Posted in 2012: “Do you feel in danger? are you afraid of losing the word, of missing it, as Paul says, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God” (Heb. 12:15); lest professing it, he should not process it? Then this prayer will suit you, it will suit you as an individual; and if we as a people realize our weakness and our enemies, and the devils that are within us and without us, it will be a suitable prayer to us: “Take not the word of truth away from us.” If the Lord should walk among us, what would He see? May He grant there may be no prevailing heresy, no prevailing evil to provoke Him to threaten to remove the candlestick. I can but say, as I have said before, we are in a solemn time; and the Lord’s absence is very, very visible to some people, and the lack of power is mournfully felt and acknowledged by some. What He will do with us as a nation, what will become of the churches that profess the truth, I do not pretend to say; but I do, speaking in a general way, believe that solemn times are upon us, and that the churches will know it. “All the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts” (Rev. 2:23). The whole world shall know it, for the center of the world is the church. There will begin the judgments of God. May, then, this be our prayer, may this be our petition, poor people we are, we need it; ministers need it, greatly need it. They may be supposed to have some knowledge of truth, but it will only be dry and sapless and useless, if they only speak out of naked knowledge. Hearers need it; they may think they can discern the truth, but they may be blind all the while. So we need the Holy Spirit greatly, to do for us that for which the psalmist here prays, and for which he prays in another place in different words, “Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.” Let the gospel continue, let it be in power and in the Holy Ghost and in much assurance in our hearts and in our midst. Amen.” – J. K. Popham
Here are eleven things expressly taught in the Word of God about election:
1. Election is “IN CHRIST.” No less than fourteen times in the first fourteen verses of Ephesians chapter one the Holy Spirit expressly tells us that every benefit and blessing of grace that comes to sinners from God is in Christ.
2. Election is UNTO SALVATION. Certainly, there is a sense in which it must be said that God’s elect were saved from eternity (Rom. 8:29); but we must never be deceived into thinking that election is salvation. Election is unto salvation. Election is not, as some teach, unto “Christian service.” Election is unto salvation.
3. Election is an act of pure, absolute, DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY. God has mercy on whom he will have mercy (Rom. 9:11-18). God was not moved by anything outside Himself to choose the people He chose to save.
4. Election took place in ETERNITY. God did not choose His people in time, but before time began, in eternity. He chose us before the foundation of the world, from the beginning, when nothing existed except God Himself in the tri-unity of the eternal Godhead.
5. The source and cause of election is God’s eternal LOVE for His people. He loved us freely, from everlasting, before ever the earth was made. Our love to Him is not the cause of His love toward us, but the result (Jer. 31:3; 1 Jn. 4:19).
6. God’s election was an act of free, UNCONDITIONAL grace. Grace is always free and unconditional. The moment a condition is put to it, it ceases to be grace. To say that God chose us because of something He foresaw in us, or foresaw we would chose to do, is to frustrate the grace of God, making it the reward of our work (Rom. 11:6).
7. Election is God’s PERSONAL choice of specific sinners to eternal life in Christ. Here is a sweet cordial of grace which shall never cease to amaze and rejoice the hearts of believing sinners – The Lord God chose me to eternal salvation in Christ, because He loved me with an everlasting, unconditional love!
8. Election is IRREVERSIBLE. “The gifts and callings of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29). Those who were chosen to salvation in eternity shall not be unchosen in time!
9. Election is EFFECTUAL. There is no possibility that one of God’s elect shall perish (2 Tim. 2:19).
10. Election is DISTINGUISHING. To talk of universal love in God toward reprobate men is to talk nonsense. Read Isaiah 43:1-4! 11. Election is BLESSED, for it is the cause of all blessedness (Ps. 65:4; Eph. 1:3-6).
Amen, be encouraged, it is all of GRACE!
“That there are universal offers of grace and salvation made to all men, I utterly deny; nay I deny that they are made to any; no not to God’s elect: grace and salvation are promised for them in the everlasting covenant, procured for them by Christ, published and revealed in the gospel, and applied by the Spirit.” John Gill, The Doctrine of Predestination Stated
THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT SALVATION IS GIVEN BY OUR SOVEREIGN GOD:
Whatever God commands, wills and ordains will be accomplished. If God seeks to save that which was lost, have faith, He will save them.
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isa 55:11)
The Arminian free will tradition teaches that we are to “get saved” by conceding to the truth of the Gospel which leads to our spiritual regeneration. This is often called “decisional regeneration,” where the creatures faith acts as the key ingredient to kick start our salvation. Salvation is given through Jesus Christ alone, based on the love of God and His mercy toward us, and not gained through our actions. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. (Joh 3:27)
The modern Evangelical tradition supporting free will believes that Christ desperately wants to save all of humanity but is not able to do so because of libertarian free will. Christ was sent to “seek and save that which was lost” and will accomplish what He sets out to do for He has “power over all flesh” and will give freely to “as many as” God the Father “hast given him.”
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (John 17:2)
Salvation is freely given and not based on the will of man.
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (Rom 9:16)
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. (1 Cor 3:6-7)
It is God who makes the difference.
For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (1 Cor 4)
Even our good works after spiritual regeneration find their beginning in God.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Phil 2:12-13)
We are born again, “begat“ by the word of truth, it is given to us and not gained by our actions.
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (Jam 1:18)
We have an understanding of spiritual things because it was “given” to us.
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (1 Joh 5:20)
Yours in the Lord,
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT CHRIST OUR COVENANT HEAD:
To begin I’ll offer two help definitions for “covenant” and “surety.”
According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, a covenant is a “mutual consent or agreement of two or more persons, to do or to forbear some act or thing; a contract; stipulation.” Continuing, we read, “In theology, the covenant of works, is that implied in the commands, prohibitions, and promises of God; the promise of God to man, that mans perfect obedience should entitle him to happiness. This do, and live; that do, and die.”
Surety means, security and safety. We find Webster’s definiton useful. “In law, one that is bound with and for another; one who enters into a bond or recognizance to answer for another’s appearance in court, or for his payment of a debt or for the performance of some act, and who, in case of the principal debtor’s failure, is compellable to pay the debt or damages; a bondsman; a bail.
He that is surety for a stranger, shall smart for it. Prov 11. Thy servant became surety for the lad to my father. Gen 44. In Scripture, Christ is called “the surety of a better testament.” Heb 7:22. He undertook to make atonement for the sins of men, and thus prepare the way to deliver them from the punishment to which they had rendered themselves liable.”
The covenant of redemption, is the mutual agreement between the Father and Son, respecting the redemption of sinners by Christ.
The covenant of grace, is that by which God engages to bestow salvation on man, upon the condition that man shall believe in Christ and yield obedience to the terms of the gospel.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6)
Christ did not die for all sheep everywhere as the Arminian would have us believe but for His own sheep.
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10)
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10)
Only those with whom Christ is in covenant relationship with will hear His voice when He calls.
Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10)
The scriptures clearly demonstrate how sinful we really are in and of ourselves. O’ how we need Christ! We need Him for all of our salvation. He stands in our place and meditates between us and the Father as our covenant head. He represents the church and the church alone, not everyone. “Christ doesn’t pray for the world,” He chooses to pray for us alone.
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. (John 17)
A verse that can stand alone. Christ does not pray for the world because He was sent to the lost sheep of Israel.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; (John 17)
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17)
All men in Adam died. All men, those for whom “the Son chooses to reveal Himself,” those for whom He prays, will be saved.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Rom 5)
For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Rom 5)
We know that all men are sinners because of Adam. We know that not all will be saved because of sin. We know that Christ who stands before God the Father as our advocate will intercede and save those for whom He died and only those in Christ will be saved.
For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Rom 5)
Yours in the Lord,
God loves us eternally,
“The love of God in itself is the eternal purpose and act of his will. This is no more changeable than God himself: if it were, no flesh could be saved; but it changeth not, and we are not consumed. What then? loves he his people in their sinning?
Yes; his people, — not their sinning.
Alters he not his love towards them? Not the purpose of his will, but the dispensations of his grace.
He rebukes them, he chastens them, he hides his face from them, he smites them, he fills them with a sense of [his] indignation; but woe, woe would it be to us, should he change in his love, or take away his kindness from us! Those very things which seem to be demonstrations of the change of his affections towards his, do as clearly proceed from love as those which seem to be the most genuine issues thereof. “But will not this encourage to sin?” He never tasted of the love of God that can seriously make this objection. The doctrine of grace may be turned into wantonness; the principle cannot. I shall not wrong the saints by giving another answer to this objection: Detestation of sin in any may well consist with the acceptation of their persons, and their designation to life eternal.” Of Communion with the Triune God, chp. 3
“It was fixed on us before the foundation of the world. Before we were, or had done the least good, then were his thoughts upon us, — then was his delight in us; — then did the Son rejoice in the thoughts of fulfilling his Father’s delight in him, Prov. viii. 30. Yea, the delight of the Father in the Son, there mentioned, is not so much his absolute delight in him as the express image of his person and the brightness of his glory, wherein he might behold all his own excellencies and perfections; as with respect unto his love and his delight in the sons of men.
So the order of the words require us to understand it: “I was daily his delight,” and, “My delights were with the sons of men;” — that is, in the thoughts of kindness and redemption for them: and in that respect, also, was he his Father’s delight. It was from eternity that he laid in his own bosom a design for our happiness. The very thought of this is enough to make all that is within us, like the babe in the womb of Elisabeth, to leap for joy. A sense of it cannot but prostrate our souls to the lowest abasement of a humble, holy reverence, and make us rejoice before him with trembling.” Of Communion with the Triune God, chp. 4
there can be no grace where there is no sovereignty
“Man’s entire apostasy and death in sin, so that he cannot save himself; and God’s entire supremacy, so that He saves whom He will, are doctrines exceedingly distasteful to human pride. But they are Scriptural.
Why was one thief saved and the other lost? “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Mat 11:26). God was not bound to save the one, and He had power enough to have saved the other; and neither could save himself. What made the difference? The sovereign grace of God.
Why was Paul saved and Judas lost? Was it because the former deserved to be saved and the latter to be lost? No, neither deserved to be saved. Was it because the one was a fitting object for the grace of God and the other not? No, the one was no more a fitting object than the other.
Why was it that Judea was made a land of light and Egypt remained a region of darkness? Who made the difference? Man or God? Was God unjust in leaving Egypt in the shadow of death when He made light to arise on Israel? What had Israel done to deserve a privilege like this?
None have deserved salvation. No man is more fit for it than another. God was not bound to save any. God might have saved all. Yet He has only saved some. Is He, then, unjust in only saving some when He could have saved all? Objectors say, “Oh, those who are lost are lost because they rejected Christ.” But did not all equally reject Him at first? What made the unbelief of some give way? Was it because they willed it or because God put forth His power in them? Surely the latter. Might He not, then, have put forth His power in all and prevented any from rejecting the Savior? Yet He did not. Why? Because so it seemed good in His sight.
Is it unjust of God to save only a few when all are equally doomed to die? If not, is there any injustice in His determining aforehand to save these few and leave the rest unsaved? They could not save themselves; and was it unjust in Him to resolve in His infinite wisdom to save them? Or was it unjust in Him not to resolve to save all? Had all perished there would have been no injustice with Him. How is it possible that there can be injustice in His resolving to save some?
There can be no grace when there is no sovereignty. Deny God’s right to choose whom He will and you deny His right to save whom He will. Deny His right to save whom He will and you deny that salvation is of grace. If salvation is made to hinge upon any desert or fitness in man, seen or foreseen, grace is at an end.” – Horatius Bonar
But I am poor and needy.
“What an honest confession! How suitable to the experience of every God-taught soul! Let us contrast this humble confession with the boast that fell from the lips of the Laodicean church—I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing! Mark the contrast! The dead, carnal, lifeless professor, boasting—I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing! The exercised, tried, tempted child of God, confessing, “But I am poor and needy.” The one, full of pride, and glorying in self! The other, broken, humble, contrite, and laid low at the footstool of mercy!” – J.C. Philpot
(A picture of King Street in Chatham, ON Canada taken around 7:30am this morning from a local coffee shop.)