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Setting Forth The Doctrines of Grace
(Toward a Practical Theology of the Grace of God)
(“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Rom. 5:20) By Dr. Terry W. Preslar
Redemption’s Glad Message
Setting Forth The Doctrines of Grace (Toward a Practical Theology of the Grace of God) By Dr Terry W. Preslar
Copyright (C) 2005. Terry W. Preslar All rights reserved. Terry W. Preslar - PO Box 388 - Mineral Springs, NC 28108 (704)843-3858
- Preface The Doctrines set forth here are often mis-understood, mis-applied, and mis-used. The system of Grace is the only system of redemption taught in the Scripture. The earliest statement of Scripture that stated the action of God to save by Grace is found in Gen. 6:8 (“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”) This will indicate that God saved Noah by Grace and can be extended behind him as God demonstrates His Grace in the lives of the first created beings. Forward from Noah we are given a mighty parade of redemption by Grace. It was then and is now, gravely unfortunate that the natural view of works, decisional, or will based salvation has seen the light of day. Grace is all that should have ever been preached. This book will be found to be militant in favor of Grace Salvation. Scripture will be the only authority and the KJV (AV1611) is deemed the only version to resort unto. Those who adhere to other views are not allowed to have place and the reader should dismiss any thoughts of other systems. This is not a debate – I will be making a declaration of the established Biblical Truth. TWP (11/26/05, 3:00 PM At Home)
The Table of Contents
Redemption’s Glad Message ....................................................................................................... Preface 1 ........................................................................................................................ The Doctrines of Grace 1.1 .............................................................................................................. The Definition of Grace 1.2 ............................................................................................................ The Sovereignty Of God 1.2.1 ........................................................................................... The Purpose (Decree) of God 1.2.2 ...................................................................................................... God’s Decree of Grace 1.2.3 ...................................................................................................... The Providence of God 1.2.4 ..................................................................................... Foreordination and Predestination 1.2.5 ....................................................... Scriptures Asserting The Certainty Of Specific Things 1.2.6 ........................................................................ Salvation By Grace Alone Without Works 1.3 ............................................................................................................ The Message the Gospel 1.3.1 .............................................................................................. The Gospel of God ‘ s Grace 1.3.2 .......................................................................................... The Books That Were Opened 1.3.3 ............................................................................ The Believer’s Freedom From The Law 2 .................................................................................................................... The Vocabulary of Grace 2.1 .......................................................................................................................... Total Depravity 2.2 ............................................................................................................... Unconditional Election 2.3 .................................................................................................................... Limited Atonement 2.4 ........................................................................................................................ Irresistible Grace 2.5 .......................................................................................................... Perseverance of the Saints Conclusion to the Matter ............................................................................................... Amazing Grace Appendix A .............................................................................................................. Sermons on Grace Appendix B .................................................................................................. With Grace After the Lost Appendix C ......................................................................... More Terms Needed to Understand Grace
The Doctrines of Grace
(A System That Honors God with a True Witness) As is taught above, the Doctrines of Grace only flow from the basic tenets of Bible teaching. (“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isa. 18:20). Many systems of doctrine have been devised but a system that honors God with a true witness to the Scripture is the only one that will bring the blessing of God. Such a system has been effectively preached by the servants of God from early times and is still effective today. We must not compare the Doctrines of Grace to the man-centered systems of the past or those that may be voiced in the future. These doctrines center on the fact that “salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). This system may be divided into five basic areas consisting of undeniable biblical teachings. The first area is (1) “Total Depravity” - No one likes to hear of this matter for it places mankind in the place of guilt. The Word of God is the only book that is true to man’s state. Then there is (2) “Election” which is seen as God’s purpose in action to preform His will toward the fallen race. We must also acknowledge God’s (3) “Foreknowledge” as it aptly displays God’s attribute of Omniscience (The word means that God is all-knowing). He knows the future as well as the past. He knows all things, whether actual or merely possible. He knows things immediately and spontaneously. He knows the thoughts of man better than man knows them himself. (Psa. 139:2; Isa. 40:26; 46:10; Rom. 11:23). In response to these is the function of Grace’s (4) “Effectual Calling.” The saved of every generation have had to come to grips with this small truth (Eph. 2:1). And lastly, we see the masterpiece of Grace, the fifth of these tenets of Grace (5)”Perseverance of the Saints” - This truth teaches that all those who are sovereignly redeemed are sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit unto the day of the Lord. The view that regenerate believers are divinely secure in their salvation and thus will never lose it. These doctrines are foundational to a God-centered theology. They are the heart of historical, orthodox Christianity. Salvation is sovereignly and graciously given by God to sinners, not on the basis of any merit of their own, but simply on the basis of God’s own purpose and pleasure (Eph. 1:5). They are not an end unto themselves. They are the God-ordained means by which God glorifies and magnifies himself in the salvation of those he has chosen. We glorify him as well as we recognize and acknowledge that it is God who chose us to salvation; it is God who has redeemed us from wrath, and to him we owe our entire salvation and indeed our lives. To him be the glory forever and ever! The choice is between the deep-rooted, God-centered theology of evangelical teaching and the mancentered, unstable theology of the other perspectives present. To be convinced of the position of Grace is to be comforted by these truths, trusting that the God of the Bible, who is infinitely holy and righteous and loving, will not only save us but keep us until the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a biblical faith which lives and breathes Scripture as God’s infallible, inspired, inerrant Word, living and active, powerful, and sufficient for all of life. It is a stable faith, firmly entrenched within the historic Christian position. These Truths can be more completely stated. 1. Because of the fall, man is unable, of himself, to believe the gospel (Rom. 3:10-18). The sinner is dead, blind and deaf to the things of God (2 Cor. 4:3-4; Eph. 2:1-2). His heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9). This is called “Total Depravity”. In theology this term denotes corruption, a change from perfection to imperfection, the sinfulness of man’s nature. This term is modified in the study of theology with the special word “TOTAL”. The race of mankind is in the state of “TOTAL DEPRAVITY” and the term opens a clear view of the race. (Rom. 7:18). This total depravation is clearly stated in the book of Gal. 5:17-21, as we see the blessed writer under inspiration declare “...the works of the flesh are manifest; which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like.” (There are 18 overt works of the flesh but only nine fruits of the SPIRIT - stated here only as a contrast). This tells the painful truth of the nature of the “Carnal mind” which renders all subjects of the race at “...enmity against GOD,...” (Rom. 8:7). No reader will be able to debate this destitute condition of Redemption's Glad Message -1-
mankind. Under this theme lesser matters are explained: Man’s impotency (Rom. 3:10-18) and Man’s inability (The slave of sin: “...sold under sin...” Rom. 7:14; “...in the bonds of iniquity...” Acts 8:23). This is a terribly sad picture, but true to the Bible description of man’s Spiritual condition. (See Psa.58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Gen.8:21 “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”) 2. As a consequence of man’s depravity, it is only by the Holy Spirit’s special inward call that sinners can come to salvation (John 6:37, 44; 10:16; Rom. 8:29-30). The person does nothing to initiate the saving process (John 15:16). Indeed, faith itself is a gift of God. (Eph. 2:8-9). This is called “Election”. Election is God’s plan to bring salvation to His people and His world. The doctrine of election is at once one of the most central and one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Bible. At its most basic level, election refers to the purpose or plan of God whereby He has determined to effect His will. Thus election encompasses the entire range of divine activity from creation, God’s decision to bring the world into being out of nothing (ex nihilo), until the end time, the making anew of Heaven and Earth. The word “election” itself means, literally, “to choose something for oneself.” The objects of divine selection are the elect ones, a term found with increasing frequency in the later writings of the Old Testament and at many places in the New (Matt. 22:14; Luke 18:7; Col. 3:12; Rev. 17:14). The Bible also uses other words such as “choose,” “predestinate,” “foreordain,” “determine,” and “call” to indicate that God has entered into a special relationship with certain individuals and groups through whom He has decided to fulfill His purpose within the history of salvation. There is (1) the election of individuals to office or to honour and privilege, e.g., Abraham, Jacob, Saul, David and Solomon, were all chosen by God for the positions they held; so also were the apostles. (2) There is also an election of nations to special privileges, e.g., the Hebrews (Deut. 7:6; Rom. 9:4). (3) But in addition there is an election of individuals to eternal life (2 Thes. 2:13; Eph. 1:4; 1 Peter 1:2; John 13:18). The ground of this election to salvation is the good pleasure of God (Eph. 1:5, 11; Matt. 11:25, 26; John 15:16, 19). God claims the right so to do (Rom. 9:16, 21). It is not conditioned on faith or repentance, but is of sovereign Grace (Rom. 11:4-6; Eph. 1:3-6). All that pertain to salvation, the means (Eph. 2:8; 2 Thes. 2:13) as well as the end, are of God (Acts 5:31; 2 Tim. 2:25; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 2:5, 10). Faith and repentance and all other graces are the exercises of a regenerated soul; and regeneration is God’s work, the making of a “new creature.” Men are elected “to salvation,” “to the adoption of sons,” “to be holy and without blame before him in love” (2 Thes. 2:13; Gal. 4:4-5; Eph. 1:4). The ultimate end of election is the praise of God’s Grace (Eph. 1:6, 12). The elect are those called by God to salvation. This election occurs before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) and is according to God’s will not man’s (Rom. 8:29-30; 9:6-23) because God is sovereign (Rom. 9:11-16). 3. Moreover, God’s choice of individuals unto salvation occurred before the foundation of the world and rested solely in his sovereign will (Eph. 1:4-5, 11; Rom. 8:29-30; 9:6-26; 2 Thes. 2:13; Acts 13:48). This is called “Foreknowledge”. It is God’s knowledge about things that will happen. Past, present, and future are all “present” in the mind of God. He inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15). God has infinite knowledge (Isa. 41:22-23) and knows all things in advance. In the N.T. it does not always mean “to know beforehand” but also to cause to be. (1 Peter 1:2, 20). 4. In addition, Christ’s redeeming work was designed to save the elect, and it actually secured salvation for them. Christ came not to advise or urge or induce or assist the elect to save themselves. No! He came to actually save the ones he chooses (John 10:15; Rom. 3:25; 5:10). This is called “Effectual Calling”. If God does not call sinners, there can be no response from those who are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Soul winners of these past generations have all had to acknowledge the “CALL” of God on sinners or there can be no fruit (John 15:8). (“...herein is my Father glorified...”) This call is distinct in two ways. There is an outward call and an inward call. The outward call can be seen as the “blessed tender (extending, offering, proffering, holding forth) of Grace in the Gospel.” The outward call is not sufficient to salvation (Matt.20:16), but is enough to leave men without excuse (Rom. 1:20). The inward call is when God wonderfully overcomes the Redemption's Glad Message -2-
heart, and draws the will to embrace Christ. Some have termed this the “effectual call” The outward call blows the trumpet in the ear; the inward call opens the heart as HE did the heart of Lydia (Acts 16:14). The outward call may bring men to a profession of Christ; the inward call brings them to a possession of Christ. The outward call curbs a sinner; the inward call changes him. This call is SWEET; therefore causing willingness. After this issue there are no more disputes (Psa. 110:3); as when HE called Zacchaeus, he joyfully welcomed Christ into his heart and house. This call is HOLY (2 Tim. 1:9) and genders Holiness in those called (Isa.63:18). This call is unavoidable. You may resist the minister’s outward call, but you cannot resist the SPIRIT’S inward call. Paul said: “I was not disobedient...” (Acts 26:19). Nothing can stand in the way of God’s call (Psa. 107:16) (see Rom. 9:19 “...For who hath resisted HIS will.”) This call is HIGH (Phil. 3:14). This call is GRACIOUS (James 2:5). This call is GLORIOUS (1 Peter 5:10). This call is UNCHANGEABLE (Rom. 11:29). OH! Happy day, was that day when I made my calling and election sure. (2 Peter 1:10). The saved can know of the redemption of the soul by the call they recollect and the product it wrought in the soul. 5. Finally, all who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Holy Spirit are eternally saved (Rom. 8:38-39; John 6:39; John 10:28-29; Eph, 1:13-14). The truly redeemed cannot fall from Grace. Indeed, Grace in the heart is “incorruptible and abiding.” This is called the “Perseverance of the Saints”. The doctrine that salvation cannot be lost. Since it is not gained by anything we do, it cannot be lost by anything we do. This does not mean that we can sin all we want (Rom. 6:1-2) because we have been freed from sin and are set apart for holy use (1 Thes. 4:7). 1.1 The Definition of Grace - The Grace of God is the meat of the message for the New Testament Preacher. If he preaches any other message, he perverts the office to which the Father has called Preachers. I desire to magnify that message in the ears of the hearers as I preach any sermon. We can talk of the grand themes of the modern pulpit if you like; but there is none that is as grand as Grace. I am willing to allow all other subjects to falter in order to raise Grace to the top of the list of my focused visions. There can be no better phrase to describe God’s care for the race than “Grand Grace.” Grace that goes to the root of the need of fallen man and provides the need there. (Ex. 36:26). Grace that is only by Faith. (Eph. 2:8-9). Grace that requires nothing from the sinner. (Rom. 5:6). The Grace of God is the prime element of Bible Salvation. There is no other salvation taught in the Bible. Men, women, boys and girls are all saved by Grace through Faith and not of works. If works were effective to save, men could boast of redemption. Redemption is only for the Glory and Honor of God and if He can not have the Glory, I say, He is not involved in that experience. The temporal religions of our day are depots of profane, perishable, temporal “salvation” (Th counterfeit is so close). He surely offers a salvation that is Eternal. (Heb. 9:12 “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”). OH! What joy it is to know the sweet truth of Heb. 13:5 “...for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Our SAVIOR is the KEEPER of the Sheep Fold. He will keep those saved by the Grace of God. “As Eve fell while her Adam was not by her side, our `LAST ADAM’ will never leave HIS BRIDE’S side.” Matthew Henry has said, “Had she kept close to the side out of which she was lately taken she had not been so exposed.” So the saint will be kept by the perpetual presents of the LORD -our “LAST ADAM,” out of whose side flowed the blood that bought our redemption. There can be no sweeter truth than the Doctrines of the Grace of God. These Doctrines will free the believer to serve the MASTER in the life that Grace has provided. Grace is the limitless love of God expressed in measureless and inexhaustible kindness; it is the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man “...not by works of righteousness which we have done...” (Titus 3:4-5). In Grace is found the “Goodness of God.” Without Grace we are hopeless. No preaching can offer mankind any solace in the miry clay of darkness. Within Grace we find God’s lovingkindness. (“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee Redemption's Glad Message -3-
