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The Covenants-Chapter 4h-The Covenant of Redemption

November 30, 2018 Leave a comment

The other party to the covenant of redemption was God the Holy Ghost.

Partaking in the love, and grace, of the Father and the Son, he acting with the same freedom, engaged to become the efficient agent by which men might be regenerated, sanctified, and prepared to receive and enjoy the blessings of eternal life, and thus to consummate the end for which we were redeemed. A necessity exists for the work of the Spirit in salvation, no less imperative than for the work of the Father, and of the Son. “Except a man be born again – born of the Spirit – he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

These are the covenanting parties, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and such, briefly, is the part which each engaged to perform in the redemption of men.

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

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Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 197

November 29, 2018 Leave a comment

TO VARIOUS FRIENDS

To [Rev. R. Knill].

CAMBRIDGE, Feb. 7, ‘53-

MY DEAR SIR, —

I feel confident that you will pardon the liberty I take when you read the occasion of it. I have for some time wished to write to you, but could not find you out, until in The Banner I observed a notice of your preaching in the theater of Chester.

Eight or nine years ago, you were travelling, as a Deputation from the London Missionary Society, in the county of Essex. Among other places, you preached at the village of Stambourne. I was then a little boy staying at my grandfather’s (Rev. Jas. Spurgeon). You kindly noticed me; I read at family prayer; you took me by your side, and talked to me in a very affectionate manner. You told me a tale of a little boy in Colchester; we went into an arbor in the garden, there you asked me to sing, and I joined in as well as I could. I shall never forget the way in which you tried to lead me to the Savior. Your conversation and spirit were all a father’s could have been, and that one interview has made my heart yours. My eyes rejoice to see your name, and the mention of it brings up emotions of gratitude. In fact, unknown to you, a few words you then spoke have been a sort of star to my existence, and my friends look on them with half the reverence of prophecy. You meant them not perhaps to last so long, but now they are imperishable; they were to this effect, and were heard by more than one: “I think this little man will one day be a preacher of the gospel, and I hope a successful one. I think you will preach in Rowland Hills Chapel; and when you do, tell the people this verse, ‘ God moves in a mysterious way,’ etc.” You told me to learn the hymn, and said it seemed perhaps unlikely, but Providence had wrought wonders, and you thought it would be so. This is often mentioned by my grandfather; and somehow, though I am far enough from being superstitious, it holds me fast, and I do confidently, and yet, somehow (and paradoxically), distrustfully, look forward to the time when the whole shall come to pass.

When sixteen and a half years old, I was persuaded to preach in the villages, having for some time been often called to address children in Sabbath Schools, and always gaining attention, perhaps from my youth as much as anything. Once started in lay-preaching around Cambridge — where I was and am still assistant in a school, — I put my soul into the work. Having been invited to supply, for one Sabbath, the Baptist Church at Waterbeach, I did so; I was invited to continue, and have now been the minister of the congregation for one year and four months. The chapel is always full, many profess to have felt the power of Divine grace, and residents in the neighborhood say that there is a visible reform manifest; God has used things that are not, to bring to nought things that are. I preach thrice on the Sabbath; and often, indeed, almost constantly, five times in the week-nights. My salary being insufficient, I still remain in the school. Though the congregation is large, they being poor, or men of small property, are unable to do much, — though their kindness may be judged of from the fact that I have been to sixty-two different houses to dine on the Lord’s Day. Thus are your words in part realized.

Though I do not say that your conversation did then lead to my conversion, yet the thought of what I conceived might be my position one day ever worked in me a desire to gain true religion, which even then I knew was the great essential in a minister. I long for nothing more earnestly than to serve God with all my might. My education is amply sufficient for my present station, and I have means and desires for further improvement.

The particulars I have given are perhaps too lengthy, but you will excuse it. I could not refrain from letting you know what is no doubt more interesting to me than to you. I pray that, while standing on the polluted ground, (in Chester theater), you may consecrate it in many a heart by being the means of their conversion. Your words spoken in season have been good to me; and if I am of any use in the army of the living God, I owe it in great part to you that I ever enlisted in it. I am not nineteen yet; and need, and trust I shall have, a mention in your prayers.

