Friday, January 13, 2012

THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD VERSE IN THE BIBLE

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
(John 3:16)

This is perhaps the most oft-quoted, and least understood verse in the Bible.

This verse is used by many to teach that God loves all men the same, has provided salvation for all men the same, and it is up to man to do something with it.

This verse teaches no such thing!

The emphasis in this verse is not the quantity of God's love, but the quality!

Whether the whosoever refers to one man, or one billion men, it has no bearing on the meaning.

If only one person was converted by this Gospel, it would not be any less glorious than if one billion people were converted by it.

The point of wonder is "God so loved the world.....that He gave.....His only Begotten Son.....that whosoever.....believeth in Him.....should not perish."

By Henry Mahan

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

TO DENY AN EFFECTUAL AND PARTICULAR REDEMPTION IS TO DENY THE GOSPEL

A pastor once declared to a friend, "I want you to know that I no longer believe in particular redemption."

When I heard this, I was shocked, but I was not surprised. I am always shocked when a man turns from the Gospel of grace to something else, especially when that person has studied the Scriptures, the character of God, the nature of sinners, and the covenant mercies of God in Christ.

To deny effectual and particular redemption is to deny the very sum and substance of the Gospel — SUBSTITUTION.

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness are my beauty and my glorious dress.


I am not surprised when certain preachers decide they will no longer preach particular redemption, for it is without question the most hated truth in Scripture.

Universal love and universal atonement are universally accepted by all of Adam's sons except those who, by the grace of God, have seen the Lord Jesus Christ as Isaiah saw His glory and spoke of Him.

The preacher who denies particular redemption will have little opposition, for he has taken the offense from the cross.

All cults, sects, denominations, and religious promoters have this in common — they believe there is a sense in which God loves all men and Christ died for the sins of all men.

If Christ died for all the sins of all men, then all men will be saved.

If Christ died for some of the sins of all men, no one will be saved.

However, if Christ died (as the Scripture teaches) for all the sins of His elect, then His elect will be saved.

By Henry Mahan

Friday, December 02, 2011

"CAUSE THY FACE TO SHINE UPON US"

The apostles and early believers were despised by the religious Jews because of the gospel which they preached. It was not because they were covetous or proud men. They were persecuted because the gospel of God's grace, which they preached, was offensive to humans pride.

They preached (as I trust we do, also) that salvation, even for the most moral person on earth, is only possible because of the grace and mercy of God, given to us in Christ Jesus. These people of God knew nothing of free-will, decisionism, and giving God a chance. They knew only one way of salvation, that of God's being gracious and showing sovereign mercy to sinners in Christ.

The gospel of grace and glory does not appear OCCASIONALY in their preaching and writings, nor was it a deeper truth or doctrine which they discussed PRIVATELY; it reigns, shines, and dominated all that they said, wrote, and did.

It is the ONLY THING that they preached!

To them, any word of human worthiness, works, or rights was totally wrong, and counted for nothing in the matter of acceptance before God. They addressed all men (even themselves) as guilty, condemned, and perishing justly unless God is pleased to come in mercy and lift the beggar from his dunghill, sanctify and justify him through Christ Jesus, and accept him in the Beloved.

"God be merciful to us, and bless us; and cause Thy face to shine upon us" (Psalms 67:1).

By Henry Mahan

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

INTENDED ATONEMENT

What was the Lord’s intention in His death?

Was His intention to save all of Adam’s race?

If it was, He failed miserably.

Was His intent to make salvation available if we do our part?

That would not help us at all!

We cannot do our part!

His intent was to save the elect!

“And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me, I should lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last day.”
(John 6:39)

We can be assured of this…whatever the Son of God intended to do, that is precisely what He did. He came with the intention of saving His people from their sins.

“Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”
(Matthew 1:21)

And that is precisely what He did!

When He said, “It is finished,” what He intended to do was done!

Friday, November 11, 2011

IS IT GOD'S WILL THAT MANY REMAIN SPIRITUALLY DEAF AND BLIND?

The subject matter that we want to look at in this study is this:

Is it God’s will that many people remain spiritually deaf and blind?

Is it God’s will that many people remain ignorant of the true Gospel of salvation?

Is it God’s will that many people remain in the sinful state in which they were born?

We want to investigate this question, because most people believe that God loves everybody in the whole world, and that God desires all men to be saved. And for that reason they claim that God offers to all mankind salvation to all who will only believe the Gospel and accept the salvation that is offered to them.

But this requires that mankind would not turn a deaf ear to God’s so-called well meant offer, and that mankind would not be spiritually blind to the good news of the Gospel that is laid out on the pages of the Bible.

That is why the title of this study is, “Is It God’s Will That Many Remain Spiritually Deaf And Blind?”

And for the sake of keeping it simple, and for the sake of remaining focused on this one subject matter, I will restrict myself to just two passages in the Gospel according to Matthew in chapters 12 and 13.

Now you may, in disgust, immediately stop reading, or you may already have your answer fixed in your mind and stop reading on that basis. But we must read the Bible to see what God says about this question. If we prfess to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Chris then we are obligated to believe everything that we read in the Bible, for God says in Proverbs 28:9, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination”. In that verse “the law” means the whole Word of God, from cover to cover. And so, it is a grievous thing if we do not want to listen to the Word of God, for God’s curse will rest upon us if we do not want to listen to what God has to say.

Matthew 13 is a chapter that is filled with many parables.

These are doctrines of the Kingdom disguised as parables.



Why Parables? (Proverbs 28:9, Matthew 13:10-17)

This thirteenth chapter of Matthew occupies both physically and spiritually a central position in the Gospel of salvation. It is located physically in the center of the Gospel according to Matthew, and it also reflects the center of God’s plan of salvation. Therefore, this is a very important chapter to study, and it is crucial to our understanding of God’s plan of salvation.

Matthew 13:10
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

Matthew 13:11
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Matthew 13:12
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Matthew 13:13
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Matthew 13:14
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

Matthew 13:15
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Matthew 13:16
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

Matthew 13:17
For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.



The Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 13:9, Mathew 13:11)

In the previous verses the Lord Jesus told the multitude the Parable of the Sower, but He did not explain the parable. Then at the end of the parable He said in verse 9, “He who hath ears to hear, let him hear”.

Now, that is a curious way to end this parable. Paraphrased, the Lord is saying, “He who has spiritual ears to hear, let him understand this parable”. Jesus did not explain this parable to the multitude. And the disciples were confused. Like the multitude they did not understand this parable. And so they said, “Lord, why speakest thou unto them in parables?”

Why do You make it impossible for them to hear and understand You?

What was Jesus’ answer?

He said in verse 11, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given”.

First of all, what are “mysteries”?

A mystery is not something mysterious, or spooky, or something that cannot be known. According to Webster’s Dictionary the first meaning of a mystery is, “a religious truth that man can know through revelation alone and cannot fully understand”. A mystery is a divine truth that was hidden in the Word of God, but is now revealed in the Gospel. And thus, a mystery is not something that remains unknown, but it is something that can be known by God revealing to us what that mystery is.

And thus, what are the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven?

These are the doctrines of the way to the Kingdom of Heaven; these are the doctrines of the Gospel of salvation. And the Lord Jesus tells us here in verse 11 that these “mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven” will be revealed to the disciples, but they will not be revealed to the multitude.

What an astounding statement!

The Lord tells us here that the band of disciples around Him, the group that He has chosen to follow Him, this group receives special privileges which are not given to the multitude that came together to hear Him. But these are not incidental privileges. These are privileges to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven.

These are privileges to know the way to Heaven, to know the way of salvation, to know the Gospel of eternal life in Jesus Christ. And to the multitude these privileges are not given.

What an astounding statement!

We may intuitively want to protest against this kind of teaching, but who are we to object against God’s Word?

“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” (Romans 9:20)

Instead, we should tremble before the Word of God.

Is it possible that we too may be counted among those whom Jesus chose to be His disciples?

Or are we in the same boat as the unsaved multitude who heard the words of our Lord, but failed to understand the meaning of His words?

Let these words of verse 11 ring in your ears: “But to them it is not given”. The Lord will give to His chosen ones spiritual ears to hear, and spiritual eyes to see the Kingdom of Heaven, but to the multitude out there the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven remain an unsolved mystery. Their spiritual ears and spiritual eyes remain closed. They will hear with their carnal ears the words spoken, and see with their carnal eyes the words spoken by God as recorded in the Bible, but to them these words remain mysterious parables, with many contradictions that they cannot reconcile.

What have yoou been taught about parables?

Perhaps you were taught that Jesus spoke in parables to make spiritual truths easier to understand. That teaching did not come out of the Bible. The Lord Jesus tells us here that the reason He spoke in parables was so that the truth might be hidden to those whom God does not want to save.