with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jer. 31:3; “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Rom. 2:4). Grace is the immutable purpose of God to save His people for His name’s sake. Grace has always been God’s plan. It was Grace that fixed the salvation of the first two and Grace that forged the salvation of Noah and his family and it was Grave that favored all of any past day. The dispensation of grace began with Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection (Rom. 3:24-26; 4:24-25), and will continue until He comes again, during which time salvation is solely dependent upon the believer’s trusting of Christ as Saviour (John 1:12-13; 3:16; 1 John 5:10-12). Grace manifests itself through the redemption (salvation) that is in Christ (Rom. 3:24), and also in the daily life of the believer (Rom. 6:15). Grace is unmerited favor. It is God’s free action for the benefit of His people. It is different than Justice and Mercy. Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. In Grace we get eternal life, something that, quite obviously, we do not deserve. But because of God’s love and kindness manifested in Jesus on the Cross, we receive the great blessing of redemption. Grace is, in theology, the favor of God to humanity, or the compassion of God despite God’s anger over iniquity. The Hebrew Bible contains many instances when God gives Grace to people, and the sacrificial institution is a symbol of God’s Grace and forgiveness. In the New Testament, Grace has been contrasted with works. It is important to emphasize, however, that in the New Testament, the apostle Paul did not consider (as is still thought to be the case by many today) Judaism to be a religion without God’s Grace, in contrast to the new era of Grace through Christ. Grace is, in addition to meaning the simple gift of acceptance by God apart from any merit, Grace can also mean the continuous divine assistance and love given to sustain the world and, specifically, believers. It can be stated no simpler than: the unmerited goodness and love of God for those who have forfeited it. (Rom. 3:24-31; 5:15, 17). God’s forgiving mercy, as gratuitous (a gift) and opposed to merit. (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 2:5; Col. 1:6). The gospel generally, as opposed to law. (John 1:17; Rom. 6:14; 1 Peter 5:12). Certain gifts of God, freely bestowed. (Rom. 15:15; 1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 3:8). Besides the meanings given above there are other significant statements that can be rendered in behalf of the meaning of Grace: 1) Spiritual edification of others is called Grace. It displays the favor of God, and conveys his gracious influences to men (Eph. 4:29). 2) Speech is, with Grace, seasoned with salt, when it is concerning the favor or truths of God, and tends to promote the edification and holiness of such as hear it (Col. 4:6). 3) To be called to the Grace of Christ is to have HIS gospel published to us; and to be invited to the enjoyment of the fullness of God (Gal. 1:6). No doubt, the measure of Grace is, as the song writer has said; “Amazing Grace...” Grace is “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace rules out all human merit. It is the product of God, that is given by God, because of who He is and not because of who we are. It is the only means of our salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). We are no longer under the Law, but under Grace (Rom. 6:14). (See also Acts 15:11; Rom. 5:2, 15-20; 2 Cor. 12:9; and 2 Cor. 9:8). 1.2 The Sovereignty Of God - God’s right to do what He wants with what is His. (Psa. 24:1; 50:1; Isa. 40:15; 53:4; Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Tim. 6:15). This term is a fright to many because it states an absolute that is in sharp contrast to the condition of man. The worship employed by the race is mancentered and to even state this declaration is a matter that causes the boldest teacher to stutter and I will only touch the “hem of the garment” for this term. GOD is Sovereign in the matter of: Faith (Gal. 2:16; 20); Conviction (Rom. 9:18); Regeneration (Jonah 2:9); and Grace (2 Tim. 1:8-10). Over against the truth of the “Sovereignty of GOD’s Will” is the so called “Free Will” of man. Both of these concepts have been dreadfully mis-used by false teachers. The saint is to take heart that GOD has sovereignty over the affairs of man and eternity. The abounding Grace of GOD has so constituted man that he can avail himself of this salvation by doing what a sovereign GOD of love has made possible for him to do Redemption's Glad Message -4-
“Believe the Gospel...” (“But we believe that through the grace of our LORD JESUS CHRIST we shall be saved, even as they.” Acts.15:11). (See Gen. 18:14; Ex. 33:18-19; Job 42:1-2; Psa. 115:3; 135:6; Isa. 14:24, 27; 40:12-25; 46:9-11; 55:11; Jer. 32:17; Lam. 3:37; Dan. 4:34-37; Matt. 11:20-27; 28:18; Rom. 9:20-24; Eph. 1:11, 22). 1.2.1 The Purpose (Decree) of God – The word “purpose” seems to be an equivalent of the word “decree” as used in regard to man’s relation to eternity. More correctly stated, it softens the word “decree” and refers back to the cause of the decree as lodged in an intelligent design and forward to an aim consistent with the character of God. Decrees of God are often left out of our preaching and our doctrinal statements. The Purpose or decrees of God are his eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise, and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions, successions, and relations, and determining their certain fruition. The several contents of this one eternal purpose are, because of the limitation of our faculties, necessarily conceived of by us in partial aspects, and in logical relations, and are therefore styled Decrees.” The decree being the act of an infinite, absolute, eternal, unchangeable, and sovereign Person, comprehending a plan including all his works of all kinds, great and small, from the beginning of creation to an unending eternity; ends as well as means, causes as well as effects, conditions and instrumentalities as well as the events which depend upon them, must be incomprehensible by the finite intellect of man. The decrees are eternal (Acts 15:18; Eph. 1:4; 2 Thes. 2:13), unchangeable (Psa. 33:11; Isa. 46:9), and comprehend all things that come to pass (Eph. 1:11; Matt. 10:29-30; Eph. 2:10; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; Psa. 17:13-14). The Purpose (decrees) of God is (1) efficacious, as they respect those events he has determined to bring about by his own immediate agency; or (2) permissive, as they respect those events he has determined that free agents shall be permitted by him to effect. This doctrine ought to produce in our minds humility, in view of the infinite greatness and sovereignty of God, and of the dependence of man; confidence and implicit reliance upon the wisdom, righteousness, goodness, and immutability of God’s purpose. God’s Purpose Includes All Fortuitous (Causeless, Inadvertant) Events - (“The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.” Prov. 16:33) (See Gen. 37:28; 45:5; 1 Kings 22:28, 34; Job 5:6; 36:32; Jonah 1:7; Mark 14:30; Acts 1:24, 26). God’s Purpose Includes All the Sinful Acts of Men - (“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Isa. 45:7). (See Gen. 50:20; Psa. 76:10; Amos 3:6; Matt. 21:42; Acts 3:18; Rom. 8:28). The Immutability of God’s Purpose - (“The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:” Isa. 14:24). (See Num. 23:19; Isa. 46:10-11; Mal. 3:6; James 1:17). The Eternality Of God’s Purpose - (“The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” Psa. 33:11). (See Psa. 139:16; Isa. 37:26; 46:9-10; Jer. 31:3; Matt. 25:34; Acts 15:18; 2 Thes. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Peter 1:20). 1.2.2 God’s Decree of Grace – God’s “decree” is a theological term for the comprehensive plan for the world and its history which God sovereignly established in eternity. Paul refers to “...the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will...” (Eph. 1:11). The Westminster Shorter Catechism provides this classic definition: “The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” There are analogies between God’s decrees and the decrees of human rulers, but important differences exist. Theologians distinguish God’s will of decree from the will of precept; a closer parallel exists between God’s will of precept and human decrees. The will of precept refers to Redemption's Glad Message -5-
the commands and laws that God sets for his creatures, commands which call for obedience but which are often transgressed. The will of decree, on the other hand, refers to the eternal, allcomprehensive, unchangeable, and efficacious plan of God which is carried out in history. Some scriptural examples of human decrees are Darius’s order to worship the image (Dan. 6:7-12), Cyprus’s command to rebuild the temple (Ezra 5:13), and Caesar’s decree for a census (Luke 2:1; cf. Acts 17:7). “Decree” (dogma in the Greek NT) is also used for the decisions of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 16:4) as well as for various Jewish legal regulations, ordinances, or rules (Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14-15). Similar terms are used for God’s decree against Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:24), for his decree concerning rain and the sea (Job 28:26; Prov. 8:29), and for his laws governing human life (e.g., Psa. 119:5, 8, 12). There are also instances where God’s decree refers to his regulations issued in history (Ex. 15:25; Rom. 1:32). Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish a decree that is the historical revelation of part of God’s eternal plan from a regulation or order of God’s in history that does not specifically refer to the eternal decree (see Psa. 2:7). The theological discussion of God’s decree is generally restricted to the eternal plan established before the creation of the world. In contrast to every human ruler, God has always existed. He existed before he created the world, and his decree or eternal plan was established before the creation; the elect were chosen “...in him before the foundation of the world...” (Eph. 1:4; cf. Heb. 4:3; 1 Peter 1:20; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 3:11). The relation of eternity and time, of divine sovereignty and human responsibility, makes human understanding of God’s eternal decree very difficult. Several important distinctions are helpful. The decree is not eternal in exactly the same sense that God is eternal. The decree results from the free and sovereign will of God; it must be distinguished therefore from the necessary acts of God within the divine Trinity. The decree of God must also be distinguished from its execution in history. The decree to create is not the actual creation of the world “in the beginning” (Gen. 1:1). The decree to send Jesus Christ is not carried out until Jesus was born of Mary in the days of Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1-7). Another important distinction arises when human agents are used in carrying out God’s decree. Some decreed events occur by God’s direct agency, as creation, regeneration, and the first and second comings of Jesus Christ. Other decreed events are carried out in history through human agency; sometimes this occurs through obedient human agents who live according to God’s law, the will of precept, but sometimes the decree is fulfilled through sinful, disobedient human action, as in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The complex issues involved in the relation of divine sovereignty and human responsibility or irresponsibility in carrying out the eternal decree become clearer when one examines scriptural references to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The eternal, divine decree clearly lies behind the cross of Christ. Before his death Jesus indicated that and truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined (decreed)” (Luke 22:22), and Peter told his Pentecost audience that Jesus of Nazareth, “...being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23). A little later a group of believers confess in their prayer that the crucifiers “...do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” (Acts 4:27-28; “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” Acts 2:23). Yet the crucifixion was the most heinous crime of human history; the crucifiers transgressed God’s commandments, his will of precept. Each of the three passages just mentioned also refers to the sin of those taking part in the crucifixion: Judas, Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles, and Israel. The crucifixion was part of God’s eternal decree, and sinful human action was involved; but the guilt of such action is not minimized even when it functions as means to effectuate God’s decree. Reflection on this crucial event of redemptive history is helpful since so many of the complex issues involved in understanding the relations of God’s decree and human history are involved. Scriptural references to God’s decree are generally set forth in concrete relation to historical Redemption's Glad Message -6-
situations for the purpose of promoting comfort, security, assurance, and trust. In the words of the psalmist, “The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought” and “he maketh the devices of the people of none effect...;” but “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” (Psa. 33:10-11). Again, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” (Prov. 19:21). The eternal decree of God also provides the explanation of predictive prophecy. The decree of God is largely secret and unrevealed; the crucifiers had no awareness of God’s decree. Prophecy, however, reveals key features of God’s eternal plan. The first such prophecy was the promise of a deliverer from the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15), which runs like a golden thread through the entire Scripture. Isaiah frequently refers to God’s decree and contrasts Yahweh with the idols; “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” (Isa. 46:10) and God says, “as I have purposed, so shall it stand” (Isa. 14:24-27). Part of God’s decree, not yet carried out in history but revealed by prophecy, provides the basis for the Christian’s hope for the second coming of Jesus Christ in glory, for the consummation of God’s kingdom, and for life everlasting in the new heaven and the new earth. The doctrine of God’s eternal decree receives consideration primarily in Augustinian, Reformed theology along with the doctrines of God’s sovereignty and predestination. Pelagian and liberal theology deny this doctrine as inconsistent with human freedom and meaningful history. Semi-Pelagian and Arminian theologies restrict God’s decree to foreknowledge of future events and compromise it by way of human initiative and cooperation. The traditional objections to the doctrine of an eternal decree are that it is inconsistent with human responsibility, makes history meaningless, and makes God the author of sin. The distinctions referred to above and the illustration of Christ’s crucifixion provide an answer to such objections. Failure to distinguish the will of decree and the complex ways of its execution, may lead to fatalistic or deterministic concepts of God’s decree. Then humans are considered robots and history is viewed as a programmed computer or a prerecorded sight-sound project. The meaningfulness of history is promoted, at least in part, by the secret, unrevealed nature of God’s decree and his demand that our lives be governed by his revealed commands, the Word of God. Even though Adam’s fall and Christ’s crucifixion were included in God’s decree, this did not force the outcome. Humans acted freely but irresponsibly; they did precisely what God commanded them not to do. Many of these difficulties are expressed by the critics of Grace and often force the dismissal of the Doctrines of Grace as though these truths are false and therefore unusable. Many teach some admixture of Grace and works to save the fallen. Others resort to works alone and it becomes a marvel that God can do any work among this generation of doubters. But, the Day of the Lord will reveal His handy work in the favor of His people. There will be a day that will prove Grace and there can be documented record of His Decree for His People. Where is this documentation? 1.2.3 The Providence of God – By this God governs all things by the means of second causes. (Psa. 18:35**; 63:8; Acts 17:28; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3) Providence literally means foresight, but is generally used to denote God’s preserving and governing all things by means of second causes (Psa. 18:35; 63:8; Acts 17:28; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3). God’s providence extends to the natural world (Ps 104:14**; 135:5-7; Acts 14:17), the brute creation (Psa. 104:21-29; Matt. 6:26; 10:29), and the affairs of men (1 Chron. 16:31; Psa. 47:7; Prov. 21:1; Job 12:23; Dan. 2:21; 4:25), and of individuals (1 Sam. 2:6; Psa. 18:30; Luke 1:53; James 4:13-15). It extends also to the free actions of men (Ex. 12:36; 1 Sam. 24:9-15; Psa. 33:14-15; Prov. 16:1; 19:21; 20:24; 21:1), and things sinful (2 Sam. 16:10; 24:1; Rom. 11:32; Acts 4:27-28), as well as to their good actions (Phil. 2:13; 4:13; 2 Cor. 12:9-10; Eph. 2:10; Gal. 5:22-25). Redemption's Glad Message -7-
As regards sinful actions of men, they are represented as occurring by God’s permission (Gen. 45:5; 50:20. Comp. 1 Sam. 6:6; Ex. 7:13; 14:17; Acts 2:3; 3:18; 4:27-28), and as controlled (Psa. 76:10) and overruled for good (Gen. 50:20; Acts 3:13). God does not cause or approve of sin, but only limits, restrains, and overrules it for good. The mode of God’s providential government is altogether unexplained. We only know that it is a fact that God does govern all his creatures and all their actions; that this government is universal (Ps 103:17-19), particular (Matt. 10:29-31), efficacious (Psa. 33:11; Job 23:13), embraces events apparently contingent (Prov. 16:9,33; 19:21; 21:1), is consistent with his own (God’s) perfection (2 Tim. 2:13), and to his own (God’s) glory (Rom. 9:17**; 11:36). God’s Universal Providence - This refers to the general display of providence. Herein we observe the truest demonstration of the sovereignty of Holy God. (Romans 8:28; John 17:2 “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”) Providence and the Physical World - In this function of God’s Providence He orders the case of the physical (tangible) world. “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?” (Isaiah 40:12) (See also Genesis 41:32; Exodus 9:26; Amos 4:7; Nahum 1:3; Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17). Providence and the Animal World - The care He has for the Animal World is characteristic of His concern for all His creation and can be noted as evidence of His Glory. (Matthew 10:29) “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” (See also Genesis 31:9; Psalms 104:21; Daniel 6:22; Matthew 6:26). Providence and the Nations of the World - In an hour when men assume that the affairs of the “Cosmos” are hopeless and helpless we observe that we are not hapless. “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth.” (1 Chronicles 16:31) (See also Joshua 21:44; Judges 6:1; Psalms 33:10; Psalms 47:7; Isaiah 40:15; Daniel 2:21; Daniel 4:17; Amos 3:6; Habakkuk 1:6) Providence and Individuals - The evidence is clear that He cares for individuals by ordering the circumstances of their environment and experience, as well as eternity. (“But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” Exodus 11:7) (See also Ezra 8:3; Nehemiah 4:15; Psalms 34:7; 37:23; 118:6; Proverbs 21:1; Isaiah 64:8; Daniel 3:17; Acts 18:9; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 4:7; James 4:15). Providence and the Free Acts of Men - This is a sure argument against pride, because we have nothing in us praiseworthy, but it comes from the free gift of God, and is outside of us, for we do not have ability or power, so much as to will well (much less to do well), except only by the free mercy of God. (“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13) (See also Ex. 12:36; Ezra 6:22; 7:6; Ezek. 36:27). Providence And The Sinful Acts Of Men - The most perfect example of this function of Providence is in the suffering of Christ for our sins. (“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:” Acts 2:23) As our Lord suffered for the sins both of Jews and Gentiles, it was a special part of the counsel of Divine Wisdom, that the Jews should first purpose his death, and the Gentiles carry that purpose into effect.(“Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” John 19:11). (See also Exodus 14:17; (2 Samuel 16:1011; Psalms 76:10; Acts 4:27-28). 1.2.4 Foreordination and Predestination - God’s ordaining or predestining what will happen in history and in relation to human salvation. This word is properly used only with reference to Redemption's Glad Message -8-
God’s plan or purpose of salvation. The Greek word rendered “predestinate” is found only in these six passages, Acts 4:28; Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:5, 11; and in all of them it has the same meaning. They teach that the eternal, sovereign, immutable, and unconditional decree or “determinate purpose” of God governs all events. This doctrine of predestination or election is beset with many difficulties. It belongs to the “secret things” of God. But if we take the revealed word of God as our guide, we must accept this doctrine with all its mysteriousness, and settle all our questionings in the humble, devout acknowledgment, “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.” For the teaching of Scripture on this subject let the following passages be examined in addition to those referred to above: Gen. 21:12; Ex. 9:16; 33:19; Deut. 10:15; 32:8; Josh. 11:20; 1 Sam. 12:22; 2 Chron. 6:6; Psa. 33:12; 65:4; 78:68; 135:4; Isa. 41:1-10; Jer. 1:5; Mark 13:20; Luke 22:22; John 6:37; 15:16; 17:2,6, 9; Acts 2:28; 3:18; 4:28; 13:48; 17:26; Rom. 9:11,18,21; 11:5; Eph. 3:11; 1 Thes. 1:4; 2 Thes 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:2**. If rightly understood, this doctrine: A- Exalts the majesty and absolute sovereignty of God, while it illustrates the riches of his free grace and his just displeasure with sin. (Acts 4:28) B- It enforces upon us the essential truth that salvation is entirely of grace. That no one can either complain if passed over, or boast himself if saved. (Its all of God or its not of God at all...) (Rom. 8:28-29). C- It brings the inquirer to absolute self-despair and the cordial embrace of the free offer of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:7). D- In the case of the believer who has the witness in himself, this doctrine at once deepens his humility (Eph. 1:5) and elevates his confidence to the full assurance of hope (Eph. 3:11). “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psa. 139:16) (See also Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; 13:48; Rom. 8:29-30; 9:23; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:5, 11; 2:10). 1.2.5 Scriptures Asserting The Certainty Of Specific Things – The function of Scripture to put forward specific matters can be observed by three divine methods: 1) God’s Promises - Setting forth His declarations of blessings, mercy and judgement. The use of GOD’S “promises” in the Saint’s Prayer is as old as the practice of prayer. GOD has made promises to the race of man for: A) the instruction of the worshiper, B) the comfort of the wanderer, and C) the calling of the workman. To rely upon the “promises” of a SOVEREIGN GOD is to enter into a wise practice with the hope of HIS best reward. This type of prayer is not as is done by many in this modern-day’s “super-spiritual” movements. That is; it is not “commanding” GOD to obey our request. This type of prayer is simply relying upon what HE has already promised in HIS word to meet your present needs. (“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Rom. 8:32). 2) God’s Prophesy - The resolution of God concerning matters unforeseen as yet. The varsity of our sovereign God is the guarantee of these assertions. We depend on these matters to become true in the progress of time. The likelihood of prophesy coming to pass is in the direct proportion to God’s might. How could any of it fail...? “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” (Luke 21:33) 3) God’s Provocation - Conviction, the moving of the sinner towards redeeming Grace (Heb. 3:8, 15) “Provoke,” literally, “to call forth,” hence, to excite or stir up, whether in a good or bad sense, appears frequently in the Old Testament: in the sense of “to make angry” (Deut. 4:25; 9:18; 1Kings 14:9,15, etc.). In the New Testament we have the sense of “to make jealous” (Rom. 10:19; 11:11,14); “to make angry” (Eph 6:4; compare Col 3:21); “to Redemption's Glad Message -9-
embitter” (Heb. 3:16). “Provocation” in Heb. 3:8, 15 (quoting Psa. 95:8) is to exasperate. An example of the good sense of the word is in Heb. 10:24, “Consider one another to provoke (literally, “to the provoking” - to incitement to good) unto love and good works.” There can be no doubt that God has used the Word to speak directly to mankind. The fact that the race of mankind has language is evidence that God desires to commune with mankind. Through the Word of God we have Revelation. Revelation is God’s disclosing to man things about Himself that man could not know otherwise. (Psa. 19:1; Matt.16:17; Rom.1:20) The revealing of that which was previously hidden. In Jewish, Christian, and Islamic theology, revelation is the act of God in history by either word or deed. Hence, these accept the necessity of a personal God who can interact with humanity and be involved in history. Today there are two ways of understanding revelation: one being the very acts of God and the other being the recorded acts of God. As scribes began to write down and make copies of what many believed God had done, the view became ingrained in orthodox belief that revelation was not only the specific historical events and persons that God was involved with, but also that revelation was the sacred writings themselves. In addition to this specific revelation, theologians also speak of a general revelation. General revelation is the presence of God in the world in terms of humanity’s understanding of goodness, beauty, truth, and reason, along with the very existence of humanity, which is made in the image of God. We have observed “Revelation” in two ways. General Revelation is God’s revelation of Himself in creation, through history, and in a man’s conscience. (Dan.4:17) There are two types of revelation: general or natural and special. Natural revelation is that which is revealed about God through what we can see in creation (Rom. 1:20). Through creation we may learn that there is a God, that He is in control, that He has an order, and that He is concerned for our welfare. However, through natural revelation, we are not able to discover the plan of salvation. That comes from special revelation. Special Revelation is God’s revelation of Himself through His Word and in His Son Jesus Christ. (1 Cor.2:14; Rom.10:17; 10:13-15) Special revelation is that which is given to us through Prophets, the Bible, and even visions and dreams (Num. 12:6-8). The ultimate in revelation is the incarnation of Jesus because He came to reveal the Father to us (Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 1:18; Heb. 1:1-3) and to communicate to us the gospel (1 Cor. 15:14) by which comes salvation. Thereby mankind is seeing the plan if God played out through the Word of God. The Holy Rite must be preached or we are in darkness in every way. (“Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;” (Job 14:5). (See also Gen. 41:32; Jer. 15:2; 27:7; Hab. 2:3 Matt. 24:36; Luke 21:24; 22:22; John 8:20). 1.2.6 Salvation By Grace Alone Without Works – Almost all professing Christians profess to believe that salvation is by grace. The Bible states the fact of salvation by grace alone so often and so clearly that it is difficult to find any who claim to be Christians who openly deny it. The trouble is that the vast majority of men and women, and the vast majority of preachers, talk about grace in such a way that they frustrate the grace of God. The grace they talk about is not grace at all, but works and freewillism. It is therefore needful that constant, clear instruction be given about the grace of God. Grace belongs to and comes from God, the sovereign Monarch of all things, whose lofty throne is a “throne of grace”. Grace, as it is defined, described, and illustrated in the bible, has four distinct characteristics. Grace is not a passion or desire, in the heart of God to save sinners. Be sure you understand these things about grace: Grace is an attribute of God and the work of God by which he accomplishes the salvation of his people. As such, it has certain characteristics. Any view of grace that violates any of these characteristics is heretical. Grace is eternal (2 Tim. 1:9), immutable (Rom. 11:29), sovereign Redemption's Glad Message -10-
(Rom. 9:11-24), and effectual (Eph. 2:8-9). Salvation by grace destroys all room for human boasting (1 Cor. 1:29-31; 4:7). The only difference between saved sinners and lost sinners is the grace of God. Not even the repentance and faith by which we come to God is produced by us. These things are the gifts and operations of grace in us (Acts 5:31; 11:17; Rom. 2:4; 1 Cor. 3:5; Eph. 1:19; Phil. 1:29; Col. 2:12). Salvation by grace means that the Triune God gets all the praise, honor, and glory for it: The Father for planning it, the Son for purchasing it, and the Holy Spirit for performing it (Eph. 1:214). “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake” (Psa. 115:3). Any mixture of works with grace is a total denial of grace and is damning to all who embrace it (Rom. 11:6; Gal. 5:2, 4). Grace plus anything you do, feel, experience, or will to do is not salvation but damnation. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rom. 3:20) (See also Rom. 5:18-19; Rom. 6:23; Rom. 11:6; 1 Cor. 4:7; 1 Cor. 15:10; Gal. 2:16, 21; Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Tim. 1:9). 1.3 The Message the Gospel – (“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” 1 Cor. 9:16) The message of the Gospel is defined in many terms. The Gospel has been so diluted and spread thin that it is made to cover almost every “message” of the modern pulpit. Yet, the substance of the Gospel is in danger of being forgotten. Let us not overlook the facts when delimiting the message of our pulpits. 1- The Most Exciting Message - Healing the sick & raising the dead and it is also a message of the Sovereignty of God. 2- The Most Urgent Message - The 2nd coming (1 Thes. 4:16) and it is also a message of the Sovereignty of God. 3- The Most Practical Message - The tithe (Mal. 3:8) and it is also a message of the Sovereignty of God. 4- The Most Worshipful Message - The Glory of GOD (1 Peter 1:8) and it is also a message of the Sovereignty of God. 5- The Most Encouraging Message - The hope of Heaven (Rom. 8:18-27) and it is also a message of the Sovereignty of God. 6- The Most Needed Message - Salvation through the blood of CHRIST (Col. 1:14) and it is also a message of the Sovereignty of God. If the subjects of the pulpit are all involved in His Sovereignty, why do we dalli about as if we are protecting some “sacred cow?” We who believe that there is but one Gospel and that Gospel is the great work for which we are called are also called upon to stand in the gap and make up the hedge. 1.3.1 The Gospel of God’s Grace – The Gospel is God’s means to reach the fallen race. The word Gospel means “Good News”, and four types of the gospel are found in the New Testament. The Gospel is the good news that we have forgiveness of sins though Jesus. Specifically, the gospel is defined by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:1-4: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” Originally, the word “Gospel” referred to a reward paid the one who brought good news. Later, it came to mean the good news itself. In the New Testament, it is the message of salvation through Christ. Gospels is the term used for the four histories of the life of Christ in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The name is from Middle Redemption's Glad Message -11-
English “godspel,” meaning “good tale.” The Gospel is an element of the ministry of Christ that is primary in the function of the church. (Rom. 10:13-15) 1. The Gospel of the Kingdom - Preached first by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:1-2), followed by the preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 4:23), and His disciples (Matt. 10:7), terminating when the King was crucified. It includes the setting up on earth and fulfilling of the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:16), a political and spiritual world kingdom, with its capital in Jerusalem. With the inheritor to the throne of David, the Lord Jesus Christ, as King, it will last through the millennial period of one thousand years and subject the world to a truly just and righteous rule, such as it has never known before. There is to be yet another preaching of this Gospel of the Kingdom (Matt. 24:14), by the Jewish remnant in the days of the Great Tribulation, before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory. 2. The Gospel of the Grace of God - This is the Gospel of personal salvation by Grace through faith for all who believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and was raised again for our justification. This form of the Gospel goes under many names in the New Testament, such as: the “gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1; 1 Thes. 2:2); the “gospel of Christ” (Mark 1:1; Rom. 1:16); the “gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24); the “gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15); the “gospel of your salvation” (Eph. 1:13); the “glorious gospel” (2 Cor. 4:4). Strictly speaking, the preaching of this Gospel started from Christ’s death and resurrection, and will continue until the Church is caught up to meet Him in the air. 3. The everlasting Gospel (Rev. 14:6) - This Gospel will be preached on earth just before Christ’s return in glory to set up His earthly throne and judge the nations (Matt. 25:31-32). Though it cannot be a Gospel of salvation, nor exactly the Gospel of the Kingdom, it nevertheless means salvation to countless thousands, both Jews and Gentiles, in the Great Tribulation (Rev. 7:9-14). 4. Paul’s “my gospel” (Rom. 2:16) - This is that same Gospel of personal salvation by Grace through faith, but is also inclusive of all divine revelations to Paul regarding the Church, found interspersed in all of his letters. There is a distinct danger that we might mistake our Gospel with “another gospel.” This is not a fifth Gospel but the reference to “Another gospel: which is not another” is clear ( Gal. 1:67; 2 Cor. 11:13-14, 11:4). Paul warns against perverting the Gospel of Christ, and pronounces a curse upon man or angel who preaches any other gospel ( Gal. 1:8-9). There have been many perversions - Law in Galatia, angel worship in Colosse (Col. 2:18), and others. Paul’s language is solemn and has echoed down through the centuries: “Let him be accursed” who preaches any other gospel. One writer (Rolfe Barnard) spoke of the “New Gospel” and the “Old Gospel” and we must see that this “Old Gospel” is the effectual extension of God’s purpose through election. Pauline teaching is the “Old Gospel” discovered by Augustine and later became the foundation of the Reformation. The delineation of this message is a Spiritual imperative. There are only two messages within religious methods. The message of works salvation is a reflection of a perceived covenant of works which does not exist. But there is a covenant of Grace between the race of mankind and Holy God. “Historical Christians” have raised this covenant with zeal and if we return to it once more, it would make an impact as it has every time it has been articulated (“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” 1 Cor. 9:16). This historic Gospel is the force of Evangelism in every place where it is applied. Along with Redemption's Glad Message -12-
others, Historic Baptist have been guardians of Grace. Pauline teaching was believed by Augustine of Hippo and expressed in several writings but was not Baptistic. John Calvin, used this as a basis of his “Institutes of Christian Religion” but it was not Baptistic. The Reformers maintained this system of thinking and still do in this hour, yet they are not Baptistic. “Historical Baptists” have held the doctrines of Grace from the earliest times of Christian history. This, being rejected by most Baptists of our day, draws a sharp contrast between these branches of the Modern Baptist denomination and the Baptists of historic record. This historic Gospel, that has distinguished the system of the of doctrines Grace in the past, would, once again, serve its noble purpose for the faithful of the 21st Century. The Gospel distinctives taught in the days gone by are in question here and, if these be torn away, there is no distinctive. (Isa. 8:20). Our God promises to make a distinction or there is no light in our message. All Divine Principles are in peril of being misunderstood when placed in the light of this “New Gospel” - Each Divine Decree seems, in the human mind, to depend on logic, human wisdom and reason. Pascal said “...faith hath reason that reason knows not of...” Divine Action is expected to be subject to the whim of the modern pulpit - Fixed limits are placed on the Gospel’s results. The Gospel may be the only unspoiled message that continues un-tainted by the motives of men. Identify it clearly, believe it unto redemption and preach it boldly - it is the Gospel... This is Mark’s word used in the Book of Mark in many ways that illustrate its meaning: I- Mark 1:1 “The Gospel of Jesus Christ” II - Mark 1:15 “Believe the Gospel” III- Mark 8:35 Something to lose one’s life for. IV- Mark 10:29 Something to lose ones house for. V- Mark 13:10 Something that must be published. VI Mark 16:15 Something that must be preached. - The word “Gospel” is used in many ways in the other “Gospel Records”: A) “Jesus went preaching” the Gospel (Matt.4:23). B) The poor have the Gospel preached unto them (Matt.11:15; Luke 7:22). C) The imperative - This Gospel shall be preached (Matt.24:14; 26:13 Mark 16:15). D) This was CHRIST’S regular practice (Luke 2:1). The Gospel was CHRIST’S mission while on Earth (Luke 4:18). E) This was the office of those sent out by Christ - They “PREACHED” the Gospel (Luke 9:6). The word “Gospel” is used in the rest of the New Testament, 83 times, for a total of over 100 times. This English word is, totally, a New Testament concept and, in exactly, this manner is not mentioned in the Old Testament. Because the book of Mark’s Gospel appears to be the oldest, in age, among the Gospel Records - The rule of first mention applies to Mark 1:1. The Gospel is “the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” YOU CAN FIND: I- A False Gospel with: A) Many False “christs” (Matt.24:5). B) A system of False doctrines (Col.2:8). C) A multitude of False prophets (Matt.7:15). D) An outspoken False religion (Matt.7:21). E) A vocal False witness (Prov.12:17). F) An open False worship (Isa.42:8). II- A Hidden Gospel (John 12:12 with Verse 36) A Gospel not seen by many. III-Another Gospel (Gal.1:6-7) A Gospel that is only a pale counterfeit - But where is the Gospel of Mark 1:1? IV- The True Gospel (That “Old Gospel”) Redemption's Glad Message -13-
A) The elements of the Gospel (1 Cor.15:1-6). 1) Christ died for our sins (Vs.3). 2) That HE was buried (Vs.4a). 3) That HE arose again (Vs 4b). 4) Seen of many (Vs 5-6). B) The Cost of the Gospel 1) God’s only SON 2) The shame of our sin endured by HIM (2 Cor.5:21). 3) HIS Blood (Col.1:14). C) The Power of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16). 1) It is alive (Heb.4:12). 2) It is Spiritual power (1 Cor.1:17-18). 3) It is our only weapon (Eph. 6:17). The Gospel comes from God (Gal. 1:10-12), is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16), is a mystery (Eph. 6:19), and is a source of hope (Col. 1:23), is the fountain of faith (Acts 15:7), is the stem of life (1 Cor. 4:15), and is the soul of our peace (Eph. 6:15). The believer is to “grow in Grace” (2 Peter 3:18), for he is not under Law, but under Grace (Rom. 6:14); and God continuously, through the Holy Spirit, works to bestow on the believer many graces, the ultimate purpose of which is to bring forth Christlikeness in the believer. The most comprehensive record of such graces is found in Gal. 5:22-23. These graces are directly associated with: (a) Christian service, (Rom. 12:6; 15:15-16; 1 Cor. 1:3-7; 3:10; 2 Cor. 12:9-10; Gal. 2:9; Eph. 3:7-8; Phil. 1:7; 2 Tim. 2:1-2; 1 Peter 4:10). (b) Christian growth (2 Cor. 2:1-12; Eph. 4:29; Col. 4:6; 2 Heb. 4:16; 12:28-29; 13:9; 1 Peter 1:2; 3:7; 5:5-10; 2 Peter 3:18). (c) Christian giving. (2 Cor. 4:15; 8:1-2 ; 8:2; 8:6-7; 9:13). 1.3.2 The Books That Were Opened – The Book of Life, the Lamb’s Book of Life and the Book of God’s Remembrance - there are three books opened. The Book of Life is the book of the living and is a record, too, of their profession; from this book names may be blotted out but, another book will be opened. (“...and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life...” Rev. 3:5); by which is meant the choice of persons to everlasting life and salvation; and this being signified by a book, and by writing names in it, shows the exact knowledge God has of his elect, the value he has for them, his remembrance of them, his love to them, and care for them; and that this election is of particular persons by name, and is sure and certain; for those whose names are written in it shall never be blotted out, they will always remain in the number of God’s elect, and can never become reprobates, or shall ever perish; because of the unchangeableness of the nature and love of God, the firmness of his purposes, the omnipotence of his arm, the death and intercession of Christ for them, their union to him, and being in him, the impossibility of their seduction by false teachers, and the security of their persons, grace, and glory in Christ, and in whose keeping this book of life is; which respects not this temporal life, that belongs to the book of providence, but a spiritual and eternal life, from whence it has its name. Some names, those of Christian believers, will never be blotted out, but will remain there right through “from the creation of the world” (Rev. 13:8); but others, those of the lost, are blotted out, and the gaping, empty spaces, where their names might have been, are shown to them at the judgment of the great white throne (Rev. 20:11-15), where the “books were opened.” These are the books containing the records of their works by which it will be shown that all are guilty before God; they will be sentenced according to the enormity of their offenses. It is written that “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Redemption's Glad Message -14-
The Lamb’s Book of Life is a separate book; it is the record of the eternal purpose of God, and the names inscribed therein are written, through God’s foreknowledge, “from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8; 21:27), and can never be blotted out. In other words, the Book of Life speaks of responsibility; the Lamb’s Book of Life is of pure Grace. No names will ever be blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life, for all written therein have eternal life, which is unforfeitable and everlasting. 1.3.3 The Believer’s Freedom From The Law – In Christ every believer is totally free from the law. “We are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:15). We are not justified (Rom. 3:19-24), sanctified (Gal. 3:1-3), motivated (2 Cor. 5:14), ruled (Tit. 2:11- 12), or glorified (Jude 24-25) by the law, but by grace. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (Rom. 10:4). Do you ask what that means? It means that Christ is the fulfillment of the law, the satisfaction of the law, and the termination of the law to all who believe on him unto life everlasting. It means that there is no righteousness to be had, of any kind, to any degree, by our own works of obedience to the law. The only way anyone can have righteousness before God is by faith in Christ. He is “The Lord Our Righteousness “ (Jer. 23:6) and we are the righteousness of God in him (Jer. 33:16; 2 Cor. 5:21). “Ye are become dead to the law by the body of Christ” (Rom. 7:4). Do you ask what that means? It means that if you are a believer, if Christ died for you, insofar as the law of God is concerned you are dead. It can make no demands upon you. It can require nothing from you. It can do nothing to you. If you and I are in Christ by faith, we have no covenant with the law, no curse from the law, and no commitment to the law. This does not mean that we are against the law. God forbid! We are not antinomians. We delight in the law of God (Rom. 7:22). The real antinomian is the legalist who pretends to keep the law. He lowers the standard of the law to the measure of his own obedience. Otherwise he could find no comfort in his obedience. So the legalist turns the law of God into lasciviousness. That is a complimentary word for his pretended obedience to the law! Why are we so dogmatic in declaring the believer’s freedom from the law, as it is set forth in the scriptures? Let me give you three reasons for our dogmatism: First, the legalist would rob Christ of the glory of his grace, making some part of salvation dependent upon the works of the law. Second, the legalist would rob the believer of the joy of faith, the joy of assurance, and the joy of service to Christ, making assurance to be based upon obedience and service to Christ mercenary acts. Third, the legalist would rob the world of the hope of salvation, for if salvation requires any good work from sinners then there is no hope. The fact that the human race has lived more years under the system of “LAW” than under “GRACE” is an interesting truth. I do not desire to be misunderstood; but there is a bad misconception about the conflict of “LAW” and “GRACE.” There is no conflict in “LAW” and true “GRACE.” Grace that saves is paid for within the Law, in order to meet GOD’S demand. There can be no Grace unless the Law is satisfied. HOLY GOD sent HIS HOLY SON not to prove that man could live out the elements of the law but to meet THE FATHER’S demands. The SON of GOD was sent “...that the world through HIM might be saved.” (John 3:17). Of course, any examination of the subject of Law and Grace must quickly come to the difficulty of the Law’s elements. It might be said that there are ten of these elements, however, any close look at the matter will show the multiplicity of elements. The law is not an evil force to bind us -it is our “SCHOOLMASTER to bring us unto CHRIST.” Could this be in the mind of the apostle as he says “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man I put away childish things.”(1 Cor.13:11) Paul did not imply that the law is childish -but the way in which the believer responds to the law is in Redemption's Glad Message -15-
judgement in this respect. There are two realms in consideration - the finite and the infinite. There is only one bridge between the two - the Word of God. As mankind is confined to this finite life, God reveals Himself through Seven Editions of the Law (Romans chapter 7). I- The Law written on nature (Psa.19:1) II- The Law written on conscience (Rom.2:15) III- The Law written on tables of stone (Ex.24:12) IV- The Law contained in the entire scripture (Rom.15:4) V- The Law in the illustrated edition -CHRIST’S own life (John 1:14) VI- The Law written on the hearts of the believers (Heb.8:10) VII- The overt CHRISTIAN life (the “CHRIST-like” life) (2 Cor.3:2-3) So you see - Grace is not an escape from the Law. Grace is GOD’S measured response to man’s inability to keep HIS LAW. (“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Cor. 5:21). (See also Romans 6:1415; 7:1-4; 8:1-4; 10:4; Galatians 3:13, 19-26; 5:1; Colossians 2:8-23; 1 Timothy 1:8-10). 2 The Vocabulary of Grace – Words are important. If we do not use “words” the message will fall silent and the substance will be forever stilled. Many false teachers have mis-used these words and this short commit will not set the record straight; but it will make a mark in the sand that must be noted by the gainsayer who offers false interpretation of these and many more Gospel truths. 2.1 Total Depravity – That man is touched by sin in all parts of his being: body, soul, mind, and emotions. Because of the fall in Adam, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the Gospel. The sinner is spiritually dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free but is in bondage to his sinful nature. He is as spiritually dead and estranged from God as are the fallen angels. Therefore he will not, indeed cannot, choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently it takes regeneration by which the Spirit brings a sinner to Christ - it takes regeneration by which the Spirit brings a sinner from spiritual death to spiritual life and it takes regeneration that gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God’s gift of Salvation - it is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God. (John 6:44; Rom. 5:6; 8:7-8; Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13; Titus 3:3-5). The inquire for the sinner to “give his heart to God” is erroneous and can never be done - the sinner has no possession of his heart and would not give it to God if he could. (See Gen. 2:17; 6:5; Job 14:4; Psa. 51:5; 58:3; Prov. 30:12; Isa. 1:2-8; 40:6-8; 64:6; Jer. 13:23; 17:9; Matt. 11:25; John 3:3; 3:19; 8:19; 14:16; Rom. 3:10-12; 5:12; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2:14; 2 Cor. 1:9; Eph. 2:1-3; 2:12). 2.2 Unconditional Election – That God’s favor to Man is completely by God’s free choice and has nothing to do with Man. It is completely undeserved by Man and is not based on anything God sees in man (Eph. 1:1-11). God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation, before the foundation of the world, rested solely on His own Sovereign Will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause, of God’s choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon an virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation. (Rom. 9:11 ; 11:5, 7 ; 11:28 ; 8:38-39; 1 Thes. 1:4; 2 Thes. 2:13; 14:2; 2 Peter 1:10; Eph. 1:3-14; 2 Tim. 1:9-10). “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.” (Psalms 65:4). (See also Psa. 105:6; Matt. 24:24, 31; Mark 13:20; John 6:37, 65; 13:18; 15:16; 17:9; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:29-30, 33; 9:11-13, 23; 11:5; 11:7; Eph. 1:3-6, 11; 1 Redemption's Glad Message -16-
Thes. 1:4; 5:9; 2 Thes. 2:13-14; 1 Tim. 5:21; 2 Tim. 1:9-10; 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 5:13). 2.3 Limited Atonement – That Christ did not bear the sins of every individual who ever lived, but instead only bore the sins of those who were elected into salvation (John 10:11,15). Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. his death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ’s redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which unites them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby guaranteeing their salvation. (Matt. 1:21; John 6:37-40 , 10:14-16, 26-28 , 15:13-14; Acts 20:28; Heb. 10:14; Rom. 8:31-34; 1 Cor. 8:11; Eph. 5:2527; 1 John 4:10-11). “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” (John 10:26) (See also Isa. 53:8-11; 63:9; Dan. 9:24; Matt. 20:28; 26:28; John 10:11, 15; 11:51-52; Rom. 5:11; 5:15, 19; 8:33-34; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Titus 2:14; Heb. 1:1-3; 2:16; 9:12, 28; 10:10-14; 1 Peter 1:18-20; 2:21; 3:18; 1 John 3:16; Rev. 1:5-6; 5:9-10). 2.4 Irresistible Grace – That God’s call to someone for salvation cannot be resisted. In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the Gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected, whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man’s will, nor is He dependent upon man’s cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ (God, therefore, manipulates the volition of the called). God’s grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended. (Ezek. 11:19; John 5:21; 17:2; Acts 13:48; 1 Cor. 4:7).”No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets: “And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” (John 6:44-45; See Isa. 54:13) (See also Psa. 65:4; 110:3; John 6:37-40, 63; Rom. 8:30; Gal. 1:15-16; Eph. 1:18-20; 2:1-5, 8-9; Phil. 1:29; Col. 2:12). 2.5 Perseverance of the Saints – that it is not possible to lose one’s salvation (John 10:27-28). All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end. (John 6:37-39; 17:11; 15; Phil. 1:6; 1 Thes. 5:23-24; 2 Tim. 4:18; 1 Peter 1:23). In theology, the word means continuance in the state of grace unto the state of glory; sometimes called “final perseverance.” Where the saint is concerned, the doctrine is stated thus: Once justified and regenerated, the believer can neither totally nor finally fall away from grace, but will certainly persevere therein and attain everlasting life. This doctrine is clearly taught in these passages, John 10:28-29; Rom. 11:29; Phil. 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5. It, moreover, can be seen that the teaching of perseverance follows from a consideration of: (1) the immutability of the divine decrees (Jer. 31:3; Matt. 24:22-24; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:30). The Father’s decree is faithful without being fatalistic - His mind is toward the redemption and security of the fallen race. Perseverance is the “mind of God.” (2) the provisions of the covenant of grace (Jer. 32:40; John. 10:29; 17:2-6). This Covenant is between the Father and the Son; therefore, no failure will follow, no faults are found and no function is forgotten. (3) the atonement and intercession of Christ (Isa. 53:6, 11; Matt. 20:28; 1 Peter 2:24; John 11:42; 17:11, 15, 20; Rom. 8:34). The active involvement of the Son is an assurance that the saved are kept. (“As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many Redemption's Glad Message -17-
as thou hast given him.” John 17:2 [1-4]) (4) the indwelling of the Holy Ghost (John 14:16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14; 1 John 3:9). Christ being the source of this powerful comfort; He has sent another comforter to remain with you. (“...that he may abide with you for ever;” John 14:16). This assures the saint with a constant presence. (“...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Heb. 13:5). Perseverance is the blessed hope of the saints. The joy of a securely redeemed position is Unspeakable (2 Cor.9:15 with John 3:16), Unsearchable (Eph.3:8 with Job 11:7), Unchangeable (Heb.7:24 with Mal.3:6), Undefiled (Heb.7:26), Unequaled (Rom.8:32), Unmerited (Rom.6:23; 5:8) and Unlimited (John 3:6). So you see the saints are secure, sure and satisfied - All of the “SAVED” are secure through His sovereign will. Some of the “SAVED” are sure though many fear. The “SAVED” who are sure will be satisfied through His persistence. (“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Rom. 11:29) (Rom. 6:23; 8:17; 8:28-39; 14:4; 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Cor. 2:14; 4:8-9, 14; 9:8; Eph. 1:5, 14; 4:30; Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 2:19; 4:18; Heb. 7:25; 10:14; 1 John 5:13; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12-15; 21:27) (See also Job 17:9; Psa. 1:3; Ch. 23; 34:7; 48:14; 92:12; 125:1; 138:8; Eccl. 3:14; Isa. 46:4; Jer. 32:40; Ezek. 11:19-20; Matt. 7:24; 10:20; John 4:14; 5:24; 6:37-40, 47, 51; 10:28-30; 11:25; 17:24; Rom. 4:8).
Conclusion to the Matter
(Amazing Grace) Grace!! What a glorious and humbling word. It is a word that encompasses all of the magnificent attributes of a Holy God. Many claim to be Grace preachers; and, yet teach somewhat otherwise. The former lines have laid out the identity of this essential Truth. When properly understood, the doctrines of Grace are a life changing system. Those whose verbal profession of faith is a genuine heart-faith, will be characterized by evangelism, missionary efforts, deeds of kindness to both saved and lost, and by a visible manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit. Some of the most caustic believers are those who claim to understand God’s workings of grace, yet are not gracious themselves. Instead of being patient and considerate of those who do not hold to these great truths, they often ignore them or jokingly ridicule them. We often expect others to understand in five minutes what may have taken us years to comprehend. The question about the doctrines of Grace outlined here is the bulk of a great controversy in this day of critics and suspicion. The lazy, empty headed opponents of Truth are counter-productive and divisive to the churches and hinder the Glory Of God. With these things stated, we are left with but one alternative. I shutter to think of how I would respond to these Truths without the help of Scriptural reference. With the Lord’s leadership and the counsel of students who have trod the path before us, I have been able to drink deeply of the Fresh Waters of Grace. It is hoped that the reader of this treatise will grow faithful to His Truth and able to tell it in the highways and hedges of our world today.
Once for All
Free from the law, O happy condition, Jesus hath bled, and there is remission; Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, Grace hath redeemed us once for all. Now are we free, there’s no condemnation, Jesus provides a perfect salvation; “Come unto me.” O hear his sweet call, Come, and he saves us once for all. “Children of God,” O glorious calling Surely his grace will keep us from falling; Redemption's Glad Message -18-
Passing from death to life at his call, Blessed salvation once for all. Once for all, O sinner, receive it, Once for all, O friend, now believe ir; Cling to the cross, the burden will fall, Christ hath redeemed us once for all. By Philip P Bliss, 1873
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Appendix A Sermons on Grace
It can be said that the message of the Gospel can not be exclusive of Grace. We have no choose in the matter. A preacher has many sermons but only a few messages. These messages are preached for his entire lifetime. Preaching can be defined in many ways but the scripture is the best reference. (“...And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power...” 1 Cor. 2:1-5). Preaching is more than communicating information; more than speaking on religious themes; more than an oral address to the popular mind - dynamic quality is involved, activated in a sense of man’s desperate spiritual need; God’s divine call and the preacher’s driving, compelling, conviction that eternal consequences rest upon the response to his message. Preaching is the heralding of God’s Word under the anointing power of God’s Spirit, in a dynamic fashion, with an organized pattern that aims to meet the hearers spiritual needs. Preaching is “...not by might nor by power but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Host.” (Zech. 4:6). My friend, just think, if you will, how hungry many people are for the truth, and then think of what they are fed. They ask for an egg and the American Pulpit gives them a stone; they ask for a fish and this liberal day gives them a serpent! One of the reasons our faith is being shaken is the condition of the American Pulpit. This place of separation has been polluted by men without morals who tell likewise others how to escape morality. It is preaching that struck the Gospel onto the coin of the Earth with the apostles. It was preaching that brought the princes and peasants alike to the cross. The years of the “dark ages” were clouded with darkness but the light never died through the preaching of many like the Waldenses of Europe. The Reformation came to pass as a result of preaching. The great awakening came to America with the voice of a preacher named George Whitfield. It has only been in recent days that preaching has been so lightly taken. Before you start to point fingers at the outside let me first say that I fear the ministry of preaching has problems from within. There is a deepening apostasy from “...the faith once delivered to the saints...” (Jude 3). Preaching, at its best, is expounding eternal truths to those who desire such. If few desire truth, preaching will surely suffer. And for this very reason preaching is on a low slot of interest. Worldliness will always soften the impact of preaching. Today we are under the control of the flesh and pleasure like never before therefore preaching (a spiritual endeavor) is subjugated to the needs and whims of the flesh. The message of the Grace of a Holy God engenders Holiness as it compliments worship. We must return to the message that God uses and that is his Sovereignty and might to save. This position is born by many: A.W. Pink, John Gill, Benjamin Keach, C.H. Spurgeon, L.R. Shelton, B.B. Caldweld, Rolfe Barnard and a host of many, out of the camp of “Grace prachers,” with which I cheerfully take my place and am gladly akin. Once again, the delineation of this message is a Spiritual imperative. There are only two messages within religious methods. The message of works salvation is a reflection of a perceived covenant of works which does not exist. But there is a covenant of Grace between Holy God and the Only Son, sealed with His Blood, toward the fallen race of mankind. “Grace preachers” have raised this covenant with zeal and if we return to it once more, it would make an impact as it has every time it has been articulated (“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” 1 Cor. 9:16). (As examples of Grace preaching, these three recorded audio sermons can be ordered from the author - for more information please call or write: “The Comforting Character of Grace”, “Four Questions Too Hard to Answer Outside Grace”, “Necked”).
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Appendix B With Grace After the Lost
Many have thought that this system of theology would deter evangelism. This could not be farther from the truth. The Doctrines of Grace serve to enhance soul winning zeal when taught aright. God help us to avoid the trap of an intellectual message that never causes us to be responsible to the Sovereign God whom we serve!! (“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” 1 Cor. 9:16). Evangelism is a function of the ministry of the Gospel. The Preached Gospel has only two functions: 1) to win the Lost, and 2) to edify the house of God. The edification of God’s people brings joy to the services and the winning of the lost brings joy in glory (Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Luke 15:10). The winning of the lost being the primary function of the Gospel servant; the evangel is of vital consequence to the church. Personal soul winning is the very heart of God’s work with men - The Burden of reaching the Lost (“For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:” Rom.9:3). Having a plan in mind helps you keep a train of thought. It keeps you from being flustered and from being a poor representative of the King. You need to be able to use the Scriptures in dealing with lost people, for the Word is a two-edged sword that is able to cut to the heart. May the Lord give you all boldness to speak for him and to freely offer the gospel. Evangelism is the active calling of people to respond to the message of grace and commit oneself to God in Jesus Christ. While many think of evangelism as a New Testament phenomena, profound concern for all people is also obvious in the Old Testament (1 Kings 8:41-45; Psa. 22:27-28; Isa. 2:2-4). God’s care for the first couple after they had sinned, His plan to “bless” all people through the Israelite nation, and His continuing attempts through the prophets and through discipline to forge His people into a usable nation all speak of His concern. While Israel’s influence was primarily national and magnetic in nature, there were instances of individual and external witness (Dan. 3-6; 2 Kings 5:15-18; Jonah 3:1-10). Though Israel was largely a failure in carrying out her mission, the large number of God-fearers at the beginning of the Christian era show that her magnetic attraction and proselyting efforts were not entirely unfruitful. It is, however, the New Testament which manifests the dynamic thrust of evangelism. While the word “evangelism” does not occur in the Bible, it is woven into the very fabric of Scripture. Despite its obvious importance, a wide range of opinion seeks to define what it means and what it should include. Definitions range from the extremely narrow to the exceedingly broad. Evangelism is derived from the Greek word euaggelion, meaning “gospel” or “good news.” The verbal forms of euaggelizesthai, meaning “to bring” or “to announce good news” occur some fifty-five times (Acts 8:4, 25, 35; 11:20) and are normally translated with the appropriate form of the word “preach.” Evangelism has to do with the proclamation of the message of good news. In the light of the wide range of definitions and the continuing debate, it is well to consider two kinds of definitions. First, many insist on defining evangelism only in the strictest sense of the above New Testament words. It is preaching the gospel, communicating God’s message of mercy to sinners. Such a definition places strict limits to arrive at a precise definition of evangelism. It refuses to speak in terms of recipients, results, or methods, laying all its emphasis on the message. This type of definition is certainly correct, as far as it goes. It would represent the view of many evangelicals concerning evangelism. Many others, however, believe that such definitions are inadequate for the present day and that they are partly responsible for a truncated sort of evangelism too often practiced in the past. Many would, therefore, prefer what might be described as a “holistic” definition, or one that takes into account the “good news of the kingdom.” This might be stated: evangelism is the Spirit-led communication of the gospel of the kingdom in such a way or ways that the recipients have a valid opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and become responsible members of His church. Such a definition takes Redemption's Glad Message -21-
into account the essential work of the Holy Spirit, the various ways of conveying the good news, holistic concern for the persons involved, the need for actual communication and understanding of the message, and the necessity of productive church membership on the part of the convert. Luke 8:2-56 shows how Jesus brought the good news. He not only preached; He demonstrated His power over the forces of nature in saving His fearful disciples. He exorcized a demon, healed a poor woman that had hemorrhaged for twelve years, and raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. Clearly he brought the good news by word and deed, and not by word only. Paul, in similar fashion, described how he had been used to “For ! will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” (Rom. 15:18-19). Some warn that such definitions are dangerous, opening the door to an overemphasis on the social dimension of the gospel to the exclusion of the spoken message. Indeed they can be. A complete evangelism will include the verbalized gospel. Balance is a necessity, although different situations may sometimes call for more emphasis on one aspect or the other. The biblical mandate remains “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22). The term “EVANGELIST” means “a messenger of good tidings.” The term is found three times in the N.T. Philip is called an evangelist in Acts (Acts 21:8; 8:5-8, 12, 26-40). Timothy is told by Paul in 2 Tim. 4:5 to “do the work of an evangelist.” In Eph. 4:11 the evangelist is listed as one of the ministry-gifted men Christ has given to the churches. In Ephesians 4 we see that evangelists are to work together with the pastors and teachers and prophets to accomplish the ministry of Christ in the churches. “We believe these truths prove that only certain men are divinely chosen and gifted as evangelists. This does not mean that the work of evangelism is limited to evangelists. Evangelism is the work of all Christians. The responsibility to evangelize was laid upon ... every believer ... Pastors are to evangelize as a part of their work; so are teachers, deacons, and all the saints. The work of world evangelization would never be accomplished if we had to depend solely on evangelists. But evangelists are God’s firebrands to kindle evangelistic fires in the churches, to inspire pastors, to teach and to lead others in the work of evangelism. Evangelists are to bear the burden for lost souls, for lost communities, and for lost nations. Evangelists are Christ’s key men in His mighty evangelistic program for the world, and it is a sin to ignore them. We believe it is also true that one man may have more than one of the gifts mentioned in Eph. 4. While it is true that some men are called exclusively to evangelism who could never fit into the pastorate, and some are called to be pastors who do not have the gift of an evangelist, history demonstrates that the gifts of evangelist, pastor, and teacher have often rested upon the same individuals ... However, there are those whom God calls to an entire lifetime of evangelism. Most people who accept the Doctrines of Grace as Scriptural truth will turn away from man-centered methods of evangelism. They see the shallowness of a gospel presentation which does not call for repentance. They see how easily people can be deceived and given a false sense of security. Yet, they may be perplexed as to how they should present a short, Biblically sound witness which shows God’s sovereignty and exercises man’s responsibility. This doctrinal foundation is basically just what I have presented to you in this study. I would encourage you to study the context of this matter again and again until it becomes your fiber. What I have learned from others I wish to pass on to you. As your conversation with someone turns to spiritual matters you can simply take them through the steps of these promises of Grace. First, God is a holy and just Creator. God is infinite and sovereign; man is finite and dependent. Out of his good pleasure he creates and sustains. We are totally dependent upon him for our every need. Since he is the creator he sets the standards of right and wrong. We were created in God’s image, to bear his likeness and to reflect his glory. Our absolute loyalty is due unto him. We are to honor and respect him. (Psa. 100:3, Matt. 5:48, Ex. 15:1). Since God’s wonderful character, his rights as creator, his blessings and his warnings are all designed to remind us of his loving ownership of us, Redemption's Glad Message -22-
why don’t we love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength? Secondly, man is a sinful creature. Man has willfully rebelled against God and his standards. We are self-sufficient, ignoring God, and wanting to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. This rebellion is sin. This sin forms a barrier which separates us from God. In order to be right with God this barrier must be overcome. Since man is a sinner by nature, he cannot do anything that would make God want to overlook his sins. The result of sin is death. Since God is holy, he must react against sin. He cannot tolerate it. And, unless sin is dealt with, we must, one day, face his judgement and condemnation. (Rom. 3:23, Jer. 17:9, Heb. 9:27). If this is the case, that sinful man is helpless in regards to being reconciled to God. What, then, is the solution? Thirdly, this brings us to the fact that Christ is the merciful Redeemer. Jesus Christ reveals, by his words and life, the nature of God to us. He communicates to our conscience by his Word and Spirit. Jesus Christ, who was sinless and without guilt, became a substitute for sinful man. He became the sacrifice that would appease God’s wrath. His blood poured out on Calvary is able to cleanse us from our sin. Jesus Christ is also a King. He arose from the grave and ascended to the Father’s presence where he now reigns as Lord. As a King, he commands us to repent of our sins and trust in him for salvation. He gives his grace and mercy to whomever he wills. When we trust Christ as our Lord and Savior, God looks at us through Christ and declares us not guilty. (Isa. 53:5, Mark 10:45, John 14:6 9). If this is true, what must our response be? Fourthly, we are to be united to Christ by faith in him. We must agree that we are sinful and helpless. We must acknowledge that Christ is our only hope. We must repent of (turn away from) our sins and despise them. We must recognize Christ as the necessary payment for the sin penalty. We must acknowledge Christ as Lord and turn every area of our lives over to him. We are to confess him with our hearts and mouths as Lord and Savior. (Rom. 10:10, Acts 3:19, John 3:16-18). Finally, lay the Gospel bare, turn all confrontations into an invitation to trust His Free Grace, make no pretense of “works plus Gospel co-operation” (Salvation is all of God or it is not of God at all...). We have only one hope and Christ is that only hope. Lead the candidate to read Psalm 51:1-17, and then to ask God to create a clean heart within him; asking God for forgiveness and to save him and give everlasting life, in Christ’s name. Remember, Jesus said: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37). There you have it. I am sure that you will agree that this short plan presents both God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. It is simple and straightforward. There are no gimmicks or sad stories. Plans such as this are not set in concrete. It is flexible. Having a plan in mind helps you keep a train of thought. It keeps you from being flustered and from being a poor representative of the King. With this system and the memorization of these verses the soul winner can be effective in the field with the prospective sinner and with a powerful, Spirit Filled pulpit ministry, public professions will be the fruit of the labor. There are many things to remember in the life of a soul winner. None so sweet as the “...well done, thou good and faithful servant...” that will be the words heard by the faithful soul winner at the end of the way. But, there are several verses to remember: The Soul Winner’s Commission - “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15). The Soul Winner’s Power - “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). The Soul Winner’s Blessing - “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Dan .12:3). The Urgency of Soul Winning - “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, ! say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35). The Soul Winner’s Authority - “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Redemption's Glad Message -23-
me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18). The Soul Winner’s Rule - “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psa. 126:5-6). The Soul Winner’s Work - “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12). The Soul Winner’s Danger - “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jer. 8:20).
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Appendix C A Glossary of Terms Used in the Teaching of Grace
Grace believers are very sure of what they believe and practice. Each Grace believer has been on the path towards the truths that can make the believer free. God has determined these steps in order that he/she might be free to walk before Him in Grace and we should accept none other. Much misunderstanding is endured in the name of denomination and the protocol of religion is critical to anybody that claims an absolute. There are some clear absolutes and the believer is dishonest if these are ignored. Some of these can be established in a short Glossary: Adoption – Son-Placed - the giving to any one the name and place and privileges of a son who is not a son by birth. There can be seen three kinds of adoption: 1) Natural. Thus Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses (Ex. 2:10), and Mordecai adopted Esther (Esther 2:7). 2) National. God adopted Israel (Ex. 4:22; Deut. 7:6; Hos. 11:1; Rom. 9:4). 3) Spiritual. An act of God’s grace by which he brings men into the number of his redeemed family, and makes them partakers of all the blessings he has provided for them. Adoption represents the new relations into which the believer is introduced by justification, and the privileges connected therewith. In other words, Adoption brings the believer: an interest in God’s peculiar love (John 17:23; Rom. 5:5-8), a spiritual nature (2 Peter 1:4; John 1:13), the possession of a spirit befitting children of God (1 Peter 1:14; 2 John 4; Rom. 8:15-21; Gal. 5:1; Heb. 2:15), present protection, consolation, supplies (Luke 12:27-32; John 14:18; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; 2 Cor. 1:4), fatherly chastisements (Heb. 12:5-11), and a future glorious inheritance (Rom. 8:17,23; James 2:5; Phil. 3:21). Antinomian – The word comes from the Greek anti, against, and nomos, law. It is the unbiblical practice of living without regard to the righteousness of God, using God’s grace as a license to sin, and trusting grace to cleanse from sin. In other words, it is said: “Since grace is infinite and we are saved by grace, then we can sin all we want and still be saved.” This position is wrong because even though, as Christians, we are not under the Law (Rom. 6:14), we still fulfill the Law in the Law of love (Rom. 13:8,10; Gal. 5:14; 6:2). We are to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27) and, thereby, avoid the offenses of sin which costed God His only begotten Son. Paul speaks against the concept of antinomianism in Romans 6:1-2: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” We are not to use the grace of God as a means of sin. Instead, we are to be controlled by the love of God and in that way bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-25). You may be sure that your position is right if the legalist call you an antinomian, and the antinomians call you a legalist. (See Legalism) Baptism – The ordinance which pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ by immersing the believer in water, signifying his identification with Christ after his salvation experience. (Acts 8:38-39; Rom.6:4; 1 Cor.12:13) Baptism is believed to be Immersion in water. (Rom.6:4 – describing the death, burial, and resurrection of CHRIST and the believer joining HIM in this symbolic deed.) Various forms include pouring, sprinkling with water, immersion, or the laying on of hands but immersion is the only form that is true to the Greek word that is translated here - “baptizo.” It is done in the name and authority (Acts 4:7) of Christ with the baptismal formula of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). It does not save us (1 Peter 3:21). However, it is our obligation, as believers, to receive it. Some maintain that baptism is necessary for salvation. Grace believers have maintained that it is not. In some sections of Christendom it is taught that baptism as a sacrament saves, or that those who are baptized by certain ones who have the right to baptize are “born again” and become “members of CHRIST.” It is believed that certain power or authority is vested in the Church and in the clergy so as to make it a saving ordinance. This is incorrect. Paul said that he came to preach the gospel, not to baptize (1 Cor. 1:14-17). If baptism was essential to salvation, then Paul would have included it in his standard practice and preaching of the salvation message of Jesus, but he did not. (See also Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:10-11) Redemption's Glad Message -25-
Baptists – Members of a Christian denomination who profess a personal religion based on the principle of religious liberty stressing the total separation of church and state; also baptism by immersion as a profession of Faith, the Spiritual rebirth, and the recognition of Christ as personal Saviour. With no official creed and no hierarchy, individual churches are autonomous. Historically, they have roots in the first century AD with the early Christian churches. Modern Baptist have developed, mostly, from the Reformation Anabaptists, but there can be a case made that Baptist have their start in the ministry of Christ (Matt. 16:18). They continue to practice baptism of believers only through immersion. Insisting on freedom of thought and expression, they developed a democratic government. Baptists (after some of the several divisions of the denomination) comprise one-third of Non-Catholics in the United States. Ancestors of today’s Baptists, active during the Middle Ages with roots that reach into the first century churches were sometimes called by several names (Anabaptists, Waldensians and others). The very word “Baptist” was appointed through derision and mocking by the enemies of these early believers. Seeking to maintain the purity of the early Christian churches, they insisted on re-baptism, as infant baptism is not in accord with the New Testament. Scripture, rather than the church, was held supreme. For four centuries, Anabaptists grew in numbers in Europe until the persecution of Baptists by the Roman Catholics through the Inquisition. (See Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and The Trail of Blood). Baptist are not Protestants! The name Protestant was given to those churches which came out of Roman Catholicism during the Reformation which began in the 1500's. It originally applied through the 1700's to Lutherans, and Anglicans. Later Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Methodist were added to the lists of Protestants denominations. Though many people, including Webster’s Dictionary, refer to Baptists as being Protestants, it is not correct to refer to them as such or to lump all non-Catholic denominations in one group and label them Protestant. Historically, Baptists were never a part of the Roman Catholic Church or the Protestant Reformation and therefore can not be correctly called “protesters” or Protestants. Call, The (“effectual call”) – The saved of every generation have had to come to grips with this small truth - If GOD does not call sinners, there can be no response from those who are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph.2:1). Soul winners of these past generations have all had to acknowledge the “CALL” of GOD on sinners or there can be no fruit (John 15:8 “...herein is my Father glorified...”) This call is distinct in two ways. There is an outward call and an inward call. The outward call can be seen as the “blessed tender (extending, offering, proffering, holding forth) of grace in the Gospel.” The outward call is not sufficient to salvation (Matt.20:16), but is enough to leave men without excuse (Rom. 1:20). The inward call is when GOD wonderfully overcomes the heart, and draws the will to embrace CHRIST. Some have termed this the “effectual call.” The outward call blows the trumpet in the ear; the inward call opens the heart as HE did the heart of Lydia (Acts 16:14). The outward call may bring men to a profession of CHRIST; the inward call brings them to a possession of CHRIST. The outward call curbs a sinner; the inward call changes him. This call is SWEET; therefore causing willingness. After this issue there are no more disputes (Psa. 110:3); as when HE called Zacchaeus, he joyfully welcomed CHRIST into his heart and house. This call is HOLY (2 Tim. 1:9) and genders Holiness in those called (Isa.63:18). This call is unavoidable. You may resist the minister’s outward call, but you cannot resist the SPIRIT’S inward call. Paul said: “I was not disobedient...” (Acts 26:19). Nothing can stand in the way of GOD’S call (Psa. 107:16) (see Rom. 9:19 “...For who hath resisted HIS will”). This call is HIGH (Phil. 3:14). This call is GRACIOUS (James 2:5). This call is GLORIOUS (1 Peter 5:10). This call is UNCHANGEABLE (Rom. 11:29). OH! Happy day, was that day when I made my calling and election sure. (2 Peter 1:10) The saved can know of the redemption of the soul by the call they recollect and the product it wrought in the soul. (See Election) Conviction – The Power of GOD imposed upon a sinner so as to bring remorse for sin, and to cause the sinner to look to GOD to save him from the doom of the sinful nature. Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit where a person is able to see himself as God sees him: guilty, defiled, and totally unable to save himself (John 16:8). Conviction of the Holy Spirit on an unbeliever reveals sinfulness and guilt and brings fear. Conviction of the Holy Spirit on the believer Redemption's Glad Message -26-
brings an awareness of sin and results in confession and cleansing. This conviction is produced by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), the Gospel (Acts 2:37), the conscience (Rom. 2:15), and the Law (James 2:9). Conviction of our sins brings us to the cross. It shows us our need for forgiveness. The great need of Holy Ghost Conviction is taught throughout the Bible. (John 16:7-11) [John 8:9] CONVICTED = elenko - convicted; convinced; to tell a fault; rebuke; reprove - legally the word is to be judged guilty - morally it means an inter persuasion of the right or wrong of a thing or action. (used 17 times in the N.T.) Depravity – In theology, this term denotes corruption, a change from perfection to imperfection, the sinfulness of man’s nature. This term is modified in the study of theology with the special word “TOTAL.” The race of mankind is in the state of “TOTAL DEPRAVITY” and the term opens a clear view of the race. (Rom. 7:18) This total depravation is clearly stated in the book of Gal. 5:17-21, as we see the blessed writer under inspiration declare “...the works of the flesh are manifest; which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like.” (There are 18 overt works of the flesh but only nine fruits of the SPIRIT -stated here only as a contrast) This tells the painful truth of the nature of the “Carnal mind” which renders all subjects of the race at “...enmity against GOD...” (Rom. 8:7). No reader will be able to debate this destitute condition of mankind. Under this theme lesser matters are explained: Man’s impotency (Rom. 3:10-18) and Man’s inability (The slave of sin: “...sold under sin...” Rom. 7:14; “...in the bonds of iniquity...” Acts 8:23). This is a terribly sad picture, but true to the Bible description of man’s Spiritual condition. (See Psa. 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Gen. 8:21 “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”) Election – God’s plan to bring salvation to His people and His world. The doctrine of election is at once one of the most central and one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Bible. At its most basic level, election refers to the purpose or plan of God whereby He has determined to effect His will. Thus election encompasses the entire range of divine activity from creation, God’s decision to bring the world into being out of nothing, to the end time, the making anew of heaven and earth. The word “election” itself means, literally, “to choose something for oneself.” The objects of divine selection are the elect ones, a term found with increasing frequency in the later writings of the Old Testament and at many places in the New (Matt. 22:14; Luke 18:7; Col. 3:12; Rev. 17:14). The Bible also uses other words such as “choose,” “predestinate,” “foreordain,” “determine,” and “call” to indicate that God has entered into a special relationship with certain individuals and groups through whom He has decided to fulfill His purpose within the history of salvation. There is (1) the election of individuals to office or to honour and privilege, e.g., Abraham, Jacob, Saul, David and Solomon, were all chosen by God for the positions they held; so also were the apostles. (2) There is also an election of nations to special privileges, e.g., the Hebrews (Deut. 7:6; Rom. 9:4). (3) But in addition there is an election of individuals to eternal life (2 Thes. 2:13; Eph. 1:4; 1 Peter 1:2; John 13:18). The ground of this election to salvation is the good pleasure of God (Eph. 1:5, 11; Matt. 11:25, 26; John 15:16, 19). God claims the right so to do (Rom. 9:16, 21). It is not conditioned on faith or repentance, but is of sovereign grace (Rom. 11:4-6; Eph. 1:36). All that pertain to salvation, the means (Eph. 2:8; 2 Thess. 2:13) as well as the end, are of God (Acts 5:31; 2 Tim. 2:25; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 2:5, 10). Faith and repentance and all other graces are the exercises of a regenerated soul; and regeneration is God’s work, a “new creature.” Men are elected “to salvation,” “to the adoption of sons,” “to be holy and without blame before him in love” (2 Thes. 2:13; Gal. 4:4-5; Eph. 1:4). The ultimate end of election is the praise of God’s grace (Eph. 1:6, 12). Eternal - Everlasting – The word Eternal covers the existence of GOD, both past and future. “Everlasting” speaks of the GOD given life that HE gives, not to end but to “ever-last.” So, Redemption is clearly everlasting but is referred to as eternal because it was conceived in eternity by the “Eternal GOD.” (“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” Heb. 5:9) Free Will - Free Grace – Free will is the power of the human will (volition) in the natural affairs and in the Redemption's Glad Message -27-
spiritual error this “will” would extend to the spiritual condition of the soul of the individual. Free Grace refers to the unrestricted work of GOD in the favor of the human soul. CHS said that “salvation is all free will or it is all free grace - there can be no mixture of the two.” The objections that are offered are well known among the saints. There could be several noted; but the objection that encompasses all others is the “Free-Will” (or Works) doctrine. In this system of works, man is lifted to the state of ability and GOD is rendered as a tired “white headed old man” in the position of “begging” sinners to come to HIS free gift of Salvation. If this be allowed, then falling from this Grace is the next logical step. Grace – GOD’S forgiving mercy, as gratuitous (a gift) and opposed to merit. (Rom.6:6; Eph.2:5; Col.1:6) The gospel generally, as opposed to law. (John 1:17; Rom.6:14; 1 Peter 5:12) Certain gifts of GOD, freely bestowed. (Rom.15:15; 1 Cor.15:10; Eph.3:8) Besides the meanings given above there are other significant statements that can be rendered in behalf of the meaning of GRACE: 1) Spiritual edification of others is called GRACE; it displays the favor of GOD, and conveys his gracious influences to men (Eph.4:29). 2) Speech is, with Grace, seasoned with salt, when it is concerning the favor or truths of GOD, and tends to promote the edification and holiness of such as hear it (Col.4:6). 3) To be called to the Grace of CHRIST is to have HIS gospel published to us; and to be invited to the enjoyment of the fullness of GOD (Gal.1:6). No doubt, the measure of GRACE is, as the song writer said “Amazing Grace...” Heaven - The Prepared Place – (John 14:2) In heaven the blessedness of the righteous consists in the possession of “life everlasting,” “an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17), an exemption from all sufferings for ever, a deliverance from all evils (2 Cor. 5:1-2) and from the society of the wicked (2 Tim. 4:18), bliss without termination, the “fulness of joy” for ever (Luke 20:36; 2 Cor. 4:16,18; 1 Peter 1:4; 5:10; 1 John 3:2). The believer’s heaven is not only a state of everlasting blessedness, but also a “place”, a place “prepared” for them (John 14:2). (1) According to the Jewish notion there were three heavens, (a) The firmament, as “fowls of the heaven” (Gen. 2:19; 7:3, 23; Psa. 8:8, etc.), “the eagles of heaven” (Lam. 4:19), etc. (b) The starry heavens (Deut. 17:3; Jer. 8:2; Matt. 24:29). (c) “The heaven of heavens,” or “the third heaven” (Deut. 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; Psa. 115:16; 148:4; 2 Cor. 12:2). (2) Meaning of words in the original, (a) The usual Hebrew word for “heavens” is shamayim, a plural form meaning “heights,” “elevations” (Gen. 1:1; 2:1). (b) The Hebrew word marom is also used (Psa. 68:18; 93:4; 102:19, etc.) as equivalent to shamayim, “high places,” “heights.” (c) The Hebrew word galgal, literally a “wheel,” is rendered “heaven” in Psa 77:18. (d) The Hebrew word shahak, rendered “sky” (Deut. 33:26; Job 37:18; Psa. 18:11), plural “clouds” (Job 35:5; 36:28; Psa. 68:34, marg. “heavens”), means probably the firmament. (e) The Hebrew word rakia is closely connected with ... (d) ... and is rendered “firmamentum” in the Vulgate, whence our word “firmament” (Gen. 1:6; Deut. 33:26, etc.), regarded as a solid expanse. (3) Metaphorical meaning of term. Isa. 14:13-14; “doors of heaven” (Ps 78:23); heaven “shut” (1 Kings 8:35); “opened” (Ezek. 1:1). (See 1 Chron. 21:16.) (4) Spiritual meaning. The place of the everlasting blessedness of the righteous; the abode of departed spirits. (a) Christ calls it his “Father’s house” (John 14:2). (b) It is called “paradise” (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7). (c) “The heavenly Jerusalem” (Gal. 4:1; 6:18; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 3:12). (d) The “kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 25:1; James 2:5). (e) The “eternal kingdom” (2 Peter 1:11). Redemption's Glad Message -28-
(f) The “eternal inheritance” (1 Peter 1:4; Heb. 9:15). (g) The “better country” (Heb. 11:14,16). (h) The blessed are said to “sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” and to be “in Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22; Matt. 8:11); to “reign with Christ” (2 Tim. 2:12). In John 14:2, the word is used in the plural: “In my Father’s house are many mansions”. The ideas conveyed are those of abundance of room, and permanence of habitation, in the heavenly world. Heaven speaks of a Spiritual House: I- A body of Christians (a church), as provided by the Spirit and power of God (1 Peter 2:5). II- A term applicable to God’s house: “house of prayer,” the temple (Matt. 21:13) III- To heaven: “my Father’s house” (John 14:2) IV- To the wilderness tabernacle: “Moses .... faithful in all his house” (Heb. 3:2) V- To the saint’s physical body: as “the household of God” (Eph 2:19), and “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19); hence, any “habitation of God in the spirit” (Eph 2:22) in which His glory dwells and His power and grace are manifest. As we look toward our own home-going much comes to mind. We are familiar with the thought that the going, or death, of Jesus prepared a way for us by providing a fountain for the cleansing of our sin, and by rending the veil of the temple, “thus signifying that the way into heaven is now open.” But the thought here is different. Jesus departed to prepare places for his own in the Father’s house. Inability – Sometimes called “impotency” - The state of mankind before enabling Grace pricks the soul to action towards regeneration (John 5:3; Acts 4:9) The Scripture speaks of this state in Eph. 2:1: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (See Depravity) Justification – Just-As-If-I-Had-Never-Sinned - a forensic term, opposed to condemnation. As regards its nature, it is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, in other words; as conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law (Rom. 5:1-10). Justification is not the forgiveness of a man without righteousness, but a declaration that he possesses a righteousness which perfectly and for ever satisfies the law, namely, Christ’s righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 4:6-8). Faith is the only instrument by which the soul appropriates or apprehends Christ and his righteousness (Rom. 1:17; 3:25, 26; 4:20, 22; Phil. 3:8-11; Gal. 2:16). Good works, while not the ground, are the certain consequence of justification (6:14; 7:6). Legalism – The process of adding anything (baptism, church membership, communion, etc.) to faith as a means of obtaining grace. (2 Cor.3:6; Gal.2:21-3:3) “Legalism” is a term frequently used to describe Bible-believing Christians who are zealous for pure doctrine and who desire to maintain holy standards of living in this wicked hour. Those who have this type of unscriptural mind set label the old-fashioned Bible Christian as a “legalist” or a “Pharisee.” Note that the Pharisee’s error was not his love for the truth and his zeal for Bible righteousness. The Pharisee did not love the truth; he loved tradition (Matt. 15:1-9). If the Pharisee had loved the truth, he would have loved Jesus Christ (John 8:47)! The Pharisee did not love Bible righteousness; he loved his own self-righteousness (Luke 18:9-14). The Pharisee did not have a zeal for God; he had a zeal for his own false religion (Matt. 23:15). To call the fundamental Bible-believing Christian who is saved by the grace of Jesus Christ and who loves the precious Word of God a Pharisee is a wicked and untrue slander. (See Antinomian) You may know if your position is right when the Legalist call you an “antinomian” and the antinomian calls you a “Legalist.” To claim that any person or movement that holds a tight separation standard is a legalist is a position that is sure to lead to apostasy. Often the Grace believers are “tarred with this broad brush” and therefore misunderstood. It is unfortunate that Liberty and Legalism are so close in proximity to the truth. We should take care to provide the truth in order to maintain a balance in this matter. (“As free, Redemption's Glad Message -29-
and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16) Predestine, Predestination – The doctrine in Christian theology that God has foreordained all things which will come to pass (Isa. 45:7) yet He is not the author of sin (“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1 Cor. 14:33). He does, however, use sinful things for His glory and purpose. For example, the crucifixion was brought about by sinful men who unrighteously put Jesus to death (Acts 4:27); yet, in that death, we are reconciled to God (Rom. 5:10). It is a basic belief of Grace teaching. Predestination took on renewed significance when the Calvinists adopted the teaching in the sixteenth century but Grace believers have maintained this truth until recent times and if we hope to reflect the historic position, we must return to this teaching. Predestination maintains that God is the one who decides who will be saved (Rom. 9:16) and that it is not up to the desire of the person (John 1:13). God is the one who ordains the Christian into forgiveness, “...and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed...” (Acts 13:48). Also, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and who He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Rom. 8:29-30). Further verses to examine are Eph. 1:4,11; Rom. 9. (See also Election and Sovereignty.) Some forms of predestination include the concept of providence, the belief that God is in control of worldly events, and has a divine determinism of all events. The apostle Paul used predestination closely with the term election in the sense that God had the freedom to bring salvation to the Gentiles and that he had predestined this act of grace from all eternity. Profession – (Prov. 20:6; *Hos. 8:2) Profession means the declaration of ones position in A- False Profession (Titus 1:16) B- True Profession (1 Cor. 2:2). Perseverance of the Saints – Baptists represent a very small group of believers that teach this fact. In order to be true to the Bible, this must be upheld. (Isa.8:20) Those who have been under Bible preaching for any extended time will soon come to this issue in regards to their salvation. Do the saved get lost again after they are saved? Is the redemption of Christ’s Blood Stained Cross good enough to save and then keep you saved? Is there any way to restore yourself if you do get lost after you are saved? All of these questions may not get an answer in this paper but there is the beginning of an answer here and I hope to lead my readers to that answer and let you come to your own conclusion concerning this vital subject. “These things have I written unto you...that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life...” (1 John 5:13) GOD wants every redeemed soul to know that he has “passed from death unto life.” This work of redemption is an eternal proposition. (see Heb.9:12) Still yet, someone is always saying: “I just feel like I’m saved” or “I just don’t feel like I’m saved.” This kind of thinking is a day-to-day thing for those who depend the uncertain ground of “FEELINGS.” You can not be absolutely sure you are saved unless you ARE SAVED. To be saved is to “KNOW” the one who has saved you; thus giving you “SECURITY and ASSURANCE.” (2 Tim.1:12, Job 19:25) The Christian is in the best of all positions to have knowledge of his own lot. (See John 10:26-30 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”) I- Called by the SOVEREIGN (John 6:44 see vs.37) II- Saved by the SON (John 10:26-30) III- Sealed by the SPIRIT (Eph.4:30) The Security of each believer is very important because it enters into his or her life of service. If you are confident you will serve faithfully. By the same token, if you are unsure there will be a much less faithful life of service. As a pastor I have seen many in both of these cases. It is always the same -Those who are sure SERVE - Those who doubt DON’T. This type of security comes from the fact of a perfect salvation. If you are the possessor of salvation Redemption's Glad Message -30-
by works you could do “some” work to lose it. However; if your salvation is in someone else, you see, it would take the action of that person to lose it. The Bible’s Salvation is based in CHRIST and HE will never change. (Heb.13:8 “JESUS CHRIST the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.”) As you see from this verse we have a PERFECT SALVATION in CHRIST. Providence – Literally means foresight, but is generally used to denote God’s preserving and governing all things by means of second causes (Psa. 18:35; 63:8; Acts 17:28; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3). God’s providence extends to the natural world (Psa. 104:14; 135:5-7; Acts 14:17), the brute creation (Psa. 104:21-29; Matt. 6:26; 10:29), and the affairs of men (1 Chron. 16:31; Psa. 47:7; Prov. 21:1; Job 12:23; Dan. 2:21; 4:25), and of individuals (1 Sam. 2:6; Psa. 18:30; Luke 1:53; James 4:13-15). It extends also to the free actions of men (Ex. 12:36; 1 Sam. 24:9-15; Psa. 33:14-15; Prov. 16:1; 19:21; 20:24; 21:1), and things sinful (2 Sam. 16:10; 24:1; Rom. 11:32; Acts 4:27-28), as well as to their good actions (Phil. 2:13; 4:13; 2 Cor. 12:9, 10; Eph. 2:10; Gal. 5:22-25). As regards sinful actions of men, they are represented as occurring by God’s permission (Gen. 45:5; 50:20. Comp. 1 Sam. 6:6; Ex. 7:13; 14:17; Acts 2:3; 3:18; 4:27-28), and as controlled (Psa. 76:10) and overruled for good (Gen. 50:20; Acts 3:13). God does not cause or approve of sin, but only limits, restrains, overrules it for good. The mode of God’s providential government is altogether unexplained. We only know that it is a fact that God does govern all his creatures and all their actions; that this government is universal (Psa. 103:17-19), particular (Matt. 10:29-31), efficacious (Psa. 33:11; Job 23:13), embraces events apparently contingent (Prov. 16:9, 33; 19:21; 21:1), is consistent with his own perfection (2 Tim. 2:13), and to his own glory (Rom. 9:17; 11:36). Profession – (Prov. 20:6; *Hos. 8:2) Profession means the declaration of ones position in Faith (a profession of faith), nationalism (citizenship), or family (linage). A- False Profession (Titus 1:16) B- True Profession (1 Cor. 2:2) Redemption – To be bought out of the slave market never to be for sale again. This is seen as the purchase back of something that had been lost, by the payment of a ransom. The Greek word so rendered is apolutrosis, a word occurring nine times in Scripture, and always with the idea of a ransom or price paid, i.e., redemption by a lutron (see Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45). There are many passages in the New Testament which represent Christ’s sufferings under the idea of a ransom or price, and the result thereby secured is a purchase or redemption (comp. Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Gal. 3:13; 4:4, 5; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; Titus 2:14; Heb. 9:12; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Rev. 5:9). The idea running through all these texts, however various their reference, is that of payment made for our redemption. The debt against us is not viewed as simply canceled, but is fully paid. Christ’s blood or life, which he surrendered for them, is the “ransom” by which the deliverance of his people from the servitude of sin and from its penal consequences is secured. It is the plain doctrine of Scripture that Christ saves us neither by the mere exercise of power, nor by his doctrine, nor by his example, nor by the moral influence which he exerted, nor by any subjective influence on his people, whether natural or mystical, but as a satisfaction to divine justice, as an expiation for sin, and as a ransom from the curse and authority of the law, thus reconciling us to God by making it consistent with his perfection to exercise mercy toward sinners. Righteousness – GOD’S HOLY DEMAND. (Rom.5:19; 2 Cor.5:21) These verses teach the imputation of Adam’s guilt to the race (“...by one man’s disobedience...”), the imputation of our guilt to CHRIST (“...hath made him to be sin for us...”) and the imputation of HIS (CHRIST’S) Righteousness to fallen mankind through regeneration (“...that we might be made the righteousness of GOD in him.”). (Rom.3:17-25) Self righteousness is ugly in the sight of all who observe it (Rom.10:3), HIS Righteousness can only be claimed under the Grace of GOD (1 Cor.1:30), but, GOD tells of the time when the fine linen is the Righteousness of the saints (Rev.19:8). Reprobate or Reprobation – To be a rejecter unto damnation against GOD. That which is rejected on account of its own worthlessness (Jer. 6:30; Heb. 6:8; Gr. adokimos, “rejected”). This word is also used with reference to persons cast away or rejected because they have failed to make use of opportunities Redemption's Glad Message -31-
offered them (1 Cor. 9:27; 2 Cor. 13:5-7). Salvation – 1-A deliverance from temporal dangers and enemies. (Ex.3:10; 1 Sam.14:45) 2-Deliverance from a state of sin and misery, into a state of union with CHRIST, in which we are justified by HIS Blood, adopted into his family, sanctified by HIS SPIRIT, and comforted by HIS presence; -a deliverance from spiritual danger and distress, to a comfortable and quiet condition. (Rom.1:16) 3-Eternal happiness, in which men shall be freed from sin and sorrow, and shall enjoy the most perfect and lasting fellowship with GOD. (1 Peter 1:9; Heb.1:14) Saviour – The name eminently appropriated to our LORD JESUS CHRIST. HE was prefigured in the Old Testament by Joseph as he is the source of bread for the race in his day, by Boaz as the “kinsman redeemer” and saves a gentile bride and by King David as he saves Mephibosheth for Jonathan’s sake; to name a few. The Prophets have described JESUS under the name of SAVIOUR in many places: Isa.12:3, 19:20, 43:11. The New Testament is replete with this description of HIM: Matt.1:21, Acts 13:23, Phil.3:20. One of the strongest expressions of SAVIOUR-HOOD is in John 4:42: “We know that this is indeed the CHRIST, THE SAVIOUR of the world,...” CHRIST is called the “SAVIOUR of the body...” in Eph.5:23. Of GOD, it can be seen that HE has given mighty testimony to HIS desire to save. He gave examples of saviours in Othnial (Judges 3:19) and Ehud (Judges 3:15). And in truth, GOD is the SAVIOUR of all saviours, the GOD of gods; without him there is neither salvation, nor deliverance, nor peace. But; we will join the Greeks in John 12:21: “...Sir, we would see JESUS.” Sin – Any transgression against God or anything that is contrary to the law or will of God. To violate the nature and law of God. (1 John 3:4) For example: if you lie, you have sinned. Why? Because God has said not to lie (Ex. 20:16). If you do what God has forbidden, then you have sinned. In addition, if you do not do what God has commanded, you sin (James 4:17). Either way, the result is eternal separation from God (Isa. 59:2). Sin is lawlessness (1 John 1:3) and unrighteousness (1 John 5:17). Sin leads to blindness (John 9:41) and death (Rom. 6:23). Turning away from God and disobeying the teachings of God. A fall away from or missing the right path. A transgression of the law, or want of conformity to the will of GOD. (1 John 3:4) The first human sin was passed on, through Adam, to all succeeding generations. (Deut. 6:24; Rom. 3:9-23) The race of mankind makes light of SIN (Prov. 14:9). Some say SIN is an illusion, a religious mirage or the invention of some fanatic. By this line of reasoning SIN is denied, joked about, and laughed at. Therefore many believers continue in SIN even though the BIBLE is clear concerning its teaching as to SIN. GOD has enough concern for sin that HE says: “The soul that sinneth IT shall die” (Ezek. 18:20) “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23). GOD says HE hates SIN (Prov. 6:16). And, in Psa. 5:5 is expressed GOD’S hate for those who practice SIN. The practice of SIN has built up a debt so great that no one can pay his responsibility (Isa. 59:2): Sinner – All of the race of mankind is under this category. (Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:23; Rom. 5:12) Technically a sinner is one who practices sin or is in the state of sinful inclination by nature. (Psa. 51:5) There could be much confusion on this subject. Many are under the cloud of doubt and this need not be so. The Scripture speaks loudly on this matter. To attend to the help of the reader, I hope to resort to this best of all sources of enlightenment -the Word of GOD. Man is a sinner by Nature (Luke 15:6), man is a sinner by Practice (Luke 15:9) and then man is a sinner by Choice (Luke 15:32). The “lost sheep” is a picture of Man lost outside the safety of CHRIST’S fold. The “lost coin” is picture of lost Man outside the reach of the foundling. The “lost son” outside the loving embrace of the family is a picture of lost Man outside the loving embrace of the Father’s Grace. If the father is a type of the FATHER and HIS care for lost sons then can it be that the woman is a type of the HOLY GHOST who takes the “LIGHT” into the dark and seeks the coin. If these be allowed then the shepherd is a type of our SHEPHERD who braved the elements of suffering to save the sheep of HIS fold. (Isa.40:11; John 10:11) The Grace Of GOD is expressly set to arrange the redemption of the child of GOD. (Rom.9:11-13) Not the slightest chance exist that could intervene to derange HIS purpose (Rom.8:28-33) or estrange Redemption's Glad Message -32-
HIS love for a sinning world. (Rom.8:35-38) No greater demonstration of love could be given than that of GOD sending HIS own beloved SON as a SHEPHERD to sacrifice HIMSELF for the sheep, that HE might save and secure HIS dear sheep forever. The case was desperate, for all we like sheep had gone astray (Isa.53:6). The shepherd counted his sheep and numbered “99.” This is a failing grade for our SHEPHERD and the BISHOP of our souls. HE went out to find the one that was lost. Those who are lost have several distinguishing marks. According to the Scripture, the lost are DEAD. (Eph.2:1) Of course, the lost are not dead in a physical way -this death is Spiritual and leads to deeper mortality. If a sinner is observed closely it is found that the lost are DOMINATED. This domination is very extensive. A servitude is discussed in several passages of the Scripture. At the top of the list could be the LORD’S own words in John 8:34: “...who so ever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” This states the Saviour’s perfect mind on the condition of a sinner, but, we need not be satisfied with this limited declaration. In the case of Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:23), Philip and Peter could minister none other way but to indicate his total state as being “in the bond of iniquity.” The worldly life is deceptive at its best. To subject one’s self to the practice of darkness for pleasure, gain or fear; is to yield to a bondage that cannot be broken with the means of men. Divine interdiction is required and the soul of man is under this state as long as he adheres to the obedience of the flesh (Rom.6:16-17) There is a snare that is set and loaded in the unsaved heart of every member of the human family. (II Tim.2:26) The entire race of mankind is in the grip of this trap until redemption and then the saved rest in the hand of a loving Redeemer. Corruption once the state of the sinner, now the sinner is transformed into the image of GOD’S dear son. (II Peter 2:1 with Rom.8:29) Under these factors, the lost soul has no DEFENSE for the debility that afflicts all who remain unregenerate. (Rom.1:20) Many become so wicked that society cannot tolerate them and; therefore, as castaways most of the lost languish without hope, in the world DEPRIVED of peace and DIRECTION LESS. (Eph.2:11-12) The race, under sin, is said to be DEPRAVED. ( Rom.1:24; II Peter 2:12; Matt. 23:27; Mark 7:21-23) In theology this term denotes corruption, a change from perfection to imperfection, the sinfulness of man’s nature. This term is modified in the study of theology with the special word “TOTAL”. The race of mankind is in the state of “TOTAL DEPRAVITY” and the term opens a clear view of the race. (Rom.7:18) This tells the painful truth of the nature of the “Carnal mind” which renders all subjects of the race at “...enmity against GOD...” (Rom.8:7) No reader will be able to debate this destitute condition of mankind. Under this theme lesser matters are explained: Man’s impotency (Rom.3:10-18) and Man’s inability (The slave of sin: “...sold under sin...” Rom.7:14). This is a terribly sad picture, but true to the Bible description of man’s Spiritual condition. (See Psa. 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Gen.8:21 “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”) All this description serves to show the race “LOST” in every way. But GOD has provided SALVATION -deliverance from this state of sin and misery, into a state of union with CHRIST, in which we are justified by HIS Blood, adopted into his family, sanctified by HIS SPIRIT, and comforted by HIS presence; -a deliverance from spiritual danger and distress, to a comfortable and quiet condition. (Rom.1:16) The proclamation of this truth gives Eternal joy, in which, souls are freed from sin and sorrow, and shall enjoy the most perfect and lasting fellowship with our GOD. (I Peter 1:9; Heb.1:14) This being true, there still remain masses who continue LOST. Why will they not come unto CHRIST and repent? Hope waits at HIS feet, Joy is on the wings of the Holy Dove to cheer the brokenhearted sinner, Eternity CAN be fixed for Heaven through CHRIST Shed Blood. (Col.1:14) There appears at least one reason why souls continue lost... Could it be that the redeemed have not told the truth of Salvation through Grace to the LOST? There are such fine churches, such blessed fellowships, such cultured choirs, such refined music and such eloquent preachers. To the eyes of GOD, all these trappings are but tepid, sickening lukewarmness. (Rev.3:15-16) Dear reader, GOD determined that sinners should hear by the voice of a preacher and no other means is stated. (Rom.10:14 “...how shall they hear without a preacher”) Modern services are geared to administer a social anesthetic to Redemption's Glad Message -33-
already “Spiritual sleepy” congregations and all the while the sinner cries for us to come, the HOLY GHOST pleads with us to go, the SAVIOUR directs with a nail scared hand and the FATHER looks on with the record book to enter our response. But the sheep have a “FOLD” and the fold answers, in comfort, every call of the lost in despair therefore surely the saved are as safe as the lost are lost. The “FOLD” makes the difference. The SHEEP have a “FOLD” by: 1) His Promise (Heb.13:5), 2) His Provision (Psa. 23) and 3) His Persistence (Luke 15:4). The Sovereignty of God – This term is a fright to many because it states an absolute that is in sharp contrast to the condition of man. The worship employed by the race is man-centered and to even state this declaration is a matter that causes the boldest teacher to stutter and I will only touch the “hem of the garment” for this term. GOD is Sovereign in the matter of: Faith (Gal. 2:16; 20); Conviction (Rom. 9:18) ; Regeneration (Jonah 2:9); and Grace (2 Tim. 1:8-10). Over against the truth of the “Sovereignty of GOD’s Will” is the so called “Free Will of man” -Both of these concepts have been dreadfully mis-used by false teachers. The saint is to take heart that GOD has sovereignty over the affairs of man and eternity. The abounding Grace of GOD has so constituted man that he can avail himself of this salvation by doing what a sovereign GOD of love has made possible for him to do - “Believe the Gospel...” (Acts 15:11 “But we believe that through the grace of our LORD JESUS CHRIST we shall be saved, even as they.”) The declaration to be rendered is a conflict to the flesh and must be made with some determination it does not come easily. The “Free-Will” matter is in all mankind and the only testimony of Grace is in the Word of GOD. The Truth of Divine Doctrine always conflicts with the natural inclinations of the flesh. So, there remains a mighty battle to face. The Spiritual battle for the mind and heart is mine (and each that stands) along with the Sure Victory in CHRIST. The conclusion must be drawn that a GOD who is not Sovereign is not GOD. The fear of most revolves around the fact that Sovereignty calls for “Absolutism.” This must be a frightening prospect Absolutism calls for Accountability (II Cor.5:10); Assimilation (Phil.3:12-13) and Approval (Rom.8:2934) In the light of abundant Bible teaching, the Doctrines of The Sovereignty of GOD are the only teachings that will survive the test of Scripture. (Isa.18:20) Three questions leave the case without debate: 1) Is our GOD ABLE (Heb.7:25)? 2) Is the race of mankind in the grip of sin and the fall, so as to render him “unable” (Impotent) (Rom.5:6; Gen.6:5; Rom.3:11)? 3) Can GOD; therefore, redeem the fallen race of mankind (Rom.8:28-34)? If HE is Sovereign HE can redeem all he chooses - If he is finite; the sinner has no hope and preachers are vain.
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Through The Printed Page
This Pam phlet is printed by Gospel Publishing & Colportage as a m inistry of The First Baptist Church of Mineral Springs, North Carolina. For m ore inform ation on this or other subjects of BIBLE research please call or write: P.O. Box 388 Mineral Springs, N.C. 28108 1(704)843-3858
- É - Romans 12:1-2
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