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Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1-Chapter 9-The Immutability of God

January 30, 2015 2 comments

CHAPTER 9-THE IMMUTABILITY OF GOD

“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (#Mal 3:6). Mutability belongs to all creation; immutability belongs to God alone. The visible heavens often change their appearance; sometimes they are clear, at other times they are covered with clouds and darkness. The face of the earth appears different at the various seasons of the year. The earth has undergone one great change by the flood, and will undergo another great change by fire: “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (#2Pe 3:5-10). The angels in their original state were subject to change, as the apostasy of many of them has shown. The elect angels have not changed, they have been confirmed in holiness but this is not due to their nature, but to the electing grace of God in Christ, Who is the Head of all principality and power: “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality “(#1Ti 5:21). “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” (#Col 2:10). And when we consider man, the very acme of creation, his changeableness is so evident that no argument is needed to prove it. What man of us has not grieved at human fickleness? Many of us know what it is to be praised today and slandered tomorrow by the same pair of lips.

“Abide with me!
Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me!

“Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou Who changest not, abide with me!”

—H.F. Lyte, 1847

The author of the foregoing lines was not a fool optimist, thinking of this present world as a “Utopia.” Nor was he a sour pessimist, viewing the future without hope. But the ground of His hope was in the unchanging God, Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS NATURE

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (#Jas 1:17). God cannot change for worse, for He is the eternally Holy One. He cannot change for better, for He is already the Holy and Perfect One. Time effects no changes with the eternal One. The self-existent, and self-sufficient, and ever- existing God is not bowed down with age, neither is there any faltering to His stately steppings. “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding “(#Isa 40:28).

GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS ATTRIBUTES

The power of God is ever the same, for we read of His eternal power: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (#Ro 1:20). There is no increase to His knowledge, “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (#Ac 15:18). His love is unchangeable: “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end “(#Joh 13:1); “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (#Ro 8:35-39); “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (#Jer 31:3), and His mercy endureth forever: “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever: The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever: And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever: With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever: And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever: But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever: And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever: And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever: Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever: And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 136). His veracity (truthfulness) is immutable, for He cannot lie “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” (#Tit 1:2). His holiness cannot be sullied (ill-tempered), and His faithfulness never fails. “Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail” (#Ps 89:33). Though there has been such a profusion of blessings bestowed upon His creatures, and so many good and perfect gifts made to them, His goodness is still the same without any abatement.

GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS DECREES

The purposes of God are eternal. No new resolutions are ever formed, and no new decrees are ever made by Him, for His counsels are of old. There is no Happy New Year with Him, for He is ever the blessed or happy God. His purpose cannot be frustrated, “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (#Ps 33:11). “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand” (#Pr 19:21). “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:” (#Isa 14:24). “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth” (#Job 23:13).

OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED AND ANSWERED

1. It has been offered in objection to the immutability of God that He must have changed at creation. But this is to confound change with manifestation. As I now write the sun is shining into my study; directly it will be gone, but this does not mean a change in the sun, the sun is the same; there is only a change in its manifestation. Then, too, a change in activity does not imply a change in character or nature. What God’s activities were before creation we are nowhere told, but since He ceased from the work of creation He has been engaged in the work of administration and salvation, and in the future He will take up the work of judgment.

This is the day of salvation: “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” (#2Co 6:2), “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;” (#Ro 2:5); “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (#Ac 17:31). This is the day of God’s patience, the day in which He tolerates the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:” (#Ro 9:22); the day in which men defy God and seem to get by with it. The saddest story the writer ever heard from human lips was told him by a young woman whose father committed double homicide and suicide, killing the husband and mother of this daughter, and then taking his own life. According to the story this man had years before renounced his Christian profession, and had become a student of “black art.” Confessedly selling himself to the devil, he would often defy God in the presence of his family and boast that God was not “man enough to handle him.” And to all appearances he got by with his defiance of God, but in the coming day of judgment God will deal with all such rebels and boasters. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (#Re 21:8). In that day His wrath, now held back, will be manifested. But the changes in Divine activity do not argue a change in the Divine character and purpose.

