Pilgrim’s Keyboard

November 28, 2015

Choose Whom You Serve?

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Theology Matters …
Choose whom you serve?
Fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt [i.e., this world]. Serve the Lord! … If it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord | Joshua 24:14-15.
John, the Apostle, tells us to not love the world or the things in the world (1 Jn 2:15). In our modern world culture there is much glitter and glamour to be found so much so that it too has invaded our churches greatly. Whether it is the fanciness of things, the love of objects, the customs & traditions of our holidays, or the revamping of the gospel & bible teaching (Gal. 1:6-9). These things should not be so!
Folks we are Christians! Therefore we need to examine all that we do by Scripture whether in our churches or our lives – public & private. If we find that the “things of the world” are in contrast to the Word of God then we are not to serve them no matter how popular they appear. We have to live in this world but we do not have to adopt this world. As Christians be wise in what you choose to observe and practice. “As for me (Bruce) and my house (Cindy) we will serve the Lord!” House 01
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November 2, 2015

The Mighty Weakness of John Knox

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 8:02 pm
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The Mighty Weakness of John Knox – Douglas Bond | This is another book from the series – “A Long Line of Godly Men Profile” by Stephen J. Lawson. This book like the others in the series is a biographical picture of a man used by God to demonstrate His sovereignty and providence in Christendom. John Knox was prominent in establishing the faith throughout Scotland. As in all of the books in this series I recommend that take the time to read of our Christian heroes from the past.

The Mighty Weakness of John Knox - Douglas Bond | This is another book from the series -

October 19, 2015

Living By Revealed truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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Charles Spurgeon

Living By Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon – Tom Nettles | It has been a long time coming in my reading to finally finish this book. I have been reading it – setting it down – reading it – etc. It definitely has been time consuming (at least for me). Now that I have finished it I am convinced that the time was well spent.. Tom Nettles, is a excellent historian and this book showcases his talent. It is one of the premier books on Charles Spurgeon. If you do not have this book it in your Christian Library I urge you to obtain a copy. You will not regret the time and effort in reading. (Christian Focus Publication, Mentor Imprint, 2013, 683 pages, ISBN: 978-1-78191-122-8). | 10-17-2015

May 22, 2015

The Daring Mission of William Tyndale – by Steven J. Lawson

Filed under: Bruce — pilgrimskeyboard @ 4:00 pm

Tyndale

One of my favorite heroes of Christianity is William Tyndale. He is the Father of the English Bible. He is the first to translate the Greek New Testament into English. His goal was to put the English Bible into the hands of the average plow-boy because he felt that the common man needed to have God’s Word to read for themselves. The KJV NT is approximately 80% from the Tyndale NT and of the books he translated in the OT about 60% of their content is based on his work. All of our English translations were and still are based on Tyndale’s efforts and labors. Tyndale’s reward for putting the Scripture into English for common men such as me to read – he was charged with the high crime of putting the Bible into English, hunted down by the English Royalty and Church authorities, strangled to death by an iron chain, after which his corpse was burned and blown up by gunpowder that had been spread around his incinerated body. His final words, “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.” That dying prayer was answered for two years later King Henry VIII ordered that the Coverdale Bible was to be used in every parish in the land (the Coverdale Bible was largely … Tyndale’s work). I highly recommend this book.

April 28, 2015

Man’s Responsibility in Light of God’s Sovereignty

Filed under: Providence BC — pilgrimskeyboard @ 12:42 am
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The Scriptures are very plain concerning the fact that God is in complete control of all of His creation. The Psalmist proclaims that, “Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and in deep places” (Ps. 135:6).[1] This complete control of all things is an essential characteristic of God’s divine nature,[2] which is described as being the attribute of God’s sovereignty. Without such an attribute, God could not be God, for if anyone or anything would be able to dictate to Him how to run His creation, that source would be God instead. Thus the prophet wrote, “None can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou?” (Dan. 4:35). Pink states: “The sovereignty of God may be defined as the exercise of His supremacy. Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature, He is the Most High, Lord of heaven and earth. Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him.…Divine Sovereignty means that God is God in fact, as well as in name, that He is on the Throne of the universe, directing all things, working all things after the counsel of His own will.”[3]

The sovereignty of God, then, must be an absolute attribute in order for God to exist. Because of this providence, He must be able to order, “all issues and events of things, after the counsel of his will, to his own glory.”[4] For Scripture declares, “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.…whom he did predestinate….them he also called….them he also justified….them he also glorified,” (Rom. 8:28-30), in that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39), which includes the responsibility of one’s sins when found in Christ (1 John 1:7-9).

However, in light of this teaching that God is sovereign, there are still those who continue to as with suspicion; how then, can man be held accountable for his actions? If God is sovereign, how can He justly accuse man of doing something wrong? If God is sovereign, is not man, then merely a machine doing the dictates of the operator? If God is sovereign, then is not man justified in accusing God of responsibility for man’s actions? Thus, making his rallying cry towards God; “What have you done?” such as Adam did in the garden when he was called upon by God to give an accounting for himself, “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me,” (Gen. 3:12), as if all of Adam’s problems were God’s fault.

Bruner (one such questioner) states: “The Bible, when taken as a divinely inspired historical record, teaches that we are members of a fallen race. Because of transgressions which were committed thousands of years before we were born and of which we have no recollection, we are born in original sin and total depravity and are consequently the objects of the eternal wrath of God.

“This has always been a stumbling block to faith, but in our day it is more so than ever. The modern democratic mind finds it hard to believe such a thing. It seems to contradict all that we have been taught about the justice, goodness, and love of God. It apparently cancels out all personal responsibility for our sinful and lost condition.

