Live Today as If it Were Your Last

Yesterday a friend of mine went to be with Jesus. He was in his mid-twenties and left behind his mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, wife of only a couple years, and a myriad of friends and family who are shocked and grieving. We do not grieve as those who have no hope but we are sad for the void we are feeling. Today we see through a glass darkly, but we know that everything happens for good to those who love God. And so we hold on to that and the peace in knowing that we will see Him again one day.

This sudden, unexpected death of someone so young has me thinking again about the importance of letting people know what they mean to you. This is something you cannot do enough. I don’t think anyone can receive too many hugs or kind words or “I love you”s. When they are lying in a coffin, it will be too late, and the grief will be worse if you did not take time for that person while they were alive.

In church today, the pastor read from Ephesians 2:1-10. I have been thinking about verses 1-7 especially: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” I am so grateful for God’s continual work in my life but I grieve for those who have not yet been cleansed and renewed by the power of God’s grace. How hopeless life must be for them. As sad as I am about my friend’s death, I know where he is. I know I will see him again. A friend of mine was also touched by a young, unexpected death this week but, in that case, the young man and his family don’t know the Lord. How especially tragic that is!

No one knows they have tomorrow. I don’t. You don’t. But we can live each day as if it were our last. We can make sure that we are kind to others. We can wake up each morning, asking God to show us how we can best serve Him. We can tell our friends and family how much we love them. Better to wear them out by telling them often than not to tell them at all. Don’t neglect to hug and kiss your spouse and children goodbye before you leave the house. You don’t know if that could be the last hug or kiss you give them.

Life is short. We know that and, yet, we tend to live as if we have forever. We don’t.

Lastly, make sure that you are living a life that will allow you to meet Jesus with joy instead of shame. Don’t waste your life with selfish pursuits but strive to walk in the Spirit so that you do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The Holy Spirit will help you if this is your sincere desire.

When I get to Heaven, I want to know that I fulfilled God’s purpose for my life. I pray I will have impacted someone’s life positively and helped him or her to draw closer to the Lord through the things I said and did. I don’t want anyone close to me to wonder if I loved them. If there are good things said about me at my funeral, I pray that God gets the glory, for, without Him, there is nothing good in me. With Him, I can testify that God is alive! His grace is amazing! His love is real! And His mercy is incredible! For, you see, there was a day that I did not know Him like I do today. I am so thankful that He looked down and saw this poor, pitiful creature and saw what I could be instead of what I was. I still don’t do everything perfectly. I still struggle. But I am striving to stay in the Word, to not neglect daily prayer and worship, to seek God’s will and to be willing to grow. I’m grateful He sees my heart, and I pray that He will continue to show me the wicked ways in me and lead me to life everlasting. On that day, I expect I will temporarily forget all my loved ones that I miss right now. I will be fully focused on Jesus, waiting for my chance to look into His eyes. Will I see disappointment or love? I imagine there will be a bit of nervousness. But, once I see those eyes of love looking back at me and hear Him say, “Welcome Home, my child. Enter into your rest,” I picture myself running into His arms and letting Him hold me for a very long time while the tears flow unhindered. In many ways, I cannot wait for that day but, until then, God has a plan for my life, and I must occupy until He comes. God, help me to be faithful. I hope that is your earnest prayer as well.

A Commentary on Acts

A Commentary on Acts 415ueiiJyrL._SS300_

A review by Stuart Brogden

Writing a commentary on any book of the Bible is a daunting task. Especially, I think, a New Testament book. We tend to be more familiar with the New Testament and the theological divisions within the realm of Christianity are daunting. And we have much less commentary and interpretation by the Apostles of the New Testament than we have of the Old. And, as with any study of God’s Word, we all bring our presuppositions with us and have to conscientiously focus to seek the true meaning of Scripture rather than merely defend what we’ve been taught by others. Guy Prentiss Waters has spent untold hours to provide us a study commentary on the book of Acts.

Right up front, Mr. Waters makes it clear the perspective from which he views Scripture, which will delight his fellow paedobaptists but ought to give Baptists a bit of caution. Here, from the Introduction, page 9: “This commentary is Reformed in its orientation. It proceeds from the conviction that the Westminster Standards are the best summary of the Bible’s teaching in the church’s possession. It believes that Reformed theology and sound exegesis are not mutually exclusive alternatives, but the very best of friends.”

Many Baptists claim to be Reformed, but do not hold to the Westminster Confession. And putting any man-authored document as the lens through which to read Scripture is contrary to the very essence of being Reformed, which relies on the never-ending journey of Semper Reformanda, Always Reforming to Scripture for the glory of God. Some Baptists are just as guilty as some of our Presbyterian brothers.

That said, I think that Mr. Waters has written a very good commentary, focused on the redemptive story that holds all of Scripture together. This being a 600 page book, it’s not possible to give you a comprehensive review; so I’ve chosen to focus on a couple of passages in Acts chapter 2.

In a section titled, Promise Explained (page 84), our author does an excellent job explaining why Peter’s sermon (which Luke summarized for his account) points to Jesus as the promised son of David, pointing out: “First, David had ‘both died and was buried’ in Jerusalem. Second, David was a ‘prophet.’ Third, David had received the promise of God, on oath, ‘to seat one from the fruit of his loins upon his throne’ (Ps 132:11, cf 2 Sam 7:1; 1 Chr 17).” And just a few pages later, Waters leans (in a footnote) on the Westminster Longer Catechism to claim baptism as “a sign and seal of the forgiveness of sins that is granted alone through faith in Christ.” (page 89) There is no Scripture referenced and there is no Scripture that can be brought to defend this idea. It is conjecture conjured up by paedobaptists to support paedobaptism. One can argue from Scripture that circumcision of the heart or the Lord’s Supper or both are signs and/or seals of the New Covenant – which is what provides that forgiveness of sins (Luke 22:20 and Rom 2:29, respectively). Later on page 89 and onto page 90, Waters refers to Acts 2:39 and again allows his confessional tradition to influence his understanding of Scripture:

In Acts 2:39, Peter makes an important statement concerning the reach or scope of the promise of which he has been speaking. The promise pertains to three groups of people. First, it is ‘for you’, that is, the Jews – not simply these particular Jews gathered in Jerusalem, but for all Jews within reach of the gospel. Second, it is ‘for your children’. God had specially extended his promises to the offspring of believers under the Old Covenant, and will continue to do so under the New Covenant (Gen 17:7). Third, it is ‘for all who are afar off.’” Waters’ second point is one of the key areas that paedobaptists must not honestly examine, because the actual meaning of this Scripture undermines the foundation of their system. The promise given to Abraham in Gen 17:7 was not one that brought the offspring of Jewish children into the New Covenant. The other side of this covenant given to Abraham, described in Gen 17:9 -14, is what brought Jewish offspring into the Mosaic Covenant community – not the New Covenant. Most importantly, God’s Word tells us the proper interpretation of the promise in Gen 17:7: Galatians 3:16 (ESV) Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. The promises were to Abraham and his seed – not seeds; to include Christ and His body in the New Covenant, not unregenerate Jewish or Presbyterian children.

But, the paedobaptist says, Scripture clearly says “the promise is for you and your children!” Two things must be observed from this passage in God’s Word. First, this verse cited in part by Waters and most paedobaptist defenders – For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. That little phrase at the end qualifies everything that precedes it in this sentence. Only those children that are called by the Lord our God to himself will be saved and, therefore, included in the New Covenant. Secondly, the promise mentioned in verse 29 does not refer to the Abrahamic covenant, as paedobaptists claim in their effort include their biological seed in the New Covenant. Context reveal no mention of Abraham in Peter’s sermon. Starting in verse 22 and continuing to verse 36, Peter describes how Christ Jesus is the heir to God’s covenant with David as fulfillment of God’s promise to David to raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-13)

No matter how you slice Acts 2, you will not find Abraham’s covenant nor a promise by God to include all the children of a group of people in the New Covenant.

As with all things written by man, there is error in this book of which the reader must be wary. But there is much good, as well. Many Baptists and Presbyterians agree vigorously on how sinners are saved – it is a monergistic work of God. This view of soteriology shines brightly throughout this commentary and ought to be an encouragement to many.

If you are a fan of the Westminster system of theology, you will enjoy this book more than us Baptists. But we can all learn and benefit from it as it will cause the serious reader to dig into Scripture to see if these things be so.

Fruit of the Spirit 5: Kindness

When I think of kindness, I think of a heartfelt desire to bless other people. I’m sure that is not the definition according to Webster but it may definitely be defined my way.

Kindness is deferring to others, preferring them above ourselves. It is not always having to be right. It is biting our tongue when we would like to comment on a “stupid” decision someone just made.


Kindness is servanthood. It exhibits itself in the way we talk about others. It is having a heart of compassion. It is selfless and patient (two other fruits of the spirit we’ve studied).

Colossians 3:12 tells us to put on kindness. Would your friends and family classify you as a kind person? If not, this is an area you must work on. As you begin to act kinder, people will better enjoy being around you.


hello-my-name-isGreetings DefCon readers and writers. I am J.L. Pattison and I am pleased to announce that I have been invited to be a guest contributor to this fine blog.

One of the first things I’ve done is work on revitalizing the blog’s image with a whole new design (I hope you like it).

I will be tinkering with the design some more to get it perfect, but in the meantime let me know what you think of the new look. Tell me what you like and what you dislike about it.

I look forward to getting to know everyone here and sharing more about me in the near future.