There is no grace but free and sovereign grace, no election but eternal and unconditional election, no redemption but particular and effectual redemption, no salvation but by the irresistible grace and omnipotent power of God the Holy Spirit, and no security but by the absolute preservation of God’s immutable goodness.
And any pretended gospel that does not proclaim these things is, as Paul says, “another gospel” that is damning to the souls of men.
And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. (Acts 5:42 )
That which separates the truth from a mere religion is that the truth concerns a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. This may seem a trite and worn out phrase, but it is true that salvation is a Person, not a doctrine. The longer I preach, the more I see the importance this distinction.
There are doubtless many who would find fault with such a generalization saying that one cannot preach without preaching doctrine. In this they would be correct, for doctrine is simply teaching. I would be impossible to preach the Person without preaching doctrine. However, it is quite easy to preach doctrine and never preach the Person.
Allow me to illustrate: Truth is, in some ways like a jigsaw puzzle. A jigsaw puzzle is made of many parts, each one important. The puzzle could not be complete if any individual part were missing. Yet, we all realize that the value of such a puzzle does not lie in the individual pieces, but in the image that is made when all these pieces are joined together in their proper relationship. Even though an unassembled jigsaw puzzle contains the very same materials and pieces as an assembled one, we recognize that there is a great difference between the two: the assembled puzzle gives us an image, a picture to enjoy. An unassembled puzzle is just a box of cardboard pieces.
The truth of God is similar: It is made of many parts, each one important. Yet the value of these parts lies not in themselves, but in the image they create when “assembled” through preaching. All the doctrines of the Scriptures are pieces of a Divine “puzzle” which, when assembled, provide us with an image of the Lord Jesus. One may emphasise the various individual “pieces” of this puzzle, and become quite expert in them, and never see the image which they were designed to create. As the Lord said to the Pharisees:
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39) Continue reading →
This is a beautiful soft-bound tan/brown edition designed to slip in a purse or jacket pocket. It includes a place marking ribbon and a gift presentation page.
“Go through the whole Bible in a year with a daily reading scheme and a devotional portion for each section read. Pastor Fortner’s clear emphasis on the sovereign grace of God in Christ is always on view. He shows how the Lord Jesus is present in type, prophecy, and picture throughout the whole of the Bible. An excellent daily reading book with the added benefit of covering the whole of God’s Word in one year.” — Publisher
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The Table of Nations: Are There Many Races or One?
By Voddie Baucham
Join me if you will in Genesis 10 and as we said when we thought about preaching through the first 11 chapters of Genesis there were several places that sort of gave us pause. And one of the places was Genesis 10.
What do you do when you get to Genesis 10 and the table of nations?
But we are committed to systematic exposition and one of the things that means is just
like in our reading of Scripture. I am sure if you are a guest with us and you haven’t been with us and you don’t really know about what we do and what we are committed to in worship, well, one of the things we are committed to is that the Bible says to give
attention to the public reading of Scripture. And so we read systematically through Scripture. And we will read in the Old Testament and we will read in the New Testament and we will take a book and we will read through the book. And so right now we are reading through Exodus.
And a lot of people sit there and they have never been with us and we are in Exodus 26 and they are going, “Huh,” wondering how they are going to tie this in to everything that they are doing in the…
We don’t tie it in. We are just committed to the systematic reading of Scripture. And if we believe that all Scripture is God breathed and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate and equipped for every good work,”1 then what part of Scripture would be inappropriate to read in worship? Well, none.
1 See 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Do we really believe that? Well, most times we don’t. That’s why most of us have never been in a church where Exodus 26 has ever been read. Amen? But we read systematically through the Scripture. We read, you know, Revelation, the next week we will read Revelation 22 and then we will find another New Testament book and we will read through it from the beginning to the end.
We preach systematically. So right now we are preaching Genesis one through 11. Most times you don’t tackle Genesis chapter 10, the table of nations, lists of names. Amen, Hallelujah, Praise the Lord. Make you just want to get up and shout and do the Hallelujah Holy Ghost dance, all right, reading lists of names. Continue reading →
If (by the grace of God) I can learn a two-fold lesson, my attitude will so totally change that I can never be the same again. That lesson is found in verse one of this Psalm—‘My soul waiteth upon God’ and ‘From him cometh my salvation.’