“How can a child be held accountable for a guilt that he was born with? How can he be blamed for giving expression to his sinful nature when that is the only nature he has? And how did he get such a nature? Are not the laws of heredity God’s laws? How can a just and loving Creator inflict such a hopeless handicap upon an infant just because another man sinned? If we are simply the helpless, irresponsible victims of natural heredity or divine imputation, how can we be truly judged or punished? Heaven alone knows how many sincere hearts this problem has tormented and how many it has driven into infidelity!”[5]

The word responsibility dictates accountability for one source toward another. Accountability requires one source to be answerable to another. And to be answerable shows that one source must, in turn, be responsible to the other. What makes man a responsible being? According to Bruner, it is not a sovereign God, but a self-thinking, free moral agent who determined his own destiny outside of God’s knowledge,[6] a thought which, when carried out to its fullest extreme, makes the soul authority in his destiny. This eliminates the need for God and then causes one to arrive at the only other solution for our existence, man has evolved, not created, and thus is not a responsible being. If the theory of evolution is correct, then man is a creature by chance and he is not responsible to anything or anyone other than his own self-imposed laws, for when he dies he will cease to exist. Evolution “proposes that there is no personal, transcendent God; that ultimate reality is to be found in the eternal cosmos itself and that the development of the universe into its present form is contingent solely on the innate properties of its own components.”[7] Evolution’s proponents proclaim it as fact, but it has never been elevated above a theory. Thus, with that in mind, it seems best to reject such ideology when it comes to determining man’s responsibility. However, if man is a created being, as indicated by Scripture (Gen. 1:26), it would seem reasonable to assume that he must be accountable for his actions before his Creator (Rom. 14:12), which is how Simmons defines human responsibility: “By human responsibility we mean man’s accountability to God for all of his actions.”[8] Since God requires man to be accountable for all of his actions, it seems best to examine man’s ability to determine his actions before the fall of Adam, to examine whether or not man has the freedom of choice in his actions after the fall of Adam, and if he has such freedom, can he, then, act contrary to God’s sovereign will because of this freedom of choice.

Mankind both possesses and exercises his ability to determine his actions as long as he is not limited by circumstances beyond his control. One may wish to pilot an airplane from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast, but without the proper training, he will not be able to exercise that ability. Or, one may be confined to a wheelchair because of some crippling disease. He may desire to walk across the room, but due to his circumstances, he is unable to exercise that action. However, if he so desires, he is still able to go from one side to the other even though limited to the boundaries imposed by his disability. This too, is the case with man concerning his ability to determine his actions. Adam, the first man, was created good (Gen. 1:31) with the ability to make decisions (Gen. 2:16-20), of which his most famous is found in Genesis 3:6, “[Eve] gave also unto her husband [Adam] with her; and he did eat,” thus bringing forth sin and death upon Adam and his human progeny,[9] “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12). When Adam made his decision, he did so within the boundaries on his freedom of choice. These boundaries of Adam’s freedom of choice, according to Matthew henry, were not hindered, “He [Adam] had no corrupt nature with him to betray him; but had a freedom of will, not enslaved, and was in his full strength, not weakened or impaired.”[10] Therefore, Adam, before the fall, had the right within his circumstances (God’s garden) to fully exercise his “freedom of choice” without hindrance from God. Once Adam exercised that right, he became completely responsible for his actions giving an accounting of them to God.

Even though Adam had no boundaries preventing him from exercising his freedom of choice, this is not true concerning his offspring. For God told Adam that the day in which he would eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would die (Gen. 2:17). Since we know God does not lie (Titus 1:20, something must have happened to Adam on that day. Of course, that something is that he died spiritually, passing on this penalty to his progeny. “When God was pronouncing this sentence (Gen. 3:17-18), Adam doubles understood, that God had respect to his posterity, as well as himself.”[11] “What then, are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jew and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is not that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:9-11). What happened when Adam fell? It is not that God took away his own or his offspring’s freedom of choice, for Adam proved his ability to act on his own volition when he decided to hide from God (Gen. 3:10), it is that his circumstances had changed and he was now obligated to work within the boundaries of his fallen nature.[12] “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: For they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). These boundaries of Adam and his offspring, which once was called “good” by God, now are corrupt, his nature which once was alive unto God is now dead and separated from him, and Adam’s desire to commune and walk with God, his creator, cleaves to another, Eve, his created companion in disobedience.

The story of the rich young ruler from Mark 10:17-27 who had a discourse with Jesus about inheriting eternal life went away grieved for he had great possessions, is another good illustration of someone having a freedom of choice in his actions. The young man weighed his options within his mind and decided that the price that Jesus had demanded was too much and consequently said no, I will not pay that price, with his actions. However, the context of the story says he went away grieved. This indicates that even though he had the freedom to choose what his action would be, this was done only out of his own capabilities. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45).

Wycliffe Commentary states: “Jesus looked intently and searchingly at him….No doubt he recognized the sincerity of the man’s search for something to meet his spiritual need….Then He went to the heart of the man’s problem, his devotion to his wealth rather than to God. Therein lay the one thing he lacked. In order to follow Jesus, he must remove the obstacle, his love of money.”[13]

Herein lies the problem, “he must remove the obstacle, his love of money.” The rich young ruler did what he could with the capacity of his nature. Paul declares that, “For the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6:10). There is no doubt that this young man was a moral up-standing person within the community, (“Master, all these things have I observed from my youth”), someone who had great character and stature, ‘Justitia civilis,’ ‘things external.’”[14] However, despite all of his great and marvelous traits, he could not get past the workings of his heart, which according to Jeremiah, the prophet, “is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9). Jesus did not interfere with this young ruler’s right to exercise his freedom of choice in his decision. Instead, He allowed the young ruler to make his decision in his natural state without any interference at all. Consequently, the rich young ruler could only follow the path that his nature (Eph. 2:3) dictated as he exercised his right to freedom of choice. Paul says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Rom. 7:18).

Pink writes: “But does not Scripture say, ‘Whosoever will may come?’ It does, but does this signify that everybody has the will to come? What of those who won’t come? ‘Whosoever will may come’ no more implies that fallen man has the power (in himself) to come, that ‘Stretch forth thine hand’ implied that the man with the withered arm had ability (in himself) to comply. In and of himself the natural man has power to reject Christ, but in and of himself he has not the power to receive Christ. And why? Because he has a mind that is ‘enmity against’ Him (Rom. 8:7); because he has a heart that hates Him (John 15:18). Man chooses that which is according to his nature, and therefore before he will ever choose or prefer that which is Divine and spiritual a new nature must be imparted to him; in other words, he must be born again….The sinner’s will is biased toward evil, and therefore is free in one direction only, namely, in the direction of evil. The sinner’s will is enslaved because it is in bondage to and is the servant of a depraved heart.

“In what does the sinner’s freedom consist?….The sinner is ‘free’ in the sense of being unforced from without. God never forces the sinner to sin. But the sinner is not free to do either good or evil because an evil heart is ever inkling him toward sin….Let all Divine restraint be removed and every man is capable of becoming, would become, a Cain, a Pharaoh, a Judas. How then is the sinner to move heavenward? By an act of his own will? Not so. A power outside of himself must grasp hold of him and lift him every inch of the way. The sinner is free, but free in one direction only – free to fall, free to sin. As the Word expresses it: ‘For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness’ (Romans 6:20. The sinner is free to do as he pleases, always as he pleases (except as he is restrained by God), but his pleasure is to sin.”[15]

There is nothing here that shows the rich young ruler was hindered in his decision not to follow Christ, for the Scriptures are very plain in teaching that whosoever will may come to Him. Jesus said in Mark 8:34, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” As has been shown, this is the course that the rich young ruler decided he could not take, a choice that he made because of the freedom he had in dictating his actions, a freedom that was not interfered with or hindered by God, a freedom of choice in his actions that the young man exercised willingly, knowing that he was responsible for exercising his freedom of choice, for “he went away sorrowful” (Matt. 19:22). To close this section, it seems correct to say that man, after the fall, does not have the ability to determine his actions, but this ability is limited only as far as his circumstances (fallen nature) will allow him to go. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1), “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled” (Col. 1:21).

Daniel Webster was once asked, “What was the most serious thought that had ever entered his great mind?” and he replied, ‘My personal accountability to God.”[16] His reply did not refer to what a sovereign God required him to do. His reply did not state that he could not be held responsible for his freedom of choice. No instead, his reply was that his freedom of choice in his actions was so serious that he would have to give an account before God. The seriousness of this thought is what every individual should have in his or her mind. Human responsibility entails accountability and accountability entails freedom to do what one chooses in order to be accountable. It has been shown that this freedom of choice was originally a part of man and that Adam exercised it freely before his fall. Since the fall, even though Adam and his offspring have been limited by the boundaries of their sinful nature as to what their freedom of choice can allow, it has been shown that they still have freedom of choice in their actions. Since man is limited by his freedom of choice, being subject to his nature, which is at enmity with God (Rom. 8:5-8) and cannot please God, how is it, then, that God can hold man responsible for his actions?

This question of human responsibility before a sovereign God is that Pink calls a “Gordian knot of theology….a [difficult] relationship to define….a [difficult] meeting point to determine.”[17] The reason for this is that it is difficult to reconcile how a God who is sovereign in all of His ways (Dan. 4:35) and in every aspect of individual lives (Acts 17:26) can hold man responsible for his actions (Rom. 14:12). [However, in light of Romans 9:10-24, “….But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have made me like this? Does not the potter have power over the clay….” {NKJ}, who are we to argue against the “Gordian knot” tied by God?][18]

Hick writes: “Whether or not we speak of God being ultimately responsible for the existence of evil depends upon our definition of responsibility. For there are both differences and similarities between the sense in which men are responsible and any sense in which God could be said to be responsible. Human responsibility occurs within the context of an existing society of moral beings. But God is Himself the source of moral law and the Creator of all beings other than Himself. In His original decision to create He was accordingly not responsible under any moral law or to any existing person. Nevertheless, there is a technical sense of ‘responsible’ that can be applied to God as well as to man….His decision to create the existing universe was the primary and necessary precondition for the occurrence of evil, all other conditions being contingent upon this, and He took His decision in awareness of all that would flow from it.

“However, even this ultimate omni-responsibility of the Creator does not take away each human individual’s accountability for his own deliberate actions. Our moral liability is not diminished by the fact that we have been created by a higher Being who bears the final responsibility for His creatures’ existence, with all that this contingently encompasses. The divine and human responsibilities operate upon different levels and are not mutually incompatible. Man is responsible for his life within the creaturely world, whilst God is ultimately responsible for the existence of the creaturely world and for the fact that man lives responsibly within it.”[19]

Man cries out, it is not my fault that I have been born with a nature that is at enmity with God and because of this fleshly nature I must yield to its boundaries in my freedom choice decisions. This exclamation tries to instill upon God the blame for man’s sin, but God does not make man sin, instead man sins because that is what he desires to do. “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin (John 8:34). “What would the reader say to a man who robbed him and who later argued in defense, ‘I cannot help being a thief, that is my nature’? Surely the reply would be, then, the penitentiary is the proper place for that man.”[20] With this thought in mind, is it not Scriptural to say to the man exclaiming that he is not responsible for his actions that he should be prepared to give an accounting of his decisions? The answer would be emphatic, “yes!” Man acts according to his nature. He purposely decides the actions he wants to take.

An example is the crucifixion of Christ. I Acts 4:27-28, the Apostles declared that God’s purpose determined what was to be done to Christ by Herod, Pontus Pilate, the gentiles, and the people of Israel. Then, in Acts 5:30, while addressing the chief priest and elders of Israel, the Apostles declare that these leaders were the ones who hung Christ on a tree and murdered Him, which can be gleaned quickly from reading the Gospel accounts, that their desire was to put Him to death. No one forced these religious and political leaders to make the decision to crucify Jesus. These men based their decisions on their hearts’ desire and then simply followed that desire to fruition. Nowhere in these Scriptures were these men denied their freedom of choice. God did not force them to crucify His Son. He simply allowed it to happen to fulfill His eternal purpose and plan (Acts 2:22-23). The same thought is true about the rich young ruler; all he did was follow the desire of his heart. Jesus did not force him to choose his riches over following Christ; He simply allowed it to happen. Therefore, how is it that man then complains about his responsibility before a sovereign God? God is not forbidding man from making his free choice decisions; on the contrary, God is allowing man the freedom to choose whatsoever he wills. Being responsible for one’s actions before a sovereign God is not unfair, for God is the Creator of the creature and does with His own as He pleases. “Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why has thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonor?” (Rom. 9:19-21).

