Chapter 17: Of The Perseverance of the Saints

PARA 1 – Description of Perseverance of Saints

1._____ Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet he is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity.
John 10:28, 29; Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 John 2:19; Psalms 89:31, 32; 1 Corinthians 11:32; Malachi 3:6 )

OUTLINE

  1. Subjects of Perseverance
    1. Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved,
    2. effectually called and
    3. sanctified by his Spirit, and
    4. given the precious faith of his elect
  2. Meaning of Perseverance
    • can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved
  3. Six Reasons for Perseverance
    1. seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance,
    2. whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and
    3. though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan,
    4. the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet he is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession,
    5. they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and
    6. their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity.

PARA 2– Foundation of Perseverance of Saints

2._____ This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him, the oath of God, the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
Romans 8:30 Romans 9:11, 16; Romans 5:9, 10; John 14:19; Hebrews 6:17, 18; 1 John 3:9; Jeremiah 32:40 )

OUTLINE

  1. Perseverance doesn’t depend on man’s weak free will
    • This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will
  2. Six solid pillars upon on which the doctrine of perseverance rests.
    1. the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father,
    2. upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him,
    3. the oath of God
    4. the abiding of his Spirit
    5. the seed of God within them
    6. the nature of the covenant of grace;

from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

PARA 3 – A qualification for the doctrine of perseverance of saints

3._____ And though they may, through the temptation of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins, and for a time continue therein, whereby they incur God’s displeasure and grieve his Holy Spirit, come to have their graces and comforts impaired, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded, hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves, yet shall they renew their repentance and be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end.
Matthew 26:70, 72, 74; Isaiah 64:5, 9; Ephesians 4:30; Psalms 51:10, 12; Psalms 32:3, 4; 2 Samuel 12:14; Luke 22:32, 61, 62 )

OUTLINE

  1. Four primary causes why believers fall into grievous sins
    1. And though they may, through the temptation of Satan and
    2. of the world,
    3. the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and
    4. the neglect of means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins, and for a time continue therein,
  2. Seven consequences of falling into grievous sins and continuing in them
    1.  whereby they incur God’s displeasure and
    2. grieve his Holy Spirit,
    3. come to have their graces and comforts impaired,
    4. have their hearts hardened, and
    5. their consciences wounded,
    6. hurt and scandalize others, and
    7. bring temporal judgments upon themselves,
  3. Genuine believers repent and turn back – Eg: David, Peter.
    • yet shall they renew their repentance and be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end.

Chapter 16: Of Good Works

PARA 1 – Pattern of good works

1._____ Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his Holy Word, and not such as without the warrant thereof are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intentions.
Micah 6:8; Hebrews 13:21; Matthew 15:9; Isaiah 29:13 )

OUTLINE

  1. Correct pattern for good works
    • Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his Holy Word
  2. Wrong pattern for good works
    • and not such as without the warrant thereof are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intentions.

PARA 2 – Purpose of good works

2._____ These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith; and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that having their fruit unto holiness they may have the end eternal life.
James 2:18, 22; Psalms 116:12, 13; 1 John 2:3, 5; 2 Peter 1:5-11; Matthew 5:16; 1 Timothy 6:1; 1 Peter 2:15; Philippians 1:11; Ephesians 2:10; Romans 6:22 )

OUTLINE

Seven purposes of good works:

These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are

  1. Fruit and evidence of true faith
    • the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith
  2. Expression of gratitude to God
    • by them believers manifest their thankfulness
  3. Assurance is strengthened
    • strengthen their assurance
  4. Edification of brethren
    • edify their brethren
  5. Adorn the gospel
    • adorn the profession of the gospel
  6. Stop the mouths of the adversaries
    • stop the mouths of the adversaries
  7. Glorify God
    • and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that having their fruit unto holiness they may have the end eternal life.

PARA 3 – Performance of good works

3._____ Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ; and that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is necessary an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will and to do of his good pleasure; yet they are not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty, unless upon a special motion of the Spirit, but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.
John 15:4, 5; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Philippians 2:13; Philippians 2:12; Hebrews 6:11, 12; Isaiah 64:7 )

OUTLINE

  1. Ability to perform good works is not in believers, but in Holy Spirit
    • Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ; and that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is necessary an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will and to do of his good pleasure;
  2. Believers have to watch not be lazy with respect to good works. 
    • yet they are not hereupon to grow negligent,
  3. Believers receive Spirit’s aid in path of obedience of duty
    • as if they were not bound to perform any duty, unless upon a special motion of the Spirit,
  4. Believers are responsible to stir up the grace of God in them
    • but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.

