Why I Am A Calvinist!

Today, during my perusal through several of the blogs I frequent, I came across one that reminded me of my own journey from Semi-Pelagian Arminianism to the Doctrines of Grace.  Matter of fact, this story is so close to my own that I just couldn’t pass sharing it.

Brandon Lucas writes:

Almost a decade ago I was involved in a titanic spiritual battle between two opposing theological views. I could feel the once rock solid doctrines of free will slipping through my fingers like fine sand. I begged and beseeched the Lord to deliver me from the relentless reasonings and scriptural bombshells ripping the house I had built on the shifting dunes of man-centered doctrines. My pride and self-respect were on the line.

See, for the first decade of my born-again life I embraced a form of Arminianism that many call Semi-Pelagianism. Simply put, I believed that man’s free will is the deciding factor in salvation. Calvinism, which is the belief that God is sovereign over all things, including man’s salvation, had recently started making sense to me and I was drawn to it. (While at the same time being repulsed by it).

Calvinism was a dirty word in my old church. I considered it to be on equal footing with cultic beliefs.

I used to say such things as:

“Calvinism is a doctrine of demons!”

Or worse yet:

“If God is like how the Calvinists describe him, I would never serve such a cruel, heartless dictator who arbitrarily chooses who will and will not be saved!”

Read the rest here.

New Calvinism And The New Community

John Piper recently gave a lecture at Westminster Theological Seminary for the Richard B. Gaffin Jr. Lecture on Theology.  Matthew Barrett stated the following regarding this lecture:

Piper demonstrates that the doctrines of grace are so very important, especially for how we understand race, ethnicity, and missions. Or to state the matter otherwise, the doctrines of grace destroy racism. The lecture is worth listening to for this point alone, and this point does occupy the bulk of his message. I am once again reminded that while some think the doctrines of grace are secondary and irrelevant, these doctrines are massively practical for everyday life and ministry, as well as our interaction with society as a whole.

Enjoy the Lecture.


PrayerI started attending church in 1982 on a regular basis.  Before that, I would only attend when my parents made me go, and what is funny about that is we only attended at Easter, I can’t remember once going at Christmas time, so I guess you could say we were just annual Christians (can you guess which geographical area I’m from). But in all the years I went to church regularly, I can’t tell you how many times I walked down to the altar and re-dedicated my life.  I had no assurance of my salvation!  When I could “feel” God, I knew I was saved, but when the heavens were closed and my prayers seemed to be unheard, salvation was so far away.

Then, about 4 1/2 years ago, during a casual conversation with an associate minister of the church my family and I attended, the topic turned to God’s sovereignty.  I had heard the word, I had even heard preachers teach on what it meant for God to be sovereign, but it’s fullness never really registered in my mind.  This time, however, something changed.  I actually started thinking about what it meant for God to be sovereign.  This lead me to start thinking about His absolute sovereignty.  After just a week or two of dwelling on the ramifications of what it meant for God to be absolutely sovereign, the Word of God opened up to me in an unexpected way.  I started seeing God’s sovereignty in scripture like I had never seen before.  I read Jonah 2:9b where the Word says, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.”

Like a floodgate being opened, the truth of the doctrines of God’s marvelous grace came flooding into my life.  For the very first time, I had complete assurance in the salvation of my Lord and God.  What had only weeks before been a heart of stone, was now a regenerated heart of flesh that had a new found desire to serve God.

It has not been without struggles because what happened to me caused me to leave the church my family and I attended, the friends we had, to find a church where the doctrines of grace where taught.  It caused a rift with some members of my family which is still there today.  I praise God that my wife saw the change and was inquisitive enough to ask questions of me and I was able to take her to the Word of God and show her the scripture that had so transformed my life.  Her life too was changed and it is amazing to see the transforming power of God in her life too.

I say all of this because I know it is possible to have assurance of one’s salvation.  I know it is possible because I have experienced it and watched it in my wife and with my own mother, both of whom I was also able to talk to and open the Word to.  Now, lest you think that I think it was me that lead them to Christ, rest assured that I am a firm believer that salvation truly does belong to the Lord, I was just the instrument that God used to speak His Word’s into their lives. So, I want to share a website that has embarked on a series entitled:  Assurance of Salvation.  To this point, there are only two entries in the series, but they are definitely worth looking at.

Part 1 – Assurance of Salvation: Why study on the topic of Christian assurance?

Part 2 – Assurance of Salvation: Foundation for Perseverance of the Saints.

Head on over to The Domain For Truth website and check these articles out.

And a huge UhRah! to SlimJim.

An Introduction to the Reformed Faith

Five years ago I could not have told you anything about the Reformed Faith.  Oh, I knew who John Calvin and Martin Luther were, but nothing about their beliefs.  It was a simple conversation about what it meant for God to be sovereign that started a process that brought me out of a state where I thought I was saved, into a new understanding of the Doctrines of Grace and what it means when God saves you.  Over the past few years I have read, studied and listened to as much as I could get my hands on to learn more about the sovereignty of God in not only salvation, but in all things.  With that, I have come across a gentleman by the name of Brian Borgman multiple times and he is an outstanding expositor and teacher of the Word.  I highly recommend his 13 part series on an Introduction to Reformed Faith.  I’ve included the links below.

Tale of Two Gospels (MP3)

Soli Deo Gloria: The Supremacy of God in All Things (MP3)

Grace Needed: Total Depravity (MP3)

Sola Scriptura: The Supremacy of Scripture (MP3)

Grace Conceived: Unconditional Election (MP3)

Sola Gratia: The Supremacy of Grace in Salvation (MP3)

Sola Fide: The Supremacy of God in Salvation (MP3)

Solus Christus: The Supremacy of Christ in Salvation (MP3)

Grace Secured: Limited Atonement (MP3)

Grace Applied: Irresistible Grace (MP3)

Grace Triumphant: Perseverance of the Saints (MP3)

The Assurance of Grace: Assurance in the Life of the Saints (MP3)

The Grace of Law: God’s Law in the Life of the Saints (MP3)

Spurgeon Thursday


NO. 2195




By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went.” Hebrews 11:8.

 THE part of the text to which I shall call your attention  lies in these words, “By faith Abraham obeyed.” Obedience—what a blessing it would be if we were all trained  to it by the Holy Spirit! How fully should we be restored if we were perfect in it! If all the world would obey the Lord, what a Heaven on earth there would be! Perfect obedience to God would mean love among men, justice to all classes and peace in every land! Our will brings  envy, malice, war—but the Lord’s will would bring us love, joy, rest, bliss. Obedience—let us pray for it for ourselves and others!—

“Is there a heart that will not bend
To Your Divine control?
Descend, O Sovereign Love, descend, And melt that stubborn soul.”

Surely, though we have had to mourn our disobedience with many tears and sighs, we now find joy in yielding ourselves as servants of the Lord—our  deepest desire is to do the Lord’s will in all things. Oh, for obedience! It has been supposed by many ill-instructed  people that the Doctrine of Justification by Faith  is opposed to the teaching of good works, or obedience. There is no truth in the supposition!  We preach the obedience of faith.  Faith  is the fountain,  the foundation and the fosterer of obedience! Men will not obey God till they believe Him. We preach faith in order  that  men may be brought to obedience. To disbelieve is to disobey! One of the first signs of practical obedience is found in the obedience of the mind, the understanding and the heart—and this is expressed in believing the teaching of Christ, trusting  to His work and resting in His salvation.

Faith  is the morning star of obedience. If we would work the work of God, we must believe on Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Brothers and Sisters, we do not give a secondary place to obedience, as some suppose. We look upon the obedience of the heart to the will of God as salvation! The attainment  of perfect obedience would mean perfect salvation. We regard sanctification, or obedience, as the great design for which the Savior died. He shed His blood that He might cleanse us from dead works and purify unto Himself a people zealous for good works. It is for this that we were chosen— we are “elect unto holiness.” We know nothing of election to continue in sin! It is for this that we have been called—we are “called to be saints.” Obedience is the grand objective of the work of Divine Grace in the hearts of those who are chosen and called—they are to become obedient children—conformed  to the image of the Elder Brother, with whom the Father is well pleased.

The obedience that comes of faith is of a noble sort. The obedience of a slave ranks a little higher than the obedience of a well-trained horse or dog, for it is tuned to the crack of the whip. Obedience which is not cheerfully rendered is not the obedience of the heart and, consequently, is of little worth before God. If the man obeys because he has no opportunity of doing otherwise and if, were he free, he would at once become a rebel—there is nothing in his obedience. The obedience of faith springs from a principle within and not from compulsion without. It is sustained by the mind’s soberest reasoning and the heart’s warmest passion. The man reasons with himself that he ought to obey his Redeemer, his Father, his God and, at the same time, the love of Christ constrains him to do so, and thus, what argument suggests affection, performs!

A sense of great obligation, an apprehension of the fitness of obedience and spiritual  renewal of heart work an obedience which becomes essential to the sanctified soul. Therefore, it is not relaxed in the time of temptation, nor destroyed in the hour of losses and sufferings. Life has no trial  which can turn  the gracious  soul from its passion for obedience! Death, itself, does but enable it to render an obedience which shall be as blissful as it will be complete. Yes, this is a chief ingredient of Heaven—that  we shall see the face of our Lord  and serve Him day and night  in His Temple. Meanwhile,  the more fully we obey at this present, the nearer we shall be to His Temple gate. May the Holy Spirit work in us, so that, by faith—like  Abraham—we may obey!

