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Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 182

WORDS OF SYMPATHY

To [Rev. J. W. Harrald].

[Undated.]

DEAR HARRALD, —

The Lord Himself comfort you. What can we do?

He is your Helper. I think we can manage the letters until you can come. I am better this morning, but I have had a thorough knock over such as I little expected. The Lord’s hand is in all these troubles. Get out of your house as soon as you can or we may have you ill also. The Lord bless thee and keep thee, dear Brother, and be more than ever thy Comforter.

Yours in great sympathy,

C. H. SPURGEON.

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The Wednesday Word: It”s Personal

The Grace of God has appeared in the person of Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word made flesh. He is full of grace and truth” and “of His fullness, we have all received grace upon grace” (John 1:14,16). Literally, we have received grace “piled upon” grace. In much the same way the seashore is subject to the continual arrival of wave after wave so we have received and are receiving continual waves of grace in Christ Jesus.

Do we believe that? If we believe it, we will enjoy it!

Jesus is the Grace of God in human form. He is the full illustration and explanation of Grace. We sometimes forget that Grace is a person (Titus 2:11). When we, therefore, say we are saved by Grace, we are declaring that we are saved by someone other than us. We are actually saved by Christ Jesus and His accomplishments. To consent to be saved by Grace is to consent to be saved by the works of another. Christ’s work for us was perfect, His work is sufficient and by faith alone, His work is ours.

May we never rest on anything or anyone other than Jesus. May we never rest on the fact of our conversion to save us. May we never rest on our faith to save us. May we never rest on ‘Christ in us’ to save us. May we rest on Christ and His finished work alone. May He be personal to us. May we be able to speak of Christ my Saviour not merely of Christ the Saviour.

When Christ manifests His grace, He manifests Himself.

This is why His grace is Glorious (Ephesians 1:6);

Abundant (Acts 4:33)

Rich (Ephesians 1:7).

Manifold (many-sided) (1 Peter 4:10)

Sufficient (there is never a shortage) (2 Cor 12:9).

All the worth and preciousness of Christ is ours. All the guilt we had is His. This is pure grace. All our debt in the past has been settled by grace. All our debt in the present has been settled by grace. All our debt in the future has been settled by Grace.

May we all learn what it is to receive the abundant grace of God for ourselves.

The following is a marvellous illustration of grace in action.

In the 1800’s London had two famous preachers, Charles Spurgeon and Joseph Parker. On one occasion, Parker commented about the poor condition of children admitted to Spurgeon’s orphanage. Word of this came to Spurgeon but by the time it arrived, it was reported to Spurgeon that Parker had criticized the orphanage itself. Spurgeon blasted Parker from his pulpit and the attack was printed in the newspaper and became the talk of the town. Londoners flocked to Parker’s church the next Sunday to hear his rebuttal. Here’s what Parker said, “I understand Dr. Spurgeon is not in his pulpit today, and this is the Sunday they use to take an offering for the orphanage,” Parker said. “I suggest we take a love offering for the orphanage.” The crowd was delighted; ushers had to empty the collection plates three times. Later that week, there was a knock at Parker’s study. It was Spurgeon. “You know, Parker, you have practiced grace on me,” he said. “You have given me not what I deserved; you have given me what I needed.”

May we all have the grace to live as though grace has indeed arrived and may we learn to practice grace on one another!

We can make it personal!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter X-Total Inability-3- The Defects in Man’s Common Virtues

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter X

Total Inability

3. THE DEFECTS IN MAN’S COMMON VlRTUES

The unregenerate man can, through common grace, love his family and he may be a good citizen. He may give a million dollars to build a hospital, but he cannot give even a cup of cold water to a disciple in the name of Jesus. If a drunkard, he may abstain from drink for utilitarian purposes, but he cannot do it out of love for God. All of his common virtues or good works have a fatal defect in that his motives which prompt them are not to glorify God, — a defect so vital that it throws any element of goodness as to man wholly into the shade. It matters not how good the works may be in themselves, for so long as the doer of them in out of harmony with God, none of his works are spiritually acceptable. Furthermore, the good works of the unregenerate have no stable foundation, for his nature is still unchanged: and as naturally and as certainly as the washed sow returns to her wallowing in the mire, so he sooner or later returns to his evil ways.

In the realm of morals it is a rule that the morality of the man must precede the morality of the action. One may speak with the tongues of men and of angels; yet if he Is lacking that inward principle of love toward God, he is become as sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. He may give all his goods to feed the poor, and may give his body to be burned; yet if he lacks that inward principle. it profits him nothing. As human beings we know that an act of service rendered to us (by whatever utilitarian motives prompted) by someone who is at heart our enemy, does not merit our love and approbation. The Scripture statement that “Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto God,” finds Its explanation in this, that faith is the foundation of all the other virtues, and nothing is acceptable to God which does not flow from right feelings.

