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Hope for the Wretched (Like Me)

by Herman Bavinck

Both for unbelievers and believers, the doctrine of election is a source of inexpressibly great comfort. If it were based on justice and merit, all would be lost. But now that election operates according to grace, there is hope even for the most wretched. If work and reward were the standard of admission into the kingdom of heaven, its gates would be opened for no one. Or if Pelagius’s doctrine were the standard, and the virtuous were chosen because of their virtue, and Pharisees because of their righteousness, wretched publicans would be shut out. Pelagianism has no pity. But to believe in and to confess election is to recognize even the most unworthy and degraded human being as a creature of God and an object of his eternal love. The purpose of election is not—as it is so often proclaimed—to turn off the many but to invite all to participate in the riches of God’s grace in Christ. No one has a right to believe that he or she is a reprobate, for everyone is sincerely and urgently called to believe in Christ with a view to salvation. No one can actually believe it, for one’s own life and all that makes it enjoyable is proof that God takes no delight in his death. No one really believes it, for that would be hell on earth. But election is a source of comfort and strength, of submissiveness and humility, of confidence and resolution. The salvation of human beings is firmly established in the gracious and omnipotent good pleasure of God.

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Fri, 06/16/2017 - 14:45 -- john_hendryx

Hide Not the Offense of the Cross

by C. H. Spurgeon

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man” —Galatians 1:11

A gospel which is after men will be welcomed by men; but it needs a divine operation upon the heart and mind to make a man willing to receive into his inmost soul this distasteful gospel of the grace of God. My dear brethren, do not try to make it tasteful to carnal minds.

Hide not the offense of the cross, lest you make it of none effect. The angles and corners of the gospel are its strength: to pare them off is to deprive it of power. Toning down is not the increase of strength, but the death of it.

Why, even among the sects, you must have noticed that their distinguishing points are the horns of their power; and when these are practically omitted, the sect is effete. Learn, then, that if you take Christ out of Christianity, Christianity is dead.

If you remove grace out of the gospel, the gospel is gone. If the people do not like the doctrine of grace, give them all the more of it. Whenever its enemies rail at a certain kind of gun, a wise military power will provide more of such artillery.

A great general, going in before his king, stumbled over his own sword. “I see,” said the king, “your sword is in the way.” The warrior answered, “Your majesty’s enemies have often felt the same.” That our gospel offends the King’s enemies is no regret to us.

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From  Charles H. Spurgeon, “Galatians 1:11 - Our Manifesto.” Preached on April 25th, 1890, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 15:41 -- john_hendryx

Two Top Rated Books on the Gospel

Among the best books ever written on the gospel. Both available for free download

Click on the following links to go to the download pages. These high quality eBooks have an actively linked Table of Contents, not scanned.  To download, use your default browser, not your Facebook app.

The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification (eBook) by Walter Marshall
This is perhaps one of the best treatises on the doctrine of sanctification (and the gospel) ever penned. It was first published in 1692, yet remains today as one of the most authoritative treatments of the subject. The contents are the culmination of Puritan thought on living the Christian life. Combining doctrinal precision and pastoral sensitivity, Walter Marshall shows how sanctification is essential to spiritual life, dependent on spiritual union with Jesus Christ, and inseparable—though distinct—from justification. He shows how holiness involves both the mind and the soul of the believer and that it is the aim of the Christian life. It is no wonder that this book has been reprinted many times throughout the years and received such high praise from leading ministers of the gospel.

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 13:20 -- john_hendryx

This Week's Listing of Free Resources at Monergism

"For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." - Rom 9:15-16

The Reformed Faith: An Exposition Of The Westminster Confession Of Faith (eBook)
by Robert Shaw. This is considered by many (along with A. A. Hodge's Commentary) to be the best commentary on the Westminster Confession.

The Glorious Feast of the Gospel (eBook)
by Richard Sibbes - Delivered in diverse sermons upon Isaiah 25:6-9.

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 14:11 -- john_hendryx

Is it Unjust of God to Ask Sinners to Do What They Are Morally Unable to Do?

Some claim it would be unjust of God to command us to do something we are unable to do.
 
That is an odd claim. Isn't that why we need grace to begin with? ... because we are morally bankrupt?, impotent to carry out the works of the Law? The command "Love the Lord your God with all your heart..." Does anyone naturally love God with all their heart? No. We are impotent to obey this command in the flesh. Does that make God unjust for asking us to conform to his holy standards? No, of course not. The commands of God are righteous and holy and we only have ourselves to blame for rejecting them ... not to mention that the purpose of the law is to reveal sin (Rom 3:19-20)
 
