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The Wednesday Word: Is it Enough to be Created for Him? Part 2

Colossians 1:16

“…all things were created by him, and for him:”

We have been created for Jesus. To absorb ourselves in our self-absorbed plans and dreams is to miss out on our purpose. Oh indeed, men may applaud us, but Heaven’s endorsement will be noticeable only by its absence.

Last time we demonstrated this truth in the story of Jonah. To further illustrate this point, let your mind go back to 1 Kings 17. The Lord had sent Elijah into hiding from wicked King Ahab. But, how would he survive in the wilderness? So, the Lord said to Elijah (and I paraphrase) “Don’t worry a thing about it, I have commanded the ravens to come and feed you.”

This is startling!

Why?

Because the most stingy and greedy birds in the world are ravens. They would rather plunder and pillage than share with anyone. But the Lord spoke to them and they obeyed. It’s as if they said, “Lord we were created by you and we are created for you.”

Then, consider Jesus on the day He entered into Jerusalem (Luke 19). He dispatched the disciples to bring him a little, unbroken donkey. Furthermore, He instructed them to respond to anyone who gave challenge to their right to take the donkey, “The Lord has need of him”. Imagine going up to a stranger’s house and taking a car without permission. But this is the equivalent of what they did and yes, they were challenged as to what they were doing but when they replied, ‘the Lord has need of him’ everything changed. “Oh, the Lord has need of him…that makes everything alright.” It’s as if they said of the donkey, “He was created by the Lord and He is created for the Lord.”

And then remember when Jesus was entering Jerusalem on that donkey. The crowd was calling out their praises but there were those who wanted Jesus to silence them. The Lord’s reply was and is significant. He said that if the crowd refused to praise him the very stones would cry out. It’s as if He said, “These stones were created by me and they are created for me.”

Are you getting the point? All of nature gets it! The wind, the fish, the Ravens, the owners of the donkey and the inanimate stones all get it. They know that all has been created for Him. Have we grasped this yet? We are not independent of Him, we are not some untouched island.

We are created for Him.

We are here to glorify Him.

Let’s quickly take a trip to Heaven and listen in to what they are doing there. Peek in and see the 24 elders before the throne. Listen to what they are saying to Jesus. Their mantra is, “Thou art worthy to receive glory honour and power for thou hast created all things and for thy pleasure they were and are created”

He has created us for Himself and for His pleasure. So, is Jesus enough? Is building your life on Him enough? Perhaps you are saying, “I believe that I am created for Him but how do I put legs on this? How do I start living for Him in all things?”

There’s no law, no 7 steps to take. However, the words of a children’s Hymn are very helpful to answer this question. While not exhaustive, the insight it furnishes is very helpful; it says;

“O what can little hands do

To please the King of Heav’n?

The little hands some work may try

That will some simple need supply:

Such grace to mine be given,

O what can little lips do

To please the King of Heav’n?;

The little lips can praise and pray,

And gentle words of kindness say:

Such grace to mine be given,

O what can little eyes do

To please the King of Heav’n?

The little eyes can upward look,

Can learn to read God’s Holy Book:

Such grace to mine be given,

O what can little hearts do

To please the King of Heav’n?

Young hearts, if he his Spirit send,

Can love their Maker, Saviour, Friend:

Such grace to mine be given.”

As we purpose to set our life apart to the glory of God, He will lead us to the steps He has prepared. We have been created for Him!

Jesus is enough.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XI-Unconditional Election-5-Reprobation

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XI

Unconditional Election

5. REPROBATION

Statement — Comments by Calvin, Luther, and Warfield — Proof from Scripture — Based on the Doctrine of Original Sin — No Injustice is Done to the Non-Elect — State of the Heathens — Purposes of the Decree of Reprobation — Arminians Center Attack on this Doctrine — Under no Obligation to Explain all These Things.

