a strong faith — that there are “babes” as well as “fathers” in Christ. The day of small things is not to be despised — the weak, timid believer is not to be crushed, but cherished and strengthened; yet it is better that the truth be faithfully exhibited , even though it should excite a momentary pang in the fearful, than to suffer multitudes who are trusting to “refuges of lies,” to live and die unwarned. Reader, lay not this work aside until the great subject of which it treats is settled as you will wish it had been when your head is laid on the pillow of death, and the realities of eternity open upon your vision.
The Nature and Forms of Self-Deception
Self-deception may be distinguished from hypocrisy. Continue reading