Letter to My Local Pca Pastor

Posted October 13, 2017 by markmcculley
Categories: atonement, election, liberals

Tags: ,

Last night I went to see Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames, a program co-sponsered by you and your congregation. What I saw and heard was a false gospel and a false Christ.

The cross was presented as something that the devil did to Jesus. There was no presentation of “sin” as that which demands the justice of God so that God gives the Son to satisfy justice for the sins of His people.

The cross was presented in the first five minutes as something that MADE NO DIFFERENCE at the end. Since it was clearly said several times that Jesus died for every person, nobody in the audience could conclude that the difference between saved and lost was Christ’s death on the cross.

(Big deal! he died for those in hell too)
Time after time, the difference was said to be what the listeners did. So there was no good news at all last night, but only commands to believe in a false Christ and a false gospel.

In the end Satan gets people for whom Jesus died. That ideas brings dishonor and reproach to Jesus and His work. Care you more for the approval of other clergy persons than do you do for the honor of Christ?

The entire presentation was one long appeal to the flesh, to the natural mind. Sample statements:
You all got a “knower”.
You got to humble yourself.
You got to have the courage to say the prayer.
It’s up to you in the next 60 seconds.
He’s the path, but you are the chooser.
You got to really mean it.
If you will stand up, you will be a “special person”.
God will not throw it in your lap.
It’s God’s gift, but your accepting the gift is the difference.
If you say this after me, your name will be written in the book.
And most infamously: “just do it!”
And then people clapped when they did it.

And I cried.

Before I was converted, I was more theologically sophisticated than other folks, and I would have been “righteously offended” . But I cried, helpless, not knowing what to do or to say. “God, do you want me to stand up and interrupt when they say that Jesus died for those who go to hell?” Maybe I should have. I don’t want to be a fatalist. I don’t want to shirk my responsibility to the truth. But then again, I want people to be offended at the gospel, not at me. It wasn’t my meeting. It wasn’t my church. It wasn’t my Christ who was being “pitched”.

The trouble is that you don’t preach the gospel because you don’t preach particular redemption. Thus you avoid the offense of saying that the difference between saved and lost is the death of Jesus (and that all those for whom Jesus died will be brought to faith in the true gospel and saved from the sin of idolatry involved in believing the false gospel.)

You may on occasion talk in code language that reassures some people that you believe what the WCF says about particular redemption. But you avoid the antithesis. Thus you avoid the truth. You agree that you only have another interpretation but speak peace to those who say that God is neither wise nor holy nor just in saving all for whom Jesus died.

I think you tolerate and sponsor what you really believe. If you think of Heaven’s Gates as the gospel, or even as “pre-evangelism”, then you do not really believe the gospel. “Unconditional grace” without preaching the just and effective death of Christ is not the gospel, but merely lawlessness. Romans 1:17–“in the gospel a righteousness is revealed”…

What was “sin” in the presentation? Doing drugs, social drinking, not going to church, and, ultimately, not accepting Jesus. But Romans 10:3 teaches us that it is sin to try to establish our own righteousness instead of submitting to the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God is not out there to be taken at people’s discretion.

The righteousness of God demands that those for whom Christ died will not only stop hating God and His righteousness but also that all of the elect be forgiven for their sin of hating God and His righteousness. When you abridge the gospel, you substitute your own wisdom for that of God.

What am I to do when nineteen clergymen say to the town in which I live that this is the gospel? I am not a pessimist: I do not believe that Satan ultimately rules even this present age. . But I know that Satan is behind the presentation I saw last night. Satan does not wear a red cape. He substitutes a false gospel for the real one and calls it grace

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Must Grace Have Been Bestowed on your Children before you can teach them God’s law?

Posted October 4, 2017 by markmcculley
Categories: covenants, election, piper

Tags: , , , ,

Was Esau born in the covenant of grace, but then later lost his justification in Christ and therefore failed to “enter heaven”?

Hebrews 12: 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 14 Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord. 15 Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many. 16 And make sure that there isn’t any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for one meal.

God’s wrath is not an expression of God’s love. God’s wrath is not a response to human bad response to God’s grace. Those who are justified are no longer under God’s wrath. And those still under God’s wrath were born condemned, already under God’s wrath. God’s wrath for the non-elect is not subject to change

For the promise is for you in spite of yourself, as many Jews as the Lord our God will call, in spite of them being Jews, for the elect alone and not for the non-elect. The promise is for your children, as many children as the Lord our God will call, in spite of parents, for the elect alone and not for the non-elect. The promise is for all who are far off, as many non Jews as the Lord our God will call, in spite of them being born outside any covenant, for the elect alone and not for the non-elect

Since our duty is not based on our ability, the soundbite from Augustine (give what you command, and command what you will) is wrong if it’s understood to say that Christians now CAN obey the law at least enough to make it “congruent” or “fitting” (Jonathan Edwards) for God to bless us. The Augustinian soundbite is also wrong if it is used to imply that God in neo-nomian fashion now lowers the standard of the law to the level of what we in the new covenant are now gifted to do IMPERFECTLY.

The law is not the gospel, grace is not the law, and the ability to keep the law is not grace. It’s still too late for justified sinners to keep the law in order to “enter heaven” Those who are already saints are commanded to obey God’s law but not as a condition of covenant blessing.
Romans 5:20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.

Freedom from the law by Christ’s death imputed is necessary before we do any good works or worship acceptable to God

Those who reduce all post-fall covenants to one covenant of grace tend to say that their children need to have been born in grace in order to be taught the law. Like the Arminians who assume that the duty to believe the gospel implies the ability to believe the gospel, these like John Murray work their way from assumptions about the new capacity of regenerate disposition to denial of antithesis between law and grace for those born “in the covenant”

Mark Jones–When I ask my children to obey me in the Lord should I get rid of the indicative-imperative model for Christian ethics?

There is one divine standard, in this new covenant age, according to which both believers and non-believers are accountable. There are not two different standards. The commandment for children to obey their parents shows no distinction of believers and non-believers, and neither does the commandment to parents to raise their children according to God’s Word.

http://www.apoorwretch.com/2014/06/baptist-answers-to-pca-pastor-mark.html

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/leithart/2017/10/baptists-talk-babies/?

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/06/daddy-am-i-really-forgiven.php

http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/rite-reasons/no-20-daddy-why-was-i-excommunicated/

Do Christians and Their Unbaptized Children Pray to the Same God?

https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/does-teaching-someone-the-bible-make-them-a-christian/

Mark Jones—“Divine grace is not MERELY God’s goodness to the elect in the era of redemptive history. … Divine grace is a perfection of God’s nature, even apart from sin. In the garden, the grace of God was upon Adam.”

John Murray, The Covenant of Grace— “The continued enjoyment of this grace and of the relation established is contingent upon the fulfillment of certain conditions. Grace bestowed implies a subject and reception on the part of that subject. The relation established implies mutuality. The conditions in view are not conditions of bestowal. They are simply the reciprocal responses of faith, love and obedience, apart from which the enjoyment of the covenant blessing and of the covenant relation is inconceivable….the breaking of the covenant is unfaithfulness to a relation constituted and to grace dispensed. By breaking the covenant what is broken is not the condition of bestowal but the condition of consummated fruition.”

Richard Gaffin, by Faith not by Sight, p 103–”The law-gospel antithesis enters NOT BY VIRTUE OF CREATION..but as the consequence of sin…The gospel is to the purpose of removing an absolute law-gospel antithesis in the life of the believer…”

Gaffin— Having been called effectively involves having been regenerated, but the two are not identical. The exercise of the Spirit’s energies in calling produces an enduring change… marked anthropologically by a new and lasting disposition inherent in them, what Scripture calls a new “heart.” That is, at the core of my being, I am no longer against God and disposed to rebel against his will but, now and forever, for him and disposed in the deepest recesses of whom I am to delight in doing his will….The Holy Spirit’s work in the justified ungodly does not MERELY consist of an ongoing countering activity within those otherwise only disposed to be thoroughly resistant and recalcitrant. The definitive change MAINTAINED in believers by the Spirit provides a stable basis WITHIN THEM for renewing and maturing them according to their inner selves (2 Cor. 4:16). The Reformed use of “habitual” to describe this irreversible change, seems appropriate and useful. ”

http://www.opc.org/os.html?article_id=141

Leithart–“God can and does reward appropriate (albeit imperfect) human response. God’s unmerited love, then, does not nullify reciprocity. . . . God’s love is bestowed prior to conditions and is undeserved, yet there are conditions for its continuance”

Leithart: The big difference between the word and baptism is that the word offers God’s grace to everyone-in-general while baptism declares God’s favor TO ME . Baptism wraps the gift of forgiveness and justification and puts MY NAME on the package. Like the gospel, BAPTISM REQUIRES a response of ENDURING faith. Faith involves believing what baptism says ABOUT YOU…The self-imputation of “righteous” is based on the baptismal declaration that we are “justified from sin” by union with the death and resurrection of Jesus. And I can’t, of course, live a life of unbelief and disobedience, and expect baptism to rescue me at the end. Such a life would betray my baptism….. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/evangelicalpulpit/2014/11/no-sacraments-no-protestantism/#ixzz3L1NmJLfk

Wesley, Working Out Our Own Salvation—“Allowing that all persons are dead in sin by nature, this excuses none, seeing that there is no man in a state of nature only. There is no man, unless he has quenched the Holy Spirit, that is wholly void of the grace of God. No man sins because he has not grace, but because he does not use the grace he has.”

