The Father’s Bargain With the Son

by John Flavelflavel

Father. My son, here is a company of poor miserable souls, that have utterly undone themselves, and now lie open to my justice! Justice demands satisfaction for them, or will satisfy itself in the eternal ruin of them: What shall be done for these souls?

Son. O my Father, such is my love to, and pity for them, that rather than they shall perish eternally, I will be responsible for them as their Surety; bring in all thy bills, that I may see what they owe thee; Lord, bring them all in, that there may be no after-reckonings with them; at my hand shalt thou require it. I will rather choose to suffer thy wrath than they should suffer it: upon me, my Father, upon me be all their debt.

Father. But, my Son, if thou undertake for them, thou must reckon to pay the last mite, expect no abatements; if I spare them, I will not spare thee.

Son. Content, Father, let it be so; charge it all upon me, I am able to discharge it: and though it prove a kind of undoing to me, though it impoverish all my riches, empty all my treasures, (for so indeed it did, 2 Cor. 8: 9. “Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor”) yet I am content to undertake it.

Blush, ungrateful believers, O let shame cover your faces; judge in yourselves now, has Christ deserved that you should stand with him for trifles, that you should shrink at a few petty difficulties, and complain, this is hard, and that is harsh? O if you knew the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in this his wonderful condescension for you, you could not do it.

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Evangelical Grace

London Baptist Confession of Faith:

This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things. ( Zechariah 12:10; Acts 11:18; Ezekiel 36:31; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Psalms 119:6; Psalms 119:128 ) chp. 15.3

John Gill:

Special faith in Christ is of the operation of the Spirit of God:
he produces it by his mighty power in the soul;
he enlightens the mind,
reveals the object,
brings near Christ, his righteousness and salvation, and
enables the sensible sinner to look unto him,
lay hold on him,
and receive his as his Savior and Redeemer;
hence he is called the Spirit of faith (2 Cor. 4:13);
because he is the author of it, who begins and carries on, and
will perform the work of faith with power:
the principal use of which grace is to receive all from Christ, and
give him the glory.

God has put this honor upon it, to constitute and appoint it to be the receiver-general of all the blessings of grace.

It receives Christ himself as the Father’s free-gift;
it receives out of the fulness of Christ,
even grace for grace,
or and abundance of it;
it receives the blessing of righteousness from the Lord of justification;
it receives the remission of sins through his blood, according to the gospel-declaration;
it receives the adoption of children,
in consequence of the way being opened for it through the redemption which is in Christ;
it receives the inheritance among them that are sanctified,
the right unto it, and the claim upon it; and to this post it is advanced,
that all the glory might redound to the grace of God; it is of faith, that it might be by grace (Rom. 4:16).

(FAITH IN GOD AND HIS WORD: HE ESTABLISHMENT AND PROSPERITY OF HIS PEOPLE: A Sermon, Preached at a Wednesday’s Evening Lecture, in GREAT EAST-CHEAP, Dec. 27, 1753.)

Again, The London Baptist Confession of 1689 reads;

ch.14

The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts,”

“By this faith a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word for the authority of God himself”

“and so is enabled to cast his soul upon the truth thus believed”

ch.15
“This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin”

The idea that all men everywhere must repent is biblical, BUT, the repentance required of the reprobate is legal. All men are guilty of breaking God’s law and therefore must repent of their deeds and they never do. Sure, unsaved people feel guilt or regret over their sins but they still rage against the holy and living God. Only the elect are given the “evangelical grace” of repentance and faith that leads to eternal life.

John Gill’s comments on Acts 20.21 are useful in understanding this subject and so, I post them below.

Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks,…. To the Jews first in their synagogue, and then to both Jews and Greeks, or Gentiles, in the school of Tyrannus; opening and explaining to both the nature and use, urging and insisting upon, and proving by undeniable testimonies the necessity,

of repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ: the former of these is not a legal repentance, but an evangelical one; which flows from a sense of the love of God, and an application of pardoning grace and mercy, and is always attended with hope, at least of interest in it, and as here with faith in Christ Jesus:

it lies in a true sight and sense of sin, as exceeding sinful, being contrary to the nature and law of God, and a deformation of the image of God in man, as well as followed with dreadful and pernicious consequences; and in a godly sorrow for it, as it is committed against a God of infinite purity and holiness, and of love, grace, and mercy; and it shows itself in shame for sin, and blushing at it, and in an ingenious confession of it, and forsaking it: and the latter of these is not an historical faith, or an assent of the mind to whatsoever is true concerning the person, office, and grace of Christ; but is a spiritual act of the soul upon him;

it is a looking and going out to him, a laying hold and leaning on him, and trusting in him, for grace, righteousness, peace, pardon, life, and salvation. Now these two were the sum of the apostle’s ministry; this is a breviary or compendium of it; a form of sound words held fast and published by him: and as these two go together as doctrines in the ministry of the word, they go together as graces in the experience of the saints; where the one is, there the other is; they are wrought in the soul at one and the same time, by one and the same hand;

