Chapter 11: Of Justification

Comprehensive Description of Justification

1._____ Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ’s active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God.

Outline

NoJustification Questions1689 Answer
1Who are the subjects?Those whom God effectually calleth he also freely justifieth
2How are they not justified?not by infusing righteousness into them
3How are they justified?but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous
4What is not the basis of justification?not for anything wrought in them, or done by them
5What is the basis of justification?but for Christ’s sake alone
6What is not the method of justification?not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness;
7What is the method of justification?but by imputing Christ’s active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness
8What is the means of justification?by faith
9Who is source of the means?which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God

Exclusive and the only means of justification

2._____ Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.

The divine glory of justification

3._____ Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified; and did, by the sacrifice of himself in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them, make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in their behalf; yet, inasmuch as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for anything in them, their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.

Outline

Its basis: the full satisfaction of God’s justice

Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified; and did, by the sacrifice of himself in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them, make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in their behalf;

Its motive: the free grace of God’s benevolence.

yet, inasmuch as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for anything in them, their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.

Trinity involved in justification

4._____ God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did in the fullness of time die for their sins, and rise again for their justification; nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit doth in time due actually apply Christ unto them.

Outline

Father decreed

  • God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect

Christ purchased

  • and Christ did in the fullness of time die for their sins, and rise again for their justification; nevertheless,

Holy Spirit Applies

  • nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit doth in time due actually apply Christ unto them

Sins of the Justified

5._____ God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified, and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure; and in that condition they have not usually the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.

Outline

The continued forgiveness of their sins.

  • God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified

The impossibility of perishing due to their sins.

  • and although they can never fall from the state of justification

The fatherly displeasure due to their sins.

  • yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure; and in that condition they have not usually the light of his countenance restored unto them,

Way back to Father’s love

  • until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.

The epochal unity of justification

6._____ The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.

Jephthah’s Daughter

Judges 11 introduces us to Jephthah and his daughter. Her name is not mentioned in the passage.

Jephthah was rejected by his family and tribe and was sent away as he was a son of a harlot.  When the people of Israel faced an inevitable war with the people of Ammon, they realised the need of a warrior like Jephthah and they came to him requesting his help.  Jephthah agreed to help if they would make him the head and commander over the people.  After the initial talks with Ammonites failed, Jephthah prepares for the battle.  In verse 30 of Judges 11, Jephthah makes a vow to the Lord, “If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord ’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” And the Lord gave him the victory and when he returned back home in peace, he sees his daughter coming out dancing to celebrate his victory and remembers his vow and mentions it to his beloved daughter with a broken heart.

Her reply to her father is just amazing. Jud 11;36 “So she said to him, “My father, if you have given your word to the Lord , do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, because the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the people of Ammon.”

She requests her father that she may be alone for two months, that she may go and wander on the mountains and bewail her virginity with her friends.   “And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, 40 That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

Lessons to apply from the life of Jephthath’s daughter :

  1. Don’t make vows in haste to the Lord.

From the life of Jephthah, we learn it very clearly that we must not make vows unto the Lord in haste.  We have to face the consequences for it, one mistake of ours can not only affect us but even our family and children.

  2. Be obedient and make efforts to fulfil every promise you make to the Lord.

Jephthath’s daughter was very obedient in keeping her father’s vow to the Lord. We see that in verse 36, how beautifully she tells to her father that if you have given a word to the Lord , do to me as per your word. This shows that she had the fear of God. Be it whatever even if it is to risk our life we must keep up the word we have made to the Lord.

3. Her commitment in fulfilling the promise.

It is not easy as a young girl to let go of your dreams, your life. But we see true commitment in Jephthath’s daughter to fulfill the promise made unto God. True commitment to God comes only when you know who God is and what he has done for you. She took every step in fulfilling the promise which her father made.

4. Her response was not a natural one – She was trained in godliness.

We all have the tendency to counter react when we hear something against us, but here we see a different response. Just as she heard the phrase ‘vow to God’ she obliged by it and her response was not just like a natural person. This shows how she was trained in godliness; the fear and love she had for God.

5. Though her response was different, she had the right to make her father realise his mistake.

She could have told her father that ‘Human sacrifice was expressly forbidden by God’.

Woman with the issue of blood

Scripture Reference: Matt 9: 20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48.

Introduction

  • We study about this character in all the synoptic– Matthew, Mark and Luke. We are not sure about her name, the only thing we know about her is that she was suffering with the issue of blood. She was struggling from this issue for 12 years and had met all possible physicians and spent her fortune trying to treat her illness.  Sadly, she didn’t feel any better but rather her condition got worse.

Qualities of this women

  • Her Affliction

Firstly, she had the issue of blood and that issue was not just for few days or few months instead it was for 12 long years!  As women, we can relate very well with this issue. Enduring this issue just for few days every month is a big struggle for most of us, just imagine this women’s condition, 12 years of pain and struggle, it’s a chronic condition.  How much of pain, struggle, affliction she would have gone through!

As if this is not enough, in the Jewish culture, this state of women are considered unclean and unfit to be any company.  It is difficult for moderners like us to grasp social stigma she had to endure in that society.  This woman has gone through a lot of afflictions both physically in her body and mentally the way people treated her.

  • Her Patience

Amidst her afflictions, she has patiently endured for 12 years, trying all possible doctors, spending all the money with no good results.  She is a great example of patience.

  • Her desperation

When we read this passage, we can see how desperate she was for a healing.  She would tried everything the doctors of her day advised her, and paid them as much as they want as long as she can better her condition.   They gave her one thing after another for no better results. Chances for cure was not given but all her resources dried up, the doctors had no more advice and considered her incurable.

She was desperate for her healing.

  • Her Faith

When she heard people speak of the power of Christ, she believed and began to hope again for an ultimate cure. She just wanted to get to Jesus. She had been in a state of hiding these many years and she felt she couldn’t just go up to him and talk to him. She was embarrassed of her situation and hence she made a plan; if she could just touch edge of his clothing for a second. She made her way through the crowd. A crowd that could turn on her if they realized that she was the one with the issue of blood. She somehow managed to touch the hem of His garment and instantly the blood stopped, she felt perfectly well. This shows her faith and the amount of trust she had in the Lord when she believed him.

  • Her Humility

When Jesus knew that the power had gone out of him, he turned and asked who touched me? The women could have moved from that place as she was healed. Mark 5:33 says, ‘But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth’. This shows the humility she possessed. Many a times when we get what we have been desiring for long time, our attitude changes and we forget to even thank God for the goodness and mercy that he has showered in our life. Here, we see the women displaying her humility as her heart was filled with gratitude unto the Lord.

Application

  1. Many of us can very well relate to this woman, as we go through these afflictions every month. She was treated unclean and didn’t get any better, but amidst all that she was patient, she waited.
  2. We are desperate to come out of our situation especially in case of our health, when it is getting chronic, we lose our temper, patience and get annoyed, here we see this women who was going through this stage for 12 years and moreover she was treated unclean by others but when she knew about Jesus and when she believed in Him and laid her faith on him, her life was different. We are amazed by her faith and she was commended by Jesus for her faith, what a privilege! We must learn and apply this amazing quality of faith from this woman.
  3. How much we must be grateful for the advancement of technology; it is all the provision of God. God in his Providence has allowed so many advancements in many areas and most importantly in the sector of health and we must be so grateful for the Lord for his provision.
  4. We must self-examine ourselves, when God has been grateful to us, how is our response towards him, do we forget all the faithfulness of the lord and become unfaithful or are we like this woman filled with humility?

Rahab

Scripture ReferencesJoshua 2:1, 3; 6:17-25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25

Introduction

Joshua chapter 2 introduces us to this character. Rahab was a Canaanite and she was a harlot. Rahab and her family found favour from God and survived the destruction of Jericho.   She is one among the two women mentioned in Hebrews 11 – hall of faith chapter in the Bible.  We also see her being part of genealogy of Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:5.  Even epistle of James talks about her works of faith.

