Featured Items Ritchie Christian Media

August 2005

From the editor: Character Studies in the Assembly (6)
J Grant

The First Book of Samuel (3)
J Riddle

The Offerings (4)
J Paton

Eternal Punishment (3)
E W Rogers

Book Review

Be not ignorant (6)
R Catchpole

Question Box

The Lord’s Entry to Jerusalem
J Gibson

Notebook: The Epistle of Jude
J Grant

How People met the Saviour (2)
W Ferguson

Samson (1)
D Parrack

Whose faith follow: Mr David Rea (1845-1916)
J G Hutchinson

Jesus...sat thus on the well (Jn 4.6)
W Alexander

Into All The World: Witnessing (1)
L McHugh

With Christ

The Lord’s Work & Workers


Question Box

Can you give any help as to why Joseph is the only patriarch of whom it is not recorded that God spoke to him directly or by dreams etc?

There is no occasion recorded in the life of Joseph when God spoke directly to him as He had done with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but the dreams he had in Genesis 37 were undoubtedly a revelation to him of God’s purpose for his life. The dreams about his brethren and parents bowing down to him were clearly the revelation of God to Joseph and his family. The two dreams were not some kind of boyish fancies, but the word of God. This I think is borne out in Psalm 105.19: "The word of the Lord tried him". In all his trials he could easily have wondered if the word of the Lord about his advancement was going to be fulfilled. It is interesting that Joseph is the only patriarch with whom we find the Spirit of God acting. This no doubt is significant. Pharaoh said, "Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is" (Gen 41.38). The Spirit of God was speaking and acting through Joseph in giving Pharaoh the meaning of his dream and enabling him (Joseph) to give practical advice as to God’s plan, though the king, being an idolater, only thought of the "spirit of the gods".

Joseph, as a man that feared God, seemed also to have God-given discernment. God chose to guide the life of Joseph and fulfil His purpose in a different way from that in which He may have guided the earlier patriarchs. Joseph, being a man of discernment, knew that in all that he suffered God meant it unto good for his family and for the preservation of the people of Israel. It is true we never find God speaking directly to Joseph, but it can be seen from his life that he knew enough about the character and mind of God so as to fear Him and thus avoid the temptations of the wife of Potiphar. Where did he learn this? From his father Jacob initially no doubt, who would have taught his children something of the holiness of God and what constitutes sin in the sight of God.

John J Stubbs

In view of John 3.8, is it possible that some believers may not know the date on which they were saved?

In the preceding verses of John 3, the Lord Jesus has spoken ofi) being born again (or from above) in order to see the kingdom of God and thenii) being born of water and of the Spirit in order to enter into the kingdom of God (vv. 3,5).

Now, in v.8, the Lord Jesus, as so often He did, uses nature to illustrate this spiritual truth. The new birth by the Holy Spirit is very much like the action of the wind. This is indeed a very apt illustration, because the Greek word for "spirit" is pneuma which also means "wind".

"The wind bloweth" - this is the fact; "thou hearest the sound thereof" - this is evidence of the fact that the wind is blowing: "but canst not tell (or "but knowest not" - RV) whence it cometh, and whither it goeth" - this is the mystery behind the fact.

So it is with reference to the sovereign activity of the Holy Spirit; "so is every one that is born of the Spirit". The individual experiences a divine activity which is altogether beyond his capacity to understand fully or to explain. The one born again knows that he has new life and enjoys the evidences of it, but how the Holy Spirit operates upon the soul, subdues the will and creates the new life within, remain a mystery.

I know not how the Spirit moves
Convincing men of sin;
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.
But, I know whom I have believed . . .

- Daniel W. Whittle

All of this is true in the case of every soul born again of the Spirit, irrespective of whether the individual concerned knows the date on which he was saved, or not.

N.B. Mr John J Stubbs dealt with the question, "Should every Christian be able to give the time and place of their salvation?" in the June, 2005 issue of "Believer’s Magazine". The present writer endorses the views expressed in the answer to that question.

David E West


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