The doctrine of absolute Predestination of course logically holds that some are foreordained to death as truly as others are foreordained to life. The very terms “elect” and “election” imply the terms “non-elect” and “reprobation.” When some are chosen out others are left not chosen. The high privileges and glorious destiny of the former are not shared with the latter. This, too, is of God. We believe that from all eternity God has intended to leave some of Adam’s posterity in their sins, and that the decisive factor in the life of each is to be found only in God’s will. As Mozley has said, the whole race after the fall was “one mass of perdition,” and “it pleased God of His sovereign mercy to rescue some and to leave others where they were; to raise some to glory, giving them such grace as necessarily qualified them for it, and abandon the rest, from whom He withheld such grace, to eternal punishment.”12

The chief difficulty with the doctrine of Election of course arises in regard to the unsaved; and the Scriptures have given us no extended explanation of their state. Since the mission of Jesus in the world was to save the world rather than to judge it, this side of the matter is less dwelt upon.

In all of the Reformed creeds in which the doctrine of Reprobation is dealt with at all it is treated as an essential part of the doctrine of Predestination. The Westminster Confession, after stating the doctrine of election, adds: “The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the inscrutable counsel of His own will, whereby He extendeth or withholdeth mercy as He pleaseth, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.”13

Those who hold the doctrine of Election but deny that of Reprobation can lay but little claim to consistency. To affirm the former while denying the latter makes the decree of predestination an illogical and lop-sided decree. The creed which states the former but denies the latter will resemble a wounded eagle attempting to fly with but one wing. In the interests of a “mild Calvinism” some have been inclined to give up the doctrine of Reprobation, and this term (in itself a very innocent term) has been the entering wedge for harmful attacks upon Calvinism pure and simple. “Mild Calvinism” is synonymous with sickly Calvinism, and sickness, if not cured, is the beginning of the end.

1 Ch. III, sections III-VII.

2 Institutes, Book III, Ch. XXI, sec. I.

3 Pamphlet, Election, p. 10.

4 Warfield, Biblical Doctrines, p. 50.

5 Cunningham, Historical Theology, II, p. 398.

6 Historical Theology, II, p. 467.

7 Theology, p. 230.

8 Quoted by Ness, Antidote Against Arminianism, p. 34.

9 Ch. III:2: XVI:2, 3.

10 Warfield, Biblical Doctrines, art. Predestination, p. 63.

11 Ness, Antidote Against Arminianism, p. 31.

12 The Augustinian Doctrine of Predestination, p. 297.

13 Ch. III: Sec. 7.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The Wednesday Word: Is It Enough To be Created for Him? Part 1

October 10, 2018 2 comments

Colossians 1:16

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

This gripping text (Colossians 1:16) declares that we have been created both by and for Jesus. Although it’s good to know we are created by the Lord and didn’t just crawl out from under some log, it’s even better to know we were created for Him. This is a transforming truth. Think of it, the reason we are alive is not for ourselves but for Him.

God has created us for an immediate purpose which is neither concealed nor obscure—- Purpose?

Yes, our purpose is to live for Christ Jesus (Revelation 4:11).

Of course, we will not see the unfolding of His purpose in its fullness till we meet Him face to face. But in the meantime, it’s a simple arrangement, He died for us … we live for Him.

I’ve discovered that, when we really believe we were created for Him, there are fewer anxieties in our lives. There is less fussing, fewer fights and a reduced amount of pettiness.

We have been created on purpose and that purpose is to live for Jesus.

Remember this, His love was set upon us before the dawn of time (Ephesians 1:4). He created us. He loves us personally and specifically. We all know God is love but it’s much more satisfying to know He loves us in particular.

Do we know that Jesus has created, loved, lived for, died for and has risen again for us? Has this truth gripped us?

That all things are, ‘created for Him,’ is beautifully illustrated in the book of Jonah. There we encounter the fleeing prophet. Poor Jonah, the Lord had told him to preach at Nineveh but he refused and tried to get away. He’s forgotten that he was created for the Lord. Instead, he rose up and fled! Disobedience had made him dumb in both senses of the word. Here’s a prophet who had forgotten good Bible doctrine. He’d forgotten that it is impossible to get away from God. Listen to these words,

“Whither shall I go from thy Spirit or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea even there shall thy hand lead me.” Psalm 139: 7-12

Jonah had risen up to flee from the presence and purpose of the Lord. There he is trying to get away from the omnipresent God in a puny little ship that, at best, limped from port to port. Look at it as it makes its weary way across the sea. So the Lord sent a great wind into the sea. It’s as if God said to the wind, “Wind, I’ve got a disobedient prophet out on the water; go out there and blow Him home to me.

And the wind said, “Yes Lord, I was created by you and I am created for you, do with me according to Thy good pleasure”.

Of course, you know the story, how the wind nearly sank the ship and Jonah volunteered to be thrown overboard to quell the storm. Thus the storm was stopped but Jonah is now in the “Sea of No Hope and Fewer Prospects!” So the Lord prepared a big fish and said, “Listen to me fish, I have a disobedient prophet out there and I want you to swallow him but don’t chew him up. Don’t eat him. Hold him like he’s in hell and after three days vomit him up on the shore”. And I think I hear the fish say, “Lord I was created by you and I am created for you. Your wish is my command.”

What immense joy comes from knowing we are created for Him.

Next time (DV) we will continue this thought.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XI-Unconditional Election-4-Faith and Good Works are the Fruits and Proof, Not the Basis, of Election

October 10, 2018 1 comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XI

Unconditional Election

4. FAITH AND GOOD WORKS ARE THE FRUITS AND PROOF, NOT THE BASIS, OF ELECTION

Neither predestination in general, nor the election of those who are to be saved, is based on God’s foresight of any action in the creature. This tenet of the Reformed Faith has been well stated in the Westminster Confession, where we read: “Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions; yet hath He not decreed any thing because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.” And again, “These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith; and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto; that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.

“Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and to do of His good pleasure; yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.” 9

Foreseen faith and good works, then, are never to be looked upon as the cause of the Divine election. They are rather its fruits and proof. They show that the person has been chosen and regenerated. To make them the basis of election involves us again in a covenant of works, and places God’s purposes in time rather than in eternity. This would not be pre-destination but post-destination, an inversion of the Scripture account which makes faith and holiness to be the consequents, and not the antecedents, of election (Eph_1:4; Joh_15:16; Tit_3:5). The statement that we were chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world,” excludes any consideration of merit in us; for the Hebrew idiom, “before the foundation of the world,” means that the thing was done in eternity. And when to Paul’s statement that it is “not of works, but of Him that calleth,” the Arminian replies that it is of future works, he flatly contradicts the apostle’s own words.

That the decree of election was in any way based on foreknowledge is refuted by Paul when he says that its purpose was “that we should be holy,” Eph_1:4. He insists that salvation is “not of works, that no man should glory.” In 2Ti_1:9 we read that it is God “who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal.” Calvinists therefore hold that election precedes, and is not based upon, any good works which the person does. The very essence of the doctrine is that in redemption God is moved by no consideration of merit or goodness in the objects of His saving mercy. “That it is not of him that runs, nor of him that wills, but of God who shows mercy, that the sinner obtains salvation, is the steadfast witnesses of the whole body of Scripture, urged with such reiteration and in such varied connections as exclude the possibility that there may lurk behind the act of election consideration of foreseen characters or acts or circumstances – all of which appear as results of election.” 10

Foreordination in general cannot rest on foreknowledge; for only that which is certain can be foreknown, and only that which is predetermined can be certain. The Almighty and all-sovereign Ruler of the universe does not govern Himself on the basis of a foreknowledge of things which might haply come to pass. Through the Scriptures the divine foreknowledge is ever thought of as dependent on the divine purpose, and God foreknows only because He has pre-determined. His foreknowledge is but a transcript of His will as to what shall come to pass in the future, and the course which the world takes under His providential control is but the execution of His all-embracing plan. His foreknowledge of what is yet to be, whether it be in regard to the world as a whole or in regard to the, detailed life of every individual, rests upon His pre-arranged plan (Jer_1:5; Psa_139:14-16; Job_23:13, Job_23:14; Job_28:26, Job_28:27; Amo_3:7).

