746 West Noel Madisonville, Kentucky October 20, 1959
Mrs. Marjorie Bond
1505 Scotland Street
My Dear Mrs. Bond:
Greetings in the Name of His whose Name is above every name!
Your good letter under date of the 5th, was duly received. And it could not have reached me at a busier time, which accounts for my delay in making reply. I am a clerk of Little Bethel Association, and your letter came the first day of our annual meeting. There was a lot of work in preparing for the meeting, and much more work in getting the material in the hands of the printer. At first, I thought I would write briefly, stating my situation, and promising to get to it as soon as possible. And then it occurred to me that I might save this time in the hope of getting to the matter before the time you mentioned ran out. I trust you will not take my delay as evidence of indifference on my part. Moreover, due to infirmities of age, I do not have the capacity for work I once enjoyed.
First of all, let me commend you for your honest attitude towards the doctrine of ELECTION and related subjects; and may I also congratulate you on your grasp of these doctrines. I rarely receive such a well-written letter on any subject. You put your problems in a clear perspective, which makes it easier to deal with them. And I can answer sympathetically because your problems are also my own problems. Much as I would like to solve them for you, I fear my efforts will be disappointing.
I believe you are unduly disturbed over your inability to harmonize all that is in the Bible. This Book is the revelation of the Infinite and the finite mind cannot understand to perfection all that God has revealed. To be able to do so would be an argument against the Bible as God-breathed, and reduce it to a mere human production. Moreover, the determination to harmonize apparent contradictions is sure to result in one of three things, found in actual life. One will either ignore Sovereignty on the one hand, or human responsibility on the other hand, or else be plagued with a disturbed mind as you confess to having. On the one side are the so-called Primitive Baptist (Hardshells), who cannot reconcile human inability with responsibility in the matter of repentance and faith. And so they emphasize the doctrines of sovereignty, the Divine decrees, and human inability, and ignore the Scriptures which command sinners to repent and believe the gospel, hence they have no gospel for the lost. On the other hand there are those who preach the doctrines of human responsibility and the command to repent and believe, and have nothing to say about human inability, the Divine decrees, and sovereignty. Here in my own church and association, as well as throughout the South generally, there is little heard of Election, Depravity, and Sovereignty in salvation. It is because the brethren feel they cannot preach both; that the two are beyond reconciliation—the one being true, the other must be false. Now, in your case there is both the determination to accept all Scripture and to harmonize them, resulting in a confused and disturbed mind. Let us, at the risk of being called inconsistent, take all the Scriptures whether we can harmonize them or not. Dr. J.B. Moody ( one of my fathers in the faith) used to say, that if one waited to accept the doctrines until he could harmonize them, he would never accept them; the way to harmonize them is to receive them without question, and they will harmonize on the inside of the soul. This may not be exactly true, but it will be of help. I am not saying that we should make no effort to harmonize seeming contradictory doctrines, but I do warn against a persistent determination to do so. With this introduction, I will now take up your questions in their order.
1. It is true that most (I would say all) people feel that election is unjust. This is not strange since the carnal mind is enmity against God. People may love a god of their own invention, but only born-again believers can love a Sovereign God who does what He will with His own (1Jo 4:7). God’s rights with the sinful human race are the rights of a potter over the clay. We can readily see that the criminal has no claims upon the human court, and it is just as true that the sinner has no claims upon an offended God. Moreover, to say that election is unjust is to put salvation on the basis of justice, thus robbing every sinner of any hope.
When we find people who seem to be interested in salvation, we are encouraged to think they are of the elect, for the elect are not saved without becoming interested in salvation. When we pray for their salvation, we are not asking the Holy Spirit to put them on the fence where they may fall off on either side. They are already on the wrong side—the attitude of ignorant rejection of Christ —and we pray that He may translate them from the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of His dear Son (#Col 1:13). We pray for their conversion to faith in Christ, that they may not be left to the choice of a depraved nature. Why He does not convict and convert everybody we preach to and pray for is due to His sovereignty and not to His weakness. We do not pray to a weak God. However, we must distinguish between the desire to be saved from sin and the desire to be saved from Hell. Nobody wants to burn, but the desire to be saved from sin is a holy desire created by the Holy Spirit. When He creates such a desire His further work of conversion will follow, but we cannot assuredly determine the motive of the desire.
