All Articles For Ophoff, George

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Asceticism is from the Greek askeoo, to exercise, to strengthen through exercise. By the heathen the word was used by gymnastic exercises but by the fathers of the early church of moral self-discipline. Yet it would be a serious mistake to define asceticism simply as moral self-discipline. For moral self-discipline—the mortification of members which are upon the earth, the crucifixion of the works of the flesh—is a Christian duty enjoined by the Scriptures. It forms a part of the true conversion of man, the other part of which is the quickening of the new man, the sincere joy of heart...

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Moab was subdued under the hand of Israel. The deliverer through whom the Lord had wrought was Ehud. The victorious achievement of Israel’s faith was followed by a rest that lasted eighty years. “And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when (and) Ehud was dead.” It seems to be indicated in this verse that the eighty years of rest were the years of Ehud’s government or nearly so. There was rest in the land only as long as the people obeyed God. Obedience was maintained through the effort of the judge. The passing...

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If Deborah had definite and special significance for Israel and the kingdom of God in general, so too, Gideon (and for that matter all the heroes and prophets of God). Deborah was prophetess, who told the glories of Israel’s God, as revealed in all his marvelous redemptive works, and who thus anew united God’s believing people, instrumentally, on the foundation of the great principles of truth that, as was said, lay embedded in Israel’s history. Gideon and his band of three hundred—the hero cannot be dissociated from this band—was raised up and, prepared by the Lord to demonstrate of what...

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To bring out this significance, attention must be directed to the relaxation of the national bond and internal disorder that characterized the period of the judges. By the death of Joshua the people of Israel were deprived of their second national leader. After his death there subsisted in the nation a certain government, which is indicated by the name “elders.” They were not chosen by the people but were the born princes and representatives of the people. Their task was to preside and watch over the general interests of the nation and so to continue the rule of Moses and...

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As we saw, in the first three centuries of our Christian era, the Christians were intermittently persecuted. “All the pains, which iron and steel, fire and sword, rack and cross, wild beasts and beastly men could inflict,” were employed to terrorize God’s people into denying the name of Christ. But, so we saw, in 323 Constantine, the first Christian occupant of the throne of the Caesars, became the sole ruler of the Roman world, and the church was everywhere free from its enemies. Constantine ordered the governors in all the provinces to restore all confiscated property to the body of...

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“The Lord is with thee thou mighty hero.” Such, so we saw, was the Angel’s greeting to Gideon. Attention was directed to the might of this hero. His might, it was pointed out, was his living faith in Jehovah, Israel’s God and Savior, faith in His righteous and unchangeable mercy, in His willingness to forgive and His power to save His ill-deserving people that He might be feared. The faith of Gideon was living. As brought to fruition in him by the word of God, sanctified to his heart by the Spirit, it translated itself into action—faith without works is...

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Our first task is to define terms. In the abstract, we can speak of three kinds of human freedom, to wit, moral freedom, metaphysical freedom and psychological freedom. Moral freedom is to be defined as the ability of man—the natural man dead in his trespasses and sins—to do the right and (or) the wrong as he chooses. Metaphysical freedom has reference to the counsel and providence of God. Here the question is whether God’s counsel is the determining necessity of man’s deeds (works, words and thoughts) and thus whether these deeds proceed from the store of God’s sovereign providence. To...

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*Addess delivered on the occasion of the commencement exercises of our Theological Seminary. The kingdom of heaven has keys. Christ tells us so in saying to Peter, “I give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. . . .” Through this speech, He set the kingdom—His kingdom—before us under the image of a walled city with a gate that is locked and unlocked, opened and shut—opened to admit the friends, the rightful residents, and closed to shut out the enemy. In his vision, John sees this same kingdom—the holy Jerusalem—ascending out of heaven from God with its gates...

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Enormous, so we saw, was the panic that seized on Midian, when the trumpets sounded, the pitchers crashed, the battle-cry broke out and the torches blazed. The terror which seized Midian was the terror of God. The narrative brings this out. “And the Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow even throughout the host: and the host fled.” Let us pause here and delineate on the great principle of truth which this war of liberation, as thus far waged, is remarkably demonstrated. This truth received statement by the Lord Himself in the following language. “The people that are with...

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It is certainly a precarious business to maintain that human freedom and God’s sovereignty are contradictory, logically. For the mind of man is so constituted by God that it simply does not tolerate a logical contradiction. It can’t. And it may not. It is impossible to hold to two contrary propositions, contrary in relation to each other. Let us make this plain by returning to the two propositions in question. If I declare that man is sovereign in his working and that thus God is not sovereign, and if I believe what I say, I deny certainly that God is...

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