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It seemed unusual when l first thought of

sorrow and repentance…

As a gift.

We know we ought

To bow.

To pray.

To lift our souls in petition to the LORD.

Often.

 

We pray for

grace.

peace.

mercy.

contentment.

help.

forgiveness.

In these, sorrow and repentance are

vaguely comprised.

 

Depend on the Creator;

Being dependent, we are made strong.

Presuming that we can be sorry,

Presuming that we can repent ourselves:

We

Presume.

That we can save ourselves.

 

Depend on God the Father,

His

Spirit,

Jesus Christ,

The Messiah.

For sorrow and repentance.

These are Jesus words to the Pharisees in Matthew 9:12, 13: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go and learn what that means. I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Parallel texts are Mark 2:17 and Luke 5:31,32)

When Jesus says, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice…,” he is saying that those whom he saves must believe they are sinners and confess their sins with sorrow and repentance. Only when by God’s grace one cries for mercy by expressing sorrow for one’s sins will Jesus have mercy on that person.

Jesus will not be merciful to those who do not think they have sin or to those who are not sorry for their sins. He is not willing to sacrifice for them. When people think they are pretty good, and half-heartedly confess their sins, Jesus will not sacrifice himself for them. A sacrifice, not being merciful, is what it would take for Jesus to die for those who are not really sorry.

Some while reading this may think, “I haven’t done anything too bad lately,” and that’s a typical thought coming from completely depraved human beings. Think of how our whole human race would be cast into hell if it weren’t for God’s Son, and realize how wrong even our little sins are. With God’s grace we must be sorry for our sins every day.

We must be sensitive to the word of God in order to know what sins we are guilty of. This means we must read the Bible often, and pray that the Holy Spirit richly dwells in us to give us more understanding of, and sorrow for, our sins.

In Luke 16:10 Jesus says, “…and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” We are, as imperfect creatures, consistently unjust especially in little things. In God’s eyes, whether the sin is small or large, it has the same implication: guilt, deserving condemnation. Jesus will have mercy on the sorrowful, but he won’t sacrifice for the self-righteous.

How can we be cleansed if we don’t repent? It’s impossible.

How can we bring forth fruits if we think we can do them ourselves? We won’t bring forth real fruits.

Is the Holy Spirit dwelling in self-righteous people? No, because the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ. In John 16:14 Jesus says, “He, [The Spirit of Truth,] shall glorify me…” It is not glorifying to Christ to suppose, however vaguely, that we are responsible for our salvation.

Again; we must be sensitive to the word of God in order to know what sins we are guilty of. This means we must read the Bible often, and pray that the Holy Spirit richly dwells in us to give us more understanding of and sorrow over our sins.

May God bless all of His chosen ones (Isaiah 41:9) with continuing realization of sins, and the gift of continuous sorrow and repentance for them. ❖

Pride causes people to rationalize their sins and in some cases the sins of ones they love. Pride makes people cover up their sins instead of confessing them. Pride answers a valid rebuke with an attack. Pride holds grudges and blocks forgiveness. Pride makes it impossible for people to see their own sins. Because of all this, pride keeps a person from believing in salvation through Jesus Christ alone…even if he or she seems to profess it. Those with pride are allowed head knowledge of the scriptures, but not heart knowledge.

We all have too much pride. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts that we might be saved from pride and the devil and acknowledge as in Philippians 4:13 that; “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” This verse rightly implies that we should do nothing outside of Christ. If we do, nothing good will come out of it. ♦

Dear Editor,

This is a good-natured rebuttal to Rev. Gritters’ article “Biblical Marriage” Part II. The section labeled “Second, the wife is not her husband’s equal,” is the part that I will focus on.

I agree with the biblical idea of marriage, and of the different duties God has given man and wife. But the word “equal” should be carefully defined when discussing men and women or husband and wife. What Rev. Gritters means by the word “equal” is not very clear, and that’s a problem. When the word “equal” is used, it sounds like God values the man over the woman.

God commanded men to perform certain duties and their wives to perform others on this earth. It’s not appropriate to say that “the wife is not her husband’s equal.” The duties that God has given to men cannot be compared to the duties God has given women because they are different duties.

God created men and women in His image (Genesis 1:27). This shows that he considers them equally important.

Rev. Gritters uses the analogy of Christ and the church as compared to the relationship of husband and wife. The analogy is appropriate, but at the point where he compares husband and wife to this remark, “Never in her life would the Church dare to say that she is equal to Christ in strength, in honor, in glory, in wisdom, in power,” the analogy has gone too far. We know that woman is man’s equal mentally (can be wise), and can be as strong and powerful. Also, man isn’t necessarily full of glory.

Women should reverence their husbands, and the husbands should be head of the home, but this doesn’t mean that God thinks the man’s place is more important.

God commanded husbands to use their abilities in one way and wives in another (to be help meets). That is what should be focused on instead of ideas like “wives are not their husband’s equal” implying that God considers wives worth less than husbands. Some women might think after reading a comment like that, “Well, I can never be valued as highly as my husband (or men) by God, so apparently I don’t have to be as godly.” Or girls who are told that God doesn’t consider them equal to men may be confused, applying it to earthly terms, and trying to prove that they can indeed do men’s jobs and sometimes better, all the while eluding the fact that they should not be focusing on what they can do, but on what God wants them to do.

It is true that the Church does not have the same duties as Christ nor the wife as the husband, but how can it be said that God considers them unequal in value? The point is that it’s not a question of equality, it’s a question of having completely different God-given positions.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Shari, her husband and children are member of Byron Center Protestant Reformed Church in Byron Center, Michigan.

 

 

Response:

 

Dear Shari,

Thank you for reading the article I wrote in The Beacon Lights. Discussion on these subjects is good for us.

Some of what you write, I believe, is correct. I will respond to what you write that I believe is not.

First, your letter’s main thesis depends on a misinterpreting of my article. You assume that my “not equal” means something that I did not say or intend to say. Repeatedly you misinterpret my “not equal” as: “God values the man over the woman,” or: not “equally important,” or: “man’s place is more important,” or: “worth less,” or: “God considers them unequal in value.” By doing this, you are making the article say what it did not say. Christian women are equally valuable to God—both men and women have been bought by the same precious blood of Jesus, and are “co-heirs” of the kingdom of heaven.

Second, your warning in the last paragraph that some women would read “a statement like that” and be led astray ignores the fact that the very next section in my article exalts the high and glorious creation that the woman is by God’s grace. No Christian will read only the sentence you refer to, out of context, and be misled in the way you fear.

Most important, you state that “It’s not appropriate to say that ‘the wife is not her husband’s equal.’” Then you reduce the difference between men and women to a difference of duties. But the Scripture teaches that the difference between men and women is far more than a difference of duties, although it is a difference of duties, too. It is also a difference of position—she submits to her husband, is her husband’s helper, created to serve him, and may not rule in the church. (This is different from what you mean by “completely different God-given positions,” for you explain that this difference of position means only different responsibilities.) It is also a difference of strength—she is the “weaker vessel,” according to I Peter 3. I submit that the difference between the man and the woman is as real as the difference between Christ and the church. The differences are not identical, of course; they are as real and as significant.

I believe that the danger is far greater that women don’t understand these truths, than the danger that women will think they are worthless. But let us resist both errors, standing for the truth of God in Jesus Christ.

 

In His Service,

Pastor Barry Gritters

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