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The old translators rendered the passage thus- The mind of the flesh is enmity against God

There is no difficulty in understanding my text: it needs scarcely any explanation. We all know that the word “carnal” here signifies fleshly. The old translators rendered the passage thus: “The mind of the flesh is enmity against God.”-that is to say, the natural mind, that soul which we inherit from our fathers, that which was born within us when our bodies were fashioned by God. The fleshly mind, the phronema sarkos, the lusts, the passions of the soul; it is this which has gone astray from God and become enmity against him.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 22, 1855

If children are ‘holy’ by being born of religious parents, then these children inherit by natural generation

August 28, 2020 2 comments

There are at least, I may now add, two other, and collateral disastrous consequences which arise from this aspect of infant baptism, and which must here be briefly noticed. The former is the absurdity that religion is hereditary; and the latter that the children of believers have no need of the regenerating influences of the Spirit of God!

In the first place, if children are “holy,” are “in the covenant of grace,” are “members of the church” “by being born of religious parents,” then these children inherit “by their birth,” all the blessings of religion, and of course, become religious by natural generation. The infant children of believers are in the covenant and church of Christ, because their parents are in the covenant and church of Christ. The infant children of unbelievers are not in the covenant and church of Christ, because their parents are not in the covenant and church of Christ. Religion and irreligion therefore are results of natural generation. Paul the apostle declares this whole hypothesis untrue.

“The children of the flesh,” he affirms, “are not [therefore] the children of the covenant.” (Galatians 3:12-20.)

But Pedobaptists allege, that the children of the flesh of believers, are the heirs of the covenant, and for the very reason that they are the children of the flesh. Which shall we believe? Paul, or our Pedobaptist brethren? The Bible or the Confessions of Faith? We cannot believe both, since, in the plainest terms, they contradict each other.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 4- Infant baptism is an evil because it falsifies the doctrine of universal depravity

Let every man, therefore, who believes in Jesus Christ this morning know assuredly that every word of this text belongs to him

Let every man, therefore, who believes in Jesus Christ this morning know assuredly that every word of this text belongs to him, and shall be fulfilled to him. I earnestly pray that many sinner may put in his claim and say, “I have no works, but I believe in Jesus Christ; I come now and rest myself upon the bloody sacrifice offered upon Calvary, and I humbly receive the mercy of God through Jesus Christ, by simply depending on him.” To every one who exercises faith in God, even though it be but a weak and struggling faith, the precious promise we are about to expound is a heritage which cannot be taken away from him.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Covenant Blessings”- A Sermon delivered on Lord’s Day Morning, April 14th, 1872. A Sermon on Ezekiel 36:26-27.

The Wednesday Word: He Came

Just as the Samaritan came to the beaten and wounded man so “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

Jesus came to save sinners. What an unspeakably welcome fact. In spite of the truth that we, like Paul, often consider ourselves the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 3:16) we as believers are learning to look outward to the glorified Man, the Son of God, who has passed through death and resurrection on our behalf (see Hebrews 12 :2).

He came!

He, the Creator, came— He became human and suffered, ignominy, crucifixion, and death! (John 1:14; John 19:18).

He came!

He was raised out of death, ascended to Heaven, and is now crowned with honour and glory (see Revelation 1:18; 1 Corinthians 15:14; 1 Corinthians 15:7; 1 Corinthians 15:8; Matthew 27:63-66; Luke 24:45-46; 2 Timothy 2:8; Acts 4:10-11; John 20:26; Luke 24:34; Acts 17:31; John 21:1; Mark 16:9; Mark 16:19).

He came!

Why did He come? He came to save. He came and gave Himself as an offering for sin and saved us by that sacrifice (Galatians 1:4).

He came!

Who can describe the heights and depths of such grace? Who can explain the compassion that induced our heavenly Saviour to come to Earth to find us where we were?

He Came!

He came right down and placed Himself under that which should have been our judgment. He made both our sins and judgment His (Isaiah 53:5).

He Came!

He is a wonderful saviour. He came to us and He will never leave us (see Hebrews 13:5). Grace will end in glory—His and ours. It is a gripping story. The love of Christ, in all its ten thousand details, will be our endless and untiring theme in eternity.

There is nothing that makes us value God’s salvation like knowing how much we don’t deserve it. And the more so, the better. The lower we go in self-depreciation, the more worth and importance we will give to Christ. The blacker we see our sins; the greater will be our value of the blood of Christ.

We were, stripped, wounded, dead and undeserving. We had neither claim on or ability to sue for peace and rescue. We couldn’t seek God. In fact, we couldn’t have sought him unless He had already sought and found us.

May we like Paul see ourselves as chief sinners, —may we be persuaded that this is the truth for Christ Jesus came to save sinners and only sinners! He came to save us from everything that we are in ourselves.

He doesn’t save those who think they deserve salvation or those who feel they have earned it. He alone accomplished the saving work on Calvary for lost sinners. May we, personally, get to know the grace and mercy of His first coming, otherwise we will have to face the awful condemnation of His second coming in judgment.

If we have not, may we get to know the meaning of God’s faithful saying in a personal way that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—He came to save me!

“We bless our Saviour’s name,

Our sins are all forgiven;

To suffer once to earth He came;

He now is crowned in heaven.

Lord, let us never forget Thy rich,

Thy precious love:

Our theme of joy and wonder here,

Our endless song above.”

He came to save us: He came to save me!

He Came!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXVIII- Calvinism in History

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXVIII

CALVINISM IN HISTORY

1. Before the Reformation. 2. The Reformation. 3. Calvinism in England. 4. Calvinism in Scotland. 5. Calvinism in France. 6. Calvinism in Holland. 7. Calvinism in America. 8. Calvinism and Representative Government. 9. Calvinism and Education. 10. John Calvin. 11. Conclusion.

1. Before the Reformation

It may occasion some surprise to discover that the doctrine of Predestination was not made a matter of special study until near the end of the fourth century. The earlier church fathers placed chief emphasis on good works such as faith, repentance, almsgiving, prayers, submission to baptism, etc., as the basis of salvation. They of course taught that salvation was through Christ; yet they assumed that man had full power to accept or reject the gospel. Some of their writings contain passages in which the sovereignty of God is recognized; yet along side of those are others which teach the absolute freedom of the human will. Since they could not reconcile the two they would have denied the doctrine of Predestination and perhaps also that of God’s absolute Foreknowledge. They taught a kind of synergism in which there was a co-operation between grace and free will. It was hard for man to give up the idea that he could work out his own salvation. But at last, as a result of a long, slow process, he came to the great truth that salvation is a sovereign gift which has been bestowed irrespective of merit; that it was fixed in eternity; and that God is the author in all of its stages. This cardinal truth of Christianity was first clearly seen by Augustine, the great Spirit-filled theologian of the West. In his doctrines of sin and grace, he went far beyond the earlier theologians, taught an unconditional election of grace, and restricted the purposes of redemption to the definite circle of the elect. It will not be denied by anyone acquainted with Church History that Augustine was an eminently great and good man, and that his labors and writings contributed more to the promotion of sound doctrine and the revival of true religion than did those of any other man between Paul and Luther.

Prior to Augustine’s day the time had been largely taken up in correcting heresies within the Church and in refuting attacks from the pagan world in which it found itself. Consequently but little emphasis had been placed on the systematic development of doctrine. And that the doctrine of Predestination received such little attention in this age was no doubt partly due to the tendency to confuse it with the Pagan doctrine of Fatalism which was so prevalent throughout the Roman Empire. But in the fourth century a more settled time had been reached, a new era in theology had dawned, and the theologians came to place more emphasis on the doctrinal content of their message. Augustine was led to develop his doctrines of sin and grace partly through his own personal experience in being converted to Christianity from a worldly life, and partly through the necessity of refuting the teaching of Pelagius, who taught that man in his natural state had full ability to work out his own salvation, that Adam’s fall had but little effect on the race except that it set a bad example which is perpetuated, that Christ’s life is of value to men mainly by way of example, that in His death Christ was little more than the first Christian martyr, and that we are not under any special providence of God. Against these views Augustine developed the very opposite. He taught that the whole race fell in Adam, that all men by nature are depraved and spiritually dead, that the will is free to sin but not free to do good toward God, that Christ suffered vicariously for His people, that God elects whom He will irrespective of their merits, and that saving grace is efficaciously applied to the elect by the Holy Spirit. He thus became the first true interpreter of Paul and was successful in securing the acceptance of his doctrine by the Church.

Following Augustine there was retrogression rather than progress. Clouds of ignorance blinded the people. The Church became more and more ritualistic and salvation was thought to be through the external Church. The system of merit grew until it reached its climax in the “indulgences.” The papacy came to exert great power, political as well as ecclesiastical, and throughout Catholic Europe the state of morals came to be almost intolerable. Even the priesthood became desperately corrupt and in the whole catalogue of human sins and vices none are more corrupt or more offensive than those which soiled the lives of such popes as John XXIII and Alexander VI.

From the time of Augustine until the time of the Reformation very little emphasis was placed on the doctrine of Predestination. We shall mention only two names from this period: Gottschalk, who was imprisoned and condemned for teaching Predestination; and Wycliffe, “The Morning Star of the Reformation,” who lived in England. Wycliffe was a reformer of the Calvinistic type, proclaiming the absolute sovereignty of God and the Foreordination of all things. His system of belief was very similar to that which was later taught by Luther and Calvin. The Waldensians also might be mentioned for they were in a sense “Calvinists” before the Reformation, one of their tenets being that of Predestination.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

We here have, in the beginning of the world, distinctly placed before us, as the parties to the covenant

“We here have, in the beginning of the world, distinctly placed before us, as the parties to the covenant, the Creator and the creature, the Governor and the governed. In the covenant itself, brief as it is, we have concentrated all those primary, anterior, and eternal principles of truth, righteousness, and justice, which enter necessarily into the nature of the great God, and which must always pervade His government, under whatever dispensation; we have a full recognition of His authority to govern His intelligent creatures, according to these principles, and we have a perfect acknowledgment on the part of man, that in all things he is subject, as a rational and accountable being, to the will and direction of the infinitely wise and benevolent Creator. No part of a covenant therefore, in its proper sense, is wanting” (R. B. Howell, The Covenant, 1855).

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

The fall of Adam was our fall

There is much to sadden us in a view of the ruins of our race. As the Carthaginian who might tread the desolate site of his much-loved city, would shed many tears when he saw it laid in heaps by the Romans; or as the Jew, wandering through the deserted streets of Jerusalem, would lament that the plough share had marred the beauty and the glory of that city which was the joy of the whole earth; so ought we to mourn for ourselves and our race, when we behold the ruins of that goodly structure which God had piled, that creature, matchless in symmetry, second only to angelic intellect, that mighty being, man,-when we behold how he is “fallen, fallen, fallen, from his high estate “and lies in a mass of destruction. A few years ago a star was seen blazing out with considerable brilliance, but soon disappeared; it has since been affirmed that it was a world on fire, thousands of millions of miles from us, and yet the rays of the conflagration reached us; the noiseless messenger of light gave to the distant dwellers on this globle the alarm of “A world on fire!” But what is the conflagration of a distant planet, what is the destruction of the mere material of the most ponderous orb, compared with this fall of humanity, this wreck of all that is holy and sacred in ourselves? To us, indeed, the things are scarcely comparable, since we are deeply interested in one, though not in the other. The fall of Adam was OUR fall; we fell in and with him; we were equal sufferers; it is the ruin of our own house that we lament, it is the destruction of our own city that we bemoan when we stand and see written in lines too plain for us to mistake their meaning, “The carnal mind”-that very self-same mind which was once holiness, and has now become carnal- ”is emnity against God.” May God help me this morning, solemnly to prefer this indictment against you all! Oh! That the Holy Spirit may so convince us of sin, that we may unanimously plead “guilty” before God.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 22, 1855

Let the doctrine of infant baptism, as based upon hereditary claims of the children of believers to the covenant of grace, be now compared with the doctrine of universal depravity

All other evangelical denominations hold the same principles. They all teach universal depravity. Every man, therefore, descended of Adam, all the posterity of our first parents, are naturally indisposed to good, wholly inclined to evil and that continually.

Let the doctrine of infant baptism, as based upon hereditary claims of the children of believers to the covenant of grace, be now compared with the doctrine of universal depravity. We take them both as set forth by pedobaptists themselves. On the one hand they earnestly teach that the children of believers “are sanctified by being born of religious parents,” are “born within the church, and have by their birth inheritance in the covenant,” “are federally holy,” and for these and like reasons, are baptized. Persons cannot have, at birth, all these endowments, and be at the same time wholly corrupt. Therefore the infant offspring of believers are not naturally depraved. On the other hand, they all earnestly teach that “every one” is wholly depraved. “Every man” descended of Adam, is “defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body,” all “are naturally indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil.” With this corrupt nature “all that are naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam” are born. The children of believing parents are not excepted, but fully included, since they too “are naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam,” and are a part of “all men.” Are such corrupt and depraved persons holy? Are they born members of the church? Are they naturally inheritors of all the benefits of the covenant of grace? It is impossible. They cannot at the same time be holy and corrupt, sanctified and depraved, in the gospel covenant and “naturally indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil.” Both these propositions cannot be true. The one falsifies the other. But that all are born in sin, and are by nature, depraved, is true. The word of God emphatically declares it. The whole doctrine of hereditary claims to the covenant of grace, therefore, upon which our brethren so confidently predicate infant baptism, falsities the doctrine of universal depravity; his baseless in itself, and upon their own principles; and it is fraught with mischief, “full of deadly evil.”

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 4- Infant baptism is an evil because it falsifies the doctrine of universal depravity

Our text is a portion of that delightful rendering of the covenant of grace

Our text is a portion of that delightful rendering of the covenant of grace which is given us by Ezekiel, and we will, for a single moment, ask you to remember the persons with whom the covenant of grace was made. An early version of the covenant of grace was given to Abraham, and this in Ezekiel is a repetition, expansion, or explanation of the same. This covenant, and that form of it made with Abraham, concern the same individuals. Let us then remind ourselves that the covenant was not made with the fleshly seed of Abraham. If it had been, it would have run in the line of Ishmael as well as that of Isaac; but it was not made with Ishmael, for what saith the Scriptures, “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.” The covenant of grace was not made with the children who are born after the flesh as was Ishmael, but with those who are born according to the promise as was Isaac, who was not born by virtue of the energy of the flesh, for of Abraham it was said that he was as good as dead, and as for Sarah that she was long past bearing; but Isaac, the child of laughter, the child of joy, the heir of the promise, was born according to the power of God, and not after the energy of nature. Isaac evidently typifies not the man of works but the man of faith. The man of works is born after the flesh, he has reformed himself, he has done his best, he continues to do his best, he is the child of his own energy, he is the result of human power, he is under the law, for he tries to save himself by the law, he is, therefore, the son of Hagar the bond woman, and he is under bondage, and his destiny may be learned from the words, “Cast forth the son of the bondwoman, he shall not be heir with my son.” But the man of faith has received his faith supernaturally, it has been wrought in him by the Holy Spirit; it is not the fruit of the creature’s power, it is the gift of God: it is the child of promise and it is the child of joy and laughter to him; it is a fresh spring of joy within his soul. The man of faith, therefore, is the heir of the promise, and the partaker of the covenant, since he believes in Jesus, whom God raised from He dead. The man who rests upon the grace of God, and believes in God as holy Abraham did, he is a faithful man, and, consequently, he is one of the sons of the father of the faithful.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Covenant Blessings”- A Sermon delivered on Lord’s Day Morning, April 14th, 1872. A Sermon on Ezekiel 36:26-27.

The Wednesday Word: Living in ´´Doubting Castle´´

A gospel minister once visited a lady who was living in what John Bunyan called, “Doubting Castle.” She suffered from persistent doubts and fears and was filled with all manner of misgivings about the future Judgement. (By the way, none of us are always entirely free from such bombardments of unbelief. Even the most mature believers are not always immune).

To try and answer her concerns, the preacher quoted 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” He then asked her,

” Do you know what that means? “

She paused for a moment, and then replied,

“I suppose it means that when I love God perfectly, I shall get rid of my doubts and fears “

“Yes, certainly you will,” he replied “but that will not be until you arrive in glory. This verse is about Jesus, not about what you are supposed to do. It is about what He has done!”

The dear lady’s face took on a look of entire astonishment. The evangelist then continued,

“Just look at the verse through gospel eyes. Think of God’s love instead of your own. Our verse says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” It is His love, Christ’s love, that is perfect, not yours. Your love will never be perfect until you are face to face with the Master in glory.”

He then continued, “But think of the perfect love expressed when Christ came to die for us and consider that that His love is still flowing from glory. Believe this and enjoy life. Believe and apply the gospel and your fear of the future Judgment will be banished.”

It was quite a new thought for her, and she learned to look at this verse from a finished work, gospel viewpoint.

To enjoy being saved we need to learn the forgetfulness of self. We need to know we are not the center of the gospel. In fact, the gospel is not about us, it’s about the Lord Jesus Christ, His perfections and accomplishments. We of course are the beneficiaries of the gospel, but the gospel is not about our doing and dying. It’s about His. We will never enjoy assurance if we continually look inward. We might as well look for warmth in the Arctic Circle as investigate our hearts to find the perfect love of God.

But think of God’s great love to you in the gospel; believe it; take Him at His word about the finished work and you will have peace with Him (Romans 5:1). and you will enjoy the Holy Ghost shed abroad in your heart (Romans 5:5). For the believer, Judgment is not a future event; it is past (see Isaiah 53:4-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

We have no acceptable righteousness of our own, but we have been given the very righteousness of Christ. He has been judged instead of us. If you believe this, you will enjoy being saved and will spend much less time in Doubting Castle.

The more we grow in our appreciation and love for the gospel the less we know anything of the continual fear of the Judgment Day. The more Christ’s perfect love for us is grasped, the more fear is thrust and hurled away.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com