John Piper–How then can I say that the judgment of believers will not only be the public declaration of our differing rewards in the kingdom of God, according to our deeds, but will also be the public declaration of our salvation – our entering the kingdom – according to our deeds? When some deeds are exposed at the judgment as a person’s way of life, they will be the evidence that their faith was not transforming and they will not be saved.” (Future Grace, p 366)

Mike Horton: To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. How can they fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t belong? If faith is the only way into membership, then why all the warnings to members of the covenant community to exercise faith and persevere in faith to the end? God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they fall under the covenant curse without Christ as their mediator. The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response, but we don’t enjoy the blessings apart from receiving Christ.”
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/09/13/kingdom-through-covenant-a-review-by-michael-horton/

Here are several good responses to the related ideas that duty implies ability, or that ability eliminates distinctions between teaching children law and assuming that grace bestowed is necessary to teach children law.

Engelsma: Mike Horton affirms that God promises saving grace in Christ to every baptized baby. This is the same as to affirm that God promised saving grace to Esau in his circumcision. This affirmation implies that God failed to keep His promise. God’s promise failed. Grace is resisted. Grace is ineffectual. The reason, they will say, is the unbelief of Esau. Whatever the reason, grace does not realize itself in one to whom God is gracious. Regardless of the reason for grace’s impotence, the teaching is heretical. If God promises saving grace to both Esau and Jacob, as Horton affirms, but the promise fails because of Esau’s unbelief, then the conclusion necessarily follows that grace succeeded in the case of Jacob, only because of grace causing Jacob to accept grace.”

Tom Nettles—”The idea of universal atonement is not demanded by the Bible at all, but is often assumed as an inference drawn from a no-grace-no-justice assumption…. The piggy-backing of grace onto the command to believe the gospel does not come from the Bible.”

Mark Seifrid— “The Law speaks even to us who are regenerate as fallen human beings. Being a Christian means again and again, in all the trials and temptations of life, hearing and believing the Gospel which overcomes the condemnation pronounced on us by the Law and by our own consciences in which that Law is written….But according to the puritan perspective, Law and Gospel do not address the believing human being in radically different ways, but only in differing degrees according to the measures of “grace” present within them. …. The embedding of the Law within grace qualifies law’s demand—while the Law works the death of sinners, it has a different effect on the righteous. The puritans regards the “flesh” is present as a power that exerts partial influence on us.

http://equip.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/sbjt_102_sum06-seifrid1.pdf

Paul Helm—“One thing that the Amyraldian proposal does is to weaken connection between the plight of the race in the fall of Adam. For the Amyraldians the responsibility of each of the non-elect comes simply from hearing and not receiving the message of grace.”

Lee irons—”Their principle (that all types must typify grace and cannot typify the works principle) would rule out Adam from being a type of Christ. And what about the types prefiguring the day of judgment throughout the OT? For example, Noah’s flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues of Egypt, the conquest of the Canaanites, the expulsion of Israel from the land in the exile. These are not symbols of grace but of wrath.”

Steve Yang– Murray argues that those who crucified their old self with Christ are no longer under the dominion of sin (Romans 6). He says that “it is wrong to use these texts to support any other view of the victory entailed than that which the Scripture teaches it to be, namely, the radical breach with the power and love of sin which is necessarily the possession of every one who has been united to Christ. Union with Christ is union with him in the efficacy of his death and in virtue of his resurrection – he who thus died and rose again with Christ is freed from sin, and sin will not exercise the dominion” (143). Murray further writes, “the Christian] must reckon himself to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ his Lord. It is the faith of this fact that provides the basis for, and the incentive to the fulfillment of, the exhortation, ‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body…’” (146).

Murray’s usage of Scripture, however, has failed to prove that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit necessarily changes a person in a progressive sense. His usage of Romans, for instance, is unwarranted for the reason that he assumes that by “the dominion of sin” Paul has an ontological change in mind. However, when Paul wrote “so you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11) the verb he chose to use was logi,zesqe, which means to “consider”, to “count”, to “credit” or to “reckon”. Such a verb is not used in an ontological sense, but in a positional sense. Paul also uses this very verb to describe the manner in which Abraham was counted righteous by God God accounted, or declared, Abraham righteous even though Abraham ontologically wasn’t. Murray’s usage of this passage undermines his own assumptions by reaffirming the positional aspect of God’s blessings.

The freedom from the dominion of sin, which Paul speaks of, is the freedom from the condemnation of sin and from the guilt of falling short of the law’s demands. Whereas Murray would seem to suggest that sanctification is conforming to the law (by the Spirit’s help), Paul’s claim is that “we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, IN ORDER TO serve. Whereas Murray would suggest that being freed from the dominion of sin means that the believer has newly attained ability to keep the law, Paul, on the contrary, suggests that such freedom means Christians are absolved from the law’s demands. All the law could do is condemn, kill, and destroy. And it is for this very reason that in Rom. 7:7 Paul anticipates the objection that “doesn’t such a view suggest that the law is sin?” the view that the freedom from the dominion of sin only means that the Spirit aids us in obeying the law would never draw one to raise the objection that the law is sin (in fact, quite the contrary). If one were in line with Pauline theology, one would have to expect answer to similar objections in which Paul faced. The fact that John Murray does not seems to attract such objections only suggests that John Murray is not reading the Apostle Paul correctly.

