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.

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Image of God?

 

The vast majority of Christians believe that man is in the image of God. Man WAS made in the image of God in the creation but is fallen man still a bearer of God’s image?

Emphatically NOT. Christ said of the unbelieving Jews,” Ye are of your father, the devil.” Is Satan in God’s image or his children? Fallen man has taken on the image of Satan and has nothing left of God’s image, not even an eternal soul, rationality, conscience or a will which the fallen angels still possess. Many large and well-known Christian organisations such as Answers in Genesis, the Christian Institute and Christian Concern (in the UK) believe in the sanctity of life BECAUSE man is in the image of God STILL. Not true! The image of God Scripture tells us consists knowledge (of God), righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24, Col.3:10), this fallen man does not possess. Life is sacred because of man’s original dignity.This message deals with all the relevant passages:

Why must we be holy?

Why must we be holy?

  1. HONOUR. It is by holiness that we are made like unto God, and his image is renewed again in us. This was our honour at our creation, this exalted us above all our fellow-creatures here below. This we lost by sin. To this honour, of conformity to God, of bearing his image, are we exalted again by holiness alone. “Be ye holy,” says God, “for I am holy,” 1 Pet. 1: 16; and, “Be ye perfect” (that is, in doing good), “even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” Matt. 5: 48, — in a likeness and conformity to him. And herein is the image of God renewed; Eph. 4: 23, 24, therein we “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and holiness of truth.” This was that which originally was attended with power and dominion; — is still all that is beautiful or comely in the world. How it makes men honourable and precious in the sight of God, of angels, of men;
  2. PEACE.By it we have communion with God, wherein peace alone is to be enjoyed. “The wicked are like the troubled sea, that cannot rest;” and, “There is no peace” to them, “saith my God,” Isa. 57:20]. There is no peace, rest, or quietness, in a distance, separation, or alienation from God. He is the rest of our souls. In the light of his countenance is life and peace. Now, “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another,” 1 John 1: 7; “and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ,” verse 3.
  3. USEFULNESS. A man without holiness is good for nothing. “Ephraim,” says the prophet, “is an empty vine, that brings forth fruit to itself” And what is such a vine good for? Nothing. Saith another prophet, “A man cannot make so much as a pin of it, to hang a vessel on.” A barren tree is good for nothing, but to be cut down for the fire. Notwithstanding the seeming usefulness of men who serve the providence of God in their generations, I could easily manifest that the world and the church might want them, and that, indeed, in themselves they are good for nothing.

Adapted from John Owen “Communion with God”.

Indispensible holiness.

Isaiah’s vision of the thrice holy God (Isaiah 6)

 

Why is holiness (sanctification) an absolute necessity in the new covenant?

1.The highway of holiness which is eternal life, leads to everlasting life in glory and it is the way appointed of God for us to walk in for the obtaining of salvation. So he that has hope of eternal life purifies himself, as he is pure: and none shall ever come to that end who walketh not in that way; for without holiness it is impossible to please or see God.

 

  1. It is a testimony and pledge of adoption,a sign and evidence of grace; that is, of

acceptation with God.

 

  1. It is the whole expression of our thankfulness.

 

 

The saints cordially approve of our righteousness (Christ’s imputed), justification, as that alone which is absolutely complete, and able to make them acceptable before God. And this supposeth six things:—

 

 

TBC   (Adapted from Communion with God by John Owen)

Trials

Bring on the polishing stone!

Young Calvinists

Trials are a blessing. What? Trials, a blessing? How are these stumbling stones, these thorns in my side, a blessing? Indeed. And not only blessings, but they are essential to life as a Christian and essential for us to bring our walk of faith closer to God. You see, to refine gold, there is a fire. To sharpen a blade, there is a grinding stone. A scar is fresh new skin, but first there is a cut. Everything in life that is good has most likely gone through a long and painful process to get the way it is. People are no different.

James 1:2-3 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” Count it all JOY when you fall into temptation. Joy? That I have to fight my sinful nature? Yes. Because that proves the…

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GRACE EMPOWERS

“And because the number of the saints is gathered by no preceding merits, as was said, but only by the gratuitous will of God concerning such, correctly John, about to write to the seven churches which are located in Asia, puts forth the heading of his greeting, saying: Grace to you and peace from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:4-5). For, grace is said to be something that has been given freely, not something paid as a reward, but something conferred freely through kindness. For, when this grace shined within us, we, from enemies were led back to friendship with our Creator, from ungodly were made godly, and from servants of sin were adopted as children of righteousness. Every day we are illuminated by this preceding grace so that we may be able to see where we should place our step regarding good work. We are guarded by subsequent grace so that in the end we are not bitten by a serpent in the heel. By this grace we are incited to good work, but having been incited, unless that grace supports what it has incited, we are unable to complete that same work. On this Paul says: The will is present with me, but to do good I do not find (Rom. 7:18). Accordingly, therefore, the will that is present with you, is only because you received it by grace, as you yourself said in another passage: What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Cor. 4:7) Therefore, just as the will was present with Paul because he received this very thing by grace, so he did not find it to do good unless that very grace, which gave him the will, supported it. Accordingly also, the same Apostle says again: It is God who works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). For, John, Peter, and Paul, when they were about to write to believers, put forth this grace in the heading of their greetings in their writings.”
Ambrose Autpert (730-784), Expositio in Apocalypsin. On Rev 1:3

Thanks Andy Underhill (USA)

Killing Sin (3)

Part 3 of Owen’s treatise

The Holy Spirit is the agent in mortification (Rom.8:13): He it is who takes away of the stony heart, Ezek. 11:19, 36:26, “I will give my Spirit, and take away the stony heart;” “Without Christ we can do nothing,” John 15:5. All actings of any grace whatever, from him, are by the Spirit, by whom he alone works in and upon believers. As per Acts 5:31 he grants repentance of which mortification is no small portion.  Having “received the promise of the Holy Ghost,” he sends him abroad for that end, Acts 2:33.

All self-denying religious acts, like many indulged in by Romanists, Hindu monks and fanatical Muslims are useless and impotent in mortification because NOT in the Bible.