REBUTTING THOSE WHO ACCUSE US OF FOLLOWING THE ‘WRITINGS OF A MAN’ – EVEN JOHN CALVIN

REBUTTING THOSE WHO ACCUSE US OF FOLLOWING THE ‘WRITINGS OF A MAN’ – EVEN JOHN CALVIN

Dear Jim,
Once again please forgive my late response. I trust that all is well with you and your family. I realize that our friendship has reached an ‘uneasy level’ where we are NOT in agreement. But sir, trust me if this was a MINOR issue where we could ‘agree to disagree’ I would be more than willing do that. But this is an issue concerning the ‘crux of the matter’ as far as the ‘gospel’ is concerned and I must remain faithful to the message which God has delivered to me concerning His absolute sovereignty.

I would start by reminding you, that it was NOT CALVIN who said – “I lay down My life for THE SHEEP”! [John 10:11] Again it wasn’t Calvin who said, “No man CAN COME to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me DRAW HIM”! [John :44] Neither said he – “AS MANY as were ORDAINED to eternal life believed”! [Acts 13:48]

Now I want to make it very clear that we use the term “Calvinism” ONLY FOR IDENTIFICATION, and are NOT IN AGREEMENT with all that Calvin taught. That Calvin contributed a lot to the system that bares his name we do not deny. But even though we may quote a few things from the works of Calvin, our appeal is NOT TO CALVIN OR ANY CONFESSIONS OR CREEDS OF THE CHURCHES, BUT TO THE LAW AND TESTIMONY OF JEHOVAH.

Historically speaking, the so-called “Doctrines of Grace” – which go by the nickname of Calvinism – did not originate with Calvin. They are the result of a Synod held in Dort, Holland in 1618/19, after Calvin was long dead. Those of us who hold to Reformed Theology do so not because we are attempting to replicate the theology or ecclesiology of a mere MAN – John Calvin, but because we are convinced that the Biblical arguments and the conclusions stemming from that Synod are valid and our OWN EXEGESIS AND EXPERIENCE CONFIRMS THE FIVE POINTS.

If it could be proven that John Calvin was indeed a murderous wretch, an ‘Infant baptizer’ or whatever, still it would have no effect on the theology that sprung from the pen of the Reformers. In other words, the “guilt by association” tactic has no teeth!

If John Calvin believed what the Spirit of God has taught us in our personal study of God’s Word and our experience in our preaching ministry, then good for him! But it means NOTHING TO US!

We be persuaded that the Spirit of God would have by and by taught us these glorious truths WHETHER THERE WAS A CALVIN OR NOT!

No infant comes into the world knowing everything, but learns as he grows! Even so a truly born again child of God may have many misconceptions concerning the nature and method of his salvation at first, but if he is saved at all, then the Spirit will by and by teach him what He means when He says that “It is NOT of him that WILLETH, nor of him that RUNNETH, but OF GOD that showeth mercy”! [Rom 9:16]

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day”! [Prov 4:18]

Whatever glorifies God 100%, THAT is what is right!

The doctrines of grace which we hold gives God ALL THE GLORY and puts man where He belongs, i.e. IN THE DUST!

“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake”! [Psalm 115:1]

You are either an Arminian or a Calvinist! You either believe that Salvation is ALL OF GOD, or you believe that it is partly of God and partly of man!

There is NO MIDDLE GROUND!

Those who pretend that they are neither Arminians nor “Calvinists” are in reality hypocrites! They suppose that they are neutral! But in matters pertaining to the doctrines of Soteriology (salvation) there are NO NEUTRALS!

NOBODY IS NEUTRAL! EVERYBODY HAS A BIAS FOR OR AGAINST! You’re either a capitalist or a communist. You’re either a conservative or a liberal–a rightist or a leftist–right or wrong! Nothing short of right is right. There is no such thing as neutrality on anything. Even a battery has only two poles, positive and negative, and you cannot get them together without fireworks! No battery has neutral poles: You’re either alive or dead, hot or cold!

Oh, the neutral is always so fair! “I can see BOTH sides.” The Liar! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BOTH SIDES! Only ONE side can be right and only ONE side can be wrong, so in claiming to be neutral and pretending to see right and wrong on both sides, the neutral puts himself above everybody. He is the most righteous of all. He can see how everybody’s a little bit wrong but him and he is the only one right–the only one who really sees the truth, which he claims is somewhere in-between, which makes him the worst liar and most treacherous enemy of all! As Jesus said “He that is not for Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.” [Matt 12;30]

You either believe fallen man is totally depraved and CANNOT come to God of his own ‘free-will’ or you don’t! [John 6;44]

You either believe God has elected a CERTAIN NUMBER and sovereignly ordained them to eternal life or you don’t! [Acts 13:48]

You either believe that Christ laid down His life FOR THE SHEEP and them alone, as he said He did, or you don’t! [John 10:15]

You either believe that the Holy Spirit DRAWS God’s chosen by an IRRESISTIBLE POWER or you don’t! [Jer 31:3]
And finally you either believe Christ saves FULLY AND FINALLY those whom He died for unto the end or you don’t! [Heb 7:25]

There is no MIDDLE GROUND HERE!

