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God preserves his people and wants us to be concerned about how he does it

September 25, 2012 Leave a comment

It may be objected that the principal thing for us to be concerned with is the blessed fact itself, and that there is no need for us to trouble ourselves about the modus operandi: let us rejoice in the truth that God does preserve His people, and not wrack our brains over how He does so. As well might the objector say the same about the redemptive work of Christ: let us be thankful that He did make an atonement, and not worry ourselves over the philosophy of it. But is it of no real importance, no value to the soul, to ascertain that Christ’s atonement was a vicarious one, that it was a definite one, and not offered at random; that it is a triumphant one, securing the actual justification of all for whom it was made? Why, my reader, it is at this very point lies the dividing-line between vital truth and fundamental error. God has done something more than record in the Gospels the historical fact of Christ’s death: He has supplied in the Epistles an explanation of its nature and design.

Arthur W. Pink—Studies in the Scriptures March, 1937 The Spirit Preserving

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Chapter XII : Of Adoption

1. All those that are justified, God vouchsafed, in, and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the Grace (a) of Adoption; by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the Liberties, and (b) Priveledges of Children of God; have his (c) name put upon them, (d) receive the Spirit of Adoption, (e) have access to the throne of Grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father, are (f) pitied, (g) protected, (i) provided for, and (k) chastened by him, as by a Father; yet never (l) cast off; but sealed (m) to the day of Redemption, and inherit the promises, (n) as heirs, of everlasting Salvation.

a Eph. 1.5. Gal. 4.4,5.

b Joh. 1.12 Rom. 8.17

c 2 Cor. 6.18. Rev. 3.12.

d Rom. 8.15.

e Gal. 4.6. Eph. 2.18

f Ps. 103.13.

g Prov. 14 26.

i 1 Pet. 5.7.

k Heb. 12.6.

l Is. 54.8,9. Lam. 3.31.

m Eph. 4.30.

n Heb. 1.14. ch. 6.12.

The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession

Perseverance Comes by God’s Grace

Mark you well, that the next series of steps which we call sanctification, or perseverance, or better still, gracious conservation, all of those must be of grace too. No man has any claim upon God to keep him from going into sin. I am bound to keep from sin, it is my duty, but for God to send me grace by which I am enabled to keep from sin, is no right of mine; it must be his free love that does it; and if from day to day he is pleased to direct my waywardness and bring my wandering spirit back, if after a thousand slips he still restores my soul and establishes my goings, I dare not praise myself for it, but I must gratefully put the crown of my perseverance in righteousness upon the head of that infinite grace which has wrought all my works in me.

Charles H. Spurgeon–Sermon No. 958 “Dei Gratia”

Those Who Believe the Gospel are in the Covenant

Argument .1.

The Pedobaptists Claim that the Covenant Now is the Same as in the Old Times

The first Arguments lies thus; If the Covenant now under Christ, be the same that was before Christ, with Abraham and his posterity in the flesh; then as Infants were partakers of the Covenant then, and received the seal there of Circumcision, so are infants now partakers of the Covenant, and ought to receive the seal there of Baptism. But the Covenant now under Christ, is the same that was before Christ with Abraham and his posterity in the flesh. Therefore, as Infants were then in the Covenant and received the seal thereof; even so are Infants now in the Covenant, and ought to receive the seal thereof. Three things are to be cleared in this Argument.

First, That the Covenant made with Abraham and his posterity in the flesh before Christ, and that now are under Christ, is the same.

Secondly, As Infants were in that Covenant, so are Infants now.

Thirdly, As Infants were sealed then, so they ought to be now. Now for the proving of these aforesaid, there are three other grounds laid down as follow:

First, The Gospel is the doctrine of the Covenant, but this being one, was preached to Abraham, as Gal. 3:8, 17, 18, Rom. 4:11, and so to the end, and to the Jews, in the Wilderness, Hebrews 4:1, 2; and so in David’s time, Hebrews 4:7, &c. Therefore the Covenant is the same.

Secondly, If Abraham be the father of the Jews and Gentiles, and equally as he believed the righteousness of faith, and they his children equally as so believing, and no otherwise, then the Covenant is the same. But Abraham is the father of the Jews and Gentiles, and equally as he believed, Rom. 4:11, 12, 16, 17, 23, 24. Gal. 3:3, 9, 26, 29. Therefore the Covenant is the same.

Thirdly, The standing of the Jews in the Grace of God was the same with Abraham; as is clear from God’s often expressing of himself to be the God of Abraham and His seed, and praying to God for to remember the Covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and acknowledging the accomplishing of the same to them, as Luke 1:73, 74; Luke 1:54, 55. And ours is the same with the Jews, as is clear from Matt. 21:41, 43, and 22:1.


The Answer

Thus lies the Argument, and the grounds to back it, and all to prove the Covenant God made with Abraham and his seed, to be the same now to the believing Gentiles and their seed, and Infants to be in this now, as they were in that then.

It is the effectual believing of the Gospel that proves what persons are in the Covenant.

In answer to which, I shall only touch at the three last grounds, briefly in a word, as I come to the Covenant itself.

The first is, because the Gospel is the doctrine of the Covenant, and was preached to Abraham, and to the Jews, &c. therefore the Covenant is the same. For the first, if the preaching of the Gospel, being the doctrine of the Covenant, can prove the Covenant to be the same to them as to us, then all to whom the Gospel was and is preached, are in the same Covenant. But I think it is the effectual believing of that which the Gospel holds forth in the doctrine of it, because many have the Gospel preached among them, and yet not be in the Covenant. And for the second, that Abraham is the equal father both of the Jews and Gentiles, only as he did believe, and they his children only so believing as their father Abraham did, and not else.

John Spilsbery A Treatise concerning the lawful subject of Baptism (1652)