Archive

Archive for June, 2018

The least glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Christ doth more exalt and ennoble the soul, than all the knowledge of those that have the greatest speculative understanding in divinity without grace

Thirdly, All may hence be exhorted, earnestly to seek this spiritual light. To influence and move to it, the following things may be considered.

1. This is the most excellent and divine wisdom that any creature is capable of. It is more excellent than any human learning; it is far more excellent than all the knowledge of the greatest philosophers or statesmen. Yea, the least glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Christ doth more exalt and ennoble the soul, than all the knowledge of those that have the greatest speculative understanding in divinity without grace. This knowledge has the most noble object that can be, viz. the divine glory and excellency of God and Christ. The knowledge of these objects that wherein consists the most excellent knowledge of the angels, yea, of God himself.

Jonathan Edwards- A Divine And Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted To The Soul, By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptual And Rational Doctrine. [Preached at Norhampton, and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734.]

Advertisements

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 175

WORDS OF SYMPATHY

To [Mr. Higgs].

WESTWOOD, Mar. 18, 1886.

DEAR FRIEND,—

I feel very grieved for you and the dear wife, for I know your tender hearts. Yet the bitterest elements of sorrow are not in the cup, for we have no doubt as to where little ones must be.

You have now a child among the angels — to whom we will soon go. So short is life that our wounds are staunched almost as soon as they begin to bleed. We part, and so soon meet.

Mrs. Spurgeon joins with me in loving sympathy.

Yours in our Lord Jesus,

C. H. SPURGEON.

The Wednesday Word – Jesus, God over All

Romans 9:5. “Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen” (ESV)

God became a man. He became a member of the human race. He became flesh and blood.

Stunning!

Although He became human, He remained entirely and thoroughly the Lord God from Heaven.

Even more stunning!

He was and is the Mighty God, the eternal, self-existent one who was and is and is to come.

He is ‘over all.’

That means,

There is no one above Him.

He is over all angels.

He is above all created beings.

He governs all.

What exceedingly good news! It was the Lord of Glory Himself who came to redeem us. We were helpless, and God Himself loved us enough to come to the rescue.

The God of the Arians (Jehovah Witnesses and others) didn’t love us enough to come here to save us. He, according to their teaching, created and sent someone else to do the job for him.

Perhaps their god didn’t want to get his hands dirty? Or maybe it was because he didn’t like the idea of pain, suffering, rejection and humiliation? Or perhaps he was occupied with more pressing matters? But whatever the reason, he, according to them, stayed in Heaven and sent a substitute to represent Him. He can, therefore, be likened to a man who while walking over a bridge with his son spies someone drowning in the river below. His heart is so smitten with concern that he asks his son to jump over the side to rescue and save the drowning man. But, not so the God of the Bible! He laid down the vestiges of royalty, wrapped himself with humanity and came here Himself to rescue and save us from the river of death by bearing our sins on the cross. Jesus was man’s substitute, not God’s. As Bonar said,

‘Turn your eye to the cross and see these two things, – the Crucifiers and the Crucified——-See the Crucified. It is God himself; incarnate love. It is the God who made you, suffering, dying for the ungodly. Can you suspect his grace? Can you cherish evil thoughts of him? Can you ask anything farther to awaken in you the fullest and most unreserved confidence? Will you misinterpret that agony and death by saying that they do not mean grace, or that the grace which they mean is not for you? Call to mind that which is written, – “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us” 1 John 3:16.

Horatius Bonar: Christ Died for the Ungodly.

In the scheme which denies Christ’s Deity, we are presented with a god who was either unwilling or unable to come here himself and rescue us. We must then ask, had their god become too frail to undertake the mission? Did he need someone more energetic and youthful to complete the task? Candidly speaking, this business of God creating some super-angel to do His redeeming work leaves God looking somewhat suspect in His commitment to us. Frankly, I’m not impressed with a god who wouldn’t come here Himself to rescue me! A god who stayed in heaven while I was utterly ruined cannot melt my heart. A god who delegates my redemption to another cannot command my loyalty. On this matter, I take my stand with Luther who said,

“Wherefore, he that preaches a God to me that died not for me the death on the cross, that God will I not receive.”

