Sure and steadfast

Many of us men were at one time in the Boys’ Brigade but it’s fair to say we knew little of what their motto really meant! It is taken from Hebrews 6.

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 6:17-20.

An anchor  that is properly stuck fast, is something fixed and immovable guaranteeing that the ship will remain where it is. Our hope in Christ, who is already in heaven, indeed Christ himself, is our hope, our certainty that one day we will be with him. He is fixed there, reigning in glory and all the blessedness in him is promised, indeed sworn to be given us, as it was to Abraham thousands of years ago (v18).

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Three Cups

THESE ARE WONDERFUL POWERFUL MESSAGES.

THREE CUPS

By Rev Carl Haak (Reformed Witness Hour)

“Of all the truths of the sufferings of Jesus Christ there are none so dear as the truth that He suffered voluntarily. He was not dragged to the cross against His will. He did not endure His suffering as a passive victim, reluctantly, with cold resignation. But He went to the cross and endured His suffering willingly, zealously, and voluntarily…

Scripture presents this truth to us in a figure of speech, in the figure of a cup which He willingly drank. All the sufferings necessary to make full payment for our sins were poured into a cup which the Father presented to His Son, the Son of God, who knew what was in that cup and who loved us, drank the cup, and then dashed the empty cup on the ground before the cross.”

Read to find out more of our Lord’s willing suffering for His people.

Declared Righteous

 

The great Biblical doctrine of justification is a declaration of the righteousness of all who believe in Jesus Christ for salvation before:

  1. The heavenly court of God (and hence before all angels). Job 1:8, Romans 8:1
  2. At the judgment day. II Tim.1:12, Rom.5:18-19.
  3. In our own conscience. I John 5:13, Rom. 4:20-5:1.
  4. Before the church on confession of faith and membership (not absolute). Rom.10:9-10.

The Justification of the Ungodly

Key subject in this the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

In summary Romans 4:4-5 teaches that when we speak of man relating to God:

  • Boasting is excluded
  • God is no man’s debtor
  • Man must realize he is ungodly
  • He must repudiate his own works
  • He must believe God justifies
  • The only righteousness acceptable to God is Christ’s

And I have to add that salvation (justification and all that follows from it) is by grace, through faith in Christ.

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azGsqr9sNrs

 

Does the Westminster Confession teach “Common grace” or a remnant of the image of God in man?

Head—Paragraph —Teaching
III 5 Free grace brings unconditional election
IV 2 Image of God is knowledge, righteousness and true holiness
IV 5 God is gracious to his people
IV 6 God withholds grace from reprobate
VI 1,2 Total depravity of man, fallen from righteousness
VII 3 Covenant of grace is ratified by Christ and for the elect
VIII 3 Christ is full of grace
X 1,2 Grace and salvation comes by Christ causing among his people a willingness to come and respond to his effectual call
XI 3 Justification is by grace
XII Adoption is by grace and God is on a throne of grace
XIII 3 We are called to grow in grace
XV 1,3 Repentance is an evangelical grace. Grace is in Christ.
XVI 3 Graces are received by the Holy Spirit
XVII 2 Covenant of grace
XVIII 1,2 Elect may be assured of being in a state of grace by their faith, love, godly walk and evidence of graces
XIX 7 The law is not contrary to grace of the gospel
XXVI 1 We have fellowship in Christian grace and communion in each other’s graces
XXVII, XVIII 1,1 The sacraments (baptism and Lord’s Supper) are signs and seals of the covenant of grace and put a visible difference between church and world
From the above references grace is only for God’s elect, it is always particular just as the atonement was, and it renews them in the image of God, calling them out and separating them from the ungodly world who being totally depraved have nothing of that image.

Communion with God the Son (6)

JOHN OWEN ON GRACE:

1. Grace of personal presence and comeliness (beauty). So we say, “A graceful and comely person,” either from himself or his ornaments. This in Christ  is the subject of near one-half of the book of  Song of Solomon; it is also mentioned, Psalm. 45: 2 and John 1:14, “Thou art fairer than the children of men;grace is poured into thy lips.”  Those inconceivable gifts and fruits of the Spirit which were bestowed on him, and brought forth in him, concur to his personal excellency;

2. Grace of free favour and acceptance. “By this grace we are saved;” that is, the free favour and gracious acceptation of God in Christ. In this sense is it used in that frequent expression, “If I have found grace in thy sight;” that is, if I be freely and favourably accepted before thee. So he “giveth grace” (that is, favour) “unto the humble,” James 4:6; Gen. 39:21, Acts 7:10; 1 Sam. 2:26;  Paul introduces most of his epistles or ends them with a doxology that equates grace with Jesus Christ-indeed there is NO GRACE outside of Christ-JK.

3. The power of God producing the fruit of the Spirit, saving, sanctifying and renewing our natures, enabling unto good, and preventing from evil, are so termed. Thus the Lord tells Paul, “his grace was sufficient for him;” that is, the assistance against temptation which he afforded him, Titus 2:10, I Peter 5: 10-12, Col. 3:16; 2 Cor. 8:6, 7; Heb. 12: 28.

There is no grace outside of Christ for mankind in general, specifically the reprobate wicked-JK

Our faith

Our faith in Christ, a marvelous gift of God is the human side of our justification. God justified us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with into which we are baptized by the Spirit who simultaneously works faith in us. 

We are “kept by the power of God through faith (the means) unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 

I Peter 1:5-7.

Note it is our faith in Christ, very precious faith, not as some posit, the faithfulness of Christ or our faith in the faithfulness of Christ. The object of our faith is Christ and it is we who believe and are kept believing till faith gives way to sight! Then faith and hope will be done away and only love, which is eternal, love between us and our Saviour will remain forever.

The Gap

“No man cometh unto the Father but by me.”  John 14:6. There is a gulf, a gap, a separation between man and God caused by sin (Isaiah 59:2). Sin is inborn in us causing us to come short of the proper purpose of all things which is the  glory of God. We cannot obey his commands. This gulf continues after death (Luke 16:26). Only Jesus Christ enables man to bridge the gap because he:

Is God and man who did no sin.

Atoned for sin in his death.

He has devolved Power from the Father to save us from the guilt, power and presence of sin.

The illustration above enabled me to understand the gospel over 40 years ago.

Praise is foreign

The Psalms exalt God and realistically portray mankind as ephemeral and sinful. Praising God is not natural for the human heart. By nature we all want praise for ourselves, we think we are good and deserve heaven. It is not until the Spirit of God, by the word of God, convinces us of our sin, of God’s righteousness and of judgment to come and Jesus Christ reveals himself in the gospel of grace that we can see ourselves as we really are and praise our creator and redeemer.