Imperfect People

Lets face it, we’ve all been hurt or offended by something someone at church has said or done to us.  I mean after all we are imperfect people even after Christ saves us.  If we were perfect without faults we would have no need for Christ.  So what should our response be when we are hurt by people?  There are several responses we should have depended on the severity of the offense.

1. First we should take it to God in prayer and ask for his guidance in the matter.

2. If it’s something minor that you can forgive and move on then do so.

3. If it’s something a little more difficult to move on from and forgive quickly you must go to that person lovingly and talk it out. More than likely they didn’t intend to cause offense and may not even know they have offended you.

4. If talking to the person doesn’t give you a resolution then you must talk to your pastor about the offense so he can help you come to a resolution.

God’s word tells us to work things out with our brothers and sisters and to forgive, not once but many times forgive.  Christ forgave a multitude of sins in each of us so we are to follow him in forgiveness lest he withhold forgiveness from us.  I’ve seen people walk away from their church for some of the silliest reasons and this is not a reason to walk away.

Life has handed my family some rather difficult circumstances the last few years and I have missed so much going to church.  I’m hoping to get there this Sunday, I’m praying that God will help me overcome any obstacle in my path to push through and get back to Gods house!  Offense hasn’t been my reason for not being there but if you’ve walked away for offense or because of the cares of this life just get back!  Christians need to be in Gods house with Gods people now more than ever.

 

image

We Will Rejoice In It

Tags

, ,

Psalm 118:24  This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Have you ever thought about that verse?  We’ve all read it, heard it, said it and even sung the song.  But have we really thought about it?  This morning I was thinking about this verse and what it says and doesn’t say.

I noticed there are no if’s in this verse, if we are happy, if we are healthy, if we are wealthy, if everything is going our way, if there are no trials and tribulations to face.  No; there are no if’s, just simply we will rejoice and be glad in it.  Even if this is the worst day of our life thus far, we are to rejoice and be glad in it. Well how in the world do you rejoice when things are hard, when it seems like everything is falling apart?  We can rejoice in our GOD, even if there is a multitude of things for us to complain about and be sorrowful about, we should instead rejoice and be glad and focus on the LORD. Thanking God for his mercy, his grace, our salvation, and so much more.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

Paul tells us; from Roman prison while in chains, Rejoice in the Lord always.  In every situation we face we are to rejoice in the Lord.  This is where our peace comes from, keeping our focus on the Lord, rejoicing in him, trusting him, casting our cares upon him, meditating on his word day and night.  Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. This is so true, he does keep his child in perfect peace when his mind is stayed on the Lord.  So rejoice, rejoice always, rejoice forevermore in the God of our salvation!

Habakuk 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the GOD of my salvation.

Still Around

Hello blog world, yes I am still around.  Still hanging in there on this roller coaster called life.  I sure wish I had more time for blogging but I am sure in a few very short years when my nest is completely empty I will have plenty of time.  But for now I will pop in when I can and spend every precious moment with my precious family that I can.

I hope those of you who may pop in here from time to time are doing well.

Today was a very busy day, two great church services, two great sermons and The Desolation of Smaug, the second Hobbit movie, in between.  The movie was fantastic, we had a great time!

One of the verses my pastor used during the message was John 10:24-27, which got me thinking about election.  And how does one who doesn’t believe in election deal with verses like these?  Not for arguments sake, just out of curiosity I would like to know.  If you have a hard time believing in election, how do you deal with these verses?  These verses, and others like them, give me assurance that God does in fact have an elect people that he chose from the foundation of the Earth.  And if you have more verses you would like to add in the comment section that point to election feel free to add them.

I pray that you all have a safe and happy Christmas, giving all the glory to our Savior Jesus Christ.

John 10:24-27

(KJV)24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

D.Baker

2012 – It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times

It was the best of times,

it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom,

it was the age of foolishness,

it was the epoch of belief,

it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of Light,

it was the season of Darkness,

it was the spring of hope,

it was the winter of despair.

Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to close the book on 2012.  If I had to sum it up for you in a few short words I would use the words of Charles Dickens and say, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  It was the worst year of my life to be honest, for reasons that need not be shared.  What I can share with you is that out of such darkness, despair, agony, broken hearts, grief and fear came light, hope, healing, new beginnings and stronger faith in Christ.  A new understanding of just how little control we have over our lives and how true it is that GOD is in control.

