But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.”

Psalm 130:4

In what does forgiveness consist? There must be something known in our lives that needs to be forgiven before forgiveness can have its proper effect. Repentance is necessary for forgiveness. This is a very humbling experience even in natural life. The Bible tells us that we have sinned against God, our Creator, but by nature this makes no impression on us. “God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 53:2-3). It is even desperate, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). Thereby making it necessary for God, the offended one, to initiate or provide forgiveness. Has sin become real in our lives? That is a sign of life! These and these alone in whom repentance has begun seek for the forgiveness of their sins. The Triune God covenanted with Himself to provide salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ as the only way back into communion with Him. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:11). When this is seen we become willing debtors to free and sovereign grace and as the publican cry out, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13b). We begin to realize our inability and flee to Jesus for the needed repentance and forgiveness unto salvation! “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:45). This brings true joy to God for His salvation, and also in heaven. “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).

O Lord, how manifold the works in wisdom wrought by Thee;

The wealth of Thy creation fills the earth and mighty sea.

Let God rejoice in all His works, and let His works proclaim

Forevermore their Maker praise and glorify His Name.

While life shall last, my thankful lips a song to God will raise,

And while my being I possess, my Maker I will praise.

My heart shall think upon His grace in meditation sweet;

My soul rejoicing in the Lord, His praises shall repeat.

Psalter 288: taken from Psalm 104

Written by: Cornelius VanKempen

October 8, 2016

 

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The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.” (Matthew 22:2a and 3)

There is much preparation before a wedding occurs! A wedding is joining together of two people of different personalities who have grown to love each other so that they cannot continue to live apart. They have their friends join them in this celebration. Everything has to be perfect. The wedding dress made to bring out the beauty of the “bride” for her groom. This happy day is a faint reflection of the “great wedding day” of Christ and His church. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7). The Bible pictures this union of love between Christ and His church who He found dead in sin with no beauty that He should ever look at her again. “And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live” (Ezekiel 16:4). The great wonder of this wedding is the bride receives her life from the Bridegroom. It is only free and sovereign grace, making her the grateful recipient of His love. “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:8-9a).

The day is set apart for the bridal pair as their special day, there are also guests invited to the marriage. This is the gospel which God’s servants, (heralds) proclaim to them from the King. The glorious King came seeking His bride, proffering peace and pardon to her. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). Men did not feel the need or love for this King, because they would be their own king. The cross of Calvary is the great divide; He shed His life-blood to earn the bride’s wedding garment for her. Do you see Him reflected in her? Have you been brought to see your nakedness without it? Without this wedding garment the King also has a word for you! “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11-14). Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom is also the wedding garment; He is everything for a bride who has no beauty in herself. Is He your righteousness?

Written by: Cornelius VanKempen

October 31, 2016

 

 

 

And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:  But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.

2 Chronicles 36:15-16

 

God is a merciful God, but it is a just mercy.  “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.  And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,  Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:5-7).  This merciful God is taken for granted time and time again throughout the Bible as we read the history of Israel, (the people of God).  What is the reason for this?  The heart is so corrupt; willing to do only what is right according to themselves which is against God and His Anointed. We often hear we are still alive, so there is still hope.  But is this really true?   When God the Holy Ghost works in the heart of a sinner, He convicts of sin showing them their need His righteousness.  As long as that is not experienced, there is no hope, for by nature we are dead in sins and trespasses.  We are happy in our spiritually dead state.  With our actions we say, “I don’t need God.”

Though there is no remedy for the people until God’s judgments are fulfilled, but there is and always will be a remnant that sorrow because of the sins of the people.  “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).  This is a wonder of God’s free and sovereign grace.  “For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.  For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.  In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:7-8).  God destroys His enemies, but delivers His chosen ones unto Himself.  “For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth” (Romans 9:28).  We live as if we will live on this earth forever, God says, “The day thou sinneth thou shalt surely die.”  The world is still standing because there are yet those who must be saved.  The gospel is spread out over the world so that all excuses will be taken away.  One day His church (the remnant) will be complete and time will be no more.  The throne of grace is still open today!  “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.  For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.  There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:7b-12).

 

Written by: Cornelius VanKempen

September 27, 2016

 

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

2 Corinthians 13:5

We are by nature experts in examining others! This makes for grand conversation, and helps to make us look good in the process. But to examine ourselves is not something we enjoy doing. The question is, “What do we use for a measuring stick?” Is it our neighbor or those around us? Is it brothers and sisters? This would usually make us look good, but this type of examination does not reveal the picture that God would have us to see! In the light of God’s Word we fail in every category, because our sin and short comings are exposed. God demands to be holy and perfect every moment of every day of our lives. “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44a). This leaves us short of the mark which God has set. The examination leaves us in a hopeless situation, the knowledge of our sins and the curse they deserved humble us before Him (God) who (as the Lord’s Supper form says, “considering that the wrath of God against sin is so great, that (rather than it should go unpunished) He hath punished the same in His beloved Son Jesus Christ, with the bitter and shameful death of the cross.”

