Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WHAT KIND OF FRUIT DO WE BEAR?


“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”
(Romans 7:4-5)

“When we were in the flesh” here means when we were unregenerate, unbelievers.

In that time we were spiritually dead in trespasses and sins with no inclination of, motive for, or power to serve the Lord Jesus Christ acceptably.

In that time, the Holy Spirit had not given us spiritual life, knowledge, grace, and power to live unto and love Christ and His glory, believe His truth, rest in His blood and righteousness as our only hope of salvation and glory, and repent of our sin, our dead works and idolatry.

All we could do in that time were “the motions (passions) of sin” which were stirred up within us “by the law.”

How could God’s holy law have stirred up such sinful passions within us?

The fault was not in the law but within us – sinful, selfish, fallen, human nature – the depravity of our own wicked hearts. How were we stirred up in our members, our human bodies and minds, by the law to “bring forth fruit unto death.”

It was in one of two ways:

1) Some unregenerate, unbelieving persons are stirred up by their own sinful passions to ignore and even to break the law of God. This is the rebellion of total immorality with no restraints of law and conscience.

(2) Others are stirred up by their own sinful passions to try to keep the law in order to be saved, preserved, and rewarded by God. This is the rebellion of self-righteousness and false religion that exalts man and gives him room to boast.

Either way, it is all “fruit unto death” because “the wages of sin (and it is all sin) is death” (Romans 6:23).

There is only one way we as sinners can bear and “bring forth fruit unto God” (Romans 7:4), that which is honoring and pleasing to God.

That one way is to be married (united) to Christ. All who have been united to Christ by electing, justifying, redeeming grace, must and will be united to Christ by regenerating grace in the new birth. Once God the Holy Spirit does this, the life of the Vine (Christ) begins to flow through the branches (His people). The branches then bear “fruit unto God” not of their own power and will, but of Christ’s power and grace.

By Bill Parker

THE EXCELLENCE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST


“Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ,”
(Philippians 3:8)

There is no greater knowledge than that which God teaches all His children by the Holy Spirit when He teaches them of the glory of Christ crucified and risen again (Jeremiah 31:34; John 6:45).

Knowledge for knowledge’s sake alone merely makes a person proud and self-righteous.

Knowledge without grace, truth, and heart merely makes a person outwardly pious and judgmental.

But when God the Holy Spirit teaches us of our utter depravity and sinfulness and then drives us to Christ for all righteousness, eternal life, and glory, this is the excellence of knowledge that causes us to consider all things that rival Christ to be no more than dung so that we may win Christ and be found in Him, having been washed in His precious blood and clothed in His perfect righteousness. God uses the means of preachers preaching the Gospel of His grace in Christ to us, but it is only by the Holy Spirit that this excellent knowledge is imparted to our hearts unto salvation. This is the knowledge that brings us to faith in Christ and repentance of dead works (Philippian 3:7).

This is the knowledge that comes in the fear of the Lord as we see the glory of the Person and finished work of Christ for whole salvation (Proverbs 1:7)

By Bill Parker

Sunday, October 25, 2009

JUSTIFICATION IN IT'S FOUR-FOLD STATE - PART 5


In our final study on the topic of justification we will look at:

Total justification: God's testimony that at the end of time God will redeem (justify) the elect's physical bodies, and at that time the elect of God corporately as the church will experience Total justification.

Before we proceed, let's review our other studies. Thus far we have looked at:

1: Justification from eternity: God's testimony that in His mind which is eternal - He has always seen His elect (His people, sheep, the one true church) as justified.

2: Justification objectively at the cross: God's testimony that God's elect were justified objectively (actually) in the object of their faith: Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

3: Justification subjectively at the time of regeneration: God's testimony that when God calls His elect through the true gospel (salvation conditioned; grounded on Christ ALONE) accompanied by the Holy Spirit in the New Birth (being "born again"; regeneration), they will come to experience subjectively (in their own persons) the reality of God's justification of them.

Justification: means saved, redeemed, ransomed, righteous; not in one's self; but "In Christ": Christ's righteousness - His person and His work for the elect charged (imputed) to their person.

Now we will look at:

4: Total justification:

I Thessalonians 4:13
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (those who have already died in Christ), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

I Thessalonians 4:14
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep (those who have already died in Christ) in Jesus will God bring with Him.

I Thessalonians 4:15
For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (hinder or hold back) them which are asleep (those who have already died in Christ).

I Thessalonians 4:16
For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

I Thessalonians 4:17
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

I Thessalonians 4:18
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

God is telling us here that all the elect throughout history will be gathered together corporately as the one true church at the end of time. It will be at the end of time for reference is made to the end of time in the text: the Lord's second coming, the trump of God, the voice of the arch-angel (chief messenger). It's the end of time and judgement day. Read Matthew 25:31-46 where it speaks of judgement day. I gave a sermon recently on this passage which covers all 4 points of justification that we are studying.

You can find it HERE:

Let's look at more of God's testimony:

"For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall change our vile body
(the one we have now decaying from sin), that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself."
(Philippians 3:20-21)

This is when all the elect will experience Total justification.

Those who have died in the Lord have experienced justification to a greater state of blessedness than the regenerated elect do in this life (please read II Corinthians 5:1-9).

The regenerated elect who are alive now cannot enter into this blessing that the dead in Christ have because of their own sinfulness and Satan and his people. But God's regenerated people living today have this assurance:

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
(I John 3:2)

For now, God's regenerated people:

"for now we see through a glass darkly."
(I Corinthians 13:12)

The regenerated today look at the glass (mirror - God's Word) darkly because of sin.

"But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part (darkly) will be done away."
(I Corinthians 13:10)

That which is perfect the elect will experience in Total justification, which will not only include justification of our souls: but also:

"the redemption (justification) of our body."
(Romans 8:23)

All of God's elect will be looking for this:

"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away"
(Revelation 21:1)

Amen!

By Craig Miklosik

THE BOOK OF LIFE


The book of life, or decree of election, is the marriage-register of the saints; in which their everlasting espousal to Christ stands indelibly recorded by the pen of God's free and eternal love.

As the gold of which money is made is the king's property ever before it is struck into coin, and before it visibly bears the royal image and superscription; so the unregenerate elect are God's own heritage, though they do not appear to be such, until the Holy Spirit has made them pass through the mint of effectual calling, and actually stamped them into current coin for the kingdom of Heaven.

The elect are betrothed to Christ from everlasting in the covenant of grace; they are actually married to Him, and join hands with Him, in conversion; but they are not taken home to the bridegroom's house until death dismisses them from the body.

By Augustus Toplady

"COMFORT YE MY PEOPLE"


"Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith God."
Isaiah 40:1

The chief instrument employed by God in the comforting of His mourners is His Holy Word. Listen to the confession of the Psalmist, "This is my comfort in my affliction; for thy word has quickened me," (Psalm 119:50).

The same continuing conflict is experienced by all the people of God, and to them the consolations of the Spirit with the comforts of the word ever abide, and are ever the same. That term, "thy word," embraces God's decree, determination, promise, and performance.

We see it set forth in Romans 15:4.
"For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."

This is blessedly true to us because they testify to our hearts of the Consolation of Israel, of what His Father, "the God of all comfort," has made Him to us. The abiding Comforter sweetly reveals this in the second verse of our chapter, "Speak comfortably to Jerusalem," that is, to the heart, "and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished," Christ has done all the fighting with Satan, sin and death, and, "we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us," "that her iniquity is pardoned."

All Zion's iniquity in the lump was removed in one day when Jesus put it away by the sacrifice of Himself. How comfortable the privilege to say with the Psalmist, "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and do not forget all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquities," (Psalm 103:2-3).

How many?

"All your iniquities." How clearly Paul states this in Colossians 2:13: "having forgiven you all trespasses."

Well might dear John Kent sing with all his heart, and so may I,

"Here's pardon full for sin that's past,
It matters not how black the cast;
And, O my soul, with wonder view,
For sins to come here's pardon too."


Where are the sins of God's people?

Hezekiah says, "You have cast all my sins behind Your back," (Isaiah 38:17).

The soul says, "Sought for, they shall not be found," (Jeremiah 50:20).

Micah says, "You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea," (Micah 7:19).

Not in the shallows, but where they can never be seen or re-appear. The soul that once enjoys the comfort of that, is very uncomfortable without the enjoyment of it. And what a blessing to know that we are now receiving double favors, favors more abundant, in spite of all our sins. "Yours, O Lord, is the glory!" Amen.

By Thomas Bradbury - 1897

OH! SWEET GRACE, BLESSED GRACE!


