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The Wednesday Word: Not Ashamed Part 2

October 16, 2019 4 comments

Last time we concluded that, as Christians, we are not ashamed of the Lord Jesus. We are not ashamed of His Virgin Birth. His Miracles, His claims or His silence. Let´s take this a bit further.

We are not ashamed of His scream!

Yes, you read that right, we are not ashamed of His scream! From the cross He screamed the agonising words, “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me.” These were not the words of a man who has suddenly discovered that he was all wrong. These were the anguished words of the One who was dying for us.

At the cross, He hung there as our substitute. He was executed as our representative and reckoned guilty before God. It was as though He tasted the depth of our God forsakenness. Our sins separated Him from His Father. He tasted the God-desertedness that His people´s sins would have caused them at Judgment day.

What He said (His scream) and what he didn´t say (His silence) were both on our account.

As Believers, we are not Ashamed of His Death

Isaiah 53:5, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.” Every aspect of His death was vicarious (substitutionary). He was doing it for us. The sinful shame that we would have felt before God, He felt as He hung there naked on the cross.

“Bearing shame and scoffing rude

Condemned and in my place He stood.

Sealed my acquittal with His blood,

Hallelujah, what a Saviour!”

I´m not ashamed of Him, His Birth, His miracles, His claims, His silence, His scream, His death, His resurrection, His ascension or His intercession.

What about you? Are you ashamed of anything about Him?

I am not ashamed of His Gospel.

Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” But what is the Gospel? There are many who claim to be sent to preach the Gospel, but they don´t know what it is. Their message is a subjective, man-centred message of self-help. But the true Gospel is the perfect work of God in Christ. It´s an event which took place outside of us in history. It is a completed finished work accomplished by the One who is the Gospel incarnate. Indeed, the Gospel is Jesus Himself (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

The Gospel is not about Christ coming into our heart, it is about Christ coming into this world to save His people. In Psalm 89:14-15, we are introduced to the ´joyful sound.´

But what is the joyful sound?

It is that, Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, rose on the third day and was seen of many witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

What is the joyful sound?

It is that because of the Gospel, our judge became our justifier (Romans 3:26).

What is the joyful sound?

It is that because of the Gospel there is full acquittal for us through the blood of Christ (Romans 5:9).

What is the joyful sound?

It is that because of the Gospel the accuser of the brethren is cast down (see Revelation 12:10-11).

What is the joyful sound? It is that the accuser has been routed because of the blood of the lamb (see Revelation 12:10-11).

What is the joyful sound? It is that through the Gospel, those trusting in the merits of Christ and His blood have a verdict in their favour.

VERDICT?

Yes, all charges against us are dropped. Case dismissed, (see Romans 8:33-34).

I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.

We don´t rest on the Plan of Salvation as much as we trust, rest and cling to the Man of Salvation.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XVII- That it make God the Author of Sin

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XVII

That It Makes God the Author of Sin

6. SINFUL ACTS OCCUR ONLY BY DIVINE PERMISSION

The good acts of men then are rendered certain by the positive decree of God, and the sinful acts occur only by His permission. Yet it is more than a bare permission by which the sinful acts occur, for that would leave it uncertain whether or not they would be done. Concerning this subject David S. Clark says: “The most reasonable explanation is that the sinful nature will go to the boundary set by the permission of God; hence God’s bounding of sin renders certain what and how much will come to pass. Satan could go no farther with Job than God permitted; but it is certain that he would go as far as God allowed.” 11 And in accordance with this is the statement of W. D. Smith: “When it is known, certainly, that it will be done unless prevented, and there is a determination not to prevent it, it is rendered as certain as if it were decreed to be done by positive agency. In the one case, the event is rendered certain by agency put forth; and, in the other case, it is rendered equally certain by agency withheld. It is an unchangeable decree in both cases. The sins of Judas, and the crucifixion of the Saviour, were as unchangeably decreed, permissively, as the coming of the Saviour into the world was decreed positively. Prom this you can perceive the consistency of the Confession of Faith with common sense, when it says, that ‘God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably foreordain whatsoever comes to pass,’ etc. You perceive, also, that this is clearly reconcilable with the following sentiment, ‘He is not the author of sin,’ etc.” 12