Rahab’s life

Her life was not like ours. She was a harlot and innkeeper. Being a harlot is a sinful profession. It is against God’s law. We don’t know why she chose this profession. We all know the story of Rahab, it was during the time when Joshua sends two of his men to spy the land secretly especially the land of Jericho and there we see how Rahab comes to the rescue of these men by hiding them and when the King of Jericho sends his men to find out, Rahab says  “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.  And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went, I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.” (But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.)

She was involved in a sinful profession and even in this stance, she lied to the soldiers, then how did her name show up as an example of faith in Hebrews 11 and be part of the family tree of Jesus Christ?   It is because of the Grace of our God and her faith.

Lessons

  • Fear God more than men

Rahab was obligated to obey the orders of the powerful King of Jericho but she chose to obey someone higher than her earthly king, that is her God because she had come to hear of his works and as a sinner, she knew deserved the judgement from God.

  • Her Sin and forgiveness

Leviticus 19:11 says we must not lie to one another. Lying is a sin and it is against God. We all know that Rahab lied to protect the spies. She sinned. But we cannot judge this action of hers from our moral perspective.  Rahab grew as a gentile among the terrible canaanites.  God decided to exterminate these people from the face of earth because of their utter sinfulness, and imagine being a harlot among such a depraved nation!   She growing up in this culture without any knowledge of God or his laws.  She may have not yet even fully understood the magnitude of sinful way of life.  But we see that she has heard something about our God and believed in Him as we see this in Joshua 2:9,10, she said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord  dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed”.    Having the faith to believe in God is the first step to becoming part of God’s people and hence she found favour in the Lord and her name is mentioned in Hebrews and James and God being rich in grace has even given her a place in genealogy of his Son (where sin abounds, grace abounds much more).

  • Faith displayed through works.

James chapter 2 clearly talks about faith without works is dead. James also sets Rahab as a good example of faith displayed through works. Yes, Rahab did sinned by lying, we cannot excuse her for that, but she had faith in the Lord and she displayed it through works by helping the two men.

  •  No Sin is greater than God’s mercy.

Looking at her profession we know that she was into a sinful act. In our society, prostitutes are looked down. Many of them think that they don’t deserve God’s mercy. But our God is a merciful God and he never shows favouritism. If His grace stooped to save this harlot in the OT when God was primarily working through the Israelites, how much more now in the NT times when God welcomes all nations to come to him through the person and work of his Son, Jesus Christ.   During Jesus earthly ministry, many harlots and publicans found the grace of God.  Even today, that grace is offered to any vile sinner who truly believes

  • God’s protection towards her family as a result of her faith.

Yes, this is one of the blessing which Rahab received, because of her faith, we see her family was protected. We must remember that Rahab had just heard about our God, His deliverance for the people of Israel, she didn’t see it personally, but she believed what she heard and she didn’t just believe that God does really exist, but she also developed the faith that God is the most powerful being who would be able to protect her and her family from the sure destruction that would fall on the city of Jericho.

Application

  1.  Fear God more than men; be it whoever and whatever post they are in.
  2.  Many times, we have to take decisions under pressure and during those times, it is always good to seek God’s wisdom rather than falling prey to sin.
  3.  Rahab was an imperfect person just like us but her life is a model to many now. We are all sinners, but continuing in the same sin keeps us away from God. We must repent of our sins and seek God’s forgiveness. Our God is a merciful God and he shows his mercy on us.
  4. Faith a key element of Christian life should virtually grow and be shown through works. Many a times we say we have faith but don’t display in our acts. We must pray to God that we must not have a dead faith.
  5. When we repent of our sins and display our faith through our life and deeds, God can use us to save many even our own families.
  6.  Grace of God is freely available for any wretched sinner who truly believes.   We must never look down on anyone assuming they are beyond the reach of the grace of God.   We never know on whom God shows His divine mercy.