You ask to what extent are they (the non-elect) responsible for being lost? They are responsible for all the sins they commit and for their sinful nature also. What one does is a revelation of what he is. This is not apparent to our sense of justice. I cannot see how God can justly hold me responsible for the exercise of a sinful nature inherited—for a nature I had nothing to do with acquiring—for a nature I was born with. If I were to sit in judgment on God (perish the thought) I would say that it is not right to punish me for an inherited sinful nature. I accept my responsibility for sin even though I cannot understand the justice of it. Those who have not been “ear-marked” for salvation fall into two groups—those who have the gospel preached to them, and those who never hear of Christ as Saviour. Those who have the gospel preached to them are responsible for all their sins, including the sin of rejecting Christ, while those who never hear of Him are free from the sin of rejecting Him, although they are guilty of other sins for which they are held responsible. The heathen who have never heard the gospel will not have to answer for the sin of unbelief. Whether we can understand it or not, the sinner in all his depravity and helplessness is accountable to God.
The woman in your class who remarked that the doctrine of election makes everything so hopeless, adding that she thought anyone could be saved; that the decision was “theirs,” might be answered this way. Anyone can be saved who is willing to be saved God’s way through faith in Christ, but nobody, left to himself, wants to be saved this way. God’s way is foolishness to him #1Co 2:14 2Co 4:3-6 Ro 10:1-3
The decision is “theirs” but the decision to trust Christ is the result of a renewed mind—the result of grace in the soul. Paul speaks of the time when he thought he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 26:9). In the telling of his conversion he ascribes it to the grace of God #1Co 15:10 Ga 1:14-16 There is no self-salvation, either in providing it or applying it. The work of the Spirit in us is as essential as the work of Christ for us. Paul says that the Jews were asking for a sign (they wanted him to perform a miracle) and that the Greeks were clamouring for wisdom (they wanted him to philosophize), but without catering to the wishes of either, he preached Christ crucified. Salvation through faith in a crucified Christ was to the natural Jew a scandal, and to the Greek it was foolishness. Those effectually called by the Holy Spirit were able to see the power and wisdom of God in such a plan of salvation #1Co 1:22-31 Why God does not effectually call more than He does is not due to inability but to sovereignty. As I say in my article on election, we must either limit God’s power or His mercy, or go over boots and baggage to universalism. If God is trying to save everybody and does not succeed, He is not almighty; if He is not trying to save everybody His mercy is not universal. #Ro 9:18 makes it clear that His mercy is limited and is sovereignly bestowed. Deserving mercy is a contradiction of terms. The flesh in us—remnants of depravity—rebels at this aspect of Divine sovereignty. The writer is aware of this, just as you seem to be.
2. There are passages like #Joh 3:16 1Jo 2:2 which seem to teach that Christ died for every individual. However, the word “world” rarely ever means every individual of the human race. The word “world” is sometimes used to distinguish between the saved and the lost (#1Jo 5:19); between the Jew and the Gentile (#Ro 11:11-15) and between the few and the many (#Joh 12:19). I believe #Joh 3:16 1Jo 2:2 teach that Christ died for Gentiles as well as Jews. He died for men as sinners and not as any class or kind of sinners. The Jews thought their Messiah, when He came, would deliver them and destroy the Gentiles. John says that He is the propitiation or Mercy-seat for all believers regardless of class or colour. In other words, Christ is no tribal Saviour. If we think of Christ’s death as substitutionary, then I agree with Spurgeon, that He died for the elect only. If he died as the substitute for every individual, then every individual would be saved, else His death was in vain. Now I believe there is a sense in which Christ’s death affects every person. By His death He bought the human race, not to save every individual, but in order to dispose of every individual. The right to judge this world is Christ’s reward for His suffering. All judgment has been committed unto the Son (#Joh 5:22). In the parable of the hid treasure, Christ is the man who bought the field (world) for the sake of the treasure (the elect) for the sake of those given Him by the Father (#Mt 13:44). See also #Joh 17:6-11 2Pe 2:1. Incidentally, the word for Lord in #2Pe 2:1 is Despot (Gk. despotes), and indicates more authority than Kurios (Lord).
