James P. Boyce
Prayer and a Biblical Educator
James Petigru Boyce was a fine scholar and very popular in his ways. He received his college education when it was not unusual for students and faculty to meet for prayer every evening. The spiritual welfare of Boyce became of great concern to some of his fellow students, and he became the object of special prayer that his gifts and graces might all be consecrated to Christ.
Shortly after one of these times of special prayer and fasting, Boyce took a ship from New York to Charleston, South Carolina. During this long journey, it was observed that he spent a great deal of time in his stateroom. A friend discovered that he was reading his Bible, and after much discourse together, Boyce came under deep conviction. Upon reaching the city, he found that his sister was also concerned with her spiritual welfare and that a close friend had just made his profession of faith.
Dr. Richard Fuller was preaching in the city with great effect, and a spiritual awakening was under way. Boyce’s conviction of sin increased, and he felt himself a ruined sinner and looked to the merits of Jesus Christ alone for his salvation. On April 22, 1846, he was baptized on that profession of faith. Boyce graduated from Brown University in 1847 and studied theology at Princeton from 1848 to 1851.
Dr. Dale R. Hart from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, p. 1623
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Tag Archives: faith
James P. Boyce
The most often-used Hebrew word for love in the OT is ’āhaḇ (H157), which speaks generally of desire, affection, or inclination, “a strong emotional attachment to and desire either to possess or to be in the presence of the object.” ’āhaḇ has an extremely wide range of meanings, so wide, in fact, that its some 250 occurrences cover just about everything from “God’s infinite affection for his people to the carnal appetites of a lazy glutton.”
Unlike the Greek words philos (G5384, “esteem, tender affection”) and agapē (G26, “selfless, sacrificial love”), which differentiate kinds of love, Hebrew does not do this quite as clearly. While other words do show somewhat differing ideas—dôḏ (H1730), for example, speaks strongly of sexual affection (Pro_7:18; Son_1:2; Son_1:4; Son_7:12)—for the most part Hebrew words for love are general.
Like the word faith, therefore, the real crux of love (’āhaḇ) lies in its object. A man can love “pleasure” and “wine,” for example, but these will bring him to poverty (Pro_21:17). Likewise, it can refer to sexual lust, as Absalom had for his sister Tamar (2Sa_13:1). The prophets spoke of the wrong object of love when God’s people committed spiritual adultery with pagan gods (Jer_22:20; Jer_22:22; Eze_16:36; Eze_23:5; Hos_2:5-13).
On the positive side, examples of good love and affection include: a father for his son, such as Abraham had for Isaac (Gen_22:2); a husband for his wife, such as Elkanah’s love for Hannah (1Sa_1:5); and one friend for another, as was true of David and Jonathan (1Sa_20:17). Certainly one of the greatest objects of love in our lives should be wisdom: “Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee” (Pro_4:6). Another is truth coupled with peace (Zec_8:19).
Still another, and most notably, is God’s Word. ’Āhaḇ appears no less than twelve times in Psalms 119 to demonstrate the psalmist’s love for the Word (Psa_119:140). It was his “meditation all the day” (Psa_119:97) because he loved its commandments (Psa_119:47-48; Psa_119:127), law (Psa_119:97; Psa_119:113; Psa_119:163; Psa_119:165), testimonies (Psa_119:119; Psa_119:167), and precepts (Psa_119:159). We should also interject that He loved God’s name (Psa_119:132).
This should encourage us to be conscious of the objects of our love.
Scriptures for Study: What are the objects of love (positive or negative) in the following verses: Psa_4:2; Psa_11:5; Psa_26:8; Psa_40:16; Pro_22:11?
Previously, we mentioned the Hebrew seḏeq (H6664), which primarily speaks of conforming to a moral, ethical standard or norm, and is often connected to the term justice. As noted there, God is not only righteous in Himself—He lives up to the perfect moral and ethical standard of Himself—but He also produces righteousness in those whom He saves through Christ.
The question arises, however, how exactly does God produce this righteousness? Coupled with God’s grace is faith. In the NT, in fact, these two words appear together in twelve verses (most notably, Rom_5:2 and Eph_2:8-9). In contrast, the OT contains a unique word for faith, the Hebrew ’emûnāh (H530, ), often also translated truth. This word comes from the root ’āman (H539), a verb whose core concept is “certainty,” which is graphically underscored in Heb_11:1, which, of course, was written to Christian Jews. That verse declares that the foundation, the very essence of faith is an absolute confidence that while we can’t see something, we still know that it is real and that it is ours. Pictures in the OT include the certainty of a building’s “pillars” (2Ki_18:16), building a “sure” house (1Sa_2:35), and driving “a nail in a sure place” (Isa_22:23).
