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The Wednesday Word: Built on the Rock

It is a Biblical fact that the true Church is founded and built upon the Lord Jesus.” “Oh, but,” says someone, “the Church was built upon Peter, for Jesus said, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build My Church’ (Matthew 16:18).

Christ’s Church built upon Peter? Hardly!

Peter above all? Bah Humbug!

Peter was doubtless a decent man but look at his performance. He was the very opposite of a steady rock. A foundation built on that dear brother would be worse than shaky, it would be quite inept and useless.

Three times in scripture the Holy Spirit records Peter’s fallings.

1. He fell in Matthew 16:21-23. Peter would have kept the Lord Jesus from the cross and because of this Jesus called Peter ‘Satan’ and an offense. That’s hardly material to build the church upon.

2. He fell in Matthew 26:74 where we read, “Then began he (Peter) to curse and swear saying, “I know not the man (Jesus).”

3. He fell in Galatians 2:11-14. There we read that Paul had to rebuke Peter because he was not ‘walking according to the truth of the gospel.’

Yet some people insist that the true church is indeed built on Peter and those of us who disagree are outside of and without salvation.

Apart from that, to hold that Peter is the foundation stone of the Church is to twist Matthew 16:18. For a moment, let´s look at the context of Christ´s declaration. Jesus and the disciples had come to the district of Caesarea Philippi, (Matthew 16:13) and He asked them, “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?” Some replied one thing, and some another; but, to bring the matter close to home, Jesus asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am.” Simon Peter immediately and emphatically responded, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;”

Now see what follows.

Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but My Father which is in heaven.’ The revelation was that Jesus was the Christ, (the anointed, promised one) the Son of the living God.

By the way, in scripture, Jesus is not called God the Son but rather the Son of God. In fact, the expression “son of God” is applied to Christ more than 40 times in the New Testament, but the designation God the Son is nowhere to be discovered.

Don’t worry, Christ, of course, was and is the Mighty God, (Isaiah 9:6), God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16), the eternal Word made flesh (John 1:14) and the I am (John 8:58). The term, Son of God points, however, to His identity as God in human flesh.

Notice what Jesus said to Peter. He said, you are a Petros, (in the Greek language that means a pebble), and upon this Petra (in the Greek language Petra is a large rock). So, Jesus was saying that upon this large rock He would build His church.

So, what is the rock on which the church is built? It is the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed, promised one, the God-Man. As the anointed one, He is Prophet, Priest and King. The True Church is built on Jesus, His person, work and offices. He is both God and man, our only saviour and hope.

Scripture does not contradict itself. Listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:11. “Other foundation can no man lay than is laid, which is Jesus Christ and in Psalm 18:31 God Himself is identified as the Rock

Instability and impulsiveness were Peter’s great defects. A Church built on him would be no church at all. It would have a very sandy foundation. The true Church, however, is built upon Christ, the Rock of Ages, the God-Man, the Son of the living God.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

Wherefore, I say, he is set forth here under the title of Creator: nothing can die under a Creator’s hands

[THE GOOD EFFECT OF COMMITTING THE

SOUL TO GOD’S KEEPING.]

THIRD. I come now to speak to the third and last part of the text, namely, of the good effect that will certainly follow to those that, after a due manner, shall take the advice afore given. “Let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”

Two things from the last clause of the text lie yet before us. And they are they by which will be shown what good effect will follow to those that suffer according to the will of God, and that commit their souls to his keeping.

1. Such will find him to themselves ‘a Creator.’

2. They will find him ‘a faithful Creator.’ “Let them commit the keeping of their souls to him, as unto a faithful Creator.”

In this phrase, ‘a Faithful Creator,’ behold the wisdom of the Holy Ghost, how fitly and to the purpose he speaketh. King is a great title, and God is sometimes called a King; but he is not set forth by this title here, but by the title of a Creator; for it is not always in the power of a king to succour and relieve his subjects, that are suffering for his crown and dignity. Father is a sweet title-a title that carrieth in it an intimation of a great deal of bowels and compassion, and God is often set forth also by this title in the holy Scriptures. But so he is not here, but rather as a Creator. For a father, a compassionate father, cannot always help, succour, or relieve his children, though he knows they are under affliction! Oh! but a Creator can.

Wherefore, I say, he is set forth here under the title of Creator.

FIRST, A Creator! nothing can die under a Creator’s hands. A Creator can sustain all. A Creator can, as a Creator, do what he pleases. “The Lord, the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary” (Isa 40:28).

The cause of God, for which his people suffer, had been dead and buried a thou-sand years ago, had it not been in the hand of a Creator. The people that have stood by his cause had been out of both as to persons, name, and remembrance, had they not been in the hand of a Creator. Who could have hoped, when Israel was going in, even into the mouth of the Red Sea, that ever his cause, or that people, should have revived again. A huge host of the Egyptians were behind them, and nothing but death before and on every hand of them; but they lived, they flourished, they outlived their enemies, for they were in the hand of a Creator.

Who could have hoped that Israel should have returned again from the land, from the hand, and from under the tyranny of the king of Babylon? They could not deliver themselves from going thither, they could not preserve themselves from being diminished when they came there, their power was gone, they were in captivity, their distance from home was far, their enemies possessed their land, their city of defence was ruined, and their houses burned down to the ground; and yet they came home again: there is nothing impossible to a Creator.

Who could have thought that the three children could have lived in a fiery furnace? that Daniel could have been safe among the lions? that Jonah could have come home to his country, when he was in the whale’s belly? or that our Lord should have risen again from the dead? But what is impossible to a Creator?

This, therefore, is a rare consideration for those to let their hearts be acquainted with that suffer according to the will of God, and that have committed the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing. They have a Creator to maintain and uphold their cause, a Creator to oppose its opposers. And hence it is said, all that burden themselves with Jerusalem “shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zech 12:3).

John Bunyan- Seasonable Counsel or Advise to Sufferers

Some experience difficulty in fitting together those Scriptures which present eternal life

Arthur PinkSome experience difficulty in fitting together those Scriptures which present eternal life as the present and inalienable possession of the believer with other passages that place it in the future and as only being attained unto by following a course of self-denial. Such verses as John 5:24 and Romans 6:23 are quite simple to them; but Romans 6:22; 8:13; Galatians 6:8; and Jude 21 they are at a loss to know what to do with. But there is nothing inconsistent between a believer acting from a principle of grace and life already communicated to him by the Holy Spirit, and his so acting that he may live. A man must be alive before he can eat; yet he must eat in order that he may live. Were he to cease entirely from the taking of food, would there be any life for him in a month’s time? Neither would the Christian enter heaven if he entirely neglected the means of grace appointed for his spiritual preservation.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Four-The Abrahamic Covenant

The gospel makes some men in this world more miserable than they would be

CharlesSpurgeoniii. Yet, once more. I believe the gospel makes some men in this world more miserable than they would be. The drunkard could drink, and could revel in his intoxication with greater joy, if he did not hear it said, “All drunkards shall have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.” How jovially the Sabbath breaker would riot through his Sabbaths, if the Bible did not say, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy!” And how happily could the libertine and licentious man drive on his mad career, if he were not told, “The wages of sin is death, and after death the judgment!” But the truth puts the bitter in his cup; the warnings of God freeze the current of his soul. The gospel is like the skeleton at the Egyptian feast. Though by day he laughed at it, by night he will quiver as the aspen leaf, and when the shades of evening gather around him, he will shake at a whisper. At the thought of a future state his joy is spoiled, and immortality, instead of being a boon to him, is in its very contemplation the misery of his existence. The sweet wooings of mercy are to him no more harmonious than peals of thunder, because he knows he despises them.

Yea I have known some who have been in such misery under the gospel, because they would not give up their sins, that they have been reedy to take their own lives. Oh! Terrible thought! The gospel is “a savor of death unto death.” Unto how many here is it so? Who are now hearing God’s Word to be damned by it? Who shall retire hence to be hardened by the sound of the truth? Why, every man who does not believe it, for unto those that receive it, it is “a savor of life unto life,” but to unbelievers it is a curse, and “a savor of death unto death.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- The Two Effects of the Gospel, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 27, 1855; at Exeter Hall Strand.

Baptism is an ordinance of singular dignity

CHAPTER 18

INFANT BAPTISM IS AN EVIL BECAUSE IT PREVENTS THE SALUTARY IMPRESSION WHICH BAPTISM WAS DESIGNED

TO MAKE UPON THE MINDS BOTH OF THOSE WHO RECEIVE

IT AND THOSE WHO WITNESS ITS ADMINISTRATION

Impressions made by baptism; lessons it teaches; contrast; infant baptism turns them all aside.

BAPTISM, like all the other ordinances of religion, was designed to make a deep and salutary impression upon the heart, both of those who receive it, and those who witness its administration. It teaches important lessons, and holds up perpetually before the mind the most glorious truths of the gospel. But the sprinkling of a baby turns them all aside, and destroys every salutary result.

Baptism is an ordinance of singular dignity, and impressiveness, especially when considered in its various bearings, and relations. Give it, if you please, a moment’s thought. An intelligent and humble believer stands before you. He has been instructed in the gospel; he has embraced its truths; and deeply penitent under a sense of his guilt and condemnation, he has given himself to Christ, on whom by divine grace he has been enabled to rest his hopes, and confidence. He cherishes a holy assurance of pardon and acceptance. “Justified by faith, he has peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” His soul exults with gratitude and joy. He is “a new creature.” His will, his affections, his inclinations, his desires, his purposes, are all changed. He now presents himself, as is his privilege, and his duty, and in accordance with all his desires, that he may confess Christ before men, and be united with his people. With indescribable emotion he approaches the ordinance in which this confession is divinely appointed to be made. He is to be baptized but once in his life. He desires, therefore, to cherish in that hour especially, the spirit of ardent devotion, and full consecration, which so important a service demands. Christ died for his sins, was buffed, and rose again for his justification. He is now dead to sin, and according to his commandment, is about to be buried with Christ by baptism into death, and like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so he also, is to arise to walk in newness of life. How unspeakably solemn is that moment! With what fervor he renounces the world, the flesh, and the devil! How earnestly he scrutinizes his own heart, and reviews the reasons of the hope by which he is animated! How thrilling his vows to be the Lord’s; to devote himself to the glory of him “who hath called him out of darkness into his marvelous light!” How fervent his prayers for the divine grace and blessing! The act is performed. He retires. The scenes of that hour are indelibly engraven upon his soul. They can never be erased. The salutary practical results are as lasting as his earthly existence.

With this scene compare that of the sprinkling of a child. The little innocent, unconscious of all that is passing, is brought forward, bedizened; possibly, with ribbons and lace. Some forms are recited. Questions and answers are read from books. The wet finger of the minister is laid upon the forehead of the child, Startled by the nervous shock, it perhaps shrieks convulsively, and is hurried away from the altar! The spectacle is over. What have you looked upon? A lamentable desecration of an ordinance of Jesus Christ! Who is benefited? Who is impressed? Who is taught? And this is called baptism!

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 18- Infant Baptism is an Evil because it Prevents the Salutary Impression which Baptism was Designed to make upon the Minds both of those who Receive it and those who Witness its Administration

WITH GOOD WILL DOING GOOD SERVICE

EPHESIANS 6:7

THE Holy Spirit does not bid us leave our stations in order to serve the Lord. He does not bid us forego the domestic relations which make us husbands or wives, parents or children, masters or servants; He does not suggest to us to put on a peculiar garb, and seek the seclusion of a hermitage, or the retirement of monastic or conventual life. Nothing of the kind is hinted at, but He bids the servant continue in his or her service — “with good will doing service.” Our great Captain would not have you hope to win the victory by leaving your post. He would have you abide in your trade, calling, or profession, and all the while serve the Lord in it, doing the will of God from the heart in common things. This is the practical beauty of our holy faith, that when it casts the devil out of a man it sends him home to bless his friends by telling them how great things the Lord has done for him. Grace does not transplant the tree, but bids it overshadow the old house at home as before, and bring forth good fruit where it is. Grace does not make us unearthly, though it makes us unworldly. True religion distinguishes us from others, even as our Lord Jesus was separate from sinners, but it does not shut us up or hedge us round about as if we were too good or too tender for the rough usage of everyday life. It does not put us in the salt-box and shut the lid down, but it casts us in among our fellow-men for their good. Grace makes us the servants of God while still we are the servants of men: it enables us to do the business of heaven while we are attending to the business of earth: it sanctifies the common duties of life by showing us how to perform them in the light of heaven. The love of Christ makes the lowliest acts sublime. As the sunlight brightens a landscape and sheds beauty over the commonest scene, so does the presence of the Lord Jesus. The spirit of consecration renders the offices of domestic servitude as sublime as the worship which is presented upon the sea of glass before the eternal throne, by spirits to whom the courts of heaven are their familiar home.

Whether we are servants or masters, whether we are poor or rich, let us take this as our watchword, “As to the Lord, and not to men.” Henceforth may this be the engraving of our seal and the motto of our coat-of-arms; the constant rule of our life, and the sum of our motive. In advocating this gracious aim of our being, let me say that if we are enabled to adopt this motto it will, first of all, influence our work itself; and, secondly, it will elevate our spirit concerning that work. Yet let me add that if the Lord shall really be the all-in-all of our lives, it is after all only what He has a right to expect, and what we are under a thousand obligations to give to Him.

If we do indeed live “as to the Lord,” we must needs live wholly to the Lord. The Lord Jesus is a most engrossing Master. He has said, “No man can serve two masters,” and we shall find it so. He will have everything or nothing. If, indeed, He be our Lord, He must be sole Sovereign, for He will not brook a rival. It comes to pass, then, O Christian, that you are bound to live for Jesus and for Him alone. You must have no co-ordinate or even secondary object or divided aim: if you do divide your heart, your life will be a failure. As no dog can follow two hares at one time, or he will lose both, certainly no man can follow two contrary objects and hope to secure either of them. No, it behooves a servant of Christ to be a concentrated man: his affections should be bound up into one affection, and that affection should not be set on things on the earth, but on things above; his heart must not be divided, or it will be said of him as of those in Hosea,” Their heart is divided; now shall they be found wanting.” The chamber of the heart is far too narrow to accommodate the King of kings and the world, or the flesh, or the devil, at the same time.

In the service of God we should use great care to accomplish our very best, and we should feel a deep anxiety to please Him in all things. There is a trade called paper-staining, in which a man flings colors upon the paper to make common wall decorations, and by rapid processes acres of paper can be speedily finished. Suppose that the paper-stainer should laugh at an eminent artist. Because he had covered such a little space, having been stippling and shading a little tiny piece of his picture by the hour together, such ridicule would itself be ridiculous. Now the world’s way of religion is the paper-stainer’s way, the daubing way; there is plenty of it, and it is quickly done; but God’s way, the narrow way, is a careful matter; there is but little of it, and it costs thought, effort, watchfulness, and care. Yet see how precious is the work of art when it is; done, and how long it lasts, and you will not wonder that a man spends his time upon it: even so true godliness is acceptable with God, and endures for ever, and therefore it well repays the earnest effort of the man of God. The miniature painter has to be very careful of every touch and tint, for a very little may spoil his work; let our life be a miniature painting: “with fear and trembling” let it be wrought out. We are serving the thrice Holy God, who will be had in reverence of them that come near to Him, let us mind what we do. Our blessed Master never made a faulty stroke when He was serving His Father; He never lived a careless hour, nor let drop an idle word. Oh it was a careful life He lived: even the night watches were not without the deep anxieties which poured themselves forth in prayer unto God; and if you and I think that the first thing which comes to hand will do to serve our God with, we make a great mistake, and grossly insult His name. We must have a very low idea of His infinite majesty if we think that we can honor Him by doing His service half-heartedly, or in a slovenly style. No, if you will indeed live “as to the Lord and not unto man,” you must watch each motion of your heart and life, or you will fail in your design.

Our work for Jesus must be the outgrowth of the soil of the heart. Our service must not be performed as a matter of routine: there must be vigor, power, freshness, reality, eagerness, and warmth about it, or it will be good for nothing. No fish ever came upon God’s altar, because it could not come there alive; the Lord wants none of your dead, heartless worship. You know what is meant by putting heart into all that we do; explain it by your lives. A work which is to be accepted of the Lord must be heart-work throughout; not a few thoughts of Christ occasionally, and a few chill words, and a few chance gifts, and a little done by way of by-play, but as the heart beats so must we serve God: it must be our very life. We are not to treat our religion as though it were a sort of off-hand farm which we were willing to keep going but not to make much of, our chief thoughts being engrossed with the home farm of self and the world, with its gains and pleasures. Our Lord will be aut Carsar aut nullus, either ruler or nothing. My Master is a jealous husband: He will not tolerate a stray thought of love elsewhere, and He thinks it scorn that they who call themselves His beloved should love others better than Himself. Such unchastity of heart can never be permitted, let us not dream of it.

What a mean and beggarly thing it is for a man only to do his work well when he is watched. Such oversight is for boys at school and mere hirelings. You never think of watching noble-spirited men. Here is a young apprentice set to copy a picture: his master stands over him and looks over each line, for the young scapegrace will grow careless and spoil his work, or take to his games if he be not well looked after. Did anybody thus dream of supervising Raphael and Michael Angelo to keep them to their work? No, the master artist requires no eye to urge him on. Popes and emperors came to visit the great painters in their studios, but did they paint the better because these grandees gazed upon them? Certainly not; perhaps they did all the worse in the excitement or the worry of the visit. They had regard to something better than the eye of pompous personages. So the true Christian wants no eye of man to watch him. There may be pastors and preachers who are the better for being looked after by bishops and presbyters; but fancy a bishop overseeing the work of Martin Luther, and trying to quicken his zeal; or imagine a presbyter looking after Calvin to keep him sound in the faith. Oh, no; gracious minds outgrow the governance and stimulus which comes of the oversight of mortal man. God’s own Spirit dwells within us, and we serve the Lord from an inward principle, which is not fed from without. There is about a real Christian a prevailing sense that God sees him, and he does not care who else may set his eye upon him; it is enough for him that God is there. He hath small respect to the eye of man, he neither courts nor dreads it. Let the good deed remain in the dark, for God sees it there, and that is enough; or let it be blazoned in the light of day to be pecked at by the censorious, for it little matters who censures since God approves. This is to be a true servant of Christ; to escape from being an eye-servant to men by becoming in the sublimest sense an eye-servant, working ever beneath the eye of God.

Wage? Is that the motive of a Christian? Yes, in the highest sense, for the greatest of the saints, such as Moses, have “had respect unto the recompense of the reward,” and it were like despising the reward which God promises to his people if we had no respect whatever unto it. Respect unto the reward which cometh of God kills the selfishness which is always expecting a reward from men. We can postpone our reward, and we can be content, instead of receiving present praise, to be misunderstood and misrepresented: we can postpone our reward, and we can endure instead thereof to be disappointed in our work, and to labor on without success, or when the reward does come how glorious it will be! An hour with Jesus will make up for a lifetime of persecution! One smile from Him will repay us a thousand times over for all disappointments and discouragements.

Charles H. Spurgeon – Words of Counsel for Christian Workers, ‘With Good Will Doing Good Service’

The Wednesday Word: He Must Increase!

Have you ever felt dissatisfied with your faith? Have you ever thought that if only you had a better quality of faith, then you could be sure of your salvation? This is dangerous thinking.

Why? Because we are never called to have faith in faith. Since when does the Bible say, “Being satisfied with our faith, we have peace with God”? (See Romans 5:1).

Satisfaction with Jesus, His person and work is what is called for. We are never called to be satisfied with our faith but called rather to be occupied with Christ and His objective, outside of us, finished work!

Let’s look further at this.

Gospel faith takes a hold of Christ and His accomplishments on our behalf. Gospel faith releases us to set our affection on things above where Christ is seated in cosmic authority. (Colossians 3:2). Gospel faith takes us out of ourselves and into the Lord Jesus.

The result of gospel faith is satisfaction with Christ and His substitutionary work done on our behalf. Christ is all (Colossians 3:11). Gospel faith sees and rests on this!

If our desire, however, is to be satisfied with our faith, we are evidently dissatisfied with Jesus. We are not thinking as gospel believers. Our thoughts have somehow been re-arranged. By way of contrast, the gospel believer is learning to be dissatisfied with self and to be satisfied with Christ Jesus. He has taken John the Baptist’s words to heart, Do you remember, John the Baptist’s words? Speaking of Jesus, the Baptist said “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30)? As we apply them, we see that for the gospel-focused believer, growth can be explained with these three little words, “He must increase.”

He. The Lord Christ who has conquered, death, sin and the grave.

Must. It is not an alternative

Increase. In our understanding, appreciation thinking and love.

For Him to increase does not mean an increased inward self- occupation with our warm fuzzy subjective experiences, but rather it means enjoying being occupied with the risen and exalted Christ. When He, the risen Christ is increasing, everything else that vies for our attention is decreasing.

Near the pulpit, in an old church in the Highlands of Scotland there is a sign that says, “No man can give at once the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save.” This is just another way of saying, ‘He Must Increase.’ With the Lord’s help, may we all learn to be thrilled with faith’s glorious object, the Lord Jesus.

In summary, faith, no matter how perfect, is nothing in and of itself. Faith, however, points us to Jesus. It commands us to look away from ourselves and look to Christ, the risen, exalted, crucified Lord. Faith agrees that “Christ is all.” (Colossians 3:11). Faith constantly urges us to look to the One who says, “Look unto me” (Isaiah 45:22).

He must Increase!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

But if I be taken and suffer, my cause is like to be clothed with scandals, slanders, reproaches, and all manner of false, and evil speakings; what must I do?

And now for two or three objections:-

Object. 3. But if I be taken and suffer, my cause is like to be clothed with scandals, slanders, reproaches, and all manner of false, and evil speakings; what must I do?

Answ. Saul charged David with rebellion (1 Sam 22:8,13). Amos was charged with conspiring against the king (Amos 7:10). Daniel was charged with despising the king; and so also were the three children (Dan 6:13; 3:12). Jesus Christ himself was accused of perverting the nation, of forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and of saying that himself was Christ a king (Luke 23:2). These things therefore have been. But,

(1.) Canst thou, after a due examination of thyself, say that as to these things thou art innocent and clear? I say, will thy conscience justify thee here? Hast thou made it thy business to give unto God the things that are God’s, and unto Caesar the things that are his, according as God has commanded? If so, matter not what men shall say, nor with what lies and reproaches they slander thee, but for these things count thyself happy. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you – and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely (lying) for my sake (saith Christ). Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matt 5:11,12). Comfort thyself therefore in the innocency of thy soul, and say, I am counted a rebel, and yet am loyal; I am counted a deceiver, and yet am true (1 Sam 24:8-12, 2 Cor 6:8). Also refer thy cause to the day of judgment; for if thou canst rejoice at the thoughts that thou shalt be cleared of all slanders and evil speakings then, that will bear up thy heart as to what thou mayest suffer now. The answer of a good conscience will carry a man through hell to heaven. Count these slanders part of thy sufferings, and those for which God will give thee a reward, because thou art innocent, and for that they are laid upon thee for thy profession’s sake. But if thou be guilty, look to thyself; I am no comforter of such.

John Bunyan- Seasonable Counsel or Advise to Sufferers

We point out what the Lord declared in connection with the sign and seal of this covenant

Arthur PinkIn addition to what has just been said, we would point out what the Lord declared in connection with the sign and seal of this covenant: “the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people: he hath broken my covenant” (Gen. 17:14). Here, then, it is clear that a condition was stipulated, the failure to meet which broke the covenant. Again, in Genesis 18:19 we find God saying, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that [in order that] the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Abraham had to “keep the way of the Lord,” which is defined as “to do justice and judgment”; that is, walk obediently, in subjection to God’s revealed will, if he was to receive the fulfillment of the divine promises. Once more, we read “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Gen. 26:5). Thus, while God dealt with Abraham in pure grace, it is plain that he was also placed under the law.

Some readers are likely to object, This is a wretched subversion of the glorious covenant of grace: by your “conditions,” “terms,” and “provisos” you reduce it to a contingency and uncertainty, instead of its being “ordered in all things and sure. “Our first rejoinder is that we have not introduced the conditions and provisos into the covenant; instead, they are so stated in Scripture. God did not make an absolute grant of Canaan unto Abraham when He first revealed Himself to him in Chaldea. Rather was he required to tread the path of obedience unto that land “which he should after receive for an inheritance.” Nor does God make an absolute (or unconditional) grant of heaven when the sinner first believes in Christ. Instead, He requires him to walk the narrow way which alone leadeth unto life, and faithfully warns him that it is to his imminent peril if he converges therefrom.

It may be replied, But this is to leave all at an uncertainty. It all depends upon the angle from which you view it. Considered as the object of God’s everlasting love, as chosen in Christ, as redeemed by Him, as indwelt and sealed by the Spirit, the believer’s safely reaching heaven is placed beyond all peradventure. But consider the believer as a responsible agent, as still having the “flesh” in him, living in a world where he is beset by temptation on every side, called upon to “fight the good fight of faith” and to “lay hold on eternal life,” and the matter appears in quite another light; and the one viewpoint is just as real and actual as is the other! The difficulty here as to whether or not the believer’s “keeping” or “breaking” the covenant renders all insecure, is precisely the same as showing the consistency between divine preservation and Christian perseverance. Though the “ifs” of John 8:31 and Colossians 1:23 do not annul the promise of Philippians 1:6, nevertheless, they are there, and must be taken into account by us.

From the divine side, the covenant of grace is “ordered in all things and sure.” There is not the slightest possibility of anything in it failing. Christ will “see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied,” and not one of those given to Him by the Father before the foundation of the world will be lost. But that does not alter the fact that while the elect are left here in this world they are bidden to “make their calling and election sure” (2 Pet. 1:10), “if they may apprehend [lay hold of] that for which also they were apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12). The covenant has provided for the communication of effectual grace to secure the saints’ obedience and perseverance; yet that does not alter the fact that God still enforces His righteous claims upon them and deals with them as moral agents who are required to heed His warnings, obey His precepts, and use the means He has appointed for their preservation.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Four-The Abrahamic Covenant

The gospel of Jesus Christ will increase some men’s damnation at the last great day

Spurgeon 3ii. But another. It is a fact that the gospel of Jesus Christ will increase some men’s damnation at the last great day. Again, I startle at myself when I have said it; for it seems too horrible a thought for us to venture to utter-that the gospel of Christ will make hell hotter to some men than it otherwise would have been. Men would all have sunk to hell had it not been for the gospel. The grace of God reclaims “a multitude that no man can number;” it secures a countless army who shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation;” but, at the same time, it does to those who reject it, make their damnation even more dreadful. And let me tell you why.

First, because men sin against greater light; and the light we have is an excellent measure of our guilt. What a Hottentot might do without a crime, would be the greatest sin to me, because I am taught better; and what some even in London might do with impunity-set down, as it might be, as a sin by God, but not so exceeding sinful-would be to me the very height of transgression, because I have from my youth up been tutored to piety. The gospel comes upon men like the light from heaven. What a wanderer must he be who strays in the light! If he who is blind falls into the ditch we can pity him, but if a man, with the light on his eyeballs dashes himself from the precipice and loses his own soul, is not pity out of the question?

How they deserve the deepest hell,

That slight the joys above!

What chains of vengeance must they feel,

Who laugh at sov’reign love!”

It will increase your condemnation, I tell you all, unless you find Jesus Christ to be your Savior, for to have had the light and not to walk by it, shall be the condemnation, the very essence of it. This shall be the virus of the guilt-that the “light came into the world, and the darkness comprehended it not;” for “men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.”

Again: it must increase your condemnation if you oppose the gospel. If God devises a scheme of mercy, and man rises up against it, how great must be his sin? Who shall tell the great guilt incurred by such men as Pilate, Herod, and the Jews? Oh! Who shall picture out, or even faintly sketch, the doom of those who cried “Crucify him! Crucify him!” And who shall tell what place in hell shall be hot enough for the man who slanders God’s minister, who speaks against his people, who hates his truth, who would, if he could, utterly cut off the godly from the land? Ah! God help the infidel! God help the blasphemer! God save his soul: for of all men least would I choose to be that man. Think you, sirs, that God will not take account of what men have said? One man has cursed Christ; he has called him a charlatan Another has declared, (knowing that he spoke a lie) that the gospel was else. A third has proclaimed his licentious maxims, and then has pointed to God’s Word, and said, “There are worse things there!” A fourth has abused God’s ministers and held up their imperfections to ridicule. Think you God shall forget all this at the last day? When his enemies come before him, shall he take them by the hand and say, “The other day thou didst call my servant a dog, and spit on him, and for this I will give thee heaven!” Rather, if the sin has not been cancelled by the blood of Christ, will he not say, “Depart, cursed one, into the hell which thou didst scoff at; leave that heaven which thou didst despise; and learn that though thou saidst there was no God, this right arm shall teach thee eternally the lesson that there is one; for he who discovers it not by my works of benevolence shall learn it by my deeds of vengeance: therefore depart, again, I say!” It shall increase men’s hell that they have opposed God’s truth. Now, is not this a very solemn view of the gospel, that it is indeed to many “a savor of death unto death?”

Charles H. Spurgeon- The Two Effects of the Gospel, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 27, 1855; at Exeter Hall Strand.