With the greatest respect,

I am,

Yours truly,

CHARLES SPURGEON.

P.S. Since you are much engaged, I shall scarcely expect a line from you; but if I should be happy enough to receive one, I shall be rejoiced.

The Wednesday Word – No, No, No, No! (Pt 4)

November 28, 2018 2 comments

No Authority but the Word of God.

“The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).

The scriptures of the Old and New Testaments principally teach what we are to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of us. Simply speaking, we do not accept doctrines and practices which cannot be established in the Word of God.

Would that some Charismatic preachers I’ve heard held to this maxim. Their practices are simply nuts. I have searched in vain to discover the scriptural authority for their ghoulish habit of lying on graves thus soaking up the anointing of dead ministers. That and any number of weird non-biblical practices such as angel dust, honey angels, soakings and the like must be rejected. Why? They are not authorized by the Scriptures.

There is no authority but the Word of God.

Not only so but the Scriptures and not even the creeds, are the sole and sufficient rule of faith and duty. Creeds must always bow in submission to the Scripture.

In addition, every ecclesiastical pronouncement that comes from the Bishop of Rome must be weighed against the teaching of the Bible.

If I can make a statement here without being accused of hate speech, the Roman Catholic Communion officially holds to ‘scripture + tradition’ as the basis of authority for faith and practice. Indeed, they go farther than that for, since the infallibility decree of 1870, they hold that the final seat of authority in all matters of faith is the Pope (when he speaks ex-cathedra). He incorrectly claims to be the source of authority for faith and practice.

(Believers, however, on this point, side with Martin Luther who refused to be moved unless it could be shown that his teaching was contrary to the Bible. He boldly declared, “Here I take my stand; I can do no other; so help me God.)”

But, so what about Dr. Luther? Our Master, the Lord Jesus, proclaimed the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, for He said; “The scriptures cannot be broken” (John 10:35). He also declared that “Heaven and earth shall pass away—but My Words shall not pass away!” (Luke 21:33). Indeed, Jesus and the New Testament writers quote from the Old Testament some 295 times. They believed in the authority of the Word.

In spite of this, many who claim to be followers of Christ side with the spirit of the age and approve gay marriage, abortion, and the likes. Baffling!

They could learn from Paul when he asks: “For what saith the scripture?” (Romans 4:3). Or be instructed by the Bereans who tested all things by Scripture (Acts 17:11).

As Believers, we hold to the authority of the Bible. It is clear, authoritative, and final. There is no need for some external source of authority whether Popes, creeds or worldly standards to explain everything. The litmus test is solely and only “What saith the Scriptures?” We have the Bible, we have the Holy Spirit, and we are as well able to understand the message of the Book as any who have lived from the demise of the apostles to this hour.

There is no authority but the Word of God.

The Bible is the Christian’s standard for his rule of life. Its truth never changes. The law of the Lord is perfect (Psalm 19:7). We cannot hold this truth too firmly.

In refuting the errors of the Sadducees, Jesus said, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matthew I2:29). He also warned the Pharisees in Mark 7:13 that they were making the word of God of none effect through their tradition.

There is no authority but the Word of God.

In Proverbs 30:5-6 we read,

“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add not unto his words, lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar.”

But contemporary society thinks it knows better than the Scriptures. With each passing year, modern thinking gets more and more out of step with the Bible. And some Christians buy into this and make excuses for the poor antiquated Book. But we daren’t offer excuses for the Bible. It says what it says. It refuses to be tamed. Unlike us, the Bible won’t compromise. God says in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, … For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

To those who pick and choose which Bible passages they want to believe, I would ask, have you been justified by faith?

You say, “Yes.”

But, by what authority do you say that?

“On the authority of the Word of God,” you reply.

But how do you know that the scriptures are authoritative? You reject much of what the word says about sin and immorality.

“Yes but the Bible is out of step on those matters,” you say.

How then do you know that it is accurate in matters of your salvation? Isn’t it time to stop picking and choosing which scriptures you want to believe?

As believers, we simply learn to rest on God’s unchanging word. God said it, that settled it. I believed it, that settled me!

