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Free Ebook Friday: Bondage of the Will

by Martin Luther

in ePub, .mobi & .pdf formats

From J. I. Packer’s introduction to Luther’s Bondage of the Will:

Free will was no academic question to Luther; the whole Gospel of the grace of God, he held, was bound up with it, and stood or fell according to the way one decided it. . . . It is not the part of a true theologian, Luther holds, to be unconcerned, or to pretend to be unconcerned, when the Gospel is in danger. . . . [T]he doctrine of The Bondage of the Will in particular was the cornerstone of the Gospel and the foundation of faith (40-41, emphasis added).In particular, the denial of free will was to Luther the foundation of the Biblical doctrine of grace, and a hearty endorsement of that denial was the first step for anyone who would understand the Gospel and come to faith in God. The man who has not yet practically and experimentally learned the bondage of his will in sin has not yet comprehended any part of the Gospel (44-45). Justification by faith alone is a truth that needs interpretation. The principle of sola fide [by faith alone] is not rightly understood till it is seen as anchored in the broader principle of sola gratia [by grace alone] . . . for to rely on oneself for faith is not different in principle from relying on oneself for works (59). The Bible teaches that faith itself is and has to be a gift of God, by grace, and not of self (Ephesians 2:8). It is safe to deduce that for Luther, any evangelist who advocates free will has not only “not yet comprehended any part of the Gospel,” but also that he has not yet preached the Gospel at all; his is a counterfeit gospel…..

Download your free copy using the links above.

Source (Monergism.com)

This Pedobaptist argument, I remark in the last place, is palpably anti-scriptural

4. This Pedobaptist argument, I remark in the last place, is palpably anti-scriptural.

It maintains that the Jewish church and the Christian church are the same church, in different dispensations; or in the language of Dr. Peters:

“When [circumcision] the ancient sign and seal of the covenant which God made with his people for an everlasting covenant was abolished, another ordinance [baptism] was instituted in the same church, under the same covenant, of precisely the same import, and for the same purpose.”

The Jewish church and the Christian church, the same church! If so, then the only Christian church now existing, is as we have seen, the Roman Catholic! It is not the Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, the Congregational the Methodist, nor any other Protestant church, since Judaized as all these are, they fall far short of the Jewish church. Only the Catholic is a tolerable copy of the original. But if they were the same church, why did Christ deny it, when he told the Jews that his was a church unlike theirs, and into which none could enter by virtue of carnal relationship to Abraham, or to any other good men, but only by repentance of sin, and faith in him? Why did Messiah deny it on another occasion, when he said: “The law and the prophets [the Jewish church] continued until John, since whom the kingdom of heaven [the Christian church] is preached, and all men press into it?” Why did Paul deny the identity of the Jewish and Christian churches by comparing the former to Hagar and her posterity, and the latter to Sarah and hers? Why did Nicodemus, and Paul, and the rest, trouble themselves about the Christian church? They were already members, and officers of the Jewish church, and that was the same church! Strange infatuation! How surprising that any man with the Bible before him should fall into an error so palpable! This however, has already been sufficiently elaborated.

But we are told that the Jewish church and the Christian church subsisted under the same covenant! Were this true, then there would be no distinction between the law and the gospel. They would be the same in every correct sense. Very different from this, however, are the teachings of the word of God. Abraham, as any one may see who will be at the trouble of examining the Bible on the subject, was concerned in two covenants, which were made at different times, and related to distinct things. The former had regard to Christ; the latter to his natural posterity; the one was called the covenant of grace; the other the covenant of circumcision. The original promise in respect to the covenant of grace, was made to Abraham when he was seventy-five years old, in these words:

“In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)

This promise was afterwards renewed, and ratified with an oath:

“By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord” “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 22:16-18.)

This Paul declares to have been the covenant of grace in Jesus Christ. He says:

“God willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise, the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it with an oath, that by two immutable things [the oath and the promise] in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to the hope set before us.” (Hebrews 6:17-20.)