A moral act is to be judged by the standard of love to God, which love is, as it were, the soul of all other virtue, and which is bestowed upon us only through grace. Augustine did not deny the existence of natural virtues, such as moderation, honesty, generosity, which constitute a certain merit among men; but be drew a broad line of distinction between these and the specific Christian graces (faith, love and gratitude to God, etc.), which alone are good in the strict sense of the word, and which alone have value before God. This distinction is very plainly illustrated in an example given by W. D. Smith. Says he: “In a gang of pirates we may find many things that are good in themselves. Though they are in wicked rebellion against the laws of the government, they have their own laws and regulations, which they obey strictly. We find among them courage and fidelity, with many other things that will recommend them as pirates. They may do many things, too, which the laws of the government require, but they are not done because the government has so required, but in obedience to their own regulations. For instance the government requires honesty and they may be strictly honest, one with another, In their transactions, and the division of all their spoil. Yet, as respects the government, and the general principle, their whole life is one of the most wicked dishonesty. Now, it is plain, that while they continue in their rebellion they can do nothing to recommend them to the government as citizens. Their first step must be to give up their rebellion, acknowledge their allegiance to the government, and sue for mercy. So all men, in their natural state, are rebels against God, and though they may do many things which the law of God requires, and which will recommend them as men, yet nothing is done with reference to God and His law. Instead, the regulations of society, respect for public opinion, self-interest, their own character in the sight of the world, or some other worldly or wicked motive, reigns supremely; and God, to whom they owe their heart and lives, is forgotten; or, if thought of at all, His claims are wickedly rejected, His counsels spurned, and the heart, in obstinate rebellion, refuses obedience. Now it is plain that while the heart continues in this state the man is a rebel against God, and can do nothing to recommend him to His favor. The first step is to give up his rebellion, repent of his sins, turn to God, and sue for pardon and reconciliation through the Savior. This he is unwilling to do, until he is made willing. He loves his sins, and will continue to love them, until his heart is changed.”

The good actions of unregenerate men, Smith continues, “are not positively sinful in themselves, but sinful from defect. They lack the principle which alone can make them righteous in the sight of God. In the case of the pirates it is easy to see that all their actions are sin against the government. While they continue pirates, their sailing, mending, or rigging the vessel and even their eating and drinking, are all sins in the eyes of the government, as they are only so many expedients to enable them to continue their piratical career, and are parts of their life of rebellion. So with sinners. While the heart is wrong, it vitiates everything in the sight of God, even their most ordinary occupations; for the plain, unequivocal language of God is, ‘Even the lamp of the wicked, is sin,’ Pro_21:4.” 5

It is this inability which the Scriptures teach when they declare that “They that are in the flesh cannot please God,” Rom_8:8; “Whatsoever Is not of faith in sin,” Rom_14:23; and “Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing to Him,” Heb_11:6. Hence even the virtues of the unregenerate man are but as plucked and fading flowers. It was because of this that Jesus said to His disciples, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.” And because those virtues are of this nature, they are only temporary. The one who possesses them is like the seed which falls on the stony soil, which perhaps springs up with promise of fruitage, but soon withers in the sun because it has no root in itself.

It follows also from what has been said that salvation to ABSOLUTELY AND SOLELY OF GRACE, — that God Is free, in consistency with the infinite perfections of His nature, to save none, few, many, or all, according to the sovereign good pleasure of His will. It also follows that salvation is not based on any merits in the creature, and that it depends on God, and not on men, who are, and who are not, to be made partakers of eternal life. God acts as a sovereign in saving some and passing by others who are left to the just recompense of their sins. Sinners are compared to dead men, or even to dry bones in their entire helplessness. In this they are all alike. The choice of some to eternal life is as sovereign as if Christ were to pass through a graveyard and bid one here and another there to come forth, the reason for restoring one to life and leaving another in his grave could be found only in His good pleasure, and not in the dead themselves. Hence the statement that we are foreordained according to the good pleasure of His will, and not after the good inclinations of our own; and in order that we might be holy, not because we were holy (Eph_1:415). “Since all men alike deserved only God’s wrath and curse the gift of His only begotten Son to die in the stead of malefactors, as the only possible method of expiating their guilt, is the most stupendous exhibition of undeserved favor and personal love that the universe has ever witnessed.” 6

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

There are two references to “the king’s dale”

There are two references to “the king’s dale”: in the one Melchizedek brought forth that which symbolized Christ (Genesis 14:17, 18); in the other, Absalom erected a monument to himself (2 Samuel 18:18). What a marked (and probably designed) contrast there is between the expressions

there fell of the people that day about three thousand men” (Exodus 32:28),

and

the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41)

—the only occasions where “about three thousand” is used in Scripture. Similar too is this example: “there were with him [David] about four hundred men” (1 Samuel 22:2), and there “rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves” (Acts 5:36). In 1 Samuel 28:24), we read of the “fat calf” of the witch of Endor; in Luke 15:23, we are told of “the fatted calf’ which was killed for the prodigal son! Katischuo occurs only in “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”—the Church (Matthew 16:18), and “the voice of them and of the chief priests prevailed” (Luke 23:23) with Pilate against Christ, to consent to His crucifixion.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Truly every Christian is a God-bearer

We are told in the text, that Jesus would send the Comforter, who would abide in the saints for ever; who would dwell with them and be in them. Old Ignatius, the martyr, used to call himself Theophorus, or the Godbearer, “because,” said he, “I bear about with me the Holy Ghost.” And truly every Christian is a God-bearer. Know ye not that ye are temples of the Holy Ghost? for he dwelleth in you. That man is no Christian who is not the subject of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; he may talk well, he may understand theology and be a sound Calvinist; he will be the child of nature finely dressed, but not the living child. He may be a man of so profound an intellect, so gigantic a soul, so comprehensive a mind, and so lofty an imagination, that he may dive into all the secrets of nature; may know the path which the eagle’s eye hath not seen, and go into depths where the ken of mortals reacheth not; but he shall not be a Christian with all his knowledge, he shall not be a son of God with all his researches, unless he understands what it is to have the Holy Ghost dwelling in him, and abiding in him, yea, and that for ever.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Personality of the Holy Ghost,” A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, January 21, 1855

The Covenants-Chapter 1-The Covenants

1. THE COVENANTS.

Not understood; the causes of it; proposed method of discussion; simplicity of the subject; its importance.

SALVATION through Jesus Christ, is according to “the determinate counsel, and foreknowledge of God’ (Acts 2:28). He was pleased to make known to the fathers, his purposes in this behalf, in the form of covenants, which were of different characters, and revealed at various times. These covenants enter into the very nature, and pervade with their peculiar qualities, the whole system of divine grace. A perfect knowledge of the Gospel therefore, involves necessarily, a correct comprehension of the covenants. But by whom among us, are these covenants clearly understood? To most men, you need only to speak on this subject, and you at once perceive that “Even unto this day, the vail is upon their heart.” (2 Cor 3:15). They fail to perceive what the covenants are in themselves, in their relations to each other, and consequently in their bearings upon the designs of God in the Redeemer! This darkness is lamentable in all its aspects, since falling short of the knowledge of these, — “the rudiments of the doctrine of Christ,” — obscurity must necessarily rest upon the whole Gospel system. How can he who does not perceive “the first principles” of any specified science, ever become a master of that science?

But why should obscurity rest upon a knowledge of the covenants? Are they in themselves, difficult of comprehension? Far from it. No part of the word of God is more plain, and simple. The causes of their perplexity, and embarrassment, are to be sought for in other quarters. Nor are they problematical. To every intelligent, and unprejudiced observer, they are so obvious as not to be readily mistaken. Who does not know that for ages past, they have been the prolific source from which theological polemics of every caste, and of the most opposite sentiments, have sought to derive support for many of their most extravagant speculations in religion, and especially in the departments of ecclesiastical organization, the nature and efficacy of those ordinances commonly known as sacraments, and the required qualifications for membership in the church of Christ? By each class they receive such expositions as that to superficial minds, they appear to sustain its own peculiar conclusions. In this work of perversion, both the pulpit, and the press have been profuse, and elaborate. Witsius, and Boston, Strong, and Russell, Macknight, Dick, Dwight, and many others, have written profoundly. But who has been enlightened? Nave they not rather “darkened counsel, by words without knowledge?” However this may be, the opinion has been created, and now prevails almost universally, that the whole subject is exceedingly abstruse, so much so indeed, as to be beyond the reach of ordinary minds. By whom now, are the covenants even studied, independently of some recognized guide, apart from the Scriptures? Ministers themselves, who preach sermons, and write controversial essays upon them, and assume to enlighten public sentiment, are with almost no exceptions, meantime, tamely following in the track of such writers as happen to have gained the confidence of that particular denomination to which they are severally attached. Investigation has really ceased on this subject, and error has become stereotyped!

You have only to look into the books that are issued on both sides of the Atlantic, and you will see how confidently the covenants are claimed as authority for the union of church and state, and for the severance of church and state; for Popery, and for Lutheranism, for Prelacy, and for Presbytery; for the introduction of infants into the church of Christ, and for the connection with it of none but believers! The adherents of each party, are perfectly certain that the covenants fully sustain the doctrines they advocate. They have seen them, not indeed, in the Bible, but only through the medium of some essayist of their own class. The result has necessarily been a. perplexity, and confusion almost hopeless.

These are some of the causes by which the understanding of this subject has been rendered, to many minds, so exceedingly difficult. How until they are removed, can the covenants ever be comprehended? While their sense, and purposes, continue to be thus turned aside, and perverted, the hearts of the simple must be deceived, and to many sincere christians, much of the word of God remain a sealed book.

In the investigation upon which we are now entering, I shall in the outset, direct your attention to “the covenant of works,” the breach of which made all the others necessary. It stands by itself, and will be so treated. Next I shall refer you to the three separate developements of the covenants, — of salvation in the Mediator; the first being the announcement in Eden, immediately after the fall, of a Deliverer from sin; the second, the previous covenant of redemption, upon which necessarily, that announcement was predicated; and the third, the promise to Abraham that Messiah should come of his family, which promise was renewed, and transferred successively, to Isaac, to Jacob, to Judah, and to David. I shall then consider the three manifestations of the covenant of the law; the first of which, made with Abraham, constituted his descendants a separate nation, and gave them as the place of their residence until the coming of Messiah, the land of Canaan; the second of which, also made with Abraham, enacted circumcision, and thus distinguished his posterity personally, from all other men; and the third, made with all Israel at Sinai, gave them their peculiar national government. It will be necessary here, for us to pause, and investigate the philology of these covenants; which when we have examined, we shall consider how they appear in relation to the christian dispensation. It will then at once be apparent that the former three covenants were direct in their reference to Christ, and were substantially one covenant, made known in the gospel, as “the new and everlasting covenant;” and that the latter three were indirect in their reference to Christ. Together formed the old covenant, and when Messiah came, and his claims were fully established, were consummated and superceded by the gospel, which is their perfect developement. I shall then close the discussion by a brief explanation of the doctrinal, and practical teachings of the covenants. In this sketch I have not, you will perceive, included all the covenants of every class, recorded in the word of God, such, for example, as the covenant with Noah, the covenant of the priesthood in the family of Aaron, and many others of minor importance, because they are not especially connected with the promises which guarantied a Messiah, and do not, therefore, immediately concern our present investigation; and because by omitting them, we shall be able, without detriment to a perfect understanding of the whole subject, to attain much more brevity, and directness, than would otherwise be practicable.

These preliminary considerations submitted, in which we have seen that the covenants are not understood; the causes of that obscurity; the processes by which their comprehension has been perplexed, and embarrassed; and the method proposed in their investigation; I proceed at once, to the execution of my task. All the theories and discussions which they have heretofore elicited, and of which the world is full, I shall, learned and ingenious as many of them are, eschew wholly. With the Bible before us, and the Bible only, we shall carefully, and prayerfully pursue our purpose. By this process the prevailing obscurity will vanish. You will he surprised that it ever existed. Not only will you clearly, and fully understand the covenants themselves, but the knowledge of them, will cast over every other part of the divine record, a brightness and beauty, that will fill your heart with surprise, and overwhelming delight. And as you thus see more and more of the goodness, and grace of God, his word will become to your heart increasingly precious.

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

Several blogs I follow

Here is a list of several blogs I follow:

Veritas Domain– If you want to follow a blog that has some good articles defending the Christian Faith, then I recommend Veritasdomain. There are articles written against atheism, articles that defend proper interpretations on the text of scripture, over and against the Skeptic Annotated Bible’s misinterpretations, and book reviews. Give it a visit.

On the Way Reformed Baptist Haven– This blog used to be called Means of Grace. The site has been revived and is now taking off to discuss topics on God’s Grace, the Social Gospel, and other topics which Reformed Baptists are inclined to keep up with. Give it a visit today.

Drawing Near– is a blog by a 1689 guy. I just recently started following this blog. It has some great articles on defending your faith by R. C. Sproul or book reviews, such as: J. I. Packer’s “Knowing God.” Give it a visit today.

Where Living Begins– I just recently started following this blog. This blog contains articles on Prayer and attacks the false concepts put out by today’s Pentecostals. Give this blog a visit.