Bulletin Edition February 2023


A certain man was drafted into the French army in the early-1800s. A friend volunteered to serve in his place. The substitution was accepted. The substitute was killed in a battle. Later, the first man was drafted again. He went to the draft board and told them that they could not draft him because he was already dead, having died on the battlefield. They of course did not believe him, for he was very much alive and standing before them. However, he insisted that they would find in their records that he was dead. They looked in their records, found his name, and read beside his name the name of the substitute who had died in his place and stead. The case was sent to the emperor, who examined the evidence and then pronounced: “Through a substitute, this man has not only fought, but has died in his country’s service. No man can die more than once. Therefore, the law has no claim on him.”

This principle of substitution is found also in the Holy Scriptures, especially in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy. This Scripture declares that Jesus Christ is the substitute for “many” whom God identifies as “My people”. God took their sins from them and laid them on Christ their substitute, who suffered God’s wrath against their sins, and died in their place and stead. All for whom Jesus died are justified and healed by God. It is as though God says of each of them, “Through a substitute, this person has died for his sins. No one can die more than once. Therefore, the law has no claim on this person.”

Friend, you and I and every other person is a sinner before God (Romans 3:23). We all deserve the penalty of death for our offenses (Romans 6:23).

But if you believe the gospel or good news of Jesus Christ, you are assured that you already died for your sins in the person of Jesus Christ your substitute, and that you are justified by God. God is righteous, and therefore does not punish the same sins twice. No one who has Jesus Christ for his substitute will suffer the penalty of death – for such a one has already suffered death’s penalty in his substitute!

Despite the Holy Scriptures’ emphatic declaration that Jesus Christ is the substitute for the “many” who are called by God “My people” (Isaiah 53:8, 11, 12), some say He is the substitute of all, including those who are not God’s people. Then they say that those who do not believe in their substitute will be punished for their sins.

They thereby commit two grave errors.

First, they deny the very principle of substitution, and that Jesus Christ is truly the substitute for those for whom He died. For when a substitute performs the obligation of another, the one who owed the obligation must not be required to perform it again.

Second, they would make God to be vindictive and unjust. For if God should punish those for whom Jesus Christ is their substitute, He unjustly demands that the same obligation be performed twice – first by the substitute who performed the obligation, second by the one who owed the obligation.

It is as though they make God say, “Although Jesus Christ is your substitute and suffered and died for your sins, I will make you suffer and die for your sins again if you do not believe in Him.”

God forbid! God is just, and Christ is truly a substitute, and all who have Him for their substitute are justified by God through Him (Isaiah 53:11). No one having Jesus Christ for his substitute will suffer and die for his sins, for he has already done so in his substitute.

We may know that Jesus Christ is our substitute if we rightly and faithfully answer the question in the first verse of Isaiah chapter fifty-three: “Who has believed our report?” – this glorious gospel of Jesus Christ the substitute!

Is Jesus Christ your substitute?

– Daniel E. Parks

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and gain I say, Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

Just so, “sorrowful—yet always rejoicing,” says Paul, speaking of his own experience. The believer’s joy does not exclude sorrow, but . . .
  attends it,
  sustains under it,
  and raises above it.

Joy in the Lord should be constant—for He is the same.
There is as much ground for joy in Him in the winter of adversity—as in the summer of prosperity.
He is as good when he chides us—as when He comforts us.
He is as gracious when He lays us low—as when He raises us up.
He is as kind when He takes away—as when He gives.

If our joy springs chiefly from creature good and agreeable circumstances—then it must be fluctuating at the best, and at times it will entirely dry up. But if our chief joy is in God, then the spring of it never fails!

“When all created streams are dried,
 His fullness is the same!”

Observe, my soul, that joy in the Lord is not only encouraged—but commanded. After once giving the admonition, the apostle says, “Again I say, Rejoice.” The Lord would have His children . . .
  happy in His love,
  restful under the shelter of His wings,
  and peaceful in the midst of storms.

