THE POTTER AND HIS POWER OVER THE CLAY

THE POTTER AND HIS POWER OVER THE CLAY

Michael Jeshurun

The truth of reprobation has always been a thorny subject for Christians. Even those who deem themselves Calvinists and believers in the absolute sovereignty of God shy away from this truth which God has chosen to reveal in the Scriptures. And sadly, those who should know better for the most part ‘explain it away’ in such a manner that it does not stir up any controversy or awe, and neither raises the question which the Apostle anticipated; i.e. “WHY DOTH HE YET FIND FAULT? For who hath resisted HIS WILL”? [Romans 9:19]

The Bible speaks of men hardening their hearts against God! And this hardening is spoken of as both Judicial and Sovereign.

Judicial hardening is God hardening the hearts of men because they have rejected Him and His Truth, while Sovereign hardening, like election finds its cause only in the good pleasure of Him who doeth all things after the counsel of His own will! Or as the Master said, “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight”! [Matt 11:26]

While the average Calvinist or Reformed preacher is only too happy to expound and preach profound sermons on Judicial hardening, he is for the most part silent on Sovereign hardening and Sovereign reprobation! And the reason is not too far to seek. Judicial hardening raises no eyebrows nor offends the nominal ‘Christian’ who comes Sunday after Sunday to warm the pew and pay his tithes and offerings to keep the ‘ministry’ running; while sermons on Sovereign hardening, or the fact that God does not love EVERYBODY, or that CHRISTMAS IS PAGAN and the like would soon clear his Church and leave him without a ‘ministry’!

But thanks be to God for those preachers who can say with the Apostle –“I have not shunned to declare unto you ALL THE COUNSEL OF GOD”! [Acts 20:27]

Let us consider God’s SOVEREIGN HARDENING as it is revealed in Romans 9.
“Therefore hath HE mercy on whom HE will have mercy, and whom HE will HE hardeneth”! [Romans 9:18]

This passage in Romans 9 is the clearest of all! The whole chapter is concerned with God’s sovereignty as it relates to Israel. First God showed His sovereignty in connection with Abraham’s seed [vs 7] in passing by Ishmael and calling Isaac. Second God showed His sovereignty in connection with Isaac’s sons [vs 10-13] in loving Jacob and hating Esau. Third the question is raised: “Is there unrighteousness with God”? [vs 14] Is it not unjust for God to show ‘PARTIALITY’? The answer is-certainly not, or “God forbid” – God CANNOT deal unjustly!

But He can and does bestow His favor on whom He pleases, for He is sovereign, saying- “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy’ etc [vs15]. Fourth, in vs 18, this solemn truth is pressed one step further: not only does God have mercy on whom He will, but “WHOM HE WILL HE HARDENETH”, and it FROM THIS POINT ONWARDS TO THE END OF THE CHAPTER that most preachers are radically unsound!

What even the majority of those who deem themselves ‘Calvinists’ say concerning this is – “What is in view here is ‘Judicial hardening’ i.e. a forsaking by God, because these subjects of His judicial hardening first forsook Him, rejected His truth etc. In support of their contention, appeal is made to such scriptures as Romans 1:19-26 – ‘God gave them up’ i.e. “those, who when they knew God, glorified Him not as God” [vs 21]. Also 2Thes 2:10-12 is quoted to buttress their view. That these last two quoted passages refer to judicial ‘hardening’ we will allow, though the word ‘harden’ occurs in neither of them. But our objection is that neither of them are in anywise relevant to the point raised in Romans 9:18, which to our mind has no reference at all to ‘judicial hardening’!

Clearly in Romans 9:18 the Apostle is not speaking of God hardening those who had first turned their backs on His truth, but instead, is insisting that in ‘hardening’ (as much as in showing mercy) God is exercising His own sovereignty! Note, beloved, the precise wording of verse 18, (so different to man’s glosses upon it) – “Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will (not all who have rejected His truth) He hardeneth”! the ‘therefore’ which begins verse 18, in our judgment points back, particularly to verse 17 where Pharaoh is mentioned as a sample case of God’s sovereignty in “hardening whom He wills.”

The case of Pharaoh is clear enough though man has done his best to hide the truth. True, we read both of Pharaoh hardening his own heart, and also of God hardening his heart. But WHICH IS MENTIONED FIRST? See Exodus 4;21 where the word occurs for the first time in connection with Pharaoh. Man always reverses God’s order. PHARAOH HARDENED HIS HEART BECAUSE GOD HAD FIRST HARDENED IT, AND NOT VICE VERSA AS WE ARE ASKED TO BELIEVE!

The passage in Romans 9:18 of God’s sovereign ‘hardening’ of sinner’s hearts in contradiction to judicial hardening (because of truth rejected) – is not alone! We quote now one other passage in the New Testament, i.e. John 12:37-40 – “But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they COULD NOT BELIEVE, (why?) because that Esaias said again, HE HATH BLINDED their eyes, and hardened their heart; (why? Most preachers say because they refused to believe on Christ etc. but how different the solemn Word of God which follows) THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, NOR UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED, AND I SHOULD HEAL THEM”!

Now beloved it is just a question of whether or not we will “believe” what God has told us in His Word! IT IS NOT A MATTER OF PROLONGED SEARCHING OR PROFOUND STUDY, BUT CHILDLIKENESS THAT IS NEEDED!

Returning now to Romans 9:19, another difficulty or objection is now faced: “Thou will say then unto me, then why doth He yet FIND FAULT”?! Now beloved, we ask you, what do, or what can, these words mean? Answer yourself before you read ours. Can the force of the Apostle’s question be any other than this: “If it is true that God has “mercy” on whom He wills, and ALSO “hardens” whom He wills, then we are no more than PUPPETS and in such a case it is UNJUST for God to find fault with His helpless creatures! Such, we take is the real force of the objection.

Note the “THEN” used as an inference or a consequence drawn from what the Apostle has said in previous verses. And mark, beloved, that the APOSTLE READILY SAW THAT THE DOCTRINE HE HAD PRESENTED WOULD RAISE THIS VERY OBJECTION, and unless what we have written concerning ‘God’s sovereignty’ also raises the SAME OBJECTION, it proves that either we have not FAITHFULLY STATED the doctrine of Romans 9 or else human nature has CHANGED since Paul’s day!

Note further in verse 19, the SAME question is REPEATED, now in a slightly different form – REPEATED so that the Apostle’s meaning may not be misunderstood, i.e. “For who hath resisted His will”? Now mark particularly the last two words: “HIS WILL” It is a question of God’s will the Apostle is discussing, i.e. His sovereign ways, which confirms what we said concerning verses 17 and 18, i.e. it is NOT JUDICIAL HARDENING WHICH IS HERE IN VIEW, (that is hardening because of previous rejection of truth), but SOVEREIGN HARDENING, that is, for no other reason than that which inheres in the “will” of God!

Now how does the Apostle meet the objection raised (anticipatedly) in verse 19? Does he say the objection is pointless and groundless? Does he tell the objector that his inference is a false one, that his conclusion is unsound? Not at all. By no means. Instead he rebukes the objector for his impiety. He reminds the objector that he is merely a ‘man’, a creature – and that as such it is most impertinent and unseemly for him to ‘reply’ (to argue or reason) against God. Further he tells him that he is merely a thing that has been ‘formed’ – hence it is madness and blasphemy to rise up against the “Former” Himself.

Before passing to the next verses, we would call your attention to the last words of verse 20 – “why hast Thou made me THUS”? What can be its force in the light of the immediate context? Surely, why (like in the case of Pharaoh) hast Thou made me simply to “harden” me? Can it signify anything else, in the light of the context?

Lastly in Romans 9:21-23 the Apostle furnishes a full and final reply to the objections named in verse 19. First, he asks, “ Hath not the potter power” –a different word from that translated “power” in verse 22, where it can only signify His might; but here in verse 21, the “power” spoken of must refer to the CREATOR’S RIGHTS OR SOVEREIGN PREROGATIVES; that this is so appears from the fact that the same Greek word is employed in John 1:12 – “gave he “power” to becomes the sons of God’ which as you probably know, means, the right or privilege to become the sons of God.

“Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor”? Certainly He has, because He is God the Creator! Does He EXERCISE this ‘right”? Yes, as verse 17 clearly shows, “for this same purpose have I raised thee (Pharaoh) up” etc. Second the Apostle now tells us, why God acts thus – differently with different ones, having mercy on some and hardening others, making one vessel unto “honor” and another unto “dishonor.” Notice, in verse 22 the Apostle first mentions “the vessels of wrath” before he refers in verse 23 to the “vessels of mercy”! Why is this? Because it is the “vessels of Wrath” who are the subjects of the objection in verse 19!

Notice also that in verse 22 the Apostle does not say that these vessels of Wrath were “FIT for destruction” but rather “FITTED to destruction” which in the light of the immediate context means SOVEREIGNLY ORDAINED to destruction by the Creator!

“(For the children being not yet born, NEITHER HAVING DONE ANY GOOD OR EVIL, THAT THE PURPOSE OF GOD ACCORDING TO ELECTION MIGHT STAND, NOT OF WORKS, BUT OF HIM THAT CALLETH;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but ESAU HAVE I HATED!” [Romans 9:11-13]

Let us assert in conclusion that the only reason that we know that God “loved” Jacob is because He looked at him ‘in Christ’ (the sole reason why He loves you, me or anyone else whom He calls and saves); and that He hated Esau before he was born, was not because of any evil acts or even evil nature, but because Esau SINNED “IN ADAM” and thus provoked God’s holy wrath! It is lamentable how little the doctrines of ‘imputation’ and ‘representation’ are understood today even by eminent theologians!

[Paraphrased from A.W. Pink’s letter to his friend and publisher I.C. Herendeen, July 21st 1918]

GOD’S PEOPLE ARE NEVER ALONE

GOD’S PEOPLE ARE NEVER ALONE

A.W. Pink

“I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you” (John 14:18).

‘The marginal rendering here is to be preferred: “I will not leave you orphans.” It looks back to John 13:33 where the Lord had addressed them as “little children”. They were not to be like sheep without a shepherd, helpless believers in a hostile world, without a defender, forsaken orphans incapable of providing for themselves, left to the mercy of strangers. “I will come to you”: how precious is this! Before we go to His place to be with Him (John 14:2 ,3), He comes to be with us!

But what is meant by “I will come to you”? We believe that these words are to be understood in their widest latitude. He came to them corporeally, immediately after His resurrection. He came to them in spirit after His ascension. He will come to them in glory at His second advent. The present application of this promise to believers finds its fulfillment in the gift of the Holy Spirit indwelling us individually, present in the midst of the assembly collectively. And yet we must not limit the coming of Christ to His children to the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity is altogether beyond the grasp of our finite minds. Yet the New Testament makes it clear that in the unity of the Godhead, the advent of the Holy Spirit was also Christ coming, invisibly, to be really present with His own. “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). “Christ liveth in me,” said the apostle Paul (Galatians 2:20). “Christ among you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

How unspeakably blessed is this! Friends, relatives, yea, professing Christians may turn against us, but He has promised, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee!” [Isaiah 54:10]

Say “Praise the LORD!”

 

THE CLARION CALL OF GOD TO HIS SHEEP

THE CLARION CALL OF GOD TO HIS SHEEP

Michael Jeshurun

Even Spurgeon saw SEPARATION as a biblical necessity for himself. He said “Whether others do so or not, I have felt the power of the text, ‘Come out from among them, and be ye separate,’ and have quitted both Union and Association once for all. This is forced upon me, not only by my convictions, but also by the experience of the UTTER USELESSNESS OF ATTEMPTING TO DEAL WITH THE EVIL EXCEPT BY PERSONALLY COMING OUT FROM IT”.

The bounden duty of a true believer towards men who profess to be ‘Christians’, and yet deny the Word of the Lord, and reject the fundamentals of the gospel, is to come out from among them. FELLOWSHIP WITH KNOWN AND VITAL ERROR IS PARTICIPATION IN SIN. To stay in a community which fellowships all beliefs in hope of setting matters right, is as though Abraham had stayed at Ur, or at Haran, in the hope of converting the household out of which he was called.

And incidentally, it must be mentioned here that when the Lord called Abraham, Scripture records that He called HIM ALONE!

“Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I CALLED HIM ALONE, and blessed him, and increased him.” [Isa 51:2]. Now when GOD calls His child, He calls him alone, not him and his relatives or him and his friends! It is a personal call where you are required to pay a great price by forsaking those that are near and dear to you. Not everyone can pay this price but those and ONLY THOSE THAT ARE TRULY CALLED OF GOD!

Commenting on the above verse, A.W. Pink writes –

“Observe carefully the words “I called him ALONE.” Remember that this was while he dwelt in Ur, and as modern excavations have shown, that was a city of vast extent: out of all its huge number of inhabitants God revealed himself to ONE ONLY! The Lord here emphasized that very fact and calls upon us to mark the singularity of His election by this word “ALONE.” See here, then, the absolute sovereignty of God, exercising His own imperial will, choosing whom He pleases. He had mercy upon Abraham simply because He was pleased to do so, and He left the remainder of his countrymen in heathen darkness simply because it so seemed good in His sight. There was nothing more in Abraham than in any of his fellows why God should have selected HIM: whatever goodness was found in him later was what God Himself put there, and therefore it was the CONSEQUENCE and not the CAUSE of His choice.

Striking as is the case of Abraham’s own election, yet God’s dealings with his offspring is equally if not more noteworthy. Therein God furnished an epitome of what has largely characterized the history of all His elect, for it is a VERY RARE THING TO FIND A WHOLE FAMILY which (not simply makes a profession, but) gives evidence of enjoying His special favor. THE COMMON RULE IS THAT ONE IS TAKEN AND OTHER IS LEFT, for those who are given to really believe this precious but solemn truth, are made to experimentally realize its force in connection with their own kin. Thus Abraham’s own family furnished in his next and immediate successors, a prototype of the future experience of the elect”. [Gleanings in Genesis]

“I will take you ONE of a city, and TWO of a family, and I will bring you to Zion”! [Jer 3:14]

The words – ‘Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues . . .” is more of a decree than a suggestion or even a command! [Rev 18:4]

And because of this irresistible decree, God’s chosen WILL COME OUT, no matter what the price! They just CANNOT and WILL NOT continue to be a part of the Apostasy!

When the Apostle said, “They went out FROM US, but they were not OF US; for IF they had been OF US, they would no doubt have continued WITH US: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not ALL OF US [1John 2:19] . . . he means not that they (the apostates) went out of his particular denomination (for he had none) but that they traded the true brotherhood for that which is false . . . like Judas!

“And the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth his own sheep BY NAME, and leadeth them out. And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and THE SHEEP FOLLOW HIM: for they KNOW HIS VOICE. AND A STRANGER WILL THEY NOT FOLLOW, BUT WILL FLEE FROM HIM: FOR THEY KNOW NOT THE VOICE OF STRANGERS”! [John 10:3-5]

Remember this beloved – complicity with error will take from the best of men the power to enter any successful protest against it.

When the Lord said to Peter, “follow Me”, Peter turned around and saw another disciple and said, “Lord, and what shall this man do?” To which the Lord said, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? FOLLOW THOU ME.”[Jn. 21:19-22]. Every man shall give an account to God for himself.

The LIE that is being pushed by compromising nominal Christians to those who want to get out of the Apostasy is – “Yes, we know the truth is not preached here and the leadership is compromised, but you NEED TO BE HERE to help others see the truth and pull them on to the Rock!”

HOGWASH! THAT’S A LIE FROM THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT TO PAY THE PRICE OF REJECTION AND PERSECUTION!

YOU CANNOT CONTINUE IN AN APOSTATE CHURCH AND LEAD SOMEONE ELSE TO THE TRUE CHURCH. It just doesn’t work that way!

In order to pull someone on to the rock you need to be on the rock yourself. The Bible teaches, “Have NO FELLOWSHIP with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove (expose) them”[Eph. 5:11]. It is not going to be easy, it will cost you EVERYTHING. But that is the price you have to pay to be His disciple. [see Luke 14:25-35]

REMEMBER, THAT THE LORD JESUS AND ALL HIS APOSTLES REMAINED SEPARATE FROM THE ESTABLISHED RELIGIOUS ORDER OF THEIR DAY. It says of Jesus that He suffered outside the gate, therefore let us go forth unto Him, outside the camp (of APOSTATE CHRISTIANITY) bearing His reproach [Heb. 13:12,13]. Amen!

HANDLING THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

HANDLING THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

J.C. Philpot

“The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God!” [Eph 6:17]

There is only one weapon whereby we can fight Satan to any purpose, and that is the Word of God. But observe, that it must not be merely the LETTER of the Word. It must be the “sword of THE SPIRIT,” and therefore a spiritual sword, which can only be taken in hand when the word of God is applied with a divine power to your heart, and you have a living faith in it as made “life and spirit” to your soul.

It is of no use my bringing forward a text to resist a temptation of Satan, unless I can make that text my own; in other words, unless I can handle that sword as one who knows how to wield it. To take up a text and not know the sweetness and power of it, would be like a child taking up a warrior’s sword without having the warrior’s hand. He might play with the sword, but what is the sword of a giant in the hand of a child?

The sword of Scanderbeg, a famous Albanian warrior against the Turks, used to be shown at Vienna. A man who once looked at and handled it said, “Is this the sword which won so many victories? I see nothing in it; it is but a common sword.” The answer was, “You should have seen the arm that wielded it.” So it is not merely taking a text, adopting scripture language, and quoting passages, which will beat back the fiery assaults of Satan. This is having Scanderbeg’s sword without having Scanderbeg’s arm. But it is having the Word of truth brought into our heart by the power of God, faith raised up to believe that God himself speaks it to our heart, being thus enabled to wield it in the strength of the Spirit and by the power of faith in living exercise, to resist every hellish thrust.

In this battle we must not give way. To flee is to be conquered, for, as Bunyan well says, there is no armor for the back. Thus even if in this conflict you should slip and fall, lie not still as a conquered captive, but get up again and fight. “Resist Satan, and he will flee from you.” He is a conquered enemy; he cannot destroy you if you are the Lord’s.

The Word of truth, therefore, is full of most gracious promises, and sweet encouragements “to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ,” and never in heart or hand submit to be conquered by sin or Satan. 

EVERY THING ORDAINED IN THE LIFE OF GOD’S CHILD

EVERY THING ORDAINED IN THE LIFE OF GOD’S CHILD

 “Things that accompany Salvation.” [Hebrews 6:9]

 C.H. Spurgeon

 IN THE MARCHES OF TROOPS AND ARMIES, THERE ARE SOME THAT ARE OUTRIDERS, AND GO FAR AHEAD OF THE OTHER TROOPS. So in the march of Salvation, which have far preceded it to clear the way. I will tell you the names of these stupendous Titans who have gone before. The first is ELECTION, the second is PREDESTINATION, the third is REDEMPTION and the COVENANT is the captain of them all. Before Salvation came into this world, Election marched in the very forefront, and it had for its work the billeting of Salvation. Election went through the world and marked the houses to which Salvation should come and the hearts in which the treasure should be deposited. Election looked through all the race of man, from Adam down to the last, and marked with sacred stamp those for whom Salvation was designed. “He must needs go through Samaria,” said Election; and Salvation must go there.

Then came Predestination. Predestination did not merely mark the house, but it mapped the road in which Salvation should travel to that house, Predestination ordained every step of the great army of Salvation, it ordained the time when the sinner should be brought to Christ, the manner how he should be saved, the means that should be employed; it marked the exact hour and moment, when God the Spirit should quicken the dead in sin, and when peace and pardon should be spoken through the blood of Jesus. Predestination marked the way so completely, that Salvation doth never overstep the bounds, and it is never at a loss for the road. In the everlasting decree of the Sovereign God, the footsteps of Mercy were every one of them ordained. As nothing in this world revolves by chance—as even the foreknown station of a rush by the river is as fixed as the station of a king—it was not meet that Salvation should be left to chance; and therefore God has mapped the place where it should pitch its tent, the manner of its footsteps to that tent, and the time when it should arrive there.

Then came Redemption. The way was rough; and though Election had marked the house, and Predestination had mapped the road, the way was so impeded that Salvation could not travel it until it had been cleared. Forth came Redemption, it had but one weapon; that weapon was the all-victorious cross of Christ. There stood the mountains of our sins; Redemption smote them, and they split in halves and left a valley for the Lord’s redeemed to march through. There was the great gulf of God’s offended wrath; Redemption bridged it with the cross, and so left an everlasting passage by which the armies of the Lord may cross. Redemption has tunnelled every mountain; it has dried up every sea, cut down every forest; it has levelled every high hill, and filled up the valleys, so that the road of Salvation is now plain and simple. God can be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly.

Now, this sacred advance-guard carry for their banner the Eternal Covenant. Election, Predestination, and Redemption—the things that have gone before, beyond the sight, are all rallied to the battle by this standard—the Covenant, the Everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure. We know and believe that before the morning star startled the shades of darkness, God had covenanted with his Son that he should die and pay a ransom price, and that, on God the Father’s part, he would give to Jesus “a number whom no man could number,” who should be purchased by his blood, and through that blood should be most securely saved. Now, when Election marches forward, it carries the Covenant. These are chosen in the Covenant of grace. When Predestination marcheth, and when it marketh out the way of Salvation, it proclaims the Covenant. “He marked out the places of the people according to the tribes of Israel.” And Redemption also, pointing to the precious blood of Christ, claims Salvation for the blood-bought ones, because the Covenant hath decreed it to be theirs.

Now, my dear hearers, this advance-guard is so far ahead that you and I cannot see them. These are true doctrines, but very mysterious; they are beyond our sight, and if we wish to see Salvation, we must not stop until we see the van-guard, because they are so far off that only the eye of faith can reach them. We must have that sacred glass, that divine telescope of faith, or else we shall never have the evidence of things not seen. Let us rest certain, however, that if we have Salvation we have Election. He that believeth is elected and whoever casts himself on Christ as a guilty sinner, is certainly God’s chosen child. As sure as ever you believe on the Saviour, and go to him, you were predestinated to do so from all eternity, and your faith is the great mark and evidence that you are chosen of God, and precious in his esteem.

Dost thou believe? Then Election is thine. Dost thou believe? Then Predestination is as surely thine as thou art alive. Dost thou trust alone in Jesus? Then fear not, Redemption was meant for thee. So then, we will not be struck with terror at that grand advance-guard that hath already gained the celestial hill, and have prepared the place where the elect shall for ever repose upon the bosom of their God.

But mark, we are about to review THE ARMY THAT IMMEDIATELY PRECEDES SALVATION; and first, in the forefront of these, there marches one whose name we must pronounce with sacred awe. It is God, the Holy Spirit. Before anything can be done in our salvation, there must come that Third Person of the Sacred Trinity. Without him, faith, repentance, humility, love, are things quite impossible. Even the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ cannot save until it has been applied to the heart by God the Holy Spirit. Before we notice the grand army, then, that immediately precedes Salvation, let us be cautious that we do not forget Him who is the leader of them all. The great King, Immortal, invisible, the Divine person, called the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit: it is he that quickens the soul, or else it would lie dead for ever; it is he that makes it tender, or else it would never feel, it is he that imparts efficacy to the Word preached, or else it could never reach further than the ear; it is he who breaks the heart, it is he who makes it whole: he, from first to last, is the great worker of Salvation in us just as Jesus Christ was the author of Salvation for us.

O soul, by this mayest thou know whether Salvation has come to thine house—art thou a partaker of the Holy Spirit? Come now, answer thou this question—hath he ever breathed on thee? Hath he ever breathed into thee? Canst thou say that thou hast been the subject of his supernatural influence? For, if not, remember except a man be born of the Spirit from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Thy best exertions will be all unavailing unless the Holy Ghost shall work in thee, to will and to do of God’s good pleasure.

The highest efforts of the flesh can never reach higher than the flesh, just as water of itself will never run higher than its source. You may be moral, you may be strictly upright, you may be much that is commendable, but unless you be partakers of the Holy Spirit, salvation is as impossible to you as it is even to the lost. We must be born again, and born again by that divine influence, or else it is all in vain. Remember, then, that the Spirit of God always accompanies Salvation.

