From Your Pastor: Pursuing Holiness in 2018

Dear Beloved, Loved by God, at KCPC,

As you plan your calendars for the new year of 2018, may you also have a plan for holiness. The Apostle Paul both encourages and commends the Christians at Thessalonica because their election by God was demonstrated very specifically in that the gospel came to them not only in word, but “also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1 Thess. 1:3-5). As a congregation, they had learned of God’s love for them in Christ, and they had become imitators of the Lord Jesus and other godly Christians. Even through great affliction, their faith and joy in Jesus shone through to all (1 Thess. 1:6-8). This was a sanctified congregation that possessed a measure of holiness by God’s grace. Yet the Apostle Paul encouraged them to “do so more and more”, and reminded them that the will and purpose of God was for them to be sanctified/holy (1 Thess. 4:1, 3, 8). They were to pursue holiness and grow in Christ.

How might we grow more and more in holiness in Christ in this coming year? As the Christians did at Thessalonica, it was primarily through a deeper knowledge of God’s Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. Here are some ways that other Christians before us have sought to grow in holiness. Let me encourage us to do the same in this new year, praying for the blessing of God’s Spirit in our flourishing and maturity as a congregation in Christ. Let us “more and more” pursue holiness (some of the below we have included in our worship services, so that you will do this at least once a week).

  1. Law of God/10 Commandments: Memorize the Law of God and go over it regularly on 2 hands and 10 fingers, remembering the 2 tables to love God and neighbor as self (cf. Matt. 22:37-39), and 10 commandments that summarize our privilege and duty in Christ before God. See how gracious God is in His condescension to sinners that He would make the summary of how to love Him and neighbor as ourselves so easy to memorize and meditate upon each day (Psa. 1)?!
  2. Lord’s Prayer: Memorize, and seek to regularly pray the Lord’s Prayer from the heart, meditating upon each petition regularly. Praying “Thy will be done” reminds us to be self-less, and dependent upon God’s Word alone, and praying “Forgive us our debts as we forgive…” reminds us to be merciful.
  3. Apostle’s Creed: Memorize, and seek regularly to think of these petitions and summaries of God’s salvation in Christ. Let your subjective faith that God has given to you by His Spirit, be built up in this objective summary of your most holy faith.
  4. Bible Reading/Meditation: Seek to regularly read through the Bible (perhaps annually?), and meditate upon truths that are highlighted by God’s Spirit to teach and guide you (I write them out on 5X7 cards for memorization, prayer, meditation, further Bible study, etc. I invite you to do the same if helpful). There are so many good apps for accomplishing this regular reading of Scripture, particularly helpful are the ESV Bible app (with many Bible reading plans), and Reading Scripture app that helps you to get an overview of redemptive-history and a helpful, Christ-centered introduction to each Bible book.
  5. Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms: Memorize these excellent catechisms with your family, starting with the Shorter Catechism, and then seeking to feed on and digest more fully the Larger Catechism. Much wisdom in these!!

I pray that this will be useful for us to grow in holiness “more and more” in 2018! All of this must be undergirded by unceasing prayer for illumination and power by Christ’s Holy Spirit. Remember, Beloved of Jesus, holiness means greater glory to our Covenant LORD and Triune God, and more happiness for us His people.

For true holiness is nothing more than true happiness!

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (ESV 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

From Your Pastor: A Biblical Spirituality

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A Biblical spirituality is basically a seeking to be holy as God the Father is holy in an intimate communion or relationship with Him through union with Christ by His Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14; John 14:21, 23; 1 Pet. 1:16-17). True Biblical spirituality is knowing that God in Christ has made His “home” with and in His people by His Spirit, and seeking to live out a life that reveals and demonstrates this amazing truth and wonderful grace. As our Lord says beautifully:

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).

A Biblical spirituality is a desire to know, love, obey, and experience God as Father from the heart while fearing and reverencing Him as Supreme God and Lord (John 17:3; John 15:9-11; Rom. 6:4-6, 11-17; Eph. 3:14-21). Spirituality is taking Jesus as Savior and Lord, and living a life of seeking communion with Him through the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18). Biblical spirituality expresses itself in the words of our forefather John Calvin: “I offer Thee my heart, O LORD, promptly and sincerely.”

Biblical Spirituality.  A Biblical spiritual is just that, it is Biblical. It is not first and foremost an emotional experience; it is not always necessarily an emotional experience (although there is nothing wrong with praying for this). But true Biblical spirituality is a seeking to know, love, obey, and experience God as He is revealed in Holy Scripture, and especially as He has revealed Himself in Christ, and seeking to understand, as well as be transformed by this truth (Rom. 12:2).

All of our experiences should be rooted in the Bible. When we seek Biblical spirituality through Scripture, it must be what God commands and gives His people grace to do. Yet in knowing and understanding all Biblical truth, we should expect an experience of that truth (think of all the Psalms that teach us to rejoice and be joyful in God our Savior!). If we believe something truly, we will act on it, and we should expect to feel it to some degree. If we truly know and believe something in our heads, it should influence our hearts, affections, our wills. Biblical spirituality is the interface between what we believe about the triune God, and how we live. Biblical spirituality is about both our faith in God, and our works that should accompany and follow true saving faith (Rom. 4:18-21; James 2:17-20).

But there have been many errors and excesses in Christian history with even good believers untethering themselves from Holy Scripture, or being imbalanced in their approach to spirituality. For instance, just to name a few examples, there have been those who desired a life of self-denial in humility, but unintentionally placed too much focus on self apart from Christ. There have been those who have had a misunderstanding of salvation being received by grace alone, through faith in Christ alone. Those who have been guilty of seeking mere emotional experiences (read: “ecstasies”) apart from the Word of God. Those who have not made a proper distinction between the Creator and the creature, and use language of being “swallowed up” into the deity. Those who have been guilty of making lists that sometimes can (and often do!) take the place of Scripture, and set up legalistic tendencies that are not robustly focused on the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. Those with an unhealthy withdrawal from the world that requires a monastic lifestyle functionally in order to live according to the teachings (or “rules” of the monastery).

As we understand a Biblical spirituality, it is important to be Biblical. We are called to evaluate ourselves, but always with our eyes on Christ as Savior. We are to understand that salvation is by grace alone apart from our works, through faith, because of Christ alone, and any relationship, any true and saving knowledge of God, any good works that we do that are pleasing to God, all are because of the grace and power of the Holy Spirit given to us in our union with Christ! In any true experience of God, we are never to forget that we are sinners approaching God’s holy presence clothed in the righteousness of Christ, coming to Him through the Mediator He has provided, and thus we must make an important and proper distinction from this day and for all eternity between the Creator and we as creatures, and never “lose ourselves and identities” in the Godhead.

We are to seek to follow and obey God in light of the grace that has been given to us in Christ. As those seeking true Biblical spirituality, we are not called to go out of the world, but to fulfill our callings graciously given to us by God, enjoying the created gifts that God has provided for us, while being wholly consecrated from the heart to Him (1 Tim. 4:1-5; cf. 1 Cor. 5:10; Col. 3:17-4:2). Though we should have a wise and healthy contempt for the world compared to the new world that is coming and that has dawned with the coming of the Spirit, we are not to hate the world. We are to seek to glorify God and enjoy and delight in Him in this world, while not falling into worldiness (1 John 2:12-18). This is a paradox. We are to mourn for our sins and brokenness, and the world’s fallen estate, but we are to also rejoice, for the joy of the LORD is our strength (Neh. 8:10; Matt. 5:3-11; Phil. 4:4-9). Maintaining this balance of living in the world as pilgrims and exiles, we are to seek to know, love, obey, and experience God.

Trinitarian Spirituality. A Biblical spirituality is always Trinitarian. The goal of Biblical spirituality is to glorify and delight in the triune God and to enjoy Him (Eph. 1:3-14; Rom. 11:33-36; 1 Cor. 10:31). There are false and dangerous spiritualties bandied about today that seek false hopes through false gods and saviors. This is not Biblical spirituality but demonic spirituality of which we must be careful (1 Cor. 10:19-22; Acts 13:10, 16:16-18; 1 Tim. 3:7, 4:1; Rev. 9:20, 16:14). A Biblical, Trinitarian spirituality teaches believers to go boldly and courageously to the Father, through the Son, our provided Mediator, by the Spirit (Eph. 2:18; cf. 1 Tim. 2:5). The Son is “from the Father” as the Savior and hope of mankind (John 1:14-18). God sent the Son into the world out of His deep and faithful and undying love to His people. Christ was sent “from the Father” to live, die, be raised, and enthroned at God’s right hand, and to then pour out His Spirit in His fullness upon His people (John 3:16-19; Acts 2:33-36). The Father is the fountain of love from which all of the works of the triune God flow forth!

All Persons are equal in substance, power and being, and yet they all three perform specific aspects of our salvation as the one God. In Biblical spirituality, this should be recognized. We should seek to have a relationship with the one God through each Person of the Trinity by praising and enjoying God the Father’s love for us in Christ, adoring the grace of the Son as our Savior, Bridegroom, Mediator, Friend, and King, and living in fellowship with the Holy Spirit and in communion with one another as members of Christ’s one Church! As the Apostle Paul summarizes this Trinitarian spirituality:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Let us remember that the goal of all Biblical spirituality is the glory of God the Father, through the Son our Mediator, by the power and grace of the Spirit. The practice of all spirituality begins with a humble submission to Christ through regeneration by the Spirit, and a daily humble submission in denying oneself and taking up one’s cross and following Him (Matt. 16:24; Eph. 4:1-3; Phil. 2:1-5). The heart of all spirituality is honesty from the heart before God and man, being nothing more, nothing less than a lost and broken sinner saved by grace, who is being transformed by the work of God’s Spirit to be renewed in the image of Christ (Psa. 139:23-24; 2 Cor. 6:6-7; 1 John 3:18; cf. 1 Tim. 1:12-17). Biblical spirituality is considering oneself as a sinner who is being changed daily by the power and grace of God the Spirit and through one’s faithful, God-given, Holy-Spirit empowered striving to work out of this salvation in union with Christ (Phil. 2:12-13; John 15:1-11). It is aspiring to perfection while realistically knowing that as long as you are in this world you will have an agonizing struggle with remaining sin, though you’re a beloved child of God (Rom. 7:21-25; Rom. 8:11-15; Galatians 5:16-25; 1 Cor. 9:27; Titus 2:11-14; Heb. 12:4; 1 John 3:1-3).

Christ-focused Spirituality. Though some spiritualties in Christian history have emphasized the importance of the imitation of Christ, they have sometimes failed to place Christ first and central in our reflection upon this imitation. Biblical spirituality is a Christ-focused spirituality. Christ is our Savior first. He is the Savior of our souls, but He is also our example. The Apostle Peter wrote: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21; cf. 1 Cor. 11:1). In light of the mercies of God in Christ, all that we do in imitation, we are to do as “living sacrifices” (Rom. 12:1-2), running the race with endurance, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our Faith! (Heb. 12:1-2). In a truly Biblical spiritual Christ is central to our knowing God, loving God, obeying God, and experience God. Let us never forget this focus upon the Person and Work of our blessed Mediator, and then go and live for Him in imitation of Him by the Spirit!

Communal and Personal/Public and Private Spirituality. A Biblical spirituality is both communal and personal, it is concerned with the church and with our personal pursuits of “quiet time” with God. Biblical spirituality steers a clear path through the Scylla of Sacramentalism, and the Charybdis of Individualism. Biblical spirituality in its public dimension is an external, outward spirituality that is involved with the visible church (Rom. 1:11-12; 1 Cor. 12:4-14). This involves professing one’s faith, confessing one’s faith publicly before believers and unbelievers in evangelism (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 10:9-17; Acts 2:47; 4:4; 5:1-5; 6:7; 11:21). It is seeking to observe and remember the Lord’s Day in order to keep it holy, so that one can participate in the primary means of grace, or the primary means the exalted, enthroned Christ uses to grow and mature His people through the faithful preaching of the word, the biblical administration of the sacraments, and being formally accountable for discipline as members of Christ’s Church (Eph. 4:11-16; Heb. 13:7, 17; 1 Cor. 5:1-5). This public aspect is in living in community in a local congregation of saints, while growing up in Christ, and seeking and growing in one’s spirituality through loving and serving one’s neighbor as oneself (Gal. 6:1-2; Rom. 12:5-13; 1 Peter 4:9-11).

Biblical spirituality in its private dimension is an internal, inward spiritualty that seeks daily to deny self, bear one’s cross, memorize and mediate upon Holy Scripture. It seeks to take one’s sin serious, and to be faithful to God, useful in His service, watchful, and prayerful. This private dimension involves a private “closet” or secret place where only God sees (cf. Matthew 6:1-18). Our Lord Jesus promises a reward of grace (not merit!) in the practice of this: “And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:18). This private dimension of spirituality includes daily repentance for sins, a walking closely with God, or keeping in step with the Spirit, praying continually, and in general living with God-given, Spirit-induced, Biblical-focused, Christ-centered zeal for God and His work (Gal. 5:25; Rom. 12:11-12). To walk this way privately is to involve oneself in a difficult spiritual battle as a pilgrim on the way of the King. It is to involve oneself in cosmic warfare that requires the upmost seriousness, sober-mindedness, and watchfulness, while confidently and courageously that your King has won the battle, and all you are to do is to stand in His victory and conquering strength by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 6:10-20).

A Spirituality for Everyone! Do you desire to be spiritual? Do you desire to be spiritual as you are called to be (Gal. 6:1-2)? If you are united to Christ Jesus by His Spirit, and if you are a child of the Heavenly Father through faith in Christ, then you are indeed “spiritual”. In fact, the term “spiritual” in the Bible refers to Christians united to Christ by faith, and usually means “Holy-Spiritual” (Rom. 8:9-11; 12:1; 1 Cor. 2:13, 15, 3:1, 14:37; Gal. 6:1-2).

Do you want to be spiritual? Are you united to Christ by faith? Then earnestly live this biblical spirituality out in your daily life in reliance upon His grace. In Christian history, there were times where the truly “spiritual” folks were those who withdrew themselves from the world to seek spirituality out of the world (even out of the church for some of the excessive spiritualists). These would seek to get the “meat of the word” while the “common” Christians would feed on the “milk” (cf. 1 Peter 2:2, 5). But true Biblical spirituality is really becoming who you are already are in Christ. Christ has “purchased a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). This grace teaches us to renounce ungodliness and worldliness and spiritually trains us to live “self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12). This grace, this love of God, this spiritual reality should be sought by us in Christ because we are spiritual!

The Bible teaches that there are no “spiritual elites” within the church of Christ. Christians are indeed the spiritual elites within the world no doubt, because we possess, or are possessed by Christ’s Spirit, but within the church we all have the Spirit of God, and this makes us truly and biblically “spiritual”. Do we seek this spirituality? Do we seek to know, love, obey, and experience our Heavenly Father in Christ by His Glorious Spirit? In other words, like the Apostle Paul, do you desire to leave your sinful works of self-centeredness behind, and press earnestly forward to take hold of Christ because He has taken hold of you? (Phil. 3:12-16).

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained” (Phil. 3:12-16).