There is no authority but the Word of God.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XI-Unconditional Election-Continued-C

November 28, 2018 Leave a comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XI

Unconditional Election [contd]

Under No Obligation to Explain All These Things

Let it be remembered that we are under no obligation to explain all the mysteries connected with these doctrines. We are only under obligation to set forth what the Scriptures teach concerning them, and to vindicate this teaching so far as possible from the objections which are alleged against it. The “yea, Father, for so it was well pleasing in thy sight,” (Mat_11:26; Luk_10:21), was, to our Lord, an all-sufficient theodicy in the face of all God’s diverse dealings with men. The sufficient and only answer which Paul gives to vain reasoners who would penetrate more deeply into these mysteries is that they are to be resolved into the divine wisdom and sovereignty. The words of Toplady are especially appropriate here: “Say not, therefore, as the opposers of these doctrines did in St. Paul’s days: ‘Why doth God find fault with the wicked? for who bath resisted His will? If He, who only can convert them, refrains from doing it, what room is there for blaming them that perish, seeing it is impossible to resist the will of the Almighty?’ Be satisfied with St. Paul’s answer, ‘Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?’ The apostle hinges the whole matter entirely on God’s absolute sovereignty. There he rests it, and there we ought to leave it.”24

Man cannot measure the justice of God by his own comprehension, and our modesty should be such that when the reason for some of God’s works lies hidden we nevertheless believe Him to be just. If any one thinks that this doctrine represents God as unjust, it is only because he does not realize what the Scripture doctrine of Original Sin is, nor to what it commits him. Let him fix his mind upon the existence of real ill-desert antecedent to actual sin, and the condemnation will appear just and natural. The first step mastered, the second presents no real difficulty.

It is hard for us to realize that many of those right around us (in some cases our close friends and relatives) are probably foreordained to eternal punishment; and so far as we do realize it we are inclined to have a certain sympathy for them. Yet when seen in the light of eternity our sympathy for the lost will be found to have been an undeserved and a misplaced sympathy. Those who are finally lost shall then be seen as they really are, enemies of God, enemies of all righteousness, and lovers of sin, with no desire for salvation or the presence of the Lord. We may add further that, since God is perfectly just, none shall be sent to hell except those who deserve to go there; and when we see their real characters we shall be fully satisfied with the disposition that God has made.

As a matter of fact the Arminians do not escape any real difficulty here. For since they admit that God has foreknowledge of all things they must explain why He creates those who He foresees will lead sinful lives, reject the Gospel, die impenitent, and suffer eternally in hell. The Arminians really have a more difficult problem here than do the Calvinists; for the Calvinists maintain that the ones whom God thus creates, knowing that they will be lost, are the non-elect who voluntarily choose sin and in whose merited punishment God designs to manifest His justice, while the Arminians must say that God deliberately creates those who He foresees will be such poor, miserable creatures that without serving any good purpose they will bring destruction upon themselves and will spend eternity in hell in spite of the fact that God Himself earnestly wishes to bring them to heaven, and that God shall be forever grieved in seeing them where He wishes they were not. Does not this represent God as acting most foolishly in bringing upon Himself such dissatisfaction and upon some of His creatures such misery when He could at least have refrained from creating those who, He foresaw, would be lost?

Perhaps there are some who, upon hearing of this doctrine of Predestination, will account themselves reprobate and will be inclined to go into further sin with the excuse that they are to be damned anyway. But to do so is to suck poison out of a sweet flower, to dash one’s self against the Rock of Ages. No one has the right to judge himself reprobate in this life, and hence to grow desperate; for final disobedience (the only infallible sign of reprobation) cannot be discovered until death. No unconverted person in this life knows for certain that God will not yet convert him and save him, even though he is aware that no such change has yet taken place. Hence be has no right to number himself definitely among the non-elect. God has not told us who among the unconverted He yet proposes to regenerate and save. If any man feels the pangs of conscience working in him, these may be the very means which God is using to draw him.

We have given considerable space to the discussion of the doctrine of Reprobation because it has been the great stumbling block for most of those who have rejected the Calvinistic system. We believe that if this doctrine can be shown to be Scriptural and reasonable the other parts of the system will be readily accepted.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

Example 3 of the ‘Law of Progress’

November 27, 2018 Leave a comment

There is a steady advance observable in the respective purposes and scope of the four Gospels. Obviously, Matthew’s must come first, for its chief design is to present Christ as the Embodiment of the Old Testament promises and the Fulfiller of the prophecies there made concerning the Messiah. For much the same reason Mark’s comes second, for whereas in the former Christ is seen testing the old covenant people, here He is viewed as ministering to them. But Luke’s Gospel has a much wider scope, being far more Gentile in its character. In it Christ is contemplated in connection with the human race: the Son of man related to yet contrasted with the sons of men. John’s Gospel conducts us to much higher ground, for whereas in the first three He is depicted in human relationships (as the Son of Abraham, the Servant of God, and the perfect Man), here His Divine glory shines forth and we behold Him as the Son of God in relation to the family of God. This same principle is also exemplified in what is recorded in their closing chapters. Matthew takes us no farther than the resurrection of Christ; in Mark 16:19, mention is made of His ascension; in Luke 24:49, promise is given of the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost; while John’s Gospel ends with a reference to His second coming!

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

God the Holy Ghost is a wise Comforter

November 26, 2018 Leave a comment

And oh, how wise a Comforter is the Holy Ghost. Job had comforters, and I think he spoke the truth when he said, “Miserable comforters are ye all.” But I dare say they esteemed themselves wise; and when the young man Elihu rose to speak, they thought he had a world of impudence. Were they not “grave and reverend seniors?” Did not they comprehend his grief and sorrow? If they could not comfort him, who could? But they did not find out the cause. They thought he was not really a child of God, that he was self-righteous; and they have him the wrong physic. It is a bad case when the doctor mistakes the disease and gives a wrong prescription, and so, perhaps, kills the patient. Sometimes, when we go and visit people we mistake their disease, we want to comfort them on this point, whereas they do not require any such comfort at all, and they would be better left alone than spoiled by such unwise comforters as we are. But oh! how wise the Holy Spirit is! he takes the soul, lays it on the table, and dissects it in a moment; he finds out the root of the matter, he sees where the complaint is, and then he applies the knife where something is required to be taken away, or puts a plaster where the sore is; and he never mistakes. Oh! How wise, the blessed Holy Ghost! from every comforter I turn and leave them all, for thou art he who alone givest the wisest consolation.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Comforter,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, January 21, 1855

The Covenants-Chapter 4g-The Covenant of Redemption

November 23, 2018 Leave a comment

Another of the parties in the covenant of redemption was God the Son.

Nor were his acts in this behalf, less sovereign than those of the Father. In all respects both the Father and the Son were moved by the same considerations. It was the prerogative, however, alone of the Son, to assume our nature, thus becoming our representative head, in a sense similar to that sustained to us by “the first Adam,” to meet, and satisfy on our behalf, all the claims of divine justice. Having assumed this relation in the covenant, he was substituted in our place. His acts, therefore, had legal respect to those whom he represented, and by the supreme Lawgiver were held as a full equivalent for the sins of his people. Having in himself the power to redeem us, he gladly undertook this great work. He himself says in regard to it, “I delight to do thy will, O my God.” He is indeed expressly made known to us as “The second Adam.” “The first man Adam, was made a living soul. The last Adam was made a quickening Spirit. Howbeit that was not first which was spiritual, but that which was natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy. The second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy. And as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” And still more. “Not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift. For the judgment was by one to condemnation; but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one, much more they who receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life, by one, Jesus Christ.” Thus clearly stated is the representative character of Adam and of Christ. The result of their agencies were different; the one being the cause of guilt, depravity, and death; the other of righteousness, sanctification, and life. Their relations to us are similar, the federal association of Christ being as clearly stated as is that of Adam. If the first man had not been our federal head, we should not have suffered by his transgression. If the second man, “the Lord from heaven,” had not been our federal head, we should not have been benefited by his obedience. Our relations to them being alike, Paul says, “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” He in a word became, by this covenant, our Mediator, “According as it is written,” “There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants