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 GENERAL AND THE SPECIAL CALL

THE GENERAL AND THE SPECIAL CALL

compiled by Michael Jeshurun

Those who insist that grace can be resisted are usually the ones who do not DIFFERENTIATE between the EXTERNAL CALL of the Gospel and the EFFECTUAL CALL!

In order to protect the idol of man’s own ability and of his good will as being the cause of his own salvation, the Arminians would prefer to do away with the distinction between the external and internal call, between the non-effectual and the effectual call. They would view them as being the same, and thus recognize only one calling. The effect would then not be due to the efficacious operation of God working more in one person than in another. Instead, it would be related to the outcome; namely, that the one person obeys the call by his free will (which enables him either to respond or to reject this call) and thus be saved. Another person will despise and reject this call by the same neutral free will. Scripture, however, rebukes and refutes such foolish thoughts and demonstrates first of all that the calling is effectual unto salvation as a result of God’s purpose, “…who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28); “for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29).

The actual exercise of faith in those who are called proceeds from this purpose. “And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48). Scripture conveys in the second place that there is no distinction in man himself, but that this distinction originates with God. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7). Man, however, by attributing the cause of one having more faith than another to his goodness and power, would create such a distinction. There is thus a calling which is of an effectual nature and penetrates the inner man—his intellect, will, and inclinations, changing and sanctifying them. This is the internal call . And this call is both effectual and IRRESISTIBLE!

But there is a GENERAL CALLING by means of the Word of God which is not accompanied by God’s effectual operation (which generates faith and love), but which comes to the external ear only. It leaves man in his natural state, who, in his wickedness, REJECTS THIS EXTERNAL CALL. He despises this call due to his free will which wills by way of necessary consequence. This is true of most who are called (Matt. 22:5, 14).

All the scripture verses quoted above by John Henry DO NOT refer to the internal call, nor to the moment of spiritual transformation, nor to regeneration. Instead, these texts refer to the EXTERNAL CALL only! This is the Word going out in WORD ONLY without the power, the effectual working of the Spirit or much assurance! The Apostle reminded the Thessalonians that he knew that were the elect of God because – “Knowing, brethren beloved, your ELECTION of God. Because our gospel came not unto you in WORD ONLY, but also IN POWER, and in the Holy Ghost, and in MUCH ASSURANCE “! [1Thes 1:4,5]

It goes without saying that to the majority the Word or the Gospel comes in WORD ONLY! And this ‘Word’ or ‘Gospel’ can and is rejected!

We readily admit that the person who is not elected resists this call, for the carnal mind is enmity against God. The natural man hates both God and holiness, and can do nothing else but reject and resist this offer. It does not follow, however, that those who are regenerated would be able to resist the omnipotent operation of the Holy Spirit, whereby He makes a dead person alive, and from being unwilling, to be willing. This we deny, and these texts do not suggest this.

Consider all this together for a moment. Man is as blind, evil, impotent, and dead as has been stated above. God permits the gospel to be preached to many, but this has no effect upon most who hear it. However, others are converted because God joins His Holy Spirit to that Word, working in them what He does not work in others. He illuminates them with a marvelous light which He does not do unto others. He removes the heart of stone from them and gives them a heart of flesh, not doing so to others. He works in them to will and to do the work of faith with power, not doing so in others. It is thus an irrefutable fact that God interacts with the heart of man in an immediate sense and thus changes it.

The Arminians deny this, but we confirm this. Man by nature hates God and is opposed to God, His Word, and the gospel. Such is the state of all men. If, however, the one person is converted and not the other, this is not to be attributed to man—as if it were true that the one accepts this grace by his free will and the other rejects it; rather this is to be attributed to the effectual operation of God, who works one thing in the one and not in the other. He not only effectually illuminates the intellect—doing so irresistibly—and irresistibly activates man’s inclinations, but He also irresistibly works upon the unwilling will in such a manner that the will wills voluntarily.

“So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy“! [Rom 9:16] “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure”! [Phil 2:13]

GOD’S EFFECTUAL CALLING

GOD’S EFFECTUAL CALLING

“Effectual calling is the middle link in the undividable chain of salvation. He that hath it is sure of both ends, his past predestination to life and his future glorification. Our calling is the manifestation of our election, and a sure forerunner of glory, being in effect, the voice of God telling us beforehand that He will glorify us.” – William Cowper (1774)   

This is the same brother who penned the hymn –

GOD MOVES IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Praise the Lord!
 

WHICH IS FIRST – FAITH OR REGENERATION?

WHICH IS FIRST – FAITH OR REGENERATION?