I preach to you, at this time, obedience—absolute obedience to the Lord God! But I preach the obedience of a child, not the obedience of a slave; the obedience of love, not of terror;  the obedience of faith, not of dread. I shall urge you, as God shall help me, in order that you may come to this obedience, that you should seek after stronger faith—“For by faith Abraham obeyed.” In every case where the father of the faithful obeyed, it was the result of his faith—and  in every case in which you and I shall render true obedience—it will be the product of our faith. Obedience, such as God can accept, never comes out of a heart which thinks God a liar, but is worked in us by the Spirit of the Lord, through our believing in the Truth, Love and Grace of our God in Christ Jesus. If any of you are now disobedient, or have been so, the road to a better state of things is trust in God. You cannot hope to render obedience by the mere forging of conduct into a certain groove, or by a personal, unaided effort of the resolution. There is a Free-Grace road to obedience and that is receiving, by faith, the Lord Jesus who is the Gift of God and is made of God unto us, sanctification.

We accept the Lord Jesus by faith and He teaches us obedience and creates it in us. The more of faith in Him you have, the more of obedience to Him will you manifest. I was about to say that that obedience naturally  flows out of faith—and I would not have spoken amiss—for as a man believes so is he—and, in proportion to the strength and purity of his faith in God, as He is revealed in Christ Jesus, will be the holy obedience of his life. That our meditation may be profitable, we will first think a little  of the kind of faith which produces obedience. And then, secondly, we will treat  of the kind of obedience which faith produces. And then we will advance another  step and consider the kind of life which comes out of this faith and obedience.

I will be as brief as I can upon each point. Let us look up to the Holy Spirit for His gracious illumination.


It is, manifestly, faith in God as having the right to command our obedience. Beloved in the Lord,  you know that  He is Sovereign and that His will is law. You feel that God, your Maker, your Preserver, your Redeemer and your Father should have your unswerving service. We unite, also, in confessing that we are not our own, we are bought with a price. The Lord our God has a right to us which we would not wish to question. He has a greater claim upon our ardent service than He has upon the services of angels, for, while they were created as we have been, yet they have never been redeemed by precious blood! Our glorious Incarnate God has an unquestioned right to every breath we breathe, to every thought we think, to every moment of our lives and to every capacity of our being! We believe in Jehovah as rightful Lawgiver and, as most fitly, our Ruler. This loyalty of our mind is based on faith and is a chief prompter  to obedience. Always cultivate this feeling. The Lord is our Father, but He is, “our Father which are in Heaven.” He draws near to us in condescension, but it is condescension and we must not presume to think of Him as though He were such a one as ourselves. There is a holy familiarity with God which cannot be too much enjoyed, but there is a flippant familiarity with God which cannot be too much abhorred! The Lord is King. His will is not to be questioned. His every Word is Law. Let us never question His Sovereign right to decree what He pleases and to fulfill the decree—to  command what He pleases and to punish every shortcoming.  Because we have faith in God as Lord of All, we gladly pay Him our homage and desire in all things to say, “Your will be done in earth, as it is done in Heaven.”

Next, we must have faith in the rightness of all that God says or does. I hope, Beloved, you do not think of God’s Sovereignty as tyranny or imagine that He ever could or would will anything but that which is right.  Neither will we admit into our minds a suspicion of the incorrectness of the Word of God in any matter whatever, as though the Lord, Himself, could err. We will not have it that God, in His Holy Book, makes mistakes about matters of history, or of science, any more than He does upon the great Truths of salvation! If the Lord is God, He must be Infallible! And if He can be described as in error in the little respects of human history and science, He cannot be trusted in the greater matters!

My Brothers and Sisters, Jehovah never errs in deed, or in Word—and when you find His Law written either in the Ten Commandments, or anywhere else, you believe that there is not a precept too many, or too few. Whatever may be the precepts of the Law, or of the Gospel, they are, altogether, pure and holy. The Words of the Lord are like fine gold—pure, precious, and weighty—not one of them may be neglected! We hear people talk about, “minor points,”  and so on, but we must not consider any Word of our God as a minor thing, if by that expression is implied that it is of small importance. We must accept every single Word of precept, or prohibition, or instruction as being what it ought to be—and neither to be diminished nor increased. We should not reason about a command of God as though it might be set aside or amended. He bids—we obey. May we enter into that true spirit of obedience which is the unshaken belief that the Lord is right! Nothing  short of this is the obedience of the inner man—the  obedience which the Lord desires.