Do you desire to grow? This is an important part of being a Christian (2 Peter 1:3-12). Within the church, there are definitely different gifts, graces, functions, and callings (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12), but no spiritual elite where only a few can attain to holiness in Christ, and make progress in the Christian life. No, the Bible clearly teaches that “spiritual” is what defines those who possess the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit helps us to live like Christ, knowing, loving, obeying, and experiencing the Triune God. The question is not whether or not you are spiritual in Christ, it is whether or not you are maturing and growing in that spirituality in reliance upon His grace.

Do you want to know more of God’s love for you in Christ? Do you want to possess more of the fullness of grace that is found within Christ? Do you want to be filled with joy in the Spirit as you grow in Him?

Ask Him for it.

In reliance upon His grace, go for it!

This is my prayer for you, dear Ketoctin:

That “you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…” (Col. 1:9-11).


In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

From Your Pastor: Preservation and Perseverance in Christ


Preservation from apostasy (falling away) and perseverance in our faith are blessed results of the priestly office and ongoing ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ for His own. To put it simply, Christ has done all that believers need to persevere in their faith, and He continually prays for us that our faith will not fail us (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 2 Peter 1:3-4; cf. Luke 22:31-32). As the Apostle Paul promises:

“Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died- more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Rom. 8:34).

Believers are preserved in their walk by God (or “kept or guarded by faith”, 1 Pet. 1:6). There is a “double bond” in our preservation and perseverance. From Christ’s side working through His Spirit, He guards true believers by His power and grace, and from our side by our dependence upon His Spirit, our faith keeps us focused on Him (1 Pet. 1:3-9; cf. Heb. 12:1-2).

Though we are taught in Scripture that some who profess to know Christ, who are even members of His church will be tempted to fall away, and some will indeed fall away (see Matt. 24:10; 26:31; Mark 14-27, 29; Luke 8:13; Heb. 3:12). Nevertheless, true believers united to Jesus Christ, will never fall away. Why? We are clearly taught in Holy Scripture that God the Father has elected His own to eternal life (Eph. 1:3-14). God the Son has laid down His life for His own sheep, and no one can snatch them out of His hands (John 10:28-29). God the Holy Spirit has sealed the believer to ensure that they will continue to the end blameless (Eph. 1:13-14). True believers can be confident in the words and work of the triune God who has graciously authored, faithfully accomplished, and sweetly and strongly applied their salvation. Our great hope and encouragement as believers is that the Lord Jesus will present believer blameless with great joy before our Heavenly Father at the end of our pilgrimage (Jude 20-21).

All believers will persevere by faith based on three important truths:

(1) The Father’s electing love and promises to the believer; God cannot change and will not change or ever forsake those whom He loves: “Never will I leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5; cf. Heb. 6:17-20).

(2) Christ the Son has shed His precious blood to make us a “people for His own possession who are zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:14); we are recipients of His love and freed from our sins by His blood so that our sins will never overpower us completely (Rev. 1:5b-6). Christ lives to ever-intercede and pray for His own. He is able to keep His own by the power of “an indestructible life” (Heb. 7:24-26).

(3) The Spirit has united us to Christ and nothing can break that bond and seal. In fact, He who began a good work will complete it (Phil. 1:6).

In light of the triune God’s preservation, we can rest, but we also must persevere or strive with all of our strength and working by His grace and Spirit (Phil. 2:12-13; 3:11ff; Heb. 10:22-12:15). The warnings against apostasy, particularly in Hebrews 6:4-6 are “Gospel warnings” to keep those who are in Christ, fearing God and desiring to do God’s will. As true believers, we should constantly pray for hearing of God’s Word and to obey (Heb. 2:1; cf. Isa. 66:2b). We should consider Christ by faith as our Savior and example and strength for our persevering pilgrimage each day, and pursue Him (Heb. 3:1). We should be careful to grow into maturity, having had the foundation of basic doctrine laid for us (Heb. 5:13-6:3). We should look to Christ as High Priest according to Melchizedek, and to know that we are forgiven by His blood (Heb. 8-10). We should seek to encourage and edify one another, particularly knowing the dangers of sinfulness and hard-heartedness, especially as we see the Day approaching (Heb. 3:12-13, 10:24-25).

Let us rejoice that we will be preserved and thus persevere by Christ’s grace and one day be presented blameless as another part of the completed work of Christ!

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25)

Our Confession teaches in the Westminster Larger Catechism, Q & A 79: May not true believers, by reason of their imperfections, and the many temptations and sins they are overtaken with, fall away from the state of grace? A. True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God, (1) and his decree and covenant to give them perseverance, (2) their inseparable union with Christ, (3) his continual intercession for them, (4) and the Spirit and seed of God abiding in them, (5) can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, (6) but are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. (7)


In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs


(1) Jer. 31:3

(2) 2 Tim. 2:19; Heb. 13:20,21; 2 Sam. 23:5

(3) 1 Cor. 1:8,9

(4) Heb. 7:25; Luke 22:32

(5) 1 John 3:9; 1 John 2:27

(6) Jer. 32:40; John 10:28

(7) 1 Pet. 1:5


From Your Pastor: “Come, Ye Sinners, and Learn to Love Much!”


“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (ESV Luke 7:47)

What is your estimation of yourself? I’m not speaking in terms of estimating your financial worth or estimating your value to others in this world. What is your estimation of yourself before God? Do you consider yourself “pretty good” or “a decent person” or “righteous compared with others”? Or are you sinful? Are you one who has been greatly forgiven?

We must remember that the Bible teaches us that all fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). We are all conceived and born in sin, and therefore we have no righteousness before God from our very conception (Psa. 51). Not only that, but we have no interest or desire for God in our sinful condition, and so we sin against God in our words, thoughts and deeds (Gen. 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Eph. 2:1-3). The Bible tells us that our predicament is so sinful that even our best works of righteousness, our best prayers, our best goodness before God is as filthy rags worthy only of rejection before God’s holy face (Isa. 64:6).

If we are conceived in sin, and we constantly commit actual sins throughout our lives because we resist God and selfishly want to live for ourselves, and our best religious efforts are tainted by sin, and are never acceptable before God, what are we to do? How can we ever love God and others, if we find ourselves in this sinful predicament?!

Look to Jesus Christ who is the very righteousness of God! Jesus Christ is the full revelation of the righteousness God requires of all mankind, and Jesus Christ is the full and gracious revelation of the righteousness God provides for all who believe!

In Christ, by faith alone, we find the love of God and the forgiveness of sins.

“Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity joined with pow’r:
He is able,
He is able,
He is able,
He is willing; doubt no more…”[1]

This is why we must learn to estimate ourselves rightly before God. If we are ever to love Christ and others as we should, we need to estimate ourselves rightly. If we are ever to repent daily, in a manner consistent with our sinfulness, we need to estimate ourselves rightly before God. As we understand the great love and mercy and forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ, so we learn how much we are forgiven of our sins in Him and for His sake, and we learn how to love. In our passage from Luke 7 (vv. 36-50), we see Jesus as the Savior of sinners, seeking and saving the lost. Jesus accepts an invitation to go to a Pharisee’s house to reveal his dire need of a Savior from sinful self-righteousness.

A notoriously sinful woman (probably a prostitute) enters into Simon the Pharisee’s home, rushing toward the only person who can and will forgive her, and makes her humble submission to Jesus, showing her faith and love for Christ in her actions. This sinful woman knows that her only hope is found in the mercy of Jesus Christ.

