|Predestination: That’s Not Fair!
Posted: 20 Apr 2017 01:57 PM PDT
Predestination: That’s Not Fair!
The accusation against God that predestination is unfair is foolish. God cannot be unfair or unjust because He is the very definition of righteousness. “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid!” (Romans 9:14). When something seems to be unfair, we must remember that we are not competent judges, and really have no right to judge the Almighty. He judges us. We do not judge Him.
It is also wicked rebellion against God to label Him a cruel tyrant or an evil puppet master. God is not a cruel monster. He is, in fact, the sovereign Creator and Judge, and as such He can do with His creatures what He wills. All His doings are good and in accord with perfect righteousness and wisdom. Human beings are not puppets or robots—we are rational, moral creatures, who are accountable to God.
If God choose to save none, but punished all, He would be just to do so. None deserve salvation. All of us deserve to be condemned for our sins. If a governor had ten men on death row, all of whom were guilty of heinous crimes and worthy of death, and the governor, by sovereign prerogative, determined to pardon one, the other nine cannot complain that they did not receive the same pardon. All deserved justice. Nine received strict justice, were sentenced to death, and executed, while one received mercy and received a pardon. Similarly, God declares, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Romans 9:15).
Therefore, the sinner has no ground for his complaint. If he hates God, loves his sins, and despises Jesus Christ, how will he complain if God gives him the hell that he so richly deserves? If a man lives as a rebel against God, why should he expect salvation from Him? And if another receives salvation, given to him freely by grace alone, why will any complain that he did not receive what another received—when none deserved it?
God chooses to give salvation to some as is His sovereign prerogative as God. God says to the complainer, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen (Matthew 20:15-16).
Instead of complaining, marvel at predestination and worship God for it.
Rev. Martyn McGeown
Red Sea crossing. Jordan crossing-Ark leads.
The two great water crossings typify and foreshadow the two great stages of redemption in the work of Christ for his people. First the Red Sea crossing during the Exodus typifies release from bondage to sin and the tyranny of Satan and then the Jordan crossing and entry into Canaan typifies our release from this body of death into glorified bodies as we receive our eternal inheritance in our promised land in the age to come. No heaven without being born again. Both redemptive acts solely God’s work!
Do you know you are going to heaven?
The self-righteous religionist cannot answer positively because he never knows if he has done enough. The true Christian who has the Holy Spirit has the assurance of God’s love as Father. The true believer knows Christ has done everything for his salvation. The former is slave to a spirit of bondage and fears and even self-cruelty (see flagellation above) and his religion crucifies the Son of God afresh and is a damnable insult to him. Even if you give your body to be burnt without true love for God it profits you nothing. Only those who know Christ paid for their sins ONCE FOR ALL truly love him in return.
Adapted from John Owen’s “Communion with Triune God.”
Christ alone reveals the wisdom of God.
The sum of all true wisdom and knowledge may be reduced to these three heads:—
1. The knowledge of God, his nature and his properties.
2. The knowledge of ourselves in reference to the will of God concerning us.
3. Skill to walk in communion with God:—
- Knowledge of God. “He that hath seen me hath seen the father.”How else to know his love apart from Christ? (I John 4:9). Pardoning mercy and grace? (Rom.3:25, John 1:14). Vindictive justice (Making Christ to be sin and suffer God’s wrath). Patience, forbearance and long-suffering (II Peter 3:9). When Moses asked God to show him his glory he hid him in a rock, that rock was Christ.
- Ourselves. Our sin is manifest by our consciences and the righteous law and just judgment is coming. We know these things by his death. God, in the death of Christ, punishes and condemns sin in the flesh of his own Son, in the sight of men, angels, and devils, and he has given an abundant assurance of a righteous and universal judgement to come; (how could his cruel killers get away with it?) By his resurrection he has given assurance that Christ risen from the dead, is appointed by him to be the judge of all; in whom and by whom he will judge the world in righteousness granting unspeakable consolation on the one hand to those who believe in him, and terror on the other to those who despise him: so that the wisdom of this also is hid in Christ.
- To follow (In Christ is the wisdom to walk with God).
From John Owen’s work Communion with God.
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?
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?
John 10:18 reads, “ No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
Christ allowing himself to be wickedly scourged, beaten, humiliated and eventually cruelly and excruciatingly killed WAS NOT A VICTIM! Even while he permitted, nay decreed, his own awful sufferings he sovereignly was in charge of his murderers, enabling them to act wholly responsibly in their wickedness, out of their own malice to put him to death.
Christ was the ONLY MAN EVER to decide the moment of his death as he dismissed his spirit (Luke 23:46).
Christ was the ONLY MAN EVER to raise himself from the dead and take his life again, by omnipotent death-defying power invested in him eternally by his father.
Christ was, and is, the ONLY MAN EVER to possess eternal life in himself, the power of an endless life and the love of the Father (Heb.7:16).
Christ was, and is, the ONLY MAN EVER to be given sovereign judgment over all other men (John 5:22).
Christ was, and is, the ONLY MAN EVER to have power to cast all who despise him into everlasting hell.
Who is CHRIST to you?
An irrelevance, someone who died and whose body disappeared 2000 years ago, just a good man or example?
Or as he is in truth—the ever-living LORD of the universe and your rightful LORD, SAVIOUR, MASTER and FRIEND?
“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12).
Christians who believe grace is unmerited favour have only part of the answer and Christians who believe in “common” grace, that God in the gospel offers it to all men are very mistaken as definition 4 below shows. Only God’s elect are the objects of his saving, particular grace.
The word grace in Scripture has a variety of meanings:
1. Grace as an attribute of God has the fundamental meaning of pleasantness, attractiveness, and gracefulness. God is the perfection of all beauty and attractiveness and gracefulness, because He is the implication of all infinite perfection of goodness in the ethical sense. God is perfectly lovely and beautiful.
A graceful dancer
2. Grace in Scripture denotes the attitude of graciousness or pleasantness, the gracious disposition of God to the creature. This is undoubtedly the meaning of the phrase, “to find grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8; Gen. 19:19).
3. In close connection with the preceding, the word grace has the meaning of undeserved or forfeited favor. In this case, the favorable attitude of God is accentuated and enhanced by the condition of the subjects who receive the grace of God. The word of God uses the term grace as standing opposed to obligation and, therefore, as being opposed to works.
4. The word grace frequently is used in Scripture to denote the power of God whereby the sinner is actually saved and delivered from the bondage of sin and corruption, whereby he is regenerated and sanctified, and thus is made pleasant in the sight of God. It also includes all the spiritual blessings and virtues that are bestowed upon the objects of God’s favor.
5. Grace is used in the sense of thanks, as we read in the original of 1 Corinthians 15:57: “Grace be to God, who giveth us the victory.” The meaning is most probably that grace is ascribed to God by those who are the objects and recipients of the power of God’s grace, in order that He may receive praise and adoration as the only God of all grace.
(Reformed Dogmatics [Grandville, MI: RFPA, 2014], vol. 2, pp. 280-281)
“And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Luke 10:18
Satan underestimates and does not know the power of God and the grace of God. He believed Job would curse God if all he had was taken away, he believed he could take over the throne of God in a revolt, he believed if he killed Christ he would overthrow all God’s salvation of men, he believes he can deceive and devour God’s people ─ he is wrong on all counts. Because he is NOT omniscient, because he is a liar and deceives even himself, his thoughts are wrong, his evil is exposed, and it will not be long till he is publicly, eternally and finally exposed as wicked and banished to everlasting torment in the lake of fire.
We need to pray that more people will be shown by God how deceived they are in his camp, repent, believe and enlist under Christ.
For his part, that great saint Job, in and through his terrible affliction, did not know what glory he was giving God and how his life would impact many others who have lived with affliction ever since.
|The Eternally Active God
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 10:06 AM PST
God is the eternally active and living God. Never is God idle. Never is God bored. Never is God lonely or unfulfilled. Eternally within His own being, God has planned and purposed all things. We call God’s eternal plan His “counsel.” “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18). “Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11).
God is perfectly free. He depends on no one. Therefore, He depends on no one when He determines His eternal counsel. No one gives Him advice—nor does He seek advice—in determining what He should do. Since God’s counsel is eternal, no one was there, no creature, neither man nor angel, to give Him advice, or to give input into His counsel. God could choose to create or not to create, and having decided to create, He could create whatever pleased Him in any way it pleased Him. “But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psalm 115:3).
God’s counsel is unchangeable. Never does God change His mind. And nothing happens in history to force Him to change His mind. From our perspective, God might sometimes seem to change, but in reality He has purposed all things from eternity. God’s counsel includes all things—every event, every person, every activity. Nothing is outside of the scope of God’s decree. The rise and fall of nations, the birth, death (and every detail of life) of every individual, and even the fall of a sparrow are included.
The doctrine of God’s sovereign counsel is a terror to the wicked. Try as they might, they cannot overthrow the God who sits on the throne. God laughs at their puny efforts to thwart His purposes (Psalm 2:4). Evil men are but instruments in His hand to fulfill His will, whether they know it and acknowledge it or not. However, the same teaching is of great comfort to God’s children: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Conversely God works all things to the destruction of the reprobate wicked (Psalm 73 and 69:22-15)—JK
It is a wonderful truth that all things are under God’s control and power, that all things serve God’s glory, and that all things serve the salvation of God’s people. There is no greater comfort and assurance than that!
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Limerick Reformed Fellowship
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name (Psalm 96:8)
Live Broadcast: http://mixlr.com/limerickreformed/
Lord’s Day 1st January 2017
Order of Service
Missionary-Pastor Martyn McGeown
Evening worship – 5.30pm
Scripture Reading: Psalm 16:1-11
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, LD 22, Q&A 57
- Temporary Separation
- Immediate Joy
III. Future Glory
Psalms: 73:23-28; 107:16-21; 16:1-5; 16:6-11
Quotes to Consider
Calvin: “Though many talk much of God’s providence, and profess to believe that he exercises a special guardianship over his own children, few are found actually willing to entrust their safety to him” (Commentary on the Psalms, vol. 2, p. 477).
- H. Spurgeon: “This is noble encouragement to all the saints; die they must, but rise they shall, and though in their case they shall see corruption, yet they shall rise to everlasting life. Christ’s resurrection is the cause, the earnest, the guarantee, and the emblem of the rising of all his people. Let them, therefore, go to their graves as to their beds, resting their flesh among the clods as they now do upon their couches” (Treasury of David, vol. 1, p. 197).
Spurgeon: “Trapp’s note on the heavenly verse which closes the Psalm is a sweet morsel, which may serve for a contemplation, and yield a foretaste of our inheritance. He writes, ‘Here is as much said as can be, but words are too weak to utter it. For quality there is in heaven joy and pleasures; for quantity, a fullness, a torrent whereat they drink without let or loathing; for constancy, it is at God’s right hand, who is stronger than all, neither can any take us out of his hand; it is a constant happiness without intermission: and for perpetuity it is for evermore. Heaven’s joys are without measure, mixture, or end'” (ibid, p. 197).
Edward Willan: “‘In thy presence is the fullness of joy;’ and herein consists the consummation of felicity; for what does any man here present wish for more than joy? And what measure of joy can any man wish for more than fullness of joy? And what kind of fullness would any man wish for rather than this fullness? And where would any man wish to enjoy this fullness of joy rather than in the presence of God, which is the ever-flowing and the over-flowing fountain of joy? And when would any man wish for this enjoyment of the fullness of joy in the very fountain of joy rather than presently, constantly, and incessantly? Now all these desirables are encircled within the compass of the first remarkable, to make up the consummation of true felicity. ‘In thy presence is fullness of joy’” (quoted in ibid, p. 211).
John Cragg: “This then may serve for a ground of comfort to every soul distressed with the tedious bitterness of this life; for short sorrow here, we shall have eternal joy; for a little hunger, an eternal banquet; for light sickness and affliction, everlasting health and salvation; for a little imprisonment, endless liberty; for disgrace, glory. Instead of the wicked who oppress and afflict them, they shall have the angels and saints to comfort and solace them, instead of Satan to torment and tempt them, they shall have Jesus to ravish and affect them. Joseph’s prison shall be turned into a palace; Daniel’s lions’ den into the presence of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah; the three children’s hot fiery furnace, into the new Jerusalem of pure gold; David’s Gath, into the tabernacle of the living God” (quoted in ibid, p. 212).
Zacharias Ursinus: “Flesh and blood being mortal and corrupt, as it now is, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Therefore flesh and blood, simply such, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. But this does not legitimately follow. Hence flesh and blood, understanding by this, that which is sinful, and corrupt, cannot inherit the kingdom of God; but as glorified and immortal it shall obtain an entrance there. The Apostle expressly teaches this when he says, ‘It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.’ … The apostle means by a spiritual body, not that which is changed into the Spirit, or which is in all its properties equal to the Spirit, but that which is ruled by the Spirit of God, which is immortal and free from all misery, adorned with heavenly splendour, glory, activity, strength and holiness. So he also calls a natural body, not that which is changed into the soul, or which is equal to it in all its properties, but that which in this mortal state is quickened, controlled, and directed by the soul. That this is the meaning of what Paul calls a spiritual body, is proven. 1. Because he says it is raised a spiritual body, but a spirit is no body. 2. He also adds, ‘this corruptible (body) must put on incorruption'” (Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, pp. 315-316).
Heidelberg Catechism, LD 22
Q 57. What comfort doth the “resurrection of the body” afford thee? A. That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken up to Christ its Head; but also, that this my body, being raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul, and made like unto the glorious body of Christ.