Good People

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

Good PeopleWe 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.[1]”

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.”

__________________________________________________

[1] quote taken from a sermon by Jonathan Edwards titled, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”

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In Danger?

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

Grace and Salvation

Amen, be encouraged, it is all of GRACE! john_gill

“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

Salvation is a gift!

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”)

Is “Calvinism” Biblical? (Final Post)

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.

divider

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,

j

Is “Calvinism” Biblical? (pt 8)

THE BIBLE TEACHES US THAT WE ARE SAVED BY THE SPIRIT:

We are not made sons and daughters of God by our choice, our ability to discern the spiritual goodness of God or believe the Gospel. This ability to receive the Gospel is “lead by the Spirit.”

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Ro 8:14)

The Gospel is “revealed” “unto us by the Spirit.”

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Cor 2:10-13)

“no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (1 Cor 12:3)

The Spirit “giveth life.”

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (2 Cor 3:6)

The Spirit releases us from bondage and gives us freedom.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Cor 3:17-18)

THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT THE SPIRIT GIVES US REGENERATION:

The Lord performs the act of giving a new heart and it’s not contingent on the free will of man.

And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. (Deut 30:6)

How did you get to where you are today, sitting in church on Sunday’s, reading your Bible, struggling to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength?

God.

God brought you to where you are today. He gave you a knew heart. It was God that brought you to a place where you can believe on His dear son Jesus Christ.

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: (Eze 11:19)

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Eze 36)

I’ll include a handy graphic that explains the order of salvation as presented in scripture.

OrdoSalutis_Large

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1)

You cannot control the operations of the Holy Spirit, not by your will or choice. God will do as He pleases and brings salvation to those He chooses.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:3-8)

The Spirit brings us to faith by raising the spiritually dead, giving them life…(pisst, that’s what Calvin believed)

For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. (Joh 5)

The Holy Spirit moves us from a state of spiritual death and decay to life.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Cor 5;17-18)

It doesn’t matter what you do you cannot impress God. You can perform works, you may be a nice person, you could even claim to have faith but without the new birth performed by the Holy Spirit it means nothing. The Holy Spirit must move a “dead” sinner to life and belief.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Gal 6:15)

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Eph 2:5)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10)

The Bible teaches that due to sin fallen man cannot believe in the Gospel.

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (Col 2:13)

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Tit 3:15)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Pet 1:3)

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Pet 1:23)

In our fallen state the Holy Spirit regenerates our soul. This is a gracious act of God. Amen.

Yours in the Lord,

jm