PARA 4 – Parameters (limit) of good works

4._____ They who in their obedience attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.
Job 9:2, 3; Galatians 5:17; Luke 17:10 )

OUTLINE

  1. We can never attain supererogation in performance of good works (Supererogation (super works) meaning exceed the level required by God, so you have reserve (extra) good works which you could donate to others).
    • They who in their obedience attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate and to do more than God requires,
  2. After we do our best, we are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done. Luke 17:10
    • as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.

PARA 5 – Our good works cannot merit eternal life

5._____ We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants; and because as they are good they proceed from his Spirit, and as they are wrought by us they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s punishment.
Romans 3:20; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Romans 4:6; Galatians 5:22, 23; Isaiah 64:6; Psalms 143:2 )

OUTLINE

Four Reasons why our good works cannot merit eternal life

  • We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin or eternal life at the hand of God,
  1. Disproportion between our good works and glory to come 
    • by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, 
  2. Distance between God and us
    • the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants;
  3. Spirit is the source of our good works
    • because as they are good they proceed from his Spirit, 
  4. Imperfect nature of our good works
    • as they are wrought by us they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s punishment.

PARA 6–  Believers’ good works are accepted and rewarded by God for Christ’s sake

6._____ Yet notwithstanding the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreprovable in God’s sight, but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
Ephesians 1:6; 1 Peter 2:5; Matthew 25:21, 23; Hebrews 6:10 )

PARA 7 – Even the good works of unregenerate are sins!

7._____ Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith, nor are done in a right manner according to the word, nor to a right end, the glory of God, they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, nor make a man meet to receive grace from God, and yet their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing to God.
2 Kings 10:30; 1 Kings 21:27, 29; Genesis 4:5; Hebrews 11:4, 6; 1 Corinthians 13:1; Matthew 6:2, 5; Amos 5:21, 22; Romans 9:16; Titus 3:5; Job 21:14, 15; Matthew 25:41-43 )

OUTLINE

  1. Good works of unregenerate can be good at worldly level
    • Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others
  2. Yet they are considered as sins
    1. because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith,
    2. nor are done in a right manner according to the word,
    3. nor to a right end, the glory of God, they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God,
    4. nor make a man meet to receive grace from God,
  3. Yet if unregenerate neglect to do good works, they are condemned more (what a deplorable state is to be unbeliever in God’s slight!).
    •  yet their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing to God

Chapter 15: Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation

 

PARA 1

1._____ Such of the elect as are converted at riper years, having sometime lived in the state of nature, and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their effectual calling giveth them repentance unto life. ( Titus 3:2-5 )

OUTLINE

Encouragement to special case 1:  A sinner who lived many years in sin and believes the gospel in the later years, God can grant repentance.  Example:  Manasseh in the OT and Paul in the NT.   

PARA 2

2._____ Whereas there is none that doth good and sinneth not, and the best of men may, through the power and deceitfulness of their corruption dwelling in them, with the prevalency of temptation, fall into great sins and provocations; God hath, in the covenant of grace, mercifully provided that believers so sinning and falling be renewed through repentance unto salvation.
Ecclesiastes 7:20; Luke 22:31, 32 )

OUTLINE

  1. Encouragement to special case 2:  A penitent saint who grieves over sin
    • A believer may fall into great sin.  Example: David.
  2. Two primary causes for the fall
    1. through the power and deceitfulness of their corruption dwelling in them,
    2. with the prevalency of temptation
  3. God’s merciful provision of forgiveness through repentance
    • God hath, in the covenant of grace, mercifully provided that believers so sinning and falling be renewed through repentance unto salvation.
  4. This is not a license to sin, but encouragement to renew repentance.
    • believers so sinning and falling be renewed through repentance unto salvation.

PARA 3

3._____ This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things.
Zechariah 12:10; Acts 11:18; Ezekiel 36:31; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Psalms 119:6; Psalms 119:128 )

Eight Traits of True Repentance

  1. Evangelical Grace: 
    • This saving repentance is an evangelical grace
  2. True Sense of Sin
    • whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin
  3. Faith in Christ
    • doth, by faith in Christ,
  4. Godly sorrow: 
    • humble himself for it with godly sorrow,
  5. Hatred for sin
    • detestation of it, and
  6. Hatred of self
    • self-abhorrency,
  7. Prayer
    • praying for pardon and strength of grace,
  8. Turn to God with full purpose of obedience
    • with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things.