The promises of this covenant, Paul teaches you, constituted the gospel, in relation to which he says: “The scripture foreseeing that God would justify [not the Jews only, but also] the heathen through faith, preached before, the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thy seed [Christ] shall all nations be blessed.” It is proper to say in passing, that the gospel covenant now described was not really made with Abraham, but in the language of an apostle, was “confirmed to Abraham of God in Christ.” It was therefore previously made. The same covenant was announced to Adam in Eden, immediately after the fall, in a promise the language of which strikingly resembles that to Abraham, and which was repeated to Isaac, to Jacob, and to David: “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.” The nature of this covenant was indicated to our first parents, by the institution of sacrifices, pointing to the great atonement afterwards to be accomplished for man, in the blood of Messiah. Who, I now ask, were the parties to this covenant for the redemption and salvation of men? Were they God and Abraham? No more than they were God and Adam, or God and David. They were God the Father, and God the Son; the latter of whom “took on him” for the purpose of our redemption, “not the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham;” and in relation to this event it was that the promise was given, to “the Father of the faithful,” which promise Pedobaptists have so generally, and unhappily mistaken for the covenant itself! So much for the covenant of grace.

The covenant of circumcision, received this name because of the peculiar ordinance attached to it. This covenant was made, in the true sense of that word, with Abraham, twenty-four years after the promise above referred to, and when he was ninety-nine years old, for himself, and for all. His natural seed. In it nothing whatever is said regarding Messiah. It stipulated, in the first place, that his descendants should be numerous, prosperous, and happy; in the second place, that they should possess a specified territory; and in the third place, that so long as they observed the laws of God, he would surround them with security and happiness. This covenant, as is acknowledged, received its organized development at Sinai, and was consequently really and truly identical with that “covenant which God made with Israel, when he took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt.” The Mosaic law was the formal exhibition, the possession of Canaan was the practical fulfillment, and the national religion of the Hebrews was the visible presentation, of the covenant of circumcision.

Thus it is seen that there were two covenants, distinct from each other, of different dates, designed for different purposes, and dissimilar in their characters. Accordingly the apostles speak familiarly of “the covenants;” of “the old covenant;” of “the new covenant;” and these “covenants” they everywhere represent, consider, and contrast, as separate and distinct from each other. Paul, employing the language of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34.) thus speaks in relation to this important topic:

“Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt.”

And “in that he saith a new covenant, he hath made the first old.” (Hebrews 8:8-12.) There are therefore two covenants; the one the covenant of the law, the organized development of the Jeremiah covenant of circumcision made with Abraham, which is “the old covenant;” the other the covenant of the gospel, the covenant between God the Father and the Son, the promise of which was announced to Abraham, which is “the new covenant.” The covenant of the law constituted the dispensation of Moses, and was the covenant of the Jewish church; the covenant of the gospel is the covenant of grace and redemption, the covenant of the Christian church. The covenant of the law had circumcision annexed; the covenant of grace, in Christ Jesus, which was not visibly administered until after the law, or old covenant, had passed away, has baptism annexed. And yet Pedobaptists declare in the face of all these facts, that the Jewish and the Christian are the same church, and subsist under the same covenant! Never was there a conclusion more palpably antiscriptural.

Pedobaptists also declare that circumcision and baptism “were instituted in the same church, under the same covenant;” that they are “of the same import, and for the same purpose.” But the declarations of our Lord Jesus Christ on the subject contradict them in every particular. He asserts distinctly, that circumcision belonged to the law of Moses, and was identified with the covenant of Sinai. It never was therefore of the gospel, since the gospel covenant is “not according to,” or like “the covenant” of Sinai.

To the Jews the Savior said:

“Moses gave you circumcision.” And again. “A man on the sabbath day received circumcision that the law of Moses be not broken.” (John 7:22, 23.)

Did Moses give them circumcision? Then circumcision was a part of his ceremonial law. Is it objected that the rite was in existence before Moses’ Sacrifices were also in existence before Moses.

Circumcision may therefore be said to have belonged to his law, as properly as sacrifices may be said to have belonged to his law. Or if it is still insisted that circumcision belonged to the gospel, and was succeeded by baptism; with the same truth may it be asserted that the offering of slain beasts in sacrifice belonged to the gospel and is now succeeded by the sacrifice of the mass. Circumcision and baptism are both types; but they are not the same type indifferent forms, since circumcision according to Paul, was a type of regeneration by the Spirit, and baptism, as John avers, is a representation, or type, of the burial and resurrection of Christ? (1 John 5:8.) And since circumcision and baptism are both types, the former is not a type of the latter, because one type cannot be a type of another type. Nor can one type ever be substituted for another type. Baptism, therefore, cannot take the place of circumcision. They are distinct things, and must ever so remain. The claim of Pedobaptists that circumcision “was instituted in the same church, under the same covenant, and for the same purpose,” with baptism, that is, in the gospel church, amounts to the declaration that the gospel church is in fact, built upon the law of Moses! We have now seen that the Jewish church and the Christian church are not the same church in different dispensations, that they are not under the same covenant, that baptism does not come in the place of circumcision, and that the Pedo-baptist argument that maintains the opposite of our conclusions, is palpably antiscriptural.

I have been necessarily somewhat prolix in this discussion, but I could not in a narrower compass present the subject clearly and intelligibly. I have shown conclusively how for the support of infant baptism Judaism is engrafted upon the gospel of Christ. It has been seen that the argument, by which this great evil is perpetrated, proves vastly too much, and leads directly into all the extremes of popery; that it is in conflict with Christianity as taught by Christ and his apostles, who deprecated Judaism as destructive of true religion; that it perverts and renders unintelligible the true analogy between the Jewish church and the Christian church, and which I have explained at some length, showing that it does not intimate the legitimacy of infant baptism, but teaches such doctrines as necessarily forbid it; and that it is utterly antiscriptural, confounding the law and the gospel, and leading men into confusion and error. Judaism in the gospel church is what Hagar and Ishmael were in the family of Abraham, a shame, and an offense. “Therefore cast out the bond woman and her son.” Sever the chains by which the bride of Messiah is manacled, and bound to the chariot of Sinai. Be it ours to contemplate the church of the Redeemer, not under the clouds of Judaism in which infant baptism has involved it, not obscured among the shadows of a former dispensation, but as developed in the gospel, distinct, spiritual, sanctified, the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, I will only observe that by how much the gospel is thus corrupted, rendered difficult of comprehension, its forms changed, and its benevolent designs rendered inoperative, by so much is infant baptism, to which all this may be justly ascribed, a lamentable, a most melancholy evil.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 3- Infant baptism is an evil because it engrafts Judaism upon the Gospel of Christ

 

It is extraordinary how different are the conclusions of Faith from those of Reason

Let me give you a lesson in logic, — not from Whateley nor Watts, but from the logic of Faith. It is extraordinary how different are the conclusions of Faith from those of Reason. Once Reason came along, and heard a man cry, “I am guilty, guilty.” She stopped, and said, “The man is.guilty; God condemns the guilty, therefore this man will be condemned.” She went away, and left the man condemned, and ruined, and quivering with fear. Faith came, and heard the selfsame cry, rendered more bitter by the cruel syllogism of Reason. Faith stopped; she said, “The man is guilty; but Christ died for the guilty, therefore the man will be saved;” and her logic was right; the man lifted up his head, and rejoiced. Reason came one day, and saw a man naked, and she said, “He hath not on a wedding garment; can naked souls appear before the bar of God? Should they have a place at the supper of the Lamb? The man is naked; he must be cast out, for naked ones cannot enter heaven!” Then Faith came by, and said, “The man is naked; Christ wrought a robe of righteousness; he must have made it for the naked; he would not have made it, for those who have a robe of their own. That robe is for the naked man, and he shall stand in it before God.” And her logic was right and just. The other might seem strictly according to rule, but this was better still. Reason one day heard a man say that he was very good and righteous. She saw him go up to the temple, and heard him pray, “Lord, I thank thee that I am not as other men,” and Reason said, “That man is better than others, and he will be accepted.” But she argued wrongly; for, lo, he went out; and a poor sinner by his side, who could only say, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” went down to his house justified, while the proud Pharisee went on his way disregarded. The logic of Faith is to argue white from black, whereas the logic of Reason argues white from white. Luther says, “Once upon a time, the devil came to me, and said, ‘Martin Luther, you are a great sinner, and you will be damned.’ ‘ Stop, stop,’ said I, ‘one thing at a time; I am a great sinner, it is true, though you have no right to tell me of it. I confess it; what next?’ ‘Therefore you will be damned.’ That is not good reasoning. It is true I am a great sinner, but it is written, “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners;” therefore I shall be saved. Now go your way.’ So I drove off the devil with his own sword, and he went away mourning because he could not cast me down by calling me a sinner.” I have a right to believe that Jesus Christ died for me, and I cast myself wholly upon him. Do thou the same, poor disconsolate one, for thou hast nothing of thine own to depend upon; but thou, O great, and good, and rich man, I have naught to say to thee!

Not the righteous,

Sinners, Jesus came to save.”

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: Saved and Safe

“They shall Never Perish” John 10:28.

“Did Jesus once upon thee shine?

Then Jesus is forever thine.”

William Hammond

There is no need for believers to fear death or judgment. Our advocate and Judge are one and the same (2 Timothy 4:1). We are, therefore, saved and we are safe (1 John 2:1).

John Newton, the writer of Amazing Grace says of the safety of the believer,

“Rejoice, believer, in the Lord

Who makes your cause His own;

The hope that’s built upon His Word,

Can ne’er be overthrown.

Though many foes beset your road,

And feeble is your arm;

Your life is hidden with Christ in God

Beyond the reach of harm.

Weak as you are, you shall not faint,

Or fainting shall not die;

Jesus, the strength of every saint,

Will aid you from on high.”

We are both saved and safe! Those whom the Saviour has rescued can never be un-rescued.

Concerning people who believe that we can be saved and then lost, Spurgeon said, and I paraphrase, ‘Those who hold this view need to go up to heaven and set the angels straight on this matter. They need to tell them not to rejoice until the sinner dies and goes to heaven, because they may be rejoicing too soon. What if he repents but later falls away and is lost? The angels shouldn’t be so fast with their joy!’ (see Luke 15:10).

We are both saved and safe!

The purchased of the Lord cannot be unpurchased. If a person could lose their salvation, the following would have to happen …

l. They would have to perish, which Christ said could never happen (John 10:28).

2. Christ would have to cast them out, which He promised never to do (John 6:37).

3. Christ would have to leave them, which He said He would never do (Hebrews 13:5).

4. God would have to break the salvation “chain” of Romans 8:29-30 which clearly declares that every justified person will be glorified (that is, will enjoy final salvation).

5. The Holy Spirit would have to leave them, which is impossible since he is sealed unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).

Salvation is the gift of God and God’s gifts are “irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).

Christ gives His sheep the gift of eternal life (John 10-17-28).

Eternal life, therefore, cannot be temporary.

It is eternal life.

It is not provisional life,

It’s eternal.

We are both saved and safe!

When Christ Jesus hung upon the cross all the sins of His people …past, present and future were put away forever. Satan was dealt a fatal blow (Colossians 2:15). The work of redemption was finished. When Christ died, He died as the substitute for His people. If someone for whom He became a substitute can perish, then Christ is a failure.

But, we are both saved and safe and Christ is a success!

“But what if I mess up?”

Here’s some good news; Jesus is fuller of grace than we are of sins. Faith grasps this! It’s true that at times, we may not feel worthy enough to call God our Father, but the New Testament asks, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is Christ who died yeah rather has risen again who is now at the right hand of God making intercession for us” (Romans 8:33-34).

We are both saved and safe!

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

7. THESE DOCTRINES SHOULD BE PUBLICLY TAUGHT AND PREACHED

The doctrine of sovereign Predestination, as well as the other distinctive doctrines of the Calvinistic system, should be publicly taught and preached in order that true believers may know themselves to be special objects of God’s love and mercy, and that they may be confirmed and strengthened in the assurance of their salvation. What a misfortune it is for the truth which reflects so much glory upon its Author and which is the very foundation of happiness in man to be suppressed or to be confined merely to those who are specializing in Theology ! For the Christian this should be one of the most comforting doctrines in all the Scriptures. Furthermore, there is scarcely a distinctive Christian doctrine that can be preached in its purity and fullness without a reference to Predestination. These doctrines are so reciprocally related and interwoven that any one has a bearing on others; and this doctrine of Predestination is the one which unites and organizes all the others. Apart from it the others cannot be seen in their true light nor their relative importance properly estimated. Concerning the place of the doctrine of Predestination in the Christian system, Zanchius writes as follows: “The whole circle of arts have a kind of mutual bond and connection, and by a sort of reciprocal relationship are held together and interwoven with each other. Much the same may be said of this important doctrine; it is the bond which connects and keeps together the whole Christian system, which, without this, is like a system of sand, ever ready to fall to pieces. It is the cement which holds the fabric together; nay, it is the very soul that animates the whole frame. It is so blended and interwoven with the entire scheme of Gospel doctrine that when the former is excluded, the latter bleeds to death.”10

We are commanded to go and “preach the gospel”; but in so far as any part of it is mutilated or passed over in silence we are unfaithful to that command. Certainly no Christian minister is at liberty to take his scissors and cut out of his Bible all of those passages which are not to his liking. Yet for all practical purposes is not that the effect when important doctrines are deliberately passed over in silence? Paul could say to his Christian converts, “I shrank not from declaring unto you anything that was profitable”; and again, “I testify unto you this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God,” Acts 20:20, 26, 27. If the Christian minister today would be able to say this, let him beware of withholding such important truth. Paul repeatedly referred to these doctrines. His letter to the Romans (chs. 8 to 11) and to the Ephesians (chs. 1 and 2) are the most prominent in this respect. In writing to the Romans he was in effect bringing these things before the whole world and stamping a universal imprimatur upon them; and if he considered them so important that they should be written to the primitive Christians in the young church at Rome which he had not visited, we may be sure that they are important for Christians today. Christ and the apostles preached these things, and that not merely to a few people but to the multitudes. There is hardly a chapter in the Gospel of John which does not either mention or imply election or reprobation. When a plain, straight-forward, common-sense man asks, “Is the doctrine of Predestination taught in the Bible?” the answer certainly should be in the affirmative, — that it is constantly taught in both the Old and the New Testaments. Furthermore, the Westminster Confession states it very explicitly. Hence we are to teach it and to explain it in so far as that is possible. Paul urges us to “put on the whole armor of God”; yet what a large part of that armor a person lacks if he is ignorant of this great doctrine of Predestination!

Augustine rebuked those in his day who were passing over the doctrine of Predestination in silence, and when he was sometimes charged with preaching it too freely he refuted the charge by saying that where Scripture leads we may follow. Luther, and especially Calvin, strongly emphasized these truths, and Calvin developed them so clearly and forcefully that the system has ever since been called “Calvinism.” Not only in the countries where the Reformation was at its best, but later in Holland, Scotland, England at the time of the Westminster Assembly, and America during the earlier periods of her history, these doctrines were commonly preached and were the means of developing deep religious convictions in all classes of people.

It was Calvin’s conviction that the doctrine of Election should be made the very center of the Church’s confession, and that if it were not thus emphasized the Church should be prepared to see this wonderful doctrine buried and forgotten. The correctness of his views is shown by the fact that those groups which did not emphasize it, whether in England, Scotland, Holland, the United States, or Canada, have, for all practical purposes, lost it completely.

The one who is entrusted with a message from the King must give it as he has received it; and surely the greatest of all messages, that of predestination unto life, should not be passed over in silence. “An ambassador,” says Zanchius, “is to deliver the whole message with which he is charged. He is to omit no part of it, but must declare the mind of the sovereign he represents, fully and without reserve. He is to say neither more nor less than the instructions of his court require, else he comes under displeasure, perhaps loses his head. Let the minister of Christ weigh this well.”11 These are doctrines which have been expressly given by divine revelation. They make wholly for the divine glory, bringing comfort and courage to the elect, and leaving sinners without excuse. True, man does not like to be told that he is a sinner and unable to help himself. Such doctrine is too humiliating. But if he is lost without Christ, the sooner he knows it the better. For us to refuse to preach it is to be false to our Lord and negligent in our duty to our fellow men. To ignore it is to act like a doctor who refuses to operate to save the life of a patient because he knows the operation will cause the patient pain. If these truths were fearlessly and courageously preached Modernism and unbelief would not creep into our churches as they are doing. The group of professing Christians would perhaps be smaller but more loyal and effective in Christian works.

The preaching of these doctrines will, of course, stir up some controversy. But controversy is not to he looked upon as an unmixed evil. As long as error exists there must be controversy. The attacks which were made upon the doctrines of the Church by the pagans and heretics during the early Christian centuries and in the Middle Ages forced the Church to reëxamine her doctrines, to work them out, to explain, purify and fortify them. They compelled a closer study of the Bible. A number of brilliant churchmen arose who wrote books and articles on the Christian Faith, and as a result the Church was greatly enriched by the intellectual and spiritual fruits thus produced.

It is a mistake to say that people will no longer listen to doctrinal preaching. Let the minister believe his doctrines; let him present them with conviction and as living issues, and he will find sympathetic audiences. Today we see thousands of people turning away from pulpit discussions of current events, social topics, political issues, and merely ethical questions, and trying to fill themselves with the husks of occult and puerile philosophies. In many ways we are spiritually poorer than we should be, because in our theological confusion and bewilderment we have failed to do justice to these great doctrinal principles. If rightly preached these doctrines are most interesting and profitable. The author’s experience as a Bible teacher has shown him that no other subjects so electrify and hold the attention of students as do these. Furthermore, we may ask, What excuse has the Presbyterian Church for its continued existence as a separate denomination if Calvinism is to be discarded as a non-essential? Much of our present-day weakness is due to the fact that our people have had but little instruction concerning these distinctive doctrines of the Presbyterian system, and this lack of instruction has led directly into the ecumenical movement in which attempts are being made to unite churches of very different types with only a minimum of doctrine.

The doctrine of Predestination is a doctrine for genuine Christians. Considerable caution should be exercised in preaching it to the unconverted. It is almost impossible to convince a non-Christian of its truthfulness, and in fact the heart of the unregenerate man usually revolts against it. If it is stressed before the simpler truths of the Christian system are mastered, it will likely be misunderstood and in that case it may only drive the person into deeper despair. In preaching to the unconverted or to those who are just beginning the Christian life, our part consists mainly in presenting and stressing man’s part in the work of salvation,— faith, repentance, moral reform, etc. These are the elementary steps so far as man’s consciousness extends. At that early stage little need be said about the deeper truths which relate to God’s part. As in the study of Mathematics we do not begin with algebra and calculus but with the simple problems of arithmetic, so here the better way is to first present the more elementary truths. Then after the Person is saved and has traveled some distance in the Christian way he comes to see that in his salvation God’s work was primary and his was only secondary, that he was saved through grace and not by his own works. As Calvin himself put it, the doctrine of Predestination is “not a matter for children to think much about”; and Strong says, “This doctrine is one of those advanced teachings of Scripture which requires for its understanding a mature mind and a deep experience. The beginner in the Christian life may not see its value or even its truth, but with increasing years it will become a staff to lean upon.”12 But while it is true that this doctrine cannot be adequately appreciated by the unconverted nor by those who are just beginning the Christian life, it should be the common property of all those who have traveled some distance in that way.

It is worthy of notice that in developing his “Institutes” Calvin did not treat the doctrine of Predestination in the early chapters. He first developed the other doctrines of the Christian system and deliberately passed over this even in several cases where we might naturally have expected to find it. Then in the last part of his theological discussion it is developed fully and is made the crown and glory of the entire system.

It may be further said that in preaching this doctrine care should be taken not to exaggerate any statements, and also to show that it is founded not upon arbitrary will but upon infinite wisdom and love.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

 

Why Read Early Christian Authors?

By Michael A. G. Haykin

The truth of the matter is that far too many modern-day Evangelicals are either ignorant of or quite uncomfortable with the Church Fathers. No doubt years of their decrying tradition and battling Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy with their “saints” from the Ancient Church have contributed in part to this state of ignorance and unease. Then, certain strains of anti-intellectual Fundamentalism have discouraged an interest in that “far country” of church history. And the strangeness of much of that era of the Ancient Church has proven a barrier to some Evangelicals in their reading about the early centuries of the Church. Finally, an ardent desire to be “people of the Book”—an eminently worthy desire—has also led to a lack of interest in other students of Scripture from that earliest period of the Church’s history after the Apostolic era. Well did Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834–92)—a man who certainly could not be accused of elevating tradition to the level of, let alone over, Scripture—once note: “It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others.”[1]…………

Read the entire article at Credomagazine.

Surely I need not to be told that a certain person has been born again if all the evidences of regeneration are clearly discernible in his life

Surely I need not to be told that a certain person has been born again if all the evidences of regeneration are clearly discernible in his life; and if I am furnished with a full description of his immersion, the mere word baptism does not make it any more sure and definite to my mind. Our first search, then, in Genesis, is not for the term covenant, but to see whether or not we can trace the outlines of a solemn and definite pact between God and Adam. We say this not because the word itself is never associated with our first parents—for elsewhere it is—but because we are anxious that certain of our readers may be delivered from the evil mentioned above. To dismiss from our minds all thoughts of an Adamic covenant simply because the term itself occurs not in Genesis 1 to 5 is to read those chapters very superficially and miss much which lies only a little beneath their surface.

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

 

The Bread of Life – John 6:35–51

by R. C. Sproul

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. Most assuredly,….

Years ago, I received a letter from a woman who said she had subscribed for many years to Tabletalk, the devotional magazine published by Ligonier Ministries, and had been reading diligently through the daily devotions. However, she was writing to cancel her subscription. The devotions that year were based on a commentary on Paul’s letter to the Romans written by the late James Montgomery Boice. The woman went on to say in her letter that she had read several Tabletalk devotions covering the doctrine of predestination, and she said, “I will no longer read this magazine because I don’t believe in predestination.” I was sorry to hear she was……

Read the entire article at Monergism.com.

A Covenant in the Garden?

By Thomas Parr

This is the second post in a series related to my new book on the theology of William Strong (ca. 1611–1654). In the first post we asked “What is a covenant of works?” Now we’ll look at whether God made such a covenant with Adam in the Garden.

Consider two points drawn from Strong’s treatment of the matter. First, Strong points out that though the word covenant does not appear in Genesis 2, the necessary elements of a covenant are clearly there. These necessary elements are the ideas of stipulation and reward. He points out that “man stands bound to God by a double bond of Creation and stipulation” (Discourse, 1). In other words, man was obliged to obey simply because God had created and commanded him. But instead of leaving it at this, God added recompense—“God was pleased to engage himself to a recompense” (Discourse, 2). God did not have to do so, but he condescended to recompense Adam’s choice either to obey or disobey God’s stipulation. God promised…..

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

The Psalmist had a satisfaction in his heart

III. Now to close our meditation. The Psalmist had a satisfaction in his heart.; This is,” he said, all my salvation, and all my desire.” I should ill like the task of riding till I found a satisfied worldly man. I suspect there is not a horse that would not be worn off its legs before I found him; I think I should myself grow grey with age before I had discovered the happy individual, except I went to one place-that is, the heart of a man who has a covenant made with him, “ordered in all things, and sure.” Go to the palace, but there is not satisfaction there, go to the cottage though the poet talks about sweet retirement and blest contentment, there is not satisfaction there. The only solid satisfaction satisfying the mouth with good things-is to be found in the true believer, who is satisfied from himself, satisfied with the covenant. Behold David: he says, “As for my salvation, I am secure; as for my desire, I am gratified: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.” He is satisfied with his salvation. Bring up the moralist. He has been toiling and working in order to earn salvation. Are you confident that if you died you would enter into heaven? “Well, I have been as good as other people, and, I dare say, I shall be more religious before I die;” but he cannot answer our question. Bring up the religious man-I mean the merely outwardly religious man. Are you sure that if you were to die you would go to heaven? “Well, I regularly attend church or chapel, I cannot say that I make any pretensions to be able to say, ‘He hath made with me an everlasting covenant.’” Very well, you must go. So I might introduce a score of men, and there is not one of them who can say, “This is all my salvation.” They always want a little supplement, and most of you intend making that supplement a little while before you die. An old Jewish Rabbi says, that every man ought to repent at least one day before his last day; and as we do not know when our last day shall be, we ought to repent today, How many wish they knew when they were going to die, for then they fancy they would be sure to repent, and be converted a little while before. Why, if you had it revealed to you, that you would die at twenty minutes past twelve next Sunday, you would go on in sin up till twelve o’clock, and then you would say, “There are twenty minutes more-time enough yet;” and so until the twenty minutes past had come, when your soul would sink into eternal flames. Such is procrastination. It is the thief of time, it steals away our life, and did we know the hour of our dissolution, we should be no more prepared for it than we are now. You cannot say, can you, that you have all your salvation? But a Christian can. He can walk through the cholera and the pestilence, and feel that should the arrow smite him, death would be to him the entrance of life; he can lie down and grieve but little at the approach of dissolution, for he has all his salvation; his jewels are in his breast, gems which shall shine in heaven.

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