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The Wednesday Word: The Vital Gift of Faith

The gift of faith is vital for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), yet faith is not our saviour. By faith, we not only acknowledge our debt of sin but also recognize that we don’t have to pay a penny of it.

Spurgeon said it like this, ´´My faith rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in who and what Christ is, in what He has done … ´´

As we grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18) we learn more of the ways of faith.

For example,

We learn that faith is the adopting grace. “We are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3: 26).

Faith is the justifying grace. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1).

Faith is the conquering grace. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” (1 John 5: 4).

Faith is the wonder-working grace. Saints “through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Hebrews 11: 33-34).

Faith is not merely a hope so, it is the way forward when we are stagnant. Faith brings certainty. Faith brings us continually to the Gospel for genuine faith has the Lord Jesus as its object. Though we may be saturated with sin, faith takes us to Christ.

Faith causes us to embrace Jesus.

Faith causes us to cling to Him.

Faith sees that He is our only hope.

Henry Law said it like this,

´´Faith is the eye which sees Him,

the ear which hears Him,

the hand which holds Him,

the feet which follow hard after Him,

the heart which loves Him,

the head which knows Him,

the memory which retains Him,

the affections which are entwined around Him,

the trust which trusts in Him,

the hope which hopes in Him¨.

Indeed, faith is the entire person loving Jesus, looking only unto Him, swallowed up in Him, making Him the All in All.’ (Henry Law, Meditations on the Epistle to the Ephesians.)

There was once a French tightrope walker, Charles Blondin, who did incredible aerial feats. All over Paris, he would do tightrope acts blindfolded and pushing a wheelbarrow. An American promoter read about this and wrote to Blondin, saying, “Sir, I don’t believe you can do it, but I’m willing to make you an offer. For a very substantial sum of money, besides all your travel expenses, I would like to challenge you to do your act over Niagara Falls.”

Blondin wrote back, “Sir, I’d love to attempt this.”

On September 14, 1860 after a lot of promotion many people came to see the event. The tightrope acrobat was to start on the Canadian side and walk to the American side. The Drums rolled, and Blondin set out across the rope which was suspended over the most treacherous part of the falls. As usual, he was blindfolded and pushing a wheelbarrow!! And he made it across easily. The crowds went wild, and he came to the promoter saying, “Well Sir, now do you believe I can do it?”

“Well of course I do. I mean, I just saw you do it.”

“No,” said Blondin, “do you really believe I can do it?”

“Well of course I do, you just did it.”

“No, no, no,” said Blondin, “do you trust that I can do it?”

“Yes,” said the Promoter, “I believe you can do it.”

“Good,” said Blondin, “then get in the wheelbarrow and I´ll take you across.”

What an excellent illustration of faith! Faith, as it were, causes us to get into the wheelbarrow of life embracing Jesus in every situation.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XVI- That it is inconsistent with the Free Agency and Moral Responsibility of Man

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XVI

That It Is Inconsistent With the Free Agency
And Moral Responsibility of Man

3. CERTAINTY IS CONSISTENT WITH FREE AGENCY

Nor does it follow from the absolute certainty of a person’s acts that he could not have acted otherwise. He could have acted otherwise if he had chosen to have done so. Oftentimes a man has power and opportunity to do that which it is absolutely certain he will not do, and to refrain from doing that which it is absolutely certain he will do. That is, no external influence determines his actions. Our acts are in accordance with the decrees, but not necessarily so we can do otherwise and often should. Judas and his accomplices were left to fulfill their purpose, and they did as their wicked inclinations prompted them. Hence Peter charged them with the crime, but he at the same time declared that they had acted according to the purpose of God, — “Him being: delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hands of lawless men did crucify and slay,” Acts 2:23.

On other grounds also it may be shown that certainty is consistent with free agency. We are often absolutely certain how we will act under given conditions so far as we are free to act at all. A parent may be certain that he will rescue a child in distress, and that in doing so he will act freely. God is a free agent, yet it is certain that He will always do right. The holy angels and redeemed saints are free agents, yet it is certain that they will never sin; other- wise there would be no assurance of their remaining in heaven. On the other hand, it is certain that the Devil, the demons and fallen men will commit sin, although they are free agents. A father often knows how his son will act under given circumstances and by controlling these he determines beforehand the course of action which the son follows, yet the son acts freely. If he plans that the son shall be doctor, he gives him encouragement along that line, persuades him to read certain books, to attend certain schools, and so presents the outside inducements that his plan works out. In the same manner and to an infinitely greater extent God controls our actions so that they are certain although we act freely. His decree does not produce the event, but only renders its occurrence certain; and the same decree which determines the certainty of the action at the same time determines the freedom of the agent in the act.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

Again, from John 10:16 it is evident that a specific charge had been laid upon Christ

Again, from John 10:16 it is evident that a specific charge had been laid upon Christ. Referring to His elect scattered among the Gentiles He did not say “them also I will bring,” but “them also I must bring.” In His high priestly prayer we hear Him saying, “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me, where I am” (John 17:24). There Christ was claiming something that was due Him on account of or in return for the work He had done (v. 4). This clearly presupposes both an arrangement and a promise on the part of the Father. It was the surety putting in His claim. Now a claim necessarily implies a preceding promise annexed to a condition to be performed by the party to whom the promise is made, which gives a right to demand the reward. This is one reason why Christ, immediately afterward, addressed God as righteous Father, appealing to His faithfulness in the agreement.

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

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” in all holy acts of love-liberty from a slavish fear of law

5. Once more: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” in all holy acts of love-liberty from a slavish fear of law. Many people are honest because they are afraid of the policeman. Many are sober because they are afraid of the eye of the public. Many persons are seemingly religious because of their neighbors. There is much virtue which is like the juice of the grape-it has to be squeezed before you get it; it is not like the generous drop of the honeycomb, distilling willingly and freely. I am bold to say, that if a man be destitute of the grace of God, his works are only works of slavery, he feels forced to do them. I know before I came into the liberty of the children of God, if I went to God’s house, I went because I thought I must do it; if I prayed, it was because I feared some misfortune would happen in the day if I did not; if I ever thanked God for a mercy, it was because I thought I should not get another if I were not thankful; if I performed a righteous deed it was with the hope that very likely God would reward me at last, and I should be winning some crown in heaven. A poor slave, a mere Gibeonite, hewing wood and drawing water. If I could have left off doing it, I should have loved to do so. If I could have had my will, there would have been no chapel-going for me, no religion for me-I would have lived in the world and followed the ways of Satan if I could have done as I pleased. As for righteousness, it was slavery; sin would have been my liberty. But now, Christian, what is your liberty? What makes you come to the house of God to day?

Love made your willing feet

In swift obedience move.”

What makes you bend your knee in prayer? It is because you like to talk with your Father who seeth in secret. What is it that opens your purses, and makes you give liberally? It is because you love the poor children of God, and you feel, so much being given to you, that it is a privilege to give something back to Christ. What is it that constrains you to live honestly, righteously, and soberly; Is it the fear of the jail? No; you might pull the jail down; you might annihilate the Convict settlements; you might hurl all

chains into the sea; and we should be just as holy as we are now. Some people say, “Then, sir, you mean to say that Christians may live as they like.” I wish they could, sir. If I could live as I liked, I would, always live holily. If a Christian could live as he liked, he would always live as he ought. It is a slavery to him to sin; righteousness is his delight. Oh! if I could but live as I list, I would list to live as I ought. If I could but live as I would I would live as God commands me. The greatest happiness of a Christian is to be holy. It is no slavery to him. Put him where you will, he will not sin, Expose him to any temptation, if it were not for that evil heart still remaining, you would never find him sinning. Holiness is his pleasure; sin is his slavery. Ah ye poor bondsmen who come to church and chapel because ye must; ah! ye poor slavish moralists that are honest because of the gyves, and sober because of the prison, ah! ye poor slaves! We are not so; we are not under the law, but under grace. Call us Antinomians if you will; we will even glory in the scandalous title; we are freed from the law, but we are freed from it that we may obey it more than ever we did. The true-born child of God serves his Master more than ever he did. As old Erskine says:-

Slight now his loving presence if they can;

No, no; his conquering kindness leads the van.

When everlasting love exerts the sway,

They judge themselves most kindly bound to obey;

Bound by redeeming love in stricter sense,

Than ever Adam was in innocence.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855

The Covenants-Chapter 8c- The Old Covenant and the New Covenant

Thus have we seen that the old covenant, or law, was fulfilled, and superseded by the new covenant, or gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Permit me in passing, briefly to observe, that there was also a preparation for the coming of Christ, necessary among the Gentile nations, as well as among the Hebrew people. This preparation was peculiar, and essential to the ends proposed by divine grace. The truths of the gospel, and especially those which teach that by the deeds of the law, whether of the original moral code, common to all the covenants, and which our first parents transgressed, or of the law of Moses, “no flesh living can be justified; that if man be saved at all, it must be by the intervention of another; that all even the holiest of his acts, are sinful since they are defective, either in themselves, or in their motives; and that even if it could be shown that any single acts are perfect, there are others that are sinful; these are the last truths that men are disposed to believe or admit. They needed to be proved by experiment. And their practical demonstration is found, in the history of all nations, and ages. The world was not without some light from heaven; but this light was disregarded. Four thousand years past, and who sought after God? The Gentiles did not like to retain God in their knowledge; and the Jews corrupted, and abused the revelation with which they were entrusted. So far was man everywhere, from showing any tendency to Regain, self-raised, his native seat, that in all places his depravity became more and more intense, until at the time of the advent of Messiah, the world, and the civilized world especially, had reached an unsurpassed pre-eminence in wickedness. “Civil Government had no power to reclaim men from sin. The experiment had been tried under every form, and all were found alike incapable of raising him from his corruptions. Unless, therefore, help could arise from some other source, it was evident that his condition was hopeless. Learning was fully tested. From Pythagoras to Socrates, questions of physical, and moral truth, had been incessantly discussed. The wisdom of that age of the world reached its perfection, in the intellectual and moral reign of the Sophists. And what were the results? The noblest of all their philosophers, who proved ‘from the things that are made,’ the existence and attributes of God; and from his character, the relations he sustains to men, paid for his fidelity to his principles, with the forfeiture of his life. His sentiments revived in the teachings of Plato, whose themes were indeed beautiful, but like the stars, they were too high above us to be of any real use. Aristotle too, with all his strength, and clearness of intellect, contributed nothing to practical morals and religion? What could philosophy do? It could analyse with matchless skill, the passions that sway the human heart, but it had no power to break the bondage of sin. And sculpture, and poetry, and eloquence, had all framed their faultless models, and had all ministered to vice. Taste presided in every department of life; but it was taste revelling in licentiousness. Forms of government, learning, art, poetry, eloquence, taste, all bad failed to win men from sin, and the proof was complete that ‘the world by wisdom knew not,’ and never could know God.

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 228

GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE

METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, March 4, 1887.

MY DEAR FRIEND, —

As the time for the College Conference draws nigh I am full of anxiety, and I would desire to let that anxiety condense into prayer. Please join me in that prayer.

Our sole desire is the glory of God, and this would be greatly promoted if we all made a distinct advance in the Divine life; this may be produced by the Holy Spirit through our communion with each other and the Lord. Let us bow low before the throne for this, and take hold upon the promises with a mighty faith.

It is comparatively a small matter to all but myself; but I hunger to be with you all the day every day. We love each other in the Lord, and yet see so little of each other that I am bitterly disappointed if taken from you by pain. Brother, pray that we may look each other in the face, and may together behold our Lord. ‘Would you do me the great service to set apart a little time privately to seek an unusual blessing? and it would, be a great gain if in addition you could lead your Church to pray with us. I pine for a heavenly shower to saturate us all.

Please answer the letters of Secretaries promptly. This is a huge business: ease us all you can.

Your loving friend,

C. H. SPURGEON.

The Wednesday Word: Mary

Doubtless, Mary, the Mother of Jesus was a wonderful woman. However, the Church of Rome calls her ‘the Mother of God.’

What a ¨terminological inexactitude! ¨

Logic, however, would dictate that, if she is indeed the ‘Mother of God’, she must have preceded Him, for the mother is first then the child. But the genealogy of Mary, according to Luke’s Gospel, stops her lineage at Adam (Luke 3:38).

As for the history of God, the Scriptures declare, Him to be ‘From everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90: 2). How then can Mary exist before the everlasting One?

God is the Creator of all things. He created Adam. Mary was the creation of God through Adam but not the ancestor of God. Yes it´s true, Mary was the mother of the humanity of Jesus, but she was not and never will be the parent of the Eternal Creator.

Having incorrectly called her the Mother of God, the Papacy, in addition, calls her the ‘Mother of the Church.’ Did the Church proceed from her? Did she give birth to the church? I think not!

But, according to the Papacy, not only Jesus, but Mary, Joseph, and other saints as well as angels, make intercession with God on behalf of men. So emphatic is this teaching that in the Compendium of the Catholic Faith authorized by Pius X, Mary is stated to be the most powerful advocate with God next to Jesus for it is impossible for her to go unheard by Him, seeing He is her Son.

Nevertheless, the Scriptures state, ‘… there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (l Timothy 2: 5).

Jesus declared, ‘No man comes to the Father but by Me’ (John 14: 6).

He also said, ‘Come unto Me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28). There is nary a word to indicate that Mary must placate and soothe Jesus on behalf of sinful man.

Which is to be believed, the Scriptures or the Bishop of Rome? Apart from the birth of Jesus, there is nothing told in the Bible concerning Mary other than that which is ordinary and human.

Now, consider this, the wise men offered their gifts to the young child Jesus–not to the mother (Matthew 2: 11).

The aged Simeon said things that caused Mary to wonder, … which she certainly would not have done if she had been the Mother of God (Luke 2:25-32).

Mary, in her song, before the birth of Jesus attributed her salvation to God her Saviour (Luke 1:47). Only sinners need a Saviour.

Notice how Mary made no attempt to perform a miracle at Cana, she left it to Jesus to do what He thought best (John 2:5).

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke of the coming work and comfort of the Holy Spirit; but not a word of our Master is recorded in Scripture referring to His mother also being a comforter and teacher of men.

Nowhere does the Lord Jesus indicate that Mary should be worshipped. The opportunity was afforded Him to do just that when the woman in the crowd cried out how blessed His mother was. He deliberately refrained from endorsing any such notion, but says only, ‘Yea, rather blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it’ (Luke 11: 27-28).

Let´s say it again, Mary was the mother of the humanity of Jesus through the power of the Highest. Afterwards, by natural generation she was the mother of four sons and at least two daughters, thereby doing away with any reason for ever calling her the perpetual Virgin (Mark 6:2-3).

Let´s say it again, Jesus is God. In fact, He is the God-Man. He has two natures in one person. Mary was in no way mother to His deity but rather to His humanity.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com