Archive for October 2014

Was Circumcision God’s Ineffectual Grace to Ishmael?

October 11, 2014
Romans 9: 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
What follows needs a sarcasm alert.

Circumcision was not a sign of Ishmael’s faith. For Ishmael, circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant righteousness. Circumcision was a sign that Ishmael was commanded to believe the gospel. if Ishmael had not been circumcised, Ishmael would not have had any obligation to obey the law by faith. or to have believe in the gospel with works commanded by the law..

In circumcision, God takes the initiative with Ishmael. God speaks favor to Ishmael in circumcision and Ishmael “could and should have” responded in faith to God’s wooing. If Ishmael had not been a covenant child , if Ishmael had not been circumcised, then Ishmael would have had to be banished from the household as one cut off from the covenant. But because Ishmael was circumcised, Abraham was able to be a faithful parent to Ishmael.

Did Ishmael, possess any advantages by receiving the sign of circumcision? Was God’s goodness to Abraham heightened because of God’s grace also to Abraham’s son Ishmael? Does our “so great a salvation” terminate only upon isolated individuals, or does our salvation include a promise of eternal life (or alternatively greater covenant curse than common condemnation) to our infants? .

Is God less good to our children in this new administration than God was to Ishmael? If Ishmael was better off for receiving circumcision even if Ishmael ultimately perished, are our children (even if non-elect in the decree) better off for being watered? Was the sign given to help covenant children or hinder them? Denying our children water denies them a blessing from God.

If you disagree that water is a blessing, then your problem is with God commanding infants and Ishmael to be circumcised because you must agree that this circumcision was grace to Ishmael, even if circumcision did not result in Ishmael’s justification before God. That was not God’s fault but Ishmael’s fault, because circumcision was God’s grace and we know that.

Because really the distinction between law and grace is not very useful, except when it comes to saying that circumcision was grace and not law. At that point the distinction is useful. And also when it comes to saying that Ishmael sinned against grace and not only against law. Ishmael was blessed with circumcision even if that did not work out for Ishmael having lasting life in the age to come.

So the distinction between law and grace is not that useful, except maybe for talking about those born outside the covenant. As Mark Jones has explained, those not in the covenant cannot be commanded to believe the gospel. And those not in the covenant cannot be commanded to obey the law. Because obeying the law is finally not so very different from believing the gospel. And that’s why we must raised our infants under the gospel and not under the law.

Because if we tell our infants that they are forgiven, then they are forgiven. And if we tell our infants that their works are good and acceptable to God, then indeed their works are good and acceptable to God. And if we don’t tell our children that they were born under grace then we would have to tell them they were born under the law, and in practical real life the distinction between under law and under grace is not that useful in parenting.

So we tell our infants that they are born under grace and loved by God. and at least that way they are sinning against grace, and if they are not under grace there is nothing to tell them, because there can be no law if there is no grace. and when you think about it, law is grace and grace is law, at least for those in the covenant. Abraham was able to raise Ishmael in the covenant, and that is good because outside the covenant there is no such thing as law or sin.

Galatians 4: 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son.

Genesis 21: 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.”
Genesis 17: 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
Genesis 17: 23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

Is Obeying the Law the Same Thing as Trusting God?

October 5, 2014

Matt Perman—Since works of the law are not faith (Romans 3:28) and whatever is not faith is sin, many  theologians (like Dan Fuller) generally conclude that works of the law are therefore sin. They argue that “works of the law” refers not just to sin in general, but rather to a specific kind of sin–the sin of trying to earn from God. They often point to Romans 4:6: “to the one who works his wage is not reckoned as a favor but as what is due.” From this passage  they infer that “works of the law”–are things that are done in our own strength with a view to earning merit from God in the sense of doing God a favor such that God is obligated to return the favor.

Faith can be referred to as obedience in the sense that when we believe in Christ we are doing what God tells us to. Thus is why the Scriptures sometimes speak of “obeying the gospel.” But “doing what God tells us to do” is not the definition of obedience to the law.  Moral obedience does not simply mean “doing what God says” but doing what is virtuous. Faith in the gospel is not love for our neighbor.

Romans 9:11-12 …for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything GOOD OR BAD, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, ‘the older will serve the younger.’”

“Anything good or bad” explains the term “works.” Consequently, “works” are “anything we do, whether good or bad.” Works are not simply acts one does without faith or to put God in one’s debt. Rather, “works” is a term used to refer to human behavior in general. This behavior can then be classified as either obedience or disobedience.

Since faith in Christ is not a “work of the law,” it must follow that faith in Christ as Savior is not commanded in that moral standard. Faith is not a requirement of the law but of the gospel. This means that faith in Christ is not a morally virtuous thing (like telling the truth, etc), for virtue is that which accords with God’s moral law. Gospel faith is not commanded by the law, and so faith is not a virtue.”

Flush This Tract Down the Trash, by Scott Price

October 4, 2014

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation. written by Robert Ford Porter, and obtained from Lifegate Inc. P.O. Box 5 Monrovia, Indiana 46157-0005.

The first error is in the 3rd paragraph where it says, ‘In the Bible God gives us the plan how to be born again, which means to be saved.’ in John 3 Christ told Nicodemus that hemust be born again, not how to be born again. The Holy Spirit is compared to the wind in John 3:8. Man can not see the wind, only the effects of it. More importantly man cannot control the wind, God does. The same goes for the Spirit of God. Man cannot control the Spirit of God. The Spirit is sovereign, which means the Spirit goes where, when, why, and to whom he wants, before and without any human assistance or decision .

The false gospel teaches that a person is born again by the act of believing. In John 3:3 Christ says a man cannot see the kingdom of God at all if he is not born again first. So a person must first have life in order to believe, because faith is a gift of the Spirit. We know that “natural man(that is man dead in trespasses and sin, in need of the new birth) receives not the things of the Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:14). A dead man can and does believe false gospel, but those who are not yet born again cannot believe the true gospel.

The tracts says ‘you must realize you are a sinner’ but it does not define sin in terms of self-righteousness. This is the area of sin that we cannot detect by nature (in an unregenerate state). The sin of self-righteousness can only be exposed by the gospel which teaches that salvation is conditioned on God and not on the sinner. Immorality can be detected by our natural conscience convicting us by the Law within us, even without the gospel. Self-righteousness must be exposed before the sinner can see the need of being imputed  with Christ’s satisfaction of the law.. If the treu gospel is not heard, the sinner does not repent of his own righteousness, but rather go about to establish more self righteousness (Rom 10:1-4).  But our own righteousness is our greatest sin, because it sets itself up in competition with what God did in Christ, as if to add something to Christ’s death.

In the 6th paragraph the tract says ‘But God loved you so much…’ This promotes the universal love of God for all mankind. This is a very, very popular doctrine that is unbiblical. God does not love every person in the whole world who has ever been born. Consider Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens: He has done whatsoever He has pleased.” Since God is sovereign He can show mercy or withhold mercy to whomever He wants as it also says in Romans 9:15-19.

Look at Romans 9:11-15. These verses explain that God is sovereign in love and His love is unconditional. Paul explains here that God chose to love and save Jacob but Esau was hated and condemned. This choice of love was made not on the basis of any decision by Jacob or anything good in Jacob because verse 11 clearly says they ‘…were not yet born, neither having done any good or evil…’ Why did God do it this way? “..that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not according to works, but of Him that calls;” God did it that way because He had the right to, the power to, the will to, the purpose and plan to. He did this for His own glory. He reigns all powerful, and all wise in all His dealings. God did it this way so no man could have anything to brag or boast about. This is the only God there is and all other gods are false.

In Romans 8:35-39 it says “the love of God is only in Christ Jesus our Lord.” A person is loved and accepted in Christ. As it says in Ephesians 1:6 “…He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Verse 3 says “…who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ...” Look what verse 4 says “According as He chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…” All love and blessings are in Christ. Is everybody in Christ? No! ‘…Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated’ is what it says in Romans 9:13. Did anyone ever have the right to go to Esau and say ‘God loves you and truly wants to be your Savior.’ Should we say that to anybody in our day?  People who believe the false gospel believe in the false god who loves people and then allows them to perish.  But that is not the true divine love revealed in the Bible.