Furthermore,  we must have faith in the Lord’s call upon us to obey. Abraham went out from his father’s house because he felt that whatever God said to others, He had spoken to him, and said, “Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house.” Whatever the Lord may have said to the Chaldeans, or to other families in Ur, Abraham was not so much concerned with that as with the special word of command which the Lord had sent to his own soul. Oh, that we were, most of all, earnest to render personal obedience! It is very easy to offer unto God a sort of “other  people’s obedience”—to fancy that we are serving God when we are finding fault with our neighbors and lamenting that they are not so godly as they ought to be!

Truly, we cannot help seeing their shortcomings,  but we should do well to be less observant  of them than we are. Let us turn  our magnifying glasses upon ourselves. It is not so much our business to be weeding other people’s gardens as to keep our own vineyard. To the Lord each one should cry, “Lord, what will You have me to do?” We, who are His chosen, redeemed from among men, called out from the rest of mankind, ought to feel that if no other ears hear the Divine call, our ears must hear it and, if no other heart obeys, our soul rejoices to do so. We are bound with cords to the horns of the Altar! The strongest ties of gratitude hold us to the service of Jesus—we must be obedient in life to Him who, for our sakes, was obedient unto death. Our service to our Lord is freedom—we will to yield to His will! To delight Him is our delight! It is a blessed thing when the inmost nature yearns to obey God; when obedience grows into a habit and becomes the very element in which the spirit breathes.  Surely it should be so with every one of the blood-washed children of the Host High—and their lives will prove that it is so. Others are bound to obey, but we should attend most to our own personal obligation  and set our own houses in order. Our obedience should begin at home—it will find its hands full enough there.

Obedience arises out of a faith which is to us the paramount principle of action. The kind of faith which produces obedience is lord of the understanding,  a royal faith. The true Believer believes in God beyond all his belief in anything  else and everything else. He can say, “Let God be true, but every man a liar.”  His faith in God has become to him the crown of all his believing, the most assured of all his confidences. As gold is to the inferior metals, such is our trust in God to all our other trusts.  To the genuine Believer, the eternal is as much above the temporal as the heavens are above the earth. The Infinite rolls, like Noah’s flood, over the tops of the hills of the present and the finite. To the Believer, let a Truth of God be tinctured with the Glory of God and he values it. But if God and eternity are not there, he will leave these trifles to those who choose them. You must have a paramount faith in God, or else the will of God will not be a paramount rule to you.

Only a reigning  faith will make us subject to its power, so as to be in all things obedient to the Lord. The chief thought  in life with the true Believer is, “How can I obey God?” His great anxiety is to do the will of God, or acceptably to suffer that will. And if he can obey, he will make no terms with God and stand upon no reservations. He will pray, “Refine me from the dross of rebellion and let the furnace be as fierce as You will.” His choice is neither wealth, nor ease, nor honor, but that he may glorify God in his body and his spirit, which are the Lord’s. Obedience has become as much his rule as self-will is the rule of others. His cry unto the Lord is, “By Your command I stay or go. Your will is my will. Your pleasure is my pleasure. Your Law is my love.”

God grant  us a supreme, over-mastering  faith, for this is the kind of faith which we must have if we are to lead obedient lives! We must have faith in God’s right  to rule, faith in the rightness of His commands, faith in our personal obligation to obey and faith that the command must be the paramount authority of our being. With this faith of God’s elect, we shall realize the object of our election—namely, that we should be holy and without  blame before Him in love.

Dear Friend, have you this kind of faith? I will withdraw the question as directed to you—and I will ask it of myself—Have I that faith which leads me to obey my God? Obedience, if it is of the kind we are speaking of, is faith in action—faith walking with God, or, shall I say, walking before the Lord in the land of the living? If we have a faith which is greedy in hearing,  severe in judging and rapid in self-congratulation, but not inclined to obedience, we have the faith of hypocrites. If our faith enables us to set ourselves up as patterns of sound doctrine—and qualifies us to crack the heads of all who differ from us—and yet lacks the fruit of obedience, it will leave us among the “dogs” who are “without.” The faith that makes us obey is the only faith which marks the children of God. It is better to have the faith that obeys than the faith which moves mountains.  I would sooner have the faith which obeys than the faith which heaps the altar of God with sacrifices and perfumes His courts with incense. I would rather obey God than rule an empire, for, after all, the loftiest sovereignty a soul can inherit is to have dominion over self by rendering believing obedience to the Most High.

Thus much upon faith. “By faith Abraham obeyed.” And only by faith can you and I obey.

II. Let us consider, secondly, THE KIND OF OBEDIENCE WHICH FAITH PRODUCES. This I shall illustrate from the whole of the verse.

Genuine faith in God creates a prompt obedience. “By faith Abraham,  when he was called, obeyed.” There was an immediate response to the command. Delayed obedience is disobedience! I wish some Christians,  who put off duty, would remember this. Continued delay of duty is a continuous sin. If I do not obey the Divine Command, I sin—and every moment that I continue in that condition—I repeat the sin. This is a serious matter. If a certain act is my duty at this hour and I leave it undone, I have sinned. But it will be equally incumbent upon me during the next hour—and if I still refuse, I disobey again—and  so on till I do obey. Neglect of a standing command must grow very grievous if it is persisted in for years. In proportion as the conscience becomes callous upon the subject, the guilt  becomes the more provoking  to the Lord! To refuse to do right is a great evil, but to continue in that refusal till conscience grows numb upon the matter  is far worse.

I remember a person coming to be baptized, who said that he had been a Believer in the Lord Jesus for 40 years and that he had always seen the ordinance to be Scriptural. I felt grieved that he had so long been disobedient to a known duty and I proposed to him that he should be baptized at once. It was in a village and he said that there were no conveniences. I offered to go with him to the brook and baptize him, but he said, “No, he that believes shall not make haste.” Here was one who had willfully disobeyed his Lord—for  as many years as the Israelites in the wilderness, upon a matter so easy of performance and yet, after confessing his fault, he was not willing to amend it, but perverted a passage of Scripture to excuse him in further  delay! David says, “I made haste and delayed not to keep Your Commandments.” I give this case as a typical illustration—there  are a hundred spiritual,  moral, domestic, business and religious duties which men put off in the same manner—as if they thought  that any time would do for God and He must take His turn with the rest.

What would you say to your boy if you bade him go upon an errand and he answered you, “I will go tomorrow”? Surely you would “morrow”  him in a style which would abide upon his memory! Your tone would be sharp and you would bid him go at once. If he, then, promised to run in an hour’s time, would you call that obedience? It would be impudence! Obedience is for the present tense—it  must be prompt,  or it is nothing.  Obedience respects the time of the command as much as any other part of it. To hesitate is to be disloyal. To stop and consider whether you will obey or not is rebellion in the germ! If you believe in the living God unto eternal life, you will be quick to do your Lord’s bidding, even as a maid hearkens to her mistress. You will not be as the horse, which needs whip and spur—your love will do more for you than compulsion could do for slaves. You will have wings to your heels to hasten you along the way of obedience. “Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Next, obedience should be exact. Even Abraham’s obedience failed somewhat in this, at first, for he started at once from Ur of the Chaldees, but he only went as far as Haran, and there he stayed till his father died. And then the precept came to him again and he set off for the land which the Lord had promised to show him. If any of you have only half obeyed, I pray that you may take heed of this—and do all that the Lord commands—carefully endeavoring to keep back no part of the revenue of obedience.

Yet the error of the great Patriarch was soon corrected, for we read that, “Abraham, when he was called to go out . . . went out.” I have only omitted intermediate words which do not alter the sense—and that is exactly how we should obey. That which the Lord commands we should do—just  that, and not another thing of our own devising. How very curiously people try to give God something else instead of what He asks for! The Lord says, “My son, give Me your heart,” and they give Him ceremonies! He asks obedience of them and they give Him will-worship. He asks for faith, love and justice—and  they offer 10,000 rivers of oil and the fat of fed beasts. They will give all except the one thing which He will be pleased with! “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” If the Lord has given you true faith in Himself, you will be anxious not so much to do a notable thing as to do exactly what God would have you to do. Mind your jots and tittles with the Lord’s precepts. Attention to little things is a fine feature in obedience—it lies much more as to its essence in the little  things  than  in the great  ones. Few dare rush into  great  crimes and yet they will indulge in secret rebellion, for their heart is not right with God. Hence so many mar what they call obedience by forgetting that they serve a heart-searching,  rein-trying  God who observes thoughts  and motives. He would have us obey Him with the heart and that will lead us not merely to regard a few pleasing commands, but to have respect unto all His will. Oh, for a tender conscience which will not willfully neglect, nor presumptuously  transgress!

And next, mark well that Abraham  rendered practical obedience. When the Lord  commanded Abraham  to quit his father’s house, he did not say that he would think it over. He did not discuss it pro and con in an essay. He did not ask his father, Terah, and his neighbors to consider it, but, as he was called to go out, he went out. Alas, dear Friends, we have so much talk and so little obedience! The religion of mere brain and jaw does not amount to much. We need the religion of hands and feet! I remember a place in Yorkshire, years ago, where a good man said to me, “We have a real good minister.” I said, “I am glad to hear it.” “Yes,” he said, “he is a fellow that preaches with his feet.” Well, now, that is a capital thing if a preacher preaches with his feet, by walking with God, and with his hands by working for God. He does well who glorifies God by where he goes and by what he does—he  will excel 50 others who only preach religion  with their tongues. You, dear Hearers, are not good hearers so long as you are only hearers—but  when the heart is affected by the ears and the hands follows the heart,  then your faith is proven! That kind of obedience which comes of faith in God is real obedience, since it shows itself by its works.

