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Archive for June, 2015

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LGBT Movement: Part 1

There is a plethora of objections that I can share from the LGBT movement, but for time’s sake, I will try to provide you their main arguments:

LGBT Objection: The biblical prohibition against homosexuality is ancient and not to be followed anymore.

Response: Then why not apply the same logic to other sexual perversions too?  Should the prohibition extend beyond the scope of homosexuality to other sins too (i.e. adultery, etc.) if one operates off of a presupposition of the ancient? Just because something is ancient does not mean it no longer has relevant and direct applications for us.  For example, the murder is an ancient and wicked sin that can traced back to Genesis.  Should we stop prohibiting the act of murder because it is ancient? Can you imagine the repercussions if this logic was followed. The implications brings about other forms of sexual immoralities such as bestiality, pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, etc.  This can of worms opens up because ones thinking is not submitted to the Lordship of Christ in the realm of knowledge.  Greg Bahnsen stated this concerning the Lordship of Christ in the realm of knowledge,

Paul infallibly declares in Colossians 2:3-8 that ‘All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ.’  Not he says all wisdom knowledge is deposited in the person of Christ–whether it be about the War of 1812, water’s chemical composition, the literature of Shakespeare, or the laws of logic!  Every academic pursuit and every thought must be related to Jesus Christ, for Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life” (Bahnsen, Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith4-5).

To disconnect oneself from Christ is problematic because it leads to deception and moral suicide.

LGBT Objection: The biblical prohibition against homosexuality is addressed only to Jews.  Non-Jews are only affected by this prohibition if they reside in the Jewish land.

Response: Rabbi Jacob Milgrom is one person who espouses this belief.  He quotes form Leviticus 18:24-30, but he forgot about verses 25-27 (defilement and acts of abominations attributed to non-Jews too).  The passage states:

‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.  ‎25 ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.  ‎26 ‘But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you  ‎27 (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled);  ‎28 so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you.  ‎29 ‘For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people.  ‎30 ‘Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the LORD your God.’ ”

  • Clearly verses 25-27 refer to the other nations committing acts that is considered wicked and abominable before the Lord that the Jewish people were prohibited from following.  If God is using the other nations as examples, then clearly the Gentiles are people too that can commit abominable acts.  The criteria of abominable deeds is not determined by where you live or what race you belong to.  The prohibition against abominable acts can take place anywhere and by anyone.  Both Jews and Gentiles are culpable.  He does not have laws of morality only for one group of people or only for a specific region.

Objection stated: What is “natural” in Romans 1 is not in reference to natural homosexuals but to heterosexuals who go beyond their natural bounds and engage in homosexuality.

Response: These proponents have a complete misreading of Romans 1. It turns the argument of Paul on its head.  The sin of homosexuality just like any other sin is never natural.

  • Romans 1:26-27, For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
  • Romans 1:26-27 is in reference to all formerly heterosexuals who exchanged their natural function for the unnatural function.  Why? because there is no such thing as natural homosexuals.  Espousing that belief is tantamount to saying that Bruce Jenner was naturally a woman.  Anything sinful is unnatural.  You are what God intended you to be.  What is natural is to operate as beings that reflect the created order. If homosexuality is a natural state, then it will be illogical and contradictory for God to prescribe prohibitions.  Nice try LGBT movement, but this just shows your desperation in order to propagate your false teaching so you could justify your sin.

LGBT Objection: Paul is only speaking of pederastic homosexual behavior here, not adult homosexual relationships.

Response: Paul speaks of “men committing shameless acts with men….”  This statement when studied in the Greek text is prohibiting all sorts of homosexual behaviors.  The argument concerning whether it is in reference to pederastic behavior or not has to do with the word meaning of arsenokoitai and its cognates in extant usage.  Here is where I think Dr. Robert Gagnon’s (since I have not done complete research, I can’t fully vouch for all of Dr. Gagnon’s theology such as soteriology, bibliology, etcc.; so please use discernment to see if it aligns with Scripture)  commentary from his Facebook post concerning arsenokoitai  is helpful.  I am also thankful that Cripplegate was able to compile it and archive it for us.

The term arsenokoitēs and cognates after Paul (the term appears first in Paul) are applied solely to male-male intercourse but, consistent with the meaning of the partner term malakoi, not limited to pederasts or clients of cult prostitutes.

For example, the 4th century church historian Eusebius quoted from a 2nd–3rd century Christian, Bardesanes (“From the Euphrates River [eastward] . . . a man who . . . is derided as an arsenokoitēs . . .  will defend himself to the point of murder”), and then added that “among the Greeks, wise men who have male lovers are not condemned” (Preparation for the Gospel, 6.10.25). Elsewhere Eusebius alluded to the prohibition of man-male intercourse in Leviticus as a prohibition not to arsenokoitein (lie with a male) and characterized it as a “pleasure contrary to nature,” “males mad for males,” and intercourse “of men with men” (Demonstration of the Gospel, 1.6.33, 67; 4.10.6). Translations of arsenokoitai in 1 Cor 6:9and 1 Tim 1:10in Latin, Syriac, and Coptic also define the term generally as “men lying with males.”

  • Dr. Gagnon is correct concerning his above commentary.  Furthermore, according to Dr. Gagnon, if Paul wanted to refer only to prohibition of pederastic behavior he would of used a different term.

The terms paiderastai (“lover of boys”), paidomanai (“men mad for boys”), or paidophthoroi (“corrupters of boys”) could have been chosen.

  • Here is more commentary from Dr. Gagnon concerning the implications of arsenokoitai in Romans 1:24-27:

It is bad exegesis to interpret the meaning of arsenokoitaiin 1 Cor 6:9 without consideration of the broad indictment of male-male intercourse expounded in Rom 1:27 (“males with males”). The wording of Rom 1:27(“males, leaving behind the natural use of the female, were inflamed in their yearning for one another”) points to an inclusive rejection of all male-male relations. Paul here does not distinguish between good non-exploitative forms of male homosexual practice and bad exploitative forms but rather contrasts all male homosexual relations with natural intercourse between a man and a woman. He also emphasizes reciprocity (“yearning for one another”), a fact that rules out an indictment only of a coercive one-sided homosexual desire.

Other factors confirm the inclusive rejection of all male homosexual practice in Rom 1:27: Paul’s intertextual echo in Rom 1:23–27 to Gen 1:26–27 (which contrasts male homosexual practice with God’s intentional design in creation, “male and female [God] created them” and the consequent marital bond), his use of a nature argument (which transcends distinctions based on coercion or promiscuity), and the parallel indictment of lesbianism inRom 1:26 (a phenomenon in the ancient world not normally manifested with slaves, call girls, or adolescents).

The fact that semi-official same-sex marriages existed in the Greco-Roman world and were condemned by Greco-Roman moralists, rabbis, and Church Fathers as unnatural, despite the mutual commitment of the participants in such marriages, is another nail in the coffin for the contention that the term arsenokoitai had only exploitative or promiscuous male homosexual relations in view.

  • What I also found astonishing while studying this word arsenokoitēs, I came across this in the book called The Same Sex Controversy: Defending and Clarifying the Bible’s Message About Homosexuality by Dr. James White and Jeff Neill, I came upon this discovery that somewhat startled me.  I found out some disturbing news concerning the influence of the LGBT pressures upon Christian scholarship in some lexical works concerning the changes from BGAD (2nd edition) to BDAG (3rd edition).  You can see the subtle compromises.  Limiting the meaning of the word arsenokoites should not even be a option.  Here is the excerpt below from the book:

“Some scholarly sources limit the meaning in just this way. The impact of political pressures appears even in the realm of Christian scholarship and publishing. For example, the second edition of A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature by Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker (University of Chicago , 1979) defines arsenokoites as ‘a male who practices homosexuality, pederast, sodomite’ (109). The listed sources were fairly small at this point but included Bailey’s work. With the advent of the third edition (now known as BDAG) in 2000, the entry more than tripled in size, with the main definition dropping the term ‘homosexual.’ The definition given is, ‘a male who engages in sexual activity w . a pers. of his own sex, pederast.’ The first part of the definition, however, defines a homosexual, not a pederast. The largest portion of added ‘sources’ are revisionist in nature and have already been addressed . However, BDAG does note the formation of the word based upon the LXX usage at Leviticus 20: 13, even though this very fact militates strongly against the dropping of the term ‘homosexual’ from the definition (while retaining the description of homosexuality!)” (159-160).

Objection stated (Rom. 1): Paul is speaking solely of Jewish purity laws, and hence this is irrelevant in a modern, enlightened society.

Response: This reveals their desperate revisionism of the text. We know that Paul is prohibiting all homosexual acts whether it be done religiously or not.  There is no indication anywhere whereby the sin is limited only to a religious homosexual act.  If that is their logic, can we say that murder, adultery, other sexual deviant acts that are not done religiously be accepted?  Paul is condemning the total homosexual orientation because it is not natural.  They love to blame totalitarian regimes such as Nazis or communists being revisionists, but they are doing the very same act of error.

Objection stated (Rom. 1): Paul is not giving a binding, universal or timeless prohibition here, but is speaking only about what was then “natural” in a conventional or social sense.

Response: Paul is not intending this to be limited to a cultural climate. This is timeless and universal.  In every generation, this sin is condemned.  Why is it only wrong in terms of under the guidance of social norms?  No where in Scripture is God’s moral law to be governed by society?  Do you see that in Leviticus 18 and 20?  If it is subjected to social norms, that means prohibitions from God are not immutable and therefore are tossed to and fro by the gross immorality of arbitrariness.  Who knows then what the next new norm would be in the coming future.  Should the Gospel change too then?   Of course not.  If so, the message we preach has no transforming power and no binding authority upon all people in all ages.  God is not mocked.  He will not be limited by social norms or time.  He is the Ageless and the Eternal one.  May this stir up our hearts to preach the eternity of God and the immutability of God.

Stay tuned for part 3.


Helpful resources consulted:

Bahnsen, Greg L., and Robert R. Booth. Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith. Atlanta, GA: Tenth Printing, 2009.

White, James; Niell, Jeff (2002-04-01). The Same Sex Controversy: Defending and Clarifying the Bible’s Message About Homosexuality (p. 135). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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Same-Sex Partnerships Christian contribution to contemporary debate by John R.W. Stott

John Stott has written a lot of books for Christians.  He has also written a booklet on Same Sex Partnership.  That booklet is available for free online!

From the back cover here’s the book’s description:

Many people think that homosexuality is a Christian option and churches are divided on the issue. John Stott surveys the contemporary arguments supporting monogamous homosexual relationships and tests them against Scripture. He explains clearly, yet with compassion, why same-sex partnerships are less than God intends for human intimacy. At the same time he calls the church to reach out to all with Christ’s love.

You can access it by clicking HERE.  It is in Html format as a webpage.

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gay_scotus

Earnestly Contend for the Faith

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints(Jude 1:3).  Why do we defend the institute of marriage?  We defend because it is an institute, anchored in the creation ordinance.  A creation ordinance that prescribes only a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman.  We defend it also because for Christians marriage is a sacred institute that was considered a mystery and was later revealed in the NT as a reflection or living drama of the Gospel.  Paul states his reason concerning his discourse on the relationship between the husband and the wife.  He refers to it as a mystery.  A mystery because it is in reference to Christ.  In other words, this mystery is in reference to the Gospel.  Paul did not use the relationship of a husband and wife so he can make his illustration look good.  No he used marriage because it is a living and real drama of the Gospel being lived out between a husband and wife.  The husband loves his wife because Christ loved the church.  The wife loving submits to her husband because the church submits to Christ.  That is the mystery that Paul was trying to unfold concerning his living drama of marriage, which points to Christ.  Hence, we can safely say to the world: to attack marriage is to attack the Gospel and to attack the Gospel is to attack God.  And to assault God means to mark yourself out as an enemy of Him.  They are playing with fire and gasoline.

Satan has His eyes on marriage because He knows marriage is a powerful institute that reflects the Gospel.   He wants to marginalize this sin concerning this institute because he knows the more and more its twisted lifestyle and anti-Christ beliefs pervades one’s life negatively, the more and more we take the Gospel lightly.  He attacks and attacks anything that helps us look to the Gospel.  He was unsuccessful in his attempt killing God’s Son while as a baby.  Why?  Because He knows the active and passive obedience of Christ to the call of sacrifice for Hell-deserving sinners makes up the contents of the Gospel.

And since He was unsuccessful, he attacks this institute because it is the source that causes His people to reflect His Son’s relationship to the church.  He knows the Gospel is important for Christians because it teaches us how to live with our spouses and teaches us the role of biblical manhood and womanhood.  When the enemy attacks, he attacks, by operating in subterfuge.  He has a game plan before he comes for the neck.  He loves to blur the line.  He does not come to the table and draw all his cards.  He hides, prowls, and then attacks.

One of Satan’s weapon is the idolatry of pleasing men.  He loves to tempt believers to elevate relationships above God’s glory.  He does it by influencing the church to consider celebrating gay wedding and causes one to manipulate the commandment to love your neighbor by substituting the joy and respect for the voting in place of the protest against the 5-4 ruling.

He attacks this institute because homosexuality can’t propagate babies.  For every human born into this world, he or she is a potential saint of God that is to spend eternity with Christ.  We defend it because we do not rejoice in unrighteousness (1 Cor. 13:6, “does not rejoice in unrighteousness”).  We defend because Jesus is King and is to be exalted before the nations.  We defend because the King determines the terms and conditions for how man must live.  We defend the truth so that sinners will have their sins forgiven and be spared from the impending wrath of God.  We defend because this abominable lifestyle opens up a can of worms.  What’s next? Humans marrying animals? Pederastic homosexuals getting married, etc.?  We defend it because it mars the image of God.

It must be noted that we are dealing with two battle fronts: homosexuals and the LGBT movement.  The LGBT movement is a 1,000 pound silverback gorilla that has a significant aim.  Its aim is to destroy the church; run them out of their buildings, shut off their lights, deplete their finances, and extinguish their presence.  To do that means we have a lesser presence in the world.  But here is the news flash saints:

  • Matthew 16:18, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
  • 2 Tim. 2:9, “For which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the Word of God is not imprisonment.”
  • Revelation 14:6: “And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.”

Again the LGBT movement operates in subterfuge.  Many in past decades would not dare to surmount a huge presence to debate against Scripture because of its clarity of prohibitions against sexual sins such as homosexuality.  But now times have changed and they operate as wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They do it by using homosexual so-called academic scholarship.  And their means: the Bible.  They ultimately fail because you can’t destroy the doctrines of God.  They are supernatural.  Hence, it can’t lie, contradict itself, or be inconsistent.

Before we address their unbiblical notions, I would like to first remind ourselves that this issue can be a catch-22 for Christians. What I mean is that one can fall into one of these errors: apathy for the truth and fanatical hatred for homosexuals.  Because this is a hot issue, we need to exalt the cross because it reminds us of who we were once was before salvation.  Paul reminded this sobering truth to the Corinthian church.  He states in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

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An illustration of a rendered rainbow

An illustration of a rendered rainbow

Beginning tommorow (6/29) we will begin a Marathon Series on the Christian Response to Homosexuality.  EvangelZ and I (SlimJim) will be writing posts as well as linking resources for the Christian.  Also we pray that the Lord will use this to also awaken those who claim to be Christians and also those who do not believe to come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

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I just came back from a Four Day Retreat where I was guest speaking for a group of youths for a denomination.  I now have more stable internet access and getting more details of the Supreme Court decision.

James WhiteI thought I share James White’s recent video concerning this recent topic:

For all posts in the past on homosexuality see HERE

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Pretty-Church

Beginning next next Sunday (not tommorow but the Sunday after) we will have a short Sunday Biblical series that look at various motif of the Church.  I think what we can gain from this study is how important is the church in God’s view which leads us to see the importance of the Church also in our lives.  Pray for the preparation for this short study!

 

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This is the second installment of a guest post continuing from HERE.  Mike is a British brother in Christ who have been a friend of our blog for years.  Mike’s blog can be found HERE.

limited

I sometimes think about the cross,

And close my eyes, and try to see

The cruel nails, and crown of thorns,

And Jesus crucified for me.

(v4 of the Hymn ‘It is a thing most wonderful’ by William Walsham How, 1823 – 97)

Do you?

That’s how a message given by Stuart Olyott began on Limited Atonement many years ago. I understand what it means but like Stuart, Particular Redemption is preferable because it is just that, particular. But we could also add Definite Atonement because something was accomplished not merely made possible. As I began looking at this subject a long time ago, many ministers were questioned, but Stuart was the only one that said I needed to see it for myself. He was right and by God’s grace I did ‘see it’. It was in that same message the book by Grace Publications (Great Christian Classics, ‘Life by His Death’) was recommended that I quickly bought. Space will not permit discussing it all here but if you follow the recommendations below you will be helped to not only come to terms with it but embrace it and rejoice in it. And, believe it or not, it will actually help, not hinder, your Gospel ministry.

1. The Problem Stated

So the topic at hand, in a nutshell revolves around seeking to reconcile the fact that Jesus died only for His people and the free offer of the Gospel. It’s the L of the TULIP acrostic and can be the most problematic for believers to deal with. At the beginning of John Owen’s great treatise on ‘The Death of Death in the Death of Christ’ he makes this comment in the introduction:

‘Reader,

If thou intendest to go any farther, I would entreat thee to stay here a little. If thou art, as many in this pretending age, a sign or title gazer, and comest into books as Cato into the theatre, to go out again, — thou hast had thy entertainment; farewell! With him that resolves a serious view of the following discourse, and really desireth satisfaction from the word and Christian reason, about the great things contained therein, I desire a few words in the portal.’ ….

‘I shall only crave thy leave to preface a little to the point in hand, and my present undertaking therein, with the result of some of my thoughts concerning the whole, after a more than seven-years’ serious inquiry (bottomed, I hope, upon the strength of Christ, and guided by his Spirit) into the mind of God about these things, with a serious perusal of all which I could attain that the wit of man, in former or latter days, hath published in opposition to the truth; which I desire, according to the measure of the gift received, here to assert.’ (Source:http://www.ccel.org/ccel/owen/deathofdeath.i.v.html)

So if you are coming to this topic expecting it all to be resolved in a few sound bites or a blog post only to move on to the next theological knot, you are going to be disappointed. If you really want to come to terms with this topic – and the truth of it – it’s going to take longer than you think and will most likely be hard work.

2. Why the Difficulty?

There are a number of reasons. One has already been alluded to. We think if we can tell everyone that God loves them (particularly) and that Jesus died for them we have a much better Gospel message. It means we can throw out the confetti of God’s’ love upon all. That makes us feel better. We don’t have to be negative. We don’t have to get bogged down with thinking through what we say. We don’t have to be precise. Believing in a ‘Limited Atonement’ makes us feel limited, restricted in what we can say. We don’t like that. We want to know Christ died for all – it’s so much nicer! There’s a more serious difficulty however; and it’s our rebellious hearts. Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we are no longer rebels. We still rebel deep down at the Sovereignty of God. We want to be in control. We can’t. And it hurts. We need to repent of this and submit to the Divine will.

3. The Accomplishment of the Doctrine

The Accomplishment of the Doctrine is perhaps not the best way to put it but it’s a way of saying the death of Christ accomplished something. It did something. It obtained something. What did it obtain? Scripture tells us in Hebrews 9:12 that he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. Or as the AV puts it; ‘having obtained eternal redemption for us’. What an insult to say otherwise. Poor God He could only make Salvation possible. And poor Jesus, all that suffering and shame, but He could only make Salvation possible. He didn’t really DO anything. Jesus didn’t say ‘it could be finished’ or ‘I’ve started now you finish it’. No!

John 19:30 ‘he said, it is finished’;

that is, the whole will of God; as that he should be incarnate, be exposed to shame and reproach, and suffer much, and die; the whole work his Father gave him to do, which was to preach the Gospel, work miracles, and obtain eternal salvation for his people, all which were now done, or as good as done; the whole righteousness of the law was fulfilled, an holy nature assumed, perfect obedience yielded to it, and the penalty of death endured; hence a perfect righteousness was finished agreeably to the law, which was magnified and made honourable by it, andredemption from its curse and condemnation secured; sin was made an end of, full atonement and satisfaction for it were given; complete pardon procured, peace made, and redemption from all iniquity obtained; all enemies were conquered; all types, promises, and prophecies were fulfilled, and his own course of life ended: the reason of his saying so was, because all this was near being done, just upon finishing, and was as good as done; and was sure and certain, and so complete, that nothing need, or could be added to it; and it was done entirely without the help of man, and cannot be undone; all which since has more clearly appeared by Christ’s resurrection from the dead, his entrance into heaven, his session at God’s right hand, the declaration of the Gospel, and the application of salvation to particular persons: (Commentary of John Gill – John 19:30) (Emphases are mine)

View Him prostrate in the garden;

On the ground your Maker lies;

Then on Calvary’s tree behold Him,

Hear Him cry, before He dies,

“It is finished!” “It is finished!”

Sinner, will not this suffice?

(Joseph Hart, 1712-68)

(v5 from ‘Christian Hymns’, Eds, Paul Cook & Graham Harrison, Evangelical Press)

4. The Particularity of  the Doctrine

The particularity of the doctrine is why Particular Redemption is preferred. When Christ died on the Cross He was, as we have seen, accomplishing something not for an amorphous mass but for a particular people – individuals. When the Apostle said ‘….the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me’ Gal 2:21 who was He thinking of?.

There are many verses but here are a few to whet your appetite and to thank God that He thought of YOU! John 10:11; John 10:14; John 10:27.

Have you heard the voice of Jesus

Softly pleading with your heart?

Have you felt His presence glorious,

As He calls your soul apart,

With a love so true and loyal,

Love divine that ever flows

From a Saviour, righteous, royal,

And a cross that mercy shows?

(William Vernon Higham 1926 – )

Have you?

5. What is Limited?

I understand what Limited means but it can somehow convey the sense that God Himself is limited, or that the Blood of Christ is somehow limited. It simply means Christ died only for the Elect. But the Blood of Jesus Christ would have been sufficient if God so willed it to purchase 10 million, or more, worlds of sinners. But the cost would have been just the same had He only died for one person. So Christ only atoned for, or propitiated the wrath of God only for the Elect. My dear fellow believer just think on that for a while and try to take it in.

O teach me what it meaneth:

 That sacred crimson tide,

The blood and water flowing

 From Thine own wounded side.

Teach me that if none other

 *Had sinned, but I alone,

Yet still, Thy blood, Lord Jesus,

 Thine only, must atone.

(Lucy Ann Bennett, 1850 – 1927.)

6. Use of Means

There seems to be a misunderstanding on this point. It’s as if because we believe in the doctrines of Grace (TULIP if you will) any input by man is not required. This is false. The Scriptures clearly say ‘how shall they believe unless someone preach to them…’ That doesn’t just mean hearing the message of Salvation from a pulpit, it includes hearing it in conversation over the garden fence or chatting over a coffee in Costa (Insert favourite coffee house). Sometimes God can move in extraordinary ways, but He moves through ordinary means like an ordinary conversation or through a set of circumstances. His usual method is through the Preaching of the Gospel. I think you get the point. The 1689 Confession puts it this way:

‘Those whom God has predestinated to life, He is pleased in His appointed and accepted time to effectually call by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death which they are in by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ. He enlightens their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God. He takes away their heart of stone and gives to them a heart of flesh. He renews their wills, and by His almighty power, causes them to desire and pursue that which is good. He effectually draws them to Jesus Christ, yet in such a way that they come absolutely freely, being made willing by His grace.’ (Effectual Calling 10.1. Source.)

Yes we use means, but not any old means. They must be in accordance with the Scriptures. And these means are used by God to bring His people to Christ. The proper use of means will be governed or regulated by whether we think the Gospel is enough or not.

7. A Certain Sound

We need to give a certain sound. Come ye sinners, poor and wretched, weak and wounded, sick and sore. Jesus has a people. We do not know who they are, but we implore all to come. The message to all as Jesus Himself preached is to repent and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:16).

Himself He could not save,

Yet now a Saviour He:

Come, sinner, to Him come,

He waits to welcome Thee.

Believe in Him, and thou shalt prove

His saving power, His deathless love.

(Albert Midlane, 1825 – 1909. In Christian Hymns)

Will You?

8. Do you see it?

I have already touched upon this but it’s worth repeating. The final piece in the jigsaw, if I can put it that way, was the realisation that when Jesus was upon the Cross even at His moment of dereliction He had ME, even ME on His mind and heart. Some think that to be arrogance. But it’s what The Scriptures teach. It isn’t arrogance, it’s a humbling of yourself before God, it’s trust and faith to rejoice in what God has done in Christ for this rebel sinner. God does not need anything from me. All I bring is my sin. That includes what I might think are good works – our righteousness is as filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). To bring anything or think we can bring anything, that is true arrogance and means you have a very inadequate view of God. But God is merciful and has sent a Saviour, even Jesus Christ the Righteous.

Great God of wonders! All Thy ways

Are matchless, Godlike and divine;

But the fair glories of Thy grace’

More godlike and unrivaled shine,

Who is a pardoning God like Thee?

Or who has grace so rich and free?

(Samuel Davies, 1723 – 61)

Helpful Resources

James White, The Potters Freedom (just got to Ch4.) This is a must read.

John Murray, Redemption: Accomplished and Applied.

John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, Volume 10 of Owens Works.

Grace Publications, Primer on The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

J. I. Packer, Introductory Essay to The Death of Death..

J. I Packer, Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God.

Limited Atonement – Sermon by Stuart Olyott (Not the one I originally heard but very similar)

 

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