Archive

Archive for November, 2019

The Covenants-Chapter 9n- The Teachings of the Covenant

November 29, 2019 Leave a comment

It must, I think, be plain to you, that no such “institution” as this appears in the word of God. What! A mere ordinance, administered by men, and having the effect “to give assurance to those who receive it,” that they shall be recipients of all the blessings promised in the gospel covenant! Can this be reconciled with the teachings of evangelical religion? Never. It attributes to baptism and to the Lord’s supper, vastly more of efficacy than ever was assigned them by the great author of our salvation. But as to the alleged “institution” itself; where were “the signs and seals” of the covenant of Eden, in which we have the original announcement of a Deliverer from sin? There were none. Where were the “signs and seals” of “the covenant confirmed of God in Christ” to Abraham, and which has been called “the covenant of grace?” There were none. To find them our brethren are obliged to resort to quite another covenant—the covenant of circumcision—a license not allowable in Biblical interpretation. Where were “the signs and seals” of the covenant which gave to Abraham the land of Canaan, and made him a separate nation? Where the “signs and seals” of the covenant of Sinai? No such “institutions,” appear. The rainbow was no seal, or “visible sign of an invisible grace,” to Noah, or to any one else. It was simply a token” pledging God, according to his promise, not again to destroy the world by a flood of waters. Nor was circumcision itself, of which our brethren have made so much, either a sign, or a seal, in the popular theological sense, of any thing, to any one, beyond Abraham himself. “He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised.”[27] This is Paul’s exposition of the subject. If he is right, then circumcision was to Abraham himself, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had before his circumcision. But it was no seal, or “visible sign of invisible grace,’ to any one else, even among the Hebrews, either in his day, or afterwards. Thus baseless, not to say mischievous, is this whole doctrine of “signs and seals of the covenants,” in its application even to circumcision. How much more baseless is it, and mischievous, when it is made to refer to baptism and the Lord’s supper! These ordinances are to their recipients, signs and seals of nothing whatever. They bear glorious testimony that “Christ died for our sins” according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he rose again from the dead, the third day, according to the scriptures.” [28] But they are no “institution of which it is the design to signify the blessings promised in the [gospel] covenant, and to give an assurance of them, to those by whom its terms are fulfilled” [29] The whole doctrine “of signs and seal” is utterly destitute of authority; and all its teachings manifestly in conflict with evangelical christianity; since they attribute to these ordinances, results which belong exclusively to the work of the Holy Spirit.

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

God has made a covenant with certain people that he will do all this for them, and in each case it is of pure grace

November 28, 2019 Leave a comment

Let us just go a little into detail about this. God has made a covenant with certain people that he will do all this for them, and in each case it is of pure grace. He will take away their own hearts: it is clear from the promise that, when he began with them, they had stony hearts. He will forgive their iniquities: when he began with them, they had my iniquities. He will give them a heart of flesh: when he began with them, they had not heart of flesh. He will turn them to keep his statutes: when he began with them, they did not keep his statutes. They were a sinful, willful, wicked, degenerate people, and he called to them many times to come to him, and repent, but they would not. Here he speaks like a king, and no longer pleads, but decrees. He says, I will do this and that to you, and you shall be this and this in return. Oh, blessed covenant! Oh, mighty, sovereign, grace!

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Covenant,” A Sermon Published on Thursday, Aug 3rd, 1911, (Spurgeon had passed away by now, having died in 1892), Another Sermon by C. H. Spurgeon, upon the same text, is No. 2,681 in Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, “Covenant Blessings.”

The Wednesday Word: So, the Disciples Stole Christ´s Body?

November 27, 2019 2 comments

In a desperate attempt to explain away the resurrection, the soldiers who guarded the tomb were bribed to say that, while they were sleeping, the disciples came and stole the body (Matthew 28:12-13).

Yeah right! That won´t stand up in court! How did they know what had happened if they were sleeping?

However, if the disciples did, in fact, steal the body, why would they willingly die awful deaths to affirm their absolute belief that Jesus was resurrected?

Church tradition tells us how these so -called body stealers and their friends died. Warning! The following is not pretty.

1. Matthew. Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.

2. Mark. Died in Alexandria, Egypt after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

3. Luke. Although not of the original 12, was hanged in Greece as a result of his powerful preaching to the lost.

4. John. He was the only one who lived to old age and was not martyred. Tradition has it that he survived being boiled in oil. He was imprisoned on the island of Patmos where he wrote the Book of Revelation …was later freed and went to Turkey and served as a church leader.

5. Peter. He was crucified upside down on an x shaped cross. He told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus had died.

6. James. Again, not one of the original 12 but the Lord´s half-brother and spokesman for the church in Jerusalem. He was thrown a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a club.

7. James. One of the Sons of Zebedee was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to the ministry. He was put to death by the sword at Jerusalem, Acts 12:2.

8. Bartholomew. Also known as Nathaniel. He was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

9. Andrew. He Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony.

His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words, “I have long desired and expected this happy hour.” He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he died.

10. Thomas. He was speared to death in India during one of his missionary trips to bring the Gospel.

11. Jude. He was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in the resurrected Christ.

12. Matthias. The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot. He was stoned and then beheaded.

To my friends who distain the truth of the resurrection of Christ I would ask… Are you really saying that these same disciples crept in and stole the body and then falsely claimed that Jesus had risen? Why then did they continue to perpetrate this so called fraud … even in the grim face of violent deaths?

It is because they knew they served the living, resurrected Saviour. They knew their redeemer lived and so they willingly died for Him and the truth of His cause (1 Peter 4:12-13).

His resurrection proves that He has forever exhausted all the penalty due to the sins of the believer. He was raised again because He had secured our justification (Hebrews 1:3; Romans 3:24). How the Devil hates this message and assaults those who bring it.

May we pray for the persecuted churches in India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Nepal, China and Africa to mention but a few.

In these Last Days we are being called to stronger than ever involvement with the cause of Christ.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XVIII- That it Discourages all motives to exertion

November 27, 2019 Leave a comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XVIII

That It Discourages All Motives to Exertion

2. PRACTICAL RESULTS

The genuine tendency of these truths is not to make men indolent and careless, but to energize and stimulate them to redoubled efforts. Heroes and conquerors, such as Cæsar and Napoleon, have often been possessed with a sense of destiny which they were to fulfill. This sense steels the nerve, redoubles the courage, and fixes in of an indomitable purpose to carry his work through to a successful finish. Large and difficult objects can only be achieved by men who have confidence in themselves, and who will not allow obstacles to discourage them. “This idea of destiny once embraced,” says Mozley, “as it is the natural effect of the sense of power, so in its turn adds greatly to it. The person as soon as he regards himself as predestined to achieve some great object, acts with so much greater force and constancy for the attainment it; he is not divided by doubts, or weakened by scruples or fears; he believes fully that he shall succeed, and that belief is the greatest assistance to success. The idea of a destiny in a considerable degree fulfills itself . . . . It must be observed that this is true of the moral and spiritual, as well as of the natural man, and applies to religious aims and purposes, as well as to those connected with human glory.” 4

E. W. Smith, in his valuable little book, “The Creed of Presbyterians,” writes as follows: “The most comforting and ennobling is also the most energizing of faiths. That its grim caricature, fatalism, has developed in human hearts an energy at once sublime and appalling is one of the common-places of history. The early and overwhelming onrush of Mohammedanism, which swept the East and all but overthrew the West, was due to its devotees’ conviction that in their conquests they were but executing the decrees of Allah. Attila the Hun was upborne in his terrible and destructive course by his belief that he was the appointed ‘Scourge of God.’ The energy and audacity which enabled Napoleon to attempt and achieve apparent impossibilities was nourished by the secret conviction that he was ‘the man of destiny.’ Fatalism has begotten a race of Titans. Their energy has been superhuman, because they believed themselves the instruments of a super-human power.

“If the grim caricature of this doctrine has breathed such energy, the doctrine itself must inspire a yet loftier, for all that is energizing in it remains with added force when for a blind fate, or a fatalistic deity, we substitute a wise, decreeing God. Let me but feel that in every commanded duty, in every needed reform, I am but working out an eternal purpose of Jehovah; let me but hear behind me, in every battle for the right, the tramp of the Infinite Reserves; and I am lifted above the fear of man or the possibility of final failure.” (pp. 180, 181).

In an English newspaper, “The Daily Express,” of April 18, 1929, we read the following concerning Earl Haig, who was Commander-in-Chief of the British armies in the First World War, and who was a Scotsman and a Calvinistic Presbyterian: “Most remarkable as regards Haig’s own personality is the disclosure that this reserved, cold, formal man had a profound faith, and in the greatest crises of the war believed implicitly that help would come from above, and that he regarded himself as the chosen of the Lord, the Cromwell who alone could smite the foe. He was genuinely convinced that the position to which he had now been called was one which he and he alone in the British Army could fill. It was not conceit. There was no man who was less inclined to over-estimate his own value or capacity; it was opinion based upon the discernment of all the factors. He came to regard himself with almost Calvinistic faith as the predestinated instrument of Providence for the achievement of victory for the British armies. His abundant self-reliance was reinforced by this conception of himself as the child of destiny.”

The genuine tendency of these truths, then, as stated before, is not to make men indolent and careless, nor to lull them to sleep on the lap of presumption and carnal security, but to energize and to inspire confidence. Both reason and experience teach us that the greater one’s hope of success, the stronger becomes the motive to exertion. The person who is sure of success in the use of appropriate means has the strongest of incentives to work, while on the other hand, where there is but little hope there will be but little disposition for one to exert himself; and where there is no hope, there will be no exertion. The Christian, then, who has before him the definite commands of God, and the promise that the work of those who obediently and reverently avail themselves of the appointed means shall be blessed, has the highest possible motives for exertion. Furthermore, he is elevated and inspired by the firm conviction that he himself is marked out for a heavenly crown.

Who ever stated the doctrine of election more plainly or in more forcible language than did the Apostle Paul? And yet who was ever more zealous and more untiring in his labors than Paul? His theory made him a missionary and impelled him to set forth Christianity as final and triumphant. How cheering it must have been for him in Corinth to hear the words, “Be not afraid, but speak and hold not thy peace; for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee; for I have much people in this city,” Acts 18:10. What greater incentive to action could have been given him than this, that his preaching was the divinely appointed means for the conversion of many of those people? Notice, God did not tell him how many people He had in that city, nor who the individuals were. The minister of the Gospel can go forward confident of success, knowing that through this appointed means God has determined to save a vast number of the human family in every age. In fact, one of the strongest pleas for missions is that evangelism is the will of God for the whole world; and only when one acknowledges the sovereignty of God in every realm of life can he have the deepest passion for the Divine glory.

The experience of the Church in all ages has been that this doctrine has led men, not to neglect, nor to stolid unconcern, nor to rebellious opposition to God, but to submission and to a sure trust in Divine power. The promise given to Jacob that his posterity was to be a great people did not in the least prevent him from using every available means for protection when it looked as though Esau might kill him and his family. When Daniel understood from the prophecies of Jeremiah that the time for the restoration of Israel was at hand, he set himself earnestly to pray for it (Daniel 9:2, 3). Immediately after it had been revealed to David that God would establish his house, he prayed earnestly for that very thing (2 Samuel 7:27-29). Although Christ knew what had been appointed for His people, He prayed earnestly for their preservation (John, Ch. 17). And although Paul had been told that he was to go to Rome and bear witness there, it did not in the least cause him to be careless of his life. He took every precaution to protect himself against an unfair trial by the Jerusalem mob, and against an unwise voyage (Acts 23:11; 25:10, 11; 27:9, 10). The decree of God was that all those on board the ship should be saved, but that decree took in the free and courageous and skillful activity of the seamen. Their freedom and responsibility were not in the least diminished. The practical effect of this doctrine, then, has been to lead men to frequent and fervent prayer, knowing that their times are in God’s hands and that every event of their lives is of His disposing.

