Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Divine Sovereignty’

God teaches us the truth that He alone is God by cutting down the pride of man

Spurgeon 3But, lastly, mark how God has cut down the pride of man, and has exalted himself by the persons whom he has called to look. “Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” When the Jew heard Isaiah say that, “Ah!” he exclaimed “you ought to have said, Look unto me, O Jerusalem and be saved. That would have been right. But those Gentile dogs are they to look and be saved?” “Yes,” says God, I will show you, Jews, that though I have given you many privileges, I will exalt others above you, I can do as I will with my own.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Sovereignty and Salvation-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, January 6

God has taught the Church the truth that He alone is God

Spurgeon 3“Surely,” says one, “the church of God does not need to be taught this.” Yes, we answer, she does; for of all beings, those whom God has made the objects of his grace are perhaps the most apt to forget this cardinal truth, that he is God, and that beside him there is none else. How did the church in Canaan forget it, when they bowed before other gods, and therefore he brought against them mighty kings and princes, and afflicted them sore. How did Israel forget it! and he carried them away captive into Babylon. And what Israel did in Canaan, and in Babylon, that we do now. We too, too often forget that he is God, and beside him there is none else. Doth not the Christian know what I mean, when I tell him this great fact? For hath he not done it himself? In certain times prosperity has come upon him, soft gales have blown his bark along, just where his wild will wished to steer; and he has said within himself, “Now I have peace, now I have happiness, now the object I wished for is within my grasp, now I will say, Sit down, my soul, and take thy rest; eat, drink, and be merry; these things will well content thee make thou these thy God, be thou blessed and happy.” But have we not seen our God dash the goblet to the earth, spill the sweet wine, and instead thereof fill it with gall? and as he has given it to us, he has said-”Drink it, drink it: you have thought to find a God on earth, but drain the cup and know its bitterness “When we have drunk it, nauseous the draught was, and we have cried, “Ah! God, I will drink no more from these things; thou art God, and beside thee there is none else.” And ah! how often, too, have we devised schemes for the future, without asking God’s permission? Men have said, like those foolish ones whom James mentioned, “We will do such-and-such things on the morrow, we will buy and sell and get gain.” whereas they knew not what was to be on the morrow, for long ere the morrow came they were unable to buy and sell, death had claimed them, and a small span of earth held all their frame. God teaches his people every day by sickness, by affliction, by depression of spirits, by the forsakings of God, by the loss of the Spirit for a season, by the lackings of the joys of his countenance, that-he is God, and that beside him there is none else. And we must not forget that there are some special servants of God raised up to do great works, who in a peculiar manner have to learn this lesson. Let a man for instance, be called to the great work of preaching the gospel. He is successful; God helps him, thousands wait at his feet, and multitudes hang upon his lips; as truly as that man is a man, he will have a tendency to be exalted above measure, and too much will he begin to look to himself, and too little to his God. Let men speak who know, and what they know let them speak and they will say, “It is true, it is most true.” If God gives us a special mission we generally begin to take some honor and glory to ourselves. But in the review of the eminent saints of God, have you never observed how God has made them feel that he was God, and beside him there was none else; Poor Paul might have thought himself a god; and been puffed up above measure, by reason of the greatness of his revelation, had there not been a thorn in the flesh. But Paul could feel that he was not a god, for he had a thorn in the flesh, and gods could not have thorns in the flesh. Sometimes God teaches the minister by denying him help on special occasions. We come up into our pulpits, and say, “Oh! I wish I could have a good day to-day!” We begin to labor we have been just as earnest in prayer, and just as indefatigable; but it is like a blind horse turning round a mill, or like Samson with Delilah: we shake our vain limbs with vast surprise, “make feeble flight,” and win no victories. We are made to see that the Lord is God, and that beside him there is none else. Very frequently God teaches this to the minister, by leading him to see his own sinful nature. He will have such an insight into his own wicked and abominable heart, that he will feel as he comes up the pulpit stairs, that he does not deserve so much as to sit in his pew, much less to preach to his fellows. Although we feel always joy in the declaration of God’s Word, yet we have known what it is to totter on the pulpit steps, under a sense that the chief of sinners should scarcely be allowed to preach to others. Ah! beloved, I do not think he will be very successful as a minister, who is not taken into the depths and blackness of his own soul, and made to exclaim, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” There is another antidote which God applies in the case of ministers. If he does not deal with them personally, He raises up a host of enemies that it may be seen that he is God, and God alone. An esteemed friend sent me, yesterday, a valuable old MS. of one of George Whitfield’s hymns which was sung on Kennington Common. It was a splendid hymn, thoroughly Whitfieldian all through. It showed that his reliance was wholly on the Lord, and that God was within him. What! will a man subject himself to the calumnies of the multitude, will he toil and work day after day unnecessarily, will he stand up Sabbath after Sabbath, and preach the gospel, and have his name maligned and slandered, if he has not the grace of God in him? For myself, I can say, that were it not that the love of Christ constrained me, this hour might be the last that I should preach, so far as the case of the thing is concerned. “Necessity is laid upon us, yea, woe is unto us if we preach not the gospel.” But that opposition through which God carries his servants, leads them to see at once that he is God, and that there is none else. If every one applauded, if all were gratified, we should think ourselves God; but, when they hiss and hoot, we turn to our God, and cry,

“If on my face, for thy dear name,

Shame and reproach should be,

I’ll hail reproach and welcome shame

If thou’lt remember me.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Sovereignty and Salvation-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, January 6

God has taught empires the truth that He alone is God

Spurgeon 3Mark ye, yet again, how God has taught this truth to empires. Empires have risen up, and have been the gods of the era; their kings and princes have taken to themselves high titles, and have been worshipped by the multitude, But ask the empires whether there is any besides God. Do you not think you hear the boasting soliloquy of Babylon-”I sit as a queen, and am no widow; I shall see no sorrow, I am god, and there is none beside me?” And think ye not now, if ye walk over ruined Babylon, that ye will meet ought save the solemn spirit of the Bible, standing like a prophet grey with age and telling you that there is one God, and that beside him there is none else? Go ye to Babylon, covered with its sand, the sand of its own ruins; stand ye on the mounds of Nineveh, and let the voice come up- ” There is one God, and empires sink before him; there is only one potentate, and the princes and kings of the earth with their dynasties and thrones are shaken by the trampling of his foot.” Go, seat yourselves in the temple of Greece; mark ye there what proud words Alexander once did speak, but now where is he, and where his empire too? Sit on the ruined arches of the bridge of Carthage; or walk ye through the desolated theatres of Rome, and ye will hear a voice in the wild wind amid those ruins-”I am God, and there is none else.” “O city, thou didst call thyself eternal. I have made thee melt away like dew. Thou saidst ‘I sit on seven hills, and I shall last for ever,’ I have made thee crumble, and thou art now a miserable and contemptible place, compared with what thou wast. Thou wast once stone, thou madest thyself marble. I have made thee stone again, and brought thee low.” Oh! how has God taught monarchies and empires that have set themselves up like new kingdoms of heaven, that he is God, and that there is none else!

Charles H. Spurgeon- Sovereignty and Salvation-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, January 6

One example of severing what God has joined together by sacrificing one side or element of the Truth for another is in the doctrines of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility

Arthur PinkThus we must never allow the grand truth of God’s sovereignty to crowd out the fact of human responsibility. The will of the Almighty is indeed invincible, but that does not mean that we are nothing better than inanimate puppets. No, we are moral agents as well as rational creatures, and throughout are dealt with by God as such. “It must needs be that offenses come,” said Christ, but He at once added,

“woe to that man by whom the offense cometh” (Matthew 18:7).

There the two things are joined together: the infallible certainty of the Divine decrees, the culpability and criminality of the human agent. The same inseparable conjunction appears again in that statement concerning the death of Christ:

“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Has the Potter No Right Over the Clay?

jameswhite-02By James White

Numerous biblical passages can be cited that plainly teach the divine truth that God predestines men unto salvation. John 6:35-45, Romans 9:10-24, and 2 Timothy 1:8-10 all teach this truth. But I shall focus first upon the classicus locus, Ephesians 1:3-11, for my initial exegetical defense of this divine truth. As space permits, I will then briefly address Romans 9 and John 6. I invite the interested reader to follow along. I shall use as my base text the Nestle-Aland 27th edition of the Greek New Testament. English translations are my own.

