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The Covenants-Chapter 7f-Philology of the Covenants

But when, and how, were the promises, according to this meaning, to be fulfilled? Not certainly, in this life, nor fully until after the resurrection of the body, since previous to that event their realization was evidently impossible.

But were the promises in the covenants understood, in the sense now suggested, by Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and David, and the other saints of literal Israel? Was this one meaning at least, in which they embraced, and believed them? With reference to these inquiries our Lord himself, reasoning with the Sadducees, who denied the existence of separate spirits, and also the resurrection of the body, amply instructs us. He said, “Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he called the Lord, The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; for he is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” The souls of these patriarchs were therefore, still living, though their bodies were dead; and the promises in the covenants taught them that their bodies would be raised from the dead, since in their higher spiritual import, they secured to them the enjoyment of the land of Canaan forever. If they were not to be raised from the dead to this end, how could the promises ever be fulfilled? And what was true of them, in these respects, was true of all others in similar circumstances. And further. That the Canaan in which they were to dwell after the resurrection, was to be not on earth, but in heaven, is plain from the preceding part of this same conversation of our Redeemer. He expressly calls the promised country, “that world,” in contrast with the literal country, which he calls ” this world:” – ” The children of this world [literal Canaan] marry, and are given in marriage. But they who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world [spiritual Canaan] and the resurrection from the dead [to prepare them for it] neither marry, nor are given in marriage. Neither can they die any more, for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” That the covenants therefore, in their higher meaning, taught the resurrection of the dead, and the glorious realities of heaven, no one can question, since such was their construction by our Lord Jesus Christ himself. And still further. Because they did not understand the covenants in this sense, Messiah directly charges the Sadducees with culpable ignorance;- “Ye do err,” said he, “not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” Paul also gives us an exposition of these covenants, and in exact consonance with that which we have just seen, from our Lord Jesus Christ. In his defense before King Agrippa, he hesitated not to say, and in the presence of the Jewish chiefs :- ” I stand, and am judged, for the hope of the promise made unto our fathers, unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God, day and night, hope to come.” But to what promise made to the fathers, and which when Paul spoke, remained to the twelve tribes unfulfilled, did they hope to come? Paul himself thus explains:- “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you [King Agrippa] that God should raise the dead?” And in another place, when before Felix, he said :- ” I confess unto thee, that after the way that they [the unbelieving Jews] call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things that are written in the law, and in the prophets, and have hope towards God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” But where is the promise to the fathers, of the resurrection from the dead, written in the Law of Moses? It is written no where, unless it be in these covenants, nor even here, except in the sense in which they have now been explained. God will raise up from the dead, all the spiritual seed of Abraham, and give them for an everlasting possession, that Canaan above, of which the Canaan on earth was the appointed emblem.

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 220

GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE

To [The Deacons, Metropolitan Tabernacle].

MENTONE, 1892.

BELOVED BRETHREN IN CHRIST, —

I know not how to express the wondering gratitude which continues to fill my mind and heart. That the Lord our God should hear the importunate prayers of His whole Church delights me, but does not surprise me. But that the Church should favor me with such a hearty and spontaneous outburst of loving solicitude, altogether amazes me. I am as one spared from the grave henceforth a double debtor to the people of God; and I can only acknowledge the debt, and seek to increase it by asking still to be remembered in prayer.

My recovery so far has been most remarkable. The cessation of the waste caused by the disease is very, very gradual; but as the case is altogether special, I expect, in answer to prayer, to receive a fuller cure than has been known aforetime. I desire this that I may, according to your desire, return to my public service, bearing witness for truth, wooing the souls that stray, and feeding the faithful of the flock.

I pray that to you, my brethren, the Lord may send a gracious recompense for your careful sympathy with me. From my inmost soul I thank you. Peace and prosperity be with all the churches of our Lord Jesus of every name and nation! May loving union prevail over all divergences of judgment, and may HE come, Who will be the consummation of our hopes!

Yours with hearty gratitude,

C. H. SPURGEON.

The Wednesday Word: SAVED

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”(Acts 4:12).

SAVED! What a great Bible term. Some people say it is antiquated, but I disagree. It means deliverance instead of destruction, life instead of death, acquittal instead of punishment and rescue instead of ruin. Saved! What a wonderful multi-faceted word! May we never drop it from our vocabulary.

We are saved!

And how did we get saved? We got saved on the basis of Christ’s finished work outside of us in history (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Believers have been delivered from damnation (Romans 5:1). We are saved.

Believers are no longer under wrath (Romans 5:9)…..we are saved.

Jesus said, ¨I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture¨ (John 10:9).

Again, In Acts 2:21 we learn that “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

‘But surely I am saved by giving up my bad habits?’ Not at all! As Harry Ironside said, “The Gospel is not a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”

Inspite of our unworthiness, we, by faith, receive a complete and finished salvation. We are not half condemned, we are saved. We are not half accepted, we are saved.

Because of the doing, dying and rising again of Christ Jesus we are saved completely (Colossians 2:10).

We are saved forever, (Romans 11:29).

And, we are saved for his glory (Romans 15:7).

Notice how our salvation begins with grace and ends with glory. Grace is the forerunner of Glory. Glory is the consummation of grace.

Across the history of the believer’s life is now written in large bold letters ..SAVED. The more we understand the Gospel the more we realise that the Father cannot discover any state to ‘unfit’ us for Jesus. (see Romans 8:33-39). We are saved!

It’s a wonderful thing to know that the Lord Jesus has nothing against us. We are saved! We are saved because Christ Jesus suffered on the cross. He was charged with our sin and He acknowledged our sin to be his. We are saved! In His life, He gave himself for us. At the cross, He gave Himself for us. We are saved!

What sin can keep the believer out of Glory?

Would you say blasphemy? No it can’t be blasphemy for Saul of Tarsus said, “I was a blasphemer”(1 Timothy 1:13). Yet, God saved him.

Would adultery keep a person out of Glory? That can’t be so. Rahab the harlot had practiced prostitution (Joshua 2:1). Yet God saved her.

Would you say murder would keep a person out of glory? Well, David had a hit man go and kill Uriah; that’s murder. (2 Samuel 12). Yet God saved him.

Would you say divorce would keep you out of Glory? The woman at the well was married five times (John 4:16-18). But God saved her.

We have too small a view of the Lord’s power, grace and mercy. He is the Saviour! We are the saved.

As you remember, the name Jesus comes from the Hebrew ‘Jehoshua’, meaning “Jehovah saves”. Jesus was born as our Saviour. If he loses us, he’s not the saviour who was born to save. But He died on the cross as our saviour. He was buried and rose again as our Saviour! Therefore, we are safe and we are saved!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XIV- The Perseverance of the Saints

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XIV

The Perseverance of the Saints

2. OUR PERSEVERANCE NOT DEPENDENT ON OUR OWN GOOD WORKS BUT ON GOD’S GRACE

Paul teaches that believers are not under law, but under grace, and that since they are not under the law they cannot be condemned for having violated the law. “Ye are not under law but under grace,” Romans 6:14. Further sin cannot possibly cause their downfall, for they are under a system of grace and are not treated according to their deserts. “If it is by grace, it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace,” Romans 11:6. “The law worketh wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there transgression,” Romans 4:15. “Apart from the law sin is dead” (that is, where the law is abolished sin can no longer subject the person to punishment), Romans 7:8. “Ye were made dead to the law through the body of Christ,” Romans 7:4. The one who attempts to earn even the smallest part of his salvation by works becomes “a debtor to do the whole law” (that is, to render perfect obedience in his own strength and thus earn his salvation), Galatians 6:3. We are here dealing with two radically different systems of salvation, two systems which, in fact, are diametrically opposed to each other.

The infinite, mysterious, eternal love of God for His people is a guarantee that they can never be lost. This love is not subject to fluctuations but is as unchangeable as His being. It is also gratuitous, and keeps faster hold of us than we of it. It is not founded on the attractiveness of its objects. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins,” 1 John 4:10. “God commendeth His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life,” Romans 5:8-10. Here the very point stressed in that our standing with God is not based on our deserts. It was “while we were enemies” that we were brought into spiritual life through sovereign grace; and if He has done the greater, will He not do the lesser? The writer of the book of Hebrews also teaches that it is impossible for one of God’s chosen to be lost when he says that Christ is both “the Author and Perfecter of our faith.” We are there taught that the whole course of our salvation is divinely, planned and divinely guided. Neither the grace of God nor its continuance is given according to our merits. Hence if any Christian fell away, it would be because God had withdrawn His grace and changed His method of procedure —or, in other words, because He had put the person back under a system of law.

Robert L. Dabney has expressed this truth very ably In the following paragraph: “The sovereign and unmerited love is the cause of the believer’s effectual calling. Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 8:30. Now, as the cause is unchangeable, the effect is unchangeable. That effect is, the constant communication of grace to the believer in whom God hath begun a good work. God was not induced to bestow His renewing grace in the first instance, by anything which He saw, meritorious or attractive, in the repenting sinner; and therefore the subsequent absence of everything good in him would be no new motive to God for withdrawing His grace. When He first bestowed that grace, He knew that the sinner on whom He bestowed it was totally depraved, and wholly and only hateful in himself to the divine holiness; and therefore no new instance of ingratitude or unfaithfulness, of which the sinner may become guilty after his conversion, can be any provocation to God, to change His mind, and wholly withdraw His sustaining grace. God knew all this ingratitude before. He will chastise it, by temporarily withdrawing His Holy Spirit, or His providential mercies; but if He had not intended from the first to bear with it, and to forgive it in Christ, He would not have called the sinner by His grace at first. In a word, the causes for which God determined to bestow His electing love on the sinner are wholly in God, and not at all in the believer; and hence, nothing in the believer’s heart or conduct can finally change that purpose of love. Isaiah 54:10; Romans 11:29. Compare carefully Romans 5:8-10; 8:32, with the whole scope of Romans 8:28-end. This illustrious passage is but an argument for our proposition; ‘What shall separate us from the love of Christ?”2

“God’s love in this respect,” says Dr. Charles Hodge “is compared to parental love. A mother does not love her child because it is lovely. Her love leads her to do all she can to render it attractive and to keep it so. So the love of God, being in like manner mysterious, unaccountable by anything in its objects, secures His adorning His children with the graces of His Spirit, and arraying them in all the beauty of holiness. It is only the lamentable mistake that God loves us for our goodness, that can lead any one to suppose that His love is dependent on our self-sustained attractiveness.”3

Concerning the salvation of the elect, Luther says, “God’s decree of predestination is firm and certain; and the necessity resulting from it is, in like manner, immovable, and cannot but take place. For we ourselves are so feeble.’ that if the matter were left in our hands, very few, or rather none, would be saved; but Satan would overcome us all.”

