The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/study-guide-pilgrims-progress-2/
- Christian at the Cross:
Grace Abounding, 115:
I remember that one day as I was travelling into the country and musing on the wickedness and blasphemy of my heart, and considering of the enmity that was in me to God, that scripture came into my mind, He hath made peace by the blood of His Cross. By which I was made to see both again and again and again that day that God and my soul were friends by that blood: yea, I saw that the justice of God and my sinful soul could embrace and kiss each other through that blood. That was a good day tome; I hope I shall not forget it. I thought I could have spoken of His love and of His mercy to me that day to the very crows that sat upon the ploughed lands before me had they been capable to have understood me. Wherefore I said in my soul with much gladness, Well, I would I had apen and ink here and I would write this down before I go any farther, for surely I will not forget this forty years
- What walls run along side Christian’s path? What does the wall keep out? What does it keep in?
- What does Christian see when he comes to the top of the hill? Which hill is this?
- What was beneath Christian as he stood upon the hill?
- Read Micah 7:-18-20:
- What does God do?
- The word for “pardon” means “bear” or “carry”? God pardons sin by carrying sin. Compare this to the language of Isaiah 53:4 & 12b (“he bore the sins of may”). So how does God “pardon” sins?
- We could show how the key words in Micah 7:18-20 are also in Isaiah 53. Knowing that, what does this tell us about the way in which God pardons iniquity and passes over transgression?
- Read 1 Peter 2:24: How does God bear our sins?
- The phrase “depths of the sea” is a poetic way of Micah professing about Jesus’ grave. (I put some of the “proof” in a footnote ).
- Bunyan shows us this picture by Christian’s burden of sin falling into the tomb of Jesus Christ. The place at the bottom of the sea, behind God’s back, out of remembrance is in Christ’s tomb. Our sins were put into his body and then buried and can no longer be found. By placing the cross and the loss of his burden together, Bunyan makes plain that forgiveness comes about by and through Christ’s death. God is not merely merciful, he is merciful at the cost of justice.
- This act of justification – the loss of our sin – is also the start of our sanctification, the conforming of our life to Christ. The two cannot be separated:
Sanctification and justification go hand in hand; they come forth like twins out of the womb of free grace,1 as you may see in these remarkable Scriptures: Jer. 33:8, ‘I will cleanse them from all their iniquity whereby they have sinned against me, and I will pardon all their iniquities whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.’ Here you see them both expressed together in the same deed, ‘I will cleanse them from all their iniquity;’ there is our sanctification promised; ‘And I will pardon all their iniquities;’ there is justification promised. So Micah 7:19, ‘He will subdue our iniquities, and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.’ Here you find justification and sanctification again in the promise. ‘He will subdue our iniquities;’ this is sanctifying; ‘and he will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea;’ this is justifying.
Thomas Brooks, The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 3 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 498.
He has given me rest by his sorrow, by his life and by his death.
- The three shining ones:
- Peace. Read Romans 5:1-2
- What peace do we have?
- What is the way we obtain peace?
- Read Colossians 1:20. Why does Bunyan place peace after the cross?
- Forigveness: How do we obtain forgiveness? Ephesians 1:7
- Why were his rags stripped off? What is the new clothing? Philippians 3:8-9
- What is the mark on his forehead? Ezekiel 9:4.
- What is the roll with the seal? (“For this roll was the assurance of his life and acceptance at the desired haven.”)
III. The Three Fools
- What are their names?
- What causes their trouble?
- What is their danger?
- What is their response? What are they unwilling to do? Why?
- Who are they in church?
There is nothing we are all so slothful in as secret, particular, importunate prayer. We have an almighty instrument in our hand in secret and exactprayer if we would only importunately and perseveringly employ it. Butthere is an utterly unaccountable restraint of secret and particularisingprayer in all of us. There is a soaking, stupefying sloth, that so fills ourhearts that we forget and neglect the immense concession and privilege wehave afforded us in secret prayer. Our sloth and stupidity in prayer issurely the last proof of our fall and of the misery of our fallen state. Oursloth with a gold mine open at our feet; a little more sleep on the top of amast with a gulf under us that hath no bottom, — no language of this lifecan adequately describe the besottedness of that man who lies with ironson his heels between Simple and Presumption
- The Two Men Over the Wall
- Who are the two men who come over the wall?
- What does coming over the wall represent?
- What is there excuse for not going over the wall? What do they say is the difference between them and Christian?
- What do they think will work for them come Judgment Day?
- What will not save?
- Kelman, “Hypocrisy is Formalism run into falsehood.”
A formalist is not yet a hypocrite exactly, but he is ready now and well onthe way at any moment to become a hypocrite. As soon now as sometemptation shall come to him to make appear another and a better manthan he really is: when in some way it becomes his advantage to seem toother people to be a spiritual man: when he thinks he sees his way to someprofit or praise by saying things and doing things that are not true andnatural to him, — then he will pass on from being a bare and simpleformalist, and will henceforth become a hypocrite.
- The Hill of Difficulty
- What is the hill of difficulty?
- Why is there a spring at the base of the hill? Cheever:
There was a cool delicious spring at the bottom of this Hill Difficulty, as there generally is where the Lord’s people have peculiar hardships to encounter, according to the promise, “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” There are angels for Hagar in the wilderness, quails for Elijah pursued by his enemies, springs of water in the desert, where, when God pleases, the rain shall fill the pools to give drink to his beloved ones. Unto whatever conflict or labour God calls his people, he always gives the necessary preparation thereunto. So Christian went and drank of this precious spring at the bottom of the Hill Difficulty. From the eyes of Formalist and Hypocrisy it seems to have been kept sealed, or, as it was pure cold water for a thirsty soul, they, having no spiritual thirst, cared not for it; but Christian drank thereof and was sweetly refreshed; for God hath said, “He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.” So with this draught of the water of life, Christian, animated and invigorated, addressed himself to the hill.
- What do Formalist and Hypocrisy do when they come to the hill? What does that represent in “real life”? How do they end up?
- What would it look like for you to avoid the Hill of Difficulty?
- Why does Christian have to go up the hill on his hands and knees? What does that represent?
- Read Psalm 3:
- What is David’s situation? (1)
- What are his enemies saying to him? (2)
iii. Why harm does the taunt of the enemies in verse 2 have the potential of doing to David?
- What does David do in response to the threats and taunts of his enemies? (3)
- What does David do in verse 4?
- What is the result of David’s praise, faith & prayer? 5 & 6
vii. From where should we expect deliverance? 7-8
- Read Psalm 4
- What does David do in response to his troubles? (1)
- What does David rely upon in verse 3?
iii. What does David receive from the Lord in verse 7?
- What does David do in verse 8?
v How is that David can have joy and rest in the midst of troubles?
- Boice on Psalm 4, “It is always that way. If we leave our problems with God, he will shoulder them. And he will enable us to sleep in peace.” Vol. 1, p. 42.
- What is the place of rest?
- What sort of rest does God grant us in trials?
- What comforts can we have in trials? 1 Corinthians 10:13, Romans 8:28-29, Romans 5:1-5.
- What would this look like in “real life”?
- What is the danger is rest?
- Loss of the Roll
- What happens at the place of rest? Think back on the men he met after the Cross: how does Christian relate to them?
- What does losing the roll represent?
- What happens when he awakes?
- Whom does he meet? What is the connection between losing the roll and the men he meets when he wakes up?
- What does these men try to do?
- Whom do they picture from the Bible? Numbers 13-14.
- What would these men look like in the church today?
- What do they tell Christian to avoid?
- What further ground for fear does Christian have? What does this represent?
- What Does Christian see before which encourages him?
11.What discourages him alone the way?
- What happens when he returns for the roll? What must he do in this circumstance? What does his prayer and praise represent?
- Read. Psalm 32: 3-7
- This is an example of what has occurred in the scene on the Hill of Difficulty: Sin, loss of subjective assurance, repentance, restoration:
- What has occurred prior to verse 3?
- What did David do about his sin in verse 3?
- What was the result of David’s silence? 3b-4.
- What did David finally do about his sin? 5
- How did God respond to David’s repentance? 5d.
- How does David’s condition before God change after his confession and repentance? 6-7
- How does sorrow and confession for sin lead to the joy of assurance?
- Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies:
In the 7th, 8th, 9th, and l0 th verses (2 Cor. 2), the apostle stirs up the church to forgive him, to comfort him, and to confirm their love towards him, lest he should be ‘swallowed up with overmuch sorrow,’ Satan going about to mix the detestable darnel (Matt. 13. 25) of desperation with the godly sorrow of a pure penitent heart. It was a sweet saying of Jerome, ‘Let a man grieve for his sin, and then joy for his grief.’ That sorrow for sin that keeps the soul from looking towards the mercy-seat, and that keeps Christ and the soul asunder, or that shall render the soul unfit for the communion of saints, is a sinful sorrow.
VII. The Lions:
- What is the temptation for Christian at the sight of the lions?
- What keeps him from this temptation?
- What does this picture in Scripture? (where, passage).
Here the lions guard the edifice of the Church, and stand for those things which keep would-be Christians from entering it.
- It may be, as it is here, some fierce and unexpected danger or trial, which comes at the top of the long slope of the Hill Difficulty. Readers of Childe Roland will remember the sudden little river, petty and spiteful, which crossed the wanderer’s path after long and difficult struggling.
- It may be some mere trifle, exaggerated by the imagination of the timid or the unwilling, that keeps men back from entering the Church, — an ass in a lion’s skin.
- It may be the roar of the world that we mistake for a lion’s roar, not knowing how little the world can do against any resolute spirit, nor realising how little its opinion matters to any wise one. f99
- The lion may be one’s own past sin, that ‘lion of our own rearing’ which Dr. Whyte describes so graphically.
- One’s own mistakes and blunders may play this part, — apes rather than lions, jabbering at us and caricaturing us from out the past.
- The lion may actually be the lion of the tribe of Judah. Dr. Whyte’s paragraph about man’s fear of his own salvation is a very memorable one. There are times when we are more afraid of Christ, and the demands of Christ, than of all the dangers in the world.
Now, who or what is the lion in your way? Who or what is it that fills you with such timorousness and mistrust, that you are almost turning back from the way to life altogether? The fiercest of all our lions is our own sin. When a man’s own sin not only finds him out and comes roaring after him, but when it dashes past him and gets into the woods and thickets before him, and stands pawing and foaming on the side of his way, that is a trial of faith and love and trust indeed. Sometimes a man’s past sins will fill all his future life with sleepless apprehensions. He is never sure at what turn in his upward way he may not suddenly run against some of them standing ready to rush out upon him. And it needs no little quiet trust and humble-minded resignation to carry a man through this slough and that bottom, up this hill and down that valley, all the time with his life in his hand; and yet at every turn, at every rumour that there are lions in the way, to say, Come lion, come lamb, come death, come life, I must venture, I will yet go forward.
APPENDIX: ASSURANCE; SIN & FEAR
Summary of the doctrine taught: The roll, in this passage, represents Christian’s subjective assurance of salvation. That loss of subjective assurance comes about through the commission of a sin. The loss of subjective assurance continues until he repents, at which time he regains his assurance and continues on his journey.
Warning: Understanding this passage can provide great help both in counseling ourselves and others. However, it is important to understand that not all loss of subjective assurance is the result of active sin. To treat every loss of subjective assurance as the direct result of unrepentant sin can cause great damage to yourself or to others.
Assurance is of two types: objective and subjective assurance. Objective assurance is knowing, based upon the promises of the Bible, that one has been redeemed. Subjective assurance is the feeling that one has been redeemed. While objective assurance cannot be “lost” in that it resides in the promises of God; subjective assurance, being a self-awareness can vary depending upon circumstances.
Summary (by Dr. Hughes):
How does one know he or she is saved? Assurance comes from three primary sources. Think about this with me. One: It comes objectively. What is an “objective truth”? An “objective truth” is something that’s outside of you, something that is before you, that is not based on emotions, feelings, [or] things you sense. It is objective. It is outside of you. True, factual—that is objective truth. [Two]: you can have assurance of salvation subjectively, [which is] the exact opposite [of receiving assurance objectively]. [Subjectivity is made up of] feelings, emotions, [and] internal experiences. There is some subjectiveness in knowing you’re saved. [Three]: there is “empirical” evidence [of assurance]. That is, you can know “empirically,” or by evidence outside of you, that you are saved. These three things, [when combined], can give you assurance and make you know [beyond a shadow of a doubt] that you’re going to heaven.
So, first comes the objective truth, the commands to believe, the promises of the gospel offered to all men. You repent, you believe, you receive the Lord Jesus Christ, you understand the gospel, you call upon the name of the Lord. That is from without. Then from within, after you receive the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit gives you assurance in accordance with that truth that you did that, and you’re saved.
- The Westminster Confession of Faith gives the following summary of “objective assurance”: 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, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed. See, 1 John 2:3, Romans 5:2
- The fact of objective assurance is by no means reason for one to presume to salvation or to ignore the repeated commands in Scripture to “test oneself”. See, e.g. 1 Corinthians 11:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5.
- John MacArthur, “Our faith in Christ is the ultimate ground and foundation of true assurance. Self-examination is simply the process by which we examine whether our faith is genuine and our repentance real. True believers should not be unnerved by the biblical call to self-examination. Unbelievers and mere hearers of the Word, on the other hand, need to have their self-confidence shaken. So the Apostle John names several practical tests that may be used to determine the authenticity of their faith – including such things as obedience (1 John 2:3-6, 3:1-10), sound doctrine (2:21-28; 4:1-6) and love for believers (3:14-19; 4:7-11).” Assured by God, p. 136.
- This must never be confused with objective assurance. If we confuse subjective with objective assurance, we will be tossed about by our emotions. The confusion of objective and subjective assurance is likely the reason why many people believe they can lose their salvation.
- The Westminster Confession also reads (at 18.4): 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 wounds the conscience and grieves the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God’s withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light: yet are they never so utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived; and by the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair. Psalm 51, 77, 31:22; Micah 7:7-9.
SIN AND FEAR
- The Israelites and the Promised Land: Deuteronomy 1:19-33
- What were the Israelites instructed to do?
- ii. Who was directing their path? 19-21
iii. Did they enter? 26
- iv. What was the response of the Israelites? 26-28
- v. What were they told? 29-30.
- vi. What was the sin of the Israelites? 32
- Explication of the Israelites’ Sin: Hebrews 3:7-19
- In verse 8 we are warned not to harden our hearts, like they (the Israelites) hardened their hearts: In what way did they harden their hearts?
- In verse 12, what are warned against?
iii. What is the result having an unbelieving heart?
- What means are given to keep us from having an unbelieving heart? (13)
- Why were the Israelites unable to enter? 19
- Read 2 Timothy 1:7
- What did God not give to us?
- ii. What did he provide to us?
- Read Isaiah 12:2
- What does the prophet state as the opposite of being afraid (trusting in the Lord).
- What does the prophet consider to be his salvation?
 Waltke notes: “The crucial vocabulary of Micah 7:18 is used in connection with the Suffering Servant of Yahweh in Isaiah 53: nāśāʾ (to bear; v. 12), ʿāwōn (iniquity; vv. 6, 11), pešaʿ (transgression; vv. 8, 12)—all in connection with Yahweh’s pleasure (ḥāpēṣ; v. 10).”
Kenneth L. Barker, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, vol. 20, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 134.
 Look at the second half of verse 19: “the depths of the sea” means the “heart of the sea” – which is exactly where Jonah went in Jonah 2:3.
The last three verses of this book are joined to the book of Jonah for reading in the synagogue on the afternoon of the Day of Atonement. Once a year on the afternoon of New Year, the orthodox Jew goes to a running stream or river and symbolically empties his pockets of his sins into the water, while he recites verses 18–20.74
Kenneth L. Barker, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, vol. 20, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 133.
- Jesus also says that he is going to go the place where Jonah did. Matthew 12:39-40.