This year I have experienced peace that surpasses all human understanding, peace like a river in the midst of such pain, trusting each step taken to Christ’s guiding hand.  I know that Christ really does give you what you need to bear up under such painful things.  The greatest thing is that he doesn’t stop there, he doesn’t just give you what you need to bear it but he begins to bring scripture to life right before your eyes! It is an amazing, humbling thing to see God use a desperate situation that looks hopeless and begin to turn it around for his good.  Heavenly blessings born out of grief and despair.

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

As you go through these painful things that we all go through, one way or another in this life, cast your cares upon the Lord, place your trust in him, saturate your mind in his word and hang on to Jesus.  He is faithful, he sticks closer than a brother, he is a strong tower and he is mighty to save!! Wont you trust him today?  Please don’t wait, trust in him while it is still today.

Have a safe, happy and blessed New Year!!!

D.Baker

Stand Firm

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.  To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.  Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

True Sabbath Rest

I have a few links to share this morning on True Sabbath Rest, thank you T.Cassle for sending these to me.  The first link is from Critical Issues Commentary, Entering True Sabbath Rest by Ryan Habbena.

The second link is from Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, Introduction to Colossians 2.

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day – things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17)

Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest. (Hebrews 4:1-3a)

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain. (Galatians 4:9-11)2

Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:4-5)4

My response to “The Shut Door- A Case Study”

I was given this link this morning to read, “The Shut Door – A Case Study”, while reading I took notes to document my concerns.  After reading this case study I am even more concerned and grieved about the Seventh Day Adventist church.  I thought I would share the link with you as well as my notes of concern.  I am sure there are things that I missed; I just notated what was glaringly obvious to me.  Feel free make any notations of concern that I may have missed in the comment section.  To make this easier to understand my words will be in red, A Case Study will be in green and scripture in bold black italics.

 

1.First and foremost, God’s word is not up for private interpretation.  This is where error creeps in, everyone wants the bible to mean what they want it to mean, it doesn’t work that way.  We use scripture to interpret scripture, referring to other parts of scripture to help us understand and give us the proper meaning with the help of the Holy Spirit teaching us what God intended in His word.  God doesn’t have a million different ways we can interpret His word, He has one way.  When everyone interprets it in their own way adding their own opinion’s they are essentially creating a God of their own.  Much like the golden calf. God speaks to us through His Son, through His word, the bible.

Hebrews 1:1-2 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

God used the fathers and prophets to speak in times past, we now have the written word that is complete, there is no more need for prophets to speak because the canon of scripture is closed and cannot be added to.  People claiming to be modern day apostles and prophets are not speaking for God.

2.“But not even God will force love or compliance.” (from essential attitude of truth seekers paragraph)

When we look at God as forcing us into a love relationship we miss the mark – God shapes our will, He sets love and desire for Him in our hearts so that there is no force involved.  (“Free will is assumed from passages that teach human responsibility.” Bob Dewaay  )  Please refer to “Free Will or the Bondage of the Will: Definitions are Critical by Bob Dewaay; Critical Issues Commentary Issue Number 92 January/February 2006 (cicministry.org).  This is a much more complex discussion than I can discuss in this response.

Romans 9:16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

Psalm 135:6 Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.

3.“Nor will He impose His presuppositions on another. He is willing to “reason” (Isa. 1:8) with men and women regarding the soundness of His will and the validity of their presuppositions. By the “weight of evidence” honest, humble people have gladly acknowledged the trustworthiness of their Creator Friend.” (from essential attitude of truth seeks paragraph)

 First let me address the word presuppositions, which means assumptions prior to or beforehand, God doesn’t make presuppositions because He doesn’t have to assume anything.  He is GOD, He is omniscient or He has complete, infinite, unlimited knowledge, God knows all things from the beginning to the end.  The next issue I have in this quote is that God doesn’t reason with anyone, God’s will is not up for debate or questioning as to why He wills a thing, remember the verse I quoted from Psalm above, whatever the Lord pleases He does?  Man’s will works in conjunction with what God has already pre-determined before the foundation of the world.  I also wanted to add that I have no idea what Isaiah 1:8 has to do with what they are trying to say in this paragraph.

Isaiah 46:9-10 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;

God shows us the total depravity of all mankind – man with no hope of redemption outside of Christ Jesus and his great mercy.  Then He shows us His great love and mercy.

Genesis 8:21 The Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the  intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Romans 3:10-18 (which is a quotation from Psalm 14), where we read, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They have all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used that is, in my flesh deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace have they not known; there is no fear of God before their eyes.” And the same thought is expressed later in

Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me dwelleth no good thing.”

4.In response to Ellen and the Millerites assigning certain times and dates to the return of Christ.  Many over the centuries have made predictions about Christs return, claiming special knowledge from Him and all have been found to be liars and frauds.  How can I make such an accusation?  Because God’s word gives His exact response as to when Christ will return and He hasn’t returned yet! 