Millions of children have grown to adulthood, rejected the gospel and died over the past 2000 years. Should any of these children have been encouraged to sing the song ‘Jesus Loves Me’? It is a lie to say that God loves everybody. God only loves His Elect, sometimes called: His chosen, His people, His sheep, His remnant, the Israel of God, spiritual Israel, the called, His children, children of promise, His seed, a peculiar people, people of God, His Bride. The only evidence we have of anyone being the Elect is that they believe the gospel. So we can only tell believers that God loves them. When unbelievers are told God loves them they are given a false hope, even though they will die in their sins.

Imagine that on the ark Noah had painted on the side ‘Smile God Loves You’ as unbelievers perished in the deep flood waters. That is what people are saying today and have no biblical ground to do so. The God of the Bible secured the salvation of everyone He loves through working out a righteousness for them by dying the death of the cross in their place, satisfying God’s law and justice for them.

This brings me to the phrase in the tract that says ‘…He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, to bear your sin and die in your place.’ (italics mine). Then the tract writer goes on to quote 2 Cor. 5:21. We can say the same thing about Christ’s death that we can say about His love, that it is limited to the Elect, His chosen. Today people have separated the DOCTRINE of the Atonement from the gospel. . People tend to view the Atonement as only a historical event of  death, burial, and resurrection. There are many people who believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of this historical figure called Christ, but they do not have eternal life.

Christ’s death actually saves people. By that I mean His death is the very cause and reason that takes away God’s wrath from those  God favors. Nothing else in the whole universe can do that. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:22 “…without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” . Christ had the sin of the Elect, and theirs alone, imputed from their account to Christ’s account . If He had everyone’s sin imputed to Him, then everyone would be saved, because their sins would be remitted by Christ’s blood-shed.

The blood of Christ is precious (1 Pet. 1:19) and is not to be counted as something common or ordinary.. To say that Christ died for everyone to render them potentially savable because ‘Christ has done all He can do and the rest is up to you,’ is a MEAN DESPICABLE LIE it is using the Lord’s name in vain.

In this death God’s chief purpose was to glorify Himself, like He does in everything else. Christ death was accomplished in such a way that God could be known as both a “just God and a Savior” (Isaiah 45:21). This means that God did not say ‘OK, I guess I’ll show mercy on you even though you owe a great debt to me for hating my Law and justice.’ That goes against the very nature and character of God. He must show His justice in salvation, or there will be no salvation at all. The way He does that is through a satisfaction of justice by the death of a spotless substitute, who can be both God and man, so He can take on sin, and be made sin in the sinners place. Then and only then will God the Father punish and pour out this holy wrath and inflexible justice on His only begotten Son to remove the sin of all for whom Christ died for.

The verse in the tract that is quoted in part is 2 Cor. 5:21. This section of the Bible proves that Christ’s death was limited to His elect only. Verse 19 says “…God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.” Is everybody in the world reconciled to God? No! The word world here refers to His Elect. The next part of the verse says “not imputing their trespasses to them.” Whomever Christ died for, their sins will not be imputed to them. Those whom Christ did not die for will have their sins imputed to them. The latter part of verse 21 says ‘…that we...’ Who are the we? It is the same as the word “world” in verse 19. It says “…in order that we would be made the righteousness of God in him.” The context is clearly limited the benefits of the death of Christ to the chosen Elect of God. Christ only died for the Elect and to say anything different is most certainly a lie. The view that says Christ died for all people that have ever been born is a perversion of the grace of God that actually makes Christ a failure.

The next part of the tract is where it quotes Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Then the writer says ‘Whosoever includes you.’ The question I have is a simple one: How can ‘whosoever’ include everyone, when the ‘whosoevers’ are qualified by the condition of calling? Does everyone call upon the name of the Lord? No! A person might be a whosoever won’t, like most people are. We must conclude that the ‘whosoevers’ are those who actually do call upon the name of the Lord, which is not everybody. Holding to this view of ‘whosoever’ promotes the biblical teaching of ‘whosoever,’ and is not anti-evangelism in the least, but the very opposite. Whosoever is not everybody.