Carroll writes: “God made the world. He made it and all things therein. It is his workmanship. He made men, all men. Not only is the judgment based first upon the fact of God’s creative act, but also upon the fact of his providence. His providence controls the world now and has always controlled it; and not merely by a general providence, but by a personal, moral government he rules over the world. That moral reign of God extends throughout all ages and to all men. Not only this, but it is by his decree that our times are allotted to us and the boundaries of our habitation. And not only this, but in everything it is his decree that men should seek him, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he be not far from every one of us. In his omnipresence he is accessible to all men. Now, this creative act of God, this general providence of God, and his special providence, and the special revelation of God, when followed by the special revelation of God, constitute the broad foundation upon which judgment rests….You will see at once that unless the mind takes hold of the fact that God has made the world and God governs the world by his providence, and God rules the world by his moral law, and God holds men responsible to that moral law, we cannot have an idea of the judgment.[21]

In conclusion, nowhere is there a denial that man must have free will. ”Humans would not be genuinely human without free will.”[22] Man must be able to decide for himself as to his fleshly matters, emotional matters, and Godly matters. Does man take care of himself, his family, and his needs? Does man take care of his well-being, his character, and his insight? Does man take care of his need to obey and serve God? The answer for all of these questions is, “Yes!” For making decisions is the most natural thing for mankind to do. This freedom of choice in making decisions for one’s own actions has been demonstrated here that man was able to do so freely before the fall and freely after the fall. Man’s freedom of choice to determine his actions has never changed, only the boundaries of the circumstances in which he has been made to abide, which changed through the action of man, not God. This human action, man will be responsible for and give an accounting to a sovereign God.

End Notes:

1. All Scripture reference is the KJV unless otherwise noted.
2. Claude D. [C.D.] Cole, Definition of Doctrine, vol. 1 (Lexington, KY: Bryan Station Baptist Church, nd), 37.
3. Arthur W. [A. W.] Pink, The Attributes of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 32.
4. Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1974), 119.
5. William T. Bruner, Children of the Devil: A Fresh Investigation of the Fall of Man and Original Sin (New York, NY: Philosophical Library, 1966), xv.
6. Bruner, 26-30.
7. Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1980), 38.
8. Thomas P. [T. P] Simmons, A Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine (Daytona Beach, FL: Associated Publisher, 1969), 174.
9. C. D. Cole, Definition of Doctrines, vol. 2, 10-11.
10.Matthew Henry, Commentary of the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Old Tappan, NJ: nd), 24.
11.Clyde A. Holbrook, ed., Jonathan Edwards, Original Sin (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1970), 252.
12.John L. [J. L.] Dagg, Manual of Theology (Harrisonburg, VA: Gano Books, 1892), 148-50.
13.Charles F. Pfeiffer, and Everett F. Harrison, eds., The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1975), 1010.
14.James P. [J. P.] Boyce, Abstract of Systematic Theology (Greenwood, SC: The Attic Press, nd), 245.
15.A. W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Pensacola, FL: Mt. Zion Publications, 92-3, 98-9.
16.Milburn Cockrell, “Human Responsibility,” The Berea Baptist Banner (Mantachie, MS: The Berea Baptist Church, 15 March 1986), 8.
17.A. W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, 105-6.
18.Added: April 27, 2015 – bea.
19.John Hick, Evil and the God of Love (London, Britain: McMillian and Company Limited, 1966), 326-7.
20.A. W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, 113.
21.B.H. Carroll, Baptists and their doctrines (New York, NY: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1913), 147, 149.
22.Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001), 448.

Bruce Allen

Berea Baptist Church | Mantachie, Mississippi, U.S.A.
The Berea Baptist Banner
Volume XXII, Number VII – Whole Number 280
July 5, 2002

April 9, 2015

The Origin of The Baptists | S. H. Ford – A Review

Filed under: Bruce — pilgrimskeyboard @ 3:43 pm

The Origin of The Baptists – Samuel Howard Ford (1819-1905) | I enjoy reading old books. I enjoy reading about Christian history. Especially those of old Baptists. In some of my Baptist history books I will find where the author will quote or make reference to S. H. Ford’s The Origin of the Baptists. So it was exciting when I came across a used copy of this book on Amazon.com [copyright 1950 – Baptist Sunday School Committee]. Ford wrote his book sometime around 1860 (J. R. Graves, “Introduction” date). The premise of the book is found in his query: “Where Did the Baptists Come From?” He begins his quest by looking at the Baptist in Virginia and then moves through the different centuries and ends up in the NT at Jesus Christ, the founder of Baptist churches. I highly recommend old history books concerning the Lord’s NT churches and Christianity. I think you would enjoy reading this little book.The Origin of the Baptists - S.H. Ford

March 4, 2015

Attributes of God – The Wisdom of God

Filed under: Providence BC — pilgrimskeyboard @ 8:14 pm
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The Wisdom of God

 

INTRO

 

NT 

Romans 11:33 | Oh, the depths of the riches both of wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

 

  • Gk.  Sophia (noun) means: Sophia is a word meaning wisdom. It denotes the capacity to not only understand something (Acts 7:22) but also to act accordingly (Col. 1:9; 4:5). It is the latter that separates wisdom from knowledge.[1]  

 

OT

Psalm 104:24 | LORD, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all.

 

  • He. Hokma  (noun) – means: Hokma has a wide variety of meanings, covering both physical skill [e.g. prideful Assyrians – military skill (Isa. 10:13); David led by Sheba (2 Sam. 20:22)] and intellectual wisdom [e.g. understanding (Prb. 10:23); knowledge (Prb. 2:10); life skills (Prb. 13:10);] and the books of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs are sometimes called “Wisdom Literature”. It can be translated as “wisdom, aptitude, experience, good sense, skill.” … By far the most exalted view of wisdom is found in Prov. 8, where hokma is personified in a hymn that links wisdom closely with the Lord God. [2]
  •  

Kregel Dictionary of the Bible & Theology[3]

Wisdom – Insight into reality and living according to truth. … The ultimate pattern for wisdom is God’s wise and righteous prudence. … God has infinite wisdom (Rom. 11:33; cf. Job 28:1-28; Ps. 147:5).