"For by grace are you saved."
Ephesians 2:8

We are saved by grace-free grace, rich grace, sovereign grace, distinguishing grace-without one atom of works, without one grain of creature merit, without anything of the flesh.

Oh! sweet grace, blessed grace! Oh! what a help-what a strength-what a rest for a poor toiling, striving, laboring soul-to find that grace has done all the work-to feel that grace has triumphed in the cross of Christ-to find that nothing is required, nothing is needed, nothing is to be done!

By J.C. Philpot

Saturday, October 24, 2009

FOR THERE IS NO RESPECT OF PERSONS WITH GOD


"For there is no respect of persons with God."
Romans 2:11

Some object from hence, though without any reason, to the doctrine of particular election of certain persons to everlasting salvation. This passage respects matters of strict justice, and is a forensic expression relating to courts of judicature, where persons presiding are to have no regard to the faces of men, but do that which is strictly just between man and man; and does not respect matters of grace and free favour, such as giving alms, forgiving debts, &c.

A judge, as such, is to regard no man's person, but to proceed in matters before him, according to the rules of law and justice; should he do otherwise, he would be chargeable with being a respecter of persons; but then he may bestow alms on what objects he pleases; and forgive one man who is personally indebted to him, and not another, without any such imputation.

This, applied to the case in hand, abundantly clears it; for though God, as a Judge, respects no man's person; yet in matters of grace he distinguishes one person from another, as it is plain he does by the bounties of his Providence.

Besides, God is not bound to any person by any laws, but acts as a Sovereign; he is not moved by anything in the creature; as his choice is not confined to persons of any particular nation, family, sex, or condition, so neither does it proceed upon anything, or a foresight of anything in them, or done by them; and as there is no worthiness in them that are chosen, and saved above others, so no injury is done to the rest: add to all this, that those that are saved by virtue of electing grace, are saved in a way of righteousness agreeably to the holy law, and strict justice of God; so that no complaint can be made against the distinguishing methods of grace, upon the foot of strict justice.

By John Gill

JUSTIFIED FREELY


There is something in many people that tells them they need to be justified before a holy God. They know that they don't measure up to God's standard so they try to justify themselves before God by their good works hoping that God will be pleased with them. This is a very deadly assumption. God will never be pleased with the works of natural man. The problem is that God is so holy that by virtue of His nature, He must punish sin. This is every person's problem who has been brought into this world and "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4,20; Romans 4:1-8)

How are we to be justified before God?

How can God be just and justify sinners?

Here is the answer - "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (satisfaction to divine law and justice) through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God (Old Testament saints who were justified before Christ actually died); To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (Romans 3:24-26)

Christ justified those for whom He died by becoming a substitute for them to suffer the wrath of God as He punished my sin in Him, the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through His substitutionary life and death, the Lord Jesus Christ removed the curse and established righteousness for the people of God, the children of faith, all who will ever believe on His name. In and through Him God is both "a just God and Saviour." (Isaiah 45:21)

How are sinners justified before a holy God?

"By the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous"
(Romans 5:19)

"through faith in His name." (Romans 3:25; Romans 4:1-8, Romans 4:24-25; Romans 10:4)

By Doug Weaver

IMPUTATION


To impute is to charge a thing upon a person whether guilty or not, as the circumstances hereafter are proved, or not. Thus Shimei intreated David, that he would not "impute iniquity to him" for some former transaction. {2 Samuel 19:19}

And the apostle Paul {Romans 4:8} declares them blessed to whom the Lord "will not impute sin." This is the general sense of imputation.

But in the case of the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ to his people, and their sins imputed to him; the sense of imputation goes farther, and ascribes to Christ, and to the sinner, that which each hath not, but by the very act of imputing it to them. Hence the apostle Paul explains it in the clearest manner in two Scriptures: the first, in 2 Corinthians 5:21, where speaking of this imputation of our sins to Christ, and his righteousness to us, he refers it into the sovereignty and good pleasure of God the Father.

For speaking of Christ, it is used, "God hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Here the doctrine of imputation is most plainly and fully stated.

Christ is the imputed sinner, or rather sin itself in the total abstract, and in the very moment when he knew no sin.

And the sinner is said to be righteous; yea, the righteousness of God in Christ; when in the same time he hath not a single portion of righteousness in himself, or in any of his doings. This is, therefore, to impute Christ's righteousness to his people, and their sins to him. The other Scripture that explains the doctrine is but in part, namely, respecting the imputation of sin.

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."
{Galatians 3:13}

Here Christ stands with all the curse of a broken law charged upon him, as the sinner's Surety; yea, as the curse itself. And consequently, as in the doing of this, he takes it from his people; they are redeemed from it. The original debtor, and the Surety, who pays for that debtor, cannot both have the debt at the same time charged, upon them. This, therefore, is the blessed doctrine of imputation. Our sins are imputed to Christ. His righteousness is imputed to us. And this by the authority and appointment of JEHOVAH; for without this authority and appointment of JEHOVAH, the transfer could not have taken place.

By Robert Hawker

WHERE IS YOUR REFUGE?


It is a peculiar happiness to observe, that in matters of spiritual concern, the philosopher and ploughman (if truly regenerate) have the same feelings, speak the same language; they all eat of the same spiritual meat, and drink of the same spiritual rock that follows them, and that rock is Christ. Hence that similitude of experience, or to speak figuratively, that strong and striking family likeness which obtains among the converted people of God, in every period of time, and in every nation under heaven.

They all, without exception, feel themselves totally ruined by original sin; they, all without exception, take refuge in the righteousness and cross of Christ, and unite in ascribing the whole praise of their salvation to the alone free grace and sovereign mercy of Father, Son, and Spirit.

By Augustus Toplady

Thursday, October 22, 2009

COVENANT OF MERCY


The theme occupying my mind for some days past is that of mercy.

Mercy!

This we find in every part of Divine inspiration. We love to see it in the Book we delight to feel it in our hearts, with the firm persuasion that it is experienced there wholly of the Father's will and good pleasure, the Saviour's grace and mediation, and by the revelation of these to our hearts by the Glorifier of God's Christ God the Holy Ghost.

"I will sing of mercy and judgment," said the Psalmist, "unto Thee, O Lord, will I sing." (Psalm 101:1).

And if some of us live until tomorrow we shall read, no doubt, that blessed new covenant psalm, the 89th, beginning with mercy, flowing with mercy, concluding with mercy, with mercy which never ends. See how mercy is extolled in that 136th Psalm. There at the end of every verse twenty-six times we find ourselves refreshed with mercy, delivered with mercy, preserved, with mercy, guided by mercy, remembered in mercy, redeemed with mercy, fed with mercy, overcome with mercy. "His mercy endureth for ever." I love to sing

By Thomas Bradbury

IMMUTABILITY


O the everlasting salvation that we have in Jesus Christ!

He is the same, and will be the same for ever and ever! and, the righteousness He has wrought out for us is like Himself; it is an everlasting righteousness.

It covered our first parents. It is true, they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves, but God rejected them, as He will reject our self-righteousness, and clothed them with the skins of beasts that had probably been slain in sacrifice. Abraham had to look to this Jesus for righteousness, and so had the prophets, and so have we. It is an everlasting righteousness, covering all the election of grace in ages gone by, covering them all today, and that will cover them all tomorrow; making them accepted in the presence of a holy God.

As it is written, we are "accepted in the Beloved," beheld all fair and perfect in the Lord Jesus. And as respects the blood of this salvation, it is "the blood of the everlasting covenant." All the church of God in ages past have been purged from sin in the blood of Jesus; and the church of God at this day is looking by faith to the blood of the slaughtered Lamb; and it will be the same to us tomorrow and as long as we live; and when we have gone to glory we shall shout, 'Victory through the blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony!'

That blood will still maintain its power.

By John Kershaw

GOD'S HIGHEST GLORY


A preacher may have some understanding of certain aspects of God's character, and he may even preach the truth about these particular attributes of God. However, until he understands and preaches the particulars revealing how God justifies the ungodly based on the blood and righteousness of Christ he cannot and has not properly identified the God of salvation, a just God and a Savior.

In salvation by His grace through the Lord Jesus Christ, God reveals how every attribute of His holy character is honored and magnified. This can only be in the salvation of sinners conditioned on Christ alone. This is God's redemptive character and redemptive glory. It is God's highest glory, the greatest revelation of Himself, and it can only be found in Christ crucified and risen again for His people.

