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Whether each believer has his own single angel cannot be concluded from scripture

April 29, 2015 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015A kind of prefects over kingdoms and provinces, but specially the guardians of the elect. Not certain that every believer is under the charge of a single angel. Enough, that all angels watch over the safety of the Church.

7. Whether or not each believer has a single angel assigned to him for his defense, I dare not positively affirm. When Daniel introduces the angel of the Persian and the angel of the Greeks, he undoubtedly intimates that certain angels are appointed as a kind of presidents over kingdoms and provinces. Again, when Christ says that the angels of children always behold the face of his Father, he insinuates that there are certain angels to whom their safety has been entrusted. But I know not if it can be inferred from this, that each believer has his own angel. This, indeed, I hold for certain, that each of us is cared for, not by one angel merely, but that all with one consent watch for our safety. For it is said of all the angels collectively, that they rejoice “over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance.” It is also said, that the angels (meaning more than one) carried the soul of Lazarus into Abraham’s bosom. Nor was it to no purpose that Elisha showed his servant the many chariots of fire which were specially allotted him.

There is one passage which seems to intimate somewhat more clearly that each individual has a separate angel. When Peter, after his deliverance from prison, knocked at the door of the house where the brethren were assembled, being unable to think it could be himself, they said that it was his angel. This idea seems to have been suggested to them by a common belief that every believer has a single angel assigned to him. Here, however, it may be alleged, that there is nothing to prevent us from understanding it of any one of the angels to whom the Lord might have given the charge of Peter at that particular time, without implying that he was to be his, perpetual guardian, according to the vulgar imagination, (see Calvin on Mark 5:9,) that two angels a good and a bad, as a kind of genii, are assigned to each individual. After all, it is not worthwhile anxiously to investigate a point which does not greatly concern us. If any one does not think it enough to know that all the orders of the heavenly host are perpetually watching for his safety, I do not see what he could gain by knowing that he has one angel as a special guardian. Those, again, who limit the care which God takes of each of us to a single angel, do great injury to themselves and to all the members of the Church, as if there were no value in those promises of auxiliary troops, who on every side encircling and defending us, embolden us to fight more manfully.

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

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CHAPTER I-IX

HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MARTYRS TO THE FIRST GENERAL PERSECUTIONS UNDER NERO

IX. Peter

Among many other saints, the blessed apostle Peter was condemned to death, and crucified, as some do write, at Rome; albeit some others, and not without cause, do doubt thereof. Hegesippus saith that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said “Lord, whither dost Thou go?” To whom He answered and said, “I am come again to be crucified.” By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

CHAPTER I-VII

HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MARTYRS TO THE FIRST GENERAL PERSECUTIONS UNDER NERO

VII. Andrew

Was the brother of Peter. He preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground. Hence the derivation of the term, St. Andrew’s Cross.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

You must be Born Again

There are multitudes today, who gather in our church assemblies every week, who do not understand the simple words that are presented in our title of this article. Multitudes have been duped into believing that they somehow can or have effectuated their relationship with God. They were told to sign a card and say a little prayer and you will be alright with God. Therefore through the deceitfulness of false teachers among us, who want to increase their church rolls, many have believed a false gospel.

The gospel of which we preach is the same gospel that Jesus preached. The gospel which we preach is the same gospel that Peter preached on the day of Pentecost. The same gospel we preach is the same gospel which Paul preached on his missionary journeys. Our gospel is not a man made one. Our gospel is not a man centered one. Our gospel is centered upon the work of Christ on our behalf. It is a gospel that declares that a man must be born again, that he must bring forth or manifest the fruits of repentance, and that he must declare that Jesus Christ is both Lord and Saviour.

What does it mean to be born again, you might ask? We will turn to John 3 and see what Jesus tells Nicodemus. Let’s read John 3:1-8.

 

3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

 

First I want to say that we have many preachers today telling sinners that all they have to do to be saved is come to Christ on there on. They will tell them that Christ has taken 99 steps and if they will just take one, then God will save them. But Jesus told Nicodemus in the above scriptures that unless a man is born again, then he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus confused the natural birth with the spiritual birth by responding with his question about whether a man can enter a second time into his mother’s womb.

Jesus responded again by saying something similar to his first statement. Jesus said the second time that unless a man is born of water and Spirit then he cannot enter the kingdom of God. This really confused Nicodemus, but Jesus clears it up by telling Nicodemus that that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. In other words just as a man is born in the flesh, he is also born in the Spirit.

When we were born of the flesh we did not choose to come into this world. Yet this birth came about through a fleshly conception. There had to be a seed planted and there had to be a quickening of that seed by God. Even so when men are born of the Spirit there is a seed planted. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” The seed is the word of God. Once this seed is planted God and God alone must quicken it and bring it to life. Paul told the Ephesians in Ephesians 2:1 “You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.”

Notice the word dead in Ephesians 2:1. Where did this deadness come from? We can go back to the beginning and look at Adam’s life to find out. God made Adam and Eve and placed them in a garden. God did so with only one restriction. God said that they may eat from every tree of the garden except for one and the day they eat of that tree, they shall surely die. Adam and Eve ate of the tree and died a spiritual death. A corrupt nature and spiritual death was one result of their punishment for disobeying God. They eventually died physically and had it not been for God’s mercy, they would have suffered eternal death in Hell.

When Adam and Eve had children, then their children came into this world, with the same nature as their parents. This nature is dead, blind, and ignorant to the things of God Eph. 2:1; 4:18. It is alienated from and an enemy of God. This nature refuses to seek God Romans 3:11. The only hope is for God too intervene and birth that individual into the kingdom. In the new birth one is given a new human nature. He is made alive to the things of God.

Jesus told Nicodemus to not marvel that he said one must be born again because just as the wind blows where it wants and all we can hear is the sound of it, but can’t tell where it comes from or goes, even so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. What is Jesus saying? Jesus said that when the Spirit begins to work on individuals and bring them to life, no one knows it, but all anyone can see is the results of what the Spirit has done. The results will be a changed person who bears the fruits of Galatians 5:22-23.

I have spent this entire article explaining to you what Jesus meant when he said that one must be born again. I will say that natural men who have not been born again cannot see the kingdom of God, nor can they enter it. First one must be born again or receive a new birth from God, then he can see to enter the kingdom. The ordo salutis or order of salvation is that a man is first born by the Spirit and is given faith in the process and then he reaches out for Christ.

 I will conclude by saying that unless a man receives the new birth, by God’s mercy, then he can sign all the Church cards he pleases and say all the little prayers that he chooses, and will still bust Hell wide open.

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.