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An Essential Mark of a Sound Conversion

by Joseph Alleine

We turn from our own RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Before conversion, man seeks to cover himself with his own fig-leaves, and to make himself acceptable with God, by his own duties. He is apt to trust in himself, and set up his own righteousness, and to reckon his pennies for gold, and not to submit to the righteousness of God. But conversion changes his mind; now he counts his own righteousness as filthy rags. He casts it off, as a man would the verminous tatters of a nasty beggar. Now he is brought to poverty of spirit, complains of and condemns himself; and all his inventory is, 'I am poor, and miserable, and wretched, and blind, and naked!' [Rev 3:17]. He sees a world of iniquity in his holy things, and calls his once-idolized righteousness but filth and loss; and would not for a thousand worlds be found in it!

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 15:13 -- john_hendryx

The Force of Bad Example

By John Calvin

It ought to be observed that we are exceedingly disposed to wicked imitation. When we see bad examples, we are drawn to them with great force, and take the example for a law; for when others go before us, we think that we have a right to act in the same manner, and especially when it is not only one or a few persons who have led the way, but the custom has become universal. What is in itself manifestly wrong is concealed by the plausible cloak of public opinion; and not only so, but all are carried, as it were, by the violence of a whirlwind, to adopt an established custom, as if the will of the people had the force of a law to authorize their corruptions. This has not been the fault of a single age, but at the present day it abounds as much or even more than before; for it is an evil deeply seated in all by the corruption of nature, to reckon a prevailing error as a law. Hence arise the superstitions of all ages, and those which at the present day exist in Popery, the origin of which, if it be investigated, will be found to be nothing else than that some persons have drawn others into the same error; and thus almost all have been foolishly caught by the snares of Satan, and the general agreement of men is still the chief foundation of those superstitions. All defend themselves by this weapon. “We are not alone,” say they; “we follow an immense multitude.”

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From Commentary on Isaiah 8:11 by John Calvin

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 00:32 -- john_hendryx

"You Always Resist the Holy Spirit"

One of the common arguments I hear against the biblical doctrine of irresistible grace (effectual calling) is an appeal to Acts 7:51 which declares

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you."

Oddly enough, the very Text here cited by some to demonstrate that grace is resistible contains they very language that makes a decisive argument against their own position. Indeed it is true that these persons cited resist the Holy Spirit, but look closely... the Text declares that their heart and ears are "uncircumcised". In the Old Testament this is the language used for regeneration (See Deut 29:4, 30:6 & Ezek 36:26) so being unregenerate, to resist every outward working of the Spirit, is simply acting in accordance with their corrupted, fallen nature.

People always resist the outward call of the gospel.. ALWAYS, until God opens their eyes, ears and heart to the gospel. That is called circumcision of heart, the new birth or regeneration. The work of the Spirit is manifold, regeneration being only one aspect ... The Bible declares that He may convict the unregenerate of certain sin and do many things short of regenerating grace. Anything short of regeneration CAN and will be resisted.

Paul also shows these two types of calling in his first letter to the Corinthians:

"but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 1 Cor 1:23-24

Sun, 10/28/2018 - 16:29 -- john_hendryx

"Circumcise the foreskin of your heart"

Question: "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn." Deut. 10:16 --> If God commands the Israelites to circumcise their own hearts in this verse and in Jer. 4:4, how can we reconcile these two verses with monergistic principles?

Answer: Good question.

Let me first answer with a question. God commands you love love Him with all your heart mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself. Can you do so apart from grace?

When Adam fell in the garden God did not change his holy standard for him or us. Although corrupted, God still commands all men everywhere to be holy, and he punishes men for not obeying his law perfectly. This demonstrates that our inability does not alleviate our responsibility - God commands holiness even though we are impotent to be holy. This is the whole point of the gospel where He extends grace in Jesus Christ - TO GRANT WHAT HE COMMANDS. And we see this very principle later in (the book you cite) Deuteronomy 30:6 where God declares: “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live."

He grants in Deuteronomy 30:6 what he commanded in Deuteronomy 10:16.

Remember Romans 3:19, 20 teach us the purpose of the commands in the Bible >>> "through the law comes knowledge of sin"... In other words, the purpose of commands is not to show our ability but our inability. Carried over to Deut 10:16 this means the command to circumcise our own hearts is God's holy requirement for us, but can only be fulfilled by grace.

God commands us to circumcise our hearts because this is his holy requirement for us. And then in his mercy He grants the very thing he commands (Deut 30:6). Jesus came to do for us what we were unable to do for ourselves.

Sat, 10/27/2018 - 15:50 -- john_hendryx

Vessels Prepared for Destruction

Excerpt from Dr. James White's book "The Potter's Freedom" (pages 211-214):

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. Romans 9:17-18)


The example of Pharoah was well known to any person familiar with the Old Testament. God destroyed the Egyptian nation by plagues so as to demonstrate His might and power in the earth, and key to this demonstration was the hardening of Pharoah's heart. Before Moses had met with Pharoah the first time God told him:

When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. (Exodus 4:21)


It was God's intention to bring His wrath upon the Egyptians. God's actions were not "forced" by the stubborn will of the Egyptian leader. God said He would harden Pharoah's heart, and He did. Listen to the impudent response of this pagan idolater to the command of Moses:

Wed, 10/24/2018 - 16:58 -- john_hendryx

John Owen on the Holy Spirit

John Owen is among the theologians whose thoughts most closely mirror my own and this particular book of his could easily be called a manifesto of monergistic, God-honoring theology. I agree with Dr. Sinclair Ferguson when he says, "Whenever I return to read Owen I find myself at least in part wondering why I spend time reading lesser things." I would unhesitatingly put this book up there among Christian classics, and, probably, at least in my opinion, is one of the top ten Christian books ever written. This book will magnify your understanding of the Holy Scriptures and its divine author and make you wonder what ever happened to all the churches who preached from this perspective. Here are among my favorite quotes from the books' abridged edition ...

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To say that we are able by our own efforts to think good thoughts or give God spiritual obedience before we are spiritually regenerate is to overthrow the gospel and the faith of the universal church in all ages.

All men can be divided into two groups. They are either regenerate or unregenerate. All men are born unregenerate (John 3:3-8). ...Spiritual darkness is in all men and lies on all men until God, by an almighty work of the Spirit, shines into men's hearts, or creates light in them (Matt 4:16; John 1:5; Act 26:18; Eph 5:8; Col 1:13; 1 Pet 2:9). ...The nature of this spiritual darkness must be understood. When men have no light to see by, then they are in darkness (Exod. 10:23). Blind men are in darkness, either by birth or by illness or accident (Psa. 69:23; Gen 19:11; Acts 13:11). A spiritually blind man is in spiritual darkness and is ignorant of spiritual things.

There is an outward darkness on men and an inward darkness in men.

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 13:59 -- john_hendryx

My Social Media Strategy

by J. Ligon Duncan

1. Relentlessly encourage, edify & inform.

2. Ignore trolls, mockers & slanderers into oblivion.

3. Starve dissensionists, narcissists, & errorists of the attention they crave.

4. Point people to sound people & resources.

5. Exalt Christ. Bible. Grace. Truth. Gospel.

6. Stay out of food fights. Don’t lob hand grenades into serious discussions. Bring people together.

7. Be kind. Persuade (rather than rally).

8. Treat people on social media like I would treat them in person.

9. Don’t be different on social media from what I am in my life, family, church and ministry. Be the same person online and offline.

10. Don’t give inordinate attention to people whose only “platform” is social media & who elsewhere have little accountability, responsibility.

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Dr. J. Ligon Duncan
Chancellor/CEO of
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John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology

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Related Resources

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 15:13 -- john_hendryx

Common Objections to the Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

by Loraine Boettner

1. That it is Fatalism

2. That it is Inconsistent with the Free Agency and Moral Responsibility of Man

3. That it Makes God the Author of Sin

4. That it Discourages All Motives to Exertion

5. That it Represents God as a Respecter of Persons or as Unjustly Partial

6. That it is Unfavorable to Good Morality

7. That it Precludes a Sincere Offer of the Gospel to the Non-Elect

8. That it Contradicts the Universalistic Scripture Passages

 

Objection 1. It Is Fatalism

Much misunderstanding arises through confusing the Christian Doctrine of Predestination with the heathen doctrine of Fatalism. There is, in reality, only one point of agreement between the two, which is, that both assume the absolute certainty of all future events. The essential difference between them is that Fatalism has no place for a personal God. Predestination holds that events come to pass because an infinitely wise, powerful, and holy God has so appointed them. Fatalism holds that all events come to pass through the working of a blind, unintelligent, impersonal, non-moral force which cannot be distinguished from physical necessity, and which carries us helplessly within its grasp as mighty river carries a piece of wood.

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 19:40 -- john_hendryx

The Importance of Salvation

by Archibald Alexander

In comparison with salvation, all other subjects are trivial. To waste time in the pursuit of wealth, or in the chase of sensual pleasure, while our salvation is not secure, is more than folly—it is madness. What, would you agree to dwell in the dark dungeon of despair forever and ever, for the sake of living a few years upon earth in a sumptuous house? Would you consent to endure the sting of the never-dying worm, and the torment of unquenchable fire, to all eternity, for the sake of gratifying your appetites and senses for a moment? No man would deliberately make such a determination; yet such is the language which many speak by their conduct. The world is pursued daily, at the risk of eternal damnation.

Thu, 09/27/2018 - 18:31 -- john_hendryx

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