Posts by Philip Ryken

Posts by

In the film The Empire of the Sun , there is a vivid depiction of desperate thirst. In the chaos of World War II in China, the young son of a wealthy British expatriate is separated from his family. There is no one to care for him. The boy returns to his home and lives for a while on whatever food...
“It is finished.” (John 19:30) Have you ever left a project unfinished? Our lives are filled with projects that we have never quite managed to finish. We have half-read books on our shelves, half-eaten meals in our refrigerators, and half-finished laundry on the floor in our bedrooms. Most of us...
One of the first people that I hope to meet in heaven is the Scottish theologian Thomas Boston. I admire the man for the depth of his theology; Jonathan Edwards said that Boston's work on the covenants distinguished him as a "truly great divine." I also admire for the breadth of his writing: twelve...
Thomas Boston is one of my favorite authors. Through his sermons, memoirs, and other writings, the prolific theologian and humble pastor of a small rural church in the Scottish border country has become one of the pastors of my soul. I admire Boston for his spiritual devotion--what Boston himself...
Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? A s we contemplate the way that God works in the world, He teaches us the right way to live. We learn to praise God for prosperity and trust God through adversity. We learn to live a God-fearing life that is free from...
I t is one thing to say that we believe in the sovereignty of God, but it's another thing to live that out in a world that often seems meaningless. No sooner has the Preacher told us to consider the works of God than he struggles with some of the implications of God's sovereignty. Remember, the...
T rusting in the sovereign goodness of God helps us know how to respond to all the joys and trials of life. Whether we are having a good day or a bad day, there is always a way for us to glorify God. So the Preacher says: "In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider:...
One of the first people that I hope to meet in heaven is the Scottish theologian Thomas Boston.[1] I admire the man for the depth of his theology; Jonathan Edwards said that Boston's work on the covenants distinguished him as a "truly great divine."[2] I also admire for the breadth of his writing:...
A seasonal quotation from Sermons of St. Bernard on Advent and Christmas : "Who is this Virgin so reverently saluted by the angel? and so lowly as to be espoused to a carpenter? Beautiful commingling of virginity with humility! That soul is in no small degree pleasing to God, in whom humility...
Before I had my own email address (remember the good old days?), I warned in one of my Windows on the World that the internet would make pornography pervasive. Now we are living a depraved new world, in which sexually explicit material is the most common and most financially profitable content...
iii.This communion which the saints have with Christ, doth not make them in any wise partakers of the substance of His Godhead; or to be equal with Christ in any respect: either of which to affirm is impious and blasphemous. Nor doth their communion one with another, as saints, take away, or...
ii. Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which...
ii. Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which...
i. All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their Head, by His Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with Him in His grace, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other's gifts and graces, and are obliged to the...
i. All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their Head, by His Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with Him in His grace, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other's gifts and graces, and are obliged to the...
iv. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it; by falling into some special sin, which woundeth the conscience, and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation; by God's withdrawing...
iv. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it; by falling into some special sin, which woundeth the conscience, and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation; by God's withdrawing...
iii.This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith but that a true believer may wait long and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary...
ii. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation, the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made, the testimony of the Spirit...
i. Although hypocrites, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions: of being in the favor of God and estate of salvation; which hope of theirs shall perish: yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to...
iii. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. The Confession has...
ii. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man; yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part; whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. The first section of Chapter...
i. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is...
i. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is...
i. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is...
vi. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins, does blind and harden, from them He not only withholds His grace whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts; but sometimes also withdraws the gifts which...
v. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts,...
iv. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful...
ii. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, He ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently. iii. God, in His...
i. God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise...
Editor's Note: In the coming months, reformation21 will be reprinting some of our classic articles. This month's selection comes from January 2002. Shortly before college I read Mortimer Adler's little classic How to Read a Book . That may sound like an odd title. After all, how could somebody read...
Editor's Note: In the coming months, reformation21 will be reprinting some of our classic articles. This month's selection comes from January 2002. Shortly before college I read Mortimer Adler's little classic How to Read a Book . That may sound like an odd title. After all, how could somebody read...
Fire and water. That's what my friend went through when her Philadelphia apartment building was devastated by fire. First came the fire and the smoke. Fortunately, even though it happened in the middle of the night, there was enough time for everyone to get out of the building safely. Then came the...
Revelation 12 contains mysterious symbols with seemingly unfathomable meanings. One is reminded of Ambrose Bierce's famous definition of Revelation as "a famous book in which St John the Divine concealed all that he knew. The revealing is done by the commentators, who know nothing." Here we read...
The apostle Paul is well known for writing letters with an indicative/imperative structure--his New Testament epistles. The indicative comes first, as Paul tells us what God has done for us in Christ. The imperative comes next. In this section of the epistle, which often begins with the word "...
I saw them over the forest: two golden eagles, cavorting in the wind. When I first spied them they were still low enough to identify, and they flapped from time to time in order to stay aloft. But the eagles were rising. Drawn upwards by unseen currents of air, they were determined to reach the...
So far, so good. At a time of personal desperation, when his life was hanging in the balance, Hezekiah threw himself on the mercy of God and prayed that he would not die, but live. God heard the king's prayer and delivered him from death, adding fifteen years to his life. But then King Hezekiah...
To the Glory of God is the title of a new 40-day devotional through the Book of Romans, featuring daily readings from the Bible and from James Boice's masterful four-volume commentary. Published by Baker, the devotional was put together ingeniously by D. Marion Clark, who served with Dr. Boice in...
When Paul wrote about love in 1 Corinthians 13, he was not trying to give people something nice to read at weddings (although it is nice to read at weddings). Instead, he was trying desperately to show a church full of self-centered Christians that there is a better way to live-not just on your...
The plagues that God brought upon Egypt were designed to defeat the gods and goddesses of the Egyptian pantheon. For example, by turning the dust into bugs (Exod. 8:16-19), God was claiming his authority over the very soil of Egypt, and thus over Geb, the god of the ground. In displaying his power...
The plenty of the harvest is inversely proportional to the number of harvesters. "The laborers are few," Jesus said (Luke 10:2). Not many people are willing to do the hard labor of the gospel: sowing seeds of salvation by sharing the good news, or gathering people in by leading them to Christ. We...
What is the meaning of the miracle in Luke 9:10-17, when Jesus fed more than five thousand people? The most obvious meaning of this miracle is that God will provide. As he provided for his people in the wilderness, so he will provide for us--not in the same miraculous way, perhaps, but by the same...
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh with a simple demand: "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert' " (Exod. 5:1). These two brothers approached Pharaoh with the strong confidence of a courageous faith. In the words of...
Each year Tenth Presbyterian Church is pleased to host one of the Simeon Trust's Workshops on Biblical Exposition (also sponsored by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals). The workshop is a profitable time not just because of the teaching during the main sessions, but also because of the...
Our friend Mike Milton (now president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina) has just published a book called Small Things, Big Things: Inspiring Stories of Everyday Grace (P&R). Dr. Milton has a keen eye for seeing God at work in daily life. Readers will benefit from...
A passage from this morning's devotions struck home as a verse for the American church, which today seems so prone to be fearful of various politicians and political movements, and of forces are conspiring against the church. The prophet Isaiah reminds us to fear God alone, and to be careful of...
"From self-conceit and vanity and boasting, from delight in supposed success and superiority, raise us to the modesty and humility of true sense and taste and reality; and from all the harms and hindrances of offensive manners and self-assertion; Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord...
After a brief hiatus -- okay, it has been eight months -- I return to Dr. Ridding's litany for pastors: "From weariness in continuing struggles, from despondency in failure and disappointment, from over-burdened sense of unworthiness, from morbid fancies of imaginary back-slidings, raise us to a...
As always, I was deeply blessed by special services of worship celebrating the birth (and life and death and resurrection) of Jesus the Christ. Of particular joy and comfort this year were the following verse from Paul Gerhardt (one of the absolute best hymn-writers): Hark! a voice from yonder...
Calvin continues his critique of Catholicism by applying a biblical definition of "sacrament" to the Roman rite of penance. He begins with a clear and careful distinction between public repentance, as it was practiced in the early church, and the private absolution offered through the so-called...