The Apostle Paul: a product of Free-willism, or saved by Sovereign Grace?

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Grant Swart

If God hides our sin or lessens it, He is faulty; if He leaves it still upon us, we die. He must then take our iniquity to Himself, make it His own, and so deliver us; for thus having taken the sin upon Himself, as lawfully He may and lovingly He does, it follows that we live if He lives; and who can desire more?

 – John Bunyan

These represent a few notes from my evening of contemplating the biblical attitude which should be adopted toward the free-will worldly attitude of those advocates trying to  impress God. 

I certainly did not “choose”, summon or influence Christ, nor did I ever make a decision “for” Him. I never did anything good and, according to my own ability, I never will. I can never be a better person “for” Christ. I never sought God, I never understood God (Rom 3:11). I never called out to God in a way which could have encouraged Him to come running to my eternal aid. He reached out and grabbed me when I was dying, because He willed it to be so.

I am and will always be a sinner, I am worth no more today than I was before God called me to Himself, save for the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am satisfied, humbled and overjoyed at what Christ did for me, when I least of all people deserved to be saved. I desire nothing more, I require nothing more, I do not need to, nor can I ever,  convince anyone of the facts. I have Christ, God Himself, who gave Himself for me. I did not pay for my salvation in part, I did not work for it, it was given freely to me by my Christ, who paid for it in full. There are no refunds, what is finished (John 19:30), cannot be made unfinished.

Throughout all of the Apostle Paul’s post- salvational life, he never denied nor tried to deny the truth of what he was. He consistently referred to his previous self-righteousness, opposition and hatred toward God (1 Tim 1:13). He made it clear that, even after his salvation, he remained just as wickedly sinful and incapable of doing enough to please God, as he had been before the day on the road to Damascus. He referred to that by saying: “O wretched man that I am” (Rom. 7:24). Continue reading

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‘By grace are ye saved’

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2 Timothy 2:1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,

Read Ephesians 2:1-10

The entire work of salvation, all that is involved in bringing a sinner from the dungheap of fallen humanity into the eternal glory of heaven, is accomplished by the free and sovereign grace of God. ‘Works’ is a dirty word among believers. And ‘merits’ is a foreign word to God’s church, not found in our vocabulary. From the foundation stone to the top stone, we cry nothing else but ‘Grace, grace unto it.’

Language could not be clearer. Paul tells us that if any man is saved it is altogether by grace. It is written in the Word of God: ‘God hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.’ In Ephesians 1 Paul ascribes our salvation entirely to the three persons of the sacred Trinity. Continue reading

Christmas and the gift of election

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Every child of God is the object of eternal love without beginning and without end. This is one of the fat things full of marrow. Is it so, that I, a believer in Jesus, unworthy as I am, am the object of the eternal love of God? What transport lies in that thought! Long before the Lord began to create the world, he had thought of me. Long ere Adam fell or Christ was born, and the angels sung their first choral over Bethlehem’s miracle, the eye and the heart of God were towards his elect people. He never began to love them, they were always “a people near unto him.” Is it not so written, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore, with lovingkindness have I drawn thee”? Some kick at the doctrine of election, but they are ill advised, since they labour to overturn one of the noblest dishes of the feast; they would dam up one of the coolest streams that flow from Lebanon; they would cover over with rubbish one of the richest veins of golden ore that make rich the people of God. Continue reading

Should believers celebrate Christmas?

Read Romans 14:1-23

No one knows the day of our Lord’s incarnation. The Holy Spirit did not reveal it to us. And, as believers, we must not be brought into a bondage observance of any day. We must not honor one day above another. We do not observe holy days and sabbath days of any kind. To be sure, the world’s observance of Christmas has little, if anything, to do with the worship and honor of Christ. For these reasons, and many others, some of the Lord’s people conscientiously choose not to join in any form of Christmas celebration. I respect their opinions and convictions – I must, because I once shared them. While we must not look upon those who differ with us in scorn or contempt (Rom. 14:1-5), I believe it is best for us wisely to use this season of the year.

At this season of the year people everywhere are reminded of the fact that Jesus Christ lived and died in this world. Above all else, I have chosen to celebrate Christmas, because it gives me an open door for preaching the gospel for the honor of Christ and the salvation of men.

Another motive for celebrating this season of the year is the fact that it is a time of giving. It does my heart good to see men and women engaged in seeking the happiness of other people. Such a spirit should be encouraged and nourished, not dampened and reprimanded.

And Christmas is a time for the family. More so than at any other season of the year, families try to get together for Christmas. All the children come home with all their children. It is truly a happy time. I am for anything that promotes such family feelings.

Yes, I think that it is best for us to celebrate Christmas, not as a religious holy day, but for the remembrance of that blessed event when the Son of God assumed our nature, that he might live and die as our Substitute and accomplish our eternal redemption. December 25 is nothing to us. But Immanuel is everything to us. We will magnify our Lord, our Savior, our King for his birth!

 Don Fortner

http://www.donfortner.com/html_firm/Grace%20For%20Today.htm