ALLEEN DEUR DIE DONKER VALLEI? – Albert Theron
“Die hart ken sy eie verdriet, en in sy blydskap kan ’n ander hom nie meng nie.” Spreuke 14:10 (OAV)
“Net ‘n mens self ken die bitterheid van sy eie gemoed, en ook in sy vreugde kan niemand anders voluit deel nie.” Spreuke 14:10 (NAV)
In tye van erge trauma of smart wanneer ons dieper begrip soek by ander vir die donker vallei waardeur ons beweeg, begin die waarheid van hierdie vers oopgaan en sin maak. Daar is dieptes in die menslike hart wat geen ander skepsel kan peil nie, en selfs die mees wyse en volwasse mense staan soms verslae voor die gebrokenheid en vreemde weë van hulle eíe hart in tye van oorweldigende en onverklaarbare teëspoed in hierdie lewe. Dit is net hier waar ons ontdek daar is wél Een wat werklik die diepste smart van die menslike hart ken én kan genees. 1 Konings 8 vers 39 sê “want U alleen ken die hart van al die mensekinders.“ Dit is nie nodig om alleen deur die ‘dal van doodskaduwee’ te beweeg nie. Daar is ‘n Herder wat nader aan jou is as enige mens op hierdie aarde en wat jou hart selfs beter ken as wat jyself dit ken. Gló dit net. Dit is waar!
CONTROVERSY IS ESSENTIAL AND DEADLY – John Piper
Controversy is essential where precious truth is rejected or distorted. And controversy is deadly where disputation about truth dominates exultation in truth. The reason controversy is essential in the face of rejection and distortion is that God has ordained that the truth be maintained in the world partly by human defense. For example, Paul says in Philippians 1:7 that he is in prison for the “defense and confirmation of the gospel.” And Jude 3 says that we should “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” And Acts 17:2-3 says that Paul’s custom in the synagogue was to “reason” from the Scriptures and “explain and give evidence” that Jesus was the Christ. So the preservation and transmission of precious truth from person to person and generation to generation may require controversy where truth is rejected or distorted.
But controversy is also deadly because it feels threatening and so it tends to stir up defensiveness and anger. It’s deadly also because it focuses on the reasons for truth rather than the reality behind truth, and so tends to replace exultation in the truth with disputation about the truth. This is deadly because thinking rightly about truth is not an end in itself; it’s a means toward the goal of love and worship. Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:5 that “the goal of our instruction is love.” And he prayed in Philippians 1:9-11 that our “love . . . abound in knowledge . . . unto the glory and praise of God.” Controversy tends to threaten both love and praise. It’s hard to revel in a love poem while arguing with someone about whether or not your sweetheart wrote it.
ELECTION WITH A SPECIFIC PURPOSE IN MIND – Austin Sparks
The Lord selected the nation of Israel and said, “I have chosen you, not because you are better than the other nations, not because you are more worthy, but I have acted sovereignly and chosen you, or selected you, from among the nations, because I have a purpose that I want fulfilled. Now My purpose is just this, to use you to the good of all the other nations. All these other nations are going to come into blessing through My use of you, through My selection of you.”
Let us go to the Bible. What was the covenant with Abraham, who was the first of this nation? “In your seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). That does not sound as though all other nations were rejected and consigned to be lost, because they were not the selected ones—in your seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed.
We have a great illustration of this in Joseph, the beloved of his father. “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children… and when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him…” (Genesis 37:3–4). Joseph was sold into Egypt. Hence, it was through Joseph, that Egypt was saved from famine and from death. It was not only his brethren, the children of Israel his father who was saved, but it was through Joseph that the blessing of life, salvation came to the nation of Egypt. So Joseph, a chosen one, a selected one out of a nation took real blessing to the nations of the world.
Whatever word you like to use, “Election, chosen, selection,” just means: “To serve God in a purpose.” It does not mean that you should be saved, and others are appointed to be lost. See the twist that has been given to this word, and how false it is?! And we know right through their history that whenever Israel forgot, or lost sight of, and failed to fulfill their vocation to the nations, they were put under a state of suspension as to their very calling. They were in the nations for the nations, and when they made themselves an exclusive body, shut up to themselves, and despised the nations, and called the Gentiles dogs and had no dealings with them, and said we are the people, and we are the only people, God so heartily disapproved that He withdrew their vocation, and sent them into captivity.
DIE GROOT TRAGEDIE – Albert Theron
“As die evangelie wat ons verkondig, tog nog met ‘n sluier bedek is, is dit bedek net vir dié wat verlore gaan. Hulle is die ongelowiges wie se verstand deur die god van hierdie wêreld verblind is, sodat hulle die lig van die evangelie nie kan sien nie. Dit is die evangelie van die heerlikheid van Christus, wat die beeld van God is.” 2 Kor. 4:3-4 (NAV)
Is die heerlikheid van die evangelie bedoel vir hierdie ‘ongelowiges’ wat blind is in en deur hulle onkunde? Ja vir seker! Anders sou dit nie eers nodig gewees het om hulle te verblind nie, want die evangelie sou t.o.v. hulle eenvoudig irrelevant wees. Beide godsdienstige ongelowiges (sien 2 Kor. 3) en sekulêre ongelowiges weier om hulle eie ‘wysheid’ en self-ontwikkelde lewensfilosofie te verloën sodat God die sluier wat oor hulle verstand is, kan lig. Die Vader het niks anders as heerlikheid in Sy geliefde Seun vir hulle in gedagte nie (1 Tim. 2:3-4), maar hulle verkies die leuen. Wat ‘n enorme tragedie! Soveel te meer dan die onus op ons om te bid dat mense se oë sal oopgaan om die heerlike afgehandelde werk van Jesus te sien en hulle knie te buig voor Sy heerskappy.
