Articles by Marvin Stalnaker

For the Year





And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. (Luke 19:5)

From all eternity the predestinating decree of God Almighty has and will cause the steps of all Christ's sheep to cross paths with the Gospel. Christ had come to the place, that particular place, where divine mercy must be bestowed on this son of Abraham:  there the Lord Jesus looked up and saw Zacchaeus. He saw him in the eternal covenant that the Triune God had made with himself to save a people whom He had chosen. He saw Zacchaeus in Adam's fall, when all mankind was plunged into a headlong race down to into pit. He saw him in his nakedness and blood, unwashed, unsalted, and unpitied (Ezek. 16:4); but, thanks be to God, He saw him in mercy and said unto him, "Live."   This child of promise was one for whom He must suffer and die as the divine substitute and sacrificial lamb.

All for whom Christ came to seek and save He calls effectually by name. "Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down." He came down from his lofty perch of false security and joyfully bowed himself before the Lord of Glory. Christ must abide at his house that day, for an eternal decree so ordered it. For God's glory and honor and Zacchaeus' good, Christ must abide.

May God Almighty grant us mercy in Christ's abiding in our midst.



And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22:31-32)

The renewed mind of a believer is soothed by these words of Christ, his Intercessor. Without these comforting words the believer would live in constant fear, knowing that Satan seeks to separate him from Christ (as the chaff is separated from the wheat through sifting). Faith, that precious gift of God's grace, causes the believer to trust that Christ will never leave nor forsake him even " against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11).    Christ has prayed that true faith given will not fail, then or now. Such faith does not hear the word of God, for a season rejoice, then wilt away under the sun of affliction. Such faith roots and grounds the soul in Christ. Such faith gives the believer a glimpse of the glory and excellency of Christ. Faith given turns the stumbling believer (like Peter) back to his Savior. Rejoice today, child of God, Satan may desire to sift you as wheat, but the Son of Glory has prayed that your faith will not fail.



And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness. And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings (2 Sam. 6:12-13)

Having a heart of gladness to bear up Christ (my ark) as the One who is sufficient for every spiritual need is a miracle of Almighty God's grace. Being able to perceive with eyes of faith Christ's satisfied divine justice in my place, and having his perfect righteousness imputed to my account is a well of gladness to a redeemed sinner's heart. The faithless natural man believes that his feeble hand supports God's purpose of redemption; however, let the Holy Spirit create in a sinner a heart that truly believes the preaching of the Gospel to be the power of God unto salvation, and with gladness he will bear Him up. He will be borne up as the One Who has kept the holy law of God for His people. He will be borne up as the Bread of Heaven that the saints feast upon. In bearing Christ up, He will be glorified and every need of the saint will be met. Bearing Him up as Aaron's Rod, the One Who tasted death because of the imputed guilt of His people, but budded forth in the resurrection because of His personal innocence, is to a believer a song of gladness. Bear Him up with gladness, child of God, for He and He alone, is worthy of all praise.



1.  The Lord Jesus Christ is precious in His essence. (John 1:1)
2.  His condescension was precious, for not only was a child born, but a son was given. (Isa. 9:6)
3.  The life of Christ was precious in thought, word, and deed and always the delight of His Father to behold (Matt. 3:17) for in that life He procured a perfect righteousness for His people.
4. Christ's apprehension by wicked hands and the false accusations against His impeccable character was even precious in the sense that Almighty God's purpose was being accomplished. (Acts 4:27-28)
5.  The death of Christ was precious because the justice of God was satisfied against the sin debt of His elect whom the Father foreknew with an everlasting love and were redeemed with Christ's precious blood. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
6.  Christ's burial and resurrection was precious in that the believer is now dead to sin's dominion. The sting of death and the grave's victory has been swallowed up in victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:55-57) and we now have been made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).
7.  Christ's ascension was precious, for being received up into glory, He now as our advocate ever lives to make intercession for His people by pleading His own efficacious work. (Heb. 7:25)

"Unto you therefore which believe, he is precious" (1 Peter 2:7)


John 11:1-5

The situation concerning Lazarus' sickness appeared hopeless to Martha and Mary, his sisters. They watched as their brother progressively slipped away from youthful healthiness. This sickness, a picture of our corrupted nature, would have one result were it not for this blessed thought . . . "Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus" (vs. 5). The disease that had ingrained itself into the body of Lazarus was but another illustration of what every man is by nature sin! As Lazarus' sickness would soon claim his physical life, man's spiritual disease has but one final conclusion eternal death and separation for Almighty God.

The Lord Jesus said that Lazarus' sickness was not unto death, but for the glory of God (vs. 4). Christ's love for Lazarus was a love from all eternity, and that love would be for God's glory and Lazarus' good.

The most glorious thought considered by a believer is that his (spiritual) sickness would not be unto (eternal) death, but for the glory of God. Redemption from eternal death and eternal glory to God is manifested only in one person Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God. His substitution at Calvary with the imputed guilt of all God's elect charged to Him, and his impeccable righteousness charged to those for whom he died, is good news to all he has loved eternally. It is appointed unto man once to die. Blessed is the man, who because of Christ has found his sickness not unto eternal death, but for the glory of God.



Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. (John 11:9)

Divine proclamation established the day and the night and their purpose. Twelve hours of light were allotted for the work of day, and twelve dark hours of night were allotted for rest and reflection on the events of the day .  In His infinite mercy God Almighty established Christ as the True Day. As God ordained that the fullness of the day would come to pass, then the night, so would the fullness of Christ be accomplished. Nothing can be added to, or taken from that divine order.

Christ came to do the work given to Him by the Father (John 17:4).   His twelve hours of divine day would not end until that work was finished and His glory revealed. Though His enemies were seeking to stone Him, He continued to be about His Father's business (Luke 2:49). Every jot and tittle of holy law had to be obeyed. Every lost sheep must be redeemed:  the work must be completed. Twelve hours were given to be the day, and Christ, our Day, divinely protected and in absolute obedience to His Father, fulfilled perfectly His twelve hours of work. Not until His day was over did he cry forth, "It is finished."



When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled (John 11:33)

Unbelievers, both during His presence on earth and today, usually perceive Christ as a man, or maybe a god-man, whose whole purpose was to offer sympathy to frail sinners. He is seen as one Who, although gravely concerned with man's sin, was unable to feel the sting of that sin because of His divinity. This thinking, though rational to the blinded man, is inconsistent with Scripture. In fact, we know that Christ was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief"(Isa. 53:3) in a very personal way. He, as our high priest, "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15) His troubled soul knew with a perfect knowledge the awfulness of man's depravity, yet that knowledge in no wise marred the impeccable character of Him who did always those things that pleased His Father. He was made like unto His brethren, "that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest" (Heb. 2:17), while at the same time He was truly God.

As the Substitute for sinners, He did not die with a distorted view of man's sinfulness. Christ as the God-man, after entering himself into an all-knowing acquaintance with the depths of man's pollution, laid down his sinless life with the imputed guilt of His sheep upon Him. He really knew, experientially, those for whom he made atonement. He died as no other man could perfect in his own character, but with absolute knowledge of that preponderance of men toward sin and unbelief. " .. . without controversy, great in the mystery of godliness:  God was manifest in the flesh . . . (1 Tim. 3:16).



Deliver me from all my transgressions . . . (Psalm 39:8)

For an enlightened son of Adam, the longing of his renewed heart is for deliverance from that which is his nature SIN! He longs not only for deliverance from daily temptation, but also from that final curse which will usher in everlasting damnation to those without Christ as their Substitute. This is a paradox, for with his mind he longs for deliverance from the clutches of sin, while in his flesh he continues to rebel.