2. It has been argued also that the incarnation of Christ involved a change in the Divine nature. But the incarnation was an assumption of human nature by the second person of the Godhead. The divine nature was in no wise affected. The Divine nature was not changed into human nature, nor the human nature into the Divine, nor a third nature made out of the two. In the incarnation Christ assumed what He was not, and remained what He was. The incarnation was necessary for His work of making atonement. The divine nature, as such, cannot suffer, so Christ assumed human nature that He might be capable of suffering. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man…Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (#Heb 2:9,14). But in His suffering there was no change in the Divine nature.

3. It is objected that the Scriptures represent a change in God by ascribing repentance to Him. “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (#Ge 6:6); “And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel” (#1Sa 15:35); “And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies” (#Ps 106:45); “The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD” (#Am 7:3); “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not” (#Jon 3:10). But there are other Scriptures which plainly and positively deny that God repents. “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (#Nu 23:19); “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.” (#1Sa 15:29). We would not make one Scripture recant before another, but putting all the passages together we conclude that repentance with God is not what it is with men. Repentance on the part of men is on account of sin and involves a change of mind and purpose, but with God, it cannot be because He has sinned, and therefore does not involve a change of mind and will. Repentance with God means a change of manifestation and activity, and this change is always in line with His immutable character and purpose. The immutability of God’s holiness requires a change in attitude and treatment when the righteous become wicked. The sun is not changeable because it melts the wax and hardens the clay, the difference is not in the sun but in the objects it shines upon.

“Nor is the immutability of God, in His promises and threatenings, affected in that the promised good and threatened evil are not always done. For it should be considered, that they are either absolute or conditional. That anything promised or threatened, absolutely and unconditionally, is not performed, must be denied. In all cases where God does not do what He said He would do, a condition is either expressed or implied. “If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” (#Jer 18:8-10). Thus “For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it” (#Ps 132:13,14), and the people of Israel should dwell in their land, and eat the good of it; but then it was provided they were obedient to God, abode in His service and worship, and kept His laws and ordinances: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:” (#Isa 1:19). But failing on their part. He departed from them, and suffered them to be carried away captive. There was a change of His dispensations, but none of His will. He threatened the Ninevites with the destruction of their city within forty days, that is, unless they repented. They did repent, and were saved from ruin, God repenting of what He had threatened; which, though a change in His outward conduct towards them, was no change of His will; for both their repentance and their deliverance were according to His unchangeable will “And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrownà And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not” (#Jon 3:4,10). In the case of Hezekiah, #2Ki 20:1-6: “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake” the outward declaration ordered to be made to him, was, that he should die and not live, as he must have done quickly, according to the nature of second causes, his disease being mortal; but the secret will of God was that he should live fifteen years longer, as he did; which implies neither contradiction nor change. The outward declaration was made to humble Hezekiah? to induce him to pray, and make use of means; whereby the unchangeable will of God was accomplished” (Dr. John Gill).

“God’s immutability is not that of a stone, that has no internal experience, but rather of mercury, that rises and falls with ever change of temperature. (The mercury does not change; it only reflects the change in the weather, C. D. C.) When a man bicycling against the wind turns about and goes with the wind instead of going against it, the wind seems to change, though it is blowing just as it was before” (Strong).

4. It is sometimes claimed that prayer changes God. We gladly subscribe to the blessed truth that God hears and answers prayer, but we deny emphatically that prayer changes God. This would make man sovereign and supreme rather than God. This would make prayer dictation rather than supplication. Prayer is a means of grace the results of which are always in harmony with God’s will. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” (#1Joh 5:14). In prayer we seem to conquer God, but in reality it is He who conquers us. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (#Ro 8:26), therefore the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us according to the will of God. We even say in praying, “Not our will, but Thy will be done.”

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1

C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers-Prayer 24

January 29, 2015 1 comment

“DELIVER US FROM EVIL.”

O GOD, let us not be formalists or hypocrites at this time in prayer. We feel how easy it is to bow the head and cover the face, and yet the thoughts may be all astray, and the mind may be wandering hither and thither, so that there shall be no real prayer at all. Come, Holy Spirit, help us to feel that we are in the immediate presence of God; and may this thought lead us to sincere and earnest petitioning.

There are some who know not God; God is not in all their thoughts; they make no reckoning of Thee, Thou glorious One, but do their business and guide their lives as if there was no God in heaven or in earth. Strike them now with a sense of Thy presence. Oh! that Thine eternal power might come before their thoughts, and now may they join with Thy reverent people in approaching Thy mercy seat.