COVETOUSNESS IS A VICE MOST CONTRARY TO TRUE RELIGION

COVETOUSNESS IS A VICE MOST CONTRARY TO TRUE RELIGION

C.H. Spurgeon

“And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” [Luke 12:15]

Of all the vices, none is more contrary to true religion than COVETOUSNESS. Grace may exist where there are many occasional sins, but never where there is abiding Covetousness.

Covetousness, which few men will confess, is yet a very common sin of professing Christians.

Beware of growing Covetous, for this is of all sins one of the most insidious.

Many a man, when he begins to accumulate wealth, begins also to ruin his soul.

Instead of doing more for God he does less. The more he saves the more he wants, and the more he wants of this world, the less he craves for the world to come.

This disease creeps upon men as slowly as certain infectious diseases, which slumber in the blood for months, until they find occasion to manifest themselves.

Watch against a grasping spirit, dear friend.

If you find the money stick to your hands, mind what you are at. It is all well enough for you to seek to make all you can rightly; you are bound to do so, and to use it properly.

But when the gold begins to cleave to you, it will eat as a canker, and will soon prove your ruin unless God prevent it.

Take a bright knife from your table and bury it into the earth in your garden, and leave it there, and see how it will rust. This is what will become of your soul: put it into the earth, and keep it there, it must corrode.

Let us not be content to tarry down below in the marshland of the poor poverty stricken religion of this present day. But let us climb the high mountains where the sun of God’s grace is shining brightest, and stand there enjoying communion with Him, leaving the world beneath.

YOU CAN ONLY GET RID OF ELECTION BY GETTING RID OF THE BIBLE

YOU CAN ONLY GET RID OF ELECTION BY GETTING RID OF THE BIBLE

A.W. Pink

It is a solemn thing for a man to be spoken to by God, the God of heaven and earth. Each word coming from His lips should be listened to and received with profoundest reverence. “The Lord has spoken” is enough for us. There is no ‘room for question or cavil where His voice is heard. Each word in the Bible is to be dealt with as a sacred thing, a vessel of the sanctuary, not to be lightly handled or profanely mutilated, but to be received just as it stands. There may be passages difficult to reconcile, doctrines which apparently conflict with each other. But let us beware of smoothing down, of hammering in pieces, one class of passages, in order to bring about a reconciliation. Let us be content to take them as they are. We shall gain nothing by explaining them away. 

God has spoken them. God has placed them there. They cannot really be at variance with each other. The day is coming when we shall fully understand their harmony. Let us wait till then, and meanwhile tremble at the thought of misinterpreting or distorting so much as one jot or tittle. Most assuredly we shall not bring about the agreement in any such way. We are only widening the breach, and opening but new difficulties.
If I am asked, how can you preach a free gospel, and yet believe in election? I answer, I ‘believe in both, and preach both, be- cause I find both in the Bible. I have no authority for preaching an unconditional gospel but what I find in the Bible; and I have the same authority for preaching an unconditional personal election. God has told me that both are true; and woe be to me if I profanely attempt to mutilate either the one or the other. If one man refuses to take the simple meaning of “election”, another may refuse to take the simple meaning of “gospel”. And were I called upon to say which is the worse, the more profane of the two, I should say the former. I should, indeed, tremble at the thought of denying either election or the gospel; but I confess that I think the denial of the latter a less direct, and less daring insult to the sovereign majesty of Jehovah. It would be a shutting out of His grace, closing up of all the manifestations of His character which have come to us since Adam sinned; and it would be drawing a dark cloud over our eternal prospects,—but it would not be taking the reins of government out of His hands,— it would not be the usurpation of His throne,—it would not be giving the right hand of fellowship to atheism.But there is no need of any such comparison. Perhaps it was wrong to make it. I have done so, however, in order that you may be led to see that election belongs to the highest and most sacred order of truths – that it is not a doctrine to be concealed and muffled as if we were either ashamed or afraid of it, but to be firmly held, and faithfully preached, whether men will hear or forebear. Mere philosophy might tell men that, if there be a God, He must be absolutely sovereign in all things. Mere philosophy might expose the shallowness and selfishness of those who trample on God’s free will, in order to establish man’s — even if theology and Scripture were silent on the matter.

Why do I preach a free gospel? Is it because reason has revealed it? Is it because I find it suits me best? No, It is because God has declared it; that is my sole authority. Why do I believe in election? Just because God has made it known. I may find that reason confirms this. I may see that there can be no really free gospel without election; but still my ground for believing it is because I find it most plainly revealed.

YOU CAN ONLY GET RID OF ELECTION BY GETTING RID OF THE BIBLE!

And hence you will find, among others who deny election and the work of Christ for His church, a great dislike at those passages of Scripture which allude to these topics. They pass them by, they turn away from them, they are angry if another even quotes them, though without a comment. Now I ask, would they do and feel thus, if they believed that these passages really contain the meaning which they put upon them? If these passages are quite in harmony with their views, why do they shrink from quoting them, or hearing them quoted? Is not this the plainest of all proofs, that they feel that theirs is not the honest interpretation? Does it not show that they themselves are secretly persuaded that these passages do teach unconditional election, and the absolute sovereignty of Jehovah? They feel that thev have twisted them from their plain sense, and that the mere reading of them is enough to expose their distortions. They feel that they have not dealt fairly with the Word of God, and that their one-sided dealings cannot bear the light of day.

Let us learn to ‘ ‘tremble at the Word”. Let us take it plainly and honestly in its simple sense. Let us not be afraid of its apparent contradictions. Let us not think ourselves capable of reconciling and harmonizing all its declarations. We see here but through a glass darkly. The day of light and harmony is coming. All shall then be plain. God will solve our difficulties. Meanwhile, let us reverence every jot and tittle of His holy Word. Let us trust our own hearts and reasonings less, and God’s Word more. Let us not be so anxiously asking, how can this be? how can we rec- oncile God’s sovereignty with man’s responsibility? how can we harmonize the Spirit’s free agency with man’s free agency? Let us leave difficulties in the hands of God; and let us beware of making those difficulties greater by our miserable attempts to reach at things too high for us, or our miserable efforts to pervert and mutilate’ the Word of the God who cannot lie.

I do not mean, by any of these remarks, to imply that there is not the most perfect harmony between all the different doctrines taught us in the Bible. Nor do I mean to say that this harmony is incapable of being discerned here. I believe, on the one hand, that all is harmony in the truths of God, and that that harmony is discernible and demonstrable even now. But still there is an apparent jar. To a certain extent we can reconcile every one of the supposed discordances. Yet there are difficulties connected with them which no theory can solve, and which will remain difficulties till the great day. To attempt to reconcile or remove these by denying the plain and natural sense of Scripture is sinful and pernicious. It accomplishes nothing. It only takes away one difficulty to replace it with a greater.

There are doubtless other causes of the evil over which we mourn; but these are the three chief roots of bitterness. To these may be traced more of the manifold errors of our day than many may be willing to al- low. Till these are removed, I have little hope that the instability of the times will die out, or cease to operate for the injury and subversion of the truth. Till the soul gets rest—not the name, but the reality— and till the conscience is awake and sensitive, and till the Word of God is reverenced and honestly interpreted, I see small prospect of an end of these changes, if, indeed, we may venture to hope that such can be until the Lord shall come. Yet be not amazed. Jehovah changes not; neither does His Word. It abideth forever!

BETTER TO BE A DOORKEEER IN GOD’S HOUSE THAN A PRINCE IN THE DEVIL’S HOUSE

BETTER TO BE A DOORKEEER IN GOD’S HOUSE THAN A PRINCE IN THE DEVIL’S HOUSE

C.H. Spurgeon

“I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” [Psalm 84:10]

The lowest station in connection with the Lord’s house is better than the highest position among the godless!

Only to wait at his threshold and peep within, so as to see Jesus, is bliss. To bear burdens and open doors for the Lord is more honour than to reign among the wicked.

Every man has his choice, and this is ours. God’s worst is better than the devil’s best!

God’s doorstep is a happier rest than downy couches within the pavilions of royal sinners, though we might lie there for a lifetime of luxury.

Note how he calls the tabernacle “the house of MY God;” there’s where the sweetness lies: if Jehovah be OUR God, His house, His altars, His doorstep, all become precious to us. We know by experience that where Jesus is within, the outside of the house is better than the noblest chambers where the Son of God is not to be found!

YOU AREN’T TRULY ‘INDEPENDENT’ TILL CHRIST HATH SET YOU FREE

YOU AREN’T TRULY ‘INDEPENDENT’ TILL CHRIST HATH SET YOU FREE

Michael Jeshurun

The Jews said unto Him, “We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest Thou, Ye shall be made free”?

“Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. . . . If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed”!

The portion above tells us that though men may not be in bondage to other men, yet the fact that they are “servants of sin” shows that they are not truly ‘free’ or “Independent” as they suppose they are!

But “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free INDEED“! [John 8:36]

I send thee Paul to the Gentiles, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me”! [Acts 26:15-18]

All that to say, if you are a truly born-again Christian, then your real “Independence Day” was the day when you were ‘born-again‘ and Christ set you free!

For it was on THAT day that your blind eyes were opened!

It was on that day, you were delivered from the power of Satan to the power of God!

It was on that day that you were delivered from the PENALTY of sin!

And it was on that day, you were delivered from the POWER of sin!

And the Day is soon coming, when you shall be delivered from the very PRESENCE of sin into the glorious presence of the Lamb of God to sing His praises for all eternity!

THAT my dear friend is TRUE freedom and THAT is your real ‘INDEPENDENCE DAY‘!

Hallelujah!

THE MANIFESTATION OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD

THE MANIFESTATION OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD

Michael Jeshurun

“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” [Rom 8:19]

First, a word on ‘the manifestation of the sons of God’ – Believers are even now ‘The sons of God’, but the world knows them not, [1 John 3:1]. In THIS RESPECT they are not seen. Their bodies, as well as their spirits, have been purchased by Christ, and they are become His members. Their bodies have, however, no marks of this Divine relation, but, like those of other men, are subject to disease, death, and corruption. And although they have been regenerated by the Spirit of God, there is still a law in their members warring against the law of their mind.

But the period approaches when their souls shall be freed from every remainder of corruption, and their bodies shall be made like unto the glorious body of the Son of God. Then this corruptible shall put on in corruption, and then shall they shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. It is THEN that they shall be ‘MANIFESTED’ in their true character, illustrious as the sons of God, seated upon thrones, and conspicuous in robes of light and glory. THEN shall it be forever settled in our minds as to who is a sheep or goat respectively!

God wants to openly manifest who His children really are to all creation. And the Day is coming when the Lord Christ will openly proclaim in the sight of all creation – “Behold, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM THE LORD HATH GIVEN ME!” [Isaiah 8:18].

At the PRESENT TIME it is difficult to say who is truly a Christian and who is not. But on the Day of Resurrection, it will be CLEARLY SEEN who the children of God really are!

Now the apostle says that the ‘creature’ waiteth for this ‘manifestation’! WHO or WHAT is meant by the ‘creature’?

The word in the original, which is translated in the 19th, 20th, and 21st verses, creature, and in the 22nd, creation, can have no reference to the fallen angels, for they do not desire the manifestation of the children of God; this they dread, and, looking forward to it, actually tremble.

Neither can it refer to the elect angels, of whom it cannot be said that they shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, for to this they were never subjected. It does not apply to men, all of whom are either the children of God or of the wicked one. It cannot refer to the children of God, for they are here expressly distinguished from the creation of which the Apostle speaks; nor can it apply to wicked men, for they have no wish for the manifestation of the sons of God whom they hate, nor will they ever be delivered from the bondage of corruption, but cast into the lake of fire.

It remains, then, that the creatures destitute of intelligence, animate and inanimate, the heavens and the earth, the elements, the plants and animals, are here referred to. The Apostle means to say that the creation, which, on account of sin, has, by the sentence of God, been subjected to vanity, shall be rescued from the present degradation under which it groans, and that, according to the hope held out to it, is longing to participate with the sons of God in that freedom from vanity into which it shall at length be introduced, partaking with them in their future and glorious deliverance from all evil.

As men earnestly desire what is good, and, on the contrary, groan and sigh in their sufferings, the like emotions of joy and sorrow are here ascribed to the inanimate and unintelligent creation. In this way the prophets introduce the earth as groaning, and the animals as crying to God, in sympathy with the condition of man. ‘The land mourneth, for the corn is wasted; the new wine is dried up; the oil languisheth, because joy is withered away from the sons of men! How do the beasts groan! The beasts of the field cry also unto Thee!’ [Joel 1:10-20]. ‘How long shall the land mourn and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein?’ [Jeremiah 12:4].

Again – ‘The earth mourneth and fadeth away; the world languishes and fadeth away; the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled, under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth. The new wine mourneth; the wine languisheth!’ [Isaiah. 24:4-7].

Thus, in the language of Scripture, the sins of men cause the creation to MOURN; but the mercy of God, withdrawing His rebukes, causeth it to rejoice. VANITY. — What is called vanity in the 20th verse, is in the 21st denominated BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION. When the creation was brought into existence, God bestowed on it His blessing, and pronounced everything that He had made very good. Viewing that admirable palace which He had provided, He appointed man to reign in it, commanding all creation to be subject to him whom He had made in His own image. But when sin entered, then, in a certain sense, it may be said that all things had become evil, and were diverted from their proper end. The creatures by their nature were appointed for the service of the friends of their Creator; but since the entrance of sin they had become subservient to His enemies.

Instead of the sun and the heavens being honored to give light to those who obey God, and the earth to support the righteous, they now minister to rebels. The sun shines upon the wicked, the earth nourishes those who blaspheme their Maker; while its various productions, instead of being employed for the glory of God, are used as instruments of ambition, of avarice, of intemperance, of cruelty, of idolatry, and are often employed for the destruction of His children. All these are subjected to vanity when applied by men for vain purposes.

THIS shall come to an end at the ‘manifestation of the Sons of God!’ for from thenceforth shall the earth and all that is in it be never again used in any manner to aid sin or the workers of iniquity but shall be brought back to its original purpose which is to glorify the God who created it! Hallelujah!

And THAT is why the whole Creation waiteth for THIS manifestation. ‘Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God’. [Rom 8:21]

But not only the whole creation dearly beloved, but WE Christians also groan to be delivered from this sinful body. The Apostle Paul groaned, “O wretched man that I am! WHO shall deliver me from the body of this death”? And he answers his own question by saying, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin”. [Rom 7:25] Hallelujah!

[Gleaned and paraphrased from the writings of the late Robert Haldane]