Seek then to know more of Him, live upon His fullness, dwell on His unchanging grace—and so will you be joyful in Him even in the midst of tribulation!

Author unknown

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” 2 Corinthians 4:18

The men of this world fix their gaze on things below—and their desires are bounded by the limits of time and sense.

But the people of God look beyond the things that are seen—to the things that are not seen; for they know that “what is seen is temporary—but what is unseen is eternal!”

My soul, be it your employ to look by faith at the things which cannot be seen by the eye of sense. Turn away your eyes from beholding vanity—to the glorious realities of the world to come. Fix your gaze upon the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God—upon the inheritance which is incorruptible and undefiled, and that never fades away.

Look chiefly on eternal things
—and so will you be enabled rightly to view the things of earth, and safely to pass through the things which are temporal. All that is beautiful and pure of present things—you will then regard as emblems of the glorious realities to come. And all that is evil and sinful—you will loathe, as utterly opposed to the excellent things your affections are set upon!

Author unknown

“Rejoice evermore!” 1 Thessalonians 5:16

You have good reason to rejoice, dear reader—if Christ is yours, and you are His. For in Him you are blessed with all spiritual blessings; and with Him you will share the joy and glory of the eternal inheritance!

Your pathway here on earth may be one of difficulty and trial—yes, you may at times be called to drink deeply of the cup of sorrow. Still have you good reason to rejoice in your present possession and in your future prospects. To assist your joy, dwell less on your trials—and more on your mercies. Think what you are saved from:
  the curse of the law,
  the burden of guilt,
  the darkness of nature,
 the bondage of Satan,
  the dominion of sin, and
  the eternal prison of Hell!

Think what you are in possession of:
  the love of God,
  the spirit of adoption,
  a title to Heaven,
  and a fitness for it.

Think what you are traveling to:
  your Father’s house,
  your Savior’s presence,
  the society of just men made perfect,
  fullness of joy, and
  pleasures for evermore!

Author unknown

How ravishing is the thought!


Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love:
 therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.”
    Jeremiah 31:3

How ravishing is the thought of eternal love!
Try to drink it in–if you are a believer in Christ
you were loved before time began its cycles; in
that old eternity, before the earth was born, you
were beloved of the Lord!

You were dear to Jehovah’s heart when this great
world–the sun, the moon, the stars, slept in the
mind of God–like unborn forests in an acorn-cup.

He loved you with an everlasting and infinite love.
Rejoice in this and let your souls be glad. Never
forget that the special electing love of God is
the source of every blessing.

Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love:
 therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.”
    Jeremiah 31:3

These fugitive, transitory things


“The world passeth away and the lusts thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” 1 John 2:17

There is a reality in true religion, and indeed,
rightly viewed, a reality in nothing else. For every
other thing passes away like a dream of the night,
and comes to an end like a tale that is told. Now
you cannot say of a thing that passes away and
comes to an end—that it is real. It may have the
appearance of reality—when in fact it is but a shadow.

Money, jewels, pictures, books, furniture, securities,
are transitory. Money may be spent, jewels be lost,
books be burnt, furniture decay, pictures vanish by
time and age, securities be stolen.

Nothing is real but that which has an abiding substance.

Health decays,
strength diminishes,
beauty flees the cheek,
sight and hearing grow dim,
the mind itself gets feeble,
riches make to themselves wings and flee away,
children die,
friends depart,
old age creeps on,
and life itself comes to a close.

These fugitive, transitory things are then mere shadows.
There is no substance, no enduring substance in them. They
are for time, and are useful for a time. Like our daily food
and clothing, house and home—they support and solace us
in our journey through life. But there they stop—when life
ends they end with it.

But real religion—and by this I understand the work of God
upon the soul—abides in death and after death, goes with
us through the dark valley, and lands us safe in a blessed
eternity. It is, therefore, the only thing in this world of
which we can say that it is real.

“The world passeth away and the lusts thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” 1 John 2:17

 “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:16


In desiring a better country these ancient pilgrims wanted something heavenly, something that tasted of God, savored of God, smelt of God, and was given of God–a heavenly religion, a spiritual faith, a gracious hope, and a love shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit–something which came from heaven and led to heaven; which gave heavenly feelings, heavenly sensations, heavenly delights, and heavenly joys, whereby the heart was purified from the love of sin, carnality, and worldliness by having something sweeter to taste, better to love, and more holy to enjoy.

It is these heavenly visitations, droppings-in of the favor, goodness, and mercy of God, which keep the soul alive in its many deaths, sweeten it amid its many bitters, hold it up amid its many sinkings, and keep it from being drowned while conflicting with many waters.

A carnal mind has no taste for heavenly things, no sweet delight in the word of God; no delight in the Lord Jesus as revealing himself in the word; no delight in closet duties, secret meditation, searching the Scriptures, communion with God, or even in the company of God’s dear family. There must be a ‘heavenly element’ in the soul to understand, realize, enjoy, and delight in heavenly things. The Holy Spirit must have wrought in us a new heart, a new nature, capable of understanding, enjoying, and delighting in heavenly realities, as containing in them, that which is sweet and precious to the soul.

They desired, therefore, a better country, that is, a heavenly, a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God; where pleasures are at God’s right hand for evermore; where the pure river of the water of life ever flows; where the tree grows on which are found leaves for the healing of the nations; such a city as John describes in the book of Revelation, where all is happiness, harmony, and peace.

Heb. 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Faith lives in expectation of eternity, looking for that which God has promised. The life of faith is a life of hope, the hope of glory. Abraham sojourned here; but he lived for eternity. “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” That keeps things in perspective!

      “Heaven hath foundations,” wrote John Trapp, “earth hath none, but is hanged upon nothing, as Job speaketh. Hence things are said to be on earth, but in heaven.”

            The spies who went in to spy out the land with Joshua and Caleb saw nothing but giants in the land. They were terrified by what they saw. Abraham looked not at the giants but at the promise of God and fully expected God to fulfill his promise in spite of the giants. He believed God. He saw the same thing John saw, The New Jerusalem. He walked with it ever before him, seeing it as a City that hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God!

Faith’s Expectation

When God the Holy Spirit tells us that Abraham “looked for a city’, he does not mean for us to understand that Abraham was searching for that city, but that he expected it. He fully expected to enter into and take possession of the heavenly Jerusalem as a rightful heir to it. This was not a matter of presumption, but of faith. You see Abraham really did believe God. Do we?

      Has not God promised eternal life and heavenly glory to every sinner who trusts the Lord Jesus Christ? Indeed, he has (John 3:14-16). Does the Lord God not declare that every sinner washed in Christ’s blood and robed in his righteousness is worthy to enter into and take possession of the inheritance of the saints in heaven? He clearly does (Col. 1:12). It is, therefore, most reasonable that we should expect all the fullness of heavenly glory if we trust the Son of God, just as Abraham did.

The City’s Foundations

What are the foundations of that City? We are told that the foundations of the city have inscribed upon them the names of “the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:14). That is to say, the City of God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, is a city built upon that which the twelve apostles of Christ taught, the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in him.

      Heaven is a city built upon the foundation of God’s everlasting purpose of grace in Christ (Rom. 8:28-31; Eph. 1:3-14; 2 Tim. 1:9). The foundation of the City is God’s everlasting love for his elect, his eternal covenant of grace, his sovereign election, his absolute predestination, his unalterable Word, the precious blood of Christ, and his almighty, free grace. In a word, the foundations of the City are those foundations of grace and truth in Jesus Christ crucified (Eph. 2:20). Let us ever keep the City in sight! Don’t look at the giants in this dark land, but set your heart on things above (Col. 3:1-5, 15-17).

Don Fortner

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