Stoever, A Faire and Easy Way, p 64 – Cotton professed himself unable to believe it possible for a person to maintain that grace works a condition in him, reveals it, makes a promise to it, and applies it to him, and still not to trust in the work. If a person did not trust in the merit of the work, he would at least be tempted to trust in the right of it to the promise, and he probably would not dare to trust a promise unless he could see a work.

By Means of Christ’s Death or By Any Means God Decides?

Posted September 3, 2017 by markmcculley
Categories: good works

Tags: , , ,

Grace bypasses our works. The gospel is not grace plus works enabled by grace. The gospel says–grace OR works. It’s not grace for justification and salvation, but works for the other stuff. Either you support yourself, or you live by grace.

If God already decided to forgive some sins and some sinners, does it matter if God has also decided to forgive sins by means of Christ’s death or not by means of Christ’s death?

Does it matter if God uses Christ’s death as wrath and law satisfaction? Or is God by nature only sovereign, so that Christ’s death tells us nothing about God’s nature or about it being necessary for God to satisfy His justice for those God forgives?

If we agree that Christ’s death saves, does it matter if we agree about the meaning of Christ’s death? By means of Christ’s death or by any means God decides?

Romans 3: 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ Jesus as a propitiation ( through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness)

Galatians 2: 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

Hebrews 1: 3 After making purification for sins, Christ sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Hebrews 7: 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he DID THIS ONCE FOR ALL WHEN HE OFFERED UP HIMSELF.

Hebrews 9: 25 Christ did not offer Himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. 26 Otherwise, Christ would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now Christ has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself

Hebrews 10: 10 we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all…12 This man, after offering one permanent sacrifice for sins, sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Christ is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. 14 By one offering Christ has perfected those who are sanctified.

It’s not grace for justification and salvation, but works for the Christian life. It’s not grace for justification but works for raising your family. It’s not grace for justification but works for making money and keeping that money safe from your enemies. Either you support yourself, or you live by grace. Either you lean on the lasting arms of God or you lean on your own sufficiency to add something to the mix.

Romans 1: 17 The righteous will live by faith

Romans 3: 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ Jesus as a propitiation ( through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness)

Romans 4:16 The promise is by faith, in order that the promise be according to grace, to guarantee the promise.

Galatians 2:20 The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing

if anybody is first in the new covenant and then out, then God is neither sovereign nor just (to Christ, whose death paid for all the blessings of salvation

Romans 4: 4 Now to him that works the reward is not counted grace, but what is due

Romans 8:32 “God the Father did not even spare or keep back His own Son but handed over His Son for us. How then will God the Father not also WITH THE SON GIVE us everything

John 10: 17 This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life in order to take it up again.

John 17: 4 I have glorified You on the earth
by completing the work You gave Me to do.
Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence

Yes, the Father loves the Son
But also the Father will give the Son what the Son is due
The Father loves the Son because the Son gives the Father what the Father is due

2 Peter 1: 17 For when the Lord Jesus Christ received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory:
This is My beloved Son.
I take delight in Him!

Isaiah 42 “This is My Servant; I strengthen Him,
this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him.
I have put My Spirit on Him;
He will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry out or shout
or make His voice heard in the streets.
3 He will not break a bruised reed,
and He will not put out a smoldering wick;
He will faithfully bring justice.
4 He will not grow weak or be discouraged
until He has established justice on earth.

Grace to the elect was not grace to Jesus Christ
Christ did what Christ was obligated to do to save His elect
God the Son by His death appeased God’s wrath and purchased blessings

To save those the Father gave Him, the Son had a duty to die for them

Isaiah 53: 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many

Little or Much, Your Dead Works are an Abomination to God

Posted August 6, 2017 by markmcculley
Categories: good works

Tags: , ,

Psalm 127: Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain.
2 unless the Lord builds the house, it’s a waste of time to get up early and stay up working. God gives sleep to the one God loves.

The Roman Catholic “church” taught that God says what God says about us because we are what we are. The false church said that God can only call people righteous, if people truly are righteous, inside and out. Rome taught that justification was a matter of cooperation with the divine grace infused into us by means of the water baptism done by the Roman Catholic “church”.

A later development in some Roman Catholic theology was idea of “covenant grace” by William of Ockham (also later by Gabriel Biel) that taught that God does not say that we are just because we REALLY ARE just. This different false gospel taught something new. This different false gospel promised those “who do what little one can do” that God would not deny grace to them.

We may not do much, this false gospel taught, but we do a little something. We don’t do nothing.

But the Bible teaches that God’s justification is by Christ’s death.

