What happens to young children who die?

Genevan Book of Church Order (1556): “[Covenant children are] contained under the name of God’s people … Remission of sins in the blood of Christ Jesus doth appertain unto them by God’s promise … Paul … pronounceth the children begotten and born (either of the parents being faithful) to be clean and holy [I Cor. 7:14] … The Holy Ghost assures us that infants be of the number of God’s people and that remission of sins doth also appertain to them in Christ … Almighty God [is] their Father. [They are] His children bought with the blood of His dear Son.”

Belgic Confession (1561): “Therefore we detest the error of the Anabaptists, who are not content with the one only baptism they have once received, and moreover condemn the baptism of the infants of believers, who we believe ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant,

as the children in Israel formerly were circumcised upon the same promises which are made unto our children. And indeed Christ shed His blood no less for the washing of the children of believers than for adult persons; and therefore they ought to receive the sign and sacrament of that which Christ has done for them; as the Lord commanded in the law that they should be made partakers of the sacrament of Christ’s suffering and death shortly after they were born, by offering for them a lamb, which was a sacrament of Jesus Christ. Moreover, what circumcision was to the Jews, baptism is to our children. And for this reason St. Paul calls baptism the circumcision of Christ” (article 34).

Heidelberg Catechism (1563): “Are infants also to be baptized? Yes, for since they, as well as their parents, belong to the covenant and people of God, and through the blood of Christ both redemption from sin and the Holy Ghost, who works faith, are promised to them no less than to their parents, they are also by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, to be ingrafted into the Christian church, and distinguished from the children of unbelievers, as was done in the Old Testament by circumcision, in place of which in the New Testament baptism is appointed” (Q. & A. 74).

Second Helvetic Confession (1566): “We condemn the Anabaptists, who deny that newborn infants of the faithful are to be baptized. For according to evangelical teaching, of such is the Kingdom of God (Luke 18:16), and they are in the covenant of God (Acts 3:25). Why, then, should the sign of God’s covenant not be given to them? Why should those who belong to God and are in his Church not be initiated by holy baptism?” (chapter 20).

Canons of Dordt (1618-1619): “… the children of believers are holy not by nature but by virtue of the covenant of grace in which they, together with the parents, are comprehended. Godly parents have no reason to doubt the election and salvation of those their children whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy (I Cor. 7:14; Gen. 17:7; Isa. 59:21; Acts 2:39)” (I:17).

God’s sovereign election governs the salvation of all whether they die in the womb or shortly after birth or of a good old age. The elect are saved and the reprobate lost as with Esau and Jacob chosen before birth. We have every right to expect the children of believers to be elect if they die at a young age-JK

 

God’s love and wrath.

Unlike God’s love and hate which are mutually exclusive meaning you are either loved by election in Christ or hated in reprobation outside Christ, God’s love and wrath may exist simultaneously.

We know assuredly from Scripture that the trinity is the repository of eternal love between Father and Son by the Spirit and that God’s people because they are in Christ, are taken into this covenant of love. But we were by nature children of wrath (before conversion) and if we backslide as believers we become subject to his wrath and chastening (Psalms 6:1, 38:1). God’s wrath is his implacable hatred of sin (Romans 1:18) and therefore the reprobate have this wrath abiding on them (John 3:36). Believers pre-conversion and who fall post-conversion are subjects of his temporary wrath.

Christ, the object of God’s eternal love became, during his lifetime and especially on the cross, the object of God’s (temporary) wrath.

God, who is a consuming holy fire (Heb.12:29) consumes sin by the Spirit as Christ suffers and dies, then as that sanctifying power is applied to us, he consumes sin in us throughout our life and especially when we die and enter glory. The sin of the wicked condemns them to the fire of his wrath eternally which never goes out because that sin was never propitiated (atoned for).

His love which is his nature and his wrath which naturally follows from his holiness are both to be praised and glorified by us his people.

Interestingly the burning bush, aflame but not consumed, is the symbol of many presbyterian denominations and depicts the church. We are aflame with his imputed holiness and are the light of the world but we are never consumed.

Psalm 73

Psalm 73

Sung Psalm 73:21-28

Reading Psalm 73

God is good to us (his people)!

The writer Asaph was a Levitical leader of the singers at the tabernacle in David’s day and later possibly in the temple in Solomon’s time.

It is a Psalm of particular grace (v 1)-God is good to the church, his saved people.

Asaph’s fall would not just have been a trip but one like over a cliff, fatal!

Vv3-12 he bemoans the material prosperity of the wicked

Vv13-16 this is contrasted with his troubles (v 14) I believe is a sense of his sin and God’s chastisement)

V17 entering into God’s presence in the sanctuary corrects his thinking. He sees things from God’s viewpoint, realises his privilege and realises the end of the wicked. Let this mind be in you (Phil.2)

Vv18,19 speaks of the certain doom of the wicked

Vv21,22 he confesses his sin

Vv23,24 underlines the perseverance/preservation of the saints (John 10:28,29), God’s counsel or plan of our earthly circumstances and the glory that awaits us (although it is already part of us-Rom.8:18-30).