By Bill Parker

SUBSTITUTION


Now, for a moment, observe, that this precious Christ of ours--as dear old Hawker says, "even our Christ, even our Jesus"--was as perfect and sinless in His manhood as He was in His Godhead.

I suppose no one will impute sinfulness, or a capability of sinning, to His Godhead; and it was only imputed to His manhood. "That holy thing," it was declared to the Virgin, "that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God;" (Luke 1:35) and He would have never borne that appellation in His human nature, if His humanity had not been as perfect and as sinless as His Godhead.

All glory to His name, that He was without blemish, like the types and shadows that preceded Him and pointed to Him. This is stated in the most positive terms in New Testament language, and all worlds, are bound to give testimony to it. The Father declared, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

The angels came down to minister to Him, and were glad indeed of the office; the Pharisees could not answer the challenge, "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" (John 8:46).

The devil himself could find nothing in Him--"The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." (John 14:30).

He was born sinless--He lived sinless--He died sinless; He "knew no sin" in His own person; all the sins of His church were laid upon Him, but none were found in Him. There lies the grand distinction.

By Joseph Irons - October 5th, 1851

A STUDY OF ROMANS 14:17


"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
(Romans 14:17)

Here in the Sermon on the Mount, the kingdom of heaven does indeed speak of God's sovereign rule - but it does so in the specific sense in which His sovereign rule bears directly on His redemptive glory that is seen in the salvation of sinners (the ones who inhabit this kingdom), and His purpose to bless them freely and fully and to provide for them the whole inheritance of eternal life and heaven itself, all based on the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

This kingdom spoken of here includes all the things of eternal life and glory that Christ as our Representative, Substitute, and Surety obtained for His people by establishing an everlasting righteousness of infinite value whereby God the Father is manifested as both a just God (who extracts a sufficient payment for the injury against His holy justice) and a Savior (who shows mercy to sinners, who violate or break His law) - and all of this based upon that satisfaction made by Christ - a righteousness that saves. It's Christ's establishment and imputation of righteousness that justifies and demands the regeneration and conversion, and the final glory in heaven of all whom Christ represented - all that the Father gave Him, all for whom He lived, obeyed, suffered, bled, died, and rose again - a righteousness that demands life!

By Randy Wages

A STUDY OF PSALM 103:11-12


"For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us."
(Psalm 103:11-12)

To the ancient Hebrew the distance from east to west and "the depths of the sea" represented infinity.

God's forgiveness of our sins in and by the Lord Jesus Christ is infinite. He took away our sins to the farthest reaches of eternal infinity. This is how glorious, powerful, and valuable the blood of Christ shed on the cross is for all for whom He died, was buried, and rose again, all who believe on Him. Christ's blood resulted in the righteousness by which God justifies all His people.

Justification by His grace in Christ results in spiritual and eternal life by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:18). So the fact that He took away all the sins of all His sheep to the farthest reaches of eternal infinity results in bringing all His sheep into the closest communion with the Godhead through Him. Let us never take these great truths for granted, but let us enjoy them in worship, growth, and fellowship.

By Bill Parker

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A STUDY OF 1 JOHN 3:2


1 John 3:2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

We who believe God's Gospel are at present the sons of God. This is not something for which we strive to attain. We are adopted, justified, sanctified, and sure to be glorified in Christ. This is our state before God. This cannot be changed or lost. We who are justified based on the imputed righteousness of Christ can never be brought back under condemnation or the wrath of God, and we can never be removed from God's family. Our sins cannot condemn us. Even though we have a new principle of life and godliness imparted by the Holy Spirit, a principle of liberty and adoption, we are still at present sinners in our character and conduct.

We are not yet perfectly conformed to Christ in our character and conduct. Therefore we cannot fully imagine what we shall be when we are finally glorified and free from even the presence and influence of sin. Two things are certain:

(1) We will be glorified because our final glorification is conditioned on Christ alone; and (2) we will be like Christ in our character and conduct (Romans 8:29).

We might compare this with 1 John 4:17 — "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." Here John refers not to what we shall be but what we are at present.

Therefore, we can conclude without debate that he is not speaking of character and conduct here. Our character and conduct, although greatly influenced and dominated by the Holy Spirit in the impartation of spiritual life, can not be said to
be perfectly conformed to Christ (perfectly sinless).

John is speaking here of the believer's state before God as one who is justified and sanctified (not guilty and not defiled by sin) as Christ's righteousness has been imputed to him. All who are sons of God cannot be charged with sin because their sins have already been charged to Christ who satisfied law and justice for all the sons of God (Romans 4:6-8; Romans 8:33).

By Bill Parker

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT


Sinners will either be saved based on the righteousness of Christ alone, or they are debtors to do the whole law. It is either one or the other. If righteousness comes by the law (by our efforts to keep the law) then Christ died in vain. It is either all grace or all works, and grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:21).

By Bill Parker

A STUDY OF 1 JOHN 3:1


1 John 3:1
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

The main issue here is the free, unmerited love of the Father in bringing us into His family (a state of justification and life) based on the righteousness of His Son. John's point is that we who are objects of God's free and sovereign love, "the sons of God" in Christ, are in this unchangeable state of justification. God the Father conditioned all of our salvation upon God the Son and sent Him into the world to meet those conditions. Based on His righteousness alone, we are in God's family and, therefore, called the sons of God by the adoption of grace.

To understand this whole chapter, it is necessary to know exactly who it is the world does not know, and what this means. The world cannot identify and distinguish the sons of God, those born of God who walk in the light and have fellowship with the Father and the Son. The world cannot identify and distinguish true Christians. This does not mean that the world cannot recognize our acts of immorality and religion. It does not mean that much of the world will not call us "Christian" as they see and define Christianity. Much of the world will call anyone "Christian" who claims to follow Jesus and who is moral and dedicated in religion, but the world cannot distinguish true Christians as God defines and distinguishes true Christians. The world's judgments of Christians and non-Christians is based on a false, self-righteous standard, not God's standard. The world looks at a person's acts and judges by that standard without any regard to the state. The world does not know how to judge the state of a person according to God's testimony. The world only know self-righteous judgment (Matthew 7:1) and is opposed to righteous judgment (John 7:24) based on God's testimony alone.

The greatest proof of this is Christ Himself. The world did not recognize Him to be THE only-begotten Son of God, the Messiah.

How, then, can it recognize those who follow Him to be the sons of God?

Consider the life of Christ here on earth. Many proclaimed that He was the Messiah based on His love, morality, and the miracles He performed, but when they began to listen to His message, His doctrine, they saw that His Gospel exposed that all they highly esteemed as pleasing to God was no more than dead works, evil deeds, that evidenced they were lost (John 3:19-20; John 7:7; John 8:44). Christ would not speak peace to them based on their false ground of salvation. It was based on His message that they began to hate Him and call for His crucifixion. Christ told His disciples that they would experience the same treatment from the world when they spoke the truth (John 15:18-16:3).

The world may call you a "Christian," but it will not be based on God's standard of judgment revealed in the Gospel. Much of the world will not even call you "Christian" if you will identify yourself and expose them according to God's definition of a Christian. Tell them that all who are either ignorant of or not submitted to the righteousness of God revealed in the Gospel, that all who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ, are lost, seeking to establish a righteousness of their own, bringing forth fruit unto death, evil deeds, and are inspired by Satan, not God. Like the message of Christ, the prophets, and the apostles, this light exposes what the world highly esteems to be iniquity. If we use the language of the apostle John in this chapter to identify the world and not speak peace to them, they will not, they cannot, identify us as the only true Christians. From here John proceeds to identify and distinguish true Christians from the world.

Let us also remember that the reason we should tell anyone who is of the world that they are lost and their deeds are evil is not only to distinguish and identify both them and ourselves, but also that they might be saved — "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:31).

Our Lord never preached the Gospel merely to promote some kind of elitist attitude. He commanded true Christians to be witnesses in the world, not to compromise in the name of love and unity by speaking peace where there is no peace, but by shining as lights in darkness desiring the glory of God in the salvation of sinners by Jesus Christ.

By Bill Parker

CAN A REGENERATE PERSON CONFESS A FALSE GOSPEL?


This article deals with a controversial topic that seems to have divided many people — "Can Regenerate Persons Confess a False Gospel?".

I most certainly believe, as may the majority of you, that all issues must be settled by a careful study of God's Word and not by our own subjective standards. Therefore, this article is an attempt to study the Scriptures and find what they teach us about this subject. I am not claiming that this article answers all questions and objections, but I believe it will give any who are interested a good starting point for productive dialogue. As always, my hope is that such articles will work to the glory of God, the preeminence of Christ, the salvation of sinners, and the edification of God's people.

