by John Murray,Â Ralph Erskine,Â William Perkins,Â James Ussher,Â James BuchananâThe epistle to the Romans is concerned with this very subject, the justification of sinners. That is the grand theme of the first five chapters in particular. Romans 8:33,34 conclusively shows that the meaning is that which is contrasted with the word âcondemn' and that which is related to the rebuttal of a judicial charge. The meaning of the word âjustify' therefore, in the epistle to the Romans, and therefore in the epistle which more than any other book in Scripture unfolds the doctrine, is to declare to be righteous. Its meaning is entirely removed from the thought of making upright or holy or good or righteous.This is what is meant when we insist that justification is forensic. It has to do with a judgment given, declared, pronounced; it is judicial or juridical or forensic. The main point of such terms is to distinguish between the kind of action which justification involves and the kind of action in regeneration. Regeneration is an act of God in us; justification is an act of God with respect to us. The distinction is like that of the distinction between the act of a surgeon and the act of a judge. The surgeon, when he removes an inward cancer, does something in us. That is not what a judge doesâhe gives a verdict regarding our judicial status. If we are innocent he declares accordingly.The purity of the gospel is bound up with the recognition of this distinction. If justification is confused with regeneration or sanctification, then the door is opened for the perversion of the gospel at its center. Justification is still the article of the standing or falling church. (121)
by Terry JohnsonBackground Reading:Romans 8:26-39; Genesis 50:15-21In 1858, a gifted young Presbyterian missionary named John G. Paton sailed with his wife and infant son to the New Hebrides in the South Pacific to begin missionary work among the islanders. Within a few months of arrival, both his infant son and his wife had died, leaving him to labor alone.In August 1876, a gifted young theologian names Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield and his bride were honeymooning in Germany. While sightseeing in the Black Forest region, they were suddenly caught in a severe storm, and something that was never quite explained happened to his bride, rendering her an invalid for the rest of their lives together.In the 1950s the Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah congregation called a young preacher to take the reigns of a very divided church. He came with his wife and their five children, the youngest only three years old. Within a year and a half, Anton Van Puffelen developed a brain tumor, and in just over two years after he started his work in Savannah the Rev. Van Puffelen was dead.How do you explain these things? Perhaps just as baffling, how do you explain the responses of these individuals? John G. Patton stayed on the field and reaped a great harvest, later saying:I built the grave round and round with coral blocks, and covered the top with beautiful white coral, broken small gravel; and that spot became my sacred and much frequented shrine, during all the following months and years when I labored on for the salvation of these savage Islanders amidst difficulties, dangers and deaths. Whensoever Tanna turns to the Lord, and is won for Christ, man in after-days will find the memory of that spot still green â where with ceaseless prayers and tears I claimed that the land for God in which I hand âburied my dead' with faith and hope.
by Thomas Watson(1). Affliction works for good, as it is our preacher and teacherâ"Hear the rod" (Micah 6:9). Luther said that he could never rightly understand some of the Psalmsâuntil he was in affliction.Â Affliction teaches what sin is. In the word preached, we hear what a dreadful thing sin is, that it is both defiling and damningâbut we fear it no more than a painted lion; therefore God lets loose afflictionâand then we feel sin bitter in the fruit of it. A sick bed often teaches more than a sermon. We can best see the ugly visage of sin in the looking-glass of affliction!Affliction teaches us to know ourselves. In prosperity we are for the most part strangers to ourselves. God afflicts usâthat we may better know ourselves. We see that corruption in our hearts, in the time of affliction, which we would not believe was there. Water in the glass looks clearâbut set it on the fire, and the scum boils up. In prosperity, a man seems to be humble and thankful, the water looks clear; but set this man a little on the fire of affliction, and the scum boils upâmuch impatience and unbelief appear. "Oh," says a Christian, "I never thought I had such a bad heart, as now I see I have! I never thought my corruptions had been so strong, and my graces so weak."
