The Spirit B.C and A.D.

I have for a long time puzzled over this and read a fair bit but a recent F.B. challenge caused me to compile this short article-may it profit you!

A friend states, “The Holy Spirit was not given to the average person in OT times. Only the prophet, priest and king were anointed by the Holy Spirit for their offices”

Not true! Because election before the foundation of the world and the salvation it brings is a full package (Rom.8:29,30) that applies to saints in all ages and furthermore “If anyone has not the Spirit of Christ he is not his!” (Rom.8:9). Can you deny these saints belonged to him? One covenant of God in all of time to save his people and be their God for ever.

I grant you there was an extra anointing for prophet, priest and king-for service just as with Christ at his baptism and Pentecost for the disciples.

Yes, I grant you friend that the day of Pentecost was a big change: the Holy Spirit was poured out on ALL flesh, that is, all believers BUT the major change was that all nations were included instead of just Jews and supernatural gifts were given proving apostolic authenticity and as a sign to unbelievers. My friend states that, “He began to indwell believers so that they became His temple. Even the twelve did not have the indwelling of the Spirit during Jesus’ earthly ministry.” Wrong! They did! (John 20:22) and without the Spirit they would have had no desire to leave all and follow him, no faith, no fruit, no revelation which they all exhibited to some degree. Christ also explicitly states the Spirit in them would inspire them when they appeared before tribunals (Luke 12:11,12).

My friend goes on, “Now, why could not the Holy Spirit indwell people prior to the cross and ascension of Jesus? Because they weren’t born again, regenerated, in OT times.” Wrong! Regeneration is fundamental to salvation! They were regenerate and their lives prove it as do the Scriptures e.g. 1 Peter 1:11 “searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” There is a long list of OT heroes of faith, all empowered by the Spirit.

God applies redemption prospectively and retrospectively from the Cross throughout all of redemptive time. Redemption includes regeneration, the gifts of repentance & faith, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Why do some think it a harder thing for God to apply redemption backwards through time from the Cross than forward? Jesus paid for the sins of believers who had not been born yet and had not actually committed those sins yet. God is not limited by time!

The indwelling Spirit causes the antithesis (conflict between Satan and Christ/God’s people) established in Genesis 3:15! Adam & Eve were elect and were regenerated mercifully by God at this time when the “proto-evangel” (first gospel message) was shared with them and God clothed them with the skin of a sacrificed animal.  The Spirit was also promised to believers’ covenant children: Isaiah. 44:3, “I will pour my Spirit upon your seed, and my blessing upon your offspring. They could also call God Father proving their adoption! Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou,Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting” Isaiah 63:16

“But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8

My friend states, “They technically, physically, still belonged to Satan because they were still under the law of Sin and Death prior to faith in Christ’s resurrection” RUBBISH! you are mixing up the Mosaic Law of the OT and the powerful law principle of sin and death that rules in all unregenerate people i.e. us prior to conversion! That is the law of sin and death Paul is talking about!

There is ONE CHURCH IN ALL OF TIME the true seed of Abraham comprising Jew and Gentile as per the teaching of Rom 4:11-16, Gal.3:7, Eph.1:4. Saint means called out and sanctified one, therefore saints OT and NT together comprise the EKKLESIA church and bride of Christ.

Faith is a fruit of the Spirit as is love, joy and peace-all these were evident in the OT saints. Note SAINTS because sanctified by the Spirit and part of his church! One church in all of time not divided by dispensations (there was the church in the wilderness see Acts 7:38! ” This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us” Moses, Elijah, Abraham etc could not have been in glory and alive (two of whom appear with Christ on the mount) without the Spirit. The Spirit given by Christ as the Spirit of Christ as promised in John 16 with the outpouring of Acts 2 is richer in revelation but essentially the same Spirit as worked faith in the OT saints. The Spirit at any one time could only reveal truth in Christ according to what God had revealed in his word up till then (Spirit and Word* are bound together)-so we have them in the OT believing in the Christ of prophecy and sacrificial types whereas now we believe in the Christ who has come and completely revealed himself.

* Just as the Spirit’s whole raison d’etre is to glorify Christ, the incarnate WORD.

Foreboding

Meaning: a feeling that something bad will happen; fearful apprehension.

The Lord Jesus Christ is good and doeth good especially to his own all the time, so away with foreboding and fear to which we are so liable. Eternal life, blessing, abundant grace, daily wisdom and light are ours. What is it you fear? A serious accident, illness, persecution, loss of friends or family, dying? All things are yours…

Q. 1. Heidelberg Catechism-What is thy only comfort in life and death?
A. That I with body and soul,1 both in life and death, am not my own,2 but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ;3 who, with His precious blood,4 hath fully satisfied for all my sins,5 and delivered me from all the power of the devil;6 and so preserves me7 that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;8 yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,9 and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life,10 and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.11

Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Psalm 31:19

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23:6

 

For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance. Psalm 21:6

Israel

Are Christians correct in thinking the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 is prophecy fulfilled?

Who are Biblical Israel?

Has the church replaced Israel?

Where is the real Jerusalem?

This study will help you get the answers:

REFORMED FREE PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION

The Bible and Israel (7)

BLOG POST | August 31, 2018

 

Our last blog post on this subject was May 25, 2018. We have proven from scripture that the New Testament church is the fulfilment of—not the replacement for—Israel. One final chapter requires out attention: it is the greatest chapter in the New Testament dealing with God’s purposes with Israel in the New Testament age, Romans 11. Since Romans 9–11 constitute a unit in the epistle, we summarize the contents of those three chapters of God’s word to demonstrate yet again that the Bible promises salvation only to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

Chapters 9–11 then begin a new section of the epistle in which Paul focuses on God’s sovereign purposes with the Jews and Gentiles.

In Romans 9:1–3 Paul expresses his sorrow at the perishing of so many of his countrymen who are his “kinsmen according to the flesh” (9:3). He lists their many advantages (adoption, glory, covenants, law, service, promises, etc.), chief among which is that Christ was born of them, who is God blessed, forever (9:5).

This leads to a possible objection: if God promised salvation to the Jews, has his promise failed? Is it “of none effect”? Paul answers in the negative—”Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect” (9:6). Paul explains this by means of a very important principle: not all physical descendants of Abraham are true Jews; not all who are outwardly “of Israel” are truly “Israel.” The apostle demonstrates this point by appealing first to Isaac and Ishmael, and second to Jacob and Esau. The difference, says Paul, is in God’s sovereign election. Not only did God elect the nation of Israel, but he also elected within the nation certain individuals.

Paul answers an objection in 9:14: “Is there unrighteousness with God?” After vehemently rejecting the inference with “God forbid,” Paul proves the sovereignty of God in showing mercy to some (9:15) and in hardening others (9:18), illustrating his doctrine with an appeal to Moses and to Pharaoh. A second objection arises in 9:19: “Thou wilt say then unto me, why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?” Paul cuts off the objector by reminding him of his place before God as a creature before the Creator (9:20). Paul illustrates the absolute sovereignty of God with the potter and his clay. The potter owns the clay and has power (authority) over the clay. Out of “one lump” (humanity) the potter makes some vessels (vessels of mercy) unto honor, while he makes other vessels (vessels of wrath) unto dishonor. Some vessels are prepared for glory, while others are fitted to destruction. The potter (God) does this because he “is willing to show his wrath and to make his power known” (9:22) and so that he “might make known the riches of his glory” (9:23). To accomplish this twofold purpose of magnifying his wrath and mercy, God endures the reprobate in longsuffering toward the elect (9:22–23).

This is not abstract, because Paul immediately applies it to the reader: “even us, whom he hath called” (9:24), appealing to Hosea 1:10 and 2:23 as proof that the calling of the Gentiles was prophesied in the Old Testament (9:25–26). Peter cites the same passage for the same purpose in 1 Peter 2:10. After quoting some texts from Isaiah as proof that God saves a remnant, Paul concludes that Israel has not attained to righteousness because she sought it “as it were by the works of the law” (9:32). The Gentiles, who did not seek righteousness, have obtained righteousness, “the righteousness which is of faith” (9:30). This was Israel’s fatal stumbling, as they tripped over Christ and perished, as God purposed and as the scriptures foretold (9:32–33; see also 1 Peter 2:6–8).

Paul begins chapter 9 expressing his heartfelt sorrow over Israel’s perishing (9:1–5). He begins chapter 10 in a similar fashion, by expressing his desire for Israel’s salvation (10:1). However, Paul does not excuse Israel for her sin of stumbling at Christ. She has not submitted to God’s righteousness and by seeking salvation in works has missed the goal of the law, which is Christ (10:3–4). This is all the more inexcusable because Moses made it clear that righteousness was not found in the law (10:5). To seek righteousness in the law is, says Paul, to deny the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, for “it is to bring up Christ again from the dead” or “to bring Christ down from above” (10:6–7). Righteousness then is found only in Christ, and it is through faith in Christ and confession of his name that believers are saved (10:9–10). Paul then explains the necessity of preaching.

If salvation is found only in calling upon the name of the Lord (10:13; Joel 2:32), then a series of questions must be asked. How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? How shall they believe in him of whom (or whom) they have not heard? How shall they hear without a preacher? How shall they preach, except they are sent? (10:14–15). Thus, Paul sets forth the necessity of preaching for the salvation of the elect. The rest of chapter 10 deals with the unbelieving response of Israel to the preaching: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel? Have they not heard? Did not Israel know?” (10:16–19). Israel did hear and know, but Israel refused (“a disobedient and gainsaying [contradictory] people”) (10:21) and God even prophesied his turning to the Gentiles: “I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you” (10:19). This is just judgment upon Israel and it is good news for the Gentiles.

In chapter 11 Paul addresses an objection: if the nation of Israel has been rejected with the result that God also saves the Gentiles in one church, has God cast away his people? Chapter 11 is pivotal to understanding God’s purposes with the Jews in the New Testament age. Both premillennial dispensationalism and postmillennialism appeal to this chapter in defense of their doctrine of a future, national conversion of Israel. Although the chapter does not teach that, it does teach that God has promised to save ethnic Israelites in every age of New Testament history until the return of Christ. That promise is quite remarkable because it pertains to no other nation: God does not save Irishmen, Germans, Filipinos, or Americans in every age. While many of the proud nations of the Old Testament (the Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, etc.) have ceased to exist and (very likely) New Testament nations will cease to exist, God has preserved a remnant of ethnic Jews in the world. This does not mean that God will save all or even all ethnic Israelites, but he will save a remnant in every age, a remnant “according to the election of grace” (11:5) until the fullness of Israel is brought in, so that “all Israel shall be saved” (11:25).

However, he will save ethnic Jews in exactly the same way in which he saves ethnic Gentiles—by faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul answers the initial objection (“Hath God cast away his people?”) with a firm “God forbid” (11:1), illustrating the faithfulness of God’s promises to his foreknown people in his own (Paul’s) case (“I also am an Israelite”) and in the case of the remnant preserved in Elijah’s day (11:4; I Kings 19), and concluding that “at this present time also there is a remnant [of ethnic Israelites] according to the election of grace” (11:5). Gracious election and righteous reprobation operate in Israel as well as in other nations. Thus even within Israel, “the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (or hardened) (11:7). Paul proves that God hardens some (even the majority of) Israelites from Psalm 69, which Psalm even teaches the fearful truth that God hardens the reprobate by means of their earthly prosperity (“Let their table be made a snare,” etc.).

This leads to another objection concerning God’s hardening of the reprobate: “Have they stumbled that they should fall?” (11:11). Paul’s answer is “God forbid,” for God’s purpose in reprobation is much greater than merely the damnation of the wicked. In inscrutable wisdom and awesome power, God ordains the hardening of the [reprobate] Jews for the salvation of the [elect] Gentiles.

…to be continued

This post was written by Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary-pastor of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland stationed in Limerick, Republic of Ireland. 

Other articles:

The Bible and Israel (1)

The Bible and Israel (2)

The Bible and Israel (3)

The Bible and Israel (4)

The Bible and Israel (5)

The Bible and Israel (6)

 

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God’s ultimate purpose

In 1 Chronicles 17 King David speaks outlining God’s purpose for himself and his people: For himself, ” that thy name may be magnified forever” (v24) and for us, “let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may be before thee for ever: for thou blessest, O Lord, and it shall be blessed for ever.” (v27). May this be our aim and his gracious accomplishment for us! The cross of Christ, is of course the place and the event, from which all this flows namely the glory of God and the everlasting blessedness of his sheep.

The battle is the Lord’s

 

Our Bible readings today were 1 Samuel 17 and Acts 9 and providentially they could be linked. David, righteous and bold as a lion fearlessly takes on Goliath and kills him. He providentially comes to the Israelite camp just as Goliath parades about on his fortieth day.

Saul wreaking havoc in the early church is struck down by the risen Christ and converted instantaneously on the road to Damascus, becoming a champion in the spread of the gospel. The dominion of his old man who hated the gospel and God’s people was killed as he become by the Spirit a lover of God and his people.

In both instances the Lord worked by his Spirit powerfully, in the same way the ultimate victory was wrought at the cross when Satan was bruised under Christ’s feet who by the bold sacrifice of himself, destroyed the works of the devil and any claim he had on elect sinners both before and after Calvary.

The Meaning of Grace

GRACE AND SALVATION

We have seen what grace is as an attribute of God. We must also say something about the grace God shows in saving us.

Following on from the idea that grace is an inner beauty or loveliness that shines out in all a person is and does and that causes others to look upon him with favor, we may say that God’s grace as it is revealed in our salvation is the gift of his own beauty to us, so that we become like him and thus find favor in his sight. That loveliness of God, which he grants to his people when he saves them, becomes evident in all their conduct and speech. It is impossible for one who has received grace not to reflect something of the loveliness of God.

This is one of the reasons that the teaching of common grace should be rejected. It is a repulsive thought that the wicked and unbelieving should find favor in God’s sight or have anything of his own loveliness. Nor could it ever be, then, that God would judge them and send them to hell, for he would be sending someone who had received something of his own beauty to the place of eternal darkness.

There are several other characteristics of God’s saving grace that need to be mentioned. They, too, show why grace cannot be common:

First, grace is not only an attitude of God, but a gift. This is implied in what we have already said, but it needs emphasis. Scripture speaks often of God giving grace (Ps. 84:11; Prov. 3:34; James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5).We speak of grace as a gift of God when we want to emphasize the freeness and undeserved character of grace, but we must not forget that it is something actually given when God shows it to us, and not only an attitude on his part.

Second, grace is a power. That is really the same thing as saying that it is the grace of God. God’s thoughts, God’s attributes, and God’s Words are not like ours—powerless—but always full of the power of the Almighty. That is another reason God cannot possibly be gracious to all. His grace cannot be in vain, cannot be without power to save and deliver, cannot fail. To suggest that it can is to deny that God is God.

Third, grace is saving. Never once does Scripture speak of any other kind of grace to men. Just as election is particular and atonement is particular, so the grace predetermined and purchased by Christ must also be particular, shown savingly only to some.

That we should find grace in the sight of God is amazing, especially when we take this to mean that he finds us lovely and beautiful. This can only happen because he sees us in Christ, and through the work of Christ. Christ is beautiful as God’s own only begotten Son, the fairest of ten thousand in his perfect obedience and devotion to God, and in him alone do we find favor with God.

Rev. Ronald Hanko

This extract from “Doctrine according to Godliness” is posted with permission from its publisher, Reformed Free Publishing Association, Grandville, Michigan

Through the Bible in a year

In the Bible reading plan today (see scans) we had I Samuel 17 and Acts 9. These two chapters clearly illustrate the grace and power of God. In the first God, through David and his slingshot, fells Goliath to the earth and shows that the battle is his (v47). The Lord will destroy his enemies. In the second reading, the Lord again fells an enemy namely Saul of Tarsus but this time in grace he makes him into a servant-friend, a new man by his powerful call from heaven. Known unto God are all his works. He slays his enemies but saves some of them and makes them his friends. This is his prerogative. Which are you? And if like me you are a believer, our calling as his people is to say to his enemies, as we have opportunity, “be reconciled to God” (II Cor.5:20).

Click to enlarge.

Predestination

More About Predestination

Rev. Martyn McGeown

Whether we agree with predestination or not, it is the Bible’s teaching. Whether we react in a positive or negative way emotionally to this teaching, it is the truth of God’s Word. When God’s Word offends our sensibilities—and it often will because we are sinners—we must learn to submit to its teaching.

But before we react emotionally, we need to make sure that we understand the teaching. Often, we react emotionally to a misunderstanding.

First, predestination means God’s determination beforehand (pre) of the eternal destiny (destination) of His rational and moral creatures. Since God is God, He has the right to do this. Paul reminds us of our place before God: “Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay? (Romans 9:20-21). How absurd it would be for a creature to complain to the Creator!

Second, God’s predestinating choice is unconditional. We know what a conditional choice means—we make conditional choices every day. Why do you choose one breakfast cereal over another, or why do you choose eggs or toast (or whatever) for breakfast? Because of some quality in the food—that choice is conditional. An unconditional choice is one where the choice is not determined by any quality in the thing chosen. It is almost impossible for a human being to make such an unconditional choice. Things always influence us. God chooses His people unconditionally—He finds no attractive quality in them; they are not better, greater or nicer than anyone else. God does not even choose them because He foresees that there will be some good quality in them. God explains this to Moses: “The LORD did not set His love upon you, nor choose you [for such and such a reason], but because the LORD loved you” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). The verdict—God loved His people simply because He loved them! There is no reason in us!

Third, God’s choice of His people is eternal and therefore unchangeable. God did not wait and see how history and His people would turn out before He made His choice. It was before the foundation of the world, or, as Paul writes, “the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that purpose of God according to election might stand” (Romans 9:11).

That is humbling—salvation is not our choice; it is the Lord’s.

But where better place for salvation to be than in the wise hands of the almighty, always good God!

BLOGSITE

http://www.limerickreformed.com/blog/

I should add that notwithstanding the decree of predestination every human being because of their sin in Adam AND their own rebellion against the most high God deserves eternal hell, and will rightly suffer that judgment unless by God’s grace they believe in Christ—JK

Wrath and love?

It is true that no human being can be under the wrath of God and be loved by him simultaneously. Christian believers, God’s elect sheep have been loved by him IN CHRIST from before the world was. Before we were saved we were BY NATURE children of wrath even as others and we retain this sinful nature till our dying day, yet we are loved infinitely and everlastingly.

What about Christ?

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Our Heidelberg Catechism puts it this way,”Q. 37.  What dost thou understand by the words, “He suffered”?
A.  That He, all the time that He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, sustained in body and soul the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind; that so by His passion, as the only propitiatory sacrifice, He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the favor of God, righteousness and eternal life.”

In the Triple Knowledge*, Herman Hoeksema’s exposition of H.C. he states, “All his (Christ’s) life is one testimony of the fact that he lived in perfect fellowship with his father, and was conscious of his approval and favour.” But didn’t he bear God’s wrath too? Let it be clearly stated that Christ as a person was never the object of his father’s wrath but “he suffered the expression, the concrete effect of the wrath of God against sin”, “the reaction of his holiness against (us) the workers of iniquity.” This comes to it’s climax in Christ’s God-forsakenness at Calvary, “At the moment when God is most highly pleased with him, he experiences all the terror of being forsaken of God!”

What a Saviour! Who would not consecrate themselves body and soul to live for him?

*Books

tripleknowledge

You did not choose me — I chose you.

New LRF Blog Post


The God Who Chooses

Posted: 08 Feb 2017 07:40 AM PST

The God Who Chooses

Part of God’s eternal purpose is election or predestination. We know what election is—it is a choice. In election, however, we mean God’s choice. Specifically, we mean God’s choice concerning salvation. Even more specifically, we mean God’s choice of whom He will save.

There are some who think that God has chosen to save everybody. Their argument is that God wants everyone to be in heaven, but He leaves it up to individual people to decide whether they want to be in heaven with God or not. Often salvation is described as an offer—God wants to give you salvation, but you have to be willing to accept it. Some portray Jesus as “knocking on the door of your heart,” hoping that you will invite Him into your life.

The Bible does not teach that. In fact, such a portrayal is very dishonouring to God. We have already seen that God is almighty, sovereign and majestic in His holiness. Does a beggar knocking on hearts sound like God? Would the God who is independent be reduced to depending on His creatures in such a way? In fact, Scripture says, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Romans 9:16). If salvation depends on the freewill of humans, then God depends on the freewill of humans. Then humans—not God—are sovereign. God forbid!

The Bible teaches that before the world was created—in His eternal decree—God made a choice. First, He chose Jesus Christ to be the Saviour. Second, in that decree, He gave a certain, definite, limited number of humans to Jesus Christ. Third, He sent Jesus Christ into the world to save those humans—and only them—from their sins. Jesus explains: “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39). Jesus did not come to try to save as many as possible, and then fail in the attempt. Jesus came to save a definite number—as many as the Father had given to Him—and them He actually saves. Not one of them shall be lost. Is that not good news?

Paul writes, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).

Predestination is not a horrible teaching. It is God’s eternal choice of His people in love.

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Rev. Martyn McGeown