1. What do I do? I wait as a disciple on my Lord’s command. I wait as a bondslave at my master’s feet. I wait as clay, submissive and surrendered in the potter’s hand (Rom_9:20-23).
2. On whom do I wait? I wait on the sovereign, all-wise Lord, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will (Eph_1:9-12), on my heavenly Father, who loves me and works all things together for my good (Rom_8:28).
3. How do I wait? I wait ‘truly,’ or sincerely and silently. I wait only upon him. Note the repeated use of the word ‘only’ in Psa_62:2; Psa_62:5-6.
4. What are the results of my seeking, looking, and waiting upon God? ‘From him cometh my salvation’ from the law’s curse, from the judgment of sin, from the sting of death, and from all condemnation (Rom_8:1).
Psa_62:2; Psa_62:6. ‘He only is my rock and my salvation.’ This is the sum and substance of the Bible. I can find in the scripture no other doctrine than ‘salvation is of the Lord.’ The ‘salvation of the righteous is of the Lord’ (Jon_2:9; Psa_3:8; Psa_37:39; 2Th_2:13). Moses exhorted the people to ‘stand still (wait) and see the salvation of the Lord.’ It pleased the Lord to make us his people (1Sa_12:22); it pleased the Lord to bruise Christ in our stead (Isa_53:10); it pleased the Lord to reveal Christ in us (Gal_1:15); it pleased the Lord by the gospel to save those who believe (1Co_1:21). He only is our rock and refuge! That, rock (typically and literally) is Christ (1Co_10:4; Isa_28:16). Christ is our defense against all charges and condemnation (Rom_8:33-34), for he of God is made unto us all we need (1Co_1:30). Continue reading →
TOTAL DEPRAVITY — We believe that all men since the fall of Adam are both guilty and helpless as sinners. All men are born with a sinful nature. All men are guilty of sin. All men are spiritually dead in sin. All men are helplessly lost by nature (Romans 3:9-19; 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3).
UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION — God sovereignly chose the people whom He would save before the world began, not because of anything good which He foresaw in them, but simply according to His own good pleasure (John 15:16; Romans 9:11-13; Ephesians 1:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9).
LIMITED ATONEMENT — We believe, according to the Scriptures that the Lord Jesus Christ died for and redeemed only His own elect, those who are actually saved by His grace. He did not die in vain, for those who perish under the justice of God; but He actually accomplished the redemption of His people. The benefits of Christ’s atonement are limited to the elect of God, according to God’s own purpose. Christ died for a particular people and effectually satisfied the justice of God for those people, guaranteeing their eternal salvation (Isaiah 53:8; John 10:11; Hebrews 9:12).
IRRESISTIBLE GRACE — God the Holy Spirit regenerates those sinners who were chosen by God and redeemed by Christ, and calls them to Christ, creating faith in their hearts by irresistible grace and power. All who are effectually called by the Holy Spirit, do come to Christ in faith (Psalm 65:4; 110:3; John 6:37-40; Romans 9:16).
PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS — All true believers shall continue in the faith, persevere in grace, and inherit eternal glory, being preserved by the power and grace of God in Christ. Not one chosen, redeemed, regenerate sinner shall perish. Grace cannot allow it! (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:29-39; Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
These blessed truths of the Gospel we believe and preach to the glory of God and for the salvation of sinners through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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 →
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 →
Everyone who reads the Bible, even casually, knows that it teaches the doctrine of election. All God’s saints rejoice in that doctrine. Nothing sounds sweeter in the believer’s ear than the voice of the Son of God saying, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.”
Yet, no mere man can open and read the Lamb’s Book of life. No mortal can ever know who the elect are until they are regenerated and called by God the Holy Spirit. However, each of us can prove our own selves. We can make our calling and election sure.
In 1 Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul, writing by Divine inspiration, tells us that he knew those men and women in the Church at Thessalonica were elect, chosen of God, and precious by five distinct marks of grace upon them. If you are one of God’s elect, these five marks are upon you. If I am one of the elect, these marks are upon me.
“Like Christ’s redeeming work, then, faith is not merely offered but is actually conferred, by sheer grace and without any obligation to grant it.”
Just as Luther’s followers preferred to be called “evangelicals” but were labeled “Lutherans” by Rome, around 1558 Lutherans coined the term “Calvinist” for those who held Calvin’s view of the Supper over against both Zwingli and Luther. Despite self-chosen labels such as “evangelical” and “Reformed” (preferred because the aim was always to reform the catholic church rather than start a new one), “Calvinism” unfortunately stuck as a popular nickname.
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:28)
We believe in the eternal security of the saints. First, because they are Christ’s, and He will never lose the sheep which He has bought with His blood and received of His Father.
Next, because He gives them eternal life, and if it be eternal, well then, it is eternal, and there can be no end to hell, and heaven, and God. If spiritual life can die out, it is manifestly not eternal life, and that effectually shuts out the possibility of an end.
Observe, further, that the Lord expressly says, “They shall never perish.” As long as words have a meaning, this secures believers from perishing. The most obstinate unbelief cannot force this meaning out of this sentence.
Then, to make the matter complete, He declares that His people are in His hand, and He defies all their enemies to pluck them out of it. Surely it is a thing impossible even for the fiend of hell. We must be safe in the grasp of an almighty Savior. Be it ours to dismiss carnal fear as well as carnal confidence and rest peacefully in the hollow of the Redeemer’s hand.
(20) But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” (21) Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? (22) What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, (23) in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory– (24) even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
“Ever since the Serpent first tempted Eve in the garden by casting doubt on God’s word and his character as he had revealed himself to her, mankind has always been engaged in the idolatrous pursuit of fashioning a god after his own imagination…There is no cure for this, but to cast off all our prior ideas of who we think God should be, or what we think he should mean when he speaks of his love, his grace, his justice, and his salvation, and to go to His Word for all our answers.” (from the Introduction)
DOCTRINES OF GRACE – CATEGORIZED SCRIPTURE LIST
God has recently given us the opportunity to discuss some theological issues with other Christians who believe differently than we do on a number of points, most notably the doctrines of grace. In such a circumstance, given the overwhelming supply of scriptural evidence that comes to bear on the topic, it seemed to me that the best approach would be a simple categorized scripture list: the fact that the entire paper would be scriptures, with the exception of a few brief explanatory notes, would underscore the truth that this is God’s own word and teaching; and the fact that it would be categorized would facilitate the ready comparison of scripture with scripture so as to lead one to a full-orbed understanding of the biblical teaching. Although I found a few good scripture lists of that nature available online, none of them was laid out in quite the progression that I was looking for, and so I developed my own. I’m posting it
In spite of the clarity with which Scripture addresses this topic, many professing Christians today struggle in their acceptance of God’s sovereignty — especially when it comes to His electing work in salvation. Their most common protest, of course, is that the doctrine of election is unfair. But such an objection stems from a human idea of fairness, rather than the objective, divine understanding of true justice. In order to appropriately address the issue of election, we must set aside all human considerations and focus instead on the nature of God and His righteous standard. Divine justice is where the discussion must begin.
What is Divine justice? Simply stated, it is an essential attribute of God whereby He infinitely, perfectly, and independently does exactly what He wants to do when and how He wants to do it. Because He is the standard of justice, by very definition, then whatever He does is inherently just. As William Perkins said, many years ago, ‘We must not think that God doeth a thing because it is good and right, but rather is the thing good and right because God willeth it and worketh it.’
OF THE THINGS which I have spoken unto you these many years, this is the sum. Within the circle of these words my theology is contained, so far as it refers to the salvation of men. I rejoice also to remember that those of my family who were ministers of Christ before me preached this doctrine, and none other. My father, who is still able to bear his personal testimony for his Lord, knows no other doctrine, neither did his father before him.
I am led to remember this by the fact that a somewhat singular circumstance, recorded in my memory, connects this text with myself and my grandfather. It is now long years ago. I was announced to preach in a certain country town in the Eastern Counties. It does not often happen to me to be behind time, for I feel that punctuality is one of those little virtues which may prevent great sins. But we have no control over railway delays, and breakdowns; and so it happened that I reached the appointed place considerably behind the time. Like sensible people, they had begun their worship, and had proceeded as far as the sermon.