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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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RESISTIBLE GRACE?

Dr. James White:

Dr James WhiteObjections to irresistible grace are, by and large, actually objections to the previously established truths of the doctrines of grace. Obviously, if God is sovereign and freely and unconditionally elects a people unto salvation, and if man is dead in sin and enslaved to its power, God must be able to free those elect people in time and bring them to faith in Jesus Christ, and that by a grace that does not falter or depend upon human cooperation. Those who disbelieve God’s right to kingship over His creation or the deadness of man in sin and put forward the tradition of man’s autonomous will can hardly confess that God’s grace actually saves without the freewill cooperation of man. From their perspective, the autonomous act of human faith must determine God’s actions. That act of faith becomes the “foreseen” act that controls God’s very decree of predestination, and, of course, that act of faith becomes the “trigger” that results in one being born again.

Neither side in the debate will deny that God is the one who raises men to spiritual life. The question is: Does He do so because men fulfill certain conditions, or does He do so freely, at His own time, and in the lives of those He chooses to bring into relationship with Himself through Jesus Christ? This question is normally framed in the context of the relationship of faith and regeneration. Do we believe to become born again, or must we first be born again before we can exercise true, saving faith? Can the natural man do what is pleasing to God? Can the dead choose to allow themselves to be raised to life? This is the issue at hand.” (Debating Calvinism)

IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

Dr. James White:

Dr James WhiteThe doctrine of “irresistible grace” is easily understood. It is simply the belief that when God chooses to move in the lives of His elect and bring them from spiritual death to spiritual life, no power in heaven or on earth can stop Him from so doing. It is really nothing more than saying that it is God who regenerates sinners, and that freely. The doctrine has nothing to do with the fact that sinners “resist” the common grace of God and the Holy Spirit (they do) or that Christians do not live perfectly in the light of God’s grace. It is simply the confession that when God chooses to raise His people to spiritual life, He does so without the fulfillment of any conditions on the part of the sinner. Just as Christ had the power and authority to raise Lazarus to life without obtaining his “permission” to do so, He is able to raise His elect to spiritual life with just as certain a result. (Debating Calvinism)

IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

Dr. James WhiteDr. James White:

The doctrine of “irresistible grace” is easily understood. It is simply the belief that when God chooses to move in the lives of His elect and bring them from spiritual death to spiritual life, no power in heaven or on earth can stop Him from so doing. It is really nothing more than saying that it is God who regenerates sinners, and that freely. The doctrine has nothing to do with the fact that sinners “resist” the common grace of God and the Holy Spirit (they do) or that Christians do not live perfectly in the light of God’s grace. It is simply the confession that when God chooses to raise His people to spiritual life, He does so without the fulfillment of any conditions on the part of the sinner. Just as Christ had the power and authority to raise Lazarus to life without obtaining his “permission” to do so, He is able to raise His elect to spiritual life with just as certain a result. (Debating Calvinism)

IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

Dr James WhiteDr. James White:

Objections to irresistible grace are, by and large, actually objections to the previously established truths of the doctrines of grace. Obviously, if God is sovereign and freely and unconditionally elects a people unto salvation, and if man is dead in sin and enslaved to its power, God must be able to free those elect people in time and bring them to faith in Jesus Christ, and that by a grace that does not falter or depend upon human cooperation. Those who disbelieve God’s right to kingship over His creation or the deadness of man in sin and put forward the tradition of man’s autonomous will can hardly confess that God’s grace actually saves without the freewill cooperation of man. From their perspective, the autonomous act of human faith must determine God’s actions. That act of faith becomes the “foreseen” act that controls God’s very decree of predestination, and, of course, that act of faith becomes the “trigger” that results in one being born again. Continue reading

IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

Dr James WhiteDr. James White:

The doctrine of “irresistible grace” is easily understood. It is simply the belief that when God chooses to move in the lives of His elect and bring them from spiritual death to spiritual life, no power in heaven or on earth can stop Him from so doing. It is really nothing more than saying that it is God who regenerates sinners, and that freely. The doctrine has nothing to do with the fact that sinners “resist” the common grace of God and the Holy Spirit (they do) or that Christians do not live perfectly in the light of God’s grace. It is simply the confession that when God chooses to raise His people to spiritual life, He does so without the fulfillment of any conditions on the part of the sinner. Just as Christ had the power and authority to raise Lazarus to life without obtaining his “permission” to do so, He is able to raise His elect to spiritual life with just as certain a result.

Sovereign Grace

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon:

I suppose there are some persons whose minds naturally incline towards the doctrine of free-will. I can only say that mine inclines as naturally towards the doctrines of sovereign grace. Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that God has never let me act as they have done! I have thought, if God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I should have been! I should have run to the utmost lengths of sin, dived into the very depths of evil, nor should I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me. (A Defense of Calvinism)

The Origin of My Light

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

“You must be born again.” Do not think Christians are made by education; they are made by creation. You may wash a corpse as long as you please, and that corpse could be clean, but you cannot wash life into it! You may deck it in flowers, and robe it in scarlet and fine linen, but you cannot make it live!

The vital spark must come from above! Regeneration is not of the will of man, nor of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but by the power and energy of the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God alone! See then, the ruin of nature and the freeness of grace!

Void and dark, a chaos given up to be covered with blackness and darkness forever, and, while as yet it is not seeking God, the light arises, and the promise is fulfilled, “I am found of them that sought me not; I said, behold me! Behold me! to a people that were not a people.”

While we were lying in our blood, filthily polluted, defiled, he passed by, and he said in the sovereignty of his love, “Live!” and we do live. The whole must be traced to sovereign grace!

From this sacred well of discriminating distinguishing grace we must draw water this morning, and we must pour it out, saying, “Oh Lord, I will praise your name, for the first origin of my light was your sovereign purpose, and nothing in me.” (“Light, Natural and Spiritual” No. 660 – Genesis 1:1-5)

Improve Church Attendance

From the desk of Charles H. Spurgeon:

I believe that the best, surest, and most permanent way to fill a place of worship is to preach the gospel, and to preach it in a natural, simple, interesting, earnest way. The gospel itself has a singularly fascinating power about it, and unless impeded by an unworthy delivery, or by some other great evil, it will win its own way. It certainly did so at the first, and what is to hinder it now? Like the angels, it flew upon its own wings; like the dew, it tarried not for man, neither waited for the sons of men.

The gospel has a secret charm about it which secures a hearing: it casts its good spell over human ears, and they must hearken. It is God’s own word to men; it is precisely what human necessities require; it commends itself to man’s conscience, and, sent home by the Holy Spirit, it wakes an echo in every heart.

In every age, the faithful preaching of the good news has brought forth hosts of men to hear it, made willing in the day of God’s power. Decked in the glories of free and sovereign grace, wearing the crown-royal of the covenant, and the purple of atonement – the gospel, like a queen, is still glorious for beauty, and supreme over hearts and minds.

Published in all its fullness, with a clear statement of its efficacy and immutability, it is still the most acceptable news that ever reached the ears of mortals.

Do We Honor God Sufficiently?

“The Lord says, Those who honor Me I will honor.” (1 Sam. 2:30)

It is dangerous to study the Bible in any other light than its own. Guided by this precept, let us consider the words of God which suggest our present meditation–“Those who honor Me I will honor.” God is justly jealous of His honor. He would not be God, righteous and pure, were He to part with one molecule of His glory. The how may I, trusting that, through electing love and sovereign grace, I am His adopted child and His chosen servant–best honor Him?

We must fully believe in the divinity of His revealed Word. To cast a doubt upon the truth of God’s Word, is to cast the highest dishonor upon God himself. Beware of low views of inspiration and tampering with the Bible. We must stand in awe of its divinity and bow unquestioningly to its authority. God will then honor you, by making His Word your light in darkness and your joy in grief. The Gospel must be fully accepted, then it will soothe you in life, support you in death. Therefore, if you honor God in His Word, God will honor you by making that Word the joy and rejoicing of your soul.

There is not a more God-glorifying grace than the faith that rests in Him, with a childlike and unquestioning confidence. This is a faith that trusts His power to perform all that He is pledged in His covenant and Word to do. Now is the time to bring honor and glory to His great Name by a simple, unhesitating trust in His power, faithfulness, and love. Then will your God honor you. The faith that trusts in God, believing His promise, though not yet performed, and that the prayer, not answered, still will be, shall be crowned with a full realization of all it needed.

Honor Christ by fully accepting His salvation. What a dishonor I bring to the Savior to doubt the efficacy of His blood to pardon, and the merit of His righteousness to justify the very chief of sinners. We honor God that He has put upon us the grace to believe–to accept–to be saved!

John Piper On God Centered Preaching

John Piper

John Piper

Quoting John Piper, of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis:

My burden is to plead for the supremacy of God in preaching — that the dominant note of preaching be the freedom of God’s sovereign grace, the unifying theme be the zeal that God has for his own glory, the grand object of preaching be the infinite and inexhaustible being of God, and the pervasive atmosphere of preaching be the holiness of God. Then when preaching takes up the ordinary things of life — family, job, leisure, friendships; or the crises of our day — AIDS, divorce, addictions, depression, abuses, poverty, hunger, and, worst of all, unreached peoples of the world, these matters are not only taken up. They are taken all the way up into God.

 

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