Horatius Bonar – God’s Way of Peace

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1

There seem to be many in our day who are seeking God. Yet they appear to be but feeling “after him,” in order to “find him,” as if He were either a distant or an “unknown God.” They forget that he is “not far from every one of us,” for “in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Act 17:23, 27-28).

That He is not far, that He has come down, that He has come near — this is the “beginning of the gospel” (Mar 1:1). It sets aside the vain thoughts of those who think that they must bring Him near by their prayers and devout performances. He has shown Himself to us that we may know Him, and in knowing Him find the life of our souls.

With some who call themselves Christians, religion is a very unfinished thing. It drags heavily and is not satisfactory, either to the religious performers of it or the onlookers. There is no substance in it and no comfort. There is earnestness perhaps, but there is no “peace with God” (Rom 5:1), and so there is not even the root or foundation of that which God calls “religion.” It needs to begin over again.

Acceptance with God lies at the foundation of all religion, for there must be an accepted worshipper before there can be acceptable worship. Religion is, with many, merely the means of averting God’s displeasure and securing His favour. It is often irksome, but they do not feel easy in neglecting it; and they hope that by it they may obtain forgiveness before they die.

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Michael Boling – Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Feast of Pesach (Passover)

Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Feast of Pesach (Passover)

In the previous post, Feasts of the Lord: The Feast of Pesach, we explored the scriptural mandate for this observance to include how a typical Passover Seder is conducted today. In this post, we are going to see how the Feast of Pesach was fulfilled by the pure, spotless, unblemished Passover Lamb, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We will begin by analyzing each aspect of the Passover Seder noting how this service is replete with signs pointing to Christ and the Renewed Covenant through his blood.

The Feast of Pesach is often described as the Feast of Salvation or the Feast of Freedom. This is not surprising given the fact Pesach was first established as a remembrance of God’s deliverance of Israel from bondage in the land of Egypt (Mitzraim). God saved His people from slavery delivering them to the Land of Promise just as He had covenanted with Abraham. Pesach is to be “a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.” (Ex. 12:14) As we walk through the Passover Seder identifying each element a bit further, paying special attention to how each aspect points to Christ and his sacrifice, we shall begin to see why Passover was to be an everlasting ordinance. It was to be celebrated in perpetuity and whether we realize it or not, we will be celebrating throughout eternity the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb and the penal substation provided through the cross. This eternal celebration can be seen in Revelation 5:12 which declares “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

As noted earlier, Passover is largely a celebration of salvation, redemption, and freedom. For Israel, that salvation from was slavery and the sacrifice of the lamb represented the price that was paid to redeem and free them from bondage. Thus, each aspect of the Passover Seder brings to the mind of the celebrant what God did for His people long ago. Additionally, the promise of the Messiah can also be seen in the Passover Seder, One who would come in the spirit of Elijah to for all time bring peace to the land and to forever save God’s people. To properly understand the significance of Pesach requires one to understand Pesach as a time of remembrance and a time of longing. For the Jew who does not believe Jesus was the Messiah, it is a time of remembrance and a time of longing as they are still longing for his coming. For those who affirm Jesus is the Passover Lamb, it is a time of remembrance of the deliverance provided through the cross from sin and death and a time of longing for the return of the spotless Lamb who will one day return for His people to deliver them for all eternity from sin, death, and the grave. With that as a background, let’s begin to examine the Passover Seder observance in more detail. But wait, there’s more!

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Owen Strachan – The High Cost of Free Porn

Terry Crews is a successful man: former NFL player, television star, person of seemingly impossible muscle density. But Crews is unusual for another reason: in a sexualized culture, he spoke up not long ago about the harm caused by his pornography addiction. “Every time I watched it, I was walled off,” Crews confessed in a video posted online. “It was like another brick that came between me and my wife.”

Crews’s testimony caused a strong reaction on social media. Many noted the destructive personal effects of pornography, effects that cannot be denied. But there is a greater dimension to pornography’s destructiveness. Even free porn comes at an excruciatingly high cost. Beyond severe psychological and social consequences, pornography hinders Jesus’s mission in the world. Here are three ways this takes place, with a word of hope for sinners like us.