Augustine expressed a similar thought when he said: “Wherefore those mighty works of God, exquisitely perfect. according to every bent of His will, are such that, in a wonderful and ineffable way, that is not done without the will of God which is even done contrary to His will, because it could not be done at all, unless He permitted it to be done; and yet, He does not permit unwillingly, but willingly. Nor, as the God of goodness, would He permit a thing to be done evilly, unless, as the God of omnipotence, He could work good even out of the evil done.” 13

Even the works of Satan are so controlled and limited that they serve God’s purposes. While Satan eagerly desires the destruction of the wicked and diligently works to bring it about, yet the destruction proceeds from God. It is, in the first place, God who decrees that the wicked shall suffer, and Satan is merely permitted to lay the punishment upon them. The motives which underlie God’s purposes and those which underlie Satan’s are, of course, infinitely different. God willed the destruction of Jerusalem; Satan also desired the same, yet for different reasons. As Augustine tells us, God wills with a good will that which Satan wills with an evil will, — as was the case in the crucifixion of Christ, which was over-ruled for the redemption of the world. Sometimes God uses the wicked wills and passions of men, rather than the good wills of His own servants, to accomplish His purposes. This truth has been very clearly expressed by Dr. Warfield in the following words: “All things find their unity in His eternal plan; and not their unity merely, but their justification as well; even the evil, though retaining its quality as evil and hateful to the holy God, and certain to be dealt with as hateful, yet does not occur apart from His provision or against His will, but appears in the world which He has made only as the instrument by means of which He works the higher good.” 14

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The Wednesday Word- Not Ashamed!

They looked unto Him and were lightened and their faces were not ashamed Psalm 34:5.

We´ve all done things of which we are ashamed. Although we have been forgiven through the blood of Christ, we wish we could go back in time and erase all manner of sins and failures.

However, there are certain things of which we need not be ashamed, mortified or embarrassed.

First, and foremost, we are not ashamed of Jesus. For example,

We are not Ashamed of His Birth.

He was Virgin born. Sceptics through the centuries have railed at this magnificent truth. Even during His lifetime Christ was taunted about His birth. In John 8:41, His enemies mockingly said, “We were not born of fornication.” In other words, they were calling Him a bastard.

But we believe it just the way it was foretold. The angel said to Mary,

” The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee” (Luke 1:35).

It was a miracle act of paternity. The scoffers may not like it, but Yahweh had always signalled His intention to become human. According to the Law, if someone was to be redeemed (bought back) and have their debts paid, they could only be redeemed by a Kinsman (Leviticus 25:47-55). The redeemer had to be related. He had to be a Kinsman Redeemer. Thus, Yahweh announced in Isaiah 43:15 (and other places), that He was the “Gaal,” the Kinsman Redeemer of His people.

This means, every time He refers to Himself as the Gaal, the Lord was prophesying that He would become a man. Consequently, the Virgin Birth present us with no problems.

I am not ashamed of His birth. Are you?

As Believers, we are not Ashamed of His Miracles.

He was a real faith healer. There was no money angle. There was no sham or pretence. In Christ we had an invasion of supernatural reality. Unfortunately, today if you talk about miracles, people think you´re ´away with the fairies. ´ But we Christians believe in His miracles … every single one. We are not embarrassed by them. We don´t feel we have to explain them.

He healed blind eyes.

He raised people from the dead.

He ruined every funeral He ever attended.

I am not ashamed of His miracles … Are you?

As Believers, we are not Ashamed of His Claims.

Jesus claimed the most remarkable things. He claimed,

“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

“Before Abraham was I am” (John 8:58).

“No man comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

Jesus by this last statement claimed to be both intolerant and exclusive.