Spiritually, then, ’āman is the believing and receiving of something as being true and sure, as Abram “believed in the LORD; and [God] counted it to him for righteousness” (Gen_15:6; cf. Rom_4:3-5; Rom_4:9; Gal_3:6-14). A key OT text is Hab_2:4—“The just shall live by his faith [’emûnāh]”—the background of which is the conceit and arrogance of the Babylonians. “Lifted up” is ‘āpal (H6075), appearing only here in the OT and literally meaning “to swell”; the Babylonians were, indeed, swollen, puffed up in their pride and self-sufficiency. In stark contrast, God declares that the righteous person will live by faith. So pivotal is this principle that it is quoted three times in the NT. By quoting this text in Rom_1:17, Paul says salvation is by faith, in Gal_3:11 he emphasizes that that salvation is not by works, and in Heb_10:38 he adds that we now live by faith in all things. We will continue these thoughts tomorrow.
Scriptures for Study: What picture of certainty do we see in 2Sa_4:4 (“nurse” is derived from ’āman). What is the object of certainty in Psa_19:7 (“sure” is derived from ’āman)?
yāša‘ [and] yešû‘āh
One of the key themes of the Bible, of course, is salvation. Nevertheless, despite not only the prominence of this theme but also the clarity of what it is and how it comes, there seems in our day to be much confusion about it. An understanding of these words, however, along with yesterday’s study of sin, clears up all question.
As most Hebrew nouns come from a verb, the verb here is yāša‘ (H3467), which appears about 200 times and means “to save, help, deliver, or defend.” The “underlying idea of this verb is bringing to a place of safety or broad pasture as opposed to a narrow strait.” This idea actually comes from the same Arabic root that means “to make wide or sufficient,” since “wide” implies freedom from stress and encumbrance. Such change, however, demands deliverance, and such deliverance must come from outside the individual. The Septuagint usually renders yāša‘ as the Greek sōzō (G4982), “to deliver or preserve from danger or destruction.”
A vivid example of yāša‘ is Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (Exo_14:30), accomplished, of course, solely by God. Even when deliverance came through some human instrumentality, it was still only by God’s power, as when Gideon saved God’s people from the Midianites only because God empowered him (Jdg_6:14-16).
From what, then, does salvation deliver us? What is its substance? Salvation is deliverance from spiritual death. Because of Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden (Gen_2:17), “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Eze_18:4; also Rom_5:12). It is, therefore, Christ alone who came to “save his people from their sins” (Mat_1:21).
Further, no verse of Scripture is clearer on the source of salvation (yešû‘āh, H3444) than is Jon_2:9 : “Salvation is of the LORD.” From beginning to end, and everything in between, salvation is all from God. It is not because of our partial merit or good works (Tit_3:5), not because we “said a prayer,” not because of our own “foreseen faith”— even the faith to believe the gospel is God-given (Eph_2:8-9; Joh_6:65; Php_1:29; Act_18:27). Rather, “Salvation is of the Lord,” writes Spurgeon. “The Lord has to apply it, to make the unwilling willing, to make the ungodly godly, and bring the vile rebel to the feet of Jesus, or else salvation will never be accomplished.”
Scriptures for Study: God continues to deliver us on a daily basis. Read Psalms 20, noting God’s deliverance from enemies.
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain,” 1 Corinthians 15:14.
All over Southeast Asia are thousands of huge, tall monuments called Chedi. Buried deep inside these gold covered mounds of concrete and plaster is a tiny fragment of Buddha. One may contain a couple of hairs, another, a tiny piece of bone, minuscule pieces of a dead man who did good and promoted simple living. But any one of these monuments can be destroyed in an instant by a flood or earthquake, and the relic inside would blow away with the wind or wash away in a flood.
Praise God that Christ is risen from the dead! There are no golden monuments that contain bones or hair or any other portion of Jesus, not even a blood stain, for He ascended to Heaven with all His earthly body parts. There He lives waiting for the day when His Father tells Him to gather His children. And there He loves and cares and intercedes for all believers. Here, He lives inside the heart of every believer as a testament of life.
Perhaps, if Christ had not risen, we, too, would build monuments to honor His death. We too would worship a relic of His body. Worry not my friend—He is not dead—He is risen!
Our faith is not in vain, we are absolutely sure that we, too, will be raised from this earth to our heavenly home!
The Greatest Giver
“For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living,” Mark 12:44.
Does God need anything? Is He somehow deficient if we do not obey Him, or is He completely self-sufficient? I hope you know the answer to these questions. By faith, we can say, “No, God needs nothing. He is absolutely self-sufficient.” Then, we must follow-up that question with this one: “Why does He ask us to give of our time, energy and money to Him?” If He owns everything, even the “cattle upon a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10), then why would He request us to share what we have with Him?
In today’s text, I wonder if the poor widow who gave two small copper coins ever had a similar thought. “Surely, the God of creation does not need me to give this penny.” But she gave her offering anyway, and what Jesus said next gives us insight as to why God asks our financial involvement in His work. Some very rich people gave large offerings out of their prosperity, but Jesus said that what the poor widow gave was more than what the rich people gave. Jesus opens our eyes to see that what God wants most is our trust. He absolutely does not need our financial contributions, but when we do give God our time, energy and resources, it is a sign of faith and dependence upon Him. The more we give to God, the more we depend upon Him to care for our every need. The poor widow was “all in”—she was 100% dependent upon God to care for her, and God was pleased.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you give God one hundred percent today?
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” Hebrews 11:6.
Since everything was created by Christ for His pleasure, and since faith is the only way to bring Him pleasure, Christians would do well to understand what faith really is.
God working in us to bring about His good pleasure means that to live by faith we must surrender to God and let Him work His own pleasure out in our lives (Phil. 2:12, 13).
Faith is not something we can work-up, it is God working in us. Even in salvation, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9). “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:16, 20).
The faith and the grace is all of Christ that He may receive all the glory. Faith, hope and love are supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. Surrender, relax, enjoy the ride and leave the driving to Jesus.
For whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Rom 14:23). How much of our lives will not reap rewards because it was not of faith?
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” Romans 5:2.
In twelfth century Italy, there was a man named Faninus who, in opposition to the dominant religion of the day, became a true Christ follower. He decided to share Christ with the world no matter who persecuted him or how terrible the consequences might be. Consequently, he was arrested for heresy and sentenced to die. On the day of his execution, it was recorded that he appeared remarkably cheerful. One observer said, “It is strange you should appear so merry upon such an occasion, when Jesus Christ himself, just before his death, was in such agonies, that he sweated blood and water.” Faninus replied, “Christ sustained all manner of pangs and conflicts, with hell and death, on our accounts; and thus, by his sufferings, freed those who really believe in him from the fear of them.” Faninus was then strangled and burned to ashes. (Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, page 89.)
True Christ followers have nothing to fear. There is one person in the universe who has the power to cast us, body and soul, into hell, but through Christ, we have been justified by faith and are now at peace with God. That means the child of God is untouchable. Even in tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness and peril, there is absolutely nothing that will be able to separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:35). When difficulties arise, we should cling strongly to our Lord in faith, knowing that God has a plan for every circumstance that befalls us and glorify God until the day we die.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you glorify God in your tribulations today?
A most interesting and intriguing question is that reverberating from the lips of the Roman magistrate Pontius Pilate who said to our Lord, “what is truth?” That question ever remains the point of division among men. Pseudo-scientists reject elements of faith in search of a truth they will not find. Philosophers offer variant, opposing viewpoints of what they think is truth. Religious leaders propagate diametrically opposing views all in the name of truth. Worse than all the others, they purport that the truth they espouse comes from God. Surely, the fierceness of judgment is ever increasing. But back to the question, “What is truth?”
Some say there is mathematical truth; medical truth, moral truth, religious truth, historical truth, etc. Why do these divisions exist? They are man-made, and exist mainly due to man’s desire to achieve an ecumenical mastery of life on the false premise that he is on an evolving scale of existence, without acknowledging his Creator. In that rejection, he is allowed to proceed to the ultimate global disaster by the very grace of the Creator he insists does not exist. Let it be underscored that truth is truth no matter what discipline of life it primarily affects, and that all truth comes from God.
Jesus asked our Heavenly Father to “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17. It is God Who created and set in order every aspect of creation, thus it is His Word that is the ultimate and prevailing truth. Thus did Jesus say to His disciples of then and now, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
So, where does all the variant lines of so-called knowledge purporting to be truth originate? Jesus plainly identifies them as coming from Satan, saying, “. . .He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. . .” John 8:44. On the other hand, we are told of the Holy Spirit that is given to God’s people, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” I John 2:27.
Accordingly, the Spirit of God is altogether true, and teaches His people in all things that are true! It is the Word of God that is true; hence, the Spirit of God impresses upon searching hearts the unity, symmetry, and harmony of magnificent truth presented in His Holy Word. All who live in this manner walk in truth, not in total separation from the flesh, but in spite of it. I fully commit to these lines of thought because that is the kind of Christian I am!
“And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs,” Mark 7:28.
One day during Jesus’ earthly ministry, a Gentile woman humbly came to Jesus begging Him to heal her daughter who was demon possessed. Jesus responded with a statement meant to test her faith, instructing her that His immediate task was to enlighten and correct the wayward Jews and that it was not time to begin His ministry to the Gentiles. “Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs” (Mark 7:27). The woman’s response was remarkably humble and persistent. She said, “Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs” (verse 28). When Jesus saw the woman’s faith, He honored her request and healed her daughter. Jesus was focused on the task at hand but was available to extend grace and healing to this woman. She believed He had the power to heal, and she persisted in faith.
We have all been in situations that seemed hopeless. Like the distraught Syrophoenician woman, we must come to the realization that we are absolutely helpless to control our circumstances and in desperate need of God’s intervention. Similarly, we should come to Him with humble persistence, acknowledging that it would only take a few “crumbs” (verse 28) of God’s power to deliver us in our times of need. Jesus honors the simple, persistent faith of those in need.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you come to God today in simple, persistent faith?