Jul 17, 2014

Sorry...

I'm sorry that I haven't blogged in a while. Life has gotten busy and complicated in recent months. But I do plan to finish my postings of the "Precious Remedies" soon, and I have some other things to share that I hope you will find interesting.

Jul 31, 2013

Precious Remedies against Satan's Devices - Part 5

Device 5: By presenting God to the soul as One made up all of mercy. In other words, Satan sometimes intimates that God is only a god of mercy and not holiness or wrath. Thus, since there is nothing whatsoever to fear from God, one may sin with impunity.

For remedies consider that.. .
1. It is the sorest of judgments to be left [by God] to sin upon any pretense whatsoever. The idea is that the worst judgment in this life is for God to leave us in our sin and the Holy Spirit not resist our sin in our consciences.
2. God is as just as he is merciful.
3. Sins against mercy [i.e., taking it for granted] will be the greatest and sorest judgments upon men.
4. Though God's general mercy is over all his works, yet hsi special mercy is confined to those that are divinely qualified--to those that love him and keep his commandments, who trust him, hope in him, and fear him.
5. The saints now glorified regarded God's mercy as a most powerful argument against, and not for, sin.

Jul 24, 2013

Precious Remedies against Satan's Devices - Part 4

Device 4: By showing to the soul the best men's sins and by hiding from the soul their virtues, their sorrows, , and their repentance.

For remedies consider that. . .
1. The Spirit of God records not only the sins of the saints, but also their repentance.
2. The saints did not make a trade of sin.
3. Though God does not disinherit his sinning people, He punishes them severely.
4. God has two main ends in recording the falls of his saints: (1) to keep those who fall through weakness and infirmity from fainting, sinking, and despair under the burdens of their sins; and (2) that the falls of the saints serve as landmarks to warn others who stand to take heed lest they fall.

Jul 19, 2013

Precious Remedies against Satan's Devices - Part 3

Device 3: By extenuating and lessening the sin. Satan often tells us that the sin we are tempted to commit is only a small one, or one that our circumstances somehow mitigate its seriousness.

For remedies consider that. . .
1. Sin which men account small brings God wrath on men.
2. Giving way to a less sin makes way for the committing of a greater sin.
3. It is sad to stand with [against] God for a trifle.
4. Often there is most danger in the smallest sins.
5. The saints have chosen to suffer greatly rather than commit the least sin.
6. The soul can never stand under the guilt and weight of sin when God [impresses it] upon the soul.
7. There is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest affliction [because even the least sin was laid upon Jesus at the cross].

Jul 14, 2013

Precious Remedies against Satan's Devices - Part 2

Of those devices Satan uses to draw people to sin...

Device 2: By painting sin with virtues colors (i.e., by disguising sin as something good. E.g., "covetousness" as "thriftyness"; drunkenness" as "good fellowship."

For remedies consider that...
1. Sin is nonetheless vile for being so painted.
2. The more sin is so painted the more dangerous it is.
3. We ought to look on sin with that eye with which we will soon see it [at God's judgment].
4. Sin cost the lifeblood of the Lord Jesus.

Jul 8, 2013

Precious Remedies against Satan's Devices - Part 1

Thomas Brooks divides Satan's devices (schemes, wiles) into several different categories.  The first category is "Satan's devices to draw the soul to sin." These are ways, that is, that Satan works to get people to break God's law. Under this category, Brooks discusses 12 specific "devices:

Device 1: By presenting the bait and hiding the hook.
The idea here is that Satan shows us the pleasures that can be derived from sin, but obscures from us the "wrath and misery" that follow from committing sin.

For remedies, consider that . . .
1. We ought to keep at the greatest distance from sin and from playing with the bait.
2. Sin is but a bitter sweet.
3. Sin will usher in the greatest and the saddest losses.
4. Sin is very deceitful and bewitching.

Jul 4, 2013

Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices

I have long believed that one of the best books ever written in the area of the doctrine of sanctification, and particular on the mortifying of sin in the believer's life, is the work by the puritan Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies against Satan's Devices (available from Banner of Truth). Lately, in my own personal devotions, I have been drawn back to this book, re-reading it as a help in my own (feeble) pursuit of holiness. And I have decided, as part of that process, to post the main points of Brooks's treatise on this blog. Hopefully, at least once or twice a week, I will post one of the "devices" (schemes, wiles) of Satan that he uses to lead people into sin that Brooks discusses, along with the biblical "remedies" that Brooks recommends.  It will be more or less just an outline of Brooks's book, but I hope that it benefits readers nonetheless and perhaps encourages them to go out and read the whole book for themselves.

In the introduction, Brooks takes the reader to 2 Cor. 2:11, where the Apostle states, "We are not ignorant of his [i.e., Satan's] devices" (ESV: "designs"; NASB: "schemes"). The idea is that Satan has his devices, his tricks, his ways of leading people (even believers) astray into sin.  And, Paul says, we are not ignorant of those devices--at least we shouldn't be, because the Bible explains his devices.  And, what's more, the Bible provides us with divinely revealed remedies to those devices--that is, means by which can avoid the snare of those devices and avoid sin.  Other relevant texts that Brooks cites to prove his point are Eph. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:26; and Rev. 2:24.  All of these, in different ways, speak of Satan's desire and method to ensnare us in sinful rebellion against God, and of the importance of learning from Scripture how to resist Satan's influence.

I hope you will join me in this exploration of Brooks's marvelously helpful book.

In Defense of the Bible in print

My new book (co-edited with Terry Wilder) has at last been released.  In Defense of the Bible has first-rate contributions from first-rate scholars responding to all of the major challenges to biblical authority.  Here is the link to the publisher's website:

http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/academic/books.asp?p=9781433676789

Feb 6, 2013

Article on 1 Cor 10:13 and Libertarianism

In 1 Cor 10:13, Paul writes that God provides Christians with a "way of escape" when they face temptations. In a recent article in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS)(www.etsjets.org), Paul Himes, a Ph.D. student at Southern Seminary, argues that this text implies that Christians, when they face temptations to sin, have libertarian freedom (i.e., the ability to do otherwise). I have written a response to Himes that has just been published in the same journal. I argue that this text, understood in context and in light of other New Testament texts, does not teach a libertarian view of freedom but a compatibilist one (one consistent with determinism). I have posted a pdf of the article on my Wordpress site at this address:

http://stevenbcowan.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/1cor10-13-libertarianism.pdf


In fairness, I should mention that Himes makes a response to my critique in the same issue of JETS. In a future blog post, I plan to answer his response.

Jun 19, 2012

Audio Book Available

I'm not sure why I didn't know this before, but I just discovered that one of my books, Who Runs the Church? 4 Views on Church Government, is now available as an audio book.  I have to say, it's kinda cool to hear someone reading my own book to me--yes, I know, VERY narcissistic!  Anyway, here's the link:

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B004FUHP5O&qid=1340164985&sr=1-1