Next, faith produces a far-seeing obedience. Note this. “Abraham,  when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance.” How great a company would obey God if they were paid for it on the spot! They have “respect unto the recompense of the reward,”  but they must have it in the palm of their hand. With them—“A bird in hand is better far than two which in the bushes are.” They are told that there is Heaven to be had and they answer that if Heaven were to be had here, as an immediate freehold, they might look after it, but they cannot afford to wait. To inherit a country after this life is over is too like a fairy tale for their practical minds! Many there are who enquire, “Will religion pay? Is there anything to be made out of it? Shall I have to shut up my shop on Sundays? Must I alter my mode of dealing, and curtail my profits?” When they have totaled up the cost and have taken all things into consideration, they come to the conclusion that obedience to God is a luxury which they can dispense with—at  least until near the end of life! Those who practice the obedience of faith look for the reward  hereafter and set the greatest  store by it. To their faith, alone, the profit is exceedingly great. To take up the cross will be to carry a burden, but it will also be to find rest. They know the words, “No cross, no crown,” and they recognize the Truth of God that if there is no obedience here, there will be no reward hereafter! This needs a faith that has eyes which can see afar off—across the black torrent of death—and within the veil which parts us from the unseen. A man will not obey God unless he has learned to endure “as seeing Him who is invisible.”

Yet, remember that the obedience which comes of true faith is often bound to be altogether unreckoning and implicit, for it is written, “He went out, not knowing where he went.” God bade Abraham journey and he moved his camp at once. Into the unknown land he made his way. Through  fertile regions,  or across a wilderness—among friends, or through  the midst of foes, he pursued his journey—he  did not know where his way would take him, but he knew that the Lord had bid him go. Even bad men will obey God when they think fit—but  good men will obey when they know not what to think of it. It is not ours to judge the Lord’s command, but to follow it. I am weary with hearing men say, “Yes, we know that such a course would be right, but then the consequences might be painful—good  men would be grieved, the cause would be weakened—and we ourselves should get into a world of trouble and put our hands into a hornet’s nest.” There is not much need to preach caution nowadays—those who would run any risk for the Truth of God’s sake are few enough. Consciences, tender about the Lord’s honor,  have not been produced for the last few years in any great number.  Prudent  consideration  of consequences is superabundant, but the spirit which obeys—and dares all things for Christ’s sake—where is it?

The Abrahams of today will not go out from their kindred! They will put up with anything sooner than risk their livelihoods! If they do go out, they must know where they are going and how much is to be picked up in the new country. I am not pronouncing any judgment upon their conduct, I am merely pointing  out the fact. Our Puritan  forefathers thought little of property or liberty when these stood in the way of conscience—they defied exile and danger sooner than give up a grain of the Truth of God! But their descendants prefer peace and worldly amusements—and pride themselves on “culture”  rather  than on heroic faith. The modern Believer must have no mysteries, but must have everything planed down to a scientific standard.  Abraham “went out, not knowing where he went,” but the moderns must have every information with regard to the way—and then they will not go! If they obey at all, it is because their own superior judgments incline that way, but to go forth, not knowing where they go, and to go at all hazards, is not to their minds at all. They are so highly “cultured” that they prefer to be original and map out their own way.

Brothers and Sisters, having once discerned the voice of God, obey without question! If you have to stand alone and nobody will befriend you, stand alone and God will befriend you! If you should get the evil words of those you value most, bear it. What, after all, are evil words, or good words, as compared with the keeping of a clear conscience by walking in the way of the Lord? The line of the Truth of God is narrow as a razor’s edge—and  he needs to wear the golden sandals of the peace of God who shall keep to such a line! Through Divine Grace may we, like Abraham, walk with our hand in the hand of the Lord,  even where we cannot  see our way!

The obedience which faith produces must be continuous.  Having commenced the separated  life, Abraham  continued  to dwell in tents and sojourn in the land which was far from the place of his birth.  His whole life may be thus summed up— “By faith Abraham obeyed.” He believed and, therefore, walked before the Lord in a perfect way. He even offered up his son, Isaac. “Abraham’s mistake,” was it? Alas for those who dare to talk in that fashion! “By faith he obeyed,” and to the end of his life he was never an original speculator, or inventor of ways for self-will, but a submissive servant of that great Lord who deigned to call him, “Friend.” May it be said of everyone here that by faith he obeyed! Do not cultivate doubt or you will soon cultivate disobedience. Set this up as your standard and, from now on, be this the epitome of your life— “By faith he obeyed.”

III. Just a moment or two upon the third point. Let us consider THE SORT OF LIFE WHICH WILL COME OF THIS FAITH AND OBEDIENCE.