1. Pornography hinders the mission of God in our own lives.

God has much work he wants to do through his people. He does not employ perfect people in his kingdom; every believer, all those who have been given a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17), must still battle with the “old man” on a daily basis (Colossians 3:9–10). We yearn to shed our sin, but until God accomplishes this, we live in a state of vigilance. We exercise a zero-tolerance policy against our flesh (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5).

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Octavius Winslow – The Preciousness of Christ

“Unto you therefore who believe He is precious.” 1 Peter 2:7

A felt conviction of the preciousness of the Savior has ever been regarded by enlightened ministers of the gospel as constituting a scriptural and unmistakable evidence of the existence of divine life in the soul; and in moments when neither time nor circumstance would admit of the close scrutiny of a theological creed, or a nice analysis of spiritual feelings and emotions, the one and simple inquiry upon which the whole matter is made to hinge has been- “What is your experience of the worth of the Savior? Is Christ precious to your heart?” And the answer to this question has been to the examiner, the test and the measure of the soul’s spiritual and vital change. And how proper that it should be so. In proportion as the Holy Spirit imparts a real, intelligent sense of personal sinfulness, there will be the heart’s appreciation of the value, sufficiency, and preciousness of the Lord Jesus. An enlightened and thorough conviction of the nature and aggravation of the disease, will enable a physician to form a just conception of the remedial process by which it may be arrested and cured. We estimate the force of a motive power by the strength of the body it propels. Thus, as the conviction of our lost and undone condition deepens, as sin’s “exceeding sinfulness ” unveils, as the purity and extent of God’s law opens, as the utter helplessness and impotence of self is forced upon the mind, the glory, the worth, the suitableness, and the preciousness of Jesus will, through the teaching of the Spirit, present itself vividly to the mind and heart, as constituting the one only foundation and hope of the soul!

The Bible recognizes but two specific and distinctive characters- the SINNER- the SAVIOR; and all others are but modifications of these. The saint is but the sinner converted, justified, pardoned, adopted, sanctified, saved, glorified. And all the official relations sustained by Christ in the economy of salvation are but so many varied and beautiful forms of the one Savior, of whom it is said, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Thus, then, as you feel your sinfulness, you will estimate the fitness and suitableness of the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. There will be a perfect agreement between your consciousness of guilt and your believing apprehension of the excellence of the Atonement to meet your case. Your sinnership and Christ’s Saviorship will harmonize and dovetail in exact and beautiful fitness and proportion.

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Book Review – This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years

For quite some time I have anxiously awaited a book to be released in the Christian publishing genre geared towards teenagers and the plethora of issues they deal with on a daily basis. There are certainly many books on the market regarding issues such as dating for example, but few if any that explore in a manner accessible to teenagers how the message of the gospel and its application to their lives is nothing short of transformative. Such a book has arrived on the scene, that of Jaquelle Crowe’s This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years. This is a book written by a teen (well okay a 19 year old) for teens.

I have a teenage daughter. As a teenager myself in the distant past, I can relate to the struggles she faces. While technological advances have increased over the years, teenagers face the same array of problems I faced at that age – peer pressure, understanding the need for your relationship with God to not just be your parent’s religion, the complicated struggle between a desire to be a child and enjoy the teenage years and the urge to want to be an adult, just to name a few. What is often forgotten is Scripture speaks to all these issues. Furthermore, the truth of the gospel can and must transform how teens approach those matters.

Jaquelle saliently engages vital topics such as forming a biblical identity, grasping how our story fits into the larger gospel story, matters of community, dealing with sin, spiritual disciples, spiritual growth, time management, and building godly relationships. At the conclusion of each chapter, she provides three discussion questions that will help the reader apply the information learned.

This is a book we are currently using as part of our homeschool curriculum, both as part of Bible class and as part of our daughter’s reading assignment. We have allowed her to select one of the discussion questions and to write a response to that question, being sure to personalize the answer rather than merely regurgitating the facts presented by the author. I can relay that some valuable discussions have taken place as a result of our child journeying through this book.

Teenagers do not spend a good deal of effort pondering their worldview. While they certainly form one, often as a result of peer pressure or perhaps by embracing their parent’s perspective on life on a surface level, truly grasping a biblical worldview is often lost among so many other attention grabbers in their lives. For that matter, spending time assessing spiritual disciples or time management at this age is also something that more often than not does not take place, let alone how the gospel speaks to all these life issues.

This is why a book such as This Changes Everything is so helpful. A book written from the perspective of a teenager for teenagers, is a massive help for parents. So many times parents get the rolling of the eyes when they try and share about the matters addressed by Jaquelle Crowe in her book. Hearing what parents are hopefully trying so hard to get across from the point of view of an age peer, is of great value and will go a long way to supporting, promoting, and strengthening the efforts of parents.

Furthermore, I see great value in this book being used in youth groups, specifically in a small group setting where the questions can be asked and explored in more detail than perhaps could take place in a larger group setting. Given the immense importance of the subject matter and again the fact this book is written by an age peer, I highly encourage youth leaders to consider using this as a teaching tool.

It has been a long time coming in my opinion for a book that will be of tremendous help to teenagers, parents, and youth leaders. Jaquelle Crowe has done a marvelous job of engaging teenagers in a way they can understand and of bringing to bear gospel truth to issues our young people are facing and which they need to ponder at this formative stage of their life. I recommend picking up a copy and I highly recommend checking out the videos Crossway has been sharing on their website of late in support of this book.

This book is available for purchase from Crossway Books by clicking here.

I received this book for free from Crossway Books and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Michael Boling – Feasts of the Lord: The Feast of Pesach (Passover)

The Feast of Pesach (Passover)

“And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. “It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. “And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ “that you shall say, ‘It [is] the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’ ” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped.” (Exodus 12:24-27)

“These [are] the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. On the fourteenth [day] of the first month at twilight [is] the LORD’s Passover.” (Leviticus 23:4-5)

These scriptures demonstrate the Feast of Pesach (Passover) was to be an ordinance to be observed not just by the Israelites as the exited Egypt and not by them as they settled into the Promised Land. It was to be a holy convocation observed by all future generations. Before we examine exactly what is involved in the Feast of Pesach, it is vital to point out this is described by God as a feast of Yahweh. Also notice it was to be observed at a very specific time and date. These are things we will return to later in this study but that I wanted to note at the outset if anything to note this is not just a Jewish feast. It is a feast of the Lord to be observed forever.

So what is the background of the Feast of Pesach? Arguably, this is the most well-known feast outside of perhaps Pentecost. Additionally, many people have likely attended a Passover Seder (service) at some point, either at their own church, a Jewish synagogue or a Messianic Jewish congregation. Thus, much of the background and elements of this feast may be somewhat familiar. Nevertheless, we are going to walk through the background of this feast and how it is celebrated followed by, in the next post, a discussion of how Jesus, as the Passover Lamb, fulfilled this feast. But wait, there’s more!

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Thomas Watson – God’s Mercy

What are the properties of God’s mercy?

(1) It is free and spontaneous. To set up merit is to destroy mercy. Nothing can deserve mercy or force it; we cannot deserve it nor force it, because of our enmity. We may force God to punish us, but not to love us. ‘I will love them freely.’ Hos 14: 4. Every link in the golden chain of salvation is wrought and interwoven with free grace. Election is free. ‘He has chosen us in him according to the good pleasure of his will.’ Eph 1: 4. Justification is free. ‘Being justified freely by his grace.’ Rom 3: 24. Say not I am unworthy; for mercy is free. If God should show mercy only to such as deserve it, he must show mercy to none.

(2) The mercy which God shows is powerful. How powerful is that mercy which softens a heart of stone! Mercy changed Mary Magdalen’s heart, out of whom seven devils were cast: she who was an inflexible adamant was made a weeping penitent. God’s mercy works sweetly, yet irresistibly; it allures, yet conquers. The law may terrify, but mercy mollifies. Of what sovereign power and efficacy is that mercy which subdues the pride and enmity of the heart, and beats off those chains of sin in which the soul is held.

(3) The mercy which God shows is superabundant. ‘Abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands.’ Exod 34: 6. God visits iniquity ‘to the third and fourth generation’ only, but he shows mercy to a thousand generations. Exod 20: 5, 6. The Lord has treasures of mercy in store, and therefore is said to be ‘plenteous in mercy’ (Psa 86: 5), and ‘rich in mercy’ (Eph 2: 4). The vial of God’s wrath drops only, but the fountain of his mercy runs. The sun is not so full of light as God is of love.

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Michael Boling – Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Feast of Hag HaMatzah (Unleavened Bread)


“And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger…” (John 6:35)

“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (I Corinthians 5:7-8)

“ For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)

“ I am the bread of life.” (John 6:48)

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

“and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (I Corinthians 11:24)

As we discovered with the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread also finds its ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah. Furthermore, in each element of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we find a foreshadowing that not only points to the Messiah, but also reveals vital theological and spiritual truths in regards to the necessity of purging sin from among us in order to be a holy bride for our bridegroom. With that in mind, let’s walk through once again the Feast of Unleavened Bread noting the wonderful truths subsumed within that time of remembrance that continue to have great relevance for us today.

As with all the Feasts of the Lord, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was established as a memorial to forever be remembered by God’s people. This is an important point to make at the outset given the fact Christ fulfilled this feast with his broken body on the cross. This is not just an ancient Jewish festival with no importance or application for the people of God today. Nothing could be further from the truth. The appointed times of God are just that, appointed times established by God for a purpose. In regards to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the purpose is for believers to remember the broken body of Christ, THE bread of life as well as providing a time of introspection in regards to the necessity for believers to cleanse their lives of sin through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. But wait, there’s more!

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Michael Boling – Feast of Hag HaMatzah (Unleavened Bread)

Feast of Hag HaMatzah (Unleavened Bread)

“So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you. So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance.” (Exodus 12:14-17)

“Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters.” (Exodus 13:7)

“You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning.” (Deut. 16:3-4) But wait, there’s more!

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Ryan McGraw – Thinking About Jesus: Owen on Meditating on Christ’s Glory

Meditation is a difficult duty. Most Christians struggle even with where to begin with respect to this duty. It is particularly important for us to mediate upon the Person and work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, since beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ is the primary means by which we are transformed from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:18). In his devotional work, The Glory of Christ, John Owen provided five useful helps to meditate on Christ as a divine/human Person. I pass these meditations along to you, hoping that they will increase your devotion to Christ (you can read the full section in Owen’s Works, 1:312-322).

1. Meditating on Christ is Useful: Consider that the knowledge of Christ as fully God and fully man in one Person is the most useful object of our contemplations and affections (1:312-314). Christ’s identity as the God-man places him in a unique position to make your redemption possible. He also reveals the glory of God to your understanding in a unique manner.

2. Learn to Look for Christ in Scripture: Diligently study the Scriptures with the express purpose of finding the glory of Christ in them (1:314-316). The Scriptures assert that Christ is their primary object (Lk. 24:26-27, 45-46; 2 Cor. 3:13-16). The three primary ways that Christ is revealed in the Old Testament is by direct descriptions of his Person and incarnation, by prophecies concerning him, and by the Old Testament ceremonies of worship (Owen richly expands each of these). Yet there is also a devotional necessity for thinking through Scripture in terms of our relation to Christ. If we are convicted, then we need Christ for forgiveness and repentance. If we are exhorted to godliness, then we need Christ as our foundation and pattern. If we are suffering, then we must remember that we share in Christ’s sufferings. If we are comforted by God’s promises, then we must consider that all divine promises are yes and amen in him. Too often Christians read the Old Testament in a manner that is no better than the Jews. Even if we do not see Christ foreshadowed directly in various parts of the Old Testament, we must self-consciously take our knowledge of Christ with us while reading the Old Testament.

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