WHEREIN THE DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION IS EXPLAINED AS IT RELATES IN GENERAL TO ALL MEN.
Thus much being premised with relation to the Scripture terms commonly made use of in this controversy, we shall now proceed to take a nearer view of this high and mysterious article, and-
I.-We, with the Scriptures, assert that there is a predestination of some particular persons to life for the praise of the glory of Divine grace, and a predestination of other particular persons to death, which death of punishment they shall inevitably undergo, and that justly, on account of their sins -
(1) There is a predestination of some particular persons to life, so “Many are called, but few chosen” (Mat 20:15), 1:e., the Gospel revelation comes, indiscriminately, to great multitudes, but few, comparatively speaking, are spiritually and eternally the better for it, and these few, to whom it is the savour of life unto life, are therefore savingly benefited by it, because they are the chosen or elect of God. To the same effect are the following passages, among many others “For the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened ” (Matt. xxiv. 22). “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed” (Acts 13:48). “Whom He did predestinate, them He also called” (Rom 8:30), and ver. 33, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” “According as He hath chosen us in Him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy . . . Having predestinated us to the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph 1:4,5). “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given us, in Christ, before the world began” (2Ti 1:9).
(2) This election of certain individuals unto eternal life was for the praise of the glory of Divine grace. This is expressly asserted, in so many words, by the apostle (Eph 1:5,6). Grace, or mere favour, was the impulsive cause of all: it was the main spring, which set all the inferior wheels in motion. It was an act of grace in God to choose any, when He might have passed by all. It was an act of sovereign grace to choose this man rather than that, when both were equally undone in themselves, and alike obnoxious to His displeasure. In a word, since election is not of works, and does not proceed on the least regard had to any worthiness in its objects, it must be of free, unbiassed grace, but election is not of works (Rom 11:5,6), therefore it is solely of grace.
(3) There is, on the other hand, a predestination of some particular persons to death. ” If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2Co 4:3). “Who stumble at the word being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed” (1Pe 2:8). “These as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed” (2Pe 2:12). “There are certain men, crept in unawares, who were before, of old, ordained to this condemnation” (Jude 1:4). “Whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world (Rev 17:8). But of this we shall treat professedly, and more at large, in the fifth chapter.
(4) This future death they shall inevitably undergo, for, as God will certainly save all whom He wills should be saved, so He will as surely condemn all whom He wills shall be condemned; for He is the Judge of the whole earth, whose decree shall stand, and from whose sentence there is no appeal. “Hath He said, and shall He not make it good? hath He spoken, and shall it not come to pass?” And His decree is this: that these (i.e., the non-elect, who are left under the guilt of final impenitence, unbelief and sin)” shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous (i.e., those who, in consequence of their election in Christ and union to Him, are justly reputed and really constituted such) shall enter into life eternal” (Mat 25:46).
(5) The reprobate shall undergo this punishment justly and on account of their sins. Sin is the meritorious and immediate cause of any man’s damnation. God condemns and punishes the non-elect, not merely as men, but as sinners, and had it pleased the great Governor of the universe to have entirely prevented sin from having any entrance into the world, it would seem as if He could not, consistently with His known attributes, have condemned any man at all. But, as all sin is properly meritorious of eternal death, and all men are sinners, they who are condemned are condemned most justly, and those who are saved are saved in a way of sovereign mercy through the vicarious obedience and death of Christ for them.
Now this twofold predestination, of some to life and of others to death (if it may be called twofold, both being constituent parts of the same decree), cannot be denied without likewise denying (1) most express and frequent declarations of Scripture, and (2) the very existence of God, for, since God is a Being perfectly simple, free from all accident and composition, and yet a will to save some and punish others is very often predicated of Him in Scripture, and an immovable decree to do this, in consequence of His will, is likewise ascribed to Him, and a perfect foreknowledge of the sure and certain accomplishment of what He has thus willed and decreed is also attributed to Him, it follows that whoever denies this will, decree and foreknowledge of God, does implicitly and virtually deny God Himself, since His will, decree and foreknowledge are no other than God Himself willing and decreeing and foreknowing.
