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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Cannot Do It???

The following is from a message entitled Mortifying Sin By The Holy Ghost preached by David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)

"The term mortify really explains itself. 'To mortify' is to deaden, to put to death…so the exhortation is that we must 'deaden,' put an end to the 'deeds of the body.' This is the great New Testament exhortation in connection with sanctification from the practical standpoint, and it is addressed to all Christian people.

How is this work to be done?...The Apostle makes it plain. 'If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deed of the body' – 'through the Spirit'! The Spirit is mentioned particularly, of course, because His presence and His work are the particular and peculiar mark of true Christianity. This is what differentiates Christianity from morality, from 'legalism' and false Puritanism – 'through the Spirit'! The Holy Spirit, as we have seen, is in us as Christians. You cannot be a Christian without Him. If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit of God is in you, and He gives us power. He 'mediates' to us the great salvation the Lord Jesus Christ has worked out for us and enables us to work it out. The Christian must therefore never complain of want of ability and power. For a Christian to say, 'I cannot do it' is to deny the Scriptures. A man who has the Holy Spirit residing in him must never utter such an expression: it is a denial of the truth concerning him . . . .

But how does this work out in practice?...To begin, we have to understand our position spiritually, for many of our troubles are due to the fact that we do not realize, and do not remember, who we are and what we are as Christians. People complain that they have no power, and that they cannot do this or that. What they really need to be told is not that they are absolutely hopeless, and that the must 'hand it over,' but, rather, what all Christians are told in the 1st chapter of the Second Epistle of Peter in verses 2 to 4: 'Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.'
Everything that 'pertains unto life and godliness' has been given us 'through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.' And again: 'Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these [by means of these exceeding great and precious promises] ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.'

Yet Christian people moan and complain that they have no strength. The answer to such people is 'All things that pertain to life and godliness have been given you. Stop moaning and grumbling and complaining. Get up and use what is in you. If you are a Christian the power is in you by the Holy Spirit; you are not hopeless.' But the Apostle Peter does not leave it at that. In the ninth verse of that same chapter of his second Epistle, he says, 'He that lacketh these things' – in other words, the man who does not do the things he has been exhorting him to do – 'is blind and cannot see afar off.' He is shortsighted, 'and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.' He has not got a true view of the Christian life. He is talking and living as if he were still unregenerate. He says, 'I cannot continue as a Christian; it is too much for me.' Peter urges such a man to realize the truth about himself. He needs to be awakened; he needs to have his eyes opened and his memory refreshed. He needs to be up and doing, instead of moaning over his deficiencies.

Furthermore, we have to realize that if we are guilty of sin we are 'grieving the Holy Spirit of God' Who is in us. Every time we sin, it is not so much that we sin and become miserable that chiefly matters, but that we are grieving the Holy Spirit of God Who is dwelling in our body. How often do we think of that? I find when people come to be about this matter they always talk about themselves – 'my failure.' 'I am constantly falling into this sin.' 'This sin is getting me down.' They talk about themselves. They do not talk about their relationship to the Holy Spirit, and for this reason: the man who realizes that the main trouble about his sinful life is that he is grieving the Holy Spirit, stops doing so at once. The moment a man sees that that is his real problem, he deals with it. He is not longer chiefly concerned about his own feelings; when he realizes that he is grieving the Holy Spirit of God, he takes immediate action."

The italics were found in my copy of the message and reproduced accordingly. I highlighted the points of importance to me by changing the color.

This really caught my attention because I have been saying for years we have the Holy Spirit living in us and we have all the power we need to do everything we should. God lives in us. We are his temple. The fullness of God's omnipotence is available to us to aid us in being what we should be. "I can't" should be "I won't."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What Do You Lose When You Are Angry?

"For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Least Sin Is Very Dangerous

The following is from a message preached by Thomas Brooks in London in 1659.

"The least sin is very dangerous!
Caesar was stabbed to death with a small needle.
Herod was eaten up by small worms.
Pope Adrian was choked with a gnat.
A scorpion is little, yet is able to sting a lion to death.
The least spark, may consume the greatest house.
The least leak, may sink the greatest ship.
A whole arm has been gangrened, by a pick of the little finger.
A little opened door, may betray the greatest city.
A pinch of poison diffuses itself into all parts, until it strangles
   the vital spirits, and turns out the soul from the body.
The least sin is very dangerous!"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Book Review - The Tempting Of America

The Tempting Of America: The Political Seduction Of The Law is written by Robert H. Bork. Judge Bork has had a long and distinguished career in the law. He has worked in private practice, held a professorship, and served on the D C Court of Appeals before being nominated to the Supreme Court by President Regan.

Judge Bork is an intellectual of the first rank. His is the first nomination I can remember and of which I took a personal interest. I followed the confirmation proceedings and his defeat in the full Senate. I believed then and still do that it was a travesty and our nation suffered a great loss when he was refused a place on the Supreme Court.

Some years back I read another book by Judge Bork entitled, Slouching Toward Gomorrah. The book captured my attention for two reasons. 1. The author. 2. The title. The book detailed and validated a view that I had long held. The sixties generation brought about a cultural revolution that has left this nation spinning out of control; a revolution that we have yet to reap the full consequences. Judge Bork's systematic critique of the decade of the sixties and early seventies is insightful.

So when I saw this book in a used bookstore I laid hold of it. As one might suspect from the title the book thoroughly addresses how the law (the courts) are suffering from having been seduced by politics. The law has been and is being politicised both in the way decisions are reached particularly as it relates to Constitutional theory, the role of judges, and the process by which judges are nominated and confirmed for the federal judiciary.

His personal experience which is addressed in the last few chapters is a telling story of politics run amok. The liberals in the Senate (Republican and Democrat) did us no favors in the way they handled Judge Bork's nomination.

The book is a fairly easy read. Judge Bork possess a dry sense of humor that you will miss if you are not paying close attention. Because so much of the book deals with Constitutional theory and how judges reach decision there are numerous court cases referred to. It can at times, for people who are not accustomed to following these things closely, be difficult to keep track. I do not mean to imply that the book is dry, mechanical, or technical. It is readable and provides a rich education for anyone who is willing to read with thoughtfulness by one of the greatest legal minds in the nation.

He follows the history of the High Court in relation to relevant decisions that they have made that have slowly altered the way people perceive the Constitution and the way Judges apply the Constitution.

He deals at length with how we arrived at a general "right to privacy" in the Constitution. A right that does not exist and the Constitution does not protect. The Constitution does protect certain aspects of our privacy. The Court has taken those specific protections and built and established a doctrine of "the right to privacy." When the fact is all of us knows that no one has an absolute right to privacy. You cannot murder in private. You cannot molest children in private. You cannot rape in private. You cannot steal in private. You cannot do these thing even in the privacy of your own bedroom. Consequently the right of privacy has been a major weapon in the cultural war to protect perversion of all kind and to forbid citizens the right to self-government through their elected Representatives. So now when Judges believe people ought to have the right to do something they can simply argue the "right to privacy" and other jurisdictions are forbidden to legislate in those areas. The Constitution identifies the areas where we have a right to privacy. Every other area is to be determined though the democratic process put in place by our Founders.

He also deals at length with the perversion of the "due process" clause of the 5th and 14th amendments. The "due process" clause in both amendments were for the purpose of ensuring a fair process. The Court has changed the idea of a simple due process into a substantive due process. That is, not only must the process be fair the outcome must be equal. The Founders (responsible for the 5th amendment) and the ratifiers of the 14th amendment did not have in mind an equal outcome but a fair process. The court now largely has a theory that if the outcome is not equal then the process could not have been fair. They embrace this theory even though we all know that a fair process will produce unequal outcomes. It is upon such faulty reasoning that the Court has in the past upheld the idea of quotas. The truth is if you strive for an equality of outcome you will naturally have to upset the balance of a fair process and in doing so someone loses their Constitutionally protected right to "due process." In fact this is not even an issue that should be applied to the private sector. It is the government that is Constitutionally required to provide "due process." In the private sector these issues are to be determined by the people through their elected Representatives.

He also addresses the illogical charge that you cannot legislate morality. I am amazed that people would argue such a thing. We legislate because we are a moral people and all legislation is rooted in a system of morality. Morality is legislated, it is to be legislated, and our Founders expected and practiced as much. The only areas that are off limits or at least should be are the one that the Constitution specifically protects.

The book brought some clarity of thought to the whole process of the purpose of the Constitution. To state it simply the Founders did a simple thing. They established a government where men rule themselves through their elected Representatives. If we do not like the laws then we must change the people who are making them. It is not the responsibility of courts to change stupid laws, unwanted laws, immoral laws, unfair laws but only unconstitutional laws. The Constitution simply identifies certain areas that are off limits to the democratic process. We cannot vote to elect Representatives every four years or senators every three years. That is off limits. We cannot vote to let everyone print their own money. We cannot vote in a State Denomination. We cannot forbid people to own and use guns. Except where the Constitution places something off limits every area is subject to legislation.

Judge Bork's position is if the Constitution is silent then the judge must be silent. It must be left to the legislators. In fact if we decide we do not like what the Constitution says there is a process in place for changing it. is not to be changed by a Court but through the amendment process.

It is too bad that Judge Bork's book is not required reading in Civics classes around the country. But we are too busy getting ready for Friday night Football and the Prom to give serious attention to the preservation of our Constitutional Republic. Consequently we are losing the privilege of self-government and are slowly being shackled to an oligarchy of nine judges!

I suppose this ended up being maybe more commentary than book review. I enjoyed and benefited from this book immensely. Much of what Judge Bork addresses I already had problems with but now I feel as though I am more thoroughly acquainted with the whys. My positions have been made stronger. I have attempted to put in my own words several things I learned from this book. If I have misrepresented Judge Bork's views that has not been my intention. The book was delightfully intellectually stimulating and has better equipped me to examine the issues that effect us all.

I would heartily recommend this book. There are three sections, eighteen chapters and 355 pages.

Rating *****