 

WISDOM

 

Wayne Grudem[4]

Wisdom is Communicable – God’s wisdom is communicable to us, but only in a partial way (James 1:5; Proverbs 9:10 – Cf. 1Kings 3:5-15) …it needs to be remembered that God’s wisdom can never be fully shared by us “for the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God [are] unsearchable and … past finding out (Romans 11:33)!” … God’s wisdom means that God always chooses the best goals and the best means to those goals. The definition goes beyond the idea of God knowing all things and specifies that God’s decisions about what he will do are always wise decisions: that is, they always will bring about the best results (from God’s ultimate perspective), and they will bring about those results through the best possible means.

C. D. Cole[5]

Wisdom belongs to God as an intelligent Spirit. It is a more comprehensive attribute than knowledge; it not only supposes knowledge, but directs and uses it in the best manner.

  • Wisdom is perfect in God –
  • An unwise being cannot be the true God. “No man is wise, but God only” [philosopher Pythagoras]. … He [God] is three times called the only wise God (Rom. 16:27; 1 Tim. 1:17; Jude 25).  … His wisdom is unsearchable (Rom. 11:33).
  • Wisdom appears in the decrees of God –
  • God’s purposes and decrees are called His counsels. … God’s counsels are without consultation, and His determinations are without deliberation. Being naturally and infinitely wise, He requires no time to deliberate; no does He need someone with whom to counsel (Rom. 11:34; 1 Cor. 2:16). God’s cunsels are immutable. There is no change necessary, for they were formed in wisdom (James 1:17).
  • The wisdom of God is manifested in creation –
  • We look into the starry heavens and see a marvelous display of wisdom [Psalm 19:1]…. We look upon the earth and everywhere we see design that testifies to the wisdom of God [Psalm 104:24 | O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of your possessions –]
  • The wisdom of God is seen in providence –
  • This world is not run by capricious chance, nor by cold fate, nor by natural law; it is run by its Maker [Romans 8:28; 11:36].
  • The wisdom of God is displayed in the work of human redemption –
  • Paul says that in our redemption by Christ, God hath abounded toward us in all wisdom (Eph. 1:8).

 

 J. L. Dagg[6]

God is infinitely wise.

Knowledge and wisdom, though often confounded by careless thinks, are different. Wisdom always has respect to action. … It is the out-goings of the mind that wisdom has place, and is concerned in forming our plans and purposes of action. … Wisdom is therefore regarded as consisting in the selection of the best end of action, and the adoption of the best means for the accomplishment of this end. God is infinitely wise, because he selects the best possible end of action. God is infinitely wise, because he adopts the best possible means for the accomplishment of the end which he has in view.  … The wisdom of God is an unfathomable deep.

 

Steven J. Lawson[7]

God always is sovereign. God always is all-powerful. God always is all-wise. God always has the highest end in mind and the best means to obtain the end.

    • Job 12:13 | With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding.
  • Colossians 2:1-3 | … I want … that their [Colossians and Laodiceans] hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  

 

Characteristics of God’s Wisdom

1. Defined:

God is all-wise and that means that His choices always pursue the highest end. The greatest good – the highest purpose – the best means by which to arrive at His purpose for the glory of God and the good of His people.

  • Romans 16:27 | To God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

 

2. Displayed:

In Creation – God’s wisdom is displayed in His creating all from nothing – Ex Nihilo. All things work properly and in order (Cf. Job 38:1-41).

 

  • Genesis 1:1 | In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
  • Proverbs 3:19 | The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens.

 

In Providence – God’s wisdom in displayed in the affairs of men. God directs all things in His providence.

  • Romans 8:28 | All things work for the good of those who love God, called according to His purpose.
  • Proverbs 16:9 | A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs His steps.

 

In Salvation – God’s wisdom is displayed in the salvation of men’s soul.

  • 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 | For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. … we preach Christ crucified … Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.   
  • Ephesians 1:7-8 | In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.

 

Closing Thot:

God’s wisdom is awesome … So wise He can even draw a straight line with a crooked stick![8]

John Piper

The death of Christ is the wisdom of God by which the love of God saves sinners from the wrath of God, all the while upholding and demonstrating the righteousness of God in Christ.[9]

[1] Mounce Dict., 793.

[2] Mounce, Dict., 793.

[3] Holloman, 581-582.

[4] Grudem, 193-4.

[5] Cole, 113-117.

[6] Dagg, 86-87.

[7] Lawson, “The Wisdom of God”.

[8] Lawson, “The Wisdom of God”.

[9] Sharon M. Whitey, FB post quote, March 02, 2015.

February 28, 2015

Attrributes of God – The Wrath of God

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The Wrath/Anger/Indignation of God

 

INTRO

A. W. Pink

It is sad indeed to find so many professing Christians who appear to regard the wrath of God as something for which they need to make an apology, or who at least wish there were no such thing. While some would not go so far as to openly admit that they consider it a blemish on the Divine character, yet they are far as regarding it with delight; they like not to think about it, and they rarely hear it mentioned without a secret resentment rising up in their hearts against it. Even those who are more sober in their judgment, not a few seem to imagine that there is a severity about the Divine wrath that makes it too terrifying to form a theme for profitable contemplation. Others harbor the delusion that God’s wrath is not consistent with His goodness, and so seek to banish it from their thoughts. … But what [says] the Scriptures? As we turn to them we find that God has made no attempt to conceal the facts concerning His wrath. He is not ashamed to make it known that vengeance and fury belong unto Him. … A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness. Because God is holy, He hates all sin; and because He hates all sin, His anger burns against the sinner [Psalm 7:11 | God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day].[1]

 

NT 

Romans 1:18 | For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

 

Romans 9:22 | What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.

 

  • Gk. orge [pronounced: or-gay] – noun / means: A vigorous upsurge of one’s nature against someone or something [translated:] anger, wrath, indignation … (2) as the divine reaction against evil, bringing judgment and punishment both historically and in the future[.][2]  

 

OT

Psalm 6:1 | O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger [aph], nor discipline me in your wrath [chemah]. [ESV] / [“hot displeasure” – KJV]

 

  • He. aph [prounounced af] – means: It is the word for “nose” or “face” – How such a word came to be used to express wrath has been traditionally explained by the common notion that “snorting” or “wheezing” through the nose is indicative of anger.[3]
  • He. chemah [pronounced khay-maw] – means: has the primary meaning of “heat” but most frequently is translated with “fury” or “wrath”. The KJV captures the intensity of the emotion expressed with this term by rendering it … as “hot displeasure” (Deut. 9:19; Pss. 6:1; 38:1). basically equivalent to the English “to love” in the sense of having a strong emotional attachment to and desire either to posses or be in the presence of the object.[4]

 

Holman Bible Dictionary[5]

Wrath, Wrath of God –  Used to express several emotions, including anger, indignation, vexation, grief, bitterness, and fury. It is the emotional response to perceived wrong and injustice. … When used of God, wrath refers to His absolute opposition to sin and evil. … God’s wrath is not capricious [fickle/whimsical[6]] but is always a moral and ethical reaction to sin. … God’s wrath is real, severe, and personal. The idea that God is not angry with sinners belongs neither to the OT not to the NT. God is a personal moral being who is unalterably opposed to evil and takes personal actions against it. Wrath is the punitive righteousness of God by which He maintains His moral order, which demands justice and retribution for injustice.

 

WRATH

Wayne Grudem[7]

If God loves all that is right and good, and all that conforms to his moral character, then it should not be surprising that he would hate everything that is opposed to his moral character. God’s wrath directed against sin is therefore closely related to God’s holiness and justice. God’s wrath may be defined as follows: God’s wrath means that he intensely hates all sin. … As with the other attributes of God, this is an attribute for which we should thank and praise God. … we rightly imitate this attribute of God when we feel hatred against great evil, injustice, and sin.

 

 A. W. Pink[8]

The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin. It is the moving cause of that just sentence which He passes upon evildoers. …divine wrath is one of the perfections of God … [is] clearly established by the expressed declaration of His own Word.

  • Romans 1:18 | For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.
  • Psalm 95:11 | So I swore in My wrath, They [Israel] shall not enter into my rest.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:11 | Knowing therefore the terror [fear of His wrath] of the Lord, we persuade men …

Steven J. Lawson[9]

The wrath of God is an expression of His holiness.

The wrath of God is a necessity of His holiness.

  • This is because God is infinitely pure and hates sin and loves righteousness. He cannot be neutral toward sin. He must judge against all impurity – the opposite of His
  • holiness.

Characteristics of God’s Wrath

 

  1. It is Abiding – God’s wrath is abiding on the world now.
  • Individuals – Romans 1:18 | The wrath of God is revealed from  heaven. / Cf. “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards.
  • Nations – Psalm 2:12 | Kiss the Son, lest He be angry … His wrath is kindled but a little.

 

  1. It is Catastrophic – God’s wrath can utterly destroy all in its path.
  • The Genesis Flood – Genesis 6:9-13 | … And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
  • Sodom and Gomorrah – Genesis 19:13 | For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.
  • Earth and the heavens will be dissolved – 2 Peter 3:12 | looking for and hastening the day of God,  because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with a fervent heat. Cf. Jude vv. 14-15.
  1. It is Consequential – You reap what you sow!
  • Galatians 6:7 | Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for what ever a man sows, that he will also receive.
    • Herod the king – allowed himself to worship as god – Acts 12:20-23 | The Lord struck him because he did not give glory to God.
    • Revelation 19:20 | The beast and the false prophet were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. Cf. Revelation 20:10.
  1. It is Abandonment – Reject God and His gospel He will abandon you!
  • Romans 1:24, 26, 26 | God gave them over …
  • Proverbs 1:24-29 | They will seek me diligently, but they will not find Me.

 

  1. It is Eternal – God’s wrath will last forever

 

  • Nations that reject Him – Matthew 25:31-46 | All these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
  • Individuals – not of God – Revelation 20:12-15 |  Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
  1. Not to be Feared in Jesus Christ – 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5, 10 | … wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Closing Thot:

 

God’s wrath is awesome …it is part of God’s being, it is His very nature[10], as much as His love or holiness. His wrath is perfect and non-prejudicial as to respect of persons. Consequently those who face His wrath can be assured that it is dispensed justly and correctly – Genesis 18:25.

Wrath Displayed:

Numbers 16:41-50 | … Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the LORD. …

Psalm 2:2-6 | … The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed … He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the LORD shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.

 

Psalm 88:15-18 | I have been afflicted … I suffer Your terrors; I am distraught. Your fierce wrath has gone over me … they engulf me altogether. …

Romans 9:22 | What if God wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.

Ephesians 2:1-3 | And you He made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked … [conducting] ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-9 | … Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. … For God di not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  

 

Revelation 16:19 | … great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.

[1] A. W. Pink, Attributes, 82-83.

[2] USB, 521; Friberg, 284.

[3] Brand, Holman Bible Dictionary, 1688.

[4] Brand, Holman Bible Dictionary, 1688.

[5] Brand, Holman Bible Dictionary, 1688-1689.

[6] F&W Dictionary, vol. 1, 92.

[7] Grudem, 205-206.

[8] Pink, Attributes, 83-84 (adapted).

[9] Lawson, “The Wrath of God”.

[10] Holloman, Kregel Dict., 598.

February 21, 2015

Attributes of God – The Love of God

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The Love of God

 

NT –– 1 John 4:8, 16 | He who does not love [agapo] does not know god, for God is love

[agape]. … God is love [agape] …

 

            1 John 4:19 | We love [agapo] {Him[1]} because He first loved [agapo] us.

 

  • Gk. agapao/agape – verb/noun – means: Agape and agapo are used [of God] in the NT … expresses the deep and constant “love’ and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects … [= unconditional, unearned divine love]. These Greek words are rarely used in extrabiblical Greek[2]  

 

OT –– Jeremiah 31:3 | The LORD appeared of old to me, saying: Yes, I have loved [ahab]

You with an everlasting love [ahavah]; therefore with lovingkindness [chesed] I

have drawn you.

 

  • He. chesed – means: unselfish love, loyal, and benevolent intention and commitment toward another. This term refers to covenant love. Jehovah is the God who remembers and keeps His covenants in spite of the treachery of people.[3]
  • He. ahab/ahabah (ahavah) – verb/noun – means: basically equivalent to the English “to love” in the sense of having a strong emotional attachment to and desire either to posses or be in the presence of the object.[4]

 

 

LOVE

 

Kregel Dictionary of the Bible and Theology[5]

Love  –  Is a communicable[6] attribute of the essential being of God.

 

Wayne Grudem[7]

God’s love means that God eternally gives of himself to others. This definition understands love as self-giving for the benefit of others. This attribute shows that it is part of his nature to give of himself in order to bring about blessing or good for others.

 

C. D. Cole[8]

Love – From [His] point of view love is the greatest thing in God. Without love His justice would cut us off; His holiness would put us out of His sight; and His power would destroy us. Love is the one hope of sinners, and our greatest concern should be to discover God love to us.

 

The love of God may be defined as that eternal principle of His nature by which He is moved to bestow eternal and spiritual blessings. Love is the moving cause of all His acts of mercy and grace. The love of God is the guarantee that all things work together for the ultimate good of His people; it is the basis of all His redeeming activities.

 A. W. Pink[9]

God is love – it is not simply that God “loves,” but that He is Love itself. Love is not merely one of His attributes, but His very nature.

Milburn Cockrell[10]

The God of the Bible is the unfailing source of all love. Love is the very essence of the nature of God: yea, God is love itself. It is not that God attained love, not that He by any effort maintains love; it is said in our text [1 John 4:8 | “God is love”] that the structure of His being is love. There is no part of His nature which lacks this element. Without this attribute, God would not be what He is.

 

Characteristics of God’s Love[11]

 

1. It is Free/Uninfluenced. By this we mean, there was nothing whatever in the objects of His love to call it into exercise, nothing in the creature to attract or prompt it, “The Lord did not set His love upon you because [???] …” (Deut. 7:7-8). Cf. Romans 5:8.

 

2. It is Eternal/Immutable). This is of necessity. God Himself is eternal, and God is love; therefore, as God Himself had no beginning, His love has none. There was never a time when God did not love His people, and there will never be a time when will not love them. He loved us as much before we were saved as He does since we have been saved, “… I have loved you with an everlasting love …  (Jeremiah 31:3). Cf.  Ephesians 1:3-6..

3. It is Sovereign. This is self-evident. God Himself is Sovereign, under no obligations to noe, a law unto Himself, acting always according to His own imperial pleasure. Since God is sovereign, and since He is love, it necessarily follows that His love is sovereign. Because God is God, He does as He pleases; because God is love, He loves who He pleases. “Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated” (Romans 9:10-13). Cf. Romans 8:28-30.  

 

4. It is Effectual.  God loves His own and reveals Himself to them, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God! (1 John 3:1). Cf. 1 John 4:19.

5. It Demonstrated. God is love and He manifests what He is. Love is not some idle attribute in our God. “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son …” (1 John 4:7-11). Cf. Romans 8:28-39.

 

6. Love is Holy/Just/Perfect. God’s love is based upon the principles of His holiness. There is never any conflict between the attributes of holiness and love. In the darkness of this world of sin – in all the sorrow and suffering – and even in the torment of the wicked in Hell – we can be certain that God is just in His benevolence rule over all, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25), in His wrath and His wisdom. Cf. Exodus 33:19/Romans 9:14-16; 11:33-36; Jude v. 25.

To those whom He bestows His love upon (Romans 9:10-14) His gives faith to believe that He is great in His mercy, “because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses (Ephesians 2:4-5). Cf. Psalms 103:11; James.5:20.

 

Closing Thot:

 

R. C. Sproul[12]

God is love, and love is of God, and all who love in the sense of the agape [unconditional love] of which the Scriptures speak are born of God. His love is an attribute that can be imitated, and we are called to do just that.

 

John 15: 9-10 | As the Father loved Me, I also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. Cf. John 13:1 | … He loved them to the end.

God is love.

It is His very nature.

[1] Not found in the NB (Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (N) and the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (U); however, the Majority Greek New Testament (M) and the Textus Receptus Greek New Testament (TR) does include “auton” = him in the text.

[2] Vine, 381, 382; Brand, Holman Bible Dictionary, 1054.

[3] Brand, Holman Bible Dictionary, 1054.

[4] Vine, 141.

[5] Holloman, Krekel Dictionary, 300.

[6] Communicable attributes are those which God shares with us to some degree. Example: 1 John 4:19 | We love because He first loved us.

[7] Grudem, 198-199.

[8] Cole, 118.

[9] Pink, Attributes, 77.

[10] Cockrell, 49.

[11] Cole, 118-120; Pink, Attributes, 77-81; Cockrell, 49-57.

[12] Sproul, 67.

February 13, 2015

Attributes of God – The Grace of God

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The Grace of God

 

NT ––

 

Ephesians 1:5-7, 9 | Having predestined us … according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace … In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace … which He purposed in Himself.

 

Romans 11:5-6 | Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

 

  • Gk. charis – Is [translated] “grace” or “favor” | [It is] the acceptance of and goodness toward those who cannot earn or do not deserve such gains. Favorable regard.[1] I refer to this grace of God as His “Unmerited Favor” – His “Marvelous, Infinite Grace!”

 

OT ––

 

Genesis 6:9 | … Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Exodus 33:19 | … I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious … [KJV]

 

  • He. chenDescribes that which is favorable or gracious, especially the favorable disposition of one person toward another [finding favor].[2] 
  •  

GRACE

 

Kregel Dictionary of the Bible and Theology[3]

Grace – All that God does in undeserved love to benefit human beings in general and His children in particular. … Christians tend to describe God’s grace, especially in salvation, as unmerited favor, lavished according to His loving will. This definition is helpful in emphasizing fallen humanity’s unworthiness, so long as humans realize that there is no such things as “merited favor” before God. Humans can give God nothing He requires (Pss 49:7-9; 50:7-15), so any attention God gives to human welfare is grace. God’s grace includes His attitude of lovingkindness and any action or thought on their behalf.

 

Holman Bible Dictionary[4]

Grace – Undeserved acceptance and love received from another. Although the biblical words for “grace” are used in a variety of ways, the most characteristic use is to refer to an undeserved favor granted by a superior to an inferior. When used of divine grace toward mankind, it refers to the underserved [unmerited] favor of God in providing salvation for those deserving condemnation.

 

Wayne Grudem[5]

Grace means God’s goodness toward those who deserve only punishment.

 C. D. Cole[6]

Grace is one of the Divine perfections or attributes in the nature of God which is exercised in the salvation of sinners.

 

  • Ephesians 2:8-9 | For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [ESV]

 

Quoting:

Alexander Maclaren | The word grace is a kind of shorthand for the whole sum of unmerited blessings which come to men through Jesus Christ. Primarily, it describes what we, for want of a better expression, have to call a ‘disposition’ in the Divine nature; and it means the unconditional, undeserved, spontaneous, eternal, stooping, pardoning love of God. But there are no idle dispositions in God. They are always energizing, and so the word glides from meaning the disposition, to meaning the manifestations and activities of it, and the grace of our Lord is that love in exercise. And then, since the Divine energies are never fruitless, the word passes over further, to mean all the blessed things in the soul which are consequences of the Promethean truth of God’s loving hand, the outcome in life of the inward bestowment which has its cause, its sole cause, in God’s ceaseless, unexhausted love, unmerited and free.

[?] Phillips | Grace is something in God which is at the heart of all His redeeming activities, the downward stoop and reach of God, bending from the heights of His majesty, to touch and grasp our insignificance and poverty.

  • John 1:14, 17 | And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. … For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. [ESV]

 A. W. Pink[7]

Grace is a perfection of the Divine character which is exercised only toward the elect. … Grace is the sole source from which flows the goodwill, love, and salvation of God unto His chosen people. … Abraham Booth defines this attribute of the Divine character as “the eternal and absolute free favour [sic.] of God, manifested in the vouchsafement [sic.] of spiritual and eternal blessings to the guilty and the unworthy.”

Divine grace is the sovereign and saving favor of God exercised in the bestowment of blessings upon those who have no merit in them. Nay, more; it is the favor of God shown to those who not only have no positive deserts of their own, but who are thoroughly ill-deserving and hell-deserving. It is completely unmerited and unsought, and is altogether untracked by anything in or from or by the objects upon which it is bestowed. Grace can neither be bought, earned, nor won by the creature. If it could be, it would cease to be grace. When a thing is said to be of “grace” we mean that the recipient has no claim upon it, and that it was nowise due him. It comes to him as pure charity, and, at first, unasked and undesired. [Cf. Romans 11:6.]

  • Romans 11:6 | … if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. [ESV]

Stephen Lawson[8]

Grace is “the greatness of God’s glory!”

Grace is “God’s unmerited favor – we deserve Hell – Grace is what we do not deserve!”

 

 

Grace Bestowed:

 

  1. Is Free – unmerited, undeserved, cannot be earned, it is a gift –
  • Romans 3:21-25 | But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets testify to it –– the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. [ESV] 

Cf. Ephesians 2:8-9 (God’s gift); Romans 11:6 (of grace not works).

  1. Is Eternal – in eternity past God choose His elect –
  • 2 Timothy 1:9 | Who [God – v. 8] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. [ESV]
  1. Is Sovereign – it is His selection, not ours –
  • Ephesians 1:3-6 | Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ … even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace … [ESV] 

Cf. Exodus 33:19 (gracious to whom he is gracious); Romans 11:5 (a remnant, chosen by grace).

  1. Is Far-reaching – is made real to all men [Jews/Gentiles – every kind] –
  • Titus 2:11 | For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people. 

Cf. John Ch. 3 (Nicodemus – the teacher of Israel; John Ch. 4 (Samaritan woman – hated by the Jews); 2 Kings Ch. 5         (Naaman, the commander of the Gentile army of the king of Syria).      

 

  

  1. Is Mediated – in Jesus, the Son of God –
  • Romans 5:15 | But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. [ESV] –– CF. 1 Timothy 2:5; John 1:17.
  1. Is Saving – delivered from great danger / rescued from great peril –

 

  • Ephesians 1:7-8 | In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight. [ESV]

 

Cf. Romans 3:24 & Titus 3:7 (justified by his grace); Acts 15:11 (saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus).

 

 

Closing Thot:

A. W. Pink[9]

 

There are three principal characteristics of Divine grace.

    • It is eternal – Grace was planned before it was exercised, purposed before it was imparted: “Who hath saved us, and called us with a 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” (II Tim. 1:9) [KJV].
    • It is free – For none did ever purchase it: “Being justified freely by His grace” (Rom. 3:24) [KJV]
    • It is sovereign – Because God exercises it toward and bestows it upon whom He pleases: “Even so might grace reign” (Rom. 5:51) [KJV]. If grace “reigns” then it is on the throne, and the occupant of the throne is sovereign. Hence “the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16) [KJV]. … Just because grace is unmerited favor, it must be exercised in a sovereign manner. … God is under no obligation to any of His creatures, least of all to those who are rebels against Him.

 

  • 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 | For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I but the grace of God which was with me.  

 

NOTE:   I refer to this grace of God as His “Unmerited Favor” – His “Marvelous, Infinite Grace” [bea]!

 

 

Steve Lawson[10]

Summation: He is Grace!

[1] Mounce, Dict., 303-304; Vine, 277.

[2] Mounce, Dict., 303.

[3] Holloman, Krekel Dictionary, 184-185.

[4] Brand, Holman Bible Dictionary, 678.

[5] Grudem, 200.

[6] Cole, 78-79 (adapted).

[7] Pink, Attributes, 66 (adapted).

[8] Lawson, “The Grace of God”.

[9] Pink, Attributes, 67 (adapted).

[10] Lawson, “The Grace of God”.

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