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Specifics of God’s Calling in Salvation: Romans 8:28-30

by Bill Hier

Romans 8:28-30

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

While “and,” at the beginning of v. 28, connects this entire context with what has gone before (as opposed to the negatives regarding those who are not adopted, do not have the Spirit of God, are actively hostile to God, cannot submit to God’s law in Christ, and cannot, at any time, please Him), the subsequent conjunction “for” at the beginning of v. 29 connects it with all preceding and within it, while the connective “and” at the beginning of v. 30 does the same, connecting the three vv. into one seamless whole, which is to say, although the context does not stand alone, it is, in itself, a standalone context, with a complete and comprehensive set of grammatically logical propositions that yield indisputable conclusions. The entire context is regarding the adoption in Christ by those led by and conducting their lives in the power of the Spirit of Christ who indwells them, and applied their adoption in Christ to them; therefore, we submit that this is easily understandable, and so will concentrate on particular aspects of the passage; namely, “called, (according to His purpose)” “foreknew,” “predestined,” “conformed to the image of His Son,” and in v. 30, along with, again, “predestined” and “called,” “justified,” “glorified” and a bit more observations on the additional connectives at the beginnings of v. 29 and v. 30. We will consider, also, the objects of these grammatical elements, as well as the flow of the apostle’s meaning as to what these things intend for both this present age and the age to come.

First, however, as to the audience of these precious doctrines, we assert Paul is speaking, in the primary sense, to the collective saints in Rome as a singular group, as proven by the verb…

 

 

 

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Count the Cost

by Bill Hier

Count The Cost (Are you Christ’s?)

Luke 14:26-27: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”

How often have we been directed to this Scripture and those which are in concord with it, yet have not actually given thought to what our Lord Jesus meant by these words? How many messages have been preached, and how many lessons have been taught, trying to explain away the plain sense of these words of our Lord?

Our dearly departed to glory brother, J.C. Ryle, gives the immediate sense of these words:

This expression must doubtless be interpreted with some qualification. We must never explain any text of Scripture in such a manner as to make it contradict another. Our Lord did not mean us to understand that it is the duty of Christians to hate their relatives. This would have been to contradict the fifth commandment. He only meant that those who follow Him must love Him with a deeper love even than their nearest and dearest connections, or their own lives.—He did not mean that it is an essential part of Christianity to quarrel with our relatives and friends. But He did mean that if the claims of our relatives and the claims of Christ come into collision, the claims of relatives must give way. We must choose rather to displease those we love most upon earth, than to displease Him who died for us on the cross. (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospel, Gospel of Luke, eSword edition).

This is NOT a call to hate our relatives…..

 

 

 

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Grace & Law (What Have These To Do With Us?)

by Bill Hier

Grace & Law (What have these to do with us?)

Romans 6:14: For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

It is greatly to be feared today that a believer – any believer in the free, unmerited grace of God through the payment of our sin, and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to our account and standing before God – may well be unaware that God’s grace and moral law are not antithetical to one another, but rather, stand together as friends. Many who come to know God’s grace in Christ Jesus have a truncated understanding of what part God’s moral law plays in their lives. They suppose that, having died to the law by burial with their Lord and Savior, they now have no part of that law as a part of their lives, although they may well feel some compunction to “live well” before their God. Such a compunction – a rather nebulous yet anxious feeling that they must do what Jesus did (which has its own inherent problems), may be applauded, as far as it goes, yet it does not go far enough, and it goes too far, at one and the same time.

Firstly, it does not go far enough, because the set of rules they might feel compelled, in uneasy manner, to live by, are unnamed. They are assumed through a general reading of Scripture, perhaps, or a general sense of what is right and what is wrong before their fellow saints and those outside the household of God. They are ideals without form, vague, unclear, and so difficult to determine with any degree of certainty. Some take the likes of the Sermon On the Mount as their guideposts, without realizing that what Christ spoke of there had to do with living perfect before God, and any attempt to realize such perfection outside of His own life given to pay for our sins, and lived to give us His righteousness, is doomed to failure. The ideals set forth in that section in the Gospel of Matthew are indeed lofty, and are to act as guides, but by no means to act as guides unto that righteousness before God which we could never attain or keep. They are, when all is said and done…..

 

 

 

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What is Submission?

by Bill Hier

What Is Submission?

(This is a sermon I preached a couple of months ago to our congregation at On The Way Reformed Baptist Church, Oak Hills, CA – I asked input from my brethren on whether I should post it as a blog article, and the consensus was overwhelmingly “yes,” much to my surprise. Here it is, therefore – I pray it is of use to the body catholic, as it was to my brethren as the local covenant community).

Ephesians 5:21: submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

This verse, when exposited, gives us practical implications to better help us in learning how we are to submit to God and one another, and shows that submission takes place in a hierarchy, or a hierarchal order. That order is prevalent throughout Special Revelation (Scripture), and always begins with the creature submitting to the Creator. While the Creator/creature distinction exists, the need to recognize that distinction exists, and it works out, practically, down through the created order.

 

 

 

Read the entire sermon here.

HERMENEUTICS: Analogia Scripturae and Analogia Fidei

By Bill Hier

This is the title of chapter two of CONFESSING THE IMPASSIBLE GOD: The Biblical, Classical, & Confessional Doctrine of Divine Impassibility (CIG). The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the two most necessary hermeneutical principles that are required when doing theology – not only theology proper, as is the concern of CIG, but all theology. As the title states, these are the hermeneutical principles of Analogia Scripturae and Analogia Fidei, which are the Latin phrases for The Analogy of Scripture and The Analogy of the Faith.

Before going forward, defining these most important hermeneutical principles, and stating where they come from, is necessary.

To put it simply, these principles are not formulated and then imposed upon Scripture, but rather, and drawn from the way that the Biblical writers themselves did theology. Thus, they come from Scripture, and so, from God – they are principles of understanding Scripture which the Author of Scripture imbedded in His Special Revelation to us, that we might not make the mistake of pitting Scripture against Scripture, but could rather understand it, and all the doctrines which it teaches us, by a synthesis of the whole.

 

 

 

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Man Is Covenantally Related To God As Creator

By Bill Hier

Those who see any relationship within Scripture, and so creation, between our God and mankind in general, are simply not looking at those relationships given to us (not “suggested” to us) by our God in His special revelation, which is the Scriptures.

From Adam, to Noah, to Abraham and the other Patriarchs, to Moses, to David, one cannot find a relationship which is not predicated and founded in the covenant construct. Indeed, our God is covenantal, and so gives us the paradigm of His relationship with both Israel and our parent of the flesh:

Hosea 6:7: But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.

This is a paradigmatic statement of mankind’s relationships with God throughout Scripture, and since Scripture defines man’s relations with God as they occur within natural revelation, this is a paradigmatic statement of man’s relations with God throughout history.

Going back to the very first relationship of man with God, our God declares, of the nation Israel, that they have broken that covenantal relationship with Him as the father of mankind did. Subsequently, all else that occurs within Scripture, and so natural theology, must be so defined, not because we would have it as such, but because our God declared it as such.

 

 

 

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Confessing The Impassible God: The Biblical, Classical, & Confessional

by Bill Hier

Doctrine of Divine Impassibility[1] – A Review of Section One, Chapter 1

It has been my pleasure, and a great aid to learning this most important doctrine of our great and glorious God, to read through this volume over a period of time. Just the Introduction by Paul Helm is worth obtaining the book, but each section of the book builds upon and is foundational to the next section. It is my opinion that this is the most important theological work to come out within the last fifty years – perhaps longer – as this doctrine has been under attack in evangelical and even Reformed circles recently.

The editors, in the Preface, note the importance of the doctrine under consideration:

The book is structured as follows. The Introduction presses home the importance of the doctrine of divine impassibility. Readers will be challenged to recognize that tinkering with divine impassibility as classically…

 

 

 

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