Robert Haldane on Mortifying Sin

Robert Haldane quoting William Romaine in his commentary on the book of Romans: Haldane

True spiritual mortification does not consist in sin not being in thee, nor in its being put on the cross daily, nor yet in its being kept upon it. There must be something more to establish perfect peace in thy conscience; and that is the testimony of God concerning the body of sin. He has provided for thy perfect deliverance from it in Christ. Everything needful for this purpose was finished by Him upon the cross. He was the Surety. He suffered for thee. Thy sins were crucified with Him, and nailed to His cross. They were put to death when He died: for He was thy covenant-head, and thou wast legally represented by Him, and art indeed dead to sin by His dying to sin once. The law has now no more right to condemn thee, a believer, than it has to condemn Him. Justice is bound to deal with thee, as it has with thy risen and ascended Savior. If thou dost not thus see thy complete mortification in Him, sin will reign in thee. No sin can be crucified either in heart or life, unless it be first pardoned in conscience; because there will be want of faith to receive the strength of Jesus, by whom alone it can be crucified. If it be not mortified in its guilt, it cannot be subdued in its power. If the believer does not see his perfect deadness to sin in Jesus, he will open a wide door to unbelief; and if he be not persuaded of his completeness in Christ, he gives room for the attacks of self-righteousness and legal tempers. If Christ be not all in all, self must still be looked upon as something great, and there will be food left for the pride of self-importance and self-sufficiency; so that he cannot grow into the death of Christ in sensible experience, further than he believes himself to be dead to sin in Christ. The more clearly and steadfastly he believes this, as the Apostle did–I am crucified with Christ–in proportion will he cleave to Christ, and receive from Him greater power to crucify sin. This believing view of his absolute mortification in Christ, is the true Gospel method of mortifying sin in our own persons. Read the sixth of Romans, and pray for the Spirit of revelation to open it to thee. There thou wilt discover the true way to mortify sin. It is by believing that thou art planted together with Christ in His death; from thence only thy pardon flows, from thence thy daily victory is received, and from thence thy eternal victory will be perfected. –

In Robert Haldane, An Exposition of The Epistle to the Romans, 253-254

A Burden for the Churched

This morning, as I listened to Greater Vision sing “Just One More Soul,” I began to reflect once again on the message of that song. It was the perfect encouragement I needed, as I prepare for another year of conferences and ministry. For those who don’t know, I have the blessing of traveling with my brother as he ministers to people and challenges them to examine their worldview and make sure everything they do is from a Biblical perspective.

Although he has done some street witnessing, prison ministry, etc., most of our outreach is to professing Christians, and those are often the ones I have the greatest burden for. In our travels, we meet a lot of neat people, some of whom are on fire for the Lord and are striving to raise their children to have that same fervor. But many seem to be stressed and depressed, weighed down with the things of this world. Then there are those who are just biding their time, waiting for the service to be over so they can go get together with their friends or go home and watch TV.

gospelchurch

It seems like so many today don’t really care what the Bible teaches. “If it feels good, do it” still permeates our society. If you want to watch movies filled with sex and violence, that’s fine. It’s just a movie. If you’re tired of your wife and you find someone else who will make you “happy,” go for it. But let me interject here that nowhere in the Bible does it say that God wants us to be happy. It does say He wants us to be holy, and that is missing from the lives of so many who claim to be saved.

Hebrews 6:4-8 says, “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.”

I believe this speaks to those who say, “Lord, Lord, did we not do all kinds of things in Your name?” And, yet, the end result is that they did not live for Him on earth, so He had to turn them away from the gates of Heaven.

As I write this, my spirit is heavy. I see a world lost and dying, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. The truth is, however, that I can pray. I can live a life that pleases God so that He can use me for His glory. I can be faithful in the little things He has entrusted me with so that He can eventually trust me with bigger things. I can draw nearer to Him every day so that His voice becomes ever clearer. The answer is not to give up, but to press on with more determination than before.

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, and this repentance must begin in the house of God. You may have sung as a child, “Lord, send a revival and let it begin with me.” May that be our prayer today. If the church begins to see true revival, I believe it will spread to the rest of the nation. Lord, hasten that day!

The Pastor – Chapter 8, Conclusion

If you have listened to this book, you know the author desires only to please YHWH and help Solaequip His people so we will not be tossed about by the whimsy of man. Here’s his wrap for the last chapter:

Having published this book, I know I shall be accused of denigrating both the biblical work of the gospel minister, and the man himself. Indeed, I knew it before I began. But I didn’t agree with it then, and I don’t agree with it now. Yet, if such a critique of an unscriptural title really has undermined what many regard as ‘the ministry ’, then something is seriously wrong with what we think of as ‘the ministry ’. And the sooner we find it out the better. In the 16th century, men like Thomas Cartwright and Robert Browne came to realise that the warrant to preach does not depend on a magistrate’s licence, and they had the courage to destroy the noxious bits of paper which pretended to make a man into a minister. We must show the same courage and the same spirit in our day. If an elder’s authority depends on the invention of an office, on Humpty Dumpty’s misuse of biblical words, or on the use of a title, we ought to recognise where we are – and the consequences of it. To accommodate the words of the Independent, Henry Jacob: A teacher in Christ’s church has a far ‘better original’ than calling him ‘Pastor’; or ought to have! Of course, we must honour all men to whom honour is due (Rom. 13:7). In particular, as I have repeatedly stressed, we should ‘respect’ our elders ‘who work hard among [us], who are over [us] in the Lord and who admonish [us]’, and we should ‘hold them in the highest regard in love
because of their work’ (1 Thess. 5:12-13), but this does not mean we should give them a title.
While we must not undervalue the gifts of Christ to his church, pastor-teachers among them, neither must we make little popes of them! Or big!

Chapter 8 is here.

Chapter 7 can be found here.

Read God’s Word

It has been a while since I have even attempted to read through the Bible in a year. This year, I am doing just that, along with my regular Bible reading (reading through more slowly) and a Bible study.

This has me going through five different sections of Scripture at present. I thought it could be a bit overwhelming but, so far, I am enjoying it. Each portion is different from each other and yet each serves a purpose.

I don’t know if I will do this every year. I’ll have to see how this year goes but, for this year, I am looking forward to seeing what God speaks to me, as I draw near to Him and ask Him to show me the way I should go and to help me to be faithful. This continues to be my constant prayer.

You may not have the time to read as much Scripture as I hope to this year, but I encourage you to read at least some Scripture every day. Even if it’s one verse that you meditate on each day, it will not return void.

Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you (emphasis mine). Although sin is sometimes pleasurable for a season, it is the pure in heart that shall see God (Matthew 5:8).

Won’t you take time to read God’s Word today?

PS — Here is a link to Crossway where one of the menus at the top offer several reading plans.

Tribute to a Godly Man

In 1995, Violet​ and I were preparing for life as missionaries overseas but living in a church system that was bound by legalism and very little love. There was little true love for the brethren, for the true church of the Lord outside of each local churches own doors, and even what often appeared as a true lack of love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Worship was perfunctory and traditions were the order of the day.

That year, having only heard of Shannon Hills Bible Chapel, I encouraged my brother, John, to visit. It was a sovereignly ordained plan as John never looked back. He would call us and tell us how wonderful the brothers and sisters were, how accepted he was for who he was, and most importantly, the wonder of the worship, especially around the Lord’s Table, which was celebrated every Sunday morning.

shbc

We planned a trip back to Greensboro to visit the assembly, and oh, the refreshing of our souls that Sunday morning in May 1995. Walking with our boys into the room where the Remembrance Feast was preparing to start. The first person to greet us was actually an older man with a round smiling face and a firm handshake. It was a man we quickly grew to love and respect, a true brother in Christ by the name of Harvey Shelley. In his introduction, he simply welcomed us and with no pretentions asked us if we had a personal relationship with the Lord. Assuring Bro. Harvey that we did, he told us that we were more than welcome to not only attend but to partake of the bread and the wine when the elements were passed.

It was at Shannon Hills that we learned what it meant to truly love others. Our hearts were encouraged, and our lives were changed through the ministry of the word from each brother who brought the Word each week. Celebrating communion each week was the highlight of our week and is still remembered to this day with great fondness.

Later that year, in November, my brother, John, had a massive heart attack at 22 years of age and went to be with the Lord. Through that difficult time, the Shelley family was a great encouragement to us. I remember one Sunday being overcome with grief and we had to leave as we did not want to disturb the others who were worshipping. For whatever reason, Bro. Harvey was walking through the hall back to the meeting room. I could not bring myself to speak and he simply wrapped his arms around us and let us know that they would be praying for us and to know again that we were loved by the Shannon Hills family.

We moved the next year, but have had several opportunities to go back and visit North Carolina. Without a doubt, each visit required us to go and worship with our Shannon Hills family. Every visit included opportunities to speak with those we loved and cherished. Shannon Hills has always sought to encourage us through the passing years and the staples of that encouragement were the elders, including Harvey Shelley. Each time we returned, it was as if we had never left.

This last week, we saw the news that Bro. Harvey went to be with the Lord that he loved. He had served as an elder at Shannon Hills for over 50 years. Yesterday, on Sunday after the worship services had concluded, a memorial service was held for a man who will be greatly missed. His smile, his graciousness, his willingness to just listen when you needed an ear to hear you, a warm friendly hug, his words spoken at the Communion Table, and much more will long be remembered.

Howgreatthouart

Yesterday morning, with no knowledge of what had happened, one of the music selections at our little mission included what is one of my two favorite hymns, “How Great Thou Art.” My heart was stirred again as I remembered all the Lord had done for us and included a prayer in my heart for the Shelley family that they would be encouraged in the Lord.

Last evening, I saw an obituary page had been posted for Bro. Harvey. I clicked on the link and the music for “How Great Thou Art” came flooding out the speakers of my computer. It has been a blessing reading the tributes to a man who loved the Lord so much.

Today is Monday and many have the “Monday blues.” I go to work today celebrating that my brother and friend no longer has to worry about Mondays or any other day of the week. The Remembrance Feast that he loved so much to remember our risen Lord at is now the entire focus of Bro. Harvey’s attention. My brother no longer worries about sin or any distractions from the Lord of glory.

Though we are many miles away, our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with the Shelley family as well as the Shannon Hills family. May the Lord grant them peace in their hearts. We do not grieve as those who have no hope for we will see him again.

Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8, emphasis added).

As I was reading the Beatitudes the other day, this verse especially jumped out at me. It seems like the verses on purity and holiness are the least-quoted verses any more, but I am challenged by this verse.

I wonder how many people on earth are truly pure in heart. It is a rare person who doesn’t at least struggle with lust, jealousy, anger, etc. Yet, these are some of the things that can keep us from seeing God.

blessed-are-the-pure-in-heart-1-728

Despite popular belief, we have no reason to be proud. We should be constantly asking God to search us and try us and show us those impure thoughts and motives. We should be daily drawing closer to Him and becoming more and more like Him.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be blessed. I want to see God. I want to be pure so that I don’t stand before Him full of shame and disgrace. I want to hear Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” I expect that I will be more aware than ever before of how holy He is and how wretched I am. But I praise Him that He saved a wretch like me, and I will continue singing, “More like the Master I will ever be. More of His meekness, more humility. More zeal to labor, more courage to be true. More consecration for work He bids me do.

The Pastor – Chapter 7, The All-Body Ministry

What is meant by “the priesthood of believers?” Does the Bible show “the pastor” as being the ruler of all that goes on within the local church? SolaHere’s a note from the author on this chapter:

As we have seen, church rule and care has been ruined, twisted into a monstrosity. In tandem – the one feeding off the other – the priesthood of all believers has been allowed to dwindle into practical neglect, so that it has become the poor relation of the Christian religion, rarely discussed, let alone thought about, least of all acted upon. And for those who do have some concept of it, too frequently they think of it as an individual thing, a personal thing – I can go directly to God for my self. A wonderful truth, of course, but one that fails to exhaust the breadth and depth of meaning of this priesthood.

Chapter 7 is here.

Chapter 6 was posted here.