Jerome Zanchius-The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination Stated and Asserted-Translated by Augustus Montague Toplady
Reformedontheweb would like to wish everyone a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving Day.
THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER
“Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.” — Psalm 65:11.
POSSIBLY objections might have been raised to a day of thanksgiving for the abundant harvest if it had been ordered or suggested by Government. Certain brethren are so exceedingly tender in their consciences upon the point of connection between Church and State, that they would have thought it almost a reason for not being thankful at all if the Government had recommended them to celebrate a day of public thanksgiving. Although I have no love to the unscriptural union of Church and State, I should on this occasion have hailed an official request for a national recognition of the special goodness of God. However, none of us can feel any objection arising in our minds if it be now agreed that to-day we will praise our ever-bounteous Lord, and as an assembly record our gratitude to the God of the harvest. We are probably the largest assembly of Christian people in the world, and it is well that we should set the example to the smaller Churches. Doubtless many other believers will follow in our track, and so a public thanksgiving will become general throughout the country. I hope to see every congregation in the land raising a special offering unto the Lord, to be devoted either to his Church, to the poor, to missions, or some other holy end. Yes, I would have every Christian offer willingly unto the Lord as a token of his gratitude to the God of providence……….
All the year round, every hour of every day, God is richly blessing us; both when we sleep and when we wake, his mercy waits upon us. The sun may leave off shining, but our God will never cease to cheer his children with his love. Like a river his lovingkindness is always flowing, with a fullness inexhaustible as his own nature, which is its source. Like the atmosphere which always surrounds the earth, and is always ready to support the life of man, the benevolence of God surrounds all his creatures; in it, as in their element they live, and move, and have their being. Yet as the sun on summer days appears to gladden us with beams more warm and bright than at other times, and as rivers are at certain seasons swollen with the rain, and as the atmosphere itself on occasions is fraught with more fresh, more bracing, or more balmy influences than heretofore, so is it with the mercy of God: it hath its golden hours, its days of overflow, when the Lord magnifieth his grace and lifteth high his love before the sons of men.
Charles H. Spurgeon-A Sermon Delivered on Sunday Morning, September 27th, 1863
WHEREIN THE TERMS COMMONLY MADE USE OF IN TREATING OF THIS SUBJECT ARE DEFINED AND EXPLAINED.
HAVING considered the attributes of God as laid down in Scripture, and so far cleared our way to the doctrine of predestination, I shall, before I enter further on the subject, explain the principal terms generally made use of when treating of it, and settle their true meaning. In discoursing on the Divine decrees, mention is frequently made of God’s love and hatred, of election and reprobation, and of the Divine purpose, foreknowledge and predestination, each of which we shall distinctly and briefly consider.
VII.-We come now to consider the meaning of the word predestination, and how it is taken in Scripture. The verb predestinate is of Latin original, and signifies, in that tongue, to deliberate beforehand with one’s self how one shall act; and in consequence of such deliberation to constitute, fore-ordain and predetermine where, when, how and by whom anything shall be done, and to what end it shall be done. So the Greek verb which exactly answers to the English word predestinate, and is rendered by it, signifies to resolve beforehand within one’s self what to do; and, before the thing resolved on is actually effected, to appoint it to some certain use, and direct it to some determinate end. The Hebrew verb Habhdel has likewise much the same signification.
Now, none but wise men are capable (especially in matters of great importance) of rightly determining what to do, and how to accomplish a proper end by just, suitable and effectual means; and if this is, confessedly, a very material part of true wisdom, who so fit to dispose of men and assign each individual his sphere of action in this world, and his place in the world to come, as the all-wise God? And yet, alas! how many are there who cavil at those eternal decrees which, were we capable of fully and clearly understanding them, would appear to be as just as they are sovereign and as wise as they are incomprehensible! Divine preordination has for its objects all things that are created: no creature, whether rational or irrational, animate or inanimate, is exempted from its influence. All beings whatever, from the highest angel to the meanest reptile, and from the meanest reptile to the minutest atom, are the objects of God’s eternal decrees and particular providence. However, the ancient fathers only make use of the word predestination as it refers to angels or men, whether good or evil, and it is used by the apostle Paul in a more limited sense still, so as, by it, to mean only that branch of it which respects God’s election and designation of His people to eternal life (Rom 8:30; Eph 1:11).
But, that we may more justly apprehend the import of this word, and the ideas intended to be conveyed by it, it may be proper to observe that the term predestination, theologically taken, admits of a fourfold definition, and may be considered as (1) “that eternal, most wise and immutable decree of God, whereby He did from before all time determine and ordain to create, dispose of and direct to some particular end every person and thing to which He has given, or is yet to give, being, and to make the whole creation subservient to and declarative of His own glory.” Of this decree actual providence is the execution. (2) Predestination may be considered as relating generally to mankind, and them only; and in this view we define it to he “the everlasting, sovereign and invariable purpose of God, whereby He did determine within Himself to create Adam in His own image and likeness and then to permit his fall; and to suffer him thereby to plunge himself and his whole posterity” (inasmuch as they all sinned in him, not only virtually, but also federally and representatively) “into the dreadful abyss of sin, misery and death.” (3) Consider predestination as relating to the elect only, and it is “that eternal, unconditional, particular and irreversible act of the Divine will whereby, in matchless love and adorable sovereignty, God determined with Himself to deliver a certain number of Adam’s degenerate* offspring out of that sinful and miserable estate into which, by his primitive transgression, they were to fall,” and in which sad condition they were equally involved, with those who were not chosen, but, being pitched upon and singled out by God the Father to be vessels of grace and salvation (not for anything in them that could recommend them to His favour or entitle them to His notice, but merely because He would show Himself gracious to them), they were, in time, actually redeemed by Christ, are effectually called by His Spirit, justified, adopted, sanctified, and preserved safe to His heavenly kingdom. The supreme end of this decree is the manifestation of His own infinitely glorious and amiably tremendous perfections; the inferior or subordinate end is the happiness and salvation of them who are thus freely elected. (4) Predestination, as it regards the reprobate, is “that eternal, most holy, sovereign and immutable act of God’s will, whereby He hath determined to leave some men to perish in their sins, and to be justly punished for them.”
* When we say that the decree of predestination to life and death respects man as fallen, we do not mean that the fall was actually antecedent to that decree, for the decree is truly and properly eternal, as all God’s immanent acts undoubtedly are, whereas the fall took place in time. What we intend, then, is only this, viz., that God (for reasons, without doubt, worthy of Himself, and of which we are by no means in this life competent judges), having, from everlasting, peremptorily ordained to suffer the fall of Adam, did likewise, from everlasting, consider the human race as fallen; and out of the whole mass of mankind, thus viewed and foreknown as impure and obnoxious to condemnation, vouchsafed to select some particular persons (who collectively make up a very great though precisely determinate number) in and on whom He would make known the ineffable riches of His mercy.
Jerome Zanchius-The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination Stated and Asserted-Translated by Augustus Montague Toplady
The Wednesday Word: Peace Made Through The Blood, Part 2
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, (Colossians 1:20 a)
The Father’s plan has always been the cross. It is there that He made peace. It was there that Christ represented His people and purchased them with His blood. Christ is the Father’s gift of peace and peace with God, therefore, comes through Christ alone. It doesn’t come by whipping ourselves up to a state of ecstasy. Nor do we have to work or wait for it. We simply, by faith, rest on what the Word says about the blood. He has already made peace by the blood of his cross, now we, by faith, receive it!
In the fullness of time, the Lord Jesus came as the peacemaker and declared the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:19). To obtain our peace, He was set forth as a propitiation (a wrath offering) that has satisfied the justice of God (Romans 3:25). We, now, believe and rest on Christ alone and present the shed blood of our substitute to the Father. The wrath of God no longer abides on us. To the contrary, the blood speaks of peace, love and mercy. There is nothing now that can be laid to the charge of God’s elect.