CAN A REGENERATE PERSON CONFESS A FALSE GOSPEL?

Before we answer this question, we must establish the limits of our discussion to avoid straying from what the Scriptures obviously deny. We must also agree that in answering this question we are not talking about circumstances of duress and coercion in which a true believer might openly deny the Gospel when he really does not mean it. The limits of our discussion must be two-fold — (1) We are talking about regenerate persons, those who have been born again by the Spirit of God, i.e. given spiritual life and brought to faith in Christ and repentance of dead works and idolatry; and (2) The first evidence of regeneration is belief in Christ as He is identified and distinguished in the TRUE Gospel and repentance of a false gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).

I. THE GOSPEL AS AN OBJECTIVE STANDARD

We must, therefore, first define the true Gospel as it is defined in the Scriptures. The TRUE Gospel is — God's absolute and unconditional promise to save guilty, hell deserving sinners, freely give them all the benefits and blessings of eternal life and glory, based only on the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ freely imputed and received by faith.

This definition of the true Gospel is supported in Scripture. For example — Romans 1:1-17; Romans 3:21-28; Romans 4:1-7; Romans 5:18-21; 2 Corinthians 5:21, and many other Scriptures. Obviously, those who do not agree with this definition will not agree with the conclusions of this article, but this is the objective truth by which we will judge the issue and define our terms. This definition also establishes that Christ's righteousness alone secures and demands the whole inheritance of grace and glory for all who believe God's Gospel and entitles them to all of salvation, including the work of the Holy Spirit in us, before they make any efforts to serve the Lord.

This limits our discussion to those who have at least heard and given mental agreement to this objective truth, who have displayed the gifts of faith in Christ and repentance of dead works and idolatry, who have evidenced a love for this Gospel and for the fellowship of God's people, and who have seen the wickedness of speaking peace to sinners who are either ignorant of or not submitted to the righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel.

This would exclude all Arminians from our field of discussion as it is clear that no Arminian even gives mental agreement to this Gospel.

The doctrine of universal atonement, for example, is an open denial of the true Gospel as it identifies and distinguishes a god who is an idol, a christ who is a counterfeit, and it denies God's grace in conditioning ALL of salvation on Christ's alone.

It also denies Christ's righteousness which alone secures and demands the entire salvation of all whom He represented in His obedience unto death and entitles them to ALL of salvation. If we would judge strictly by God's testimony rather than our own standards, we would admit that this would not fool even the weakest believer.

This also excluded many who call themselves "Calvinists" who claim to have been saved under an Arminian gospel as if the Arminian gospel is a true gospel or simply an imperfect gospel.

Any who claim that the gospel of Arminianism is a true gospel, another version of the true gospel, or that it is an imperfect gospel but one under which sinners can be saved, have never confessed the true Gospel.

We must not assume that all who claim to be "Calvinists" or who claim to believe in the doctrines of sovereign grace have heard and confessed the true Gospel. Many claim belief in what men call "the five points of Calvinism" but have never heard of or have never agreed to the true Gospel wherein Christ is revealed as the Lord our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5-6), and who have never repented of dead works and idolatry.

Consider that the lost religious Jews believed in election and limited atonement, but they were either ignorant of or not submitted to the righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel (Romans 9:31-33; Romans 10:1-4).

Any "Calvinist" who would speak peace to himself and to others while in the false gospel of Arminianism has never confessed the true gospel as they have never repented of the false gospel.

Any "Calvinist" who would defend Arminianism as a legitimate expression of the gospel or as a necessary element to balance our theology is not a regenerate person and is confessing a false gospel. He is lost person confessing a false gospel.

II. THE ISSUE OF CONFESSION

This brings us to the issue at hand — Can a regenerate person ever, at any time, for any reason, under any circumstances, confess a false gospel?

First, consider how the Bible teaches that a regenerate person, one who believes and confesses the true Gospel, may sometimes speak and act contrary to the Gospel by being deceived (fooled by deceitful and subtle teaching) and by giving in to remaining sin and selfishness for a time and thus require rebuke, correction, and repentance. This is what happened to the Galatians whom Paul rebuked, corrected, and called to repentance.

Could we say then that during the time the Galatians were "bewitched" that they were actually confessing a false gospel, and, therefore, conclude that it is possible for a regenerate person to do so?

Let's define the term "confessing a false gospel."

"Confessing a false gospel" could not mean "confessing what one knows to be false." No one in their right mind would confess what they know to be false. A confession in the Biblical sense means that one confesses or declares with his mouth (words) what he is convinced of in his heart to be true — "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).

This is why many who try to excuse and speak peace to those who believe and promote false doctrine are going against God's clear testimony when they seek to separate the person from the doctrine or claim that one can believe in his heart what he does not know in his head and confess with his mouth. The Bible knows nothing of such self-righteous human reasoning. This is just another evidence of lost sinners making their judgments of saved and lost based on Satan's lie rather than God's testimony. The Bible is clear that what we confess with our mouths reveals the state of our persons (John 3:18; 1 Corinthians 1:18; Romans 6:17-18). Those who confess a false gospel are lost, and those who truly believe and confess the true Gospel are saved.

I believe, then, that we must define the term within the context of our field of discussion concerning regenerate persons or those who appear to be regenerate as follows — Confessing a false gospel is confessing what one recognizes to be contrary to the Gospel as defined in God's Word. Obviously, one who has never heard the TRUE Gospel confesses a false gospel and does not recognize it to be contrary to the TRUE Gospel which he has never confessed. However, this does not hinder this definition within the context, and we must keep in mind that we are looking at the Gospel as objective truth as defined by God's Word, not subjective truth defined as one may or may not see it. This means, then, that one who confesses a false gospel, even though he may say he agrees with the true Gospel, does not confess that the true Gospel (as defined above) is the THE GOSPEL which sinners must hear and believe to be saved. He may promote a watered-down version of THE Gospel, or he may subtlely add other things to it (as did the Galatian false preachers), but he confesses what he recognizes to be contrary to this objective truth as defined in God's testimony.

This means he does not recognize what true believers confess as God's Gospel to be God's Gospel. As one man wrote concerning Vol. 1, Issue 1 of The Reign of Grace Newsletter concerning a statement on page 2 defining the Gospel — "I prefer Paul's definition found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. This is the scriptural gospel which we are to believe. What you say in your definition is truth found elsewhere in Scrip ture but it is not the Bible's definition of the Gospel."

Obviously, I and the person who said this do not agree on the Gospel. Therefore, if the reader agrees with the definition of the true Gospel as stated above to be a Scriptural definition, then he would have to see that this man is confessing what he recognizes to be contrary to the Gospel as defined above.

How then should we consider this issue?

Should we consider it as an issue of what a person generally confesses as a tenor of life, a general rule, and consider that there may be times that this same person may confess something contrary to his confession?

Why would anyone confess even at a given moment something contrary to his abiding confession?

Is he not convinced of that which he generally confesses, or is he ignorant of the fact that his contrary confession opposes his abiding confession?

Can he be deceived to this extent?

Does not Paul's epistle to the Galatians show this to be true?

We know that the Galatian believers were bewitched and deceived BY SUBTLE TEACHINGS THEY DID NOT RECOGNIZE TO BE CONTRARY TO THE GOSPEL.

The apostle wrote, "I marvel that ye are so soon re moved from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel" (Galatians 1:6).

So according to God's testimony, the Galatians were in the process of being moved away from the true Gospel. The sense of the language here is that the Galatians had not apostatized from the Gospel, but they were in danger of being moved this far and going in that direction.

What should we conclude from this?

III. WHAT ABOUT THE GALATIANS?

The key to understanding what happened to the Galatians is this — The Galatian believers, because of the subtlety and deception promoted by the false preachers, did not recognize that they were being moved away from the true Gospel!

The Galatian believers, obviously, thought that the teachings of the false preachers were perfectly consistent with the true Gospel. The Apostle Paul had to expose the false teachings and warn the Galatian believers against the direction in which such false teaching would take them.

The false teachings of the false preachers in Galatia were not an open denial of the true Gospel. They were distortions of the Gospel (Galatians 1:7), which the Galatian believers did not recognize. The false teachers claimed to believe the true Gospel. They were Jews who claimed to follow the teachings of Jesus, and they were men of reputation who claimed to be speaking in agree ment with and by the approval of the apostles such as Peter, James, and John. They sought to discredit the Apostle Paul and isolate the Galatian churches from him and his teaching, claiming that Paul taught the necessity of circumcision whenever it would suit his fancy (Galatians 5:11). Their error was not an obvious display of false teaching but "a little leaven" (Galatians 5:8-9), bringing in small portions of subtle error that would draw the minds of the Galatians away from Christ and the Gospel without them knowing it. They sought to bring Gentile believers under certain commandments of the law of Moses, such as circumcision and the observance of days. They did not openly promote these things as conditions for salvation, but they did promote them as that which all true Christians, all true children of God (spiritual Israelites) should and must do in order to be complete (Galatians 3:1-3).