The Lord Jesus was instructing His disciples about the sovereignty of God. He is teaching them, and teaching us, about election and predestination. He did not say “Well, these are doctrines that are too difficult for you to understand, since you are still beginners in the faith, and thus we shall postpone these doctrines until later”. Quite the contrary. This was an event in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, and He did not hesitate to teach His disciples right away of the doctrines of election and predestination. We must do the same.

And why did He do that?

He did this so that we understand clearly who our God is, and what His character is, and what His attributes are. We must get to know God, for knowing God is equivalent to salvation. That is why in this church we will speak freely about the difficult doctrines as well as the easy ones, without distinction. We do not want to hold back anything, for we are commanded to bring the whole counsel of God.

And so, are parables given to enhance the truth, or to conceal the truth?

Is God using parables to clarify the true Gospel, or to hide the true Gospel?

Clearly, the Lord Jesus said in verse 11 that He spoke in parables to hide the true Gospel from those who are to remain unsaved.

Is it God’s will that many remain spiritually deaf and blind?

From the words of verse 11 it appears that this is really true!

And let it be perfectly clear that no one can hear and understand the true Gospel unless God the Holy Spirit opens our spiritual ears and opens our spiritual eyes. Let us see what the following verses teach us.



Seeing They See Not; and Hearing They Hear Not (Matthew 13:13-14, Isaiah 6:9, Ezekiel 12:2, Mark 4:12, Luke 8:10, John 12:40, Acts 28:26, Romans 11:8, 2 Corinthians 3:14, Isaiah 29:10, Revelation 22:18)

The Lord Jesus said in verses 13-14, “Because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive”.

This is a very favorable verse in the eyes of God. God repeated these words many times over in the Bible. Let us look at nine other places where these words are repeated:

Isaiah 6:9
And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.



Ezekiel 12:2
Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.



Mark 4:12
That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.



Luke 8:10
And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.



John 12:40
He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.



Acts 28:26
Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:



Romans 11:8
(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.



2 Corinthians 3:14
But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.



Isaiah 29:10
For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.

Why would God repeat this truth so many times?

If God repeats this truth in ten places in the Bible, and God backs this up with many other places in the Bible which support these concepts of election and predestination, then we can be sure that God wants this truth to be one of the fundamental truths of the Gospel of salvation. God in His kindness, gives to those of us who believe, an understanding of who He is and what He does.

Who has blinded their spiritual eyes and who has stopped their spiritual ears so that they do not understand?

John 12:40, and Romans 11:8, and Isaiah 29:10 clearly say that God has done it.

Some people want to avoid this answer. They say Satan has done this. But Satan is not found in all these ten places where God says that their ears are stopped and their eyes are blinded. It is true that Satan also takes part in the action, but Satan is not an independent god. Satan can only do those things that God allows him to do, and thus God takes all the responsibility for blinding their eyes and stopping their ears.

It is an integral part of the Gospel message that we worship a God who is absolutely sovereign. It is an integral part of the Gospel message that God gives faith and understanding to those whom He wants to save, but others, whom God does not intend to save, He blinds their spiritual eyes and He hardens their heart so that they do not understand the true Gospel.

Instead they will pick and choose out of the Bible and make themselves another gospel, and another god whom they worship.

This is what a hardened heart does. It is just as much idolatry as the heathen who fall down before wood and stone idols that they have made.

It is utter wickedness not to listen to what God says in the Bible.

It is utter wickedness to create another gospel which closely resembles the true Gospel, but which God has not commanded.

And thus we come to recognize that the many “free-will gospels” that are out there are utter abominations to God and those who follow them are still dead in trespasses and sins and, if they die in this state, they will perish in Hell.

It is then also understandable why so many churches these days are falling away into a charismatic gospel. Those who have been saved by Christ are forever saved, and they will not be enticed by the charismatic gospel, even if it is presented as very close to the true Gospel. But those who are unsaved will fall for it. For many years God has prepared the stage for His wrath on the end time church by allowing preachers of “free-will” gospels to infiltrate churches all over the world, so that the preachers as well as the congregations they gather are not saved. And thus they are open targets for the deception of Satan in the Last Days that God is still bringing divine messages in dreams, and visions, and angel visitations and tongues. It does not trouble them that these are all violations of Revelation 22:18, since they only pick and choose from the Bible. It is a natural tendency for those whose gospel is in error to fall from one error into another that is even worse. And so we see that Matthew 13:13-14 again convey the answer to the question:

Is it God’s will that many remain spiritually deaf and blind?

The answer is absolutely Yes!



Lest They Understand With Their Heart, and Be Healed (Matthew 13:15, Ephesians 2:8, Isaiah 6:10, Acts 28:27, Mark 4:12, Romans 9:18)

Matthew 13:15
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Now let us not go overboard in thinking that our knowledge and our understanding are a sure sign of our salvation.

That is not so!

We are not saved by our knowledge, and we are not saved by our understanding. We are saved by Christ, and we are saved by grace. And God conveyed this salvation to us through the medium of faith. God gave us that faith.

But what is it we believe wherein we have to put our faith?

Now this is where our understanding enters into the picture. We believe what we understand the Gospel to be. And when we listen to the Bible and have understood the words of the true Gospel message, then we know what we must believe. And thus the work of God the Holy Spirit is to soften our heart so that we understand and are willing to believe the Gospel of salvation, through the cross of Christ, and that this salvation comes to us absolutely free. Our willingness to believe has been given to us as a free gift of God. That is why we read in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”.

And so, the meaning of Matthew 13:15 is that the unsaved multitude has been spiritually blinded by God, and their spiritual ears have been made dull of hearing by God, and their hearts have been hardened by God. Now again, these words of Matthew 13:15 have been very favorable in the eyes of God. God repeated these words in several other places in the Bible. Let me read to you three other places:

Isaiah 6:10
Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.



Acts 28:27
For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.



Mark 4:12
That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

This is the condition of the natural man. This is the state how we came into the world as enemies of God. And if God would not have turned our hearts around we would still be like that, sluggish ears, and closed eyes, and a hardened heart, unable to understand the Gospel, for only by the Holy Spirit could we understand the true Gospel.

But what do these four verses say about the actions and intentions of God?

God does not plan to save them. God is not willing to give them an understanding of the Gospel. Therefore God is not willing to save them, because they do not belong to the elect of God. They have not been chosen from before the foundation of the world to be saved, or else God would have saved them. Our God is sovereign. He will save only whom He will, and whom He does not want to save He hardens. God says in Romans 9:18, “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth”.

This is a hard saying, but who are we to reply against God?

In His wisdom God decided to arrange it this way, and since God is infinitely wise we must believe that this is the wisest plan that God in His counsel has chosen. There is no better plan. We must believe what God has said.

And so, what do we conclude from Matthew 13:15?

Is it God’s will that many remain spiritually deaf and blind?

The answer is absolutely Yes!

We have seen this now three times.

First from Matthew 13:11 we have come to the conclusion that, It is God’s will that many remain spiritually deaf and blind.

Secondly, from verses 13 and 14 we have come to this same conclusion.

And thirdly we have come to this same conclusion from verse 15.

All three times we find that God pours His favors on those whom He intends to save by giving us understanding and faith, and God deliberately withholds understanding and faith from those whom He does not want to save. Our God is infinitely righteous in all that He does, and we must believe that it was absolutely necessary that God would take this action, for there is no wiser plan anyone could have designed for this world and the people of this world.

The next logical question then is this:

If there are many who are not chosen unto salvation, and they remain in the sinful body in which they were born, would they be responsible for the sinful life in which they lived, or are they responsible for their sins?

The answer the Bible gives is this:



All Men Sin Voluntarily (Matthew 12:33-37, Ezekiel 12:2)

We need to understand one basic principle of the nature of mankind: Mankind is not a collection of individuals. Mankind is an organism with a federal head, which is Adam. God created Adam very good, and in the image of God. When Adam sinned all man-kind sinned. And thus when we came into the world we have already on our account two things:

1) We were initially created good and in the image of God, and 2) we have already sinned and are accountable for our sins, for every sin is an insult to the image of God.

Since God made us come out of Adam, and since Adam was accountable to God we too are accountable to God for our sins. As we can see, Adam sinned voluntarily, and thus we too sin voluntarily. All men sin voluntarily, and that is why God can hold men accountable for their sins and can send them to Hell for this. And thus, those who are spiritually deaf and blind are still accountable for their sins, for they sin voluntarily.

The Lord Jesus speaks about this depraved nature of man here in Matthew 12:33-37, where we read:

Matthew 12:33
Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

Matthew 12:34
O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

Matthew 12:35
A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

Matthew 12:36
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Matthew 12:37
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

First the Lord Jesus establishes the groundwork: A man is compared to a tree, and thus the heart of a man is known by the fruit the man bears.

Secondly, the Lord addresses the people around Him as a generation of vipers, and He said, “how can ye, being evil, speak good things?”

Since they are evil they can only bear bad fruit. They are not able to speak good things.

But are they accountable for the bad things that they speak?

Thirdly, the Lord Jesus said: Even the smallest sin, like uttering an idle word, shall be held accountable in the Day of Judgment. They are not able to speak good things, and yet they are held accountable for neglecting to speak good things. And thus, coming back to Matthew 13:11-15, the non-elect do not understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, they do not understand the parables Jesus told, their spiritual eyes are blinded, their spiritual ears are very slow to hear anything worthwhile, their heart is hardened and unable to understand the wisdom of the Gospel, but yet they are accountable to God for this behavior, for God says in Ezekiel 12:2,

Ezekiel 12:2
Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.

You see the reason why they are not seeing and hearing the Gospel is that they do not want to see or hear what God has said, for they are a rebellious house. It is true that God the Holy Spirit has not enlightened them, but over and above this fact they are by nature in so much rebellion against God that they refuse to hear His words, for there is no fear of God before their eyes.

And is that not what we see all around us?

When we witness for Christ, and present Him to people around us as a sovereign God, the response we get most of the time is ridicule, and scorn, and unfounded, slanderus accusations.

We can point them to the words of Scripture, and even when they have the Bible in their hands and are present in our Bible studies, and even when we show them the Scriptures which clearly state the character of God, and state God’s magnificent plan of salvation through election and reprobation, they will not believe.

And why not?

It is plain rebellion against God and against His Word. No matter what the Word of God says, they have fixed in their minds what they want to believe, and no Bible verse shall sway them one way or another. This is plain rebellion. Therefore, let us now continue in Matthew 13:16, where we read:



Blessed Are Your Eyes, For they see (Mathewt 13:16, Matthew 25:21, Philippians 2:13)

Matthew 13:16
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

Yes, the Lord Jesus is addressing those of us who have eyes to see and ears to hear. God's people delight in hearing and seeing the words of Scripture, and we delight in knowing that we are still faithful to all the things God said. We admonish each other if we are going astray, and are not entirely straight according to the Bible. We love these corrections, since our fellow believers help us to remain faithful. And we also help each other in Bible study and in interpreting Scriptures. Because God has done a work of grace in our hearts, we patiently listen to God’s Word. We have come to hear and understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. To us, by the grace of God, it is given to hear them. Praise the Lord for that, and give Him thanks every day for this great gift.

But now let us also apply what we have heard, and let us have compassion on those who still need to hear the truth, even if they have initially rejected the truth. Let us ask the Lord that He will open many doors to us, so that we can let our light so shine before men that they may come to glorify our Father which is in Heaven. To Him be all the honor and all the glory if He saves someone. Our words of wisdom are of no consequence when someone is saved. It is 100% God’s doing. We are only instruments in His hand. But what a great honor and pleasure it is to serve Him in this capacity.

It brings such joy to work for such a wonderful God. All our words, whether they lead to salvation or to condemnation of the one we are witnessing to, all our words and works are 100% in the plan of God, and we receive the commendation of our Lord, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21).

And think of it, this all came as a free gift.

First salvation came as a free gift. But then our desire to serve Him as His ambassador also came as a free gift, for God says in Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”.

Let us praise and thank God for having done such a wonderful work in us, and for making us see and hear the message of the Gospel, and for giving us faith, and for continuing to work in us those things that are pleasing in His sight, and for opening doors to us that were closed before.

Let us remember that the Lord Jesus Christ had to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell to make all this come to pass.

AMEN.

By Alfred.J. Chompff

Saturday, October 22, 2011

DIVINE FOREORDINATION

When the solemn and blessed subject of Divine foreordination is expounded, when God’s eternal choice of certain ones to be conformed to the image of His Son is set forth, the Enemy sends along some man to argue that election is based upon the foreknowledge of God, and this “foreknowledge” is interpreted to mean that God foresaw certain ones would be more pliable than others, that they would respond more readily to the strivings of the Spirit, and that because God knew they would believe, He, accordingly, predestinated them unto salvation.

But such a statement is radically wrong.

It repudiates the truth of total depravity, for it argues that there is something good in some men.

It takes away the independency of God, for it makes His decrees rest upon what He discovers in the creature.

It completely turns things upside down, for in saying God foresaw certain sinners would believe in Christ, and that because of this, He predestinated them unto salvation, is the very reverse of the truth.

Scripture affirms that God, in His high sovereignty, singled out certain ones to be recipients of His distinguishing favours (Acts 13:48), and therefore He determined to bestow upon them the gift of faith.

False theology makes God’s foreknowledge of our believing the cause of His election to salvation; whereas, God’s election is the cause, and our believing in Christ is the effect.

By Arthur W. Pink

Sunday, October 02, 2011

THE HOPE OF ARMINIANISM

The hope of Arminianism seems to me to differ much from the hope of the gospel, because it allows that Christ died for all men. But Christ declares that the gates which lead to destruction receive the greatest number, (Matthew 7:13).

Therefore, if the former be true, some are in hell for whom Christ died; in which case there must have been a deficiency in the price the Surety paid, or else it reflects on his wisdom, and supposes him outwitted by the serpent, who, through his subtlety, has got legions in his possession, which were the Saviour's own by purchase. It does not reflect on his wisdom only, but on his power also, who could not hold them that were committed unto him; because the gates of hell have prevailed, and many are plucked out of his hand, (John, 10:28).

It seems likewise to reflect cruelly on the justice of God, who drew his sword, and sheathed it in the great Shepherd, (Zechariah 8:7); and spared him not in the least, nor abated one mite of the debt, (Romans 8:32).

And it is plain that Justice promised, by the blood of his covenant, to send "forth the prisoners out of the pit in which there was no water," (Zechariah. 9:11); and further, to be "faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," (1 John 1:9).

But alas! this is all overthrown if Arminianism be true.

If Arminian hope be fixed on a surety that hath not paid, or cannot pay the debt; or, if it be fixed on a mutable Saviour, having no laws to encourage it but such as demand a debt twice; first of the surety, and then of the debtor; first sending them out of the prison of sin on the surety's account, or, in their own words, making them sons of God by grace to-day, and after all this letting them fall away, and locking them up in hell to all eternity, until they can pay the utmost mite of what was paid long ago; what establishment is there for hope?

I answer, a hope founded on such doctrines is just as stable as a feather in a whirlwind.

By William Huntington

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

NO UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION IN THE WORD OF GOD

Redemption work belongeth to our anointed Priest, and He only could effect it.

The priests under the law required the redemption price to be brought to them by the people, but our Priest, in the similitude of Melchisedec, brings the price to them, and pays it for them; hence the apostle was commissioned to say to the elect of God, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ." (1 Peter 1:18-19)

Now, as the word redemption in our day is so grossly perverted, and as the Papist sentiment of universal redemption has poisoned the great mass of professing Protestants, I shall detain you a few moments to take a view of the redemption which is by Christ Jesus, labeled as it is with three prominent words, purchase, pardon, and perfection.

The first of these labels is given us by the mouth of Paul: "Feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood." (Acts 20:28)

No universal redemption here; it is the Church of God which He hath purchased, and it would be an impeachment of the wisdom and faithfulness of God our Saviour to suppose that He had purchased what He never meant to possess.

The Church is His property; and though she had gone into captivity to sin and Satan, it was His prerogative to buy back (as the word redeemed signifies) that which was His own from everlasting, and must be possessed by Him forever, yea, and to perfect His work in every redeemed soul to meeten it for glory.

Moreover, the redemption which the word of God publishes includes the full and free pardon of all the redeemed, as it is written, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins." (Ephesians 1:7)

How foolishly then do men talk about all the world being redeemed, while the large majority of Adam's race remain unpardoned, unregenerate, and under condemnation until they perish eternally.

What mockery and falsehood to tell men they are redeemed, while they continue in slavery, wearing their chains, and fond of them. Would to God that such heresy was confined to Rome, for it is quite in keeping with the rest of the dogmas of Antichrist.

Again, the redemption which honors our High Priest is and must be perfect; hence the apostle is directed to inform us that our Redeemer "entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12). So also He is said to have "perfected for ever them that are sanctified," (Hebrews 10:14) or set apart as His redeemed. And His own declaration is, "All that the Father giveth me shall come unto me" (John 6:37).

Surely then, the most trembling doubting soul who has come to Christ for pardon and salvation may take courage to believe that His very coming to Christ proves that he is redeemed with precious blood, and that he shall assuredly be saved, because the redemption which is in Christ Jesus is a perfect work.

By Joseph Irons

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"SEEING THEY SEE NOT; AND HEARING THEY HEAR NOT."

The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 13:13-14:

Matthew 13:13
Because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Matthew 13:14
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive.