In #2Pe 3:9, the apostle is explaining why the Lord has not returned to this earth, the reason being, that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. This refers to His will of purpose. It is God’s purpose that all should come to repentance and be saved. In longsuffering He waits until all the “us-ward” have been brought to repentance. The “us-ward” are described as those who had obtained the like precious faith (#2Pe 1:2); who had ben given all things that pertain to life and godliness (#2Pe 1:3); and who had escaped the corruption that is in the world (#2Pe 1:4). In #2Pe 3:15, the apostle tells the same “us-ward,” that they are to account the longsuffering of the Lord as salvation. Christ’s longsuffering towards the elect keeps Him on His mediatorial throne until all have been saved. Had He come sooner than planned, many of the elect would not have been saved. I have been a Christian for 51 years, and if He had come before my conversion, I would have perished in my sins. It is not His will of purpose that any of those given to Him by the Father shall perish. The words “all” and “every” are hardly ever used in the absolute sense #Mt 3:5-7 1Co 4:5 The “all” of #2Pe 3:9 are all of the “us-ward” who shall be brought to repentance. This is not good grammar, but it is good theology and necessary to plainness. Christ will not come in judgment until all those given Him by the Father have come to repentance. When He comes He will usher in the new era of the “New heavens and a new earth,” wherein dwelleth righteousness.
3. The story told you by your dear father has been duplicated in many cases of people who seem to be under deep conviction, and yet oppose those who try to lead them to Christ. Such conviction is not of the Holy Spirit, who convicts of the sin of unbelief and leads to faith in Christ. Such cases do reveal the fact of the enmity of the carnal mind towards God, and not a mind wrought upon by the Holy Spirit. A case in point is that of Felix who trembled at the preaching of Paul and then dismissed him until a more convenient season (#Ac 24:25).
There is a natural conviction of sin which may be felt by everybody when confronted by his sin (#Joh 8:9), and there is evangelical conviction by the Holy Spirit, and leading to repentance and faith. God never abandons the good work He begins in the soul (#Php 1:6). The Holy Spirit, in my judgment, never tries to regenerate one of the non-elect. There is much Scripture for this. The New Testament speaks often of those given to the Son by the Father and their salvation is assured. These are called “sheep” and “elect” before they come to Christ. #Joh 6:37-44 10:14-16,25-28 2Ti 2:10 You ask whether or not the woman referred to was an “elect”? I do not know. I can only say that at the time she gave no evidence of being an elect. However, later she may have been convicted by the Holy Spirit of the sin of unbelief and brought to repentance. We can only judge whether a person is an elect or not by his attitude toward the gospel of Christ. If she were a sheep of Christ, she did come to His at some later date, for Christ says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”.
4. “Many are called, but few are chosen” (#Mt 20:16 22:14). Calling in the New Testament usually means the effectual call to salvation—saints are made by a Divine call, but it cannot mean that many hear the invitation to accept Christ who have not been chosen by God to salvation (#1Th 1:4-7 2Th 2:13). Calling and choosing are not the same. The choosing or electing took place in eternity past; calling takes place in time and brings about conversion to faith in Christ. There is a general call given to every sinner in gospel preaching, and there is the special call of the Holy Spirit, inducing acceptance of the general call. The general call in gospel preaching is to men as sinners; the special call by the Holy Spirit is to the elect and results in salvation. Romans 8:28 refers to this effectual call. #1Co 1:26 Ga 1:15,16
5. You complain of being “caught up in a sort of fatalistic attitude —that what is to be will be”. There is a vast difference between cold, impersonal something called “fate,” and the providential workings of a great and wise God. Things do not come to pass by cold fate, but by God, “Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (#Eph 1:11). Dr. Charles Hodge was once asked if he believed what is to be will be. He replies, “Why yes I do; would you have me believe that what is to be won’t be?” Prophecy is the Divine prediction of many things which are to be, and these predictions have been or will yet come to pass.