Furthermore, it may be said that so long as the sinner remains ignorant of his lost and helpless condition, he remains negligent. Probably there is not a careless sinner in the world who does not believe in his perfect ability to turn to God at any time he pleases; and because of this belief he puts off repentance, fully intending to come at some more convenient time. Just in proportion as his belief in his own ability increases, his carelessness increases, and he is lulled to sleep on the awful brink of eternal ruin. Only when he is brought to feel his entire helplessness and dependence upon sovereign grace does he seek help where alone it is to be found.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

When Adam stood in Eden as a responsible being before God

November 26, 2019 Leave a comment

When Adam stood in Eden as a responsible being before God, he stood there as a federal head, as the legal representative of all his posterity. Hence, when Adam sinned, all for whom he was standing are accounted as having sinned; when he fell, all whom he represented fell; when he died, they died. So too was it with Christ. When He came to this earth, He, too, stood in a federal relationship to His own people; and when He became obedient unto death, all for whom He was acting were accounted righteous; when He rose again from the dead, all whom He represented rose with Him; when He ascended on high, they were regarded as ascending with Him. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

God says, “I have written to him the great things of my law”

November 25, 2019 Leave a comment

God says, “I have written to him the great things of my law.” Do you doubt their greatness? Do ye think they are not worth your attention? Reflect a moment, man. Where art thou standing now?

                                  “Lo, on a narrow neck of land

                               ‘Twixt two unbounded seas I stand;

An inch of time, a moment’s space,

May lodge me in yon heavenly place,

Or shut me up in hell.”

I recollect standing on a sea-shore once, upon a narrow neck of land, thoughtless that the tide might come up. The tide kept continually washing up on either side, and wrapped in thoughts I still stood there, until at last there was the greatest difficulty in getting on shore; the waves had washed between me and the shore. You and I stand each day on a narrow neck, and there is one wave coming up there see, how near it is to your foot; and lo, another throws at every tick of the clock: “our hearts, like muffled drums, are beating funeral marches to the tomb.” We are always tending downwards to the grave each moment that we live. This Book tells me that if I am converted, when I die there is a heaven of joy and love to receive me; it tell me that angels’ pinions shall be stretched, and I, borne by strong cherubic wings, shall out-soar the lightning, and mount beyond the stars, up to the throne of God, to dwell for ever,

Far from a world of grief and sin

With God eternally shut in.”

Oh! it makes the hot tear start from my eye, it makes my heart too big for this my body, and my brain whines at the thought of

Jerusalem, my happy home,

Name ever dear to me.”

Oh! that sweet scene beyond the clouds; sweet fields arrayed in living green, and rivers of delight. Are not these great things? But then, poor unregenerate son!, the Bible says, if thou art lost, thou art lost for ever; it tells thee, that if thou didst without Christ, without God, there is no hope for thee, that there is a place without a gleam of hope, where thou shalt read in burning letters “Ye knew your duty, but ye did it not.” It tells you that ye shall be driven from his presence with a “depart ye cursed.” Are not these great things? Yes, sirs, as heaven is desirable, as hell is terrible, as time is short, as eternity is infinite, as the soul is precious, as pains to be shunned, as heaven is to be sought, as God is eternal, and as his words are sure, these are great things, things ye ought to listen to.

Charles H. Spurgeon- The Bible, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning March 18, 1855

The Covenants-Chapter 9m- The Teachings of the Covenant

November 22, 2019 11 comments

6. These covenants teach you, sixthly, that the entire series of “signs and seals of grace,” which our brethren have engrafted upon them, is not only wholly imaginary, but also highly pernicious. And what are these “signs and seals,” which you have been so often told, are invariable appendages of the covenants? Dr. Dick says: “A seal has been defined to he the visible sign of an invisible grace; and may be more generally described as an institution of which it is the design to signify the blessings promised in the covenant, and to give an assurance of them to those by whom its terms are fulfilled.”[24] Our brethren proceed accordingly, to find seals of some sort, for all the covenants, which they do not fail to account as so many “signs of invisible grace!” Of the law, or “covenant of works,” under which man was originally created, they affirm that “The tree of life” was the seal. But in this conclusion all are not agreed, some insisting that “The tree of the knowledge of good and evil” was the seal; others that it was” Paradise;” and still others that it was “the Sabbath day.”[25] The learned Witsius however, takes bold ground, and assumes that all these four things were legitimately, so many seals of the covenant.[26] For the sign and seal of the covenant with Noah, they point you to the rainbow; and for the sign and seal of ” the covenant confirmed of God in Christ,” to Abraham, they refer you to circumcision. Under the New Testament, baptism and the Lord’s supper, they teach you are the seals which signify, and the signs of the blessings, promised in the gospel covenant!

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

I will put a new spirit within you, and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh

November 21, 2019 Leave a comment

Thus I have read the covenant to you in one form.

Turn over the pages a little, and you will come to a passage in Ezekiel. There we shall have the bright eyed prophet-he who could live among the wheels and the seraphim-telling us what the covenant grace is. In Ezekiel the eleventh chapter, nineteenth and twentieth verses, we read: “ I will put a new spirit within you, and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh; that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”

You will find another form of it further on in the thirty-sixth of Ezekiel, beginning at the twenty-fifth verse. How intently ought you to listen to this! It is a deal better than hearing any preaching of mortal men to listen to the very words of God’s own covenant, a covenant which saves all those who are concerned in it. Unless you have an interest in it you are indeed unhappy. Let us read it: “ Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out, of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them…. And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” This promise always come in at the close, “I will be your God.” In this form of the covenant, I call you again to witness that God demands nothing, asks no price, demands no payment, but to the people with whom he enters into covenant he makes promise after promise, all free, all unconditional, all made according to the bounty of his royal heart.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Covenant,” A Sermon Published on Thursday, Aug 3rd, 1911, (Spurgeon had passed away by now, having died in 1892), Another Sermon by C. H. Spurgeon, upon the same text, is No. 2,681 in Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, “Covenant Blessings.”

The Wednesday Word: Keep not Silence

November 20, 2019 2 comments

“You that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence” Isaiah 62:6.

How can the redeemed of the Lord keep silent about the Lord Jesus?

How can we keep silent about Him when His name is so beautiful?

How can we keep silent about Him when His work of redemption is so glorious?

How can we keep silent about Him when His person is so perfect?

As followers of Christ we have embraced five words concerning Him. They are, “My King and my God” (Psalm 5:2). How can we, therefore, keep silent about Him?

How can we be silent about the everlasting truths of the Gospel? How can we, for example, be silent that God was manifest in the flesh? (1 Timothy 3:16).

How can we be silent when we think of how He suffered for us?

“Oh, think of Jesus, as He stands before Pilate

Condemned as a villain, when from sin He was clean

Though they wrongly accused Him, and cruelly used Him

Yet he spoke not a word, though the tears filled His gaze

Think how they mocked Him, they scoffed Him and slapped Him

Put a reed in His hand and with a robe they wrapped Him

Then a crown of thorns they twined from long briars

And stuck in His brow till the blood trickled down.”

How can we keep silent about this?

How can we be silent when we read, “But God commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

In the Gospel, God did not come to meet us half-way. He came all the way. If He had not come all the way, we should never have been saved. As we consider this, how can we then keep silent about this?

“Oh, think of Jesus as He goes to Mount Calvary

Jeered by the crowd, both women and men

Their wicked hands taken Him, and on the cross laid Him

With hammer and nails cruel work they began

Then they hung Him up between earth and heaven

God’s spotless Lamb there for me and for you

Amid their mocking and sayings, and terrible doings

He cried, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

How can we keep silent about this?

He came here because He loved us. In fact, there never was a time when Christ´s love for us began. His people have always been loved. How can we keep silent about this?

When we pause and meditate about these truths may we be overwhelmed with gratitude. Just think of it, we didn´t care about the Lord Jesus but He cared for us. When we were out of control, and far away, He cared for us and brought us to Himself. How can we be silent about this?

Some years ago, in England, there was a Christian barber who could not keep silent about Jesus. He felt it his duty to witness to his customers, but he wasn’t always careful. One day he lathered a man for a shave, picked up the razor, and asked, “Sir, are you prepared to meet your God?” The poor fellow fled with the lather still on his face.

That dear barber, even though a bit careless about his approach, would not keep silent about Jesus. I wish there were more like him. Unfortunately, it has been observed that there are two groups of people who really hate personal evangelism;

1. Non-Christians and

2. Most Christians.

May the Lord raise up an army of Gospel Champions who will not keep silent about Him.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XVIII- That it Discourages all motives to exertion

November 20, 2019 Leave a comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XVIII

That It Discourages All Motives to Exertion

1. The Means as well as the Ends are Foreordained. 2. Practical Results.

1. The Means as well as the Ends are Foreordained

The objection that the doctrine of Predestination discourages all motives to exertion, is based on the fallacy that the ends are determined without reference to the means. It is not merely a few isolated events here and there that have been foreordained, but the whole chain of events, with all of their inter-relations and connections. All of parts form a unit in the Divine plan. If the means should fail, so would the ends. If God has purposed that a man shall reap, He has also purposed that he shall sow. If God has ordained a man to be saved, He has also ordained that he shall hear the Gospel, and that he shall believe and repent. As well might the farmer refuse to till the soil according to the laws disclosed by the light of nature and experience until he had first learned what was the secret purpose of God to be executed in His providence in regard to the fruitfulness of the coming season, as for any one to refuse to work in the moral and spiritual realms because he does not know what fruitage God may bring from his labor. We find, however, that the fruitage is commonly bestowed where the preliminary work has been faithfully performed. If we engage in the Lord’s service and make diligent use of the means which He has prescribed, we have the great encouragement of knowing that it is by these very means that He has determined to accomplish His great work.

Even those who accept the Scripture Statement that God “worketh all things after the counsel of His will,” and similar declarations to the effect that God’s providence control extends to all the events of their lives. know that this does not interfere in the slightest with their freedom. Do those who make this objection allow their belief in the Divine sovereignty to determine their conduct in temporal affairs? Do they decline food when hungry, or medicine when sick, because God has appointed the time and manner of their death? Do they neglect the recognized means of acquiring wealth or distinction because God gives riches and honor to whom He pleases? When in matters outside of religion one recognizes God’s sovereignty, yet works in the exercise of conscious freedom, is it not sinful and foolish to offer as an excuse for neglecting his spiritual and eternal welfare the contention that he is not free and responsible? Does not his conscience testify that the only reason why he is not a follower of Jesus Christ is that he has never been willing to follow Him? Suppose that when the palsied man was brought to Jesus and heard the words, “Rise up and walk,” he had merely replied, “I cannot; I am palsied!” Had he done so he would have died a paralytic. But, realizing his own helplessness and trusting the One who gave the command, he obeyed and was made whole. It is the same almighty Saviour who calls on sinners dead in sin to come to Him, and we may be sure that the one who comes will not find his efforts vain. The fact is, that unless we regard God as the sovereign Disposer of all events, who in the midst of certainty has ordained human liberty, we have but little encouragement to work. If we believed that our success and our destiny was primarily dependent on the pleasure of weak and sinful creatures, we would have but little incentive to exertion.