Why intolerant? Because, He didn´t tolerate any other claiming to be the way to God. He is the Way! But, it wasn´t an unkind intolerance. Parents get intolerant and, because of the dangers, forbid their children from playing in the middle of the street. No one in their right mind would say their intolerance was hateful.

Why exclusive? Because He excludes all other mediators. Buddha is out, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are Out, Mohammed is out. Christ alone is the revelation and truth of God.

Because of love, He is both exclusive and intolerant.

I am not ashamed of His claims. Are you?

As Believers, we are not Ashamed of His Silence.

Jesus stood before His accusers and answered them not a word (Matthew 26:62-63).

Why?

He stood before His accusers much in the same way we would have had to stand before God. As unredeemed sinners we would have had nothing to say before Him (Romans 3:19). \

He stood in silence, but it was not the silence of guilt. No indeed, this silence was prophesied in Isaiah 53:7 “… he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.”

He stood in silence in our place as we would have had to stand before God. He could have defended Himself, but He stood in silence because He was the Substitute.

Are you ashamed of His silence? I´m not!

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XVII- That it make God the Author of Sin

October 9, 2019 2 comments

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XVII

That It Makes God the Author of Sin

5. THE FORCES OF EVIL ARE UNDER GOD’S PERFECT CONTROL

We believe that God actually rules in the affairs of men, that His decrees are absolute, and that they include all events. Consequently we believe that nations and individuals are predestined to all of every kind of good and evil which befalls them. When we get the larger view we see that even the sinful acts of men have their place in the divine plan, and that it is only because of our finite and imperfect nature, which does not comprehend all the relations and connections, that these acts appear to be contrary to that plan. To illustrate this, when we see the sheet music running through the player piano we readily understand how it is used; but if we were to find the same paper apart from the piano and had never seen it used, we might readily conclude that it was only wrapping paper, and poor wrapping paper at that, for it would be full of holes. Yet when it is put in its proper place it produces the most beautiful music. Unless we do believe that God has ordained the whole course of events, and that the courses he has outlined for our individual lives are good ones, we are certain to become discouraged in times of adversity. Like Jacob of old who in the face of the apparent misfortunes immediately before meeting his favorite son, Joseph, concluded, “All these things are against me,” we may become discouraged when perhaps at that very time the Lord is preparing great things for us.

The Scripture doctrine, as stated before, is that God restrains sin within certain limits, that He brings good out of intended evil, and overrules the evil for His own glory. Since God is infinite in power and wisdom, sin could have no existence except by His permission. God was free to create, or not to create; to create this particular world-order, or one entirely different. All evil forces are under His absolute control and could be blotted out of existence in an instant if He so willed. The murderer is kept in life and is indebted to God for the strength to kill his victim, and also for the opportunity. When Jesus said, “Get thee hence, Satan,” Satan immediately went; and when Jesus commanded the evil spirits to hold their peace and come out of the possessed persons, they immediately obeyed. The psalmist expressed his confidence in God’s power to overrule sinners when contemplating their works, he wrote, “He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh; the Lord ‘will have them in derision,” 2: 4. Job said, “The deceived and the deceiver are His,” 12:16; by which he meant that both good and evil men are under God’s providential control.

Unless sin occurs according to the divine purpose and permission of God, it occurs by chance. Evil then becomes an independent and uncontrollable principle and the pagan idea of dualism is introduced into the theory of the universe. The doctrine that there are powers of sin, rebellion, and darkness in the very nature of free agency, which may prove an over-match for divine omnipotence, imperils even the eternal safety and happiness of the saints in glory.

Luther expressed his belief concerning this question in the following words: “What I assert and contend for is this: — that God, where He operates without the grace of His Spirit, works all in all, even in the ungodly; and He alone moves, acts on, and carries along by the motion of His omnipotence, all those things ‘which He alone has created, which motion those things can neither avoid nor change, but of necessity follow and obey, each one according to the measure of power given of God: —thus all things, even the ungodly co-operate with God.” 8 And Zanchius wrote, “We should, therefore, be careful not to give up the omnipotence of God under a pretense of exalting His holiness; He is infinite in both, and therefore neither should be set aside or obscured. To say that God absolutely nills the being and commission of sin, while experience convinces us that sin is acted every day, is to represent the Deity as a weak, impotent being who would fain have things go otherwise than they do, but cannot accomplish His desire.” 9

One of the best of more recent comments is that of E. W. Smith in his admirable little book, “The Creed of Presbyterians.” “Did we believe that so potent and fearful a thing as sin had broken into the original holy order of the universe in defiance of God’s purpose, and is rioting in defiance of His power, we might well surrender ourselves to terror and despair. Unspeakably comforting and strengthening is the Scriptural assurance of our Standards (V:4) that beneath all this wild tossing and lashing of evil purposes and agencies there lies, in mighty and controlling embrace, a Divine purpose that governs them all. Over sin as over all else, God reigns supreme. His sovereign Providence ‘extendeth to the first fall and all other sins of angels and men,’ so that these are as truly parts and developments of His Providence as are the movements of the stars or the activities of unfallen spirits in heaven itself. Having chosen, for reasons most wise and holy though unrevealed to us, to admit sin, He hath joined to this bare permission a ‘most wise and powerful bounding’ of all sin, so that it can never overleap the lines which He has prescribed for its imprisonment, and such an ‘ordering and governing’ of it, as will secure ‘His own holy ends,’ and manifest in the final consummation not only His ‘almighty Power,’ but His ‘unsearchable Wisdom” and His ‘infinite Goodness’” (p. 177).

And Floyd E. Hamilton has written: “God created the human being with the possibility of sinning, and He has the power to interfere at any time to prevent the evil act. Even though He has no purpose to work out in the permission of the act the very permission of the act when He has the power to interfere, places the ultimate responsibility for the act squarely upon God. Moreover, if He has no purpose to work out, then He is certainly reprehensible in not preventing the act! It is attempted to avoid this conclusion by saying that God does not interfere because to do so would be to take away manes freedom. In that case man’s freedom is regarded as of more value than his eternal salvation! But even that does not remove the ultimate responsibility for the permission of the evil act from God; God has the power to prevent the evil act, has no purpose to work out in permitting it, but nevertheless, in order to protect man’s freedom, allows man to bring eternal punishment upon himself! Assuredly that would be a poor kind of a god!” 10

Hence God Himself is ultimately responsible for sin in that He has power to prevent it but does not do so, although the immediate responsibility rests on man alone God is, of course, never the efficient cause in the production of sin. Augustine, Luther and Calvin often stressed this truth of God’s full and sovereign control when proving that the present course of the world is the one which from eternity God planned that it should follow.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The Wednesday Word- Ashamed

Some years ago, an eminent minister of the Gospel lay on his death bed and a friend asked him, “Are you afraid to die?” ” No,” he said, turning his dimming eyes on his questioner. “No, I am not afraid, but I am ashamed!”

These words impacted me. I identified with them entirely. I love and believe the message of grace but when I look at my past life, I cringe. I am ashamed. I am compelled to say with Bishop Beveredge, ‘I cannot but look back upon my whole life but as one continued act of sin! “

I melt when I consider God´s patience and forbearance towards me. How does he put up with me? I´m amazed at the hideous vitality of sin and self that yet lurks within me. I am ashamed.

I have not preached the way I should have preached. I am ashamed

I have wasted opportunities for the Gospel and am ashamed

I see my lack of love and am ashamed.

I see my ingratitude and shortcomings and am ashamed.

I realize my lack of zeal and am ashamed.

I consider my prayer life and am ashamed.

Concerning prayer, I identify with the great John Newton who wrote,

“Often at the mercy-seat,

While calling on Thy name,

Swarms of evil thoughts I meet,

Which fill my soul with shame.

Agitated is my mind,

Like a feather in the air,

Can I thus a blessing find?

My soul, can this be prayer?”

Thank you, brother John Newton! Glad to see I´m not the only one in this boat. In fact, we are a large company. We know God has forgiven us, but we find it hard to forgive ourselves. We look at our failures and feel ashamed.

All fear of death has been taken away by the certainty of eternal life through Jesus; but we are at times keenly aware that, at best, we are unprofitable servants (Luke17:10)! Think of the many times our heart has been cold towards our precious master, friend and Saviour, the Lord Jesus. We have earned the right to be ashamed.

Ashamed of our imperfections,

Ashamed of ourselves.

Ashamed at our start, stop prayer life.

Ashamed at how little of the Word we know.

How we thank our Saviour for grace, mercy and the precious blood.

An awful price has been paid for our ransom. May we be overwhelmed and amazed at the undeserved mercy of God. He has even died for our shame. He has saved and adopted us.

Final thought. The “ashamedness,” we feel can only be felt in this life. In glory we will be like the Lord, we will remember our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12). Shame cannot exist in the presence of God. All the bitter shame and sorrow flee in the brightness and glory of His grace! Psalm 16:11 assures us that “In Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” There’s not an inch of room for “shame” there.

But do some people actually arrive in glory with shame? Perhaps so! We read, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,” (Revelation 21:4). Included in these tears could well be tears of shame. At the end of the day, I don´t know. But this I do know; all memory of unworthiness and sin shall be impossible when we wake in His likeness (Psalm 17:15).

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XVII- That it make God the Author of Sin

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XVII

That It Makes God the Author of Sin

4. THE RESULT OF ADAM’S FALL

But, in spite of all his advantages, Adam deliberately disobeyed, and the threatened sentence of death was executed. This plainly includes more than the dissolution of the body. The word “death” as used in the Scriptures in reference to the effects of sin includes any and every form of evil which is inflicted in punishment of sin. It means primarily spiritual death, or separation from God, which is both temporal and eternal — a loss of His favor in all ways. It meant the opposite of the reward promised, which was blessed and eternal life in Heaven. It meant, therefore, the eternal miseries of hell, together with the fore-tastes of those miseries which are felt in this life. Its nature can be partly seen in the effects of sin which have actually fallen upon the human race. And finally, the nature of the death which fell upon Adam and his descendants can be seen by contrast with the life which the redeemed have with Christ. It was a death which caused sin instead of holiness to become man’s natural element, so that now in his unregenerate nature the gospel and all holy things are repulsive to him. He is as utterly unable to appreciate redemption through faith in Christ, as a dead man is to hear the sounds of this world. That the death threatened was not primarily physical death is shown by the fact that Adam lived many years after the fall, while spiritually he was immediately alienated from God and was cast out of Paradise. In his fallen state man is terrified by any appearance of the supernatural. And even in regard to physical death, that was also in a sense immediately executed; for though our first parents lived many years, they immediately began to grow old. Since the fall, life has become an unceasing march toward the grave. Says Charles Hodge, “In the day in which Adam ate the forbidden fruit he did die. The penalty threatened was not a momentary infliction but permanent subjection to all the evils which flow from the righteous displeasure of God.” 6

Furthermore, the whole Christian world has believed that in the fall, Adam, as the natural and federal head of the race, injured not only himself but all of his posterity, so that, as Dr. Hodge says, “in virtue of the union, federal and natural, between Adam and his posterity, his sin, although not their act, is so imputed to them that it is the judicial ground of the penalty threatened against him coming also on them . . . To impute sin, in Scriptural and theological language, is to impute the guilt of sin. And by guilt is meant not criminality, or moral ill-desert, or demerit, much less moral pollution, but the judicial obligation to satisfy justice,” 7 His sin is laid to their account. Even infants, who have no personal sin of their own, suffer pain and death. Now the Scriptures uniformly represent suffering and death as the wages of sin. It would be unjust for God to execute the penalty on those who are not guilty. Since the penalty falls on infants, they must be guilty; and since they have not personally committed sin, they must be guilty of Adam’s sin. All those who have inherited human nature from Adam were in him as the fruit in the germ, and have, as it were, grown up one person with him. By the fall Adam was entirely and absolutely ruined. The state of original righteousness or holiness in which he was created was lost and its place was taken by an overwhelming state of sin, which was brought about as effectively as one puncture of the eye involves the person in perpetual darkness. The wrath and curse of God rested upon him and he was possessed with a sense of guilt, shame, pollution, degradation, a dread of punishment, and a desire to escape from the presence of God.

In fact, there is a strict parallel between the way in which the guilt of Adam is imputed to us and that in which the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, so that the one illustrates the other, We were cursed through Adam and were redeemed through Christ, although we were of course no more personally guilty of Adam’s sin than we are personally meritorious because of Christ’s righteousness. It is utterly absurd to hold to salvation through Christ unless we also hold to damnation through Adam, for Christianity is based on this representative principle. Unless the race had been cursed through Adam, there would have been no occasion for Christ to have redeemed it. The history of the fall, recorded in a manner at once profound and childlike in the third chapter of Genesis, has, therefore, universal significance. And Calvinism alone does justice to the idea of the organic unity of the human race, and to the profound parallel which Paul draws between the first and the second Adam.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The Wednesday Word- Numbered Hairs

September 25, 2019 2 comments

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30).

A doctor once tried to count the number of hairs on the human head. Taking a fairly hairy head, he found the number of hairs on a square inch of surface to be 1,066. This he estimated would give 127,920 for the whole head, while thicker heads of hair might have 150,000 hairs.

150,000!!!! And these hairs are all numbered!

Who said that?

It was Christ Himself, the God-man. He said, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Notice, He doesn´t say they are counted but numbered. Numbering is something above and beyond counting. Many things are counted, but not all numbered.

The numbering speaks of additional and special care.

Numbering implies a marking.

Numbering suggests a special noting.

Numbering infers a labeling.

The very hairs of our heads have all been numbered.” What immense care He has for His people!

God knows us intimately and minutely. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He has numbered every hair, even though they are of little value and not one of them, like the sparrow, falls to the ground apart from our Father’s will.

One old time preacher said it like this, “Such is the marvelous and inconceivable knowledge of Christ Jesus that, if a hair fell from the head of one of His children and was carried by the winds of heaven across the wide-spreading ocean, the Lord would know to whose head that single hair belonged.”

This is a wonderful truth that warms our hearts when all around us is spiritually cold.

Let´s ask for a moment, what is the source of this numbering? Were our hairs numbered by an angel who was specially trained for the task? No, the numbering is done by our Father in heaven. Of course, there are many who will dispute that statement about our hairs being numbered as being extravagant and extreme. This statement is not to be taken literally they say. But that shouldn´t bother us. It was Jesus who said it and we believe Him. His words are neither false nor exaggerated.

Jesus said it,

That settles it.

I believed it,

That settled me.

May we let the Master´s words encourage us. The Lord really takes meticulous care of His blood bought people.

This truth is further illustrated in the following scripture., “But Zion said, The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet will I not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me” (Isaiah 49 15-16).

Notice the mother and the sucking child. In most cases, the mother will at all costs protect and provide for the baby. How much more will the Lord protect His own children?

Also He says, “I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands.” He doesn´t say he has written us on His hands, that would have been a great thing, but to engrave, to cut our names into His hands! What a symbol of His immense love for His blood bought.

Of course, this language points us to the day when the hands of the young Prince of Glory were nailed to the cross. They were nailed there for the sins of those whose names were carved there.

Whatever our problems – The Lord is with us. The Lord understands and the Lord can help.

As Spurgeon said, “God reckons everything about His people to be so precious that He even takes stock of the hairs of their heads.”

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com