Articles by Marvin Stalnaker
For the Year

Matt. 11:29

The yoke of self sufficiency, self righteousness, and self worth always reveals a man's spiritual bondage. This yoke is prominently exposed when a man futilely attempts to establish his own righteousness before God. Men attempt to convince both themselves and others of the freedom of heart, but there is no true peace or freedom. There is nothing more than religious activity, and that is born out of slavish obligation to the Law of God. Their righteousness is nothing more than a burden hopelessly strapped to their souls. Attempting to be "live a Christian life" without Christ in the heart is a yoke that one can bear.

Christ, by His Spirit, speaks to His elect with these blessed words of comfort: "You that are laboring and are heavy laden ..."(with the burden of sin ...the guilt and power of it).  "Take my yoke upon you ..." God's sheep are delivered from the bondage of their former state, and are bound to Christ by His grace and power. Being yoked to Him, they are most free ...not free to sin without conscience, but free to love, free to come to Christ, free to obey, and free to serve Him with gladness of heart. Those that have been made sensitive to the awfulness of the yoke of soul-damning sin and bondage without Christ gladly embrace His yoke, for here they truly find rest for their soul.



There is no joy, no comfort, no peace by looking inside of myself and beholding what I am by nature. Truly, it is here that I see my wretchedness, my resentment, and my inability before God Almighty, but I see no comfort. Beholding the stench of indwelling sin produces no fragrance of life. I shall be brought ( if God Almighty is pleased to draw me unto Himself in mercy) to admit what I am by nature, but that admittance of guilt is not that which produces life. Salvation is in a look, but it is a look unto Christ. It is by the eyes of faith that the sheep behold that which God, for Christ's sake, has done for His people thereby actually securing their salvation. Looking unto Him as the Lamb, slain for those everlastingly loved by the Father, is a look of comfort, for it is here that the sheep see their sin debt actually dealt with in justice. Seeing, by faith, His imputed righteousness charged to my account is a look of comfort for it is here that my holiness before God, in and by Christ alone, is secured . Observing my inability that I am most distraught, but looking unto Christ as my Surety, my Representative, my Substitute, and my Mediator, I see hope, joy, and comfort that will sustain me in that hour, and shall keep my heart and mind in perfect peace.



Knowing that "He hath done all things well" (Mark 7:37), that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28), and that it is God "that performeth all things for me" (Ps. 57:2), how can the believer conclude anything other than, "Thou hast dealt well with thy servant." (Psalm 119:65) Whatever my lot, obviously it has been measured out with unquestionable wisdom, indescribable love, and unerring providence, all for my good and His glory.



Every believer is vitally aware of his daily failings before the God that he truly loves...and honestly bemoans those failings (Rom. 7:24). He knows something of the spiritual war that rages within (Gal. 5:17). Those things that he would , by a new heart do, he doesn't. Those things that he would not do, because of his sincere new mind of obedience and love toward God, he does! Does this then leave God's people with no hope? A thousand times NO! While they readily admit the gross inability within themselves, they look not to themselves for comfort, peace, and satisfaction before their Lord. They, by faith, behold Christ as the One who has made them free from the law of sin and death. God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:3) for all that the Father has eternally loved. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Rom. 8:1).



While driving down interstate highways, I have often noticed three crosses erected in prominent places. Their presence always makes me think, "What profit is there in sticking up three pieces of wood, and especially, why would anyone want to give that much honor to the two outside crosses that represent the two thieves?." Then I begin to think about the two malefactors dying on either side of the Lord of glory, and the difference between them. Here are two criminals, caught, tried, and convicted of their crimes. Both are guilty and are well on their way to receiving their just due -- death! At first, both railed on the Lord Jesus (Matt. 27:44), finding fault with Him, and blaming Him for not delivering them from the cross. Then, the amazing grace of God Almighty toward an elect sinner became apparent in one of the men while the other was left unchanged. A hell-deserving sinner, being crucified along side the Son of God, in one moment was joining in the crowd's blasphemies, and in the next moment was crying out for mercy.  Here, in the day of God's power, a man was made to see his need of a Savior. Instead of trying to justify himself, the sinner acknowledged his own guilt and attested to the innocence to the Master (Luke 23:41). Calling out to the Lord for mercy, this repentant sinner received what is promised to all that the Father, in electing grace, has given Christ -- acceptance! (John 6:37). In his dying moments, that newly redeemed saint refused to hold on to his own works for merit (for he had none), but found his comfort in the words of Christ, "Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

Divine providence had caused two men to cross paths with the Lord of Glory. One died in his sins, not believing Christ to be the great I AM. The other was plucked as a brand from the fire and found forgiveness with God. Where, but in the marvelous grace of God, can one find the difference to be?

April 15, 2001

1 Cor. 11:24

I am convinced that every child of God unceasingly treasures that God-given faith to hear, believe, and remember the glorious message of the Gospel of Christ. They know that if left to themselves, they would have never come by saving faith to Him, for they had no such faith with which to come. They would have never called, nor trusted in Him Who is their hope. What they do remember is that Christ, by an eternal covenant of grace, is their Surety, and that they were chosen in Him from the foundation of the world unto salvation. They realize that as their Surety, God the Father looked only to Christ for the redemption and salvation of His elect. They remember that the scripture reveals Christ to have come in the flesh for them and walked as their covenant head and representative in perfect obedience before the law of God. They remember that Christ, who knew no sin, was made by Divine imputation to be sin for them that they might be made the righteousness of God in Him. They remember that He put away their sin by His shed blood under the justice and judgment of the Father at Calvary. When He died, they died. When He was buried, they were buried. When He arose from the grave, they arose in Him, justified before God with the robe of His righteousness clothing them. They remember that there was a time when they began to hear this glorious message through the preaching of the Gospel and the message was truly one of life and hope. God's people rejoice in that they have now a heart to remember their perfect standing before God without any work of righteousness on their part to merit that standing.