It is liberating and peace giving to know for certain that our sins have been blotted out for ever! God is waiting to be gracious. He does not demand any preparation on our part to come to Him: It is the blood of Jesus Christ, not our preparation, that cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
The Father is fully satisfied with the doing, dying and rising again of Jesus. Are you? Are you fully satisfied that your sin was taken away by the Lord Jesus as He poured out His blood on the cross? Are you persuaded that your sins have been put away in a powerful and righteous way? Peace, both legal and experiential, now flows from the cross. Have you embraced the Christ of the cross as your own? It is only through the shed blood of our crucified and exalted Saviour that we have peace.
The saintly Alexander Whyte, when an aged minister of the gospel, addressed a gathering of young converts in Edinburgh, Scotland, saying,
“Young men, when I came first to Christ, long, long ago, I had an idea, unexpressed, but real, that by and by I would become so inherently holy that I would not need to bemoan myself in this debasing way before the cross. I would not need to bring myself always down as a foul, polluted soul, a beggar in filthy rags before the holy God. Ah! I was proud, and so are you, dear young convert. Take care. But now I am an old man, the snows of time are on my head, more than a whole half-century has rolled by, and as I stand before you I can hear, but a few paces in front of me, the low dash-dash of the wave of eternity on the beach where I’m soon to embark for the other side. I can hear the flap of the sail as the pale boatman, Death, grates his waiting keel on yon ready strand. Ay, I’ll very soon be in eternity, and this morning what did I do? Well, after sixty years of knowing and loving my Saviour, I came to the Lord Jesus this morning, as I came at the first, as a poor, perishing, hell-deserving sinner, pleading his own precious blood, with no hope but his death, no trust nor rest in anything else. Christ was the beginning, and he will be the end.”
And that’s the Gospel Truth
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The Wednesday Word: Announcements of Mercy
Have you ever asked yourself why is it that God’s people believe the truth of the gospel? The answer is simple. We believe because God persuades us that He is to be trusted (Numbers 23:19). Faith, real faith, has a divine foundation.
As believers, God Himself is our teacher and we learn from Him primarily by reading, listening to and meditating on His word. He is the God who does not lie. His word teaches us, for example, what His mercy is (Psalm 119:41). When trying to discover what mercy is we should let God speak for Himself.
Here then are some announcements from heaven that inform us of God’s stunning mercy towards us.
“The Lord is long suffering and of great mercy” (Numbers 14:18).
“His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 118:1).
“Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee” (Psalm 86:5).
“Thou art a God full of compassion and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth” (Psalm 86:15).
“Thy mercy is great unto the heavens” (Psalm 57:10).
“His tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:9).
” He retains not his anger forever, because he delights in mercy” (Micah 7:18).
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6).
“God, — is rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith he hath loved us, even when we were dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:4).
“According to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).
These are but a few announcements concerning mercy from the One who cannot lie and each of these announcements are faithful and true. Each of them is fresh and life giving! Beware of saying, “I know these verses! What use is it to read and meditate on them?” When I hear words like that, I catch the sound of alarm bells! This is the thinking of someone who has become too familiar with the gospel and his familiarity is blocking the life of the Word from reaching his soul. This kind of familiarity with the things of God is a spiritual death sentence!
The announcements listed above are declarations of the riches of God’s mercy! Through the gracious ministry of the Holy Spirit, we read them as if it were the first time we have heard them. The mind of God towards us is wrapped up in these faithful announcements, and it is out of words like these that the Spirit ministers grace and peace to us. These verses are God’s personal messengers to us. If they don’t minister peace to you, read them again. If you still can’t find peace through them, read them again. If you still find nothing, meditate on them again for, “The word of God is quick and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29).
John Newton, the writer of the classic hymn, ‘Amazing Grace’ was a man who lived in the life of the scriptures. He knew a thing or two about mercy! Right before he died, he said to a friend, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour.”
Newton was a man who had listened to and believed the Divine Announcements. He never forgot that he owed his redemption entirely to the mercy of God. He made this clear in the following epitaph he wrote for himself and had written on his tomb.
Once an Infidel and Libertine,
A Servant of Slaves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
Preserved, restored and pardoned,
And appointed to preach the faith
He had long laboured to destroy.’
