Posts Tagged ‘gospel’

Salvation and the Sovereignty of God: Robert Murray McCheyne

August 24, 2010

Robert Murray McCheyneBut remember, God is a sovereign God. Do not cry to Him to convert you, as if it were a debt He owed you. There is only one thing you can claim from God as a right, and that is a place in hell. If you think you have any claim on God you are deceiving yourself. You are not yet convinced of sin. Lie at the feet of God as a sovereign God — a God who owes you nothing but punishment. Lie at His feet as the God who alone can reveal Christ unto you. Cry night and day that He would reveal Christ unto you — that He would shine into your darkness, and give you the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. One glimpse of that face will give you peace. It may be you shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.

From “What Does It Mean To Be Saved? by Rev. Robert M. M’Cheyene

http://www.the-highway.com/saved.html

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The Radical Effects of the Cross on the Conscience of the True Believer

May 19, 2008

When a man sees the cross of Christ with the eyes of faith, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, that man is radically changed.  He can no longer take sin lightly.  Conversely, a casual attitude toward sin is evidence of a shallow vision of the cross.  The regenerating power of the Holy Spirit does not just change the man – it radically changes the man.  God’s hatred of sin is impressed upon the believer’s conscience.  Though that believer struggles with sin, and often falls into it, nevertheless he hates the sin that so easily besets him, and he loves holiness, though it is hard for him to reach the holy state he desires.  The wicked conversation (life style) of the people of this world vex his righteous soul, as it did Lot’s soul. 

Dear reader, if you lack a desire for holiness, and the struggle against sin is absent from your heart, and you experience no vexation living in this sinful world’s agenda, then I would encourage you to see the cross if you can.  See the wrath of God poured out on His only begotten Son.  See the Son of God perishing at the hands of foolish, wicked men, while God Almighty pours out His judgment on the innocent Jesus.  See Him hanging there where you belong.  Are you not yet changed?  How can you not be changed?  Why will you die in your sins?  Turn to Christ and be saved, all ye that are weary and oppressed. 

“I saw One hanging on a tree”

John Newton, 1779

I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agony and blood,
Who fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.

O, can it be, upon a tree,
The Savior died for me?
My soul is thrilled, my heart is filled,
To think He died for me!

Sure, never to my latest breath,
Can I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt,
And plunged me in despair,
I saw my sins His blood had spilt,
And helped to nail Him there.

Scripture proofs:

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Hebrews 9:14  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

1 Thess 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

1 Cor 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

2 Peter 2:7-8 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds)

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2 Cor 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

The Gospel is Relevant to Sinners

May 9, 2008

There is no sweeter and more relevant message than “Christ died for our sins” (1Cor15:1) to sinners that have been made aware of their condemnation under God’s Law.  Unfortunately, too many preachers today think just the opposite is true – that relevancy is all about pursuing the fashions and fads of this world’s ungodly expressions. 

Whether it’s ungodly music, or ungodly clothing, or ungodly dancing, or ungodly chaos, or ungodly rioting, the men and women that constitute the emerging church leadership have openly sponsored these activities as the proposed means of “reaching” the un-churched.

Here is an example of an emerging church that is so determined to validate their humanly conceived methods that they are literally stuck on stupid:  http://hamptonroads.com/2008/05/concerts-resume-after-fight-church-club.

In contrast to this utter nonsense, God has published two masterpieces of relevancy:  The Law, and The Gospel. 

The Law of God reveals to us that we have offended a Holy God by disregarding His divinely instituted Law, and we stand condemned by it, awaiting the justice reserved for sinners.  By His Law we have been exposed as God-haters, idolaters, blasphemers, Sabbath breakers, haters of parental authority, haters of humanity, adulterers, thieves, liars, and coveters.  This message is relevant to every human being.  

But the Gospel reveals to us that we have a hope – that we may obtain the righteousness of God, which is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We have great joy in knowing that Christ perfectly obeyed and satisfied God’s Law, and through an unspeakable act of mercy, we may be forgiven of our sins through the blood of Christ and be saved through faith in that blood.  O what mercy, o what peace, o what relevance in the heart of the condemned!  Forgiveness!  Alas, my sins are washed away!  O how sweet to trust in Jesus!  O for a thousand tongues to sing my great redeemer’s praise!  The glories of my God and King!  The triumphs of His grace!  Surely there is no message that is more relevant to every human being on earth!