It will be, in the first place, life without that great risk which otherwise holds us in peril. A man runs a great risk when he steers himself. Rocks or no rocks, the peril lies in the helmsman. The Believer is no longer the helmsman of his own vessel—he has taken a Pilot on board.  To believe in God and to do His bidding is a great escape from the hazards of personal weakness and folly. If we do as God commands and do not seem to succeed, it is no fault of ours. Failure, itself, would be success so long as we did not fail to obey! If we passed through  life unrecognized, or were only acknowledged by a sneer from the worldly-wise—and if this were regarded as a failure—it  could be borne with joy so long as we knew that we had kept our faith towards God and our obedience to Him! Providence  is God’s business, obedience is ours. What comes out of our life’s course must remain with the Lord—to  obey is our sole concern. What harvest will come of our sowing, we must leave with the Lord of the Harvest, but we, ourselves, must look to the basket and the seed—and scatter our handfuls in the furrows without fail. We can win, “Well done, good and faithful servant”—to  be a successful servant is not in our power, and we shall not be held responsible for it. Our greatest risk is over when we obey. God makes faith and obedience the way of safety.

In the next place, we shall enjoy a life free from its heaviest cares. If we were in the midst of the forest with Stanley, in the center of Africa, our pressing care would be to find our way out. But when we have nothing  to do but to obey, our road is mapped out for us! Jesus says, “Follow Me,” and this makes our way plain and lifts from our shoulders a load of cares. To choose our course by policy is a way of thorns—to  obey is as the King’s Highway. Policy has to tack about, to return upon its own courses and, often, to miss the port after all. But faith, like a steam vessel, steers straight for the harbor’s mouth and leaves a bright track of obedience behind her as she forges ahead. When our only care is to obey, a thousand other cares take their flight. If we sin in order to succeed, we have sown the seeds of care and sorrow—and the reaping will be a grievous one. If we will forsake the path and try shortcuts,  we shall have to do a deal of wading through mire and slough—we shall bespatter ourselves from head to foot—we shall be wearied to find our way and all because we could not trust God and obey His bidding.

Obedience may appear difficult and it may bring with it sacrifice, but, after all, it is the nearest and the best road. Her ways are, in the long run, ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. He who, through  the Holy Spirit,  is always believingly obedient, has chosen the good part. He it is who can sing—

“I have no cares, O blessed Lord,
For all my cares are Thine.
I live in triumph, too, for You
Have made Your triumphs mine.”

Or, to change the verse, he is like Bunyan’s shepherd boy in the Valley of Humiliation,  for that lowland is part of the great Plain of Obedience! And he can also sing—

“He that is down, need fear no fall,
He that is low, no pride.
He that is humble ever shall
Have God to be his Guide.”

Although he may not reach the heights of ambition, nor stand upon the giddy crags of presumption, yet he shall know superior joys. He has hit upon the happiest mode of living under Heaven—a mode of life akin to the perfect life above! He shall dwell in God’s house and be still praising Him.

The way of obedience is a life of the highest honor. Obedience is the glory of a human life—the glory which our Lord has given to His chosen, even His own Glory. “He learned obedience.” He never struck out an original course, but He always did the things which pleased the Father.  Be this our glory! By faith we yield our intelligence to the highest Intelligence—we are led, guided, directed—and  we follow where our Lord has gone. To us who believe, He is honor. To a soldier it is the greatest honor to have accomplished his sovereign’s command. He does not debase his manhood who subjects it to honorable  command. No, he is even exalted by obeying in the day of danger. It is no dishonor to have it said—

“Theirs not to reason why;
Theirs but to dare and die.”

The bravest and the most honored of men are those who implicitly obey the command of the King of Kings. Among His children, they are best who best know their Father’s mind and yield to it the happiest obedience. Should we have any other ambition, within the walls of our Father’s house, than to be perfectly obedient children before Him and implicitly trustful towards Him?

And, Brothers  and Sisters, this is a kind of life which will bring communion with God. God often hides His face behind the clouds of dust which His children make by their self-will. If we transgress against Him, we shall soon be in trouble. But a holy walk—the  walk described by my text as faith working obedience—is Heaven beneath the stars! God comes down to walk with men who obey. If they walk with Him, He walks with them. The Lord can only have fellowship with His servants as they obey. Obedience is Heaven in us and it is the preface of our being in Heaven! Obedient faith is the way to eternal life—no, it is eternal life revealing itself!

The obedience of faith creates a form of life which may be safely copied. As parents,  we wish so to live that our children may copy us to their lasting profit. Teachers should aspire to be what they would have their  classes to be. If you go to school to the obedience of faith, you will be good teachers. Children usually exaggerate their models, but there will be no fear of their going too far in faith, or in obedience to the Lord! I like to hear a man say, when his father has gone, “My dear father was a man that feared God. And I would gladly follow him. When I was a boy, I thought him rather stiff and Puritanical, but now I see he had a good reason for it all. I feel much the same, myself, and, with God’s help, would do nothing of which God would not approve.”

The bringing  up of families is a very great matter. This is too much neglected, nowadays, and yet it is the most profitable of all holy service and the hope of the future. Great men, in the best sense, are bred in holy households. Godfearing example at home is the most fruitful of religious agencies. I knew a little humble Dissenting Chapel of the strictest sect of our religion. There was no culture in the ministry, but the people were strong Believers. Five or six families, attending that despised ministry, learned to believe what they believed and to live upon it. It was by no means a liberal creed which they received, but what they held operated on their lives. Five or six families came out of that place and became substantial  in wealth and generous in liberality.

These all sprang from plain, humble men, who knew their Bibles and believed the Doctrines of Grace. They learned to fear God and to trust in Him—and to rest in the old faith—and even in worldly things they prospered. Their descendants of the third generation are not, all of them, of their way of thinking, but they have risen through God’s blessing on their grandfathers.  These men were fed on substantial meat and they became sturdy old fellows, able to cope with the world and fight their way. I would to God that we had more men today who would maintain the Truth of God at all hazards. Alas, the rubbery backbone is common among Dissenters—and they take to politics, the new philosophy and, therefore, we are losing the force of our testimony—and are, I fear, decreasing in numbers, too. The Lord give us back those whose examples can be safely copied in all things, even though they are decried as being “rigid”  or “too precise!” We serve a jealous God and a holy Savior—therefore let us mind that we do not grieve His Spirit and cause Him to withdraw from us.

Lastly, faith working obedience is a kind of life which needs great Grace. Every careless professor will not live in this fashion. It will need watchfulness, prayer and nearness to God to maintain the faith which obeys in everything. Beloved, “He gives more Grace.” The Lord will enable us to add to our faith all the virtues. Whenever you fail in any respect in your lives, do not sit down and question the goodness of God and the power of the Holy Spirit—that  is not the way to increase the stream of obedience, but to diminish the source of it. Believe more, instead of less. Try, by God’s Grace, to believe more in the pardon of sin, more in the renovation  by the Holy Spirit, more in the Everlasting Covenant, more in the Love that had no beginning  and will never, never cease. Your hope does not lie in rushing into the darkness of doubt, but in repentantly returning  into the still clearer light of a steadier faith. May you be helped to do so and may we, all of us, and the whole multitude of the Lord’s redeemed, by faith go on to obey our Lord in all things!

I leave this word with you. Remember, “By faith Abraham obeyed.” Have faith in God and then obey, obey, obey, and keep on obeying until the Lord shall call you Home! Obey on earth and then you will have learned to obey in Heaven. Obedience is the rehearsal of eternal bliss! Practice by obedience now the song which you will sing forever in glory. God grant His Grace to us! Amen.

Daily Roundup

Total Depravity and the Believers Sanctification – Christian perfectionist teaching on the one hand and carnal Christian teaching on the other hand is a debate that is still waged.  Ligon Duncan weighs in.

On Christianity and Politics – If we believe in the sure triumph of Christ, why do we allow ourselves to be drawn in to the very unsure world of political conflict?  There is a good reason to be drawn into the world of politics as a Christian.

Seeing the Bride, at Last – All I can say is take a look at this and remember.

7 Ways to Live Positive in a Negative World – If God is sovereign and all we have comes from Him, there is no reason for us to be negative.  Take these 7 nuggets to the bank and dwell on them.

God’s Part and Man’s Part in Salvation – Confused in regards to the doctrines of grace?  This article should help you understand.


If we go to church just to be with one another, one another is all we will get.  And it isn’t enough.  Eventually, our deepest unmet needs will explode in anger at one another.  Putting community first destroys community.  We must put Christ himself first and keep him first and treat him as first and come to him first and again and again.  He can heal as no other can.  Can, and will.  If we come to him. – Ray Ortlund

Daily Roundup

Defining Religious Liberty Down – An Op-Ed Piece by Ross Douthat that talks about some of the recent controversy regarding religious views of private citizens/groups.

The Gospel:  Simple Yet Not Simplistic – The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple; yet, it is not simplistic. In other words, although it is fundamentally simple and easily understood, Jesus Christ is the “Lamb slain” from before the beginning of the world.

Is the SBC Divided? Yes and No – An article that talks about some divisions within the SBC, but more importantly, it talks about what unifies the SBC.

But God… – Have you ever noticed how brutal the Bible can be?  Ephesians 2 starts out incredibly brutal towards mankind.

The Father’s Love in the Cross – God does not love us because Christ died for us; Christ died for us because God loved us.

Doctrines of Grace: A Categorized Scripture List – Nathan Pitchford has put together an outstanding list of scriptures dealing with the doctrines of Grace