Rolfe Barnard, “Salvation is not an offer to be considered, salvation is God’s gift to men. Thanks be unto God (with the Apostle Paul say) for the unspeakable gift. A Bible scholar told me that that Greek word was nearer if we translated it thanks be unto God for his untraceable gift You just can’t figure it out, it just goes back to the heart of God. Thanks be unto God! Not that He fixed it so that we could consider the matter and use our little old brains and our will but it is all conquering grace, He gives eternal life to men and women. Salvation’s a gift, it’s not an offer.” (FROM A SERMON TITLED, “6 THINGS WE FACE IN PREACHING”)
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT SIN IN SUMMARY:
This is where we need to begin…again. We must understand what it cost God to send His son to die in our place. Sin is not something that makes you sick but kills you. It murders and is murderous. We cannot allow Arminian tradition to downplay how devastating sin actually is. So, to summarize the biblical teaching we must understand that the same death Adam experienced passes upon us all (Romans 5:12) making it necessary for God to quicken us (Ephesians 2:1-3), to make us alive (Colossians 2:13) because the thoughts of our hearts are evil continually (Genesis 6:5). Like David we are sinners from our conception (Psalm 51:5), wicked from birth (Psalm 58:3) and continue in evil (Genesis 8:21, Ecclesiates 9:3). For this reason it is necessary to receive the gift of regeneration from God the Holy Spirit to even see the spiritual offer of the Gospel (John 3:5-6). Don’t trust the traditions of man or the inclinations of your own heart (Jeremiah 17:9) for all evil comes from a depraved heart (Mark 7:21-23). Humanity loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19), for in the flesh, the natural mind is at enmity (that means extremely hostile to) toward God (Romans 8:7-8). I cannot emphasis this enough, the unregenerate cannot understand spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14) due to their sin making them total unable to understand (Ephesians 4:17-19). All of us were once in this state (Ephesians 5:8) and performed the devil’s will (John 8:44), willingly following the him. (Titus 1:15). Therefore Doctrines of Grace aka “Calvinism” is in fact the correct exegesis of scripture.
I would like to finish up this series of posts with a word to those who have not heard the Gospel or have not had the Gospel presented clearly.
THE BIBLICAL GOSPEL
Jesus answered them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”
We have many ideas about what a person has to do to get to heaven. Some believe we must follow the “Golden Rule,” and do good deeds which will eventually outweigh the bad we have done, tipping the scales in our favour….after all, we are all basically good people…right?
If we assume we are good people we are also assuming a standard for what we consider good. Since we assume there is an absolute standard for what is good there must be an absolute standard giver. The Bible repeatedly states that God has given mankind a holy, universal Law, that is written on our hearts and our conscience bears witness to this Law. This Law is revealed and summarized in the Ten Commandments. When we look at God’s Law, we must understand that we have all sinned in some way or another; remember, you don’t have to break all Ten to be guilty of breaking the Law. The Bible warns, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”
“… it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” Hebrews 9:27
Let’s look at a few of the Commandments and see how we fare:
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” Have you ever taken God’s name in vain? If you have, you are a blasphemer and can not enter the Kingdom of God.
“Honour your father and mother.” Have you always honoured your parents in a respectful manner? In a way that God would consider honouring?
“You shall not steal.” Have you ever taken something that didn’t belong to you (irrespective of its value)? What do you call someone who takes something that doesn’t belong to them? A thief – You cannot enter God’s Kingdom.
“You shall not bear false witness.” Have you ever told a lie? Just one? What do you call someone who told a lie? A liar. The Bible warns that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire.
You and I are guilty of sinning against God by breaking His Law, and because we have a conscience, we have sinned “with knowledge.” Isn’t it true that when you steal, lie, etc. you know that it’s wrong? Does the fact that you have sinned against God bother you? The punishment for breaking God’s Law is Hell. Eternal Death.
“Almost every natural man that hears of hell, flatters himself that he shall escape it; he depends upon himself for his own security; he flatters himself in what he has done, in what he is now doing, or what he intends to do. Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters himself that he contrives well for himself, and that his schemes will not fail. [from a sermon by Jonathan Edwards titled, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God]
WHAT MUST YOU DO TO BE SAVED FROM THE PENALTY OF BREAKING GOD’S LAW?
There is good news, there is a GOSPEL. God the Father has given us a mediator in Jesus Christ who is the incarnation of God. Jesus took upon Himself man’s nature, becoming subject to the Law of God, and perfectly obeying the Law in thought and deed for His entire lifetime on earth. While on earth Christ took the sins of His people upon Himself, and suffering the punishment due to all their sins paid the penalty by dying on the Cross, “…for the wages of sin is death.”
By dying in place of His people Jesus Christ became the mediator between God and man and revived in His people the righteousness, holiness and true knowledge lost as a consequence of sin.
As we find ourselves before a holy God we are convicted for breaking His righteous Law. The Holy Spirit moves in the soul to bring us to acknowledge our guilt and brokenness before God and His righteousness. We come to hate sin and find Jesus Christ precious. The Holy Spirit convinces the broken sinner of the shamefulness of sin and then brings the offender to a place where they can, “repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
If you feel the weight of sin on your heart and have come to see the blackness of your soul in the light of God’s Law…if you have been brought to a place where you dread the judgement of the trice holy God, BELIEVE THE GOSPEL! If you believe that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins the Bible assures us that, “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Yours in Christ,
Mr. D. L. Moody, the American Evangelist, was the great apostle of Arminianism in the nineteenth century. In 1873-74 he and Ira D. Sankey conducted a great evangelistic campaign in Scotland, in the course of which thousands professed to have believed in Christ. The Rev. John Kennedy, D.D. of Dingwall, one of the foremost evangelical leaders in Scotland in his day, wrote a review of Moody’s religious movement which he entitled ‘Hyper-Evangelism—Another Gospel, Though a Mighty Power.’ When so many who had a high position and commanding influence in the Church were declaring that it was a gracious work of God, Dr. Kennedy says that he has to confess that he is one of those to whom the movement has yielded more grief than gladness and that he feels constrained to tell why he is a mourner apart.
In forming an estimate of the doctrine that was mainly effective in advancing the movement Dr. Kennedy says that he had sufficient material at hand, that he had heard Mr. Moody repeatedly, and that he had perused with care published specimens of his addresses. His objection to Moody’s teaching was that it ignored the supreme end of the gospel which is the manifestation of the divine glory, and misrepresented it as merely unfolding a scheme of salvation adapted to men’s convenience.
This confirmed objection he based on the following considerations.
(1) That no pains were taken to present the character and claims of God as Lawgiver and Judge, and no indication given of a desire to bring souls in self-condemnation to ‘accept the punishment of their iniquity.’
(2) That it ignored the sovereignty and power of God in the dispensation of His grace.
(3) That it afforded no help to discover, in the light of the doctrine of the cross, how God is glorified in the salvation of the sinner that believes in Jesus.
(4) That it offers no precaution against tendencies to Antinomianism on the part of those who professed to believe.
“Go to the street,” said the great American evangelist, to a group of young ladies, who were seated before him, “and lay your hand on the shoulder of every drunkard you meet, and tell him that God loves him and that Christ died for him; and if you do so, I see no reason why in forty-eight hours there should be an unconverted drunkard in Edinburgh.” “This selfish earnestness,” remarks Dr. Kennedy, “this proud resolve to make a manageable business of conversion-work, is intolerant of any recognition of the sovereignty of God.”
“There is, of course,” he continues, “frequent references to the Spirit, and an acknowledgment of the necessity of His work, but there is, after all, very little allowed for Him to do; and bustling men feel and act as if somehow His power was under their control….
“True, much use is made of Christ’s substitutionary death. But it is usually referred to as a disposing of sin, so that it no longer endangers him, who believes that Christ died for him—who accepts Christ as his substitute. This use of the doctrine of substitution has been very frequent and very effective. Christ, as the substitute of sinners is declared to be the object of faith. But it is His substitution rather than Himself. To believe in substitution is what produces the peace. This serves to remove the sense of danger. There is no direct dealing with the Person who was the substitute. There is no appreciation of the merit of His sacrifice, because of the Divine glory of Him by whom it was offered. Faith, in the convenient arrangement for deliverance from danger, is substituted for trust in the Person who glorified God on the earth, and ‘in whom’ alone we can ‘have redemption through His blood.’ The blood of Jesus was referred to, and there was an oft-repeated ‘Bible-reading’ on the subject of ‘the blood’; but what approximation to any right idea regarding it could there be in the mind, and what but misleading in the teaching, of one who could say, ‘Jesus left His blood on earth to cleanse you, but He brought His flesh and bones to heaven.’
“Souls who have a vague sense of danger, excited by the sensational, instead of an intelligent conviction of sin, produced by the light and power of applied truth, are quite ready to be satisfied with such teaching as this. To these, such doctrine will bring all the peace they are anxious to obtain. But what is the value of that peace? It is no more than the quiet of a dead soul, from whom has been removed an unintelligent sense of danger.
“The new style of teaching made it seem such an easy thing to be a Christian. To find oneself easily persuaded to believe what was presented in the gospel, and to think that by this faith salvation was secured, and that all cause of anxiety was for ever gone, gave a new and pleasing sensation, which thousands were willing to share.”
In connection with unscriptural devices resorted to in order to advance the movement, Dr. Kennedy mentions first excessive hymn-singing as one of these. “The singing of uninspired hymns even in moderation, as part of public worship, no one can prove to be scriptural; but the excess and the misdirection of the singing in this movement were irrational as well. Singing ought to be to the Lord; for singing is worship. But singing the gospel to men has taken the place of singing praise to God…. Many professed to have been converted by the hymns.
“The use of instrumental music was an additional novelty, pleasing to the kind of feeling that finds pleasure in a concert. To introduce what is so gratifying there, into the service of the house of God, is to make the latter palatable to those to whom spiritual worship is an offence. The organ-sounds effectively touch chords which nothing else would thrill….
“And yet it is not difficult to prove that the use of instrumental music, in the worship of God, is unscriptural, and that therefore all, who have subscribed to the [Westminster] Confession of Faith, are under solemn vow against it. There was a thorough change, in the mode of worship, effected by the revolution, which introduced the New Testament dispensation. So thorough is this change, that no part of the old ritual can be a precedent to us. For all parts of the service of the house of God there must be New Testament precept or example. No one will pretend that for instrumental music, in the worship of God, there is any authority in New Testament Scripture. ‘The fruit of the lips’ issuing from hearts that make ‘melody to the Lord,’ is the only form of praise it sanctions….
“But we use the organ only as an aid, it is said. ‘It is right that we should do our best in serving the Lord; and if the vocal music is improved by the instrumental accompaniment, then surely the organ may be used.’ On the same ground you might argue for the use of crucifixes and pictures, and for all the paraphernalia of the Popish ritual. ‘These,’ you might say, ‘make an impression on minds that would not otherwise be at all affected. They vividly present before worshippers the scenes described in Scripture, and if, as aids, they serve to do so, they surely cannot be wrong.’
To this, there are three replies, equally good against the argument for instrumental music.
(1) they are not prescribed in New Testament Scripture, and therefore they must not be introduced into New Testament worship.
(2) They are incongruous with the spirituality of the New Testament dispensation.
(3) These additions but help to excite a state of feeling which militates against, instead of aiding, that which is produced by the Word. An organ may make an impression, but what is it but such as may be made more thoroughly at the opera? It may help to regulate the singing, but does God require this improvement? And whence arises the taste for it? It cannot be from the desire to make the praise more fervent and spiritual, for it only tends to take attention away from the heart, whose melody the Lord requires. It is the craving for pleasurable aesthetics, for the gratification of mere carnal feeling, that desires the thrill of organ sounds, to touch pleasingly the heart, that yields no response to what is spiritual. If the argument, against the use of the organ, in the service of praise, is good, it is, at least equally so against its use in the service of preaching. If anything did ‘vanish away,’ it is surely the use of all such accessories in connection with the exhibition of Christ to men. [Hebrews 8.]
“The novelty of the ‘inquiry room’ was another effective aid in advancing the movement. It is declared to be desirable to come into close personal contact with the hearers of the gospel immediately after a sermon, in order to ascertain their state of feeling, to deepen impressions, that may have been made, and to give a helping hand to the anxious. Such is the plea for ‘the inquiry room.’ In order that it may be supplied, hearers are strongly urged, after a sensational address, to take the position of converts or inquirers. They are pressed and hurried to a public confession….
“Why are men so anxious to keep the awakened in their own hands? They, at any rate, seem to act as if conversion was all their own work. They began it, and they seem determined to finish it. If it is at all out of their hand, they seem to think that it will come to nothing. They must at once, and on the spot, get these inquirers persuaded to believe, and get them also to say that they do. They may fall to pieces if they are not braced round by a band of profession. Their names or numbers must, ere the night passes, be added to the roll of converts. They are gathered into the inquiry room, to act in a scene, that looks more like a part of a stage-play than anything more serious and solemn. Oh, what trifling with souls goes on in these inquiry rooms, as class after class is dealt with in rude haste, very often by teachers who never ‘knew the grace of God in truth.’ The inquiry room may be effective in securing a hasty profession of faith, but it is not an institution which the Church of Christ should adopt or countenance.
“It will be a sad day,” concludes Dr. Kennedy, “for our country, if the men, who luxuriate in the excitement of man-made revivals, shall with their one-sided views of truth, which have ever been the germs of serious errors, their lack of spiritual discernment, and their superficial experience, become the leaders of religious thought, and the conductors of religious movements. Already they have advanced as many as inclined to follow them, far in the way to Arminianism in doctrine, and to Plymouthism in service. They may be successful in galvanising, by a succession of sensational shocks a multitude of dead, till they seem to be alive, and they raise them from their crypts to take a place amidst the living in the house of the Lord; but far better would it be to leave the dead in the place of the dead, and to prophesy to them there, till the living God Himself shall quicken them. For death will soon resume its sway. Stillness will follow the temporary bustle, and the quiet will be more painful than the stir. But to whatever extent this may be realized in the future of the Church in Scotland, our country will yet share, in common with all lands, in the great spiritual resurrection that will be the morning work of that day of glory, during which ‘the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth,’ and ‘all nations shall be blessed in Messiah, and shall call Him blessed.’ Meantime, were it not for the hope of this, it would be impossible to endure to think of the present, and of the immediate future, of the cause of true religion in our land. The dead, oh, how dead! The living, oh, how undiscerning! And if there continue to be progress in the direction, in which present religious activity is moving, a negative theology will soon supplant our Confession of Faith, the good old ways of worship will be forsaken for unscriptural inventions, and the tinsel of a superficial religiousness will take the place of genuine godliness.”
Primitive, Gospel Standard and other Baptists have argued against “the free offer of the Gospel” and “duty faith.” Some High and Ultra High Calvinists will say God has no love for the reprobate and I agree but wouldn’t spend much time going further than that. A. W. Pink is one who has written that God has no love for the reprobate and his work is free online here. Pink also believed everyone was duty bound to believe savingly and his view could be read here.
The Gospel Standard Articles of Faith explain:
We believe that it would be unsafe, from the brief records we have, of the way in which the Apostles, under the immediate direction of our Lord, addressed their hearers in certain special cases and circumstances, to derive absolute and universal rules for ministerial addresses in the present day under widely different circumstances. And we further believe that an assumption that others have been inspired as the Apostles were, has led to the grossest errors among both Romanists and Protestants. Therefore, that for ministers in this present day to address unconverted persons, or indiscriminately all in a mixed congregation, calling upon them to savingly repent, believe, and receive Christ, or perform any other acts dependent upon the new creative power of the Holy Ghost, is, on the one hand, to imply creature power, and on the other to deny the doctrine of special redemption.
Below you will find a video that explains some of the arguments for the “free offer” and/or “duty faith” examined. The audio blogger brings up some good points that need further consideration.
Yours in the Lord,
Worth a listen.
“It is the duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it is not the Popery in the Church of Rome and in the Church of England, there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. If there were to be issued a hue and cry for Antichrist, we should certainly take up those two churches on suspicion, and they certainly would not be let loose again, for they so exactly answer the description. Popery anywhere, whether it be Anglican or Romish, is contrary to Christ’s Gospel, and is the Antichrist, and we ought to pray against it. It should be the daily prayer of every Believer that Antichrist might be hurled like a millstone into the flood and sink to rise no more. If we can pray against error for Christ because it wounds Christ, because it robs Christ of His Glory, because it puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His Atonement, and lifts a piece of bread into the place of the Savior, and a few drops of water into the place of the Holy Spirit, and puts a mere fallible man like ourselves up as the Vicar of Christ on earth; if we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we hate their errors; we shall love their souls though we loathe and detest their dogmas, and so the breath of our prayers will be sweetened, because we turn our faces towards Christ when we pray. We are to pray for Him.”
– PRAY FOR JESUS
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, OCTOBER 21, 1866,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
(I took the photo last month while sitting outside a Roman church after praying against antichrist and praying for the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. )
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to meet and have a pipe with Dr. Tony Curto who serves as the Associate Professor of Practical Theology in Missions and Apologetics at GPTS. Dr. Curto has served in the mission field of Africa as well so I asked if he had any issues with other orthodox Christians, did their work overlap, did other groups such as Independent Fundamental Baptists cause any issues (I’ve heard IFB’s do rock the boat from time to time), etc. (When I used the term “orthodox” I mean Trinitarian, Bible believing Christians excluding Mormons, JW…you get the picture.) Dr. Curto mentioned the following passage from Pilgrim’s Progress about how true Gospel ministers are “one of a thousand.” By the power of God Gospel Ministers “can beget children, (1 Cor. iv. 15), travail in birth with children, (Gal. iv. 19), and nurse them himself when they are born.” Dr. Curto went on to say not everyone in the mission field was called by God to be in the mission field.
CHRISTIAN. Sir, said Christian, I am a man that am come from the City of Destruction, and am going to the Mount Zion; and I was told by the man that stands at the gate at the head of this way, that if I called here you would show me excellent things, such as would be helpful to me on my journey.
INTERPRETER. Then said Interpreter, Come in; I will show thee that which will be profitable to thee. So he commanded his man to light the candle, and bid Christian follow him. So he had him into a private room, and bid his man open a door; the which, when he had done, Christian saw the picture a very grave person hang up against the wall; and this was the fashion of it; it had eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books in its hand, the law of truth was written upon its lips, the world was behind its back; it stood as if it pleaded with men, and a crown of gold did hang over its head.
CHRISTIAN. Then said Christian, What meaneth this?
INTERPRETER. The man whose picture this is, is one of a thousand: he can beget children, (1 Cor. iv. 15), travail in birth with children, (Gal. iv. 19), and nurse them himself when they are born. And whereas, thou seest him with his eyes lift up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, and the law of truth writ on his lips: it is to show thee, that his work is to know, and unfold dark things to sinners; even as also thou seest him stand as if he pleaded with men. And whereas thou seest the world as cast behind him, and that a crown hangs over his head: that is to show thee, that, slighting and despising the things that are present, for the love that he hath to his Master’s service, he is sure, in the world that comes next, to have glory for his reward. Now, said the Interpreter, I have showed thee this picture first, because the man whose picture this is, is the only man whom the Lord of the place whither thou art going, hath authorised to be thy guide in all difficult places thou mayest meet with in the way. Wherefore take good heed to what I have showed thee, and bear well in thy mind what thou hast seen, lest in thy journey thou meet with some that pretend to lead thee right – but their way goes down to death.
The commentary portion can be found on Bunyan Ministries.
Worthy blog posts from Joe Thorn on the subject of “third places” and lessons learned. The first three posts are up for you to read.
Lessons from the Cigar Shop (Part 1)
“I have already shared that one of the places I hang out and study is the local cigar shop. I have not simply made it a “second office,” but a place where I have built friendships and learned a lot along the way. Yes, I share the gospel there as God provides opportunity, but it is also where I share my life with others. I and many others from our church are members at this tobacconist and for us it is one of the places where we live among the people to whom God has sent us. It has also proven to be a place of learning in multiple ways. During this week I will share just five things I have learned in the cigar shop.”
Lessons from the Cigar Shop (Part 2)
“…they didn’t only have me to worry about. After I joined 8 other members from our church joined as well. But this long-time regular at the cigar shop told me he was pleasantly surprised that we came in to join them. Yes, we openly talk about God, the gospel, the church, and the Bible, but we also talk about the Blackhawks, movies, family, politics, and of course, cigars. He knows my hopes that everyone there will believe in and follow Jesus, but he also knows we are there to be a part of something. The cigar shop is not a project, but a place. The members there are our friends.”
Lessons from the Cigar Shop (Part 3)
“Listening first doesn’t mean silence on your part, but in fact will require you to speak. The difference is one of direction. Your immediate goal should be to get to know people, to learn something of who they are, before dumping your life story or a lesson for the day on them. Listening comes first because people are worth knowing and because real conversation is impossible without it.”
I do not believe it is. I do believe in the free proclamation of the Gospel to all.
“Moreover, it is the promise of the gospel that whoever believes in Christ crucified shall not perish but have eternal life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be announced and declared without differentiation or discrimination to all nations and people, to whom God in his good pleasure sends the gospel” (II.5) Canons of Dort
A video from the Primitive Baptist perspective: