Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Two for Tuesday - The Basics of the Reformed Faith

Basics of the Reformed Faith: Election

Kim Riddlebarger 
As Americans raised in a democratic republic, we cling tenaciously to the principle “one person, one vote.” It is very easy (and almost natural) to carry over this principle to our understanding of the doctrine of salvation. It is easy to simply assume that God should give everyone a chance to go to heaven, and if people refuse God’s gracious offer, then people, in effect, send themselves to hell by refusing God’s gracious gift. This makes perfect sense on democratic presuppositions because in the political sphere each individual is assumed to be entitled and empowered to determine their own course in life. And if this is true in American political life, then it should be true when it comes to the salvation of sinner. Right?

Well, no. The Bible does not allow us to understand humanity’s redemption from sin in such rosy terms.

Because of Adam’s sin, we are all sinners by nature and by choice, and we are born guilty for Adam’s act of rebellion in Eden.

The Bible speaks of this as being dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1), meaning....  Continue reading HERE


Basics of the Reformed Faith: The Covenant of Grace
Kim Riddlebarger 
It has been said that covenant theology is at the center of Reformed theology. No doubt, this is correct. In Eden, all of humanity fell when Adam, the first of our race, rebelled against his creator and plunged the entire human race into sin and death. It will take a second Adam (Jesus Christ) to perfectly obey the commandments of God so as to fulfill all righteousness (cf. Matthew 3:15). It will also take a second Adam to remove from us the guilt of our individual sins, as well as that guilt imputed to us from our first father, Adam (cf. Romans 5:12-19). But in order for a second Adam to accomplish these things, there must be a different covenant than the covenant of works (and its demand for perfect obedience), in which God allows a second Adam to do what is necessary for us and in our place to be saved for us, and to earn sufficient merit to save us.

This brings us to the covenant of grace.

The covenant of grace is the historical outworking of an eternal covenant of redemption (the so-called “covenant before the covenant”) in which the members of the Holy Trinity decreed that Jesus was to be the redeemer of those whom the Father had chosen in him, and that Jesus would do this on behalf of, and in the place of, all those sinners chosen from before the foundation of the world (cf. Ephesians 1:3-14). This means that God’s saving grace......Continue reading HERE

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