Christ, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (of believers), accomplished that which no mortal man could. By imputation, He entered Himself into a state of familiarity with the guilt of all those chosen unto salvation, in that their guilt actually became His guilt. Though personally innocent, Christ assumed the position of every guilty sheep. He then could honestly cry forth, "Deliver me from all my transgressions." Absolute justice must be satisfied before any deliverance can take place. In one all-encompassing blow of divine justice upon the blessed Substitute, the Father obliterated forever the curse that Christ assumed. In Him, the believer can with a heart at peace, echo His prayer, "Deliver me from all my transgressions."


Psalm 40:1

Without Christ, true Godly patience is incomprehensible. When by grace the sinner is shown by the Spirit his utter dependence on the all-sufficient Christ, he begins to understand the inadequacy of his patience. He knows that he will never attain a patience wrought by an unwavering faith and an absolute trust in God's good providence.

 Christ alone can truthfully say "I waited patiently for the Lord." He, while enduring the imputation of the elects' sins in Gethsemane, in perfect faith, obedience, and patience waited on His Father. He would willfully drink of the cup of suffering that could not pass from Him because eternal counsel had decreed it. Perfect faith . . . perfect patience, what a glorious thought, albeit unattainable by us impatient, wretched sinners but do not despair, the Lord has given us an Intercessor with perfect patience. In Christ, we can say, "I waited patiently for the Lord."


Romans 1:16-17

Paul the apostle declares (by divine revelation) that he is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. This Gospel, the message concerning the person of Christ, is the power of God unto salvation. It is the message alone by which the Holy Ghost calls men effectually out of spiritual darkness unto Christ Who is light. By this message the righteousness of God (Christ) is revealed. The message of the Gospel of Christ declares that He alone redeemed a people who though totally depraved (dead in trespasses and sin) were unconditionally chosen unto salvation by God the Father's own will and purpose. He, as their substitute by imputation (the charging of their guilt to Himself), was made to be sin for them and suffered the wrath of divine justice for those sins. Those whose sin debt was imputed to Christ needed now a fit righteousness. That righteousness, the righteousness of their Surety, was imputed to them freely. They now, before God Almighty, stand (in Christ) justified. These who have been justified (the just) live, or have their life (spiritual life) revealed by faith. This faith, the grace granted by God's Spirit to believe the report concerning Christ, is the evidence of their justification. I am not ashamed of that Gospel.



Of all utterances made concerning sinful man, there is one that stands alone in the security of a sinner's hope He "whose heart the Lord opened." This heart, which is a cesspool of iniquity, will hear and generally acknowledge the message of the Gospel, but not until God Almighty in power through the preaching of Christ opens (lays bare) that heart to hear spiritually, will that sinner attend (embrace) the message of Christ.

Glorious payment for this sinner's guilt, justly wrought in the person of Christ, the Lamb, by the imputation of my sin to His account and of His impeccable righteousness to my account, means nothing unless the Lord opens my heart and grants faith to attend unto that Word. The eternal weight of mercy shown to any child of Adam will be echoed throughout the ages to come due to the one alone who was able to open a sinner's heart.



Happiness is an emotion. Joy is a person Jesus Christ.

Confession of sin can only be made by people who are convinced of sin.

As believers we are to show mercy to all men for Christ's sake, remembering His mercy towards us. Other believers deserve our mercy and we show mercy to unbelievers because this temporal life is their only reward.



This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

Without question, there is no proclamation from God Almighty to sinful man that declares anything apart form Christ and Him crucified. Christ who alone pleases the Father is Light. He is essentially the Light, robed in wisdom, understanding and honor. In Him is no darkness at all. There was no darkness in His birth, for He was conceived of the Holy Ghost. There was no darkness in his thirty-three years of life on earth for He did those things in word, thought, and deed that pleased the Father; there was no darkness in His death, for though the guilt of sin of all who would believe in Him was imputed to His account He was personally innocent. Therefore, judgment was rendered for the elect, atonement was made and His bride was justified in His resurrection. This is the message, "that God is Light and in Him is no darkness."


1 Cor. 15:55-56

For a believer, the sting of death and victory of the grave is removed by the faithful gaze upon Christ as God's salvation. Faith, that grace granted to all Christ's sheep, is the spiritual eyes to behold Him in His glorious person. Excellent in righteousness, able and willing in sacrifice, and altogether precious in the Father's sight what more does this world hold for a believer? A child of promise walks with the Spirit taught peace (through the written word) that if this be his last day upon this earth, it is well with his soul for he has seen His salvation!


John 8:56

Christ, the I AM said "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad." Abraham saw (by faith) the eternal God in His humiliation. He saw the day of Christ's perfect obedience to His own holy law, thereby producing a fit righteousness that would eternally robe every child of promise. He saw the day of substitution where Christ, the sacrificial Lamb, would die under the hand of holy Justice because of the elect's imputed guilt to His account. Abraham saw the day of Christ's vindication when the tomb could no longer hold Him captive, Eternal Justice having been satisfied; the Father raised Christ from the dead, justified, and with Him all for whom Christ died.

Eternity Himself revealed His day to some sinners. Abraham saw it and was glad.



Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? (Matt. 20:15)

Our salvation is totally assured and based strictly on the condition that Almighty God's Law is perfectly obeyed; thus, under the scrutiny of Divine Justice, our righteousness is impeccable. This being true, how can any person but with spiritually blinded eyes see carnal man in any other state but utter despair, and hopelessly lost.

Two men, as our representatives, were placed on conditional footing against the Triune holiness of God. The first Adam was placed in circumstances most favorable for the keeping God's Law; he failed miserably. In his fall, all mankind fell. However, Christ, the second Adam, bore the weight of God's law perfectly. He was made to be sin for all elect sinners, suffering the just wrath of an offended Father. Meeting the conditions for salvation for all those elect from the foundation of the world, Christ blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that were against us (Col. 2:14). There is therefore now no condemnation, nor is there any condition to be met for a right standing before God Almighty.

The meeting of this condition of salvation in Christ is one based totally on the Father's choosing according to His Own sovereign will. "Is it not lawful for me to do with my own as I will?


John 8:10-11

Here lies a seemingly unsolvable (to the carnally-minded) problem. A sinner is guilty before Holy Law guilty by birth and practice. A just God cannot, at the expense of His Justice, show mercy without full payment being made for the offense. If this payment must be made in and of the sinner, the wrath of God will surely be spewed out against that sinner in eternity. Christ, who stooped twice to write upon the ground (once to symbolize the establishing of the Law this adulteress broke, and again to signify Himself as the Substitute between the Law and those it condemned) declared that He found no condemnation in this woman. As such, the Gospel, in type and shadow, was preached on a back street somewhere in Jerusalem as Christ wrote on the ground. Arrogant religionists bent on trapping the Lord of Glory went away condemned in conscience but unmoved to cast themselves on the mercy of God's Pascal Lamb. This adulteress, guilty, vile and helpless, had a glorious revelation (by the Holy Spirit) of her Substitute. Constraining love, held her to Him Who pronounced her not condemned. All her guilt (by His own declaration to her new heart) was made His own her guilt was His by imputation and by that same imputation, His righteousness was made her righteousness.

No condemnation - what a glorious Gospel!



So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging (Jonah 1:15).

Jonah was a man bent on fleeing from the source of all mercy (as all men are by nature). The howling wind of Divine Judgment that follows the rebel cries for justice and will not abate without complete satisfaction. In the pitiful state of total spiritual darkness, the hater of God (all men outside of Christ) neither considers nor cares that the Holy One of heaven has been offended. How can any man have any hope of eternal salvation with such a heart of enmity? There is but one way Christ, the righteous must become Jonah the rebel, and in a state of such guilt, be cast into the consuming wrath of the offended God of all creation. When Christ, the Substitute for all the Jonahs, (chosen from the foundation of the world unto salvation) is cast forth by Holy Law, the wrath is appeased and Justice is satisfied. The sea which once cried for vengeance ceases from her raging. What joy to consider Him Who became the sacrificial Substitute for all He has eternally loved.



Long ago, in the depths of a Roman dungeon laid a man whose guilt, and resulting captivity and sentence of death pictured the state of those born in Adam Barabbas, son of a father. He was of his father the devil, the father of all lies and hater of all that is good. Nearby stood the Son of God as a lamb dumb before His shearers. No one spoke a word in His defense, though He stood innocent of any crime. His time of guilt would come later, when the sins of all His elect would be imputed to Him. An angry crowd cried for the innocent blood of Christ while allowing a guilty man to go free .

What a picture of substitution! Barabbas was released from all that held him captive. There were no preconditions; the bars of prison were simply swung open, and all his guilt was passed to the One Who alone had always pleased His Father. So, now Barabbas, as a type of the sinner, was granted freedom and liberty from prison only through the crucifixion of Christ Jesus, so also have believers since that day gained true spiritual liberty by the same means.

In Christ, a believer is an joint-heir with Christ and can be justly called "a son of the Father."



But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets. (Acts 24:14)

There is only one message that agrees and fully satisfies all that is written in the Law and the prophets. That message and that message alone, reveals Almighty God to be just and the justifier of sinners. It is through the message of the Gospel of Christ and Him crucified that TRUTH HIMSELF is consistently set forth, and sinners have any hope. The way of truth which carnal religion claims to love is actually evil spoken of (2 Peter 2:2). This way is by the world called heresy (a self-willed opinion substituted for submission to the power of truth), but to believers it is the basis of their worship. This message, that men call heresy, is based completely on the written word of God and His word alone is the only rule of true faith (2 Tim. 3:16-17):

1. This message declares Almighty God (Father, Son, and Spirit) to be absolutely sovereign in creation, providence, and salvation (Psalm 115:3; 135:6). 2. This message declares all men born in Adam to be spiritually dead and blind sinners, totally void of anything that is good, unwilling and unable to bow or come to Christ that they might have life (Psalm 14:2-3).
3.  This message declares that by eternal, unconditional election, God chose a certain people in Christ (Eph. 1:3) before the foundation of the world unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth, and that these elect shall be and must be saved (John 6:37)
4.  This message declares the Lord Jesus Christ to be God's substitute for all those chosen unto salvation. Christ laid down His life for the sheep (John 10:11). All the guilt of all the elect for all eternity was imputed (changed to the account) to Christ Who was made to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21), though He Himself knew no sin. As the guilt of all the elect was imputed to the account of Christ Jesus, His righteousness was imputed to the account of all those for whom He died. The Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29), actually redeemed all that the Father chose their sin is forever put away.
5.  This message declares God's grace to His own in salvation to be irresistible, and that those chosen in eternity and redeemed at Calvary, will be brought and made willing (Psalm 110:3) to cast themselves on the person of Christ, believing on Him for salvation (Acts 16:31).
6.  This message declares every redeemed sinner to be kept by the power of God unto eternal salvation (John 10:27-28), and these redeemed sinners, bought by the precious blood of Christ, are in the hand of God Almighty, never to be forsaken (Heb. 13:5).

This message that agrees with all the Law and the prophets, honors Almighty God in calling men to repentance. It keeps them, feeds them, exhorts them, and establishes them all by His grace. This message, the way that carnal religion calls heresy "so worship I the God of my fathers."



As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:15-16)

The heart of the glorious gospel of Christ is His blessed substitution for His sheep. Christ, the Lamb of God, took all their guilt and  became legally what they were by nature sin! All that the Father chose (the sheep), He gave to Christ to redeem, and they were redeemed with His own precious blood. Every drop of Christ's blood was shed effectually for all that would be brought by the hearing of His voice through the message of Him. There is one voice (the Spirit-blessed Gospel), one fold (the body of Christ), and one Shepherd (the One Who laid down His life for the sheep).



But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Cor. 11:3)

The basis of all security in salvation is found in the person of Christ Jesus. Any thought or motive apart from Him and His finished work (by His fulfillment of God's eternal covenant) is to depart from the hope of salvation. Men by nature may sincerely strive for morality, hoping to establish a righteous standing before God, but to miss the way of God's deliverance from bondage, by the imputation of a sinner's guilt to Christ (the only meritorious Substitute), and the imputation of that Substitute's righteousness to that sinner, is to miss the simplicity of Christ.



A Psalm. O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. (Psalm 98:1)

To sing a new song of the marvelous things that Almighty God has done requires a new heart. The old heart of rebellion sees no beauty in the everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure (2 Sam. 23:5), but David saw that marvelous covenant as all his salvation. How wonderful was that day when the angel announced to shepherds abiding in the field, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy" (Luke 2:10). The message of that great joy was that the Savior Christ the Lord was born that day in the city of David God had come in the flesh.

The Lord Jesus Christ did always only those things that pleased His Father (Matt. 3:17). His marvelous work of obedience is esteemed a light thing except to one who needs a near kinsman to obey perfectly the Law of God in thought, word, and deed. Christ Jesus, by His right hand of power, and His holy arm of justice, once and forever paid the debt of God's holy broken Law for all His sheep. Because their guilt was charged to His account (and He being made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21) by himself suffered the wrath of holy justice as His people's substitute. The Lord Jesus thereby satisfied the Law's demand of obedience for a people that were everlastingly loved by a Triune God. These elect now stand before the Law blameless because His imputed righteousness covers them.

Christ Jesus the Lord ascended into heaven and now ever lives to make intercession for His people. There is One Who has been touched with the feeling of our infirmity. There sits One at the right hand of God Who has acquainted Himself with grief, One who shall return to receive His own unto Himself. Of all the statements of man's mouth, let this blessed assurance be told: "He hath done marvelous things."



So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Rom. 8:8-9)

What Child of promise is there, one truly born from above, that has not the desire to please the God Who has everlastingly loved him, bought him with holy blood, and now seals him unto the day of redemption? A believer is ever mindful of the frailty of a body that is spiritually dead and has no desire to please God because of sin, but rejoices in the Spirit which is life because of Christ's righteousness. He observes a present evil, a law of sin which is in his fleshly nature, but is ever thankful through Christ Jesus that with the mind he serves the law of God.

A Christian, though constantly falling short to rightly follow after that which is good and pleasing to God, fears not the wrath of the Holy Judge because there is now no condemnation to that sinner if he is in Christ Jesus. A believer, because he is not condemned, is dealt with as a child of promise. That Child may be chastened (and often is), but that chastening is not because the Father is condemningly displeased, but because He loves His own for the sake of Christ. If the sinner pleases God, that pleasure was secured by grace through faith by His beloved Son at Calvary. In Christ above, the Father is pleased with every redeemed sinner.



I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause. (Job 5:8)

Eliphaz (unbeknownst to him, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) had spoken of committing a cause unto God. Committing our cause to Christ requires a Spirit-given knowledge and rest in certain truths:

First, God Almighty "doeth great and unsearchable" things. These things, concerning the creative, providential, and redemptive work of a holy God toward an elect people, found all foundation and satisfaction in Christ Jesus the Lord.

Secondly, Almighty God is sovereignly ruling all creation. Nature bows to the mighty decree of eternal might. He gives rain upon the earth and water upon the field. Men, by nature, will give somewhat of an agreement to that, but the believer will be convinced and committed to the truth that it is God Who also sets up those that are low and exalts the mourner to safety.

Thirdly, men are totally unable to lift themselves out of the dungheap of sin and depravity. Men meet with darkness in the daytime, or grope in the noonday as in the night. The redeemed sinner sees nothing in any man (leastwise himself) )that merits God's favor.

Fourthly, "but God who is rich in mercy" saves the poor (those unable to pay their own debt, who by grace have seen their spiritual poverty) from the rebellion that is within them. These poor have hope. They are redeemed by the blood of God's Lamb, Christ Jesus the Lord, and now have eternal hope. These elect sinners (those who have been corrected by imputed righteousness from Christ Himself) despise not the chastening of the Almighty. They are happy, for they have now a deliverance wrought in and by God.