the one is not before the other in order of time, however it may be in order of working, or as to visible observation; repentance is mentioned before faith, not that it precedes it, though it may be discerned in its outward acts before it; yet faith as to its inward exercise on Christ is full as early, if not earlier; souls first look to Christ by faith, and then they mourn in tears of evangelical repentance, Zec 12:10 though the order of the Gospel ministry is very fitly here expressed, which is first to lay before sinners the evil of sin, and their danger by it, in order to convince of it, and bring to repentance for it; and then to direct and encourage them to faith in Christ Jesus, as in the case of the jailer, Ac 16:29 and this is, generally speaking, the order and method in which the Holy Spirit proceeds;

he is first a spirit of conviction and illumination, he shows to souls the exceeding sinfulness of sin, causes them to loath it and themselves for it, and humbles them under a sense of it; and then he is a spirit of faith, he reveals Christ unto them as God’s way or salvation, and works faith in them to believe in him. Moreover, these two, repentance and faith, were the two parts of Christ’s ministry, Mr 1:15 and are what, he would have published and insisted on, in the preaching of the word, Lu 24:47 so that the ministry of the apostle was very conformable to the mind and will of Christ. [end quote]

Yours in the Lord,

jm

the plague of a man’s own heart

RESOLVED! To begin the new year with an understanding of the sinfulness of my own heart, the need for Jesus Christ and a renewed dedication to living a life of holiness and piety that honours God.

jm

Which shall know every man the plague of his own heart. 1 Kings 8.38

John Gill writing on the subject of SIN:

…is a very nauseous and loathsome disease: the Psalmist speaks of it as such, My loins are filled with a loathsome disease (Ps. 38:7). He had respect to sin, or the fruit, and effect of it; for he had before observed, that there was no soundness in his flesh, nor any rest in his bones, because of his sin (Ps. 38:3).

sinfulheart

This disease makes a person loathsome to Jehovah; who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. This is a disease that mankind are very early infected with; therefore, the apostate sons of Adam are represented by an infant cast out into the open field, to the loathing of its person in the day that it was born.

Being infected with such a disease as this, it cannot but be loathsome in the eyes of God: and sin, that makes us loathsome in the sight of God, makes us loathsome in our own sight too, when we are led to take a proper view of it. Hence those words of the apostle Paul, who had a large experience of the nature, force, and power of indwelling sin; O wretched man, that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Rom. 7:24); or from this dead body, which I carry about with me.

Do but represent unto yourselves how loathsome it must be for a living man to have a dead body fastened to him, and be obliged to carry it along with him wherever be goes; and to have it wherever he is. Just so it is with the people of God, who have any knowledge of this pestilential disease, this body of death, which they continually carry about with them.

This is a disease, also, that is mortal in itself, a deadly disease; as the plague is generally supposed to be. There are diseases which are not unto death; but the disease of sin is unto death. We read of one sin in particular which is unto death. It is emphatically so, namely, the unpardonable sin; because it is not forgiven, neither in this world, neither in the world to come (Matthew 12:32). But every sin is, in its own nature, deserving of death. The wages of every sin, is death (Rom. 6:23); eternal death. This disease is incurable, except by the grace of God and the blood of Christ.

What Jeremiah says of the people of Israel, that their bruise was incurable, and their wound grievous, because there was none to plead their cause that they might be bound up, and they had no healing medicines, may be said of all mankind, with respect to this disease of sin. It is incurable by any methods they themselves are capable of making use of, or others for them: When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound; then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb; yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound (Hosea 5:13).

So let a sinner, that is diseased with sin, use whatever means he can, short of Christ, and his blood, they will be all ineffectual.

Christ is the only physician that can cure the plague of the heart; and his blood is the sovereign balm.

Is there no balm in Gilead?

Is there no physician there?

yes; and that Physician is Christ, that balm is his blood.

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 7)

In this post I’ll try to point out very briefly, from scripture that the Reformed or “Calvinistic” exegesis of the Bible is the true exegesis of scripture because the opposite is impossible. I believe Arminianism, or free will works religion leads to self-contradiction. As Van Til would say, “we reason from the impossibility of the contrary.” What seem to be universalisms to the Arminian become clear when we seek to explain them in the context using the historical, grammatical or literal meaning. I’ve selected a few passages as representative examples.

As you read the scriptures presented and the few comments I’ve added please keep the words of R. L. Dabney in mind.

A truth is not necessary, because we negatively are not able to conceive the actual existence of the opposite thereof; but a truth is necessary when we positively are able to apprehend that the negation thereof includes an inevitable contradiction. It is not that we cannot see how the opposite comes to be true, but it is that we are able to see that that the opposite cannot possibly be true. (Systematic Theology, sect. 1, chap. 6, lect. 8[1]).

DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ARMINIAN UNIVERSALISMS?:

That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (Joh 1:9)

The Arminian free will tradition believes this light is unto salvation, a reference to previent grace or preparatory grace but the passage, when examined, doesn’t allow it. The context is found in the verses immediately following, v.12 “as many received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God…” v.13 “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.” You must be born again and that is not within the power of fallen man for the scriptures are clear, “but of God.”

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (Joh 1:29)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (Joh 3:16-17)

And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. (Joh 4:42)

The word “world” in this context cannot be understood as referring to salvation for the whole world for orthodox Christianity denies universalism. Using scripture we can come to understand the text the way it was meant to be interpreted.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luk 2:1)

In Luke 2 we find the word “world” being used to identify a specific geographic location, that being, the Roman Empire. It is not used in a universal sense at all but a very limited sense. If we use the Arminian or free will tradition and apply it to this passage we would have to assume China was taxed, Japan, Russia, the whole world in the universal sense of the word. That simply is not true due to the context. The same can be said for the passages in John. Therefore, the universal passages often cited in support of the universal nature of Christ’s sin offering (sometimes free will of man) cannot be used to teach these Arminian notions. In fact John limiteds the sin offering of Christ to those “that believe.” As I have demonstrated already and will continue to demonstrate, God is the one who gives faith, so the limiter is Christ. Consistent with what I’ve been saying throughout these posts we need a spiritual change before we can believe. Before John 3:16 we read;

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. (Joh 3:5-6)

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2Co 5:14-15)

Let’s examine the text;

v.1 “For we know…”

v.2 “For in this we groan…”

v.3 “…we shall not be found naked.”

v.4 “For we that in this tabernacle do groan…”

2 Corinthians is addressed to believers who “know” and “groan” over their sin, and know that because of Christ “we shall not be found naked.” When we set aside tradition and read 2 Cor. 5 again we see that it is addressed to believers, Christ’s love is directed to “us” at the beginning of the verse, and the use of “all” in proper context should be understood as referring to “all” of Christ’s people. In verses 18-19 we see that “all” is in direct relationship to the reconciling work of Jesus Christ.

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1Ti 2:4-6)

The context is given before we arrive at v.4. Paul instructs believers to pray for all kinds of people, “kings, and for all that are in authority…” If God wills all men to be saved all men will be saved, I have demonstrated above that Christ’s death is effectual.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Heb 2:9)

The Arminian free will tradition views this passage as meaning Christ somehow “tasted death” for every single person who ever lived making salvation a hypothetical possibility. This notion can’t be supported by the biblical text. It is said that Christ was the captain of their salvation. This passage is directed to the “many sons” and not all, its the church body collectively, but not every single person who ever lived.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2Pe 3:9)

Does this verse teach that God is waiting for “all” as in every single person who ever lived, even if they had never heard the Gospel, to “come to repentance?” I don’t believe it does. Peter addresses this Epistle to the “beloved” to “stir up” their minds to remember the things he has preached to them. In verse 8 he tells the church that, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years” and continues in verse 9 reminding the church to be patient. The use of “us-ward” is in reference to the “promise” and only believers have the promise of salvation. Christ is not willing that any of His people will perish and His people will come to repentance.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1Jn 2:1-2)

If, according to Arminian tradition, this verse is to be taken in a universal sense than all people, including unbelievers, will receive salvation because propitiated sins cannot be punished. For a definition of the world propitiation I have quoted Webster’s Dictionary of 1828, “The act of appeasing wrath and conciliating the favor of an offended person; the act of making propitious.” Christ appeased the wrath of God the Father. If the work of Christ is said to be for “every single person who ever lived” than you have a problem, their sins are forgiven on the basis of Christ’s work at Calvary and cannot be punished. The free will Arminian notion if consistent, thank God it is not, means sinners for whom Christ died will be punished…and if consistent this idea will lead to universalism.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

the deceitfulness of sin

Sin brooksis the greatest deceiver in the world ; it will kiss the soul, and pretend fair to us to our face, but will betray the soul forever: it will, with Delilah, smile upon us, that it may betray us into the hands of the devil, as she did Sampson into the hands of the Philistines. Sin gave Satan his power over us; and he lays claim to us as those who wear his badge and mark. Sin is a very bewitching thing upon the human heart, that the soul calls good, evil ; and evil, good; bitter, sweet; and sweet, bitter ; light, darkness; and darkness, light; and the soul bewitched with sin, will stand out against God, even unto death. Let the Almighty strike and wound, even unto the bone, the soul cares not, nor fears not: see Pharoah, Balaam, and Judas. There is an herb in Sardis, that would make a man lye laughing on his bed when he was deadly sick; such is the operation of sin. Prov. v. 22, 23. – Thomas Brooks

The Practice of Mortification

Sinclair Ferguson:

Failure to deal with the presence of sin can often be traced back to spiritual amnesia, forgetfulness of our new, true, real identity. As a believer I am someone who has been delivered from the dominion of sin and who therefore is free and motivated to fight against the remnants of sin’s army in my heart.

Read the complete article here: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/practice-mortification/