4._____ As repentance is to be continued through the whole course of our lives, upon the account of the body of death, and the motions thereof, so it is every man’s duty to repent of his particular known sins particularly.
Luke 19:8; 1 Timothy 1:13, 15 )

Ongoing nature of Repentance

  1. Repentance is a lifelong ongoing task
    • As repentance is to be continued through the whole course of our lives
  2.  Reason for ongoing repentance
    • upon the account of the body of death, and the motions thereof
  3. Repentance is not generic, but specific to specific sins.
    • so it is every man’s duty to repent of his particular known sins particularly.

PARA 5

5._____ Such is the provision which God hath made through Christ in the covenant of grace for the preservation of believers unto salvation; that although there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation; yet there is no sin so great that it shall bring damnation on them that repent; which makes the constant preaching of repentance necessary.
Romans 6:23; Isaiah 1:16-18 Isaiah 55:7 )

  1. Praise God for his merciful provision
    • Such is the provision which God hath made through Christ in the covenant of grace for the preservation of believers unto salvation;
  2. Enormity of every sin and the great blessing of repentance
    • that although there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation; yet there is no sin so great that it shall bring damnation on them that repent
  3. Importance of regular preaching on repentance
    • which makes the constant preaching of repentance necessary.

Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith

PARA 1 – The origin and growth of faith

The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord’s supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened. ( 2 Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 2:8; Romans 10:14, 17; Luke 17:5; 1 Peter 2:2; Acts 20:32 )

OUTLINE

  1. Its divine origin – not in man, but in God emphasized with below highlighted words.
    • The grace of faith,
    • whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls,
    • is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts,
  2. Primary means of saving faith
    • and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word;
  3. Additional means that increase and strengthen saving faith.
    • by which also, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord’s supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened.

PARA 2 – Secondary and Primary acts of Saving Faith.

By this faith a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word for the authority of God himself, and also apprehendeth an excellency therein above all other writings and all things in the world, as it bears forth the glory of God in his attributes, the excellency of Christ in his nature and offices, and the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit in his workings and operations: and so is enabled to cast his soul upon the truth thus believed; and also acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come; but the principal acts of saving faith have immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, and resting upon him alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.  ( Acts 24:14; Psalms 27:7-10; Psalms 119:72; 2 Timothy 1:12; John 14:14; Isaiah 66:2; Hebrews 11:13; John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Galatians 2:20; Acts 15:11 )

OUTLINE

A. Secondary Aspects of Saving Fait

  1. It believes the truth of biblical revelation
    • By this faith a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word
  2. Its extent
    • “whatsoever is revealed in the Word.”
  3. Its basis
    • “the authority of God Himself.”
  4. It understands the incomparable excellency of scriptures
    • and also apprehendeth an excellency therein above all other writings and all things in the world, as it bears forth the glory of God in his attributes, the excellency of Christ in his nature and offices, and the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit in his workings and operations
  5. Its response to the truths of biblical revelation.
    1. Trust: 
      • and so is enabled to cast his soul upon the truth thus believed;
    2. Change/teachable
      • and also acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth;
    3. Obey the command
      • yielding obedience to the commands,
    4. Tremble
      • trembling at the threatenings, and
    5. Embrace
      • embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come; 

B. Primary Aspects of Saving Faith

  1. Primary Object of Saving Faith
    • but the principal acts of saving faith have immediate relation to Christ,
  2. Acts of Saving Faith: 
    1. accepting,
    2. receiving,
    3. and resting upon him alone
  3. Goal of Saving Faith
    1. justification,
    2. sanctification, and
    3. eternal life,
  4. Basis of Saving Faith
    • by virtue of the covenant of grace.

PARA 3 – The distinctiveness and final victory of Saving Faith.

3._____ This faith, although it be different in degrees, and may be weak or strong, yet it is in the least degree of it different in the kind or nature of it, as is all other saving grace, from the faith and common grace of temporary believers; and therefore, though it may be many times assailed and weakened, yet it gets the victory, growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.
Hebrews 5:13, 14; Matthew 6:30; Romans 4:19, 20; 2 Peter 1:1; Ephesians 6:16; 1 John 5:4, 5; Hebrews 6:11, 12; Colossians 2:2; Hebrews 12:2 )

OUTLINE

Distinctive nature of Saving Faith.

  1. It is not distinguished from weak faith.
    • This faith, although it be different in degrees, and may be weak or strong,
  2. It is distinguished from temporary faith.
    • yet it is in the least degree of it different in the kind or nature of it, as is all other saving grace, from the faith and common grace of temporary believers
  3. It wins in spite of its weakness and many attacks
    • therefore, though it may be many times assailed and weakened, yet it gets the victory,
  4. It grows to attain full assurance in many
    • growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance
  5. It gloriously reaches its goal in Christ
    • through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.