“On his knees, the Arminian forgets those logical puzzles which have distorted Predestination to his mind and at once thankfully acknowledges his conversion to be due to that prevenient grace of God, without which no mere will or works of his own would ever have made him a new creature. He prays for that outpouring of God’s Spirit to restrain, convince, renew, and sanctify men; for that divine direction of human events, and overturning of the counsels and frustrating of the plans of wicked men; he gives to the Lord glory and honor for what is actually done in this regard, which implies that God reigns, that He is the sovereign disposer of all events, and that all good, and all thwarting of evil are due to Him, while all evil is itself due to the creature. He recognizes the completeness of the divine foreknowledge as bound up inseparably with the wisdom of His eternal purpose. His prayers for assurance of hope, or his present fruition of it, presuppose the faith that God can and will keep his feet from falling, and heaven from revolt, and that His purpose forms such an infallible nexus between present grace and eternal glory, that nothing shall be able to separate him from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”1

Since the future events are hidden and unknown to us we should be as industrious in our work and as earnest in the performance of our duty as if nothing had been decreed concerning it. It has often been said that we should pray as though everything depended on God, and work as though everything depended on ourselves. Luther’s observation here was: “We are commanded to work the more for this very reason, because all things future are to us uncertain; as saith Ecclesiastes, ‘In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or weather they both shall be alike good,’ Ecclesiastes 11: 6. All things future, I say are to us uncertain in knowledge, but necessary in event. The necessity strikes into us fear of God that we presume not, or become secure, while the uncertainty works in us a trusting that we sink not into despair.2

“The farmer who, after hearing a sermon on God’s decrees, took the break-neck road instead of the safe one to his home and broke his wagon in consequence, concluded before the end of the journey that he at any rate had been predestinated to be a fool, and that he had made his calling and election sure.” 3

On one occasion after Dr. Charles Hodge had finished a theological lecture he was approached by a lady who said to him, “So you believe, Dr. Hodge, that what is to be will be?” “Why, yes, lady, I do,” he replied. “Would you have me believe that what is to be won’t be?”

And we are further reminded at this point of one in Scotland accused and convicted of murder, who said to the judge “I was predestined from all eternity to do it.” To whom the judge replied, “So be it, then I was predestined from all eternity to order you to be hanged by the neck, which I now do.”

Some may be inclined to say, If nothing but the creative power of God can enable us to repent and believe, then all we can do is to wait passively until that power is exerted. Or it may be asked, If we cannot effect our salvation, why work for it? In every line of human endeavor, however, we find that the result is dependent on the co-operation of causes over which we have no control. We are simply to make use of the appropriate means and trust to the co-operation of the other agencies. We do have the express promise of God that those who seek shall find, that those who ask shall receive, and that to those who knock it shall be opened. This is more than is given to the men of the world to stimulate them in their search for wealth, knowledge, or position; and more than this cannot rationally be demanded. He who reads and meditates upon the word of God is ordinarily regenerated by the Holy Spirit, perhaps in the very act of reading. “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them that heard the word,” Acts 10:44. Shakespeare makes one of his characters say: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings,” (Julius Caesar, 1:2).

The sinner’s inability to save himself, therefore, should not make him less diligent in seeking his salvation in the way which God has appointed. Some leper when Christ was on earth might have reasoned that since he could not cure himself, he must simply wait for Christ to come and heal him. The natural effect, however, of a conviction of utter helplessness is to impel the person to make diligent application at the source from whence alone help can come. Man is a fallen, ruined, and helpless creature, and until he knows it he is living without hope and without God in the world.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination