“Let them pretend what they please, the true reason why any despise the new birth is because they hate a new life. He that cannot endure to live to God will as little endure to hear of being born of God.”
John Owen (1616-1683)
It is often said that the doctrines we believe have a tendency to lead us to sin. I have heard it asserted most positively, that those high doctrines which we love, and which we find in the Scriptures, are licentious ones. I do not know who will have the hardihood to make that assertion, when they consider that the holiest of men have been believers in them. I ask the man who dares to say that Calvinism is a licentious religion, what he thinks of the character of Augustine, or Calvin, or Whitefield, who in successive ages were the great exponents of the system of grace; or what will he say of the Puritans, whose works are full of them? Had a man been an Arminian in those days, he would have been accounted the vilest heretic breathing, but now we are looked upon as the heretics, and they as the orthodox.
Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Inferences drawn from the foregoing.
1. A name written in Heaven, where no thief, no rust, no moth comes to destroy it, is better than to be enrolled in princely courts; ’tis a name better than of sons and daughters, to be a free citizen of Heaven.
2. Though we are changeable creatures, yet unchangeable love is towards us, that keeps faster hold of us than we of it.
3. It is infinite condescension that the great God should hold a poor lump of clay so fast in His Almighty hands, as to secure our interest to all eternity (John 10:28,29; 1Pe 1:4,5).
“When God calls a man, He does not repent of it. God does not, as many friends do, love one day, and hate another; or a s princes, who make their subjects favourites, and afterwards throw them into prison. This is the blessedness of a saint; his condition admits of no alteration. God’s call is founded on His decree, and His decree is immutable. Acts of grace cannot be reversed. God blots out his people’s sins, but not their names.”
I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.
There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it.
But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)
The Second Property of the Divine Decree of Predestination: It is UNCHANGEABLE
Hence it is compared to “mountains of brass” (Zec 6:1), and it is called, “immutability of his counsel” (Heb 6:17). This is made evident by sundry reasons, as:
4. ‘Tis unchangeable, for the decree concerning the end includes the means to that end, and binds them altogether with an irrefragable chain, which can never be broken. The predestinated, called, justified, glorified ones, are the same (Romans 8:30). Therefore the purpose of God according to election must stand (Romans 9:11). God doth not decree the end without the means, nor the means without the end, but both together. As a purpose for building includes the hewing of stone, and squaring of timber, and all other materials for building- work; and as a decree for war implies arms, horses, ammunition, and all warlike provisions; so here, all that are elected to salvation, are elected to sanctification also. God ordains to the means as well as to the end. “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Act 13:48). God hath ordained that we should walk in good works (Eph 2:10). We are elected unto obedience, through the “sanctification of the Spirit” (1Pe 1:2); therefore God hath promised to sanctify those whom He purposed to save. We teach with Augustine that, “Election is an ordaining to grace as well as to glory.” In pre-destination, therefore, the means of salvation are no less absolutely decreed than salvation itself. We may not conceive that God’s decree runs after this form, “I will predestinate Peter to salvation, if it should so happen that he doth believe and persevere;” but rather thus, “I do predestinate Peter to salvation, which, that he may infallibly obtain, I will give him both faith and perseverance.” Were it otherwise, the foundation would not stand sure; yea, and God’s gifts would not be without repentance, if God did not absolutely decree to give and bestow faith and perseverance to His elected ones. The covenant of grace runs in this tenure, “I will be a God to you, and ye shall be a people unto Me” that is, I will make ye so.
“Assurance grows by repeated conflict, by our repeated experimental proof of the Lord’s power and goodness to save; when we have been brought very low and helped, sorely wounded and healed, cast down and raised again, have given up all hope, and been suddenly snatched from danger, and placed in safety; and when these things have been repeated to us and in us a thousand times over, we begin to learn to trust simply to the word and power of God, beyond and against appearances: and this trust, when habitual and strong, bears the name of assurance; for even assurance has degrees.”
If anyone should ask me what I mean by a Calvinist, I should reply, “He is one who says, Salvation of the Lord.” I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible. “He only is my rock and my salvation.” Tell me anything contrary to this truth, and it will be a heresy; tell me a heresy, and I shall find its essence here, that it has departed from this great, this fundamental, this rock-truth, “God is my rock and my salvation.”
What is the heresy of Rome, but the addition of something to the perfect merits of Jesus Christ the bringing in of the works of the flesh, to assist in our justification? And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer? Every heresy, if brought to the touch-stone, will discover itself here.
Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
The Second Property of the Divine Decree of Predestination: It is UNCHANGEABLEHence it is compared to “mountains of brass” (Zec 6:1), and it is called, “immutability of his counsel” (Heb 6:17). This is made evident by sundry reasons, as:
3. ‘Tis unchangeable, because it is a decree written in Heaven, and so above the reach of either angry men or enraged devils to cancel. “The Lord knoweth them that are His” (2Ti 2:19), they are “the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in Heaven” (Heb 12:23). Thence it is called “the Lamb’s book of life,” which contains a catalog of the elect, determined by the unalterable counsel of God; which number can neither be increased nor diminished. This is to be rejoiced in above dominion over devils; “rather rejoice, because your names are in Heaven” (Luk 10:20); which, if our names may be written in Heaven today and blotted out tomorrow would be no such ground of joy. If the decrees of the Medes and Persians, which were but earthly writings, were unalterable (Dan 6:8), how much more the decrees of the great God, written in Heaven, must be unchangeable. Must Pilate say, “What I have written I have written” (John 19:22); that is to say, “my writing shall not be altered,” and shall not God say so much more? “I know (saith Solomon) that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever; nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it” (Ecc 3:14). “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure . . . I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it” (Isa 46:10,11). The sun may sooner be stopped in his course than God hindered of His work or in His will. Nature, angels, devils, men, may all be resisted, and so miss of their design; not so God: for “who hath resisted His will?” All those chariots of human occurrences and dispensations come forth from between those mountains of brass, the unalterable decrees of God (Zec 6:1); and should it be granted that one soul may be blotted out of this book of life (this writing in Heaven) then it is possible that all may be so; and, by consequence, it may be supposed that that book may become empty, and useless as waste paper; and that Christ may be a head without a body.
“…that, by all things, they may come to know more of the power, holiness, justice, truth, goodness, and glory of God in Christ. We use to say,” Experience teaches fools.” Surely there is not an experienced saint, but will find, that by all the good things and bad things he hath been trysted with, by all the various vicissitudes and changes of providence, he hath come to see more of God than he saw before.”
Ralph Erskine (1685-1752)