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The word of God is a perfect rule of faith and practice

May I now, in view of all these facts, and considerations, solicit your attention to the great Protestant principle in religion, so familiarly known to all who are in the least conversant with sacred literature? “The word of God is a perfect rule of faith and practice.” To this maxim every evangelical denomination professes to bow with entire submission. It avows the scriptures to be not the supreme authority only, but also the sole authority, in all that pertains to religion. It repudiates all tradition. It looks not to the Fathers of the church of whatever period, except in so far as they are sustained by the divine word. It relies exclusively upon the scriptures. If any doctrine or practice be there clearly taught, it must be received heartily, and fully. If otherwise, you dare not admit it. “The word of God is a perfect rule of faith and practice.”

For myself, and for my brethren, although we are not Protestants, I declare for this Christian law in religion the sincerest reverence. We receive it fully, and conform to it in every respect. We do this however, not simply because it is wise in principle, and safe in practice, but because it is really an embodiment in another form, of the law of God himself. It comes to us with the sanction not of men only, but of God. The language of Jehovah on the subject is this:

What thing soever I command you, observe to do it. Thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:3.)

And in another place he says:

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2.)

Is not this a plain declaration, in other terms, that, “The word of God is a perfect rule of faith and practice,” Does any one suppose that since these precepts had a more direct reference to the law of Moses, that they are not equally applicable under the gospel? To such it may be replied, that the law was much less perfect than is the gospel. Did our Heavenly Father enforce the obligations of the former with the most jealous particularity, and is he less careful as to our compliance with the demands of the latter? Such an objection is unreasonable. It is. also in direct conflict with apostolic teaching. To this very topic Paul refers, when he says:

“God, who at sundry times, and in diverse manners, spake in times past to the fathers, by the prophets hath in these last days spoken unto us, by his Son.” (Hebrews 1:1)

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels [messengers, in the law] was steadfast, and every transgression, and disobedience received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him, God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost?” (Hebrews 2:1-4.)

“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we refuse him that speaketh from heaven.” (Hebrews 12:25.)

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 1- Infant Baptism is an evil because its practice is unsupported by the Word of God

God cannot lie

He will do so, first, because he cannot lie. If he says he will, he will. His very name is “ God that, cannot lie.” If I am in Christ, I must be saved: none can prevent it. If I am a believer in Christ, I must be saved; all the devils in hell cannot stop it, for God has said, “ He that believeth in him is not condemned.” “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” God’s word is not yea and nay. He knew what he said when he spake the covenant, and he has never changed it, nor contradicted it. If, then, I am a believer, I must be saved, for I am in Christ to whom the promise is made; if I have the new life in me, I must be saved, for is not this spiritual life the living and incorruptible seed which liveth and abideth for ever? Did not Jesus say, “ The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life”? I have drunk the water Christ gave me, and it, must spring up into everlasting life. It is not possible for death to kill the life that God has given me, nor for all the fallen spirits to tread out the divine fire which Christ’s own Spirit, has cast into my bosom. I must be saved, for God cannot deny himself.

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: “They Came to Marah”

Exodus 15:23

Moses and the multitude of Israel, tired, weary and thirsty from their three-day journey came to an oasis but, the waters were bitter and undrinkable. Eager hopes had been raised merely to be dashed and disappointed.

As we read this story, we see that the faithless Children of Israel murmured against Moses demanding of him, “What shall we drink?” (ver. 24.) They thought they were perishing with thirst. How asinine! The Lord had just opened the Red Sea for them to walk through, yet a few days later, here they were doubting that He could even provide them with a drink of water.

Notice how they were agitated and perplexed by their situation. Moses, on the other hand, began to pray (verse 25). He cried unto the Lord, and God answered. But, notice how the answer to his prayer came in a most unusual way. Among the surrounding trees, the Lord showed Moses a particular one which, under instruction, he cut down and threw into the waters. As a result, the waters were made sweet, and Israel was once more delivered.

What a great story of God´s provision. By the way, did you notice how the story has several gospel allusions?

First: The tree represents the Lord Jesus. There are several Scriptures which present Him under the picture or type of a “tree.” The most prominent one is, of course, found in the first Psalm. There it was prophesied that “He (Christ) would be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth His fruit in His season, His leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever He does shall prosper” (v. 3).

Second: The tree in Exodus 15 had to be cut down. However, it was the children of Israel themselves who deserved to be cut down. They deserved to perish because of their rebellion. But, the tree was cut down instead of them. And so it is that faith sees Jesus, as cut down instead of us. Christ bore our sins in His own body on the Tree” ( 1 Peter 2:24).

Third: The tree was cast into the waters of Marah. In the gospel, we see Jesus cast into the waters of wrath and death. He sank into the depths of Judgment when the iniquities of His people assembled and met on Him. Now, because of the cross, the bitterness of wrath has been replaced with the sweetness of blessing. When the cross is applied, the bitter waters of life are turned sweet through the power of Christ Jesus.

Fourth: It was in response to the cries of an interceding mediator that deliverance came. Moses stood between an offended God and Israel. This again points us to the Lord Jesus. He stands between our sin and our rescue. No one among the people contributed to their deliverance. Indeed, their only contribution was their sin and unbelief.

There is one Mediator between God and man. There is one Peace-maker. We have been reconciled to God by Christ alone (2 Corinthians 5:18). And this is as it should be. What works of ours can compare to those of the Lord Christ? Our best works are defiled by imperfections. As the English preacher, John Berridge, lamented, “Even my repentance needs repenting of.” All our works combined could not make an atonement, but instead, they needed one made for them.

If we are ultimately saved by Christ plus our works, then works become one of our mediators. But the Scripture boldly asserts that there is but one mediator between God and man .. not two (1Timothy 2:5).

If our works mediate for us, then they are partly responsible for our peace. But the scriptures know nothing of this. Peace has already been made by the shed blood of Calvary plus nothing.

(Colossians 1:20).

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXI- That it precludes a sincere offer of the Gospel to the non-elect

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXI

That It Precludes A Sincere Offer Of The Gospel To The Non-elect

2. THE OFFER IS SINCERELY MADE

God commanded Moses to gather together the elders of Israel, to go to Pharaoh and demand that they be allowed to go three days’ journey into the wilderness to hold a feast and offer sacrifices. Yet in the very next verse God Himself says, “I know that the king of Egypt will not give you leave to go, no, not by a mighty hand,” Exodus 3:18,19. If it is not inconsistent with God’s sincerity for Him to command all men to love Him, or to be perfect (Luke 10:27; Matthew 5:48), it is not inconsistent with His sincerity for Him to command them to repent and believe the Gospel. A man may be altogether sincere in giving an invitation which he knows will be refused. A father who knows that his boys are going to do wrong feels constrained to tell them what is right. His warnings and pleadings are sincere; the trouble is in the boys.

Will any one contend that God cannot sincerely offer salvation to a free moral agent unless in addition to the invitation He exerts a special influence which will induce the person to accept it? After a civil war in a country it often happens that the victorious general offers free pardon to all those In the opposing army, provided they will lay down their arms, go home, and live peaceable lives, although he knows that through pride or malice many will refuse. He makes the offer in good faith even though for wise reasons he determines not to constrain their assent, supposing him possessed of such power.

We may imagine the case of a ship with many passengers on board sinking some distance out from shore. A man hires a boat from a near-by port and goes to rescue his family. Incidentally it happens that the boat which he takes is large enough to carry all the passengers, so he invites all those on the sinking vessel to come on board, although he knows that many of them, either through lack of appreciation of their danger, or because of personal spite toward him, or for other reasons, will not accept. Yet does that make his offer any the less sincere? “If a man’s family were with others held in captivity, and from love of them and with the purpose of their redemption, a ransom should be offered sufficient for the delivery of the whole body of captives, it is plain that the offer of deliverance might be extended to all on the ground of that ransom, although specially intended only for a part of their number. Or, a man may make a feast for his own friends and the provisions be so abundant that he may throw open his doors to all who are willing to come. This is precisely what God, according to the Calvinistic doctrine, has actually done. Out of special love to His people, and with the design of securing their salvation He has sent His Son to do what justifies the offer of salvation to all who choose to accept it.1

When the Gospel is presented to mankind in general nothing but a sinful unwillingness on the part of some prevents their accepting and enjoying it. No stumbling block is put in their way. All that the call contains is true; it is adapted to the conditions of all men and freely offered if they will repent and believe. No outside influence constrains them to reject it. The elect accept; the non-elect may accept if they will, and nothing but their own nature determines them to do otherwise. “According to the Calvinistic scheme,” says Dr. Hodge, “the non-elect have all the advantages and opportunities of securing their salvation, that, according to any other scheme, are granted to mankind indiscriminately. Calvinism teaches that a plan of salvation adapted to all men and adequate for the salvation of all, is freely offered to the acceptance of all, although in the secret purpose of God He intended that it should have precisely the effect which in experience it is found to have. He designed in its adoption to save His own people, but consistently offers its benefits to all who are willing to receive them. More than this no anti-Calvinist can demand.” 2

Arminians object that God could not offer the Gospel to those who in His secret counsel were not designed to accept it; yet we find the Scriptures declaring that He does this very thing. His commands to Pharaoh have already been referred to. Isaiah was commissioned to preach to the Jews, and in 1:18, 19, we find that he extended a gracious offer of pardon and cleansing. But in 6:9-13, immediately following his glorious vision and official appointment, he is informed that this preaching is destined to harden his countrymen to their almost universal destruction. Ezekiel was sent to speak to the house of Israel, but was told beforehand that they would not hear, Ezekiel 3:4-11. Matthew 23:33-37 presents the same teaching. In these passages God declares that He does the very thing which Arminians say He must not do. Hence the objection now under consideration has arisen not because of any Calvinistic misstatement of the divine plan, but through erroneous assumptions made by Arminians themselves.

The decree of election is a secret decree. And since no revelation has been given to the preacher as to which ones among his hearers are elect and which are non-elect, it is not possible for him to present the Gospel to the elect only. It is his duty to look with hope on all those to whom he is preaching, and to pray for them that they may each be among the elect. In order to offer the message to the elect, he must offer it to all; and the Scripture command is plain to the effect that it should be offered to all. Even the elect must hear before they can believe and accept, Romans 10:13-17. The attentive reader, however, will perceive that the invitations are not, in the strict sense, general, but that they are addressed to the “weary,” the “thirsty,” the “hungry,” the “willing,” those who “labor and are heavy laden,” and not to those who are unconscious of any need and unwilling to be reformed. While the message is preached to all, it is God who chooses among the hearers those to whom He is speaking, and He makes this selection known to them through the inward testimony of the Holy Spirit. The elect thus receive the message as the promise of salvation, but to the non-elect it appears only as foolishness, or if their conscience is aroused, as a judgment to condemnation. As a rule, the non-elect are not concerned about salvation, do not envy the elect their hope of salvation, but rather laugh and scorn at them. And since the secret as to which ones in the audience belong to the elect is hidden from the preacher, usually he does not know who got the message to salvation and who got it to judgment. Among the elect themselves there are so many weaknesses, and on the other hand the evil one is so able to appear as an angel of light and to make such an outward show of good deeds and words, that the preacher usually cannot be sure of the outcome. The effect of the preaching is not in the preacher’s hands, but in God’s hands; and it often happens that the sermons which seemed unsuccessful were strengthened and made effective by the Holy Spirit.

Yet while it is certain that the non-elect will not turn to God, repent of their sins, and live good moral lives, it is, nevertheless, their duty to do so. Though members of a fallen race, they are still free moral agents, responsible for their character and conduct. God is, therefore, perfectly consistent in commanding them to repent. For Him not to do so would be for Him to give up the claims of His law. We commonly hear the idea expressed that man is under no obligation to do anything for which he has not full and perfect ability in himself. The reasoning, however, is fallacious; for man labors under a self-acquired inability. He was created upright and voluntarily sank himself into sin. He is, therefore, as responsible as is the person who in order to escape military service deliberately mutilates a hand or an eye. If inability canceled obligation, then Satan with his inherent depravity would be under no obligation to do right, and his fiendish enmity toward God and men would be no sin. Sinners in general would then be lifted above the moral law.

In conclusion it may be further said that even in regard to the non-elect the preaching is not altogether vain; for they are thus made the objects of general restraining and directing influences which prevent them from sinning as much as they otherwise would.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

“The race must have either stood in a full grown man, with a full-orbed intellect, or stood as babies, each entering his probation in the twilight of selfconsciousness

Consider the alternative. “The race must have either stood in a full grown man, with a full-orbed intellect, or stood as babies, each entering his probation in the twilight of selfconsciousness, each deciding his destiny before his eyes were half-opened to what it all meant. How much better would that have been? How much more just? But could it not have been some other way? There was no other way. It was either the baby or it was the perfect, well-equipped, all—calculating man—the man who saw and comprehended everything. That man was Adam” (G. S. Bishop). Yes, Adam, fresh from the hands of his creator, with no sinful ancestry behind him, with no depraved nature within. A man made in the image and likeness of God, pronounced by Him “very good,” in fellowship with heaven. Who could have been a more suitable representative for us?

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

The Shepherd of our souls rejoices in the vision of his sheep securely folded

Again, this was the announcement of a fact joyous to heaven. Our text is prefaced with “Behold,” for, doubtless, our Savior himself regarded it with joy. Once only do we read of a smile resting on the countenance of Jesus, when lifting up his eye to heaven, he exclaimed, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” The Shepherd of our souls rejoices in the vision of his sheep securely folded, he triumphs in spirit when he brings a wanderer home. I conceive that when he spoke these words to Ananias, one of the smiles of paradise must have shone from his eyes. “Behold,” I have won the heart of my enemy; I have saved my persecutor; even now he is bending the knee at my footstool, “Behold he prayeth.” Jesus himself led the song, rejoicing over the new convert with singing. Jesus Christ was glad, and rejoiced more over that lost sheep than over ninety and nine that went not astray.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Paul’s First Prayer,” A Sermon delivered on Sabbath Morning, March 25th, 1855

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Testimony from Paedobaptists that infant-baptism is not found in the Word of God

But we have testimony in proof of our proposition still stronger if possible, than any which has yet been submitted. Very many of the most learned and pious Pedobaptist Biblical critics, themselves candidly confess that infant baptism is not distinctly enjoined, nor directly taught, in the word of God. Some of these I will now proceed to specify.

Martin Luther, the great father of the Reformation, says:

“It cannot be proved by the scriptures, that infant baptism was instituted by Christ, or begun by the first Christians after the apostles.”[1]

John Calvin testifies thus:

“It is nowhere expressly mentioned by the evangelists, that any child was by the apostles baptized.”[2]

Bishop Burner avers:

“There is no express precept, or rule given in the New Testament for the baptism of infants. “[3]

Strarck says:

“The connection of infant baptism with circumcision deserves no consideration, since there were physical reasons for circumcising in infancy.”[4]

Augustine says:

“The parallel between circumcision and baptism is altogether foreign to the New Testament.”[5]

Bishop Jeremy Taylor thus writes:

“For the argument from circumcision, it is invalid from infinite considerations. Figures and types prove nothing, unless a command go along with them, or some express to signify such to be their purpose.” [6]

Dr. Woods of Andover remarks:

“It is a plain case that there is no express precept respecting infant baptism in our sacred writings. The proof then, that it is a divine institution must be made out in some other way.”[7]

Prof. Stuart says:

“Commands, or plain and certain examples in the New Testament, relative to it [infant baptism] I do not find.”[8]

And finally Dr. Neander declares:

“As baptism was closely united with a conscious entrance on Christian communion, faith and baptism were always connected with one another; and thus it is in the highest degree probable, that baptism was performed only in instances where both could meet together, and that the practice of infant baptism was unknown”

to the apostolic age.[9]

In another work Neander says:

“Baptism was at first, administered only to adults, as men were accustomed to conceive baptism and faith as strictly connected. We have all reason for not deriving infant baptism from apostolic institution. ” [10]

Multitudes of other similar declarations could, were they necessary, be readily produced, but these are amply sufficient. It is acknowledged that the word of God does not teach infant baptism. This acknowledgment is made candidly, by those who ought to know, since they were among the most learned men, and best Biblical critics the world has ever produced, made against themselves, voluntarily, freely, and of their own accord, and ought therefore to be considered decisive of the question. Infant baptism is not found in any form in the Bible. Every effort to deduce it from the sacred records, no matter how ingeniously conducted, has proved a wretched failure. It is confessed by its advocates that it is not found in the inspired pages. Infant baptism is therefore, unsupported by the word of God.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 1- Infant Baptism is an evil because its practice is unsupported by the Word of God