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Does God give People a Choice?

Question: Does a person have a choice when God deals with their heart?

Response: All people without exception are called to repent and believe the gospel. God holds no one back from believing. However, due to a corruption of nature all people who hear the gospel reject it. But those whom he inwardly calls by his Holy Spirit, out of all the ill-deserving sinners on earth, willingly come to Christ.

Paul declares, "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

As you can see from the text, the gospel call goes out indiscriminately to all, both Jews and Gentiles... but to Jews it is a stumbling block, and to Gentiles it is folly (i.e. universal rejection) - but to THOSE WHO ARE CALLED out of these groups, the power to God... they all rejected the outward call but embraced the inward call. Make sure to notice the distinction Paul makes between the two types of calling in this Text.

Likewise Jesus himself 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

But in the same context of John 6 Jesus says "all that the Father gives me will come to me." John 6:37

Notice he says, ALL, not some, of those the Father gives him will come to faith in him.

So let's place these two statements side by side since "grant" and "give" (vs. 37 & 65) are the same Greek word here and both sentences use the phrase "come to me":

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 17:03 -- john_hendryx

Resources on Covenant Theology

"In studying divine covenants in general, one is treading through understanding God's Redemptive Plan throughout history. This is a matter of Eternal Salvation. It answers the question: How may a sinful man approach God (Exodus 3:5)?"
Herman Witsius

Free aBooks

Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man (eBook) by Herman Witsius

A View of the Covenant of Works (eBook) by Thomas Boston

A View of the Covenant of Grace (eBook) by Thomas Boston

The Marrow of Modern Divinity: Modernized and Annotated (eBook)  by Edward Fisher & Thomas Boston

Covenant Theology: A Biblical, Theological, and Historical Study of God's Covenants (eBook) by J. Ligon Duncan

The Covenants of Works and Grace (eBook) by Walter Chantry

The Doctrine of the Two Covenants (eBook) by by Ezekiel Hopkins

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 15:00 -- john_hendryx

Quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word

by Thomas Manton

1. What is quickening?

2. Why asked of God?

First, What is this quickening? Quickening in scripture is put for two things:—

1. For regeneration, or the first infusion of the life of grace; as Eph. 2:5, 'And you that were dead in trespasses and sins hath he quickened;' that is, infused life, or making to live a new life.

2. It is put for the renewed excitations of God's grace, God's breathing upon his own work. God, that begins life in our souls, carries on this life, and actuates it. Now this kind of quickening is twofold spoken of in this psalm; there is quickening in duties, and quickening in afflictions. Quickening in duties, that is opposite to deadness of spirit; quickening in affliction, that is opposite to faintness.

[1.] Quickening in duties, that is opposite to that deadness of spirit which creeps upon us now and then, and is occasioned either by our negligence or by our carnal liberty, that deadness of spirit that doth hinder the activity of grace.

Sat, 07/27/2019 - 18:50 -- john_hendryx

The Free Grace of God

by John Newton

“By the grace of God I am what I am!” 
1 Corinthians 15:10

The true Christian is sensible and mindful of indwelling sin. He confesses that in everything he comes exceedingly short, and that his best services are not only defective — but defiled.

He accounts himself as an unprofitable servant — and is abased in his own eyes.

He knows that all that distinguishes him from the vilest of men — is the free grace of God!

He derives all his hope and comfort, as well as his strength — from Jesus, whom he has known, received and loved, and to whom he has committed his soul.

He renounces all confidence in the flesh, and esteems all things as loss – compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ his Lord, for whose sake he has lost all things — considering them rubbish, that he may gain Christ!

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From the Letters of John Newton

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 15:58 -- john_hendryx

Some Important Works (We Publish) by Scottish Presbyterians

Recently I have been spending a lot of time reading the Scottish Presbyterians. I cannot get over how clear and helpful some of their works are.  I especially have enjoyed the works of Thomas Boston and James Durham.  For anyone who wants get a taste for their writting, below I am including some of the works we have published and made available for free: 

Thomas Boston

The Art of Man-Fishing (eBook)

An Explication of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism (eBook)

A View of the Covenant of Works (eBook)

A View of the Covenant of Grace (eBook)

Miscellaneous Questions (eBook)

The Crook in the Lot (eBook)

The Necessity of Repentance (eBook)

The Good Fight of Faith (eBook)

Am I Really a Christian? (eBook)

The Mystery of Sanctification by Christ Opened Up (eBook)

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 16:53 -- john_hendryx

The Difference Between the Faith of Demons and Saving Faith

The Bible declares that there are some people whose "faith" is on an equal level (or worse) than that of demons.  "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder." (James 2:19) 

The faith of demons is but a mere belief in God's existence, not trusting in Christ to save them from sin (since Jesus never served as a mediator for demons), so there is no mystery that people with such faith are not justified.

True saving faith is a faith granted by God in which a person seeing the darkness of his own sin, casts aside his own righteousness, and trusts in the Savior to rescue him from God's wrath on account of his sin. Such Spirit-wrought faith binds us to Christ so that, in union with him, we participate in his righteousness, resting on the assurance of his mercy. 

When people, by God's grace, desire to be saved from sin it reveals they no longer have a love for it and want to be out from under its' tyranny, so seeing they cannot save themselves, they turn to Christ to rescue them from it. As such, they will not be fruitless believes, but because the Lord implants a new love of righteousness within, they will exhibit their faith by following and obeying their Master, Jesus Christ.  

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 10:49 -- john_hendryx

Christ as the Sole Foundation, as Beginner and Perfecter

by John Calvin

If these matters had in bygone ages been treated and dealt with in proper order, so many tumults and dissensions would never have arisen. Paul says that in the upbuilding of Christian teaching we must keep the foundation that he had laid among the Corinthians [cf. 1 Cor. 3:10], “beside which no other can be laid, which is Jesus Christ” [1 Cor. 3:11]. What sort of foundation have we in Christ? Was he the beginning of our salvation in order that its fulfillment might follow from ourselves? Did he only open the way by which we might proceed under our own power? Certainly not. But, as Paul had set forth a little before, Christ, when we acknowledge him, is given us to be our righteousness [1 Cor. 1:30]. He alone is well founded in Christ who has perfect righteousness in himself: since the apostle does not say that He was sent to help us attain righteousness but himself to be our righteousness [1 Cor. 1:30]. Indeed, he states that “he has chosen us in him” from eternity “before the foundation of the world,” through no merit of our own “but according to the purpose of divine good pleasure” [Eph. 1:4–5, cf. Vg.]; that by his death we are redeemed from the condemnation of death and freed from ruin [cf. Col. 1:14, 20]; that we have been adopted unto him as sons and heirs by our Heavenly Father [cf. Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:5–7]; that we have been reconciled through his blood [Rom. 5:9–10]; that, given into his protection, we are released from the danger of perishing and falling [John 10:28]; that thus ingrafted into him [cf. Rom. 11:19] we are already, in a manner, partakers of eternal life, having entered in the Kingdom of God through hope.

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 14:43 -- john_hendryx

"Christians are Bigots"

Visitor
Christians are bigots. They tell gay people that their very identity is unnatural and that they should not live their lives based on their sexuality.

Response
Christians believe all people without exception are under the wrath of God for their sin, not just homosexuals. So no one is being singled out here. We were all born in sin. Which is why we must be born again. So when Christians declare homosexuality sinful it is no different than if they say fornication or adultery is sinful. All are summoned to come to Christ to be liberated from the guilt and power of sin. We all desperately need Christ. I am no better than someone who self identifies as a gay person and definitely do not deserve heaven more than he does.

Visitor
Other ‘sins’ are choices, you can choose adultery, fornication, murder, etc. Homosexuality is not a choice. These don’t even get a rating in the supposed 7 detestable sins. ( Proverbs 6:16-19). Live and let live, be accepting, loving and compassionate to everyone regardless.

Response
May I ask, can human beings be sinless? If not, why not? The reason is that no one can choose to live a sinless life. We are ALL born in bondage to a sinful condition we cannot deliver ourselves out of. We were all "born this way" which is why we all must be born again. Though our sins may differ, none of us are are any different than gay people in our condition. We are all sinners by nature, and that is WHY we need grace.

I would encourage you to do some self reflection to see whether it is possible to be sinless for human beings. If not, then you ought to rethink your above analysis.

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 13:03 -- john_hendryx

What is the Sinner's Initial Repentance?

Does Christ require the sinner to "stop sinning and you'll be pardoned"?, or something else?

When you trust in Christ for the first time, you are trusting in Him as a Savior FROM SIN, both its guilt and power. No one "just believes" in Christ's existence to be saved; we come to him, rather, to be rescued from sin's tyranny. We know we can do nothing to save ourselves from sin so we (by the grace of God) turn to Christ to be rescued from it. This demonstrates, without a doubt, that at the time you trust Christ you no longer want to be under sin's tyranny or dominion but want Christ to deliver you from it.

So in our initial repentance we are not called to "stop sinning and you'll be pardoned." No, rather its "Lord. I am a slave to sin, save me and break the chains of my sin and forgive. I have no hope without you" Thus, to want to be saved by Christ from sin already reveals a heart of repentance in it. Otherwise you would not want to be saved at all.

If you see faith as merely a belief in God's existence then YES faith precedes repentance, but if you define faith as trusting in Christ as Savior from sin, then while faith and repentance can be distinguished, they cannot be separated.

Consider: For what purpose are you coming to faith in Jesus if not to be rescued from sin?

NOTE: Christ intended to pardon us prior to both our faith and repentance, so neither faith nor repentance are actually the originating cause of our pardon. Pardon was purchased in Christ's redemption for us. The application of our redemption is when the Holy Spirit brings us into union with Christ's death and resurrection. He regenerates us, our faith and repentance springs from our renewed heart which issues from God's grace alone.

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Fri, 06/21/2019 - 12:02 -- john_hendryx

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