Total Depravity Is A Deplorable Doctrine – I recognize the weight of the doctrine of “total depravity”, the first of John Calvin’s Five Points. It stresses the radical corruption of the human nature, rendering him incapable of exercising saving faith and repentance and obedience to God’s righteous commands. I understand it, and I hate it.
Christ Before Pilate – [Pilate] might have guessed that this carpenter from Nazareth could make a table or a chair, but it never entered his mind that “by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him, and for Him.” PDF Document
The Missing Ingredient In Many Sermons – I have seen this in some otherwise terrific sermons. Guys can be exegetically sound, communicate with clarity, illustrate with profundity, and then at the end of the sermon it tastes like grandma’s meatloaf: somewhat filling but not so memorable.
Five Truths About The Wrath Of God – We live in a day where we have set ourselves as the judge and God’s character is on trial. “How can hell be just?” “Why would God command the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites?” “Why does God always seem so angry?”
I am dying willingly for God’s sake, if you do not hinder it. I beseech you, be not an unseasonable kindness to me. Suffer me to be eaten by the beasts, through whom I can attain to God. I am God’s wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread of Christ…. I long for the beasts that are prepared for me, and I pray that that may be found prompt for me. I will even entice them to devour me promptly…. Let there come on me fire and cross and struggles with wild beasts, cutting and tearing asunder…. Cruel tortures of the devil, may I but attain to Jesus Christ. – Ignatius
This is an edited version of Jonathan Edwards’ Part IV, section 1 of “Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in New England” (from The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Banner of Truth Trust, volume one, pp. 398-403). In this case, an edited version cannot do true justice to the whole essay, so it is highly recommended that you acquire this treatise and read the complete version yourself.
The first and worst cause of errors that prevail in our day and age is spiritual pride. This is the main door by which the devil comes into the hearts of those who are zealous for the advancement of Christ. It is the chief inlet of smoke from the bottomless pit to darken the mind and mislead the judgement. Pride is the main handle by which he has hold of Christian persons and the chief source of all the mischief that he introduces to clog and hinder a work of God. Spiritual pride is the main spring or at least the main support of all other errors. Until this disease is cured, medicines are applied in vain to heal all other diseases.
It is by spiritual pride that the mind defends and justifies itself in other errors and guards itself against light by which it might be corrected and reclaimed. The spiritually proud man is full of light already and feels that he does not need instruction, so he is ready to despise the offer of it. On the other hand, the humble person is like a little child who easily receives instruction. He is cautious in his estimate of himself, sensitive as to how liable he is to go astray. If it is suggested to him that he does go astray, he is most ready to inquire into the matter. Nothing sets a Christian so much out of the devil’s reach than humility and so prepares the mind for divine light without darkness and so clears the eye to look at things as they truly are Psalm 25:9—He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. If spiritual pride is healed, other things are easily rectified. Our first care should be to rectify the heart and pull the beam of pride out of our eye and then we shall see clearly.
Those who are most zeal ous in the cause of God are the most likely to be targeted as being filled with pride. When any person appears, in any respect, to be remarkably distinguished from others in his Christian walk, odds are ten to one that it will immediately awaken the jealousy of those about him. They will suspect (whether they have good reason or not) that he is very proud of his goodness and that he probably thinks no one as good as he, so that everything he says and does is observed with this Continue reading →
I recently had the opportunity to listen to two sermons by Paul Washer on the book of Ephesians. As usual, they have challenged me to rethink how I think about God and who He is. I’ve included a partial transcript I made of the second sermon. I’ve included the audio files of both sermons and you can listen to them by clicking on the links provided at the bottom of this page.
From Ephesians 1, Part 2:
When does God get scandalous for man? When does God become scandalous for man? When we talk about His love? No. When we talk about His mercy? No. When do people get angry when we talk about God? When we talk about His righteousness. Now think about that. When you say that God is righteous, men get angry. Now why would men get angry at the idea of a righteous God? Because man is not righteous.
What is the great scandal about the Law of God? When I’m speaking, especially at universities, I hear people say all the time – “I don’t want to hear about the Law of God!” “Why, I ask?” “Because it suppresses me, it oppresses me and holds me down.” I had a student actually stand up and say that one time. I asked him, in front of the entire audience, please explain to me which law is oppressive? Which one do you hate? Is it ‘love your neighbor as yourself?’ Is it ‘you shall not lie or bare false witness?’ Is it ‘you shall not commit adultery and steal another mans wife or that you should not reduce another human being to an object to be used for your sexual pleasure?’ Exactly which law is it that oppresses you and if God’s law does oppress you, then what does that say about you?
You see, the reason why men are hostile towards God is this, God is good, and men are not. When we talk about this mass of humanity we are talking about a mass of people given over to corruption, hostile towards God and hostile towards His law. But also we are talking about a humanity that loves evil and refuses reconciliation. Now think about that, a humanity that not just loves evil, but a humanity that refuses reconciliation.
Humanity cannot come to God. Men cannot come to God on their own. When I say that people respond, “Well, if men cannot come to God on their own, then God is wrong in judging them in the same way we would be wrong for judging a man who was blind for not being able to read a sign on the road. What do you mean, man cannot come to God?” I mean that because Jesus said that. But what is the explanation and why is such a man held guilty? Man cannot come to God because man will not come to God and he will not come to God because he hates Him. He hates Him because He is good.
Have you ever seen an old lady whose face is etched with bitterness and you say to her, “Ma’am, you must forgive your husband.” She responds, “I cannot forgive him.” Now, she speaks the same language as her husband and they live in the same house. She is not saying she cannot, she is saying she will not and why will she not? Because of her hostility towards her husband.
What about a political prisoner who is in chains? The king comes down to the dungeon and says, “I will throw open the door, all you have to do is bow your knee to me and acknowledge my sovereignty.” The prisoner leaps up, grabs the door, slams it closed and says “I would rather rot in prison than bow my knee to you.”
That is man.
Jesus said this in John 3:19-20:
This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
Light came into the world. I’m always hearing people say that if the believers would just live like Jesus then people would be converted. No, you would have a lot of believers crucified. Jesus came into the world and what did the world do? They crucified him! Why? He gives us the reason:
…that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
Jesus said in John 6:44:
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
In John 6:65:
And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
I want to read a paragraph that I have written here in my notes to make myself as clear as possible.
When the scriptures speak about election, it is not in the context of a mass of humanity victimized by the devil, that wants to be saved, but lacks the faculties to do so. That is the way, a lot of times, men are presented; victims. No that is not the context. The context is this. It is in the context of a mass of humanity that is morally corrupt, hostile towards God, that rejects every offer of redemption and that would rather spend an eternity given over to corruption and the misery’s of hell than to be subject to God in heaven.
One of the reasons why certain people have so much difficulty with election and they have so much difficulty with hell is because they think man is good, that there is something good in man that wants God. There is a little spark, there is a little something, there’s got to be some goodness in there somewhere. Therefore they say hell is immoral, how could God throw man in hell? What you need to understand is that that is not true. Hell is moral because man is immoral. The only reason they may look a little moral in the context of present society is because the grace of God is restraining their evil. But if God where to pull back, man would become monsters of iniquity. So every time you see some vile crime that comes out on the local news, or some atrocity committed by some government that is beyond the mind to comprehend, realize that that is you apart from the grace of God.