Martin Luther: Smalcald Articles.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter VI-The Foreknowledge of God

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter VI

The Foreknowledge of God

The Arminian objection against foreordination bears with equal force against the foreknowledge of God. What God foreknows must, in the very nature of the case, be as fixed and certain as what is foreordained; and if one is inconsistent with the free agency of man, the other is also. Foreordination renders the events certain, while foreknowledge presupposes that they are certain.

Now if future events are foreknown to God, they cannot by any possibility take a turn contrary to His knowledge. If the course of future events is foreknown, history will follow that course as definitely as a locomotive follows the rails from New York to Chicago. The Arminian doctrine, in rejecting foreordination, rejects the theistic basis for foreknowledge. Common sense tells us that no event can be foreknown unless by some means, either physical or mental, it has been predetermined. Our choice as to what determines the certainty of future events narrows down to two alternatives — the foreordination of the wise and merciful heavenly Father, or the working of blind, physical fate.

The Socinians and Unitarians, while not so evangelical as the Arminians, are at this point more consistent; for after rejecting the foreordination of God, they also deny that He can foreknow the acts of free agents. They hold that in the very nature of the case it cannot be known how the person will act until the time comes and the choice is made. This view of course reduces the prophecies of Scripture to shrewd guesses at best, and destroys the historic Christian view of the Inspiration of the Scriptures. It is a view which has never been held by any recognized Christian church. Some of the Socinians and Unitarians have been bold enough and honest enough to acknowledge that the reason which led them to deny God’s certain foreknowledge of the future acts of men, was, that if this be admitted it would be impossible to disprove the Calvinistic doctrine of Predestination.

Many Arminians have felt the force of this argument, and while they have not followed the Unitarians in denying God’s foreknowledge, they have made it plain that they would very willingly deny it if they could, or dared. Some have spoken disparagingly of the doctrine of foreknowledge and have intimated that, in their opinion, it was not of much importance whether one believed it or not. Some have gone so far as to tell us plainly that men had better reject foreknowledge than admit Predestination. Others have suggested that God may voluntarily neglect to know some of the acts of men in order to leave them free; but this of course destroys the omniscience of God. Still others have suggested that God’s omniscience may imply only that He can know all things, if He chooses,—just as His omnipotence implies that He can do all things, if He chooses. But the comparison will not hold, for these certain acts are not merely possibilities but realities, although yet future; and to ascribe ignorance to God concerning these is to deny Him the attribute of omniscience. This explanation would give us the absurdity of an omniscience that is not omniscient.

When the Arminian is confronted with the argument from the foreknowledge of God, he has to admit the certainty or fixity of future events. Yet when dealing with the problem of free agency he wishes to maintain that the acts of free agents are uncertain and ultimately dependent on the choice of the person,—which is plainly an inconsistent position. A view which holds that the free acts of men are uncertain, sacrifices the sovereignty of God in order to preserve the freedom of men.

Furthermore, if the acts of free agents are in themselves uncertain, God must then wait until the event has had its issue before making His plans. In trying to convert a soul, then He would be conceived of as working in the same manner that Napoleon is said to have gone into battle-with three or four plans in mind, so that if the first failed, he could fall back upon the second, and if that failed, then the third, and so on, —a view which is altogether inconsistent with a true view of His nature. He would then be ignorant of much of the future and would daily be gaining vast stores of knowledge. His government of the world also, in that case, would be very uncertain and changeable, dependent as it would be on the unforeseen conduct of men.

To deny God the perfections of foreknowledge and immutability is to represent Him as a disappointed and unhappy being who is often checkmated and defeated by His creatures. But who can really believe that in the presence of man the Great Jehovah must sit waiting, inquiring, “What will he do?” Yet unless Arminianism denies the foreknowledge of God, it stands defenseless before the logical consistency of Calvinism; for foreknowledge implies certainty and certainty implies foreordination.