Contrastly, the Pharisee Simon, with pride and prejudice, criticizes Jesus in his mind for not being a good prophet because he thinks Jesus is unaware of her sinful position and actions in the world (v. 39). Simon the Pharisee is unaware of His own need of the righteousness of God found in Christ alone (cf. Rom. 3:21-26). Simon compares himself with this notoriously sinful woman to puff himself up, and to find through comparison with another sinner a (self!) righteousness of his own making. This is how sinners often can deceive themselves. Rather than compare our hearts and thoughts with the perfect righteousness of God revealed in His holy law, we merely compare ourselves to sinners who are worse sinners than ourselves in our own estimation!

…Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all:
Not the righteous,
Not the righteous,
Not the righteous,
Sinners Jesus came to call…

Yet because of this woman’s humility and right estimation of herself before a holy Christ, her “many sins” are forgiven by Jesus because she recognizes her sinfulness and comes to Jesus for help. The woman is not seeking to compare herself with other sinners who may be more wicked than her. Her attitude is not critical as Simon’s. Rather, she is concerned first with her own heart before God. This demonstrates true faith and repentance in Jesus Christ!

Jesus uses this story to show that all sinners are debtors to God, and if one truly understands their condemnation under God’s holy law, that is if they have a right estimation of themselves before God, then they will be humbled and realize their great debt to God that they cannot pay back, and cry out for “mercy!”

Simon the Pharisee understands that the woman is showing great love for her debt being forgiven, but he doesn’t understand his own debt to God as a Law-breaker- -that he too, is a debtor with a large debt. Because of his pride, Simon doesn’t feel the weight of his need for Jesus. Simon doesn’t rightly estimate the greatness of his debt before God.

…Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness he requireth
Is to feel your need of him;
This he gives you,
This he gives you,
This he gives you;
‘Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.

It is important to note in Jesus’ story that it is not the love in action that brings the forgiveness from God. It is the cancellation of the sinful woman’s debt, the relief of her sinful burden that brings forth love and gratitude.

Jesus is not teaching that we are saved and forgiven by our love, but that our love shows that we have truly been forgiven!

Our love demonstrated through praise and worship of Christ, and the love of others reveals that we have a right estimation of ourselves before God, and that we realize we have been recipients of God’s grace and mercy- -apart from any works, or anything good that we have done.

The woman does not merit her forgiveness through her loving actions toward Jesus. Rather, she shows that she has been forgiven and because of the forgiveness she has already received by God’s grace through faith in Christ, she shows forth this forgiveness in true love.

Jesus says: “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” – v. 47.

Beloved, if we daily remembered how much we have been forgiven by God for our many sins, we would be more loving toward others, more worshipful before God, more humble-hearted, more service-oriented, more forgiving, less proud, less critical of others, less judgmental (Matt. 7:1-5). We would more easily consider others more significant than ourselves (Phil. 2:3ff; Rom. 12:3), and we would experience deeper repentance before God.

Do you find yourself growing in your understanding of just how much you have been forgiven? Do you find yourself seeing Christ as more lovely and beautiful as a Savior as you grow in understanding the depths of your sinful heart? Does this make your heart soar and your affections long to worship and please Christ alone?!

The Christian life is not about becoming more like Simon the Pharisee, full of self-righteousness and self-importance. Rather, the Christian life is about growing in our understanding of the sovereign and amazing grace of God that “saved a wretch like me”, and that helps us to realize that before God we have all been worse than sinful prostitutes in our words, thoughts and evil deeds!

It is important to ask yourself today if you are more like Simon than the sinful woman here in this passage. Do you separate yourself from sinners because you believe you are more righteous, not understanding the forgiveness that you have received from God? Do you engage in constant comparison of yourself with others? Are you always needing to prove your righteousness before others? Or do you worship and serve Christ like the sinful woman, and being humble like Jesus, do you extend a hand of forgiveness to even the most wretched sinner whose sins are many?

Jesus does not say: “For he who has loved little, has only received little forgiveness.” He says: “For he who is forgiven little, loves little,” (v. 47) implying that we must have a right estimation of ourselves before God and understand our great debt, realizing the wickedness of our own sins before we truly show forth genuine Christian charity in our lives for God and our neighbor. We must estimate rightly before God that we have been forgiven much if we are to learn to love much!

The Pharisee in his own presumptuous self-righteousness considered before God that he only needed forgiveness for a few sins in his estimation, and for that reason his love for God was so tiny in demonstration and action. What is your estimate of your own sins? Do you truly realize how desperately wicked your sinful heart is before God (cf. Jeremiah 17:9-10)? Do you consider yourself to be a “pretty good person” and not comparatively as bad as others?


Lo! th’incarnate God, ascended,
Pleads the merit of his blood;
Venture on him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude:
None but Jesus,
None but Jesus,
None but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good.

Come to Jesus; he will give you rest and relieve you from your slavery to sin! And you who are forgiven much will love much! “None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good!”


In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs


[1] “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy,” Joseph Hart, 1759.

From Your Pastor: “Do You Not Yet Understand?”


What do you need from Jesus today? Have you forgotten His goodness to give to you out of the riches of His lavish grace? Have you forgotten His power to provide for you above and beyond what you can ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20-21; Phil. 4:19)? Jesus’s compassion never fails (Lam. 3:22-24). His mercies are new every morning, and His steadfast love never ceases! Let us be reminded of Jesus’s willingness and ability to give what we need when we need it. Read Mark 8:1-10, 14-21.

ESV Mark 8:1-10, 14-21: In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, 2 I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” 4 And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” 5 And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. 7 And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. 8 And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.

14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

Jesus is always full of compassion. As we stand in need, let us be reminded that Jesus always stands to provide for His people as our Great Savior and Mediator. He is always full of compassion, and His compassion towards His own moves Him to act on our behalf. We see this in this miracle of the provision of the loaves. Jesus doesn’t want to see people faint physically or spiritually. He desires for us to come to Him so that He can give us the enduring grace we need both for our bodies and souls (vv. 2-3). As Jesus’ disciples, we must remember it is not our goodness that causes Him to act toward us; it is simply that He is good.

Jesus knows that as weak disciples, we need to be reminded often of His faithfulness. We should remember that this is the second time Jesus has performed this particular miracle of providing bread. He had already proved His willingness and ability to do this back in Mark 6:32-44 where He graciously and powerfully fed over 5,000 folks!! Why would there be another incident of this particular miracle (only two chapters later in Mark’s Gospel)? Why? Because like the disciples, we are slow to believe and trust the Lord’s goodness and grace towards us. Jesus knows it is true that repetition is indeed the “mother of all learning”.

Jesus desires to use us though we are very weak. Jesus uses His disciples as His instruments to provide what is needed for the crowds! He asks the disciples (again!) to serve the needs of the people. This should be a great encouragement particularly for teachers, pastors, moms, dads, counselors, friends, and anyone else who is tasked with the difficult and challenging task of providing for others. Jesus said: “…[He] gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd…” (v. 6). Jesus knows that His disciples do not have the power or the resources to provide for others, but He wants His people to trust in Him for all we need, not only for ourselves but for others. The burden is on Him to provide. He asks for our faith to trust and believe Him for whatever the need (although our faith is often weak and forgetful as the disciples!). What is the need you have today? Stop, go to the throne of grace, where Jesus sits as King in glory and ask for whatever you need, then expectantly wait with faith until you receive  (Heb. 4:15-16). He is a sympathetic Savior who meets all of our needs for mercy and grace! Go to the throne of grace to receive what you need to provide for others; trust Him to give it to you. Let Jesus use you today! Let Him strengthen your weak heart by His Spirit and grace!

