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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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God Exists Outside of Creation

by Bill Hier

Our Title is somewhat misleading, but this will become apparent within the context of our article (note that the article is from the manuscript of a sermon that was preached at our church).

Note also, these articles from sermons are largely based in what I have learned by reading various classical works regarding Classical Theism, as well as various contemporary works treating of this most foundational doctrine. Of all these works, the one I recommend to our readers of this blog would be Confessing the Impassible God: The Biblical, Classical, & Confessional Doctrine of Divine Impassibility, available here: (Reformed Baptist Academic Press) – to my mind, this is at least the most important theological book to come out in the last 50 years, if not longer.


 

-God as a part of creation is seen in various man-made religions:

Pantheism – God is synonymous with the creation

Panentheism – The Creation is God becoming or manifesting Himself

Panentheism differentiates itself from pantheism, which holds that the divine is synonymous with the universe. In panentheism, the universe in the first formulation is practically the whole itself. In the second formulation, the universe and the divine are not ontologically equivalent. In panentheism, God is viewed as the eternal animating force behind the universe. Some versions suggest that the universe is nothing more than the manifest part of God. In some forms of panentheism, the cosmos exists within God, who in turn “transcends”, “pervades” or is “in” the cosmos. While pantheism asserts that ‘All is God’, panentheism goes further to claim that God is greater than the universe. In addition, some forms indicate that the universe is contained within God, like in the concept of Tzimtzum. Much Hindu thought is highly characterized by panentheism and pantheism. Hasidic Judaism merges the elite ideal of nullification to paradoxical transcendent Divine Panentheism, through intellectual articulation of inner dimensions of Kabbalah, with the populist emphasis on the panentheistic Divine immanence in everything and deeds of kindness (This definition was taken from online, however, I did not record the source – I had thought it was Wikepedia, but I could not again find it).

Deism holds God is outside of creation, and does not now interact with it; agnosticism holds we cannot know God, while atheism holds God does not exist.

 

 

 

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Does God Change?

By Bill Hier

It is of note, and the most great importance, to observe that none of the Reformers or Puritans conceived of God as having to “take on covenantal/relational properties” which were in addition to His “essential essence.” Such thoughts of God as He is, and in how He defines His being and existence in His Scripture, were not only unknown to the orthodox of the church in all ages, but especially unknown to the orthodox of the church in that most orthodox time of theological exposition of the Scriptures by very learned men of God, the Reformation and post-Reformation Scholastic period.

They dealt with those who posited God as being able to experience emotions as the consequence of His relating to men, and classified them as heretics (primarily the Socinians, among others).

 

 

 

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Fruits Keeping With Repentance

December 30, 2015 Leave a comment

By Bill Hier

Luke 3:8-9: Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Which of you has not “born fruit” that is not “in keeping with repentance?”

I daresay, if that is you, you have not “tasted, and seen that the Lord, He is Good.”

For who has kept this way, that has fully encompassed that which is “in keeping with repentance?”

You? Oh do not be so deluded, my brethren, my flesh of the flesh. “God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham,” and are you those stones, more righteous…

 

 

 

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