Matt 27:45 Darkness Over All the Earth 2/1/2009 ßà
#1. The Whole Earth Was in Darkness (Matt 27:45-46, 25:30, Isa 53:10-12, Gal 3:13 John 15:6, Acts 2:27,31, Matt 3:11, 20:23, Rom 14:10, 2Cor 5:10)
#2. Elijah Prayed (1King 18:30-37, John 17:2)
#3. In His Deepest Darkest Hour (Matt 27:47-49, Rom 3:10-12,18, 5:8, 6:23)
Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 27:45 (2X). Today we will resume our study in the Gospel of Matthew, and today marks the 80th sermon we have in this series. We have already covered the first three hours of the Lord Jesus on the cross, and we have also discussed the first three sayings of Jesus on the cross. The first of these three sayings was, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. The second was, “Woman, behold thy son, and Behold thy mother”. And the third was, “Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise”. Today we will begin to look into the events that were recorded during the second three hours on the cross, which began with darkness that covered all the earth. Therefore the title of this sermon is, “Darkness Over All the Earth” 2X). There were definite reasons why God enveloped the whole earth in total darkness. We see in this that God was in total control of all the events of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was not an accidental sun-eclipse, for sun-eclipses last only for a couple minutes. This was the hand of God that caused the whole earth to be in darkness for three hours. Let us read here in Matt 27 how God orchestrated the events at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. The first thing we notice is that Jesus is called: The King of the Jews. And even though it was Pilate who wrote this as an accusation above the head of Jesus, it was God who prompted Pilate to write this. And God made us meditate on this accusation in the terms of Rom 2:28-29, where God says, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Those who were outwardly Jews reviled Him. They were circumcised in the flesh, but not in their hearts. Even the two thieves on the crosses next to Jesus reviled Him. Everyone was reviling and humiliating Jesus. Even the disciples of Jesus did not come to support Him, but fled out of fear for the leaders of the Jews, except for fearless John, who stood with the women at a distance from the cross. In fact, Pilate was the only one who honored Jesus by writing the accusation over Jesus' head. Everyone else was humiliating Jesus. From where did Pilate get this wisdom? This did not come out of Pilate's own wisdom. God influenced Pilate to write these words, so that these words became part of the Bible, the Word of God, and they are the words from God. We read in Matt 27:45-50,
Mt 27:45-50 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark we read that there as darkness over all the land, which means over all the land of Palestine. But in the Gospel of Luke we read that here was darkness over all the earth. We read in Luke 23:44, “And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.”
#1. The Whole Earth Was in Darkness (Matt 27:45-46, 25:30, Isa 53:10-12, Gal 3:13 John 15:6, Acts 2:27,31, Matt 3:11, 20:23, Rom 14:10, 2Cor 5:10)
Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
It means that from about 12 Noon until about 3 O'clock in the afternoon there was darkness over all the earth, because that is what we read in the Gospel according to Luke. The entire earth was engulfed in darkness. Three hours of darkness. Why would God create this darkness? God created this darkness to let us know WHAT the Lord Jesus had to endure in our place. From time to time I get questioned regarding my belief that Jesus suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell in His soul. People want a proof of that. When I say "Equivalent", I do not mean "Equal". What is the meaning of "equivalent"? Let me give you an example. Suppose that I am a butcher. I go to shop at the Farmer's Market and there I buy a cow for $500. That cow is not equal to $500, but that cow is equivalent to $500. That is the meaning of the word equivalent. Now apply this to the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.
#1. The righteousness of God requires that the Lord Jesus must suffer the equivalent of eternal damnation on behalf of our sins, for only that would satisfy the righteousness of God, for only that would be a full payment for the debt that we owe to God.
#2. According to Isa 53:10 the Lord Jesus must make His soul an offering for sin; and according to Isa 53:11 the Lord Jesus shall see the travail of His soul; and according to Isa 53:12 the Lord Jesus shall be successful in the eyes of the Father because He has poured out His soul unto death; this refers to His human soul, for it is in His humanity that He suffered the atonement for our sins.
#3. According to Gal 3:13 the Lord Jesus has redeemed us, His elect only, from the curse of the law, which is the second death in the Lake of Fire; the curse which was upon us, His elect only, was imputed on Him, so that He is made a curse in our place; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree", and to be in this way under the curse of God means that Jesus was subjected to the curse of the law, which is the second death in the Lake of Fire.