The second paragraph of your letter on this subject expresses a glorious truth. God is ruling this world, making even the wrath of man to praise Him; the remainder of wrath men might do, He restrains. #Ps 76:10 Pr 21:1
Referring to the 1st paragraph of your letter on page 27 it is true that the elect will be saved, and that my failure to witness will not thwart God’s purpose to save them. God uses me, but He is not dependent upon me. I dare not think that God is helpless without me; if I fail He can use someone else. I am not to witness because of any assured results, but in obedience to His will of command. I cannot know His will of purpose concerning those to whom I bear testimony, We are to witness to people as sinners and not as elect sinners. Election has nothing to do with our obligation to witness. Isaiah preached when he was told there would be no good results in the way of response from the people. #Isa 6:8-13
Your letter closes with questions concerning prayer. I have no hope of giving much help here, but will make some observations. Prayer is one of the means by which God brings to pass what He has decreed. Answered prayer is indited by the Holy Spirit. He knows the mind and will (purpose of God) and makes intercession for us according to the will of God (#Ro 8:26,27). How one may know that his prayer is indited by the Holy Spirit, I cannot tell. But the Holy Spirit leads us to pray for that which is within the circle of the Divine will, and if we ask anything according to His will He heareth us (#1Jo 5:14). We are taught to pray for His will to be done. This shows we are not to try to change His will by our praying. This would take control out of His hands and put us in charge.
Whether we can harmonize our praying with His decrees or not; It is our duty to pray because He commands it (#Lu 18:1). Prayer implies two things: our inability and His ability. Prayer is an act of dependence upon God who is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” #Eph 3:20.
I do not presume to be able to reconcile the doctrine of Divine decrees with such passages as #Jas 4:2,3 5:16. But I can see how prayer can prevail without changing God, when I think of it as one of the means by which His will of purpose is effected. In Mueller’s case, I can think that he was led by the Holy Spirit to spend the night on his knees as the means of getting milk for the children. We have the same difficulty in the case of Paul’s ship-wreck as recorded in Acts 27. When all hope of being saved was gone (#Ac 27:20), the angel of God told Paul there would be no loss of life. He then comforts the despairing sailors, soldiers, and prisoners, saying, Be of good cheer; for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me (#Ac 27:25). Then later when the sailors were about to abandon the ship, Paul said to the centurion and soldiers “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved” (#Ac 27:31). God had declared there would be no loss of life, and Paul believed Him, and yet he believed their safety depended upon the sailors staying with the ship. We might charge Paul with inconsistency but there it is.
As to praying for the sick, we must always pray without knowing what the Divine will is in every particular case. It is appointed unto men once to die, and when the appointed time comes our praying will not cancel the Divine will. David recognized this in praying for his sick child. He fasted and prayed while the child was alive, but when the child died, he bowed to the manifest will of God and said, “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me that the child may live?” #2Sa 12:22. Paul’s prayer for the thorn to be removed is another case of asking for something outside the circle of God’s will of purpose. Paul prayed without knowing the will of God, and when it was made known to him, that sustaining grace would be given rather than the removal of the thorn, he bowed in sweet submission and said, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (#2Co 12:9).
My mind often reverts to the terrible war between our North and our South—the so-called “Civil War”. There were men of God on both sides—men of piety and prayer—who pleaded with God for victory. I believe it is conceded that the most outstanding men of God belonged to the Southern Army—such men as Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Johnston. And now all of us rejoice that it was God’s will for the Union to be saved.
It is becoming in all of us to seek our Father’s face and pray for His blessings, and then bow in reconciliation to His mysterious providence in our lives.
“God holds the key of all unknown, and I am Glad;
If other hands should hold the key, Or if He trusted it to me,
I might be sad
“What if tomorrow’s cares were here Without its rest!
I’d rather He unlocked the day; And as the hours swing open, say,
‘My will is best.’
“The very dimness of my sight Makes me secure;
For groping in my misty way, I feel His hand; I hear Him say
‘My help is sure.’
I cannot read his future plans; But this I know;
I have the smiling of His face, And all the refuge of His grace,
While here below.
“Enough! this covers all my wants, And so I rest!
For where I cannot He can see, And in His care I safe shall be,
We are all poor sinners in the need of an adequate Saviour. This Saviour is the Lord Jesus Christ Who says, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out”. If Christ is the Saviour of sinners, this poor sinner can qualify for salvation. I praise Him for dying for me, and I praise the Holy Spirit for making me to realize my helplessness and for taking the things of Christ and showing them to me (#Joh 16:14,15).
May the Lord bless you in the coming discussion on Nov. 5th, and make you a blessing to others! I wish I might have been of more help in this reply to your questions. Let me exhort you not to worry over failure to be able to reconcile doctrines which seem to our finite minds to be contradictory.
With heartfelt thanks for this opportunity to discuss with you some of the deep things of God, I am
Yours in gospel bonds,
Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election-Part II-Questions and Answers on Election
THE MUSIC OF PRAISE.
O THOU blessed God, we must be helped of Thy Spirit or we cannot worship Thee aright. Behold the holy angels adore Thee, and the hosts redeemed by blood bring everlasting Hallelujahs to Thy feet. What are we, the creatures of a day, polluted with sin, that we should think that: we can praise thee? And yet the music of praise were not complete if Thy children did not join in it, even those of them who are still in this world below. Help us, then; enable us to tune our harps and to fetch forth music from our spirit.
Verily, Lord, if there are any creatures in the world that can praise Thee we ought to do so. Each one among us feels that he has some special reason for gratitude. Lord, it is an unspeakable mercy to know Thee — to know Thee as our reconciled God, to know Thee as our Father in Christ Jesus, who has forgiven us all our trespasses. Oh! it is unspeakably sweet to come and rest in Thee, and to know that there is now no cause of quarrel between us and Thee; on the contrary, that we are bound to one another by a covenant which in infinite tenderness and mercy Thou hast made, that Thy people might have strong consolation, and might boldly take hold on Thee.
Oh! the joy of knowing that we are Thine for ever, thine in the trials of life, and thine in the last dread trial of death, and then Thine in resurrection, thine throughout eternity. We do therefore worship Thee, O God, not as a constraining nor under terror or pressure, but cheerfully and gladly, ascribing unto Thee praise, and power, and dominion, and glory, and honor, world without end.
We wish we knew how to do something for Thee. We pray that we may be helped to do so ere we die; yea, that every flying hour may confess that we have brought Thy Gospel some renown; that we may so live as to extend the Redeemer’s kingdom at least in some little measure; that ours may not be a fruitless, wasted life; that no faculty of ours may lay by and rust; but to the utmost of our capacity may we be helped of the Divine Spirit to spend our whole life in real adoration.
We know that he prays that serves, he praises that gives, he adores that obeys, and the life is the best music. Oh! set it to good music, we pray Thee, and help us all through to keep to each note, and may there be no false note in all the singing of our life, but all be according to that sacred score which is written out so fully in the life music of our Lord.
We beseech Thee to look down upon Thy children, and cheer us. Lord, lift us up. Come, Holy Spirit, like a fresh, bracing wind, and let our spirit, through Thy Spirit, rise upward toward God.
We would with much shame-facedness acknowledge our transgressions and sins. There are some that never felt the burden of sin at all. Lord, lay it on them; press them with it. Almighty God, vex their souls; let them find no rest till they find rest in Thee. May they never be content to live and die in sin, but of Thine infinite mercy come to them, and make them sorry for their sin.
As for Thy people, we are grieved to think that we do not live better than we do. Blessed be Thy name for every fruit of holiness, for every work of faith, but oh! for more. Thou hast changed the tree; it is no longer a bramble; it can bring forth figs, but now we want to bring forth more of these sweet fruits.
The Lord make us to love Christ intensely, to love the souls of men most heartily, to love Thy truth with earnestness, to love the name of Jesus above everything. May we be ravished with the sound of it. The Lord give us to have every grace, not only love, but faith, and hope, and holy gentleness, meekness, patience, brotherly love. Build us up, we pray Thee, Lord, in all knowledge, and in all experience, and give us with this submission to Thy will, holy resignation, great watchfulness, much carefulness in our speech, that we may rule the tongue, and so rule the whole body.
The Lord pour out His Spirit upon us that every chamber of our nature may be sweetened and perfumed with the indwelling of God, till our imagination shall only delight in things chaste and pure; till our memory shall cast out the vile stuff from the dark chambers; till we shall expect and long for heavenly things, and our treasure shall all be in heaven and our heart be there. Take our highest manhood, Lord, and saturate it in Thy love, till like Gideon’s fleece it is filled with dew, every lock and every single fleck of it, not a single portion of it left unmoistened by the dew from heaven.
How we do bless Thee for many that are striving to walk as Christ walked, and who are also trying to bring others to Christ. O Lord, help us in this struggle after holiness and usefulness; and as Thou hast given to many the desire of their hearts in this respect up to a certain measure; now enlarge their hearts, and give them more both of holiness and usefulness. Oh! Give us to be like trees planted by the rivers of water, that we ourselves may be vigorous, and then give us to bring forth abundant fruit according to our season, to the praise and glory of God.