But lets bring this same question to the summons to believe the gospel. We all agree that the choice of right or wrong is put before every person. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." Yet, even if we did not inherit original sin from Adam, the moment we choose to sin in our personal lives against an infinitely holy God, we would render ourselves dead in sin, unspiritual creatures of the flesh, owing a sin-debt we cannot repay. Any good will or moral ability to see the goodness, beauty and excellency of Christ has been destroyed by sin. As a result, "...there is no one who seeks God" (Rom 3:11) Now, in every day life, if you owe a debt you cannot repay... are you still responsible to repay the debt?
Wed, 06/07/2017 - 13:33 -- john_hendryx

Not by Free Will but by Grace through Faith -- St. Augustine

Men are not Saved by Good Works, nor by the Free Determination of their Own Will, but by the Grace of God through Faith

But this part of the human race to which God has promised pardon and a share in His eternal kingdom, can they be restored through the merit of their own works? God forbid. For what good work can a lost man perform, except so far as he has been delivered from perdition? Can they do anything by the free determination of their own will? Again I say, God forbid. For it was by the evil use of his free-will that man destroyed both it and himself. For, as a man who kills himself must, of course, be alive when he kills himself, but after he has killed himself ceases to live, and cannot restore himself to life; so, when man by his own free-will sinned, then sin being victorious over him, the freedom of his will was lost. "For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." [1] This is the judgment of the Apostle Peter. And as it is certainly true, what kind of liberty, I ask, can the bond-slave possess, except when it pleases him to sin? For he is freely in bondage who does with pleasure the will of his master. Accordingly, he who is the servant of sin is free to sin. And hence he will not be free to do right, until, being freed from sin, he shall begin to be the servant of righteousness. And this is true liberty, for he has pleasure in the righteous deed; and it is at the same time a holy bondage, for he is obedient to the will of God.

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 13:08 -- john_hendryx

John 6:40 as a Proof Text Against Calvinism?

Visitor: As a proof text against Calvinism:
John 6:40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Response: We all believe that. Calvinists also believe that anyone who looks to the Son and believes has eternal life.. But that is not where we differ. The question is are there any persons who are naturally willing to come to Christ, apart from grace?

Take a moment and look at the context of the verse you quoted. Three verses earlier Jesus declared, "all that the Father gives me will come to me." John 6:37

He says all, not some, but all the Father gives to Christ will come to faith in him.... and the giving to the Son precedes their coming to faith in him.

Likewise in the exact same passage Jesus declares, "no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." John 6:44 and "the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing...that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it." John 6:63, 65

So all verses together declare that no one can come to faith in Jesus unless God grants it and all whom He grants will come to faith in Him.

So yes anyone who wills may come... problem is, left to themselves, no one comes. We have a will and make choices, but only grace can change us so the we use our will aright.

No one says Jesus is Lord apart from the Holy Spirit. (1 cor 12:3)

In isolation your verse may work for you but it really only says what men OUGHT to do, but says nothing about what they are able to do. But when you look at the surrounding context we quickly discover that Jesus says no one can come unless God grants it. So I suggest your interpretation of the isolated verse needs rethinking in line with the actual context.

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 18:14 -- john_hendryx

Not Able Not to Sin

I often see critiques from professing Christians online regarding their deep opposition to the biblical view that, due to a corruption of nature, fallen man has no free will to come to Christ. Recently I even encountered someone with a list of bible verses which allegedly prove that human beings have free will. Before going through these verses with you (so you can have a reference), I would encourage you to all be familiar with the Augustine's helpful four-fold nature of man before and after the fall. Augustine taught that there are four states of humanity:

These four states, which are derived from the Scripture, correspond to the four states of man in relation to sin:  1) able to sin, able not to sin (posse peccare, posse non peccare); 2) not able not to sin (non posse non peccare); 3) able not to sin (posse non peccare); and 4) unable to sin (non posse peccare). The first state corresponds to the state of man in innocency, before the Fall; the second the state of the natural man after the Fall; the third the state of the regenerate man; and the fourth the glorified  man.

It is good to keep these in mind as you look at the following texts of Scripture posted online in an attempt to prove man has a free will.  My response to the uses of these texts will be in bold. 

Phm 14
but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own Free Will. Free will In the Greek ( adv ) means voluntary choice...

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 17:16 -- john_hendryx

"Anyone can be saved If they will."

Visitor: Any person can be saved, if they will.

Response: Don't we all believe any person can come if they will? The problem is, are there any persons naturally willing to submit to the terms of the gospel? Does it come naturally for fallen sinners to come to the humbling realization that they have no righteousness of their own and so flee to Christ alone as their only hope? Can a person say "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit"? (1 Cor 12:3) The scripture reveals that men are so bent on wickedness (John 3:19, Rom 8:7) that unless the Spirit disarm the hostility of their hearts, turning their heart of stone to a heart of flesh, they would never believe.

Jesus declared, "the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing ... that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it (John 6:63, 65)

Augustine said, "to will is of nature, but to will aright is of grace."

Like you I believe the gospel must be preached indiscrimanately to all men. We are to get the gospel to men's ears, but only God can get it to their hearts.

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 11:59 -- john_hendryx

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