THE SECOND COMING WILL BE A PHYSICAL COMING – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
The doctrine of the second coming teaches a physical coming of the Lord in the body. He said so Himself. When He was on trial, our Lord told the High Priest, ‘Hereafter you see the Son of man … coming on the clouds of heaven’ (Matt. 26:64). It will be a visible seeing; He will come in a physical manner. The classic passage which teaches this is the great statement in the first chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles: ‘And while they [the disciples] were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’ (Acts 1:10–11). In and of itself that is enough to establish that according to the Scriptures the second coming will be a physical coming. We find exactly the same thing in Hebrews 9:28 where the contrast is drawn between our Lord’s first and second comings, ‘So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.’ First coming, second coming – both physical. And in Revelation 1:7 we are told, ‘Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him.’ So we must be very careful to draw a distinction and insist that when we talk of our Lord’s second coming, we are not dealing with His spiritual influence; we are not concerned about the general preaching of the gospel and His teaching and the memory of Him; we are not even concerned about His spiritual manifestations; we are referring to something external and physical.
NET EEN LEWE – Albert Theron
“Bedink die dinge wat daarbo is, nie wat op die aarde is nie. Want julle het gesterwe, en julle lewe is saam met Christus verborge in God.” Kol. 3:2-3
“As ons dan saam met Christus gesterf het…” Rom. 6:8
Solank as wat ons die dood en opstanding van Jesus net sien as historiese gebeure wat iets vír ons moontlik gemaak het, mis ons steeds die groter krag van die evangelie. Dit is inderdaad ‘n wonderlike dag wanneer ek kan bely Jesus het vír my gesterf en opgestaan. Die dag wat ek egter sien ek het sáám met Hom gesterf en opgestaan is die dag wat ek besef ek het net een lewe voor God. Dit verander álles! Ek is in Christus ‘n nuwe mens wat nog leef in ‘n sterflike liggaam op ‘n gevalle planeet waar daar steeds bose magte en kragte opereer. Ek is nie ‘n vergeefde “ou mens” wat besig is om ‘n “nuwe mens” te word nie. Ek is nie een dag ‘n “ou mens” en die volgende dag ‘n “nuwe mens” nie. Selfs al tree ek soms nog so op! As dit waar is (en dit is) plaas dit my onder verpligting om anders te begin dink. Ek moet my “ou mens-nuwe mens” gedagtes eens en vir altyd laat vaar en gló dat my hemelse identiteit nou en vir altyd my onveranderlike “in Christus” werklikheid voor God is, en dan begin lééf daaruit.
A LIFE WITH THE ABILITY TO DO GOOD – Watchman Nee
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand in order that we would walk in them.” Brothers and sisters, remember that Ephesians 2:10 comes after verses 8 and 9. In the preceding verses, it says that we are saved by grace. Here it says that we are His masterpiece, created for good works which God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in. This is not a special experience for some Christians; rather, it should be the common experience of every saved Christian. God saves us in order that we may do good. Brothers and sisters, are our good works according to God’s ordination, or are we always complaining while we are doing good? Suppose you are mopping the floor. While you are mopping, you may complain that only one or two people are helping and that others are not helping. This will either result in boasting or murmuring. This is not doing good. Every good work of a Christian should be accompanied by an overflow of joy; we should not be stingy, boastful, or selfish, but generous and ready to give to others. It would be a pity if only the best Christians could do good. God’s ordination is that doing good should be the common experience of every Christian.
THE GLORIOUS HOPE OF A NEW BODY – William Newell
“But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies, through His Spirit that dwells in you.” Romans 6:11
The body—the mortal body—is the subject of this verse. Our spirits have been shown to have life,—now: while the body is still dead—as to God: But now God announces that to these bodies, so dead to God, holiness and heaven, is by and by to be given life! First, we are reminded that the Spirit of that God who raised up Jesus is dwelling in us. Now, Jesus is our Lord’s personal name: “You shall call His name Jesus.” It was Jesus whom they crucified, and buried in Joseph’s tomb. With Jesus, before His death and resurrection, we were not joined; but with Christ Jesus, the Risen One! This is His resurrection Name: indeed, He is never named thus until the Epistles. Now we are asked to reflect on that place of weakness and deadness in which Jesus once was. But God raised Him up from the dead. And the Spirit of the God who thus raised Jesus is dwelling in us! So that, although our bodies are yet dead on account of sin,—dead to God,—the Spirit of Him who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead,—Christ Jesus, in whom we now are,—this God will give life also to these poor mortal bodies of ours! And it will be by His Spirit who now indwells us! (This word “mortal” means, subject to physical death; and is used in Scripture only of the body.) What an unutterable comfort! “Whether we wake or sleep,” this blessed indwelling Spirit of God will give life to these mortal dead-to-God bodies of ours, so that they shall be as alive Godward as our redeemed spirits now are! It is present comfort beyond measure to know that when the day comes, God will do this blessed giving of life to our bodies through His Spirit that is now dwelling in us!
OORWINNING SLEGS OP DIE WEG VAN DIE LIEFDE – Albert Theron
“Want dit is die liefde tot God, dat ons sy gebooie bewaar; en sy gebooie is nie swaar nie.” 1 Joh. 5:3 (OAV)
“Die liefde vir God bestaan dan daarin dat ons sy gebooie gehoorsaam. Sy gebooie is ook nie moeilik om te gehoorsaam nie.” 1 Joh. 5:3 (NAV)
Ons voel soms oorweldig deur die gevallenheid bo ons, rondom ons, en selfs in ons en boonop die ewige gesukkel om dinge en verhoudings te laat werk in die ou wêreld waar alles so maklik uitmekaar val en ten gronde gaan. Sulke tye kan die pad van ‘n dissipel van Jesus vir ons onmoontlik steil voorkom. Jy het net-net die vorige bult gemaak, dan lê daar nog ‘n steiler een voor jou. Om dan te lees dat God se gebooie ‘nie swaar is nie’ laat ‘n mens se mond oophang en jy wonder heimlik of Johannes op dieselfde planeet as ons geleef het. Let wel, hy sê nie ‘die lewe is maklik, want God sorteer alles sommerso in ‘n japtrap vir ons uit’ nie. Dit sou op sigself verstommend wees. Hy sê in teendeel elders jy gaan baie téénkanting kry in die wêreld én dan moet jy nog te midde van alles gehoorsaam wees aan alles wat God van jou vra. Sjoe! Hoe dan? Johannes praat van die oorwinning op die weg van die liefde. As mens iemand liefhet is dit ‘n vreugde om hulle hartsbegeertes te bevredig, selfs al verg dit baie opofferings. Deur die wedergeboorte het ons die bonatuurlike liefde van God ín ons. Ons neem egter so maklik sypaadjies wat ook belowe om ons by gehoorsaamheid uit te bring, maar Johannes sê in effek daar is net een pad wat werk. Dit is die pad van die bonatuurlike liefde van God ín my wat lei tot die bonatuurlike liefde vír God gedemonstreer deur my gewillige gehoorsaamheid aan die begeertes van Sy Vaderhart.
THE MEANING OF WATER BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER – Miles Stanford
The principle of life out of death is pictured both in our public baptism and in the Lord’s Supper. Actually, our water baptism is to be a testimony of our reckoning [Rom. 6:11]. We count ourselves to have been baptized into (placed in union with) the Lord Jesus by the Spirit, and therefore we died unto sin with Him, were buried with Him, and arose in Him (Rom. 6:3-4). The testimony of this reckoning is carried out in pictorial form by our being baptized in (placed in) water, which covers us in burial, from which we arise to “walk in newness of life.” We are confessing that we died and were buried, as far as the old source of life is concerned, and now are risen as new creations to walk in the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Water baptism, therefore, holds less than its full meaning to the believer until he has apprehended the identification truths. Water baptism testifies to our position: we have died to the old life, and are alive in the new. The Lord’s Supper sets forth our experience (condition): we are being conformed to His death, so that His life may be manifested. We do not leave the influence of the cross to live, but we continually receive the benefit of its emancipation for our walk in newness of life. To what are we testifying in receiving and assimilating the broken bread and the fruit of the vine? “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Cor. 11:26). The testimony of our baptism is a once-for-all picture of our reckoning upon the finished work, and represents our position. The Lord’s Supper is a continuous picture of our being conformed to His death, and has to do with our condition. We confess that we are continually participating in His death, via reckoning, that His resurrection life may be increasingly manifested in and through our mortal bodies.
FONTEINE WAT NIE BEVREDIG NIE – Albert Theron
“U sal my die pad van die lewe bekend maak; versadiging van vreugde is voor u aangesig, lieflikhede in u regterhand, vir ewig.” Psalm 16:11
Dawid het ontdek dat niks op hierdie aarde ‘n mens finaal kan versadig nie. Geen aardse water kan die dieper dors les nie. Dit is net die water wat Jesus gee wat die dors van die menslike hart totaal kan bevredig (Joh. 4:13-14). Dit is net voor die aangesig van God wat ‘n mens se hart werklik kan stilraak en begin rus in volkome tevredenheid en onbeperkte vreugde. Hoe tragies dat mensekinders by soveel verskillende fonteine drink om finale bevrediging te vind terwyl dit net by God te vinde is. Hy nooi alle mense uit om verniet te kom drink van die fonteine van heil in Christus. “En laat hom wat dors het, kom; en laat hom wat wil, die water van die lewe neem, verniet.” (Openb. 22:17).
THE GROUND OF PEACE – C.H. Mackintosh
It is well that we should be clear as to the distinction between the ground of peace, and that which is the spring of growth and devotedness in our daily walk; in other words, that we should understand the distinction between the work of the Lord Jesus for us, and the work of the Holy Spirit in us. The former is illustrated by the blood on the lintel outside; the latter, by the Israelites’ actings inside.
When anyone, through grace, receives the Saviour, in the Divine efficacy of His accomplished work on the Cross, he is introduced into a position in which the Father can address him as to his conduct; he becomes the subject of loving parental care and child training. But then he must be careful not to confound the question of his walk with the ground of his perfect, his profound peace in the presence of his Father.