Jesus knows that we must feed upon Him by faith first. As Jesus’ disciples, we are quick to forget all that Jesus does for us. But right now, by God’s grace, reflect and meditate upon the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ! Let this picture of Jesus build your faith, and by the Spirit transform you more in His likeness as you gaze upon His kind and gracious face (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18). Yes, we are sinful and undeserving, but He is our Mediator who gave His life for us so that we would not perish, so that we could feed upon Him, the Life-giving Bread of Life, that is always fresh and never perishes. Feed upon Him now by faith through this scripture. Jesus has given Himself. Can we not trust Him to give us all things we need? The Apostle Paul teaches us this in Romans 8:32:

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

The Bible teaches us that “…And they ate and were satisfied” (v. 8). Jesus always satisfies what we need. With Jesus, there are always leftovers (v. 9). With Jesus there is an abundance of power and grace for our every need. Let this encourage you.

But don’t forget His goodness. It is easy to forget so quickly who Jesus is, His constant compassionate kindness and goodness towards us, and to focus once again on the need and NOT ON HIM. This is exactly what the disciples do though they had seen Him provide all that was needed–twice! When they got in their boat, they were worried again how they might have their needs met (vv. 14,17). Instead of encouraging one another with the power and grace of Jesus, they are feeding each other’s doubts! Jesus asks them to ponder their hearts: “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?” (v. 17). Jesus is teaching us that when we are in need, and we don’t trust Him for our need, there are great dangers. First, we can be contaminated by the “leaven of the Pharisees” (v. 15). Jesus cautions His disciples about this temptation to sin (“Watch out…beware…” v. 15). This leaven is unbelief. Unbelief hardens hearts like nothing else (Heb. 3:12-13). Jesus is serious about confronting unbelief. Secondly, when we have a need, and we are finding it hard to trust Him, this is a good time to repent. This is showing us that our hearts are being hardened by unbelief before Christ. We need the work of the Christ’s Spirit to humble us and tenderize our hearts. These situations are good times to realize of our greater need of more faith—before anything else!!

Jesus will never fail us. Jesus cannot fail us. We as parents can fail our children at times; pastors and elders can sometimes fail their people; friends can fail other friends. But it is not in Jesus’ character to ever fail to grant the lavish grace of God and to provide for our all of needs. Like Jesus who blesses the loaves as He provides for the people (v. 7), so the Father has blessed Jesus as Mediator in His exaltation to provide graciously and compassionately to all of His people! The Father gives Jesus to us for all of our needs.

Jesus gave Himself. He gave His life for us, so that we would know that though our faith is sometimes small, He is great; though doubts can threaten to harden our hearts against God, He is a faithful Savior to make us humble and tender hearted before Him. What we cannot do, He can! Jesus sits enthroned as our Mediator to pray for us, to testify that there is no condemnation for those who believe in Him! His work as Mediator will never fail (Rom. 8:34). Because of this, our faith will never fail us. Though Satan would sift us as wheat, though the world around us would tempt us, and the flesh would war against us, our faith will not fail us (cf. Luke 22:31-32).

Let us ask for more faith from Jesus today—before we ask for anything else! Let us repent of our unbelief and call it what it is: “Hypocritical, sinful, heart-hardening leaven of the Pharisees”! Let us no more think of unbelief and doubts as “respectable sins” and make excuses for them, but let us go to Christ for forgiveness and grace–abundant grace– to grow in Him and know that He is good, and will give us all that we need!

“Do you not yet understand?” (v. 21).

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

What do you need today?

IN Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

From Your Pastor: Preparing for Preaching and Worship

Beloved of Christ at KCPC: Remember prayerfully to prepare for worship and to be ready to worship the Living God and to hear His Word as it is read and preached to you.

Our Larger Catechism instructs us helpfully: WLC 160 What is required of those that hear the word preached? A. It is required of those that hear the word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence,(1) preparation,(2) and prayer;(3) examine what they hear by the scriptures;(4) receive the truth with faith,(5) love,(6) meekness,(7) and readiness of mind,(8) as the word of God;(9) meditate,(10) and confer of it;(11) hide it in their hearts,(12) and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.(13) (1)Prov. 8:34 (2)1 Pet. 2:1,2; Luke 8:18 (3)Ps. 119:18; Eph. 6:18,19 (4)Acts 17:11 (5)Heb. 4:2 (6)2 Thess. 2:10 (7)James 1:21 (8)Acts 17:11 (9)1 Thess. 2:13 (10)Luke 9:44; Heb. 2:1 (11)Luke 24:14; Deut. 6:6,7 (12)Prov. 2:1; Ps. 119:11 (13)Luke 8:15; James 1:2

Pastor Phil Ryken says very insightfully: “Most churchgoers assume that the sermon starts when the pastor opens his mouth on Sunday. However, listening to a sermon actually starts the week before. It starts when we pray for the minister, asking God to bless the time he spends studying the Bible as he prepares to preach. In addition to helping the preaching, our prayers create in us a sense of expectancy for the ministry of God’s Word. This is one of the reasons that when it comes to preaching, congregations generally get what they pray for.”

Are you remembering to pray for the worship and preaching every week? This is so very important. Let me remind you to pray for the worship and preaching as if you were the one to lead worship and to preach! What needs more preparation the hard ground or the farmer who sows the seed? Listen to the wisdom of the great Charles Spurgeon:

“We are told men ought not to preach without preparation. Granted. But we add, men ought not to hear without preparation. Which, do you think needs the most preparation, the sower or the ground? I would have the sower come with clean hands, but I would have the ground well-plowed and harrowed, well-turned over, and the clods broken before the seed comes in. It seems to me that there is more preparation needed by the ground than by the sower, more by the hearer than by the preacher.”

Pastor Ken Ramey in Expository Listening (Kress Press, 2010) writes that Christians can better prepare themselves to hear God’s Word read and preached each Lord’s Day if they will seek to cultivate certain good habits each day (here are his helpful suggestions):

• Read and meditate upon God’s Word every day.
• Pray often throughout the week.
• Confess your sins daily before God.
• Reduce your media intake.
• Plan ahead, and schedule your week around the ministry of the Word: try to be home on Saturday nights; be careful not to watch or listen to anything that might cause lingering distractions in your mind during worship; get things ready on Saturday to avoid the inevitable Sunday morning rush; get a good night’s sleep because you’ll be doing the hard work of listening; get a good breakfast that will hold you over until lunch; as you’re getting ready and traveling as a family to worship seek to sing and pray together; arrive for worship at least 10 minutes early to get everything done (even the unexpected things), and sit down ready to receive.
• Be consistent in worship attendance.
• Go to worship with a humble, teachable, expectant heart (it is not the preacher who is on trial before you; you are on trial before God’s word as to whether you will hear and receive what is spoken if Biblical truth).
• Worship with all you heart: sing enthusiastically because you believe what you’re singing; follow along in Bible when read; listen attentively to prayers when prayed and respond with hearty “amen”; during the sermon follow along in the Bible; take notes).
• Fight off distractions
• Listen with diligent discernment so that you can determine humbly if what you heard was biblical and presented Christ and His Gospel to you and your family.

Let’s remember to pray unceasingly for one another that we will prepare our hearts for worship, and particularly for hearing the Word of God preached, and expect great things from our Great and Faithful God! (1 Thess. 5:18; Ephesians 6:18-20; 3:20-21).

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the LORD!”

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

From Your Pastor: Hope in the Face of Death

As Christians, we mourn the death of our loved ones, but we mourn as those who have hope. We hope because of Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection. This is what we learn in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The believers at Thessalonica had written to the Apostle Paul concerning the hope of those who had died. Their main concern: Would they also share in the resurrection? Was there hope for them? They needed God’s knowledge and insight into how to mourn, and what to expect in the future as believers.

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13)

     As Christians, we mourn, but with hope. Notice in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, the Apostle Paul does not teach us that grieving and mourning are wrong when our loved ones die in the Lord. He does not forbid us to weep, grieve or mourn. Rather, Paul teaches us that we do not have to “grieve as others do who have no hope” (4:13). As Christians who lose our loved ones who were committed to Christ and trusting in His righteousness alone, we can mourn, but with hope.

     What is the hope we have in death? Hope for the Christian is a confident and expectant trust in God’s Word, and in the completed work of Jesus Christ for sinners. “Hope” for the Christian is focused on God alone as He keeps His promises; and we simply believe God (Romans 15:13). By God’s grace we can abound in this hope, or confident and expectant trust in God’s Word to us!

     Why do we still mourn if we believe that our loved ones are safe and sound in Jesus? Death is still a horrid monster and intruder into God’s good creation. Death is the judgment of God for sinful man seeking His own way and will apart from the way and will of God (Gen. 3). For death to be removed, we must have our sins removed (Rev. 21:7-8). We must have a loving Savior to take away our sins and to reconcile us to God; and we have this in Jesus (Romans 5:6-11). Death is not merely “part of life” as some will say without thinking. Death is the opposite of life that God gave mankind at creation in His presence; it is not supposed to be here.

When our loved ones die, and we attend funerals, we should especially be prayerfully considering the “weight” of loss and separation that death brings to all (Eccl. 7:1-3). We have all gone over to the casket somewhat apprehensively to view the body of our loved one; at this moment, prayerfully think about death. We often say at this moment: “He/She is not here; this is so strange.” This is death.

     What does our Lord Jesus think about death? When Jesus our Lord was here in his earthly ministry, even though He possessed the power of life over death; even though He was anointed with the Holy Spirit beyond measure of any man or prophet before or since, he too, mourned death. We are told in John 11 when Jesus goes to visit his dead friend Lazarus’ family after Lazarus had died, he wept (John 11:35). We are also told that Jesus was “deeply moved” in His spirit by the hideous, terrifying specter of death. The word used of Jesus being “deeply moved” is a Greek word that describes the sound of horses “snorting” as in battle. We behold holy outrage in our Lord Jesus. Our Lord Jesus was outraged by death. Yet Jesus came to destroy death (Hebrews. 2:14-18; 1 Cor. 15:26).

This is a  proper response to death. Outrage, but hope and confidence in Jesus’s power alone.

     Why would our Lord Jesus be so outraged by death? Death separates. Death separates men from God; death separates loved from ones from us; death separates our bodies from our spirits (and/or souls). As humans we were created to live in the Life-Giving power and love of our Creator. We were never meant to live apart from this Life-Giving God and lover of our souls.

God the Father sent His Beloved Son into the world to take upon human flesh with the purpose of becoming obedient to the point of death–for us (Phil. 2:5-11). The Son lovingly and willingly came for His own to live perfectly for us, to die under the penalty of God’s judgment for our sins—to defeat and remove the horror of death from us; to give His people hope. Death will not have the final word. Death is Christ’s enemy to be fully vanquished and destroyed when He returns again.

Let us rejoice! God will wipe away every tear from the eyes of those who mourn, and the former things will no longer be remembered. This is our great hope in our grieving and mourning now (Revelation 21:1-7; cf. Isaiah 25:6-9).

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” …But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” – 1 Cor. 15:55,57-58

Dedicated with love to Edith C. Lambert (1929-2016)

“Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18)

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Biggs

From Your Pastor: Thoughts on the Assurance of Salvation

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. – ESV 1 John 5:13

As God’s people, we can be grateful that those who truly are believers can never be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus! NOTHING—absolutely NOTHING can separate you from His love for you!! (Romans 8:31-39; John 10:28-30). As believers, we can truly be joyful and confident in God’s love for us in Christ and so gain assurance of our salvation.

The Bible teaches us that assurance is a fruit of our faith in Jesus Christ, but assurance does not necessarily belong to the essence of faith (Col. 2:2; Heb. 6:11; 10:22). This means that one can possess true and saving faith, but not also possess assurance of one’s salvation. One can be a true believer in Christ with the slightest and smallest faith because she is taking hold of a great Christ, even if she is not fully assured! Salvation is about the greatness of Christ and His saving power, and willingness to save the repentant, not about how much faith we have (“Lord, I believe, help my unbelief”)!

But assurance ought to be sought. The Bible teaches: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5). “…Be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure…” (2 Pet. 1:10). We can rejoice that assurance of salvation is a fruit of our faith in Jesus, and it grows out of our growing faith as we grow in our understanding of the love of God for us in Christ. Assurance of salvation in Christ comes out of faith growing up and maturing in our walk with God (Eph. 4:11-16). Our Scripture from 1 John 5:13 tells us that the Apostle John wrote His first epistle to the churches so that they would have assurance of God’s love for them in Christ: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”

     We can know that we know CHRIST, that is, we can have the assurance John tells us about in four important ways (1) Loving Obedience to Jesus: “We know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 Jo. 2:3). (2) Love to Other Christians: “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love other Christians” (1 Jo. 3:14). (3) Fruit of the Spirit: “By [loving in deed/action and in truth] we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him” (1 Jo. 3:18). (4) Witness of the Spirit of God: “By this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (1 Jo. 3:19, 24). This is how we gain assurance in our faith as believers. Do we possess to some degree these four things? This is an important question for us to ponder.

We must acknowledge that there are many hypocrites and unregenerate persons in the visible church who presume that they are in an estate of salvation although they show no evidence that they have had any work of grace in their hearts. There are those who claim Christ as Savior, but deny Him as Lord in their sinful disobedience and blatant unrepentance. Therefore, because we know that our hearts can deceive us, and that there are truly hypocrites, and that we can easily play the hypocrite, we must seek to examine ourselves as Scripture teaches us (2 Cor. 13:5; cf. Matt. 7:14-24).

     You should never want your pastors or elders, nor anyone else to ever grant you assurance in the faith if you are not living by faith presently. To give assurance to one who is not living like a Christian may be to condemn one to hell. It is like the character Vain-Hope in Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ that walked the way with Christian and Hopeful, but who had never truly believed Christ and His Gospel, and ended up being cast into the outer darkness. As Bunyan taught there is even a door to hell at the gates of heaven! If you’re living unrepentantly right now in a sin, it may be that you’re a Christian who has fallen into a trap and you need immediate help through repentance (1 Cor. 10:12-13), but you may also be coming to realize you have never been converted. Seek God prayerfully for help on this.

If, or when you’re in this kind of struggle, you need to hear all of the Gospel promises for believers in Christ, but you do not need anyone to assure you first; God may be convicting you in your conscience to inform you of grieving the Spirit and calling you to repentance (John 16:8-11). You may truly be a Christian, but just have weak faith, and you need to be assured of God’s love. Don’t focus on yourself and your failures, but on Jesus Christ and His promises laid out in Scripture. Remember that all of our works, though weak and tainted with sin, are acceptable to God through faith in Jesus (Rom. 12:1; Phil. 4:18; 1 Pet. 2:5; cf. Westminster Confession, 16.6-7).

Let us all put aside the sins that so easily beset us and run the race with endurance fixing our eyes on Jesus alone to gain our blessed assurance and confidence in our faith (Heb. 12:1-2; cf. 4:14-16). This blessedness of assurance was described by one of our Reformed forefathers in this way:

“Assurance is glory in the bud, it is the suburbs of paradise, it is a cluster of the land of promise, it is a spark of God, it is the joy and crown of a Christian” (Thomas Brooks, Works, Vol. 2, 333).

Seek Christ Jesus through HIs Word to find assurance through the Spirit’s help. Remember it is the Spirit of God who not only regenerates us and unites us with Christ in our new birth, it is the Spirit of God who empowers us to live for Christ and become like Christ, resisting our sins, the flesh and the devil, and growing up into our salvation in Jesus. It is the Spirit of God who witnesses with our Spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:15-26). If children, then we are heirs, and we should live as in the very suburbs of heaven, rejoicing in Christ no matter what difficulty, trial or tribulation, knowing that it will only strengthen our endurance, hope and assurance (Romans 5:1-5).

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of love, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood” (F. Crosby, ‘Blessed Assurance’, 1873)

For further study with the family, see Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs


From Your Pastor: “You May Not Sin”: Our Aim and Goal as Believers


“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

(ESV 1 John 2:1)

If you are a Christian, you should rejoice that you are free from slavery to sin! You are free to walk in newness of life because of the love of Christ for you! Sin is a great evil and offensive against our Holy God, and a great and grave danger to our souls. Sin has an enslaving power to make us obey it and so it is wonderful news to find out that in Christ we are free not to sin!

We are called in Jesus Christ to realize that we are dead to sin and alive to God. This means that when Christ died on the cross, taking the wrath of God upon Himself for our sins, believers died with Him (Rom. 6:4-11). When Jesus was raised from the dead, we were also raised to newness of life. The Apostle Paul writes:

“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

 (ESV Romans 6:11)

 The Apostle John is teaching the same liberating truth in 1 John 2:1.

“Dear Children, I write these things to you that you may not sin…”

(1 John 2:1b).

Notice how John addresses believers as his “dear children”. Like a loving father to a child, so the Apostle John writes to believers so that they may not sin.  But you say: “May not sin?! Certainly, the Bible does not teach perfectionism! Surely you are not saying that the Bible tells me that Christians are to be perfect, are you?!” No, the Bible does not teach perfectionism. In fact, the Apostle John has already addressed this false teaching and misunderstanding in chapter 1 of his letter:

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

(ESV 1 John 1:8-10)

We must never say that we “have no sin” (1 John 1:8), or that we “have not sinned” (1:10). If we say that we have no sin or have not sinned, then we are liars and call God a liar. We have a need for the confession and forgiveness of sins, and to be cleansed from all unrighteousness as we walk by faith in this world (1:9). As long as we live in this world, believers will have a need to confess our sins to Jesus and to be forgiven, and Jesus is more than willing to receive our confession and to forgive us. God is faithful and just to forgive us. What great hope we have as Christians! But John goes on to teach in 1 John 2:1 that he writes his letter so that we “may not sin”. This means that it should be our spiritual aim and goal to seek not to sin against God.

 Because of God’s love for us in Christ, let us no longer make excuses for our sins, but let us hear the truth of God’s word and seek the spiritual goal of not sinning by His grace. I know you are thinking: “But pastor, I will sin, I just know it.” But is this the spiritual aim and goal God has commanded you in the Bible to live out by faith? Yes, indeed you will sin, John says “If anyone does sin…” and then provides all Christians a wonderful Savior to go to, but the point of the passage is that Jesus’ work for us is also to promote our resolve to seek not to sin. We still have the ability to sin as long as we are on this side of eternity, but we desire not to sin and offend our Great God and Heavenly Father!

How should believers live seeking not to sin?

Let us have a deep hatred for our sins. We must have a deep hatred for our sins. We should begin by understanding that all of our sins are first a great offense against a Holy and Just and Kind King and Merciful Father. We offend God when we sin; we grieve God when we sin; we hurt Him in His Holy heart (Gen. 6:5ff), and that is a good start for Christians to understand the Godward offense of our sins so that we will seek not to sin.

Sin was the reason Jesus came to save us. Jesus came to set us free from slavery to sin, to release us from the dominion and rule of sin. Jesus says graciously: “If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed!” – -Free from sin! (John 8:31ff). In Christ, we are no longer slaves, but dear children (1 John 2:1a). As dear children, we realize that sin crushed our precious Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. “He was crushed for our iniquities” (‘iniquities’ are sins against God’s person and commandments, Isaiah 53:4ff). God crushed Jesus for our sins. “He who knew no sin became the sin-bearer for us that we might be made righteous in our union with Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Let us hate sin because it is crushed the perfect and holy, meek and gentle Jesus. This will help us seek not to sin.

Let us pray for a holy hatred for our sins against God. Sin is lawlessness. John writes:

“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.”

(ESV 1 John 3:4)

  Lawlessness is a complete disregard for God and His most Holy Law. Lawlessness is doing what we want to do rather than what God wants us to do. It is foolishness, and it leads to death. There is absolutely no good that comes from sin which is lawlessness. That is a promise from God Himself! The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Lawlessness describes those who will be rejected by Jesus Christ on the last day; it is the character of the anti-christ; it grows and increases into more lawlessness as it is practiced; it is the desperate situation from which God saved us by His grace the Bible teaches us (Matthew 7:23; 23:28; Romans 6:19; 2 Thess. 2; Titus 2:14).

Let us hate sin because it is lawlessness. This will help us seek not to sin.

When we see our sins, let us ask forgiveness from God and deep repentance. Let us see our Advocate before God, Jesus the Righteous One (1 John 2:1b). Where we lack righteousness, Jesus is sufficient as Savior-Advocate (one who pleads our case before God by His blood), to cleanse us. He is also able by His Spirit to keep us from sinning. Jesus’ death takes away our penalty for sin, but also grants us power over sin (1 John 1:7-9).

Let us resolve by God’s grace in Christ by His Spirit that we will not sin. But how can we achieve this? God has provided us some answers in His word. Here are a few ways to seek to do this, although we will fail at times. But what is your main aim, and spiritual goal? To be like Him; to seek not to sin.

Stay far from temptations. If you know something tempts you, or causes you to sin, seek to live far from it. Don’t go near it, even if it is lawful in and of itself. If it causes you to sin and stumble in your walk, then avoid it with all of your heart. If you are tempted to seek satisfaction in something or someone other than God, make sure you don’t fall into a temptation. This will help us seek not to sin.

Live in God’s grace and duty against sins. Go to worship, and hear preaching of God’s Word, take part in the administration of His sacraments; these are all means of God’s grace to communicate His love and power to you as you receive Christ by faith. Pray often all kinds of prayers for yourself and all people (Ephesians 6:18ff). This will help us seek not to sin.

Don’t doubt and distrust God (Romans 4:18-21). Has God ever let you down? Has God ever been unfaithful to you? No, and He never will let you down or be unfaithful to you in Christ. Trust God’s Word to you, believe His promises. Build yourself up in your most holy faith (Jude 24), seeking to believe what God says in true, particularly as He promises you that you may not sin. This will help us seek not to sin.

Be suspicious of carnal self-love. Watch your self-centeredness, and constant focus on yourself rather than on Christ. Be suspicious anytime you become self-aware and wonder why people are treating you in a certain way, or when you are too self-conscious about what others are saying, and you become overly defensive. Carnal self-love will focus you on yourself, rather than on Christ and your service to Him. This will help us seek not to sin.

Kill sin at the root. Know the master sin-roots. Master sins are ignorance of God’s word in general and God’s promises specifically. Unbelief, selfishness, pride, lust, hard-heartedness against God. All of these are master sin-roots that grow all kinds of dangerous and toxic weeds in your garden and the congregational garden of your local church. If you’re not constantly weeding your garden, then the weeds are constantly growing! This will help us seek not to sin.

Keep your conversation and thoughts above focused on Christ (Colossians 3:1-4). You have been raised with Christ, fix your mind on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:1). Watch your negative and cynical and pessimistic conversations and thoughts that you have that are veiled and subtle unbelief against God’s Word. Seek godly companions to talk about God’s goodness and grace. This will help us seek not to sin.

Be watchful and prayerful at all times (Matt. 26:41).  Apart from Christ you are dangerous; your heart is self-deceptive and evil by nature. You do not by nature know how to do anything but sin. You know this experientially in your own life, unless you have learned to self and to God (see 1 John 1:8ff). Remember the importance of asking God to search and know your heart, your thoughts, etc. (Psalm 139:23-24). This will help us seek not to sin.

God’s Word should be your only rule. This will help us seek not to sin.

Seek God’s will each day at the Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:14-16). Jesus Christ the Righteous One will grant you mercy and give you grace to help you in your time of need. This is a promise. Why would you not seek this Throne of Grace daily? Why would you not start each day at Christ’s feet? This will help us seek not to sin.

Go to Him now, confess your sins, your carelessness, your lack of watchfulness and prayer. Confess to Christ if you have not tried living for Him as dead to sin and alive to God. Confess to Jesus that you have not even tried to make it your spiritual aim not to sin if this be truth. This in itself is a blatant denial of God’s Word, and is usually fueled by one of the mother root-sins such as ignorance that God’s word teaches this, or unbelief that God would give you strength to live in this way. This will help us seek not to sin.

God requires perfect righteousness of all mankind. All mankind must be perfect if they are to ever hope in heaven and being a recipient of eternal life (Matt. 5:48). Because we are conceived and born in sin, we have no righteousness before God, and can never do anything in this life that is not actually tainted by sin (Psalm 51; Romans 3). Our only hope is to find the perfect righteousness that God demands of us and that we so desperately need in Jesus Christ alone. This is why Jesus alone is described as “The Righteous” or “The Righteous One” (1 John 2:1b). Only Jesus who was both God and man has attained a perfect righteousness.

Jesus died for sinners, and he died so that we might live for God. Jesus died for sinners so that we might be set free from slavery from sin and live unto God. The perfect righteousness that God requires of all mankind, God also provides for us in Jesus the Righteous One, and this is received by faith.

Now hate sin. Ask Christ to help you to hate it more. Jesus did not leave you in your sins. He did not allow sin in your life to continue to offend God Almighty, and to destroy your life and soul. He came so that you would have life in Him and to experience abundant life that is without the horrible rule and reign of sin over you, making you a slave with only death as your hope to be set free.

Jesus Christ has overcome sin; he has done for you what you could never do by His power and grace; because of His love for you!

And then go and seek not to sin.

But if (and when!) you do sin, you have an Advocate before the Father, Jesus the Righteous.

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

(ESV 1 John 2:1)

Ponder the love of God for you in Christ.


In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs



From Your Pastor: Gentleness

Gentleness is having the tone and the touch of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus speaks of himself he’s gentle and lowly in heart. And He calls believers to learn from Him.

Jesus says: “…Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29; cf. 1 Cor. 10:1). We are called as Christians to be like Christ in our gentleness. To walk worthy of our calling as a follower of Jesus is to walk “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…” (Eph. 4:2). Gentleness in tone and touch is a visible sign that one’s heart is at rest and calm under the influence of Christ’s grace.

We live in a rude culture of hostility and anger and vindictiveness and general unkindness. Christian gentleness can be an important response to this kind of behavior. In fact, gentleness by Christ’s grace may be our most effective and influential way of bringing change in our culture today.

How could Christians live influentially and effectively in the culture today, particularly in a time of confusion over sexual identity and name-calling in politics? Gentleness.

What could be our answer to aggressive driving? Gentleness.

What could be our response to rushed and rudeness? Gentleness.

What could cause those who perceive that Christians are unloving to listen to our Gospel? Gentleness.

What could be our answer to “pushy”? Gentleness.

What could be our answer to a sarcastic remark? Gentleness.

What could be our answer to those we may disagree with? Gentleness in tone and touch. Specifically, “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).

Imagine that we could as Christians say with King David “…Your gentleness made me great” (2 Sam. 22:35-36) in the midst of a hostile and rude culture. This is the godly influence that could be useful to us as the Church.

Gentleness is a fruit of the spirit. The Spirit of God is pleased to rule over our hearts in such a way that our tongues may possess a gentle tone and our hands and bodies may be used as instruments of kindness with a gentle touch.

When we were young we read in our fairy stories about a gentle giant. As we got older and experienced more of the real world we were surprised to find that he’s not so gentle. But Jesus is. What was attractive about the gentle giant was that he was very strong, but in his strength, he treated others kindly. He was powerful, yet kind. Isn’t this story of the gentle giant really a story about our longings for one like Jesus Christ? Gentleness like meekness is strength that is under control and used in tone in touch to be kind and gracious to others?

One of my teachers used to speak of “gentle-ing himself” when he saw that his heart was upset or impassioned by sin or an aggravation of others. This teacher understood that lack of gentleness was a heart problem. It showed a lack of grace and a need for Christ. At times, I find myself thinking of this and seeking to gentle myself in places where there’s potential controversy or conflict, or in crowded places, or in long lines, or in times when I’m running late and there’s traffic, and when I perceive folks are being inconsiderate of my time. These are times to think about “gentle-ing oneself” methinks. By God’s grace…

Sadly, in the church, we can forget to gentle ourselves. Sometimes when we argue (discuss?) theologically, we can forget gentleness. We can so desire that the truth be told, that we forget tone and touch in telling that truth. We forget to “speak the truth in love” even to one another (Eph. 4:15)! Yet gentleness is one of the most important characteristics that should describe us in our engagement with one another, especially when we disagree. The Bible teaches us:

“The servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil. Correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth…” (2 Tim. 2:24-25).

We see doctrinal positions and personal opinions publicly posted on Facebook and other social media. But what is revealed is often more than truth or a mere opinion. What we see are sinful dispositions and hearts that are in desperate need of Christ-like gentleness. Should we wonder by this kind of online behavior why many distance themselves from us and will not come to hear our Gospel?

Beloved, let us pray for kindness, the ability to teach or persuade others patiently, and to correct with gentleness. For every public display of lack of gentleness that is tweeted and posted on social media, as Christians, let there also be a transparently honest and humble public display of repentance tweeted or posted.

We should remember that like a lot of things in this life, gentleness is “caught” not “taught”. We can have an understanding of what gentleness is, and have an ability to define it, and even be dogmatic about what it’s definition is 🙂 yet we learn it best from seeing it in others. We learn it by imitation. We learn it from being in communion with Christ and learning to be like Him. The glory that will be reflected on us and in us as we are transformed by Christ’s Spirit is the temperament of gentleness toward others (2 Cor. 3:18). As King David, we can possess hands trained for war, living as warriors for Christ in the present cultural battle, and yet gentleness is what will make us great (Psalm 18:34-35). Gentleness is bold because it is God-like, but this does not mean that it’s ever fearful. If we truly want greatness, it must come through godly gentleness.

But gentleness cannot be learned while being rushed and in a hurry all the time. Gentleness cannot be learned in being concerned only about one’s self. Gentleness cannot be learned while seeking to exert one’s opinions without listening, or in seeking to be first (3 John 9). Gentleness cannot be learned as long as one would seek to be right all the time. As our forefather John Calvin wrote convictingly:

“You will never attain true gentleness except by one path: a heart imbued [saturated/permeated] with lowliness and with reverence for others.”

Need gentleness? Embrace Christ, and let him gentle on you through His grace. Then by His Spirit, gentle yourself and go and be influential and effective in your gifts and calling in this world. Let’s cultivate a culture of gentleness in our Christian congregations and in our larger community. Let us tweet and post on social media with gentleness, too.

Let us be a gentle-ing, counter-cultural influence,

by speaking the Gospel and living it out gently.


In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs