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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.

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

Reformed Podcasts

The following is a short list of Reformed podcasts we are familiar with and find helpful.  If you know of any others please feel free to share them with us.

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 15:32 -- 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

Men Often Use Morality as a Way to Avoid Jesus

by Thomas Brooks

"God, I thank You that I'm not like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get." Luke 18:11-12

Many please and satisfy themselves with mere civility and common morality. They bless themselves that they are not swearers, nor drunkards, nor extortioners, nor adulterers, etc. Their behavior is civil, sincere, harmless, and blameless.

But civility is not sanctity. Civility rested in—is but a beautiful abomination—a smooth way to hell and destruction. Civility is very often . . .
the nurse of impiety,
the mother of flattery, and
an enemy to real sanctity.
There are those who are so blinded with the fair shows of
civility—that they can neither see the necessity nor beauty
of sanctity. There are those who now bless themselves in
their common morality, whom at last God will scorn and
cast off for lack of real holiness and purity.

A moral man may be an utter stranger . . .
to God,
to Christ,
to Scripture,
to the filthiness of sin,
to the depths and devices of Satan,
to their own hearts,
to the new birth,
to the great concerns of eternity,
to communion with Christ,
to the secret and inward ways and workings of the Spirit.

Well, sirs, remember this—though the moral man is good for many things—yet he is not good enough to go to heaven! He who rises to no higher pitch than civility and morality—shall never have communion with God in glory. The most moral man in the world, may be both Christless and graceless.

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 16:56 -- john_hendryx

Pride: the most secret, subtle, and insinuating of all sins!

by Edward Payson

"In his pride, the wicked does not seek God; in all his thoughts, there is no room for God!" Psalm 10:4

The pride of the wicked is the principal reason why they will not seek after the knowledge of God. Pride renders God a disagreeable and undesirable object of contemplation to the wicked.

Pride consists in an unduly exalted opinion of one's self. It is, therefore . . .
  impatient of a rival,
  hates a superior, and
  cannot endure a master!

In proportion as pride prevails in the heart, it makes us wish . . .
  to see no God above us,
  to acknowledge no law but our own wills,
  to follow no rule but our own inclinations.
Thus pride led Satan to rebel against his Creator — and our first parents to desire to be as gods.

Since such are the effects of pride, it is evident that nothing can be more painful to a proud heart, than the thoughts of such a being as God . . .
  one who is infinitely powerful, just, and holy;
  one who can neither be resisted, deceived, nor deluded;
  one who disposes, according to His own sovereign pleasure, of all creatures and events;
  one who, in an especial manner, hates pride, and is determined to abase and punish it!
Such a being, the proud man can contemplate only with feelings of dread, aversion, and abhorrence! The proud man must look upon God as his natural enemy, his great enemy, whom he has to fear!

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 16:07 -- john_hendryx

King Alphonso's Folly!

by John Newton

King Alphonso of Portugal said that if God had consulted him at the creation, about the placements and motions of the planets and stars, etc. — that he would have contrived them better than they are. I suppose the poor man took the schemes and dreams of the astronomers of his day — to be an accurate representation of the solar system.

It sounds, however, like a blasphemous speech in our ears. We take it for granted that the Sun, the Moon, planets, and the stars are exactly where they should be — and move just as they ought.

But if we are content that the Lord should manage the heavenly bodies without our assistance — we are ready enough to advise Him how He should manage of our insignificant selves! We think we could point at twenty things in our situation which might be mended; and that we would serve Him much better than we do — if we were but at liberty to choose where and how we would be thus placed.

Thus we rightly censure King Alphonso's folly — without being aware that the thoughts that we sometimes indulge, are no less vain and arrogant than his! We might with as much reason, offer to assist God in the government of the universe — as in the direction of our own paltry concerns!

"All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: What have You done?" Daniel 4:35

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From The Letters of John Newton (eBook)

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 13:17 -- john_hendryx

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