Chapter 13: Of Sanctification

PARA 1 – They who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, are also farther sanctified, really and personally, through the same virtue, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of all true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

OUTLINE

  1. Who will be sanctified?
    • They who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, are also farther sanctified
  2. How will they be sanctified?
    • really and personally, through the same virtue,
  3. By what means will they be sanctified?
    • by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them; t
  4. What happens in sanctification?
    1. the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and
    2. the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and
    3. they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces,
    4. to the practice of all true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

PARA 2 – Process of sanctification is a lifetime continual and irreconcilable war!

                This sanctification is throughout the whole man, yet imperfect in this life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war; the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

PARA 3 – The final victory of sanctification

In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, pressing after an heavenly life, in evangelical obedience to all the commands which Christ as Head and King, in His Word hath prescribed them.

OUTLINE

  1. Sanctification through conflict
    • In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ,
  2. Five fruits of Sanctification
    1. the regenerate part doth overcome; and
    2. so the saints grow in grace
    3. perfecting holiness in the fear of God,
    4. pressing after an heavenly life,
    5. in evangelical obedience to all the commands which Christ as Head and King, in His Word hath prescribed them.

Chapter 12: Of Adoption

PARA 1  – All those that are justified, God vouchsafed, in and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have his name put upon them, receive the spirit of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father, are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a Father, yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation.

Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:4, 5; John 1:12; Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 3:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 2:18; Psalms 103:13; Proverbs 14:26; 1 Peter 5:7; Hebrews 12:6; Isaiah 54:8, 9; Lamentations 3:31; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 1:14; Hebrews 6:12 )

OUTLINE

The foundation of adoption

  1. It source: “God vouchsafed” (meaning grant as a gift a special favor or privilege).
  2. Its recipients: “all those that are justified”
  3. Its ground: “in and for the sake of His only Son Jesus Christ”

II. Five blessings of adoption

  1. Incorporation into God’s family
    1. to make partakers of the grace of adoption,
    2. by which they are taken into the number, and
    3. enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God,
    4. have his name put upon them
  2. Disposition of a son toward God
    • receive the spirit of adoption
  3. Communion with God as a son with his father
    • have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father, 
  4. Experience of fatherly treatment by God
    1. are pitied,
    2. protected,
    3. provided for, and
    4. chastened by him as by a Father,
    5. yet never cast off,
    6. but sealed to the day of redemption           
  5. Reception of the promised inheritance
    • and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation.  

Christ – The believers righteousness

If the work of Christ involved just dying for our sins, he would have paid the penalty and cleared our debt due to sins before God, then we may just be in a state of neutral innocence, but that is not enough to be accepted before our righteous God.  Hence, Christ not only removed the wrath of God on our sins by his substitutionary death but by living a perfect life, he became our righteousness and made us whole and acceptable before God. 

Default mode of all fallen human beings is self righteousness. We are so addicted to it, even as believers if we don’t watch out in attitude of faith, we automatically tend to fall into that mode.   We generally think if I avoid a particular sin, and pray more, read more Bible, we can get closer to God.  Frankly, what is that but self righteousness?   It is true we have to grow in holiness by killing sin.  But does our standing and relationship with God dependent on our own righteousness or Christ’s perfect righteousness?   Will our tiny little self efforts bring us closer to a perfectly holy God?   If we have just a minute little sin in our being, that is enough for a burning holy God to banish us in hell forever.

Hence, if we want to have any true and consistent communion with this perfectly righteous God, we need to learn great truth of Christ our righteousness.  Isn’t this the great re-discovery of reformation – justification by faith and not by our own works.

  1. What is righteousness and how Christ becomes our righteousness?

Generally, righteousness is spoken as an attribute of God. Our God is perfectly righteous and he loves righteousness, he is so infinitely righteous that no one without perfect righteousness can ever stand before him. God created man in his own image, perfectly righteous, without any flaw or sin.   Adam was a representative for all human race.  If Adam would have lived a righteous life, his righteousness would have been imputed. Sadly because he sinned, his guilt was imputed to us because he was our federal head. 

Adam, and all his would-be children in him, having broken the law, fell from the perfect state and become depraved and unrighteous.   Oh how great and irreparablewas that fall!  We became fully depraved in every part of our soul and body; fell to an extent where our redemption seemed humanly  impossible.  We have broken God’s righteous law, and were under the curse of that law. Until justice of God is satisfied, and the honour of the broken law repaired; heaven’s gates were shut, and eternally barred against man and all his descendants.   In this deplorable condition, we could never ever approach God, the wrath of God almighty was ready to break upon our heads; we became slaves to sin, enemies to God, sentenced to physical and spiritual death, subjected to not only a temporal life of vanity, misery, and curse, but awaiting as prisoners to be eternally condemned in hell.   State of humanity was most tragic and pitiable condition before a God of inflexible justice. 