This is a very favorable verse in the eyes of God. God repeated these words many times over in the Bible. Let us now look at nine other places where these words are repeated:

Isaiah 6:9
And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.



Ezekiel 12:2
Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.



Mark 4:12
That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.



Luke 8:10
And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.



John 12:40
He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.



Acts 28:26
Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:



Romans 11:8
(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.



2 Corinthians 3:14
But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.



Isaiah 29:10
For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.

Why would God repeat this truth so many times?

If God repeats this truth in ten places in the Bible, and God backs this up with many other places in the Bible which support these concepts of election and predestination, then we can be sure that God wants this truth to be one of the fundamental truths of the Gospel of salvation. God wants us to understand who He is and what He does.

Who has blinded their spiritual eyes and who has stopped their spiritual ears so that they do not understand?

John 12:40, and Romans 11:8, and Isaiah 29:10 clearly say that God has done it. Some people want to avoid this answer. They say Satan has done this. But Satan is not found in all these ten places where God says that their ears are stopped and their eyes are blinded. It is true that Satan also takes part in the action, but Satan is not an independent god. Satan can only do those things that God allows him to do, and thus God takes all the responsibility for blinding their eyes and stopping their ears.

It is an integral part of the Gospel message that we worship a God who is absolutely sovereign. It is an integral part of the Gospel message that God gives faith and understanding to those whom He wants to save, but others, whom God does not intend to save, He blinds their spiritual eyes and He hardens their heart so that they do not understand the true Gospel. Instead they will pick and choose out of the Bible and make themselves another gospel, and another god whom they worship. This is what a hardened heart does.

It is just as much idolatry as the heathen who fall down before wood and stone idols that they have made. It is utter wickedness not to listen to what God says in the Bible. It is utter wickedness to create another gospel which closely resembles the true Gospel, but which God has not commanded. And thus we come to recognize that the many “free-will gospels” that are out there are utter abominations to God and those who follow them are still unsaved and are on the way to Hell. It is then also understandable why so many churches these days are falling away into a charismatic gospel. Those who have been saved by Christ are forever saved, and they will not be enticed by the charismatic gospel, even if it is presented as very close to the true Gospel.

But those who are unsaved will fall for it. For many years God has prepared the stage for His wrath on the end time church by allowing preachers of “free-will” gospels to infiltrate churches all over the world, so that the preachers as well as the congregations they gather are not saved. And thus they are open targets for the deception of Satan in the Last Days that God is still bringing divine messages in dreams, and visions, and angel visitations and tongues. It does not trouble them that these are all violations of Revelation 22:18, since they only pick and choose from the Bible. It is a natural tendency for those whose gospel is in error to fall from one error into another that is even worse. And so we see that Matthew 13:13-14 again convey the answer to the question:

Is it God’s will that many remain spiritually deaf and blind?

The answer is absolutely Yes!

By Alfred J. Chompff

Sunday, June 12, 2011

DOES GOD LOVE ALL MANKIND?

Well, if He does love all mankind, then we must certainly doubt the truth of the Bible, for nowhere in the Bible do we read that God loves all mankind.

Instead God says in Romans 9:11-13, that before the children were born, in fact before the foundation of the world, before they could have done any good or evil, God said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,” and God said this in order that the purpose of God according to election may be made clear.

Further-more God says in Psalm 5:5, and in Psalm 7:11, and in Psalm 11:5 that He loves the righteous (all the Jacobs - meaning the elect of God) and He hates all the wicked (all the Esau’s - the reprobate).

Psalm 5:5
The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.



Psalm 7:11
God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.



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

And so, when we read the Bible carefully we find that God only loves His elect people, but He hates all those who shall die unsaved.

By Alfred J. Chompff

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Neither Having Done Any Good or Evil"


“For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth; It was said unto her, the elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
- Romans 9:11-13

We trust that God will enable us to rightly divide the word of truth, and also to write in the spirit of love. We wish the reader to keep this expression in mind: “that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth.”

We believe Election is taught in the text. God loved Jacob and hated Esau before either was born. (Of course, this love and hatred dates back before the foundation of the world, or even before time was in existence.)

If God “decided” to love Jacob and hate Esau after they were born, then this would be according to their looks, or to some of their actions or deeds. That being true, then the purpose of God according to election would not stand. But the Scripture teaches that God chose a people in Him from before the foundation of the world. Therefore, God chose His people before they were in existence. The actions of the creature did not influence God in choosing them to be conformed to the image of His Son. Also, God did not choose His people because He foreknew they would be better than the rest. There is not any guess work in the matter. God called His people out of nature’s darkness and left the rest where they were. Therefore, by nature, God’s people are not any better than the rest.

In the sixth verse of this chapter, we note that Paul said, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” Meaning, just because one is a natural Israelite does not mean that he is a Spiritual Israelite. Notice the 7th verse, “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall Thy seed be called.”

Just because one is of the natural offspring of Abraham does not mean that gives him a right to heaven. Natural Israel is a type of Spiritual Israel.

“In Isaac shall Thy seed be called.” This does not mean the natural offspring of Isaac — Esau was a son of Isaac. In this instance, we see Isaac as a type of Jesus Christ.

Also, notice there is sharp difference between being of the seed of Abraham and being the children of Abraham. One may be of the children of Abraham and not be of the seed of Abraham, which include Gentiles.

We wish to call your attention to John 8:12-44. As Jesus was talking to the unbelieving Jews, they remarked that they were Abraham’s seed. Jesus answered, “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because My word hath no place IN you. I speak that which I have seen with My Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, if ye were Abraham’s children, we would do the works of Abraham.”

Jesus plainly told these Jews that even though they were of the seed of Abraham, this did not mean they were the children of Abraham. They proved what they were by their works. They did not do the works of Abraham. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17)

All of natural Israel are of the seed of Abraham, but all are not of the spiritual seed of Jesus Christ...

"Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.”
(Romans 9:27)

The promise that was given to Abraham had a deep spiritual meaning, “For the promise, that he should be heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: (no eternal life promised under the law — just natural blessings). Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:13-16)

The meaning in a nutshell is this: The promise is sure to all the Spiritual seed—both Jews and Gentiles. The Jews are of the law, and the faith of Abraham also reaches to the Gentiles.

“Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” These were the twin sons of Isaac, so both were of the seed of Abraham. The Lord said unto Isaac’s wife: “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:23)

As we think of the two nations, we think of sheep and the goats, or of the elect and the wicked.

The natural man would like to twist the Scriptures around and try to make it mean something other than what is written. We make no apologies for the truth, and it does not need any of our weak support. We know it is our lot to speak the truth in love, and we further believe it is our duty to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, and not to “whitewash the truth”.

“Jacob have I loved.” Remember the Scripture: “Two nations are in thy womb.” Therefore, Jacob represents the nation of God’s people. “For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 32:9)

This Scripture gives solid proof that Jacob represents the people of God whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance. (See Psalm 33:12)

“The Lord’s portion.”

This means a part or fraction, doesn’t it?

This is in harmony with the Scripture that says, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” (Romans 11:5)

Also we read, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

Jesus did not say “big flock”, but rather little flock. This also shows that God’s people are few in number compared to all of mankind.

“Mine heritage is unto Me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her...”
(Jeremiah 12:9)

This Scripture also shows that God’s people are few in number.

How?

The Scripture says “as a speckled bird” in the singular, and not in the plural. Yet, the birds round about her are mentioned in the plural. This Scripture shows that there is a difference between God’s people and the world. God’s people are spoken of as “Children of Light.” The world is in darkness and hates the light. Therefore, God’s people are hated by the world.

“If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
(John 15:19)

Let us go back to Jacob.

“He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.”
(Deuteronomy 32:10)

I believe this Scripture shows where God finds all of His people. This not only applies to Jacob himself, but it also applies to all of God’s people.

We ask you dear reader, have you been there?

Do you know what it is to be in a barren condition?

Have you been in a place where there is not any rest?

Have you become so helpless (in a spiritual sense) that you could not lead yourself, and that you could not travel on your own strength and you desired guidance, and prayed as one did: “...lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2)

God found Jacob in a desert land. We believe this means it was the time when God first made Himself known to Jacob. So, when God first made Himself known to you, you were not in a pleasant condition. God showed what you were by nature, and that you were a lost and ruined sinner. “Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations.” (Ezekiel 16:2) It is necessary for one to be taught that he is a sinner before he will have any need of mercy. When one realizes that he is a sinner, he cannot help but cry out for mercy. He cries because he feels the need of mercy. This prayer is not mechanical, but one cries for deliverance because he wants relief.

The love of God is everlasting. We believe that God has loved His people from all eternity. As God has chosen His people in Him from before the foundation of the world, we believe that God has loved this same people from before the foundation of the world. “I am the Lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6) We believe the comfort of this Scripture shows that God is not changeable, and that He will continue to love His people, and that He will never forsake them even though in their feelings they may feel that God has forgotten them, or forsaken them.