The more we think of these matters, the more thankful we are that our perseverance in holiness and assurance of salvation is not dependent on our own weak nature, but upon God’s constant sustaining power. We can say with Isaiah, “Except Jehovah of hosts had left us a very small remnant, we should have become as Sodom, we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” Arminianism denies this doctrine of Perseverance, because it is a system, not of pure grace, but of grace and works; and in any such system the person must prove himself at least partially worthy.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

It was a process of gradual development, issuing finally in the fullness of gospel grace

Above we have pointed out that the continual additions which God made to His original revelation of mercy in Genesis 3:15 were, for a while, given mainly through the covenants He made with the fathers. It was a process of gradual development, issuing finally in the fullness of gospel grace; the substance of those covenants indicated the outstanding stages in this process. They are the great landmarks of God’s dealings with men, points from which the disclosures of the divine mind expanded into increased and established truths. As revelations they exhibited in ever augmented degrees of fullness and clearness the plan of salvation through mediation and sacrifice of the Son of God; for each of those covenants consisted of gracious promises ratified by sacrifice (Gen. 8:20; 9:9; 15:9-11, 18). Thus, those covenants were so many intimations of that method of mercy which took its rise in the eternal counsels of the divine mind.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part One-The Everlasting Covenant

Am I one of these?

And now, my dear friends, solemnly and earnestly, as in the sight of God, I appeal to you. You are gathered here this morning, I know, from different motives; some of you have come from curiosity; others of you are my regular hearers; some have come from one place and some from another. What have you heard me say this morning? I have told you of two classes of persons who reject Christ; the religionist who has a religion of form and nothing else; and the man of the world, who calls our gospel foolishness. Now put your hand upon your heart and ask yourself this morning, “Am I one of these?” If you are, then walk the earth in all your pride; then go as you came in; but know that for all this the Lord shall bring thee into judgment, know thou that thy joys and delights shall vanish like a dream, “and, like the baseless fabric of a vision,” be swept away for ever. Know thou this, moreover, O man, that one day in the halls of Satan, down in hell, I perhaps may see thee amongst those myriad spirits who revolve for ever in a perpetual circle with their hands upon their hearts. If thine hand be transparent, and thy flesh transparent, I shall look through thy hand and flesh, and see thy heart within. And how shall I see it? Set in a case of firein a case of fire? And there thou shalt revolve for ever, with the worm gnawing within thy heart, which shall never die-a case of fire around thy never-dying, ever-tortured heart. Good God! let not these men still reject and despise Christ; but let this be the time when they shall be called.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Christ Crucified,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 11, 1855

The Covenants-Chapter 7e-Philology of the Covenants

Another of these promises guarantees to Abraham and Israel the perpetual possession of the land of Canaan :- ” Unto thy seed will I give this land;” “I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it;” “I will give to thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession.”

But how could Abraham and his seed possess forever, literally, the land of Canaan? In the sense intended, God assuredly gave them the land. Personally however, Abraham did not himself possess it; nor did his descendants, until after nearly five hundred years. At last they received it, and God protected them in its enjoyment for many ages. But did these events complete the fulfillment of the promise before us? Israel inherited Canaan for a season; they were then driven thence; many centuries have since passed, and they are to this day, wanderers among all nations. The promise is not literally fulfilled in all its extent, nor indeed can it, in the nature of things possibly be, in the present world; since to possess an earthly inheritance forever, men must live forever upon earth, and the things of this life must have no end. The promise evidently contemplated not alone a Canaan upon earth, but more especially a Canaan in heaven, an immortal spiritual life. The former he gave to Abraham’s natural seed; the latter he bestows upon his seed by faith; all those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. And so Abraham and all the early saints understood, and received these promises of the covenant. They took them not alone in their literal import, but also in their higher spiritual signification. Of this fact the apostles give direct testimony. “By faith,” said Paul, “Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive as an inheritance obeyed, and went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles, with Isaac, and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off; and were persuaded of them, and embraced them; and confessed that they were strangers, and pilgrims in the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better, that is a heavenly country.” Their faith was directed therefore, not exclusively to the earthly country, but also, and more especially to the “heavenly country,” of which the earthly was but an emblem, and which clearly, they understood to be included in the promises of the covenants. The latter, and not the former, was to be, to all who had the faith of Abraham, “an everlasting possession.”

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants