Free book download: “By Grace Alone” by Pastor Jim McClarty

8 11 2009

I’ve read this book several times, and given my last copy out.

I stumbled across the free PDF online and so I thought you’d like to check it out. If you like what you read here (and you can read the whole book if you wish) then buy one from Pastor McClarty; Pastor of Grace Christian Assembly…and thereby support a solid ministry. This is a time when any crackpot can spread whatever false doctrine they wish, but in this, you’ve found a gem; Pastor McClarty writes clearly and engagingly. He supports every point with clearly explained scripture.

Here is an excerpt:

As a Bible teacher, I am often asked, “What does your church believe?” It
hardly suffices to answer, “We believe the Bible.” Most Christian churches
would say the same. So, the purpose of this book is to clarify what we at
Grace Christian Assembly believe and why we believe it.
I am not the first writer to attempt presenting these doctrines in the
contemporary forum. But these are weighty subjects. So, far too often,
this material is presented in a manner so full of theological jargon that
the average layman is left as perplexed at the last page as he was at the
first. Therefore, it is my hope and intention that this presentation is clear
and concise and fully accessible to every reader “with eyes to see.”
The first rule of Bible interpretation has always been: The Bible says
what it means and means what it says. The second rule is like the first:
Scripture interprets Scripture.
It is not at all uncommon for preachers to “hunt and peck” through
Scripture, searching for out-of-context verses that appear to support the
particular theology, tradition, or “philosophical presupposition” the man
or his denomination holds dear. But, the Apostle Paul warned –
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain
deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the
world, and not after Christ (Colossians 2:8).
For this reason, we have supported each of these doctrines with a
variety of Scripture references. But, we are quick to point out that this is
far from an exhaustive study. When it comes to considering the work and
nature of Christ, even the apostle John had to conclude “…if they should
be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain
the books that should be written” (John 21:25).

 

Check it out HERE





The Myth of Free Will-Walter Chantry

30 10 2009

I stumbled across a very good article about our supposed libertarian free will. Here is an excerpt; you can read the whole thing at The Reformed Evangelist.

Most people say that they believe in “free will.” Do you have any idea what that means? I believe that you will find a great deal of superstition on this subject. The will is saluted as the grand power of the human soul which is completely free to direct our lives. But from what is it free? And what is its power?

For the rest of this article; go to: The Reformed Evangelist





The value of a CONSISTENT Systematic Theology…

25 10 2009

I’ve recently been engaged in discussions with several Christian brothers and sisters on theological matters. Of course everyone has their opinion…and while it’s true that nobody has perfectly formed beliefs, we all go on the assumption that we are essentially correct until we are persuaded otherwise.

One thing that I see in many a Christian position on any point of theology  is the lack of consistent systematization, that is: everyone has a “systematic theology” but not necessarily a consistent one.

For example: I’ve been speaking with a brother who will affirm that God is unchanging, yet at the same time affirm that “God repented that He had made man” in the same way that men are said to repent; that our minds were changed.

The two cannot logically co-exist; either God is unchanging, or he changes his course of action for a better one when He discovers it.

With that, I’d like to post a little thing by A.W. Pink on the Immutibilty of God. It’s well thought out and presented clearly…I think you will benefit from reading it.

The Immutability of God
Arthur W. Pink

IMMUTABILITY is one of the Divine perfections which is not sufficiently pondered. It is one of the excellencies of the Creator which distinguishes Him from all His creatures. God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations. Therefore God is compared to a rock (Deut 32:4, etc.) which remains immovable, when the entire ocean surrounding it is continually in a fluctuating state; even so, though all creatures are subject to change, God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change. He is everlastingly “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jam 1:17).

First, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS ESSENCE. His nature and being are infinite, and so, subject to no mutations. There never was a time when He was not; there never will come a time when He shall cease to be. God has neither evolved, grown, nor improved. All that He is today, He has ever been, and ever will be. “I am the LORD, I change not” (Mal 3:6) is His own unqualified affirmation. He cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse. Altogether unaffected by anything out-side Himself, improvement or deterioration is impossible. He is perpetually the same. He only can say, “I AM THAT I AM” (Exo 3:14). He is altogether uninfluenced by the flight of time. There is no wrinkle upon the brow of eternity. Therefore His power can never diminish nor His glory ever fade.

Secondly, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS ATTRIBUTES. Whatever the attributes of God were before the universe was called into existence, they are precisely the same now, and will remain so for ever. Necessarily so; for they are the very perfections, the essential qualities of His being. Seniper ideni (always the same) is written across every one of them. His power is unabated, His wisdom undiminished, His holiness unsullied. The attributes of God can no more change than Deity can cease to be. His veracity is immutable, for His Word is “for ever.. settled in heaven” (Psa 119:89). His love is eternal: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer 31:3) and “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). His mercy ceases not, for it is “everlasting” (Psa 100:5).

Thirdly, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS COUNSEL. His will never varies. Perhaps some are ready to object that we ought to read the following: “And it repented the LORD that He had made man” (Gen 6:6). Our first reply is, Then do the Scriptures contradict themselves? No, that cannot be. Numbers 23:19 is plain enough: “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent.” So also in 1 Samuel 15:29, “The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent.” The explanation is very simple. When speaking of Himself, God frequently accommodates His language to our limited capacities. He describes Himself as clothed with bodily members, as eyes, ears, hands, etc. He speaks of Himself as “waking” (Psa 78:65), as “rising up early” (Jer 7:13); yet He neither slumbers nor sleeps. When He institutes a change in His dealings with men, He describes His course of conduct as “repenting.” Yes, God is immutable in His counsel. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom 11:29). It must be so, for “He is in one mind, and who can turn from Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth” (Job 23:13).

Change and decay in all around we see, may He who changeth not abide with thee.

God’s purpose never alters. One of two things causes a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of power to execute them. But as God is both omniscient and omnipotent there is never any need for Him to revise His decrees. No, “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Psa 33:11). Therefore do we read of “the immutability of His counsel” (Heb 6:17).

Herein we may perceive the infinite distance which separates the highest creature from the Creator. Creaturehood and mutability are correlative terms. If the creature was not mutable by nature, it would not be a creature; it would be God. By nature we tend toward nothingness, since we came from nothing. Nothing stays our annihilation but the will and sustaining power of God. None can sustain himself a single moment. We are entirely dependent on the Creator for every breath we draw. We gladly own with the Psalmist, Thou “holdeth our soul in life” (Psa 66:9). The realization of this ought to make us lie down under a sense of our own nothingness in the presence of Him in Whom “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

As fallen creatures we are not only mutable, but everything in us is opposed to God. As such we are “wandering stars” (Jude 13), out of our proper orbit. “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest” (Isa 57:20). Fallen man is inconstant. The words of Jacob concerning Reuben apply with full force to all of Adam’s descendants: “unstable as water” (Gen 49:4). Thus it is not only a mark of piety, but also the part of wisdom to heed that injunction, “cease ye from man” (Isa 2:22). No human being is to be depended on. “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psa 146:3). If I disobey God, then I deserve to be deceived and disappointed by my fellows. People who like you today may hate you tomorrow. The multitude who cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” speedily changed to “Away with Him, crucify Him.”

Herein is SOLID COMFORT. Human nature cannot be relied upon; but God can! However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not. If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow, if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him?

But, all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will is stable, His word is sure. Here then is a rock on which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee” (Isa 54:10).

Herein is ENCOURAGEMENT TO PRAYER. “What comfort would it be to pray to a god that, like the chameleon, changed color every moment? Who would put up a petition to an earthly prince that was so mutable as to grant a petition one day, and deny it another?” (Stephen Charnock, 1670). Should someone ask, But what is the use of praying to One whose will is already fixed? We answer, Because He so requires it. What blessings has God promised without our seeking them? “If we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us” (1 John 5:14), and He has willed everything that is for His child’s good. To ask for anything contrary to His will is not prayer, but rank rebellion.

Herein is TERROR FOR THE WICKED. Those who defy Him, who break His laws, who have no concern for His glory, but who live their lives as though He existed not, must not suppose that, when at the last they shall cry to Him for mercy, He will alter His will, revoke His word, and rescind His awful threatenings. No, He has declared, “Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them” (Eze 8:18). God will not deny Himself to gratify their lusts. God is holy, unchangingly so. Therefore God hates sin, eternally hates it. Hence the eternality of the punishment of all who die in their sins.

“The Divine immutability, like the cloud which interposed between the Israelites and the Egyptian army, has a dark as well as a light side. It insures the execution of His threatenings, as well as the performance of His promises; and destroys the hope which the guilty fondly cherish, that He will be all lenity to His frail and erring creatures, and that they will be much more lightly dealt with than the declarations of His own Word would lead us to expect. We oppose to these deceitful and presumptuous speculations the solemn truth, that God is unchanging in veracity and purpose, in faithfulness and justice (John Dick, 1850).”

The Immutability of God
Arthur W. Pink

IMMUTABILITY is one of the Divine perfections which is not sufficiently pondered. It is one of the excellencies of the Creator which distinguishes Him from all His creatures. God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations. Therefore God is compared to a rock (Deut 32:4, etc.) which remains immovable, when the entire ocean surrounding it is continually in a fluctuating state; even so, though all creatures are subject to change, God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change. He is everlastingly “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jam 1:17).

First, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS ESSENCE. His nature and being are infinite, and so, subject to no mutations. There never was a time when He was not; there never will come a time when He shall cease to be. God has neither evolved, grown, nor improved. All that He is today, He has ever been, and ever will be. “I am the LORD, I change not” (Mal 3:6) is His own unqualified affirmation. He cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse. Altogether unaffected by anything out-side Himself, improvement or deterioration is impossible. He is perpetually the same. He only can say, “I AM THAT I AM” (Exo 3:14). He is altogether uninfluenced by the flight of time. There is no wrinkle upon the brow of eternity. Therefore His power can never diminish nor His glory ever fade.

Secondly, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS ATTRIBUTES. Whatever the attributes of God were before the universe was called into existence, they are precisely the same now, and will remain so for ever. Necessarily so; for they are the very perfections, the essential qualities of His being. Seniper ideni (always the same) is written across every one of them. His power is unabated, His wisdom undiminished, His holiness unsullied. The attributes of God can no more change than Deity can cease to be. His veracity is immutable, for His Word is “for ever.. settled in heaven” (Psa 119:89). His love is eternal: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer 31:3) and “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). His mercy ceases not, for it is “everlasting” (Psa 100:5).

Thirdly, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS COUNSEL. His will never varies. Perhaps some are ready to object that we ought to read the following: “And it repented the LORD that He had made man” (Gen 6:6). Our first reply is, Then do the Scriptures contradict themselves? No, that cannot be. Numbers 23:19 is plain enough: “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent.” So also in 1 Samuel 15:29, “The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent.” The explanation is very simple. When speaking of Himself, God frequently accommodates His language to our limited capacities. He describes Himself as clothed with bodily members, as eyes, ears, hands, etc. He speaks of Himself as “waking” (Psa 78:65), as “rising up early” (Jer 7:13); yet He neither slumbers nor sleeps. When He institutes a change in His dealings with men, He describes His course of conduct as “repenting.” Yes, God is immutable in His counsel. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom 11:29). It must be so, for “He is in one mind, and who can turn from Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth” (Job 23:13).

Change and decay in all around we see, may He who changeth not abide with thee.

God’s purpose never alters. One of two things causes a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of power to execute them. But as God is both omniscient and omnipotent there is never any need for Him to revise His decrees. No, “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Psa 33:11). Therefore do we read of “the immutability of His counsel” (Heb 6:17).

Herein we may perceive the infinite distance which separates the highest creature from the Creator. Creaturehood and mutability are correlative terms. If the creature was not mutable by nature, it would not be a creature; it would be God. By nature we tend toward nothingness, since we came from nothing. Nothing stays our annihilation but the will and sustaining power of God. None can sustain himself a single moment. We are entirely dependent on the Creator for every breath we draw. We gladly own with the Psalmist, Thou “holdeth our soul in life” (Psa 66:9). The realization of this ought to make us lie down under a sense of our own nothingness in the presence of Him in Whom “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

As fallen creatures we are not only mutable, but everything in us is opposed to God. As such we are “wandering stars” (Jude 13), out of our proper orbit. “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest” (Isa 57:20). Fallen man is inconstant. The words of Jacob concerning Reuben apply with full force to all of Adam’s descendants: “unstable as water” (Gen 49:4). Thus it is not only a mark of piety, but also the part of wisdom to heed that injunction, “cease ye from man” (Isa 2:22). No human being is to be depended on. “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psa 146:3). If I disobey God, then I deserve to be deceived and disappointed by my fellows. People who like you today may hate you tomorrow. The multitude who cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” speedily changed to “Away with Him, crucify Him.”

Herein is SOLID COMFORT. Human nature cannot be relied upon; but God can! However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not. If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow, if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him?

But, all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will is stable, His word is sure. Here then is a rock on which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee” (Isa 54:10).

Herein is ENCOURAGEMENT TO PRAYER. “What comfort would it be to pray to a god that, like the chameleon, changed color every moment? Who would put up a petition to an earthly prince that was so mutable as to grant a petition one day, and deny it another?” (Stephen Charnock, 1670). Should someone ask, But what is the use of praying to One whose will is already fixed? We answer, Because He so requires it. What blessings has God promised without our seeking them? “If we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us” (1 John 5:14), and He has willed everything that is for His child’s good. To ask for anything contrary to His will is not prayer, but rank rebellion.

Herein is TERROR FOR THE WICKED. Those who defy Him, who break His laws, who have no concern for His glory, but who live their lives as though He existed not, must not suppose that, when at the last they shall cry to Him for mercy, He will alter His will, revoke His word, and rescind His awful threatenings. No, He has declared, “Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them” (Eze 8:18). God will not deny Himself to gratify their lusts. God is holy, unchangingly so. Therefore God hates sin, eternally hates it. Hence the eternality of the punishment of all who die in their sins.

“The Divine immutability, like the cloud which interposed between the Israelites and the Egyptian army, has a dark as well as a light side. It insures the execution of His threatenings, as well as the performance of His promises; and destroys the hope which the guilty fondly cherish, that He will be all lenity to His frail and erring creatures, and that they will be much more lightly dealt with than the declarations of His own Word would lead us to expect. We oppose to these deceitful and presumptuous speculations the solemn truth, that God is unchanging in veracity and purpose, in faithfulness and justice (John Dick, 1850).”





Paul Washer audio.

18 10 2009

From over at ReformedVoices:

(Quoting Paul Washer)

“Before the foundations of the earth He knew you, and it’s not because He looked in some crystal ball, or down the corridors of time and saw you in the future.

The bible never speaks of a crystal ball, and it never speaks of corridors of time or God looking into a book that talks about the future… it never does. It never talks about God looking into the future.
God does not know the future because He’s looked ahead and seen it… God knows the future because He’s Lord over it, and directs every molecule, every fiber of being, every bit of matter towards the purpose He has ordained.
That is a God my friend.
Not a god who looks into the future and then reacts, not a god who makes choices based on choices of other men He’s seen in the future.
No.
A god who is The God and Lord and Author of the future.”
Here is the audio that that was taken from:




And speaking of God…

25 09 2009

A brother and I were discussing a passage of scripture this week and we were just marveling at God’s mercy and love toward us. That got me to thinking about what God’s attributes are. As I was trying to articulate them, I remembered the Westminster Confession. I’m grateful to attend a church that is “Confessional” which is to say we “confess” (that we agree with) the Westminster confession of faith. It’s a document that was commissioned by the English parliament during the English Civil War (1642-1649) and used in the American Colonies.

The Westminster Confession was adopted by the delegates of the Congregational Churches of New England in 1648. It was their common declaration of faith. I’m thankful that God gave us these great men of faith who penned this particular document.

With that mini-history lesson finished; I’ll get right to the text of the confession itself. (I’ve deleted the scripture references; there were pages of them just for this section.)

From the Westminster Confession:

Chapter II

Of God, and of the Holy Trinity

  1. There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions;  immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.
  1. God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.

And to that I shout a hearty Soli Deo Gloria!





Some beautiful truths from the Westminster Confession

5 09 2009

I’m so incredibly blessed by God to have a good church to attend, to have good interaction with brothers who are more learned than I am and also to have those who have come before me and form documents as valuable as the “Westminster Confession of Faith.” That having this resource helps keep one from grave theological error was evident this week when I was discussing God’s attributes with a man online; and he stated that God doesn’t control the future; but only “looks ahead to see what will happen.” As you will see, it’s a patently false idea.

I’ve posted a section below:

Of God’s Eternal Decree

I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass;[1] yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin,[2] nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.[3]

II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions;[4] yet has He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.[5]

III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels[6] are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.[7]

IV. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.[8]

V. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, has chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory,[9] out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto;[10] and all to the praise of His glorious grace.[11]

VI. As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto.[12] Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ,[13] are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified,[14] and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation.[15] Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.[16]

VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.[17]

VIII. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care,[18] that men, attending the will of God revealed in His Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election.[19] So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God;[20] and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the Gospel.[21]

[1] EPH 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.

ROM 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

HEB 6:17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.

ROM 9:15 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. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

[2] JAM 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

1JO 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

[3] ACT 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.

MAT 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

ACT 4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

JOH 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. PRO 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.

[4] ACT 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

1SA 23:11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O Lord God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the Lord said, He will come down. 12 Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the Lord said, They will deliver thee up.

MAT 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

[5] ROM 9:11 (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;) 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

[6] 1TI 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

MAT 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

[7] ROM 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.

EPH 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

PRO 16:4 The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

[8] 2TI 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

JOH 13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

[9] EPH 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own wilL.

ROM 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

2TI 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

1TH 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

[10] ROM 9:11 (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;) 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. EPH 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.

[11]EPH. 1:6,12.

[12] 1PE 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

EPH 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

2TH 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

[13] 1TH 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

TIT 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

[14] ROM 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. EPH 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. 2TH 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

[15] 1PE 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

[16] JOH 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

ROM 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

JOH 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 8:47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

1JO 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

[17] MAT 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

ROM 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.

2TI 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

JUD 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

1PE 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

[18] ROM 9:20 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? 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

DEU 29:29 The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

[19] 2PE 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.

[20] EPH 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

ROM 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

[21] ROM 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

2PE 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.

ROM 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

LUK 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.





John 6:35-45 in context.

30 08 2009

I’m posting this because somebody named thequakerchannel thinks that just citing passages is actually exegeting them. He thinks that just posting opinion and philosophical positions is exegeting scripture.

We are discussing John 6:35-45 and I challenged him to exegete these passages and make his claims that God wants and tries to save all through a “predestining of a plan” and not individuals to salvation. This is the email that I sent to this person:

Themis,
I have exegeted the passages we were discussing on Open Air preachers video combox. Instead of trying to deflect the issues, I’ve dealt with them.

If you have anything that directly refutes the points that I’ve made; context, grammar, syntax, bring it on. Please though…no more bluster, no more blind posting of proof texts…do the work….make your claims…

Here is the link.

http://goshareyourfaith.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/john-635-45-in-context/

I’m letting a few Youtube users know that I’ve done this,that way you can’t say later that I didn’t give you a chance and also that way if you come up with something solid, more people will be able to see it.

Let me know what you decide.

bob

So with that said; here’s my take on John 6:35-45

Let’s begin with verse 35 for context shall we?
Jesus has just fed the 5000, and has quite a few following him.
He uses the bread reference as follows:

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.

So Jesus states a beautiful truth, that the one coming to him, will not be turned away…He is all that is needed.
He is the bread of life.
Notice that he uses a common phrase “ho erchomai” “the one coming.” It’s synonymous with believing. And notice that He is NOT addressing WHO will come yet…just that “the one coming” will not be turned away…he will not be hungry or thirsty.

But then Jesus says:

36 But I told you that you have seen me and still do not believe.

Jesus is using a strong adversative; “alla” which is to draw a hard distinction between what he just said, and what He’s now going to say…He’s going to explain why they won’t believe even though they’ve been in the presence of the Son of God, and they’ve seen the same miracles as everyone else:

Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.

The same phrase is used here: “pas ho didomai moi ho pater” which is speaking of a certain group “those that the Father gives to Jesus. It’s not an offer of anything, it’s a statement of who will believe; this group.

And then Jesus says that the ones whom the Father gives to Jesus will not be sent away, or turned away. There is no way to be given to Jesus by the Father, only to find later that you are now lost again. The word combo that Jesus uses here is a “double negative” “ou ma” which is no, not ever, never.
The very next word that Jesus uses is “hoti” which is translated “for.” It’s a “marker of explanatory clauses.” It’s function is to elaborate and explain what has been said in the last clause.
Jesus continues:

For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. Now this is the will of the one who sent me – that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up at the last day.

Wow…what a mouthful. The will of the Father is that Jesus lose none of those that the Father has given to Him…BUT INSTEAD raise them up on the last day.
So the ones that are given are raised to eternal life…no question about it. Jesus will not fail…that’s what He came for.
Notice that those that are given, are those that are raised. Same direct object being referred to. (I’m going to skip ahead to save space)
The Jews were grumbling over the things that He said

43 Jesus replied, “Do not complain about me to one another. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

Jesus is STILL addressing their unbelief…that’s the subject matter. He says that no one is ABLE to come to Jesus…unless the Father draws him. This is a continuation of the previously spoken context…he’s still addressing the inability of them to come.
The word He uses for “able” is “dunamai” which speaks to ability, not permission. They do not have the power to come, they cannot come except something happen…and what is it? That the Father draws them. The word for “draws” is commonly thought of as a “wooing” but it’s actually used of “dragging” or “to move an object by your power.” Cross ref Luke 12:58 where this same form is used to denote “dragging someone into court” and John 21:11 where Peter drags the fish net up on shore”
And what does Jesus say for the third time??
If the preceding happen, then Jesus WILL raise them up to eternal life. No question.
And here we come to the next verse, no break in thoughts, no subject change.

45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to me.

Jesus restates the same truth again; Being taught by God is synonymous with being “given” by the Father. And what will happen (how many times has Jesus restated this so far?) when they are taught by God?


Everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to me.

They come to Jesus; no question about it.
So the sequence of events is this:

  1. The father gives men to the Son
  2. The Son loses none
  3. The Son raises them to eternal life.

The same thing is being taught all of the way through this passage; it couldn’t be more clear…The giving, the teaching, the drawing, all are actions that the Father does.
Do these passages not support the idea of Monergism?
Inside these passages we’ve seen:

  1. Total depravity (no one as the ability)
  2. Irresistible grace (if the Father gives, Jesus will raise)
  3. Perseverance of the saints (I will lose none of what’s been given to me)

What do you have in the way of exegesis on these passages?

———————————————————————

———————————————————————

Themis has responded. I’ll post his response and my comments [in brackets] and let you decide who was exegeting the text and who was reading other ideas INTO the text of John 6:35-45

———————————————————————

——————————————————————–

Dear Robert,

I read your article yesterday and thought about what you wrote. Here is my reply.

I insist that when looking for the true meaning of a Biblical Truth we ought to take into account everything else Scripture has to say on the same subject.

[While I agree with you…I’m wondering why we can’t we let John make his own case here? Why do you go outside of John to decide what John is talking about?]

Example, if we look at the phrase ‘coming to Jesus’. What does that mean?

In other passages, Jesus qualifies it by adding, for instance, ‘he who COMES to me, and hears my word, and puts it into practice’. What we must understand is that head faith or the sinner’s prayer does not equal a true conversion experience.

[And again…while I agree that an empty faith is no faith..what in the world does that have to do with the logical flow of John 6?

Nothing.

If you think that what you are doing is exegesis; you are mistaken. You are not drawing out from John 6;  what John is talking about at all.]

In Matthew 16:24-25 we read, ‘Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will COME after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.’ So to come to Christ, as in John 6, means that we ought to live a live of obedience to Jesus in holiness.

[And again; Matthew had a point here too, but the two passages have completely different subject matter.

Nothing you’ve said so far has ANYTHING to do with THE POINT BEING MADE in John 6 does it?]

In John 6 verses 35 and 36 Jesus blames the Jews for not believing in Him. It seems rather strange that Jesus would blame them for not believing if their election or reprobation was pre-decided by the Father.

[Well, let’s see what Jesus actually said since you are now coming back to the actual text of John 6:

Verse 35-45:
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.

Now where in this text does it say anything about blame? Though I know that God holds men accountable for their actions, I’m left wondering where you got this from the text of verse 35-45? And I’d also ask; why did you divorce these verses from the immediate context and read something else into them?]

Let’s continue. “All that the Father has given me shall come to me.” God being out of time knew who will come to Jesus (foreknowledge) but did not cause it (predestination).

[Once again; why did you supply words and meanings that are not present in the text itself? Where in this sentence, in the context of Jesus’ discourse, do you find the words or even the idea  “God being out of time, knew who will come but did not cause it?”

What you are doing is called “Eisegesis” which is “importing ideas INTO the text and not getting the meaning FROM the text. Why do you do that? Why can’t you let the text say what it says?” Could it be that it contradicts your presupposed idea of predestination, and election?]

So the verse simply tells us that from all those people who the Father enlightened (John 1:9) only some responded (remember the parable of the wedding feast?).

So from this text, where Jesus is point blank explaining the unbelief you got “all that the Father enlightened only some responded”? Where is that found here in the text?

It’s not.

And PS: you missed the part that says that they were “not born of blood or by the will of the flesh, but of God” which dovetails nicely with what Jesus is saying; that salvation is an act of God.]

They who by their free will responded God counts as chosen and gives them to Jesus.

[Where in John 6 are the words “free will” found? Where is the idea that they respond and THEN “God counts them as chosen?”

It’s not.

You are giving a great example of reading your own ideas INTO the text.]

In 39 and 40 there are clearly TWO things that are God’s will: 1. that Jesus lose nothing of what the Father has given him and that he raise it up on the last day; and 2. that those who see and believe the Son may have everlasting life.

[And finally we agree on something]

These two wills are connected as Jesus indicates. What does it mean then to ‘believe’? Believing is not a one time event. It is a resting or relying upon Christ for the rest of our lives, it is trusting every single moment in His hands. It means to commit to and to live by. It is not a mental assent, which James calls the ‘faith of devils’. It is a faith which ‘purifies the heart’ according to Luke in the Acts of the Apostles.

[And again for the 20th time…how does this have any direct effect on what John is saying? The actual subject matter of the discourse itself? I agree that faith is not a one time mental assent thing, but is that what’s being spoken of here?]

Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John teaches that Jesus is the true Bread and true Drink as He is the bread from heaven, signifying that we find our complete sustenance in him. Hence, just before in verse 32, Jesus said to those who rejected him that ‘the Father gives YOU the true bread…and gives life to the world. Clearly there is a universal proposition here. The Father has not given the bread to a select predestined few, but even to those who rejected Jesus. He adds, the bread was given ‘to the world’ v.33

[Actually, no Calvinist would ever say that “God have the bread of life for the select predestined few” that’s a strawman, but beyond that; the bread of life WAS given to “the world.”

I’m guessing that you ASSUME the world to mean; “everyone who ever lived or will ever live?”

Can I just point out that IN JOHN’S GOSPEL ALONE he uses the words “the world” in several different ways:

It’s used  to refer to the Earth itself in John 13:1
“When Jesus knew that his hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world He loved them unto the end.”

It’s used to refer to the “world system” in John 12:31 etc.
“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the Prince of this world be cast out”

It’s used to refer to the whole human race in Rom. 3: 19,
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

It’s used to refer to all humanity minus believers in John 15:18
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.”

Believers do not “hate” Christ, so that “the world” here must signify the world of unbelievers in contrast from believers who love Christ.

It’s used to refer to the Gentiles in contrast from Jews in Rom. 11:12
“Now if the fall of them (Israel) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them (Israel) the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their (Israel’s) fulness.” Note how the first clause in italics is defined by the latter clause placed in italics. Here, again, “the world” cannot signify all humanity for it excludes Israel!

So to assume that the words “the world” automatically mean “everyone who ever lived and will ever live” is just that…an assumption. And being that Jesus is EXPLAINING why some believe and some don’t, and flat out telling them that it’s the ones that the Father give to Jesus, then this understanding of the world falls apart.

Now for v. 44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. “ v. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”
The Holy Spirit convicts the whole world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Many who get taught and convicted do not come to Christ. Jesus underscores the fact that conversion is dependent on teaching, persuasion, rather than the result of an irresistible force by an inexorable decree.

[You must be kidding right? You have just MURDERED the meaning of this passage in it’s context. Where do you get from verse 44 ANY of what you just said?

You didn’t.

You continue to give a great example of what it means to import your own ideas INTO the text of scripture.

Thus it is true that everyone who comes to Christ must first be taught of the Father, BUT NOT everyone who is taught by the Father comes to Christ.

[This is exhausting…are you EVER going to get to actually exegeting John 6?]

What Jesus taught cannot oppose what the Holy Spirit taught Peter, 2 Pet 2:1’But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that BOUGHT them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.’ Who has the Lord BOUGHT’?

[Have you NEVER read ANYTHING on any of these passages? Do you have an inkling of what any Calvinist would say here?

How does Peter; writing in a different book, with different subject matter, HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH JESUS’ POINT IN JOHN 6?]

PS: You might want to check out any writing or sermon by a Calvinists like Gill or Owen on this Peter passage. I have provided just one here

2 peter 2 1 cause of god and truth]

If we accept the view that only the company of the ‘elect’ have been bought by the blood of Christ, then how can they bring swift destruction upon themselves?

[Once again…dealt with hundreds of years ago by John Owen. I’ll leave this rabbit trail for another time and refer you to the file posted above]

This is no mere LOSS of rewards, the Apostle speaks of. Being ‘bought’ means redeemed, claimed under ownership. Whose ownership is spoken of here? The ‘LORD’. I think that there is enough evidence to suffice the genuine seeker of truth as to the nature of God’s moral government. From the passage in John 6 in its connection, it is made clear. In addition, there are several places in Holy Scripture that tell us that God’s will is NOT always accomplished.

[God’s will is not always accomplished? You MUST be joking…??? You mean to say that God wills something; decrees that something will happen, and then some other more powerful force negates God’s will? Really?

What God do you worship?

This is the God I worship:

Psa 33:11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.

Psa 115:3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.

Psa 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.

Isa 14:24 The LORD of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand,

Isa 45:7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.

Eph 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

That’s the God of scripture.]

But this is to be expected under a moral government. God does not exercise compulsion, but has gifted both men and angels with the power to either virtue or vice. Their guilt and shame comes when they misuse it. Their praise comes from the Father when they honor their Creator with their substance in their original formation. May we always choose the latter.

God Bless you.

In Christ our Lord,
Themis Papaioannou

[Themis…I thank you for taking the time to respond to my exegesis but respectfully, you did anything but exegete John 6:35-45. If I had taken your response and instead of following your own flow of thought and your argument, cut and snipped little bits and words and made up my own meanings like you just did to John 6, you’d be furious and ask me what right I had to do that….well….you just did it with God’s word.

I hope you don't see this as me saying that I hate you or that this is a personal attack in any way but it's obvious that the basis for our disagreement is our hermeneutic. I believe that we must go to the relevant passages and let them speak in their own context and let the author make his own points on any given subject. You differ in that you believe that you can go all over the bible and pick unrelated passages and mash them together to get your understanding of a certain passage. An example would be your use of 2nd Peter; a passage that is speaking about the second coming and not unbelief, and God's election.

I believe that you are wrong for doing so and is one of the reasons why people differ so radically on passages that are so very clear such as John 6:35-45

God bless you too

bob]








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.