I know what have written might sound harsh and ‘un-loving’, but “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the TRUTH”?! [Gal 4:16]. “FAITHFUL are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”. [Prov 27:6]

If you choose to believe that fallen, depraved man has a ‘free-will’ to either accept or reject Christ, and that the spiritually dead man can respond to God’s call anytime HE chooses, you are free to do so. But I believe that if you are TRULY SAVED by the Spirit of God and have ‘the root of the matter in you’ [Job 19:28] then God will sooner or later open your eyes to the truth of that word – “it is not of him that WILLETH, nor of him that RUNNETH, but OF GOD that sheweth mercy”!! [Rom 9:16].

Dear Jim, to further dialogue and debate this issue would be a waste of time for both of us. I am sure you realize this by now. But please know that I shall be praying for you that God will be pleased to open your eyes to the truth of His absolute sovereignty and show you that our God is STILL the Absolute Sovereign who has ‘mercy on WHOM HE WILL and hardens WHOM HE WILL and NONE can say unto Him “what doest Thou”?! [Daniel 4:35]

Love
Michael Jeshurun 

ADORING OUR GREAT GOD

ADORING OUR GREAT GOD

Preacher Ken Wimer

“The LORD is in His holy temple: Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” [Habakkuk 2:20]

THE TEMPLE OF OLD WAS AN EMINENT TYPE OF THE BODY OF THE LORD JESUS. Solomon had built a temple to the Lord – a prototype and an image of the future Church, the Lord’s body, which is why the Gospel says-“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up,” John 2:19. The Solomon of history had built that temple, our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Solomon, built a temple for himself. The name ‘Solomon’ means ‘Bringer of Peace’, and our Lord, the true Solomon, is the true bringer of peace, which is why the Apostle says “He is our peace, who has made both into one,” Ephesians 2:14. He is the true bringer of peace, who has taken two walls coming from different directions and joined them through himself, becoming the cornerstone that unites them: the believers who come from the people of the circumcision and the believers who come from the uncircumcised. He has made one Church from the two peoples, and has become their cornerstone and their peacemaker.

IN HIS HOLY TEMPLE (CHRIST) THE LORD GOD HAS MADE HIS PRESENCE KNOWN. The mercy-seat of old was set up for poor sinners to approach in their High Priest. The Lord Jesus is the sinner’s High Priest, Sacrifice and Mercy Seat, Hebrews 9:5, Romans 3:25. The point conveyed by this imagery is that it is only through Christ’s shed blood that the condemnation of the law has been abated, and all its violations answered. In the Greek Testament, the original word for “mercy-seat” in Hebrews 9:5 denotes “that which makes expiation,” or “propitiation.” In the animal sacrifices there was but a temporary covering for sin, but in Christ their complete removal. Here Jehovah was consulted. Our justification was complete only upon completion of Christ’s obedience unto death.

Therefore, let all sinners throughout the world, for whom Christ has paid the debt; be silent before the LORD in peace and quiet. We have nothing to answer to the law, sin, Satan, or the world, Romans 5:1, 8:1. Christ has answered God’s just demand of every precept and penalty, and therefore in silence we bow and worship the Lamb who was slain. HE has silenced every guilty stain and fear. So, God is in His holy temple (Christ) and has once for all reconciled sinners throughout the world unto Himself by His death, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. Our mouths are stopped in quiet adoration, peace, and rest because of HIM!

 

Martin Luther’s take on “Free Will”

Martin Luther’s take on “Free Will”

Those who promote the free will of natural man will often, in their defense, offer up various passages from Scripture which declare to man what he MUST DO to be saved. The following is how Luther responded to such arguments:

“If thou art willing’ is a verb in the subjunctive mood, which asserts nothing…a conditional statement which asserts nothing indicatively.” “if thou art willing”, “if thou hear”, “if thou do” declare, not man’s ability, but his duty. The commandments are not given inappropriately or pointlessly; but in order that through them the proud, blind man may learn the plague of his impotence, should he try to do as he is commanded.

How is it that as soon as you get hold of a single imperative verb you infer an indicative meaning, as though the moment a thing is commanded it is done, or can be done? Does it follow from: ‘turn ye’ that therefore you can turn? Does it follow from “‘Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart’ (Deut 6.5) that therefore you can love with all your heart? What do arguments of this kind prove, but the ‘free-will’ does not need the grace of God, but can do all things by its own power. By the law is the knowledge of sin’ [Rom 3:20], so the word of grace comes only to those who are distressed by a sense of sin and tempted to despair. Imperative or hypothetical passages, or wishes of Jesus, by which is signified, not what we can do, or do do…but what we OUGHT TO DO, and what is required of us, so that our impotence may be made known to us and the knowledge of sin may be given to us.

