Here is a fountain filled with blood: use it, saint, use it.

C. H. Spurgeon.jpg

“A very present help.” — Psalm 46:1

Covenant blessings are not meant to be looked at only, but to be appropriated. Even our Lord Jesus is given to us for our present use. Believer, thou dost not make use of Christ as thou oughtest to do. When thou art in trouble, why dost thou not tell him all thy grief? Has he not a sympathizing heart, and can he not comfort and relieve thee? No, thou art going about to all thy friends, save thy best Friend, and telling thy tale everywhere except into the bosom of thy Lord. Art thou burdened with this day’s sins? Here is a fountain filled with blood: use it, saint, use it. Has a sense of guilt returned upon thee? The pardoning grace of Jesus may be proved again and again. Come to him at once for cleansing. Dost thou deplore thy weakness? He is thy strength: why not lean upon him? Dost thou feel naked? Come hither, soul; put on the robe of Jesus’ righteousness. Stand not looking at it, but wear it. Strip off thine own righteousness, and thine own fears too: put on the fair white linen, for it was meant to wear. Dost thou feel thyself sick? Pull the night-bell of prayer, and call up the Beloved Physician! He will give the cordial that will revive thee. Thou art poor, but then thou hast “a kinsman, a mighty man of wealth.” What! wilt thou not go to him, and ask him to give thee of his abundance, when he has given thee this promise, that thou shalt be joint heir with him, and has made over all that he is and all that he has to be thine? There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for his people to make a show-thing of him, and not to use him. He loves to be employed by us. The more burdens we put on his shoulders, the more precious will he be to us.

“Let us be simple with him, then,

Not backward, stiff, or cold,

As though our Bethlehem could be

What Sinai was of old.”

Morning and Evening, May 3, Evening

God’s Purpose for Our Lives

Banksy in Boston: F̶O̶L̶L̶O̶W̶ ̶Y̶O̶U̶R̶ ̶D̶R̶E̶A̶M̶S̶ CANCELLED, Essex St, Chinatown, Boston//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Psalm 138:8, ESV)

Sometimes many in the Christian Church are worried about God’s will and purposes for their lives. The aboce verse reminds us that even though our own future may be unclear, “the LORD will fulfill his purpose for me…” This is a reference to the intimate nature of God’s love for his people. God is “high and lifted up,” yet he is also “Immanuel, God with us.”

Yet, some still worry that perhaps God’s will includes elements that are distasteful and painful or that his will is not in alignment with what we might think is in our best interests.  The second line of verse 8 (“your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever”) directs our attention to the covenantal love and goodness of our God and Savior. Because of this, even when his will does include pain and suffering or seems, from our point of view, to lead where we do not want to go, we are assured that he will never “forsake the work of [his] hands.” The Lord’s ways are always the best. Leave your future in his stronger and wiser hands.

Theological Commitments of the Biblical Gospel: Preserving True Saints to the End

eternal-security

Preservation of the True Saints

This doctrine will have an impact when we come across a person (whether inside or outside of the church) who says that they received Christ as Savior at an earlier time, but that they have “backslidden” or lost their salvation and need to be saved again (or similarly, “rededicate my life to Christ”). But as we are assured in Rom 8:28-39 and other passages (Jn 6:37; 10:27-29; 17:12; 18:9; 1Cor 1:8-9; Phil 1:6; 1Thess 5:23-24; 2Thess 3:3; 2Tim 1:12; 4:18; Heb 7:25), our assurance of salvation is based upon the bedrock of the gospel. This is primary.

But a close corollary that cannot be missed is the need to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4), bearing fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt 3:8), renewing our minds to conform to Christ (Rom 12:1-2; Col 3:10), putting off the old self, putting indwelling sin to death and putting on the new man(Rom 6:6; Eph 4:2; Col 2:11; 3:9), walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Rom 8:4; Gal 5:25).

All of these together, and more, mean that a person redeemed by Christ is a new creation and should not walk in their former manner of life. If that has not happened, then that person may need salvation for the first time and has not come to grips with the fulness of the truth of the gospel. Another possibility is that they are a true believer, but they have been disobedient to the Lord for an extended period of time, are immature, and in need of loving correction and to be discipled.

The bottom line is this: many of those in America who profess to be Christians know little to nothing about the true gospel and are in need of salvation. Some have been “Christianized” through exposure to the church, but their lives demonstrate a rebellion to our King. They too must be evangelized.

Those who are sincere and broken will need further conversation and observation to conclude their spiritual state, along with many gospel conversations that will either bring them to Christ or bring them to stability and point them toward maturity.

Theological Commitments of the Biblical Gospel: Unable to Resist God’s Calling

Dragged against your free will?

Resistance to the Gospel

If a person is elect, what assures that they will actually answer this divine call? The Arminian/semi-Pelagian, seeing everything through the lens of libertarian free-will, assumes that man can walk away from the drawing of the Spirit of God. But clear and straightforward passages such as the so-called “golden chain of redemption” in Rom 8:28-30 show that the process once begun by God cannot be thwarted:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Romans 8:28–30, ESV)

Again, if the Lord God is sovereign in all things, he must have the power to overcome the deadness of sin and the resistance that inevitably comes from the naturally sinful desires of the elect before they are regenerate. The one who rejects the irresistible calling of God point to the observable reality of those who on a daily basis reject the gospel call of the evangelist.

But this general or universal declaration of the world to be saved is not the call of salvation we are speaking of here. This universal call is, of course rejected every day by many. We are speaking here of the “electing call” of God. This is the act of the Spirit of God moving, changing, provoking the will of the sinner so that all at once he sees his guilt before a holy God and his spiritual predicament, he also sees his need for a Savior, and he sees the beauty of Christ and how irresistible the call to come and drink of the living waters is. 

Dr. Lloyd-Jones says of this doctrine:

And again I could refer you to Ephesians 1:18 and to 1 Thessalonians 1:5 once more, and to Philippians 2:13. In other words, there are proofs positive of this statement that it is the internal operation of the Holy Spirit upon the soul and the heart of men and women that brings them into a condition in which the call can become effectual. And when the Spirit does it, of course, it is absolutely certain, and because of that some people have used the term—which I do not like myself—irresistible grace. I do not like the term because it seems to give the impression that something has happened which has been hammering at a person’s will and has knocked him down and bludgeoned him. But it is not that. It is that the Holy Spirit implants a principle within me which enables me, for the first time in my life, to discern and to apprehend something of this glorious, wondrous truth. He works upon my will. ‘It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do.’ He does not strike me; He does not beat me; He does not coerce me. No, thank God, what He does is operate upon my will so that I desire these things and rejoice in them and love them. He leads, He persuades, He acts upon my will in such a way that when He does, the call of the gospel is effectual, and it is certain, and it is sure. God’s work never fails, and when God works in a man or woman, the work is effective. [1]

When Paul and Silas approached the women who worshipped by the river in Philippi, it says in Acts 16:14 that “The Lord opened [Lydia’s] heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” The Lord did not destroy her volition, but as the Sovereign Lord, he overcame her inability to see and understand and believe so that she paid attention to the gospel and believed.

Those who say that they believe in the sovereignty of God yet, because of love, God allows man to have a free will to choose or reject him is biblically, theologically and logically flawed. If God gives up his sovereignty in the area of salvation, he is not truly sovereign, because God cannot ordained the end without ordaining the means. God’s saving grace overcomes the internal resistance by changing the will of those whom he will save so that they have ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart to behold the glories of Christ, the One who died to set them free from their sins.

[1] David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God the Holy Spirit (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1997), 73.

God and the Fool

foolishness

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 53:1–3, ESV)

These words, quoted by the Apostle Paul in the third chapter of his letter to the Romans, are a stark reminder that the spirituality of this age that we live in is not a genuine seeking for the One true God, but rather is a seeking after another idol that can alleviate the void that is felt outside of God.

Even though the fool says in is heart that there is no God, his claim is contrary not only to the facts, but his raging against the God that he says does not exist shows that he does not believe his own words.

From God’s perspective, as he looks not only down on humanity, but looks into the darkened hearts of men, he does not see anyone who truly desires a relationship with him. Truth be told, humankind would be completely satisfied in pushing their Creator out of the picture totally—filling the void of their soul with anything else that they can find or create. In our futility and desperation, we have grown in our corruption. We even claim to be morally good, while God’s own estimation is much different.

Without the saving grace of Jesus Christ, we are living in a mass delusion. We are living as if there is no God, as if there was no moral standard except for the one that we have made, and that we are good according to our arbitrary standards. No wonder God calls us fools.

Jesus Christ is our only hope. He is the answer to our greatest need. He is our Creator, our Savior and Justifier. He takes out the hardened heart in men that is like stone, and he gives us a new heart that is tender toward him. He puts his Spirit in us so that we can grieve once again over our foolishness, and rejoice over the forgiveness that we have received. He gives us eyes to see his beauty and the beauty around us and ears to hear his voice as he calls and leads us.

Do you know this Jesus? He is God. He is Savior and Lord. He is calling to sinners and fools to depart from your sin and folly and call out to him for mercy. He will surely give it.