And that’s the Gospel Truth
Minister of the Gospel
The Wednesday Word: RICH IN MERCY
When we think of God, does the truth that He is wonderfully merciful immediately spring to mind? Probably not!
More than likely, we conjure up a picture of a God who is harsh, critical and judgmental……someone not to run to, but to run from. This kind of faulty thinking about the character of the Almighty can have dire consequences. In fact, unless we get our thoughts about God straight our walk with Him will be crooked.
The scripture declares boldly in Ephesians 2:4 that God is rich in mercy. It is of interest to note that the Greek word translated ‘rich’, is the same word from which we get our English word ‘plush’. Just think of it……our God is plush in mercy. That means, He’s not stingy when it comes to mercy. It means that He doesn’t dispense mercy with eye drops. No!!! On the contrary, He is rich, plush, extravagant, and liberal when it comes to giving out mercy.
In all my years as a believer, I have not yet encountered a single person who didn’t need mercy. Believers and unbelievers alike continually need daily mercy. Every day, as Christians, we sin and fail God. I think you’ll agree, we followers of Christ don’t pray, love God or love each other the way we should do. We need mercy! But God is rich in mercy. He is wealthy in and generous with that mercy. So whatever your situation today, bring it to the One who is plush with mercy.
We may feel like complete failures in our Christian lives … but God is rich in mercy. Because He is rich in mercy, He gave His Son to be slaughtered at the cross for all our sinful fallings and failings. Because He is rich in mercy, He set forth and publicly displayed Christ as a propitiation (a wrath offering) for us. Because He is rich in mercy, Christ has become the very Mercy Seat for the fallen believer. So don’t run from Him ………run to Him! He is rich in mercy!
Regardless of how much we have failed Him, we can come to Him today, right now, for mercy. Perhaps you are saying to yourself, “I don’t deserve mercy.” Well, truer words were never spoken! Think of it, if any of us deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy.
His mercy is great. His grace is free. He is rich in mercy. May we never, ever let shame trick us into staying away from Him. Staying away will only lead to straying away.
Spurgeon tells of how the gospel preacher, Rowland Hill, was given a large sum of money to dispense to a certain minister who was extremely poor. In his wisdom, Mr Hill realised that if he were to give him the entire sum of money all at once, the poor minister would be overwhelmed. So he decided to send the money in instalments every few days and with each instalment he wrote a note to the minister which simply said, “There’s more to Follow.”
This is so like the blessings of God. Every blessing we receive from God has the same note joined to it. It says, “There’s more to follow.”
He chose us, but there’s more to follow.
He called us, but there’s more to follow.
He regenerated us, but there’s more to follow.
He justified us, but there’s more to follow.
He acquitted us, but there’s more to follow.
He declared us righteous, but there’s more to follow.
He set us apart to Himself, but there’s more to follow.
He adopted us, but there’s more to follow.
He gave us eternal life, but there’s more to follow. Why? Because, “God is Rich in Mercy.”
And that’s the Gospel Truth
Minister of the Gospel
A word from my friend, Brother Miles Mckee:
The Wednesday Word,
The gospel truth of Justification means that every charge against the believer has been dropped. As the scripture declares, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies” (Romans 8:33). There are no accusations that can stand against the Lord’s sheep because they have been declared not guilty in the courtroom of God. But there’s more!
Justification goes far beyond being cleared of guilt. When we are justified, we are not only acquitted, but also declared righteous. This is a necessary truth for not only does the Law forbid sin, it also demands righteousness. But where do we find a righteousness that satisfies the Father? Some people reason that regeneration is the solution for this. However, vital as regeneration is, it can not provide perfect righteousness. The flesh still lusts against the spirit (Galatians 5:17).
In addition, the “not guilty” declaration, although essential, does not, and can not, clothe us with righteousness. It declares us innocent, but there is a significant difference between being innocent and being righteous! The truth is, the man who is declared not guilty is still unworthy in himself. Everything he does is flawed, imperfect and defiled by sin.
