From Your Pastor: The Glorious Benefits of Justification, Adoption and Sanctification

Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 36: What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?


Answer: The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, (1) joy in the Holy Ghost, (2) increase of grace, (3) and perseverance therein to the end. (4) (1)Rom. 5:1,2,5 (2)Rom. 14:17 (3)Prov. 4:18 (4)1 John 5:13; 1 Pet. 1:5


Scripture Memory: “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” (1 John 5:13)


An Explanation: What a glorious joy it is to be one of God’s beloved children! What lavish grace God has been kind enough to bestow upon repent sinners who receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord! To be in Christ by His grace is to be the treasured possession of the Triune God, possessing an imputed righteousness given by faith alone in Christ alone because of grace alone, knowing confidently that one is loved by a good and faithful Heavenly Father, and enjoying some measure of growth in Christ-likeness, and in conformity to the holiness of the Son of God (Rom. 3:24-26; 5:21; 1 Jo. 3:1-3; Eph. 1:3-6, 4:19ff; Rom. 8:29-30; Tit. 2:11-14).

And there are glorious benefits of this salvation that we should be enjoying in this life on our way to heaven!! Though we suffer, and are often weary from battling flesh, the allurements of the world, and the temptations of satan, we can possess assurance that we are loved by God (1 Jo. 5:13), and we enjoy the joy of the LORD that is our strength (Neh. 8:10). Though the unbelieving world is often given moments of happiness (Matt. 5:45; Acts 14:17), it does not possess the joy of the LORD which is a (as I paraphrase from Dr. David Murray) “God-given…God- centered understanding of God’s love for you in Christ”. Only believers possess true and lasting happiness which is true joy, and found in the love of God in Christ. The Holy Spirit has been given to believers so that we are sealed as God’s children until the Day of Redemption, and enjoy God’s love that has been poured out abundantly into our hearts (Eph. 1:14; Rom. 5:5).

And another benefit is that believers, the children of God, possess consciences that have been reconciled to God its Creator, and have peace that passes all understanding, though shaken at many times by different temptations and trials! (Rom. 5:1-11). Our consciences tell us about God and His righteous requirements for all mankind, but they will only haunt us if we do not possess as God’s children the reconciling mercies of God our Creator found in Christ! The Bible teaches that in fact there is “no peace for the wicked” (Isa. 57:21), and their consciences bear witness to the fact that they offended the true and only living, Triune God (Rom. 2:15; cf. 1:32). Only justification, adoption, and sanctification can bring peace to a sinful, troubled soul!

And as God is committed to making His children holy as Christ is holy, we can expect fruitfulness in Christ as we abide in His love, keeping His commandments, and loving God and one another by His grace (John 15:1-11). We ought to be thankful that this very day, we can expect an increase of grace as we turn from our sins to more grace in the Living God because of Christ. Christ is enthroned as Mediator at God’s right hand full of grace for all we need, full of mercy for all of our sinful struggles, and whatever grace we need, we can find it. We are promised this as God’s Beloved children! “God gives more grace…” (2 Pet. 1:3-11; Heb. 4:14-16; John 1:14-18; James 4:6).

And if this is not enough, because heaven has begun in us now through union with Christ by His Spirit, we shall also confidently, yet humbly persevere until the end because Christ is praying for us that our faith will not fail us in His Heavenly Intercessory ministry (Heb. 7:24; Rom. 8:34; cf. Luke 22:32). Yet we do not grow lazy because of this, but work all the harder, knowing that as we have been possessed by Christ and we have a zeal to possess more of Him! (Phil. 3:8-16; Tit. 2:14; cf. Phil. 2:12-13). In fact, as beloved children of God, we keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, growing in holiness and in the fear of the LORD, and attain to our full heavenly inheritance knowing that nothing can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ, and no one, or nothing—absolutely nothing!!—can snatch us out of the tight and loving grip of Christ’s beautiful, strong, and saving hand (Heb. 12:1-2, 10, 14; Rom. 8:31-39; John 10:27-30; 1 Pet. 1:5). Let us rejoice in the benefits that do accompany and flow from our salvation in Jesus!


A Prayer: Father, I am your treasured possession. Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be. Your heart is with beloved children. Grant me to grow in the benefits of my salvation, in possessing more joy in Christ, in growing in holiness, humility and honesty, in enjoying more peace, and persevering grace unto the end all for your glory! Amen. Let my life adorn your precious gospel this day! Amen and amen.


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: What Is Sanctification? (A Study of the Westminster Shorter Catechism)

Westminster Shorter Catechism

Question 32: What is Sanctification?

Answer: Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace,(1) whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God,(2) and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.(3) (1)2 Thess. 2:13 (2)Eph. 4:23,24 (3)Rom. 6:4,6; Rom. 8:1

Scripture Memory: “…Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4)

An Explanation: Man was created by our good God as upright, holy, and righteous. But man rebelled against our kind king (Ecc. 7:29). Although the fall did not completely destroy the image of God in man, it did great damage of deeply tainting him with sin. In the fall, man lost his original righteousness and communion with God, became spiritually dead in sin, and was defiled in all parts and faculties of soul and body (Gen. 2:17; 3:6-8; Gen. 6:1; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:23; Eph. 2:1; see WCF, 6.2). What was holy about man became corrupt, what was righteous became sinful and rebellious what was enlightened and illumined by God’s truth became darkened (Eph. 4:19-24). We are not our former selves; we have been plunged into an estate of sin and misery. Fallen mankind can sing with sadness the popular song: “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they’re here to stay…I’m not half the man I used to be, there’s a shadow hanging over me…”

“…A work of God’s free grace…” But God in His steadfast love and kindness has not left us in an estate of sin and misery (see WSC, Q&A 19-21). He has provided our Lord Jesus as a Savior from the guilt and power of sin. In Christ, we are sanctified and restored (1 Cor. 1:30). Sanctification is a work of the Spirit of God in our union with Christ where the damage done by sin to the image of God is renewed in us.

“…We are renewed in the whole man after the image of God…” When thinking of sanctification, we should be reminded that Christ is the true image of God (Heb. 1:1-2; Col. 1:15). Christ Jesus is what man was created to be and how man was created to live as obedient son to a loving Heavenly Father. Jesus is the ideal son of the perfect Father. Adam as son rebelled ungratefully against his Father, Israel as son rebelled against his Father, we as sons have rebelled against our Father. But Jesus has perfectly lived, died, been raised and exalted as the ideal son and perfect man made in God’s image, who is a willing and able Savior and Sanctifier of sinners (Heb. 2:10-18). Man was created for the worship, service and love of God. Christ Jesus did that with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength for us! (cf. Matt. 22:37-40).

“…Enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousnesss…” In Christ, believers are taught to cooperate with this new nature that has been implanted into us by the precious and powerful Holy Spirit of God, by putting off the old tarnished self, the contaminated self, the poisoned self, the sinful self, and to be renewed by putting on the new self given to us in Christ Jesus!

“…To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (ESV Ephesians 4:22-24).

When we are united to Christ in our union with Him His Spirit not only imputes His perfect righteousness to us, but we begin to be renewed in the likeness of Christ (Phil. 1:6). Conformity to Christ for the glory of God is the ultimate reason for our salvation.

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (ESV Romans 8:29a; cf. Eph. 1:4).

Conformity to Christ, or holiness is not optional for the Christian. Without holiness, or Christ-likeness, no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14b). Let me be clear: conformity to Christ is holiness. Holiness, or being conformed to Christ’s likeness has two important aspects: mortification and vivification. Mortification is a dying to our old way of doing things through the flesh. Vivification is living a new life in obedience to God. Believers can only mortify flesh and live by the Spirit knowing that in reality they have died and been raised with Christ (see Rom. 6:4-14). The Christian believer is in a constant warfare to do this by God’s grace (Gal. 5:16-25). God is faithful to work in us to will and to do what He commands; this is all for His good pleasure. In Christ, we desire to please our Heavenly Father!

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”( Philippians 2:12-13)

A Prayer: Father, sanctify me through the blood of Jesus Christ, cleansing my heart this day, and fill me with your Spirit that I may do intense and intentional warfare against my flesh, and live by your Holy Spirit, producing much fruit! May I keep my eyes on Jesus, and be conformed to Him more today!


In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Biggs

From Your Pastor: The Benefits of Effectual Calling (WSC Question 32)

Question 32: What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?

Answer: They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification,(1) adoption,(2) and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.(3) (1)Rom. 8:30 (2)Eph. 1:5 (3)1 Cor. 1:26,30


Scripture Memory: “He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).


An Explanation: Glorious benefits are found in Christ Jesus! Jesus Christ is full of grace and truth: “And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16-17). Jesus is a Storehouse of benefits and blessings for the believer! Jesus is the True Treasury of God’s riches. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…” (2 Pet. 1:3a). “…To reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:2b-3).

Although we are impoverished by nature, Jesus is rich! Although we are weak, Jesus gives strength! Although we are sinful, Jesus grants grace, abundant, wonderful grace for every need! “For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.…Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…” (Eph. 1:15-23; 2 Cor. 8:9; Rom. 5:6-8, 5:15, 20).

When the Spirit unites us to Jesus Christ in our effectual calling, we are recipients of great and glorious blessings and benefits! What are the blessings and benefits of union with Christ which in this life either accompany or flow from them? Specifically, justification, adoption, and sanctification! Hallelujah, to the Lamb!

Justification: God legally declares us as righteous in Christ, imputing our sins to Christ, and imputing Christ’s righteousness to believers by faith alone apart from works (Rom. 4:5, 8, 11-12, 16). There is no condemnation for us in Christ Jesus! (Rom. 8:1). We are declared righteous by Christ’s blood (Rom. 3:24-26). Our consciences no longer condemn us (1 Jo. 3:20). We are reconciled to God, and we have peace in our union with Jesus (Rom. 5:1). We have confidence for the day of judgement because of God’s love for us in Christ (1 Jo. 4:17-18).

What a benefit to know that God has legally declared you righteous in Christ—there is no condemnation, no judgment awaiting you! We will face the Judgment Seat of Christ clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ, and though our every word, thought and action has been tainted with sin, the Lamb without blemish has loved us and given Himself for us! (Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 5:14-15). We are spotless in Him! We can rejoice with the Psalmist: “…Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Adoption: God legally declares us righteous before Him, but also (very importantly!) legally adopts us into His family, giving us His name, granting us privileges of children, and granting us a rich and eternal inheritance in Him, and with Him (The Westminster Confession was the first confession of faith to formally make the proper biblical distinction between justification and adoption). Our adoption is because of the Father’s love from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4-6), it is because of the Son’s redemptive work in willingly coming as our big brother to redeem us and to obtain for us the Spirit of Sonship (Gal. 4:4-7), and it is the Spirit’s work to seal and further reveal this reality to our hearts (Rom. 8:15-16, 26; cf. Eph. 3:16-19).

We are called heirs of God, and His dearly and beloved children. “What manner of love has God the Father bestowed upon us that we are called the children of God, and that is what we are!” (1 Jo. 3:1-2). We can call on God as our Father: “Abba, Father!” because we have received the Spirit of Sonship (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). We are heirs of all that is His! We have a big brother who gave Himself for our redemption so that we could take on a family resemblance (Heb. 2:11-18). What joy should characterize us as God’s children, because one day we will be like Him fully (1 Jo. 3:2-3; Rom. 8:23).

Sanctification: We are resurrected by the Spirit and set free from slavery to sin and self to live the life that God has created us to live: “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his… So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus…For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Rom. 6:5, 11, 14). We are free from our sins so that we can live for Him: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).

We are given a faith in our effectual calling that is a working faith that seeks to work through love (Gal. 5:6). In fact, we are created in Christ for good works: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10; 2 Thess. 2:13).


A Prayer: What manner of love is this that I should be called a child of God, dear Abba, Heavenly Father!! Thank you, kind king for your amazing love and benefits for sinners in Christ! Thank you for the Spirit of Sonship that makes my life joyous in Christ, and helps me to live for you, and to be like my elder brother, the Lord Jesus! You love me, let me be controlled by that love, kind king! (2 Cor. 5:14-15).


In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Biggs


From Your Pastor: Justification and Sanctification

Justification and Sanctification[1]

Below is a helpful chart to help you to distinguish between justification and sanctification.

A very important truth to keep in mind when thinking about justification and sanctification is that you should always make a distinction between the two, but never separate them (Calvin used the helpful Latin phrase: “distinctio non sed separatio” or “distinct but never separate”). Our confession states the distinction this way in the Westminster Larger Catechism, Questions 70 and 75:

WLC 70 – What is justification? A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners,(1) in which he pardoneth all their sins, accepteth and accounteth their persons righteous in his sight;(2) not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them,(3) but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them,(4) and received by faith alone.(5) (1)Rom. 3:22,24,25; Rom. 4:5 (2)2 Cor. 5:19,21; Rom. 3:22,24,25,27,28 3)Tit. 3:5,7; Eph. 1:7 (4)Rom. 5:17-19; Rom. 4:6-8 (5)Acts 10:43; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9

WLC 75 – What is sanctification? A. Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, whereby they whom God hath, before the foundation of the world, chosen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation of his Spirit(1) applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them,(2) renewed in their whole man after the image of God;(3) having the seeds of repentance unto life, and all other saving graces, put into their hearts,(4) and those graces so stirred up, increased and strengthened,(5) as that they more and more die unto sin, and rise unto newness of life.(6) (1)Eph. 1:4; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Thess. 2:13 (2)Rom. 6:4-6 (3)Eph. 4:23,24 (4)Acts 11:18; 1 ohn 3:9 (5)Jude 20; Heb. 6:11,12; Eph. 3:16-19; Col. 1:10,11 (6)Rom. 6:4,6,14; Gal. 5:24

These two important aspects of salvation in Christ can be, and often are confused, and so it is important to keep these distinctions in mind without separating them (see Romans 8:29-31 as the Apostle Paul teaches that the grace that has begun in justification will always result and be fully realized in glorification through the sanctifying work of the Spirit).[2] To put it as pointedly as possible, you cannot have one without the other. The saving grace of Christ includes both justification and sanctification.

To be united to Christ by His Spirit means being a participant in the Spirit’s justifying work, as well as His sanctifying work. To make the proper distinctions will keep us from the terrible dangers of both legalism and antinomianism. It could also lead us to joy through the growing in our assurance of our faith.




Change in relation to God and His law: No longer condemned under the Law of God


Change in nature: I now love the Law of God and desire to keep it sincerely.


Judicial act of God acquitting believers Continual building up



Complete and not of various degrees Growing work of many degrees
Perfect at the first moment Not perfect until death
Equal in all Not the same in all believers


Cannot be lost Degrees may be lost


Instantaneous Progressive


Removes guilt and liability to penalty Kills the being and power of sin


Man accepted and righteousness imputed Grace infused and the Spirit given
Gives right to life Gives fitness to share inheritance
By faith alone Requires exercise of all graces



Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 60. Q. How are you righteous before God? Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Although my conscience accuses me that I have grievously sinned against all God’s commandments, have never kept any of them, and am still inclined to all evil, yet God, without any merit of my own, out of mere grace, imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ. He grants these to me as if I had never had nor committed any sin, and as if I myself had accomplished all the obedience which Christ has rendered for me, if only I accept this gift with a believing heart.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs



[1] John Brown of Wamphray on Justification and Sanctification.  Source: John Brown, The Life of Justification Opened (N.p.: 1695), 268. See Joel R. Beeke, “John Calvin and John Brown of Wamphray on Justification,” in Reformed Orthodoxy in Scotland: Essays on Scottish Theology, 1560–1775, ed. Aaron Clay Denlinger (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015), 191–211.

[2] We should also remember to always understand justification as the foundation of our sanctification. Roman Catholicism formally confuses the two and places the sanctifying work of the Spirit through the Church before justification. Rome teaches that a person works in cooperation with the Spirit through the Roman Catholic Church (what they call “sanctification” through the seven sacraments), and this leads to a final justification (after death, and many times through purgatory). This is a terrible heresy. And this teaching is for another day, but it is to emphasize now the importance of getting justification and sanctification correct, and in proper, biblical order (for formal teaching of Romanist doctrine see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1996, Second edition, III:sec.1, chap. 3, article 2, 1987-95).

Westminster Shorter Catechism: Q30 (Part 2)

Question: WSC 30, Part 2: How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?

Answer: The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.


More on Union with Christ

Scripture Memory: ESV Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.


An Explanation:* “Uniting us to Christ…” Union with Christ is the fount from which all blessings of eternity and time flow forth by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:3-14). Christ is the Reservoir of all blessing from the Father through the Spirit (1 Cor. 1:9). Believers have union and communion with Christ in grace and glory (WLC, 65-66). What are the practical implications of our union?

  1. The church has union with Christ in the Father’s eternal election. This is a union that precedes our birth and conversion, back into the eternal electing mercies of God. Union with Christ includes union in eternity, in history in the fullness of the times, and the Spirit’s union in the application of our salvation. This covenant theology recognizes that union with Christ is not merely a present experience, but an eternal reality in the plan of God. A covenant of grace was made with Christ as the Second Adam, and all the elect in Him as His seed (Heb. 13:20-21).
  2. The church has union with Christ in the Son’s incarnation. No higher honor was given to humanity than when God the Son took our nature into permanent union with God. The purpose of Christ’s incarnation is particularly His priestly office and work to make propitiation for His people, and intercede for them (Heb. 1:1-2; 2:17; 7:25). The incarnation forms a necessary link with Christ, so that we might have His righteousness to us. Christ joins with us in our nature and this incarnational union makes possible all of the righteousness that He earned and will give to us as we receive it by faith. Only those who are sanctified in Christ can all ourselves “brethren” of God’s Son (Heb. 2:11). This is important as part of God’s promise of being “with us”; the incarnational union impresses upon us that He is not merely God for us, but God with us.
  3. The church has union with Christ in His death, resurrection, and ascension. This is particularly Paul’s theme in his writings (Rom. 6-8). We died with Christ on the cross, were buried with Him, rose from the dead with Him, seated with Him in Heavenly Places, etc (Col. 3:1-4; Gal. 2:20). All of the believer’s experiences of saving faith flow from his union with Christ in these great, redemptive-historical events. Whatever Christ did and received, belong to us as God’s children. As believers, we should count all of these blessings as our own possessions. This union with Christ is an abiding reality that believers must live out of by faith. In 2 Corinthians 5:14-15: “One died for all, then all died, therefore we should live not for ourselves, but for Him who died and has risen from the dead.” Christians died with Christ 2000 years ago with Christ on the cross, but we experientially live this out being transformed in time by God’s Spirit.
  4. The church has union with Christ in the Spirit’s works of personal salvation. The Spirit establishes a vital union with Christ through effectual calling and regeneration. We are in space and time united to Jesus Christ. In Romans 8:30, Paul wrote: Romans 8:30 “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Freedom from condemnation belongs to those who are “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8). The Spirit of Life liberates us from sin to live for Christ.
  5. Communion with God in love flows out of union. Spirit, faith, and love are the three “chains of union” (William Ames). The Spirit from God to unites us; faith from us to unite us; love to give ourselves wholly to Christ as His Beloved. All that Christ has or has done is ours by faith in Christ Jesus. The Christian is a fruitful branch, an eating and drinking guest at the banquet, a beloved bride, clothed in His righteousness and glory. All these will be realized at the Consummation of all things, and we will live blessedly (Rev. 19:7ff; 21:1ff)! We shall have total, unhindered, intimacy with Christ in heaven for all eternity! We shall realize fully the Lord’s love for His bride!

* Compiled from Dr. J. R. Beeke’s lectures on soteriology.


A Prayer: Thank you, dear Jesus, that you loved me and gave yourself for me. I am grateful to confess: “I am crucified with Christ…and the life I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20).


In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Biggs


“Why Have You Fallen On Your Face?” – The Questions God Asks Us

Word of Encouragement- Week Ending March 17th, 2012

Series: The Questions God Asks Us

“Why Have You Fallen on Your Face” – Joshua 7:10

The LORD said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. – Joshua 7:10-12a

There’s a time to pray and fall on our faces before God in repentance. But sometimes there is a time to prayerfully act to cleanse and purify ourselves as a congregation before God. God taught Joshua and the people that sometimes even more urgent than our prayers before God is the urgency to bring about proper discipline in the congregation because of sin.

God had greatly blessed Israel with His promises and covenant faithfulness. God had promised to be with Joshua and with Israel as they entered into to possess the Promised Land (Josh. 1-2). God had promised to give Israel everything that they would need for life and godliness as a congregation and they were to be consecrated to Him, holy as God is holy (Josh. 7:13). Rather than finding hope in the grace of God alone, Achan was tempted to be satisfied in something else. He coveted, and the entire congregation was guilty because of it.

Israel had failure in their spiritual war against Ai because ‘The people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things’. Israel was called to be God’s instrument of absolute judgment on Ai (and the Canaanites), but Achan from the Tribe of Judah ‘took some of the devoted things’. ‘And the anger of the LORD burned against the people of Israel’ (Josh. 7:1). [*Note: “Devoted things” [Heb. “herem”] were lives and possessions that were to be totally obliterated before the face of God as a temporal judgment upon sin; nothing was to remain as a type of Last Day Judgment”].

Before a congregation can expect God to bless their labors and give them spiritual success in spiritual warfare, they must act to cleanse themselves from sin. God said to Joshua: “I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you” (Josh. 7:12-13). As God’s people it is important for a congregation to practice regular confession of sins in corporate worship, accountability, and biblical discipline to prevent impurity because of sins in a congregation.

Achan, who was the one responsible for God’s temporal judgment, confessed his sin of covetousness (although there were great consequences- Josh. 7:20-21, and there was also lying and stealing involved, Josh. 7:11). But his confession was not quick enough; Achan did not confess his sins willingly because he felt the weight of sin against God and the congregation. He apparently thought he could continue to hide in his sins without any consequences for himself or his church (see Josh. 7:16-19; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:1ff).

Although God knew where the sin was to be found, and the guilty party (because He is the searcher of our hearts), he appointed Joshua and the leaders to find the sin that was affecting the entire congregation (Josh. 7:14ff). Joshua searched and waited patiently, humbly and diligently for a confession of sin (when Joshua approached Achan, he was very courteous and humble in his discipline practice which is extremely exemplary and commendable to all Christians, Josh. 7:19). This kind of confrontation of another in the congregation is not easy, and should be soberly and humbly done with God’s leading (Josh. 7:14ff).

Is there anything worse than sin? Do you know that in Scripture sin is so dangerous it is vividly described as transgression against God, slavery, idolatry, leprosy, God’s punishment, insanity, etc.? Is there anything worse than sin? Just to think of how God is offended by sin should be enough to deter us! Think of the potential dangers of what one “little” sin can do to destroy a person, rip apart a family, and severely affect an entire congregation of God’s people?

Have you seen the horrendous damage that can be done because of unforgiveness, resentment, anger, child abuse, divorce, murder, rape, greediness, theft, division, grumbling, complaining, and/or incest??!! God is serious about judgment upon sin and its prevention in His people!

When we think about the discipline that is carried out in Joshua 7 of stoning and burning, we can be shocked and speechless. But I wonder why we can be more concerned at the kind of discipline in this passage than we are of the offensive sinfulness of Achan. Why are we not angry because God has been offended and His Spirit grieved? Why is it that we are not incensed and deeply angry because of covetousness, and the lying and stealing, and the affects of our sins on others? Shouldn’t we more shocked by the sin than the discipline that is recorded here?

The Bible teaches that discipline is important as an obedient response to God’s Word (Matt. 18:15-18; Heb. 12:5ff). Thankfully, discipline practices of the Old Covenant have changed since the coming of Christ, but the need for discipline is the same in every congregation. Why would we think otherwise? God saves a people, and completes His work in a people; God saves individuals to be part of a corporate church. Why would we not be accountable to God and to one another? I realize disciple has been abused, and there will be a day of judgment for the abuse of it as well as a day of judgment for those who have not practiced it as they should.

Biblical discipline is a loving practice.When our children flagrantly sin against God, themselves, and our families, we do not merely go to pray for them to show them our love. That we must do as well! But we also lovingly practice discipline which the bible teaches is one of God’s means of growth in grace and Christ-likeness (Hebrews 12:5ff).

ESV Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

ESV Proverbs 15:10 There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die.

We love our children and we don’t want them to hurt themselves or others. In fact, the Scriptures teach that if we are not disciplined, we are not truly loved by God (Heb. 12:8). Therefore, it is important to note that discipline when done with grace, and with an eye toward restoring the sinful offender, is a great act of God’s love. Just as we love our children in this way in our family, so we should love one another in the church in this same way.

ESV Hebrews 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

Biblical discipline can serve as a warning for both young and old of the consequences of sinning against God Almighty. Biblical discipline can protect our families, prevent sinful practices from growing and being nurtured in God’s church, causing the increase of sin and impurity in others. The truth is that we should have all by now been immediately judged for our sins against God and one another (see Acts 5:1ff). But God is patient and merciful toward us.

In the New Covenant, the judgment on Achan has fallen completely on the Lord Jesus Christ in our place. Can you see Jesus, the Beloved Savior, God in the flesh for us, taking our sin debt upon Himself; Jesus taking much more than a stone-crushing blow to the skull as He falls under the power of sin’s consequences on the cross.

Can you see God Almighty crushing Jesus under His mighty power and wrath for our sins (Isa. 53:10)? Can you see Jesus who knew no sin at all, becoming the sin-bearer of every last sin of all of God’s people past, present and future in the burning wrath and fury of God’s judgment (2 Cor. 5:21)?

Achan was punished for His sins and transgressions; Jesus was punished for our sins and transgressions. Rejoice!

Peace returned to Israel after Achan’s death; Peace comes permanently to God’s people through Jesus’ death (cf. Romans 5:1ff). Rejoice!

God was reconciled to Israel through Achan’s death and judgment; Believers are reconciled to God through the death and judgment of Christ in our place. Rejoice!

Achan’s suffering because of His sins healed Israel; Jesus’ suffering because of our sins heals all of God’s people. Rejoice! The Bible teaches:

He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5

As believers, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed for us and this is all of grace, so that we will live purely for Him. We are unleavened as God’s people; sin has been removed from us in Christ and so we are to live like it as a congregation! Let us listen to the Apostle Paul in a similar New Covenant situation:

“Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” – 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8

As we consider the grace of the Lord Jesus, let us seek to be accountable, and to hold each other accountable in sincerity and truth; the leaven of sin will leaven the whole lump of the congregation! No man is an island, certainly not a Christian. We are in fact all part of one body in Christ (1 Cor. 12). Every person’s sin, including mine (and how I know this so deeply and sadly!), grieves God Almighty (Eph. 4:30) and has terrible consequences and harmful affects on my family and my congregation.

So, let us act humbly before God. Let us be patient and loving, but let us seek to love one another enough to discipline and hold each other formally accountable (Heb. 13:17; 1 Cor. 5:9-13). Let us speak and live the truth together in love. Recognizing that we are all potentially dangerous and sinful people, who are tempted with covetousness and other forms of idolatry that only Jesus Christ can heal (1 Cor. 10:12-13; 1 John 5:21; Col. 3:5).

“Why have you fallen on your face?”

If you have been convicted by the Spirit of your sins, then confess them. If you confess your sins, then go and make any restitution that needs to be made with others. Believe that if you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8ff).

Then go and confidently follow Christ, telling others who love you of your proneness to certain wickedness, the sins that so easily beset you, and live confidently before God in His grace and love. Be encouraged to submit to one another in love, thanking God that others are watching over you and helping you to resist your sin, and to encourage you to endure righteously to the end!

ESV Hebrews 3:12-13:Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.


In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

“Being a Blessing in a Consumeristic World”

Word of Encouragement

‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’– Acts 20:35

“…And I will bless you…so that you will be a blessing…And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:2-3


If you’re a believer, you are blessed! All who believe in Jesus are blessed by God with Father Abraham (Galatians 3:13-16, 26-29). We are blessed with Father Abraham because of God’s promises to him were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ! This means we are greatly blessed!

What does it mean to be blessed by God? What do we mean when we say “God bless you”? Or that “God has blessed me!” We often mean that God has given us some extra money in popular language. But God’s blessing is much more than that! What we should mean primarily when we speak of God’s blessings to us is that we are recipients of God’s grace in three particular ways: (1) Relationship; (2) Righteousness; and (3) Riches.

In Genesis, we are taught that “Father” Abraham was called out of darkness into God’s light by God’s grace and was granted precious promises that established a relationship with God, that gave a righteousness to him that he did not have, and promised great riches because of God’s love.

(1)   Relationship: God has been gracious in seeking out sinners and granting them a relationship to Him by His grace. We who were once far from God have been brought near through the blood of Jesus Christ, and this is what it means to be blessed.

(2)   Righteousness: God has been gracious in giving sinners a perfect righteousness that is received by faith alone in Christ alone. We receive Jesus’ righteousness that was earned from His perfect life lived, and we receive forgiveness of sins through the atoning death Jesus died in our place, and we are received as God’s forgiven children in Him, and this is what it means to be blessed.

(3)   Riches in Christ: God has been gracious in that he not only grants us a relationship with Himself, and a righteousness that is a perfect righteousness that forgives us our sins and equips us for heavenly life with Him for all eternity, but God also further blesses us with all of the riches that are found in our union with Jesus Christ (and there are so many!) and this is what it means to be blessed.

All good and perfect gifts come from God; all things that we enjoy in this life are blessings, but of all these blessings, the greatest of these would be a relationship with the living God, a righteousness from God that makes us acceptable in the Beloved, and all of the riches of God that are given to us because of Jesus.

We are to know that we are richly blessed, so that we will be a blessing to others. God says to Abraham: “I will bless you…so that you will be a blessing.” In Scripture we are taught that God abundantly gives so that we can give to others. We are called by God to honor others above ourselves, to seek to serve, to seek to give whatever we can of our time, talents and possessions.

Do you seek daily to be a blessing to others? Do you plan your day seeking to think prayerfully how you might bless another person, especially those of the household of faith? (Gal. 6:10). We are commanded when we meet together as God’s people to plan or consider how we might stir one another up to love and good works (Hebrews 10:23-25). We are naturally self-centered and focused only on ourselves, so God in Christ commands us to have our eyes fixed on Jesus who gave Himself for us, so that we will seek to stir up others to love and good works.

How can you be a blessing today? Pray that you better understand just how much God has given to you in Jesus Christ. Reflect daily, and meditate day and night on the relationship you have with God because of the love and grace of Jesus. Reflect and meditate upon God’s righteousness that has been given to you, that covers all of your sins, and makes you righteous in God’s sight (use Psalm 32 to equip you to bless others). Reflect on the riches that are in Christ Jesus, and that are yours in Him.

In the Old Covenant, the blessing of God was shown more outwardly in material blessings such as prosperity in land and possessions, fertility (or fruitfulness) in producing families and clans and tribes and peoples, security in dwelling safely and securely in God’s presence, and in victory over one’s enemies in battles. Prosperity, fertility, security, and victory were shadows, or types of the eternal blessings that would come and be fully realized in Jesus.

In the New Covenant, the blessings of God are revealed and realized in spiritual blessings in Christ (but they can also be in material blessings of course; both the Old and New Covenants warn against enjoying the riches and the blessings of God such as prosperity apart from a relationship with the living God, or trusting in one’s fertility, or security, etc; read the Proverbs and prophets for abundant examples of this! In both the Old and New Covenants one could enjoy all the blessings and riches, but be far from God within one’s own heart).

In Christ, we have all of the spiritual riches in the heavenly places we are taught in Ephesians 1:3-14. This means that all believers possess eternal prosperity, fertility, security and victory in Jesus Christ (this is one of the ways you can interpret the Letter to the Ephesians and gain much wisdom from your studies).  These spiritual blessings in the heavenly places can be enjoyed now by God’s people as they walk by faith. God’s blessings in Christ are a foretaste of the blessed eternal and heavenly life of the new creation that we enjoy now by the Spirit of Jesus.

In Christ, we are prosperous in that we will inherit the New Heavens and the New Earth; all that Christ has inherited, we will inherit as “joint-heirs” with Him (we are called beloved “children” and “joint heirs”, Rom. 8:17). In Christ, we can be fruitful through obedience to God, and from the Spirit’s work in our lives through sanctifying grace (John 15:1-11); we can be fruitful in building the church by making disciples of all nations through evangelism or adoption or support of missions and church plants, etc.

In Christ, we can be secure and safe in union with Him, knowing our lives are hidden with Christ in God, and He is our rest from all of our labors (Col. 3:1-4; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4). In Christ, we can know that all of our victories are because we are more than overcomers in Jesus, and that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

All of these truths of who we are in Christ Jesus should help us to realize how much we have been blessed. In fact, this is how the Apostle Paul tells the Ephesians to pray for one another (Notice how Paul desires them to know their hope, identity, inheritance and power- -all of these are Old Covenant blessed realities found in Jesus: prosperity, fertility/fruitfulness, security, and victory):

ESV Ephesians 1:15-23: For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Do you know how blessed you are in Jesus? Pray to know this better! Ask God to enlighten the eyes of your hearts so that you might know your hope in Jesus, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe! Ask God for a vision through a spirit of wisdom and revelation in your knowledge of Him to see by faith all that God has prepared for those who love Him!

“As it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”- these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”- 1 Corinthians 2:9-10


May we pray as a congregation for ourselves, but particularly for one another that we would know our prosperity, potential fruitfulness, security and victory in Jesus! You might think to meditate prayerfully to God right now by saying to God in Jesus (in your own words, from you own heart): “I am thankful that you have blessed me in Christ that I am an heir with Christ of all your good creation, of every blessing, and every good thing you will do for Jesus, you will do for me!”

You might pray: “I realize that apart from Christ I can do nothing, but I am eternally grateful in Christ that I can produce fruit that will last; I can reach out to others in your courage and strength, making Christ known in my words and actions, and see many come to know the Lord Jesus.”

You could say to God: “I am grateful that I am secure in Jesus and a conqueror over all my spiritual enemies in the heavenly places- -I am invincible in Jesus; if you be for me, who can be against me?” (Romans 8:31; Eph. 6:10-20; Matt. 28:18-20).

Are you characterized as a worldly consumer or a Kingdom producer? Be careful that a worldly, self-focused, and self-centered mindset does not hinder you from realizing these great blessings that you have in Jesus (1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4)! Be careful that a worldly consumeristic mindset and culture that is set on taking and receiving does not hinder you spiritually from realizing these truths and the great blessings of God in blessing others!

You must remember that we live in a consumer-culture where almost everything that is advertised to us and is appealing to us is for instant gratification; we are often lured into living for self in our daily course. It is not hard for us to be distracted and to backslide in our hearts and minds toward self-service and consumers. Be warned!

As God’s beloved children, let us be wise and wary of being tempted to constantly buy and consume the “next best thing” or the “next version” or “upgrade” or “next download” etc. (We all have the same temptations; let’s help each other from falling into temptations and traps: 1 Cor. 10:12-13).

The worldly consumeristic mindset will focus you on yourself rather than upon others. This consumeristic mindset will indeed harm you spiritually and cause you to consume in a worldly manner that takes your focus off of heaven and of your blessed heavenly pursuits.  All that you have ever really wanted and desired can be fully found and satisfied in Christ- -He is all you need; God is your portion in Christ! One day we will live blessed forever, fully realizing for all eternity that God was all we ever needed, and we can learn this to a certain extent now by God’s grace and Spirit.

But be careful of seeking to satisfy your desires through consumerism like the world; it will make you worldly. Our Lord Jesus warned us of how we can all be so easily tempted to be devoted to purchase power and possessions and despise God. So he taught us to live to thrive by God’s grace in seeking first the Kingdom of God:

ESV Matthew 6:24, 33: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money….But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Do you despise God? If you are devoted to purchasing power and possessions you already despise God, and particularly God’s blessings to you in Christ. Why? Because you love your worldly “blessings” more than you love the blessings found in Jesus. If this is true of you, take a moment right now, to bow your head to Christ, repent and ask Him forgiveness. When we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive and restore us! (Amen!! 1 John 1:8-2:2).

As a congregation, let us for a moment think more deeply about how subtly, quietly and softly that we can be lured into being molded into the mindset of this present age as a consumer. There are at least two kinds of people in the world: worldly consumers and Kingdom producers (note: we all are both consumers and producers in this world, and to consume is not evil in itself, but we should think prayerfully what characterizes us).

Consumers are generally characterized as takers and receivers, while producers are givers, and seek to benefit others. Those characterized as consumers are not normally good producers. Consumers are often hindered from producing, especially producing for the Kingdom of God. Consumers very easily just keep buying and seeking to possess, not realizing that their life is passing them by and that they have been molded into the ways of the world.

Consuming can develop an attitude of immediate gratification and walking/possessing by sight (and cash!), while producing for God’s Kingdom can develop an attitude of delayed gratification and walking/possessing all things by faith (in Christ!). Those who are characterized by walking by sight and cash will not walk by faith and wait upon the LORD.

What is God’s answer to worldly consumerism? Giving. We need to be aware that giving is God’s answer to consumerism. Giving rather than receiving and consuming is God’s way of helping us to keep our heavenly focus on heaven more than the “next best thing”.  Learning to trust God with the riches we already have, and everything else we need to live well in this world, is found in giving. God teaches us to be producers more than consumers. Giving is God’s way of helping us to depend entirely on Him, to resist instant gratification, and to set our hopes on the delayed gratification of storing up treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal (Matt. 6:24ff).

Consumerism at a deeper level also affects the way we worship, pray and serve. Be careful and aware of the deeper problems of consumerism. Not only will this world turn you into more of a consumer-taker than a producer-giver with the products the world advertises, but it will make you turn into more of a consumer-taker in God’s Church and Kingdom as well. Watch that you have not already been affected by this terrible threat to your good growth and production in Jesus’ church.

How do you know if you have bought into this worldly consumeristic mindset even within God’s Kingdom? One way to know is that you come to worship services thinking merely about how you might receive from God’s Word and others, but have not planned how you might serve and give of yourself. You have come to worship Christ but perhaps you are focused on yourself. You tend to only consume God’s Word, but you do not allow it to transform you into a willing servant and producer for God. In other words, you seek to be a consumer of God’s Word for mere knowledge, rather than knowledge through the Spirit that will transform you and make you productive in God’s Church. This can be an especially dangerous temptation of confessional Christians who love theology.

Another way is that you think that you think when you pray, that the prayers are for yourself only, and you approach God as if you know better than He what is good or best for you and what it is that you need. You might spend more time talking about what you need from God than about worshiping and praying to God and enjoying fellowship and His holy presence. You might seek Him for what you think you need rather than asking Him to search you and correct you and change you. You may have a list of things God needs to do for you today (not to be misunderstood, we should make our requests known to God, but let him also examine your heart and motives for asking, too!).

You might think that everyone else serves, but you don’t need to, or that you do enough. If you have been affected by the consumeristic culture you might not want to commit yourself to others, but you are willing to take from them (there are seasons where we need to be receivers of course, but this is to help us to think about what characterizes us most of the time; look at your heart).  The worldly consumer spends time thinking of self, and taking rather than receiving.

In your service, you might have forgotten that Jesus says that as our Master and Lord, he has set an example of service that all of God’s people should lovingly follow, so that all of us will be built up in our faith. Remember after Jesus washes the feet of His disciples (even of the one disciple who didn’t deserve it and would betray him?):

ESV John 13:13-17: You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” This is a very important truth to remember my beloved brethren.

If we are characterized by worldly consumerism in our lives and spending habits, then this will be what molds our minds, hearts, and actions in the church and local congregation as well. If we spend our lives seeking to consume and take, we will also spend our spiritual lives seeking to consume and take, rather than realizing the great blessings of God in Christ for those who produce and give, and seek to give more and more! Let us hear and heed the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 12:2:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

It is interesting that the spiritual blessings found in Christ alone that we can never lose such as prosperity, fruitfulness, security and victory are also counterfeited in our culture, and even drive much of our idolatry for consumption. We are tempted to seek prosperity, fruitfulness, security and victory often apart from Christ and in the things that we can do for ourselves, or what we can buy from others. We do not naturally trust God, and we don’t always believe that we have been blessed in Jesus! But we have! Let us be careful of the idolatry of our hearts! Do not let a day go by that you don’t ask God to examine and search you as David:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”- Psalm 139:23-24

Our first step in learning that it is more blessed to give than to receive is to ponder anew and realize all of the lavish love and blessings we have in Christ! Notice in Ephesians 1 that there is a storehouse of wonderful spiritual food to fix your focus on Jesus: We have been chosen; we have been adopted; we have been redeemed by Christ’s precious blood; we have been sealed unto the day of redemption; we have hope; we have an inheritance that no mind has even conceived, that is above and beyond anything we could imagine; we have power in Christ that we have yet to tap into.

In light of the blessings you have received in Jesus, go now in the Name of the Lord Jesus and ask God how you can be a blessing to others. Ask God to make you a brother or sister in Jesus characterized by producing for God’s Kingdom. Ask God by His powerful might and Spirit to transform your consumerism into being a productive son/daughter in God’s kingdom that gives of yourself, and seeks to worship God to give back to God, and to pray to God to enjoy God, and to serve God desiring to produce disciples and build His Church.

You will be greatly rewarded and blessed for all that you do in Jesus’ Name! God is so good to us that He wants us to produce great riches in heaven that we will enjoy with Christ for all eternity!

You have been blessed with a relationship with God in Jesus Christ! You have been blessed with perfect righteousness so that you can enjoy God’s favor, Jesus’ inheritance and eternal bliss for all eternity! You have been blessed with all of the riches in Christ Jesus- -riches that you will never ever be able to fully fathom.

All this has been lavished on you. Serve others. Seek to bless someone today, particularly those in the household of faith. Give of yourself. Give of your time. Give of your talents. Give of your money and possessions to bless.

“I will bless you…so that you will be a blessing.”- Genesis 12:2-3



In Christ’s love,


Pastor Biggs

“What the Spirit Says…Perseverance and Purity”

Word of Encouragement- The Church of Thyatira: “Perseverance and Purity”


“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”- Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22


“…We make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God…”- 2 Corinthians 5:9b-11a


Dear Beloved of the LORD at KCPC: I am writing short messages on the seven churches for our Word of Encouragement so that we might better assess where we are spiritually as a congregation, show us areas that need to be realigned with God’s Word, and how we might more effectively and sincerely make it our aim to please the Lord Jesus Christ!


If you would like to read the introduction to this short series, you may read here: Word of Encouragement


What are our strengths and weaknesses as a congregation? How can we ask God to better search and know us corporately? How are we doing at KCPC as a visible manifestation of Christ’s Kingdom on earth? Are we loving God and others as we did when we were first saved and gathered as Christ’s flock?


We will focus today on Jesus’ message to the Church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29):

ESV Revelation 2:18-29: “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’


As we learned in our introduction to this series, it is important to remind ourselves that these seven congregations of the Revelation were real historical churches at the time that John the Apostle wrote his Revelation of Jesus Christ.  However, we want to understand that they are also symbolic of the entire church age between Jesus’ first and second coming.


This means that what Jesus says to the churches, we need to consider soberly for ourselves.  Jesus is still speaking to us (Hebrews 12:25).  Jesus is particularly speaking to His people in these letters as a corporate body and congregation of confessional Christians, and not merely as individuals. This is why it is good to use these letters to be assessed by Christ as we seek to grow in him as a body.


Dear Ketoctin Covenant Presbyterian Church…Dear Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ, in Purcellville, Virginia: We are called as Christ’s bride to PERSEVERANCE AND PURITY.


“Dear Thyatira”: Jesus’ primary message to the congregation at Thyatira is: Congregations who profess the Name of Christ cannot tolerate heresy and false teaching of any kind lest the entire body be contaminated. Thyatira was a faithful congregation and growing in grace (2:19), but were being tempted to compromise and tolerate sin. Christ Jesus commends the congregation to persevere in good works, and to purify the heresy and sinfulness from within.


How is Christ revealed as the Lord of Glory to this church? The Risen-Ascended Jesus is described as “The words of the Son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze” (2:18; cf. 1:14-15). Jesus is being revealed here to Thyatira in the way that the Prophet Daniel saw in a vision:


ESV Daniel 10:6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.


Jesus’ eyes like a “flame of fire” or “flaming torches” shows forth the purity by which Christ sees all things.  With pure eyes Christ sees clearly the human heart and condition before him at all times (John 2:24-25). Jesus is the gracious, yet pure Searcher of our hearts.


Jesus is He who searches mind and heart. “…I am He who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve” (2:23).


ESV Jeremiah 17:9-10: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind,to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”


What does Jesus see in our hearts when we gather for worship at KCPC? Do we seek to constantly self-evaluate our own hearts in light of His pure gaze and holy vision? What does Christ see in our hearts (in ‘my’ heart; it so much easier trying to judge others’ hearts, isn’t it?)? It is important to consider constantly our hearts before God, trusting in Christ’s righteousness alone to save, and his shed blood to cleanse us from sinfulness.


Do we seek to confess our sins to Him knowing He will forgive us and cleanse us and make us pure? (1 John 1:8ff; 3:1-3). We are taught to purify ourselves as He is pure because we have been made the children of God by grace.


What do the feet of bronze symbolize? This instructs us that we can be secure in Jesus’ presence because He is All-Powerful.   All power is under Jesus’ feet and all kingdoms and peoples who oppose him will one day be destroyed. Jesus is not only All-Pure, but All-Powerful and in this we can hope and trust. We have one who can see our hearts and the needs of our hearts, and one who is All-Powerful and able to change us by His grace, through His Spirit and word.


Jesus says: “I know your works…” (2:19a). Our works for Christ reveal what is truly in our hearts, both good things and bad things.  Our works are not meritorious, but they reveal our true condition before God.  What comes out, must be in (cf. Matt. 15:18-20).

It is important to note particularly in the Book of Revelation that the Book is written to the saints who profess faith in Christ alone for salvation, and that it often speaks of our works as how we will be judged. This is not to say that salvation is by works because Revelation is written to recipients of God’s grace found in Christ alone. But it is to say that our works show that we are truly those who are believers (see Revelation Rev. 2:2; 2:5-6; 3:1-2; 3:15; 9:20; 18:6; 19:8).


And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”– Revelation 14:13

“Our deeds follow us” (cf. Rev. 2:23). This means that it is vitally important to remember that Christ is the one who has pure eyes of fire and sees our hearts, and to seek Him for grace now for our needs, so that we can produce the works and deeds from pure hearts that have been strengthened by His grace!


What are our works like at KCPC? At Thyatira, the works were good. But there was much more that they needed to consider that was in their hearts. Jesus wants to get at some of their works and deeds that were inconsistent with their profession, and to bring them to repentance! How grace Jesus is in His ministry to His congregations!


The congregation at Thyatira is a congregation that had a good reputation as a Church; the congregation’s works/deeds were overall commendable, and they were persevering, but there was need of repentance.


Thyatira was a congregation of saints that we would think highly of today. The congregation is described as loving, have strong faith, practice service to each other, and endure patiently.  They are extremely commendable as a congregation of saints.


“I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that you’re growing (your latter works exceed your first)…” (2:19), they are nevertheless compromising and tolerating sin and were not honestly seeking to remove the heretical error that was deceiving and misleading some of the members.


This error was leading to impurity in the congregation.


The congregation was showing forth the love of Jesus from their hearts that had been blessed by God’s grace and love.  But they should have searched their hearts a bit more.  In their loving acts, their hearts were mixed with sinful motives.  These sinful and impure motives desired to be loving, but they are also were unfortunately tolerant of error.


Perhaps they believed that being loving meant one can overlook certain sins. Perhaps grace/love has been emphasized over truth (while the congregation at Ephesus emphasized truth over grace/love if you remember in our previous study).


How might we at KCPC be duped into thinking that grace and love overlooks sin? It is important to realize that the grace and love of God seeks to purify and never to compromise with false teaching and practices that can not only harm an individual, but can deceive an entire congregation.


Perhaps Thyatira thinks that to love means to overlook and tolerate sin?! While the congregation at Ephesus had sinfully emphasized truth over grace/love, Thyatira was guilty of the sin of emphasizing grace/love over truth (both must be kept in balance by Jesus who is full of both grace and truth, John 1:17).


Thyatira had somewhat of a liberal-minded tolerance for sin in its midst. Why?

In order to understand why the congregation was tolerating sin, and compromising the truth, we should seek to better understand the historical background of this congregation: Thyatira was a trading city that was made up of trade guilds.  A trade guild was an association of craftsmen who worked in trades such as wool workers, linen-workers, makers of garments, tanners, leather-workers, potters, those who made dye for clothing (like Lydia in Acts 16:14).


Each guild had a “guardian god”. If you were a business person you would also be a trade guild member. Because there was an association with each trade guild with a deity or “guardian god” then you would be required to be involved in guild festivals which included idolatrous feasting and sexual immorality.


If you refused these idolatrous activities there would be a loss of real money for you as a Christian.  A commitment to Christ and truth meant a loss of social standing, income, your job. This would affect the welfare of your family. One would have said: “I have to eat!” “Didn’t God call me to this trade?!” “What about the importance of my job and what would happen if I lost my job and that led to hunger, suffering, and persecution?”


One could not be a part of a trade guild and **NOT** sacrifice to the deity of that guild. One could not come to the festivals and leave after the feast; they were required to be involved fully in the idolatry and immorality.


To continue in the business or trade, one must essentially deny the Lordship of Jesus Christ because of involvement in idolatry.  However, a Christian cannot serve both God and Mammon. The temptation of Thyatira was to be considered significant in worldly power, beauty and wealth? They were being tempted to follow Christ and also hold to the important things of this world such as worldly power, beauty, wealth, and success as the world defines it.


If the congregation was to persevere in faithfulness, and to be pure in the sight of God, they would have to choose the Lord Christ as Lord alone, and this would be sacrificial and costly to many within the congregation. There is always a real cost that must be considered when following Jesus in this present evil world system (Luke 14:28).


Jesus says: “I have this against you…” (2:20a). This brings us to the problem. In what way specifically was the congregation compromising?  The congregation was tolerating a woman like Jezebel who was not only teaching compromise, but seducing the saints, the very slaves of Christ (2:20). Because they were tolerating this teaching, many in the congregation had become trapped in sexual sins and idolatry because of their trade associations.  This is never loving!


Jezebel is probably symbolic or a real woman prophetess or teacher who was leading the people astray.  The name and woman “Jezebel” is biblically symbolic for both idolatry and immorality (1 Kings 16:31).  In the Old Covenant, Jezebel led the Israelites into spiritual adultery and idolatry:


ESV 1 Kings 16:31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him.


The Prophetess Jezebel (or who she represented) might have said to those within the congregation, involved in the trade guilds something like this:

“If we are going to be witnesses for Jesus, shouldn’t we ‘know our enemy’ and remain in our vocations, not being afraid to go to these festivals?” Her temptation was seductive, and since she was calling herself a prophetess, her words were claimed to be coming “from God” (see Rev. 2:20, 24).

She was apparently teaching others in the congregation that if these Christians were to really engage the enemy then they would need to know the “deep things of Satan”; they would need to know their enemy:


ESV Revelation 2:24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan…

This compromise with the world and evil may fool some, but not Christ who “searches mind and heart” (2:23).


Jesus tells Thyatira that they must show love by disciplining the offenders, and ridding the church of this compromising heresy and sin against Holy Jesus (Rev. 2:21-23).  The peace and purity of the Church is being threatened.  There has been an appropriate time given for repentance where the prophetess has been given a chance to repent. Again, as before in Pergamum, we see that Jesus has already brought some kind of judgment upon this sinful, seductive teacher and plans to escalate the judgment against her and others if this is not dealt with quickly:


ESV Revelation 2:21-23: I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.


This reminds us that we can never participate in evil without becoming evil, and withouttaking part of the temporal judgment upon the evil. We must remove the evil and sin from our midst as a congregation. We must trust God and His purity and power to take care of us in whatever tempting situation we may find ourselves as a congregation and we must never compromise.

In Christ, by His grace and power, we must be loving, gracious and speak the truth against evil, false teaching and seductive sins as a congregation. We must seek to be faithful at all costs.

The Lord Jesus has shown mercy that should have led to repentance: “I gave her time to repent, but she refuses…” (2:21; 2 Peter 3:9). The searcher of minds and hearts knows why discipline has not occurred- -he has read their true motives of their hearts and minds.


It seems that the real reason why the Thyatira congregation has overlooked this heinous sin is due to toleration, so that the congregation may avoid unpopularity in the culture that would lead to persecution. This is probably why Jesus threatens to throw her into “great tribulation” (2:22b) reminding the congregation that He is All-Powerful with feet of bronze to rule and reign Sovereignly over His congregations.


Thyatira doesn’t want to be unpopular and take a stand for Christ that might lead to persecution.


“We wouldn’t do that today!” you might say. But how about our modern idols of power, success, wealth and money? The same sinful hearts that threatened Thyatira’s hearts, still threaten ours. We too, desire to be seen as powerful, successful, and wealthy in the eyes of the world. We rightly want to make a difference in our world, and we often think that it is unloving to speak against evil. We are quick to tolerate sin at times, and we compromise because we think sometimes (wrongfully and sinfully) that it is not loving and gracious; things have not changed a whole lot (and thus why the 7 churches of Revelation are very relevant for us to consider for ourselves).


Let’s stop to ponder this for a moment. How might we be tempted as a congregation to do the very same things? Here’s an example: If a famous and powerful politician or a beautiful celebrity and/or a wealthy billionaire of some repute became a member of KCPC we could be tempted in the same way to toleration.

If a politician was a member of KCPC for instance, and had given his testimony and it gave a worldly kind of legitimacy to our congregation, and there was great “success in numbers” and yet was then later caught practicing sexual sin and committing adultery against his wife, it might, it could be a temptation to toleration because we would not want to be unpopular and lose our “spotlight”. We might be tempted to make excuses.

What if the church, fearing bad publicity and detrimental media coverage because of a discipline case against this particular imaginary politician, chose to overlook the sin because we might say “Well, the person is powerful…or a beautiful celebrity…or an extremely wealthy billionaire!”

Would the church be willing to do the truth according to Jesus and discipline them formally in love and according to grace in order to keep the congregation pure? What if the congregation had grown in numbers because of this powerful politician, beautiful celebrity, and/or wealthy man had made the congregation “acceptable” in the eyes of the world (had “put the congregation on the map” as it were).


We must remember that God is no respecter of persons; we are to show no partiality (James 2:1-5).  We, too, can easily fall into this temptation, especially in places where idols of power, success, beauty, and wealth are acceptable and enviable by even church folks.  What would happen if we “did the right thing” and disciplined as members a former president of the United States for immorality or a famous celebrity who had recently “come out of the closet” admitting they had a strange sexual orientation?!


Would we love truth over tolerance- -no matter how it might affected us? Would we love truth over tolerance no matter what the consequences and persecution that might come from it?


Would we at KCPC do the works that Jesus had commanded us to do to uphold the congregation’s purity and holiness before God? 

Not unless we realized that Jesus Christ was our only Lord and King.  We would only do this if we were to recall that Jesus Christ is our only Lord and King and that we were to repent of our sins of loving worldly idols and cultural influence too much!


We must confess before Christ, our Lord and King, our desire for too much power, success, beauty and wealth. We must resist this temptation to idolatry even today: Placing the love for something other than Christ first in our lives (this is ultimately what the congregation at Thyatira was doing- -even in the midst of all their other good works!).


As Christians in general, and at KCPC in particular, although **now** we are perceived by the culture as weak, insignificant, sometimes poor, and often persecuted, we will reign with Christ! This is our hope! We at KCPC are to live keeping our eyes on Jesus the one whose pure eyes are kept on us! We are to seek to be like Him, and to become like He is, because He has shown mercy, love and grace to us. Our mission is not to be popular, but to be holy- -to be like Jesus!


Jesus promises:

ESV Revelation 2:26-28: The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star.


Jesus is telling us to put our hope in Him alone! Let us trust in His promises because He is Pure, and All-Powerful to do what He said He would do!  When we reign with him for eternity His power, His success, His glorious beauty and wealth will be ours- -and the whole world will realize it!


Christ and His Church will rule eternity with a rod of iron with our King (Psa. 2:8-9). The merely worldly “earthen pots” will be broken into pieces as Psalm 2 says (an image that potters at Thyatira would have pictured from their guild). The world is passing away, let us not be tripped up by compromise to sin and devoted to a world under judgment. Rather, let us serve Christ and look forward to the reconciliation of heaven and earth, and the transforming, purifying judgment of fire that will remove all sin from this world and let us dwell with God for all eternity! (Revelation 21:1ff; 2 Peter 3:13-16).


If we have Christ who is the Morning Star, and the One who gives himself fully to us, what more could we desire?  We would a congregation, why would we, individually and/or corporately ever seek significance in worldly power, beauty and wealth?


Christ gives himself to us now- -He is our significance and the reason why we live each day.  What more could we want? What more could we ever need that we don’t already have in the Lord Jesus Christ?


Where are we at KCPC as a congregation apt to be tempted to tolerate sin? Even in the midst of our faithfulness as a congregation, where might we be tempted to tolerate sin without discipline?


Jesus say to the congregation: “Focus!”- Get focused on this particular problem. “Hold fast” –seize- take hold of- get a grip on) what you have until I come- -be not deceived by this error.  Jesus focus’ them:

“…To you I say (who has not been deceived), I do not lay on you any other burden…only hold fast…what you have until I come” (2:24b-25).


Jesus’ promise to the faithful: He calls His people “Conquerors” (2:26).  The true and faithful of the congregation will be manifested by continuing in God’s truth revealed in Christ (orthodoxy) with grace and love in Jesus (2:26b- “…who keeps my works until the end”).


At KCPC, let us live and serve to please Jesus alone. We must remember that to align ourselves with false teachers and false teaching (2:20-23) is to align oneself with the evil and heinous Beast of Revelation (read Revelation 13:11; 16:11; 19:20)- The Beast is the Counterfeit Christ or “Anti-christ”. To engage in immorality and idolatry to power, success, beauty, and/or wealth is to live as a citizen of “Babylon the Great” rather than the “New Jerusalem” (Revelation 18:4-14).


The purity of the church is important and although there can be truth without love (Ephesus), there is also a danger in “love” without truth, manifested in compromise, and a worldly tolerance of sin.


We may suffer the loss of all things: power, success, beauty, wealth, our social standing, but we can never lose Christ! At His full revelation when he returns, we will gain it all- -inherit the earth!—and we shall rule and reign with him.


May these devotional studies of assessment from Jesus using the letters to the seven churches of the Revelation cause us to better align ourselves with His truth, and encourage us all to make it our aim to please Jesus who died for us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:6-8).


May we live daily as a congregation before the face of Christ and so before the Judgment Seat of Christ. When we all arrive at our destination and we stand as the congregation KCPC before Christ’s Judgment, may these short devotions have better prepared us, so that we can stand confident and encouraged in the Lord Jesus’ presence.


“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”- Jesus Christ


In Jesus’ love,


Pastor Charles



“Reformation Righteousness”- 494th Anniversary of the Reformation


“Get over it!” “The Reformation was a historical event that took place years ago; it is irrelevant to me and to modern people.” “Just give me Jesus and I will be happy. What good could come from revisiting the teaching of the Reformation in today’s church?” “I’m interested in what Jesus is doing today.”

These are some of the initial comments one is likely to get from other well-meaning Christians unfamiliar, uninformed, and/or disinterested in the Reformation of the 16th century. Yet, what God did in His goodness during the Reformation was nothing less than the reestablishment of the gospel, the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, that had been eclipsed by the supposed good works of men.

The Reformation was a time when God allowed light to shine in the darkness of the failed attempts of feeble and sinful men trying to earn righteousness from good works, and only ending in despair before a holy God. In the Reformation, God allowed his grace to come again into glorious sight, so that one could truly know how to be made right or at peace with the living God.

How IS a sinful person to be made right before a holy God?

The Holy Spirit through the light of the Scriptures illumined minds and hearts and reminded needy sinners about salvation, hope, and true life found only in Jesus Christ and his righteousness. The Reformation of the 16th century was a powerful work of the Holy Spirit, and a tremendous revival that awakened the church to the centrality of Christ and His Gospel.

What can the Reformation teach us today? Everything! If we are interested in knowing how we can stop “trying harder” and beating ourselves up when we fail, and learn to rest in the righteousness of Christ alone! What we can learn from the Reformation today is to stop saying “I’ll try harder” and begin saying “CHRIST for me, for me, for me”!

Luther’s Reformation
This week is the 494th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. On October 31, 1517, a young pastor and Bible teacher in Wittenberg, Germany posted 95 Theses (or “things he wanted to discuss with other pastors and teachers in the church”) on the door of the Castle Church in his home town. Not intending anything other than a discussion with other pastors and teachers, Martin Luther was used by God to begin a reformation of the church by returning to the foundation of Scripture alone. Through the recent invention of the printing press, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses were published and literally spread throughout the world; as we would say today, Luther’s message “went viral”.

Luther had learned that the Bible taught that salvation was not sold by indulgences, or man’s contributed good works, but that grace was God’s alone to give. The Pope at the time of Luther was audaciously offering salvation, hope, and the chance for Uncle Buck to get out of purgatory if the people of the town would pay the right price. Luther’s ’95 Theses’ questioned the authority of the Pope to be able to offer salvation, hope, or redemption for money. These 95 things Luther wanted to discuss caused Luther to seek ultimate authority for the church in the Scriptures and not in the whims of popes and councils, because both had erred; Scripture alone was to be the Church’s ultimate authority and sole rule of faith.

What came from this study of Scripture alone, and asking what Scripture taught concerning man’s salvation, hope and life in Christ, was the realization and experiencing of true salvation, real hope, and the abundant life found only in Christ. The doctrines, or teachings of the Reformation established upon, and found in Scripture alone were: faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone, to the glory of God alone (known today as the ‘Solas’ or the five watchwords of the Reformation: Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria based upon Sola Scriptura).

Righteousness Revealed from God
What Luther discovered when going to the Scriptures alone was that a righteousness had been revealed from God, not from within himself or from external works, but a righteousness that God provided for all who believe in Christ. God who demanded perfect righteousness of every single human being for salvation and communion with Him, also had provided this perfect righteousness in Jesus to be received by faith alone (Romans 1:17).

ESV Romans 1:16-17: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Salvation was found by going to Christ, not by going through the motions of external obedience. This righteousness of Christ was received by faith alone. Christ had a perfect righteousness that we could never obtain as sinners. This is why the Apostle Paul writes (Romans 4:4-5, 8:

“Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness… “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin”.

The grace of God was not something man could cooperate with as in the Medieval Roman Catholic theology (as well as in some Evangelical circles today), it was all of grace (Eph. 2:5-10). Grace alone meant that man’s will was in bondage to the flesh, the world and the Devil and the only way that the will could freely choose Christ was for the heart to be regenerated, awakened from the dead, pass from death to life, and this all by grace so that no one could boast, as Paul teaches in Ephesians 2.

ESV Ephesians 2:4-10: But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,p not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Christ alone was the only Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5), our only Savior and Substitute for sin (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21). The truth of Christ alone was summarized in 1 Corinthians 1:30 and 2 Corinthians 5:21:

1 Corinthians 1:30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

In the Scriptures above from Paul’s Letters to the Romans, Ephesians, and Corinthians, notice the fullness of Christ’s saving work: God made us alive while still dead in sin (Eph. 2:4). Because we are dead and lack any kind of righteousness before God, Christ is our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). Christ’s righteousness, not ours is our merit before a Holy and Just God. Christ alone is our holiness or sanctification and He is the One who has paid the ransom price by His precious blood to purchase us back and make us children of God.

Also notice the substitutionary quality of Christ alone: Jesus became sin (He who knew no sin). In other words, our sins were laid on his back and he was cursed for us (for us, for us, for us!!! Shout it loudly wherever you are!). His righteousness would cause us to become the righteousness of God through imputation. The perfect righteousness of Christ was imputed to us! This is what Christ alone meant! (2 Cor. 5:21)

And all of this salvation in Christ was for the glory of God alone!
As Romans 11:36 says: “From Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to God be the glory forever and ever!” Our salvation is all for the praise of HIS glorious grace, as Paul teaches in Ephesians 1!

Today’s Reformation
We have a great need for a Reformation today in Christ’s Church as well! We may not have neighbors selling indulgences and literally trying to buy their way out of hell (although you will find some who are sadly doing this).

What we do have today are well-meaning folks who call themselves Christians who are focusing more on what they do for Christ, than what Christ has done for them. Even though the intention is good, the bracelets some wear with the phrase “What Would Jesus Do” (WWJD) seem to focus too much on our doing and not what Christ has already done! Even if you don’t have this slogan on your wall, and don’t wear a bracelet on your arm, your hope and confidence before God is based on what you have done for God more than what Christ has done for you often times.

Be honest about this. Then look to Christ for hope. What a loving and beautiful Savior that calls us constantly to come to the Throne of Grace and find mercy and hope and grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:16)! Christ can give us relief from our selves; Christ can show us His precious and costly blood that has redeemed us; Christ prays for His people with nail-pierced hands that earned righteousness for us and in this we can hope and have great confidence!

I believe that the main focus for Christians every day should be the centrality of Christ and His work for us. In other words we might have a slogan like this (rather than ‘What Would Jesus Do?”): “What Has Jesus Already Done in His Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension for Me?”, but then it would be too long of a phrase for a bracelet or a nice bumper sticker; it would be:

“WHJADIHLDRAAFM?” rather than “WWJD?”

Probably not an easy sell or an easy fit on a nice porcelain figurine in a Christian book store. 🙂

Remember beloved of God: “It is well with my soul” because “It is finished!” not because “It is about me and my attempts at righteousness”. We need Reformation today! It is well with your soul because of Christ’s finished work of satisfying God’s wrath for you; it is finished because Jesus has offered Himself as the Lamb of God, the Final Sacrificial offering for sin and is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him (Heb. 7:25). It is well and it is finished because Jesus was your substitute and God made Jesus who knew no sin to become sin for you, so that you might be righteous in His sight (2 Cor. 5:21). God put Jesus forward as your propitiating sacrifice. Praise God!! Hallelujah!!

Now go and live for JESUS freely as you never have! Go and live and love JESUS AND OTHERS as you never thought you could. Because you couldn’t before because you thought it was your strength, and your works, and this is burdensome and will not lead to love of God and others, but only discouragement, condemnation and doubt!

Go live for Him and be thankful for a Savior- -not merely a helper for good people- -but a real Savior for sinners, who were once enemies of God before they were reconciled by Christ’s grace! (Romans 5:1-11).

It is true that there are some in our day- – these who call themselves Christians!- – who think that the reason they are saved ultimately is not because of grace alone, but because they have cooperated with grace held out to them. This was what the fight in the Reformation was all about! Medieval Roman Catholic theology is quite complex, but it is foundationally a system of earning salvation by cooperating with grace held out to men, who then respond with their faith, and then salvation is merited to them because of their faith, or because of their works, etc.

We focus on the gorgeous and fantastic Greek word “huper” but point it to Christ! What does this mean? “Huper” means “because of” or “on account of”. We are not saved “huper” or “because of” our faith or our works. But we are saved (“Super-Huper Saved!!) “HUPER” or “because of” Christ. Christ saves us through faith.

If Evangelical Christians in our day would stop and think about it, I think they would find their theology to be more Roman Catholic than they would like to admit! The term ‘Protestant’ used to mean that one was opposed to this Medieval theology of salvation by cooperation, but today’s Evangelical Protestant is not so much protesting this way of false salvation as much as they are protesting the Reformed way of thinking. At one time to be a Protestant meant you were protesting a false hope held out to you. Now it seems to mean in many circles that I am protesting against believing what the Reformation taught about grace alone.

We must be warned that this teaching that says you are saved by cooperating with the grace of God will never produce the humility a Christian must have to know and love God.  This kind of “cooperation salvation” makes people boast! It gives people in this world every reason to boast, which is what Paul is trying to prevent in Ephesians 2 where he is explaining grace alone.

If (and I do say “IF”) every person in the world had the same access to grace and the same ability to cooperate with that grace using their so-called ‘free-will’, it would give one person who chose Christ over someone who rejected him every reason to boast. This is the most popular understanding today in Evangelical circles of how someone is saved! Because there is a reason to boast, it therefore undermines the grace of God and promotes the good works, will, and decisions of men (cf. John 1:12-13; Romans 9:10-21). We need Reformation today!

Also, when Christians are brought up and “nurtured” on a diet of “Christ and you” rather than “Christ in you” (which is the hope of glory, Col. 1:28ff), then we are reminded that we have need of a Reformation. When many sermons every Lord’s Day are on examples from Scripture rather than being centered on the Christ of Scripture, men will “dare to be like Daniel’s” while failing to truly know what it means to trust Christ alone, the very Savior of Daniel! The Scriptures speak of Christ (John 3:30; 5:24ff; Luke 24:25ff), and so must we- – speak of Christ alone! We need Reformation today!

When our worship becomes just another opportunity for mindless entertainment rather than focused on God alone and his glory, we can forget that worship is about HIM and not about us. When we are thinking more about “what we are getting out of the sermon” and whether it is meeting our “felt needs”, we are not worshipping in spirit and truth!

Furthermore, when we reach out to the goats and design our worship to make them feel comfortable, we are failing to reach the sheep and failing to hear the true voice of our Shepherd (John 10). Jesus says as Shepherd that His sheep hear his voice in faithful preaching and they will follow him! We must be reminded about all things being done for the glory of God alone- – and not for us (including our salvation- – of course we benefit, but according to Ephesians 1 and Romans 9, salvation is ultimately for God’s glory!) We need Reformation today!

Revival and Reformation
So, in our day, we need to be reminded of the Reformation! If we want revival, we ought to first seek the Reformation of our congregations so that we might return to the foundational authority of Scripture alone and not add a lot of our own modern and “culturally relevant” teachings of men (which we tend to as idolaters, to place on the same level as Scripture just as the Pharisees, or the Medieval Church of Rome which Luther stood against).

We need to return to Scripture alone and rediscover daily the glorious teaching of faith alone- – our righteousness is not our own, but revealed by God to us so that we can have an ‘alien righteousness’ or the righteousness of Christ given to us.

In other words, the good news of Faith alone is that all that we have done in our sins against God, both committing sins positively against him as well as negatively omitting certain things we should have done, Christ has done all of these for us (for us, for us, for us! Shout it again!).

Salvation **is** by works- – but not ours (our works are never good enough) — our salvation is by the work of Christ for us and His earned and merited righteousness, because of the salvation he achieved by loving God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and his neighbor as himself. This is given to us by faith alone (and this makes us have really “good news” and hope for the world!).

The Reformation in Our Own Hearts
From this realization of Faith alone, we are reminded daily that it is all of grace alone because of Christ’s work alone, and this all for God’s glory! May we be delivered daily of the Medieval mindset of trying to earn our salvation, even in the sense of cooperating with God. May we be delivered from looking to our failures as well as our successes rather than looking away from both to Christ.

May we find that making lists and checking them twice is a Medieval way, as well as an Old Covenant way to failure, and the a fast and broad way that leads to destruction. Remember, those who make lists come to Christ and say: I prophesied, preached, witnessed, cast out demons and did might works in your name. Christ says to those trusting in their lists “Depart from me – -I never knew you!” (Matt. 7:23ff; 25:41ff).

Jesus says: On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

“Workers of lawlessness” are those who approach a holy God with their own works, rather than crying empty-handedly: “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner- – for Christ sake alone!”

The one who understands grace that is truly gracious is the one that stands before Christ and says: “Nothing in my hands to I bring, simply to your cross do I cling!”

In Philippians 3:4-12, the Apostle Paul gives his list for his confidence in the flesh, then proceeds to discard it. May you discard whatever list you have, whatever thing other than Christ you are trusting in and receive daily by faith the righteousness revealed in Jesus.

Philippians 3:4,7-9: though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more…But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… That I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith…”

May we not make lists of our own, whether it be our successes leading to self-righteousness, or lists of failures leading to our condemnation, discouragement, and depression.

But may we be as Paul who, putting his lists behind him, who pressed forward to know Christ. Read Philippians 3 carefully again, and remember that this truth will set you free of list making and law keeping that has more in common with Medieval Catholic theology (that Luther fought) and Pharisaical theology (that the Apostle Paul considered “dung”).

Look to Christ and discover anew the Reformation of the 16th Century in your own heart of heart. Remember the vital importance of Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone, to the glory of God alone!
Soli Deo Gloria!

Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”


In Christ’s love,


Pastor Charles R. Biggs