God could have justly condemned mankind after their fall.  Here Calvin beautifully says here God’s attributes struggled with one another.   Justice saying “Is the law broken, damn the offender, and send him to hell.”  At the same time, the mercy of God, his darling attribute, cries out, Oh pity, show mercy “Spare him, spare him.” The wisdom of God designs glorious way in which justice might be satisfied, at the same time mercy can be offered. How was that?

When no eye could pity mankind, when no angel or archangel could rescue, just as when God’s justice could have crushed us and given the fatal blow, just as the knife was put to the throat of mankind, (as Abraham about to kill his own son), The eternal Son of God, the dear redeemer, Lord Jesus Christ in his infinite love and pity to perishing sinners, steps in as a Mediator and Substitute.   Halts the justice of God saying, “Father, spare the sinner; have mercy and let him live.  True man has broken your law, and violated your covenant: man deserves to be damned forever; but, Father, I have compassion on this human race.   If you will prepare me a body, in the fullness of time I will go and do your will  What Adam could not do, and I will do.   He has broken your law, but I will go and keep it perfectly, that your law may be honored; I will give a perfect unsinning obedience to all your commandments; fulfil all  righteousness, and earn spotless perfect righteousness by which you may justify the ungodly without any stain to your justice.    I will not only go down and obey you law, but I will bear the infinite suffering due for their sins and bleed; die for him.Father, I will step in between you and sinners as a theirmediator and surety fulling all you demand from them to be reconciled to you.  Let your wrath fall on me, sword of justice pierce my heart, drain my blood, but spare and forgive the sinners!”

Behold the love of the son of God!   It is not only the death on the cross that saved us, but he had to take our place under the law and live a life of spotless purity for 33 years and as he said to John the Baptist, ‘we have to fulfil all righteousness.’  He lived a righteous life in the midst of terrible sinners, senseless disciples, and mortal enemies who thirsted for his blood chased him all his life.

So what is the righteousness of Christ?  It’s Christ’s righteousness purchased by Christ by his active obedience to law – by keeping the law perfectly, and of course his passive obedience by undergoing sufferings for our guilt and sins imputed to him.    Christ righteousness is an act of amazing grace of God, instead of demanding personal satisfaction, God not only admitted a substitute, but also provided one, and laid upon him all demands of law and justice.

Now how does Christ become our righteousness.   A man receives this righteousness when as a response to the gospel, he repents and puts his faith in Christ and his finished work.   A man is justified by faith alone, no works is needed.  Because Christ’s righteousness is perfect.  

This righteousness of the Surety is conveyed to us by imputation; God reckons what the Surety did to us; so that his righteousness becomes as much ours and we are justified before God, as though we had obeyed the law perfectly, and satisfied justice in our own person.   There is a blessed exchange of places between Christ and the sinner who puts his faith on him.  

  • Glorious attributes of this righteousness.

a)It is in every way perfect and spotless righteousness:

b)It is a meritorious righteousness.

c)It is an incomparable righteousness.

d) It is a soul-beautifying righteousness.

e) It is an everlasting righteousness.

  • This righteousness lifts the sinner from below greatest evil.

i)   From the condemning power of the law.

ii)  From trails and accusations of the world.

iii) From the power and malice of Satan.

iv)  From death itself.

  •  This righteousness lifts the sinner to the state of greatest blessings.

i)  Reconciled to God and peace with God.

ii)  Sonship.

iii) Fellowship and very closely familiarity with God and access to him with holy confidence and boldness.

iv) Endless glory.