Our desire is that we may be quickened in our progress toward the celestial life. Visit us with Thy salvation. Lord, let us not only have life, but let us have it more abundantly. May we every one of us quicken His pace, and may we run more earnestly than ever toward the mark that is set before us.
Remember all Thy Church throughout the whole world. Prosper missionary operations. Be with any ministers or missionaries that are depressed for lack of success. Be with any that are rejoicing because of :success. May each heart be kept in a right state, so that Thou mayest use Thy servants to the utmost of possibility.
O God, send us better days than these, we pray Thee. We thank Thee for all the light there is, but send us more light. We thank Thee for what life there is among Christians, but send more of it. Bind the churches together in unity, and then give them such speed, such force, such power that they shall break into the ranks of the adversary, and the victory shall be unto Christ and to His people.
Remember our dear country. Bless the Sovereign. Remember all those that lead our legislature. Be gracious unto all ranks and conditions of men. Have mercy upon all that are poor and needy, all that are sick and sorrowing, and that are tossed upon the sea. Remember the prisoners and such as have no helper. Be gracious to such as are in the article of death; and, finally, let the day come when the Sun shall shine forth in all His brightness, even Christ Jesus shall be manifested, to be admired in them that believe, and to make glad the whole creation. Make no tarrying, O Thou Sun of Righteousness, but come forth speedily. We ask it for Thy name’s sake. Amen.
C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers
In the upcoming issues of the Wednesday Word, we will try to answer a profound question; “Who is this man Jesus?” In Matthew 16:13-16, our Lord asked His disciples; “Who do men say that I the Son of Man am?” They replied, “Some say that you are John the Baptist and some say that you are Elijah and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Christ said to them; “But who say ye that I the Son of Man am?” Peter answered and said; “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
So then, who is this man Jesus?
He was born in poverty, in a cave converted as a stable, to an un-wed Jewish teenager. He was then placed in a feeding trough for cattle. There was no room for Him anywhere else.
Who is this man Jesus?
As an infant, he was made a refugee as His parents fled for safety to Egypt. This was necessary to avoid the murderous sword of Herod, which was aimed at the heart of the young child.
Who is this man Jesus?
He was raised in an obscure, unassuming village called Nazareth. His foster father was a carpenter with neither riches nor influence. Being from a poor family, Jesus, himself, was deprived of the privilege of formal training and education at the feet of the sagacious and learned Rabbis of His day.
It has been observed by others that Jesus never travelled above 90 miles from His home. He, at no time, owned a piece of ground or a piece of property. His only possession was the robe on His back.
Who is this man Jesus?
He never held a public office. No one ever voted for him.
Who is this man Jesus?
As He travelled throughout Israel preaching, He was accompanied by, “A band of unschooled ruffians and a few old fishermen.” As far as we can tell, His friends were all poor, anonymous types.
Who is this man Jesus?
Although he went about ‘doing good,’ He was indicted for violating the Law of Moses. Furthermore, because He claimed equality with God, He was accused of blasphemy. False witnesses rose up against Him. Paid liars attacked Him with their tongues. He was then, illegally, sentenced to death and executed.
Who is this man Jesus?
Of His inner circle of friends, one of them sold Him out for a pitifully small amount of money. Another one denied Him three times. Nearly all of them forsook Him and fled.
Meanwhile, Jesus suffered and died in torturous pain, encompassed by a sense of forsakenness. He was then taken down from the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb.
Who is this man Jesus?
Some have remarked that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, never wrote a book, yet more books have been written about Him and His work than about any other person. Although He sang songs, He never composed one yet He has been the theme of more songs than anyone else in history. He never founded an institute of higher learning, yet a staggering number of colleges and universities have been dedicated to the advance of His cause.
Who is this man Jesus?
In the wilderness, Satan could not seduce Him. As a child, the wisdom of the Jerusalem Rabbis could not answer Him. During His ministry, lawyers and scribes could not entangle Him in their wicked webs of sophistry. The leaders of the nation hated Him. Pilate could find no fault in Him.
Who is this man Jesus?
At the cross, He dealt death a death blow. In His burial, the grave could not contain Him.
Who is this man Jesus?
Even those who don’t follow Him admit that His life on this earth was above reproach. His teachings were of not only of the purest quality but also breath-taking. However, since the time He walked on this earth, controversy has continued to rage around Him.
Who is this man Jesus?
We have merely asked the question and scratched the surface of this excellent theme. Next time, God willing, we will explore more about this magnificent subject.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
Please help me spread the word about my books http://milesmckee.com/books.html
Please also feel free to forward, post and blog etc. the Wednesday Word (without changing the content of the actual message)
9. But though I am not now treating of the office of the Mediator, having deferred it till the subject of redemption is considered, yet because it ought to be clear and incontrovertible to all, that Christ is that Word become incarnate, this seems the most appropriate place to introduce those passages which assert the Divinity of Christ. When it is said in the forty-fifth Psalm, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever,” the Jews quibble that the name Elohim is applied to angels and sovereign powers. But no passage is to be found in Scripture, where an eternal throne is set up for a creature. For he is not called God simply, but also the eternal Ruler. Besides, the title is not conferred on any man, without some addition, as when it is said that Moses would be a God to Pharaoh, (Exodus 7:1.) Some read as if it were in the genitive case, but this is too insipid. I admit, that anything possessed of singular excellence is often called divine, but it is clear from the context, that this meaning here were harsh and forced, and totally inapplicable. But if their perverseness still refuses to yield, surely there is no obscurity in Isaiah, where Christ is introduced both us God, and as possessed of supreme powers one of the peculiar attributes of God, “His name shall be called the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,” (Isaiah 9:6.) Here, too, the Jews object, and invert the passage thus, This is the name by which the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, will call him; so that all which they leave to the Son is, “ Prince of Peace.” But why should so many epithets be here accumulated on God the Father, seeing the prophet’s design is to present the Messiah with certain distinguished properties which may induce us to put our faith in him? There can be no doubt, therefore, that he who a little before was called Emmanuel, is here called the Mighty God. Moreover, there can be nothing clearer than the words of Jeremiah,
“This is the name whereby he shall be called,
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS,”
For as the Jews themselves teach that the other names of God are mere epithets, whereas this, which they call the ineffable name, is substantive, and expresses his essence, we infer, that the only begotten Son is the eternal God, who elsewhere declares, “My glory will I not give to another,” (Isaiah 42:8.) An attempt is made to evade this from the fact, that this name is given by Moses to the altar which he built, and by Ezekiel to the New Jerusalem. But who sees not that the altar was erected as a memorial to show that God was the exalter of Moses, and that the name of God was applied to Jerusalem, merely to testify the Divine presence? For thus the prophet speaks, “The name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there,” (Ezekiel 48:35.) In the same way, “Moses built an altar, and called the name of it JEHOVAH-nissi,” (Jehovah my exaltation.) But it would seem the point is still more keenly disputed as to another passage in Jeremiah, where the same title is applied to Jerusalem in these words, “In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.” But so far is this passage from being adverse to the truth which we defend, that it rather supports it. The prophet having formerly declared that Christ is the true Jehovah from whom righteousness flows, now declares that the Church would be made so sensible of this as to be able to glory in assuming his very name. In the former passage, therefore, the fountain and cause of righteousness is set down, in the latter, the effect is described.
John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 13-Henry Beveridge Translation
Mp3 Download Click here.
This past weekend the eschatological thriller Left Behind opened in theaters. It joins a flood of Christian movies this year including Exodus, Son of God, God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is for Real, and Noah. Okay, let’s not count Noah.
Yet Left Behind stands out among this surge of Christian films, not just because it stars Nicholas Cage, and not just because it’s based on the wildly successful Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Perhaps more than the other films, Left Behind captures believers’ imagination because it portrays a future, world-changing event: the secret rapture, that moment Jesus suddenly snatches up all Christians to himself years prior to his visible second coming.
As producer and writer Paul LaLonde put it, “It’s a Bible-based movie, it’s a biblical story, it’s a true story—it just hasn’t happened yet.” As a result, it can cause us to wonder, What will it be like when all the Christians suddenly disappear? How close are we to the rapture? Will I be taken or left behind?
But there’s another question we should ask, one that may surprise you: “Is the rapture taught in the Bible?” It may come as a shock to learn that many Bible-believing Christians today doubt the rapture, and that most Christians throughout history had never even heard of it.
Read the entire article here.