by Edward Payson"In his pride, the wicked does not seek God; in all his thoughts, there is no room for God!" Psalm 10:4The 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 ‚ÄĒ 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!
by John CalvinNow it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‚ÄúThe righteous shall live by faith.‚ÄĚBut the law is not of faith, rather ‚ÄúThe one who does them shall live by them.‚ÄĚ -¬ Galatians 3:11-12
by John NewtonKing Alphonso of Portugal said that if God had consulted him at the creation, about the placements and motions of the planets and stars, etc. ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ and move just as they ought.But if we are content that the Lord should manage the heavenly bodies without our assistance ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ if we were but at liberty to choose where and how we would be thus placed.Thus we rightly censure King Alphonso's folly ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ 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----From The Letters of John Newton (eBook)
by Herman BavinckThe term ‚Äúirresistible grace‚ÄĚ is not really of Reformed origin but was used by Jesuits and Remonstrants to characterize the doctrine of the efficacy of grace as it was advocated by Augustine and those who believed as he did. ¬ The Reformed in fact had some objections to the term because it was absolutely not their intent to deny that grace is often and indeed always resisted by the unregenerate person and therefore could be resisted. ¬ They therefore preferred to speak of the efficacy or of the insuperability of grace, or interpreted the term ‚Äúirresistible‚ÄĚ in the sense that grace is ultimately irresistible.¬ The point of the disagreement, accordingly, was not whether humans continually resisted and could resist God‚Äôs grace, but whether they could ultimately‚Äďat the specific moment in which God wanted to regenerate them and work with his efficacious grace in their heart‚Äďstill reject that grace.¬ -----Reformed Dogmatics (4 Volume Set) ,¬ 4:82-83, 1895-99
SLIMJIM over at the blog The Domain for Truth has compiled a list of apologetics media resources.¬ He reconstructed is list that was originally listed on a now deleted blog account elsewhere on the web .This is an amazing collection and a great service to the Church. I am thankful for his permission to share these with you here.Camden Bucey1. Defending the FaithShane Kastler1. Expositional ApologeticsFred Butler1. Apologetics Evangelism 101Jonathan Harris1. Apologetics Sunday School Class 2011
A guest post by Justin HokeMatthew 22:1-14 ¬ 1And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:¬ 2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,¬ 3 "and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.¬ 4 "Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding." '¬ 5 "But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.¬ 6 "And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them.¬ 7 "But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.¬ 8 "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.¬ 9 'Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.'¬ 10 "So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good.
Don't make a savior of your morality. It cannot deliver you. Repent of trusting in your own righteousness and instead believe on Christ alone.Remember, grace is not earned by meeting a condition, or it would no longer be grace. It is not a reward for either faith or obedience but the cause of them.(Eph 2:8-10). Obedience, rather, springs from a renewed heart which loves God (1John 3:9, 5:2-4).Jesus calls us to a life of obedience. He says, "if you love me you will obey my commands." But the bible also teaches that our obedience does not, in any way, earn God's favor. We obey, rather, because we already have God's favor. It demonstrates the reality of God having been gracious to us (Phil 2:12-13; Eph 2:10; 1 John 3:9).Being saved by grace alone, some actually falsely argue that Christians don't need to obey. It is as if they believed Jesus' continued intercession for us were ineffectual and his grace only delivers us from the guilt of sin but not its power... that while they rightly believe in the imputation of Christ's righteousness but wrongly ignore the impartation of His Holy Spirit to us. But the bible teaches that those who are in Christ have been set free from sin's captivity. The trajectory of our life is now one of following Christ and His commands.So, I would argue, that those who believe we can live in Christ apart from obedience, are actually not believing in grace enough. Our faith and obedience both point to the reality of God's grace, it does not earn it. And when we do disobey, God's Spirit disciplines us so that we will not be condemned along with the world. (1 Cor 11:31-32)
by William CunninghamExcerpt from The Doctrine of the Will (eBook)
by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones‚ÄúHere is a superb bit of psychology, for what after all, is the main cause of this spirit of fear? The answer is ‚Äėself' ‚Äď self-love, self-concern, self-protection. Had you realized that the essence of this trouble is that these fearful people are really too absorbed in self ‚Äď how can I do this, what if I fail? ‚ÄėI' ‚Äď they are constantly turning in upon themselves, looking at themselves and concerned about themselves. ¬ And it is just here that the spirit of love comes in, for there is only one way to get rid of yourself. There is only one cure for self. You will never deal with self yourself. That was the fatal fallacy of those poor men who became monks and anchorites. They could get away from the world and from other people, but they could not get away from themselves. Your self is inside you and you cannot get rid of him, the more you mortify yourself the more your self will torment you.
by Wilhelmus a BrakelWith a decidedly Puritan flavor and representing¬ Reformed experiential religion at its best, Wilhelmus √ Brakel systematically moves through the major doctrines of the Bible in hopes of seeing the minds of God's people renewed for the purpose of promoting godliness. Throughout his work, but particularly in the practical application of each doctrine, √ Brakel strives unceasingly to exalt the name of Jesus as the name that the Father has given above every other name‚ÄĒthere being no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). The following files are in pdf format.The Christian's Reasonable Service, vol. 1 (indexed) The Christian's Reasonable Service, vol. 2 (indexed) The Christian's Reasonable Service, vol. 3 (indexed) The Christian's Reasonable Service, vol. 4 (indexed)
Dr. Kim RiddlebargerThis post is adapted from Kim Riddlebarger's chapter, "Eschatology," in Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary edited by Matthew Barrett."On the Sleep of the Soul"John Calvin's first published work of theology was the Psychopannychia (‚ÄúOn the Sleep of the Soul‚ÄĚ), published in 1542, although the first draft of the manuscript was written as early as 1534, and Calvin revised it several times before publication.1 Ironically, even as Calvin took issue with those Anabaptists who held that the soul is deprived of consciousness after death, this view was quite similar to Luther's ‚Äúsoul sleep.‚ÄĚ Calvin never mentioned Luther's view, and both Martin Bucer and Wolfgang Capito (1478‚Äď1541) urged Calvin not to publish the Psychopannychia so as to avoid exposing any differences between the Reformed and Lutherans and thus keep Roman or Anabaptist critics from pouncing.2
Steve Hays has an impromptu debate with an atheist on¬ Facebook:
by D. Martyn Lloyd-JonesThere is no true evangelism without the doctrine of sin, and without an understanding of what sin is. I do not want to be unfair, but I say that a gospel which merely says ‚ÄėCome to Jesus,' and offers Him as a Friend, and offers a marvelous, new life, without convicting of sin, is not New Testament evangelism. The essence of evangelism is to start by preaching the law; and it is because the law has not been preached that we have had so much superficial evangelism. Go through the ministry of our Lord Himself and you cannot but get the impression that at times, far from pressing people to follow Him and to decide for Him, He put great obstacles in their way. He said in effect: ‚ÄėDo you realize what you are doing? Have you counted the cost? Do you realize where it may lead you? Do you know that it means denying yourself, taking up your cross daily and following Me?' True evangelism, I say, because of this doctrine of sin, must always start by preaching the law. This means that we must explain that mankind is confronted by the holiness of God, by His demands, and also by the consequences of sin. It is the Son of God Himself who speaks about being cast into hell. If you do not like the doctrine of hell you are just disagreeing with Jesus Christ. He, the Son of God, believed in hell; and it is in His exposure of the true nature of sin that He teaches that sin ultimately lands men in hell. So evangelism must start with the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, the demands of the law, the punishment meted out by the law and the eternal consequences of evil and wrongdoing. It is only the man who is brought to see his guilt in this way who flies to Christ for deliverance and redemption.
by C. H. SpurgeonEdited by Alistair BeggSalvation belongs to the Lord! ‚Äď Jonah 2:9Salvation is the work of God. It is He alone who quickens the soul ‚Äúdead in‚Ä¶trespasses and sins,‚ÄĚ1 and He it is who maintains the soul in its spiritual life. He is both ‚ÄúAlpha and Omega.‚ÄĚ‚ÄúSalvation belongs to the LORD!‚ÄĚ If I am prayerful, God makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God's gifts to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because He upholds me with His hand. I do nothing whatever toward my own preservation, except what God Himself first does in me. Whatever I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Whenever I sin, that is my own doing; but when I act correctly, that is wholly and completely of God. If I have resisted a spiritual enemy, the Lord's strength nerved my arm.Do I live before men a consecrated life? It is not I, but Christ who lives in me. Am I sanctified? I did not cleanse myself: God's Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I separated from the world? I am separated by God's chastisements sanctified to my good. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. All my jewels were fashioned by heavenly art. I find in God all that I want; but I find in myself nothing but sin and misery. ‚ÄúHe only is my rock and my salvation.‚ÄĚ2
by C. H. Spurgeon"Whom he did predestinate, them he also called." ‚ÄĒ Romans 8:30
by John HendryxYou said you trust in Jesus yet you claim YOUR sin has disqualified you. Consider ... this means you are not trusting in Christ alone but, at least partly, in your own ability to maintain a just standing before God. Still trusting in your own goodness to win Gods approval. But in Christ you already have his approval ...The gospel is good news that Christ ALONE saves, not you. You will never defeat sin by trying, only Christ can do so in and through you. If you believe you don't deserve heaven, by the grace of God flee from trusting in your own righteousness ... all of it... you have nothing to offer God. You are spiritually bankrupt and can only come to him with empty hands as a poor sinner. Trust in Jesus alone.It seems that your sin deeply concerns you. This is a sign of life, for those without the Holy Spirit would be unconcerned, indifferent or hostile to God, rather than concerned or broken over their sin. In 1 Cor 11:31-32 it teaches than when a believer sins either we judge ourselves, or the Spirit will discipline us until we do so that we will not be condemned along with the world. That is good news .. the Spirit is working in you to be convicted over your sin, to hate it and, by the grace of God, to put it to death.... and you will be fighting it all you life .. in fact all of us are... when you fall though, the Spirit will ensure that you get back up and persevere to the end. Being a Christian does not mean you are sinless, but that you are united to the one who was, and God accepts you because of Him. Your cannot maintain your own standing before God ... that is the Lord Jesus' office, and His alone.If you trust in Christ, your sins are forgiven... Because of Him, "the Father ... has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light." - Col 1:12
by Martin LutherAnd here is the solution of the question which the Diatribe repeats so often all through the book: 'if we can do nothing, what is the purpose of all the laws, precepts, threats and promises?' Paul here gives the answer: 'by the law is the knowledge of sin' (Rom 3:19) His answer to the question is far different than the ideas of man, or of 'free-will". He does not say that 'free-will' is proved by the law, nor that is cooperates unto righteousness; for by the law comes, not righteousness, but knowledge of sin. This is the fruit, the work, the office of the law; it is a light to the ignorant and blind, but one that displays disease, sin, evil, death, hell and the wrath of God. It does not help nor set them free from these things; it is consistent merely to point them out. When a man discovers the sickness of sin, he is cast down and afflicted; nay, he despairs. The law does not help him; much less can he heal himself. Another light is needed to reveal a remedy. This is the voice of the gospel, which displays Christ as the Deliverer from all these evil things. But neither reason, nor 'free-will' points to him; how could reason point to him, when it is itself darkness and needs the light of the law to show it its own sickness, which by its own light it fails to see, and thinks is sound health?
Visitor: if election is true, why preach the gospel?Response: why preach the gospel? because "election" saves nobody by itself. Salvation is by Christ. Election is merely a blueprint of what God intends to do in history through Christ. The Father elects, the Son redeems and the Spirit quickens and unites the sinner to Christ through the gospel.The gospel is like a seed. We cast the seed indiscriminately, as God commands, and it goes into the heart of man... but unless the Holy Spirit germinate the seed, so to speak, it falls on fallow ground. 'No one says 'Jesus is Lord' apart from the Holy Spirit." (1 Cor 12:3)Jesus declared, "all that the Father give to me will come to me" John 6:37Notice, Jesus says the Father giving them to the Son precedes their coming to faith in him... in addition Jesus says all, not some, but all that the Father gives to Jesus come to faith in him.The main difference in understanding the bible is between monergism and synergism. .. does Jesus provide everything we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe (Deut 30:6; Ezek 36:26; John 6:63), or does Jesus only provide some of what we need? Does Jesus rescue us or help us rescue ourselves?The issue is all about whether we are saved by Christ alone or not .. and the answer is in Scripture, the Christians' sole authority.God has made us the means and instruments by which God disseminate the live-giving gospel. We are not called to discover who the elect are or to be concerned with the ultimate results, but to faithfully go about sowing the seed of the gospel. He will take care of produce the crop.¬ The Apostle Paul said, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." (1 Cor 3:6-7)
by Martin Luther"...when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‚ÄúAbba! Father!‚ÄĚ¬ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." - Galatians 4:4-7The Holy Spirit is sent forth by the word into the hearts of the believers, as here stated, "God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts." This sending is accomplished by the preaching of the Gospel through which the Holy Spirit inspires us with fervor and light, with new judgment, new desires, and new motives. This happy innovation is not a derivative of reason or personal development, but solely the gift and operation of the Holy Spirit.We ought to have no doubt about whether the Holy Spirit dwells in us. We are "the temple of the Holy Spirit."(I Cor. 3:16.) When we have a love for the Word of God, and gladly hear, talk, write, and think of Christ, we are to know that this inclination toward Christ is the gift and work of the Holy Spirit. Where you come across contempt for the Word of God, there is the devil. We meet with such contempt for the Word of God mostly among the common people. They act as though the Word of God does not concern them. Wherever you find a love for the Word, thank God for the Holy Spirit who infuses this love into the hearts of men. We never come by this love naturally, neither can it be enforced by laws. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit.- Martin Luther------
by Jonathan GibsonThe Achilles Heel of Reformed Theology?The doctrine of definite atonement, known historically as ‚Äúlimited atonement‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúparticular redemption‚ÄĚ, has always courted controversy. It has been called a grim and textless doctrine, the Achilles heel of Reformed theology (see, for example, Karl Barth and Broughton Knox). Of the many objections to the doctrine, one of the strongest is that definite atonement undermines a zeal for evangelism. If Christ died only for the elect, can we sincerely offer the gospel to everyone?However, when definite atonement is placed alongside other biblical truths, the question does not follow. Particularity of grace in election or atonement does not mitigate a universal gospel offer.¬ This is where we should follow Christ's example.Biblical ExamplesIn Matthew 11, Jesus explains that no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him (v. 27). The particularity is explicit. Yet in the very next verse, Jesus gives a universal offer to everyone to come to him and find rest (v. 28).In John 6, Jesus claims that he has come from heaven to do his Father's will, which is to lose none of those given to him but to raise them up on the last day (v. 39). This is actually the reason why (‚ÄúFor‚ÄĚ) whoever comes to him will never be turned away (v. 38). The Father's will is that ‚Äúeveryone‚ÄĚ who looks to the Son and believes will have eternal life (v. 40). Christ's purpose in coming was particular; the work he performed in his life, death, resurrection, and ascension was particular (cf. John 17); and yet his invitation was universal. It was also sincere.
by Jason A. Van BemmelToday's Reading:¬ Acts 8:1-3 & Proverbs 10:12-23And Saul approved of his execution.And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. - Acts 8:1-3, ESV¬
by Jason A. Van BemmelToday's Reading: Acts 5:17-42 & Proverbs 6:20-35So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God! - Acts 5:38-39, ESV
Jerome Zanchius, 1516-1590"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son!" Romans 8:28-29The sovereignty of God is a comfort for suffering saints, acting to remove anxiety. How sweet must the following considerations be to a distressed believer!1. There most certainly exists an almighty, all-wise and infinitely gracious God (Hebrews 11:6).2. His love for His elect people is immutable; He never repents of it nor withdraws it (Jeremiah 31:3).3. Whatever comes to pass in time, is the result of His sovereign will from everlasting (1 Corinthians 8:6).4. Consequently my afflictions are a part of His sovereign will, and are all ordered in number, weight, and measure (Psalm 22:24).5. The very hairs of my head (every one) are counted by Him; nor can a single hair fall to the ground but in consequence of His wise determination (Luke 12:7).6. Hence my afflictions and distresses are not the result of chance, accident, or a fortuitous combination of circumstances (Psalm 56:8).7. They are the providential accomplishment of God's eternal purpose (Romans 8:28), and are designed to answer some wise and gracious ends (James 5:10-11).8. Nor shall my affliction continue a moment longer than God sees fit (2 Corinthians 7:6-7).9. He who brought the affliction to me ‚ÄĒ has promised to support me under it and to carry me through it (Psalm 34:15-17).
Brothers and sisters, I am sure many of you have noticed that there is a significant group of people in the USA who have taken up a kind of mob mentality, who think that if you disagree with them on just about any issue you are either a bigot, a racist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, a white supremacist, a misogynist, or the like. Labeling people with these terms has become a common fear tactic as an answer to almost any argument. By charging your opponent with the ugliest, most dehumanizing slander ... by demonizing them and painting them in the most monstrous colors, the hope appears to be that you will realize you have committed the "unforgivable sin" and will drive you and the rest of society, through fear, in the political trajectory of the accusers.Sadly, I will be the first to acknowledge, that hate, racism, xenophobia and the like are real problems in our world ... problems that we need to face up to as a society, but when terms like this are flung about so casually and used so habitually ...the banality, the predictability, and the all to common use these terms have robbed them of their force. It makes combating the real thing all that much harder. In addition those who use this labeling system for the smallest disagreement or infraction end up making themselves just as bad, because they are doing the very thing they accuse others of.Brothers and sisters, I would discourage you from using these tactics when discussing issues with others. It is unbecoming, ungracious and is perhaps one of the greatest causes of the irreconcilable divisions that exist in our society today. Power is not that important that you have to sink to these kind of tactics. Obey the Lord and let the chips fall where they may.
Many thanks to Travis Fentiman for putting this resource together.The largest theologically conservative & Reformed Bible Commentary collection now available online:Bible Commentaries ‚Äď ReformedBooksOnline ¬ 2,200+ worksWhole Bible CommentariesWhole Bible Commentaries¬ 60+Bible Background, Survey & Introduction¬ 78+Biblical Theology¬ 30+Old Testament Commentaries ¬ 1,200+Commentaries on the Whole Old Testament¬ 12+.. ¬ ¬ ¬ Old Testament Background, Survey, Authenticity & Introduction¬ 35+. ¬ ¬ ¬ Old Testament Theology¬ 10+
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