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Pentecostalism

The Start

  • In October 1900, 29-year-old Agnes Ozmen matriculated at the freshly founded Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas.
  • Former Methodist, later Holiness pastor Charles Fox Parham directed students to read the book of Acts with more alertness to every mention of the Spirit.
  • He emphasized on below two points
  • Outward manifestations always accompany the Spirit’s activity, and (2) speaking in tongues is the outward sign, the proof of baptism in the Holy Spirit.
  • A watch night service was announced for New Year’s Eve. Parham, placed his hands on Miss Agnes at her request, praying that she would receive baptism by the Holy Spirit.
  • Witnesses report that Miss Agnes, for the next three days, spoke and wrote only in Chinese. Parallel with the event reported in Acts 2 at the feast of Pentecost, the miraculous “tongue” reportedly spoken at Topeka was a known, extant human language foreign to the speaker.
  • Amid the subsequent spread of the movement did reports of such technically “Pentecostal” tongues arose.
  • Theologically, the events at Topeka retain the strongest claim as the scene of the birth of Pentecostalism.
  • Interpretation of these events gave birth to new doctrine that turned Holiness believers into the first self-consciously Pentecostal followers of Jesus Christ, and they believed: speaking in tongues is the normative external sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit which is the spiritual birth right of every Christian.
  • A century and half earlier, John Wesley had taught that a second work of grace post-conversion was possible, desirable, and pursuable by converts to Jesus Christ.
  • The Methodist movement Wesley inspired gave birth to the Keswick Convention and conferences and the Wesleyan-Holiness and Higher Life movements out of which Pentecostalism sprang.
  • These Holiness churches emphasized the importance of Holy Spirit-produced second and even third works of grace.
  • One group, for example, identified regeneration, sanctification, and baptism in the Spirit as three stages of outpourings of the Spirit proper to the normal Christian life.
  • Terms such as “second blessing,” “entire sanctification,” “being filled with the Holy Spirit,” “baptism of the Holy Spirit,” or “baptism by the Holy Spirit” became identity markers amid a rapid movement giving birth to countless independent churches as well as full-blown denominations like the Pilgrim Holiness Church and the Church of the Nazarene.
  • All these Holiness groups insisted that the miraculous gifts reported in the New Testament continue beyond the apostolic age into the present day church.
  • Early Pentecostals hadthe insistence that speaking in tongues is the normative outward sign of the normative baptism by and in the Holy Spirit.
  • The second pivotal event occurred when African American Holiness-turned-Pentecostal pastor William J. Seymour made his way to Azusa Street in Los Angeles to preach.
  • Seymour, a former student of Parham and son of a slave, witnessed the outbreak of a revival that would not abate for three years.
  • This multi-racial, multi-class eruption of miraculous gifts (charismata) pumped out Pentecostal evangelists, missionaries, and ministers
  • From the beginning many Pentecostal churches began as independent entities and chose to remain so.
  • Slowly it moved into the mainline denominations like Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and all over and people from different denominations started practicing tongues and prophesies.
  • But hundreds of Pentecostal denominations arose as well, including this one: “The founding fathers and mothers of the Assemblies of God to promote unity and doctrinal stability, establish legal standing, coordinate the mission enterprise, and establish a ministerial training school.”
  • Of some 280 million Pentecostals worldwide, more than 67 million belong to the Assemblies of God.
  • Earlier Pentecostals from the Pentecostal movement slowly drifted on Orthodox Christian doctrine on Trinity. They called themselves oneness Pentecostals.

Neo Pentecostalism and Prosperity preaching

  • The roots of the so-called prosperity gospel and health-and-wealth gospel that grew up out of Pentecostal soil trace back to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
  • They preached saying, does not God place his children in a garden paradise and take them to a promised land where he makes their crops, livestock, and jewellery heap up and overflow? Does he not promise ultimately to set his adopted children down at a messianic feast in a New Jerusalem traversed along streets of gold? Was not Jesus the Great Physician? Does not God himself make us expect and yearn for the end ofcrying and pain and death?
  • By the 1980s the conviction that God wills the physical health and the material wealth of every follower of Jesus Christ essentially supplanted preaching about much of anything else within many Pentecostal churches.
  • The means for accessing such benefits was also identified— “name it and claim it.” From the ecclesial soil of Pentecostalism grew first the prosperity gospel and then the Word of Faith movement.

Pentecostals and Charismatics

  • Pentecostals are charismatics in that they pursue and report experience of the charismatic gifts.
  • The Vineyard Church is widely viewed as the first charismatic denomination.
  • The charismatic movement emerged apart for Pentecostalism, but these communities cross-pollinated with their gift-practicing siblings in significant ways.
  • Significantly, the new charismatics rarely treated tongues or any other outward manifestation as the necessary sign of Spirit baptism, making them immediately more compatible with others inside and outside their denominations who did not manifest the gifts. That gives them room to be part of any denomination and still call themselves Charismatics or continualist.

Implications:

1.First of all, we must see what does the Bible say about these things rather than what do we want or feel. Bible clearly teaches that the sign gifts are given for a purpose. We see slowly the sign gifts ceased in the later stages of the Apostles and it completely ceased after the apostolic age.

2.Secondly, we must know what the church history teaches us. We don’t see these gifts operative or even mentioned normative in the church for almost 1800 years post apostolic age and all of a sudden in 20thcentury people claim that God gives these sign gifts. This should cause us to doubt the authenticity of the claim.