Speaking through the prophet Isaiah the Lord said: “I am God, and there is none like me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,” Isa_46:10. “Thou understandest my thoughts afar off,” said the psalmist, 139:2. He “knoweth the heart,” Act_15:8. “There is no creature that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do,” Heb_4:13.

Much of the difficulty in regard to the doctrine of Predestination is due to the finite character of our mind, which can grasp only a few details at a time, and which understands only a part of the relations between these. We are creatures of time, and often fail to take into consideration the fact that God is not limited as we are. That which appears to us as “past…… present,” and “future,” is all “present” to His mind. It is an eternal “now.” He is “the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity,” Isa_57:15. “A thousands years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, And as a watch in the night,” Psa_90:4. Hence the events which we see coming to pass in time are only the events which He appointed and set before Him from eternity. Time is a property of the finite creation and is objective to God. He is above it and sees it, but is not conditioned by it. He is also independent of space, which is another property of the finite creation. Just as He sees at one glance a road leading from New York to San Francisco, while we see only a small portion of it as we pass over it, so He sees all events in history, past, present, and future at one glance. When we realize that the complete process of history is before Him as an eternal “now,” and that He is the Creator of all finite existence, the doctrine of Predestination at least becomes an easier doctrine.

In the eternal ages back of the creation there could not have been any certainty as to future events unless God had formed a decree in regard to them. Events pass from the category of things that may or may not be, to that of things that shall certainly be, or from possibility to fruition, only when God passes a decree to that effect. This fixity or certainty could have had its ground in nothing outside of the divine Mind, for in eternity nothing else existed. Says Dr. R. L. Dabney: “The only way in which any object can by any possibility have passed from God’s vision of the possible into His foreknowledge of the actual, is by His purposing to effectuate it Himself, or intentionally and purposely to permit its effectuation by some other agent whom He expressly purposed to bring into existence. This is clear from this fact. An effect conceived in posse only rises into actuality by virtue of an efficient cause or causes. When God was looking forward from the point of view of His original infinite prescience, there was but one cause, Himself. If any other cause or agent is ever to arise, it must be by God’s agency. If effects are embraced in God’s infinite prescience, which these other agents are to produce, still, in willing these other agents into existence, with infinite prescience, God did virtually will into existence, or purpose, all the effects of which they were to be efficients.” 1

And to the same effect the Baptist theologian, Dr. A. B. Strong, who for a number of years was President and Professor in the Rochester Theological Seminary, writes: “In eternity there could have been no cause of the future existence of the universe, outside of God Himself, since no being existed but God Himself. In eternity God foresaw that the creation of the world and the Institution of its laws would make certain its actual history even to the most insignificant details. But God decreed to create and to institute these laws. In so decreeing He necessarily decreed all that was to come. In fine, God foresaw the future events of the universe as certain, because He had decreed to create; but this determination to create involved also a determination of all the actual results of that creation; or, in other words, God decreed those results.”

Foreknowledge must not be confused with foreordination. Foreknowledge presupposes foreordination, but is not itself foreordination. The actions of free agents do not take place because they are foreseen, but they are foreseen because they are certain to take place. Hence Strong says, “Logically, though not chronologically, decree comes before foreknowledge. When I say, ‘I know what I will do,’ it is evident that I have determined already, and that my knowledge does not precede determination, but follows it and is based upon it.”

Since God’s foreknowledge is complete, He knows the destiny of every person, not merely before the person has made his choice in this life, but from eternity. And since He knows their destiny before they are created, and then proceeds to create, it is plain that the saved and the lost alike fulfill His plan for them; for if He did not plan that any particular ones should be lost, He could at least refrain from creating them.

We conclude, then, that the Christian doctrine of the Foreknowledge of God proves also His Predestination. Since these events are foreknown, they are fixed and settled things; and nothing can have fixed and settled them except the good pleasure of God, — the great first cause,— freely and unchangeably foreordaining whatever comes to pass. The whole difficulty lies in the acts of free agents being certain; yet certainty is required for foreknowledge as well as for foreordination. The Arminian arguments, if valid, would disprove both foreknowledge and foreordination. And since they prove too much we conclude that they prove nothing at all.

1 Theology, p. 212.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

Twelve dissimilarities between the crossing of the Red Sea and the crossing of the Jordan

It is both interesting and instructive to compare the supernatural passages of Israel through the Red Sea and the Jordan. There are at least twelve details of resemblance between them, which we will leave the reader to work out for himself. Here, we will consider their points of dissimilarity.

First, the one terminated Israel’s exodus from the house of bondage, the other initiated their entrance into the land of promise.

Second, the former miracle was wrought in order that they might escape from the Egyptians, the latter to enable them to approach and conquer the Canaanites.

Third, in connection with the one the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind (Exodus 14:21), but with reference to the other no means whatever were employed—to demonstrate that He is not tied to such, but employs or dispenses with them as He pleases.

Fourth, the earlier miracle was performed at nighttime (14:21), the latter in broad daylight.

Fifth, at the Red Sea multitudes were slain, for the Lord made the waters to return upon the Egyptians so that they

“covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them” (14:28), whereas at the Jordan not a single soul perished.

Sixth, the one was wrought for a people who just previously had been full of unbelief and murmuring (Exodus 14:11), the other for a people who were believing and obedient (Joshua 2:24; 3:1).

Seventh, with the sole exception of Caleb and Joshua, all the adults who benefited from the former miracle died in the wilderness; whereas the great majority of those who were favored to share in the latter “possessed their possessions.”

Eighth, the waters of the Red Sea were “divided” (Exodus 14:21), those of the Jordan were made to “stand upon an heap” (Joshua 3:13).

Ninth, in the former the believer’s judicial death unto sin was typed out; in the latter his legal oneness with Christ in His resurrection, followed by a practical entrance into his inheritance.

Tenth, consequently, there was no “sanctify yourselves” before the former, but such a call was an imperative requirement for the latter (Joshua 3:5).

Eleventh, the response made by Israel’s enemies to the Lord’s interposition for His people at the Red Sea was, “I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them” (Exodus 15:9); but in the latter,

“It came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites… heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan… their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more” (Joshua 5:1).

Twelfth, after the former, “Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore” (Exodus 14:30); after the latter, a cairn of twelve stones memorialized the event (Joshua 4:20-22).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Can it be said that it is the Holy Ghost who strives in men’s souls, that it is the Holy Ghost who brings them to the foot of Sinai, and then guides them into the sweet place that is called Calvary — can it be said that he does all these things, and yet is not a person?

But is it not said in Scripture, and do we not feel it, dear brethren, that it is the Holy Ghost who regenerates the soul? It is the Holy Ghost who quickens us. “You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” It is the Holy Spirit who imparts the first germ of life, convincing us of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. And is it not the Holy Spirit who after that flame is kindled, still fans it with the breath of his mouth and keeps it alive? Its author is its preserver. Oh! can it be said that it is the Holy Ghost who strives in men’s souls, that it is the Holy Ghost who brings them to the foot of Sinai, and then guides them into the sweet place that is called Calvary — can it be said that he does all these things, and yet is not a person? It may be said, but it must be said by fools; for he never can be a wise man who can consider that these things can be done by any other than a glorious person — a divine existence.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Personality of the Holy Ghost,” A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning,

January 21, 1855

It is of great importance whether we have thus been taught by the Spirit of God

Secondly, This doctrine may well put us upon examining ourselves, whether we have ever had this divine light let into our souls. If there be such a thing, doubtless it is of great importance whether we have thus been taught by the Spirit of God; whether the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, hath shined unto us, giving us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; whether we have seen the Son and believed on him, or have that faith which arises from a spiritual sight of Christ.

Jonathan Edwards- A Divine And Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted To The Soul, By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptual And Rational Doctrine. [Preached at Norhampton, and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734.]