Those who truly have been made to know Christ have this thought continually on their minds: "I don't remember Him as I ought, I don't remember Him as I wish, I don't remember Him as I shall, but by His grace, I do remember."

May 6, 2001

John 10:27

It is the desire of believer to follow after Christ. Though Satan, the world, and self gives strong argument to refute the holy yearning within, the enlightened man, by the miracle of God's grace, desires to continue in the path of obedience, reverence, and fear toward his Savior. The temptation to stray from the path of safety weighs so strongly upon the redeemed heart, that he finds himself continually crying unto the Anchor of his soul to be kept from entering into that temptation.

The voice of love from the Master is heard by the objects of His affection. They know that voice to be a conquering voice, filled with grace and mercy towards them, and they follow after Him. They marvel that they do have a desire to follow, because they know just enough about themselves to admit, "but for His keeping grace that made me willing in the day of His power, I would leave this moment." How mysteriously and wonderfully the sheep are kept by the power of God unto the day of salvation to follow after Him.

May 13, 2001

Ephesians 4:1

While the unregenerate mind shuns the thought of being a prisoner to anything or anyone ( I know this to be true because of man's boasting in his so- called free-will), the believer in Christ considers it a great joy to be a bond servant of God. This is a place of immeasurable safety from Satan, self, and the world. Thankfulness unto God is the response of the man born from above because he knows that he has been lovingly incarcerated by the God of all creation. Here, in the chains of His love, the saint finds great peace. What a title ...the prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ!

June 17, 2001

Luke 22:54-61


How quickly, I'm sure, Peter remembered the words of the Lord, "The cock shall not crow till thou hast denied me thrice," when he heard the sound of the crowing. The Lord's gracious look (Luke 22:61) caused the disciple to go out and weep bitterly as he realized that he was incapable of performing that he surely purposed to do at the time ("I will lay down my life for thy sake"-- (John 13:37). The same thing happens to all God's sheep when are made to face something of their ruined nature. Truly, they loath the presence of sin in themselves. The thought of being unfaithful to Him Who is altogether faithful grieves the redeemed ones. In times of failings (which are continual), Christ's gracious look of compassion is so welcomed by His sheep. It is because of His look of love that the saints can dare to look back with loving thankfulness and faith toward Him who knows them infinitely more than they know themselves. If you can find a sinner made to see something of his insufficiency to keep himself, you will also find a sinner that looks upon Christ as altogether sufficient to the keeping of their souls.

September 9, 2001

Ezek. 37:5

The unredeemed person reasons that God's sovereign power in the salvation of His elect makes them nothing more than robots. Nothing is further from the truth. When men and women are born from above they become truly alive unto God. They are not robots -- they still commit sin against the one that saved them, but they are given a liberty the world does not understand (Luke 4:18-19, Rom. 8:21, 2 Cor. 3:17, Gal. 2:4, Gal:5:15). This liberty makes them breathe, hunger, and thirst after their Lord -- nothing else satisfies them. By the power of the Spirit, they become willing to seek, call, and come to Christ because He has caused the breath of life to enter them. They have truly been born again. The new man loves and serves Christ because he has been shown that Christ is worthy of total obedience. His knowledge of Christ constrains him to adore Christ -- he can do nothing else.

The old, unsaved man has no such liberty. He is actually bound up by his own perceived good works. He has no kinship to Christ. He is born of sinful seed alone, so does not even know Christ. He cannot perceive spiritual things, much less fellowship with and love his creator. He has no interest in the righteousness of Christ, but is content to work out a salvation born of his own hands. He finds satisfaction by making himself look more righteous than other men (Luke 18:10-14). He is a miserable creature but will not admit it.

I prefer to live in the liberty that Christ gives.

October 14, 2001


Hebrews 12:6

Today when most people hear that the Lord will bless, they immediately think of temporal blessings, which appeal to the flesh. So, if left to themselves, they would then probably choose monetary gain over poverty, or health over sickness. They are not naturally drawn to the true blessings in the form of trials (". . . .for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth -- Heb. 12:6) providentially sent by God to His people that direct them to lean upon Him as their only hope and comfort.
It is only when a individual is brought by faith to behold and bow to God's will, mind, purpose, and providence that he will desire the blessing of the Lord's favor, the dew of His Spirit, the application of His atoning blood, and the inward testimony of His love and grace. When the blessing of His chastening hand comes to His people, it is not to sweep away their life, peace, and hope but to clean out the dross within them. His fan of adversity is so directed toward the elect as to drive away the chaff and leave only the pure grain of His grace.

October 28, 2001

Matt. 23:23

Often, it is not so much what men say that bothers me, but what they don't say. Obviously, an argument can be made for just about any theology a man can dream up. However, if that theology does not proclaim that God is just and the Justifier of sinners, that God shows mercy to undeserving rebels by the putting away of their guilt by the blood of Christ, and that God does these things only by his grace through faith in the Lord Jesus, the weightier issues are being ignored so nothing else that a man says matters.

December 2, 2001