3. Even if we think sign gifts are given today just for argument’s sake, will not God give to the Bible believing and most godly people, rather than the people who do not believe the truth like the ones who deny the Trinity, to prosperity believing people even to Catholics who claim to receive these gifts. All these points out to be a false claim.

4.  In church history, we look at movements and people moving away from the established churches because they wanted to stand for the truth of God’s word, like reformers, Anabaptist or Lutherans. Whereas if we look at this whole movement of Pentecostalism itstarted away from the truth and continue to further drift away from the truth.

5.We should always stick to what the Bible says and what does it teachholistically and know essential truths the people of God have always believed in the last 2000 years.   That’s very important. That’s why knowing church history, confessions of true church, and understanding systematic theologyis so important so we don’t’ fall prey for these neo movements which will take us away from the truth of God’s word.  

Foot notes:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-58/silent-pentecostals.html

Ruth

  • Ruth was the daughter in law of Elimelech and Naomi.
  • She was a Moabite and lost her husband. She later married Boaz, kinsman redeemer of Naomi’s family. Ruth and Boaz had a child named Obed.
  • From the line of Ruth, our Lord Jesus Christ came into this world.
  • Story of Ruth shows how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things

Lessons from the life of Ruth

  1. Ruth’s Selfless desire to care for her mother-in-law Naomi

Ruth was faithful to her mother-in-law, despite their hopeless situation.  She knew she may not have a future if she remains with Naomi; she may never get married again, may end up dying as a widow, with no generation, yet she chose it. Despiteall this, she took the initiative to take care of her mother-in-law.She was willing to sacrifice her life to be support Naomi in her desperate condition.

2. Ruth’s Commitment

Ruth’s commitment to Naomi is exemplary. Just to highlight her commitment in 3 angles – Firstly,she left her own parents, people, nation, land, to stay with Naomi. Secondly, she did this knowing well she may not have a future for herself with this old woman, may never get a chance to marry again, and end up staying a widow all her life.   She was selfless about her own life. Thirdly, and the most beautifully, her commitmentis expressed in her words “Your God will be my God.”  Naomi had just said “The hand of the Lord has gone forth against me”. Naomi’s spoke about her God in bitterness. But despite this, Ruth forsakes her religion and makes the God of Israel as her God.

3. Ruth’sHumility

Being humble is a very difficult thing when everything is going wrong in your life. But we see Ruth so humble even in the midst all terrible trials. She humbly took care of her mother-in-law even though she had become a bitter person.   It is difficult to be humble with bitter people as they keep grumbling andcomplaining, and test our patience!  WeRuth noble humility and hard work in Boaz field where she goes to work and glean the grain. In chapter 2:7, she says, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ She starts her conversation by sayingplease, in NKJV it says I pray. She humbly makes a request, and she isn’t demanding. End of verse 7, I will gather after the reapers among the sheaves, it simply means she will take the leftovers.  Even Boaz was impressed with her humility when he had conversation with her. 

4. Ruth’s Hard work

She is an amazing worker. In verse 7 workers who observed her state, “She has continued from early morning until now without resting even for a moment.”  Then verse 17 goes on to say that she gleaned until evening and then before she quit, she beat out what she gleaned, measured it, and took it home to Naomi. This shows how hardworking she was.

5. Ruth’s gift

We see the Lord rewarding Ruth several gifts for her faith on him. First gift is Naomi – a mother in a mother-in-law.  Second,God of Israel becoming her God through Naomi which is the best gift.   Third – Boaz the protector and kinsman redeemer of her life.  Fourth – Obed a blessed child from whose line came the Savior for this world.  When we lay our trust and hope in the Sovereign lord and his providence,he blesses us with amazing gifts in his due time.

Application

  1. When we read this amazing book, we feel that we must learn many things from the characters mentioned in this book be it Naomi, Ruth or even Boaz. Especially from the life of Ruth, we can clearly see that she was a woman of character and ideal women with godly attributes.   These traits of Ruth impresses us as we read the book of Ruth.  Do people feel that way when they seeour life? We need to examine and compare our character with Ruth and learn, correct the areas where we are lacking.
  2.  There are a lot of things which makes us admire Ruth, but the one which attracts the most isher initiative and commitment. Yes, when everything goes wrong in life, it is natural to think about our selffirst, but Ruth was selfless and took initiative to take care of old Naomi.  She knew Naomi has no one left and she cared for her. We need to learn this lesson however good or bad a person is, commitment strengthens our relationship. We must learn to show that immense commitment to God and his people in our life.
  3. Ruth’s hard work is the next important thing. These days people feel that they must get everything at the wink of their eyes without any labour.  Without hard work we will not get any good results. When we give our best, God will take care of the rest.
  4. Trust in the Sovereign God and His Providence and he will bless us with his good gifts in his due time.
  5. We can’t skip Ruth’s Humility. We see her humbleness in every walk of our life. God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble. That’s what he did to Ruth.
  6. We are also ordinary people like Ruth, and we believe God will work extraordinary things through uswhen we truly commit to him, lay our trust and faith in him, and show the wonderful traits of Ruth throughour life to others.

