Saturday, October 24, 2009

Salvation belongs to our God: not unto us, O Lord, not unto us!

Why do I hate "salvation by free will" (Arminianism) so much? Because I love God my Saviour who saved me even though my will was totally enslaved to sin and I deserved only hell even by my very nature since the moment I was conceived (Psalm 51; Rom. 3:9-28; 8:5-11).

The Gospel of Arminianism is the Gospel of hopelessness, and can do nothing except leave us all to damnation, since its only power is the powerlessness of the sinful will.

The Gospel of Christ however, is the power of God unto salvation!! Why? Because it relies nothing on us, but only upon what cannot change - God's eternal counsel in predestination (Rom. 8:28-9:29; Heb. 6:17-20; Eph 1:3-12). Except the Lord had predestinated us unconditionally to salvation we could only be as Sodom and Gomorrah. Of that, I have no doubt in my own conscience. What about you?

Here's the difference, the one rests upon the will of a totally depraved sinner - it cannot be more powerless. The other rests wholly upon the immutability of God. "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Mal. 3:6).

Wherever the light of this truth is extinguished, the Gospel has been utterly lost, the blood of Christ has been trampled underfoot, the Spirit of holiness has been thoroughly despised, and the glory of God has been replaced with the shame of the wicked. Where this truth has fallen to the streets, there it is that Satan rules.

But Christ will come, and all his enemies will be under His feet, for the Sovereign Lord is always victorious, and never fails to triumph. Not a drop of His precious blood can ever go to waste, and not sinner for whom He paid the ransom could ever be condemned to hell. Only this Gospel cleanses our consciences and assures us of eternal life in fellowship with our Creator, Saviour and Lord. Believe it, and join a church that preaches it without compromise!

Sam W.

Please take some time to study this important subject:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Good works in the sight of God?

Many boast today about their philanthropy, and all the wondrous things they think to do for humanity. Many Christians also praise these things as "good works", even though they may be done by the vilest atheist, and ungodly heathen. What is this preposterous notion they have that the unregenerate can do "good works"? That these carnal and wholly unspiritual people, enemies of God, and totally depraved in nature, can truly love their neighbour by all these deeds (Rom. 8:7-8)?

What measure are they using? It is certain that these people are not using God's measure - the only measure that counts (Rom. 3:9-18). Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize, and the praise of men, but does he have the praise of God? If not, then what does he have at all (Rom. 2:29)?

It is nothing but a proud insanity and most of all an impossibility to attempt to keep second table of the law while discarding the first table. For all of God's commandments are inseparably joined, such that if we are not keeping all of them, we have kept none of them (Jas. 2:10). If we have not loved God in our supposed "love" for our neighbour, we are nothing but hypocrites (Matt. 23:23). Such is our vast need for the imputed righteousness of Christ (Rom. 4:5-8). By grace alone this is imputed to us, through the gift of faith (Eph. 2:8-9).

The only sacrifice which God regards from us is that sacrifice sanctified by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:10), and which proceeds from the new heart (upon which is written the two tables of the law - to love God and our neighbour - II Cor. 3:3; Ezek. 26-27; Jer. 31:33), and which in profound humility and brokenness cries, "UNWORTHY!" Those who by grace alone (and not of themselves at all) make this their offering, "God, be merciful unto me, a sinner," are those who are freely pardoned and fully justified by the blood of Christ (Luke 18:13-14).

If any of this hits home with you, please take time to read and study this article by Herman Hoeksema: "The Curse-Reward of the Wicked Well-Doer".

Sam W.

Monday, October 05, 2009

How Do I Know God's Will For My Life?

On Thursday, 24th of September, Rev. Angus Stewart gave a lecture entitled, “Guidance: How Do I Know God's Will For My Life”. This included a robust and comprehensive defense of sola Scriptura over against all the insane notions of various kinds of fanatics, charismatics, pentecostals, Arminians, etc. It began by examining all the wild, wacky, and wonderful ideas about guidance that abound today, and which are utterly false and lead people into all kinds of difficulties. I remember as a young Christian in the Methodist church hearing all these ideas about guidance and seriously desiring to be led by God – especially as regards what career to pursue (I had heard no small voice in my head as a call such as the Methodists seemed to speak of, and thought it very easy to fall into being guided by my own desire or pride). I would ask people about it and at various youth conferences I would go to the lectures/workshops on “guidance”.

I guess I heard a few useful things, like letting the Bible fall open randomly and blindly putting your finger on a verse is downright stupid, but I think I knew all those things already - the inituitive Christian hermeneutic militates against it. It all really caused me to despair about what to put on my CAO form for a college course to go to after writing my Leaving Certificate exams. Why? Because I had not heard any “voice” telling me what to do – I did not have the kind of subjective, supernatural, experiential “calling” like the Methodists so often spoke of, and so I assumed that either they were just talking trash or God was determined not to guide me. In the end I made a decision, hoping that I would receive some special supernatural revelation later eventually. This of course seriously harmed my assurance too. If I do not receive such guidance in such a manner, does God really love me? Of course, biblically speaking, to receive a direct revelation from God is to be a prophet, and the prophets, along with the apostles, are laid in the foundation of the church with Christ (Eph. 2:20).

Once the coffin had been nailed firmly shut (and a few more planks hammered on top) on all these unclean spirits of “guidance”, the meat of the lecture was expounded. The all-sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work is the answer to how we are to know God's will for us. A careful distinction was made between God's commands and God's purposes (since these can both be referred to ambiguously as His "will"), and it was highlighted in view of this, that while we can certainly be outside God's will of command by walking in disobedience (in which case we ought to repent), we cannot be outside God's good and perfect purposes. Rev. Stewart proved a number of crucial principles from Scripture, and how God guides us as we apply these wise biblical principles to our circumstances:
  • How does God guide Himself? First of all, is His own glory, and His own glory in Christ, and His own glory in Christ in the salvation of His elect church (Col. 1:16ff).
  • This model is given in the Lord's Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13), so we are admonished to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:31-34).
  • We are aided by the Psalms by which we teach and admonish one another to be guided rightly (e.g. Psalm 23, 25, 37, 73, 119, 143).
  • It is hypocrisy to claim to seek God's guidance if we are not obeying His commandments – of which the ten commandments are a summary, and include the 4th commandment (Exo.20).
  • We are guided by many biblical examples, both positive and negative; the patience of Job; the longsuffering of Joseph; and the folly of Jonah.
  • Luther famously contended that the Spirit guides us by the Word and prayed that he may be content with this alone – and prayer cannot be a substitute for diligent study of Scripture and thinking biblically, but rather, in prayer we ask that we may be given the ability and willingness to do these things.
  • Advice from others is also not a substitute for the above, but ought to be sought in order that we may benefit from the experience and knowledge of others to make more informed biblical decisions (Prov. 11:14; 24:3-7).
The lecture was finished with a few concrete examples of how to apply biblical principles to various key areas of decision-making; dating, church, and employment. See here also concerning work (I Cor. 7:17-24). Finally, Rev. Stewart mentioned decisions in which we cannot clearly see which is better either way, sometimes it is needless to devote much thought to it, such as what brand of beans to purchase, and in others, at least if the more difficult option is taken, it will work for our sanctification (Jas. 1:3). In all these things of course, we must trust that God works all things together for good (Rom. 8:28), even when we make foolish decisions (as sadly we often do - Prov. 24:9). Thank God for another fabulous lecture, soon to be available on Youtube!