We come for mercy, great God; it must always be our first request, for we have sinned, sinned against a just and holy law of which our conscience approves. We are evil, but Thy law is holy and just and good. We have offended knowingly; we have offended again and again; after being chastened we have still offended, and even those of us who are forgiven, who through Thy rich love have been once for all washed from every stain, yet have we sinned grievously; and we confess it with much shame and bitter self-reproach that we should sin against such tender love, and against the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who is in His people; and who checks them and quickens their consciences; so that they sin against light and knowledge when they sin.

Wash us yet again. And when we ask for this washing it is not because, we doubt the efficacy of former cleansing. Then we were washed in blood. Now, O Savior, repeat upon us what Thou didst to the twelve when Thou didst take a towel and basin and wash their feet. And when that was done Thou didst tell them that he who had been washed had no need save but to wash his feet. After that was done he was clean every whit. Oh! let Thy children be in that condition this morning — clean every whit — and may they know it; and thus being clean may they have boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Christ; and may they now come and stand where the cherubim once were, where the glory still shines forth. And may we before a blood-besprinkled mercy seat, ourselves washed and cleansed, pour out our prayers and praises.

As for those that never have been washed, we repeat our prayer for them. Bring them, oh! bring them at once to a sense of sin. Oh! that we might see them take their first complete washing, and may they become henceforth the blood washed and blood redeemed consecrated ones, belonging forever unto Him who has made them white through His atoning sacrifice.

And, blessed Lord, since Thou dost permit Thy washed ones to come close to Thyself we would approach Thee now with the courage which comes of faith and love, and ask of Thee this thing. Help us to overcome every tendency to evil which is still within us, and enable us to wear armor of such proof that the arrows of the enemy from without may not penetrate it, that we may not be wounded again by sin. Deliver us, we pray Thee, from doubts within and fears without, from depression of spirit, and from the outward assaults of the world. Make us and keep us pure within, and then let our life be conducted with such, holy jealousy and watchfulness that there may be nothing about us that shall bring dishonor to Thy name. May those who most carefully watch us see nothing but what shall adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

Lord help Thy people to be right as parents. May none of us spoil our children; may there be no misconducted families to cry out against us. Help us to be right as masters; may there be no oppression, no hardness and unkindness. Help us to be right as servants; may there be no eye service, no purloining, but may there be everything that adorns the Christian character. Keep us right as citizens; may we do all we can for our country, and for the times in which we live. Keep us right, we pray Thee, as citizens of the higher country; may we be living for it, to enjoy its privileges, and to bring others within its burgess-ship, that multitudes may be made citizens of Christ through our means. Lord help us to conduct ourselves aright as Church members; may we love our brethren; may we seek their good, their edification, their comfort, their health. And oh! may such of us as are called to preach have grace equal to that responsibility. Lord make every Christian to be clear of the blood of all those round about him. We know that there are some who profess to be Thy people, who do not seem to care one whit about the souls of their fellow men. God forgive this inhumanity to men, this treason to the King of kings. Rouse the Church, we pray Thee, to a tenderness of heart towards those among whom we dwell.

Let all the churches feel that they are ordained to bless their neighbors. Oh! that the Christian Church in England might begin to take upon itself its true burden. Let the Church in London especially, with its mass of poverty and sin round about it, care for the people and love the people; and may all Christians bestir themselves that something may be done for the good of men, and for the glory of God. Lord, do use us for Thy glory. Shine upon us, O Emmanuel, that we may reflect Thy brightness; dwell in us, O Jesus, that out of us may come the power of Thy life. Make Thy Church to work miracles, because the miracle-worker is in the midst of her. Oh! send us times of revival, seasons of great refreshing; and then times of aggression, when the army of the Lord of Hosts shall push its way into the very center of the adversary, and overthrow the foe in the name of the King of kings. Now forgive Thy servants all that has been amiss, and strengthen in Thy servants all that is good and right. Sanctify us to Thy service, and hold us to it. Comfort us with Thy presence; elevate us into Thy presence. Make us like Thyself; bring us near Thyself, and in all things glorify Thyself in us, whether we live or die.

Bless the poor, remember the needy among Thine own people; help and succor them. Bless the sick, and be very near the dying. The Lord comfort them.

Bless our country, let every mercy rest upon the Sovereign; send peace to disquieted districts; give wisdom to our senators in the making and in the seeing to the keeping of the law. And may Thy kingdom come not here only, but in every land and nation. Lands across the flood remember with the plenitude of Thy grace. Let the whole earth be filled with Thy glory. We ask it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers

Other Anti Trinitarian heresies refuted

January 28, 2015 3 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Other Anti Trinitarians refuted. No good objection that Christ is called the Son of God, since he is also called God. Impious absurdities of some heretics.

23. This pool has bred another monster not unlike the former. For certain restless spirits, unwilling to share the disgrace and obloquy of the impiety of Servetus, have confessed that there were indeed three Persons, but added, as a reason, that the Father, who alone is truly and properly God, transfused his Divinity into the Son and Spirit when he formed them. Nor do they refrain from expressing themselves in such shocking terms as these: that the Father is essentially distinguished from the Son and Spirit by this; that he is the only essentiator. Their first pretext for this is, that Christ is uniformly called the Son of God. From this they infer, that there is no proper God but the Father. But they forget, that although the name of God is common also to the Son, yet it is sometimes, by way of excellence, ascribed to the Father, as being the source and principle of Divinity; and this is done in order to mark the simple unity of essence. They object, that if the Son is truly God, he must be deemed the Son of a person: which is absurd. I answer, that both are true; namely, that he is the Son of God, because he is the Word, begotten of the Father before all ages; (for we are not now speaking of the Person of the Mediator,) and yet, that for the purpose of explanation, regard must be had to the Person, so that the name God may not be understood in its absolute sense, but as equivalent to Father. For if we hold that there is no other God than the Fathers this rank is clearly denied to the Son.

In every case where the Godhead is mentioned, we are by no means to admit that there is an antithesis between the Father and the Son, as if to the former only the name of God could competently be applied. For assuredly, the God who appeared to Isaiah was the one true God, and yet John declares that he was Christ, (Isaiah 6; John 12:41.) He who declared, by the mouth of Isaiah, that he was to be “for a stone of stumbling” to the Jews, was the one God; and yet Paul declares that he was Christ, (Isaiah 8:14; Romans 9:33.) He who proclaims by Isaiah, “Unto me every knee shall bow,” is the one God; yet Paul again explains that he is Christ, (Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11.) To this we may add the passages quoted by an Apostle, “Thou, Lord, hast laid the foundations of the earth;” “Let all the angels of God worship him,” (Hebrews 1:10; 10:6; Psalm 102:26; 97:7.) All these apply to the one God; and yet the Apostle contends that they are the proper attributes of Christ. There is nothing in the cavil, that what proper]y applies to God is transferred to Christ, because he is the brightness of his glory. Since the name of Jehovah is everywhere applied to Christ, it follows that, in regard to Deity, he is of himself. For if he is Jehovah, it is impossible to deny that he is the same God who elsewhere proclaims by Isaiah, “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God,” (Isaiah 44:6.) We would also do well to ponder the words of Jeremiah, “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens,” (Jeremiah 10:11;) whence it follows conversely, that He whose divinity Isaiah repeatedly proves from the creation of the world, is none other than the Son of God. And how is it possible that the Creator, who gives to all should not be of himself, but should borrow his essence from another? Whosoever says that the Son was essentiated by the Father, denies his self existence. Against this, however, the Holy Spirit protests, when he calls him Jehovah. On the supposition, then, that the whole essence is in the Father only, the essence becomes divisible, or is denied to the Son, who, being thus robbed of his essences will be only a titular God. If we are to believe these triflers, divine essence belongs to the Father only, on the ground that he is sole God, and essentiator of the Son. In this way, the divinity of the Son will be something abstracted from the essence of God, or the derivation of a part from the whole. On the same principle it must also be conceded, that the Spirit belongs to the Father only. For if the derivation is from the primary essence which is proper to none but the Father, the Spirit cannot justly be deemed the Spirit of the Son. This view, however, is refuted by the testimony of Paul, when he makes the Spirit common both to Christ and the Father. Moreover, if the Person of the Father is expunged from the Trinity, in what will he differ from the Son and Spirit, except in being the only God? They confess that Christ is God, and that he differs from the Father. If he differs, there must be some mark of distinction between them. Those who place it in the essence, manifestly reduce the true divinity of Christ to nothing, since divinity cannot exist without essence, and indeed without entire essence. The Father certainly cannot differ from the Son, unless he have something peculiar to himself, and not common to him with the Son. What, then, do these men show as the mark of distinction? If it is in the essence, let them tell whether or not he communicated essence to the Son. This he could not do in part merely, for it were impious to think of a divided God. And besides, on this supposition, there would be a rending of the Divine essence. The whole entire essence must therefore be common to the Father and the Son; and if so, in respect of essence there is no distinction between them. If they reply that the Father, while essentiating, still remains the only God, being the possessor of the essence, then Christ will be a figurative God, one in name or semblance only, and not in reality, because no property can be more peculiar to God than essence, according to the words, “I AM has sent me unto you,” (Ex. 3:4.)

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 13-Henry Beveridge Translation

Poor Man’s Commentary on the Old Testament (6-Volumes) by Robert Hawker

January 27, 2015 6 comments

Genesis – Numbers (.pdf)commentaryot_0

Deuteronomy – 2 Samuel (.pdf)

1 Kings – Esther (.pdf)

Job- Psalms (.pdf)

Proverbs – Lamentations (.pdf)

Ezekiel – Malachi (.pdf)

 

HT: Grace eBooks

Charles Spurgeon exhorted his students, “Gentlemen, if you want something full of marrow and fatness, cheering to your own hearts by way of comment, and likely to help you in giving to your hearers rich expositions, buy Dr. Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary . . . he sees Jesus, and that is a sacred gift which is most precious.” Delve into the exegetical and devotional writings of one of the most influential preachers and theologians of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England. His thoroughly Christ-centered view of Scripture comes through clearly in his extensive nine vol. commentary on the whole Bible. According to Joel R. Beeke of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, “Hawker increased in fame and popularity as a powerful ‘high Calvinist’ preacher” and “was remarkably winsome in preaching Christ to all.” Hawker brings his homiletical skill to the reading of Scripture in this rich commentary. His two devotional volumes, included in this collection, will guide you through deep morning and evening meditations on God’s Word. Also included in this collection is The Poor Man’s Dictionary, Hawker’s nearly 1,000-page work on the words of the Old and New Testaments, written as a companion volume to his commentaries. Much more than a dictionary, this work provides encyclopedic and theological treatment on all the words in the Bible.

The first volume of Hawker’s extensive commentary covers Genesis through Numbers. Hawker leads you through the scriptural record of creation, the flood, the lives of the patriarchs, and the creation of Israel as a nation. At each turn, Hawker illuminates Christ from these Old Testament passages.

Volume 2 of Hawker’s Old Testament commentary covers Deuteronomy through 2 Samuel. Hawker guides you with devotional richness through the wilderness with the Israelites and into the promised land of Canaan, through the period of the judges and into the establishment of the Israelite monarchy. Rather than merely presenting moralistic examples of biblical figures, Hawker illuminates the pointers to Christ in people and events like the battle between David and Goliath. “We may read this passage sweetly indeed, if we behold in it some faint outlines of Jesus, who in his gracious undertaking for our deliverance is represented by the prophet, who, when he saw that there none to help in all the armies of Israel, and when all hearts gathered blackness, his own arm brought salvation, and of the people, there was none with him. Isaiah 63:3–5.”

Volume 3 of Hawker’s Old Testament commentary covers 1 Kings through Esther. Hawker takes these historical books of the Bible and shows the life and vibrancy that they communicate as they point to Christ. Join Hawker on this rich journey through the history of Israel.

Volume 4 of Hawker’s Old Testament commentary covers Job through Psalms. In explaining his earthly ministry to the disciples, Jesus said in Luke 24:44: “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Perhaps no one has taken the Christ-centeredness of the Psalms as vigorously as Hawker. With this volume, you can read comments by this master preacher on everything written about Christ in the Psalms.

Volume 5 covers Proverbs through Lamentations. Read Hawker’s rich devotional reflections as he takes you through the wisdom literature of Scripture. He does not stop at the moral application of these texts, but goes on to show how they point to Christ and ultimately strengthen our faith in his work, not our own.

This sixth and final volume of the Poor Man’s Old Testament Commentary covers Ezekiel through Malachi. Hawker’s summaries and reflections on each chapter guide you through these books, strengthening your love for the Savior with each passing chapter as Hawker presents the whole Bible as Christian Scripture.

 

 

 

Source [Monergism.com]

Growth in Grace 12 — Perseverance Must Be Supplied with Godliness

January 27, 2015 1 comment

Satan is the great liar and deceiver. The most effective lies always have an element of truth in them. In line with this Satan is the great counterfeiter, and you know that counterfeiting always requires something of real, substantial value to make it worthwhile. Few would bother to counterfeit some third world currency with an inflation rate of 100% per year, but many find it worthwhile to counterfeit the American Dollar. It is the danger of Satanic counterfeiting that was in the back of Peter’s mind when he penned the passage which has occupied this series for the last several weeks, 2 Peter 1:5-7. In this post we take up the phrase in verse 6, “and (supply) in your perseverance godliness.” In this phrase Peter is attempting to warn Christians against the Satanic counterfeits of perseverance and self-control by telling them that the genuine Christian virtues of perseverance and self-control are permeated by and have supplied in them the virtue of godliness. Self-control and perseverance barren of godliness, devoid of godliness, are Satanic counterfeits with which no Christian should rest satisfied.

I will consider this phrase over the next few days under three headings:

I. The Virtue Viewed
II. The Connection Clarified
III. The Lessons Learned

 

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The interpreters task is to expound the word of God clearly, so the congregation can understand what it is saying

January 27, 2015 4 comments

Arthur PinkIf the druggist is required by law to follow exactly the doctor’s prescription, if military officers must transmit the orders of their commanders verbatim or suffer severe penalties, how much more incumbent is it for one dealing with Divine and eternal things to adhere strictly to his text book! The interpreter’s task is to emulate those described in Nehemiah 8:8, of whom it is said “they read in the book in the law of the Lord God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” The reference is to those who had returned to Palestine from Babylon. While in captivity they had gradually ceased to use Hebrew as their spoken language. Aramaic displacing it. Hence there was a real need to explain the Hebrew words in which the Law was written (cf. Nehemiah 13:23, 24). Yet the recording of this incident intimates that it is of permanent importance, and has a message for us. In the good providence of God there is little need today for the preacher to explain the Hebrew and the Creek, since we already possess a reliable translation of them into our own mother tongue—though occasionally, yet very sparingly, he may do so. But his principal business is to “give the sense” of the English Bible and cause his hearers to “understand” its contents. His responsibility is to adhere strictly to that injunction,

“let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff of the wheat? saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:28).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Is It Possible for Christians to Idolize the Bible?

January 26, 2015 13 comments

My comment: As I discuss scripture on social media, I am often accused of making the Bible an idol. Those who accuse me of this do not like it when I constantly appeal to scripture to make my case concerning the topic under discussion. I am usually told by many on social media that we are not to make the Bible an idol, but the main thing is for a person to have Jesus in their heart. Now I would absolutely agree that we need to know Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, but where and through what medium does our Lord communicate his will to us? Christ’s will can only be made known to us through sacred scripture.

Scripture tells us that the very words of holy writ are inspired of God. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,……..” Paul’s declaration of scripture’s inspiration refers to its origin. He uses the Greek word ‘theopneust’, which means ‘God-breathed’. Though the word is usually translated ‘inspired’, which means to breathe in, technically the word ‘theopneust’ refers to a breathing out, which might more accurately be translated ‘expired’. Paul is saying that scripture is expired or breathed out by God. This breathing out is the breath of God.

The Reformers had a high view of scripture. They believed that the Bible is the Word of God, the verbum Dei, or the voice of God, the vox Dei. Matter fact it has been said that justification was the material cause of the Reformation, while the issue of authority was its formal cause. The battle cry of the Reformers and now my battle cry also, is sola fide and sola scriptura. Faith Alone and Scripture Alone is what I stand on. With this much stated, I want to point you to an article:

 

 

By Colin Smith

A few months ago, I read the following in an article by an author who self-identifies as an evangelical: “While the Bible is an important and authoritative guide for Christian faith and practice, it isn’t the foundation or center of our faith- Jesus is… Studying Scripture is valuable, but nowhere near as valuable as cultivating a day to day relationship with the God incarnate.”

This author has a number of views that make him a bit of an outlier in the evangelical movement as it’s been traditionally defined. However, I’m finding that his view of Scripture is increasingly common. More and more, I hear sentiments within the Church like:

 

•“Many Christians are putting too much emphasis on the Bible instead of Christ and the Holy Spirit.”
•“The Trinity is not Father, Son, and Holy Scripture.”
•“Beware of making the Bible an idol.”

Hence the question: Is it possible for Christians to idolize the Bible?

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.