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As a responsible being, as a moral agent, as one who was endowed with free will, Adam had necessarily to be placed on probation

In the third place, as a responsible being, as a moral agent, as one who was endowed with free will, Adam had necessarily to be placed on probation, submitted to a real test of his fealty unto God, before he was confirmed, or given an abiding standing in his creature perfections. Because Adam was a creature, mutable and fallible, he was entirely dependent upon his creator; and therefore he must be put on trial to show whether or no he would assert his independency, which would be open revolt against his maker and the repudiation of his creaturehood. Every creature must necessarily come under the moral government of God, and for free agents that necessarily implies and involves two possible alternatives—subjection or insubordination. The absolute dominion of God over the creature and the complete dependence and subjection of the creature to God, holds good in every part of the universe and throughout all ages. The inherent poison in every error and evil is the rejection of God’s dominion and of man’s dependence upon his maker, or the assertion of his independency.

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

 

But notice its particular application

But notice its particular application. “Yet hath he made with ME an everlasting covenant.” Here lies the sweetness of it to me, as an individual.

                      “Oh how sweet to view the flowing

                               Of Christ’s soul-redeeming blood

                                                                  With divine assurance knowing

                                                                  That he made my peace with God.”

It is nought for me that he made peace for the world; I want to know whether he made peace for me: it is little that he hath made a covenant, I want to know whether he has made a covenant with me. David could put his hand upon his heart and say, “Yet hath he made a covenant with ME.” I fear I shall not be wrong in condemning the fashionable religion of the day, for it is a religion which belongs to the crowd; and not a personal one which is enjoyed by the individual. You will hear persons say, “Well, I believe the doctrine of justification; I think that men are justified through faith.” Yes, but are you justified by faith? “I believe,” says another “that we are sanctified by the Spirit.” Yes, all very well, but are you sanctified by the Spirit? Mark you, if ever you talk about personal piety very much, you will always be run down as extravagant. If you really say from your heart, “I know I am forgiven; I am certain that I am a pardoned sinner;”-and every Christian will at times be able to say it, and would always, were it not for his unbelief-if you say “I know in whom I have believed, I am confident that I have not a sin now recorded in the black roll; that I am free from sin as if I had never transgressed, through the pardoning blood of Jesus,” men will say it is extravagant. Well, it is a delightful extravagance, it is the extravagance of God’s Word, and I would to God more of us could indulge in that holy, blessed extravagance. For we may well be extravagant when we have an infinite sum to spend; we may well be lavish when we know we never can exhaust the treasure. Oh! How sweet it is to say, “Yet hath he made with ME an everlasting covenant. It is nought that you talk to me of my brother being saved. I am very glad that my friend should get to glory, and I shall rejoice to meet you all; but after all, the thing is, “Shall I be there?”

Shall I amongst them stand

To see his smiling face?”

Now, Christian, thou canst apply this personally. The covenant is made with thee. Man, open thine eyes; there is thy name in the covenant. What is it? It is some plain English name, perhaps. It never had an M.P. Nor an M.A. After it, nor a “Sir” before it. Never mind, that name is in the covenant. If you could take down your Father’s family Bible in heaven,- you would find your name put in the register. O blessed thought! My namepositively mine! Not another’s. So, then, these eyes shall see him, and not another’s for me. Rejoice, Christian; it is a personal covenant. “Yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- “David’s Dying Song,” A sermon delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 15th, 1855

 

Free Ebook Friday- Introduction to the Puritans by Erroll Hulse

Introduction to the Puritans is a wonderful overview of the Puritan movement in the 1600s that has given the English-speaking world its richest depository of theological writings, with practical applications in every area of life. Part One helps us to understand the fascinating history as the British monarchy took some unpredictable turns and various factions literally fought for control of Britain’s religious life. Part Two ably illucidates the lives of the Puritans with brief summaries of 20+ Puritan leaders. These were real men whose contributions came at great personal cost to themselves and their families. Part Three shows us the importance of the Puritan legacy as it applies to important doctrinal and practical issues of our day. All Christians will benefit from knowing the Puritans. This book affords an excellent place to start.

Author: Erroll Hulse (1931-2017)

Pages: 138

Format: Paperbacks

Code: ittp

Language: English

Download as Pdf, Epub, Kindle.mobi

Source (Chapel Library)

Matthew 19:14

One other passage ought to be considered, and its false glosses briefly exposed, since much confidence has of late, been expressed that it contains evident authority for infant baptism.

“Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14.)

