IF THE GOD YOU WORSHIP ‘REPENTS, REGRETS AND HAS REMORSE’ OVER HIS ACTIONS OR PLANS, YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER GOD OTHER THAN THE SOVEREIGN GOD OF THE SCRIPTURES

IF THE GOD YOU WORSHIP ‘REPENTS, REGRETS AND HAS REMORSE’ OVER HIS ACTIONS OR PLANS, YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER GOD OTHER THAN THE SOVEREIGN GOD OF THE SCRIPTURES

A man recently wrote us stating, “Why did God wish he had never made man at the time of Noah? (Gen 6) Couldn’t he see out into the future and decide to not make man and save the regret? God decided to destroy his people and Moses pleaded with him and God repented or changed his mind. How can God change his mind if he knew he was going to? I conclude he didn’t know.” etc

“Why does Genesis 6:6 say ‘it repented the LORD that he had made man’ if he knew in advance how sinful man would get?” etc

Let us take an honest look at these verses and rightly divide the Word of truth –

You may be thinking that the word “repent” there means God REGRETTED He made man, and my dictionary says “regret” can mean “a looking back with dissatisfaction.” This cannot be the meaning here, however, for it is not possible that God would be dissatisfied with anything He has done.

Like all words, REPENT can have different meanings. My dictionary defines it as “to feel pain, sorrow, or regret for something one has done.” The word “or” here suggests that God didn’t REGRET making man, He rather felt pain and sorrow for having done so. The way the verse is worded makes this clear. It doesn’t say THE LORD REPENTED making man, as it would if He regretted it. It says IT REPENTED THE LORD, it pained Him, for their sin caused Him sorrow. The rest of the verse verifies this interpretation when it explains, “and it grieved Him at His heart.”

Sin STILL grieves the Lord, even after we are saved, so “grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).

Some texts in the Bible, if isolated from the rest of Scripture, challenge us. To overcome problems in our understanding we need to know a few things:

1. What did the original words mean to those to whom they originally were written?
– basic grammatical meaning
– literary use of the expressions common to the original readers
– historical references meaningful at the time of the writing

2. What is the whole context of the portion in question?
– local context: the flow of thought in the rest of the book in which it is found
– theological context: what God has revealed in the other inspired books
– historical context: how much God had revealed about his redemptive plan at that time.

IN ABOUT 30 PLACES IN THE BIBLE GOD IS SAID TO “REPENT”.

Genesis 6:6-7 is a prime example, “And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.”

Did God regret something he had done? Did he really repent as if he had made a mistake? Did God have to change his plan from what he had formerly wanted it to be? If so, then he is not the God we read about in the rest of the Bible. A careful study of these passages removes the apparent conflict.

First we need to take a look at the larger context. What do clear Bible passages teach about God’s nature?

GOD’S NATURE IS “IMMUTABLE” (HE DOES NOT CHANGE).

The answer to Westminster Shorter Catechism question 4 “What is God?” is, “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”

If this is true, God can never regret, make errors, or change his plans. He answers to nothing greater than himself, therefore he is perfect and needs no improvement. God’s knowledge is perfect. It includes all things that ever will happen, there can be no reason to ever change or modify his plans.

James makes a direct statement in his epistle in James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is NO VARIATION OR SHADOW OF TURNING.”

With God the Father there is “no variableness” (parallagae, παραλλαγη). This is an astronomical term. From it we get the word “parallax,” a term still used in astronomy. Even in those ancient times they could see that constellations appeared in different places as the seasons changed. Some dots of light move from constellation to constellation, we now know these “wandering stars” as planets. Some objects in the night sky change their brightness regularly. However, there is no such change with God. There is no variableness like that which we see in the night sky.

With God there is “no shadow of turning” (tropaes aposkiasma, τροπης αποσκιασμα). This is another astronomical term, It has to do with changes in shadows cast by the sun and moon. As the sun and moon change their positions in the sky during the day or night, there is an observable change in the length and direction of the shadows they cast. This word was also used in reference to the eclipses of the sun and moon where darkness took over parts of them. With God the Father there is no such change. He is a steady and reliable light.

There is a direct statement in Psalm 102:26-27, “They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.” This reminds us that though the earth and heavens perish and wear with time. God does not change.

There are many texts where God’s inability to change is made clear. For example, Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that He should lie, NOR A SON OF MAN, THAT HE SHOULD REPENT. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” And Malachi 3:6, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

God has all things under his sovereign control as it says in Psalm 135:6, “Whatever the LORD pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places.”

Ephesians 1:11-12 says, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”

God even controls the directions of the plans of humans. Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. .” and Proverbs 19:21, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD . . .  that shall stand.”

Open Theism teaches that God is open to change and adjusts his plans to new circumstances. Those promoting this view reject the classic attributes of God (immutable, omnipotent, omniscient …). They say there are philosophical contradictions in the belief systems that accept the infinite and unchangeable understanding of God. However, their claims of contradictions are based upon total misstatements and misunderstandings of the actual historical and biblical doctrines. They often quote the verses about God repenting as if he adjusts to things outside of himself.

SO THEN, HOW DOES AN UNCHANGEABLE GOD REPENT?

The word here for “repent” is nakham (נחם). It is translated many ways in the Bible depending upon the context. Most often it is translated either “to repent” or “to comfort”, two seemingly very different words. The Brown Driver and Briggs Hebrew Lexicon (BDB) defines it this way: “to be sorry, to be consoled, to be moved to pity, to have compassion, to be comforted, to be relieved.”

A study of the primary uses of this Hebrew word show that it describes the reaction of a person to some sorrowful event, and the person either finds comfort from the sorrow, or grieves over the tragedy of the event. The focus of the word is upon the impact some disturbing thing has upon him. The word does not fit with our English words “repent” or “regret” as we commonly use those words today.

