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!

 

 

The test of true religion.

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.”

Wisdom

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:—

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. To follow (In Christ is the wisdom to walk with God).

From John Owen’s work Communion with God.

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

No man taketh it from me

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.”

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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).

The Meaning of Grace

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.

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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.

Herman Hoeksema

(Reformed Dogmatics [Grandville, MI: RFPA, 2014], vol. 2, pp. 280-281)