Michael Jeshurun

That the work of the Holy Spirit PRECEDES our believing is unequivocally established by 2 Thessalonians 2:13—”God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Note that “sanctification of the Spirit” comes before and makes possible “belief of the truth.” What then is the “sanctification of the Spirit”? We answer, THE NEW BIRTH. In Scripture “sanctification” ALWAYS means “separation,” separation from something and unto something or someone.” [A.W. Pink]

First there is a “NEW CREATION” (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10), and then the “NEW CREATURE” is stirred into exercise. Faith and all other graces are wrought in us by the Spirit through the instrumentality of Word, but not so with the principle of life and grace from which these graces proceed.

In His work of “quickening,” by which we mean the impartation of spiritual life to the soul, the Spirit acts immediately from WITHIN, and not by applying something from WITHOUT. Quickening is a direct operation of the Spirit WITHOUT THE USE OF ANY INSTRUMENT: the WORD IS USED BY HIM AFTERWARDS to call into exercise the life then communicated.

Regeneration is a direct operation of the Holy Spirit upon the human spirit. It is the action of Spirit upon spirit, of a Divine Person upon a human person, whereby spiritual life is imparted. Nothing, therefore, of the nature of means or instruments can come between the Holy Spirit and the soul that is made alive. God did not employ an instrument or means when He infused physical life into the body of Adam. There were only two factors: the dust of the ground and the creative power of God which vivified that dust. The Divine omnipotence and dead matter were brought into direct contact, with nothing interposing. The dust was not a means or instrument by which God originated life. So in regeneration there are only two factors: the human soul destitute of spiritual life, and the Holy Spirit who quickens it.

The word and truth of God, the most important of all the means of grace, is not a means of regeneration, as distinct from conviction, conversion and sanctification. This is evident when we remember that it is the office of a means or instrument, to excite or stimulate an already existing principle of life. Physical food is a means of physical growth, but it SUPPOSES physical vitality, if the body is dead, bread cannot be a means or instrument. Intellectual truth is a means of intellectual growth, but it supposes intellectual vitality. If the mind be idiotic, secular knowledge cannot be a means or instrument. Spiritual truth is a means of spiritual growth, in case there be spiritual vitality. But if the mind be dead to righteousness, spiritual truth cannot be a means or instrument.

“The unenlightened understanding is unable to apprehend, and the unregenerate will is unable to believe. Vital force is lacking in these two principal factors. What is needed at this point is life and force itself. Consequently, the Author of spiritual life Himself must operate directly, without the use of means or instruments; and OUTRIGHT give spiritual life and power from the dead: that is, ex nihilo. The new life is not imparted because man perceives the truth, but he perceives the truth because the new life is imparted. A man is not regenerated because he has first believed in Christ, but he believes in Christ because he has been regenerated.” (W. T. Shedd, Presbyterian, 1889)

“Fallen man is not regenerated by any instinct, choice, or exertion of his own; he does not by any personal endeavor contribute anything towards being born again; nor does he cooperate in the least degree with the efficient cause: instead, every inclination of his heart, every exercise of his will, is in direct opposition thereto.

The new birth is not brought about by the power and influence of others. No sinner is ever born again as the result of the persuasions and endeavors of preachers or Christian workers. However pious and wise they are, and however earnestly and strenuously they exert themselves to bring others to holiness, they do in no degree produce the effect. “If all the angels and saints in Heaven and all the godly on earth should join their wills and endeavors and unitedly exert all their powers to regenerate one sinner, they could not effect it; yea, they could do nothing toward it. It is an effect INFINITELY beyond the reach of finite wisdom and power!” [S. Hopkins].

“In regeneration one of God’s elect is the subject, and the Spirit of God is the sole agent. The subject of the new birth is wholly passive: he does not act, but is acted upon. The sovereign work of the Spirit in the soul precedes all holy exercises of heart—such as sorrow for sin, faith in Christ, love toward God. This great change is wrought in spite of all the opposition of the natural heart against God: “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. 9:16). This great change is not a gradual and protracted process, but is instantaneous: in an instant of time the favored subject of it passes from death unto life.” [A.W. Pink]

Now here’s the kicker – the ‘Gospel’ itself actually saves no one but brings to light the life and immortality which the regenerated soul has been made a partaker of. A spiritually dead soul CANNOT hear the gospel and be saved! But the Holy Spirit sovereignly regenerates the dead soul without any external means! And THEN the gospel is brought to this soul which has been made alive to reveal what has happened to it.

Read these two verses very prayerfully and meditate on them –

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!” [2Tim 1:9,10]

Notice the ‘order’ Beloved, “Who hath saved us, and called us . . .” God first sovereignly saves us by the operation of the Holy Spirit and THEN calls us through the Gospel! In other words God does not call and save but He saves and then calls! Sovereign regeneration FIRST and then conversion through the Gospel!