Let us, in the first place, carefully examine this text, and ascertain its exact Sense.

The Savior was in the midst of a discourse of surpassing interest. His disciples were absorbed in their attention to his instructions. Suddenly there “were brought unto him little children.” The object of those who brought them, probably their parents, the evangelist fully states. It was, “That he should put his hands on them, and pray.”[35] This was a very familiar observance among the Jews. Great importance was attached by them, and justly, to the benedictions of holy men. To obtain them therefore, when practicable, had been common from the earliest times. (Genesis 48:14; Matthew 9:18;. Mark 16:18.) These parents fully believed that Jesus was a prophet of God, and they desired for their children his prayers and blessing. This was what they sought, and all that they sought. They however, encountered in their approach, a rebuke from the disciples! This occurred, not certainly, from any want of respect on the part of the disciples for their motives, and wishes, but evidently because they were impatient of the interruption. Their feelings were deeply enlisted in the topic before them, and they were not willing that their Master should, on any account, be diverted from it. But he, observing what they did, “was much displeased,” (Mark 10:14-16.) and immediately suspending his discourse, “Called the little children to him.” (Luke 18:16.) Thus he manifested his great love, patience, and condescension. What the Savior did for these children is now distinctly and fully stated: “He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” Meantime he compensated his disciples: for the interruption, by imparting one of the richest lessons to be found in all his teachings. It is contained in the very passage now in question: “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And he adds: “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein.”

By “the kingdom of heaven,” and “the kingdom of God,” here employed as convertible terms, our Savior refers to the Gospel, the true principles of which in the heart, alone can qualify any one for the holy brotherhood of the church upon earth. This fact needs only to be stated. But what are we to understand by the phrase, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven?” Is it not sufficiently explained by the other phrase, “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God [the grace offered by Christ] as a little child, [in the spirit, and with the disposition of a little child] shall in no wise enter therein?” This appears to me most evident. He does not say that the kingdom of heaven, the church, belongs to little children, or is composed of these, and other such little children. Certainly not. This is plain from our present version, but in the original it is still more obvious. The word rendered “of such,” (toioutwn, not autwn) conveys the idea, as every scholar must see, of comparison, and does not therefore, signify identity, but likeness. The church therefore, is made up, not, as Pedobaptists tell us, of little children, but of those who by divine grace are made like little children. Only “such” can have a place there, as are spiritually, what little children are literally. Little children love their parents supremely: To fit you for a place in his visible church, you must love God supremely. Little children receive as true, and implicitly believe, whatever is declared by their parents: You must receive as true, and implicitly believe whatever is declared in his word, by God. Little children submit themselves to such provisions as are made for them by their parents: You must submit yourselves to such arrangements as are made for you by God. Little children obey the commandments of their parents: You must obey the commandments of God. In these and other respects, to qualify you for a place in the kingdom, or church of God, you must be like little children. You “receive the kingdom of God as a little child” when you cherish the same love, faith, submission, and obedience towards God, that little children do towards their parents.

Such is undoubtedly, the true, and full sense of the passage. How evangelical! How rich! Never, as has been said, did the Redeemer himself, teach a more important lesson. Let it be observed, however, that neither in the passage, nor in the context, nor anywhere else in this connection, is there an allusion of any kind even remotely to baptism. With these facts and expositions before us, we turn to the interpretations of our pedobaptist brethren. What are they? Mr. Henry shall again serve as an example of them all.[36] He speaks thus:

“Observe the faith of those who brought [these children to Christ. They were believing parents.] The children of believing parents belong to the kingdom of heaven, and are members of the visible church. Of such, not only of such in disposition, and affection, (that might have served for a reason why doves, or lambs should be brought to him,) but of such in age is the kingdom of heaven; to them pertain the privileges of visible church-membership as among the Jews of old.”

“Parents are trustees of their children’s wills, are empowered by nature to transact for their benefit, and therefore Christ accepts their dedication of them as their [the children’s] act and deed, and will own these dedicated things in the day when he makes up his jewels. Therefore he takes it ill of those who forbid them, and [who] exclude those [children] whom he has received;”

“and who forbid water that they [infants] should be baptized, who if that promise be fulfilled (Isaiah 44:3) [I will pour out my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring] have received the Holy Ghost as well as we, for aught we know.” Look at this gloss! Ponder it! How preposterous! Dr. Clarke’s commentary is as follows:

Let every parent that fears God, bring up his children in that fear; and by baptism let each be dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Whatever is solemnly consecrated to God, abides under his protection and blessing.”[37]

These, and such like, are the Pedobaptist interpretations of the passage in question! They are published to the world, and received, and defended, as expressing its true sense! Is it surprising therefore, that a vail is thus thrown over the gospel, and its great truths withheld from the faith of the simple?