To make this point, the Bible teaches that God’s justification IS NOT BY OUR WORKS

The Bible teaches that, if we do something, God has done nothing.

Galatians 2:21 if righteousness comes through our works, then Christ died for nothing.

Romans 3: 28 a person is justified by faith apart from works

Do not assume that God is on your side. Do not assume that God loves you. Do not assume that there are least SOME things you do that God will always see in a positive way. Do not assume that at a minimum God must accept at least your worship even if not your sins. Do not assume that your worship and works are not sins.

Do not assume that, if you do your little bit, then God will do the rest. Do not assume that, if you do your best, then God’s grace will accept your best as good enough. Do not assume that, if you are sincere, then God will count your good motives as having DONE ENOUGH THINGS.

Do not assume that your motives are good. If your motive is to do something so that God can take that something and then do what God could have done without you, then your motive is not good but instead is self-righteousness and hatred of the God revealed in the Bible.

Hebrews 6:1– “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from DEAD WORKS, and of faith toward God”

Hebrews 9:14–”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from DEAD WORKS to serve the living God?”

The problem with using works to get assurance of justification before God is that works done before and without assurance of justification before God are NOT pleasing to God Works attempted before God without assurance of justification before God will not be accepted by God.

Works attempted before God without assurance of justification are DISPLEASING to God. Even if the works attempted are not attempted in order to gain assurance before God, without assurance of justification before God, all works are an abomination to God.

The Bible calls such works “dead works”, not only because they are works done by those still legally condemned before God but also because those dead works do not lead to life but to death.

Romans 6:20,21–”when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed. The end of those thing is death.”

Romans 10: 2 I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but NOT ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGE. Because they disregarded the righteousness FROM GOD and ATTEMPTED to BUILD THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, they have not submitted themselves to God’s righteousness. ….The righteousness from the law is that the one who DOES THINGS will live by THINGS DONE

Luke 16:15 That which is highly esteemed among humans is abomination in the sight of God.

Isaiah 1 Your appointed feasts I hate. Your religious ceremonies are a trouble unto me.

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD

Matthew 23:27 You are like unto whited tombs, which indeed appear beautiful on the outside, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness

John 3:19 Even though the light has come into the world, people loved the darkness rather than the light because even their works were evil.

John 3:20 People with dead works hate the light of the gospel and do not come to the light because they don’t want their dead works to be exposed as dead works

Romans 4:4 To the one who works, forgiveness is not considered a gift. To the one who works, forgiveness is considered something owed.

Romans 10: 5 There is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 Now if being chosen is by grace, then being chosen is not by works. Otherwise works cease to be works Otherwise grace ceases to be grace. 7. Many did not find what they were looking for, but the elect did find grace. The rest were hardened, 8 as it is written:
God gave them a spirit of insensitivity,
eyes that cannot see
and ears that cannot hear

God the Father made a different promise to Christ than God made to the fathers

Posted July 6, 2017 by markmcculley
Categories: election

Tags: , ,

I Peter 1: 18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from THE FATHERS, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 Christ was chosen before the creation of the world but was revealed at the end of the ages

Even if God had chosen to save each and every human sinner by Christ’s death, it would still not have been foolish for God to create humans (and the world) in order that Christ would become incarnate and die for humans that God created to be sinners.

Fathers Abraham and David are NOT in heaven because they are still dead right now.

Acts 13: 32 And we ourselves proclaim to you the good news of the promise that was made to our FATHERS. 33 God has fulfilled this for us, their children, by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second Psalm:
You are My Son;
today I have BECOME Your Father.
34 Since God the Father raised the Son from the dead, never to return to decay, God the Father has spoken in this way, I will grant you the faithful covenant blessings made to DAVID 36 David fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and decayed. 37 But the One God raised up did not decay.

God the Father elects some sinners in Christ because of the Father’s love for Christ. God the Father elects some sinners in Christ because of the Father’s love for those sinners.

The death of Christ is not the cause of God’s election in love.
God’s election in love is the cause of the death of Christ.

God’s justice in Christ’s death is NOT the cause of God’s love, but God’s justice in Christ’s death is the necessary means of God’s love.
Justification is not election, but trying to teach imputation without election is failing to teach the justice of Christ’s death for imputed sins.

Christ’s election obligates Christ to die under God’s law.

Isaiah 53:10
Yet the Lord was pleased to crush the Servant severely.
You make Him a restitution offering,
The servant will see His seed, He will prolong His days,
and by His hand, the Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished.
11 The servant will see the accomplishment out of His anguish,
and He will be satisfied with His knowledge.
My righteous Servant will justify many,
and He will carry their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will GIVE HIM THE MANY as a portion, and He will receive the mighty as spoil,
BECAUSE He submitted Himself to DEATH,
and was counted among His sinners
He bore the sin of many
and interceded for His sinners

Did God create time? Or did God always have time?

Did God create His sovereignty ? Or did God always have sovereignty?

Before the ages when God elected Christ and Christ’s people, hadn’t that election already happened always before?

God made more than one promise to Abraham.
God promised Abraham that Abraham would have many children.
God promised land to Abraham and his children

Genesis 13: 15 for I will give you and your offspring all the land that you see for this lasting age

Genesis 17:8 And to you and your future offspring I will give the land where you are residing—all the land of Canaan—as a lasting possession, and I will be their God.”

Genesis 17: 19 But God said, “ Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will name him ISSAC I will confirm My covenant with ISAAC as an lasting covenant for his future offspring.

Genesis 17: 20 As for Ishmael, I will certainly bless him; I will make him fruitful and will multiply him greatly. Ishmael will father tribal leaders, and I will make Ishmael into a great nation.

Genesis 22:17 I will indeed bless you (Abraham) and make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the gates of their enemies. 18 And all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring because you (Abraham) have obeyed My command.”

Since the apostle Paul took Scriptures with plural “seed” to mean the singular, can’t we also translate the many seed into one seed?

Galatians 3:8 Now the Scripture saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and told the good news ahead of time to Abraham, saying, All the nations will be blessed through you.

Galatians 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.

Galatians 3:18 For if the inheritance is from the law, the inheritance is no longer from the promise. But God granted the inheritance TO ABRAHAM through the promise.

Galatians 3: 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.

Even the apostle Paul knew that “seed” was the plural collective.

Ephesians 1:4-5. 4 For God chose us in Christ, before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 God predestined us TO BE ADOPTED through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, 6 to the praise of His glorious grace that God favored us with in Christ.

God the Father elects some sinners in Christ because of the Father’s love for Christ. God the Father elects some sinners in Christ because of the Father’s love for these sinners.

was the promise of the new covenant made to both Christ and Christ’s elect?

https://bible.org/article/plain-senses-scripture-questioning-interpretive-singularity-galatians-3-and-romans-4

Psalm 72:17
May his name endure forever;
as long as the sun shines,
may his fame increase.
May all nations be blessed by him
and call him blessed.

Genesis 3: 15 Then the Lord God said
I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.

Your believing will not Cause you to be Born Again

Posted July 1, 2017 by markmcculley
Categories: atonement, death, election, faith, imputation

Tags: , ,

John 3:18 He that believes not is condemned ALREADY

John 3:36 The one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God REMAINS on them

Not all sins, not all sin, was laid on the Savior
But every sin which was laid on Christ has been paid for by Christ’s death
No sin is not paid for by our believing

The believer who points to their believing and says that this believing made peace
is not yet believing the true gospel.
Different believers believe different gospels

Even if you don’t think your believing is the righteousness,
if you believe that Christ’s righteousness was for everybody
then you certainly don’t think it’s Christ’s righteousness which saves.

I Peter 2:24 who his own self bore OUR sins in his body on the tree
I Corinthians 15 Christ died FOR OUR SINS according to the Scripture

The cross is not about how God COULD save somebody
The cross is about how God WILL save all for whom Christ died
The cross is not about sinners already being saved before they believe
The cross is not about sinners being saved without knowing or believing.

The cross is about Christ having been imputed with all the sins of those God loves
The cross is about Christ’s death one time taking away God’s wrath for those sins
The cross is about God imputing Christ’s death to the elect and giving them faith
in that death as the righteousness which will save and give every blessing

II Peter 1:1 Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ:To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours THROUGH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Christ’s blood means Christ’s death
Christ’s righteousness means that Christ’s death
satisfies God’s wrath against sins

God does not buy God’s love for His people
God’s love for His people causes God to buy His people
Christ’s righteousness pays for God’s people

Romans 5: 8 But God proves His own love for US in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! 9 Much more then, since we have NOW been declared righteous by His blood, we WILL BE SAVED through Christ from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the DEATH of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, WILL WE BE SAVED by His resurrection

Christ’s righteousness does not mean something else extra
besides Christ’s death satisfying God’s wrath
Christ’s righteousness is not Christ doing what Adam was supposed to do
God’s grace does not save apart from Christ’s death

Ephesians 1:7 in Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to His grace

All for whose sins Christ died were first objects of God’s love
God’s elect are not loved because they believe
God’s elect believe the gospel only because of God’s grace

Those who believe the gospel are free from condemnation
passed from death to life
but not because they believe and not because God saw that they would believe
believing the gospel is a gift of grace purchased by Christ’s death

Romans 8: If God is for us, who is against us?
32 God did not even hold back His own Son
but handed Him over for US all;
how will God not also ( along with His Son) GIVE us everything else?
33 Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect?
God is the One who justifies.
34 Who is the one who condemns?
Christ Jesus is the One who died,
but even more, has been raised;
Christ Jesus also is at the right hand of God
and intercedes for us.