And notice again WHAT the role of the gospel is in salvation – “it BRINGS TO LIGHT life and immortality” through the gospel! When Scripture says – “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” [1Pet 1:23] it is not speaking of the ‘spoken Word’ which the preacher preaches, but the Eternal Word – even the glorious second person of the Godhead!

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His Hame is called The Word of God.” [Rev 19:12,13]

 

THE AMAZING ST. DENNIS AND THE FIRST STEP TOWARD SALVATION

THE AMAZING ST. DENNIS AND THE FIRST STEP TOWARD SALVATION

C.H. Spurgeon

 “Salvation is of the Lord” not only in the execution of it but also IN THE APPLICATION OF IT.

“No,” says the Arminian, “it is not; salvation is of the Lord, inasmuch as He does all for man that he can do; but there is something that MAN MUST DO, which if he does not do, he must perish.” THAT is the Arminian way of salvation.

Now last week I thought of this very theory of salvation, when I stood by the side of that window of Carisbrooke castle, out of which King Charles of unhappy and unrighteous memory, attempted to escape. I read in the guide book that everything was provided for his escape; his followers had means at the bottom of the wall to enable him to fly across the country, and on the coast they had their boats lying ready to take him to another land; in fact everything was ready for his escape. But here was the important circumstance: his friends had done all they could; HE was to do the rest; but that doing the rest was just the point and brunt of the battle. It was to get out of the window, out of which he was not able to escape by any means, so that all his friends did for him went for nothing, so far as he was concerned.

So with the sinner! If God had provided every means of escape, and only required him to get out of his dungeon, he would have remained there to all eternity. Why, is not the sinner by nature dead in sin? And if God requires him to make himself alive, and then afterward He will do the rest for him, then verily, my friends, we are not so much obliged to God as we had thought for; for if he require so much as that of us, and we can do it, we can do the rest without his assistance.

The Romanists have an extraordinary miracle of their own about St. Dennis, of whom they tell the lying legend that after his head was (cut) off be took it up in his hands and walked with it two thousand miles; whereupon, said a wit, “So far as the two thousand miles go, it is nothing at all; it is only THE FIRST STEP in which there is any difficulty.” So I believe, if THAT is taken, all the rest can be easily accomplished. And if God does require of the sinner—dead in sin—that he should take the FIRST STEP, then he requireth just that which renders salvation as impossible under the gospel as ever it was under the law, seeing man is as unable to believe as he is to obey, and is just as much without power to come to Christ as he is without power to go to heaven without Christ.

The power must be given to him of the Spirit. He lieth dead in sin; the Spirit must quicken him. He is bound hand and foot and fettered by transgression; the Spirit must cut his bonds, and then he will leap to liberty. God must come and dash the iron bars out of their sockets, and then he can escape from the window, and make good his escape afterward; but unless the first thing be done for him, he must perish as surely under the gospel as he would have done under the law.

I WOULD CEASE TO PREACH, IF I BELIEVED THAT GOD, IN THE MATTER OF SALVATION, REQUIRED ANYTHING WHATEVER OF MAN WHICH HE (GOD) HIMSELF HAD NOT ALSO ENGAGED TO FURNISH.

For how many have I frequently hanging upon my lips of the worst of characters—men whose lives have become so horribly bad, that the lip of morality would refuse to give a description of their character? When I enter my pulpit am I to believe that these men are to do something before God’s Spirit will operate upon them? If so, I should go there with a faint heart, feeling that I never could induce them to do the FIRST PART.

But now I come to my pulpit with a sure confidence—God the Holy Spirit will meet with these men this morning. They are as bad as they can be; he will put a new thought into their hearts; he will give them new wishes; he will give them new wills, and those who hated Christ will desire to love him; those who once loved sin will, by God’s divine Spirit, be made to hate it; and here is my confidence, that what THEY CANNOT DO, in that they are weak through the flesh, GOD SENDING HIS SPIRIT INTO THEIR HEARTS WILL DO FOR THEM, AND IN THEM, and so they SHALL BE SAVED!

[From C.H. Spurgeon’s sermon – “Salvation is of the Lord”]

WHEN GOD CALLS YOU BY NAME OR THE ‘GENERAL’ AND THE ‘SPECIAL CALL’

WHEN GOD CALLS YOU BY NAME OR THE ‘GENERAL’ AND THE ‘SPECIAL CALL’

C.H. Spurgeon

“UNTO THEM WHO ARE CALLED.” I received a note this week asking me to explain that word “called”; because in the passage it says, “Many are called but few are chosen,” while in another it appears that all who are called must be chosen. Now, let me observe that there are two calls. As my old friend, John Bunyan, says, the hen has two calls, the common cluck, which she gives daily and hourly, and the special one, which she means for her little chickens. So there is a general call, a call made to every man; every man hears it. Many are called by it; all you are called this morning in that sense, but very few are chosen.

The other is a special call, the children’s call. You know how the bell sounds over the workshop, to call the men to work—that is a general call. A father goes to the door and calls out, “John, it is dinner time”—that is the special call. Many are called with the general call, but they are not chosen; the special call is for the children only, and that is what is meant in the text, “Unto us who are called, both Jews and Greeks, the power of God and the wisdom of God.” That call is always a special one. While I stand here and call men, nobody comes; while I preach to sinners universally, no good is done; it is like the sheet lightning you sometimes see on the summer’s evening, beautiful, grand; but whoever heard of anything being struck by it? But the special call is the forked flash from heaven; it strikes somewhere; it is the arrow sent in between the joints of the harness.

The call which saves is like that of Jesus, when he said “Mary,” and she said unto him “Rabonni.” Do you know anything about that special call, my beloved? Did Jesus ever call you by name? Canst thou recollect the hour when he whispered thy name in thine ear, when he said, “Come to me”? If so, you will grant the truth of what I am going to say next about it—that it is an effectual call; there is no resisting it.

When God calls with his special call, there is no standing out. Ah! I know I laughed at religion; I despised, I abhorred it; but that call! Oh, I would not come. But God said, “Thou shalt come. All that the Father giveth to me shall come.” “Lord, I will not.” “But thou shalt,” said God. And I have gone up to God’s house sometimes almost with a resolution that I would not listen, but listen I must. Oh, how the word came into my soul! Was there a power of resistance? No; I was thrown down; each bone seemed to be broken; I was saved by effectual grace. I appeal to your experience, my friends. When God took you in hand, could you withstand him? You stood against your minister times enough. Sickness did not break you down; disease did not bring you to God’s feet; eloquence did not convince you; but when God puts his hand to the work, ah! then what a change.

Like Saul, with his horses going to Damascus, that voice from heaven said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” There was no going further then. That was an effectual call. Like that, again, which Jesus gave to Zaccheus, when he was up in the tree; stepping under the tree, he said, “Zaccheus, come down, today I must abide in thy house.” Zaccheus was taken in the net; he heard his own name; the call sank into his soul; he could not stop up in the tree, for an almighty impulse drew him down. And I could tell you some singular instances of persons going to the house of God and having their characters described, limned out to perfection, so that they have said, “He is painting me, he is painting me.” Just as I might say to that young man here, who stole his master’s gloves yesterday, that Jesus calls him to repentance.

It may be that there is such a person here; and when the call comes to a peculiar character, it generally comes with a special power. God gives his ministers a brush, and shows them how to use it in painting life-like portraits, and thus the sinner hears the special call. I cannot give the special call; GOD ALONE CAN GIVE IT, and I leave it with him. Some must be called. Jew and Greek may laugh, but still there are some who are called, both Jews and Greeks.

Praise the Lord!

Regeneration First – then faith, repentance and good works.

Regeneration First – then faith, repentance and good works.

Michael Jeshurun

We must distinguish between regeneration and conversion; if we are to gain a proper understanding of salvation. Often the two are confused to be the same leading to further confusion in differentiating between that in which the sinner is completely passive (or acted upon) and that in which the sinner in a sense ‘co-operates’ yet by the acting of God!

“In the former the sinner is passive – in the latter he is active, or co-operates with the grace of God. In regeneration a principle of grace is implanted in the soul, and previous to this the sinner is incapable of moral activity; for, in the language of inspiration, he is “dead in trespasses and sins.” In conversion the soul turns to God, which imports activity; but still the sinner only acts as he is acted upon by God, who “worketh in him both to will and to do”. [Westminster]

By Regeneration I mean the initial giving of spiritual life. Also called the new birth, quickening, effectual calling, and irresistible grace are all synonymous theological terms referring to the work of the Holy Spirit in the radical transformation of the soul.” Regeneration is giving of spiritual life to one who has been dead in trespasses and sins.

Immediate-I am not using the term, immediate, here in the sense of being sudden, even though regeneration is a sudden or instantaneous act. The word, immediate, is used here is the sense of  “having nothing come between; with no intermediary.” This means that the Holy Spirit is the sole agent in regeneration. Here it will be good to quote A W. Pink from his book, The Holy Spirit, pp. 56,57:

In His work of “quickening,” by which we mean the impartation of spiritual life to the soul, the Spirit acts immediately from within, and not by applying something from without. Quickening is a direct operation of the Spirit without the use of any instrument: the Word is used by Him afterwards to call into exercise the life then communicated…The soul, then, is quickened into newness of life by the direct and supernatural operation of the Spirit, without any medium or means whatever…No, men are not “quickened” by the Word, they must be quickened in order to receive and understand the Word.

Pink says on page forty-nine of the same book:

In regeneration one of God’s elect is the subject, and the Spirit of God is the sole agent. The subject of the new birth is wholly passive: he does not act but is acted upon. The sovereign work of the Spirit in the soul precedes all holy exercises of heart- such as sorrow for sin, faith in Christ, love toward God… This great change is not a gradual and protracted process, but is instantaneous: in an instant of time the favored subject of it passes from death unto life.

Beloved, I want you to bear in mind that amongst sincere Calvinists, there are those who insist in ‘Gospel Regeneration’ and those who contend for ‘Immediate Holy Spirit Regeneration’. I belong to the latter. For the sole reason that in my personal salvation experience I was regenerated without the agency of any preacher or preaching involved!

This regeneration is a Resurrection! Lazarus was helpless and passive until Jesus raised him. Jesus called him with irresistible power. Lazarus could not and did not resist the voice of Christ. Likewise, the one who is dead in trespasses and sins is helpless and passive until Christ by the Holy Spirit calls him from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. The one who is dead in sin cannot and will not resist the call of Christ. This call comes with irresistible power.

It is a New Birth! In natural birth, we know that the one who is born does not will to be born–in fact, he has no decision in the matter whatsoever. He doesn’t decide the time, place, or circumstances of his birth. He has no power to determine the family into which he will be born. The analogy holds true with regard to the spiritual birth. God determines the time, place and circumstances. The sinner can no more resist this than can an infant resist and refuse to be born naturally. This fact is shown so clearly in John 1:13 where speaking of believers it is said, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” This verse kills the doctrine of those who teach that men are saved when they exercise their “free wills” and accept God’s “offer” of salvation.

It is a Creative act of God! The impartation of saving grace to individuals is also referred to in the Scriptures as a creation. “For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (II Cor. 4:6). Here, of course, Paul is referring back to the Genesis account of the creation of the heaven and the earth. How was light created? God commanded it to shine with irresistible power! “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen. 1:3). There was no resistance here. God was the active agent. The thing created was passive (indeed non-existent) until God called it into being.

So it is in the spiritual creation, says Paul. How does an individual get to know Jesus Christ with saving knowledge? God commands it as He speaks life into the heart by the Holy Spirit. God is just as sovereign in the creation of spiritual life as He was in the creation of the universe. No one helped Him create the heaven and the earth and no one helps Him give spiritual life to His people. Consider the following Scripture which teach this wonderful truth: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (or “creation”–Grk. KTISIS): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Cor. 5:17).

CONVERSION

When you search the Scriptures you will notice that nowhere in all of scripture are men commanded to “be regenerated”, but you are commanded throughout scripture to “repent and be converted” (Acts 3:19). Who will be converted? Only the regenerated can obey and follow the commands of God. God keeps regeneration solely under His complete command and control, but He has commanded you to “be converted”.

What does it mean to be converted? The fundamental biblical meaning is “to turn”—usually to turn to God. What do we turn away from when we to turn to God; what do we set aside when we are converted? Or, in different words, why do we need conversion? What separates us from God in the first place? Jesus commissioned the apostle Paul to go to the gentiles and “open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18).

The first thing in conversion is to cast away our misconception of what righteousness is and grasp the true meaning of righteousness. And this is revealed only in the Gospel! Consider the following verse carefully –

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith”! [Rom 1:16,17]

Here is where the Gospel comes into the picture or so to say the Gospel becomes necessary. The Gospel enables the regenerate soul to ‘see’ the righteousness of God which is credited to him whereby he is saved!

By the righteousness of God, is not meant the essential righteousness of God, the rectitude of his nature, his righteousness in fulfilling his promises, and his punitive justice, which though revealed in the Gospel, yet not peculiar to it; nor the righteousness by which Christ himself is righteous, either as God, or as Mediator; but that righteousness which he wrought out by obeying the precepts, and bearing the penalty of the law in the room of his people, and by which they are justified in the sight of God: and this is called the righteousness of God, in opposition to the righteousness of men; and because it justifies men in the sight of God; and because of the concern which Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, have in it. Jehovah the Father sent his Son to work it out, and being wrought out, he approves and accepts of it, and imputes it to his elect; Jehovah the Son is the Author of it by his obedience and death; and Jehovah the Spirit discovers it to sinners, works faith in them to lay hold upon it, and pronounces the sentence of justification by it in their consciences.

Now this is said to be revealed in the Gospel, that is, it is taught in the Gospel; that is the word of righteousness, the ministration of it; it is manifested in and by the Gospel. This righteousness is not known by the light of nature, nor by the law of Moses; it was hid under the shadows of the ceremonial law, and is brought to light only by the Gospel; it is hid from every natural man, even from the most wise and prudent, and from God’s elect themselves before conversion, and is only made known to believers, to whom it is revealed; from faith to faith; that is, as say some, from the faith of God to the faith of men; from the faith of preachers to the faith of hearers; from the faith of the Old to the faith of the New Testament saints; or rather from one degree of faith to another; for faith, as it grows and increases, has clearer sights of this righteousness, as held forth in the Gospel. [John Gill]

To condense all of the above, God Sovereignly saves us in Regeneration and then calls us or illuminates us by the Gospel. “Who hath saved us (regeneration), and called us (by the Gospel) with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace etc”. [2Tim 1:9] As I always say we must beware of putting the proverbial ‘cart before the horse’! A man does not believe the Gospel and get saved but believes the Gospel because he is saved!

This is the reason the Gospel is referred to in the Scriptures as a mystery! Because only to the regenerate it is the ‘power of God unto salvation’. The rest can only behold it, wonder about it and perish! “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a mandeclare it unto you”.  [Act 13:41]

Regeneration is a onetime sovereign act of God whereas Conversion is always partial (on this earth) and continual, and can be seen in different parts of our lives at different times. A genuine backslider does not need to be regenerated but he needs to be converted. A backslider no matter how far he has strayed is still God’s son and the Lambs bride! “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you”! [Jer 3:14] (I say this with tears in my eyes, for I was the greatest backslider of them all) Prior to Peter’s backsliding, the Lord told him – “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren”! [Lk 22:31,32]

And I may finally add that it is in conversion that we unlearn much of the error which we held on to initially after our regeneration. Errors such as ‘Free will’ Universal Atonement, The Pentecostal errors etc.

The path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day! Hallelujah!

UNLESS GOD CHOOSES YOU AND CAUSES YOU TO APPROACH HIM YOU NEVER WILL

UNLESS GOD CHOOSES YOU AND CAUSES YOU TO APPROACH HIM YOU NEVER WILL

Michael Jeshurun

“Blessed is the man whom THOU CHOOSEST, and CAUSEST to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts”! [Psa 65:4]

Watch carefully, that God not only ‘CHOOSES’ but ‘CAUSES’ the one chosen ‘TO APPROACH’ Him. In other words, or in the words of our Lord “DRAGS HIM’ to Himself!

“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me DRAW him”! [John 6:44] The word ‘DRAW’ in the Greek literally means to DRAG! Its first occurrence is here in John 6:44. Here it is the power of God overcoming the enmity of the carnal mind. It occurs again in John 18:10 –

“Then Simon Peter having a sword DREW it, and smote the high priest’s servant.”

Here the term signifies that Peter laid FIRM HOLD of his sword and PULLED IT OUT of its sheath. It is found again in John 21:6, 11, “Simon Peter went up and DREW the net to land full of great fishes.” Here it signifies the putting forth of strength so as to DRAG AN INANIMATE AND HEAVY OBJECT. It is used (in a slightly different form) in James 2:6, “Do not rich men oppress you and DRAW YOU before the judgment seats?” Here it has reference to the IMPELLING OF UNWILLING subjects.

Hence from its usage in the New Testament we are therefore obliged to understand that fallen man if he is to ‘come to God’ at all, he MUST BE DRAWN OR DRAGGED BY THE POWER OF OMNIPOTENCE! In raising the sinner from spiritual death to eternal life God employs the same power which He put forth in raising Christ from the dead! [Eph 2:4-6]

This is why when the apostles exclaimed – “WHO then can be saved”? The Lord replied – “With MEN IT IS IMPOSSIBLE, but not with God: for WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE”! [Mark 10:27] Hallelujah!

But it is a known fact that God the Father does not draw EVERYONE to Christ! WHY?!

BECAUSE HE DOES NOT LOVE EVERYONE!

The love of the father is a DISCRIMINATIVE love! It CHOOSES whom to love and whom to hate. “Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated”! [Rom 9:13]

In the same line He chooses on whom He will have mercy and whom He will harden! [Rom 9:18]

If God was dealing with a bunch of ‘INNOCENT’ men and women this would seem unjust! But God is dealing with a fallen bunch of God haters who are His enemies (Rom 5:10), and if there is anything He owes them it is HELL!

So out of this ‘Hell-Deserving’ bunch or ‘lump’ He chooses to display His UNCONDITIONAL MERCY on some and the rest He ordains to eternal damnation which they rightly deserve!

These are the facts! You’ve got to put it in your pipe and smoke it whether you like it or not!

If the Father was choosing everyone and drawing everyone as some suppose, then, scriptures like these make no sense –
“Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts”! [Psa 65:4]

Notice that these few whom the Father loves, He not only ‘CHOOSES’, but ‘CAUSES’ to approach unto Him!

Fallen man is so depraved that just ‘choosing him’ is not going to save him!! God must ‘CAUSE’ him to approach!
In other words, the Father must not only choose or elect those whom He loves, but He must DRAW them to Christ!

And He does not draw ALL, because He has not chosen ALL. And He has not chosen ALL, because He has not loved ALL!

I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, “Wherein hast Thou loved us”? Was not Esau Jacob’s BROTHER? saith the LORD: YET I LOVED JACOB, AND I HATED ESAU, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness”! [Malachi 1:2,3]

HOW do I know that God loves ME and that I am one of His elect?

Why, I look around me and see so many of my own family who are morally better off than me, who are either lost in unbelief or in a false religion, and that God has loved me and DRAWN ME to Himself and taught me truths which ‘angels desire to look into’ [1Pet 1:12], by this I KNOW I am one of His elect!

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: THEREFORE with loving kindness have I DRAWN THEE”! [Jer 31:3] Hallelujah!

WHEN GOD CALLS YOU BY NAME

WHEN GOD CALLS YOU BY NAME

C.H. Spurgeon

“UNTO THEM WHO ARE CALLED.” I received a note this week asking me to explain that word “called”; because in the passage it says, “Many are called but few are chosen,” while in another it appears that all who are called must be chosen. Now, let me observe that there are two calls. As my old friend, John Bunyan, says, the hen has two calls, the common cluck, which she gives daily and hourly, and the special one, which she means for her little chickens. So there is a general call, a call made to every man; every man hears it. Many are called by it; all you are called this morning in that sense, but very few are chosen.

The other is a special call, the children’s call. You know how the bell sounds over the workshop, to call the men to work—that is a general call. A father goes to the door and calls out, “John, it is dinner time”—that is the special call. Many are called with the general call, but they are not chosen; the special call is for the children only, and that is what is meant in the text, “Unto us who are called, both Jews and Greeks, the power of God and the wisdom of God.” That call is always a special one. While I stand here and call men, nobody comes; while I preach to sinners universally, no good is done; it is like the sheet lightning you sometimes see on the summer’s evening, beautiful, grand; but whoever heard of anything being struck by it? But the special call is the forked flash from heaven; it strikes somewhere; it is the arrow sent in between the joints of the harness.

The call which saves is like that of Jesus, when he said “Mary,” and she said unto him “Rabonni.” Do you know anything about that special call, my beloved? Did Jesus ever call you by name? Canst thou recollect the hour when he whispered thy name in thine ear, when he said, “Come to me”? If so, you will grant the truth of what I am going to say next about it—that it is an effectual call; there is no resisting it.

When God calls with his special call, there is no standing out. Ah! I know I laughed at religion; I despised, I abhorred it; but that call! Oh, I would not come. But God said, “Thou shalt come. All that the Father giveth to me shall come.” “Lord, I will not.” “But thou shalt,” said God. And I have gone up to God’s house sometimes almost with a resolution that I would not listen, but listen I must. Oh, how the word came into my soul! Was there a power of resistance? No; I was thrown down; each bone seemed to be broken; I was saved by effectual grace. I appeal to your experience, my friends. When God took you in hand, could you withstand him? You stood against your minister times enough. Sickness did not break you down; disease did not bring you to God’s feet; eloquence did not convince you; but when God puts his hand to the work, ah! then what a change.

Like Saul, with his horses going to Damascus, that voice from heaven said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” There was no going further then. That was an effectual call. Like that, again, which Jesus gave to Zaccheus, when he was up in the tree; stepping under the tree, he said, “Zaccheus, come down, today I must abide in thy house.” Zaccheus was taken in the net; he heard his own name; the call sank into his soul; he could not stop up in the tree, for an almighty impulse drew him down. And I could tell you some singular instances of persons going to the house of God and having their characters described, limned out to perfection, so that they have said, “He is painting me, he is painting me.” Just as I might say to that young man here, who stole his master’s gloves yesterday, that Jesus calls him to repentance.

It may be that there is such a person here; and when the call comes to a peculiar character, it generally comes with a special power. God gives his ministers a brush, and shows them how to use it in painting life-like portraits, and thus the sinner hears the special call. I cannot give the special call; GOD ALONE CAN GIVE IT, and I leave it with him. Some must be called. Jew and Greek may laugh, but still there are some who are called, both Jews and Greeks.

Praise the Lord!

WHICH COMES FIRST – FAITH OR REGENERATION?

WHICH COMES FIRST – FAITH OR REGENERATION?

Michael Jeshurun

That the work of the Holy Spirit PRECEDES our believing is unequivocally established by 2 Thessalonians 2:13—”God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Note that “sanctification of the Spirit” comes before and makes possible “belief of the truth.” What then is the “sanctification of the Spirit”? We answer, THE NEW BIRTH. In Scripture “sanctification” ALWAYS means “separation,” separation from something and unto something or someone.” [A.W. Pink]

First there is a “NEW CREATION” (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10), and then the “NEW CREATURE” is stirred into exercise. Faith and all other graces are wrought in us by the Spirit through the instrumentality of Word, but not so with the principle of life and grace from which these graces proceed.

In His work of “quickening,” by which we mean the impartation of spiritual life to the soul, the Spirit acts immediately from WITHIN, and not by applying something from WITHOUT. Quickening is a direct operation of the Spirit WITHOUT THE USE OF ANY INSTRUMENT: the WORD IS USED BY HIM AFTERWARDS to call into exercise the life then communicated.

Regeneration is a direct operation of the Holy Spirit upon the human spirit. It is the action of Spirit upon spirit, of a Divine Person upon a human person, whereby spiritual life is imparted. Nothing, therefore, of the nature of means or instruments can come between the Holy Spirit and the soul that is made alive. God did not employ an instrument or means when He infused physical life into the body of Adam. There were only two factors: the dust of the ground and the creative power of God which vivified that dust. The Divine omnipotence and dead matter were brought into direct contact, with nothing interposing. The dust was not a means or instrument by which God originated life. So in regeneration there are only two factors: the human soul destitute of spiritual life, and the Holy Spirit who quickens it.

The word and truth of God, the most important of all the means of grace, is not a means of regeneration, as distinct from conviction, conversion and sanctification. This is evident when we remember that it is the office of a means or instrument, to excite or stimulate an already existing principle of life. Physical food is a means of physical growth, but it SUPPOSES physical vitality, if the body is dead, bread cannot be a means or instrument. Intellectual truth is a means of intellectual growth, but it supposes intellectual vitality. If the mind be idiotic, secular knowledge cannot be a means or instrument. Spiritual truth is a means of spiritual growth, in case there be spiritual vitality. But if the mind be dead to righteousness, spiritual truth cannot be a means or instrument.

“The unenlightened understanding is unable to apprehend, and the unregenerate will is unable to believe. Vital force is lacking in these two principal factors. What is needed at this point is life and force itself. Consequently, the Author of spiritual life Himself must operate directly, without the use of means or instruments; and OUTRIGHT give spiritual life and power from the dead: that is, ex nihilo. The new life is not imparted because man perceives the truth, but he perceives the truth because the new life is imparted. A man is not regenerated because he has first believed in Christ, but he believes in Christ because he has been regenerated.” (W. T. Shedd, Presbyterian, 1889)

“Fallen man is not regenerated by any instinct, choice, or exertion of his own; he does not by any personal endeavor contribute anything towards being born again; nor does he cooperate in the least degree with the efficient cause: instead, every inclination of his heart, every exercise of his will, is in direct opposition thereto.

The new birth is not brought about by the power and influence of others. No sinner is ever born again as the result of the persuasions and endeavors of preachers or Christian workers. However pious and wise they are, and however earnestly and strenuously they exert themselves to bring others to holiness, they do in no degree produce the effect. “If all the angels and saints in Heaven and all the godly on earth should join their wills and endeavors and unitedly exert all their powers to regenerate one sinner, they could not effect it; yea, they could do nothing toward it. It is an effect INFINITELY beyond the reach of finite wisdom and power!” [S. Hopkins].

“In regeneration one of God’s elect is the subject, and the Spirit of God is the sole agent. The subject of the new birth is wholly passive: he does not act, but is acted upon. The sovereign work of the Spirit in the soul precedes all holy exercises of heart—such as sorrow for sin, faith in Christ, love toward God. This great change is wrought in spite of all the opposition of the natural heart against God: “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. 9:16). This great change is not a gradual and protracted process, but is instantaneous: in an instant of time the favored subject of it passes from death unto life.” [A.W. Pink]

Now here’s the kicker – the ‘Gospel’ itself actually saves no one but brings to light the life and immortality which the regenerated soul has been made a partaker of. A spiritually dead soul CANNOT hear the gospel and be saved! But the Holy Spirit sovereignly regenerates the dead soul without any external means! And THEN the gospel is brought to this soul which has been made alive to reveal what has happened to it.

Read these two verses very prayerfully and meditate on them –

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!” [2Tim 1:9,10]

Notice the ‘order’ Beloved, “Who hath saved us, and called us . . .” God first sovereignly saves us by the operation of the Holy Spirit and THEN calls us through the Gospel! In other words God does not call and save but He saves and then calls! Sovereign regeneration FIRST and then conversion through the Gospel!

And notice again WHAT the role of the gospel is in salvation – “it BRINGS TO LIGHT life and immortality” through the gospel! When Scripture says – “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” [1Pet 1:23] it is not speaking of the ‘spoken Word’ which the preacher preaches, but the Eternal Word – even the glorious second person of the Godhead!

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His Hame is called The Word of God.” [Rev 19:12,13]