“But Esau have I hated.” The love of God is perfect, and the hatred of God is perfect. Love and hate are two opposites, just as light and darkness. We think of the love of God as the positive side, and the hatred of God as the negative. We believe the hatred of Esau is in a negative sense, meaning that God surely determined from all eternity not to have mercy upon all of Adam’s race. On the positive side, as God determined to save a few, He also determined in a negative sense to not save the rest of mankind, but rather to leave them where they are and let them perish in their sins. We believe this is what is meant in the sense that God hated Esau. Meaning, that God has hated the wicked from all eternity, or that God has determined beforehand to not have mercy upon the wicked, or not save the wicked from their sins, or just let them perish in their sins, in which they love and delight.

We quote from Zanchius:
“When hatred is ascribe to God, it implies (1) a negation of benevolence, or a resolution not to have mercy on such and such men, nor to endue them with any of those graces which stand connected with eternal life. So, ‘Esau have I hated’ (Rom. 9), i.e., “I did, from all eternity, determine within Myself not to have mercy on him.’”
(Absolute Predestination, page 58, by Jerome Zanchius.)


The wicked do not know anything about the wisdom of God. This wisdom is hidden. (See I Corinthians 2:7) Also, consider these Scriptures: “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (II Corinthians 4:34)

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
(II Thessalonians 2:10-12)

“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
(Matthew 7:23)

Someone might say, “Wait just a minute. I thought you said God knows everything. Well, you just quoted a Scripture that God never knew the workers of iniquity. So, here is something that God Himself acknowledged that He did not know.”

In answer to that, we believe this means that God never knew the workers of iniquity or the wicked as His people.

As God never knew the workers of iniquity as His people, He certainly knew that they were workers of iniquity, and were not His people, didn’t He?

And, since God knew they were not His people, He certainly knew they were workers of iniquity, didn’t He?

If not, then how did He know they were?

This is a hard doctrine. The world cannot stand it, and they hate it.

“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.”
(I Corinthians 2:14)

Paul knew there would be opposition brought forth. The world says, “How cruel it would be not to give everybody a chance to be saved.” If it were left up to us to save ourselves, or to perform certain conditions in order to merit our salvation, we would all be lost and doomed to everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, because we know that our righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of God.

Oh, how we do need the grace of God!

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
(Romans 9:14-15)

Who are we to question God?

He was not obligated to save any.

Who are we to question as to why He does not save more, or why does He not save all?

If our souls were cast into hell, would we have any reason to blame God or charge Him with injustice?

But, rather, would not we say as the poet,

“If my soul were cast in hell,
Thy righteous law approves it well.”


“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.” This is God’s business, and He did not ask our advice.

Who is man to try to attend to God’s business?

When God created the world and everything therein He did not consult man about the matter. This was all done and accomplished before God formed man of the dust of the earth.

“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, why hast Thou made me thus?”
(Romans 9:20)

It would do well that we take heed to that Scripture, and be reconciled to the will of God. God is the potter and we are the clay.

Let us remember that the wicked are not in trouble as other men, and they do not know anything about the soul afflictions of God’s people. (Psalm 73:5) “The wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand.” (Daniel 12:10)

The wicked will not come unto Jesus, and they will not cry for mercy, because they will never feel the need for mercy. The wicked love sin, and live in it, and have pleasure in unrighteousness. Some of the wicked may appear to be righteous or religious in the sight of men, but it is for some selfish motive to promote their own business, interest, or seeking the praise of men.

A sinner who comes to Jesus seeking mercy will not be turned back. Yet, one cannot come to Jesus unless he is drawn by the Father. “No man can come unto Me, except My Father which sent Me draw him.” (John 6:44)

We believe that God draws His people by His love. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

“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)

This is a positive expression, and it means that God’s people will not fail to come to Jesus. Again, none of the wicked will be included in that number that will come to Jesus. Only those that were given to Jesus for His bride will come to Him; and all of them SHALL come.

Now, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Therefore, all of God’s people are sinners, and they will come to Jesus seeking mercy and none of them shall be cast out.

Therefore, dear one, if you feel the need for mercy, and find that you do not have the ability to do anything to merit your salvation, this is some sweet evidence that you are included in that blessed number. If you have ceased from your own works, and you do not have any tools with which to work, it is some sweet evidence that you are a fit subject to enter into that rest.

“For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.”
(Hebrews 4:10)

— By Woodrow W. Hudson

Monday, June 21, 2010

Christ's Propitiation For The Sins of His People

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful (propitious) to me a sinner.”
(Luke 18:13)

The word propitiation means to appease divine wrath, and render satisfaction. To be propitious, or to be merciful. Our dear Lord, two thousand years ago, actually did appease the frowning Justice of God, and render satisfaction for His elect. He died the death of the transgressor to fulfill its just demands. Blessed be His name, He did it for His people because there was no way they could do it for themselves. Again, He did this gracious work two thousand years ago. Our believing it does not establish it. It is already done, and our believing (and faith is God’s own gift to us) it is God’s way of comforting us and causing us to magnify His own grace by the manifestation of this sweet and gracious work.

We know the text the worldly religionists will go to:

“And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
(I John 2:2)

Immediately they jump onto the words “also for the sins of the whole world,” because they do not know what a propitiation is!

One thing is for certain, that if Christ is the propitiation for everyone on earth, then He has already satisfied the just demands of the law, and appeased the wrath of God against everyone on earth, and therefore everyone on earth is saved and safe!

The phrase “the whole world” is certainly no universally all inclusive phrase. Read this passage written by this same apostle:

“And WE know that WE ARE OF GOD, and the WHOLE WORLD lieth in wickedness”
(I John 5:19)

Need we point out that the “WE” are a different group of people than the “whole world” in this text?

Christ Jesus is our Advocate with the Father, and as such He alone stands as the Propitiation of our sins. All that He did while on earth was to this very end. His standing before the Father for us is the crowning glory of our salvation. John wrote:

“Herein IS LOVE, not that we loved God (for we didn’t, and can’t in the flesh), but that HE LOVED US, and sent HIS SON to be the PROPITIATION FOR OUR sins.”
(I John 4:10)

If only we could always believe and rest in this!

How comfortable would our souls be!

But in those times when God grants us to recall it, believe it, and rest in it, it is the Gospel to our burdened souls.

How gracious is our Lord not to lay this task upon our fickled, feeble faith, repentance, or works!

He made this doctrine a stable finished one - two thousand years ago!

“It is finished!”
(John 19::30)

This is referred to as “the accomplishment of Christ on the cross.”

By Stanley C. Phillips

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Idolatry

"He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, is there not a lie in my right hand?"
(Isaiah 44:20)

In our "enlightened" age we might look with amusement on those who would hew out an idol of stone or wood and then fall down and worship it. Yet the reality of "idol worship" is actually as much with us today as it was in more primitive times. While it would seem odd in our society, to see someone prostrate themselves before some statue or totem pole, idolatry is still very prevalent, perhaps even more so than in ancient times. The real error of idolatry is not found in the fashioning of a piece of wood, stone, or metal but in the mind which believes it can shape and fashion GOD according to its own design and in giving misplaced devotion to objects(or ideas) which the flesh delights in.

The natural man is a religious creature and is not opposed to having a god as long as he maintains control over that god. However an unregenerate man will not seek out the true GOD and even worse cannot discern that the gods that he chooses are no gods at all, ("he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, is there not a lie in my right hand"). Men will go to great lengths of service and devotion to those gods which they fashion and will defend them even unto death (see Isaiah 44:9-19; I Kings 18:28).

Men are most comfortable with a god who can be defined and understood. As long as there are limitations and definable parameters which encompass his actions, then he poses no real threat to their happiness. It is amazing that the god of most men and women somehow always seems to think like they do. The things that they want are the very things god seems to want them to have. As astounding as it may seem, god even adopts their value system. There are prevailing notions about the nature of god that are seemingly universal among most of mankind.

The idol gods will value the good deeds that men have done and will weigh them in a balance against any sins they may have committed, in essence overlooking their sin. How often have we heard someone say, with great satisfaction, "well I just try to do the best I can."? Speaking of the true GOD,Job said, "If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity." (Job 10:14) Of the same ONE, David said, "The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity." (Psalms 5:5)

The idol gods will allow men to make "sacrifices", or do "penance", or extend extra devotion to religious things to pay for their bad deeds, the equivalent of "make up work" after a missed assignment.

"And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."
(1 Samuel 15:22)

David, referring to the LORD said, "For THOU desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: THOU delightest not in burnt offering."(Psalms 51:16)

The idol gods will always be where their followers want them to be and will be at the beck and call of those worshippers. Job tells us of the true and living GOD when he said "Behold, I go forward, but HE is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive HIM: On the left hand, where HE doth work, but I cannot behold HIM: HE hideth HIMSELF on the right hand, that I cannot see HIM: But HE knoweth the way that I take " (Job 23:8-10).

Solomon, speaking as the church , said, "I opened to my BELOVED; but my BELOVED had withdrawn HIMSELF, and was gone: my soul failed when HE spake: I sought HIM, but I could not find HIM; I called HIM, but HE gave me no answer." (Song of Solomon 5:6)

The idol gods will always be limited by the "freewill" of man. Unless men "allow" them to work they will not be able to do anything. David said, "THY people shall be willing in the day of THY power " (Psalms 110:3) and "Our GOD is in the heavens: HE hath done whatsoever HE hath pleased" (Psalms 115:3)

We must bow down before the true and living GOD who is not fashioned in any way by the hands or ideas of men. HE has no limitations. HE answers to no one. HE sets all things in motion. HE needs no advice and asks none. HE will only be worshipped according to the dictates that HE sets down. HE will determine the severity of punishment to be meted out for sin. HE will set the bounds of our habitation. HE has no obligation to show any form of mercy to any of HIS creation. HE will dictate the provision and terms of any means of redemption for men. HE will determine the revelation of truth that HE gives to men. (see II Corinthians 4:6)

"For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; GOD himself that formed the earth and made it; HE hath established it, HE created it not in vain, HE formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no GOD else beside me; a just GOD and a SAVIOR; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am GOD, and there is none else."
(Isaiah 45:18-22)

Praise HIS name forever!

By M. McInnis

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Total Depravity

Today we consider the biblical truth of total depravity. We will do so from our Lord’s words found in John 15:5, “For without me ye can do nothing.”

We see from the last verse of John 14 that our Lord Jesus and His disciples have now left the upper room where they had gathered to eat the last Passover and they had begun a midnight walk across the city of Jerusalem, up to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus will be betrayed to the Jews. We read in John 14:31 Jesus saying to them, “Arise, let us go hence.”

That is, Jesus was interrupting the discourse or sermon that He had begun in chapter 13, a sermon spoken to His disciples. He interrupts this sermon and leads them out of the upper room towards Gethsemane.

No doubt, as they walked, they passed by many orchards and vineyards along the way. And, as was the Lord’s custom, He uses what He sees in the creation as an object lesson to teach His disciples and us a vital truth that we must know as He is about to leave His disciples.

He says in John 15: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.”

He goes on to say, “Ye are the branches. Abide in Me. As the branch canno bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can you, except you abide in Me.”

The Lord begins to speak to His disciples of the indispensible and urgent need of true faith, of a living, vital connection to Him. He, in the way of the cross, in the way of His resurrection and ascension, is about to return in glory to His heavenly Father. We will on the earth be subject to sin, temptation, death, sorrow, real grief and turmoil. The Lord says, “You must abide in Me and I in you. As the branch abides in the vine and draws its sap and life from the vine and thus is able to bear fruit, so also must you abide in Me.”

He speaks, in this figure, of the gift of true and living faith, of the true, heavenly-wrought, spiritual union between you and Christ—the gift of faith, faith that is not a formal, purely intellectual attachment to Jesus Christ. It is not like two boards nailed together. But faith is a living union to Jesus Christ, worked by God in our hearts so that we say with the apostle Paul, “For to me to live is Christ.” And, “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”

And then the Lord, in the words of our text, emphasizes the need that we have to abide by faith in Him. For He says that “without me ye can do nothing.” As a branch, severed from the vine, dries and is gathered up to be burned, so we, without Jesus Christ, can do nothing. In words that are clear, simple, and pointed, Jesus teaches us the truth of our total depravity.

Without Jesus, we can do nothing.

You could not save yourself, you could not will to accept Him, any sooner than a dead branch can will to pick itself up and insert itself into the vine. “You cannot receive Me unless I work My grace first in you. You cannot be saved, nor can you persevere (keep yourself within the state of salvation) without Me. Without Me ye can do nothing.”

These words, then, underscore the words of the Lord Jesus: “Abide in me, stay close to Me, seek all of your strength in Me.” As sinners, we are depraved, and we are saved by grace. And, as children of God in the midst of this world of temptation and woe, we have one great desperate need every day: Abide in Christ, a living, true faith in Jesus Christ.

For without Jesus, we can do nothing.

These words, first of all, then, are very humbling: "Without Me ye can do nothing."

They are words that point first to our total depravity as a sinner, and our need of a completely gracious salvation. Jesus here speaks of all men as they are without Him. He speaks of every man, woman, and child as they are without Him. “Without Me, you can do nothing.” He is not talking just about drug-addicts or those who are on death-row. He is not talking only about predators or abusers of mankind. But He is talking of all mankind—of professors, scientists, teachers—men as they stand apart from Christ—you, considered of yourself. You, apart from Jesus, can do nothing. He means nothing good. That is His point. Nothing pleasing to God, nothing good in the sight of God. You can do many things, but you cannot do anything pleasing to God.

Note that Jesus (in the first four verses of John 15) has been talking about bringing forth much fruit to God. He has been talking about a life of good works pleasing to God. He has been talking about love for God, sorrow for sin, humility, meekness—those things that please God. He has been talking about the fact that the failure to bring forth such fruit means that a branch is dead, withered up, and is to be gathered up to be burned in the lake of fire. Jesus, therefore, was talking about every man, every woman, every child—whether they are in poverty or whether they are in wealth, whether they live in a third-world country or in a country of great prosperity, it makes no difference. They cannot do anygood in the sight of God. Apart from Jesus Christ we are dead in sin, fallen in Adam, incapable of any saving good.

The fault is not simply in the totality of our makeup, so that there are spots of sin in every part of our makeup, of our will, words, and emotions, but we are totally depraved, shot through completely with sin, sold in sin, leprous in sin.

Ephesians 2:1-3,
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins….”

Romans 3:12, “…there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Romans 8:7, “…the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

You can do nothing apart from Me.

The Lord is speaking there of ability. Apart from Jesus Christ no one has the ability to do good in the sight of God. We cannot of ourselves will to accept Jesus Christ. It is not we who can do a little. It is not we who decide for Christ and then, depending upon our decision, Christ will respond and come into us. No. Ye can do nothing. As a branch severed from the vine, withered, we are dead in our sins. Salvation is not the acceptance of Jesus by the human will. Salvation is the resurrection of a dead sinner. When we have the testimony within us of the burden of sin, when we feel sorrow for sin, when we covet God’s grace to lead a new, Christian life, all of this is His work in us. It did not proceed from us. It was not me, O Savior true, but it was Thou who didst love me and raise me from the dead.

But Jesus’ words are humbling also in this sense, that they mean that as a renewed, saved-by-grace child of God, without Him, I can do nothing. As renewed by the Holy Spirit, by grace, we are called to live a life of sanctification, that is, to delight in serving God. We are called to live to the service of God in everything that we do. We are to bear our cross, we are to fight a good fight of faith. But we can do nothing apart from Jesus Christ. He must daily by grace infuse His strength into us. Your strength, says Jesus, your fortitude, your personal determination, your guts, your stubbornness, your stick-to-itiveness—all of this is nothing. Ye can do nothing in the Christian life without Me, without Jesus. That is, apart from a conscious, heartfelt faith-dependence upon Christ, we can do nothing.

You cannot white-knuckle and overcome that addiction that has cast you down time after time and of which you have said, “I’ll beat it, I can stop, I’m man enough, I’ll preserve my reputation. It’s not going to go any further.” Jesus says, “Without me, ye can do nothing.”

You cannot escape that temptation, the net and the pit laid for you by Satan, the lust, the desire to live for the approval of friends. Believe in this word. “Without Me,” says Jesus, “ye can do nothing.”

You cannot endure that trial, that loneliness, that sorrow that is swallowing you up, pushing you down of yourself. Getting away, a change of scenery is not going to do it. Without Me, ye can do nothing.

A great evil, but performed against you, an abuse, a horrible abuse that haunts you and pursues you and fills you with fear—without Me, ye can do nothing, says Jesus.

A great sin is in your past. You confess this sin, but yet its memory gives you no rest. You try to keep yourself busy. You try to keep in front of it. Without Me, says Jesus, you can do nothing.

Always our sinful nature, that is, our pride, looks to our self. We try to build our own citadel. We try to use our treasured resources and strength. And God, in His wisdom and justice, so often says, “Go ahead. Exhaust your treasured strength—until grace brings you to know that you can’t.”

It is by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. The way of God’s grace leads us to this point that we give up on our own strength, our own way, our own will. And we cry, “Oh, I to the fountain fly, cleanse me, Jesus, or I die.” For without Jesus I can do nothing.

But as humbling as that is, it is also exalting. It is exalting to Jesus Christ.

Jesus is making the most amazing and astounding claim. Think about it. “Without Me, ye can do nothing.” That means that Jesus is saying, “I am the source of all good, all spiritual strength. I am the source of good and spiritual strength. You have no good, no strength, no merit; I and I alone am the source of all good and strength. As you are devoid, utterly devoid in yourself, and cannot find any strength of yourself, you will have all strength and all merit in Me.” So it always is. If you lift up man in your faith or religion, you debase Jesus Christ. If you give credit to yourself or to man, you discredit Jesus Christ. If you walk in pride, any pride, you will think little of Jesus Christ.

But when our emptiness is shown, when our weakness is made plain, when our depravity is exposed to us, it is then that Christ is exalted for who He is. Christ is the source, the only source, of good in all the world. Christ is the source, the only source, of strength in all the world.

Christ, therefore, is exalted in salvation. Total depravity is the gate or the door to the gospel. You must go in through that door. The teaching of free will, that notion that salvation is owed to a decision of the dead sinner, who must first accept Christ before Christ can save him—this heresy of free will debases Jesus Christ. Free will glories in itself. I accepted Christ. He could not enter in unless I allowed Him into my heart, unless I first invited Him. He stood there knocking, unable to do anything until I gave Him the permission. The glory is free will.

In the name of Jesus Christ, I say, away with that false doctrine.

in I Corinthians 1 we read: “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

For of God are ye in Christ Jesus, says the Scripture. Of God, not of free will. Of God, God’s work, are you in Christ Jesus. We cry out with the hymn: “Nothing in my hands I bring.”

It is Jesus Christ, by His Spirit, who opens our heart that is closed, shut up, and sealed, as in a coffin of sin. We read in Acts 16:14 of Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened. It is Jesus Christ who regenerates, that is, by Him we are born again. He implants His life in us. “If ye then be risen with Christ,” says the apostle in Colossians 3:1. It is Christ who converts. It is Christ who regenerates. It is Christ who saves. It is Christ who illumines our minds. It is Christ who softens our will and enters into the inmost recesses of our soul. It is Thy grace, O Lord, that saved me, not myself. All hail the power of Jesus’ name. Not free will. Not your name. Not man’s name. Not this man saved me, or this person. But Jesus Christ saved me.

So also it is that Jesus Christ is exalted in our life of sanctification, that is, in our Christian living. It is Christ who infuses His strength into us through faith. It is Christ in me. It is Christ in me in every trial and every way of darkness, in every burden and in every temptation. Christ Jesus is our strength.

But you might say, “I know that and I believe that. I believe that without Christ I can do nothing. But why are there yet times in my life that it seems that I cannot find Him or when He is absent from me, when the peace of His grace eludes me?”

The disciples of Jesus Christ at this point were about to go through that in that very night. At the moment of trial, they will all run away from Jesus. Apparently the strength of Jesus Christ was gone and their hearts were filled only with fear.

Why, then, are we led down ways of darkness?

“Lord,” we say, “I believe this. Why must I be led in such dark and difficult ways?” And the answer is: Because our need of Jesus Christ must be burned, must be branded, into our heart, because His grace and His strength are not cheap, because it pleases the Father to work this truth into our deepest heart. Through every way of trial and through every way of woe, Jesus Christ wills that we confess: without Jesus, I can do nothing.

But, you see, this is assuring, it is humbling, it is exalting of Christ and it is assuring to us. This is not a false assurance. This is not a sales pitch. This is not a soap bubble to pop on the first sharp point of life. Jesus Christ is our good and our strength. His perfect work on the cross is our righteousness. His grace is our strength. He is the solid rock. Everything else is sinking sand. Believe in Him, rely solely upon Him.

The assurance is, first of all, that when we feel the burden of sin, when we feel within us the desire to obey and serve Him, then this is due to His work in me. It did not arise out of me. I did not create that. But it came from Him.

Do you know yourself as the sinner in God’s sight?

Do you know your sorrow and the depth of your sin?

All of this is worked in your heart by Jesus Christ and by His wonderful grace.

And, still more. There is the assurance that Jesus Christ will also strengthen us unto every good work. He will give us His grace. He will dwell within us. It is Christ who will strengthen us.

So, hear the call of the gospel. He speaks. He calls in the gospel: “Abide in me.” That is your need. Always stay closer to Jesus Christ. That is your one, and your great, and your desperate need. Stay close to Him in the word. Stay close to Him in the church. Stay close to Him in prayer. Stay close to Him in your daily walk of life. Abide in Jesus. For without Jesus, you can do nothing. But "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

By Carl Haak

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Limited Atonement

Salvation from sin through Jesus Christ is entirely of God’s grace. This is something that Jonah learned when he was in the belly of a whale. We read in Jonah 2:9, Jonah’s confession: “Salvation is of the Lord.”

Salvation in its plan, that is, in its eternal election; in its accomplishment, in the actual payment for sin upon the cross; in its application, the giving of this salvation into the human heart; in its consummation, when at last one is taken before the presence of God — all of it is of God. "Salvation is of the Lord."

This is especially true of the doctrine of the Bible called “Limited (Particular) Atonement.” The truth is that Jesus Christ, in His atonement, saved by grace all those given to Him of the Father. And they shall never perish, because Jesus died for them upon the cross.

Limited or definite atonement of Jesus Christ upon the cross is the heart of the precious gospel of Jesus Christ. Here we sinners will see our Savior in all of His beauty. Through all eternity we will know Jesus as the Lamb who was slain and has redeemed us unto God. Throughout all eternity we will see Him as the One by whose stripes we are healed. We will rejoice in Him as the crucified one. And this is how we know Him today. In every trial, in every heartache, in every moment, in joy or in death, old and young, those who have walked with Him all their life, and those who have learned His secrets only recently in their new conversion — all of us will know Jesus as the One who died for us, who laid down His life for us.

In John 10:15, Jesus says: “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

In John 10 Jesus was contrasting Himself with the false leaders and teachers of His day, whom He calls intruders, hirelings among God’s people. They did not love the sheep. They fleeced the sheep. They used the sheep for themselves. They were hirelings who would run at the first sign of danger.

In contrast to that, Jesus says, in John 10:14: “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” He calls Himself the Good Shepherd because He knows His sheep and will keep those sheep. And He calls Himself the Good Shepherd because He lays down His life for them. “I lay down my life for the sheep.” In those words Jesus Christ taught the truth of a limited, particular atonement.

We consider that today.

The question is: For whom did Jesus Christ die?

And the answer of the Bible is: Jesus Christ died for the elect, for all those throughout all ages and races, chosen eternally and loved graciously by God. The atonement was limited. That means that Jesus Christ died on the cross for a definite, particular number of persons. Revelation 7 refers to this as a multitude that no man can number. A great number known and chosen of the Father.

His death was an atonement.
That is a biblical word that refers to a payment or a covering for the sins of men and women.

It was redemption.
That is another word that is used in the Bible: redemption from sin. It was the purchase of men and women out of the guilt and bondage of their sin to the state of pardon and adoption as the sons and daughters of God.

This atonement or redemption was limited. Not in the sense of what He suffered, that what He suffered was limited. No. He suffered the full and the eternal wrath of God against our sins. But it was limited in the sense of for whom He suffered. He was definite or particular. He did not die for all human beings, but only for some, for those given to Him of the Father. His death on the cross was for a definite, particular group of men and women, each one of whom He knew personally, in divine, particular, gracious, saving love.

Now it is this truth, this truth of a limited or particular atonement, this truth of all the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace, that becomes so offensive to many. The response is that it is hated.

“What,” people will say, “did not Jesus die for all? Does not Jesus love all? How can we possibly do mission work?”

This truth will be assaulted and hated, and those who confess it will be accused of denying the gospel, and of denying the love of Jesus for sinners. It will be assaulted with a host of Bible verses: I Timothy 2:4, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

But what seldom happens is that men and women listen to the biblical exposition of this truth. Listen to Jesus, who taught this truth.

Jesus Himself will answer the question: For whom would He die upon the cross?

In John 10 He says, “I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15).

When He says, “I lay down My life,” He is talking about the cross. He is not simply talking about a sacrificial desire that He has to serve other people. But He is referring to the cross of Calvary. John 13:1, Jesus knew that His hour was come, and in the Scriptures we go on to read that at that night He said, “The cup that My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?”

Jesus knew that He had to go the way that the Father had willed. True, the Son of man goeth as it was determined of Him (Luke 22:22), but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed. And He says that that death, that predetermined death on the cross that He had come to suffer, had a definite intention or purpose. On the cross He would lay down His life, He would die for a definite number of persons. “I lay down My life for the sheep.”

He does not lay down His life for all humans, but for the “sheep.”

In John 10, He makes that very plain when in verse 26 of the chapter He refers to some (the unbelieving Pharisees) as not being of His sheep. “But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep,” He says to them. “I will not lay down My life for you.” Sheep does not include all men. But sheep includes all those whom the Father had given to Him.

Jesus goes on to say that in John 10 as well, verses 27-29: “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….”

My Father gave the sheep to Me. He is “greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Jesus teaches that He lays down His life for everyone whom the Father, out of mere grace, out of free election, gave to Him.

The ones for whom He dies are the ones He knows in that gracious, unbreakable bond of love.

John 10:14-15
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father.”

He is referring there to a knowledge of gracious, personal, intimate love. He says, “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father.”

He brings us there to the point of intimacy beyond our ability to comprehend—the tender, the personal, the intimate love of the triune God. The Father loves the Son, knows the Son; and the Son knows the Father. Jesus says, “In like manner, even so I know My own and My own know Me. I know them intimately. I know them personally. I know them exhaustively. There is nothing in these people that will startle Me.”

There is nothing that can suddenly come up and He would say, “But I didn’t know that about them.”

“I love them graciously and unchangeably. I know who My own are. I know the sheep given to Me of the Father. They will hear My voice and they will come to Me. And I will die on the cross, for the ones chosen from before the foundations of the world, whom I have loved with an everlasting love and whom I will draw to Myself.”

The death on the cross of Jesus Christ extends to all the elect. God’s gracious and eternal election determines who Christ died for on Calvary’s cruel cross.

The question, of course, is: “Who determines the extent of Christ’s death? Who determines who it will be for whom Jesus will die?”

The answer is: Not man! Not yourself!

John 10:26
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.”

Jesus did not say, “You are not of My sheep because ye believed not.”

He did not say, “Your unbelief has excluded you from the sheep.”

But Jesus said, “You ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep.” The cause of their unbelief was that they were not His sheep.

God did not elect them.

God did not give them faith.

So also those who believe do not make themselves sheep by their faith. You are not one of the sheep because you believe. No. You believe because you were made one of His sheep. God determines the sheep in the decree of election. “My Father gave them Me” (John 6:39). And the fruit of that election is faith. For these elect of God, to whom God gives faith as a result of His election, for these Jesus dies.

The atonement of the cross is in harmony with divine election.

We read Jesus’ words in John 6:38-39)
“I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”

Again, in John 17:2, in His prayer on the night before He went to the cross: “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”

But there is an even more important question.

It is this: What was Jesus death?

We must see that the question, For whom did Jesus die? is related to this other crucial question: What was His death?

The difference between the truth of saving, sovereign grace and the teaching of free will is not that sovereign grace has Jesus dying for a few, and free will has Jesus dying for many. Or, to put it bluntly, the difference between free and sovereign grace and Arminianism works religion is not that the one (sovereign elective grace) is stingy and the other (Arminianism) generous and more loving.

But the difference between them is this: A Christ who dies for some (the elect) and a Christ who dies for all.

The difference is, what is the nature of Jesus’ death?

The Christ who dies for all those given to Him of the Father saves them so that they shall never perish.

A Christ who dies for all saves no one.

Did Jesus, then, intend or want to save all?

Does God’s love mean that He wants all to be saved?

Then, of course, there is a question to be put to that: All, clearly, are not saved—unless one wishes to throw out the Bible, for the Bible does not teach a universal salvation. It does not teach that all are saved. Jesus Himself spoke repeatedly of hell. He said, “Fear Him who is able to cast the body and soul into hell.”

There is a hell.

Not all are saved.

Well, if Jesus died for all, did Jesus fail?

And the answer that is given by those who believe in the free will, or the Arminian heresy, is that, “No, He didn’t fail. You see, on the cross, what Jesus did was to make it possible for everybody to be saved if we add something to that, namely, our decision for our faith. He cannot (even though He died on the cross—supposedly for sin) He cannot save unless we help. We save, then, ourselves—with Jesus’ help.”

But this does not exalt the cross.

This cheapens the cross.

This limits its power.

Then the cross does not save any.

It is a Christ who does not save unless He is helped.

It is a love that cannot keep anyone from hell unless he helps God.

And then sinners are flattered.

Sinners are assured that it is in their power to repent and to believe.

To make the cross of Jesus Christ actually effectual depends upon them.

God cannot save them, even though His Son suffered on the cross.

They can keep God at bay.

And the gospel is trivialized.

This is not the gospel.

This is not the biblical, wonderful truth of the gospel.

The gospel proclaims that the cross truly saves.

It saves everyone for whom Jesus laid down His life.

The cross does not fail.

By His death, Jesus has made certain that all for whom He died shall go to glory.

There is power in the cross.

Look upon the cross. It is flanked on the one hand by the total depravity of the sinner. The sinner cannot save himself. On the other had it is flanked by unconditional and free grace of election. Jesus Christ died to save a certain number of helpless sinners upon whom God set His free and electing love. Christ’s death insured not only that they would all be saved, but that, because Jesus died for their sins, they would also be called. And the Holy Spirit would work faith in their hearts. The cross saves. And the cross saves because Jesus laid down His life for you, for everyone given to Him of His Father.

What does the Bible teach about the nature of Jesus’ cross?

It says that this cross was, first of all, a precious death. The One who died upon Calvary was God’s Son in the flesh. He was the Holy Son of God without spot or blemish. His blood is the blood of God in the flesh. The value and the power of that blood is mighty.

Still more. It was a willing death: “I lay down My life.” His death was not an accident. His death was not a misunderstanding or tragedy. He was not forced to this cross against His will. It was a deliberate and intentional action. It was a willing sacrifice. He laid it down.

And His death was substitutionary. “I lay down My life for the sheep.”

“For,” that is, “in the place of, instead of, as a substitute for.”

We were guilty before God in the judgment. We deserve to be bound over to the torments of hell. But Christ, by grace, was sent of the Father, and upon the cross He said, “Father, I have been sent to stand in their stead that they might not be condemned. Let the condemnation that they deserve fall upon Me. That they might never be forsaken or cast out, forsake and cast Me out.”

He died for sins.

For whose sins?

Not His own sins, but for the sheep. He was wounded, Isaiah says in chapter 53, “for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities.”

What you deserved was given over unto Him.

Romans 5:6
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

Therefore, the death of Jesus Christ accomplished something. It availed. It redeemed everyone for whom He died.

Ephesians 1:7
“In whom we have redemption through his blood.”

Revelation 12:10
“Who has redeemed us to God by his own blood.”

Colossians 2:13-14
“..having forgiven you all trespasses;
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross."


Our Lord’s crossword: “It is finished.”

All for whom He died—their debt is paid. He has obtained eternal salvation for the sheep. He obtained their faith. Faith is not the key in your pocket to open salvation. Faith is a gift that Jesus earned on the cross. It is the power of the cross. The power of the cross does not wait for the dead sinner, but it breathes into the dead sinner new life.

To teach that Jesus died for all is to deny His cross.

It is to present the cross as a failure.

It fails to save those whom it intends to save.

Indeed, it cannot save them at all unless they first help.

It did not pay any debt.

It did not obtain righteousness.

It has no worth.

It has no power.

It has no comfort.

But the truth of sovereign, saving grace is this: Jesus is no failure. Jesus, on the cross, conquered. Jesus paid for the sins of all His sheep.

Did Jesus then die for me?

This question must be answered in our souls. We cannot leave this unanswered. If Jesus died for you, then you will never die, you will never be condemned by God, you will never be forsaken. And if Jesus did not die for you, if you live impenitently and without faith, in your sins, if there is no fruit of sorrow for your sin, no desire after Christ, you are going to stand accountable to God for your sin.

How do I know that Jesus died for me?

Everyone for whom He died, in them, by the power of His cross, He sends forth the Holy Spirit. By this Holy Spirit, He gives you to know that you are in Christ. He gives you to know your sin, your unworthiness, your deep pain of heart of having offended God.

Still more, He gives you to see yourself, to see Jesus as your Savior, your hope, your good. You marvel at the love of God, that He would give for you, a sinner, His own Son. He gives you to believe on Him, to trust Him, to desire to obey and follow Him. You feel His grace working in you. Jesus works spiritual life in everyone for whom He died. By the power of the cross, He works in them a sorrow for sin, a repentance, a trust in Him, a hiding in His blood, and a deep personal love for Jesus. Then I know that something happened on Calvary long ago, on the hill outside Jerusalem — something happened that cannot be undone.

Jesus died for me.

He paid for all my sins.

He obtained the right to God’s presence.

Why did He do that?

Because He loved me purely, graciously. God so loved me, that He gave His only Begotten Son for me. Christ loved me and gave Himself for me. I will not perish.

This is the Jesus we preach.

This is the Jesus we love.

This is the Jesus we obey.

And all who put their trust in Him, by God’s grace, shall never be ashamed.

And we say, “This alone my plea shall be: Jesus Christ who died for me.”

By Carl Haak