By Horatius Bonar
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17
What condemnation do these words pronounce upon the shallow, meagre religion so common among us – making us feel that hardly any description of its professors could be more exaggerated or unreal, than that of being “new creatures.”
Take yon member of the church. He wears the garb and bears the name of Christ. He is a fair average specimen of a large class. He has the profession of being a Christian; yet…
– he is fond of the world;
– he grasps at its gold;
– he loves its fashionable gaiety;
– he reads its novels;
– he frequents its haunts of amusement;
– he enjoys its company;
– he relishes its foolish talking and jesting.
Is he “a new creature” in Christ Jesus?
Is it possible that, with …
– so much worldliness,
– so much selfishness,
– so much self-indulgence,
– so much pleasing of the flesh,
From Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758)
Christ became incarnate or, which is the same thing, became man to put Himself in a capacity for working out our redemption. For though Christ as God was infinitely sufficient for the work, yet to His being in an immediate capacity for it, it was needful that He should not only be God, but man. If Christ had remained only in the divine nature, He would not have been in a capacity to have obtained our salvation; not from any imperfection of the divine nature, but by reason of its absolute and infinite perfection: for Christ, merely as God, was not capable either of that obedience or suffering that was needful.
The divine nature is not capable of suffering; for it is infinitely above all suffering. Neither is it capable of obedience to that law which was given to man. It is as impossible that One, who is only God, should obey the law that was given to man, as it is that He should suffer man’s punishment.
And it was necessary not only that Christ should take upon him a created nature, but that He should take upon Him our nature. It would not have sufficed for Christ to have become an angel, and to have obeyed and suffered in the angelic nature. But it was necessary that He should become a man, upon three accounts:
By: J. C. Philpot
Written in 1857 when the Revised Version was being contemplated.
We take this opportunity to express our opinion upon a question much agitated of late – whether it would be desirable to have a new (or at least a revised) translation of the Scriptures. We fully admit that there are here and there passages of which the translation might be improved, as, for instance, “love” for “charity” all through I Corinthians 13; but we deprecate any alteration as a measure that, for the smallest sprinkling of good, would deluge us with a flood of evil. The following are our reasons:
- Who are to undertake it? Into whose hands would the revision fall? What an opportunity for the enemies of truth to give us a mutilated false Bible! Of course, they must be learned men, great critics, scholars, and divines. But these are notoriously either Puseyites or Neologians – in other words, deeply tainted with either popery or infidelity. Where are there learned men sound in the truth, not to say alive unto God, who possess the necessary qualifications for so important a work? And can erroneous ungodly persons, spiritually translate a book written by the blessed Spirit? We have not the slightest ground for hope that they would be godly men, such as we have reason to believe translated the Scriptures into our present version.
- Again, it would unsettle the minds of thousands as to which was the Word of God, the old translation or the new. What a door it would open for the workings of infidelity, or the temptations of Satan! What a gloom, too, it would cast over the minds of many of God’s saints, to have those passages which had been applied to their souls translated in a different way, and how it would seem to shake all their experience of the power and preciousness of God’s Word!
- But besides this, there would be two Bibles spread through the land, the old and the new, and what confusion would this create in almost every place! At present, all sects and denominations agree in acknowledging our present version as the standard of appeal. Nothing settles disputes so soon as when the contending parties have confidence in the same umpire and are willing to abide by his decision. But this judge of all disputes, this umpire of all controversy, would cease to be the looser of strife if the present acknowledged authority were put an end to by a rival.
- Again, if the revision and re-translation were once to begin, where would it end? It is good to let well alone, as it is easier to mar than mend. The Socinianising Neologian would blot out “God” in I Timothy 3:16 and strike out I John 5:7-8, as an interpolation. The Puseyites would mend it to suit Tractarian views. He would read “priest” where we now read “elder” and put “penance” in the place of “repentance.”
One sat on the throne.
The throne of heaven is not vacant. Nor is it impotent. It is occupied by our God and Father, who omnipotently controls all the affairs of angels, demons, men, and events according to His own sovereign purpose.
This is what John said and what he wanted his readers to grasp. Those early Christians appear to have been somewhat troubled by all that the throne of the Caesars meant. At times it must have appeared to them as if that idolatrous, persecuting throne was supreme and unchallengeable. John’s message was that there is a throne above every human throne from which God sovereignly dispenses His purpose.
Forty-seven times in this book John uses the word throne. Clearly it is something of supreme importance to God’s people. Surrounded by the apparently dominant power of sin and Satan, we need to have John’s vision of our God upon His throne. He is doing His will. He has a purpose of grace in the world through the gospel. He has a purpose of government whereby He will by powerful interventions in the natural world show His sovereign authority. Of course, ultimately His purpose is a purpose of glory that will be completed only when “in the dispensation of the fulness of times he [gathers] together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth” (Eph. 1:10).
We desperately need to have this vision of the total sovereignty of God. This is no mere academic truth. Nor is it only a theological position of those called Calvinists. It is a truth that is vital to inspire Christians with confidence and courage. Having once gazed on the throne of God, will we ever be intimidated by any show of the power of man? Will we ever despair to pray and preach? Behold the throne set in heaven today, and you will walk on earth in the light of its purity and power.