#4. According to John 15:6 those who remain unsaved shall be cast forth like as The Branch into the fire; the Greek text does not say “a branch”, but “The Branch”, referring to the Lord Jesus as The Branch who has endured the fires of Hell successfully, and completed the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.
#5. According to Matt 27:46 the Lord Jesus, in His humanity, felt that He was forsaken by God as if His soul was left in Hell forever; but in Acts 2:27,31 we read of the faith of Christ that He held on to the promise that the Father would not leave His soul in Hell.
#6. According to Matt 25:30 Hell is described as a place of outer darkness; not utter darkness, but outer darkness, which is a place of darkness out there, outside the kingdom of God; Christ also had to suffer in the midst of a darkness that resembled the outer darkness of Hell.
#7. According to Matt 3:11 the Lord Jesus Christ shall baptize His followers with fire; which does not refer to the tongues of fire that sat on each of the 120 followers on the day of Pentecost, since that was not called a baptism, and since it occurred only one time for the 120 on Pentecost; the Lord Jesus called His cross experience a baptism, a washing, in Matt 20:23; this is where all His elect are baptized with fire when the Lord Jesus endured the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.
Moreover, this darkness was for us the evidence that this entire world was in the clutches of Satan, and that Christ had to suffer the agony for our sins alone, all by Himself, abandoned by man and by God. God indicated hereby to us that the Lord Jesus in His soul was suffering in the midst of Hell.
But think of the marvelous consequences of this atonement: God says that He placed all those whom He chose to salvation in Christ. #1. We were in Christ before the foundation of the world. #2. We were in Christ when He was conceived in the womb of Mary about 2000 years ago. #3. We were in Christ when He hung on the cross enduring Hell for us. #4. We were in Christ when He was buried in a dark tomb, and when His body was raised from the tomb on Sunday morning. #5. And we were in Christ when He ascended into heaven and reigns from there as King of kings and Lord of lords. #6. We are reigning there with Him, because we have become citizens of the Heavenly Jerusalem.
Since we have in principle already endured Hell for our sins when Christ suffered Hell for us, in our place, therefore God will never send us to Hell again, because the saints have already been there. God will never drag us before the Judgment seat of Christ again, because we have already been there, on Friday, April 3, in the year AD 33. And thus, when we read in Rom 14:10, “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ,” or when we read in 2Cor 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” this cannot refer to the saints, for God will not judge the saints twice. But all these statements could not be true if Christ had not truly paid the full price for our sins.
When the suffering was most intense, at the end of the 3 hours of darkness, the Lord Jesus cried:
Matt 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
This is amazing. Has God had forsaken Jesus. Has God forsaken His only begotten Son? The heavenly Father, with whom He communicated for many hours, had abandoned the Lord Jesus, for He was laden with our sins, and our sins are an abhorrence to God. Notice how Jesus addresses Him.
He does not address Him as "Father", but as the more general "My God". To be forsaken by God is the most frightful of all evils. To be forsaken by God means that we do not have green grass under our feet, and we do not have clean air to breathe; it means we do not have light from the sun and we do not have clean water from the rain; it means we have no clothes to cover us, and we have no pleasant temperature like in California, because these are all free gifts from God, bestowed upon the just and on the unjust. But after this world has come to an end, God will no longer bestow such free gifts upon the unjust, for they are the only ones left therein. To be forsaken by God is equivalent to Hell. This was the moment the concentrated wrath of heaven descended on the Lord Jesus, and He cried: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Here was a fire that burned infinitely fiercer than Nebuchadnezzar's furnace. These words of unparalleled grief reflected the fullest manifestation of Divine love for us, and it was the most awe-inspiring display of God's inflexible justice, because God is infinitely Just, and He demands a full payment from whosoever stands before the judgment throne. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23), but the wages of sin is not physical death. Our physical death is only a shadow of the 2nd death. The 2nd death is really the wages of our sin. At the cross the Lord Jesus Christ received the wages of sin, which is the 2nd death. The Atonement of the Lord Jesus must be viewed from at least 9 different vantage points. Let me list here the 9 points: #1. At the cross man did a work: he displayed his depravity by taking the Perfect One, and with wicked hands" nailed Him to the tree. #2. At the cross Satan did a work: he displayed his enmity against the woman's Seed by bruising His heel. #3. At the cross the Lord Jesus did a work: He died, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. #4. At the cross God did a work: God demonstrated His holiness and satisfied His justice by pouring out His wrath on Him who was made sin for us, in our place. #5 At the cross we see that Christ was made our sin-offering, and there we remember that the sin-offering was an animal sacrifice that was burned in the fire. #6 At the cross then, we see that God "spared not His own Son" (Rom 8:32) when He hung there in the sinner's place. #7 At the cross the Lord Jesus Christ had absolutely nothing else to rest upon except His Father's covenant and promise that He would not leave His soul in Hell. #8 At the cross we see that there was no way of transferring sin without also transferring its penalty. #9 At the cross we learn that this cry from our Savior was uttered that we might be allowed to know of what passed there.
But there are consequences of us knowing all of this. Our God is merciful: the fact that He has provided a Savior proves it. The fact that He invites us to believe on Him is an evidence of His mercy. The fact that He has been so longsuffering with us, and that He has borne the insults of our sins proves it. But if we continue to be in rebellion against His law, then we are put on notice that there is a limit to God's longsuffering. The time of mercy will soon be ended. And in the Day of Judgment God will avenge the mercy we have scorned. If God "spared not His own Son" when sin was found on Him, what possible hope is there for anyone who dies in his sins? But God also knows our heart. God says in Jer 17:9 that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” for God knows that in the pride of our wicked heart we will give ourselves the credit for accepting the invitation to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. And God knows that man’s heart is so wicked that no one would come to the Lord Jesus if the Father would not draw that person to Jesus. Ad so, even though the call to believe goes out into the whole world, only a remnant chosen by grace will truly believe, and be saved.
Then we read in Matt 27:47-49,
Matt 27:47-49 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
What were they doing when they gave Him vinegar to drink? Well, they were fulfilling Scripture. But they also were humiliating the Lord Jesus. Verse 49 says that they expected Elijah to save Him. Just imagine. Could a mere human being take God off the cross? Clearly, they were speaking of Christ as those who have a mind of unbelief. They that stood around the cross were mocking Him. They said among each other, "This man calls for Elijah". Now, from the many sayings that were said there around the cross during the past 6 hours, why did God choose to put this saying in the Bible? When people hear the name of Elijah, what is the first thing that comes to their mind? Indeed, it is the event when God kindled a fire at Mount Carmel.
#2. Elijah Prayed (1King 18:30-37, John 17:2)
Put a sticker here in Matthew 27, and please turn to the prophecy of 1Kings 18:30 (2X). In about 870 BC Ahab ruled over the Northern kingdom of Israel. Ahab was a wicked king, and he had married an even more wicked Canaanite princess by the name of Jezebel. Therefore God sent the prophet Elijah to this wicked nation with the message that there would be neither dew nor rain for a number of years. After 3½ years God sent Elijah again to the nation of Israel to announce the coming of rain. Elijah then summoned the king, and his 450 prophets of Baal, and all the nobles of Israel to Mount Carmel. There at the top of Mount Carmel Elijah proposed a contest between the powers of Jehovah and of Baal. Elijah would have an altar with a bullock on it, and the 450 prophets of Baal would have an altar with a bullock on it. Neither side would put fire under the altar. The God who answered their prayers by fire would be the true God. All the people agreed. The prophets of Baal were first to call on Baal, but there was no answer. Then we read in 1Kings 18:30-37,
1Kings 18:30-37 And
Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near
unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones,
according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word
of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as
great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and
laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it
on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And
he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time.
And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third
time. And the water ran round about
the altar; and he filled the trench also with water. And it came to pass at (
the time of) the offering of
the ( evening) sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and
said, Jehovah God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day
that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant,
and that I have done all these things at Thy word. Hear me, O Jehovah, hear me, that this people may know that Thou art
Jehovah God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again.
From the NT we know that all the OT sacrifices were pictures and shadows of the atoning death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. First of all, Elijah prayed like the Lord Jesus prayed in the upper room, just before He went to be bound and be crucified. The name Elijah means, "My God Jehovah". Elijah's words in verse 36 are: "Let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel". Both Jesus and Elijah prayed that God would glorify Himself on this day in a very special way. And we know that God granted that request on Mount Carmel, as well as 900 years later on Golgotha. Secondly, Elijah prayed: "Let it be known that I am Thy servant". The Lord Jesus Christ is known as "The Suffering Servant of Jehovah". He was the Suffering Servant of Jehovah to pay for the sins of His elect people, in order "that He (Christ) should give eternal life to as many as Thou (the Father) hast given Him" (John 17:2). Thirdly, Elijah prayed: "I have done all these things at Thy word". It means that all the actions of Elijah were in obedience to the instructions he received from God. Jesus also prayed that He may successfully complete all that the Father had given Him to do. Fourthly, Elijah prayed: "That this people may know that Thou hast turned their heart back again". God is the one who turns our hearts to Jesus, and God does that for every one of His elect. And God answered by fire from heaven.