But here’s the good news, gospel justification not only declares us not guilty, but also declares us righteous. We are now accepted before God having, not only been washed in the blood of Christ, but also by having Christ’s righteousness reckoned as being ours. Martyn Lloyd Jones says,
“In justifying us, God tells us that He has taken our sins and our guilt and has “imputed” them to, “put them to the account of,” the Lord Jesus Christ and punished them in Him. He announces also that, having done that, He now puts to our account, or “imputes” to us, the perfect righteousness of His own dear Son. The Lord Jesus Christ obeyed the law perfectly; He never broke it in any respect; He gave a full and a perfect satisfaction to all its demands. That full obedience constitutes His righteousness. What God does is to put to our account, to put upon us, the righteousness of Jesus Christ. In declaring us to be justified, God proclaims that He now looks on us, not as we are, but as clothed with the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Because of Justification, God looks at us and says that (1) we are not guilty, and (2) we are righteous in Christ. Our past has been legally and justly expunged, and we have been given a totally new identity. It’s like being in a witness protection program that is 100% secure!
“Christ is made unto us righteousness.” 1 Corinthians 1:30. This is the blessing of grace that belongs to every believer. The Fathers looks at us and see us as righteous in Christ. If a man, however, refuses to submit to this righteousness, he, in his folly, is declaring Christ’s righteousness to be superfluous and un-necessary. Furthermore, he is saying that man’s righteousness (his in particular) is sufficient for acceptance before God. Such a person is not in the gospel; he will perish.
Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
‘Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed
With joy shall I lift up my head.
Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am,
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.
Some years ago an Irish Farmer stood up to testify at a gospel meeting. He said, “Brothers and Sisters look at me. I’m not a pretty sight. In fact, I’m just a big, old, ugly Irish farmer, but in God’s sight I’m altogether lovely for I’m all dressed up in the righteousness of Christ.”
This man understood something of the benefits of the gospel.
And that’s the Gospel Truth
Minister of the Gospel
The only question that remains is, whether thou canst endure his displeasure. And this must surely be a forlorn hope! Can thine heart endure, and thine hands be strong, in the day that he shall deal with thee? Think of the wrath to come. If it were founded in caprice or injustice, supported by conscious innocence, you might possibly bear it; but, should you perish, you will be destitute of this resource. Conscience will eternally say Amen to the justice of your sufferings. If you had mere justice done you, unmixed with mercy, your sufferings would be more tolerable than they will be; but if you perish, you must have your portion with Bethsaida and Chorazin. Goodness gives an edge to justice. The displeasure of a kind and merciful being– and such is the wrath of the Lamb–is insupportable.
Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered
Published in 1646
The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.
CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.
VI. ALL the elect being loved of God with an everlasting love, are redeemed, quickened, and saved, not by themselves, nor their own works, lest any any man should boast, but, only and wholly by God, of His own free grace and mercy, through Jesus Christ, who is made unto us by God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, and all in all, that he that rejoiceth, might rejoice in the Lord.
Jer.31:2; Eph.1:3,7, 2:8,9; 1 Thess.5:9; Acts 13:38; 2 Cor.5:21; Jer.9:23.24; 1 Cor.1:30.31; Jer.23:6.
The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46
The word law as used twice in the text is employed, it is believed by many commentators, out of compliment to the Jews, who were so fond of the word, that their antagonism might not be aroused; but it means here, as elsewhere in Scripture, plan, system, method. There were two plans, two systems, two methods, two spirits,-the plan of works and the plan of grace. God has once for all utterly refused the plan of merit and of works, and has chosen to bless men only, and entirely through the plan, or method, or law of faith. Now, brethren, we have put the two before you, and we beg you to mark that there is a distinction between the two, which must never be forgotten. Martin Luther says:- “If thou canst rightly distinguish between works and grace, thank God for thy skill, and consider thyself to be an able divine.” This indeed is the bottom of theology, and he who can understand this clearly, it seems to me, can never be very heterodox; orthodoxy must surely follow, and the right teaching of God must be understood when we once for all are able to discriminate with accuracy between that which is of man-works, and that which is of Godfaith, and grace received by faith.
Charles H. Spurgeon—Grace Exalted-Boasting Excluded—A Sermon Delivered on Sunday Morning, January 19th, 1862