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“When He comes again” by J.C. Ryle

“The second miracle which our Lord is recorded to have wrought demands our attention in these verses.

Like the first miracle at Cana, it is eminently typical and significant of things yet to come.

To attend a marriage feast (John 2:1-11), and cleanse the temple (John 2:12-25) from profanation were among the first acts of our Lord’s ministry at His first coming.

To purify the whole visible Church, and hold a marriage supper, will be amongst His first acts, when He comes again.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1879/2012), 1: 73-74. Ryle is commenting on John 2:12-25.

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“There was one there far greater than Moses or Elijah” by J.C. Ryle

“In the last place, we have in these verses a remarkable testimony to Christ’s infinite superiority over all that are born of woman.

This is a point which is brought out strongly by the voice from heaven, which the disciples heard.

Peter, bewildered by the heavenly vision, and not knowing what to say, proposed to build three tabernacles, one for Christ, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.

He seemed in fact to place the law-giver and the prophet side by side with his divine Master, as if all three were equal. At once, we are told, the proposal was rebuked in a marked manner.

A cloud covered Moses and Elijah, and they were no more seen.

A voice at the same time came forth from the cloud, repeating the solemn words, made use of at our Lord’s baptism, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him.’

That voice was meant to teach Peter, that there was one there far greater than Moses or Elijah.

Moses was a faithful servant of God. Elijah was a bold witness for the truth. But Christ was far above either one or the other.

He was the Saviour to whom law and prophets were continually pointing.

He was the true Prophet, whom all were commanded to hear. (Deut. 18:15)

Moses and Elijah were great men in their day. But Peter and his companions were to remember, that in nature, dignity, and office, they were far below Christ.

He was the true sun: they were the stars depending daily on His light.

He was the root: they were the branches. He was the Master: they were the servants.

Their goodness was all derived: His was original and His own.

Let them honor Moses and the prophets, as holy men. But if they would be saved, they must take Christ alone for their Master, and glory only in Him. ‘Hear ye Him.’

Let us see in these words a striking lesson to the whole Church of Christ. There is a constant tendency in human nature to ‘hear man.’

Bishops, priests, deacons, popes, cardinals, councils, presbyterian preachers, and independent ministers, are continually exalted to a place which God never intended them to fill, and made practically to usurp the honor of Christ.

Against this tendency let us all watch, and be on our guard. Let these solemn words of the vision ever ring in our ears, ‘Hear ye Christ.’

The best of men are only men at their very best.

Patriarchs, prophets, and apostles—martyrs, fathers, reformers, puritans– all, all are sinners, who need a Saviour– holy, useful, honorable in their place—but sinners after all.

They must never be allowed to stand between us and Christ.

He alone is ‘the Son, in whom the Father is well pleased.’

He alone is sealed and appointed to give the bread of life.

He alone has the keys in His hands, ‘God over all, blessed forever.’

Let us take heed that we hear His voice, and follow Him.

Let us value all religious teaching just in proportion as it leads us to Jesus.

The sum and substance of saving religion is to ‘hear Christ.'”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Matthew (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1856/2012), 167-168. Ryle is commenting on Matthew 17:1-13.

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“There is unspeakably more in the promises of God than we are able to understand” by Charles Hodge

“‘I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’

This is the great promise of the covenant with Abraham and with all the true Israel. It is one of the most comprehensive and frequently repeated promises of the Scriptures. (Gen. 17:8; Deut. 29:13; Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10)

There is unspeakably more in the promises of God than we are able to understand.

The promise that the nations should be blessed in the seed of Abraham, as unfolded in the New Testament, is found to comprehend all the blessings of redemption.

So the promise, “I will be their God, and they shall be My people,’ contains more than it has ever entered into the heart of man to conceive.

How low are our conceptions of God! Of necessity our conceptions of what it is to have a God, and that God, Jehovah, must be entirely inadequate.

It is not only to have an infinite protector and benefactor, but an infinite portion; an infinite object of love and confidence; an infinite source of knowledge and holiness.

It is for God to be to us what He designed to be when He created us after His image, and filled us with His fulness.

His people, are those whom hHe recognizes as His peculiar property, the objects of His love, and the recipients of His favours.”

–Charles Hodge, An Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (New York: A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1891), 170–171. Hodge is commenting on 2 Corinthians 6:16.

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“The central fact of the entire history of the world” by Herman Bavinck

“The doctrine of Christ is the central point of the whole system of dogmatics.

Here, too, pulses the whole of the religious-ethical life of Christianity.

Christ, the incarnate Word, is thus the central fact of the entire history of the world.

The incarnation has its presupposition and foundation in the trinitarian being of God.

The Trinity makes possible the existence of a mediator who himself participates both in the divine and human nature and thus unites God and humanity.

The incarnation, however, is the work of the entire Trinity.

Christ was sent by the Father and conceived by the Holy Spirit. Incarnation is also related to creation.

The incarnation was not necessary, but the creation of human beings in God’s image is a supposition and preparation for the incarnation of God.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Sin and Salvation in Christ, vol. 3, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 3: 235.

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“The enormous advantages enjoyed by believers” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us observe, finally, the peculiar privileges of those who hear the Gospel of Christ.

We read that our Lord said to His disciples, ‘Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.’ (Luke 10:23-24)

The full significance of these words will probably never be understood by Christians until the last day.

We have probably a most faint idea of the enormous advantages enjoyed by believers who have lived since Christ came into the world, compared to those of believers who died before Christ was born.

The difference between the knowledge of an Old Testament saint and a saint in the apostles’ days is far greater than we conceive.

It is the difference of twilight and noon-day, of winter and summer, of the mind of a child and the mind of a full-grown man.

No doubt the Old Testament saints looked to a coming Saviour by faith, and believed in a resurrection and a life to come.

But the coming and death of Christ unlocked a hundred Scriptures which before were closed, and cleared up scores of doubtful points which before had never been solved.

In short, ‘the way into the holiest was not made manifest, while the first tabernacle was standing.’ (Heb. 9:8) The humblest Christian believer understands things which David and Isaiah could never explain.

Let us leave the passage with a deep sense of our own debt to God and of our great responsibility for the full light of the Gospel.

Let us see that we make a good use of our many privileges. Having a full Gospel, let us beware that we do not neglect it.

It is a weighty saying, ‘To whomsoever much is given, of them will much be required.’ (Luke 12:48)”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 280. Ryle is commenting on Luke 10:21-24.

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“His praise will know no end” by Jim Hamilton

“The One to whom the Scriptures point, whose coming we await, is the true and better Adam, bridegroom and beloved.

He is the great Priest over the heavenly house of God, giving us the new and living way by which we draw near.

Our Prophet like Moses, by whom God accomplished the fulfillment of the exodus.

The King of God’s creation, He is the righteous sufferer, who Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree.

His praise will know no end.”

–James M. Hamilton, Jr., Typology: Understanding the Bible’s Promise-Shaped Patterns (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022), 360.

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“Salvation flows from its deep source in the triune God” by Fred Sanders

“Salvation flows from its deep source in the triune God, who is the fountain of salvation.

This phrase, fountain of salvation, goes back at least to a Latin hymn from the sixth century that praises God as fons salutis Trinitas. As one English translation renders the lines, ‘Blest Trinity, salvation’s spring, may every soul Thy praises sing.’

The sense that the nature of salvation is only understood properly when it is traced back into its principle in the depth of God’s being is evoked by Scripture’s own way of speaking.

The Old Testament bears witness to it in an intensely personal idiom, as for instance in Isaiah 12:2’s confident boast, ‘Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.’

The connection here between God and salvation is direct: He is it.

When Isaiah goes on to spell out an implication of salvation being in God, that is, that there is exuberant resourcefulness to be drawn from, then he uses our fontal image: ‘With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.’ (Isaiah 12:3)

According to Christian teaching, salvation’s source is God, and the manifestation of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the gospel is what opens up that fountain in its fullness and depth.”

–Fred Sanders, Fountain of Salvation: Trinity and Soteriology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2021), 14-15, 17.

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“The child of many prayers shall seldom be cast away” by J.C. Ryle

“We have first, in these verses, an example of what a parent should do when he is troubled about his children.

