March 10, 2004

The way of Salvation by Milton Howard

The only difference in religion is concerning the way a sinner is saved. "What must I do to be saved" is the question asked. And since it is a question we ask, it must be answered. How we answer this determines the place of our soul in eternity. When this is answered, we will respond with one of only two ways of Salvation, works or Grace. It cannot be of both for they cannot stand together. They contradict one another. Either we must come before God in our own righteousness, or we will stand before Him in the righteousness of Christ.

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." The way of God for saving sinners comes from infinite wisdom. Some receive it and are saved, others reject it and are damned. To one this is the wisdom and power of God, and to another this is foolishness. There is no middle ground. Either Christ saves or He does not. We either come to God in Christ or we do not. Salvation is either all of Grace or all of works. So many are blinded by Satan, their minds are so prejudiced against the Gospel, their hearts are so in love with the things of this world, that the light of the Gospel cannot shine in them. Unbelief in God's way of Salvation etemally ruins the souls of men.

All Scripture declares that God's way of saving sinners is by substitution, atonement, satisfaction, and imputation. The first promise made by God declared this. All the sacrifices of the Law pointed to this. "By the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight" "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"

The way of Salvation is by the substitution of a Mediator, who both bore the penalty of the law and fulfilled that righteousness which was required. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us," "He made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him"
God's way of saving is through the Person, mediation, blood, righteousness, and intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

March 09, 2004

He was there alone by Chris Cunningham

Matthew 14:23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

While enjoying a rare time of complete solitude, it occurred to me how valuable such time is and how unwise it is that we spend so little of it. We might think it a terrible waste of time for the Lord to be totally separated from all company. Surely His every waking moment would be better spent in teaching or healing; and surely if any man could ever live without time to himself, it would be our Lord: We find, however, that it was His custom to often be apart from all activity and distraction in quiet communion. Perhaps we consider our time wasted if we are not engaged in some activity which promotes our gain or entertainment. We live life in the fast lane; after all it's the nineties. We don't have time to think. There is too much to do and if not, there's always something on TV.

Thousands of decisions are made every day, and sadly most of them are made without any thought. It is impossible to give due consideration to anything without this precious alone time. Peter committed a grave error of which he considered himself incapable, and it was not until he thought thereon that he saw his deeds in their true perspective and wept (Mark 14:72). King David said, I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies (Ps. 119:59). How often would our feet be turned otherwise than they are if we took time alone for prayerful thought such as this.
Our Lord was not reclusive and neither are His people. He went about everywhere doing good (Mt. 4:23) and tirelessly conducted His Father's business saying, I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. (John 9:4). We also have business to attend to, but how we ought to prize, as He did, the opportunity to worship and do as it was said of these, Then came the disciples to Jesus apart (Mt. 17:19). We delight to worship Him publicly, yet even that time would be better, spent were we to more often do so privately. It was when Jacob was left alone (Gen. 32:24) that he met the Son of God and was never the same again. We hear of the precious Lord Jesus Christ, who shed His priceless blood to wash us from our sins, yet how offer, do we quietly meditate upon His Person and grace without distraction or interruption and sweetly commune with Him? Surely He is worthy of our alone time, and we are our own enemy if we neglect what would enrich all of our other hours.

Ps. 104:34 My meditation (prayer, musing) of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

March 08, 2004

Does God save sinners under the preaching of a false gospel? by Doug Weaver

Recently I was discussing with someone about whether a person could be saved under the preaching of a false gospel. As I have been thinking about this over the past few days several things have been brought to my attention. We know first of all that it is only through the preaching of the Truth, the true gospel that God saves sinners as is clearly set forth in Romans 10:14. This is the means whereby God has chosen to save sinners. The truth about the person and work of Christ must be proclaimed and as He is proclaimed His "sheep hear His voice and follow." All of His sheep are eventually brought under the preaching of the true gospel and the Spirit gives them spiritual life which results in ears to hear and eyes to see Christ.
So the question remains, "Does God save sinners under the preaching of a false gospel?" Well, we must ask another question which will hopefully give us some direction. "Which Christ is being preached?" Does God save His people through the preaching of Mohammed? How about Jim Jones or Joseph Smith? Or maybe Sun Yun Moon? For anyone who understands the Word of God knows that there is only one true Christ who can and will save sinners. (Jn. 14:6)

Friends, if any christ other than the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible is preached it is no different than hearing a story about Mohammed or some other false prophet in history. The great tragedy of this day is that churches all across this land, using the same Bible as we use, are preaching a different jesus and a different christ. Churches are filled with people trusting in a false christ. Humanism and the flesh have so corrupted the average church today that it is rare to hear of the True Christ who is sovereign and sovereignly saves those whom He wills to save. After hearing of the christ commonly taught today we must conclude that it is not the same Christ that we see revealed in Scripture. So if the christ that is preached in most churches today is not the revealed Christ of Scripture, it is clear that people making decisions under that kind of christ are hopelessly lost.

There is only one Christ who saves sinners and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the all Sovereign Monarch of the universe. It is through the preaching of the Person and work of this Christ that God is pleased to reveal to His lost sheep their utter depravity, God's unconditional election, the irresistible work of the Holy Spirit and the particular, effectual atonement of Christ.

March 07, 2004

Little heathen? By the son of J Philpot

There was nothing my father mistrusted more than 'childhood piety.' He insisted that children should never be taught or allowed to use the language of 'personal possession' in reference to God. To sing, for instance, "Rock of Ages, cleft for ME" or, "MY Jesus".

Herein he was most logical. For by early influence and example you can train up a child to be . . .
a little patriot,
a little Catholic,
a little Calvinist, or
a little Bolshevist.

But no power on earth can make him a child of God. He took great care that we, his children, attended the means of grace, and never missed chapel or family prayers. But he never expected us to be anything but little heathen. We had, it is true, to be well behaved little heathen. If not, we got "the stick", or its equivalent.

"Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:13

March 06, 2004

FAITH by Martin Luther

If God promises something, then faith must fight a long and bitter fight, for reason or the flesh judges that God's promises are impossible. Therefore faith must battle against reason and its doubts. The Devil, too, approaches us with promises, and indeed such as seem very plausible. It certainly requires at times a keen mind rightly to distinguish between God's true and the Devil's false promises. The promises of the Devil are seemingly very pleasant and acceptable.

Faith is something that is busy, powerful and creative, though properly speaking, it is essentially an enduring than a doing. It changes the mind and heart. While reason holds to what is present, faith apprehends the things that are not seen. Contrary to reason, faith regards the invisible things as already materialized. This explains why faith, unlike hearing is not found in many, for only few believe, while the great majority cling to the things that are present and can be felt and handled rather than to the Word.

This, then, is the mark of the true divine promises, that they are contrary to reason so that it refuses to believe them. The promises of the Devil, on the contrary, are in full agreement with reason and are readily and uncritically accepted. God's promises which are true and faithful, lead to the cross, and by the cross to His eternal blessing. Therefore reason is offended at them in two ways. It regards as nothing what is invisible and far away in the future, and it detests the cross as a calamity that is everlasting and without end. That is the reason why despite the riches of the divine promises, few believe them. These are such whose hearts are led by the Holy Spirit so that, as Abraham, they defy all foes and cling to the Word of God who calls them.

Before Abraham came to Canaan he was blessed in many ways, but in the land of promise, he, despite his strong faith was forced to go into another country to escape the fury of the famine. God does this purposely to try the faith of His saints. However after a short time, He restores to them not only earthly prosperity, as Abraham became very wealthy, but He also gives them a greater faith and a deeper experience of His divine grace and mercy. For this reason Paul says in Romans 5:3 that though God's saints sigh under their cross, yet they glory in their tribulations when they discover how wonderfully God directs their life.

God thus proves Himself the Protector of all that put their trust in Him. He tries their faith by chastisements, but never forsakes them. Finally, He gloriously delivers them and at the same time benefits others with them.

March 02, 2004

"Whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD..." by John Calvin

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.–Joel 2:32

God declares that the invocation of his name in a despairing condition is a sure port of safety. What the prophet had said was certainly dreadful — that the whole order of nature would be so changed that no spark of life would appear, and that all places would be filled the darkness. What, therefore, he says now is the same as though he declared, that if men called the name of God life would be found in the grave. Since then God invites here the lost and the dead, there is no reason why even the heaviest distresses should preclude an access for us or for our prayers. If there is promised salvation and deliverance to all who shall call on the name of the Lord, it follows, as Paul reasons, that the doctrine of the gospel belongs to the gentiles also. I would have been a great presumption in us to present ourselves before God, except he had given us confidence and promised to hear us. We learn from this place that however much God may afflict his Church, it will yet be perpetuated in the world; for it can no more be destroyed than the very truth of God, which is eternal and immutable.

March 01, 2004

Unconditional Pardon by John Bunyan

There was a certain man that had committed treason against his king; but for as much as the king had compassion on him, he sent him, by the hand of a faithful messenger, a pardon under his own hand and seal. But in the country where this poor man dwelt there were also many that sought to trouble him, by often putting him in mind of his treason, and the law that was to be executed on the offender. Now, which way should this man so honor his king, as by believing his handwriting, which was the pardon? Certainly he would honor him more by so doing, than to regard all the clamors of his enemies continually against him.

"Just thus it is here. Thou having committed treason against the King of heaven, he, through compassion for Christ's sake, hath sent thee a pardon. But the devil, the law, and thy conscience, do continually seek to disturb thee, by bringing thy sin afresh into thy remembrance. But now, wouldst thou honor thy King? Why then, He that believeth the record that God hath given of his Son, hath set to his seal that God is true. "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son" (1 John 5: 11, 12). And therefore, my brethren, seeing God our Father hath sent to us, damnable traitors, a pardon from heaven, (even all the promises of the gospel) and also hath sealed the certainty of it with the heart-blood of his dear Son, let us not be daunted, though our enemies with terrible voices do bring our former life never so often into our remembrance."