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 2- Infant Baptism is an evil because its defense leads to most injurious perversions of the Word of God

 

Sir, how can I know that I am elect?

III. Now I close by noticing THE CHARACTER OF THE PERSONS HERE REFERRED TO: “them that fear him.” Those who fear the Lord are in the covenant of his grace.

The anxious enquirer or the young convert oftentimes says to the minister, “Sir, how can I know that I am elect?” And the usual answer is, “You have nothing to do with that; you may think of that matter by-and-by.” Begging the gentleman’s pardon, that is not true. A sinner has everything to do with it. Instead of having nothing to do with election, he has everything in the world to do with it. But it is said that he need not trouble his mind about it. Perhaps he should not; but he will, and it is no source of comfort to tell him that he ought not. If I have a toothache, it is poor comfort for a physician to tell me that I ought not to have it. So, when a sinner is troubled about the doctrine of election, it is poor comfort to tell him he ought not to be troubled. The best way is to go fairly through the whole question, and say to him, “Do you fear the Lord? Then, so sure as you are a living man, you are elect. You have the fear of the Lord before your eyes; then you need have no doubt but that your name is in the covenant.” None have feared the Lord who were not first loved by the Lord. Never did one come, and cast himself at the feet of Jesus simply because he feared the penalty of sin; and none ever came to embrace the loving skirts of the Redeemer because he feared lest he should go astray, without having been first called, and chosen, and made faithful. No, the fear of God in the heart is the proof of being God’s elect one. If we fear him, we may believe that he will ever give meat unto us, and that he will always keep his covenant towards us which he has made for us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Covenant Blessings”- On a Thursday Evening in the summer of 1858, delivered at New Park street Chapel, Southwark, intended for reading on the Lord’s Day, July 1st, 1900, another sermon on this subject is sermon 3261 called “The Covenant”

 

The Wednesday Word: Repentance or Reformation?

Opinions are like noses…everyone has one. That’s why, when it comes to doctrine, we so often hear “I think this,” or “I think that,” and “Mr So-and-So thinks the other.” There are many varied and colourful opinions out there but to establish the veracity of a matter we need to ask what God thinks? What are His thoughts?

In Matthew 22:29 the Lord rebuked the Sadducees saying, “You do err, not knowing the Scriptures.” That’s a sombre reprimand for many of us.

God has spoken and His word endures for ever (1 Peter 1:25). What then does His Word say, for example, about repentance? Is it the same as reformation? Let’s then, for just a moment, look at this important truth.

In Acts 17:30-31 we discover that, “God now commands all men everywhere to repent: Because he has appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance unto all men, in that he has raised him from the dead.” Let’s unpack this;

Who commands repentance? God!

When does He command it? Now!

Whom does He command to repent? All men!

Where does He command this? Everywhere!

Why does He command repentance? To escape the coming judgment.

What assurance have we that there is a coming judgment? Christ has been raised from the dead!

Through the years, many have considered their responsibility to repent, and yet they still lack salvation.

Why?

Because they confuse reformation with repentance. They realise, to a point, their sinful condition, and unfitness for God’s holy presence, so they turn over a new leaf. They give up their obvious and visible sinful habits and try to lead a good and religious life. By doing so, they hope to make amends for their ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’. Oh, and yes, they believe that Christ died on the cross, but they seem to have no idea that they are to trust Him for their salvation. They do not see Him as their sin-bearer and substitute. However, by their upright behavior and sincerely trying to be good they believe they will reach heaven someday.

But is this repentance? Far from it! Repentance is seeing ourselves as poor, helpless, vile, lost sinner whose only hope is Jesus. What we are looking at with the ¨new leaf adherents¨ is the evidence of the deeply rooted self-righteousness of a deceived mind. These folks have gone through reformation not repentance. But God commands repentance, not reformation. Reformation will probably be appreciated by their neighbours but repentance towards God and repentance unto life are other things altogether.

If a person trusts in their reformation to gain eternal life, they are trusting in what they have done. But we are not saved by works. We are not called upon to trust what we have done (see Ephesians 2:8-9). A saved person does not justify themselves, but they look to Christ alone for their right standing before God. What a vast difference there is between reformation and repentance! Repentance is a change of mind about sin, our lostness and about Jesus. Real salvation is by grace. By the work of the Spirit we see that we are guilty and lost (see Luke 19:10). We comprehend that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (see 1 Timothy 1:15). We understand that Jesus, the appointed Judge, is also the Saviour.

Those hoping in their reformation must realise the following: God is “just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). They must, ‘Believe on (trust on) the Lord Jesus Christ, and they shall be saved,’ (Acts 16:31).

We are not called to believe about Him as merely an historical fact, but to trust the Person and finished work of the risen One. We cannot do a single thing to please God before we believe, for ” in all your doings your sins do appear ” (Ezekiel. 21:24). Reforming our ways is not the ground of salvation. We must believe and trust on Him first, and then follow Him.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXVII- The practical importance of the doctrine

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXVII

THE PRACTICAL IMPORTANCE OF THE DOCTRINE

2. A SOURCE OF SECURITY AND COURAGE

“It is the doctrine of a particular providence,” says Rice, “that gives to the righteous a feeling of security in the midst of danger; that gives them assurance that the path of duty is the path of safety and of prosperity; and that encourages them to the practice of virtue, even when it exposes them to the greatest reproach and persecution. How often, when clouds and darkness seem to gather over them, do they rejoice in the assurance given by their Saviour, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’ ” 2 The sense of security which this doctrine gives to the struggling saint results from the assurance that he is not committed to his own power, or rather weakness, but into the sure hands of the Almighty Father,— that over him is the banner of love and underneath are the everlasting arms. He realizes that even the Devil and wicked men, regardless of whatever tumults they may cause, are not only restrained of God but are compelled to do His pleasure. Elisha, lonely and forgotten, counted those who were with him more than those who were against him, because he saw the chariots and horsemen of the Lord moving in the clouds. The disciples, knowing that their names were written in heaven, were prepared to endure persecutions, and on one occasion we read that after being beaten and reviled “they departed from the presence of the council rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name,” Acts 5 :41.

“The godly consideration of predestination, and our election in Christ,” says the seventeenth article in the creed of the Church of England, “is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons.” Paul’s injunction was, “In nothing be anxious.” And it is only when we know that God actually rules from the throne of the universe, and that He has ordained us to be his loved ones, that we can have that inward peace in our hearts.

Dr. Clarence E. Macartney, in a sermon on Predestination, said: “The misfortunes and adversities of life, so called, assume a different color when we look at them through this glass. It is sad to hear people trying to live over their lives again and saying to themselves: ‘If I had chosen a different profession,’ ‘If I had taken a different turning of the road,’ ‘If I had married another person.’ All this is weak and unChristian. The web of destiny we have woven, in a sense, with our own hands, and yet God had His part in it. It is God’s part in it, and not our part, that gives us faith and hope.” And Blaise Pascal, in a wonderful letter written to a bereaved friend, instead of repeating the ordinary platitudes of consolation comforted him with the doctrine of Predestination, saying: “If we regard this event, not as an effect of chance, not as a fatal necessity of nature, but as a result inevitable, just, holy, of a decree of His Providence, conceived from all eternity, to be executed in such a year, day, hour, and such a place and manner, we shall adore in humble silence the impenetrable loftiness of His secrets; we shall venerate the sanctity of His decrees; we shall bless the acts of His providence; and uniting our will with that of God Himself, we shall wish with Him, in Him and for Him, the thing that He has willed in us and for us for all eternity.”

Since the true Calvinist sees God’s hand and wise purpose in everything, he knows that even his sufferings, sorrows, persecutions, defeats, etc., are not the results of chance or accident, but that they have been foreseen and foreappointed, and that they are chastisements or disciplines designed for his own good. He realizes that God will not needlessly afflict His people; that in the divine plan these are all ordered in number, weight and measure; and that they shall not continue a moment longer than God sees necessary. In sorrow his heart instinctively clings to this faith, feeling that for reasons wise and gracious though unknown, the affliction was sent. However keenly afflictions may at first wound, a little reasoned thought quickly brings him to himself again, and the sorrows and tribulations, in great measure, become pointless.

And in accordance with this the Scriptures say: “To them that love God all things work together for good,” Romans 8:28; “My son, regard not lightly the chastening of the Lord, Nor faint when thou art reproved of Him; For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth,” Hebrews 12:5, 6. “It is Jehovah: let Him do what seemeth Him good,” 1 Samuel 3:18. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward,” Romans 8:18. “Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you,” Matthew 6:11, 12. “If we endure (suffer with Him) we shall also reign with Him,” 2 Timothy 2:12. “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah hath taken away; Blessed be the name of Jehovah,” Job 1:21. When someone slanders us we shall at least not be so angry if we remember with David that “the Lord hath bidden him curse,” 2 Samuel 16:11.