Many suffer in this way; they do not understand the fullness of the Lord Jesus for them, and their everlasting completeness in Him, together with the settled judgment of the Father about them. Now, while there is any dimness or uncertainty as to this there can neither be settled peace of conscience, nor any intelligent ground for true spiritual activity. * Everything will be referred to the question of peace, rather than to the glory of the Lord Jesus, which should be our aim, and which will be our goal in proportion as we enter into the Divine reality of what we are in Him, through the infinite grace of our Father.
The more we realize the truth that everything has been accomplished on the Cross, for the perfect establishment of our peace in connection with the holiness of God, the more we shall see how futile is every thought about ourselves. A question as to the believer’s peace, is, in reality, a question as to the accomplished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you touch one, you touch the other; for “Christ is our peace.” Our Father’s estimate of Him and of us in Him is the same – “You are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” “As He is, so are we in this world.” “Wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved.”
* Before we find complete rest in the finished work of Christ we will of necessity be occupied with futile fleshly attempts to attain complete inner peace, instead of being focused on the glory of Christ. (A.T.)
THE FINE FLOUR OF SPIRITUAL TRUTH – C.H. Spurgeon
To a very large degree we have not been true to our own professions: our highest work has been neglected, we have not kept our own vineyards. In looking back, how little time has been spent by us in communion with God! How little a part of our thoughts has been occupied with meditation, contemplation, adoration, and other acts of devotion! How little have we surveyed the beauties of Christ, his person, his work, his sufferings, his glory! We say that it is “heaven below” to commune with Christ; but do we do it? We profess that there is no place like the mercy-seat. How much are we at that mercy-seat? We often say that the Word of God is precious that every page of it glows with a heavenly light. Do we study it? Friends, how much time do you spend upon it? I venture to say that the bulk of Christians spend more time in reading the newspaper than they do in reading the Word of God. I trust that I am too severe in this statement, but I am afraid, greatly afraid, that I am not. The last new book, perhaps the last sentimental story, will win attentive reading; when the divine, mysterious, unutterable depths of heavenly knowledge are disregarded by us. Our Puritan forefathers were strong men, because they lived on the Scriptures. None stood against them in their day, for they fed on good food, whereas their degenerate children are far too fond of unwholesome food. The ‘chaff of fiction’, and the ‘bran of the Quarterlies’, are poor substitutes for the ‘old corn of Scripture’, the ‘fine flour of spiritual truth’.
DIE ‘KERKMASJIEN’ – Albert Theron
“En skryf aan die engel van die gemeente in Sardis: Dít sê Hy wat die sewe Geeste van God en die sewe sterre het: Ek ken jou werke, dat jy die naam het dat jy leef en jy is dood.” Openb. 3:1 (OAV)
“…Ek weet dat julle die naam het dat julle lewe, en tog is julle dood.” Openb. 3:1 (NAV)
Hy soek sy petrol, sy olie, en sy dienste. Hoe groter hy word, hoe meer tyd neem hy in beslag. Hy het nie lewe nie en gee nie lewe nie, maar hy belowe so baie. Hy is gemaak om in gery te word, maar voor jy jou kom kry is hy in beheer en doen hý die rywerk. Sy slagoffers tel in die duisende. Sy wiele het al baie dissipels van Jesus raakgetrap. Pasop vir die ‘kerkmasjien’! Die gemeente van Jesus is ‘n organisme wat gebruik maak van organisasie. Wanneer die organisasie mense begin misbruik om homself te bevoordeel en laat groei, het dit ‘n gruwel en ‘n onding geword.
THE ASTOUNDING MORAL FORCE OF THE CROSS – F.J. Huegel
Dr. Marbie in his notable work on The Cross, speaks of the Saviour’s death as “Immortal-dying.” It generated a force-moral force destructive of sin-beside which all the cold ethics of the ages, all the precepts of the moralists, yea, all the laws of the nations are as the twinkle of a star beside the sun’s meridian blaze. Indeed, it was not mere dying. The rocks were rent, and the earth quaked when in that hour of triumph the Son of Man cried out (the Evangelists insist that it was with “a loud voice”), “It is finished.” Life did not merely ebb out. The force of it increased. That is why in the final hour the great Cry of Consummation shook the very earth. “When the centurion saw that so He cried out. . . he said: Truly this Man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39). Rightly does Dr. Mabie speak of the “death-resurrection-midprocess.” The resurrection was in the death, and the death is in the resurrection. Now this concentrated Moral Radium, if I may so speak, is released in the believer’s spirit when he yields himself to the Christ of the Cross. The “old life” brought under the dynamic of the Cross, is doomed to die. Resurrection life takes its place. Little wonder the Apostle to the Gentiles cried out “God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom I am crucified unto the world, and the world unto me.”
AS JY DINK JY WEET, WEET JY NIKS – Albert Theron
“As iemand meen dat hy enige kennis het, weet hy nog niks soos ‘n mens behoort te weet nie.” 1 Kor. 8:2
Hierdie vers sny diep en konfronteer ons met ons inherente begeerte om altyd op hoogte te wees en tog net nooit in ‘n posisie waar ons moet erken ons het nie kennis, of voldoende kennis, oor iets nie. W.E. Vine parafraseer die teks as volg: “If a man imagines he has fully acquired knowledge, he has not even begun to know how it ought to be gained.” In hierdie sin kan die gevaarlikste kennis, vreemd genoeg, Bybelkennis wees. Dit is hoekom Paulus in die vorige vers sê ‘die kennis maak opgeblase, maar die liefde stig.’ Die skrifgeleerdes en Fariseërs het tonne kennis van die Bybel gehad, maar met al hulle kennis het hulle nie raakgesien dat Jesus hulle Messias was nie. Hoekom nie? Want God het die ware geestelike kennis en insig oor Sy Seun vir hulle verberg. Is hierdie waarheid dan van toepassing op mense wat reeds wedergebore is? Sekerlik! Die Nuwe Testament is propvol waarskuwings oor die gevare van ‘n kopkennis wat nie deur die Heilige Gees geopenbaar is nie. Ons teks in 1 Korinthiërs 8 is ‘n goeie voorbeeld. Pasop vir die afdraaipaadjies van die verstand as hy onafhanklik van die Gees begin funksioneer. Die Here wil ons vir seker baie dinge leer, maar dit is maklik om ‘n Slimjan te raak met ‘n kop soos ‘n waatlemoen en ‘n hart soos ‘n grondboontjie. Ons kennis moet ons dieper neem in verhouding met God en laat groei in liefde vir mekaar. Die beste moontlike kennis is om te weet dat jy niks weet, in terme van die Bybel se definisie van ‘weet’, solank as wat jy dink jy kan alles met jou kop uitredeneer nie. Dan alleen is jou voete stewig op die pad na die ware kennis van God soos geopenbaar deur die Heilige Gees. Op hierdie pad is daar baie openbaringe en ‘n vaste sekerheid wat net kom deur die insig wat God gee aan ‘n nederige en leerbare hart.
BOUND BY EARTHLY FENCES – Austin Sparks
Spiritual measure is not a matter of anything here, even for the Lord – its success, its support, its maintenance – but just how much it is answering to the full thought of God in a spiritual way. That is what counts, and that is heavenly ground. We know so well that if people are more concerned with the maintenance of something for the Lord on this earth – keeping it going, building it up, making it successful – they are in a realm of spiritual limitation, and not until they are completely lifted out of such considerations with the one question – How far is this answering to the Lord’s fully-revealed mind? – and are governed by that alone, can there be real progress and spiritual enlargement. Is it not true? And it is impressive that people who are really tied up with some thing – some organization, some piece of work, some society, some mission, some institution – even though it be for God in all sincerity – if that is their horizon, if that constitutes their world, they are limited spiritually. They go just so far spiritually and no farther. They are bound by their own earthly fences, the fences of that particular thing. Get away from things, out to the vast range of God’s eternal, timeless purpose, and you find all fences are down and spiritual enlargement takes place. It is the only way.
THE ULTIMATE OUTRAGE – John Piper
What makes sin sin is not first that it hurts people, but that it blasphemes God. This is the ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe.
The glory of God is not honored.
The holiness of God is not reverenced.
The greatness of God is not admired.
The power of God is not praised.
The truth of God is not sought.
The wisdom of God is not esteemed.
The beauty of God is not treasured.
The goodness of God is not savored.
The faithfulness of God is not trusted.
The promises of God are not relied upon.
The commandments of God are not obeyed.
The justice of God is not respected.
The wrath of God is not feared.
The grace of God is not cherished.
The presence of God is not prized.
The person of God is not loved.
The infinite, all-glorious Creator of the universe, by whom and for whom all things exist (Rom. 11:36) – who holds every person’s life in being at every moment (Acts 17:25) – is disregarded, disbelieved, disobeyed, and dishonored by everybody in the world. That is the ultimate outrage of the universe.
Why is it that people can become emotionally and morally indignant over poverty and exploitation and prejudice and the injustice of man against man and yet feel little or no remorse or indignation that God is so belittled? It’s because of sin. That is what sin is. Sin is esteeming and valuing and honoring and enjoying man and his creations above God. So even our man-centered anger at the hurt of sin is part of sin. God is marginal in human life. That is our sin, our condition.
SY GEES ROEP ‘ABBA VADER’ IN JOU! – Albert Theron
“En omdat julle kinders is, het God die Gees van sy Seun in julle harte uitgestuur, en Hy roep: Abba, Vader!” Gal. 4:6
Al die kinders van Adam dwaal Vaderloos rond op ‘n gevalle planeet. Die woorde van God aan Adam eggo deur die eeue ‘die dag as jy daarvan eet, sal jy sekerlik sterwe’ (Gen. 2:17). Om sonder verhouding met die Vader te leef is om verlore en sonder enige hoop te wees. Dit is om geestelik dood te wees. Die dag wat jy egter uit jou diepe verlorenheid en Godsverwydering die naam van Jesus aanroep, word jy oombliklik in Hom geplaas en Hy in jou en ontvang jy die ewige Seun se tydlose verhouding met die Vader as jou grootste geskenk. Hierdie Seun was altyd by die Vader en Hy leef in Sy boesem (Joh. 1:18). Hierdie Seun leef in onbeperkte intimiteit met die ewige Vader. Hierdie Seun se Gees is met die wedergeboorte in jou hart uitgestuur en Hy roep binne-in jou ‘Abba, Vader!’. Jy is nie meer Vaderloos nie. Jy hoef nie te leef soos ‘n geestelike weeskind nie. Moenie as dissipel van Jesus probeer om jou eie verhouding met die Vader na te jaag onafhanklik van die Seun nie. Dit is futiel! Jou verhouding met die Vader is in en deur die ewige Seun. Glo dit en verbly jou daarin! Kyk weg van jouself na Jesus en jy sal die ‘Abba Vader’ in jou binneste begin hoor. Eers saggies en vaag, maar dan al hoe duideliker, totdat dit die refrein van jou hele lewe word.
PSEUDO BELIEFS – K.P.Yohannan
The Bible is full of illustrations of two groups of people— those who know the truth and say, “Lord, Lord,” but who demonstrate by their very lives that they do not really mean it; and those who say, “Lord, Lord,” and follow His footsteps. The second group are the people who have counted the cost, who look straight at the cross and gladly accept the inconveniences, pain and price they must pay to follow the Lord. We read about these people of faith in Hebrews 11. Their faith cost them everything but they changed the course of their generation. C.S. Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters, “Active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened. The more often [a man] feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.” How true this is! God’s Word says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). A.W. Tozer wrote in his book The Root of the Righteous: We can prove our faith by our committal to it, and in no other way. Any faith that does not command the one who holds it is not a real belief; it is a pseudo belief only. And it might shock some of us profoundly if we were brought suddenly face to face with our beliefs and forced to test them in the fires of practical living. Many of us Christians have become extremely skillful in arranging our lives so as to admit the truth of Christianity without being embarrassed by its implications. So wide is the gulf that separates theory from practice in the church that an inquiring stranger who chances upon both would scarcely dream that there was any relation between them. An intelligent observer of our human scene who heard the Sunday morning sermon, and later watched the Sunday afternoon conduct of those who had heard it, would conclude that he had been examining two distinct and contrary religions.
DIE VADER SE PLAN WERK DEUR GELOOF – Albert Theron
“Maar Ek sê julle die waarheid: Dit is vir julle voordelig dat Ek weggaan; want as Ek nie weggaan nie, sal die Trooster nie na julle kom nie; maar as Ek weggaan, sal Ek Hom na julle stuur.” Joh. 16:7
Terwyl Jesus op aarde was, moes mense fisies by Hom wees om Sy heerlikheid te sien. Die skares kon net van ‘n afstand Sy werke, woorde en teenwoordigheid in hulle midde aanskou en waardeer. Al het Hy tog ook baie mense aangeraak, genees en verlos in die tyd van Sy bediening op aarde was Hy beperk tot een liggaam. Vandag leef ons egter in die era van die Gees (2 Kor. 3:8) en kan elkeen wat wil onmiddellike toegang kry tot die heerlikheid van Jesus. Elke dissipel van Jesus het die Gees van Christus in hulle en daarom is daar geen afstand of verwydering tussen ons en Jesus nie. Dit is egter ‘n waarheid waarvan ons net in geloof voordeel kan trek. Die Gees is uitgestort, die afstand is oorbrug, die Seun is teenwoordig, die lewe is nou in jou! Dit is net met die geloofsoog wat die werklikheid daarvan vir jou tasbaar word. Terwyl jy nog steun op jou eie menslike pogings om jou verhouding met God te verbeter, staan jy in die pad van die openbaring van Christus in jou. Terwyl jy nog vertroue het in jou eie wilskrag (gewilligheid is iets anders) om lojaliteit aan Jesus te verseker, misken jy die krag van jou eenheid met Christus in die era van die Gees. Die Vader se plan werk net deur geloof.
HIS NAME IS OUR SANCTUARY – William Kelly
When Christ was rejected from the earth and went back to heaven, all was changed, and the heart allegiance of God’s children is transferred to heaven. The true sanctuary for us is the name of Christ. What the Old Testament connected for an earthly people with the temple, the New Testament does with Jesus. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” If there were ever so few true to that, they would reap the blessing. It is of great importance to trace things to their principle. When the apostle wrote to the Galatians, only the germs were showing themselves; they had not got to the length of consecrated buildings and castes of men, with all the pomp and circumstance of religious worship suited to the world, which we see around us now, the result of the gradual inroads of error upon the Christian professing body. But still there was the beginning of the mischief, the attempt to bring in the principles of the law upon Christians. And what is the effect? You only fall into the position of Ishmael, out of Isaac’s. To be thus identified with the law is to be an Ishmael, to forfeit the promises and to become a mere child of the bond-woman. This is the argument that the apostle uses to deal with the Galatians, who were flattering themselves that they had made immense progress; but it was really a slip out of liberty into bondage.
NO CONDEMNATION IN CHRIST – John Piper
What Paul is saying is that all of God’s condemning wrath and all of his omnipotent opposition to us in our sin has been replaced by almighty mercy and omnipotent assistance. In other words, if you are in Christ Jesus all of God’s action toward you is almighty mercy and omnipotent assistance. It is not mixed. It is not as though some days he is against you with wrath – and those days are bad days – while other days he is for you with love – and those days are good days. That is emphatically not the case and not the way to think about it. It may seem that way. But that is precisely why we need the truth of God’s revelation in his word. Most of the time in this world of pleasure and pain things are not what they seem. To understand what things are really like and what is really happening we need to put on the lens of God’s word.
So I say it again: what God wants us to understand from Romans 8:1 when he says through the apostle Paul, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” is that all of God’s condemning wrath and all of his omnipotent opposition against us in our sin has been entirely replaced by almighty mercy and omnipotent assistance. In Christ Jesus God is always for you. Always! This is where Paul is going in Romans 8. He gets there in verse 31 and says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us!” His point is that in Christ Jesus “no condemnation” means that God is always omnipotently for us and not against us. Always!
Now this is breathtaking. If we could believe it, practically, morning till night deep in our souls – if this truth that God is only for us and not against us, and that he is for us with almighty mercy and omnipotent assistance all day and all night, waking and sleeping, Oh how differently we would live and sleep! What freedom! What a joy! What a peace! What a risk-taking boldness! What a fearlessness! What a sacrificial life-style of love and service and mercy! What a patience! What a serenity . . . we would have.
JY IS NIE MEER WAT JY WAS NIE – Albert Theron
“Want vroeër was julle duisternis, maar nou is julle lig in die Here — wandel soos kinders van die lig.” Efes. 5:8
Voor die dag wat ons reageer het op die heerlike evangelie van Jesus Christus was ons ‘sonder hoop en sonder God in die wêreld’ (Efes. 2:12). Ons was ‘dood deur die misdade en die sondes’ (Efes. 2:1). Ons het gewandel ‘in die begeerlikhede van ons vlees’, het ‘die wil van die vlees en van die sinne gedoen’ en ‘ons was van nature kinders van die toorn’ (Efes. 2:3). Ons was ‘onverstandig, ongehoorsaam, op ’n dwaalweg, verslaaf aan allerhande begeerlikhede en singenot; ons het in boosheid en afguns gelewe; ons was haatlik en het mekaar gehaat.’ (Titus 3:3). Maar ons is nie meer wat ons was nie! Ons is nou ‘lig in die Here’ en die appél op ons lewens is om te wandel ooreenkomstig die nuwe lewe wat in ons is. Vroeër kon ons lewe as geheel beskryf word as ‘duisternis’, maar nou as ‘lig’, en dit alles as gevolg van ons eenheid met Christus. As jou wandel nog tekens toon van die duisternis van jou vorige lewe, begin dit aan te spreek vanuit die lig van jou núwe lewe in Christus.
A RELIGION OF SELF – William Law
The natural or unregenerate man, educated in pagan learning, and scholastic theology, seeing the strength of his genius in the search after knowledge, how easily and learnedly he can talk, and write, criticize and determine upon all scripture words and facts, looks at all this as a full proof of his own religious wisdom, power and goodness, and calls immediate inspiration enthusiasm, not considering, that all the woes denounced by Christ against scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites, are so many woes now at this day denounced against every appearance and show of religion, that the natural man can practice. And what is well to be noted, everyone, however high in human literature, is but this very natural man, and can only have the goodness of a carnal secular religion, till as empty of all, as a new born child, the Spirit of God gets a full birth in him, and becomes the inspirer and doer of all that he wills, does, and aims at, in his whole course of religion.
Our divine master compares the religion of the learned Pharisees “to whited sepulchers, outwardly beautiful, but inwardly full of rottenness, stench, and dead men’s bones.” Now whence was it, that a religion, so serious in its restraints, so beautiful in its outward form and practices, and commanding such reverence from all that beheld it, was yet charged by truth itself with having inwardly such an abominable nature? It was only for this one reason, because it was a religion of self. Therefore, from the beginning to the end of the world, it must be true, that where self is kept alive, has power, and keeps up its own interests, whether in speaking, writing, teaching or defending the most specious number of scripture doctrines and religious forms, there is that very old Pharisee still alive, whom Christ with so much severity of language constantly condemned. And the reason of such heavy condemnation is, because self is the only root, or rather the sum total of all sin; every sin that can be named is centered in it, and the creature can sin no higher, than he can live to self.
JESUS SE GENESING – Philip du Toit
Matteus 20:29-34 praat van die blindes wat Jesus genees het. Hulle het na Jesus geroep: “Wees ons barmhartig, Here, Seun van Dawid! (v. 30,31). “Toe gaan Jesus staan en roep hulle en sê: Wat wil julle hê moet Ek vir julle doen? Hulle antwoord Hom: Here, dat ons oë geopen mag word. En Jesus het innig jammer vir hulle gevoel en hulle oë aangeraak, en dadelik het hulle oë gesien, en hulle het Hom gevolg.” (vv. 32-34).
Jesus kan genees en genees steeds. Ek kan daarvan getuig! Ons het onlangs in ons gemeente weer heelwat wonderbaarlike genesings ervaar. Volgens hierdie gedeelte in Matteus is genesing nie ‘n doel op sigself nie. Dit was nie slegs hulle fisiese oë wat geopen is nie, maar ook hulle geestelike oë. Toe Jesus hulle oë geopen het, het hulle Hom gevolg. Genesing moet nooit by ons ‘n doel op sigself wees nie. God se dieper, groter doel vir ons lewe is dat ons vir Jesus sal sien vir wie Hy is, en Hom sal volg in alles wat ons is. Fisiese sig kan dit nooit oortref nie.
NO NEED FOR TASKMASTERS – Austin Sparks
The devil can take hold of God’s things and use them for your destruction, for your undoing, and to slay you. He has done that with the law. The law was holy, but there are these cosmic forces working even by this means to bring man into bondage. Redemption from the law, freedom from the law, is redemption from death and from the devil. If you stand on legal ground since Christ has died, you stand in bondage not only to the law, but to the devil. The legalists are the people who kill everything, blight everything. With the rigid legalist all the beauty and life goes out at once. The legalist is the person who is living in terror lest he should break the law as an outward observance. In Christ we do not violate the holy thoughts and desires of God. That is not redemption from the law; it is redemption from that bondage of the law which is dead. How are we redeemed? We are saved by His life. The Lord Jesus as the risen One, and the power of His risen life within us, lifts us so that the law is no longer something that is driving and harassing, “Thou shalt love the Lord…”. In the power of the risen life of Christ do you need to be driven to love the Lord with all your mind, soul, and strength? In the power of Christ do you want taskmasters to make you love your neighbour as yourself? Is it necessary to be stood over with the lash of, “Thou shalt not steal”, to one who is living in the power of Christ? You have a living “something” in you which means the fulfilment of the law is not irksome to you.
CHRIST IN ME FOR OTHERS – James Fowler
As important as the gospel of the indwelling life of Jesus Christ is, we must not develop an inordinate focus on “Christ in me” to the extent that it negates the other-oriented essence of God’s love expressed as “Christ in me for others.” It would be a self-oriented gospel that merely concerned itself with the benefits of Christ in me, apart from the beneficence of Christ in me, through me, unto others. If the consistent demonstration of “walking by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16,25) is not “Christ in me for others,” then there is no validity in asserting “Christ in me,” for the character of Christ is love (and the correlative “fruit of the Spirit” – 5:22,23), actively expressed for the sake of others. The consistent expression of the character of Christ in the Christian must be consummated in loving expression that “serves one another” (Gal. 5:13). Jesus explicitly declared that He “did not come to be served” (Matt. 20:28), but was “among us as One who serves” (Lk. 22:27), and He continues to manifest the same unchangeable loving character of service to others in Christians today.
BLIND VIR ONS EIE BLINDEKOLLE – Albert Theron
“Want by U is die fontein van die lewe; in u lig sien ons die lig.” Ps. 36:10
“In Hom was lewe, en die lewe was die lig van die mense.” Joh. 1:4
“En Jesus het weer met hulle gespreek en gesê: Ek is die lig van die wêreld; wie My volg, sal sekerlik nie in die duisternis wandel nie, maar sal die lig van die lewe hê.” Joh. 8:12
Ons is almal met dubbele blindheid gebore. Nie net het ons blindekolle wat hardnekkig saam met ons loop op die lewenspad nie, maar ons is ook sonder uitsondering blind vir ons eie blindekolle. Ja sekerlik kan ons in oomblikke van ongewone eerlikheid en deursigtigheid met ‘n kwalik verskanste self-bewustheid ‘n mate van erkenning gee aan die areas van ons karakter wat so onverklaarbaar ons ‘perfekte self-oordeel’ onstnap het. Maar wanneer die lig van Christus deur die krag van die Gees ‘n slag ons binnewêreld ordentlik verlig, moet ons erken dat ons eintlik maar amper totaal blind is vir ons eie blindekolle. Op die grond en sterkte van die nuwe geboorte in Christus bring ons hemelse Vader stadig maar seker deur die Gees van Christus vir ons ‘n ware visie van ons inherente blindheid vir ons eie blindekolle? Hoekom is dit nodig? Kan ons nie maar net leer van ons nuwe identiteit in Christus nie? Nee. Ons Vader is te lief vir ons om ons te laat leef in die waan van self-misleiding wat kleef aan alle vlees op hierdie gevalle planeet. Hy wil ons speen van álle self-vertroue sodat ons in wérklikheid kan leef uit ons nuwe identiteit in Christus, sonder ‘n vermenging van die ou en die nuwe. Slegs dan breek die krag van die nuwe skepping volledig deur in die helder lig van God se heerlikheid en kan ons al die kosbare beloftes van God in Sy Seun waarlik in besit neem. As ons hierdie waarheid glo en onvoorwaardelik omhels, sal dit nie net in ons eie lewe en verhoudings radikale veranderings inlui nie, maar dit sal ook ‘n rewolusie in ons gemeentes teweeg bring.
SALIGE AFHANKLIKHEID – Albert Theron
“Salig is die wat arm van gees is, want aan hulle behoort die koninkryk van die hemele.” Matt. 5:3 (OAV)
“Geseënd is dié wat weet hoe afhanklik hulle van God is, want aan hulle behoort die koninkryk van die hemel.” Matt. 5:3 (NAV)
Jesus skroom nie vir ‘n oomblik om die kernprobleem van die gevalle mensdom direk aan te spreek nie. Sy woorde is soos ‘n pyl wat reguit en sekuur na die teiken beweeg en dan diep penetreer. Hy wil dit uit die staanspoor baie duidelik maak dat die gesindheid van ons harte radikaal moet skuif van ‘n sondige ónafhanklikheid na ‘n kinderlike áfhanklikheid wat in alles en in elke situasie instinktief na die Vader gaan om Sy wysheid en krag te verkry. Later in Sy bediening (Joh. 13-17) maak Jesus dit duidelik dat hierdie afhanklike lewe slegs geleef kan word in ‘n wesenlike eenheid met Hom deur die krag van die Gees. Sonder Hom kan ons nie ‘n enkele tree in die regte rigting gee nie (Joh. 15:5)! Hy gee ook nie net hulp en krag nie, Hy ís die krag, lewe en wysheid binne-in ons (1 Kor. 1:30).