Archive for the ‘God’s grace’ Category

REASONS WHY FEW ARE SAVED

I will show you some reasons of the point, besides those five that I showed you before. And, First, I will show you why the poor, carnal, ignorant world miss of heaven; and then, Second, why the knowing professors miss of it also.

First, Why the poor, carnal, ignorant world miss heaven

1. The poor, carnal, ignorant world miss of heaven even because they love their sins, and cannot part with them. ‘Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.’ (John 3:19) The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because they are enemies in their minds to God, his Word, and holiness; they must be all damned who take pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess 2:10-12) The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because they stop their ears against convictions, and refuse to come when God calls. ‘Because I have called, and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded, but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh – as desolation, and your destruction – as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish cometh upon you; then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me.’ (Prov 1:24-29)

2. The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because the god of this world hath blinded their eyes, that they can neither see the evil and damnable state they are in at present, nor the way to get out of it; neither do they see the beauty of Jesus Christ, nor how willing he is to save poor sinners. (2 Cor 4:2,3)

3. The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because they put off and defer coming to Christ, until the time of God’s patience and grace is over. Some, indeed, are resolved never to come; but some, again, say, We will come hereafter; and so it comes to pass, that because God called, and they did not hear; so they shall cry, and I will not hear, saith the Lord. (Zech 7:11-13)

4. The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because they have false apprehensions of God’s mercy. They say in their hearts, We shall have peace, though we walk in the imagination of our heart, to add drunkenness to thirst. But what saith the Word? ‘The Lord will not spare him; but then the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy, shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.’ (Deut 29:19-21)

5. The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because they make light of the gospel that offereth mercy to them freely, and because they lean upon their own good meanings, and thinkings, and doings. (Matt 22:1-5, Rom 9:30,31)

6. The poor carnal world miss of heaven because by unbelief, which reigns in them, they are kept for ever from being clothed with Christ’s righteousness, and from washing in his blood, without which there is neither remission of sin, nor justification. But to pass these till anon.

Second. I come, in the next place, to show you some reasons why the professor falls short of heaven.

First. In the general, they rest in things below special grace; as in awakenings that are not special, in faith  that is not special, &c.; and, a little to run a parallel betwixt the one and the other, that, if God will, you may see and escape.

1. Have they that shall be saved, awakenings about their state by nature? So have they that shall be damned. They that never go to heaven may see much of sin, and of the wrath of God due thereto. This had Cain and Judas, and yet they came short of the kingdom. (Gen 4, Matt 27:4) The saved have convictions, in order to their eternal life; but the others’ convictions are not so. The convictions of the one doth drive them sincerely to Christ; the convictions of the other doth drive them to the law, and the law to desperation at last.

2. There is a repentance that will not save, a repentance to be repented of; and a repentance to salvation, not to be repented of. (2 Cor 7:10) Yet so great a similitude and likeness there is betwixt the one and the other, that most times the wrong is taken for the right, and through this mistake professors perish. As, (1.) In saving repentance there will be an acknowledgment of sin; and one that hath the other repentance may acknowledge his sins also. (Matt 27:4) (2.) In saving repentance there is a crying out under sin; but one that hath the other repentance may cry out under sin also. (Gen 4:13) (3.) In saving repentance there will be humiliation for sin; and one that hath the other repentance may humble himself also. (1 Kings 21:29) (4.) Saving repentance is attended with self-loathing; but he that hath the other repentance may have loathing of sin too; a loathing of sin, because it is sin, that he cannot have; but a loathing of sin, because it is offensive to him, that he may have. The dog doth not loath that which troubleth his stomach because it is there, but because it troubleth him; when it has done troubling of him, he can turn to it again, and lick it up as before it troubled him. (2 Peter 2:22) (5.) Saving repentance is attended with prayers and tears; but he that hath none but the other repentance, may have prayers and tears also. (Gen 27:34,35, Heb 12:16,17) (6.) In saving repentance there is fear and reverence of the Word and ministers that bring it; but this may be also where there is none but the repentance that is not saving; for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and holy, and observed him; when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. (Mark 6:20) (7.) Saving repentance makes a man’s heart very tender of doing anything against the Word of God. But Balaam could say, ‘If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord.’ (Num 24:13)

Behold, then, how far a man may go in repentance, and yet be short of that which is called, ‘Repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of.’ (a.) He may be awakened; (b.) He may acknowledge his sin; (c.) He may cry out under the burden of sin; (d.) He may have humility for it; (e.) He may loath it; (f.) May have prayers and tears against it; (g.) may delight to do many things of God; (h.) May be afraid of sinning against him–and, after all this, may perish, for want of saving repentance.

Second. Have they that shall be saved, faith? Why, they that shall not be saved may have faith also; yea, a faith in many things so like the faith that saveth, that they can hardly be distinguished, though they differ both in root and branch. To come to particulars.

1. Saving faith hath Christ for its object, and so may the faith have that is not saving. Those very Jews of whom it is said they believed on Christ, Christ tells them, and that after their believing, ‘Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.’ (John 8:30-44)

2. Saving faith is wrought by the Word of God, and so may the faith be that is not saving. (Luke 8:13) 3. Saving faith looks for justification without works, and so may a faith do that is not saving. (James 2:18) 4. Saving faith will sanctify and purify the heart, and the faith that is not saving may work a man off from the pollutions of the world, as it did Judas, Demas, and others. (2 Peter 2) 5. Saving faith will give a man tastes of the world to come, and also joy by those tastes, and so will the faith do that is not saving. (Heb 6:4,5, Luke 8:13) 6. Saving faith will help a man, if called thereto, to give his body to be burned for his religion, and so will the faith do that is not saving. (1 Cor 13:1-5) 7. Saving faith will help a man to look for an inheritance in the world to come, and that may the faith do that is not saving. All those virgins ‘took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.’ (Matt 25:1) 8. Saving faith will not only make a man look for, but prepare to meet the bridegroom, and so may the faith do that is not saving. ‘Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.’ (Matt 25:7) 9. Saving faith will make a man look for an interest in the kingdom of heaven with confidence, and the faith that is not saving will even demand entrance of the Lord. ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ (Matt 25:11) 10. Saving faith will have good works follow it into heaven, and the faith that is not saving may have great works follow it, as far as to heaven gates. ‘Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?’ (Matt 7:22)

Now, then, if the faith that is not saving may have Christ for its object, be wrought by the Word, look for justification without works, work men off from the pollutions of the world, and give men tastes of, and joy in the things of another world–I say again, if it will help a man to burn for his judgment, and to look for an inheritance in another world; yea, if it will help a man to prepare for it, claim interest in it; and if it can carry great works, many great and glorious works, as far as heaven gates, then no marvel if abundance of people take this faith for the saving faith, and so fall short of heaven thereby. Alas, friends! There are but few that can produce such [works] for repentance; and such faith, as yet you see I have proved even reprobates have had in several ages of the church.

But,

Third. They that go to heaven are a praying people; but a man may pray that shall not be saved. Pray! He may pray, pray daily; yea, he may ask of God the ordinances of justice, and may take delight in approaching to God; nay, further, such souls may, as it were, cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and crying out. (Isa 28:2, Mal 2:13)

Fourth. Do God’s people keep holy fasts? They that are not his people may keep fasts also–may keep fasts often–even twice a week. ‘The Pharisee stood, and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.’ (Luke 18:11,12) I might enlarge upon things, but I intend but a little book. I do not question but many Balaamites will appear before the judgment-seat to condemnation; men that have had visions of God, and that knew the knowledge of the Most High; men that have had the Spirit of God come upon them, and that have by that been made other men; yet these shall go to the generations of their fathers, they shall never see light. (Num 24:2,4,16, 1 Sam 10:6,10, Psa 49:19)

I read of some men whose excellency in religion mounts up to the heavens, and their heads reach unto the clouds, who yet shall perish for ever like their own dung; and he that in this world hath seen them, shall say at the judgment, Where are they? (Job 20:5-7) There will be many a one, that were gallant professors in this world, be wanting among the saved in the day of Christ’s coming; yea, many whose damnation was never dreamed of. Which of the twelve ever thought that Judas would have proved a devil? Nay, when Christ suggested that one among them was naught, they each were more afraid of themselves than of him. (Matt 26:21-23) Who questioned the salvation of the foolish virgins? The wise ones did not; they gave them the privilege of communion with themselves. (Matt 25) The discerning of the heart, and the infallible proof of the truth of saving grace, is reserved to the judgment of Jesus Christ at his coming. The church and best of saints sometimes hit, and sometimes miss in their judgments about this matter; and the cause of our missing in our judgment is, 1. Partly because we cannot infallibly, at all times, distinguish grace that saveth from that which doth but appear to do so. 2. Partly also because some men have the art to give right names to wrong things. 3. And partly because we, being commanded to receive him that is weak, are afraid to exclude the least Christian. By a hid means hypocrites creep into the churches. But what saith the Scripture? ‘I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins.’ And again, ‘All the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts; and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.’ (Jer 11:20, 17:10, Rev 2:23) To this Searcher of hearts is the time of infallible discerning reserved, and then you shall see how far grace that is not saving hath gone; and also how few will be saved indeed. The Lord awaken poor sinners by my little book.

I have my own opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel if we do not preach justification by faith without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing unchangeable eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross (Charles Spurgeon, The New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. 1, 1856).

Leviticus 18:22 (New American Standard Bible)

22‘You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (New American Standard Bible)

9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]effeminate, nor homosexuals,

10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

The Bible is very clear about homosexual relations. These types of relationships are forbidden by God. Since this is a growing issue in our country, the church must address homosexuality from the pulpit. We cannot be silent and allow the politically correct movement to mandate our speech and limit our religious freedoms. Since this issue needs to be addressed, how should we deal with it?

A good example of what we should not do can be seen as some Christians protest pro-gay rallies. I’ve seen videos and images of Christians screaming at pro-gay activists while holding signs with scriptures such as Leviticus 20:13,”‘If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”  It disturbs me to see Christians yelling at groups of homosexuals with no evidence of truly trying to witness to these people. Yelling and being hateful to homosexuals only shows them a form of Christianity that is false. Instead of attacking these people, we need to witness to them in truth and in love. We can stand against the sin of homosexuality and present our arguments in a civil manner. There is no need to engage in behavior that is not appropriate and acceptable by true Christian standards. How can we present the Gospel of Christ to these people when we are yelling at them, attacking them, and calling them names? Do we really want to follow the Law and put homosexuals to death? If we follow the Law, are we willing to stone our children because they disobey us time and time again ( Deuteronomy 21:18-21 )? Are we willing to follow the Law fully? If we will pardon our rebellious children, then we should be willing to pardon the homosexual. If we break one Law, then we have broken all of them (James 2:10).

We need to:

  • Love the homosexuals enough to tell them the truth.
  • Welcome them to our church as any other person in need of Jesus Christ.
  • Distinguish between loving the sinner and hating sin.
  • Teach homosexuals that they must repent of the sin of homosexuality
  • We need to understand that we cannot change them because only the Holy Spirit can change them.
  • Be patient with them and treat them no differently than we treat our friends and family.
  • Take the time to answer their questions and explain to them why God called homosexuality sin.
  • Preach the Gospel again and again with love as we depend on the Holy Spirit to convict them of their sin.

What we should not do:

  • Hate the people who are homosexual.
  • Name call and belittle them.
  • Make it a point to target them from the pulpit just because they are attending our church.
  • Make them feel like 3rd class citizens.
  • Compromise the truth about homosexuality just to make homosexuals feel welcome in our churches.

Should we treat homosexuals any differently when they come to our church? Do we truly welcome them in to hear the Gospel? We should welcome everyone to our church without making them feel unwelcomed. I’m not accusing all Christians of this type of behavior, but I have been in churches where people with certain sin problems are not really wanted. I know some Christians will worry about how allowing gays into the church could possibly influence people in the church. Most gays know when they walk in the doors how many churches feel about their lifestyle. We must not compromise the truth just so gays will fit into our congregations. My advice is to treat homosexuals the same way we treat all people who visit our church. We must preach the whole council of God to all people and be mindful to where the Spirit is leading us. The Gospel is offensive to the carnal nature of mankind, but that does not mean we make it a point to target certain people just to offend them. I’m not saying to avoid the subject of homosexuality. I’m saying that we must preach in love and truth, trying to convey the love of Christ by teaching them how He offered Himself for the forgiveness of our sins. We must preach the truth about homosexuality even when homosexuals are sitting in our pews.

How do we address Christians who are openly homosexual?

If a professing Christian is a homosexual we need to rebuke him/her with the Scriptures. If s/he does not repent of this sin, then we have nothing to do with them (1 Cor 5:1-13). This rebuking and separating is the same for all open sin regardless of the type of sin because sin is sin. We should not make exceptions for open sin. God is sovereign and holy, therefore His Word is final. We cannot create a gray area in the Word where a gray area does not exist.

In the United States, we have the freedom of speech, freedom of religion (and freedom from religion), and freedom of the press. Gay people have a right to be gay by our laws. Gay people, like all citizens, are already protected by our laws; therefore, I do not advocate any special rights based on sex, race, etc. All Americans are under the US Constitution and all are equally protected by it. With that said, I have every right to condemn the sin of homosexuality and to speak against this sin. This does not mean that I hate the individuals, and it does not mean that I advocate any type of violence against these people. I advocate preaching the Gospel of Christ and praying for the Holy Spirit to draw them to repentance. Even when pro-gay groups demonize our beliefs as homophobic and racist, we need to stand firm on the Word of God while being as much like Christ as humanly possible. We need to stand by the Word of God and point out we are also protected by the Bill of Rights. We must remember that our freedom of speech and the freedom to peacefully assemble also applies to pro-gay right groups. Therefore we need to respect our Laws even when we disagree with those who are protected by the Law. When we are confronted by the politically correct, we need to hold fast to the Word of God with one hand and hold the U.S. Constitution with our other hand to remind them that we have every right to condemn the sin of homosexuality.

How do we benefit the cause of Christ by acting like a bunch of crazed soldiers from the inquisition who are out to rid the world of evil? We do not need to be like the Pharisee who condemned Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:11-13); we need to reach out to all sinners just like Jesus Christ reached out to those who were lost. We are all born sinners (Romans 3:23). We are not under the Law because we are under Grace (Colossians 2). We need to love the homosexual and hate the sin of homosexuality (Romans 12:8-10).

1 Timothy 1:6-15 (New American Standard Bible)

6For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,

7wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.

8But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully,

9realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers

10and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,

11according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,

13even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;

14and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.

15It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

Faith and repentance are both necessary to and the efficient cause of true spiritual conversion. Some have confused conversion with regeneration. Therefore it is necessary to distinguish clearly between these two different operations of the Spirit. The following diagram may help to distinguish conversion from regeneration.

Regeneration Conversion
1. God is active while man is passive. 1. Both God and man are active.
2. God regenerates man in his inner being on his unconscious level. 2. Conversion takes place on man’s conscious level.
3. Regeneration is hidden and private, taking place unseen within man. 3. Conversion is open and public as well as inward.
4. No response from man included in regeneration. 4. The response of faith and repentance included in conversion.
5. No man is ever said to regenerate a sinner. Only God can “recreate,” “give birth to,” or “raise from spiritual death” sinners. 5. A believer can be said to “convert” sinners in the limited sense of the validity of the secondary cause or agent (Psa. 51:13; James 5:19-20).

Because it is true that God works in us the desire and the accomplishing of His sovereign will (Phil. 2:13), in conversion we consciously turn to God by the gifts of faith and repentance. Taking this view of conversion, we strengthen the necessity of God’s sovereign grace in the securing of salvation.

The Holy Spirit was sent to convince sinners of their sin and need of salvation and to convict sinners of their guilt before the Law of God and to convert sinners to Christ (John 16:7-14).

The importance of the Spirit’s work in conversion means that conversion should never be viewed merely as an automatic effect of regeneration. Conversion is organically connected to regeneration, not by any inherent power in regeneration but by the direct operation of the Spirit. Conversion always follows regeneration simply because this is the way the Spirit works.

R.A. Morey, Studies in the Atonement

*Blog copied from 5 Point Salt

Is it biblical to say that we are saved? or that we are being saved? What does the bible teach about salvation? What truly is salvation and can we lose it? and how do we endure to the end in this race?