We read in 1Kings 18:38-40,
1Kings 18:38-40 Then the fire of Jehovah fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, Jehovah, he is the God; Jehovah, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
Out of the clear blue sky came a flash of lightning. What has fire to do with all of this? The fire of the Lord always has to do with Judgment. It is symbolic of Hellfire.
The judgment of God, or the wrath of God, is manifested as Hellfire. Here on Mount Carmel the fire of Jehovah fell upon the sacrifice that was upon the altar. It signified God's approval of the sacrifice that was on the altar. Keep in mind now that this sacrifice was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. There at Golgotha it was a sacrifice, which also carried God's approval. But where was the fire at Golgotha? The fire of God burned within the Lord Jesus, in His soul. The fire from the Lord on Mount Carmel clearly tells us that the wrath of God was poured out upon the Lord Jesus Christ, because He was laden with the guilt of our sins. This was the fire of the wrath of God upon our sins. The same fire consumed Nadab and Abihu, who offered strange fire in the tabernacle. Their sin was immediately dealt with because they were appointed priests of Jehovah God. But since they were not God they were consumed in an instant. This tells us that the wrath of God on the Lord Jesus was as fierce as Hellfire. He had to pay for a great deal more sins than Nadab and Abihu were guilty of. The Lord Jesus had to take care of the sins of all His elect, throughout time.
That is why on Mount Carmel the fire of Jehovah fell on the sacrifice, the bullock, representing the Lord Jesus Christ. The fire also fell on the wood, which is the same word as tree, which represented the cross on which Jesus was crucified. The fire also fell on the twelve stones representing the Israel of God, which means that we were totally identified with the Lord Jesus in His death and His resurrection. The fire also fell on the dust, because the dust represents our human bodies, which are made of dust and return to dust. It indicates that these human bodies we presently have will be done away and will be replaced by glorified bodies of a heavenly nature. The fire also fell on the water in the trench, which means that the Gospel with which we presently surround the cross of Christ will also be done away, and will be replaced by a more perfect understanding of God's Word.
And so, when the men at the foot of the cross of Jesus were mocking Him, and were saying "This man calls for Elijah", God reminded us of the fact that the battle of Elijah with the 450 prophets of Baal was a picture of the lord Jesus in His deepest darkest hour.
#3. In His Deepest Darkest Hour (Matt 27:47-49, Rom 3:10-12,18, 5:8, 6:23)
Christ was all alone in this battle, like Elijah was all alone, whereas the enemy was 450 prophets strong. The Lord Jesus cried in His humanity about having been forsaken by God, and all the audience understood was a cry for Elijah. That was not very encouraging for the Lord Jesus, and it increased His suffering in His deepest darkest hour. It reflects the nature of man. They have no understanding. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 3:10 (2X). In His deepest darkest hour the Lord Jesus was reminded of the dullness and the stupidity of men in their sinful state. This was the quality of the men He came to save. This was the sinful nature of the people He came to purchase out of the slave market of Satan, and to turn them into lively stones that He was going to use to build His temple. But this is where we were, dull and stupid. We had a long way to go. We read in Rom 3:10-12,
Ro 3:10-12 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
How can we begin to understand how sinful we were at heart? God sums it up in Rom 3:18, where God says, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” The whole human race does not fear God. Even if God states that He will cast all those who have an unrepentant heart into Hell, still no one will listen. They remain to have no fear of God before their eyes. Do we realize that these words of Rom 3:10-18 apply to the natural man? These words were characterizing us before we were saved, before we were “born from above”. For if we have been “born from above” at that moment of our salvation God changed us from sinners into saints. At that moment God applied the payment that Christ made at the cross to our souls, with the result that our souls are ready to be taken into heaven the moment our body dies. However, this gift of salvation is not given for anything that we did, or that we will do, such as reaching out in faith for the gift of God. Salvation is not given because we cried out to God for mercy. God saves whom He will, and His choice to save is not based on anything that we do, but is entirely based on the good pleasure of His will. Please turn a couple pages to your right, to chapter 5, Rom 5:8 (2X). Before the foundation of the world the Father chose a Bride for His Son. But every individual who is a part of this Bride starts out this life as a wicked being, in enmity against God and against His Christ. We read in Rom 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” and “us” in this verse does not refer to the entire human race, but only those who are part of the Bride of Christ, which were chosen from before the foundation of the world. “While we were yet sinners,” wicked sinners even as others who never become saved; but at the moment of our salvation we are no longer called sinners, but saints. Please drop down to Rom 6:23 (2X). There God says,
Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The wages of sin is death, and that is why this was the deepest darkest hour for the Lord Jesus Christ, for He had to endure the second death that was ours. But the free gift of God is eternal life through the cross of Christ. And if we would be obligated to do something to receive that gift, then that gift would no longer be free.