We are told of a man in sore distress about his only son. This son was possessed by an evil spirit, and grievously tormented by him, both in body and soul.

In his distress the father makes application to our Lord Jesus Christ for relief. “Master,” he says, “I beseech Thee look upon my son: for he is mine only child.”

There are many Christian fathers and mothers at this day who are just as miserable about their children as the man of whom we are reading.

The son who was once the “desire of their eyes,” and in whom their lives were bound up, turns out a spendthrift, a profligate, and a companion of sinners.

The daughter who was once the flower of the family, and of whom they said, “This same shall be the comfort of our old age,” becomes self-willed, worldly minded, and a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God.

Their hearts are well nigh broken. The iron seems to enter into their souls. The devil appears to triumph over them, and rob them of their choicest jewels.

They are ready to cry, “I shall go to the grave sorrowing. What good shall my life do to me?”

Now what should a father or mother do in a case like this?

They should do as the man before us did. They should go to Jesus in prayer, and cry to Him about their child. They should spread before that merciful Saviour the tale of their sorrows, and entreat Him to help them.

Great is the power of prayer and intercession! The child of many prayers shall seldom be cast away.

God’s time of conversion may not be ours. He may think fit to prove our faith by keeping us long waiting.

But so long as a child lives, and a parent prays, we have no right to despair about that child’s soul.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 245-246. Ryle is commenting on Luke 9:37-45.

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“There is one foundation of hope and peace for sinners” by J.C. Ryle

“This passage shows us that the Old Testament saints in glory take a deep interest in Christ’s atoning death.

We are told that when Moses and Elijah appeared in glory with our Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration, they ‘talked with Him.’ (Luke 9:30) And what was the subject of their conversation?

We are not obliged to make conjectures and guesses about this. St. Luke tells us, ‘they spake of His decease, which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.’ (Luke 9:31)

They knew the meaning of that death. They knew how much depended on it. Therefore they ‘talked’ about it.

It is a grave mistake to suppose that holy men and women under the Old Testament knew nothing about the sacrifice which Christ was to offer up for the sin of the world.

Their light, no doubt, was far less clear than ours. They saw things afar off and indistinctly, which we see, as it were, close at hand.

But there is not the slightest proof that any Old Testament saint ever looked to any other satisfaction for sin, but that which God promised to make by sending Messiah.

From Abel downwards the whole company of old believers appear to have been ever resting on a promised sacrifice, and a blood of almighty efficacy yet to be revealed.

From the beginning of the world there has never been but one foundation of hope and peace for sinners—the death of an Almighty Mediator between God and man.

That foundation is the centre truth of all revealed religion. It was the subject of which Moses and Elijah were seen speaking when they appeared in glory. They spoke of the atoning death of Christ.

Let us take heed that this death of Christ is the ground of all our confidence. Nothing else will give us comfort in the hour of death and the day of judgment.

Our own works are all defective and imperfect. Our sins are more in number than the hairs of our heads. (Psalm 40:12)

Christ dying for our sins, and rising again for our justification, must be our only plea, if we wish to be saved.

Happy is that man who has learned to cease from his own works, and to glory in nothing but the cross of Christ!

If saints in glory see in Christ’s death so much beauty, that they must needs talk of it, how much more ought sinners on earth!”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 241-242. Ryle is commenting on Luke 9:28-36.

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“Sunday is the day of resurrection” by Herman Bavinck

“Every ceremony is fulfilled in Christ. Sunday is the day of resurrection.

Under the Old Testament the pattern was first work, then rest– that is, the worship of God.

Now, we are first strengthened by the worship of God, and from there we undertake everything with vigor.

Then, moving toward the Sabbath was climbing up toward God. Today, we move from God into the wide world.

Then, people ascended; today, we descend.

Then, earth moved toward heaven; today, heaven comes down to earth.

Then, the promise; today; the fulfillment.

Then, expectation; today, enjoyment.

Then, from outside to inside, from the periphery to the center. Today, just the reverse.

Then, shadow; now, substance.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Ethics, Volume 2The Duties of the Christian Life, Ed. John Bolt (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2021), 2: 273-274.

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