As to why some are touched by the law and others not, so that some receive and others scorn the offer of grace…this is the hidden will of God, Who, according to His own counsel, ordains such persons as He wills to receive and partake of the mercy preached and offered … If man has lost his freedom, and is forced to serve sin, and cannot will good, what conclusion can more justly be drawn concerning him, than that he sins and wills evil necessarily?

…If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright!”

[From Luther’s De Servo Arbitrio or ‘The Bondage of the Will’]

 

YOU CANNOT KEEP YOURSELF SAVED

YOU CANNOT KEEP YOURSELF SAVED

C.H. Spurgeon

Salvation is the work of God. It is HE ALONE who quickens the soul “dead in trespasses and sins,” and it is He also who MAINTAINS THE SOUL in its spiritual life. He is both “Alpha and Omega.” “Salvation is OF THE LORD.” If I am prayerful, GOD makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God’s gifts to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because HE upholds me with His hand.

I DO NOTHING WHATEVER TOWARDS MY OWN PRESERVATION, EXCEPT WHAT GOD HIMSELF FIRST DOES IN ME.

WHATEVER I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Wherein I sin, THAT IS MY OWN; but wherein I act rightly, THAT is of God, wholly and completely. If I have repulsed a spiritual enemy, the Lord’s strength nerved my arm. Do I live before men a consecrated life? It is not I, but CHRIST who liveth in me.

Am I sanctified? I did not cleanse myself: God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I weaned from the world? I am weaned by God’s chastisements sanctified to my good. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. All my jewels were fashioned by heavenly art. I find in God all that I want; but I FIND IN MYSELF NOTHING BUT SIN AND MISERY. “He only is my rock and my salvation.”

Do I feed on the Word? That Word would be no food for me unless the Lord made it food for my soul, and helped me to feed upon it. Do I live on the manna which comes down from heaven? What is that manna but Jesus Christ himself incarnate, whose body and whose blood I eat and drink? Am I continually receiving fresh increase of strength? Where do I gather my might? My help cometh from heaven’s hills: WITHOUT JESUS I CAN DO NOTHING.

As a branch cannot bring forth fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can I, except I abide in Him. What Jonah learned in the great deep, let me learn this morning in my closet:

“Salvation is of the Lord!” Hallelujah!

JESUS WILL SURELY COME AS EXPECTED 

JESUS WILL SURELY COME AS EXPECTED

“O, when wilt Thou come unto me?” (Psa. 101:2), is often your cry. But He will surely come, “for yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry,” (Heb. 10:37). Wherever there is a beginning of a work of grace upon the soul, there will be a carrying on; and where there is a carrying on, there will be a completion.

The Lord will never suffer His children to rest short of Himself. This is what they are sighing for—what they inwardly desire; and unless they are enabled to realize this, they can neither happily live nor comfortably die. – [J.C. Philpot]

GOD’S WAY OF SALVATION vs MAN’S

GOD’S WAY OF SALVATION vs MAN’S

J.C. Philpot

Now, GOD’S WAY (of salvation) is very different from all this miserable system, so widely prevalent. He does not build up until He has first pulled down, nor save before He has made the soul to feel itself lost. He does not take the sticks and stubble of old nature to lay a foundation with, nor does He use tar instead of mortar to build up a rotten Babel. MAN’S WAY is to put a stick here, and place a stone there; to fill up this corner with a brick and the other corner with a tile; and in this progressive way to build a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.

God’s way is to come down and confound their language, to scatter every stick and every stone to the four winds of heaven, and not to leave one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. He is a jealous God, and will have no partner in the way of salvation. He will not put the new wine into the old bottle, nor a new patch on the threadbare garment. Joshua’s filthy garments (Zech 3:4) must be taken away from him before he is clothed with a change of clothing.

Thus killing goes before making alive–poverty before riches; beggary and the ash-heap before the inheritance of the throne of glory; the grave of buried hopes and the dust of self-abhorrence before exaltation to a seat among princes. Sowing in tears precedes reaping in joy; ashes go before beauty, mourning before the oil of joy, and the spirit of heaviness before the garment of praise.

IS JESUS YOUR LORD?

IS JESUS YOUR LORD?

Arthur W. Pink

We do not ask: Is Christ your “Savior”?— but is He, really and truly, your Lord? If He is not your Lord, then He is most certainly not your “Savior.” Those who have not received Christ Jesus as their “Lord” and yet suppose Him to be their “Savior,” are deluded, and their hope rests on a foundation of sand.