God’s eternal truth is already relevant.  The only thing we have to do to “make” it relevant is to preach and teach it.  When are we going to stop thinking that we can improve on God’s work?

Friend, if you are reading this and have never truly trusted Christ and been converted, I ask you right now to stop trying to convert God to your culture, and if you have heard His Voice, follow the call of your Shepherd into His fold. 

Don’t try to conform God into the image you have of Him, but rather, the Bible commands you to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2)

 

Does God Love Us Just The Way We Are?

April 2, 2008

This is one of the frequent sayings of contemporary evangelists.  But is it true?  Does God really love us just the way we are?  If so, then why does the Bible say:

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”  (Act 17:30)

Why repent, if God loves us just the way we are?  And this:

 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.  (Psalms 11:5)

And what about this:

Romans 2:8-9 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

And again, this:

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8 )

Which God do you serve?  The figment god of the modern gospel that is indifferent towards sin, or the Holy God that loves righteousness and hates rebellion?

If you’re reading this and have not cast your hopes for salvation upon Christ, I invite you to turn in repentance from the sins that have offended the God of Heaven, and turn to the true and Living God, seeking forgiveness and renewal at the merciful feet of Jesus, whose blood was shed for the salvation of his people.
 

How Does God Save People? Part 2

December 11, 2007

      In part 1 of “How Does God Save People” we explored the truths of the things which God did before time began in order to save people.  We spoke of foreknowledge, election, and predestination.  These are great truths that ensure that God will lose none of those He has chosen unto salvation.  We find great comfort in these truths, knowing that nothing is left to chance, and nothing is an “accident” in the life of God’s chosen; not only that, but no such thing as an “accident” really even exists, whatsoever.

Among those things that are not accidents is the conversion of God’s children.  The only reason any of us ever heard the Gospel is because God determined to send it.  The only reason any of us ever received the Gospel is because God determined to send the Spirit to quicken us.  The only reason any of us fight against our sinful natures in order to please God is because God works in us to do and to will of His good pleasure.  The only reason any of us will live forever in the glory of God is because He determined to lead us into the Promised Land.  Salvation is the work of God from beginning to end.  He is the author and finisher of our faith.  For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

The events that God determined to take place during time in order that we may be saved are:  1) gospel call 2) inward call 3) regeneration, 4) conversion (faith & repentance), 5) justification, and 6) sanctification.  The last event – glorification – takes place after we depart the physical world and is completed in the final consummation of time and thereafter.   You may notice that in Part 1 I listed the events differently, most notably placing regeneration first in the order.  I had thought to delve into controversy in that area due to the fact that I allow for the possibility that regeneration can come before a person ever even knows of the Gospel message.  But, subsequent to the publication of Part 1, having considered the matter much further, I find myself having much lesser confidence in that position than I formerly held.  I will therefore present a standard reformed version of the order of salvation.

I.  The Gospel Call

This refers to the ministry of the word through preaching or other communication (tracts, the Bible itself, etc.) of the Gospel message.  The Gospel is simply the promise of God to provide a savior – that Savior being the crucified, buried, risen, and crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.

The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, but not to everyone.  That’s right – some people are not effected by Gospel preaching.  Oh, they “hear” the Gospel (with their physical ears), but they do not “hear” the Gospel (with their spiritual ears, i.e., in the heart, or in the “inner man”).  For the Gospel to be effective, there must be something else – the inward call. 

II.  The Inward Call

This the “hearing” of the Gospel – that is, not with physical ears, but with spiritual ears.  “Him that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth”.  This is the voice of the Sheppard that the sheep will hear.  For these people, the Gospel is effective, “effectual”, to their salavtion.  It is meaningful.  It changes them.  It brings a new hope, and a new worldview.  And it works hand-in-hand with regeneration.

 III Regeneration

John 3:7-8 (KJV) 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Titus 3:5 (KJV) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

John 1:13 (KJV) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

1 Peter 1:23 (KJV) Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

James 1:19 (KJV) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

When we are born into this world, we are born with a “nature” that is common to all human beings without exception.  The Bible tells us that the “natural man” will not receive the things of God (1 Cor 2:14).  The nature with which we are born is at “enmity” against God, and the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God (Rom 8:7).

Since our nature is opposed to God, we need a new nature.  And just how could we get this new nature?  The answer is that God, in a supernatural act of His divine power, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, imparts HIS nature into the hearts of those He has elected to be saved.  When this happens, a person is “born again”.

The born again person is a person that has been made willing to repent of sin and trust Christ, loves God, desires to know Him, hates the sin that besets him, and longs for the day of perfect fellowship with God.

People cannot give birth to themselves.  This is true literally and spiritually.  The new birth is the work of God through the Holy Spirit.  Let’s look at a portion of the John 3 passage:

8 The wind…

The word “wind” in the original greek is the word “pneuma”, which is the same word that is translated “Spirit” elsewhere.  So we can easily see that the wind is symbolic of the Spirit of God.  And what does it do? 

…bloweth where it listeth…

The word “listeth” means “wills, or desires”.  So we see that God’s Spirit moves where He desires.  This is in perfect keeping with the idea that only the Spirit can birth a child of God, as we see in John 1:13: “who were born…of God”.

No one can control God.  No one can demand, or claim, or convince God to act.  God, and God alone, is in control of the world, and He will send blessing and bring judgement by His own decree. 

On a related subject, many people wonder at what precise time they come to be saved.  I will deal with this issue more in the section on conversion, since faith and repentance are the first consciouse, knowable eveidences of being born again.  It is often, if not usually, hard to determine the exact point in time in which an individual passes from a state of unbelief to a state of belief.  Some people have instantaneous, spectacular conversion experiences that give a definite mark in time as to their conversion.  I think of C. S. Lewis’ own testimony of his conversion:

“I was driven to Whipsnade one sunny morning. When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did.”

While he still lacks the knowledge of the precise moment of conversion, nevertheless he can point to a particular span of time in which his conversion took place.

Others come into the kingdom by increments, and their conversion is more aptly described as taking place in a “season” rather than a moment.  John Bunyan’s conversion experience can be described in these terms.  Sometimes, these “seasons” can last for years.

Such is the experience of the new birth.  It is a supernatural act of God. Man can not identifify the exact moment of the new birth, for man has no control over it.  He can neither cause it nor prevent it.  Man did not concieve his spiritual self; and he can not birth his spiritual self, anymore than the could he could physically concieve himself and give birth to himself.  Man can only examine himself for the evidences of the new birth, whether he possesses them or not.  And what are these evidences?  They are nothing less than certain continuing aspects of salvation that will be dealt with in future articles; namely, repentance, faith, and sanctification.  Justification is a legal aspect of salvation, and does not carry “evidences” per se, and glorification certainly is an outward evidence of salvation, being the very consummation of salvation, but it does not take place in this life, but in the eternal day.   

Regeneration is the beginning of our life in Christ, but we will continue our journey in later articles as we examine these important aspects of the experience we call “salvation”.

 

A.W. Pink: How may I know I have understood the gospel and that I am elect?

November 10, 2007

From time to time I will be posting some of the great quotes from some of the great Bible teachers.  And the most quotable of quotable men is Arthur Walkington Pink.  Here he tells us some things about knowing and having assurance that one is “elect”.  This quote is a perfect capstone to my previous articles “How Does God Save People?” and How Can A Person Know If They Are Saved?“.

“How may I know I have understood the gospel and that I am elect? “First, by the Word of God having come in divine power to the soul so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness is renounced. Second, by the Holy Spirit convicting me of my woeful, guilty, and lost condition. Third, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case and by a divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope. Fourth, by the marks of the new nature within me – a love for God; an appetite for spiritual things; a longing for holiness; a seeking after conformity to Christ. Fifth, by the resistance which the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it. Sixth, by avoiding everything which is condemned by God’s Word and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression. Failure at this point will surely bring a dark cloud over our assurance causing the Spirit to withhold His witness. Seventh, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces and using all diligence to this end. Thus the knowledge of election is cumulative.” – A .W. Pink