by Thomas WatsonThe ordinary means which the Lord uses in calling us, is not by raptures and revelationsâbut is,(1.) By His Word which is "the rod of his strength" (Psalm 105:2). The voice of the Word is God's call to us; therefore He is said to speak to us from heaven (Heb. 12:25). That is, in the ministry of the Word. When the Word calls from sin, it is as if we heard a voice from heaven.(2.) By His Spirit. This is the loud call. The Word is the instrumental cause of our conversion, the Spirit is the efficient cause of our conversion. The ministers of God are only the pipes and organs; it is the Spirit blowing in them, which effectually changes the heart. "While Peter spoke, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word" (Acts 10:44). It is not the farmer's industry in ploughing and sowing, which will make the ground fruitful, without the early and latter rain. Just so, it is not the seed of the Word that will effectually convert, unless the Spirit puts forth His sweet influence, and drops as rain upon the heart. Therefore the aid of God's Spirit is to be implored, that He would put forth His powerful voice, and awaken us out of the grave of unbelief. If a man knocks at a gate of brass, it will not open; but if he comes with a key in his hand, it will open. Just so, when God, who has the key of David in His hand (Rev. 3:7) comes, He opens the heart, though it be ever so fast locked against Him.---FromÂ All Things for GoodÂ by Thomas Watson
Â By Dr. Jared Moore Introduction The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is currently embroiled in a controversy over the doctrines presented by Revoice. This is the beginning of a multi-part series responding to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of Revoice . I wrote my dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary arguing that Revoice theology is neither biblical nor Reformed . I hope this series of articles helps readers understand Revoice theology and provides a way forward for the PCA and Revoice. Please share these articles with your elders, deacons, teachers, and churches. Revoice's mission is âto support and encourage gay, lesbian, bisexual, and other same-sex attracted Christiansâas well as those who love themâso that all in the Church might be empowered to live in gospel unity while observing the historic Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality.â  The latter part of this statement about gospel unity, like their FAQ, sounds like something faithful Christians can affirm; however, if we look closer at the language they use and compare it with the writings of their leaders, we will see that their theology is neither biblical nor Reformed. Revoice's Frequently Asked QuestionsIn their Frequently Asked Questions, Revoice writes, Does Revoice Promote a Gay Identity? No.
by J. C. Ryle"He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others." â Luke xviii. 9.ARE there none to whom this parable is applicable in the present day? Truly, if it were so, the ministers of Jesus would have comparatively a light employment and an idle post. We do not often meet with men who deny the divinity of Christ, or the personality of the Holy Ghost, or disbelieve the Bible, or doubt the existence of a God, and so bring upon themselves swift destruction; but, alas! we have daily proof that the disease spoken of in our text is as deep-seated and hard to cure as ever, and of all the mischievous delusions that keep men out of heaven, of all the soul-destroying snares that Satan employs to oppose Christ's Gospel, there is none we find so dangerous, none so successful, as self-righteousness.Perhaps you think this strange, and I daresay there are few who would not say, if asked the ground of their hopes, and how they expect to be saved, "We trust in the merits of Christ"; but I fear that too many of you are making the Lord Jesus but half your Saviour, and could never stand the sifting of an inquiry which would draw out into daylight the secrets of your hearts. How much would then come out by degrees about doing as well as you could, and being no worse than others, and having been sober and industrious and well-behaved, and having attended church regularly, and having had a Bible and a Prayer book of your own ever since you can remember, and the like; besides many other self-approving thoughts, which often never appear until a death-bed, and all prove the root of all evil, which is pride, to be still vigorous and flourishing within.
In bringing you this list, it is our hope to bring honor to God by exalting Jesus Christ in providing the biblical and theological works (both contemporary and classic) that we believe best reflect the Scriptires' teaching on grace and the Christian life. Below I've put together this concise guide to Reformation Theology literature which hopefully will be beneficial to all who want to do some deeper investigation of where we are, where we've come from and where we are going. To get you started this succinct guide places emphasis on Reformed soteriology (e.g. the doctrine of salvation), the five solas and covenant theology.Â The following all deserve a permanent place on your bookshelf:Our Top Recommendations:(click on the links below if you want to learn more about a particular book)
by Thomas WatsonWhat is justifying faith? I shall show,Â (1.) What it is not. It is not a bare acknowledgment that Christ is a Savior. There must be this acknowledgment, but that is not sufficient to justify. The devils acknowledged Christ's Godhead. "Jesus the Son of God." There may be an assent to divine truth, and yet no work of grace on the heart. Many assent in their judgements, that sin is an evil thingâbut they go on in sin, whose corruptions are stronger than their convictions. Many assent that Christ is excellent; they cheapen the pearlâbut do not buy.(2.) What justifying faith is. True justifying faith consists in three things:(1:) Self-renunciation. Faith is going out of one's self, being taken off from our own merits, and seeing we have no righteousness of our own. "Not having my own righteousness." Self-righteousness is a broken reed, which the soul dares not lean on. Repentance and faith are both humbling graces; by repentance a man abhors himself; by faith he goes out of himself. As Israel in their wilderness march, behind them saw Pharaoh and his chariots pursuing, before them the Red Sea ready to devour; so the sinner behind sees God's justice pursuing him for sin, before, hell ready to devour him; and in this forlorn condition, he sees nothing in himself to helpâbut he must perish unless he can find help in another.
Â Â Part 2 â Dear PCA, Don't Let Revoice Fool You: A Response to Revoice's Frequently Asked Questions By Dr. Jared Moore Introduction The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is currently embroiled in a controversy over the doctrines presented by Revoice. This is Part 2 ( Part 1 is here ) of a multi-part series responding to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of Revoice . I wrote my dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary arguing that Revoice theology is neither biblical nor Reformed . I hope this series of articles helps readers understand Revoice theology and provides a way forward for the PCA and Revoice. Please share these articles with your elders, deacons, teachers, and churches.
by Pastor Mark RobinetteHave you ever heard of Myanmar? Maybe by now you have, but a few years ago most of us had to Google it to find out. It was the new name for Burma. We've all seen Crab Rangoon on a menu somewhere, but few Westerners had ever been to this central cityÂ in Myanmar now called Yangon.The truth is, in an adaptation of a famous C. S. Lewis quote,Â âThe Lion is on the moveâ in Myanmar.Just a few years ago, this Southeast Asian country, between India and Thailand, was shut off from the world much like North Korea, and it topped the list of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian.As God would have it, Myanmar has remarkably opened up to outsiders. For the first time in decades, Christians are discovering part of the body of Christ that God has pruned and preserved amid great poverty and persecution. I know, I've been there many times since my first journey there in 2013. What I found is nothing short of a treasure-find for the faithful. I've discovered Myanmar Gold.Blood is now flowing freely again in this part of the body of Christ between Myanmar Christians and the elect around the world.As God has often taught us, and He is teaching us again through this, it is in the harshest of environments that love grows best.In the jungles of Myanmar where cobras, elephants, and Bengal tigers still roam free, there is a vibrant network of Reformed Christians whose faith and solid theological perspectives are glorious and inspiring.
Law, HenryÂ The Gospel in GenesisÂ Law, HenryÂ The Gospel in ExodusÂ Law,Â HenryÂ The Gospel in LeviticusÂ Law, HenryÂ The Gospel in NumbersÂ Law, HenryÂ The Gospel in DeuteronomyÂ
by Jason LisleNon-Christian worldviews would make knowledge impossible.Â By this, I certainly do not mean that non-Christians can't know anything.Â Clearly they can.Â But this is despite their worldview and not because of it.Â My point is that if reality were the way non-Christians claim it is, then knowledge would be impossible. The reason is that these unbiblical worldviews cannot justify those things necessary for knowledge.Â So while a non-believer might offer a reason for a belief, he or she cannot ultimately justifyÂ the reason itselfÂ from a non-Christian foundation.For example, âI know Saturn has rings because I have observed them with my eyes through a telescope.âÂ But this assumes that our eyes are reliable â a Christian concept.Â A person might say, âI know two contradictory claims cannot both be true because this violates a law of logic.âÂ Quite right, but apart from Christianity there is no reason to believe that laws of logic are universally and invariantly reliable.As a specific example, consider the most common secular worldview â that the universe is the result of a big bang, followed by billions of years of cosmic and then biological evolution.Â In this worldview, people are merely the inevitable unplanned result of chemistry acting over time.Â There is no grand scheme of things, no ultimate mind upholding the universe, and no ultimate objective meaning.Can a person holding such a view ever have good reasons for his beliefs?Â Evolutionists do rely upon laws of logic, upon their mind and senses, and upon morality.Â And these are good reasons â in the Christian worldview.Â But in the secular worldview, can these reasons be justified?Â If not, then a secularist would be irrational to believe them.