Multitudes are deceived on this vital point, and therefore, if the reader values his or her soul, we implore you to give a most careful reading to this little tract. When we ask, is Christ your Lord? we do not inquire, Do you believe in the Godhead of Jesus of Nazareth? The demons do that (Mat 8:28-29) and yet perish notwithstanding! You may be firmly convinced of the Deity of Christ, and yet be in your sins. You may speak of Him with the utmost reverence, accord Him, His divine titles in your and yet be unsaved. You may abominate those who traduce His person and deny His divinity, and yet have no spiritual love for Him at all.

When we ask, Is Christ your Lord, we mean, does He in very deed occupy the throne of your heart, and does He actually rule over your life? “We have turned everyone to his own way” (Isa 53:6) describes the course which we all follow by nature. Before conversion every soul lives to please self. Of old it was written, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” and why? “In those days there was no King in Israel” (Jdg 21:25). Ah! that is the point we desire to make clear to the reader. Until Christ becomes your King (1Ti 1:17; Rev 15:3), until you bow to His scepter, until His will becomes the rule of your life, self dominates, and thus Christ is disowned.

When the Holy Spirit begins His work of grace in a soul, He first convicts of sin. He shows me the real and awful nature of sin. He makes me realize that it is a species of insurrection, a defying of God’s authority, a setting of my will against His. He shows me that in going my “own way” (Isa 53:6), in pleasing myself, I have been fighting against God. As my eyes are opened to see what a lifelong rebel I have been, how indifferent to God’s honor, how unconcerned about His will—I am filled with anguish and horror, and made to marvel that the thrice Holy One has not long since cast me into Hell. Reader, have you ever gone through this experience? If not, there is very grave reason to fear that you are yet spiritually dead!

Conversion, true conversion, saving conversion, is a turning from sin to God in Christ. It is a throwing down of the weapons of my warfare against Him, a ceasing to despise and ignore His authority. New Testament conversion is described thus: “Ye turned to God from idols to serve [to be in subjection to, to obey] the living and true the God” (1Th 1:9). An “idol” is any object to which we give what is due alone unto God supreme place in our affections, the molding influence of our hearts, the dominating power of our lives. Conversion is a right about face, the heart and will repudiating sin, self, and the world. Genuine conversion is always evidenced by “Lord what wilt Thou W have me to do?” (Act 9:6); it is an unreserved surrendering of ourselves to His holy will. Have you yielded yourself to Him? (Rom 6:13)

There are many people who would like to be saved from Hell, but who do not want to be saved from self-will, from having their own way, from a life of (some form of) worldliness. But God will not save them on their terms. To be saved, we must submit to His terms: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord [having revolted from Him in Adam], and He will have mercy upon him” (Isa 55:7). Said Christ, “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath [all that is opposed to Me], he cannot be My disciple” (Luk 14:33). Men must be turned [by God] “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,” before they can “receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified” (Act 26:18).

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him” (Col 2:6). That is an exhortation to Christians, and its force is—Continue as you began. But how had they “begun”? By receiving “Christ Jesus the Lord,” by surrendering to Him, by subjecting themselves to His will, by ceasing to please themselves. His authority was now owned. His commands now became their rule of life. His love constrained them to a glad and unreserved obedience. They “gave their own selves to the Lord” (2Co 8:5). Have you, my dear reader, done this? Have you? Do the details of your life evidence it? Can those with whom you come into contact see that you are no more living to please self (2Co 5:15)?

Oh my reader, make no mistake upon this point: a conversion which the Holy Spirit produces is a very radical thing. It is a miracle of grace. It is the enthroning of Christ in the life. And such conversions are rare indeed. Multitudes of people have just sufficient “religion” to make them miserable. They refuse to forsake every known sin, and there is no true peace for any soul until he does. They have never “received Christ Jesus the Lord” (Col 2:6). Had they done so, “the joy of the LORD” would be their strength (Neh 8:10). But the language of their hearts and lives (not their “lips”) is, “we will not have this man to reign over us” (Luk 19:14). Is that your case?

The great miracle of grace consists in changing a lawless rebel into a loving and loyal subject. It is a “renewing” of the heart, so that the favored subject of it has come to loathe what he loved, and the things he once found irksome are now winsome (2Co 5:17). He delights “in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom 7:22). He discovers that Christ’s “commandments are not grievous” (1 Jo 5:3), and that “in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psa 19:11). Is this your experience? It would be if you received Christ Jesus THE LORD!

But to receive Christ Jesus the Lord is altogether beyond unaided human power. That is the last which the unrenewed heart wants to do. There must be a supernatural change of heart before there is even the desire for Christ to occupy its throne. And that change, none but God can work (1 Co 12:3). Therefore, “Seek ye the LORD while He may be found” (Isa 55:6). Search for Him with all your heart (Jer 29:13).

Reader, you may have been a professing Christian for years past, and you may have been quite sincere in your profession. But if God has condescended to use this tract to show you that you have never really and truly “received Christ Jesus the Lord,” if now in your own soul and conscience you realize that SELF has ruled you hitherto, will you not now get down on your knees and confess to God. Confess to Him your self-will, your rebellion against Him, and beg Him to so work in you that, without further delay, you may be enabled to yield yourself completely to His will and become His subject, His servant, His loving slave, in deed and in truth?

