Archive for August, 2011

Put what you received into practice

Posted: August 31, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Discipleship, The Christian Life

“Just as we are justified by Christ’s righteousness worked out by Him and imputed to us, so we are sanctified by holiness accomplished in Christ, then imparted to us. As our corruption was produced in the first Adam, then passed on to us, so our holiness is first produced in Christ, then passed on to us. We don’t actually work with Christ in producing holiness, but we receive holiness from Christ. We put holiness into practice by using what we already received from Christ.… The only way to be holy is to receive a new nature out of the fullness of Christ, then practice holiness out of Christ’s holiness.”

— Joel Beeke, Introduction
Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification
(Grand Rapids, Mi.: Reformation Heritage Books, 1999), x

(HT:OfFirstImportance)

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Jesus is the strength in your faith

Posted: August 31, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

“God justifies the believing man, not for the worthiness of his belief, but for the worthiness of Him in whom he believes” – R. Hooker

“All inadequate doctrines of the atonement are due to inadequate doctrines of God and man. If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves to his, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical salvation to secure it. WHen, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God, and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely ‘hell-deserving sinners’, then and only then does the necessity of the cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.”

— John Stott
The Cross of Christ
(Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 109

(HT:OfFirstImportance)

Deal directly with Jesus

Posted: August 26, 2011 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity

“He that… wants relief must come to Christ himself. He must not be content with coming to His Church and His ordinances or to the assemblies of His people for prayer and praise. He must not stop short even at His holy table or rest satisfied with privately opening his heart to His ordained ministers. Oh no!… He must go higher, further, much further than this. He must have personal dealings with Christ Himself. All else in religion is worthless without Him. The King’s palace, the attendant servants, the richly furnished banqueting house, the very banquet itself — all are nothing, unless we speak with the King. His hand alone can take the burden off our backs and make us feel free… We must deal directly with Christ.”

– J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Old Tappan, n.d.), pages 266-267.

(HT:JohnSampon)

“We are all by nature separate and far off from God. Sin, like a great barrier-wall, rises between us and our Maker. The sense of guilt makes us afraid of Him. The sense of His holiness keeps us at a distance from Him. Born with a heart at enmity with God, we become more and more alienated from Him, by practice, the longer we live. The very first questions in religion that must be answered, are these–

”How can I draw near to God? How can I be justified? How can a sinner like me be reconciled to my Maker?”

The Lord Jesus Christ has provided an answer to these mighty questions. By His sacrifice for us on the cross, He has opened a way through the great barrier, and provided pardon and peace for sinners.” – J.C. Ryle

from an article by J.I. Packer here.

Biblically, the difference between these two conceptions of how God in love relates to fallen human beings may be pinpointed thus. Arminianism treats our Lord’s parable of the Supper to which further guests were invited in place of those who never came (Luke 14:16-24; cf. Matt. 22:1-10) as picturing the whole truth about the love of God in the gospel. On this view, when you have compared God’s relation to fallen men with that of a dignitary who invites all needy folk around to come and enjoy his bounty, you have said it all. Calvinism, however, does not stop here, but links with the picture of the Supper that of the Shepherd (John 10:11-18, 24-29) who has his sheep given him to care for (vv. 14, 16, 27; cf. 6:37-40; 17:6, 11f.), who lays down his life for them (10:15), who guarantees that all of them will in due course hear his voice (vv. 16, 27) and follow him (v. 27), and be kept from perishing forever (v. 28). In other words, Calvinism holds that divine love does not stop short at graciously inviting, but that the triune God takes gracious action to ensure that the elect respond. On this view, both the Christ who saves and the faith which receives him as Savior are God’s gifts, and the latter is as much a foreordained reality as is the former. Arminians praise God for providing a Savior to whom all may come for life; Calvinists do that too, and then go on to praise God for actually bringing them to the Savior’s feet.

So the basic difference between the two positions is not, as is sometimes thought, that Arminianism follows Scripture while Calvinism follows logic, nor that Arminianism knows the love of God while Calvinism knows only his power, nor that Arminianism affirms a connection between believing and obeying as a means and eternal life as an end which Calvinism denies, nor that Arminianism discerns a bona fide “free offer” of Christ in the gospel which Calvinism does not discern, nor that Arminianism acknowledges human responsibility before God and requires holy endeavor in the Christian life while Calvinism does not. No; the difference is that Calvinism recognizes a dimension of the saving love of God which Arminianism misses, namely God’s sovereignty in bringing to faith and keeping in faith all who are actually saved. Arminianism gives Christians much to thank God for, and Calvinism gives them more.

… All That the Father has given to the Son will come to him, and the Son will lose none of them, we are told, because he came down from heaven to do the Father’s will – and this is the Father’s will, that he should lose none of those the Father has given him ( John 6:37-40).

In other words, for the Son to lose any of those the Father has given, him he would have to be either unable or unwilling to obey the Father’s explicit command. Small wonder, then, that we read that Jesus knows his own sheep, and no one shall pluck them out of his hand.

D.A.Carson “The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God” pg 51