The Good God and the “Problem” of Evil (3)

no-other-macarthur-2017We conclude tonight our look at chapter three of John MacArthur’s recent book None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible (Reformation Trust, 2017). In this chapter MacArthur presents the biblical reply to the perennial question of how the good and powerful God of the Christian faith relates to all the evil, pain, and suffering in the world.

Last time we looked at this chapter we saw how the author explained that God is absolutely sovereign over all things, including evil – evil events, evil people, and evil angels (Satan and his host – he points to Job and Peter as biblical examples). But we also said we would return to hear his answer to the questions of why and to what end or purpose God determines and controls evil. In his own words, “Why did God permit evil in the first place? Why does He sovereignly, willingly allow it to keep infecting and distorting His creation? In His unfolding, preordained plan, what is the presence of evil accomplishing?”

To which he answers in the first place:

In his epistle to the Romans, Paul gives us the answer. He writes, ‘If our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say?’ (Rom.3:5). Our unrighteousness demonstrates (Greek sunistemi) the righteousness of God.

…Unrighteousness therefore puts God’s righteousness on display. Paul again says, ”But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while were were yet sinners, Christ died for us’ (Rom.5:8). The presence of sin allows God to demonstrate His righteousness and love. How else could He show the character of His great love that rescues enemies and sinners if there were no enemies and sinners? ‘What if God, although willing [i.e., determining] to demonstrate [Greek endeiknumi] His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?’ (Rom.9:22). He demonstrates His righteousness against the backdrop of sin and evil, showing, by contrast, how utterly holy He is. God demonstrates His love at a level that would have been impossible without sin. We see and appreciate the radiance of God’s love more, having endured the darkness and distress of a universe cursed by evil. ‘The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them’ (Isa.9:2). The presence of evil provided the perfect opportunity for God to display His wrath and justice along with His redeeming grace and infinite mercy, as He loved sinners enough to send His Son to die in their place.

And, as he goes on to show, the second and more important reason is that God might glorify Himself. Referring again to Romans 9:22, he writes:

Literally, the verse’s phrasing is ‘God determined to demonstrate for Himself.’ God demonstrates His attributes for the sake of His own glory. Without sin, God’s wrath would never be on display. Without sinners to redeem, God’s grace would never be on display. Without evil to punish, God’s justice would never be on display. And He has every right to put Himself everlastingly on display in all the glory of all His attributes. [pp.62-63].

PRC History – H. De Bolster on Learning the Doctrine of Election from H. Hoeksema

Debolster-cover-2003A recent addition to the PRC Seminary library is a book that came with some things from bookseller Gary Vander Schaaf. The title is Struggles and Blessings: The Pilgrimage of Henry R. De Bolster (self-published in 2003).

Initially, the book did not capture my attention because it seemed only to be the personal story of another Christian Reformed Church minister. But when I started to catalog it, I learned that De Bolster had a PRC connection. Turns out he immigrated to the U.S. from the Netherlands after WW II, as did many Hollanders, and was sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Peter Alphenaar in Kalamazoo, members of the PRC in that city.

Thus, when he made his way to Grand Rapids with another young man (Henk De Raad), they came to attend (and eventually join) First PRC, where Herman Hoeksema was minister, along with H. DeWolf and C. Hanko. And, in fact, De Bolster and De Raad both began to pursue the ministry in the PRC, attending our Seminary in 1950.

Now you will remember that the early 1950s were tumultuous years in the PRC, as the controversy on the vital Reformed doctrine of the covenant was brewing (especially whether it was conditional vs. unconditional, and involving Dr. K. Schilder and many Dutch immigrants who came into the PRC and CRC during those years). De Bolster found himself in the middle of that controversy and ended up siding with Schilder and De Wolf (and many others), which meant he left the PRC and her seminary. The author has some harsh criticism of Hoeksema and the PRC related to that controversy and the way he claims he was treated. I will not quote from those portions of the book or comment on his portrayal of the controversy.

Rather, I will reference his favorable comments on Hoeksema, because early in De Bolster’s years in the PRC he had some good things to say about his minister and seminary instructor. Specifically, he has a positive perspective on what “HH” taught him about the doctrine of election. I quote:

The first few months of my study [in the PRC seminary] were enjoyable. Through Hoeksema’s teaching I gained a fresh and joyous appreciation of the doctrine of election. As a young man I always wondered whether I was one of the elect. I remember thinking about that question quite a bit. It made me restless. If I was not of the elect everything I pursued would be useless. It was all in God’s book.

Hoeksema made me see that election is the comfort God gives His people in a world of doubt and insecurity. I am your God and I shower all my gifts on you, even the gift of faith. You cannot believe without being elected, Hoeksema would say. Election is the way by which God allows His children to hear from God Himself that they are safe in His hand. Election is like the foundation of a house. When the foundation is secure, the house is solid and can weather any storm. Hoeksema reminded us that in order to get into that solid house you do not crawl through the foundation, but enter through the door. That door is Christ.

I had heard all this before but because of his constant emphasis on election this comfort permeated my consciousness. No matter what, the Lord will not forsake me, because I am His elected child. Election does not depend on my doing, it is the gracious gift of God. I cannot comprehend this with my finite mind, but God reveals it in his infallible Word. Thanks be to God!

Today we can be thankful that this emphasis was given to this young man (and to many others who heard “HH” preach) and that it influenced his faith and life for good. It shows not only how strongly Hoeksema emphasized this fundamental biblical truth in his preaching and teaching, but also how practical he made this truth in terms of comfort and assurance for believing souls.

“They took their Baby B to the steadfast arms of the Father so that whatever happened, the love of God would hold it.” ~ W. Wangerin, Jr.

little-lamb-wangerinI mentioned last week that one of the books I took along on vacation for continued reading was Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? A Book about Children and Parents  by Walter Wangerin, Jr. (Zondervan, 1993; reprinted in 2004). While reading a couple more sections, I came on some great quotes. I shared one last week; tonight I give you another.

This one is from Part II of the book, where the author relates the raising of his own family while serving as a Lutheran pastor. In one of his churches Wangerin served as the godfather of a boy whom he calls “Baby B” (for Brandon – the chapter title is “I Love Thee, Baby B”). The boy became ill and crippled due to a tumor near his thighbone. While the parents and congregation were anxiously waiting for the biopsy and then the surgery, they joined  in prayer together for the child. Especially the parents.

Writes Wangerin:

You have bold parents, B. They are patient and faithful. Their patience may – as with silly physicians and sillier children – come sometimes to an end. But never their faith.

They said to the doctor, ‘Yes, schedule a biopsy. Schedule a biopsy. But we, in the meantime – we will pray for our son.’

We all prayed for you, then, Brandon Michael Piper. You won’t remember. But the aunts and the uncles, your parents and grandparents and godparents and the whole congregation of Grace commended to heaven both your big name and your little leg.

It is at this point that Wangerin has some marvelous thoughts on the nature of prayer for a sick child – thoughts that are applicable to all our trials.

Someone worried about the intensity of your parents’ praying. He said, ‘But what if the boy’s too sick? What if he doesn’t get well? Doesn’t it scare you that you might lose your faith if God doesn’t answer the prayer?’

But your parents said, ‘We will pray for our son.’

You see, Brandon, this was their faith: not that they felt God had to heal you on account of prayer, but rather that they wanted never to stand apart from God, especially not now. Yes, they were scared for you. But they were never, never scared of God, nor ever scared to lose God. They took their Baby B to the steadfast arms of the Father so that whatever happened, the love of God would hold it. Might there be a healing? Then give glory to God. Must there be a worse hurt? Then let the dear Lord strengthen everyone when strength would be most needed.

Their prayer was meant neither as a demand nor as magic, neither an ultimatum nor manipulation of the Deity. It was love. It was their highest expression of faith – not faith in your healing, Brandon (though they yearned that) but faith in God.