The examination of ourselves lifts us outside of ourselves to Jesus Christ for perfection and holiness. All our righteousnesses are at best stained with sin which must be removed. Our sinful nature must die, and a new nature must be born in us. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This is a lifetime work which is begun by the Holy Spirit as He conforms us day by day to the image of Christ. It is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. It becomes our own! This is the true examining of ourselves, we become nothing, and God becomes everything. Do you believe this? Every child of God will experience this. “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 4:23-25, and 5:1).

Will this be perfected while we are alive? No, but when we fail there will be a sorrow of sinning against such a good doing God. This is our hope; we shall not die but live and tell of His grace and mercy toward me. Psalter 34:1,9,10

I love the Lord, His strength is mine; He is my God I trust His grace;

My fortress high, my shield divine, will rescue me from all my foes.

He took me from the whelming waves of bitter hate and sore distress;

The Lord, my stay and helper, saves, though mighty foes around me press.

From direful straits He set me free, He saves the man of His delight;

For good the Lord rewarded me, because I kept His ways aright.

Written by: Cornelius VanKempen

September 17, 2016

 

 

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace and love, be multiplied.” Jude 1-2

As the love of God fills our heart, mind, and soul, it brings peace and love to God. We cannot but praise Him for His complete work of gathering a church unto Himself. The religious world speaks much of Jesus, but has never learned what it cost the Triune God to gather His church. The creation of the world in six days was necessary for the work of salvation, and everything that that entailed. God opened the way through the rebellion of the fallen angels and through them Adam and Eve and all their posterity. God’s Son came in the fulness of time to restore man in communion with God bringing to pass His eternal decree. It is and was and shall be the love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, to redeem His elect people. Preserve them to Himself forever. “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:19-21). God has always preserved His people before they were born in eternity past. God calls them while in the world to flee from their deserved condemnation, preserving and keep them forever. “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:38-39). This is love unspeakable and unbreakable for it originated in the God of love. His people shall eternally praise Him for His great electing, redeeming, and preserving love to them. “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:10-13).

Wait on the Lord and keep His way, and then, by Him approved,

Thy heritage shall still remain when sinners are removed.

Mark well the perfect, upright man, as still his years increase;

Behold his life, and thou shalt see his journey end in peace.

Psalter 101:4-5

Written by: Cornelius VanKempen

September 14, 2016

 

 

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God” (1 Peter 1:18-21).

The Bible reveals the Trinity to us in many ways. At the creation God spoke the Word as the Spirit moved on the face of the waters. (See Genesis 1). This is amplified in the coming of Christ in the fulness of time as the three-in-one God, revealing Himself in His redeeming love. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The wonder of this love moves us to say, “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5). When this is experienced in the heart, by the enlightening of the Holy Ghost, we cannot but love Him in return.

Redeeming love brings about a separation. To be redeemed, there must be a need to be saved from bondage. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2”1-3). Without the Redeemer being seen as a necessity, hate is fostered against Him and His people. The world would, if it could, eliminate God from everything and live as if they are in control of their own destinies. Persecution and ridicule for God’s people is everywhere. God’s laws are despised and rejected, but what makes this love so precious is that they were enemies of God before being redeemed by the Saviors blood by God. This redeeming love is revealed to them by the God of electing love! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). Redemption is the work of the Triune God. This brings the redeemed to worship and praise Him here in this world. It will be complete and perfect in eternity! God’s salvation is a complete work.

Written by: Cornelius VanKempen

September 14, 2016

 

 

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” 1 Peter 1:2

Peter opens His Epistle with the words of our text! They are full of comfort for the people of God as they struggle with their sins against their Creator and Benefactor. They cannot understand themselves, feeling so cold toward Him and yet drawn to Him. The world is so strong and they are so weak. God through His Word lifts up their eyes saying, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever” (Exodus 14:13b). Their salvation is grounded in the Triune God, and can never fail. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5). His people rest in Him alone with hope and expectation.

In doubt and temptation I rest Lord, in Thee; my hand is in Thy hand,

Thou carest for me; my soul with Thy counsel through life Thou wilt guide,

And afterward make me in glory abide.

Psalter 202:1, Psalm 73

Election is the doctrine of hope His people fail every step they take on their own, but in Jesus Christ, who is One with the Father says, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one” (John 10:28-30). This gives strength for the journey through the wilderness of this life, knowing that salvation is of the Lord alone. The Lord is conforming His people to be like Him as He prepares them for glory with Him forever. “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” 1 Peter 1:7-9). Thus election is the basis of our salvation, but could not be completed without the Redeeming Love of God which will be our next meditation, the Lord willing.

Written by: Cornelius VanKempen

September 10, 2016