Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
(Matthew Mead, "The Almost Christian" 1661)
"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners
to repentance." Luke 5:32. That is—such as see
themselves as sinners, and thereby in a lost condition.
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the
lost." Luke 19:10
God will have the soul truly sensible of the bitterness
of sin—before it shall taste the sweetness of mercy.
The plough of conviction must go deep, and make
deep furrows in the heart, before God will sow the
precious seed of grace there—so that it may have
depth of earth to grow in.
This is the unchangeable method of God in
bestowing grace—to begin with conviction of sin.
First to show man his sin—then his Savior;
first his danger—then his Redeemer;
first his wound—then his cure;
first his own vileness—then Christ's righteousness.
The sinner must see the worthlessness and vileness
of his own righteousness—before he can be saved by
Christ's righteousness. The Israelites are first stung
with the fiery serpents—and then the brazen serpent
is set up to heal them.
We must see the leprosy of our righteousness, and
be brought to cry out, "Unclean, unclean!" We must
mourn for Him whom we have pierced—and then
He sets open for us "a fountain to cleanse us from
all sin and impurity." Zechariah 12:10, 13:1.
Be convinced of the evil of sin—the filthy and heinous
nature of it. Sin is the greatest evil in the world—
it wrongs God;
it wounds Christ;
it grieves the Holy Spirit;
it damns a precious soul.
All other evils cannot be compared with this. Though
to DO sin is the worst work—yet to SEE sin is the best
sight! Sin discovered in its vileness—makes Christ to
be desired in His fullness!
Alas! it is Christ's infinite righteousness which
must atone for our sins—for it is an infinite God
whom we have sinned against!
If ever your sin is pardoned—it is Christ's infinite
mercy which must pardon it!
If ever you are reconciled to God—it is Christ's
infinite merit which must do it!
If ever your heart is changed—it is Christ's
infinite power which must effect it!
If ever your soul escapes hell, and is saved at last
—it is Christ's infinite grace which must save it!
(Thomas Watson, "The Mischief of Sin")
"Even though I was once a blasphemer and a
persecutor and a violent man, I was shown
mercy." 1 Timothy 1:13
Literally, "I was bemercied." Christians, why might not
you have been in the number of those who persist in
sinning? Because God has bemiracled you with mercy!
See what cause you have to admire the stupendous
goodness of God, who has wrought a change in you
—and checked you in your full career of sin!
Christians, you who are vessels of election—were by
nature as wicked as others—but God had compassion
on you and plucked you as brands out of the fire! He
stopped you in your course of sinning—when you
were marching to hell! He turned you back to
Him by sincere repentance. Oh, here is the banner
of love displayed over you!
Behold sovereign grace! Let your hearts melt in love
to God. Admire His royal bounty. Set the crown of all
your praises, upon the head of free grace! "By the
grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10
Monday, October 26, 2009
- J. Oswald Sanders
Sunday, October 25, 2009
It is at this point the issue is drawn. Merit-mongers will not allow the supremacy of the divine will and the impotency unto good of the human will, consequently they who are the most bitter in denouncing election by the sovereign pleasure of God, are the warmest in crying up the freewill of fallen man."
" - A.W. Pink
Regeneration Precedes Faith
By R. C. Sproul
One of the most dramatic moments in my life for the shaping of my theology took place in a seminary classroom. One of my professors went to the blackboard and wrote these words in bold letters: "Regeneration Precedes Faith."
These words were a shock to my system. I had entered seminary believing that the key work of man to effect rebirth was faith. I thought that we first had to believe in Christ in order to be born again. I use the words in order here for a reason. I was thinking in terms of steps that must be taken in a certain sequence. I had put faith at the beginning. The order looked something like this:
"Faith - rebirth -justification."
I hadn’t thought that matter through very carefully. Nor had I listened carefully to Jesus’ words to Nicodemus. I assumed that even though I was a sinner, a person born of the flesh and living in the flesh, I still had a little island of righteousness, a tiny deposit of spiritual power left within my soul to enable me to respond to the Gospel on my own. Perhaps I had been confused by the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Rome, and many other branches of Christendom, had taught that regeneration is gracious; it cannot happen apart from the help of God.
No man has the power to raise himself from spiritual death. Divine assistance is necessary. This grace, according to Rome, comes in the form of what is called prevenient grace. "Prevenient" means that which comes from something else. Rome adds to this prevenient grace the requirement that we must "cooperate with it and assent to it" before it can take hold in our hearts.
This concept of cooperation is at best a half-truth. Yes, the faith we exercise is our faith. God does not do the believing for us. When I respond to Christ, it is my response, my faith, my trust that is being exercised. The issue, however, goes deeper. The question still remains: "Do I cooperate with God's grace before I am born again, or does the cooperation occur after?" Another way of asking this question is to ask if regeneration is monergistic or synergistic. Is it operative or cooperative? Is it effectual or dependent? Some of these words are theological terms that require further explanation.
A monergistic work is a work produced singly, by one person. The prefix mono means one. The word erg refers to a unit of work. Words like energy are built upon this root. A synergistic work is one that involves cooperation between two or more persons or things. The prefix syn -
means "together with." I labor this distinction for a reason. The debate between Rome and Luther hung on this single point. At issue was this: Is regeneration a monergistic work of God or a synergistic work that requires cooperation between man and God? When my professor wrote "Regeneration precedes faith" on the blackboard, he was clearly siding with the monergistic answer. After a person is regenerated, that person cooperates by exercising faith and trust. But the first step is the work of God and of God alone.
The reason we do not cooperate with regenerating grace before it acts upon us and in us is because we can- not. We cannot because we are spiritually dead. We can no more assist the Holy Spirit in the quickening of our souls to spiritual life than Lazarus could help Jesus raise him for the dead.
When I began to wrestle with the Professor's argument, I was surprised to learn that his strange-sounding teaching was not novel. Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield - even the great medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas taught this doctrine. Thomas Aquinas is the Doctor Angelicus of the Roman Catholic Church. For centuries his theological teaching was accepted as official dogma by most Catholics. So he was the last person I expected to hold such a view of regeneration. Yet Aquinas insisted that regenerating grace is operative grace, not cooperative grace. Aquinas spoke of prevenient grace, but he spoke of a grace that comes before faith, which is regeneration.
These giants of Christian history derived their view from Holy Scripture. The key phrase in Paul's Letter to the Ephesians is this: "...even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have you been saved)" (Eph. 2:5). Here Paul locates the time when regeneration occurs. It takes place 'when we were dead.' With one thunderbolt of apostolic revelation all attempts to give the initiative in regeneration to man are smashed. Again, dead men do not cooperate with grace. Unless regeneration takes place first, there is no possibility of faith.
This says nothing different from what Jesus said to Nicodemus. Unless a man is born again first, he cannot possibly see or enter the kingdom of God. If we believe that faith precedes regeneration, then we set our thinking and therefore ourselves in direct opposition not only to giants of Christian history but also to the teaching of Paul and of our Lord Himself.
(from the book, The Mystery of the Holy Spirit, Tyndale House, 1990
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
“If we are true Christians, we must not expect everything smooth in our journey to heaven. We must count it no strange thing, if we have to endure sicknesses, losses, bereavements, and disappointments, just like other men. Free pardon and full forgiveness, grace by the way and glory to the end – all this our Savior has promised to give. But He has never promised that we shall have no afflictions. He loves us too well to promise that.
“By affliction He teaches us many precious lessons, which without it we should never learn. By affliction He shows us our emptiness and weakness, draws us to the throne of grace, purifies our affections, weans us from the world, makes us long for heaven. In the resurrection morning we shall all say, ‘it is good for me that I was afflicted.’ We shall thank God for every storm.”
~ J.C. Ryle
Monday, October 19, 2009
Faith is built by careful, thorough exposition of the person, character, and work of Christ.
- T. David Gordon;
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
For he loves thee too little who loves anything together with thee, which he does not love not for thy sake. O love that ever burnest and art never quenched! O Charity, my God, enkindle me! Thou commandest continence. Grant what thou commandest and command what thou wilt.
continence means = (self-restraint)
- Augustus Toplady
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
ORIGINAL SOURCE: HERE
One great contest, between the religion of Arminius, and the religion of Jesus Christ, is, who shall stand entitled to the praise and glory of a sinner’s salvation? Conversion decides this point at once; for I think, that, without any imputation of uncharitableness, I may venture to say, that every truly awakened person, at least when he is under the shine of God’s countenance upon his soul, will fall down upon his knees, with this hymn of praise ascending from his heart, “Not unto me, O Lord, not unto me, but to Thy Name, give the glory: I am saved not for my righteousness, but for Thy mercy and Thy truth’s sake..”
And this holds true even as to the blessings of the life that now is. It is God that sets up one, and puts down another (see Psalm 75:7). Victory, for instance, when contending princes wage war, is all of God. “The race is not to the swift, as swift; nor the battle to the strong” (Ecclesiastes 9:11), as such. It is the decree, the will, the power, the providence of God, which effectually, though sometimes invisibly, order and dispose of every event.
ORIGINAL SOURCE: HERE
Very different is the idea which Scripture gives us, of the ever-blessed God, from that of those false gods worshipped by the heathens; and from that degrading representation of the true God, which Arminianism would palm upon mankind. “Our God [says this Psalm, verse the third] is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.” This is not the Arminian idea of God: for our free-willers and our chance-mongers tell us, that God does not do whatsoever He pleases; that there are a great number of things, which God wishes to do, and tugs and strives to do, and yet cannot bring to pass: they tell us, as one ingeniously expresses it:
That all mankind He fain would save, But longs for what He cannot have. Industrious, thus, to sound abroad, A disappointed, changing God.
How does this comport with that majestic description, “Our God is in the heavens”! He sits upon the throne, weighing out, and dispensing, the fates of men; holding all events in His own hand; and guiding every link of every chain of second causes, from the beginning to the end of time. Our God is in heaven, possessed of all power; and (which is the natural consequence of that) He hath done whatsoever He pleased: or as the Apostle expresses it, (the words are different, but the sense is the same) “He worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11).Therefore it is, that we both labour, and suffer reproach: even because we say (and the utmost we can say upon the subject, amounts to no more than this: to wit, that) our God is in heaven, and has done whatsoever pleased Him. And do according to His own sovereign pleasure He will, to the end of the chapter; though all the Arminians upon earth were to endeavor to defeat the divine intention, and to clog the wheels of divine government. He, that sits in heaven, laughs them to scorn: and brings His own purposes to pass, sometimes, even through the means of those very incidents, which evil men endeavor to throw in His way, with a mad view to disappoint Him of His purposes. ‘All things,” saith the Psalmist, “serve Thee” (Psalm 119:91).
ORIGINAL SOURCE: HERE
by Augustus Toplady (1740-1778)
Not unto us, o LORD, not unto us, but unto Thy Name, give glory for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake (Psalm 115:1).
Some expositors have supposed, that this Psalm was penned by the prophet Daniel; on occasion of the miraculous deliverance of Shadrac, Meshac, and Abednego, when they came out, unhurt, from the burning fiery furnace, into which they had been thrown by the command of king Nebuchadnezzar.
And, indeed, there are not wanting passages, in the Psalm itself, which seem to countenance this conjecture. As where we read, at the fourth verse (speaking of the idols of the heathens, and, perhaps, with particular reference to that golden image which Nebuchadnezzar commanded to be worshipped), their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands: they have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they but they see not.I dare say, that, in such an auditory as this, a number of Arminians are present. I fear, that all our public assemblies have too many of them. Perhaps, however, even these people, idolaters as they are, may be apt to blame, and, indeed, with justice, the absurdity of those who worship idols of silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. But let me ask: If it be so very absurd, to worship the work of other men’s hands; what must it be, to worship the works of our own hands? Perhaps, you may ask, “God forbid that I should do so.” Nevertheless, let me tell you, that trust, confidence, reliance, and dependence, for salvation, are all acts and very solemn ones too, of divine worship: and upon whatsoever you depend, whether in whole or in part, for your acceptance with God, and for your justification in His sight, whatsoever, you rely upon, and trust in, for the attainment of grace or glory; if it be any thing short of God in Christ, you are an idolater to all intents and purposes.
- Augustus Toplady
- William Gurnall,
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Original Trinity Hymnal, #128
Hail, thou once despised Jesus,
Hail, thou Galilean King!
Thou didst suffer to release us:
Thou didst free salvation bring.
Hail, thou agonizing Saviour,
Bearer of our sin and shame!
By thy merits we find favor;
Life is given through thy name.
Paschal Lamb, by God appointed,
All our sins were on thee laid;
By almighty love anointed,
Thou hast full atonement made:
All thy people are forgiven
Through the virtue of thy blood;
Opened is the gate of heaven,
Peace is made 'twixt man and God.
Jesus, hail! enthroned in glory,
There for ever to abide;
All the heav'nly hosts adore thee,
Seated at thy Father's side:
There for sinners thou art pleading;
There thou dost our place prepare;
Ever for us interceding,
Till in glory we appear.
Worship, honor, power, and blessing
Thou art worthy to receive:
Loudest praises without ceasing,
Meet it is for us to give.
Help, ye bright angelic spirits,
Bring your sweetest, noblest lays;
Help to sing our Saviour's merits,
Help to chant Immanuel's praise.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
been, precious — the sun, the rock, the life, the bread of their souls —
every thing that is good, useful, amiable, desirable, here or unto eternity.
In, from, and by him, is all their spiritual and eternal life, light, power,
growth, consolation, and joy here; with everlasting salvation hereafter. By
him alone do they desire, expect, and obtain deliverance from that woeful
apostasy from God, which is accompanied with — which containeth in it
virtually and meritoriously whatever is evil, noxious, and destructive unto
our nature, and which, without relief, will issue in eternal misery.
By him are they brought into the nearest cognation, alliance, and friendship with
God, the firmest union unto him, and the most holy communion with him,
that our finite natures are capable of, and so conducted unto the eternal
enjoyment of him. For in him “shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and
shall glory;” (Isaiah 45:25;) for “Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an
everlasting salvation;” they “shall not be ashamed nor confounded, world
without end:” verse 17.
from John Owen's Preface page 1:
A DECLARATION OF THE GLORIOUS MYSTERY
OF THE PERSON OF CHRIST — GOD AND MAN:
The Infinite Wisdom, Love, And Power Of God In The Contrivance
And Constitution Thereof;
Of The Grounds And Reasons Of His Incarnation; The Nature Of
His Ministry In Heaven; The Present State Of The Church Above
Thereon; And The Use Of His Person In Religion:
An Account And Vindication Of The Honor, Worship, Faith, Love,
And Obedience Due Unto Him, In And From The Church.
It is well known that, as a preacher, Bunyan excited, wherever he went, an interest not surpassed even by the ministry of Baxter. When Bunyan preached in barns or on commons, he gathered eager thousands around him; and when he came to London, 1200 people would be found gathered together at seven on the dark of morning of a winter working-day to hear him expound the Word of God. Among these admiring multitudes John Owen had often been discovered;-- the most learned of the Puritans hung for hours, that seemed like moments, upon the lips of this untutored genius.
The King is reported to have asked Owen on one occasion, how a learned man like him could go "to hear a tinker prate;" to which the great theologian answered, "May it please your majesty, could I poosess the tinker's abilities for preaching, I would willingly relinquish all my learning."
Volume 1. The Works of John Owen, page. XCII
(Greis Svdbygrace )