Which leads him to conclude with these words:

This is an important distinction which, in the future, you must remember. Your parents’ faith did not depend upon God’s ‘correct’ answer to their prayer. Instead, the reality of their prayer depended upon their faith. With prayer they encircled you as tightly as you do hug my neck on Sunday mornings – and behold: that circle of faith was the arm of the Almighty. [pp.83-84]

For God and Country – The U.S. 4th of July 2018

For our Reformed reflection on this Independence Day 2018, I reference again (I did so also in 2012) a pamphlet with the above title written by Rev. Aud Spriensma, a home missionary-pastor of Byron Center (MI) PRC and former chaplain in the U.S. Army. This pamphlet is based on a speech he gave shortly after the traumatic event of 9/11 in this country, when patriotism not only ran high, but when there also seemed to be a greater national consciousness of God and an openness to the gospel (which quickly waned).

As one who has served our country as a military chaplain and who serves the church as a Reformed pastor, Rev.Spriensma is qualified and equipped to address the calling we Reformed Christians have toward “God and country”. Hence, his speech and the printed pamphlet that followed.

I will quote only a small portion of it (different from the previous time); you may find the entire pamphlet here. It would make for good reading and discussion at some point today. May we remember today, as we celebrate our nations 242nd birthday, that we are to live as those who are both for God and for country – true Reformed patriots.

In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, the Fourth Book, especially chapter 20, John Calvin argues against the notion that government is a polluted thing with which the Christian has nothing to do. Calvin writes: “The political state has indeed functions directly connected with religion. Government protects and supports the worship of God, promotes justice and peace, and is a necessary aid in our earthly pilgrimage toward heaven; as necessary as bread and water, light and air; and more excellent in that it makes possible the use of these and secures higher blessings to men.”

Notice how important government is. Rather than disparaging it as something corrupt and something to be avoided, John Calvin says it “is a necessary aid in our earthly pilgrimage … as necessary as bread and water, as light and air, and more excellent…” Over against the Anabaptists, Calvin insisted that government is not of Satan, but is God-given, a benevolent provision for man’s good, for which man should give God thanks.

We need to hear that. Perhaps our cynicism has not been as great since 9/11. But cynicism is always there. Now several years later, when we discover that the reasons we went to war were flawed, the cynicism is rampant. We are able to find all kinds of abuses in government and then laugh and put government down. As believers, we need rather to give thanks to God for government. John Calvin writes in his Institutes, “the function of the magistrate is a sacred ministry, and to regard it as incompatible with religion is an insult to God.”

Politics is a rotten, dirty business? Patriotism is an idolatry? Absolutely not! Rather, we must insist that it is only the child of God who can really be patriotic; the Christian makes the best citizen because he obeys for God’s sake. He is subject to the powers that be because he loves God. Not only is it true that a Christian should be patriotic, but ultimately it is only the Christian who is truly patriotic. That is the kind of patriotism that should be taught to our children.

Gottschalk: Medieval Confessor of God’s Absolute Sovereignty

Such was the title of a fascinating presentation on the medieval German monk Gottschalk (c.808 – c868) I and others attended this evening in Georgetown PRC. The presenter was Rev. Angus Stewart, zealous minister of the Word in Covenant PRC in Ballymena, N. Ireland, a sister church of the PRCA.

Rev. Stewart is here for his bi-annual visit to the U.S.A. and is attending the PRC Synod meeting this week. He graciously agreed to give this lecture for our benefit at the request of Trinity PRC’s Council. Pastor Stewart gave this speech over three years ago as a Reformation Day lecture in Ballymena. You may find it here on CPRC’s YouTube channel.

After a brief biographical sketch of Gottschalk (whose name means “God’s servant”), Rev. Stewart took us through the most important doctrinal controversy of the 9th century, which centered, unsurprisingly (because the devil attacks this truth through false teachers in every century of church history), on God’s absolute sovereignty as exhibited especially in double predestination (election and reprobation). Appealing to the church fathers (especially Augustine but others also) and to Scripture, Gottschalk set forth plainly and defended powerfully God’s absolute sovereignty in salvation and in damnation.

Though Gottschalk’s writings were hidden in scattered libraries for centuries – even the Reformers were not aware of his work and never referenced him, they have recently come to light again and are being republished – in Latin – but are also being translated into English for the first time. The PRC’s own Rev. Ron Hanko helped point us to this godly servant and his defense of the truth in a PR Seminary Journal article.

Gottschalk-predestinationOne of the major works recently produced on this controversy, which also includes Gottschalk’s writings on predestination, is Gottschalk & a Medieval Predestination Controversy. (Texts Translated from the Latin. Edited & Translated by Victor Genke & Francis X. Gumerlock), published by Marquette University Press in 2010, a work found in the PRC Seminary library.

Rev. Stewart drew extensively on this work, handing out a sheet with several clear statements on God’s sovereignty in predestination. Here is one such (part of Gottschalk’s comments on 1 Tim.2:4):

[He] says, as the old predestinarians also said, that ‘God does not will all men to be saved’ (1 Tm2:4), but only those who are saved; however, all those are saved whom he willed to save and for this reason whoever is not saved absolutely does not belong to that will that they be saved. Since if all those whom God wills to be saved are not saved, he has not done whatever he willed, and if he wills what he cannot do, he is not omnipotent, but weak. But he is omnipotent who has done whatever he willed, as the scripture says: “The Lord has done whatever he willed in heaven and on earth, in the sea and in all the deeps (Ps 134:6…” [pp.176-77].

If you want another resource on this significant church history figure, look up this previous post on a recent RFPA publication on Gottschalk.

“No one seeks after Christ until he has first been found by Christ.” – R.C. Sproul

No one in his natural condition seeks after God. Seeking after God is the business of the believer. The moment we become a Christian is the moment when our quest for God begins. Prior to our conversion we were fugitives from God; we fled from him. Churches today structure worship, teaching, and preaching toward the pagan to help him find what he is desperately searching for but just cannot seem to uncover, but it is foolish to structure worship for unbelievers who are seeking after God when the Bible tells us there aren’t any seekers. It manifests a failure to understand the things of God. If we understand the things of God, we would know that there is no such thing as unconverted seekers.

Thomas Aquinas was asked on one occasion why there seems to be non-Christians who are searching for God, when the Bible says no one seeks after God in an unconverted state. Aquinas replied that we see people all around us who are feverishly seeking for purpose in their lives, pursuing happiness, and looking for relief from guilt to silence the pangs of conscience. We see people searching for the things that we know can be found only in Christ, but we make the gratuitous assumption that because they are seeking the benefits of God, they must therefore be seeking God. That is the very dilemma of fallen creatures: we want the things of God that only God can give us, but we do not want him. We want peace but not the Prince of Peace. We want purpose but not the sovereign purposes decreed by God. We want meaning found in ourselves but not in his rule over us. We see desperate people, and we assume they are seeking for God, but they are not seeking for God. I know that because God says so. No one seeks after God.

…God stopped me in my path one night and brought me sovereignly to himself. I knew then that I did not come to Christ because I was seeking him. I came to Christ because he sought me. No one seeks after Christ until he has first been found by Christ – that begins the seeking of the kingdom.

…Evangelists often say, ‘If you open up the door, Jesus will come into your life. If you will just seek him a little bit, you will find him.’ However, those words – ‘knock, and it will be opened to you (Luke 11:9); ‘Seek the LORD while He may be found’ (Isa.55:6); ‘Seek, and you will find’ (Matt.7:7); ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock’ (Rev.3:20) – are addressed to the church. Jesus seeks believers, so it is believers who are called to seek the Lord. While we are living in unbelief, we do not seek God. If we do seek God, it is a clear indication that we are already in the kingdom. If we do not seek him, it is a good indication that we are not in the kingdom. There is none who seeks after God.

Romans-RCSproul-2009R.C. Sproul on Romans 3:11b (“there is none that seeketh after God”, KJV) in his commentary on Romans (St. Andrews Expositional Commentary, Crossway, 2009), pp.89-90.

The Good God and the “Problem” of Evil (2)

no-other-macarthur-2017In chapter three of his recent book None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible (Reformation Trust, 2017), John MacArthur presents the biblical reply to the perennial question of how the good and powerful God of the Christian faith relates to all the evil, pain, and suffering in the world.

We pointed out last time we looked at this chapter that we would return to it, and tonight we do.

After summarizing the many proposed answers (as well as outright attacks against God) to this question of God’s relation to evil (the question known in theology as “theodicy”: “a defense of God’s righteousness in light of the reality that evil exists in the world He created” [p.51]), MacArthur points out the fatal flaws in all of them in these words:

So all those different kinds of theodicy are fatally flawed, shortsighted answers. If God has limited power or doesn’t have complete knowledge, the universe is out of control at the most crucial point. And if God is not truly omniscient, how can anyone know for certain whether He will ever accumulate the knowledge He needs to curb the effects of evil and conquer it once and for all? Why would anyone prefer a God who is trying to get control rather than a God who is completely in control of it? It’s heresy to say the world is full of evil apart from a predetermined plan and purpose of God.

To which he adds these pointed words:

The same goes for most of the answers to the problem of evil – they fail because they attempt to reconcile the truth about God and the existence of evil to the satisfaction of the unbelieving world. They’re too focused on rounding off the sharp edges of biblical truth in order to accommodate philosophies and worldviews that  are openly hostile to God and His Word – to conform God’s goodness and power to the boundaries and limitations of the unilluminated mind (cf. 1 Cor.1:18; 2:14) [53-54[.

And then, in presenting his own ‘theodicy’ – that is, the Bible’s defense of God’s righteousness in the face of evil – MacArthur states the following:

Taken together, those three facts – that evil exists, that God is sovereign, and that He is utterly holy and righteous – lead us to an inevitable conclusion: that God, in His sovereign wisdom allows evil to exist without Himself being evil. As the final authority over all creation, God permits evil to exist – not merely with an unwilling acceptance. Evil was part of His plan and eternal decree. He has a purpose in it, and it’s a good purpose [59].

Next time we will conclude our look at this chapter by considering the author’s answer to the “why” concerning God’s good purpose with evil. If He ordains evil and sovereignly controls it, what purpose does God have in doing so? Why does He do what He does with sin and evil and suffering? And how can that purpose be good?

The Good God and the “Problem” of Evil

no-other-macarthur-2017In chapter three of his recent book None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible (Reformation trust, 2017), John Macarthur presents the biblical reply to the perennial question of how the good and powerful God of the Christian faith. relates to all the evil, pain, and suffering in the world.

He points out that there are many proposed answers (as well as outright attacks against God) to this question – the question known in theology as “theodicy”: “a defense of God’s righteousness in light of the reality that evil exists in the world He created” (p.51).

At one point he critiques the view most popular among evangelicals today – autonomy. His thoughts are worth sharing here:

…Autonomous theodicy teaches that the cause of evil is the abuse of creaturely free will. This is a very sentimental approach. It begins with the assumption that God would never willingly ordain evil; He would not decree a plan for His creation that unleashes so much misery into His universe. They also imagine, evidently, that human free will trumps everything else on God’s scale of values, so they often suggest that God had to allow for the possibility of evil in order to protect His creatures’ highly prized autonomy. The idea is sometimes articulated this way: ‘God wants you to love Him all on your own, not because He made you love Him.” A God who would willingly permit evil or sovereignly choose whom to save is a God whom some people just can’t live with, so they reinvent Him to reflect their own priorities – which in this case means an emphasis on the nobility and value of their own free will that frankly is found nowhere in the Bible (pp.52-53).

We’ll return to more from this important chapter at a later time, but I hope you can already see the direction Macarthur is going. As he states at the beginning of the chapter,

The existence of evil is not an issue that should put Christians on their heels. The answer to why God allows evil in the world is in the Bible. We can know it, we can thoroughly embrace it, and we can enjoy it. It’s not an inadequate answer, either. It fully accounts for God’s benevolence, His omnipotence, His holiness, and His wisdom. And it exalts His glory. In fact, the answer to the problem of evil begins and ends with God and His glory (p.50).

We’ll see more of that biblical answer next time.

Christian Poems: “Triune Comfort” and “The Christian’s Rest”

Earlier today I was thumbing through a book of Christian poetry by local poet Nancy Moelker (Jenison, MI).

In-Gods-arms-Moelker

Her poems breathe biblical and Reformed themes: sovereignty of God, salvation in Christ alone, sovereign grace, the comfort and hope of the gospel, and more. I referenced one of her special poems before – on Q&A 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism – titled “My Only Comfort.”

Tonight I give you a few more, in part because April is National Poetry month, but mostly because Moelker’s poems feed the soul and make for good preparation for the Lord’s Day.

Triune Comfort

When all around me dark thunderclouds roll,
Deep, deep inside there’s no fear in my soul,
For God, my Father, has all in control –
My Father: Creator and King.

The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Psalm 103:19

Though in my heart I still see so much sin,
I know that Jesus is dwelling within,
And I’m washed whiter than new snow in Him –
My Jesus: Redeemer and Lord.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1

Though doubts and trials seem never to cease,
Sweet Holy Spirit brings comfort and peace,
Giving my spirit a blessed release –
My Comforter, living within.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. Romans 8:16

O Triune God, throned on Thy mercy seat –
Holy, thrice Holy! I bow at Thy feet.
O how I thank Thee for Thy work complete –
My Father! My Savior! My Peace!

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. Revelation 4:8d

The Christian’s Rest

Resting in the arms of God –
Oh, what joy divine,
Just to know that I am His
And He is mine!

Resting in the arms of God,
I’ve no cause for fear.
Satan may assail me,
But my sovereign God is near.

Resting in the arms of God,
Submissive to His will,
Knowing He’ll work good for me
Through times of good or ill.

Resting in the arms of God,
Doubts and strivings cease.
Christ is all my righteousness,
And I have perfect peace.

Resting in the arms of God
Through life’s pilgrim way,
Trusting in His promises,
He leads me day by day.

Resting in the arms of God
At my final breath –
Christ has won the victory!
“Where’s thy sting, O death?”

Resting in the arms of God,
Heaven’s gates unfold.
Forever with my Savior
I’ll have joy and peace untold!

Resting in the arms of God –
Oh, what joy divine,
Just to know that I am His
And He is mine!

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1,2

In-Gods-arms-MoelkerTaken from Nancy Moelker’s collection of poems published under the title In God’s Arms: Inspirational Poems for the Christian Soul (Golden Apple Greetings, 2012).

The Suffering Prophet – M. Schipper

Betrayal-Jesus

The suffering Prophet must follow the prophetic Scripture as He treads the way of suffering—all the way to the cross!

And so, when He chooses Judas to betray Him, He was only walking precisely in the way the Father had mapped out for Him. Not only had the Lord God determined in His counsel the fact and the manner in which the Savior should suffer, but He had also prescribed in the Scriptures all the steps the Savior would have to follow as He descended as it were into the valley of suffering. This prescription the Redeemer had to follow in detail. Hence, the Scripture must be fulfilled!

Now it should be remembered that when David wrote by inspiration the history of his betrayal by Ahithophel he was at the same time reflecting on the suffering of Christ. And Christ, Who understood clearly that these Scriptures were the revelation of God’s counsel concerning Himself and His way of suffering, chose Judas as the betrayer, both to fulfill the Scripture and to enter into the depths of His suffering—also into that aspect of it as inflicted on Him by Judas Iscariot.

But why could not the Lord Jesus have been captured and crucified without a betrayal? Why must He be delivered into the hands of sinful men by a familiar friend?

The answer is: Judas’ sin is our sin!

We have lifted up the heel against our Friend, and that Friend is our Covenant God. Jesus must bear away in His suffering all our sin and make satisfaction for all our sin, also this sin. Let us not in pride condemn Judas, though he is to be condemned; but let us humble ourselves before the face of God and taste His salvation.

Now the suffering Prophet may prophecy to His disciples, and to us!

Almost a year before He had told them that one of them was a devil and would betray Him. But they had not understood. And it was well that they had not understood, for had they known they might have cast Judas from their midst. But now the Prophet must speak clearly so that the betrayer can also understand: “The Scripture must be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.”

And the reason why they must know now is expressed in the verse following our text: “Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.”

That ye may know that in spite of all that is about to take place, I am the Messiah; and that I am the One of Whom David did write in the Psalms. And that I am the One Who took your sins upon Me, also the sin of lifting up your heel against your Covenant Friend, the God of your salvation.

That ye may believe!

And believing, ye may be saved!

Taken from a Lenten meditation on John 13:18 and Psalm 41:9 by Marinus Schipper (then minister of the Word in SE PRC, Grand Rapids, MI) published in the February 15, 1969 issue of the Standard Bearer.