For further reading:

available here

Imprecatory Psalms

“Imprecatory” means  Psalms that invoke judgment, calamity, or curses, upon one’s enemies or those who are the enemies of God. There are many of them but Psalm 69 is a classic example. It is vital to remember that these are the words of Christ, ” the zeal of thine house has eaten me up,” quoted in John 2:17 are about him. Christ, alone knows those who are his, and conversely those who are reprobate, like Judas who is clearly addressed in verses 25-28. The idea that God’s providential good to wicked men is a sign of his love is totally ruled out by verse 22 and following. Scripture teaches reprobation. God has assigned  and destined that the majority of men who fell in Adam and throughout their lives showed their hatred of him, would not be written with the righteous (v 28) but have their place with Satan and his demons in the lake of fire. God’s good providence toward them makes them more guilty for their ingratitude. Judas, Pharaoh and Esau are prime examples as Paul teaches in Romans. It is an unpalatable doctrine to many, but we must acknowledge that the potter has power over  the clay.

“How do people who defend a love of God for all interpret Psalm 5:5-6, Psalm 6:8 (cf. Matt. 7:23; 25:41), Psalm 139:19-22 and countless other Psalms in which the Psalmist prays that God may destroy the impenitent wicked (cf. Prov. 3:33)? I know that some claim that the so-called imprecatory Psalms are not inspired but this is a ruinous lie about God’s Word (II Tim. 3:16). This argument borders on the ridiculous.” Prof. Herman Hanko 

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.

 

 

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

The Awfulness of Hell

John Gill on Mark 9:49

” For every one shall be salted with fire”

 

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That is every one of those that transgress the law of God, offend any that, believe in Christ, retain their sins, and sinful companions; every one of them that are cast into hell, where the worm of conscience is always gnawing, and the fire of divine wrath is always burning, with that fire every one of them shall be salted: that fire shall be to them, what salt is to flesh; as that keeps flesh from putrefaction and corruption, so the fire of hell, as it will burn, torture, and distress rebellious sinners, it will preserve them in their beings; they shall not be consumed by it, but continued in it: so that these words are a reason of the former, showing and proving, that the soul in torment shall never die, or lose any of its powers and faculties; and particularly, not its gnawing, torturing conscience; and that the fire of hell is inextinguishable; for though sinners will be inexpressibly tormented in it, they will not be consumed by it; but the smoke of their torments shall ascend for ever and ever; and that they will be so far from being annihilated by the fire of hell, that they shall be preserved in their beings in it, as flesh is preserved by salt:

The Books

 

The books were opened and all men were judged according to what was written in the books (Revelation 20:12-13). What are the various books mentioned in Revelation and other Scriptures?

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The first mention of a book is Genesis 5:1 where Moses is commanded to keep a record of the genealogy of the first generations of mankind. To this was added all the books of the law or covenant, the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible). To this was added the writings, or poetry books and the books of the prophets to comprise all the Old Testament. The whole of this book testifies of Christ to come (Psalm 40:7, Heb.10:7). In many places where prophets or an apostle are required to write, read, assimilate and preach this word we are to believe these are parts of inspired Scripture e.g. Jer.15:16, Ezek. 2:8,3:1, Rev.1:11, 10:2, 9-10. After the coming of Christ and the apostles, the New Testament, gospels and epistles, including Revelation, all of which are the inspired word of God and infallible, were added to the Old to comprise the whole Bible. This is God’s book in which we learn of all the other books! It is the canon of Scripture, now fixed (Rev.22:18-19). It is real, we can handle it and read it (in several thousand languages) and be blessed by so doing (Rev.1:3), it has power to save and harden (Heb.4, Is. 6:9-10, II Cor.2:16).

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The book mentioned in Revelation 5:1,3, 5ff is the book of God’s eternal decree which only Christ is fit to open and execute. This “book” is in the mind of the eternal, unchanging God and determines all that has or will ever happen in this universe.

The books (Rev.20:12-13, 15) out of which all men will be judged are a record of all the thoughts, words and actions of all men who have ever lived down to the minutest detail which will be opened on the last day and which will determine the eternal destiny of all men (Matt.12:36, 25:31-46, II Cor.5:10, Rom 14:12). Daniel knew of them (Dan.7:10). Think of them this way. God’s mind and memory are infinite and contain, like the greatest computer ever made, a full record of everything that has come to pass, inevitably because he also decreed it before time began!

The key book as far as Christian believers are concerned is the Lamb’s book of life. This book, kept invisibly in the mind of God, which is also eternal, contains a record of all the elect (Dan.12:1, Phil.4:3, Rev.13;8, 20:15, 21:27). This book cannot be added to or subtracted from (Ex.32:33), to be “blotted out “of it means to have never been in it! It also determines who will not follow Antichrist.

It is noteworthy that on the last day there is a separation of sheep (elect) from goats (reprobate) even before the books are opened and this separation has already occurred at death when each goes to his own place, either to be with Christ in heaven or the place of the dead and damned in hell (John 3:18, Luke 16:23). The final judgment after the general resurrection then determines the eternal destiny of everyone, the sheep having done good works to prove their election, and the goats having done wickedly, especially to God’s people, to cement their damnation. Christ also teaches there will be degrees of reward and punishment in his own words and the epistles (Matt.5:12, Luke 12:48, James 3:1) the rewards include various crowns (I Cor.9:25, Phil.4:1, II Tim.4:8, Rev.2:10, I Peter 5:4, Rev.3:11). All believers who are justified both in this life and the next, stand un-condemned because of Christ, it only remains for them to lay up treasure in heaven as both they and the wicked fill up their cup of suffering or iniquity as the case may be. We can be assured of this, the “judge of all the earth shall do right” (Gen 18:25).

 

The Scope of God’s longsuffering.

So good I must share it!

Covenant Reformed News

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November 2016  •  Volume XVI, Issue 7

God’s Longsuffering and the History of Sin

In the last four issues of the News, we surveyed all the references to God’s longsuffering in both the Old and the New Testaments, emphasizing that the exercise of this divine attribute is particular, for the elect alone. But what about how this works out in the history of sin?
Let us start with the beginning of the history of sin: the fall in Genesis 3. Why did the Most High not cast Adam and Eve into hell immediately after their eating the forbidden fruit? Surely, this is what their sin deserved? However, in God’s eternal decree, He had a wonderful plan to glorify His great name through the salvation of an elect church in Jesus Christ. The immediate death and damnation of the first two human beings would have stopped the propagation of mankind! What then of the history of the world? What about the coming of the Messiah?
Moving forward many centuries, we come to the flood. Why did God tell Noah that 120 years would pass before the global deluge (Gen. 6:3)? It was not because the Almighty was longsuffering to the reprobate in that age. Rather, time was needed to build the ark and for Noah to preach about God’s coming judgment (II Pet. 2:5). Also within these twelve decades, other elect saints, like Methuselah, died. They could not perish in the flood because it was a picture of Jehovah’s avenging wrath against the ungodly! The longsuffering of God saved the eight souls in the ark; it was not trying to save the impenitent reprobate who drowned under the judgment of the Most High (I Pet. 3:20).
Why did the Lord not destroy Sodom earlier? It was not that God loves, and is longsuffering towards, everybody head for head. Instead, the Sodomites had to fill up the cup of their iniquity. The development of their wickedness even reached to their attempted, homosexual gang rape of two strangers (Gen. 19:1-11). Until the departure of believing Lot, the only elect person in Sodom, the Almighty could not burn up the city, as Abraham well understood: “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (18:25). After all, the fire and brimstone are a picture of the “eternal fire” of hell (Jude 7; II Pet. 2:6)!
What about the Egyptians in the book of Exodus? Was the Almighty longsuffering towards them? No. Through the words and miracles of Moses, God hardened the hearts of Pharaoh (Ex. 4:21; 7:3, 13; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 8), his servants (10:1) and his people (14:17). Jehovah’s hardening of the Egyptians issued from His eternal reprobation and holy hatred of them (Rom. 9:10-24; 11:7-10). Moreover, the Egyptians were destroyed for the sake of His beloved Israel: “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life” (Isa. 43:3-4).
Why did God not destroy the inhabitants of Canaan earlier? Was this because they were the objects of His longsuffering? No. In the days recorded in Genesis 12-50, there simply were not enough descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to possess the promised land. Besides, the people in Canaan had not yet sufficiently developed in their sin. As Jehovah told Abraham centuries before the conquest of the holy land, “But in the fourth generation they [i.e., Abraham’s descendants] shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Gen. 15:16). Then the Most High would use the sword of Joshua and the nation of Israel to inflict His judgment upon the wicked inhabitants of Canaan (cf. Lev. 18).
After the Jews crucified His Son, why did Jehovah not devastate Jerusalem and its temple sooner? Why did He wait four decades until AD 70? Christ explains that the Jews must commit other sins, especially persecuting His followers, so as to be fully ripe for their inescapable judgment: “Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar” (Matt. 23:32-35). Furthermore, elect Jews in and around Jerusalem needed to be saved first, as we read in the early chapters of Acts (e.g., 2:41; 4:4; 6:1, 7).
Does the sparing of the Gentile world for many hundreds of years before the Holy One of Israel began to gather a catholic or universal church (cf. Acts 14:16; 17:30) prove that He was longsuffering to these reprobate people? Of course not! How could the Triune God save elect Gentiles in the New Testament age, if He had wiped out their ancestors centuries before? The Lord had His elect among the subsequent generations and numerous descendants of ancient idolaters, including the (largely Gentile) readers of the Covenant Reformed News!
Finally, does the “delay” of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for the final judgment indicate that God is longsuffering to the reprobate? No. Revelation 6:9-11 records “the fifth seal.” John “saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.” This is the loud cry he heard: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” John beheld that “white robes were given unto every one of them.” Then we read of the answer to their earnest cry: “it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
In short, the scriptural explanation of the delay of the great judgment day is that more saints must be martyred and the ungodly world must fully manifest its wickedness. Only then will all things be ready for the glorified Christ to return to deliver His beloved people and punish those who rebel against Him. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32)!  Rev. Stewart

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