All for whom Christ died will in time believe the gospel
the gospel is not that Christ died for all sins and all sinners
you can’t know if Christ died for you until after you believe the gospel

But how can you believe if you don’t know first if Christ died for you?
The gospel is not that Christ died for you
Christ died for the elect to give them the gift to believe

Those who believe are those for whom Christ died
we have no Bible to say that Christ died for anybody who never believes the gospel

Hebrews 9:12 Christ entered once into the holy place, HAVING OBTAINED PERMANENT REDEMPTION for US

But how can you believe if you don’t know if God will give you believing?

how can you take a breath without knowing if God will give you another breath?

why would you not want to breathe?

why would you insist on knowing that Jesus died for you before you would believe?

would you like it better if Jesus died for everybody even though not everybody will be saved from God’s wrath?

would you like it better if at least your believing was not a gift God gives also along with the death of Jesus?

would you like it better if it wasn’t the death of Jesus that made the difference but instead your believing?

would you like it better if God loved those who will perish under God’s wrath just as much as God loved those who God will save?

would God be more righteous to you if Christ’s death was not enough to turn sinners into those who believe what God says about Christ’s death?

would God be more righteous to you if God did not care what you believe about believing making the difference?

Does Christ’s righteousness depend on what you do with that righteousness?

Were You Born Justified and Then Later “Saved”?

Posted June 12, 2017 by markmcculley
Categories: arminians, atonement, election, faith, imputation

Tags: , , ,

There are preachers who teach the sovereignty of God who teach that God can justify (and has already justified) sinners who God has not taught the gospel. While these preachers assure us that these justified people will know and believe the gospel some day they also teach teach that God’s sovereign justice means that all the elect are justified before and without believing the gospel.

When these preachers teach that there are only two states, they are not talking about the difference between justification and condemnation. To them, the difference between “not being able to acceptably worship God” and “being saved” is NOT the difference between before and after justification. The eternal justification preachers teach that “saved” means “have learned the gospel”. They don’t think “saved” means “justified before God.”

Those who now think they are “saved” can talk about how other people “thought they were saved before they were saved until they were saved” But it turns out that some of these people think they were born justified before they knew the gospel. They think they were justified before they were “saved”. They think they were justified back when Jesus finished dying on the cross.

Phil 3:9–“and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that righteousness which comes through faith…

God has not yet forgiven any sinners who God has not yet taught the gospel.

II Corinthians 4: 6 For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ

The truth of the gospel is not only God’s sovereignty but also God’s righteousness. This means that the gospel is not only about the justification of the elect sinner but also about the justification of God.

Palm 116:11—“I said in my alarm, ‘All mankind are liars’” The gospel gives all the honor and glory to God. In the gospel God is justified, and sinners who still don’t believe the gospel are still condemned. We see this in Romans 1:25 . All of us have been people who “exchange the truth for a lie”.

To pass over from condemnation to justification is to learn the gospel in which one’s confidence is not in what God’s sovereignty does in you but rather in what God has done in Christ outside you. Christ only died for the elect. Christ only died for those who will believe the gospel. One of the blessings of the gospel is that God teaches the elect the gospel and causes them to believe the gospel. Those who were once slaves of sin “become obedient from the mind to the standard of doctrine to which they are committed” (Rom 6:17) so that there are “things of which you are now ashamed” (Rom 6:21).

Before you were justified You may have already believed in God’s sovereignty and also been ashamed of immorality, without ever knowing God’s gospel about justification. The Cains of this world are ready for a self-examination and contrast in terms of their morality or their assent to God’s sovereignty. But as long as they have not come to the light of the gospel , they still love darkness and their evil deeds are still charged against them.. (John 3:19)

It is idolatry to only know a God who is sovereign. The true God is also righteous.

Psalm 51:4-6—“Against you have I sinned and done what is evil, so that you are justified in your words and blameless in your judgment…Behold you delight in truth…” Two things go together: God tells the truth, we were born in the wrong.

II Thessalonians 1: 6 It is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you 7 and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, 8 taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t OBEY THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS

II Thessalonians 2: 10 They perish because they did not accept the love of THE TRUTH IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned—THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE THE TRUTH but enjoyed unrighteousness.

The gospel is good news for the elect, but not without also being first bad news. The gospel does not tell the elect that they are elect. The gospel does not tell the elect that they are already justified. The gospel does not tell the elect that all the elect are already justified. You can call it “law before gospel” if you wish. But part and parcel of justifying God (and trusting God’s true gospel) is taking sides with God against our-selves. Before justification, God and us can’t both be right. God is right, and we are wrong.

If we ever get to thinking that God is so sovereign that God justifies elect sinners before teaching them the gospel, then we takes sides against what the Bible teaches about the difference between election, atonement, and justification. We should not only confess that God is going to get God’s way, that God is going to win. We need to learn to confess that the way God acts in history . God justifies God in history (by means of Christ’s death in history) God justifies his elect in history. Believing the gospel is not a condition for God placing the elect sinner into Christ’s death. Believing the gospel is not a condition for God imputing Christ’s death to the elect sinner. But believing the gospel is also not the “evidence and result” of having been born justified, All those who do not yet believe the gospel are not yet justified. And all those who are justified before God believe the gospel.

Romans 3:22 –“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe”. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood THROUGH FAITH. This was a demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just AND the justifier of the one WHO HAS FAITH IN JESUS

Romans 4:13–“the promise did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith….

God is true. God is God. To be ignorant of the righteousness of God (His attribute, not only Christ’s saving work and gift) is to an idolater, to be one who still does not know the true God. Romans 3:3 tells us that God’s faithfulness proves that God is the true God. Isaiah 42:3—“He will faithfully bring forth justice.” Isaiah 45:19—“I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness. I did not say to the seed of Jacob, seek me in vain. I the Lord speak the truth. I declare what is right”.

Many who teach the sovereignty of God speak of “blessed inconsistency” instead of realizing that knowledge of how God justifies is wonderful knowledge of God!

Many who teach the sovereignty of God also engage in rationalizations and self-deceptions. They tell us, “well at least our being justified before we know the gospel shows us the sovereignty of God. We can’t be bothered to look back to any passing from death to life. Why bother with talking about before and faith in the gospel, or about “when in condemnation” or “before justification”. Since the Arminians confuse faith with Christ’s righteousness, we won’t make that mistake. We will exalt the sovereignty of God by teaching that justification is independent (before and without) God teaching us the gospel

But God is not a respecter of persons. God takes sides with Himself, against all those not yet imputed with Christ’s death. The only elect sinners that God has already justifies are those God has placed into the death of Christ.

Romans 8:10–”but if Christ is in you.., the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

II Peter 1:1, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Romans 4:24 Righteousness will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was handed for our trespasses (past and future) and raised for our justification (past and future)

ROMANS 6:17 But thanks be to God, that you who WERE ONCE slaves of sin HAVE BECOME obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, HAVING BEEN justified from sin, HAVE BECOME slaves of righteousness.

Romans 16:7 “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow countrymen and fellow prisoners. They are noteworthy in the eyes of the apostles,and they were also in Christ before me.” Christ being in us is not the same reality as us being in Christ, and the Apostle Paul does not say that these other elect were born again before him. Paul say they were “in Christ” before him. That’s not the new birth or election. That’s justification

God is not some neutral arbitrator. God is one of the parties in God’s lawsuit against sinners. The God we have offended by being sinners (exchanging truth for idolatry) is the God who will judge all sinners.

Eternal justification preachers falsely reason from the fact that God’s imputation of Christ’s death is before faith to a conclusion that God’s justification is also before and without faith in the gospel. But the imputation of Adam’s sin and condemnation are two distinct matters, and condemnation is the result of God’s imputation of Adam’s sin.

God’s imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ is distinct from God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect (Romans 6 baptized–not water, not with the Spirit– into the death). Eternal justification folk have nothing to say about justification in the before and after of Romans 6 and Ephesians 2. T

They tend to assume that Galatians 2 (despite its context) is not talking about justification (freedom from guilt, positive legal standing in Christ) but about the new birth (learning the gospel).

God’s imputation of Christ’s death results in God’s effectual calling, faith and justification. God’s declaration of justification is not apart from God’s creating hearing by faith in God’s gospel.

Cunha, p 83—” To say that faith is merely an awareness of justification that has occurred prior to faith is to define faith in a way that is foreign to Scripture….

David Clarkson, Of Faith, p 75—Faith at first relies on Christ, not as one that has pardoned my sin, but as one through whom pardon is to be obtained. The persuasion that sin is pardoned is a consequence of faith. Faith is not the persuasion that my sin is pardoned.

James Haldane, The Doctrine of the Atonement, p 115–”When does the act of justification take place? In time or before time? Like every other purpose of God, justification was God’s purpose before the ages, and like the act of creation, justification is an act carried out in time. We may as well talk of eternal resurrection as talk of eternal justification,”

Romans 8: 12 We are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die.

Believing a false gospel is flesh, and if you believe a false gospel, you are going to die. Being immoral is flesh, and if you believe and confess the true gospel, you believe and confess the forgiveness of your immorality (past and future)

You will notice that I have not talked about the nature of faith and assurance. I cannot talk about everything all at once. I don’t make distinctions between me “really believing” and other people “only having their heads stuffed with intellectual doctrines”.

My question is about the object of knowledge. What is the gospel? Does the gospel tell us that all the elect are already justified? No, it does not. Does the gospel tell us that being “saved” is not justification but the new birth? No, it does not. Does the gospel tell us that Christ’s righteousness is Christ keeping the law Adam and Moses were supposed to keep? No, the gospel is about Christ’s death as the basic difference between those who will be justified and those who will not be justified. All for whom Christ died will be justified.