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A Steadfast Heart

O God, my heart is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory” (Psalm 108:1).

David says, “My heart is steadfast”; it’s like he was saying, “My heart is made up; it won’t move. Trust me; it won’t move. It is resolute.” David was firm and decided and did not waver in his purpose. He was committed to praising God above all else … even his troubles. David was not swayed or moved by the events that had occurred. He did not doubt the justice or the goodness or the mercy of God. He was determined to praise him; his heart was not shaken.

This is not as common as it should be today.

Image result for alexander maclarenThere aren’t many who always praise God no matter the circumstance. People waffle; people flip-flop; people change their convictions as often as they do their preferences.

Alexander Maclaren, a Scottish Baptist minister from the late 1800s, preached in a sermon entitled “The Fixed Heart”,

“For a fixed heart I must have a fixed determination and not a mere fluctuation and soon broken intention. I must have a steadfast affection, and not merely a fluttering love that, like some butterfly, lights now on this, now on that sweet flower, but which has a flight straight as a carrier pigeon to its cot, which shall bear me direct to God. And I must have a continuous realization of my dependence upon God and of God’s sweet sufficiency going with me all through the dusty day. … Ah, brethren! How unlike the broken, interrupted, divergent lines that we draw is our average Christianity fairly represented by such words as these of my text? Do they not rather make us burn with shame when we think that a man who lived in the twilight of God’s revelation, and was weighed upon by distresses such as wrung this psalm out of him, should have poured out this resolve, which we who love in the sunlight and are flooded with blessings find it hard to echo with sincerity and truth? Fixed hearts are rare amongst the Christians of thus day.”

Q/A Friday: If We Are to Love Our Enemies, Should We Love Satan?

Before I answer the question, I need to let you know that this question was posed to me by a 6-year old. I don’t know if the question was prompted by a recent sermon I preached on Matthew 5:43-47 or a lesson taught at home, but the question is very insightful – no matter how or why the Spirit directed him to ask it. How encouraging and exciting to see young children “do theology”!

Well, here was the answer I gave (with a little more elaboration):

First, Satan is antithetical to everything God is. He lies, cheats, hates, distorts, and kills (John 8:44; I Peter 5:8). His agenda is an evil agenda (Ephesians 6:12). He is the administrator of evil into this world (Ephesians 2:2). Thus, to love Satan would seem to show hatred for God.

Second, Satan cannot be redeemed (I Timothy 5:21). In fact, no angel can be redeemed. The story of salvation is a design for mankind.

Third, the context of Matthew 5 is addressed to humans about humans (e.g. “brother” or “anyone). We are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27); angels are not. Thus, the context does not include any kind of angel – whether evil or not.

In conclusion, I would say that loving our enemies is about loving other humans – not Satan.

If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please it to charlesheck@cox.net or pose your question in the comments section of this post.

Hating Evil, Loving Good

You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 97:10).

Do you love what God loves and hate what God hates? If you love God, you must hate evil. Albert Barnes echoes this truth when he writes, “There is nothing more clearly affirmed in the Scriptures than that in order to the love of God there must be the hatred of all that is wrong, and that where there is the love of sin in the heart, there can be no true religion.”[1]

How do you know if you hate evil? How do you know if your hatred of sin is the level it should be? May I suggest four tests to determine your relationship to evil?

  1. Do you hate all kinds of sins? In other words, are there some sins you can put up with but other sins you can’t tolerate? (e.g., like someone who can’t watch a movie with their friends if it contains nudity but has no problem viewing pornography on the internet when they are all alone). If you don’t hate all kinds of sins, you aren’t like God. You love evil.
  2. Do you allow sin to gain ground in your life? In other words, sin(s) should be losing the battle in your soul and not planting seeds. Are you progressing in your battles or are you allowing them to progress over you? If you are giving up to sin’s attack in of your life, you love evil more than you do holiness.
  3. Do you attack sin every chance you get? In other words, when there is a fleshly temptation invading your life, do you attack it with the full body of spiritual armor? Do you go on the offensive? Sin is always on the offensive and the way we fight it is not to passively wait around for it to attack. If you wait for sin to attack you and give in to it, you love evil.
  4. Do you get upset with someone when they point out your obvious sin? In other words, do you sin when someone says you have already sinned? If you sinfully respond to someone loving you enough to rebuke your sin, you love sin more than correction.

The godly man hates all evil and loves what God loves. Godly people don’t love that (or sin) which sent Jesus to the cross.

Image result for psalm 97:10

[1] Barnes Notes, pg. 48.

John Owen, Describing How to Mortify Sin

Image result for john owen“To kill a man, or any other living thing, is to take away the principle of all his strength, vigor, and power, so that he cannot act or exert or put forth any proper actings of his own; so it is in this case. Indwelling sin is compared to a person, a laving person, called ‘the old man,’ with his faculties and properties, his wisdom, craft, subtlety, strength; this, says the apostle, must be killed, put to death, mortified – that is, have its power vigor, and strength to procure tis effects taken away by the Spirit. … The mortification of indwelling sin remaining in our mortal bodies, that it may not have life and power to bring forth the works or deeds of the flesh, is the constant duty of believers. … Sin sets itself against every act of holiness, and against ever degree we grow to. Let not that man think he makes any progress in holiness while he walks not over the bellies of his lusts.” (John Owen, Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers)

Jay Adams, Speaking to the Lack of Reconciliation Between Christians

Image result for jay adams counselor“Few things are sapping the strength of the church of Jesus Christ more than the unreconciled state of so many believers. So many Christians have matters deeply imbedded in their relationship, like iron wedges forced between themselves and other Christians. They can’t walk together because they do not agree. When they should be marching side by side taking men captive for Jesus Christ. Instead they are acting like an army that has been routed and scattered and whose troops in tier confusion have begun fighting among themselves. … There is no excuse for this sad condition, for the Bible does not allow for loose ends.” (Jay Adams, The Christian Counselor’s Manual)

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