The tract has a ‘1-2-3 Repeat After Me Prayer.’ This is a  magic potion that has deceived millions of people down the road to destruction.e\. Saying a prayer has NEVER saved anybody, nor will it ever. We are saved by grace through faith . These prayer formulas are the inventions of man in relation to the public “altar-call,” or “invitation system.” Read Acts 10:43 and 13:38-39.

The back of the tract says ‘Let God save you…’  But Almighty God is absolutely sovereign. You do not let him do anything because God does what He wants. God saves whom He wants. He wants to save His Elect, and does save them. He is not willing that any of His Elect shall perish, but that all His Elect will come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). This is whom He loves, and this is whom Christ died for. God’s salvation is successful, just like He planned it. It is the only salvation that gives God all the glory and leaves no room for boasting in the sinner.


Where is that Objective Righteousness Which Saves Us?

October 3, 2014

I saw Jesus at the Father’s right hand. ‘There,’ I said, ‘is my righteousness!’ So that wherever I was or whatever I was doing, God could not say to me, ‘Where is your righteousness?’ For it is always right before him. I saw that it is not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was brought in by Christ. Now my chains fell off indeed. and I lived sweetly at peace with God.

Now I could look from myself to him  I saw that my precious hope was indeed in a very safe trunk, not in me but in Christ my Lord. Now Christ was all: my righteousness, sanctification, redemption.

— John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

In heaven, Christ sits. Why? Because the work that saves Christ has finished. But why waste your time on that point,  when all we need to know is that “God is everywhere”?

Hebrews 9:28–”Christ, HAVING BEEN offered ONCE to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save them that eagerly await Him.”

What sense could that make? If Jesus Christ is simply everywhere, who cares if He comes again, since we have Him by His Spirit already in our hearts? Please pay attention. I am not denying that Christ indwells the hearts of those who have been justified, but I am
suggesting that we talk about Christ’s kingdom without placing the present or the future into competition with what Christ got done at the cross.

Folks don’t deny that things like atonement and justification are part of the gospel. They agree with the Westminster Confession paragraphs on justification. Sure, they agree with that basic overall “Reformed” position, but there is no need for us to keep talking about that stuff when they can instead talk about their experiences.

Whether I am talking to a five year old or to a old old man on his death bed, I don’t want this “God anywhere and everywhere.” I want “Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord who was handed over because of our trespasses and raised because/in order to our
justification.” (Romans 4:25).

Romans 5 (love in our hearts through the Spirit who has been given us) begins with peace with God by means of justification. Justification is not the Spirit’s gift. The Spirit is God’s gift to the justified elect. Romans 5:9– “We have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.”

I look to heaven, not simply because the God-man who died with the imputed sins of all the elect has ascended there, but also He is coming from there. And these historical events are not below my navel or under my chest. The righteousness by which the justified REIGN is
NOT a righteousness imparted (or infused) in us by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 5:17 explains that those who receive (by imputation, like the guilt of Adam is received) “the free gift of righteousness REIGN in life through the one man Jesus Christ”. Romans 5:21 continues the theme into Romans 6. “Grace reigns through the righteousness” of that one man. Romans 6:9–”death no longer has dominion over Christ. For the death HE died HE died to sin, once for all.”

There are many who agree, sure the legal is part of “union”, but when it gets right down to it, they think the atonement and justification is somehow less real and true than what’s happening in their hearts.

Romans 8:10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the Spirit is alive because of righteousness.

The point in question concerns the righteousness. Is that righteousness what you think God is doing in you? Or is that righteousness what God did in Christ’s satisfaction of the law? What is the “righteousness of faith”?

Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith says: Do not say in your heart, who will ascend into heaven (to bring Christ down), or who will descend (to bring Christ up from the dead). The word (about what? is the news about what Christ did to satisfy the law?) is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.