God’s ways are behind the scenes, but He moves
all the scenes which He is behind.
J. N. Darby
By Michael Hobbis,
CW Committee Member
Part 1 (of 3)
The enemy is at the gates
As I write, a Roman Catholic Cardinal has, after almost five centuries and with full permission of Her Majesty the Queen of England, engaged in a vespers service in the very chapel at Hampton Court where Henry VIII worshipped. The same Henry who, in the wonderful providence of God, dismissed Cardinal Wolsey from office as his advisor and confidant and repudiated the Pope of Rome and all his ways. Some would say that this was merely in a fit of pique because he desired a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, however, as we study the life of our subject, William Tyndale, we shall see that he had more than a little influence in this breach with Papal authority, by the grace of Him who turneth the heart of Kings; whithersoever He will (see Proverbs 21:1).
This then is surely a fitting time to remind ourselves of the goodness of God in raising up such a one as William Tyndale, now that we appear to have come to a period in our contemporary history when, once more, the darkness of ignorance, superstition and false religion threatens to envelop us again.
That the Authorised Version of the Bible, referred to by some as the King James Bible, has been that great work which has had more influence upon the religious life of this nation than any other translation of the Word of God, is surely a matter beyond dispute. This nation owes much to the work of this one man who, in his service for Christ and in the strength of His grace, brought back to this nation the pure Word of God and so laid the foundation for the prosperity of its people all over the British Empire.
It is also a generally accepted fact that 80 % (some would claim 90%) of the King James Bible rests on the original translating work of William Tyndale from 1525 – 1535.
By Michael Hobbis,
CW Committee Member
Part 2 (of 3)
When we began to look at the life of Tyndale in Part 1, it was remarked that in terms of the recognition of his undoubted graces and abilities he was – and still is – surprisingly unacknowledged as the one man who possibly played the most
important part in the spiritual life and heritage of the English speaking peoples.
It has been suggested that this repression, even denial, of the importance of his contribution to this nation – and others – was due to his attachment to Martin Luther. Like Luther, Tyndale impresses the reader of his written works with his obvious disregard for the praise and plaudits of men and he fearlessly declared the whole counsel of God to Kings, prelates and the common man alike. He did not
bow to the traditions of the professing Church; but emphasised that Christianity is the freedom and liberty of the individual from the traditions and lordship of prescribed religion in his access to his Redeemer and Creator.
True Christianity has always been perceived as a threat to the political and religious powers – the rulers and Kings of the earth. In his works The Practise of Prelates and The Obedience of the Christian Man, he put Christ and His laws before a desire for fame and honour. In short, like Luther, he would not toe the party line. As with John the Baptist who, 2000 years before, reproved Herod, Tyndale reproved King Henry VIII for his divorces and adulteries and exposed the corruptions of the professing Church.
By Michael Hobbis,
CW Committee Member
Part 3 (of 3)
In Part 2 of our account of the life of Tyndale, we last left him as having been furnished with extra funds to continue with the work of further revision of his translation of the New Testament. These funds came about by a merchant friend of Tyndale, ostensibly providing help to Bishop Tunstall to buy all of Tyndale’s translated Scriptures coming from the presses of Europe, which Tunstall in a great display promptly burnt. This, in turn, gave Tyndale more money to continue with his major work of revision and Old Testament translation.
We learn from Foxe that while he was sailing to Hamburg to print the translation of Deuteronomy, there was a great storm at sea and Tyndale lost ‘both money, his copies and time’. With Coverdale – with whom he was now working – he had to begin all over again – the Pentateuch being completed between Easter and December and printed in January, 1530 in Antwerp.
Tyndale was prodigious in his labours and in 1531 also translated Jonah and a revised Genesis. The great work of the year 1534 was a completely revised New Testament, with further slight revision in 1535. This was in addition to his previously published polemical works, already mentioned: The Obedience of the Christian Man and The Practise of Prelates and further work on the Old Testament.
By: Greg Hinnant
From a tract published by: Evangelical Tract Distributors, P.O. Box 146, Edmonton,
AB,Canada T5J 2G9 – www.evangelicaltract.com
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts
unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
Time is a very precious and perishable commodity. With mercy toward none and impatience toward all, it steadily slips away, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Even while we take the time to consider this subject, our lives, like a mist, are gradually vanishing from the earthly scene. “…for what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14
The psalmist had this truth in mind when he prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12. To “number our days” is to highly value and wisely use the time God has allotted us.
“In no instance does the word ‘gospel’ convey any thought of a mere ‘free-offer of grace’.”
Like so many Bible terms, the word ‘gospel’ has been given various definitions contrary to its original and proper meaning. The word has its origin “in Christ before the foundation of the world.” This was contained in the “promise” God made before the foundation of the world (Titus 1:2). The “gospel”, the “good news” or “good tidings” is the declared fulfilment of that promise.
In Isaiah 61:1-3 is found the outstanding proclamation made by the Sum and Substance of the good tidings, Jesus Christ Himself. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek. He hath sent Me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” The Redeemer repeated this same proclamation of Himself in the synagogue…….