Posts Tagged ‘Grace’

Here’s some more good stuff from Walter Marshall on the powerlessness of the unregenerate, gospel-less man:

We are alll by nature, void of strength and ability to perform acceptably that holiness and righteousness which the law requireth, and are dead in trespasses and sins, and children of wrath, by the sin of our first father, Adam… This doctrine of original sin, which Protestants generally profess, is a firm basis and ground-work to the assertion now to be proved, and to many other assertions in this whole discourse. If we believe it to be true, we cannot rationally encourage ourselves to attempt an holy practice, until we are acquanted with some powerful and effectual means to enable us to do it. While man continued upright, in the image of God, as he was first created, he could do the will of God sincerely, as soon as he knew it; but, when he was fallen, he was quickly afraid, because of his nakedness; but could not help it at all, until God discovered to him the means of restoration (Gen 3:10,15). Say to a strong healthy servant, Go, and he goeth; Come, and he cometh; Do this, and he doth it: but a bed-ridden servant must know first how he may be enabled.”

It is the Gospel that frees us, that regenerates, justifies, sanctifies and glorifies us. Apart from the gospel there is no power to perform the acts of holiness which God requires us to fulfill. “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” – Galatians 2:21

One of the gravest mistakes of the church today and throughout the ages is the command to fulfill the command of God without giving the means to do so. Even as God gave the law through Moses to his people he gave them the means through the Gospel. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Exodus 20:2. Here we see both the Gospel, and the helplessness of their state. God rescues them from slavery, and then proceeds to call them to holiness. Oh, how often do we forget the means to to the end.

Marshall says once again in his book The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification:

Men show themselves strangely forgetful, or hypocritical, in professing original sin in their prayers, catechisms, and confessions of faith; and yet urging upon themselves and others the practice of the law, without the consideration of any strengthening, enlivening means; as if there were no want of ability, but only of activity.”

May we continually feed on the means of grace.

A new friend of mine recommended that I read Calvin’s “The Necessity of Reforming the Church”. So, I am slowing going through it, reading and re-reading. Honestly it’s been a while since I picked up something that is so weighty, thus I see my need to retrain my attention span (or maybe it’s just that I’m reading at 12:30 AM). Anyway, there are some great quotes, and though I haven’t gotten too far into his appeal, I have been encouraged and am delighting in the doctrines of grace; the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just thought I’d share a paragraph or two with you all… It really does produce a humble heart, thankfulness, and assurance which leads to true worship unto God.

Now, the knowledge of our salvation presents three different stages. First, we must begin with a sense of individual wretchedness, filling us with despondency as if we were spiritually dead. This effect is produced when the original and hereditary depravity of our nature is set before us as the source of all evil  a depravity which begets in us distrust, rebellion against God, pride, avarice, lust, and all kinds of evil concupiscence; and making us averse to all rectitude and justice, [it] holds us captive under the yoke of sin; and when, moreover, each individual, on the disclosure of his own sins, feeling confounded at his turpitude, is forced to be dissatisfied with himself, and to account himself and all that he has of his own as less than nothing; then, on the other hand, conscience (being cited to the bar of God) becomes sensible of the curse under which it lies, and, as if it had received a warning of eternal death, learns to tremble at the divine anger. This, I say, is the first stage in the way to salvation, when the sinner, overwhelmed and prostrated, despairs of all carnal aid, yet does not harden himself against the justice of God, or become stupidly callous, but, trembling and anxious, groans in agony, and sighs for relief.

From this he should rise to the second stage. This he does when, animated by the knowledge of Christ, he again begins to breathe. For to one humbled in the manner in which we have described, no other course remains but to turn to Christ, that through his interposition he may be delivered from misery. But the only man who thus seeks salvation in Christ is the man who is aware of the extent of his power: that is, acknowledges him as the only priest who reconciles us to the Father, and his death as the only sacrifice by which sin is expiated, the divine justice satisfied, and a true and perfect righteousness acquired; who, in fine, does not divide the work between himself and Christ, but acknowledges it to be by mere gratuitous favor that he is justified in the sight of God. From this stage also he must rise to the third, when instructed in the grace of Christ, and in the fruits of his death and resurrection, he rests in him with firm and solid confidence, feeling assured that Christ is so completely his own, that he possesses in him righteousness and life.”

Chew on that a few times. Praise be to Him who has overcome!

rcsproul

As long as we entertain delusions of our own merit or compliment ourselves on our own contributions to salvation, we block our hearts from pure worship.”

– R. C. Sproul, The Souls Quest for God, pg. 187

“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.” Ephesians 2:8-9

I love those words… “I have a shelter in the storm, when all my sins accuse me, though justice charges me with guilt, Your grace will not refuse me.” Christ the the Lord is our Rock; our Refuge; our Shelter! We are secure in Him!

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In the darkness of our miseries,the grace of God shines more brightly.” -John Calvin

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for tose who are called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

Yesterday I was checking out what was new on the Desiring God blog and found an article entitled “What Should we Pray For” which compiles a list of all the N. T. prayers. I was reading the list this morning and praying at the same time when I came across one of Paul’s requests in 2 Thessalonians 3:1 which reads:

“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may speed on and triumph, as it did among you…”

This is my prayer for our ministry here in Romania, that the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, would triumph in our hearts and minds. That we’d be humbled by His grace and thus love Him, and one another.

I recommend that you print out a copy of Piper’s list of what to pray for, or at least read it over to see if we are praying for the same things as revealed in Scripture.

“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

Romans 8:33-34

 So… Who is it, that will bring a charge against us? Well, Satan will do that, the world will do that, even some among the church will do that… But that doesn’t matter, for we are God’s elect, His purchased possesion. Indeed it is God who has justified us from all the charges that could be held against us. It was Christ who died, suffered God’s hatred and judment of sin, who endured the wrath for the joy set before Him. It is Christ who sits at the Father’s right hand who pleads our case, who washed us clean and defends us in the holy court of God. O, Praise Him all you peoples, for His love has conquered sin and death! Praise Him for His sacrifice is enough! Praise Him for He has risen victoriously!

J. C. Hahne