By Sam Waldron
I’ve dealt with four misunderstandings of Calvinism related to the doctrine of total depravity. In this blog I begin to deal with a number related to the doctrine of unconditional election. Here are the first two:
1.Misunderstandings related to Unconditional Election
(1) Calvinists are fatalists!
I looked up the dictionary definition of fatalism, but I think it has little to do with what the people who make this charge actually mean. Let me tell you what I think they mean. I think they mean to say that Calvinists think that nothing we do changes our final destiny. I think they mean that there is no relationship between how a person acts and where he will spend eternity. I think they mean that somehow a person’s destiny in eternity is fixed regardless of how he responds to the gospel here in this life. If that is what they mean by fatalism, then it has nothing to do with mainstream Calvinism. Calvinists believe that the promises of the gospel are true for any person who will receive them by faith. The promise of Acts 16:31 is true without exception: “They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your…
Read the entire article here.
Baptism—The Heaven-Drawn Picture is a concise summary for anyone who wants to understand the rich fullness of the Biblical meaning of baptism. It explains immersion as the Bible’s method to communicate the believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
Dr. Peter M. Masters is Minister of the Metropolitan Tabernacle,London,England, the same church at the same location served by Charles Spurgeon over 100 years ago.
Item code: bthd.
Source [Chapel Library]
Again, Christ is very grieved if you do it. Assuredly you do not desire to grieve him who shed his blood for you. Surely there is not one child of God here who would like to vex his blessed elder Brother. There cannot be one soul redeemed by blood who would like to see those sweet blessed eyes of our best beloved bedewed with tears. I know ye will not grieve your Lord; will ye? But I tell you ye will vex his noble spirit if ye love aught but him; for he is so fond of you, that he is jealous of your love. It is said, concerning his Father, that he is “a jealous God,” and he is a jealous Christ you have to deal with; therefore, put not your trust in chariots, stay not yourselves in horses, but say, “He only is my rock and my salvation.”
Charles H. Spurgeon-God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856
PART 3-THE BIBLE DOCTRINE OF SERVICE
CHAPTER 1-GOOD WORKS
The Scriptures have much to say about good works. We “are created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (#Eph 2:10). Believers must “be careful to maintain good works” (#Tit 3:8). The rich in this world must be rich in good works, ready to share their good things with the needy “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate” (#1Ti 6:18).
Our Lord testified that the works of the world are evil “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil” (#Joh 7:7). He also testified concerning the Pharisees, that all their works were done for human praise: “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments” (#Mt 23:5). We also read of dead works, works of the flesh, and works of the devil. And so we need to discriminate in dealing with the subject of good works.
1. QUALIFICATIONS FOR GOOD WORKS. Who can perform a good work in the sight of God? The Scriptures make it plain that none but the saved can engage in good works. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (#Eph 2:10); So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (#Ro 8:8); “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (#Heb 11:6).
Good works are the fruit of the Spirit, and none but the saved have the Spirit. Good works are the result of salvation and not the cause of it. The Divine order is salvation, then service. We are saved to serve God and others. In every realm except mechanics, there must be life before activity. Every man by nature is dead in sins and alienates from the life of God. The belief that a sinner may work towards salvation is a heresy of the deepest dye. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (#Tit 3:5); “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 Jesus before the world began” (#2Ti 1:9); “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (#Eph 2:8,9). All the work that the lost man does to ingratiate himself into the favor of God is a dead work and needs to be repented of. There is no way into the favor of God except through His Son. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (#Eph 2:13).
2. THE NATURE OF GOOD WORKS. A good work in the Scriptural sense, the only true sense, is a work that pleases God, and brings upon the doer God’s approbation and blessing. A man may perform an act that will meet the human conception of a good deed, but God may judge otherwise. What men might pronounce good, God might reject as evil. Men may reward for that which God will censure.
How may one know when he is engaged in doing good? This is a very important question. Multitudes are in a whirl of so-called Christian activity, nervously executing man-made programs, only to reap in the end a terrible awakening and a sore disappointment. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (#Mt 7:22,23).
It is not our aim to enumerate the good deeds a Christian may do, but rather to show the necessary elements in any work to make it a good work in the sight of God. As individuals, particular deeds may vary according to our relation to society and to our opportunities. Observe,
1. A WORK OF FAITH IS A GOOD WORK. To do that which God commands, just because He commands it, is a good work. A work of faith is possible only to those who have faith. Works of faith are often opposed to human reason. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is filled with works of faith. Human reason did not dictate the acts of Noah, Abraham, and others mentioned in this chapter. The only reason behind a work of faith is that God says do it. And this is to become a fool in the eyes of the world. It was only because Noah believed God that he built the ark.
2. A LABOR OF LOVE IS A GOOD WORK. Christ said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” I Corinthians 13 emphasizes the necessity of love as an element in good works. Faith works by love. “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” #Ga 5:6. Faith and love are twin graces God wrought, and where these are good works will surely follow.
The unregenerate, so far as the external act is concerned, may do a good deed; however, the inward motive as well as the outward act is essential to a good work in the sight of God. A cup of cold water, given in the name of a disciple of Christ, is a good work, while the gift of a million dollars to a good cause may fall short of a good work. Here is the acid test for every good deed: is it done for the glory of God, and from love to Christ? if so—-
2a) It will not be done for human rewards. This was the motive of the Pharisees in almsgiving. And it is to be feared that many professing Christians want their rewards here and now, and therefore, their motive is to please men rather than God. And the writer must confess that his greatest temptation has been to preach to please men-something he has had to confess before God. He dares not claim a holy motive in all he has done. A good work is done for the glory of God and will be rewarded by Him in the day of judgment. It is not wrong to please men if they are pleased by our seeking to please God.
2b) A labor of love is not done out of envy and strife. “Love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil” (#1Co 13:4,5).
2c) It will not be done for prizes, banners, etc. All sorts of means are being resorted in today to keep church members active in some form of Christian activity. What is needed today is the faithful preaching of the Word, speaking the truth in love, and in utter dependence upon the Holy Spirit for results.
2d) Acceptable service must flow from fellowship with Christ. If we have not learned to worship in secret, we cannot worship in the public assembly. If Christ is not real to us; if we are not walking and communing with Him, it is but mockery to speak of Him to others. It is only when He is precious to us that we can sincerely recommend Him to others.
Paul said that Christianity in the last days would be characterized by people having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (#2Ti 3:5). And this is the certain result of too much public service apart from much secret prayer.
The story is told that when Handley Page was making an Eastern flight, he and his companions descended at Khobar in Arabia. While there a large rat attracted by the smell of food managed to get into the plane. When the flight was resumed Mr. Page discovered the presence of the rat by the sickening sound of gnawing behind him. He thought with horror of the damage those pitiless teeth might do to some vital part of the plane. What could he do? It suddenly occurred to him that a rat cannot stand a high altitude; it is made to live on the surface or burrow beneath the soil. So he decided to soar. He turned the nose of the plane upward and rose higher and higher until he himself found it difficult to breathe. He listened—and to his delight the rat was found to be dead. Now, there are moral pests in the nature of fleshly lusts that war against the soul: worldly amusements in various forms. Our only safety is to soar. These things cannot stand heaven’s air. They die in the presence of Christ Who died for us. Prayer and Bible study-lift us into an altitude that is too high for sinful amusements.
IMPORTANCE OF GOOD WORKS
Good works are important as necessary evidences of salvation. They do not procure salvation but manifest it. They are not the cause but the effect of the new birth—created in Christ Jesus unto good works.
The works of the Christian come before him in judgment to be rejected or rewarded. This is not true of the believer’s sins; they were laid upon Christ and He bore them in His own body on the tree. In respect to salvation, the believer’s sins were put upon Christ and judged in Him. In respect to chastisement, they are dealt with in this life. “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (#Heb 12:5-11). The believer will be rewarded for his good works when Christ comes. “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God” (#1Co 4:5).
Is thy cruse of comfort failing?
Rise and share it with a friend!
And through all the years of famine
It shall serve thee to the end.
Love divine will fill thy storehouse,
Or thy handful still renew;
Scanty fare for one will often
Make royal feast for two.
For the heart grows rich in giving:
All its wealth is living grain;
Seeds-which mildew in the garner
Scattered, fill with gold the plain.
Is thy burden hard and heavy?
Do thy steps drag wearily?
Help to lift thy brother’s burden
God will bear both it and thee.
Lost and weary on the mountains,
Would’st thou sleep amidst the snow?
Chafe that frozen form beside thee,
And together both shall glow.
Art thou wounded in life’s battle?
Many stricken round thee moan;
Give to them thy precious ointment,
And that balm shall heal thine own.
Is thy heart a well left empty?
None but God its void can fill;
Nothing but a ceaseless fountain
Can its ceaseless longings still.
Is thy heart a living power?
Self-entwined, its strength sinks low;
It can only live by loving,
And by serving love will grow.
C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 3
Reformedontheweb would like to wish everyone a happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day.
Here is a little quote from Spurgeon on God’s rich blessings toward us:
“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- Thanksgiving and Prayer, A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning,
September 27TH, 1863
WESTWOOD, October 18, 1890.
DEAR BROTHER, —
We have a stiff week before us. Monday, at 3.o, laying stone. Tuesday, at Malden, at 11.0. Wednesday, funeral at Tabernacle, at 2.0. Will you go to the house, 12.30, and to the grave? I will preach in Tabernacle.
I cannot see how I am to get an address for teachers on Monday night, and get my sermon done in the morning before I start for Penrose Street. The Lord help us.
With much love,
C. H. S.
HT Chapel Library
The Covenants of Works and of Grace is a brief but clear presentation of the basic principles in Covenant Theology: that all of God’s dealings with man can be best understood in terms of these two eternal covenants. In the spirit of the Bereans, the author deals with the whole of Scripture to support and defend his premise. In many quarters, these principles have been overrun in our day by Dispensationalism, and its outworkings in Antinomianism and Arminianism. This booklet is a call to return to the historic faith of the Reformation.
It is difficult to know who was the first to call the doctrine of the covenants “the marrow of divinity” (or theology), but it is a most appropriate observation. Without bones the human body would be an unshaped glob of flesh. Without theology the ideas of Scripture would lie in an unshaped mass. Marrow is at the center of the bones which shape our body, and marrow gives health to the body. So the doctrine of the covenants is at the core of theology, and the health of any theological system depends on its understanding of this truth. It would be nearly impossible to overstate the central importance of the Biblical teaching on covenants.
In Genesis chapter three, we observe two covenants in action. Two very different covenants are in force at the same time. The Covenant of Works is not introduced for the first time in chapter three. But all of man’s hopes under the Covenant of Works were dashed here. The curse of the Covenant of Works is declared in this place and it begins to fall on Adam, his race, and his world.
The truly amazing thing is that, just as the curse of the Covenant of Works is imposed, a new covenant is published. Promises of the Covenant of Grace are announced (Gen 3:15) even before the curses of the first covenant are applied (3:19). Also astounding is the fact that Adam’s next recorded deed was an act of faith aroused by the Covenant of Grace. “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she would become the mother of all the living” (Gen 3:20). The head of sinners was not despairing over his colossal failure under the Covenant of Works. Nor was he overwhelmed by the dreadful curse of universal death which was announced. Rather he was hopeful. He was filled with optimism upon hearing the glorious and precious Covenant of Grace with its cheerful promises.
The Covenant of Grace arises from the ashes of the Covenant of Works. As man takes his first step into the ruins of the cursed earth, he does so trusting in the Covenant of Grace. These events are interpreters of the rest of the material in the Bible. Genesis begins at the beginning—with the framework for understanding all the Scriptures. If one misunderstands Genesis chapters one to three, he cannot possibly comprehend the remainder of the Bible. Genesis 3 and its two covenants dominate the experience and history of mankind and will continue to do so until this old and worried earth is destroyed.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Definitions of Covenant
2. Similarities and Differences in the Two Covenants
3. Implications from the Scriptural Presentation of Covenants
4. A Corrective to Perverted Views of Scripture