When WE repent over our sins, our response is grief over the offense they cause to God. When GOD repents, he has nothing to regret in himself. He has nothing for which to be sorry. God answers to no one but himself and to his own perfect and eternal plan. However, the sins of mankind offend him deeply. He has decreed that they would occur for his own good reasons. They are used to display his justice in his judgments, and his mercy in redemption. These sorrowful occurrences are used by God as means to accomplish all the things he has purposed to happen. When God observes these tragic outworkings of evil, he is morally offended. The word nakham (נחם) beautifully conveys this response.

To communicate to us the offense toward God which is produced by the sins of his creatures, the Bible uses a human response we all understand. We often experience grief, sorrow, and a need for consolation. When a human emotion is used to explain how God responds to something, we call it an “anthropopathism.”

We are probably more familiar with the term, “anthropomorphism.” That is when some physical part of man is used to represent something about God. The Eternal God has no physical body. He is revealed as spirit. However, the Bible speaks of God’s hands, eyes, feet, wings, feathers, … etc. These communicate to us that he controls, sees, comforts, etc.

In an “anthropopathism” some emotion or feeling of man is used to explain something about God. God’s spirit nature is very different in comparison with our human soul. Yet to know how much God is offended by sin and rebellion, these human terms are used to approximate his response in the best way possible for us.

Changes in how God treats people are based upon changes in them, not upon changes in God. It shows how God reveals his unfolding decrees to us in time. For example, in Eden before the fall, God is seen blessing man in his innocence. Then he casts man out for his sin and deep offense. In the time of Noah, he warned that the whole human race deserved destruction. By grace he chose Noah and preserved the human race beyond the flood.

All of these events of history were carried out according to God’s decree. The plan included allowing man to sin. God’s judgments show no change neither in God’s mind, nor in his plan. His repentance shows us the affront of sin to his holiness.

The changes in the relationships of persons with God reflect the Creator’s eternal and immutable decree as it unfolds. His plan takes into account human rebellions which accomplish his goal, even though that means enduring great offense from men’s sins.

NOW WE APPLY THIS TO THE TEXT IN GENESIS 6:6-7

Genesis 6:6-8, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

REGRET HAS NO PLACE HERE AT ALL. It could not be the meaning intended, since God cannot regret or make mistakes. Even the grief of God in verse 6 is not the same as human grief. God’s eternal blessedness is never interrupted even though in time God permitted sin. In Romans 1:25 God is said to be “blessed forever.” Dr. Charnock points out that grief as we know it is inconsistent with undefiled blessedness. His blessedness cannot be impaired or interrupted.

This language is an accommodation to our “limited creaturely capacity” to understand. God’s intentions are always perfect and infinite, ours are not.

Genesis 6:6 reflects a change in God’s treatment of mankind. It fulfills his unchanging promise and resolution to punish justly, and it shows how he detests sin. The need in God is not for external comfort, but to satisfy his own justice as his decree unfolds. If he regretted, or admitted that his plan did not turn out as he intended, it would be contrary to direct statements where God tells us that he is totally Sovereign, and that he has foreseen all that will come to pass.

Other similar passages are handled in the same way.


1. Consider what God has directly stated elsewhere. This rules out what the passages cannot mean. Since God is perfect and his plan is unchangeable, NO PASSAGE OF THE BIBLE CAN TEACH THAT GOD REGRETS OR REPENTS AS WE DO.

2. Discover what the original words mean, and how they were commonly used. The word translated as “repent” is not equivalent to our word “regret”. It includes mainly the discomfort that is connected with sorrowful things.

3. Consider the attitude of God described in these passages. In an anthropopathism we need to understand what the human emotion might represent in an infinite and unchangeable being of God. God is offended by sin. It appalls him, and causes what was created in a blessed state to be treated at a later time with judgment and contempt.

GOD’S IMMUTABILITY IS BOTH A SOBER WARNING,
AND A COMFORTING ASSURANCE.

God’s true nature is an uncomfortable fact for those who remain unredeemed by Christ. For those brought into the family of God by grace, it is a wonderful truth. God cannot go back on his promises, nor can his plan fail in any way. His blessings and judgments are sure.

“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent.”  [1Sam 15:29]

[Post compiled from ‘Geneva Institute for Reformed Studies’ by Bob Burridge, and other sources by Michael Jeshurun]

ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEW YEAR?

ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEW YEAR?

J. C. Ryle

I ASK you a plain question at the beginning of a New Year: ARE YOU READY?

It is a solemn thing to part company with the old year. It is a still more solemn thing to begin a new one. It is like entering a dark passage: we know not what we may meet before the end. All before us is uncertain: we know not what a day may bring forth, much less what may happen in a year. Reader, ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready for SICKNESS? You cannot expect to be always well. You have a body fearfully and wonderfully made: it is awful to think how many diseases may assail it.

“Strange that a harp of thousand strings
Should keep in tune so long!”

Pain and weakness are a hard trial. They can bow down the strong man and make him like a child. They can weary the temper and exhaust the patience, and make men cry in the morning, “Would God it were evening,” and in the evening, “Would God it were morning.” All this may come to pass this very year. Your reason may be shattered, your senses may be weakened, your nerves may be unstrung: the very grasshopper may become a burden. Reader, if sickness comes upon you, ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready for AFFLICTION? “Man,” says the Scripture, “is born to sorrow.” This witness is true. Your property may be taken from you, your riches may make themselves wings and flee away, your friends may fail you, your children may disappoint you, your servants may deceive you; your character may be assailed, your conduct may be misrepresented: troubles, annoyances, vexations, anxieties, may surround you on every side, like a host of armed men; wave upon wave may burst over your head; you may feel worn and worried, and crushed to the dust. Reader, if affliction comes upon you, ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready for BEREAVEMENTS? No doubt there are those in the world that you love. There are those whose names are graven on your heart, and round whom your affections are entwined: there are those who are the light of your eyes, and the very sunshine of your existence. But they are all mortal: any one of them may die this year. Before the daisies blossom again, any one of them may be lying in the tomb. Your Rachel may be buried, your Joseph may be taken from you, your dearest idol may be broken: bitter tears and deep mourning may be your portion. Before December you may feel terribly alone. Reader, if bereavement comes upon you, ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready for DEATH? It must come some day: it may come this year. You cannot live always. This very year may be your last. You have no freehold in this world, you have not so much as a lease: you are nothing better than a tenant at God’s will. Your last sickness may come upon you, and give you notice to quit, the doctor may visit you, and exhaust his skill over your case, your friends may sit by your bedside, and look graver and graver every day: you may feel your own strength gradually wasting, and find something saying within, “I shall not come down from this bed, but die.” You may see the world slipping from beneath your feet, and all your schemes and plans suddenly stopped short. You may feel yourself drawing near to the coffin, and the grave, and the worm, and an unseen world, and eternity, and God. Reader, if death should come upon you, ARE YOU READY?

Are you ready for the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST? He will come again to this world one day. As surely as He came the first time, 1800 years ago, so surely will He come the second time. He will come to reward all His saints, who have believed in Him and confessed Him upon earth. He will come to punish all His enemies, the careless, the ungodly, the impenitent, and the unbelieving. He will come very suddenly, at an hour when no man thinketh: as a thief in the night. He will come in terrible majesty, in the glory of His Father, with the holy angels. A flaming fire shall go before Him. The dead shall be raised, the judgment shall be set, the books shall be opened! Some shall be exalted into heaven: many, very many, shall be cast down to hell. The time for repentance shall be past. Many shall cry, “Lord, Lord, open to us!” but find the door of mercy closed forever. After this there will be no change. Reader, if Christ should come the second time this year, ARE YOU READY?

O reader, these are solemn questions! They ought to make you examine yourself. They ought to make you think. It would be a terrible thing to be taken by surprise. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

But shall I leave you here? I will not do so. Shall I raise searchings of heart, and not set before you the way of life? I will not do so. Hear me for a few moments, while I try to show you the man that is ready.

He that is ready has A READY SAVIOUR. He has Jesus ever ready to help him. He lives the life of faith in the Son of God. He has found out his own sinfulness, and fled to Christ for peace. He has committed his soul and all its concerns to Christ’s keeping. If he has bitter cups of affliction to drink, he knows they are mixed by the hand that was nailed to the cross for his sins. If he is called to die, he knows that the grave is the place where the Lord lay. If those whom he loves are taken away, he remembers that Jesus is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, and a husband who never dies. If the Lord should come again, he knows that he has nothing to fear. The Judge of all will be that very Jesus who has washed his sins away. Happy is that man who can say, with Hezekiah, “The Lord was ready to save me” (Isa 38: 20).

He that is ready has A READY HEART. He has been born again, and renewed in the spirit of his mind. The Holy Ghost has shown him the true value of all here below, and taught him to set his affections on things above. The Holy Ghost has shown him his own deserts, and made him feel that he ought to be thankful for everything; and satisfied with any condition. If affliction comes upon him, his heart whispers, “There must be a needs be. I deserve correction. It is meant to teach me some useful lesson.” If bereavement comes upon him, his heart reminds him that the Lord gave and the Lord must take away, whenever He sees fit. If death draws near, his heart says, “My times are in Thy hand: as Thou wilt, when Thou wilt, and where Thou wilt.” If the Lord should come, his heart would cry, “This is the day I have long prayed for: the kingdom of God is come at last.” Blessed is he who has a ready heart.

He that is ready has a HOME READY FOR HIM IN HEAVEN. The Lord Jesus Christ has told him that He is gone “to prepare a place” for him. A house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, awaits him. He is not yet come to his full inheritance: his best things are yet to come. He can bear sickness, for yet a little time he shall have a glorious body. He can bear losses and crosses, for his choicest treasures are far beyond the reach of harm. He can bear disappointments, for the springs of his greatest happiness can never be made dry. He can think calmly of death: it will open a door for him from the lower house to the upper chamber, even the presence of the King. He is immortal till his work is done. He can look forward to the coming of the Lord without alarm. He knows that they who are ready will enter in with Him to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Happy is that man whose lodging is prepared for him in the kingdom of Christ.

Reader, do you know anything of the things I have just spoken of? Do you know anything of a ready Saviour, a ready heart, and a ready home in heaven? Examine yourself honestly. How does the matter stand?

Oh, be merciful to your own soul! Have compassion on that immortal part of you. Do not neglect its interest, for the sake of mere worldly objects. Business, pleasure, money, politics, will soon be done with forever. Do not refuse to consider the question I ask you, ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU READY?

Reader, if you are not ready, I beseech you to MAKE READY WITHOUT DELAY. I tell you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that all things are ready on God’s part for your salvation. The Father is ready to receive you, the Lord Jesus is ready to wash your sins away, the Spirit is ready to renew and sanctify you, angels are ready to rejoice over you, saints are ready to hold out the right hand to you. Oh, why not make ready this very year?

Reader, if you have reason to hope you are ready, I advise you TO MAKE SURE. Walk more closely with God, get nearer to Christ, seek to exchange hope for assurance. Seek to feel the witness of the Spirit more closely and distinctly every year. Lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets you. Press towards the mark more earnestly. Fight a better fight, and war a better warfare every year you live. Pray more, read more, mortify self more, love the brethren more. Oh that you may endeavour so to grow in grace every year, that your last things may be far more than your first, and the end of your Christian course far better than the beginning!

THE CUP OF WRATH

THE CUP OF WRATH

Andrew Bonar (1810-1892)

“For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and He poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.” [Psalm 75:8]

It is of this CUP, that we this day wish to speak to you. It gives an alarming, awakening view of our God and Savior. It is not “God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself,” but God the JUDGE, Christ the Judge. It is not the King with the golden scepter, inviting all to draw near — it is the KING RISEN UP IN WRATH, in the evening of the day of grace, to “judge all the wicked of the earth.”

Oh, there is a Hell, an endless Hell, awaiting the ungodly! The Judge warns us of it — in order that none of us may be cast into that tremendous woe! Say not in your hearts, “God is too LOVING and MERCIFUL ever to condemn a soul to such woe.” If you continue in sin, you shall know too late that the Judge does condemn; not because He is not infinitely loving, but because your sin compels Him so to do. Listen to what is written, and you will every unbeliever shall drink of this wine of God’s indignation.

God’s wrath shall be given forth in a MEASURED PORTION, deliberately and fairly considered. There shall be nothing of caprice, nothing arbitrary, in God’s judgment on sin; all shall be fairly adjusted. Here are the SINS — there is the CUP, of a size proportioned to the sin, and FULL. God’s perfections direct and dictate the filling of it. It is “a cup of red wine.” He elsewhere calls it “The wine of my fury;” and Revelation 16:19, it is “Wine of the fierceness of His wrath.” In the East, red wine was usually the strongest; but besides, the fiery nature of the contents is indicated by the color.

This “red wine” is pressed out of the grapes by the divine attributes. It must be the CONCENTRATED ESSENCE OF WRATH; no weak potion, but one like that in Jeremiah 25:16, where they “drink, and are moved, and are mad;” or that in Ezekiel 23:32, 33, “A cup deep and large; it contains much; a cup of astonishment and desolation, filled with drunkenness and sorrow.”

It is “mixed with spices.” This signifies that the wine’s natural quality has been strengthened; its force has been INTENSIFIED by various ingredients cast into it. Such is the sense of “mingled wine” in Isaiah 5:22, and in Proverbs 9:5, “Come… drink of the wine which I have mingled.” We must distinguish this from the expression “without mixture,” in Revelation 14:10, where the speaker means to say, that there is no infusion of water to weaken the strength of the wine.

Here in Psalm 95, there is everything that may enhance the bitterness of the cup; and let us ask, WHAT may be these various ingredients? From every side of the lost sinner’s nature, forms of misery shall arise. The BODY, as well as the SOUL, shall be steeped in never-ending anguish, amid the unceasing wretchedness of eternal exile and lonely imprisonment. Further, each attribute of Godhead casts something into the cup!

RIGHTEOUSNESS is there, so that the rich man in Hell (Luke 16) dare not hint that his torment is too great. MERCY AND LOVE stand by and cast on it their ingredients, testifying that the sinner was dealt with in longsuffering, and salvation placed within his reach. O the aggravation which this thought will lend to misery. OMNIPOTENCE contributes to it; the lost man in the hands of the Almighty is utterly helpless, as weak as a worm! ETERNITY is an ingredient, telling that this wrath endures as long as God lives. And TRUTH is there, declaring that all this is what God spoke, and so cannot be altered without overturning His throne.

Yet more! While shame and contempt, and the consciousness of being disowned by every holy being, fiercely sting the soul — there are ingredients cast in by the SINNER HIMSELF. His CONSCIENCE asserts and attests that this woe is all deserved, and the man loathes himself. MEMORY recalls past opportunities and times of hope despised. SIN goes on increasing, and passions rage; cravings gnaw the unsatisfied soul with eternal hunger! It may be that EVERY PARTICULAR SIN will contribute to the mixture — a woe for lusts gratified; a woe for every act of drunkenness, and every falsehood and dishonesty; a woe for every rejected invitation, and every threatening disregarded. Who can tell what more may be meant by the words: “mixed with spices?”

It has “dregs” in it. The dregs lie at the bottom, out of sight, but are the BITTEREST. Do these mean HIDDEN WOES not yet conceived of by any? Such as may be hinted at in the words, “Better he had never been born!” Such as Christ’s woes seem to speak of? These shall be the REVERSE of the saved man’s joys, “which never have entered the heart” to imagine!

God “pours out of the same.” “The wicked shall DRINK it down to its very dregs!” They are not meant to be merely shown; this is not a cup whose contents shall only be EXHIBITED and then withdrawn. No, the wicked MUST “drink it” and cannot refuse. “God pours out,” and the guilty soul “shall drink it down to its very dregs!”

We would not leave you merely contemplating the terrors of that wrath. We go on, in connection with it, to speak of one whose history has a strange bearing on our case.

There has been only One who has ever “drunk this cup to its very dregs!”

Cain has been drinking it for 5,000 years and finds his punishment greater than he can bear, but has not come to the DREGS.

Judas had been drinking it for some 2000 years, often crying out with a groan that shakes Hell, “Oh that I had never been born! Oh, that I had never seen or heard of the Lord Jesus Christ!” But he has not reached the dregs.

The FALLEN ANGELS have not come near the dregs: for they have not arrived at the judgment of the Great Day.

The only One who has taken, tasted, drunk, and wrung out the bitterest of the bitter dregs — has been the JUDGE HIMSELF, the Lord Jesus!

You know how often, when on earth, He spoke of it. “Are you able to drink the cup that I shall drink of?” (Matthew 20:22). “The CUP which My Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11). The universe saw Him with it at His lips. It was OUR cup of trembling; the cup in which the wrath due to the “multitude which no man can number” was MIXED. What wrath, what woe! A FEW DROPS made Him cry, “Now is my soul deeply troubled!” In the garden, the SIGHT of it wrung out the strange, mysterious words, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death!” though God-man, He STAGGERED at what He saw, and went on trembling.

The next day, on Calvary, He drank it ALL! I suppose the three hours of darkness may have been the time when He “was drinking down the dregs”; for then arose from His broken heart the wail which so appealed to the heart of the Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!” As He ended the LAST DROP, and cried out, “It is finished!” we may believe angels felt an inconceivable relief — and even the Father Himself! So tremendous was the wrath and curse! — the wrath and curse due to OUR SIN!

In all this, there was nothing TOO MUCH. Love would protest against ONE DROP TOO MUCH; and never do you find God exceeding. Did He not hasten to stay Abraham’s hand, when enough had been done on Moriah? and at that same spot again, David’s day, when Justice had sufficiently declared the sharpness of its two-edged sword — did He not again hasten to deliver, crying, “It is enough!” How much more then, when it was His beloved Son!

He sought from Him, all that was needed by JUSTICE. And so we find in this TRANSACTION, what may well be good news to us. For Jesus drank that cup as the substitute for “the great multitude,” His innumerable people, given Him of the Father; and thereby freed THEM from ever tasting even ONE DROP of that fierce wrath, that “cup of red wine, mixed with spices,” with its dregs — its unknown terrors.

Now, this One, this One alone, who so drank the whole — presents to the sinners of our world, the EMPTIED Cup — His own Cup emptied! He sends it round the world, calling on mankind — sinners to take it and offer it to the Father as satisfaction for their sins. Come, O fellow-sinner, grasp it and hold it up to God! Plead it, and you are acquitted!

Yes, if you are anxious at all to be saved and blessed, take up this EMPTIED cup. However cold your heart, however dull your feelings, however slight your sorrow for sin — take this EMPTIED cup. Your appeal to this EMPTIED CUP arrests judgment at once. Do not think you need to endure some anguish of soul, some great sorrow — to take some SIPS of the red wine, far less to taste its DREGS — before you can be accepted. What thoughtless presumption — imitating Christ in His atoning work! If Uzziah, the king, presenting incense when he ought to have let the priest do it for him, was smitten for his presumption — take care lest you be thrust away, if you presume to bring the imagined incense of your sorrow and bitter tears. It is the EMPTIED cup which is offered us, not the cup wet with OUR TEARS, or its purity dimmed by the breath of OUR PRAYERS. Feelings of ours, graces of ours, can do nothing but cast a veil over the PERFECT MERITS of Christ!

Children of God who have used this cup — keep pleading it always. Ever make it the ground of your assurance of acceptance. Examine it often and well — see how God was glorified here, and how plentifully it illustrates and honors the claims of God’s righteousness. Full payment of every claim advanced by Justice is here; and so, you, in using it, give good measure, pressed down and running over! What then remains but that you render thanks and take this salvation, often singing —

“Once it was mine, that cup of wrath,
 And Jesus drank it dry!”

Hallelujah! Praise His Name!

WHY READ GOOD DOCTRINAL REFORMED BOOKS?

WHY READ GOOD DOCTRINAL REFORMED BOOKS?

Terpstra Charles J [The Standard Bearer]

Why Read?

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” Mortimer J. Adler

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” Mark Twain

“. . . Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”Ecclesiastes 12:12b

“. . . Give attendance to reading. . . .” I Timothy 4:13a

Have you started to read a good Reformed book yet? If not, find one and get started! If you have, keep at it! As we pointed out in our initial article, we want to encourage our Standard Bearer readers to become greater readers, that is, to read more books and to read better books.

In this article encouraging you to read, we want to explore the “WHY” of good reading. That is, why should you as a Reformed Christian want to become a greater reader? Or, to put it another way, what are the reasons for reading solid Reformed/Christian books? We believe there are many reasons that may be given; we will highlight a few of them in this article.

First of all, we begin with the most important reason, the THEOLOGICAL reason (where all good Calvinists should begin!): We should read good books because GOD wants us to! Why do we say this, and how do we know this? We have several points in mind under this reason. First, God wants/expects/calls us to read as His people because He gave us the greatest book to read—His Holy Word, the Scriptures!

When God chose to communicate to us, His covenant friends, He chose to do so in WORDS. It is true that these words were initially given ORALLY (and in some cases VISUALLY—cf. the visions of Ezekiel and John), that is, out of God’s mouth through the mouths of His spokesmen (prophets, apostles, etc.). But in the end God committed these spoken words to writing and had them placed in His Book, the Bible (cf.Ex. 24:7; I Sam. 10:25; Neh. 8; Luke 3:4, 20:42; II Tim. 3:15, 16; II Pet. 1:20, 21; Rev. 1:11), or scripture (Mark 12:10, 24; Rom. 1:2, 15:4).

And therefore, this holy Book God charges His people to READ (cf. Neh. 8; Is. 34:16). That means that we must first and foremost be readers of this Book! Not just any book under the sun, but the Bible must be the first book we turn to! Every Christian must be devoted to reading the word of God, like the Bereans of old searching the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11). This is chiefly what Paul meant when he instructed Timothy to “give attendance to reading” (I Tim. 4:13). And what was true for that young pastor is to be true of every member of God’s covenant. God wills that we be readers because He gave us this marvellous Book of His words!

Second, and closely related to this, is the truth that this chief and fundamental book God gave us to read centers in His Son, Jesus Christ. The most important Word God gave us to read was His Son, the living and abiding Word of God (John 1:1, 14; Heb. 1:1, 2; I Pet. 1:23). Everywhere we go in the Scriptures we must read “Jesus Christ” the “Word of God.” That is true not only in the New Testament portion of the Bible, but also in the Old Testament (cf. Ps. 40:7; Luke 24:27; John 5:39). This is why the Scriptures are able to make us “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim. 3:15). This is why they are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” so that we may be complete and mature Christians (II Tim. 3:16). But only if this word be read! So read, people of God! Read the Bible chiefly and diligently! Set yourself to do so faithfully in this new year! Let SOLA SCRIPTURA be the motto we live by in 2015! Indeed, God wants us and calls us to be readers, because He gave us this holy Book, centered in His Son, our Savior.

There are more reasons why we should be and become better readers. And we may confidently say that the other reasons we will now list are all rooted in that first one. The fact that God gave us His Book to read is the principle that governs all our other reasons for reading. This will become plain as we proceed.

So then, why should we read? In the second place, because reading is vital to the growth of our faith and walk in godliness. God in His sacred Book calls us to spiritual growth. II Peter 3:18, e.g., states, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (cf. also Eph. 4:15; I Pet. 2:2; Jude 20). Earlier in that same epistle Peter wrote that we should be “giving all diligence” to “add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness” (I Pet. 1:5, 6). And how are we going to do this? By reading! By reading (and hearing!) the Scriptures, of course (cf. I Pet. 2:2). But also by reading other sound Reformed/Christian books that teach us and encourage us to spiritual growth.

So then, are you tired of not being as strong in your faith as you should be and could be? Are you frustrated by the fact that your walk with God is not as close as it ought to be? Do you struggle with being spiritually mature and wise in handling trials and temptations in your life? Then READ. Yes, again, read the BIBLE, so that your faith becomes more grounded in Jesus Christ and your walk is brought closer to the Lord! But also read the books that your fellow believers have written to help you grow in faith and godliness! They stand with you and support you in this calling to grow. They have wisdom and experience to share with you as we walk the common path of the Christian in this world. Our fellow Reformed Christians have written books because of their own struggles and hardships. Let us read them to benefit from them; to enhance our own spiritual life; to become stronger in faith and more holy in life! This too is why we must read!

In the third place, we should read good Reformed/Christian books because it is important to defend our faith and abide in the truth of God’s word. We are talking about the area of APOLOGETICS, the defense of the Reformed-Christian faith and walk. In this present world there are always threats to our faith and life. The devil and his hosts walk about as a roaring lion seeking to devour us with lies and deception (I Pet. 5:8). The world of unbelief with its “lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” seeks to lead us astray from the Father (I John 2:16).

False prophets and teachers in the church “bring in damnable heresies” and “pernicious ways,” trying to overthrow “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3; I John 4:1ff.; II Pet. 2:1ff.). And, yes, our own sinful nature is still inclined to and tempted by all these lies and errors and ungodliness. We are Christian soldiers, called to be on the defensive against all these spiritual dangers (Eph. 6:10ff.). We are exhorted to resist doctrinal lies and remain steadfast in the faith (I Pet. 5:9). We are admonished to abide in godliness and stay obedient to our Savior, suffering accordingly (I Pet. 3, 4).

And how shall we be able to do this? By READING! Yes, again, by reading the Scriptures (Eph. 6:17). But also by reading good Reformed books that lead us and help us in the battle for the truth and for godliness! By reading we stay abreast of dangerous trends in the church and in the world. By reading we are informed of and warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing. By reading we are encouraged by the courageous stands of our fellow believers in other times and places. By reading we are urged to be faithful when the majority fall away into error and lawlessness. Yes, we must read for this reason too! Do you see the need for reading, especially now in these last days? Will you become a greater reader with this in mind too? We pray that you will, for the honor of Christ and His word, and for the safety of your own soul.

Finally, we have a very practical reason for reading good Reformed/Christian books. That is that by reading such books we set a good example for our children and young people. This too is so important, especially in the world in which we now find ourselves. As we mentioned in our opening article, we and our children are exposed to so many temptations and hindrances to good reading.

We are in constant competition with TV, video games, the Internet, iPods, etc. But when our children and young people see us as adults taking time to read, to read the Bible and to read books that make us grow in our faith and walk, we provide a great example and encouragement for them to do the same. Then we are better able to gain their respect when we tell them to read good books. And, of course, at the same time, when we have on our shelves and on our tables (and in our hands!) good Reformed/Christian books that we are reading, we provide them with the very materials we want them to read too! And that is a win-win situation!

[Of all the New Year ‘resolutions’ we generally make, let us resolve that by God’s grace and enabling the coming year 2015 would be a year given to much reading and meditation of God’s Holy Word! – M.J.]

THE GOSPEL – NOT AN OFFER! BUT A PROCLAMATION!

THE GOSPEL – NOT AN OFFER! BUT A PROCLAMATION!

Herman Hoeksema


The glory of the cross is this, He shall save his people. Not, He will TRY to save them. Not: He is willing, if you are willing. Because we do not will until the power of Immanuel has touched us, but He shall save His people because He is a complete Savior; He will save them to the very end. This is a blessed gospel. Believe in that name, and you will never be put to shame.

JESUS according to the Scriptures actually and fully saves. He is Jesus, not because He OFFERS salvation or created a chance of salvation, but because He really accomplishes our salvation. Jesus according to the Scriptures actually SAVES, not all, but His people, the elect given to Him by the Father from before the foundation of the world. This Jesus according to the Scriptures must, indeed, be preached to the ingathering of the elect and the condemnation of the powers of darkness; but He cannot be hawked (OFFERED).

As far as the proclamation of the gospel is concerned, it can never be an offer of salvation. The gospel is the glad news God gives us of His promise. It must therefore be preached, proclaimed. It can never be offered!” – Herman Hoeksema

“What a far-cry is this from the majority of ‘gospels’ preached in the land!

“Jesus wants to save you my friend. . . He is knocking at your heart’s door waiting for you . . . Oh Christ is pleading for you . . . Oh He has done all that He can, if only you will open the door of your heart and let Him in . . . . blah blah blah”

Sorry! Not MY Jesus!

The Jesus of the Bible makes His people willing in the Day of His power! [Psalm 110:3] He draws His sheep with a force that when He does they will run after Him! [Sos 1:4]And that which He began in His Elect He will surely finish! [Phil 1;6] Not ONE single sheep of all that the Father gave Him shall be lost! And on that great Day when He stands before the Father His cry shall be “Behold I and the children which God hath given Me!” [Heb 2:13]

And if you are one of His sheep you shall be in that number praising God!

Say “Hallelujah!”

with Lots of Love
Michael Jeshurun

ADORING OUR GREAT LORD GOD

ADORING OUR GREAT LORD 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!

THE WORDS – “I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH” ARE NOT IDLE WORDS, BUT WORDS THAT ARE AS FIRMLY AND FOREVER SETTLED AS THE THRONE OF GOD!

THE WORDS – “I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH” ARE NOT IDLE WORDS, BUT WORDS THAT ARE AS FIRMLY AND FOREVER SETTLED AS THE THRONE OF GOD!

Lorraine Boettner

Jesus declared, “I give unto them (the true followers, or ‘sheep’) eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand,” John 10:28. Here we find that our security and God’s omnipotence are equal; for the former is founded on the latter. God is mightier than the whole world, and neither men nor Devil can rob Him of one of His precious jewels. It would be as easy to pluck a star out of the heavens as to pluck a saint out of the Father’s hand. Their salvation stands in His invincible might and they are placed beyond the peril of destruction.

We have Christ’s promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church; yet if the Devil could snatch one here and another there and large numbers in some congregations, the gates of hell would to a great extent prevail against it. In principle, if one could be lost, all might be lost, and thus Christ’s assurance would be reduced to idle words.

When we are told that “There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, who shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, If possible, even the elect,” Matt. 24:24, the unprejudiced believing mind readily understands that it is impossible to lead astray the elect.

The mystic union which exists between Christ and believers is a guarantee that they shall continue steadfast. “Because I live, ye shall live also,” John 14:19. The effect of this union is that believers participate in His life. Christ is in us, Romans 8:10. It is not we that live, but Christ that liveth in us, Gal. 2:20. Christ and the believers have a common life such as that which exists in the vine and the branches. The Holy Spirit so dwells in the redeemed that every Christian is supplied with an inexhaustible reservoir of strength.

Paul warned the Ephesians, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption,” Eph. 4:30. He had no fear of apostasy for he could confidently say, “Thanks be to God who always leadeth us in triumph in Christ,” II Cor. 2:14. The Lord, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah said, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love,” 31:3, — one of the best proofs that God’s love shall have no end is that it has no beginning, but is eternal. In the parable of the two houses, the very point stressed was that the house which was founded on the rock (Christ) did not fall when the storms of life came. Arminianism sets up another system in which some of those who are founded on the rock do fall. In the twenty-third Psalm we read, “And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The true Christian is no temporary visitor, but a permanent dweller in the house of the Lord. How those rob this psalm of its deeper and richer meaning who teach that the grace of God is a temporary thing!

Christ makes intercession for His people (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25), and we are told that the Father hears Him always (John 11:42). Hence the Arminian, holding that Christians may fall away, must deny either the passages which declare that Christ does make intercession for His people, or he must deny those which declare that His prayers are always heard. Let us consider here how well protected we are: Christ is at the right hand of God pleading for us, and in addition to that, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, Rom. 8:26.

In the wonderful promise of Jer. 32:40, God has promised to preserve believers from their own backslidings:

“And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, AND I WILL NOT TURN AWAY FROM FOLLOWING THEM, TO DO THEM GOOD; and I will put my fear in their hearts, that THEY MAY NOT DEPART FROM ME.” And in Ezek. 11:19, 20,

He promises to take from them the “stony heart,” and to give them a “heart of flesh,” so that they shall walk in his statutes and keep his ordinances, and so that they shall be His people and He their God. Peter tells us that Christians cannot fall away, for they “by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time,” I Peter 1:5. Paul says, “God is able to make all grace to abound unto you; that ye, having always all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work,” II Cor. 9:8. He declares that the Lord’s servant “shall be made to stand; for the Lord hath power to make him stand,” Rom. 14:4.

And Christians have the further promise, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, and will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it,” I Cor. 10:13. Their removal from certain temptations which would be too strong for them is an absolute and free gift from God, since it is entirely an arrangement of His providence as to what temptations they encounter in the course of their lives, and what ones they escape. “The Lord is faithful and will establish you and guard you from the evil one,” II Thess. 3:3. And again, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him and delivereth them,” Ps. 34:7. Amid all his trials and hardships Paul could say, ‘We are pressed on every side, yet not straightened; perplexed, yet not unto despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed; . . . knowing that He that raised up the Lord Jesus Christ shall raise us also with Jesus,” II Cor. 4:8,9,14.

The saints, even in this world, are compared to a tree that does not wither, Ps. 1:3; to the cedars which flourish on Mount Lebanon, Ps. 92:12; to Mount Zion which cannot be moved, but which abideth forever, Ps. 125:1; and to a house built on a rock. Matt. 7:24. The Lord is with them in their old age, Is. 46:4, and is their guide even unto death, Ps 48:14, so that they cannot be totally and finally lost.

Another strong argument is to be noticed concerning the Lamb’s book of life. The disciples were told to rejoice, not so much over the fact that the demons were subject to them, but that their names were written in the Lamb’s book of life. This book is a catalogue of the elect, determined by the unalterable counsel of God, and can neither be increased nor diminished. The names of the righteous are found there; but the names of those who perish have never been written there from the foundation of the world.

God does not make the mistake of writing in the book of life a name which He will later have to blot out. Hence none of the Lord’s own ever perish. Jesus told His disciples to find their chief joy in the fact that their names were written in heaven, Luke 10:20; yet there would have been small grounds for joy in this respect if their names written in heaven one day could have been blotted out the next. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Our citizenship is in heaven,” 3:20; and to Timothy he wrote, “The Lord knoweth them that are His,” II Tim. 2:19. For the Scripture teaching concerning the book of life, see Luke 10:20; Phil 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12-15; 21:27.

Here, then, are very simple and plain statements that the Christian shall continue in grace, the reason being that the Lord takes it upon Himself to preserve him in that state. In these promises the elect are secured on both sides. Not only will God not depart from them, but He will so put His fear into their hearts that they shall not depart from him. Surely no Spirit-taught Christian can doubt that this doctrine is taught in the Bible. It seems that man, poor, wretched and impotent as he is, would welcome a doctrine which secures for him the possessions of eternal happiness despite all attacks from without and all evil tendencies from within. But it is not so. He refuses it, and argues against it. And the causes are not far to seek.

In the first place he has more confidence in himself than he has any right to have. Secondly, the scheme is so contrary to what he is used to in the natural world that he persuades himself that it cannot be true. Thirdly, he perceives that if this doctrine be admitted, the other doctrines of free grace will logically follow. Hence he twists and explains away the Scripture passages which teach it, and clings to some which appear on the surface to favor his preconceived views. In fact, a system of salvation by grace is so utterly at variance with his everyday experience, in which he sees every thing and person treated according to works and merits, that he has great difficulty in bringing himself to believe that it can be true. He wishes to earn his own salvation, though certainly he expects very high wages for very sorry work.

NO MIXED GARMENT

NO MIXED GARMENT

Robert Hawker


“Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together” [Duet 22:11]

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

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

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

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

When therefore the Lord saith, “THOU THAT SHALT NOT WEAR A GARMENT OF DIVERS SORTS;” my heart replies, ‘No, Lord! Let me be clothed with the robe of righteousness, and the garment of THY salvation; then shall I be found suited for the marriage supper, when the King comes in to see His guests at His table.’

BEST QUOTES ON IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

BEST QUOTES ON IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

Seriously, here are some fantastic quotes on Irresistible Grace by Spurgeon and others –

I take it that the highest proof of Christ’s power is not that He offers salvation, not that He bids you take it if you will, but that when you reject it, when you hate it, when you despise it, He has a power whereby he can change your mind, make you think differently from your former thoughts, and turn you from the error of your ways. – C.H. Spurgeon

I believe, that the work of regeneration, conversion, sanctification and faith, is not an act of man’s free will and power, but of the mighty, efficacious ad irresistible grace of God. C.H. Spurgeon

We declare, upon Scriptural authority, that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, and so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful, supernatural, irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit, no human will ever be constrained towards Christ. – C.H. Spurgeon

In addition to the outward general call to salvation, which is made to everyone who hears the Gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation to man’s will, nor is He dependent on man’s cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God’s grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended. – H. Wayne House

The gospel to me is simply irresistible. – Blaise Pascal

No man ever believes with a true and saving faith unless God inclines his heart; and no man when God does incline his heart can refrain from believing. – Blaise Pascal

God works with power, and can make the unwilling willing; if He undertake the conversion of a soul, it will be converted. All the pious workings of our heart towards God are the fruit and consequence of the powerful working of His grace in us. – Thomas Goodwin

You called, You cried, You shattered my deafness, You sparkled, You blazed, You drove away my blindness, You shed Your fragrance, and I drew in my breath, and I pant for You. – Augustine

When the voice of Christ speaks through the Word, then you will arise, and leave all, and follow Him. – Robert Murray McCheyne

The drawing is not like that of the executioner, who draws the thief up the ladder to the gallows; but is a gracious allurement, such as that of the man whom everybody loves, and to whom everybody willing goes. – Martin Luther

A seeker becomes a true Christian because God does something, creating desire for Him and distaste for sin. If God is at work, you cannot help rejecting your independence and coming to Him. You will place your trust in Him because there is nothing else left to trust. You will love Him because He is irresistible to you. – Jim Elliff

‘THE BLIND’ WHOM THE LORD LEADS ARE NONE OTHER THAN HIS OWN ELECT

‘THE BLIND’ WHOM THE LORD LEADS ARE NONE OTHER THAN HIS OWN ELECT

Robert Hawker (1753-1827)

“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” [Isaiah 42:16; also see – Isaiah 42:19]

Never, surely, was there a promise of a covenant God in Christ more strikingly fulfilled as to what is said in the former portion of this verse, than in thine instance, my soul. By nature and by practice, thou wert so totally blind to any apprehension of divine things, that not a right thought hadst thou ever conceived of God and Christ, when the Lord first manifested his grace to thy heart! No being in the universe was so near to me as God, but none so little known or understood. No heart was nearer to me than my own, but to all its errors and deceitfulness I remained the most perfect stranger!

In the works of providence, as well as of grace, I had no consciousness whatever of any guide, nor even of needing a guide. Self-willed, wayward, and full of confidence, I was hastening on with the multitude, intent but upon one thing, “in making provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” [Rom 13:14]

Pause, my soul, and look back! When I take a review of what is past, and trace the hand of the Lord, all the way leading me as have come on, I am lost in astonishment in the contemplation of His mercies, and my undeservings. What a huge volume might be written of both, and in the margin to note down how they have kept pace together. My soul! If thou wert to read them by chapters only, what endless ones would they form under the several sections of the Lord’s love, His care, His wisdom, His methods, and His grace, in the freeness and distinguishing nature of that grace; and as I read the Lord’s mercies, to note, at the same time, my rebellions! Oh! What a subject would the whole form, in proof of this gracious promise, in facing the wisdom, power, and love of God, in awakening, regenerating, converting, and confirming grace!

Surely, Lord, thou hast indeed brought a poor blind creature, such as I am, in a way that I knew not, and led me in paths that never should have known; and still, Lord, Thou art graciously performing the same, in making darkness light, and crooked things straight. And shall I not, from the latter part of this sweet promise, derive a strength of faith, from all that is past, to trust thee for all that is to come? Hath the Lord been gracious when in a state of total blindness, to bring me by a way I knew not; and now, when He hath mercifully opened mine eyes to see His glory, and to love His name, will He not lead me still?

Had He mercy upon me, when I asked it not and neither knew that I needed it: and will He refuse me that mercy NOW, when I so earnestly seek it, and know that without His grace and mercy in Jesus, I shall perish for ever? Precious Lord! Give me faith to believe, to trust, and to depend! Thou, who hast done such great things for me already, whereof I rejoice, wilt NEVER leave me, nor forsake me, O Lord God of my salvation!

Hallelujah!