Category Archives: Quotations

Is there any hope?

There are times in life when all hope seems to be gone. For those who have been studying the Epistle to the Romans with us, you may feel this way today. Studying Romans 1:18-3:18 has not been easy because it paints a picture of our hopeless condition. Each person who has ever lived is described in those pages as under God’s wrath, given over to sin’s consequences, inexcusable, unrighteous, unprofitable, and not good at all.

God’s perspective of our sinfulness is not at all what we would like it to be. We think highly of our good deeds and think that God should take notice … but he does not. He looks past the good intentions to see the real character of our hearts. We are ignorant, sinful people who do not seek him or understand what he desires.

After finding out what God knows about us, you would be right to consider your condition hopeless. According to him, there is nothing we can do to change our sinful character, or to appease his wrath. Then we come to Romans 3:19-26.

“Dark and dismal is man’s condition. This darkness and despair is unfathomable and universal. It envelops all. Then suddenly a light, the very light which previously had flickered for a brief moment, comes streaming in. Hope revives.

This light, this ray of optimism, comes not from below but from above. It is a ‘righteousness from God.’ It is he who comes to the rescue. It is he who condescends to save those who had made themselves thoroughly unworthy of being saved. And, being God, he does this—of course!—without sacrificing his righteousness or lifting the demands of his law.

…Why God did this is a mystery we shall never be able fully to understand. Such love is infinite and incomprehensible.”

William Hendriksen commenting on Romans 3:21

There is hope! The darkness and fear that accompanies a true understanding of our sinfulness can be removed by believing him. God willingly accomplished what we never could have. He sent his Son Jesus to die in the place of worthless and undeserving creatures like us. Now, instead of attempting to be good enough, we are told to simply believe what God did for us through Jesus. He, the sinless Son of God, died to pay for our sins. He took our place.

Is there any hope? Yes, but that hope will never be found in ourselves; it is only found in what God has provided for us. Will you set aside any effort of your own and simply trust what God has done? That is your only hope.

Discontented with God’s blessings

“But the lesson of the text is rather for those who have the favor and blessing of God, but are not content, and still crave worldly things. You are in covenant with God. He has redeemed you, not with corruptible things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. You are now the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what you shall be. There is laid up for you an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. Yet your heart hankers after the things of the world. Your acquaintances and friends are better off. Your bare house, your homely furnishings, your poor dress, your simple fare distress you, and you would fain be in a higher worldly sphere, enjoying more consideration, and participating more freely in worldly enjoyments.

Be assured, my friends, you are not in a wholesome frame of mind. To be depreciating the surpassing gifts which God has given you, and to be exaggerating those which He has withheld, is far from being a wholesome condition. You wish to be like the nations. You forget that your very glory is not to be like them. Your glory is that ye are a chosen generation, an holy nation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people, your bodies temples of the Holy Ghost, your souls united to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yet again, there are congregations, which though in humble circumstances, have enjoyed much spiritual blessing. Their songs have gone up, bearing the incense of much love and gratitude; their prayers have been humble and hearty, most real and true; and the Gospel has come to them not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. Yet a generation has grown up that thinks little of these inestimable blessings, and misses fine architecture, and elaborate music, and highly cultured services. They want to have a king like the nations. However, they may endanger the spiritual blessings, it is all important to have these surroundings. It is a perilous position, all the more perhaps that many do not see the peril—that many have little or no regard for the high interests that are in such danger of being sacrificed.”

W. G. Blaikie, The First Book of Samuel, 112-13.

Quote of the Day – Biblical Obedience

Biblical obedience is not just compliance with some abstract law or rule. It is the submissive response to the person of the Holy Spirit, who has revealed the will of God to us through His Word. It means saying yes to God as we say no to self. It means denying self instead of indulging self. It means pleasing God instead of pleasing self. It means walking in the Spirit instead of grieving the Spirit.

Jim Berg, Changed Into His Image, p. 88.

I think Berg’s point is that obedience to God is not just doing what is asked. True obedience includes a submission to God himself in the process. That is why “the sacrifice of the wicked [obedience to God’s law] is an abomination to the Lord [not pleasing to God].” If we want to please the Lord and keep our relationship right with Him, we have to have the right attitude as well as the right action.

What does the Bible say about election?

“The biblical theologian must stop where the biblical text stops, even though some issues appear to remain unresolved. … The doctrine of election inevitably produces a certain intellectual tension, particularly with regard to ‘free will’ or personal activity in one’s own salvation (cf. Rom 5:18; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 2:11; 2 Pet 3:9). … Balanced biblical theology requires that such tensions remain. Rejecting clear biblical teaching because of limited human understanding is dangerously shortsighted.”

Thomas D. Lea and Hayne P. Griffin, Jr., The American Commentary Volume 34: 1,2 Timothy, Titus, (Nashville: Broadman, 1992), 264-65.

Matthew 22:30 – Like the Angels in Heaven

“Like them, we shall ever be in God’s presence. Like them, we shall ever delight to do His will. Like them, we shall give all glory to the Lamb. These are deep things. But they are all true.

Are we ready for this life? Should we enjoy it, if admitted to take part in it? Is the company of God, and the service of God pleasant to us now? Is the occupation of angels one in which we should delight? These are solemn questions.”


— J. C. Ryle in Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Volume One, Matthew – Mark

What shall we have?

One of the struggles a Christian faces is the loss of relationships, position, and possessions because of following Christ. Every true Christian knows something of this—some more than others. The first disciples left everything to follow Jesus. It was a tough life including poverty, lack of housing, and ridicule by the religious elites of their time. This, among other things, led Peter to ask Jesus what the disciples would receive because of their self-sacrifice on account of him.

Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us? And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. ”

—Matthew 19:27-29

We are tempted to questions his motives, but deep inside we have the same question but are too afraid to ask. Thankfully, Jesus answered his question graciously. The Lord understands the difficulty and self-sacrifice involved with following him and has promised to reward those who do so with much more and better than they lost in the process. I especially like how J. C. Ryle explains this:

“We may rest assured that no man shall ever be a real loser for Christ. The believer may seem to suffer loss for a time, when he first begins the life of a decided Christian. He may be much cast down by the afflictions that are brought upon him on account of his religion. But let him rest assured that he will never find himself a loser in the long run. Christ can raise up friends for us who shall more than compensate for those we lose. Christ can open hearts and homes to us, far more warm and hospitable than those that are closed against us. Above all, Christ can give us peace of conscience, inward joy, bright hopes, and happy feelings, which shall far outweigh every pleasant earthly thing that we have cast away for His sake. He has pledged His royal word that it shall be so. None ever found that word fail. Let us trust it, and not be afraid.”


—Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels Matthew – Mark

QOTD: The Possibility of the Virgin Birth

After reading the wonderful account of Gabriel’s announcement to Mary in Luke 1:26-38, you might wonder the same thing that she did. “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” This is a good question. How could Mary conceive a child without the aid of a man? What Gabriel promised was impossible. Naturally, this would never happen. But Gabriel was not talking about something that would take place naturally. It was something that the God of the impossible would make possible.

“If one is open to the possibility of God entering into history and being able to transcend the ‘laws of nature,’ it is not difficult to believe that the God who raised his Son from the dead and empowered him to do many mighty miracles could have sent him into the world by the miracle of the virgin birth.”

Robert H. Stein, Luke, Nashville: Broadman, 1992, 82.

Quote of the Day

“The flip side of encouraging bold testimony under persecution when one has no alternative is the command to flee hostility whenever possible. Jesus calls his followers to bravery but not foolishness. Believers must not seek out persecution. God’s word can go forth powerfully through the unspoken testimony of martyrdom, but it is often better for people to remain alive to speak it aloud.”

—Craig Blomberg re: Matthew 10:23

How successful is our ministry from God’s perspective?

“Christians who judge successful ministries by external statistics such as attendance figures, membership, baptisms, and offerings should seriously rethink their criteria in light of Jesus’ words here. God judges the greatness of his servants by searching their hearts, examining their inner attitudes, and seeing deeds done in secret. Doubtless, his evaluations of who most honors him will invert a substantial majority of his people’s evaluations.”

Craig L. Blomberg, Matthew, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992, p. 122.