The Uninfluenced, Unearned Love for Mankind

Titus 3:4-5 (ESV) 4  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

These verses are commanding.  They arrest my attention.  Word like “goodness, loving kindness” and “not because of works done by us in righteousness,” overwhelm me. As I have grown in the Lord and reflect on my inconsistent life as a believer and His unfailing love, in spite of that, I see something that is incomprehendable to my little mind.  It’s a love, a compassion for His people that is not influenced and can’t be earned.  It is His mercy. It’s not a mercy that is found in empathy but in His character.

Ephesians 2:4-7 (ESV) 4  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Continue reading

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Seasons of Change

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV) 1  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

Most of 2017 and even now in 2018, I have experienced a season of change.  Some changes that were anticipated and necessary and others that in the course of life just dropped on my plate.  Some of the change was exciting while the greater amount was stressful and unanticipated.

My wife and I moved from our comfortable home of twenty two years into my father-in-law’s house after he passed away.  It is much smaller and was in need of a great deal of repairs; most unknown. Continue reading

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The Sovereignty of God – Part 5

For a great many years, as I mentioned in Part 1” of this series, there was an internal struggle going on within me as I studied the Scriptures, especially when I was dealing with the Gospel, the responsibility of man, and the Sovereignty of God.  There just seemed to be an incompatibility that I was struggling to resolve. What made this most difficult was that I clearly saw the doctrines of God’s Sovereignty, election, and the will/responsibility of man taught, with no ambiguity, in the Scriptures.  They seemed to be in opposition to each other and yet I knew that since these truths of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are clearly taught in the Bible, there could not be competing truths.  J.I. Packer makes this point clear:

“What the Bible does is to assert both truths side by side in the strongest and most unambiguous terms as two ultimate facts; this, therefore is the position that we must take in our own thinking. C.H. Spurgeon was once asked if he could reconcile these two truths to each other, ‘I wouldn’t try,’ he replied; ‘I never reconcile friends.’ Friends?- yes, friends.  This is the point that we have to grasp. In the Bible, divine sovereignty and human responsibility are not enemies.  They are not uneasy neighbours; They are not in an endless state of cold war with each other.  They are friends, and they work together.”[1] Continue reading

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Something To Think About

Name Above All Names

  1. In GENESIS Jesus is the Ram at Abraham’s altar
  2. In EXODUS He’s the Passover Lamb
  3. In LEVITICUS He’s the High Priest
  4. In NUMBERS He’s the Cloud by day and pillar of fire by night
  5. In DEUTERONOMY He’s the City of our refuge In JOSHUA He’s the Scarlet Thread out Rahab’s window
  6. In JUDGES He is our Judge
  7. In RUTH He is our Kinsman Redeem
  8. In 1st and 2nd SAMUEL He’s our Trusted Prophet
  9. In KINGS and CHRONICLES He’s our Reigning King
  10. In EZRA He is our Faithful Scribe
  11. In NEHEMIAH He’s the Rebuilder of everything that is broken
  12. And in ESTHER He is the Mordecai sitting faithful at the gate
  13. In JOB He’s our Redeemer that ever liveth In PSALMS He is my Shepherd and I shall not want
  14. In PROVERBS and ECCLESIASTES He’s our Wisdom
  15. In the SONG OF SOLOMON He’s the Beautiful Bridegroom

Continue reading

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The Sovereignty of God – Part 4

As I mentioned in my last post on the Sovereignty of God. To say that “God is sovereign in the sense that He is paramount and supreme,”  is to say nothing if He does not exert His sovereignty over all things.  Rather, as Arthur Pink puts it;

“The Sovereignty of the God of Scripture is absolute, irresistible, infinite. When we say that God is Sovereign we affirm His right to govern the universe which He has made for His own glory, just as He pleases. We affirm that His right is the right of the Potter over the clay, i. e., that He may mold that clay into whatsoever form He chooses, fashioning out of the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor. We affirm that He is under no rule or law outside of His own will and nature, that God is a law unto Himself, and that He is under no obligation to give an account of His matters to any.”[1]

You cannot just SAY God is Sovereign. The reason for that is His sovereignty is not only “absolute, irresistible,” and “infinite,” it also must be all-powerful.  His sovereignty must be expressed in His power and his will.

One way that this is clearly seen is in God sovereignty in creation.

  • Revelation 4:11 (NKJV) 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

Continue reading

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Something to Think About

“Faith is the acceptance of a gift at the hands of Christ. … It is a very wonderful thing; it involves a change pf the whole nature of man; it involves a new hatred pf sin and a new hunger and thirst after righteousness.  Such a wonderful change is not the work of man; faith itself is given us by the Spirit of God. Christians never make themselves Christians; but they are made Christians by God.

…It is quite inconceivable that a man should be given this faith in Christ, that he should accept this gift which Christ offers, and still go on contentedly in sin.  For the very thing which Christ offers us in salvation from sin -not only salvation from the guilt of sin, but also salvation from the power of sin.  The very first thing that the Christian does, therefore, is to keep the law of God; He keeps it no longer as a way of earning his salvation – for salvation has been given him freely by God –  but he joyously as a central part of salvation itself.  The faith of which Paul speaks is, as Paul himself says, a faith that works through love; and love is the fulfilling of the whole law…. The faith that Paul means when he speaks of justification by faith alone is a faith that works.[1]

-J. Gresham Machen

[1] From: “Faith Works; The Gospel According to the Apostles, Macarthur,pg. 37; J. Greshem Machen, “What is Faith?,” New York: Macmillan, 1925, pg. 203-4

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The Sovereignty of God – Part 3

So, just how do we define the Sovereignty of God? The answer to that question is daunting indeed.  And no definition or set of definitions can fully bring complete understanding simply because the answer goes to the very heart of who an infinite, all-knowing, all-powerful God is in His nature and person and puts a full and complete understanding out of the reach of finite, fallen man. Such great theologians such as Augustine, Calvin and Melanethon, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, and Ralph Erskine, Andrew Fuller, A.A. Hodge, Robert Haldane have all written extensively on this subject.  Contemporaries, such as the late Arthur Pink, John Piper and Desiring God Ministries, R.C. Sproul and Ligonier’s Ministries, J.I. Packer, and other systematic works such as Grudem’s, have made helpful and strong arguments for a Biblical view on the Sovereignty of God.  It is also to be noted that the modern “Reformed Movement,” crossing denominational lines, has made great strides to proclaim a Biblical view of God’s Sovereignty. So, with being said, this article should be seen as a modest attempt to define the sovereignty of God. Continue reading

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Quotes From Dead Men

Reading “dead men,” especially when it comes to trends, and error can lead a person to some very valuable lessons.  One of the greatest being what Solomon understood;

Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 (ESV) 9  What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10  Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. 11  There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.

So, read  on, you will no doubt pick up some wisdom and avoid pit-falls and mistakes that have already been made in the past.

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“Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheap jacks’ wares…

Cheap grace is no the kind of forgiveness that frees us from the toils of sin.  Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”[1]

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“You cannot receive Christ as your justification only, and then, later, decide to refuse or not accept Him as your sanctification.  He is one and indivisible, and if you receive him at all, at once He is made unto you ‘wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”  You cannot receive Him as your Saviour only, and later decide to accept or refuse Him as your Lord; for the Savior is the Lord who by His death has [bought] us and therefore owns us. Sanctification is nowhere taught and offered in the New Testament as some additional experience possible to the believer.  It is represented rather as something which is already within the believer,  something which he must realize more and more and in which he must grow increasingly.”[2]

– Martin Lloyd Jones

“In the Scriptures be the fat pastures of the soul; therein is no venomous meat, no unwholesome thing; they be the very dainty and pure feeding. He that is ignorant, shall find there what he should learn.”

– Thomas Cranmer

“The difference between true and false repentance lies in this: the man who truly repents cries out against his heart; but the other, as Eve, against the serpent, or something else.”

– John Bunyan

[1]Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Cost of Discipleship,” New York: Collier, 1959, pp. 54-47

[2] Cited in Iain H. Murray, “D. Martin Lloyd Jones: The First Forty Years,” Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1982, pg.375

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The Sovereignty of God – Part 2

1 Chronicles 29:11 (NKJV) 11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all.

Isaiah 46:9-10 (ESV) 9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

Daniel 4:34 (NKJV) 34 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation.

Psalm 93:1-5 (NKJV) 1 The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The LORD is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength. Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved. 2 Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting. 3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, The floods have lifted up their voice; The floods lift up their waves. 4 The LORD on high is mightier Than the noise of many waters, Than the mighty waves of the sea. 5 Your testimonies are very sure; Holiness adorns Your house, O LORD, forever.

Psalm 115:3 (NKJV) 3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.

Psalm 135:6 (NKJV) 6 Whatever the LORD pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places.

Job 23:13 (ESV) 13 But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does.

Foundational to our faith is the recognition of God’s absolute sovereignty in creation, providence and grace.  There is no possible way for the Scriptures to call Him “Lord” unless this is the case (Gen. 2:4-5, 7-9; 1 Chron. 29:11; Rom. 10:9). As Christians we pray recognizing the Sovereignty of God. J.I Packer makes this point:

“This is the fundamental philosophy of Christian prayer. The prayer of a Christian is not an attempt to force God’s hand, but a humble acknowledgement of helplessness and dependence.  When we are on our knees, we know that it is not we who control the world; it is not in our power, therefore, to supply our needs by our own independent efforts;  every good thing that we desire for ourselves and for others must be sought from God and will come, if it comes at all, as a gift from His hands… This is luminously clear to us when we are actually praying, whatever we may be betrayed into saying in argument afterwards.  In effect, therefore, what we do every time we pray is to confess our own impotence and God’s sovereignty The very fact that a Christian prays is thus proof positive that he believes in the Lordship of his God.”[1] Continue reading

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Hudson Taylor

In the summer of 1865, Hudson Taylor became tremendously burdened for the land of China. His biographer reports that he also became greatly troubled about the church he was attending in Brighton, England. As he looked around the congregation he saw
pew upon pew of prosperous bearded merchants, shopkeepers, visitors; demure wives in bonnets and crinolines, scrubbed children trained to hide their impatience; the atmosphere of smug piety sickened him. He seized his hat and left.[1]

“Unable to bear the sight of a congregation of a thousand or more Christian people rejoicing in their own security, while millions were perishing for lack of knowledge, I wandered out on the sands alone, in great spiritual agony.” And there on the beach he prayed for “twenty-four willing skilful labourers.”[2]

Out of that prayer eventually came the China Inland Mission. Due to that ministry and others like it, there are reportedly twenty-five million to perhaps fifty million believers in China today, despite its officially atheistic government.[3]

[1] MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The – MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Romans 1-8.

[2] John Stott, “Our Guilty Silence,” Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969, pg.24

[3] MacArthur

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