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Arminian Errors Pt 3

(ii) TOTAL DEPRAVITY

The Truth of God teaches that man through the Fall is in a state of spiritual death and alienation from God. He is depraved and defiled in his nature. His understanding, will, and affections are under the power and love of sin. ‘Out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness’ (Mark 7:21-22). ‘The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no not one’ (Psalm 14:2,3). “The whole human race,” in the words of Dr. Charles Hodge, “by their apostacy from God are totally depraved. By total depravity is not meant that all men are equally wicked, nor that any man is as thoroughly corrupt as it is possible for a man to be—but there is common to all men a total alienation of the soul from God so that no unrenewed man either understands or seeks after God: no such man ever makes God his portion, or God’s glory the chief end of his being. The apostacy from God is total or complete. All men worship and serve the creature rather than, and more than, the Creator. They are all therefore, declared in Scripture to be spiritually dead. They are destitute of any principle of spiritual life.” That is man’s condition as he is before God. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God’ (Romans 8:7,8). ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee: Ye must be born again’ (John 3:6,7). ‘The heart is deceitful above all things; and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Arminians deny the total depravity of man, in that they hold that the will of man is free and has the ability to choose Christ and the salvation that is in Him. Such teaching is false and delusive. The will of man is free only to choose according to his moral nature, and as his nature is under the dominion of sin, man chooses accordingly. “Man by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.” (‘[Westminster] Confession of Faith,’ Chapter 9, Section 3). ‘The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (1 Cor. 2:14). ‘No man can come unto Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day’ (John 6:44). ‘Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father. From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him’ (John 6:65,66). All who are born again are said to be ‘born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God’ (John 1:13). The “evangelism” of decisionism, coming forward to the front, or standing up to make a decision for Christ, or signing decision cards, is purely Arminian. It is not of God, but of the will of man and can only end in delusion and eternal despair.

This “evangelism” of decisionism is based on another false and erroneous doctrine held and propagated by Arminians, that of a Universal Atonement. “There is in every mind, containing any acquaintance with gospel truth,” said the eminent Dr. John Kennedy of Dingwall, “the idea that an interest in Christ’s death is essential to safety. There is in every unrenewed heart a desire to avoid the necessity of dealing with a personal Saviour, and to attain to hope, through the gospel, without being ‘born again.’ The figment of a universal atonement, has been produced to meet this craving. It is just the gospel perverted to suit the taste of proud carnal man. ‘Christ died for all, and therefore for me; I believe this, and therefore I shall be saved,’ are the short stages of an easy journey to the hope of peace. To believe that Christ died for me, because He died for all, is to ‘believe a lie’; but even if it were true, of what advantage could this faith be to me? His dying for me, because for all, secures nothing for me. And to believe this, is something else than to believe in Christ Himself. It is, in effect, making His death a substitute for Himself. But instead of looking on the death of Christ as it refers to you, look, in the first instance, on its bearing on His own fitness to save, and on the prospects of all who are one with Him. To view it thus, is to see Christ commended instead of superseded by His death. The first thing, I require to be assured of, is Christ’s fitness to save me, a sinner. It is in Him I am called to trust. Ere I can do so, I must be persuaded that He is worthy of my confidence. This I cannot be assured of, unless I know Him as a sacrifice for sin. The merit of His sacrifice I cannot appreciate, but in the light of His personal glory. And I cannot appropriate the benefits secured by it, till I have first taken hold of Himself by faith. What I discover in the light of the cross is, that He can save me in a way that shall be to the glory of God. This is His great recommendation as a Saviour to me. If this were not true regarding Him, I could never confide in Him. And in the light in which I realize the infinite merit of His sacrifice, I know His love to be such as ‘passeth knowledge.’ To connect that love and the death by which it was commended, with those whom the Father gave to Him, does not deprive me of hope. It only assures me of how certain, and therefore how desirable the redemption is, which was purchased by His blood. The Person, in all His power and love, is presented to me; and the authority of God shuts me up to the acceptance of Him, in order to my salvation. It is light, revealing the glorious person, the infinite merit, and the ineffable love of Christ, and a call requiring me to come to Him; and not any supposed reference of His death to me, that encourages me to receive Him that I may be saved.”

William MacLean-Arminianism-Another Gospel

The Wednesday Word: The Unspeakable Christ

“And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;). How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Corinthians 12: 3-4).

I am going to attempt to do the impossible. I will in these next few lines endeavour to speak about the unspeakable One, the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul had been transported to paradise and there he heard unspeakable words. He was overwhelmed with the reality of the invisible God made visible in the Lord Jesus. I have some friends who think that the pinnacle of spirituality is to speak in tongues, but when Paul was confronted with the exalted Christ in His majestic splendour, he couldn’t speak at all.

And yet there are some thrilling things which we can yet say about our Saviour for he has left his imprint and record in the scriptures. May we yet become speechless as we take time to meditate on the glory of God in the person of Christ. May we yet rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8). Let’s then, for a few moments, consider God’s unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9: 15).

The Lord Jesus came that we who were dead in trespasses and sins might have life. He is the beginning of life. He is the source of life. He is the giver of life. He is the bread of life. He is the water of life. He is the light of life, the resurrection and the life and the way, the truth, the life. He that believeth on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. This leaves me speechless! What about you?

Jesus is the promised seed. He is the seed who bruised the serpent’s head. He is Abraham’s seed in whom all the nations are blessed. He is David’s seed, the Righteous Branch who reigns wisely. He is the true Israel and the elect of God. He is the new covenant and the salvation of his people. He is the rock of our salvation. This leaves me speechless. What about you?

He is the Second Man, the eternal word made flesh, the Last Adam, the Faithful and True Witness, the Almighty who was and is and is to come. This leaves me speechless! What about you?

He gives healing to the sick, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf and life to the dead. He is the deliverer of those in bondage, the healer of the broken heart and the one who gives rest to the weary. This leaves me speechless! What about you?

He is the general who never lost a battle, the lawyer who never lost a case and the shepherd who never lost a sheep. He is the author and finisher of our faith. This leaves me speechless! What about you?

He is the true Temple, the altar, the offerer and the offered.

He is the slain lamb, the lamb without blemish and without spot. He is the one who, by himself, purged our sins, destroyed the devil, conquered death, rose from the grave and ascended into glory. He is our surety, our ransom, our apostle and High Priest. He is the God/Man, the exegesis of the Father, the brightness of the Father’s glory, the one whom angels worship. He is the crown of glory, the king of kings, the Lord of Lords, God manifest in the flesh and the fullness of the godhead bodily.

It is no wonder that the hymn writer wrote;

 

“I stand amazed in the presence

Of Jesus the Nazarene,

And wonder how he could love me,

A sinner, condemned, unclean.”

 

May we yet become more and more astonished and amazed by the Lord Jesus. May we yet become speechless in His presence.

And that is the Gospel Truth.

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

The Grace Centre

6 Quay Street, New Ross,

County Wexford, Ireland.

www.milesmckee.com 

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All Shall Die

Mighty and gracious lords, I will tell you to what your honour shall come; first, ye shall wax old like others, then ye shall fall sick like others, then ye shall die like others, then ye shall be buried like others, then ye shall be consumed like others, then ye shall be judged like others, even like the beggars which cry at your gates: one sickens, the other sickens; one dies, the other dies; one rots, the other rots: look in the grave, and show me which was Dives and which was Lazarus. This is some comfort to the poor, that once he shall be like the rich; one day he shall be as wealthy, and as glorious as a king; one hour of death will make all alike.

Henry Smith

Concerning our State before God

It is just like someone who is sick, and who believes the doctor who promises his full recovery. In the meantime, he obeys the doctor’s orders in the hope of the promised recovery, and abstains from those things which he was told to lay off, so that he may in no way hinder the promised return to health…Now is this sick man well? He is sick in reality – but he is well on account of a sure promise of the doctor, whom he trusts, and who reckons him as already being cured…So he is at one and the same time time both a sinner and righteous. He is a sinner in reality, but righteous by the sure imputation and promise of God that he will continue to deliver him from sin until he has completely cured him. So he is entirely healthy in hope, but a sinner in reality.

Martin Luther, commenting on Romans