The Galatians had to be reminded of the Gospel and taught how that all distinctions of nationality and days under the Old Covenant had been abolished in Christ, that all justified sinners (Jew and Gentile) are all equally saved, equally justified, and equally children of God (spiritual Israel) based on the righteousness of Christ alone (Galatians 3:26-29). They had to be taught that the whole Old Covenant had been abolished in Christ. They had to realize that the false teachings of the false preachers went much further than they had considered in denying the Gospel and the ground of salvation. Paul had to point out these implications to show them the danger they were in, and he did this by establishing the theme of the epistle — That sinners will either be saved and entitled to heaven based on Christ's righ teousness alone, or they are debtors to do the whole law (Galatians 2:21; Galatians 5:1-5).

Someone may ask, "How could the Galatians have been so deceived and confused on this issue?"

We must consider that the Galatian problem was a very unique problem. We have almost no equivalent today. The Galatians did not have the advantages we have today. They did not have the completed revelation of God from the Scriptures. They did not have the means of communication we have today. Whenever the false preachers began to spread their false doctrines, the Galatian believers could not simply call the Apostle Paul on the telephone, and Paul could not get a plane ticket and fly to Galatia.

Also, the false preachers were quoting the Old Testament Scriptures and showing how that the vast majority of believers up to this point were physical Jews who had been circumcised and who observed these holy days. This is what "bewitched" the Galatian believers. We must understand that the whole deception came from the fact that the false teachers claimed their teachings were perfectly consistent with the Gospel of God's grace in Christ and did not deny the Gospel.

We can see that the Galatian believers were not confessing what they recognized to be contrary to the true Gospel. They were confessing subtle errors they did not recognize. They were speaking and acting in ways contrary to the true Gospel, but they were deceived. Had they known better, they would have never tolerated the false preachers. So, in this sense, I do not believe it is proper to say that the Galatian believers were believing and confessing a false gospel. Those who refused to receive and agree with the Apostle Paul's teaching did believe and confess a false gospel (Galatians 5:2-4).

Consider the Apostle Peter's "dissimulation" as recorded in Galatians 2:11-21. Many would claim that Peter was believing and confessing a false gospel when he separated himself from the Gentiles, but this is not so. Peter separated himself from the Gentiles because he feared "them which were of the circumcision" (Galatians 2:12). His problem was not that he believed and confessed a false gospel. His problem was that he still had respect of persons and fear of men. In doing this Peter spoke and acted contrary to the true Gospel which he truly believed and confessed. His actions were not consistent with the Gospel, but in doing this, he was not believing and confessing a false gospel. The whole tenor of Paul's rebuke to Peter shows that Peter knew better than this and that he was made ashamed unto repentance. There may be some who would insist that Peter's "dissimulation" was a confession of a false gospel, but I do not believe this is appropriate to the Biblical issue of confession.

IV. CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the fact that no truly regenerate person can confess what he knows to be contrary to the true Gospel has nothing to do with any notion of perfectionism or sins a believer has no ability to commit given the fact of remaining sin and selfishness in his character and conduct. First of all, the Gospel itself is not of man. It is of God and is, therefore, a perfect truth as it is the inspired and revealed Word of God. Whenever any sinner by the Spirit of God confesses God's Gospel, that sinner is confessing a perfect truth. Secondly, we either confess this perfect truth or we do not confess it. There is no middle ground (Luke 11:23). We know that all true believers, even with all their imperfections, confess the true Gospel. We know that even such believers are still sinners and have the potential within themselves to commit all sin, but their continual abiding confession is the truth of the Gospel. If they are diverted from this truth by deception and even through their own ignorance, God still preserves them and keeps them from falling away unto condemnation and death (Jude 24-25).

Thank God for His preserving grace!

By Bill Parker

Monday, October 19, 2009

COME NEEDY AND EMPTY

He who comes to God as partly righteous is sent away empty. He who comes acknowledging unrighteousness, but at the same time trying to neutralize it or to expiate it by feelings, prayers, and tears, is equally rejected. But he who comes to God as an unrighteous person to a righteous, yet gracious God in Christ, finds not only ready access, but plenteous blessings.

THE IMMUTABLE GOD


In reading the word of God, it becomes us ever to remember that the sacred pages are a transcript of the perfections of the infinite God, who is the "high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy;" (Isaiah 57:15).

A Being whose omniscient eye beholds the end from the beginning, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, and will do all his pleasure; who "bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought, and maketh the devices of the people of none effect." (Psalm 33:10).

Whatever change takes place in our minds, the eternal God knows no change.

By William Gadsby

TO BATHE IN THE OCEAN OF ENDLESS BLISS


"Passing through the Valley of Weeping."
(Psalm 84:6)

Every living soul that has been experimentally taught his lost condition-that has known something of a resting place in Christ-that has turned his back upon both the world and the professing church-and gone weeping Zionward, that he may live in Jesus, feel His power, taste His love, know His blood, rejoice in His grace-every such soul shall, like Israel of old, be borne safely through this waste-howling wilderness-shall be carried through this valley of tears-and taken to enjoy eternal bliss and glory in the presence of Jesus-to bathe in the ocean of endless bliss!

By J.C. Philpot

ELECTION AND THE GOSPEL


Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Ephesians 1:5
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Ephesians 1:6
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Here we see that all things in salvation are according to the good pleasure of God's sovereign will, nothing excepted. Being blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ is according to the good pleasure of God's will.

Election (chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world) is according to the good pleasure of God's will. Our being made holy and without blame before Him in love is according to the good pleasure of His will.

Being predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself is according to the good pleasure of His will. Our being made accepted in the Beloved (Christ Jesus) is according to the good pleasure of His will. God is the God of all grace, and all these things in salvation are to the praise of the glory of His grace.

By Bill Parker

THE FULL AND SIMPLE GOSPEL OF CHRIST


"And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ."
(Romans 15:29)

The "fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ" is the fullness of salvation in Him and by Him as the crucified, resurrected Redeemer, the one Mediator between God and men.

This "fullness" is a comfort to God's people. It binds us together in the simplicity of Christ.

God the Holy Spirit will never take any truth of Scripture and use it to divide or confuse brethren in the church.

He is the Comforter who continually convicts us of sin and continually drives us to the crucified, risen Christ for all comfort, peace, and unity.

The plain and simple preaching of the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit will always inspire unity, peace, and growth in the church.

Divisions and confusion are the workings of sinful, proud men, not God.

Men will constantly raise issues to add on to the simplicity that is in Christ.

They will confuse and complicate matters, but the simple Gospel remains the same. It never changes.

It is the revelation of the glorious Person and finished work of Christ on the cross to save His people from their sins.

It is the revelation of the "righteousness of God" which is Christ's obedience unto death, the shedding of His precious blood to satisfy God's justice and fully pay our sin-debt.

It is the truth that God is just to justify the ungodly based solely upon the righteousness of Christ imputed (charged) to the accounts of His people.

God the Holy Spirit proceeds forth from the Father and the Son to impart the resurrected, spiritual life of Christ to His people in the new birth.

He teaches us of our utter depravity and impotence to save ourselves by our best works. He slays us by the law of God as He shows us that the law can only condemn us based on our best efforts to obey.

He drives us to Christ and Him alone, to plead His righteousness alone, for our whole eternal salvation. We see by His invincible power that if we are to be saved it is totally of God's free and sovereign grace and mercy in Christ.

What a simple but glorious message this is!

By Bill Parker

CHRIST THE RANSOM FOUND


God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:18-19), drawing the scheme of their reconciliation, ransom, and redemption: this flows from his divine counsels, who does all things after the counsel of his will; as there was a consultation held about the formation of man, no doubt there was one about his ransom and recovery; and which, with great propriety, may be called the council of peace, that was held between the eternal three on this special affair: this is the fruit and effect of his infinite wisdom, which shines in all his works, but abounds in the ransom and redemption of men, and the contrivance of it; this is the manifold wisdom of God, the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, ordained before the world for our glory; this is the result of an eternal purpose he purposed in Christ, of a resolution and determination he came into to have mercy on his people, and save them by the Lord their God; whom he set forth in his decrees and purposes to be the propitiation for their sins, and fore-ordained before the foundation of the world to ransom them with his precious blood.

This is owing to a covenant of grace, which he made with Christ, in which he called and appointed him to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the preferred of Israel: and in consideration of his making his soul an offering for sin, and giving himself a ransom for his chosen, he promised him a numerous feed, length of days for ever and ever, and the utmost prosperity and glory as man and mediator; to all which he agreed, and said, Lo I come to do thy will; (Isaiah 49:5-6; Isaiah 53:10-12; Psalm 40:7); which was no other than to give his life a ransom for many.

And now it was with the utmost pleasure, and to his great satisfaction, that he found such a ransom; and which seems to be expressed in the language of the text, I have found a ransom; Christ, as such, was the object of his delight and joy when he was let up as mediator by him from everlasting. But this must be understood of God the Father, not to the exclusion of the Son, since the council of peace was between them both; (Zechariah 6:13); and Christ is, as the Septuagint version of Isaiah 9:6 calls him, the Angel of the great council; and he is the Wisdom of God, that dwells with prudence, and finds out the knowledge of witty inventions (Proverbs 8:12); of which this of the ransom and redemption of men is not the least.

And especially if the finding a ransom respects the impetration of redemption; this peculiarly belongs to Christ; of him it is said, having obtained, or as it is in the original text, having found eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:12); he is the ransomer, and the ransom-price; he is the man the peace, and who has made peace by the blood of his cross, and reconciled men to God by his sufferings and death, and is become the author of eternal salvation.

By John Gill - October 13th, 1754

A STUDY OF 2ND SAMUEL 23:5


2 Samuel 23:5
Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure.

The covenant which the sweet Psalmist of Israel, in his last dying words, has respect unto, is the covenant of grace: founded on grace; filled with the blessings of grace. It is called the covenant of peace (Isaiah 44:10), because a grand article of it is peace and reconciliation with God, by Jesus Christ.

He was sent to be our peace; to make peace for us by the blood of his cross. It is called a covenant of life (Malachi 2:5), because a grand article in this covenant is life, and it secures everlasting life to his people; for this is one grand promise of it, that God hath promised unto us, eternal life (1 John 2:25).

Now this covenant is said to be made with David: made with his son and antitype, the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, who bears his name. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant (Psalm 89:3).

A covenant projected by God the Father: it was proposed by him to his Son Christ Jesus, who agreed unto it.

A mere creature cannot make a covenant with God; for what has man to give to God, to agree upon with God?

What terms can he propose, or have proposed, that he is capable of performing?

None at all.

When, therefore, God is said to make a covenant with men; the meaning is, he manifests his covenant made with Jesus Christ from all eternity. Therefore, when David says, he hath made with me an everlasting covenant; the meaning is, he hath made it manifest to me, that I have an interest in his everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure. This is the meaning of, Hearken unto me, and thou shalt live, and I will make with thee an everlasting covenant (Isaiah 55:3).

Can any suppose, that when one, under the influence of grace, hearkens to God, then God begins to make a covenant with him?

No, the meaning is, God will manifest his covenant love and grace; shew them their interest in the blessings and promises thereof, so that their faith shall lay hold on this covenant, as David did under all those distressing circumstance he was in. Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant: I clearly see my interest in it, and by faith lay hold upon it, and upon the blessings and promises of it.

By John Gill

CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES


"Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures"
(I Corinthians 15:3)

The awful and solemn death of Jesus, His crucifixion and blood-shedding, is the pillar of the Christian religion, and the grand foundation of the church of God. The sinner who is awakened to see and feel his lost, ruined, and undone state; to behold the inflexible holiness and justice of God, and brought at the same time to feel himself sinking within under the terrors of God in a broken law - that poor guilty, sin-condemned wretch, has nowhere else to look for peace, comfort, or rest, but to the Lord Jesus Christ. He died for our sins. He "was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification."

By John Kershaw - April 30th, 1848

THANK GOD - THERE IS A RIVER!


"There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High."
(Psalm 46:4)

These words are to be understood in a figurative sense, as applicable to Gospel times. This river designs the Gospel, the streams of which are its doctrines, which are living waters that went out from Jerusalem, and which publish glad tidings of great joy to all sensible sinners. It is the Spirit and His graces, which are compared to a well, and rivers of living water, in the exercise of which the saints have much joy and peace. It is also the Lord Himself, who is a place of broad rivers and streams to His people, and is both their refreshment and protection. It is His everlasting love to them here intended (Psalm 36:8; Ezekiel 47:5; Revelation 22:1).

The head of this river is the heart of God, His sovereign goodwill and pleasure. The channel through which it runs is Christ Jesus. The rise of it was in eternity, when, like a river that runs underground, it flowed secretly, as it does before the effectual calling, when it breaks up, and appears in large streams, and flows, and so it proceeds running on to all eternity. It is a river that is unfathomable and cannot be passed over. It has heights and depths, lengths and breadths, which cannot be fully comprehended. As for the quality of it, it is a pure river, clear as crystal, free of all dissimulation in the heart of God, and clear of all motives and conditions in the creature. Its water is living water, which quickens dead sinners, revives despairing saints, secures from the second death, and gives eternal life. This river makes all fruitful about it or that are planted beside it.

By John Gill

CHRISTIAN LIVING


Christian living is not an activity of obedience engaged in so as to obtain an eternal reward and inheritance. It is the activity of obedience engaged in because Christ has already obtained our eternal reward and inheritance.

It is not activity aimed at making ourselves righteous and holy before God. It is the obedient activity of one who has been made so by the grace of God in Christ.

The fact is that we, even as Christians, cannot earn our reward or inheritance because even though we are sinners saved by the grace of God, we are still sinners. We are righteous in Christ but not yet in ourselves. Therefore Christian living is living in and by the TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL; living in the GRACE OF GOD; living in the LOVE OF GOD; and LIVING BY FAITH IN CHRIST.

The life within us by the power of the Holy Spirit is not evidenced by perfection of deeds, but by deeds that accompany our testimony of grace, holiness, and righteousness in and by the Lord Jesus Christ.

By Bill Parker

MY ONLY HOPE


It came to my mind again recently that I can find no hope or consolation of any kind in anything that I have done or am.

There is not a single thing about me that would commend me to God or warrant His blessing me in the least way.

But then I also had this thought, I can find no hope or consolation in the fact that I see this is my case or feel it to be true!

There is no hope to be found in my knowing this, acknowledging it to be true or in any feeling it might generate in me.

I am nothing and this gives me no hope. I feel it to be true and any and all feeling it to be so gives me no hope.

I must confess as the hymn-writer, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness."

Honestly!

The only hope for a sinner like me is a believing look at the Lord Jesus Christ!

Our only hope is in the grace of God, in His covenant mercies and in His unchanging love.

My hope is not even in my believing on Him but in HIM!

I can only lay down my head and rest on the promises of God in Christ crucified. No one, not even myself, can lay anything to my charge if "It is Christ that died."

When I am under the weight of my sinful self, I thank God He gives me grace and faith so that, even then, I cannot but hope in Him who came into the world to save sinners, even me the chief of sinners!

THE NATURE OF GOD'S GRACE


The nature of God's grace is such that it leaves no possibility for salvation, perfection, eternal life and glory, but that which is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ and based upon His accomplishments in His obedience unto death.

The proof of this is His own resurrection from the dead and His ascension unto the Father where He lives to make intercession for us on the basis of His own blood and righteousness.

If this were not enough, there is more proof to come - He is coming back to judge the world in righteousness and gather His people (the church He redeemed) unto Himself.

By Bill Parker

THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD


The Spirit of God in a man's bosom searches the deep things of God, so as to lead him into a spiritual and experimental knowledge of them. What a depth in the blood of Christ-how it "cleanses from all sin," - even millions of millions of the foulest sins of the foulest sinners!

What a depth in His bleeding, dying love, that could stoop so low to lift us so high!

What a depth in His pity and compassion to extend itself to such guilty, vile transgressors as we are!

What depth in His rich, free, and sovereign grace, that it should super-abound over all our aggravated iniquities, enormities, and vile abominations!

What depth in His sufferings-that He should have voluntarily put Himself under such a load of guilt, such out-breakings of the wrath of God-as He felt in His holy soul when He stood in our place to redeem poor sinners from the bottomless pit-that those who deserved hell, should be lifted up into the enjoyment of heaven!

By J.C. Philpot

CHRIST OUR REFUGE


Have you any other rock but Christ?

I do not ask you whether you have a feeling enjoyment of it. I know you will rejoice in Jesus when the Holy Spirit enables you.

But have you any other refuge?

Can you go into eternity resting upon any other righteousness but His?

Can you lean upon, desire, or want any other than Christ's righteousness?

"No," says the soul, none but Christ! None but Christ!

Bless your poor heart, then, you shall have it as sure as God has wrought the desire in your conscience, and brought to trust alone in Jesus for refuge, righteousness, and salvation, by stripping you of all false props and dependences. Such a soul as this will trust in the Lord, overcome all opposition, and be more than a conqueror through Him that hath loved him.

By John Warburton

JUSTIFYING RIGHTEOUSNESS AT THE HAND OF CHRIST


That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
(Romans 8:4)

The works of the law, and the righteousness of the law, are synonymous terms. By the former, we are expressly told, no flesh can be justified: nor consequently, by the latter, as performed by us.

Why?

Because every man is a fallen creature; and to the corruption of his nature, is hourly adding the accumulated iniquity of actual transgressions. Therefore, by such a partial, imperfect, and polluted conformity to the moral law, no person can possibly be accepted unto life.

And yet, without justification, man must be lost forever. He must, therefore, either give up all hope of salvation, or seek for a justifying righteousness at the hand of Christ.

Now Christ came for this very end, to fulfill all righteousness; not for himself, who was and is the source and center of all holiness; but for us, who had lost our original rectitude (good), and are become the degenerate plants of a strange vine.

The Son of God left his glory, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled for us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. This must certainly be the genuine import of the text under consideration, the exact sense of which according to the genius of the original, stands thus: "That the righteousness required by the law might be fulfilled for us," i.e. in our stead, or on our account.

What the law was desirous of but through weakness, could not obtain: that did Christ perform for us.

By Augustus Toplady

REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS


Although we should all strive to love our neighbor as ourselves, it's imperative that we derive no confidence from that, but rather that we flee to Christ and plead His righteousness as our only ground salvation - as the sole and complete basis upon which I, a sinner, can be reconciled before a holy God - One whose inflexible justice shall not clear the guilty.

I need a Substitute.

In this light we should repent of ever thinking that anything proceeding from ourselves could save us or even contribute to any part of salvation. When our efforts to comply with God's will, though commendable and highly esteemed in this world - particularly among religious folks - when, or if, we assign any merit to those things, they fall into the category of "dead" works of which we're commanded to repent.

And when God gives spiritual life to someone, that's exactly what they do as they see the evil of daring to place something that proceeds from them in a place of rivalry with that which only the God-man, Jesus Christ Himself, could and did accomplish.

By Randy Wages

GOD HEARS ONLY THE RIGHTEOUS


"The LORD is far from the wicked: but He heareth the prayer of the righteous."
(Proverbs 15:29)

Prayer is an intimate communication of the child of God unto His heavenly Father through the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16).

This is why God is far from those who do not come to Him in faith through His Son. Prayer is an act of faith done by a sinner saved by the grace of God in Christ. God hears only the righteous, and there are none who are found righteous among men by nature or by our best works. We can only be found righteous before God by His grace through His imputing (crediting) the righteousness of Christ to our account (Isaiah 54:17; Jeremiah 23:5-6).

It is in this revelation by the Holy Spirit that He guides us in prayer and motivates us to pray knowing that God hears our prayers as we approach His throne of grace on the ground of the death of His Son. Christ and Him crucified, therefore, is not only our confidence in salvation but also our confidence in prayer.

By Bill Parker

GOD MUST DEAL WITH OUR SIN


It is a fact that God who is holy and just and righteous MUST punish our sins. He will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7), and the soul that sins must surely die (Ezekiel 18:4,20) because death is the just wages of sin (Romans 6:23).

If God were to fail to punish even one sin, He would as soon cease to be God.

Yet, the psalmist wrote, "He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities" (Psalm 103:10).

Notice this verse does not say, "God hath not dealt with our sins."

It says, "God hath not dealt WITH US after our sins."

Children of God, God most certainly has dealt with our sins. He dealt with our sins in strict justice when He dealt with them as they were imputed (charged, accounted, credited) to Christ and as He punished His beloved Son for all our sins at one time on Calvary.

God must deal with sin either in the sinner or in the one and only substitute and surety for sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ had to die for the sins of His people. Sinner, without Christ God will have to deal with you after your sins, and that means eternal damnation.

But thank God that He has a people whom He sent His Son to redeem with the price of His blood. Therefore in our salvation, God is just to justify us and bring us to glory; for He has dealt with our sins in Christ.

By Bill Parker

WATCHMEN UPON THE WALLS


All the comforts and privileges that the children of God know on this side of heaven, and in heaven, proceed from the Father's everlasting love to us in Christ Jesus. Whatever grace the Lord bestows upon us, it is eternal life begun. All divine grace is everlasting. This is what the faithful watchman must declare upon the walls of Zion, that all the inhabitants and citizens may know the privileges and immunities that belong to them. And in all their trials, poverty or distress of any kind, they may come boldly to obtain relief and to believe that the King of this heavenly country will never cast them off.

By James Bourne

REVISING HISTORY OR REVEALING HISTORY


The focus of all the inspired Scriptures is the fulfillment of all God's promises and intent in the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

This includes the single, historical act of Christ to put away the sins of His people (Old and New Testament believers) and to work out, establish, and finish the righteousness based upon which God was and is just to justify them all.

All believers, both Old and New Testament, were and are saved, justified, and certain to be glorified by this single, historical act of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This act, based upon which God justified the ungodly in the Old and the New Testament, could not be done and finished except as Christ, the eternal, immutable Son of God who is without beginning or end, entered time and united with human nature without sin, walked the earth in obedience to the law, and was put to death on Calvary.

The act upon which all God's promises are given was accomplished in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).

All the benefits of the whole of salvation are connected with this one great act in time.

Any benefits applied before or after the actual act only serve to show two things - (1) the greatness and glory of God in His eternal, immutable nature, and (2) the greatness and glory of Christ Himself and the work He accomplished in time on the cross.

By Bill Parker

THE CAUSE OF CHRIST'S DEATH


"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin."
(Isaiah 53:10)

The first and ultimate cause of His death is God the Father. Christ was set up from eternity by Divine decree to be the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

Al­though wicked men prompted by the evil of their own hearts inflicted the suffering, they acted according to the Divine purpose of God (Acts 2:23; Acts 4:26-28).

This is no excuse for the wickedness of man in hating and crucifying the Son of God. We are held accountable because we must operate by God's revealed will by way of commandment. But we see according to God's secret will, He overrules the wickedness of men to carry forth His glori­ous purposes. Wicked men meant it for evil; God meant it for good.

The pleasure that God the Father took in the death of His Son was not any enjoyment over suffering. It was the satisfac­tion He took in that every attribute of His holy character was revealed, honored, and magnified in the salvation of sinners based on the righteousness Christ brought forth by His obedience unto death. God chose a people, a multitude of sinners, before the foundation of the world, and He purposed to save them and have eternal fellowship with them. But this salvation and fellowship was impossible except God's holy law and justice be satisfied.

Holiness and sin can have no fellowship. Therefore, it was necessary that the Father condition all of their salvation on Christ and send Him into the world to fulfill those condi­tions. To have fellowship with God we must be perfectly holy and righteousness, and the only way is through Christ.

By Bill Parker

NO MIXED GARMENT


"Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together." (Deuteronomy 22:11)

Who should have thought that such a precept as this of Moses had a gospel signification!

And yet as Christ was preached under types and figures though the whole law, we may reasonably suppose that not a single command was then given but what had an eye to Him and His great salvation.

If we find the Lord so strict respecting the outward dress of the body, what may we conclude the Lord would enjoin respecting the inward clothing of the soul?

If woolen and linen were offensive to be worn together, surely, we cannot appear before God in motley dress of Jesus' righteousness and our own. The fine linen, scripture saith, is the righteousness of saints. With this, which Jesus put on His people, nothing our own woolen garments must be worn. The righteousness of a creature, had we any, which in fact we have none, cannot be suited to mix with the righteousness of the Creator. And no man that is wise for salvation would put the old piece of our corrupt and worn out nature upon the new garment of the renewed nature in Christ Jesus.

When therefore the Lord saith, "Thou that shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts;" my heart replies, 'No, Lord! Let me be clothed with the robe of righteousness, and the garment of Thy salvation; then shall I be found suited for the marriage supper, when the King comes in to see His guests at His table.'

By Robert Hawker

Sunday, October 18, 2009

ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEATH?


Are you afraid of the consequences of death, and what will come after?

Throw yourself upon God, in Christ, and you are safe. Christ's righteousness is law-proof, death-proof, and judgment-proof.

By Augustus Toplady

LOVED WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE


God's love to His elect is not of yesterday; it does not begin with their love to Him, We love Him, because He first loved us.

It was bore in His heart towards them long before they were delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of His dear Son.

It does not commence in time, but bears date from eternity, and is the ground and foundation of the elect's being called in time out of darkness into marvelous light: "I have loved thee," says the Lord to the church, "with an everlasting love;" therefore with loving-kindness have I have drawn thee." that is in effectual vocation.

Many are the instances which might be given in proof of the antiquity of God's love to His elect, and as it is antecedent to their being brought out of a state of nature. God's choosing them in Christ before the foundation of the world, was an act of His love towards them, the fruit and effect of it; for election pre-supposes love.

His making an everlasting covenant with His Son, ordered in all things, and sure, on account of those He chose in Him; His setting Him up as the Mediator of the covenant from everlasting; His donation of grace to them in Him before the world began; his putting their persons into His hands, and so making them His care and charge, are so many demonstrative proofs of His early love to them; for can it ever be imagined that there should be a choice of persons made, a covenant of grace so well formed and stored, a promise of life granted, and a security made, both of persons and grace, and yet no love all this while?

By John Gill

HOPE IN THE FACE OF DEATH


The desire of my soul is to die rejoicing that God's just and holy law, broken by me in thought, word, and deed, has been fulfilled for me by the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The language of Paul on this subject has long been sweet and precious to my soul. Writing to the Corinthians, he says, "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, that... he that glorieth let him glory in the Lord."

It also rejoices my heart to feel and see that all my sins were removed by Christ our spiritual Scapegoat; so that when they are sought for they can never be found.

How desirable in the prospect of death to have the testimony of the Holy Spirit in our soul that we are delivered from the curse and condemnation of the law. I hope never to forget the time of my deliverance out of bondage, and being brought into the liberty wherewith Christ has made me free, the following portion of God's Word being blessedly applied:

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
[Romans 8:1]

I could then rejoice that my name was written in heaven in the Lamb's book of life, and say with Job, ‘My record is on high' and ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth.'

It was Paul's joy that he knew in whom he had believed; and he had the happy persuasion that Jesus, in whom he believed for the saving of his soul, was able to keep that which he had committed into his hand against that day. I have often said amongst you that this blessed portion of the word of God enters into the vitality of true faith in the soul of a sinner.

All my hope and trust are in the Lord, into whose hands, by the grace of God, I have committed my cause. I cannot find language to describe the comfort and support I have enjoyed from these words:

If I am found in Jesus' hands, My soul can ne'er be lost.

By John Kershaw, 1867

RECONCILED IN ONE BODY BY THE CROSS


"and might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity in it,"
(Ephesians 2:16)

There was such enmity between Jews and Gentiles that it took the greatest of all works to bring them together.

It took the work of Christ on the cross. As we see the glory and power of the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary to put away our sins and establish our only righteousness before God, we are brought together into one body - the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It took the blood of the cross to reconcile God to us and us to God (2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Colossians 1:20), and it takes the blood of the cross to reconcile us to one another (Ephesians 2:14-15).

Our unity and peace with one another is founded upon the fact that "through HIM we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (Ephesians 2:18).

We who look to and rest in Christ's shed blood and imputed righteousness for all of salvation are, by God's grace, in fellowship one with another.

By Bill Parker

ONCE OFFERED TO BEAR THE SINS OF MANY


The Lord Jesus Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.

As man dies but once, Christ was offered but once, or He suffered and died but once. And that was not on His own account, or for His own sins, "but to bear the sins of many."

It was not for angels but for men, and these not a few, but "many," which is said to magnify the grace of God, to exalt the satisfaction and righteousness of Christ, and to encourage souls to hope in Him. Hence, many are brought to believe in Him, and many are justified by Him, have their sins forgiven them, and are glorified.

Though Christ bore not the sins of all men; for as all men have not faith, all are not justified, pardoned, and saved, what He bore were "sins" - all kind of sin, every act of sin, and all that belongs to it - its filth, guilt, and punishment, even the iniquity of all His people.

His bearing these sins supposes they were upon Him, though not in Him, imputed, though not inherent. He did not sink under them, but He made an entire satisfaction for them and bore them wholly away, both from the persons of His people and from the sight of justice.

The way in which He came to bear them was this - He became a surety for all the elect. His Father imputed to Him all their sins, and He voluntarily took them upon Himself. Where justice found them and demanded satisfaction of Him for them, He gave it, which is an instance both of His great love, and of His great strength.

By John Gill

THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS


"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:"
(Romans 3:10)

What then is the righteousness of the Scripture, and who is the righteous man before God?

The answer is direct. None but the Lord Jesus Christ. He, and he only, is set forth under this title; and he alone is the Righteousness of his people. It is high treason to talk of any other; and it is equally high treason to talk of any comparative statement between man and man concerning righteousness. The account from heaven is, "All have sinned," and come short of God's glory. The whole world is become guilty before God.

"And by the deeds of the law can no flesh be justified before God." Hence, therefore, it undeniably follows that Christ is the only righteousness of his people; and he is what Scripture declares his name is, and shall be, JEHOVAH our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6).

Now then the conclusion from this statement of Scripture is evidently this--if Jesus be the only righteousness of his people, either this is my righteousness, or I have none at all.

Wholly sinful in myself, and wholly righteous in him I must be; or I have no part nor lot in this matter. If there be not in me a total renunciation of every thing the mistaken calculation of men calls righteousness, yea, more than this, if there be not a full and unreserved confession of universal sin and unworthiness in me, I cannot be wholly looking for acceptance to, and living wholly upon, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lord my righteousness. And the gospel knows no mixture, no mingling the righteousness of the sinner with the righteousness of the Saviour.

"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." Blessed and happy souls who, from a deep conviction of the total corruption and depravity of their own nature, are resting all their high hopes of acceptance and justification before God in the perfect and complete righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ; who behold him, and accept the authority of JEHOVAH for this well-grounded confidence of beholding him, and rest with full assurance of faith in him, as the Lord their righteousness; and to whose spirits the Holy Ghost bears witness that "he is made of God to them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, that, according as it is written, he that glorieth let him glory in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)

By Robert Hawker

"LO, I COME TO DO THY WILL, O GOD."


"Then said He, Lo, I come to do they will, O God..."
(Hebrews 10:9)

This was agreed upon in the covenant of the eternal Three.

The Father undertook to maintain the honour and dignity of his law and justice.

His co-equal Son undertook for his people to come in their nature, and to stand in their place and stead; to act for them, and to suffer for them. As their surety, he made himself answerable for their debt of obedience, and for their debt of suffering.

Accordingly, when the great law-fulfiller cometh into the world, He saith - "Lo, I COME TO DO THY WILL, O GOD." He did it in his infinitely holy life, in which he magnified the precepts of the law, and made them everlastingly honourable.

He suffered it in his infinitely holy passion, bearing the sins and sorrows of his people, their curse and wrath, in his body and soul upon the tree, until the immense debt being paid, he cried out in the triumph of a conquering though a dying Jesus - "IT IS FINISHED;" for through death he conquered death, and him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: he finished the transgression, and made an end of sins, and made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness.

By William Romaine

GENUINE ASSURANCE


We draw assurance from the death of Christ, because we realize that it is not possible for Christ to have died in vain (Isaiah 53:9-10).

It is blasphemy to imagine that Christ shed His blood in vain. The intent of Christ in His death cannot be frustrated. He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. That which God our Savior meant to do by dying shall be done. His precious blood was not wasted upon any! Here is our assurance - "It is Christ that died!"

If Christ died for me, I shall not die. If Christ was punished for me, I cannot be punished. If Christ was condemned for me, I can not be condemned.

By Doug Weaver

ACCEPTED IN CHRIST


GOD tells us that His people are ACCEPTED IN CHRIST (Ephesians 1:6).

If a person is without Christ, then he has nothing that God will accept!

God tells us that no man CAN COME unto the Father but by Christ; therefore, if a person is without Christ, he has no ground upon which he can approach God. Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."

If He is THE WAY, there is no other way; if He is THE TRUTH, everything else is a lie; and if He is THE LIFE, everything apart from Him is death. Those who HAVE CHRIST have His blood for pardon, His righteousness for justification, His fullness for every need, His strength to support us, His promises to cheer us, His grace to keep us, and His power to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.

By William Gadsby