There is, however, one Scripture passage which is often pointed out as teaching that election or even fore-ordination in general is based on foreknowledge, and we shall now give our attention to it. In Rom_8:29, Rom_8:30 we read: “For whom He foreknew, He also foreordained to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren; and whom He foreordained, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” The word “know” is sometimes used in a sense other than that of having merely an intellectual perception of the thing mentioned. It occasionally means that the persons so “known” are the special and peculiar objects of God’s favor, as when it was said of the Jews, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth,” Amo_3:2. Paul wrote, “If any man loveth God, the same is known of Him,” 1Co_8:3. Jesus is said to “know” His sheep, Joh_10:14, Joh_10:27; and to the wicked He is to say, “I never knew you,” Mat_7:23. In the first Psalm we read, “Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked shall perish.”

In all of these passages more than a mental recognition is involved, for God has that of the wicked as well as of the righteous. It is a knowing which has as its objects the elect only, and it is connected with, or is rather the same as love, favor, and approbation. Those in Rom_8:29 are foreknown in the sense that they are fore-appointed to be the special objects of His favor. This is shown more plainly in Rom_11:2-5, where we read, “God did not cast off His people whom He foreknew.” A comparison is made with the time of Elijah when God “left for Himself” seven thousand who did not bow the knee to Baal. And then in the fifth verse he adds, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” Those who were foreknown in verse two and those who are of the election of grace are the same people; hence they were foreknown in the sense that they were fore-appointed to be the objects of His gracious purposes. Notice especially that Rom_8:29 does not say that they were foreknown as doers of good works, but that they were foreknown as individuals to whom God would extend the grace of election. And let it be noticed further that if Paul had here used the term “foreknow” in the sense that election was based on mere foreknowledge, it would have contradicted his statement elsewhere that it is according to the good pleasure of God.

The Arminian view takes election out of the hands of God and puts it into the hands of man. This makes the purposes of Almighty God to be conditioned by the precarious wills of apostate men and makes temporal events to be the cause of His eternal acts. It means further that He has created a set of sovereign beings upon whom to a certain extent His will and actions are dependent. It represents God as a good old father who endeavors to get his children to do right, but who is usually defeated because of their perverse wills; nay, it represents Him as having evolved a plan which through the ages has been so generally defeated that it has sent innumerably more persons to hell than to heaven. A doctrine which leads to such absurdities is not only un-Scriptural but unreasonable and dishonoring to God. In contrast to all this, Calvinism offers us a great God who is infinite in His perfections, who dispenses mercy and justice as He sees best, and who actually rules in the affairs of men.

The Scriptures and Christian experience teach us that the very faith and repentance through which we are saved are themselves the gifts of God. “By grace have ye been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,” Eph_2:8. The Christians in Achaia had “believed through grace,” Act_18:27. A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved. Even the beginning of faith, the disposition to seek salvation, is itself a work of grace and the gift of God. Paul often says that we are saved “through” faith (that is, as the instrumental cause), but never once does he say that we are saved “on account of” faith (that is, as the meritorious cause). And to the same effect we may say that the redeemed shall be rewarded in proportion to their good works, but not on account of them. And in accordance with this, Augustine says that “The elect of God are chosen by Him to be His children, in order that they might be made to believe, not because He foresaw that they would believe.”

Repentance is equally declared to be a gift. “Then to the Gentiles also hath God granted repentance unto life,” Act_11:18. “Him did God exalt with His right hand to be a Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins,” Act_5:31. Paul rebuked those who did not realize that it was the goodness of God which led them to repentance, Rom_2:4. Jeremiah cried, “Turn thou me and I shall be turned; for thou art Jehovah my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed,” Jer_31:18, Jer_31:19. What, for instance, had the infant John the Baptist to do with his being “filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb?” Luk_1:15. Jesus told His disciples that to them it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but that to others it was not given (Mat_13:11). To base election on foreseen faith is to say that we are ordained to eternal life because we believe, whereas the Scriptures declare the contrary: “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed,” Act_13:48.

Our salvation is “not by works done in righteousness which we did ourselves. but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” Tit_3:5. We are encouraged to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who worketh in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. And just because God is working in us, we strive to develop and to work out our own salvation (Phi_2:12, Phi_2:13). The Psalmist tells us that the Lord’s people offer themselves willingly in the day of His power (110:3). Hence conversion is a peculiar and sovereign gift of God. The sinner has no power to turn himself unto God, but is turned or renewed by divine grace before he can do anything spiritually good. In accordance with this Paul teaches that love, joy, peace, goodness, faithfulness. self-control, etc., are not the meritorious basis of salvation, but rather “the fruits of the Spirit,” Gal_5:22, Gal_5:23. Paul himself was chosen that he might know and do the will of God, not because it was foreseen that he would do it, Act_22:14, Act_22:15. Augustine tells us that, “The grace of God does not find men fit to be elected, but makes them so”; and again, “The nature of the Divine goodness is not only to open to those that knock, but also to cause them to knock and ask.” Luther expressed the same truth when he said, “God alone by His Spirit works in us the merit and reward.” John tells us that, “We love because He first loved us,” 1 Joh_4:19. These passages unmistakably teach that faith and good works are the fruits of God’s work in us. We were not chosen because we were good, but in order that we might become good.

But while good works are not the ground of salvation, they are absolutely essential to it as its fruits and evidences. They are produced by faith as naturally as grapes are produced by the grape vine. And while they do not make us righteous before God, yet they are so united with faith that true faith cannot be found without them. Nor can good works, in the strict sense, be found anywhere without faith. Our salvation is not “of works,” but “for good works,” Eph_2:9, Eph_2:10; and the genuinely saved Christian will feel himself in his natural element only when producing good works, James points out that a man’s faith is spurious if it does not issue in good works. This is the same principle which Jesus set forth when He declared that the character of a tree is shown by its fruits, and that a good tree could not bear evil fruits. Good works are as natural for the Christian as is breathing; he does not breathe to get life; he breathes because he has life, and for that reason cannot help breathing. Good works are his glory; hence Jesus says, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify (not you, but) your Father who is in heaven,” to whom the credit is really due.

The Calvinistic view is the only logical one if we accept the Scriptural declaration that salvation is by grace. Any other involves us in a hopeless chaos of views which are contradictory to the Scriptures. There are, of course, mysteries connected with this view; and it is certainly not the view which the natural man would have hit upon if he had been called upon to suggest a plan. But to throw overboard the Scripture doctrine of Predestination simply because it does not fit in with our prejudices and preconceived notions is to act foolishly. To do this is to arraign the Creator at the bar of human reason, to deny the wisdom and righteousness of His dealings just because we cannot fathom them, and then to declare His revelation to be false and deceptive.

“It is a dangerous presumption for men to take upon themselves, with unwashed hands, to unriddle the deep mysteries of God with their carnal reason, where the great apostle stands at the gaze, crying, ‘O the depth, how unsearchable’ and, ‘Who knoweth the mind of the Lord!’ Had Paul been of the Arminian persuasion he would have answered, ‘Those are elected that are foreseen to believe and persevere!'”11 There would have been no mystery at all if salvation had been based on their good works.

Here we have a system in which all boasting is excluded, and in which salvation in all of its parts is seen to be the product of unalloyed grace, not founded on, but issuing in, good works.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The Wednesday Word: The Unsearchable Riches of Christ

Ephesians 3:8 ‘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.

The unsearchable riches of Christ were the thrust of the apostolic message and should be our focus today (Ephesians 3:8). The preacher’s main pulpit subject is not to be politics, nor morality but the preaching of the unsearchable riches of Christ.

‘Unsearchable’… what a mystifying term. It takes us to the treasure-house of God’s grace and shows us that the riches of Christ are,

Inexhaustible, they are like having a bank account that no matter how much we spend we can never empty. These riches are,

Unfathomable, they are like a bottomless ocean of limitless reserves. These riches are both,

Unexplorable, and Indescribable. Just when we think we have arrived, these riches keep showing us that there is more beyond. They are dynamic and ongoing.

We are to declare primarily and essentially, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is the subject of, ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ.’

We preach doctrine, but our doctrines are to be clothed with Christ. We preach Election but our election is not separated from Christ (Ephesians 1:3-4). We preach assurance, but our assurance is not in ourselves, but in Christ (Ephesians 3:12, 2 Timothy 1:12). We preach reconciliation unto God, but reconciliation is only in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18). We preach redemption but not without Christ (Romans 3:23-24). We preach the One true living God but not without the revelation of Christ Jesus, God manifest in the flesh (John 1:18; John 14:9).

As Spurgeon says, ‘The doctrines of the Gospel are a golden throne upon which Jesus sits as King—not a hard, cold stone rolled at the door of the sepulcher in which Christ is hidden.‘

The able minister of the New Covenant preaches Christ crucified (Romans 15:16, 25).

Spurgeon again tells us the following story. A young man had been preaching in the presence of a highly respected older minister, and after he had done, went to the old gentleman, and said, “What do you think of my sermon?”

“A very poor sermon indeed,” was the reply.

“A poor sermon?” said the young man, “it took me a long time to study it.”

“Aye, no doubt.”

“Did you not think my explanation of the text a very good one?”

“Oh, yes,” said the old preacher, “very good indeed.”

“Well, then, why do you say it is a poor sermon? Didn’t you think the metaphors were appropriate and the arguments conclusive?”

“Yes, they were very good as far as that goes, but still it was a very poor sermon.”

“Will you tell me why you think it a poor sermon?”

“Because,” said he, “there was no Christ in it.”

“Well,” said the young man, “Christ was not in the text; we are not to be preaching Christ always, we must preach what is in the text.”

So the old man said,

“Don’t you know young man that from every town and every village, and every little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London?”

“Yes,” said the young man.

“Ah!” said the old divine “and so from every text in Scripture, there is a road to the metropolis of the Scriptures, that is Christ. And my dear brother, your business is when you get to a text, to say, ‘Now what is the road to Christ?’ and then preach a sermon, running along the road towards the great metropolis—Christ. “And,” said he, “I have never yet found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it, and if I ever do find one that has not a road to Christ in it, I will make one; I will go over hedge and ditch to get to my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there is a savor of Christ in it.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

http://www.milesmckee.com

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XI-Unconditional Election-3-Proof from Reason

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XI

Unconditional Election

3. PROOF FROM REASON

If the doctrine of Total Inability or Original Sin be admitted, the doctrine of unconditional Election follows by the most inescapable logic. If, as the Scriptures and experience tell us, all men are by nature in a state of guilt and depravity from which they are wholly unable to deliver themselves and have no claim whatever on God for deliverance, it follows that if any are saved God must choose out those who shall be the objects of His grace. His love for fallen men expressed itself in the choice of an innumerable multitude of them for salvation, and in the provision of a redeemer, who, acting as their federal head and representative, assumed their guilt, paid their penalty, and earned their salvation. It is always to the love of God that the Scriptures ascribe the elective decree, and they are never weary of raising our eyes from the decree itself to the motive which lay behind it. The doctrine that men are saved only through the unmerited love and grace of God finds its full and honest expression only in the doctrines of Calvinism.

Through the election of individuals the truly gracious character of salvation is most clearly shown. Those who declare that salvation is entirely by the grace of God, and yet deny the doctrine of election, hold an inconsistent position. The inspired writers leave no means unused to drive home the fact that God’s election of men is an absolutely sovereign one, founded solely upon His unmerited love, and designed to exhibit before men and angels His grace and saving mercy.

As Ruler and Judge, God is at liberty to deal with a world of sinners according to His own good pleasure. He can rightfully pardon some and condemn others; can rightfully give His saving grace to one and not to another. Since all have sinned and come short of His glory, He is free to have mercy on whom He will have mercy. It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God who showeth mercy; and the reason why any are saved, and why one rather than another is saved, is to be found alone in the good pleasure of Him who ordereth all things after the counsel of His own will. It is for this reason that before God created the world He chose all those to whom He would freely give the inheritance of eternal blessedness, and the Biblical writers take special pains to give each individual believer in all the enormous multitude of the saved the assurance that from all eternity he has been the peculiar object of the divine choice, and is only now fulfilling the high destiny designed for him from the foundation of the world.

This doctrine of eternal and unconditional election has sometimes been called the “heart” of the Reformed Faith. It emphasizes the sovereignty and grace of God in salvation, while the Arminian view emphasizes the work of faith and obedience in the man who decides to accept the offered grace. In the Calvinistic system it is God alone who chooses those who are to be the heirs of heaven, those with whom He will share His riches in glory; while in the Arminian system it is, in the ultimate analysis, man who determines this, — a principle somewhat lacking in humility to say the least.

It may be asked, Why does God save some and not others? But that belongs to His secret counsels. Precisely why this man receives, and that man does not receive, when neither deserves to receive, we are not told. That God was pleased to set upon us in this His electing grace must ever remain for us a matter of adoring wonder. Certainly there was nothing in us, whether of quality or deed, which could attract His favorable notice or make Him partial to us; for we were dead in trespasses and sins and children of wrath even as others (Eph_2:1-3). We can only admire, and wonder, and exclaim with Paul, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past tracing out!” The marvel of marvels is not that God, in His infinite love and justice, has not elected all of this guilty race to be saved, but that He has elected any. When we consider, on the one hand, what a heinous thing sin is, together with its desert of punishment, and on the other, what holiness is, together with God’s perfect hatred for sin, the marvel is that God could get the consent of His holy nature to save a single sinner. Furthermore, the reason that God did not choose all to eternal life was not because He did not wish to save all, but that for reasons which we cannot fully explain a universal choice would have been inconsistent with His perfect righteousness.

Nor may any one object that this view represents God an acting arbitrarily and without reason. To assert that is to assert more than any man knows. His reasons for saving particular ones while passing others by have not been revealed to us. “He doeth according to His will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth,” Dan_4:35. Some are foreordained as sons, “according to the good pleasure of His will,” Eph_1:5; but that does not mean that He has no reasons for choosing one and leaving another. When a regiment is decimated for insubordination, the fact that every tenth man is chosen for death is for reasons; but the reasons are not in the men.

Undoubtedly God has the best of reasons for choosing one and rejecting another, although He has not told what they are.

“May not the Sov’reign Lord on high
Dispense His favors as He will;
Choose some to life, while others die,
And yet be just and gracious still?

Shall man reply against the Lord,
And call his Maker’s ways unjust?
The thunder whose dread word
Can crush a thousand worlds to dust.

But, O my soul, if truths so bright
Should dazzle and confound thy sight,
‘Yet still His written will obey,
And wait the great decisive day!”
8

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The Covenants-Chapter 3b-2-The Covenant of Eden

September 28, 2018 Leave a comment

And now, what were some of these truths, may we not say great gospel-truths — which holy men of primitive times, learned from the covenant of Eden, and upon which their faith rested?

2. They were further instructed by this covenant, that Messiah was to accomplish the work of redemption through suffering. To Satan Jehovah said, “Thou shalt bruise his heel.” And in all parts of the word of God, but especially in the New Testament, this great truth is perpetually kept before our eyes. “It became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb 2:10, 14). And again. “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations” (Luke 14:46-47).

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants