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.

 

 

Communion with God (37)

Righteousness (the second thing that by the wisdom that is in Christ men are convinced)

This all men are persuaded of, that God is a most righteous God; (that is a natural notion of God which Abraham insisted on, Gen. 18:25, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”) they “know that this is the judgement of God, that they who commit such things are worthy of death,” Rom. 1:32; that “it is a righteous thing with him to recompense tribulation unto offenders” (which is why the way of sinners is hard) 2 Thess. 1:6. He is “a God of purer eyes than to behold evil,” Hab. 1:13; and therefore, “the ungodly cannot stand in judgement,” Ps. 1:5. Hence the great worry of every person who to any extent has a notion of God’s righteousness, believes in his own immortality and judgement to come, about how he can be righteous in the presence of this righteous God-JK.  This worries them all their days and so, as the apostle speaks, Heb. 2:5, “through the fear of death they are all their lifetime subject to bondage,” they are perplexed with fears about the issue of their righteousness, lest it should end in death and destruction.
Dear friend do you know you are righteous before God? If not search the Scriptures.

Communion with God (36)

The Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8)

Sin…“Fools make a mock of sin.” A true saving knowledge of sin is to be had only in the Lord Christ: in him may we see the desert of our iniquities, and their pollution, which could not be borne or expiated but by his blood; neither is there any wholesome view of these but in Christ. In him and his cross is discovered our universal impotency, either of atoning God’s justice or living up to his will. The death of sin is procured by, and discovered in, the death of Christ; as also the manifestation of the riches of God’s grace in the pardoning thereof. A real and experimental acquaintance, as to ourselves, with all which, is our wisdom; and it is that which is of more value than all the wisdom of the world.

The only source of blessing.

People seek to bless others and the word “bless” is used indiscriminately!

Who can bless others but God alone! Blessing rests in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

When Peter addressed the Jewish crowd he stated, “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” (Acts 3:23)

The kindreds (peoples) of the earth are blessed in coming of the seed of Abraham namely Christ….and how are they blessed? “ Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” (Acts 3:24). The basic way human beings are blessed are when by God’s grace they repent and believe the gospel. ONLY believers are blessed and only believers can be a blessing to others. God’s people are blessed for ever (Ps.21:6, Matthew 25:34), the reprobate wicked (who never repent) are cursed ( Prov.3:33, Matt.25:41). Do you want the blessing of God? Repent and believe. Seek a true church.

 

 

Communion with God (17)

 

The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Christ’s fitness to save — he is a fit Saviour, suited to the work because he unites of the natures of God and man in one person and thus able to be a Saviour to the uttermost. He lays his hand upon God, by partaking of his nature, Col.2:9; and he lays his hand upon us, by being partaker of our nature, Heb. 2:14, 16: and so becomes an umpire (THE ONLY MEDIATOR) between both (I Tim.2:5). By this means he fills up all the distance that was made by sin between God and us; and we who were far off are made nigh in him. Upon this account it was that he had room enough in his breast to receive, and power enough in his spirit to bear, all the wrath that was prepared for us. Sin was infinite only in respect of the object (against the infinite God); and punishment was infinite in respect of the subject (Christ). This ariseth from his union. Union is the conjunction of the two natures of God and man in one person, John 1:14, Isa. 9:6, Rom. 1:3, 9: 5. The ONLY SAVIOUR of men (Acts 4:12).

Adapted from John Owen’s “Communion with the Triune God”.

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

Predestination

New LRF Blog Post


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

Two miraculous crossings.

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!