April 2017

Does Predestination Mean Human Beings Do Not Have a Choice?

No, man has a will and he makes voluntary choices. But, being fallen, when he hears the gospel he makes the wrong choice. He loves darkness too much, he hates the light and will not come into the light lest his deeds be exposed (John 3:19-20). He neither understands nor wants to understand because he thinks Jesus Christ is foolish (1 Cor 2:14) So if he is to see and enter the kingdom he must be born again (John 3:3-8). As Augustine said, "to will is of nature, but to will aright is of grace."

So predestination does not coerce anyone to sin and does not hold people back from life against their will. In it God reveals His affections to multitude of ill-deserving sinners and sets them aside for Himself in Christ, purchases them with His own blood and gathers them up through the gospel, which He germinates by His Holy Spirit in the hearts of His elect. Not because they are more righteous, but because of his sheer mercy. The rest He leaves to their own boasted "free will" which is really not free at all because they are willfully captive to sin and will not come to Him for life.

Thus predestination is an act of mercy whereby in Christ God saves a multitude of sinners who would otherwise certainly be lost. Left to ourselves, we would all be without hope to be saved.

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 12:35 -- john_hendryx

Christ Justifies No One Whom He Does Not also Sanctify.

Two amazing quotes by Calvin on the relationship of justification and sanctification.

by John Calvin

:Justification and sanctification, gifts of grace, go together as if tied by an inseparable bond, so that if anyone tries to separate them, he is, in a sense, tearing Christ to pieces. Sanctification doesn’t just flow from justification, so that one produces the other. Both come from the same Source. Christ justifies no one whom He does not also sanctify. By virtue of our union with Christ, He bestows both gifts, the one never without the other."
Calvin’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:30, Volume XX, Baker, 1993, p. 93.

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 21:02 -- john_hendryx

Who is the author of regeneration?

by Geerhardus Vos

    a)      It is God the Father by way of eminence. Since regeneration appears as something completely new, it fits with the economy of the Father that regeneration is ascribed to Him. “According to his great mercy, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet 1:3; cf. also Jas 1:18; Eph 2:5; and the expression “born of God,” 1 John 5:1, 4, 18).
    b)      The Son is related to regeneration in more than one way.
      1.      He is the meriting cause. He has obtained the Holy Spirit, who works all subjective grace, and so has also obtained regeneration (Rom 5:18).
      2.      He is the head to whom believers are joined as members by regeneration, and who thus lives in them and expresses His life in them (Gal 2:20).
      3.      He is the image into which the believers are transformed in regeneration and to which continually they are also being increasingly conformed (1 Cor 15:49; Gal 4:19).
    c)      The Holy Spirit is the one who effects regeneration [John 6:63] for the sake of the Father and the Son in the heart of the sinner, as He in general organizes the mystical body of Christ.


Wed, 04/05/2017 - 16:50 -- john_hendryx

"What is the opposite of antinomianism?"

by Sinclair B. Ferguson

"What is the opposite of antinomianism?"

Would it be fair to assume that the instinctive response ... would be "Legalism"? It might be the right answer at the level of common usage, but it would be unsatisfactory from the standpoint of theology, for antinomianism and legalism are not so much antithetical to each other as they are both antithetical to grace. This is why the scripture never prescribes one as the antidote for the other. Rather grace, God's grace in Christ in our union with Christ, is the antidote to both.

The wholesale removal of the law seems to provide a refuge [for the antinomian]. But the problem is not with the law, but with the heart - and this remains unchanged. Thinking that his perspective is now the antithesis of legalism, the antinomian has written an inappropriate spiritual prescription. His sickness is not fully cured. Indeed the root cause of his disease has been masked rather than exposed and cured. There is only one genuine cure for legalism. It is the same medicine the gospel prescribes for antinomianism: understanding and tasting union with Jesus Christ himself. This leads to a new love for and obedience to the law of God, which he now mediates to us in the gospel. This alone breaks the bonds of both legalism (the law is no longer divorced from the person of Christ) and antinomianism (we are not divorced from the law, which now comes to us from the hand of Christ and in the empowerment of the Spirit, who writes it in our hearts).

Sun, 04/02/2017 - 18:52 -- john_hendryx

Obeying the Gospel

“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?'” (Rom 10:16).

"in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus." (2 Thessalonians 1:8)

1 Peter we are similarly told, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1Pe 4:17).

Given the context of these statements in the Bible, it likely along with that carries the richer meaning that the gospel is a royal summons to come under the lordship of Jesus Christ, to ally oneself with him, to follow him. It is the royal announcement that Jesus is the King who offers deliverance to all who, by the grace of God, fly to Him and he is the judge of those who would resist reign of God in Christ.

Wolfgang Musculus' a Reformed theologian of the Reformation had a commentary on 2 Thessalonians . This is his brief explanation of "obedience to the gospel" taken from his exposition of 1:8.

Sat, 04/01/2017 - 10:37 -- john_hendryx


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