Category Archives: reflection

Today in Paradise

“One thief was saved that no sinner might despair, but only one, that no sinner might presume.” (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke, p. 471).

“Not the unconfident word of a crucified malefactor, but the confident statement, the absolutely binding promise, of the Messiah is conclusive evidence for us that this corrupt son of Abraham was the object of the favor of grace. Christ accepts him. . . . He [the thief] surrendered himself. To whom? To Christ. By what means? By the hearing of the preached word. Small bits of the revelation of Christ Jesus had fallen into his ‘heart.’ Was it not a beautiful thing that he joined himself with the very last things which he himself heard and saw in Jesus?” (K. Schilder, Christ Crucified, pages 320–321).

“That which is striking about Jesus’ pronouncement is, in the first place, the absolute power and authority with which he bestows the partaking of the heavenly glory, and in the second place, the expression, ‘with me.’ It is the communion with Jesus, whom the malefactor confessed openly as the Christ, which guarantees salvation to him immediately after death.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, pp. 276-277).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

In the Midst of a Pandemic Your Heavenly Father Cares for You

One of my sisters, Mary Bonner, has reflected in a blog on God’s care as she journeyed (and continues to journey) through cancer (see The artwork on that site was painted by her daughter, Rachel Arlena Heaton, and is reproduced here with permission from both.

“This reliance of faith is not confined to the critical moments of life, it is to be the abiding, characteristic inner disposition of the disciple with reference to every concern. To trust God for food and raiment is as truly the mark of the disciple in the kingdom as to depend on him for eternal salvation.” (Geerhardus Vos, The Kingdom Of God and The Church, p. 97).

“[In this book] I’m going to reinforce a message that may sound counterintuitive in our world: anxiety is a spiritual tool in the hands of a mighty God. . . . [Y]our focus will fall on the status of your soul before an all-powerful, soft-voiced shepherd, leading you moment by moment, calling you to trust, pulling your neck gently with his shepherd’s crook, bringing you back into the fold, fixing your ears on his voice.” (Pierce Taylor Hibbs, Struck Down But Not Destroyed: Living Faithfully with Anxiety, p. 3).

“These [early disciples] were the people for whom the petition ‘Give us today the bread we need for the coming day’ (v. 11) rang true each day, and it was the confident offering of this prayer to a ‘Father in heaven’ that was their essential safeguard against worry.” (R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, p. 266).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

Where Is Your Treasure?

“Where the love of God is absent, there an idolatrous love of the world and of self enters, and a positively offensive and hostile attitude towards God results. . . . Man is so necessarily bound to God in his inmost consciousness, that absolute indifference or neutrality are excluded.” (Geerhardus Vos, The Kingdom of God and the Church, p. 93).

“The kingdom of God is a gift granted by God according to his good pleasure (Matt. 11:26;16:17; 22:14; Luke 10:20; 12:32; 22:19), yet it is also a reward, a treasure in heaven, which has to be aggressively sought and gained by labor in the service of God (Matt. 5:20; 6:20; 19:21; 20:1ff.; and so forth).” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 254).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

Prayer and Fasting

“The true fast is to loose the bonds of injustice (Isa. 58:3–6; Jer. 14:12). In large part the struggle of the prophets is directed against the external, self-righteous worship of the people. Accordingly, the essence of the new dispensation is that the Lord will make a new covenant with his people. He will give them a new heart and write his law on it. He will pour out his Spirit on all so that they will love him with their whole heart and walk in his ways….” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 659).

“Fasting, like almsgiving and prayer, is to be between the disciple and God. No one else should know. (Perhaps that is why we know so little of early Christian practice in this regard.)” (R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, p 255).

“If a man is living entirely to the glory of God, you need not prescribe for him when he has to fast, you need not prescribe the sort of clothes he has to put on or anything else. If he has forgotten himself and given himself to God, the New Testament says that man will know how to eat and drink and dress because he will be doing it all to the glory of God.” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Vol. 2, p. 44),

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

Forgive Our Debts

“True repentance strips sin of all that is accidental. It resembles an inner chamber where no one and nothing else is admitted except God and the sinner and his sin. Into that chamber all the great penitents like David and Paul and Augustine and Luther have entered, and each one in the bitter anguish of his soul has borrowed the words of the psalmist: ‘Against thee, thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight, that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clean when thou judgest.’ A repentant sinner acquits God and condemns himself…. The fact of sin, while as such irrevocably accomplished, yet so far as the guilt is concerned must be undone, if God is to remain the God of sinner. Here the truth taught by Jesus leads directly to Paul’s doctrine of atonement and justification. To the heart that has had the Sermon on the Mount interpreted to itself by the Holy Spirit there is no other solution and refuge than the cross underneath which Paul found shelter. To such as hunger and thirst after righteousness the flesh of the Son of man is meat and his blood is drink, indeed.” (Geerhardus Vos, “Hungering and Thirsting After Righteousness,” in Grace and Glory, pages 37–38).

“[Jesus] speaks of ‘the human heart’ as the place from which proceed evil thoughts and all kinds of crimes. He teaches his disciples to pray for forgiveness of their debts as well as for their daily bread (Matt. 6:12)…. Jesus’ preaching is based on a view which denies to the man principally the attribute of ‘good’ and characterizes him rather as ‘evil,’ as a sinner, a debtor before God.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, p. 222).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

The Gift of Daily Bread

“As Israel required daily manna, so we require daily ‘bread.’ We confess that w3e are poor, weak, wanting creatures, and beseech Him who is our Maker to take care of us. We ask for ‘bread,’ as the simplest of our wants, and in that word we include all that our bodies require.” (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew – Mark, page 52).

“[P]art of what it means to recognize God as our heavenly Father is to trust him for food and drink and clothing, and this petition expresses that trust in its simplest form” (R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, p. 247).

“[T]he whole life of prayer must be ruled by…faith in God’s fatherhood (Matt. 7:7-12; Luke 11:9-3).” (Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, p. 268).

“[We are not] confronted with a kind of naive optimism of faith which has not yet discerned the problem of history and the riddle of suffering. But everything becomes intelligible only against the background of God’s fatherhood in Christ.” (Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, p. 268).

“[I]n its present context it [the petition, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’] can unmistakably be understood only from the new relation to God given with Christ’s coming. Just like the exhortation not ‘to take thought,’ it is as Christologically determined as the petition for the remission of sins. In both cases the basis of the petition and its answer is found in God’s fatherhood as realized in the coming of Christ.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, p. 268).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.

United with Christ

“If we view sin as a realm or sphere then the believer no longer lives in that realm or sphere. And just as it is true with reference to life in the sphere of this world that the person who has who has died ‘passed away, and lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found’ (Psalm 37:36; cf. 103:16), so it is with the sphere of sin; the believer is no longer there because he has died to sin.” (John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, p. 213)

“Baptism ‘into Christ Jesus’ means baptism into union with Christ. . . . Christ Jesus cannot be contemplated apart from his work nor his work apart from him. Neither can one phase of his redemptive accomplishment be separated from another. Therefore union with Christ, which baptism signifies, means union with him in his death.” (Murray, p. 214)

“Undoubtedly there is process and progression in the believer’s life and this may be properly understood as progressive realization of the implications of having died and risen with Christ. But the dying and rising with Christ are not viewed as process but as definitive and decisive event and can no more be construed as continuous process than can the death and resurrection of Christ himself.” (Murray, p. 224)

“They who imagine that gratuitous righteousness is given us by him, apart from newness of life, shamefully rend Christ asunder.” (John Calvin, Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, at Romans 6:1)

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church