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The Wednesday Word: KEPT

“Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last lime.”

l Peter 1: 5.

What is meant by being “kept by the power of God?” There are often great mistakes made on this point. Some teach that this verse tells us that we are:

(1) kept from accidents;

(2) kept from misfortune;

(3) kept from trials;

(4) kept from affliction; and

(5) kept from sin.

But the wording of our text, the facts of Scripture and the experience of the believer do not agree with such conclusions.

I´ve known believers who have been maimed or killed in accidents. I´ve seen believers overcome with misfortunes, trials, and afflictions. Though “kept by the power of God” believers often sin.

“What, then is the use of the power of God?” Let´s look at the text again: “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.” According to the text we are kept by the power of God unto salvation. Our salvation is secured. We are kept securely in Him despite all accidents, misfortunes, trials, afflictions and through all sin. What Power! What Goodness! What Grace!

God is in the keeping business. Jesus said, “Of all Thou hast given me I have lost none” (John 18:9) and “those that you gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost” (Jn 17:12).

God’s keeping means that He preserves us through all the troubles and changes of this mortal life unto eternal glory.

Who more afflicted than Job? But he was kept!

Who was more harassed by his own wicked flesh than David? But he was kept!

Who more tried than Paul?

He was beaten by the Jews five times. But he was kept!

He was beaten with a rod three times. But he was kept!

He was stoned once. But he was kept!

He was shipwrecked three times, spending at least 24 hours afloat at sea. But he was kept!

He often fled for his life under persecution. But he was kept!

He suffered from hunger, thirst, the elements, and inadequate clothing. But he was kept!

On a personal level, I have known many uncomplicated periods free from accident and misfortune in this life. I also have known the opposite. But in all such seasons, I have been kept by the power of God. My salvation has been secure.

Believers are the children of God through Christ (Galatians 3:26). We are inheritors of everlasting life through grace alone. We have been given the Holy Spirit and we will be kept forever (John 14:16-17; 16:12-15; Ephesians 1:13-14).

So, let no one jump to false conclusions. When a saint breaks down and falls, don´t assume that he is not kept unto salvation. Don´t assume that he is a lost cause. If he is the Lord´s, he is kept by the power of God unto salvation.

May we always remember, our salvation is based on Christ´s performance not ours. He is the one who keeps. He is the Shepherd who seeks and saves the lost.

Because of the Gospel we can be assured of the power of God working on our behalf. Sometimes it feels like our faith has keeled over and died but, even so, we are “kept by the power of God.” Our God never changes. He is forever faithful to His word.

May we believe what has been written.

May we always remember that we, His blood washed people, are the objects of God’s eternal kindness, care, protection and keeping.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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The Wednesday Word: The Vital Gift of Faith

The gift of faith is vital for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), yet faith is not our saviour. By faith, we not only acknowledge our debt of sin but also recognize that we don’t have to pay a penny of it.

Spurgeon said it like this, ´´My faith rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in who and what Christ is, in what He has done … ´´

As we grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18) we learn more of the ways of faith.

For example,

We learn that faith is the adopting grace. “We are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3: 26).

Faith is the justifying grace. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1).

Faith is the conquering grace. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” (1 John 5: 4).

Faith is the wonder-working grace. Saints “through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Hebrews 11: 33-34).

Faith is not merely a hope so, it is the way forward when we are stagnant. Faith brings certainty. Faith brings us continually to the Gospel for genuine faith has the Lord Jesus as its object. Though we may be saturated with sin, faith takes us to Christ.

Faith causes us to embrace Jesus.

Faith causes us to cling to Him.

Faith sees that He is our only hope.

Henry Law said it like this,

´´Faith is the eye which sees Him,

the ear which hears Him,

the hand which holds Him,

the feet which follow hard after Him,

the heart which loves Him,

the head which knows Him,

the memory which retains Him,

the affections which are entwined around Him,

the trust which trusts in Him,

the hope which hopes in Him¨.

Indeed, faith is the entire person loving Jesus, looking only unto Him, swallowed up in Him, making Him the All in All.’ (Henry Law, Meditations on the Epistle to the Ephesians.)

There was once a French tightrope walker, Charles Blondin, who did incredible aerial feats. All over Paris, he would do tightrope acts blindfolded and pushing a wheelbarrow. An American promoter read about this and wrote to Blondin, saying, “Sir, I don’t believe you can do it, but I’m willing to make you an offer. For a very substantial sum of money, besides all your travel expenses, I would like to challenge you to do your act over Niagara Falls.”

Blondin wrote back, “Sir, I’d love to attempt this.”

On September 14, 1860 after a lot of promotion many people came to see the event. The tightrope acrobat was to start on the Canadian side and walk to the American side. The Drums rolled, and Blondin set out across the rope which was suspended over the most treacherous part of the falls. As usual, he was blindfolded and pushing a wheelbarrow!! And he made it across easily. The crowds went wild, and he came to the promoter saying, “Well Sir, now do you believe I can do it?”

“Well of course I do. I mean, I just saw you do it.”

“No,” said Blondin, “do you really believe I can do it?”

“Well of course I do, you just did it.”

“No, no, no,” said Blondin, “do you trust that I can do it?”

“Yes,” said the Promoter, “I believe you can do it.”

“Good,” said Blondin, “then get in the wheelbarrow and I´ll take you across.”

What an excellent illustration of faith! Faith, as it were, causes us to get into the wheelbarrow of life embracing Jesus in every situation.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Empty Hand of Faith – Vintage

“Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness . . . For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants.”

—Romans 4:4-5, 16

“That I may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”

—Philippians 3:9

“Faith is chosen by God to be the receiver of salvation, because it does not pretend to create salvation, nor to help in it, but it is content humbly to receive it. Faith is the tongue that begs pardon, the hand which receives it, and the eye which sees it; but it is not the price which buys it. Faith never makes herself her own plea, she rests all her argument upon the blood of Christ. She becomes a good servant to bring the riches of the Lord Jesus to the soul, because she acknowledges whence she drew them, and owns that grace alone entrusted her with them.”

—Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace

The single most amazing truth about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is this: it is all of grace. It is the work of God, not of man. It is the story of a powerful Savior who redeems His people, and He does so completely. It is about a sovereign God, a perfect Savior, and an accomplished redemption.

 

 

 

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Sola Fide: Justification by Faith Alone (Sermon: London Baptist Confession)

Justification by Faith Alone

(The Relation of Faith to Justification)

Dr. Joel R. Beeke

Justification by faith alone was Martin Luther’s great spiritual and theological breakthrough. It did not come easily. He had tried everything from sleeping on hard floors and fasting to climbing a staircase in Rome while kneeling in prayer. Monasteries, disciplines, confessions, masses, absolutions, good works-all proved fruitless. Peace with God eluded him. The thought of the righteousness of God pursued him. He hated the very word “righteousness,” which he believed provided a divine mandate to condemn him.

Light finally dawned for Luther as he meditated on Romans 1:17, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” He saw for the first time that the righteousness Paul had here in mind was not a punitive justice which condemns sinners but a perfect righteousness which God freely grants to sinners on the basis of Christ’s merits, and which sinners receive by faith. Luther saw that the doctrine of justification by grace alone (sola gratia) through faith alone (per solam fidem) because of Christ alone (solus Christus) was the heart of the gospel and became for him “an open door into paradise…. a gate to heaven.”

The phrase “justification by faith alone” was the key which unlocked the Bible for Luther.1 Each of these four words he came to understand in relation to the others by the light of Scripture and the Spirit. Elsewhere this volume deals with three words of Luther’s four-word rediscovery: justification, faith, alone. My task of expounding “by” may appear at first glance to be elementary, but around this deceptively simple preposition the heart of the Romanist-Protestant debate has raged. Let’s ask and answer several pertinent questions with regard to this critical preposition which will serve to highlight the relationship of faith to justification. We will consider the preposition “by” from four perspectives: first, scripturally, by considering the basic teaching of justification by faith, together with exegetical and etymological implications of the preposition; second, theologically, by grappling with the issue of faith as a possible “condition” of justification; third, experientially, by addressing how a sinner appropriates Christ by faith; fourth, polemically, by defending the Protestant View of justification, “by” faith against the views of Roman Catholicism, Arminianism, and Antinomianism.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Justification-Salvation is by Grace Through Faith

April 30, 2015 2 comments

by J.I. Packer

Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” GALATIANS 3:11

The doctrine of justification, the storm center of the Reformation, was a major concern of the apostle Paul. For him it was the heart of the gospel (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-5:21; Gal. 2:15-5:1) shaping both his message (Acts 13:38-39) and his devotion and spiritual life (2 Cor. 5:13-21; Phil. 3:4-14). Though other New Testament writers affirm the same doctrine in substance, the terms in which Protestants have affirmed and defended it for almost five centuries are drawn primarily from Paul.

Justification is a judicial act of God pardoning sinners (wicked and ungodly persons, Rom. 4:5; 3:9-24), accepting them as just, and so putting permanently right their previously estranged relationship with himself. This justifying sentence is God’s gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:15-17), his bestowal of a status of acceptance for Jesus’ sake (2 Cor. 5:21).

God’s justifying judgment seems strange, for pronouncing sinners righteous may appear to be precisely the unjust action on the judge’s part that God’s own law forbade (Deut. 25:1; Prov. 17:15). Yet it is in fact a just judgment, for its basis is the righteousness of Jesus Christ who as “the last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45), our representative head acting on our behalf, obeyed the law that bound us and endured the retribution for lawlessness that was our due and so (to use a medieval technical term) “merited” our justification. So we are justified justly, on the basis of justice done (Rom. 3:25-26) and Christ’s righteousness reckoned to our account (Rom. 5:18-19).

God’s justifying decision is the judgment of the Last Day, declaring where we shall spend eternity, brought forward into the present and pronounced here and now. It is the last judgment that will ever be passed on our destiny; God will never go back on it, however much Satan may appeal against God’s verdict (Zech. 3:1; Rev. 12:10; Rom. 8:33-34). To be justified is to be eternally secure (Rom. 5:1-5; 8:30).

The necessary means, or instrumental cause, of justification is personal faith in Jesus Christ as crucified Savior and risen Lord (Rom. 4:23-25; 10:8-13). This is because the meritorious ground of our justification is entirely in Christ. As we give ourselves in faith to Jesus, Jesus gives us his gift of righteousness, so that in the very act of “closing with Christ,” as older Reformed teachers put it, we receive divine pardon and acceptance which we could not otherwise have (Gal. 2:15-16; 3:24).

 

 

 

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Justification by Faith Alone: Nothing in My Hand I Bring

The Diet of Worms convened on April 18, 1521 to deal with one of the most pressing issues in the Holy Roman Empire: to deliberate what to do with a troublesome monk named Martin Luther. It had only been 3 ½ years since Luther had nailed his 95 theses to the church-door in Wittenburg. In that short time, he had sparked a great controversy within the Roman Catholic Church. Some of the most controversial of Luther’s theses were those in which he asserted that God justifies sinners based upon the merits of Jesus Christ alone and received by faith alone.

Martin Luther vs The Church of Rome

In contrast to Luther, the Roman Catholic Church taught that a sinner’s justification was not based upon another’s righteousness, but that it was based upon the inherent righteousness of the sinner. The Church essentially taught a salvation which was based upon works. And they refused to be corrected by Luther. Therefore, after administering much political pressure on the Emperor, Charles V, a diet was called to determine what to do with this controversial monk named Martin Luther.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.