Christ will not save any who have not submitted to Him as King!

The of way salvation is falsely defined. In most instances the modern “evangelist” assures his congregation that all any sinner has to do in order to escape hell and make sure of heaven is to “receive Christ as his personal Savior.” But such teaching is utterly misleading. No one can receive Christ as his Savior while he rejects Him as Lord! It is true, the preacher adds, that the one who accepts Christ should also surrender to Him as Lord, but he at once spoils it by asserting that though the convert fails to do so, nevertheless heaven is sure to him.

That is one of the devil’s lies! Only those who are spiritually blind would declare that Christ will save any who despise His authority and refuse His yoke: why, my reader, that would not be grace, but a disgrace–charging Christ with placing a premium on lawlessness!

It is in His office of Lord that Christ maintains God’s honor, subserves His government, enforces His Law; and if the reader will turn to those passages (Luke 1:46-47; Acts 5:31; 2 Peter 1:11; 2:20; 3:1) where the two titles occur, he will find that the order is always “Lord and Savior,” and not “Savior and Lord.” Therefore, those who have not bowed to Christ’s sceptre and enthroned Him in their hearts and lives, and yet imagine they are trusting in Him as their Savior are deceived, and unless God disillusions them, they will go down to the everlasting burnings with a lie in their right hand (Isa. 44:20). Christ is “the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:9), but the attitude of those who submit not to His Lordship is–“We will not have this Man to rule over us” (Luke 19:14). Pause then, my reader and honestly face the question: Am I subject to His will? Am I sincerely endeavoring to keep His commandments?

“Lord and Savior”

In every passage of the New Testament where these two titles occur together, it is “Lord and Savior,” and never “Savior and Lord.” The mother of Jesus averred, “My soul does magnify the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46, 47). Unless Jehovah had first become her “Lord,” most certainly He would not have been her “Savior.” No spiritual mind that seriously ponders the matter can have any difficulty in perceiving this. How could the thrice holy God save one who scorned His authority, despised His honor, and flouted His revealed will? It is indeed infinite grace that God is ready to be reconciled to us when we throw down the weapons of our rebellion against Him, but it would be an act of unrighteousness, a putting a premium upon lawlessness, were He to pardon any sinner before he was first reconciled to His offended Maker.

In 2 Peter 1:10 the saints of God are bidden to make their “calling and election sure” (and this, by adding to their faith the other graces enumerated in verses 5 to 7), and are assured that if they do so they shall never fail, for so an entrance shall be ministered unto them abundantly “into the everlasting kingdom of our (1) Lord and (2) Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11): that is, an abundant entrance should be given them now into His kingdom of grace, and hereafter into His kingdom of glory. But what we would particularly note is the order in which Christ’s titles are here mentioned: it is not “our Savior and Lord” as the corrupt preaching and teaching of this degenerate day presents it; but instead, “Lord and Savior,” for He becomes the Savior of none until the heart and will unreservedly receive Him as Lord.

The same principal is clearly illustrated in passages where other titles of Christ occur. Take the opening verse of the New Testament, where He is presented as “Jesus Christ (1) the son of David, (2) the son of Abraham.” Waiving now the “dispensational” signification of these titles, let us view them from the doctrinal and practical viewpoint, which should ever be our first consideration. “Son of David” brings in the throne; it emphasizes His authority; it demands allegiance to His scepter. And “son of David” comes before “son of Abraham!”

In 2 Peter 3:18 God’s people are exhorted to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Here again God’s order is the very opposite of man’s. Nor is this merely a technical detail, concerning which a mistake is of little moment. No, the subject of which we are now treating is basic, vital, fundamental, and error at this point is fatal. As we have said before, those who have not submitted unto Christ as Lord, but are trusting in Him as “Savior” are deceived, and unless God graciously disillusions them, will go down to their everlasting burnings with a lie in their right hand (Isaiah 44:20).

IT IS GOD WHO ADDS AND SUBTRACTS PEOPLE FROM OUR LIVES

IT IS GOD WHO ADDS AND SUBTRACTS PEOPLE FROM OUR LIVES

“Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. [Isa 43:4]

What does the Lord mean when He says, “I give men for thee, and people for thy life. [Isa 43:4]? I shall first speak of how this Scripture applied to me personally and then quote the best classical interpretation given on this portion of Scripture.

The Apostle wrote that God’s divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness! [2Pet 1:3] WHATEVER it is that the elect need to sustain their natural bodies and their spiritual souls, GOD HAS ALREADY DECREED, ORDAINED AND APPOINTED IN ETERNITY PAST! As the Master Himself said, “your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things”! [Matt 6:32] And since most of these temporal blessings come to us through MEN, in one form or another, God has in His sovereign grace and providence given us these men.

When I review my own life, and the men who are involved in it, starting from my employer to my landlord, my barber, my doctor and even my housekeeper; I see that they have been given to me by the Lord with a special view to be a blessing to me. And especially when I hear the sad tales of some of my unsaved friends as to how they are having a very difficult time with the above mentioned individuals like say their doctor or their motor mechanic etc, I can see that God has given me not just any doctor or any mechanic to bless my life, but a ‘hand picked’ one particularly with ME in mind”.

And not only those people who have been a blessing to me, but even those who have caused me much pain and grief by either their unloving attitude or their plain indifference were ALL sent by GOD for my good!!!

“I will give men for thee, and people for thy life” [Isaiah 43:4]

Michael Jeshurun

But here is a theological masterpiece of an interpretation on this verse, by that renowned Reformed theologian, Herman Hoeksema, quoted from his classic sermon –

‘THE PLACE OF REPROBATION IN THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL’!

God loved His people with an infinite love. In His great love He determined to lead them to the glory He had appointed for them in Christ. If He determined to attain this greatest glory and lead the elect into it, it was necessary for Him, reverently speaking, to reprobate some. Not because all could not find a place in that glory, for then the question would arise, Why did God decree to create more people than could assume a place in the organism of the body of Christ? But because those who are presently to be damned must for a time serve the salvation of the elect, be it in an antithetical manner. In this sense, reprobation is a DIVINE NECCESITY. In this sense, the reprobate exist for the sake of the elect. They are in a certain sense the price, the ransom, which God pays for the higher glory of His children.

Of course, you will ask if we can prove this. We think we can. In the first place, we wish to refer you to the fact that this idea is not strange to God’s general revelation in nature and in history. You find it proved in the life of the nations and of people in particular. On many monuments erected in honor of our soldiers who lost their lives on the battlefield, you may read the inscription, ‘They gave their lives that we might live.’ Here is a figure of election and reprobation as we are now considering it. How often it occurs that thousands lose their lives on the battlefield in order that others may live. They do not merely give their lives, but it is required of them. They were reprobated that the nation might live.

It is no different in the lives of individuals, or individual persons and animals. The mother gives life to her child, not infrequently at the expense of her own. It is virtually always true that one generation lives and dies to make room for the next. There are species of animals in which the male dies after mating. The male is cast off (reprobated) to give life to the young.

According to the Scriptures, it is no different in the plant kingdom. When a farmer sows seed in his field, he sows much more than he needs. When the seed falls into the earth and dies, there appear not only the kernels of wheat, for which the seed was planted, but also the stem, the straw, and even the chaff. Without the stem and the chaff the grain could never have germinated and ripened. The stem and the chaff serve the grain, the seed. Yet both will presently be burned by fire in order that the grain may be gathered into the barn. Here also we find election and reprobation, and in such a way that the latter serves the former, and is necessary to it.

Yet this is not all. Not only do you find a figure of this truth in the general revelation of God, but it is also literally proved in Scripture, both in various texts and in the historical accounts. The Lord declares in Isaiah 43:4 to Israel, ‘Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.’ It is true that this passage refers to that which the Lord did for Israel in the past. But it is also true that this passage refers to the eternal counsel of God’s good pleasure. For indeed God has loved His people from eternity. In His counsel they are precious in His eyes. Thus the text refers to the eternal love of God. In that eternal love He has desired to glorify and magnify His people, and to lead them to the highest possible glory in His eternal inheritance.

The text says that, in order to accomplish this, God has given other people in the place of His chosen people. Because He loved His people, those others had to pay for Israel’s salvation with their own lives. Israel’s history proves this time and time again. Pharaoh and his host perish. They must serve Israel temporarily, but God does not hesitate to give people for the life of His people. When Israel enters Canaan, people are again given in the place of Israel. This is effectuated by the sins of these people. They have filled the measure of iniquity at the time when Israel must enter into the rest and are destroyed to make room for Israel. So it is throughout the history of Israel. Babylon also serves a purpose, namely, to chastise Jerusalem. Yet, hereby it makes itself ripe for judgment. And when it has served to realize God’s counsel, Babylon is destroyed.

Thus it is literally presented in Proverbs 11:8: ‘The righteous is delivered out of trouble and the wicked cometh in his stead.’ The idea here is that the ungodly serve to deliver the righteous out of trouble, to glorify them. And having done so they perish for their sins. Still stronger is the language of Proverbs 21:18: ‘The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.’ Here again we have the idea that God gives the wicked as a ransom, which He pays to glorify the righteous.

Naturally, this does not detract from the other truth that in reprobation God also reveals His righteousness, and is glorified in revealing His holy name. Indeed, these reprobate do not serve the salvation of the elect willingly, but as godless, and in spite of themselves. For this reason, they become guilty in serving this purpose, and are worthy of condemnation. Thus, in serving God’s purpose they become ripe for destruction. Just as chaff ripens for destruction while it serves the grain, so the godless become ripe for perdition while they serve the elect.

More evident this is in the case of our Savior Himself. Surely for the glorification of the elect, the blood of the Savior must flow. But if this blood is to flow, there must be a wicked and reprobate world to shed it. There must be a Judas who betrays Him; there must be a Sanhedrin that condemns Him; there must be a mighty and godless Roman power that finally brings Him to the cross. In all this, the reprobate serve for the glorification of the elect. Without that ungodly world, the cross cannot be imagined. But the situation is also thus that the world, in crucifying the Savior, through which it serves for the glorification of the elect, becomes ripe for destruction.

As it was then, so it is now. So it will be to the end of the world. And when the end shall come, the ungodly shall be righteously condemned and damned, in sin having served God’s counsel. The elect shall be eternally glorified with the Savior in the inheritance of the saints. Thus we conclude that in the unity of God’s plan, reprobation necessarily serves election. God’s love toward His people reigns supreme in His counsel. To reveal and to realize this love fully He brings into existence people who must finally be damned. Reprobation is the necessary antithetical counterpart of election.

GOD’S FAITHFULNESS MY ONLY HOPE FOR THE YEAR AHEAD

by A.W. Pink

UNFAITHFULNESS is one of the most outstanding sins of these evil days. In the business world, a man’s word is, with exceedingly rare exceptions, no longer his bond. In the social world, marital infidelity abounds on every hand, the sacred bonds of wedlock being broken with as little regard as the discarding of an old garment. In the ecclesiastical realm, thousands who have solemnly covenanted to preach the truth make no scruple to attack and deny it. Nor can reader or writer claim complete immunity from this fearful sin: in how many ways have we been unfaithful to Christ, and to the light and privileges which God has entrusted to us! How refreshing, then, how unspeakably blessed, to lift our eyes above this scene of ruin, and behold One who is faithful, faithful in all things, faithful at all times.

“Know therefore that the Lord Thy God, He is God, THE FAITHFUL God” (Deut 7:9). This quality is essential to His being, without it He would not be God. For God to be unfaithful would be to act contrary to His nature, which were impossible: “if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (II Tim 2:13). Faithfulness is one of the glorious perfections of His being. He is as it were clothed with it: “O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto Thee? or to Thy faithfulness ROUND ABOUT Thee?” (Psa 89:8). So too when God became incarnate it was said, “Righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins” (Isa 11:5).

What a word is that in Psalms 36:5, “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness unto the clouds.” Far above all finite comprehension is the unchanging faithfulness of God. Everything about God is great, vast, incomparable. He never forgets, never fails, never falters, never forfeits His word. To every declaration of promise or prophecy the Lord has exactly adhered, every engagement of covenant or threatening He will make good, for “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Num 23:19). Therefore does the believer exclaim, “His compassions fail not, they are new every morning: GREAT is Thy faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23).

Scripture abounds in illustrations of God’s faithfulness. More than four thousand years ago He said, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Gen 8:22). Every year that comes furnishes a fresh witness to God’s fulfillment of this promise. In Genesis 15 we find that Jehovah declared unto Abraham, “Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them… But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again” (vv.13-16). Centuries ran their weary course. Abraham’s descendants groaned amid the brick-kilns of Egypt. Had God forgotten His promise? No, indeed. Read Exodus 12:41, “And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Through Isaiah the Lord declared, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (7:14). Again centuries past, but “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman” (Gal 4:4).

God is true. His Word of Promise is sure. In all His relations with His people God is faithful. He may be safely relied upon. No one ever yet really trusted Him in vain. We find this precious truth expressed almost everywhere in the Scriptures, for His people need to know that faithfulness is an essential part of the Divine character. This is the basis of our confidence in Him. But it is one thing to accept the faithfulness of God as a Divine truth, it is quite another to ACT UPON IT. God has given us many “exceeding great and precious promises,” but are we really counting on His fulfillment of them? Are we actually EXPECTING Him to do for us all that He has said? Are we resting with implicit assurance on these words, “He is FAITHFUL that promised” (Heb 10:23)?

There are seasons in the lives of all when it is not easy, no not even for Christians, to believe that God IS faithful. Our faith is sorely tried, our eyes bedimmed with tears, and we can no longer trace the outworkings of His love. Our ears are distracted with the noises of the world, harassed by the atheistic whisperings of Satan, and we can no longer hear the sweet accents of His still small voice. Cherished plans have been thwarted, friends on whom we relied have failed us, a professed brother or sister in Christ has betrayed us. We are staggered. We sought to be faithful to God, and now a dark cloud hides Him from us. We find it difficult, yea, impossible, for carnal reason to harmonize His frowning providence with His gracious promises. Ah, faltering soul, severely tried fellow pilgrim, seek grace to heed Isaiah 50:10, “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and STAY UPON HIS GOD.”

When you are tempted to doubt the faithfulness of God, cry out, “Get thee hence, Satan.” Though you cannot now harmonize God’s mysterious dealings with the avowals of His love, wait on Him for more light. In His own good time He will make it plain to you. “What I do thou knowest not NOW but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7). The sequel will yet demonstrate that God has neither forsaken nor deceived His child. ‘And therefore will the Lord WAIT that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgement: blessed are all they THAT WAIT FOR HIM” (Isa 30:18).

 “Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace,
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread,
Are rich with mercy, and shall break
In blessing o’er your head.”

“Thy testimonies which Thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful” (Psa 119:138). God has not only told us the best, but He has not withheld the worst. He has faithfully described the ruin which the Fall has effected. He has faithfully diagnosed the terrible state which sin has produced. He has faithfully made known his inveterate hatred of evil, and that He must punish the same. He has faithfully warned us that He is “a consuming fire” (Heb 12:29). Not only does His Word abound in illustrations of His fidelity in fulfilling His promises, but it also records numerous examples of His faithfulness in making good His threatenings. Every stage of Israel’s history exemplifies that solemn fact. So it was with individuals: Pharaoh, Korah, Achan and a host of others are so many proofs. And thus it will be with YOU, my reader: unless you have fled or do flee to Christ for refuge, the everlasting burning of the Lake of Fire will be your sure and certain portion. God IS faithful.

God is faithful IN PRESERVING His people. “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son” (I Cor 1:9). In the previous verse promise was made that God would confirm unto the end His own people. The Apostle’s confidence in the absolute security of believers was founded not on the strength of their resolutions or ability to persevere, but on the veracity of Him that cannot lie. Since God has promised to His Son a certain people for His inheritance, to deliver them from sin and condemnation, and to make them participants of eternal life in glory, it is certain that He will not allow any of them to perish.

God is faithful in DISCIPLINING His people. He is faithful in what He withholds, no less than in what He gives. He is faithful in sending sorrow as well as in giving joy. The faithfulness of God is a truth to be confessed by us not only when we are at ease, but also when we are smarting under the sharpest rebuke. Nor must this confession be merely of our mouths, but of our hearts, too. When God smites us with the rod of chastisement, it is FAITHFULNESS which wields it. To acknowledge this means that we humble ourselves before Him, own that we fully deserve His correction, and instead of murmuring, we thank Him for it. God never afflicts without a reason. “For THIS CAUSE many are weak and sickly among you” (I Cor 11:30), says Paul, illustrating this principle. When His rod falls upon us let us say with Daniel, “O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee, but unto us confusion of faces” (9:7).

“I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou IN FAITHFIULNESS hast afflicted me” (Psa 119:75). Trouble and affliction are not only consistent with God’s love pledged in the everlasting covenant, but they are parts of the administration of the same. God is not only faithful notwithstanding afflictions, but faithful in sending them. “Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail” (Psa 89:32-33). Chastening is not only reconcilable with God’s lovingkindness, but it is the effect and expression of it. It would much quiet the minds of God’s people if they would remember that His covenant love binds Him to lay on them seasonable correction. Afflictions are necessary for us: “In their affliction they will seek Me early” (Hosea 5:15).

God is faithful in GLORIFYING His people. “Faithful is He which calleth you, who also will do” (I Thess 5:24). The immediate reference here is to the saints being “preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” God deals with us not on the ground of our merits (for we have none), but for His own great name’s sake. God is constant to Himself and to His own purpose of grace: “whom He called… them He also glorified” (Rom 8:30). God gives a full demonstration of the constancy of His everlasting goodness toward His elect by effectually calling them out of darkness into His marvelous light, and this should fully assure them of the certain continuance of it. ‘The foundation of God STANDETH SURE” (II Tim 2:19). Paul was resting on the faithfulness of God when he said, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (II Tim 1:12).

The apprehension of this blessed truth will PRESERVE US FROM WORRY. To be full of care, to view our situation with dark forebodings, to anticipate the morrow with sad anxiety, is to reflect poorly upon the faithfulness of God. He who has cared for His child through all the years will not forsake him in old age. He who has heard your prayers in the past will not refuse to supply your need in the present emergency. Rest on Job 5:19, “He SHALL deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.”

The apprehension of this blessed truth will CHECK OUR MURMURINGSThe Lord knows what is best for each one of us, and one effect of resting on this truth will be the silencing of our petulant complainings. God is greatly honored when, under trial and chastening, we have good thoughts of Him, vindicate His wisdom and justice, and recognize His love in His very rebukes.

The apprehension of this blessed truth will beget increasing CONFIDENCE IN GOD“Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (I Pet 4:19). When we trustfully resign ourselves, and all our affairs into God’s hands, fully persuaded of His love and faithfulness, the sooner shall we be satisfied with His providences and realize that “He doeth ALL things well.”