Please turn now to the Gospel according to John, chapter 19:28 (2X). We are continuing to study the event where the Lord Jesus was given vinegar to drink, but in the Gospel of John we find some more information that was not recorded in the other three narrative Gospels. In John 19:28 we are entering at exactly the same point in time as in Matt 27:48, where they gave Jesus vinegar to drink. In Matthew we see it from the vantage point of man, who are continuing to ridicule and humiliate the Lord Jesus. The apostle John shows us the same scene from a different vantage point. It is from the vantage point of God. It begins with these memorable words. We read in John 19:28,
John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, "I thirst".
After this, means after the 3 hours of darkness, and after Jesus had gone through the pit of Hell, and after He had cried out: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Then we read: "Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished". What was accomplished? Well, what was God's purpose in nailing Jesus to the cross? All of that was now accomplished. Every sin of every one of the elect was now paid for. Can we then also say that every sin of every one of the non-elect were now passed by? And that is also absolutely true. Does God know every one who will be born into this world down to the very last person at end of time? Absolutely YES! God says in Isa 46:9-10,
Isa 46:9-10, "For I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure".
Our God not only knows the end from the beginning, He declares the end from the beginning, and He
will do what His counsel declared to be done from the beginning until the end of time. Therefore God knows every one of His elect by name, and He knows all their sin, and He also knows every one of the wicked by name, and He knows also all their sins. At the cross everything was now finalized, signed and sealed in blood. It was as final as if the second Judgment Day had already arrived. That is why Friday, April 3, in the year AD 33, is called the first Judgment Day. From this time forward all of history is the outworking of this, which was signed and sealed in blood on the cross. But God could not end the world right now, for all those sins of the elect and of the wicked still have to be committed. History still has to continue to unfold. Please turn again to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt 27:51 (2X). And that is why we see in the following verses of Matt 27 as if the final Judgment Day has arrived. There was a great earthquake, and the rocks split, and the saints received their glorified bodies and they went to be with Christ, and the unsaved people acknowledged that Jesus Christ is Lord. We read in Matt 27:51-54,
Matt 27:51-54 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
All things were truly in the hands of God. The Roman soldiers showed that they learned more from this crucifixion than the Pharisees have learned all their life. But were they really converted because they saw the signs? No way! This is not the way God saves people. God saves people by first making them see that they are in need of a Savior, and then by giving them faith. And when we have received that faith, we know where to put our trust. We put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting that God made Him the perfect Substitute who can pay for our sins in our place. We put our trust in the cross of Christ, trusting that He overcame Satan and purchased us on the cross. We put our trust in the fact that Christ paid the full price for all our sins, so that we do not have to feel that we fall short in our works. We put our trust in the words of the Bible, that God will look at us and does not see any sin. When God says in Isa 43:25, "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins", we believe that this is true. Where do we really put our trust in? Can we say, with the saints of the past 400 years, the words that reflect our trust in the cross of Christ? Can we say that our faith is based only on Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and do we know what this means? Are we aware that the assurance of our faith is tested when we realize that we have fallen into sin? Are we then still confident that our salvation is not at stake? For if we say that we are saved by grace through faith, and not by our works, do we still believe it after we have sinned? Are we aware that there are certain sins which God will not tolerate in the saints, and do we know what those sins are? It means that we must study the Bible, and that our faith may grow when we sort out these questions. We believe that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, but do we really understand this and do we
practice this principle? We must pray that God will give us this understanding also.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.