We live in a post-truth era. In this secular age, truth is determined, not by any objective criteria, but is a social construct arbitrarily defined by a subjective community preference. But having no objective truth to look to, all that's left is power. Instead of having common ideals, this has only given rise to clans and blood feuds, as we are now witnessing. Whoever has the most power wins, which is the early signal for an authoritarian state.Once we set aside the obvious truth that man is inherently evil, we will increasingly abandon the rule of law, the separation of powers and limited government. And by removing restraints on government, we are creating the very conditions that even secularism claims to fear .. Fascism and other forms of authoritarian government, the elevation of will over law, which requires concentrated and unconstrained state power. Thus, genuine anti-fascism opposes the expansion and consolidation of government power, and by this measure limited constitutional government (flawed as it may be because of human nature) is one of the most successful anti-authoritarian systems of government ever established. It rightly recognizes human limitations and sin. Above all else, the Founders feared arbitrary power. This fear was rooted in knowledge of history, human nature, revelation and their experiences with self-government and the British.
Â By Dr. Jared MooreIntroductionThe Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is currently embroiled in a controversy over the doctrines presented by Revoice. This is Part 3 (Part 1, Part 2) of a multi-part series responding to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of Revoice. I wrote my dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary arguing that Revoice theology is neither biblical nor Reformed. I hope this series of articles helps readers understand Revoice theology and provides a way forward for the PCA and Revoice. Please share these articles with your elders, deacons, teachers, and churches.Revoice's mission is âto support and encourage gay, lesbian, bisexual,Â andÂ other same-sex attracted Christiansâas well as those who love themâsoÂ that all in the Church mightÂ be empowered to live in gospel unity while observing the historic Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality.â The latter part of this statement about gospel unity, like their FAQ, sounds like something faithful Christians can affirm; however, if we look closer at the language they use and compare it with the writings of their leaders, we will see that their theology is neither biblical nor Reformed.Revoice's Frequently Asked QuestionsIn their FAQ, Revoice writes,
by Thomas BrooksIn times of great trouble and trials, in times of great afflictions and persecutions, private prayer is the Christian's food and drink. It is their chief city of refuge or shelter and hiding place in a stormy day. When the saints have been driven by violent persecutions into holes and caves, dens, deserts and howling wildernesses, private prayer has been their food and drink. Under Christ it has been their only refuge.When Esau came forth with hostile intentions against Jacob, secret prayer was Jacob's refuge (Genesis 32:6-9, 11). He recalls God's promises, they must be prayed over in private. When Jacob and all that was near and dear to him, were in eminent danger of being cut off by Esau and the men of blood that were with him, he takes himself to private prayer as his only city of refuge against the rage and malice of the mighty.When Jeremiah was in a solitary and loathsome dungeon, private prayer was his food and drink, it was his only city of refuge (Jeremiah 33:1-3). God encourages him by private prayer, to seek for further revelations of those choice and unique favours, which He purposed to confer on His people in future times.When Manasseh was in chains, in his enemies' country, when he was stripped of all his princely glory and led captive into Babylon, he takes himself to private prayer as his only City of refuge (2 Chronicles 33:11-13). By this means he prevails with God for his restoration to his crown and kingdom.Private prayer is a city of refuge that no power nor politics, no craft nor cruelty, no violence nor force is ever able to overcome. Though the joint prayers of the people of God together were often obstructed and hindered in the times of the ten persecutions (of the early Church), yet they were never able to obstruct or hinder secret prayer.
By Dr. Jared MooreIntroductionThe Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is currently embroiled in a controversy over the doctrines presented by Revoice. This is Part 4, the final part ( Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 ) of a multi-part series responding to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of Revoice . I wrote my dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary arguing that Revoice theology is neither biblical nor Reformed . I hope this series of articles helps readers understand Revoice theology and provides a way forward for the PCA and Revoice. Please share these articles with your elders, deacons, teachers, and churches.
It is not difficult to notice the overwhelming number of people who express their moral outrage toward social and political issues on social media. They find it natural to pronounce judgment on issues that offend them. Ironically, many of these same persons find the idea of the final judgment of God to be offensive. I've had numerous friends express to me that the concept of a final judgment of wheat and tares, sheep and goats, to be a stumbling block for them.Why? OutrageÂ presupposes the concept of justice. But if the pursuit of justice is virtuous in human courts then why is it so offensive that God, who is objective, who exercises perfect justice, and who knows all the secrets of men, something to stumble over? We will not let God be God, yet eagerly willing to take on the role of God ourselves.There is a universal desire for justice in the human soul, regardless of where you are born. It is not something that must be taught, but rises up within each one of us. This points to the fact that a universal law has been implanted in each one of us. The desire for justice points to the reality of God. For moral outrage is absurd, if you believe in moral relativism. Either there is an objective right and wrong OR it is a mere personal preference. And if it is but a preference, then how can you consistently express moral outrage at others who are merely expressing their preference? If there is no objective, universal morality that transcends human opinion, then, to be consistent, all that's left is power .. the desire to impose your preference on others.-----
Something has gone terribly wrong the world and it must be made right. There is genocide, terrorism, corruption, authoritarianism, racism, world wars, human trafficking, slavery, abortion, environmental disaster, exploitation of children, greed, abuse, anger, addictions, etc. There is rightly a lot of moral outrage over these things, yet most people do not have any coherent explanation of why humanity is in such a mess. Many believe much of what ails us are things like psychological trauma, self-esteem problems and addiction, and while there may be some superficial truth in this, our problem really runs significantly deeper than this. These behavioral problems are but the symptoms, not the underlying disease.What's amazing is that, through history, people keep trying the same cosmetic solutions that have never worked. We are no different. Each week the masses on social media are outraged at the latest contemporary scandal or injustice but seem to only offer superficial ways of treating the symptoms (law), but rarely offer a cure for the underlying disease (the gospel). The solutions offered are usually vague, non-descript and amorphous. Fact is, you can put in place all the good laws in the world but they will do nothing to change the evil of men's hearts. They may restrain evil to an extent, and that's good, (so they are necessary) but it will never, ever resolve the underlying cancer that causes the human problem in the first place.Lets get this straight: the problem with the world starts with me. Good and evil run right down the center of my own heart. The world is worse off for the sin I have compounded to it. Oh, Lord have mercy on me. There is no hope if I am left to myself. But thank the Lord Jesus Christ, who saves sinners like me ... all who call on His name... and who is coming soon as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to bring all things into the light and to make all things right.
Is racism universally (that is, objectively) wrong, or is this something that people should be free to decide for themselves? Â In other words, is racism something that you think should be wrong at all times for everyone in all cultures and communities, or is this merely your personal preference?Â If there is one thing Christians can wholeheartedly agree with young postmodern secularists, it is that, in large part, they are motivated by altruism, a strong desire to advance human rights, and to care deeply for the universal welfare of humanity. There is a tendency among young postmoderns to want to treat with benevolence all people regardless of their ethnicity. Â This is truly to be admired.Â At the same time, however, without blinking an eye, secularists will openly tell you that there is no objective right or wrong - that all morals should be left to the individual to decide. That there is no cosmic or ethical order outside of subjective preferences. But if morality is nothing more than our expression of personal preference or feelings, and does not exist independent of them, then why do people (even secularists) find universal judgments to be irresistible in practice? Their views of racism is aÂ good example. Even the most ardent materialists are unable to refrain from passing moral judgments, even as their philosophy tells them otherwise. They live as if we are accountable to a moral standard that exists beyond themselves.Â
Every human being places his hope in something, and every human being asks that hope to deliver something. Where have you placed your hope? We've all been hardwired for hope. We all project our lives out into the future to imagine things as we would like them to be. We all carry around with us personal hopes and dreams. We all surrender our hearts to some kind of expectation. We all silently wish that things could be different than they are. We all hope in something and we all hope for something. So much of how we look at life and how we live our lives is connected to the things in which we place the fundamental hopes of our lives.Hope always has three elementsâan assessment, an object, and an expectation. First, hope looks around and assesses that something or someone could be better than it is; that that something or someone is somehow broken. If things were as perfect as they could be, you wouldn't need to hope. Second, hope always has an object. It is the thing that you bank your hope on. You ask the object of your hope to fix what is broken or to deliver what is desired or needed. Third, hope has an expectation. This is what you ask the object of your hope to give you, what you hope the object of your hope will deliver.
I am delighted to see how many young people are committed to universal justice. But, at the same time, modern society tends to be deeply incoherent. On the one hand our culture demands justice for the oppressed and impartial benevolence toward all. On the other hand it teaches that no one has the right to declare right and wrong to anyone else, as secularism asserts that every person must determine his or her own moral values. This is cognitive dissonance. It demands moral behavior of others and yet insists morality is relative. The idea undermines itself. The promotion of universal justice, human rights, self-sacrifice, a commitment to human dignity and considering the poor can only coherently make sense in a world where morality is objective and whose source is God. Either stop moralizing others or stop pretending to believe morality is relative/subjective. You can't hold to both at the same time and expect people to take you seriously.If you lie to yourself in this way, you are not helping. It is a type of willful blindness to the real source of the problem. This means if you are fighting for justice with human wisdom alone, with no thought to where human dignity comes from, you are keeping humanity in the very bondage and slavery you claim to be fighting against. We cannot merely judge policies by their "good intentions" but by a consistent commitment to the truth, in a way that corresponds with reality. The real remedy for our problems cannot be based on a lie.We exist in the real world which has differences of opinion and not in a vacuum with only people who agree with us. So if a secularist is morally outraged at some opinion of mine, it is natural to pose the question as to how we know their moral standards are the right ones. What standard are they appealing to that is universally binding on both you and me? And who determines it?Â
by Thomas Watson"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3Some are of opinion, that this was the first sermon which ever Christ gave, therefore it may challenge our best attention. 'Blessed are the poor in spirit'. Our Lord Christ, beginning to raise a high and stately fabric of blessedness, lays the foundation of it lowâin poverty of spirit. But all poverty is not blessed. I shall use a fourfold distinction.1. I distinguish between 'poor in estate', and 'poor in spirit'. There are the Devil's poor. They are both poor and wickedâwhose clothes are not more torn than their conscience. There are some whose poverty is their sin, who through improvidence or excess have brought themselves to poverty. These may be poor in estateâbut not poor in spirit.2. I distinguish between 'spiritually poor' and 'poor in spirit'. He who is without grace is spiritually poorâbut he is not poor in spirit; he does not know his own beggary. 'You know not, that you are poor' (Revelation 3:17). He is in the worst sense poorâwho has no sense of his poverty.3. I distinguish between 'poor-spirited' and 'poor in spirit'. They are said to be poor-spirited who have mean, base spirits, who act below themselves. Such are those misers, who having great estatesâyet can hardly afford themselves bread; who live sneakingly, and are ready to wish their own throats cut, because they are forced to spend something in satisfying nature's demands. This Solomon calls an evil under the sun. 'There is an evil which I have seen under the sunâa man to whom God has given riches, so that he lacks nothing that he desiresâyet God gives him not power to eat thereof' (Ecclesiastes 6:2). True religion makes no man a niggard. Though it teaches prudenceâyet not sordidness.
by Jeremiah BurroughsSuppose a malefactor is condemned, but now execution is not till two or three days after; in that space of time he has granted unto him liberty to have meat and drink, and friends come to him, and he may refresh himself in those two or three days; but he has forfeited all his estate, and the tenure now upon which he holds any comfort, it is not the same which he had before, but merely through the bounty of the prince it is that he has comforts.Â So it is here. Wicked men have committed sin, and the sentence of death is out against them, and they have forfeited all the comforts of their estates, and of their lives, only God in patience grants unto them some outward comforts here a few days before execution; and upon this tenure do all wicked men hold their estates: I will not say that every wicked man is an usurper of their estates, as some perhaps have held, that they have no right at all before God; some right he has, as you cannot say a malefactor has no right (when he is condemned) to meat and drink before execution; he has right to what is given to him of donation and bounty, but not that right which he had before.Â So I say, for wicked men that have estates in this world, they have a kind of right to that they have; but how? Just that right that a condemned man has to his dinner or supper before execution; this is the right of wicked men to their estates; that is, God of his bounty grants a little while before execution they shall have a few comforts to them in this world: And this is the evil of sin, and the least sin, there is not any one sin, but the fruit of it is condemnation. And brethren, you must not mistake, to think that wicked men are never condemned until they come before God in the day of Judgment; they be condemned here, mark that, John, 3. 18. He that believes not is condemned already: now condemned, not hereafter, but a condemned man already: this is a sad condition indeed.Â
One of the most egregious sins of our time is political idolatry. Now, as you may know, idolatry is not merely bowing down to an idol crafted by hands, but setting something up in your heart as that which exceeds all others in importance. It is often taking a good and God-ordained thing (like government) and making it the ultimate thing, thus making it into a god, as if it could save, or bring about utopia.But there is only one Savior, and his name is Jesus Christ. He is not a partisan...a Democrat or a Republican: He is the King of kings and only He reigns supreme over all. All sin is rebellion against Him first. He is not against our participation in the political process (He ordained it), but He makes it clear that we should be under no illusions that any laws or government can deliver us from our captivity to sin. And since human beings cannot save themselves, the solution to total depravity is not law, but gospel. This means that the wickedness of things like abortion and racial injustice will not go away by mere legislation. Certainly it will restrain the evil of it to some degree, so it is clearly necessary to implement better laws. I am all for it. But just as politics is downstream from culture, so culture is downstream from theology. If we simply force a law through an unwilling culture, like curbing or abolishing abortion, the backlash will be severe, because many in our debased culture view this crime against humanity as a sacred rite. It is only as hearts are changed through the gospel, will people begin to see the need to treat all divine image bearers with dignity. So my friends, make it a priority to bring people to the gospel of Christ. Apart from that we are not even beginning to solve the underlying problem.
by John CalvinIT IS NOT A CASE OF THE BELIEVER'S "CO-OPERATION" WITH GRACE; THE WILL IS FIRST ACTUATED THROUGH GRACEBut perhaps some will concede that the will is turned away from the good by its own nature and is converted by the Lord's power alone, yet in such a way that, having been prepared, it then has its own part in the action. As Augustine teaches, grace precedes every good work; while will does not go before as its leader but follows after as its attendant. This statement, which the holy man made with no evil intention, has by Lombard been preposterously twisted to that way of thinking. But I contend that in the words of the prophet that I have cited, as well as in other passages, two things are clearly signified: (1) the Lord corrects our evil will, or rather extinguishes it; (2) he substitutes for it a good one from himself.In so far as it is anticipated by grace, to that degree I concede that you may call your will an "attendant." But because the will reformed is the Lord's work, it is wrongly attributed to man that he obeys prevenient grace with his will as attendant. Therefore Chrysostom erroneously wrote: "Neither grace without will nor will without grace can do anything." As if grace did not also actuate the will itself, as we have just seen from Paul [cf. Philippians 2:13]! Nor was it Augustine's intent, in calling the human will the attendant of grace, to assign to the will in good works a function second to that of grace. His only purpose was, rather, to refute that very evil doctrine of Pelagius which lodged the first cause of salvation in man's merit.
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