Our predestination is our one sure guarantee of salvation. Other things may give us comfort, but only this can give us certainty. It makes the Gospel to be what the word really means, “Good News.” Any other system which holds that Christ’s sacrifice did not actually save anyone but that it merely made salvation possible for all if they would comply with certain terms, reduces it to good advice; and any system which carries with it only a “chance” for salvation, also carries with it, of logical necessity, a “chance” to be lost. And what a difference it makes to fallen man as to whether the Gospel is good news or good advice! The world is full of good advice; even the books of heathen philosophers contained much of it; but the Gospel alone contains for man the good news that God has redeemed him.

This system, logical and severe though it may be, does not make one sad and silent, but courageous and active. Knowing himself to be immortal until his work is done, courage is a natural result. Smith’s estimate of the Calvinist is expressed in the following words: “His feet plucked from the horrible pit and planted on the Eternal Rock, his heart thrilled with an adoring gratitude, his soul conscious of a Divine love that will never forsake him and a Divine energy that in him and through him is working out eternal purposes of good, he is girded with invincible strength. In a nobler sense than Napoleon ever dreamed, he knows himself to be a ‘man of destiny.’ ” And again he says, “Calvinism is at once the most satisfying and the most stimulating of creeds.” 3

Yet along with these motives for courage are to be found others which keep the person properly humble and grateful. In the present stage of the world he sees himself as a brand plucked from the burning. Knowing himself to have been saved not by any merit or wisdom of his own, but only by God’s grace and mercy, he is deeply conscious of his dependence on God, and has the greatest incentive to right living. All in all no surer way will be found to fill the mind at one time with reverence, humility, patience, and gratitude than to have it thoroughly saturated with this doctrine of Predestination.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

 

Dagg BK 7 Chapter III

When the Scriptures speak of Christ’s blood as the ground of our justification, his obedience is supposed: and, on the other hand, when his obedience is mentioned, his sufferings are supposed. His obedience to the precepts of the law would not have sufficed, if he had not also endured its penalty: and if, while enduring his sufferings, he had not loved God with all his heart, his sacrifice would have been polluted. A lamb without spot was needed; and perfect obedience was therefore necessary to render his offering acceptable. His active and passive obedience are both necessary to make a complete salvation; and when only one is mentioned in the Scriptures, the other is supposed.

In being made under the law, Christ became our substitute; and his obedience and sufferings are placed to our account, as if we had personally obeyed and suffered, to the full satisfaction of the law. We are thus justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed to us: “He who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”[77] Our sins were imputed to Christ when he died for them; and his righteousness is imputed to us when we receive eternal life through him. He was treated as if he had personally committed the sins…..

Read the entire article at Founders Ministries.

The Most Important Question One Can Ask!

By Roger Duke

“Of Justification”

There are many important questions that should be asked concerning the possible paths one’s life should take. These questions must be considered, especially in the light of “characteristic … key events … which compose the essential[s] of human existence, such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, … morality”3 and even death. No one single question is more important than: How can a sinful person be in right standing with a Holy God? This “must ever be a question of intense interest.”4 It is fundamental to any contemplative and sober-minded person—especially one concerned with their soul’s ultimate destination. It can be asked in theological parlance; “How can [a righteous] God justly account an ungodly [hu]man righteous[?]”5 It is profoundly, pointedly personal; “How can I be right with or just before God?”6 The Baptist Catechism simply asks: “What is justification.”7 This article will seek to shed light on this Bible truth from The Baptist Confession of Faith,8 and…..

Read the entire article at Founder’s Ministries.

Adam was constituted a responsible being

In the second place, Adam was constituted a responsible being, a moral agent, being endowed with a free will, and therefore he was capable of both obedience and disobedience. Moreover, though the first man was endowed with both natural and spiritual wisdom amply sufficient for all his needs, leaving him entirely without excuse if he made a false and foolish choice, nevertheless, he was but fallible, for infallibility pertains unto God alone, as Job 4:18 more than hints. Therefore, being fallible, Adam was capable of erring, though to do so was culpable to the highest degree. Mutability and fallibility are the conditions of existence of every creature; and while they are not blemishes, yet they are potential dangers, which can only be prevented from working ruin by the creature constantly looking to the Creator for his upholding grace.

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