Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Is There any Injustice in Divine Election?

From Reformation Theology

If one person or group receives the grace of God and another group does not, is there any violation of justice in this? If God passes over some, do they receive anything they do not deserve? Fact is, one group receives mercy and the other group receives justice, and no group receives injustice. And Paul demolishes human will as the basis for God's sovereign election in Christ. (Rom 9:15, 16) It is based rather on God's sovereign good pleasure in Christ. This removes all merit from me and puts the attention back on the sovereign and merciful God....

Even the very wisdom to believe is a gift of God's grace. Such that we cannot attribute our repenting and believing to our own wisdom, humility or good sense. 1 Cor 1 says, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” In other words, those who ascribe their believing to their own wisdom, and not to Christ alone, are boasting.

Two for Tuesday

J.C. Ryle Quotes -

"Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us; only the righteousness of Christ’s can clothe us; Only the sacrifice of Christ can give us a title to heaven. Jews and Gentiles, educated and uneducated, rich and poor—everyone, no matter what their position or standing in life must either be saved by Jesus Christ or lost forever. And the Apostle emphatically adds, “There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” There is no other person commissioned, sealed, and appointed by God the Father to be the Savior of sinners, except Christ. The keys of life and death are only found in His hand, and all who want to be saved must go to Him."

"There can be no true repentance without faith. You may cast away your old habits, as the serpent casts off his skin—but if you are not resting all upon the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and looking to be saved by simple faith in Him, you may be wise in your own eyes—but you are just ignorant of the root and fountain, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, in all true gospel religion. You may tell us you have repented—but if you have not at the same time laid hold on Christ, you have up to this time, received the grace of God in vain."

Monday, July 23, 2012

God’s Omnipresence

From the Westminster Seminary Blog

Those within the Reformed church love to study doctrine. We often gather together in one setting or another, open the Bible, and explore the wealth of wisdom that we find. We open some crusty old tome written long ago and let the breeze of ages past blow through our minds.

Whether we study Scripture or learn more about theology, we love to hone and tune our orthodoxy. What is a problem, however, is that we can make good discussion when it comes to doctrinal issues. But all too often we demonstrate that we do not understand our doctrine as well as we might think in our every day life. In other words, we talk the walk but do not walk the walk.

Consider for a moment the doctrine of God’s Omnipresence.

We understand the doctrinal truth that God is in all places at all times. We read passages of Scripture like Psalm 139.7-8 that speak to this doctrinal truth: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”

We intellectually assent to this truth and speak about it with conviction. Yet a person demonstrates that he does not truly understand this doctrine when he sins behind closed doors when others are not around.

Wilhelmus à Brakel, a 17th century Dutch theologian, writes that when “the presence of people serves as a restraint against the commission of many sins, and if the presence of God does not accomplish the same, one reveals himself as having more respect for people than for the majestic and holy God.”

 If we wait until the doors are closed and then sin because no one is watching, we only reveal that we do not understand the doctrine of God’s omnipresence at all.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mission Accomplished by Shai Linne

Here’s a controversial subject that tends to divide
For years it’s had Christians lining up on both sides
By God’s grace, I’ll address this without pride
The question concerns those for whom Christ died
Was He trying to save everybody worldwide?
Was He trying to make the entire world His Bride?
Does man’s unbelief keep the Savior’s hands tied?
Biblically, each of these must be denied
It’s true, Jesus gave up His life for His Bride
But His Bride is the elect, to whom His death is applied
If on judgment day, you see that you can’t hide
And because of your sin, God’s wrath on you abides
And hell is the place you eternally reside
That means your wrath from God hasn’t been satisfied
But we believe His mission was accomplished when He died
But how the cross relates to those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried

Father, Son and Spirit: three and yet one
Working as a unit to get things done
Our salvation began in eternity past
God certainly has to bring all His purpose to pass
A triune, eternal bond no one could ever sever
When it comes to the church, peep how they work together
The Father foreknew first, the Son came to earth
To die- the Holy Spirit gives the new birth
The Father elects them, the Son pays their debt and protects them
The Spirit is the One who resurrects them
The Father chooses them, the Son gets bruised for them
The Spirit renews them and produces fruit in them
Everybody’s not elect, the Father decides
And it’s only the elect in whom the Spirit resides
The Father and the Spirit- completely unified
But when it comes to Christ and those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried

My third and final verse- here’s the situation
Just a couple more things for your consideration
If saving everybody was why Christ came in history
With so many in hell, we’d have to say He failed miserably
So many think He only came to make it possible
Let’s follow this solution to a conclusion that’s logical
What about those who were already in the grave?
The Old Testament wicked- condemned as depraved
Did He die for them? C’mon, behave
But worst of all, you’re saying the cross by itself doesn’t save
That we must do something to give the cross its power
That means, at the end of the day, the glory’s ours
That man-centered thinking is not recommended
The cross will save all for whom it was intended
Because for the elect, God’s wrath was satisfied
But still, when it comes to those in hell
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried

Monday, July 16, 2012

Basics of the Reformed Faith: The Sacraments by Kim Riddlebarger

From the Westminster Seminary Blog

Although any discussion of the role of the sacraments in the Christian life seems too “catholic” for many evangelical Christians, the sacraments do play a very important role throughout the New Testament. Summarizing the teaching of Scripture on this topic, the Heidelberg Catechism (Q 65) defines the two New Testament sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as “holy signs and seals for us to see. They were instituted by God so that by our use of them he might make us understand more clearly the promise of the gospel, and might put his seal on that promise.” And what is the promise of the gospel? “To forgive our sins and give us eternal life by grace alone because of Christ’s one sacrifice finished on the cross.”

The sacraments are visible signs and seals of God’s invisible grace promised to his people in the gospel (Romans 4:9-12). Because we are weak and struggling sinners, these sacraments are given to us by God to confirm that faith already given us through the preaching of the gospel (cf. Romans 6:3-4;1 Corinthians 11:23-26). This is why the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments are intimately connected.

Read rest of post here

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Law and Gospel

"He who would have a fruitful ministry must have clear shining after the rain, by which I mean, first, law, and then, gospel. We must preach plainly against sin.

In our ministry there must be rain, we must have the clouds and darkness, and divine justice bearing heavily upon the sinner's conscience. Then comes in Christ crucified, full atonement, simple faith, and clear shining of comfort to the believing sinner. But there must be the rain first.

He who preaches all sweetness and all love, and has nothing to do with warning men of the consequences of sin, may be thought to be very loving; but, in truth, he is altogether unfaithful to the souls of men. I do not suppose that any of you women can sew without needles. Yet your object is not simply to get the needle into the stuff, is it? No; you want to get in a bit of cotton, or thread, or silk. Well, now, try whether you can sew with a piece of silk alone. You cannot do so.

You must put in the needle first, must you not? And he who would do any work for God, must have a sharp needle, as he deals plainly with the sin of man, and he must then draw after it the silken thread of the gospel of Christ. There must be rain first, and clear shining afterwards."
--Charles H. Spurgeon

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What Should I Think of the church?

From Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Many people in our day have an indifferent, negative, or even hostile attitude towards the church, while claiming to be Christians – that is, followers of Christ.

Are such attitudes compatible with being a Christian? As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must have the same attitude towards the church, and commitment to it, that He has. Therefore, we must ask the question: What does Christ think of His church? Three passages make the answer to that question clear:

1. Christ Loves His Church. Eph 5:25 says “… Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

2. Christ Is Building His Church. In Matt 16:18, Jesus says “… I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

3. Christ Indwells His Church. In Matt 18:20, Jesus says of His church “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Therefore, if we believe that Christ loves His church, is building His church, and indwells His church, then that will define our attitude toward the church as well: we will love Christ’s church, we will seek to build up Christ’s church, and we will be in the midst of Christ’s church whenever it gathers for its stated meetings.

Christ’s work and mission is centered on His church. Therefore, as disciples of Christ, we must center our lives on that which Christ centered His life on. A Christ centered Christian is a church centered Christian, because that is where Christ centers His love, His work, and His presence.

It says of the Lord Jesus in John 2:17, “…The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” May we too be consumed with zeal for “…the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

Pastor Max Doner
Sovereign Grace Bible Church
Lebanon, Oregon