Q. 29. What are the punishments of sin in the world to come?
A. The punishments of sin in the world to come, are everlasting separation from the comfortable presence of God, and most grievous torments in soul and body, without intermission, in hell-fire forever.
Q. 30. Doth God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God doth not leave all men to perish in the estate of sin and misery, into which they fell by the breach of the first covenant, commonly called the covenant of works; but of his mere love and mercy delivereth his elect out of it, and bringeth them into an estate of salvation by the second covenant, commonly called the covenant of grace.
Q. 31. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.
Q. 32. How is the grace of God manifested in the second covenant?
A. The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that he freely provideth and offereth to sinners a mediator, and life and salvation by him; and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in him, promiseth and giveth his Holy Spirit to all his elect, to work in them that faith, with all other saving graces; and to enable them unto all holy obedience, as the evidence of the truth of their faith and thankfulness to God, and as the way which he hath appointed them to salvation.
To affirm true conversion implies that there is also false conversion. Put simply, there is such a thing as non-saving faith. Not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” has entered the narrow gate (Matt. 7:21). People may know the truth and may have felt grief regarding their sin, but it is a selfish sorrow over what their sin has caused them to suffer, not how it has offended a holy God. The most stark example of a false conversion we have in Scripture is that of Judas Iscariot. In a counterfeit conversion, there is no death to self, no submission to the lordship of Christ, no taking up a cross, no obedience in following Christ, no fruit of repentance–only empty words, shallow feelings, and barren religious activities. On the contrary, with a true conversion sin is abhorred, the world renounced, pride crushed, self surrendered, faith exercised, Christ seen as precious, and the cross embraced as one’s only saving hope. more
Few men appreciate long articles on how to behave—especially as to how we ought to treat our wives, so here, based on Ephesians 5, are our duties summed up in terms of their pattern and their practice.
Christ is our pattern. Our basic precept for marriage is, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church” (Eph. 5:25a). Following Christ’s pattern of loving His bride, each of us is to love his wife in these ways:
- Absolutely. Christ gives “Himself” for His bride—His total self (v. 25). He holds nothing back. That is obvious from what He has done (think of Calvary), is doing (think of His constant intercession in heaven), and will do (think of His Second Coming). So we too are called to radical, absolute giving of ourselves to our wives in authentic love.
- Realistically and purposely. Christ goes on loving the church, despite her spots and wrinkles, so that He can present her perfect to His Father in the Great Day (vv. 26–27). Our love must be both realistic (remembering our wives are sinners just like us) and purposeful (aiming for their holiness).
- Sacrificially. Christ nourishes and cherishes His bride at His own expense (vv. 28–29). So ought we husbands treat our wives at our own expense with the same care that we treat our bodies. If you get something in your eye, you give it immediate, tender care. Do you treat your wife with that same care when she is hurting?
How should we practice this pattern?
Show great interest in your wife as a person. Care about her. Ask her how her day went and how the kids behaved today. Ask her about her dreams, fears, and frustrations. Learn to listen so that she opens up the more.
Pray for your wife privately and with her. Lay out her needs before God. Be earnest in praying for her spiritual growth, and for relief in physical and emotional difficulties. Let her feel your strength and your tenderness on her behalf at God’s throne of grace.
Love your wife lavishly. Love her as she is—faults included. Please her (1 Cor. 7:33). Respect and honor her, and treat her tenderly (1 Peter 3:7). Tell her every day how much you love her. Shower her with affection. Cherish her as God’s special gift to you.
Heap praise on her. Tell her how beautiful and wonderful she is in your eyes. Be intimate, specific, creative, and repetitive in your compliments. Compliment her kindness, her smile, her dress, her hair, and a thousand other things. Compliment her with affection in your voice, with love in your eyes, and with arms of embrace. Praise her in the presence of others (Prov. 31:28). Never allow the children to speak disrespectfully about her.
Learn what your wife enjoys. Does she enjoy walking together? Walk with her. Eating out? Take her out. Learn to love what she loves as much as possible. Cultivate shared friendship and interests. The more you find to do in common, usually the better your marriage will be.
Provide your wife with biblical, tender, clear servant leadership, not ruthless authoritarianism. Following Christ as your pattern, delight in serving her (Matt. 20:25–26). Be the spiritual leader of your wife and children. Be the father-shepherd, a gentle giant in the home.
Never forget the differences between men and women; become an expert in knowing and responding to the way your wife is. Never allow any relationship to take priority over your friendship with your wife. Never criticize her over small things; as for big things, do it with great tenderness and love, at the right time, and in the right setting. Never compare your wife unfavorably to other people, or criticize her in front of other people. Never fail to give your wife sufficient freedom so that she can strive to be her own kind of a Proverbs 31 woman. Do not smother her or try to control her personality. Never stop being a courteous gentleman.
In conclusion, remember this: if both you and your wife put God first, each other second, and yourselves third, you will be guaranteed a truly blessed marriage.
I know wonderful people who say they’ve been drawn closer to God through reading The Shack. When people feel closer to God, I wholeheartedly rejoice. But I fear some readers (not all, by any means) may feel closer to a God who is different than the God revealed in Scripture. My concern is for those who think they are coming closer to God, when they may actually be altering the biblical revelation of God into a form that is more pleasant to them because He seems less holy and fearsome. If that’s the case, then they’re not closer to God at all, just closer to a false God, an idol constructed in the image of our contemporary need for acceptance, and forged by our resistance to repentance, submission, and accountability.
A. First, we must from the heart call upon the one true God only, who has revealed Himself in His Word, for all that He has commanded us to pray. Second, we must thoroughly know our need and misery, so that we may humble ourselves before God. Third, we must rest on this firm foundation that, although we do not deserve it, God will certainly hear our prayer for the sake of Christ our Lord, as He has promised us in His Word.
 Ps. 145:18-20; John 4:22-24; Rom. 8:26, 27; James 1:5; I John 5:14, 15; Rev. 19:10.  II Chron. 7:14; 20:12; Ps. 2:11; 34:18; 62:8; Is. 66:2; Rev. 4.  Dan. 9:17-19; Matt. 7:8; John 14:13, 14; 16:23; Rom. 10:13; James 1:6.