Naomi

Introduction

  1. Naomi was the wife of Elimelech, a man from Bethelem,Judah; who dwelt in Moab. Since there was famine in the land, they had moved to Moab. She had two sons Mahlon and Chilion and daughter in laws’- Orpahand Ruth.
  2. Book of Ruth begins with a terrible tragedy of Naomi and her daughter in laws losing their husbands and standing in a foreign land as three helpless widows
  3. She urges her daughter in laws’ go back to their parents. Orpah kissed Naomi and left but Ruth clung to her.
  4. In this story, we see how God graciously restoresa woman who was filled with bitterness to a joyful person.

Lessons from the life of Naomi.

Positives

  1. Naomi treated her daughter in law’sas her daughters.

We often hear a lot of storiesof misunderstandings, fights andheated arguments between mother in laws and daughter in laws.Here we see a different story which is very rare. Naomi treats her daughter in laws as her daughters. Even when things went bitter and Naomi faced lot of trails, she was kind to her daughter in laws. When she lost her husband and son, she didn’t treat them differently instead she wanted them to be happy and move on with their lives. We see more of a motherly nature in Naomi and may be because of this nature Ruth didn’t want to leave her. This was a very big gift for Naomi. When things continuously are not in favour, it is common for people to be bitter and selfish and think about themselves, but Naomi’s motherly character and her care for her daughter in laws gave her a beautiful gift –Ruth.

2. Naomi’s special love for Ruth.

Ruthwas very strong in staying with Naomi. In Chapter 1:17 she says “Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” Naomi’s love for Ruth grew day by day, when Ruth tells about Boaz and her interest in gleaning the grains, we see in chapter 2 how Naomi guides Ruth in the matter of Boaz and how she thinks good for her life and future. It is this special Naomi’s love for Ruth that always desired good for Ruth and guided her in everything.

3. Naomi accepted Obed as her grandson and happily nursed him.

Generally, we live in days where grandparents are not tokeen to sacrificially care and spendtheir time with their grandchildren. In Naomi’s case, God was so gracious to her and restored her bitter days into joyful days by blessing a grandson – Obed. Ruth 4:16 says, she joyfully took the child and nursed him as if her own son’s child.  In those days it would be difficult for people to accept someone’s child as their own, but we don’t see that nature in Naomi, she had some godly traits and accepted the child as her own.

4. Naomi didn’t go far away from God or forsake him during her trail time.

Humanly we all fail God when we face trails. We murmur, grumbleand disappoint God. Naomi also did the same when she faced trails. But what is important is when we truly know God, we will never despise him or forsake him/reject him. Though Naomi grumbled, murmured she didn’t reject God.

Negatives

  1. Naomi turned bitter unto God.

Turning bitter is a very difficult state of mind and that too towards God it is the worst thing we can do. We become bitter unto God when we see only our present situation and forget to count what God has done in our lives. Naomi was going through trails one after the other and she was just seeing her present situation and she failed to remember her blessings from God. This is very common thing for all of us to do, we must be connected to God always and be grateful to him for everything that he allows in our life.

2. During tough times she wanted to leave her homeland and when everything seemed good, she wanted to return.

During times of tough times of famine, family decided to move away from the promised land and go to a pagan country Moab and marry pagan women.  Naomi would have also played her role in this decision.  We also notice when things were fine, she returned to the land of Judah when she heard that the Lord had visited his people.

Application

  1. When God brings certain relationships in our life. We must be kind and faithfulin those relationships whatever we face. We must always regard them God appointed relationships in his providence. Naomi was faithful till the end
  2. We must be well connected to God. Not just in happy times or tough times but all the time, we must be ever grateful to him for all he has done, only then we will not turn bitter towards God.
  3. We must pray for godly wisdom to direct and guide our loved ones in the correct way, just as Naomi did to Ruth.
  4. We must stay in the place where God has put us no matter what, because God can use us as a testimony in that place to change the lives of others. We must not drift and move when the grassis greener on the other side