Archive for September, 2010

“From childhood up, my mind had been full of objections against the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, in choosing whom he would to eternal life, and rejecting whom he pleased; leaving them eternally to perish, and be everlastingly tormented in hell. It used to appear like a horrible doctrine to me. But I remember the time very well, when I seemed to be convinced, and fully satisfied, as to this sovereignty of God, and his justice in thus eternally disposing of [dealing with] men, according to his sovereign pleasure. But never could give an account, how, or by what means, I was, thus convinced, not in the least imagining at the time, nor a long time after, that there was any extraordinary influence of God’s Spirit in it but only that now I saw further, and my reason apprehended the justice and reasonableness of it. However, my mind rested in it; and it put an end to all those cavils and objections. And there has been a wonderful alteration in my mind, in respect to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, from that day to this; so that I scarce ever have found so much as the rising of an objection against it, in the most absolute sense, in God’s shewing mercy to whom he will show mercy, and hardening whom he will. God’s absolute sovereignty and justice, with respect to salvation and damnation, is what my mind seems to rest assured of, as much as of any thing that I see with my eyes, at least it is so at times. The doctrine has very often appeared exceeding pleasant, bright, and sweet. Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God.”

 (Jonathan Edwards, Selections [New York: Hill and Wang, 1962], pp. 58-59).

I wonder if anyone will hear a sermon like this today………..Sadly not enough.

 

Delivered on Sabbath Morning, September 2, 1855, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”—2 Thessalonians 2:13-14.F there were no other text in the sacred Word except this one, I think we should all be bound to receive and acknowledge the truthfulness of the great and glorious doctrine of God’s ancient choice of his family. But there seems to be an inveterate prejudice in the human mind against this doctrine; and although most other doctrines will be received by professing Christians, some with caution, others with pleasure, yet this one seems to be most frequently disregarded and discarded. In many of our pulpits it would be reckoned a high sin and treason to preach a sermon upon election, because they could not make it what they call a “practical” discourse. I believe they have erred from the truth therein. Whatever God has revealed, he has revealed for a purpose. There is nothing in Scripture which may not, under the influence of God’s Spirit, be turned into a practical discourse: for “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable” for some purpose of spiritual usefulness. It is true, it may not be turned into a free-will discourse—that we know right well—but it can be turned into a practical free-grace discourse: and free-grace practice is the best practice, when the true doctrines of God’s immutable love are brought to bear upon the hearts of saints and sinners. Now, I trust this morning some of you who are startled at the very sound of this word, will say, “I will give it a fair hearing; I will lay aside my prejudices; I will just hear what this man has to say.” Do not shut your ears and say at once, “It is high doctrine.” Who has authorized you to call it high or low? Why should you oppose yourself to God’s doctrine? Remember what became of the children who found fault with God’s prophet, and exclaimed, “Go up, thou bald-head; go up, thou bald-head.” Say nothing against God’s doctrines, lest haply some evil beast should come out of the forest and devour you also. There are other woes beside the open judgment of heaven— take heed that these fall not on your head. Lay aside your prejudices: listen calmly, listen dispassionately: hear what Scripture says; and when you receive the truth, if God should be pleased to reveal and manifest it to your souls, do not be ashamed to confess it. To confess you were wrong yesterday, is only to acknowledge that you are a little wiser to-day; and instead of being a reflection on yourself, it is an honour to your judgment, and shows that you are improving in the knowledge of the truth. Do not be ashamed to learn, and to cast aside your old doctrines and views, but to take up that which you may more plainly see to be in the Word of God. But if you do not see it to be here in the Bible, whatever I may say, or whatever authorities I may plead, I beseech you, as you love your souls, reject it; and if from this pulpit you ever hear things contrary to this Sacred Word, remember that the Bible must be the first, and God’s minister must lie underneath it. We must not stand on the Bible to preach, but we must preach with the Bible above our heads. After all we have preached, we are well aware that the mountain of truth is higher than our eyes can discern; clouds and darkness are round about its summit, and we cannot discern its topmost pinnacle; yet we will try to preach it as well as we can. But since we are mortal, and liable to err, exercise your judgment; “Try the spirits whether they are of God”; and if on mature reflection on your bended knees, you are led to disregard election—a thing which I consider to be utterly impossible—then forsake it; do not hear it preached, but believe and confess whatever you see to be God’s Word. I can say no more than that by way of exordium.
Now, first, I shall speak a little concerning the truthfulness of this doctrine: “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.” Secondly, I shall try to prove that this election is absolute: “He hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation,” not for sanctification, but “through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Thirdly, this election is eternal, because the text says, “God hath from the beginning chosen you.” Fourthly, it is personal: “He hath chosen you.” Then we will look at the effects of the doctrine—see what it does; and lastly, as God may enable us, we will try and look at its tendencies, and see whether it is indeed a terrible and licentious doctrine. We will take the flower, and like true bees, see whether there be any honey whatever in it; whether any good can come of it, or whether it is an unmixed, undiluted evil.
I. First, I must try and prove that the doctrine is TRUE. And let me begin with an argumentum ad hominem; I will speak to you according to your different positions and stations. There are some of you who belong to the Church of England, and I am happy to see so many of you here. Though now and then I certainly say some very hard things about Church and State, yet I love the old Church, for she has in her communion many godly ministers and eminent saints. Now, I know you are great believers in what the Articles declare to be sound doctrine. I will give you a specimen of what they utter concerning election, so that if you believe them, you cannot avoid receiving election. I will read a portion of the 17th Article upon Predestination and Election:—
“Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hast continually decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God’s purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God’s mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.”
Now, I think any churchman, if he be a sincere and honest believer in Mother Church, must be a thorough believer in election. True, if he turns to certain other portions of the Prayer Book, he will find things contrary to the doctrines of free-grace, and altogether apart from scriptural teaching; but if he looks at the Articles, he must see that God hath chosen his people unto eternal life. I am not so desperately enamoured, however, of that book as you may be; and I have only used this Article to show you that if you belong to the Establishment of England you should at least offer no objection to this doctrine of predestination.
Another human authority whereby I would confirm the doctrine of election, is, the old Waldensian creed. If you read the creed of the old Waldenses, emanating from them in the midst of the burning heat of persecution, you will see that these renowned professors and confessors of the Christian faith did most firmly receive and embrace this doctrine, as being a portion of the truth of God. I have copied from an old book one of the Articles of their faith:—
“That God saves from corruption and damnation those whom he has chosen from the foundations of the world, not for any disposition, faith, or holiness that he foresaw in them, but of his mere mercy in Christ Jesus his Son, passing by all the rest according to the irreprehensible reason of his own free-will and justice.”
It is no novelty, then, that I am preaching; no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, which are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make a pilgrimage into the past, and as I go, I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me. Were I a Pelagian, or a believer in the doctrine of free-will, I should have to walk for centuries all alone. Here and there a heretic of no very honourable character might rise up and call me brother. But taking these things to be the standard of my faith, I see the land of the ancients peopled with my brethren—I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God’s own church.
I also give you an extract from the old Baptist Confession. We are Baptists in this congregation—the greater part of us at any rate—and we like to see what our own forefathers wrote. Some two hundred years ago the Baptists assembled together, and published their articles of faith, to put an end to certain reports against their orthodoxy which had gone forth to the world. I turn to this old book—which I have just published [The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)]— and I find the following as the
3rd Article: “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ to the praise of his glorious grace; others being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice. These angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished. Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory out of his mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto.”  Read The Rest Here

Wonderful article I found on Reformation21 Blog

John Bunyan believed that Christians are saved by grace. Of course. It was what everyone seemed to say. The thought left him pretty miserable, though. In fact, when he really thought about it, it left him profoundly depressed. God is gracious, he knew: but how gracious, exactly? And that made him wonder: ‘my peace would be in and out, sometimes twenty times a day; comfort now, and trouble presently’. ‘But one day, as I was passing in the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, Thy righteousness is in heaven; and methought withal, I saw, with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say, is my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was a-doing, God could not say of me, He wants my righteousness, for that was just before Him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever (Heb. 13.8). Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed, I was loosed from my affliction and irons, my temptations had fled away; so that, from that time, those dreadful scriptures of God left off to trouble me now; now went I also home rejoicing, for the grace and love of God.’ It wasn’t that we are saved by grace; what sent Bunyan home rejoicing was that we are saved by grace alone. And therein lies a world of difference. Now one might have thought that merely adding that word ‘alone’ would have set Bunyan free. But no. And to really skip with Bunyan, we must follow the White Rabbit into a very topsy-turvy world. Down the Rabbit Hole… Above ground, life is simple and obvious. Common sense rules. And breathing in this sensible air, I wonder ‘who am I?’ Well I am me, of course. My own man. And whatever that silly old codger John Donne said, it is obvious that each man is, in fact, an island. So what is grace? Some sort of stuff given to me, a sort of force God gives to help me. But then down the hole we go, passing such weird sights as Romans 5: ‘sin came into the world through one man’ and ‘many died through one man’s trespass’. What madness is this? I die, not because I’ve done wrong, but because of Adam? Indeed, and more: ‘as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous’ (vv18-19). So I don’t die because of my own sin, and I don’t live because of my own righteousness. My actions really do not determine my destiny. It is because of the sin of Adam than anyone sins and dies. It is because of the righteousness of Christ that anyone comes to life and righteousness. Now undoubtedly this is strange; but is it unfair? Quite the opposite, said Augustine as he took on ‘each man is an island’ Pelagius at the beginning of the fifth century. For if each person suffers only for their own sin, what of the child born handicapped? Her problem can only be her own fault. Well, OK, perhaps this isn’t unfair. But how can this be that Adam sins and I die, that Christ obeys and I am given life? Further down the hole we go, to 1 Corinthians 15: ‘Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep… For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.’ What can he mean? The answer lies at the very bottom of the tunnel, with the very first fruits of all, in Genesis 1. There, on the third day, we see the firstfruits of creation. And something that the repetition of the text makes striking is that these fruits are ‘seed-bearing’. The plants bear fruit ‘in which is their seed’. The next generation is contained within them. Thus what happens to the fruit will happen to the seed. So it is with Adam and Christ. They are the firstfruits of two very different crops: Adam is the fruit of death, and all his seed ‘in him’ die with him; Christ is the fruit of life, and all his seed ‘in him’ live with him. Mankind, then, is not, in fact, a vast throng of separate individuals, but is instead made up of just two persons: Adam and Christ. Each one of us is merely a seed in one of those fruits, dependent for our fate, not on ourselves, but on the one we are in. One sees much the same thing in Hebrews 7, with the story of Abraham giving a tithe to Melchizedek. According to Hebrews, Abraham’s great grandson, Levi, could also be said to have paid that tithe ‘through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.’ Yet to be born, Levi was considered to be still ‘in Abraham’. He was, after all, Abraham’s descendant, his ‘seed’. He was still in the old fruit. What Abraham did, he did. … and Up into the Sunshine In this strange new world of the Bible, then, salvation is not so much about each individual being given some thing called grace; it is about being snipped out of one plant, Adam, and grafted into another, Christ. But with that comes the liberation and the joy. Christ bore the death penalty of sin for us: in him, we bore it too. Christ was then raised from the death he did not deserve and was declared righteous: in him we were given new life and declared righteous. Like fruit in a seed, like Levi in Abraham, Christians are hidden in Christ, and all his is theirs. For all that we speak of grace, and however strongly we speak of it, we will remain prisoners of spiritual insecurity for as long as we imagine that we are independent islands. And rightly so: all spiritual blessings are to be found in Christ alone. Just read Ephesians 1 for an avalanche of verses to prove that. There is no hint of salvation to be found anywhere else. God only ever blesses through Christ. He is the vine of God’s blessing. And the only way to be blessed is to be grafted into him. But to know that we are now hidden in Christ and clothed with him is what will really ring the joy-bells. It was just so that John Calvin summed up his teaching on justification in his Institutes: ‘as Jacob did not of himself deserve the right of the first-born, concealed in his brother’s clothing and wearing his brother’s coat, which gave out an agreeable odor, he ingratiated himself with his father, so that to his own benefit he received the blessing while impersonating another. And we in like manner hide under the precious purity of our first-born brother, Christ, so that we may be attested righteous in God’s sight… And this is indeed the truth, for in order that we may appear before God’s face unto salvation we must smell sweetly with his odor, and our vices must be covered and buried by his perfection.’ How Pilgrims Progress It was just this that Bunyan grasped when that sentence fell upon his soul, ‘Thy righteousness is in heaven’. And when he saw that, how could he fear any more that all was not right? Now all his hope and all his confidence was to be found outside himself, independent of how he was feeling and doing – in Christ. He says he therefore went home rejoicing. That was true in the moment, but it might be more accurate to say he went out rejoicing, for that message turned Bunyan into perhaps the most winning evangelist of his generation. Thousands were turned to the happy message of a God who does not merely help us by ‘grace’ but who totally accepts sinners in Christ. If we simply speak of salvation by grace, people will imagine grace to be that force God gives to help us where we are at. And thus they will lack the joy-giving confidence and appeal of Bunyan’s gospel of grace alone, of actually being found secure in Christ. The other thing, of course, is that grace can be thought of quite impersonally, as if being a believer is merely about believing promises and getting blessings. And if that is it, what’s to stop the Christian living in mere servile obedience to God? But Bunyan’s discovery was that we are united to Christ, to know and love him personally from the heart, to know and love the Father as our Father, to be known and loved as children of God. It’s not quite that we get ‘grace’: we get Christ. Saved by grace? No, we have a better gospel than that.

Dr. Michael Reeves is the Theological Advisor for the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF), a charity supporting evangelism in higher education throughout the United Kingdom. He is the author of books such as The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation (Broadman & Holman, 2010)

 

Genesis 5:3

When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.

Matthew Henry

II. The birth of his son Seth,

 

He was born in the hundred and thirtieth year of Adam’s life; and probably the murder of Abel was not long before. Many other sons and daughters were born to Adam, besides Cain and Abel, before this; but no notice is taken of them, because an honourable mention must be made of his name only in whose loins Christ and the church were. But that which is most observable here concerning Seth is that Adam begat him in his own likeness, after his image. Adam was made in the image of God; but, when he was fallen and corrupt, he begat a son in his own image, sinful and defiled, frail, mortal, and miserable, like himself; not only a man like himself, consisting of body and soul, but a sinner like himself, guilty and obnoxious, degenerate and corrupt. Even the man after God’s own heart owns himself conceived and born in sin, This was Adam’s own likeness, the reverse of that divine likeness in which Adam was made; but, having lost it himself, he could not convey it to his seed. Note, Grace does not run in the blood, but corruption does. A sinner begets a sinner, but a saint does not beget a saint.

John Calvin “We have lately said that Moses traces the offspring of Adam only through the line of Seth, to propose
for our consideration the succession of the Church. In saying that Seth begat a son after his own image, he refers in part to the first origin of
our nature: at the same time its corruption and pollution is to be noticed, which having been contracted by Adam through the fall, has
flowed down to all his posterity. If he had remained upright, he would have transmitted to all his children what he had received: but now we
read that Seth, as well as the rest, was defiled; because Adams who had fallen from his original state, could beget none but such as were like
himself. If any one should object that Seth with his family had been elected by the special grace of God: the answer is easy and obvious;
namely, that a supernatural remedy does not prevent carnal generation from participating in the corruption of sin. Therefore, according to the
flesh, Seth was born a sinner; but afterwards he was renewed by the grace of the Spirit. This sad instance of the holy patriarch furnishes us with
ample occasion to deplore our own wretchedness.


 

 

Our friends at Reach Records are at it again with Lecrae’s soon to be released cd “Rehab”.  Here’s a little info on what we can expect from this much anticipated project……..

Album Bio

Anger, depression, addiction, and discontentment: just a few of the ills that plaque many a man.  The solutions: join a group, read a book, basically, YOU can win this battle! 

 But what about the war?  In solely attacking the behaviors or the external problems in our lives the origin of our issues is overlooked.  Essentially, we try to alter effects, instead of exploring and tackling the cause. Some don’t realize the root of their problems is internal, in fact spiritual. Others recognize, but underestimate how serious their problems are. And even still, as believers, we trust in ourselves to overcome by our own strength.

 Out of a burden to encourage and challenge others, while also confessing his own struggles in this area, Lecrae offers REHAB.  On his long-awaited fourth album, Lecrae informs listeners that because of our sinful nature we all need rehabilitation, healing, and restoration back to the original state of unity with God. The universal solution to all our problems is not found in anything but Jesus. The Christian life is therefore an entrance into rehab.

 Fittingly, the REHAB experience begins with “Check In,” as Lecrae prepares himself and his audience to leave behind their addictions and hindrances and enter rehabilitation.  What follows is not the usual compilation of sermons and theology-driven lyrics listeners have come to expect from Lecrae. Instead, REHAB is full of gritty, heartfelt, vulnerable and even emotional songs like “Just Like You,” which specifically explores the impact of substitutionary role models that pale in comparison to the perfect example found in Christ.                

 Lecrae gets support from Sho Baraka, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Pro, J.R., Benjah and many others along the journey towards restoration—with several memorable collaborations.  PK, CheeseBeats, J.R., and Benjah contribute on production and sonically, help take the listener along a soul-full ride.  REHAB also features bangers like “Use To Do It Too” and “High” along with the anthems “Children of the Light,” “40 Deep,” and “Walking On Water”–on which Lecrae boasts in God’s ability to empower the weakest of men.

 Lecrae’s prayer is that people will not just gain practical insight for their lives, but they would find real sympathy from him and mostly, Jesus.  He is more than our healer. He IS our healing.  He doesn’t just offer us peace. He IS our peace. And He IS our rehabilitation. So find rest for your weary soul and joy in the midst of life’s ups and downs by checking into REHAB.

For information on how you can pre-order this CD  Check it out here .