Ephesians 1

Paul begins this tremendous introduction to his letter1 with a word of blessing addressed to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (1:3). All of salvation comes from the Father, its source, and its end. It is the Father who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Immediately we encounter three vital truths: 1) God is the one who has blessed us (we did not bless ourselves); this is seen in recognizing that ho eulogasa refers to the Father specifically; 2) that Paul is not speaking of all mankind here, but specifically of the redeemed, for he uses the personal pronoun hama (us) when speaking of the scope of the blessing of the Father; we will see this is continued throughout the text; and 3) the phrase en Christo (in Christ) or its equivalent in Him, is central to Paul’s thought. All of salvation takes place only “in Christ.”

Verse 4 is central to our subject: “just as He chose us in Him before the creation of the world so that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”2 Again the Father is in view, for He is the one who chose us (hama, accusative, indicating direct object of “to choose”). This choice is exercised only in Christ (there is no salvation outside of the Son). It is vital to recognize the personal aspect of this choice on the part of God the Father. The passage says that we were chosen by God the Father, not that a mere “plan” was chosen, or a “process” put in place. The choice is personal both in its context (in the Son) and in its object (the elect). Next, the time of this choice by the Father is likewise important: before the creation of the world. This is a choice that is timeless. It was made before we were created, and therefore cannot possibly be based upon anything that we ourselves do or “choose.”3 This is sovereignty-free and unlimited.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Long ere creation was begotten, “from everlasting to everlasting,” he was God

Spurgeon 3Look on yon rocks and wonder at their antiquity, for from their summits a thousand ages look down upon us. When this gigantic city was as yet unfounded they were grey with age; when our humanity had not yet breathed the air, ‘tis said that these were ancient things; they are the children of departed ages. With awe we look upon these aged rocks, for they are among nature’s first-born. You discover, embedded in their bowels, the remnants of unknown worlds, of which, the wise may guess, but which, nevertheless, they must fail to know, unless God himself should teach them what hath been before them. You regard the rock with reverence, for you remember what stories it might tell, if it had a voice; of how through igneous and aqueous agency, it has been tortured into the shape it now assumes. Even so is our God pre-eminently ancient. His head and his hair are white like wool, as white as snow, for he is “the ancient of days,” and we are always taught in Scripture to remember, that he is “without beginning of years.” Long ere creation was begotten, “from everlasting to everlasting,” he was God.

Charles H. Spurgeon-God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

The devil can do nothing without God’s permission and consent

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Though the devil is always opposed in will and endeavor to the will of God, he can do nothing without his permission and consent.

17. With regard to the strife and war which Satan is said to wage with God, it must be understood with this qualification, that Satan cannot possibly do anything against the will and consent of God. For we read in the history of Job, that Satan appears in the presence of God to receive his commands, and dares not proceed to execute any enterprise until he is authorized. In the same way, when Ahab was to be deceived, he undertook to be a lying spirit in the mouth of all the prophets; and on being commissioned by the Lord, proceeds to do so. For this reason, also, the spirit which tormented Saul is said to be an evil spirit from the Lord, because he was, as it were, the scourge by which the misdeeds of the wicked king were punished. In another place it is said that the plagues of Egypt were inflicted by God through the instrumentality of wicked angels. In conformity with these particular examples, Paul declares generally that unbelievers are blinded by God, though he had previously described it as the doing of Satan. It is evident, therefore, that Satan is under the power of God, and is so ruled by his authority, that he must yield obedience to it. Moreover, though we say that Satan resists God, and does works at variance with His works, we at the same time maintain that this contrariety and opposition depend on the permission of God. I now speak not of Satan’s will and endeavor, but only of the result. For the disposition of the devil being wicked, he has no inclination whatever to obey the divine will, but, on the contrary, is wholly bent on contumacy and rebellion. This much, therefore, he has of himself, and his own iniquity, that he eagerly, and of set purpose, opposes God, aiming at those things which he deems most contrary to the will of God. But as God holds him bound and fettered by the curb of his power, he executes those things only for which permission has been given him, and thus, however unwilling, obeys his Creator, being forced, whenever he is required, to do Him service.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 14-Henry Beveridge Translation

Letter Three by Mrs. Marjorie Bond

1505 Scotland Street
Calgary, Alberta
December 7, 1959

Dear Dr. Cole:

Since writing my Christmas card to you, I have received your books, “The Heavenly Hope” and “Divine Doctrines”. Thank you very much indeed. I am thoroughly enjoying the magnificent study on the doctrine of God. How it magnifies and exalts Him and restores Him to His rightful position of King of kings and Lord of lords. I have felt for a long time that the Christian church needs a fresh vision of the holiness and majesty of God, and to realize that He is “the high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity”. There is entirely too much spirit of camaraderie in our attitude toward God today.

I wish more of our present-day ministers preached doctrine. It seems to me that church members would be more firmly rooted and grounded in their faith if we had more doctrinal teaching and less “snackbar” preaching!

Apropos of our study on Election, I am still getting repercussions from it from some of my class members. Nothing that I have ever taught has stirred up such interest. I also gave a copy of your pamphlet to our minister; am awaiting his reaction!

We were visiting with some friends from another Baptist church a few weeks ago and something came up about my Bible Class and this teaching on election. Would you believe it— not one person in that room, apart from the members of my own immediate family who were present, had even heard about Election, let alone understood it? And yet they are all good Christian people—not just nominal church members.

We only got into a preliminary discussion of it when we were interrupted. But I could see that it was not at all favourably received! (As you say, we are all Arminians by nature!) One woman and her aged father who had moved away to Arizona about two years ago, are back in Calgary and were present that night. About a week ago, I ran into this woman at the post office in one of our local department stores. She is working there temporarily and as there were people waiting to be served she didn’t have too much time to talk to me. But as I was leaving the wicket, she said, “Oh, Marjorie; I want to have a talk with you some time on that matter that we were discussing at Thelma’s the other night.” For a minute or two, my mind was a complete blank—I couldn’t remember what she was referring to. She smiled and said, “You know, we started a discussion about it”. Suddenly light dawned and I said, eagerly, (this is my favourite subject now) “Oh yes, of course. I’ll be glad to any time you are free.” She nodded and said, “Well, it has set me thinking. I don’t understand it and don’t say that I agree but I want to learn more about it”. So there is another ripple from the stone you cast into the pool!

Dr. Cole, when you are so busy, I do hate to bother you with my questions but I feel that you are so learned in this subject that you are in a better position to help me than anyone else. May I trouble you with one or two further questions:

1. What is meant by making “your calling and election sure”? At first when I was reading #2Pe 1:5-10, in the light of my new knowledge on Election, it seemed to me that Peter spoke as if it were possible to lose one’s salvation. And yet, because I believe in the eternal security of the believer (even more so since I understood Election) I didn’t see how this could be. As I prayed about it, it seemed to me that perhaps what is meant is rather that a person who does what Peter admonishes is less likely to backslide rather than be lost? Do you think that is the meaning of it?

2. Is the “all” of #Ro 11:32 another example of “all” not being used in the absolute? I mean the part where it says “that He might have mercy upon all”. Some people argue that verse as being opposed to Election, saying that if God wanted to have mercy on all, He would not pick and choose people for salvation as the doctrine of election teaches.

3. Also, while we are still in Romans, is it true that even Christians will be judged for everything they have done since they were saved? Not in the sense of punishment for their sins, because Judgment on sin was passed at Calvary. But when the Bible says, “So then we must every one give an account of ourselves to God;” and again, #Ro 2:6 —”who will render to every man according to his deeds”; and #1Co 4:5.

I don’t know why it is, but the thought of having all my sins exposed to view, even though I am not going to be punished for them, robs heaven of considerable joy. I backslid very badly some years ago and although the Lord is dearer to me now than He ever was before, I sometimes feel that nothing can undo the sins of those years. God knows all about them and has forgiven me; why must they be published for all the world to see when I get to heaven?

I thought the passages in Psalms that “as far as the east is from the west so far have I removed thy transgression from thee,” meant that once we were saved God really blotted out our sins and we never had to hear about them again. But there seems to be several passages in the epistles which would lead one to think that, although we will not be punished for our sins in the sense of going to hell, we shall certainly have to account for them. If this is so, it seems to me that no Christian could die really at peace, knowing you had that ahead of you. (Why are we more afraid of man’s opinion than God’s?)

4. My last question has to do with pages 7-9 of your pamphlet “The Heavenly Hope”. I had always understood (prior to my study of Election), both from Scripture and various hymns and sermons that I had heard, that there is danger in delaying salvation; that a person could be cut off from this life before they had accepted Christ and be hurled into a Christless eternity.

But according to the doctrine of Election, no one who is elected for salvation can possibly die without being saved? Isn’t that true? (“All that the Father hath given to me, will come unto me…”) Therefore, anyone whom God has intended to save will be saved and cannot possibly be lost so there is no danger in delaying for them; and the non-elect will not be saved anyway. Isn’t that so?

It seems to me I just get things sorted out in my mind to where I understand them, when I read something that puts me off again!

As I say, I used to believe too that there was danger in delay. All the hymn-writers speak of it etc. But since studying Election, I concluded that I must have been wrong. There is no real urgency, in the sense of it being a life and death matter, because no one can die before he is saved, if God intends him to be saved. Therefore, why do ministers (even those like yourself who believe in Election) urge people to make haste and accept Christ before it is too late? It can never be too late for an elected person, can it? I should appreciate being straightened out on this point.

You will get so you dread to see a letter from me if I always write at such length. But there is so much I need to ask you about and modern ministers, like doctors, are so busy they haven’t time for people any more.

Thank you again for all your help and may God richly bless you in the year ahead.

Sincerely,

Marjorie Bond

 

Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election-Part II-Questions and Answers on Election

Comfortable Gifts

October 27, 2014 1 comment

Spurgeon 1We shall divide God’s gifts into five classes. First, we shall have gifts temporal; second, gifts saving; third, gifts honorable; fourth, gifts useful; and fifth, gifts comfortable. Of all these we shall say, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”

5. Lastly, GIFTS COMFORTABLE are of God. O, what comfortable gifts do some of us enjoy in the ordinances of God’s house, and in a ministry that is profitable. But how many churches have not a ministry of that kind; and why then have we? Because God hath made a difference. Some here have strong faith, and can laugh at impossibilities; we can sing a song in all ill weathers — in the tempest as well as in the calm. But there is another with little faith who is in danger of tumbling down over every straw. We trace eminent faith entirely to God. One is born with a melancholy temperament, and he sees a tempest brewing even in the calm; while another is cheerful, and sees a silver lining to every cloud, however black, and he is a happy man. But why is that? Comfortable gifts come of God. And then observe that we ourselves, differ at times. For a season we may have blessed intercourse with heaven, and be permitted to look within the veil? But anon, these delightful enjoyments are gone. But do we murmur on that account? May he not do as he will with his own ? May he not take back what he has given ? The comforts we possess were his before they were ours.

“And shouldst thou take them all away,
Yet would I not repine,
Before they were possessed by me
They were entirely shine.”

There is no joy of the Spirit — there is no exceeding blessed hope — no strong faith — no burning desire — no close fellowship with Christ, which is not the gift of God, and which we must not trace to him. When I am in darkness and suffer disappointment, I will look up and say, he giveth songs in the night; and when I am made to rejoice, I will say, my mountain shall stand fast for ever. The Lord is a Sovereign Jehovah; and, therefore, prostrate at his feet I lie, and if I perish, I will perish there.

But let me say, brethren, that so far from this doctrine of Divine Sovereignty making you to sit down in sloth, I hope in God it will have a tendency to humble you, and so to lead you to say, “I am unworthy of the least of all thy mercies. I feel that thou hast a right to do with me as thou wilt. If thou dost crush me, a helpless worm, thou wilt not be dishonored; and I have no right to ask thee to have compassion upon me, save this, that I want thy mercy. Lord, if thou wilt, thou art able to pardon, and thou never gavest grace to one that wanted it more. Because I am empty, fill me with the bread of heaven; because I am naked, clothe me with thy robe; because I am dead, give me life.” If you press that plea with all your soul and all your mind, though Jehovah is a Sovereign, he will stretch out his scepter and save, and thou shalt live to worship him in the beauty of holiness, loving and adoring his gracious sovereignty. “He that believeth” is the declaration of Scripture “and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” He that believeth in Christ alone, and is baptized with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, shall be saved, but he who rejecteth Christ and believeth not in him, shall be damned. That is the Sovereign decree and proclamation of heaven — bow to it, acknowledge it, obey it, and God bless you.

Charles H. Spurgeon-Sermon-Divine Sovereignty-Delivered May 4 1856

Gift of Usefulness

October 20, 2014 1 comment

CharlesSpurgeonWe shall divide God’s gifts into five classes. First, we shall have gifts temporal; second, gifts saving; third, gifts honorable; fourth, gifts useful; and fifth, gifts comfortable. Of all these we shall say, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”

4. We notice in the fourth place, the gift of USEFULNESS. I have often done wrong in finding fault with brother ministers for not being useful, I have said you might have been as useful as I have been had you been in earnest. But surely there are others even more earnest, and more efficient: others laboring as constantly, but with far less effect. And, therefore, let me retract my accusation, and in lieu thereof assert that the gift of usefulness is the result of God’s Sovereignty. It is not in man to be useful, but in God to make him useful. We may labor ourselves with all our might, but God alone can make us useful. We can put every stitch of canvass on when the wind blows, but we cannot make the wind blow.

The Sovereignty of God is seen also in the diversity of ministerial gifts. You go to one minister and are fed with plenty of good food: another has not enough to feed a mouse; he has plenty of reproof, but no food for the child of God. Another can comfort the child of God, but he cannot reprove a backslider. He has not strength of mind enough to give those earnest home strokes which are sometimes needed. And what is the reason! God’s Sovereignty. One can wield the sledge hammer but could not heal a broken heart. If he were to attempt it, you would be reminded of an elephant trying to thread a needle. Such a man can reprove, but he cannot apply oil and wine to a bruised conscience. Why? Because God hath not given to him the gift. There is another one who always preaches experimental divinity; and very rarely touches upon doctrine. Another is all doctrine, and cannot preach much about Jesus Christ and him crucified. Why? God hath not given him the gift of doctrine. Another always preaches Jesus — blessed Jesus; men of the Hawker school — and many say, oh! they do not give us experience enough; they do not go into the deep experience of the corruption which vexes the children of God. But we do not blame them for this. You will notice that out of the same man will at one time flow streams of living water, while at another time he will be as dry as possible. On one Sabbath you go away refreshed by the preaching, and the next you get no good. There is Divine Sovereignty in all this, and we must learn to recognize and admire it. I was preaching on one occasion last week to a large crowd of people, and in one part of the sermon the people were very much affected; I felt that the power of God was there; one poor creature absolutely shrieked out because of the wrath of God against sin; but at another time the same words might have been uttered and there might have been the same desire in the minister’s heart, and yet no effect produced. We must trace, I say, Divine Sovereignty in all such cases. We ought to recognize God’s hand in everything. But the present is the most godless generation that ever trod this earth, I verily believe. In our fathers, days there was hardly a shower but they declared that God caused it to fall; and they had prayers for rain, prayers for sunshine, and prayers for harvest; as well when a haystack was on fire, as when a famine desolated the land; our forefathers said, the Lord hath done it. But now our philosophers try to explain everything, and trace all phenomena to second causes. But brethren, let it be ours to ascribe the origin and direction of all things to the Lord, and the Lord alone.

Charles H. Spurgeon-Sermon-Divine Sovereignty-Delivered May 4 1856