Mark 13:32 But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.  (So with that being stated why even make all these predictions?)

5.“With each successive vision, Ellen White laid down another brick in a coherent, integrated theological foundation. In this April 3 vision, the relationship was cemented between the sanctuary and the seventh-day Sabbath (the “shut door” and the Sabbath).” (From Sabbath in the sanctuary vision paragraph)

 Here we see Ellen laying a foundation, the foundation of the beliefs of the SDA, adding to the gospel of Jesus Christ her 7th day Sabbath condition.  All revealed to her through visions she claimed were from God.  This shows us that the foundation of the SDA is not built upon Christ but this is a new foundation, apparently the foundation already laid by Christ for the New Testament Church, was not good enough for them.

6.I saw that God had children who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They had not rejected the light upon it.”(Quote from Ellen White) Here again, she applied the principle of rejection: Because the world was full of people who had not been introduced to the Sabbath truth, a vast mission field was waiting to be taught and warned.” (this is from the same paragraph Sabbath in the sanctuary)

You see the focus here is not on Christ and His gospel but on Ellen’s Sabbath truth.  She called it the clear light of truth, the Sabbath truth.  A vast mission field of people that had rejected, not Jesus Christ, but the Sabbath truth.  This Sabbath truth is required according to the SDA and Ellen for salvation.

7.“The Lord has shown me in vision, that Jesus rose up, and shut the door, and entered the Holy of Holies, at the 7th month 1844.” (this is from the same paragraph as #’s 7-8)

Fist of all this is not in scripture!!  Nowhere in scripture are we told this and this is contradictory to what scripture tells us about Jesus.  If Jesus got up and shut the door and entered the Holy of Holies then where did he offer the sacrifice for sin after he ascended into heaven?  Where had he been all that time?     

Hebrews 10:11-13  Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.( Also refer to Hebrews 12:1-3)

Ellen also points out, in the same paragraph as 7-9, that the time of trouble when Michael stands up was yet future and would take place only after Jesus had finished His work in the Most Holy Place.  Did Jesus not finish his work on the cross, and did he not apply the blood sacrifice when he ascended into heaven?  So what is she talking about here?  Just more proof that her information is not coming from the God of the bible because God will not contradict what he has already written in the bible.

8.(from the paragraph seal of God’s vision)  We see in this paragraph that there is a worldwide spreading of the Sabbath truth/sanctuary doctrine.  So am I to assume that God no longer wants us to carry out the great commission that Jesus laid out for us to do?  This is not the spreading of the gospel, this is something new that Ellen claims God told her to do, spread the Sabbath truth, sanctuary doctrine, not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

9. “Paul’s warning about “strong delusion” and “believe the lie” (2 Thess. 2:11, 12) applied to those ministers who were attacking the Sabbath and sanctuary truths.” (from open door paragraph)

These verses in Thessalonians are about those who reject Jesus Christ and His way of salvation by grace through faith.  Ellen would like to believe they are about rejecting her Sabbath and sanctuary truths.

10.“ Ellen White’s article in Present Truth, September 1849, provided another example of the brick upon brick process by which she was helping to establish the rising foundation of a coherent, integrated theology. “ (from Present truth paragraph)

Here we see Ellen White again laying bricks for the foundation of the SDA and their beliefs.  The foundation of the Lord’s church had already been laid with no need to be re- built. 

Ephesians 2:19-21 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,

Christ has already laid the foundation and built his church. So whose church is this that Ellen White, the cornerstone of the SDA, is building a foundation for? 

One of the other points made in the same paragraph was that “Character determines ones future”, No God has already determined our future.

11.“Whenever one role-plays, seeking to respond to the same challenges and conditions that young Ellen White faced, her responsibility to clarify earlier writings made in haste becomes clear and expected. Those few deletions or changes were not made to change positions but to clarify them—so that misunderstandings could be avoided. What else would a responsible author do, even a prophet?

A true prophet of God would not have to do this because they are always 100% correct because their message is from God.  This is the biblical requirement of a true prophet, and God is never wrong or contradictory.

Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.”) see also Deuteronomy 18:20 and  www.letusreason.org/latrain23.htm

12.“God did not ask them to launch out before He had made them ready. Without question, Ellen White’s vision-messages and tenacity of spirit became the leading force in melding this small group into a world movement—all done within an amazingly short period of time.” (from the last paragraph)

“Each successive vision revealed additional building material in the development of an integrated, consistent theological system that eventually became the “present” and distinctive truths of Seventh-day Adventists.”  (from the summary)

This paragraph shows us that the SDA church was founded upon the visions and writings of Ellen White, she is the cornerstone of this movement, she built the foundation and claimed her visions and writings came from the Lord.  However her visions and writings don’t line up with scripture.  The Lord’s church was established on the first Pentecost after Christ ascended, so why the need for Mrs. White to start a new church with a new foundation?  Church’s today that do not adhere to the teachings of the Lord’s church, the New Testament church teachings handed down by Jesus Christ to his apostles and spread throughout the world are not considered the Lords churches.  The Lords church preaches the same gospel by grace through faith that Jesus taught his Apostles and then passed down, we are not to accept a gospel contrary to that gospel.  Any gospel other than the one handed down through the Apostles of Jesus is a false gospel as well as any gospel that adds to grace.

1 Corinthians 15:1-5 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,  by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

Galations 1:8-9 But even if we or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

 In closing I would like to point out that from just this case study alone we see plenty of error.  We see denial of the omniscience of God as well as the denial of God’s sovereignty.  We see that a person’s visions and writings are being used as the foundation for this church.  And most dangerous of all we see the SDA and Mrs. White adding conditions of sabbath keeping to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Is all this enough to label them a cult?  I don’t know, but it is sure enough to tell us that the SDA can’t be the Lord’s church because it doesn’t follow the teachings of the bible but the teachings of a person.  Sabbath keeping can’t save you, only salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ can produce salvation from sin and a new birth with no other conditions added.  Obedience to Christ is not a work and is not to be added as a requirement to salvation, but a response to the free gift of salvation.  Out of great  mercy and love that God bestowed upon us, wretched totally depraved sinners we respond to Him by being obedient because we love Him.

D.Baker

7th Day Adventist ~ True or False Religion

The past few days I have been having a discussion with a 7th Day Adventist on Facebook.  I thought I would share with you some of the links I have come across as well as have a place to file them for future reference for myself.  There is a tendency to try to sidestep and dance around, on their part, the facts that they add attending church on Saturday as a condition to salvation as well as a belief that works are part of their salvation.   I am going to include a a few podcasts here from cicministry.org with Bob Dewaay and Dick Kuffel where they go line by line explaining Hebrews 4 and sabbath rest to give a correct understanding of what the sabbath is to born again Christians because it is in no way shape or form intended to mean that we are required to attend church on Saturday.

CIC Ministries discussion on Hebrews 4 (very good explanation of what keeping the sabbath really is)

The Danger of Failing to Enter God’s Rest Part 1 Hebrews 4:1-7

The Danger of Failing to Enter God’s Rest Part 2 Hebrews 4:7-13

Here is a video from Youtube where Dr.Walter Martin discusses SDA with a representative from the SDA church on the John Ankerberg show.

Here is another part of the John Ankerberg show with Walter Martin

Interesting Video about Ellen G.White and the Shut Door- SDA exposed

Article on Adventist leaders lying to Walter Martin to keep from being classified as a cult:

Did Adventist Leaders Lie to Walter Martin?

Here is a link to some of the wild claims made by Ellen White.

Ellen White Claims

The Long Lost Blogger

Hello, did you all think I had disappeared?  It’s been so long since I have shown my face around these parts, I sure have missed being here.  So many things have occupied my time since I last posted.   I would describe my summer to you as, “It was the best of times and the worst of times.”  There have been some high, highs and some low, low’s.  Oh but how thankful I am to Jesus who has been there for me through the good and the bad.  Would you all please keep my family in your prayers?  God knows all the details, just lift us up from time to time to our Savior if you happen to think of it.

I want to share a few quotes with you before I sign off.

“The truth of God’s sovereignty……. removes every ground for human boasting and instills the spirit of humility in it’s stead.  It declares that salvation is of the Lord-of the Lord in it’s consummation…..And all this is most humbling to the heart of man, who wants to contribute something to the price of his redemption and do that which will afford ground for boasting and self satisfaction.”  Arthur Pink

“Since grace is the source of the life that is mine, and faith is a gift from on high/ I’ll boast in my Savior, all merit decline, and glorify God ’til I die.”  James Montgomery Boice

Oh and before I go, I did manage to finish a book!!  And it was a good one if your looking for a quick read. It’s called, “What’s So Great About The Doctrines Of Grace” by, Richard D.Phillips.  I have the kindle version but I am sure you can google it and find a hard copy if you don’t have a kindle or would prefer having a hard copy.

The Sovereignty Of God ~ A.W. Pink

God’s Sovereignty and the Human Will – A.W. Pink

The following is from  A.W. Pink’s book “The Sovereignty of God”   Chapter 7 “God’s Sovereignty and the Human Will”

“It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2: 13).

Concerning the nature and the power of fallen man’s will, the greatest confusion prevails today, and the most erroneous views are held, even by many of God’s children. The popular idea now prevailing, and which is taught from the great majority of pulpits, is that man has a “free will,” and that salvation comes to the sinner through his will co-operating with the Holy Spirit. To deny the “free will” of man, i.e., his power to choose that which is good, his native ability to accept Christ, is to bring one into disfavor at once, even before most of those who profess to be orthodox. And yet Scripture emphatically says, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. 9:16). Which shall we believe: God, or the preachers?

But some one may reply, Did not Joshua say to Israel, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve”? Yes, he did; but why not complete his sentence-”whether the gods which your fathers served which were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell” (Josh. 24:15)! But why attempt to pit Scripture against Scripture? The Word of God never contradicts itself, and the Word expressly declares, “There is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11). Did not Christ say to the men of His day “Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40)? Yes, but some did “come” to Him, some did receive Him. True and who were they? John 1:12, 13 tells us: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”!

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, than “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.

Should it be asked, But does not the Holy Spirit overcome a man’s enmity and hatred when He convicts the sinner of his sins and his need of Christ; and does not the Spirit of God produce such conviction in many that perish? Such language betrays confusion of thought: were such a man’s enmity really “overcome,” then he would readily turn to Christ; that he does not come to the Saviour demonstrates that his enmity is not overcome. But that many are, through the preaching of the Word, convicted by the Holy Spirit, who nevertheless die in unbelief, is solemnly true. Yet, it is a fact which must not be lost sight of that the Holy Spirit does something more in each of God’s elect than He does in the non-elect: He works in them “both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

In reply to what we have said above, Arminians would answer, No; the Spirit’s work of conviction is the same both in the converted and in unconverted, that which distinguishes the one class from the other is that the former yielded to His strivings whereas the latter resist them. But if this were the case then the Christian would have ground for boasting and self-glorying over his cooperation with the Spirit; but this would flatly contradict Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

Let us appeal to the actual experience of the Christian reader. Was there not a time (may the remembrance of it bow each of us into the dust) when you were unwilling to come to Christ? There was. Since then you have come to Him. Are you now prepared to give Him all the glory for that (Psa. 115:1)? Do you not acknowledge you came to Christ because the Holy Spirit brought you from unwillingness to willingness? You do. Then is it not also a patent fact that the Holy Spirit has not done in many others what He has in you! Granting that many others have heard the Gospel, been shown their need of Christ, yet, they are still unwilling to come to Him. Thus He has wrought more in you than in them. Do you answer, Yet I remember well the time when the Great Issue was presented to me, and my consciousness testifies that my will acted and that I yielded to the claims of Christ upon me. Quite true. But before you “yielded” the Holy Spirit overcame the native enmity of your mind against God, and this “enmity” He does not overcome in all. Should it be said, That is because they are unwilling for their enmity to be overcome. Ah! none are thus “‘willing” till He has put forth His all-mighty power and wrought a miracle of grace in the heart.

But let us now inquire, What is the human Will? Is it a self-determining agent, or is it, in turn, determined by something else? Is it Sovereign or servant? Is the will superior to every other faculty of our being so that it governs them, or is it moved by their impulses and subject to their pleasure? Does the will rule the mind, or does the mind control the will? Is the will free to do as it pleases, or is it under the necessity of rendering obedience to something outside of itself? “Does the will stand apart from the other great faculties or powers of the soul, a man within a man, who can reverse the man and fly against the man and split him into segments, as a glass snake breaks in pieces? Or, is the will connected with the other faculties, as the tail of the serpent is with his body, and that again with his head, so that where the head goes, the whole creature goes, and, as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he? First thought, then heart (desire or aversion), and then act. Is it this way, the dog wags the tail? Or, is it the will, the tail, wags the dog? Is the will the first and chief thing in man, or is it the last thing-to be kept subordinate, and in its place beneath the other faculties? and, is the true philosophy of moral action and its process that of Genesis 3:6: ‘And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food’ (sense-perception, intelligence), ‘and a tree to be desired’ (affections), ‘she took and ate thereof’ (the will).” (George S. Bishop). These are questions of more than academical interest. They are of practical importance. We believe that we do not go too far when we affirm that the answer returned to these questions is a fundamental test of doctrinal soundness.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33 other followers