Stoning of Stephen

When there arose an issue in the food distribution among the Hellenist and Hebrews; that the Hellenist widows are being ignored while food distribution. Apostles choose seven Godly, wise men, full of Spirit to assist in the food distribution. Stephen was one among the seven, chosen. Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.

Some of the Jewish leaders were arguing with Stephen about what he taught. They just couldn’t stop him from preaching, so they secretly told the men to say that, they had heard Stephen say offensive words against God. The Jewish leaders got the people all worked up and Stephen was brought to the Jewish council.

They had false witnesses come in and tell lies about him.

The high priest asked if this was true and Stephen began by telling the council about Moses, how God delivered the Israelites. He talked about Abraham, Joseph and his father Jacob; how they were saved from the famine by God. He talked about David. Though he shared all this to the council, they were stubborn, they knew about God but they wanted to do what they felt like instead of what God asked to do.

The men shouted out and plugged their ears! They ran at Stephen and took him out of the city to stone him. The men that were witnesses in the temple were by law supposed to throw the first stones. Those witnesses laid their coats at the feet of Saul.

The clothes they laid at Saul’s feet would have been the outer coat that would get in the way when they heaved the rocks at Stephen.

As the people were stoning him, Stephen called to Jesus – “receive my spirit”. Stephen was ready to go to heaven with Jesus, he asked Him to forgive them for what they were doing to him.

People left Jerusalem and went to other countries telling about Jesus.

Saul was very destructive for the church. He went into people’s homes and dragged men and women to prison. He approved of Stephen getting stoned to death. And, those who were Christians went everywhere preaching the word.

Application:

  1. We should be like Stephen, Godly, wise and be always ready to serve others.
  2. We should always obey God and stand for the truth, no matter even if we’re persecuted for that.
  3. We should always be ready to forgive even our enemies like Jesus forgave his enemies even on the cross.

Activity

Unscramble the Sentence

Full a man faith of and Spirit Stephen Holy was

The Good Samaritan

Scripture Reference: Luke 10: 25 – 37

A Jewish teacher was once talking to Jesus in order to try to catch him out with difficult questions. The man knew that in order to please God he had to serve Him with his whole life and to show concern for his neighbor. ‘Who is my neighbor?’ he asked Jesus. ‘Whom should I care for?’
Instead of telling him the answer Jesus told a parable.
This is the parable:
A man was travelling along the desert road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Suddenly, robbers jumped out on him from behind some rocks. They punched and kicked him, tearing the clothes off his body, and then they left him lying injured by the roadside. He waited and waited for someone to come by and help him.
A priest came walking by on the road, but instead of stopping to help, he gave a look and went straight past on the other side of the road.
The next to approach was a man known as a Levite, who helped at services in the Temple at Jerusalem. He did the same and took no notice of the dying man.
Soon a third person came down the road riding a donkey. He was from Samaria and no one would have expected him to help because the Jews never had anything to do with the Samaritans. He felt sorry for him.
When he saw how badly he was injured , he took some wine and a jar of olive oil and poured the soothing liquids on to the wounds. He tore up some clothing into long strips and bandaged the cuts.
Then he lifted him on to his own donkey and took him to the nearest inn, where he found him a bed and cared for him. The next day the Samaritan had to continue his journey, so he gave the innkeeper two silver coins and said Look after him. If it costs you any more to do it, I’ll pay you in a few days when I return.”
After telling this parable Jesus asked the Jewish teacher –“Which of these 3 do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
The Jewish teacher replied, “The one who had mercy on him”. He didn’t like to admit it was a Samaritan.
Jesus told him, “go and do the same yourself.”


Lessons to learn from this story :


1.The main theme of this story is to understand who is our neighbor? We should set aside our prejudice (status) and show love and compassion to others and treat everyone as our neighbor.

  1. We should love others as Christ loved us.
  2. Keeping the law perfectly is an impossible task, we need a Savior our Jesus Christ who is a Samaritan.
    Activity

Match with the correct answers :

1.The traveller was traveling to                        Two silver coins  
2.The first person who passed the wounded man was                                                 Levite
3. The second person who passed the wounded man Jericho  
4. The third person who passed the wounded man was                                                Priest
5. The Samaritan paid the innkeeper      Samaritan  

Subtle Danger of Pietism

Introduction to Pietism

  • Pietism’s primary concern was to carry out the Reformation in Christian living. Pietist felt that the theologians of the 16th and 17th centuries had used the insights and work of the Reformers to establish a solid doctrinal foundation. Now their task was to promote a continuing reformation in the life of the church, and the transformation of the world through the conversion and constant renewal of individuals.
  • But slowly the movement started emphasising the importance of personal faith and Christian living over doctrine and theology. It initially began among German Lutherans in the 17th century.
  • It quickly spread and later became concerned with social and educational matters rather than theological issues.
  • As a phenomenon of personal religious renewal, its influence that persisted in Germany, later spread to other parts of Europe, North America and we see it’s prevalent even today in India.

History of Pietism

  • By the beginning of the 17th century, Lutheranism had created a scholastic system useful for contending with Roman Catholic and Reformed opponents but not for spiritual nourishment.
  •  Consequently, many German Lutherans sought an alternative expression of faith and drew from both internal and external impulses to create one.
  • English Puritanism reached the European continent through the translation of works by Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, and others. Religious exiles were high in Netherlands, among them William Ames, developed Dutch Pietism, which soon spread into Germany as part of the movement that had begun to take shape among Lutherans there as “Reform Orthodoxy.”
  • The various streams of this renewal movement initially converged in the life and work of Philipp Jakob Spener (1635–1705).
  • His proposals included greater private and public use of the Scriptures, greater assumption by the laity of their priestly responsibilities as believers, greater efforts to bear the practical fruits of a living faith, ministerial training that emphasized piety and learning rather than intellectuality, and edifying, spiritual preaching
  • John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, received inspiration among the Moravians and incorporated Pietistic elements into his holiness movement.
  • Later this was highly emphasised during the second great awakening by Charles Finney and later by

 D. L Moody. They took forward the Pietist movement.

  • Other denominations felt the influence of Pietism in their pastoral theology, mission activity, and modes of worship.
  • Pietism reached its zenith by the mid-18th century, but the movement continued to exist and still survives, both explicitly in Germany and in the Moravian church elsewhere and implicitly in Evangelical Protestantism at large.
  • It spread to other parts of the world through mission’s movement, mainly through Moravian, Lutheran and Methodist missionaries in the 19th century.

Effects of Pietism:

  • Pietism led to emotionalism.

The Pietist took seriously the significance of human emotion and their psyche. Emotionalism was, in fact, fostered to some degree by the introspective, psychologizing tendencies found in Pietism: Who am I? Am I truly a child of God? Am I living in a state of sin or grace? Am I backsliding? Why am I doing this? What are my feelings telling me? Everything depends on how I feel. My faith depends on how I feel.

  • Pietism led to medieval mysticism.

 Pietist stressed a true union of God through spiritual exercises and the contemplative life. Unlike the earlier mystics, mystical Pietist like Richard Sibbes, Joseph Hall, and Francis Rous spoke of the saving relationship between God and the individual soul as a gracious gift. Because this relationship was an intimate one, these writers often used terms of endearment in references to God.

  • Pietism led to anti-intellectualism.

They emphasised that the study of doctrine and theology was not important. Biblical scholars and academic studies were ridiculed during this period.

  • Pietism led to Perfectionism.

Wesley and Finney highlighted that you can be perfectly holy even while you live on this earth. As Finney believed that conversion and sanctification could be produced by human means, he sought to create experiences in his services, rise people’s emotions, that would “induce” sinners to accept the claims of Christianity or be motivated to complete sanctification.

  • Pietism led to revivalism.

We see that in second great awakening, which more focused on the feelings and emotions than doctrine and theological driven conversion. To drive emotions, they focused more on music, altar calls, anxious bench and so on. All externally driven and not internally driven conversions. We see, Wesley, Finney, D.L Moody, Billy Sunday, Billy Graham. All these people are great examples of well-known revivalist through pietism.

Pietism in India

The influence of pietism is so high in India. Many key proponents of Pietism in India were Sadhu Sundar Singh, Bakht Singh, Mukthi Mission and today it’s spread across Pentecostalism.

Implication

  1. Though this movement initially started with a good motive, it totally went in wrong direction as it progresses. Yes, Pietistic living is important but the cause of it should be the right understanding of the word of God. Paul said the same thing to Timothy in 1Timothy 4:16, ‘Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you’. Right theology should be visible through our life.
  2. Our emotions are so fickle. Emotions that doesn’t arise without the clear understanding of God are of no use. Emotions not driven by the truth are false emotions. True understanding of God will cause right emotion and that’s what is important.

Daughters of Zelophehad

Scripture References: Num. 26: 33; 27: 1-11; 36:1-12; Josh. 17: 3-6 ; 1 Chr. 7:15

  • The Daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
  • They are from the families of Mannaseh, who lived at the end of  the Israelites‘ Exodus from Egypt.
  • Zelophehad didn’t have any sons and these young girls claimed their father’s inheritance and possession setting up a new inheritance law for all the daughters to inherit their father’s possession.
  • These daughters set an example for all of us to live a life of faith.

Highlights on their wisdom and faith in the Lord

  • Wise approach to Moses and the other leaders.

We see in Numbers 27, how these daughters make a plea to Moses regarding their claim for their father’s inheritance. They used the wisdom of the Lord wisely by approaching the right person – Moses and clearly made the request. At First, they clarified about their father and then brought in their request. When we have to speak to someone who is in a superior authority we always fear, but here we don’t see any fear in these daughters because they had the faith of God and they are claiming the right thing to the right person.

  •  Faith in the Promise of the Lord

They trusted and believed in the Promise that the Lord made to our forefathers – I will give you a land of milk and honey. Romans 10:17 says, ‘So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’. This shows how much they would have heard the Promise of the Lord and built their faith, that too in the wilderness.

  • Faith on the Providence of the Lord

Unless we have faith, it is hard to believe that everything will go on well when we are in the most difficult situation like these daughters being in the Wilderness. They had faith in what they have not yet seen. We see their trust and obedience in the Providence of the Lord, they believed that God will fulfill His promise in His time.

  • Faith that they could be used by God to bring about change.

These 5 daughters approached Moses to get their inheritance and as a result of their faith they were given their share, just as it would have been given to the men. These daughters’ faith not only brought a change to them but created an inheritance law for all the women in the generations to come.

Lessons to learn from these daughters

  1. Faith is a very important element of a Christian life and we must grow in our faith with God every day. Hebrews 11:6 says, ‘It is impossible to please God without faith’. The very purpose of our existence is to please and glorify God and we can do it only by having Faith in him just like these daughters did.
  2. Trusting in the Providence and promise of God. Believing in things which we have not seen. Bible says we must walk by faith and not by sight. We must trust God blindly in all that he does for us. These daughters did the same; trusted God on the inheritance that they haven’t seen but believed in the promise of the Lord.
  3. We must wisely use our wisdom which God has given. We must be encouraged from these daughters, who used their wisdom by taking their plea to the God appointment servant, which shows their connection with God. Many a times we don’t depend on God but use our own dependency and fail things. We must learn to depend on God and His wisdom.
  4. We never know God can use anyone to bring a new change, new law. When God uses us, we must be humble and walk in his faith everyday.

Elizabeth

Scripture References: Luke 1:5-80

Introduction

  • ‘Elizabeth ‘means God is my oath, that is a worshipper of God. Elizabeth was Zechariah’s wife, who was a Priest and she was a descendant of Aaron. They didn’t have any children and they were old in their age. The angel of the Lord meets Zechariah in the temple courts and tells the plan of they being blessed with a child. In due time, the Lord blessed Zechariah and Elizabeth with a child and they named him John.

Qualities of Elizabeth

  1. She was a godly woman.

Luke 1:6 says ‘And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless’.  What a wonderful description of Zechariah and Elizabeth! Righteous and blameless, two profound words used to describe them. They believed the word of God; they obeyed the word of God and walked a blameless life before God. This shows how godly they were as a couple.

  • Her trust in God inspite of her barrenness.

She was old and barren, but still she was faithful. There is no mention of her being bitter, complaining or doubtful. Her barrenness drew her closer to God.  She trusted God and lived a righteous and blameless life inspite of her barrenness.

  • Her thankfulness to God

When she conceived, she hid herself for 5 months, we are not sure why she didn’t go out, but all the time she pondered upon how God dealt with her graciously, how He has looked upon her and removed her reproach among people. She thanked and praised God for all that He had done for her.

  • She was very humble

Mary and Elizabeth were cousins, it was at the same time both of them were with the child. When Mary came to see Elizabeth, the way Elizabeth reacted really amazes us. She very well knew that Mary is going to be the mother of the Lord, but there was no jealously or envy which she showed, rather she was humble and said, I m not worthy that the mother of the Lord should come to see me. She was so filled with joy for Mary. She said blessed are you Mary and blessed is the child that you bear.

  • Her motherhood and upbringing of the child

She named her son John, which means God has been Gracious. In

 Luke 7:28, we see Jesus telling, “For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”  John the Baptist was the greatest prophet, Elizabeth and Zechariah played an important role in upbringing John in a godly way.

Application

  1. When we look at Elizabeth and Zechariah’s Godly life, it really should envy us. There is such a beautiful description in the Bible about their life, they both were righteous before God, walking in obedience to God and they were blameless. Our desire should be to be Godly like them.
  2. Not always our afflictions are direct result of God’s punishment. Elizabeth was godly and righteous, yet God allowed her to be barren, He wanted His purpose to be fulfilled in her life. This gives us great comfort. Yes, God for his glory allows afflictions in our life to shape and make us like Christ. In fact, her affliction would have helped her to trust in God and lean on him.
  3. We should always be thankful to God like Elizabeth no matter whatever our circumstance is. When she was barren, she was thankful to God; when God blessed and she conceived, she was thankful to God. We should learn to be thankful at all times not just during our good times even in our affliction.
  4. We should learn to be content in God like Elizabeth. Though she was barren we don’t see her grumbling or complaining like Sarah or Rachel. She neither took any decisions on her own without trusting God. She trusted and waited in the Lord for his time to have a child. She was content in what God had blessed her because her greatest treasure was God.
  5. We should learn to be humble like her. She never felt that she should be honoured more than Mary because God had blessed her too, rather she was humble and gave all the glory to God for her as well as Mary. We must examine ourself how is our attitude when God bless others more than us, do we glorify God or do we grumble?

Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling

PARA 1- Description of Effectual Calling

  • Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.

Outline:  Effectual Calling

  • Its Recipients:  Those whom God hath predestinated unto life,
  • Its Author:  Those whom God hath predestinated unto life,
  • Its Occasion:  he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time,
  • Its Efficacy:  effectually to call,
  • Its Means: by his Word and Spirit,
  • Its Transition: out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ;

Its Operations

  1. enlightening their minds spiritually
  2. and savingly to understand the things of God;
  3. taking away their heart of stone, and
  4. giving unto them a heart of flesh;
  5. renewing their wills, and
  6. by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and
  7. effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.

PARA 2 – Effectual Calling is Monergistic

  • This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.

Outline:

Effectual Call is monergistic (means “working one way). 

God alone calls

  • This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone

Nothing from man

  • not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses

Man is enabled only by the Holy Spirit to answer this call

  • until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.

PARA 3- Effectual Calling is Mysterious

  • Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

PARA 4- Effectual Calling is Indispensable

  • Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither will nor can truly come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men that receive not the Christian religion be saved; be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess.