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The Covenants-Chapter 9- The Teachings of the Covenant

THE TEACHINGS OF THE COVENANTS

Messiahship of Jesus; form of the Christian Church; purposes of

God in relation to the Israelites; Church not visible until

the coming of Christ; qualifications for membership; signs and seals of

the covenants; consummation of the covenant in Christ’s second coming.

ALL the covenants recorded in the word of God, having reference directly, and indirectly, to our redemption from sin, and salvation by Christ, are now before you. It remains only that we consider briefly some few of their doctrinal, and practical teachings. I say some few, and briefly, because to refer to them all, and in detail, would require more time and space than can now be commanded, and I must compress them into a single chapter. How vividly do these covenants illustrate the grace of God in your redemption; the miserable condition of men in their fallen state; the love, and goodness of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! How affecting the appeal which they wake to your gratitude, and obedience! With a full soul, as you contemplate them, you exclaim with Paul; “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”[1] But all these, and many other like considerations, we must pass over in silence.

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

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Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 232

GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE

To [A Correspondent].

WESTWOOD.

DEAR SIR,—

One of the trials of my life is being perpetually requested to find situations of various sorts. How can I do this?

I am the last person to find a situation for anybody; for my study, my pulpit, and the duties of my calling fill up all my time, and I have no knowledge of any vacant situations.

No one ever writes me to tell me of vacant situations, and yet I am to find them. I am willing to do what I can, but I could as soon fly in the air as find a situation for anyone. It is out of my line altogether.

Yours truly,

C. H. SPURGEON.

The Wednesday Word: Christ Lifted Up Part 2

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32).

There is no doubt or hesitation in this statement. Jesus is saying, if He dies on the cross, multitudes of people will be drawn to Him. There is no hint or suggestion in this statement of any kind of failure in the cross. He MUST be lifted up and as a result He WILL draw all to Himself.

Because of His being crucified, there will be a great multitude which no man can number drawn to him. They will come to Him out of all nations, peoples, and tongues (see Revelation 7:9).

Of course, we must not read into the text (John 12:32) that which is not there. When the Master said He would draw all men unto Him, He didn´t mean all men without exception. That would be contrary to Scripture. That would mean that Hell is a monumental testimony of the failure of the cross. Plainly, the words mean that He will draw all manner of people to Him — Kings, Queens, high, low, rich, poor, moral, immoral and people of every description. All will be drawn to Him (Revelation 5:9).

If we read Acts 15:14, we will see that in the great Council of Jerusalem, James stood up and said that God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name.

And the truth is, God is yet calling out a people for His name, a people for His praise and a people for the glory of His grace.

If you are a believer, and I trust you are, let me ask, do you witness for Him and engage to some degree in His work? Is it not an immense encouragement to know that His death was not in vain? His work upon the cross has definite results —the results that He intended. Is it not an encouragement to know that Christ is not disappointed by the outcome of Calvary?

Every mansion in heaven will be occupied. There will be no empty seats. It is the great purpose of the Lord Jesus to, because of the cross, draw all kinds of people to Himself.

It is an immense comfort as we gossip the Gospel to know that there is no failure in the work the Lord finished. Christ is accomplishing His purposes and will continually accomplish them until He comes back again and welcomes all His believing people to Himself.

Hudson Taylor, missionary to China in the 1800s, said, if he had gone out to China with the idea that God was going to convert all the Chinese, he would have left China long ago. But he said he went there with the idea that God would call out a people for His name, and this purpose, he said, was accomplished. He said that in almost every province in China there were numbers ready to meet Christ when He returned.

And so, it is an immense encouragement, as we witness, to know that the Lord´s purposes shall be fully accomplished; His death was not in vain. He shall see, the travail of His soul and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).

Therefore, we should take Him at His word and believe Him when He says,

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32).

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XVI- That it is inconsistent with the Free Agency and Moral Responsibility of Man

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XVI

That It Is Inconsistent With the Free Agency
And Moral Responsibility of Man

6. THE WAY IN WHICH THE WILL IS DETERMINED

Since man is a rational agent there must always be a sufficient cause for his acting in a particular way. For the will to decide in favor of the weaker motive and against the stronger, or without motives at all, is to have an effect without a sufficient cause. Conscience teaches us that we always have reasons for the things we do, and that after acting we are conscious that we might have acted differently had other views or feelings been present. The reason for a particular act may not be strong and it may even be based on a false judgment, but in each particular instance it is strong enough to control. Scales will swing in the opposite direction only when there is a cause adequate to the effect. A person may choose that which in some respects is disagreeable; but in each case some other motive is present which influences the person to a choice which otherwise would not have been made. For instance, a person may willingly have a tooth pulled out; but he will not do so unless some inducement is present which for the time being at least makes this the stronger inclination. As it has been expressed, “a man cannot prefer against his preference or choose against his choice.” A person who prefers to live in California cannot, by a mere act of will, prefer to live in New York.

Man’s volitions are, in fact, governed by his own nature, and are in accordance with the desires, dispositions, inclinations, knowledge, and character of the person. Man is not independent of God, nor of mental and physical laws, and all of these exert their particular influences in his choices. He always acts in the way in which the strongest inclinations or motives lead; and conscience tells us that the things which appeal to us most powerfully at the time are the things which determine our volitions. Says Dr. Hodge, “The will is not determined by any law of necessity; it is not independent, indifferent, or self-determined, but is always determined by the preceding state of mind; so that a man is free so long as his volitions are the conscious expression of his mind; or so long as his activity is determined and controlled by his reason and feelings” 8

Unless a person’s volitions were based on and determined by his character they would not really be his, and he could not be held responsible for them. In our relations with our fellow men we instinctively assume that their good or bad volitions are determined by good or bad character, and we judge them accordingly. “By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit . . . Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them,” Matthew 7:16-20. And again, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” The tree is not free to produce good or bad fruit at random, but is governed by its nature. It is not the goodness of the fruit which causes the goodness of the tree, but the reverse. And according to the parable of Jesus, the same is true of man. And unless conduct does reveal character, how are we to know that the man who does good acts is really a good man, or that the man who does evil acts is really an evil man? While some for the sake of argument may insist that the will is free, in every day life all men assume that the will is both a product and a revelation of the person’s nature. When a man exerts a volition which results in robbery or murder, we instinctively conclude that this is a true indicator of character and deal with him accordingly.

The very essence of rationality is that the volitions must be based on the understanding, principles, feelings, etc., and the person whose volitions are not so based is considered foolish. If after every decision the will reverted to a state of indecision and oscillation equipoised between good and evil, the basis for confidence in our fellow men would be gone. In fact a person whose will was really “free” would be a dangerous associate; his acts would be irrational and we would have no way of knowing what he might do under any conditions.

It is this fact (that volitions are a true expression of the person’s nature) which guarantees the permanence of the states of the saved and of the lost in the next world. If mere free agency necessarily exposed a person to sin there would be no certainty that even the redeemed in heaven would not sin and be cast down to hell as were the fallen angels. The saints, however, possess a necessity on the side of goodness, and are therefore free in the highest sense. There is an absence of strife, and their wills, confirmed in holiness, go on producing good acts and motions with the ease and uniformity of physical law. On the other hand the state of the wicked is also permanent. After the restraining influences of the Holy Spirit are withdrawn, they become bold, defiant, blasphemous, and sin with an irremediable obstinacy. They have passed into a permanent disposition of malice and wickedness and hate. They are no longer guests and strangers, but citizens and dwellers, in the land of sin. Further, if the theory of free-will were true, it would give the possibility of repentance after death; for is it not reasonable to believe that at least some of the lost, after they began to suffer the torments of hell, would see their mistake and return to God? In this world mild punishments are often effective in turning; men from sin; why should not severer punishments in the next world be more effective? Only the Calvinistic principle that the will is determined by the nature of the person and the inducements presented, reaches a conclusion in harmony with that of Scripture which affirms that “there is a great gulf fixed,” so that none can pass over, — that the states of the saved and the lost alike are permanent.

The person who has not given the matter any special thought assumes that he has great freedom. But when he comes to examine this boasted freedom a little more closely he finds that he is much more limited than at first appeared. He is limited by the laws of the physical world, by his particular environment, habits, past training, social customs, fear of punishment or disapproval, his present desires, ambitions, etc., so that he is far from being the absolute master of his actions. At any moment he is pretty much what his past has made him. But so long as he acts under the control of his own nature and determines his actions from within, he has all the liberty of which a creature is capable. Any other kind of liberty is anarchy.

A man may carry a bowl of gold-fish wherever he pleases; yet the fish feel themselves free, and move unrestrainedly within the bowl. The science of Physics tells us of molecular motion amid molar calm, — when we look at the piece of stone, or wood, or metal, it appears to the naked eye to be perfectly quiet; yet if we had a magnifying glass powerful enough to see the individual molecules and atoms and electrons, we should find them whirling in their orbits at incredible speeds.

Predestination and free agency are the twin pillars of a great temple, and they meet above the clouds where the human gaze cannot penetrate. Or again, we may say that Predestination and free agency are parallel lines; and while the Calvinist may not be able to make them unite, the Arminian cannot make them cross each other. Furthermore, if we admit free will in the sense that the absolute determination of events is placed in the hands of man, we might as well spell it with a capital F and a capital W; for then man has become like God,—a first cause, an original spring of action, — and we have as many semi-Gods as we have free wills. Unless the sovereignty of God be given up, we cannot allow this independence to man. It is very noticeable — and in a sense it is reassuring to observe the fact — that the materialistic and metaphysical philosophers deny as completely as do Calvinists this thing that is called free will. They reason that every effect must have a sufficient cause; and for every action of the will they seek to find a motive which for the moment at least is strong enough to control.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

In Hebrews 9:15 and 12:24 Christ is styled “the mediator of the new covenant

Once more, in Hebrews 9:15 and 12:24 Christ is styled “the mediator of the new covenant,” because it is by His efficacious satisfaction and prevailing intercession that all its blessings are now imparted to its beneficiaries. Christ now stands between God and His people, advocating their cause (1 John 2:1) and speaking a word in season to him that is weary Isa. 50:4). But how could Christ sustain such offices as these unless the covenant had been made with Him (Gal. 3:17) and the execution of it had been undertaken by Him (Heb. 10:5-7)? “Now the God of peace, which brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Heb. 13:20): that one phrase is quite sufficient to establish the fact that an organic connection existed between the covenant of grace and the sacrifice of Christ. In response to Christ’s execution of its terms, the Father now says to Him, “By the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners those given to Him before the foundation of the world, but in Adam fallen under condemnation) out of the pit wherein is no water” (Zech. 9:11).

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part One-The Everlasting Covenant

Thou art free to the throne of grace

Next, recollect that thou art free to the throne of grace. It is the privilege of Englishmen, that they can always send a petition to Parliament; and it is the privilege of a believer, that he can always send a petition to the throne of God. I am free to God’s throne. If I want to talk to God to-morrow morning, I can. If to-night I wish to have conversation with my Master, I can go to him. I have a right to go to his throne. It matters not how much I may have sinned. I go and ask for pardon. It signifies nothing how poor I am-I go and plead his promise that he will provide all things needful. I have a right to go to his throne at all times-in midnight’s darkest hour, or in noontide’s heat. Wherever I am; if fate command me to the utmost verge of the wide earth, I have still constant admission to his throne. Use that right, beloved-use that right. There is not one of you that lives up to his privilege. Many a gentleman will live beyond his income, spending more than he has coming in; but there is not a Christian that does that-I mean that lives up to his spiritual income. Oh, no! you have an infinite income-an income of promises-an income of grace; and no Christian ever lived up to his income. Some people say, “If I had more money I should have a larger house, and horses, and carriage, and so on.” Very well and good; but I wish the Christian would do the same. I wish they would set up a larger house, and do greater things for God; look more happy, and take those tears away from their eyes.

Religion never was designed

To make our pleasures less.”

With such stores in the bank, and so much in hand, that God gives you, you have no right to be poor. Up! rejoice! rejoice! The Christian ought to live up to his income, and not below it.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855

The Covenants-Chapter 8f- The Old Covenant and the New Covenant

Thus have we seen that the two classes of covenants, which have passed in review before us, are resolved in effect, into two covenants; that they are so received, and expounded by Christ, and his apostles; that the old covenant, or testament—the Mosaic law—was in its nature, although glorious in itself, and in its purposes, necessarily temporary, and superseded by the gospel—the new covenant, or testament; that the Gentile, as well as the Jewish world, needed a preparation, and what that preparation was, for the coming of Messiah; and the nature and excellence of that new covenant, which is “the glorious gospel of the blessed God.” Thanks to “the Father of all our mercies,” redemption is now no longer a matter of promise merely. It is a joyful reality. Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Deliverer, has come, and accomplished his exalted mission. The work is done. It is our privilege, and honor, to live in the midst of the light and glory of the gospel.

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants