Round Up

Bill Cosby responds to Victoria Osteen – ‘Nuff said!

Christians can be terrible – One of the major premises of the Christian faith is that humans are so flawed, so broken, so rebellious, and so unable to redeem themselves that the eternal Son had to incarnate himself, live, die, and rise again in order to fix them (Romans 1-8). I suppose what does shock me is that Christians are still surprised when other Christians are terrible.

The doctrine of grace creates a culture of grace – What matters most to God is not which sins we’ve committed or not committed, or how we stack up in comparison with other sinners. What matters most to God is whether we’ve bonded by faith with his only Son. In other words, God’s final category for you is not your goodness versus your badness, but your union with Christ versus your distance from Christ.

Lloyd-Jones on scandalous grace that isn’t cheap – You may be familiar with the provocative idea from Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) that true test of gospel preaching is whether people mistake your gospel for antinomianism. “The true preaching of the gospel of salvation by grace alone always leads to the possibility of this charge being brought against it.”

Quote:

The redeemed have all their objective good in God. God himself is the great good which they are brought to the possession and enjoyment of by redemption. He is the highest good, and the sum of all that good which Christ has purchased. God is the inheritance of the saints; he is the portion of their souls. God is their wealth and treasure, their food, their life, their dwelling place, their ornament and diadem, and their everlasting honor and glory. They have none in heaven but God; he is the great good which the redeemed are received to at death, and which they are to rise to at the end of the world.

The Lord God, he is the light of the heavenly Jerusalem; and is the ‘the river of the water of life’ that runs, and the tree of life that grows, ‘in the midst of the paradise of God.’ The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be what will forever entertain the minds of the saints, and the love of God will be their everlasting feast. The redeemed will indeed enjoy other things; they will enjoy the angels, and will enjoy one another: but that which they shall enjoy in the angels, or each other, or in anything else whatsoever, that will yield them delight and happiness, will be what will be seen of God in them. – Jonathan Edwards

Round Up

Driscoll’s True God – In the next few months Mark Driscoll will face a decision that will reveal the identity of his true God. If he loves Jesus more than he loves the pulpit, he will step away and complete his journey of submission, under the hand of a spiritual director.

Teach Believers What Happened To Them In Conversion – Everyone who is converted to Christ is converted through partial knowledge. Real knowledge, to be sure — otherwise, there would be no true conversion — put partial, nevertheless.

The Mystery of God And the Unknown Unknowns – “As we know, there are known knowns; there are things that we know that we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

You Don’t Have A ‘Porn Problem’ – I’m sick and tired of hearing so many single and married men, even professing Christian men, talk so easily, casually, and nonchalantly about their “porn problem” or their “struggles with pornography.”

Quote:

God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean. – Jonathan Edwards

Round Up

Logic On Fire – Martyn Lloyd-Jones asks this question, “What is preaching?”  I’m looking forward to this documentary.

What the Cross Says – The cross speaks of benediction, of pardon, joy and peace with God. It tells you that God is ready to forgive you. It says, listen to me, your sin has been punished. I am here because this is the punishment of sin.

Vague Pastors – When you don’t preach on something, you are preaching on that thing. You are just saying what you think won’t be as controversial or the thing that won’t lose you your following.

Upon This Rock – Jesus said to Simon, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

Sinners in the Hands of a Patient God – Finding Jonathan Edwards.

Quote:

The emanation or communication of the divine fullness, consisting in the knowledge of God, to love him, and joy in him, has relation to God as its fountain, as the thing communicated is something of its internal fullness. The warm stream is something of the fountain; and the beams of sun are something of the sun. (Jonathan Edwards, The End for Which God Created the World)

Undiscerned Spiritual Pride

Jonathan EdwardsThis 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

God’s Sovereignty in the Salvation of Men

A Sermon

by

Jonathan Edwards

Sermon IV of Seventeen Occasional Sermons, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume Two, The Banner of Truth Trust, Reprinted 1995, pp. 849-854.

Romans 9:18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Jonathan EdwardsTHE apostle, in the beginning of this chapter, expresses his great concern and sorrow of heart for the nation of the Jews, who were rejected of God. This leads him to observe the difference which God made by election between some of the Jews and others, and between the bulk of that people and the christian Gentiles. In speaking of this he enters into a more minute discussion of the sovereignty of God in electing some to eternal life, and rejecting others, than is found in any other part of the Bible; in the course of which he quotes several passages from the Old Testament, confirming and illustrating this doctrine. In the ninth verse he refers us to what God said to Abraham, showing his election of Isaac before Ishmael – “For this is the word of promise; At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son:” then to what God had said to Rebecca, showing his election of Jacob before Esau; “The elder shall serve the younger:” in the thirteenth verse, to a passage from Malachi, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated:” in the fifteenth verse, to what God said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion:” and the verse preceding the text, to what God says to Pharaoh, “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” In what the apostle says in the text, he seems to have respect especially to the two last-cited passages: to what God said to Moses in the fifteenth verse, and to what he said to Pharaoh in the verse immediately preceding. God said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.” To this the apostle refers in the former part of the text. And we know how often it is said of Pharaoh, that God hardened his heart. And to this the apostle seems to have respect in the latter part of the text; “and whom he will he hardeneth.” We may observe in the text,

1. God’s different dealing with men. He hath mercy on some, and hardeneth others. When God is here spoken of as hardening some of the children of men, it is not to be understood that God by any positive efficiency hardens any man’s heart. There is no positive act in God, as though he put forth any power to harden the heart. To suppose any such thing would be to make God the immediate author of sin. God is said to harden men in two ways: by withholding the powerful influences of his Spirit, without which their hearts will remain hardened, and grow harder and harder; in this sense he hardens them, as he leaves them to hardness. And again, by ordering those things in his providence which, through the abuse of their corruption, become the occasion of their hardening. Thus God sends his word and ordinances to men which, by their abuse, prove an occasion of their hardening. So the apostle said, that he was unto some “a savour of death unto death.” So God is represented as sending Isaiah on this errand, to make the hearts of the people fat, and to make their ears heavy, and to shut their eyes; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Isa. 6:10. Isaiah’s preaching was, in itself, of a contrary tendency, to make them better. But their abuse of it rendered it an occasion of their hardening. As God is here said to harden men, so he is said to put a lying spirit in the mouth of the false prophets. 2 Chron. 18:22. That is, he suffered a lying spirit to enter into them. And thus he is said to have bid Shimei curse David. 2 Sam. 16:10. Not that he properly commanded him; for it is contrary to God’s commands. God expressly forbids cursing the ruler of the people. Exod. 22:28. But he suffered corruption at that time so to work in Shimei, and ordered that occasion of stirring it up, as a manifestation of his displeasure against David.

2. The foundation of his different dealing with mankind; viz. his sovereign will and pleasure. “He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” This does not imply, merely, that God never shows mercy or denies it against his will, or that he is always Continue reading

Jonathan Edwards – Miscellanies

Jonathan Edwards was a prolific writer.  Part of the reason he was so prolific is because he was constantly taking down notes of thoughts he had on scraps of paper and in notebooks.  Here is a note he made on the subject of religion:

‘Tis most certain that God did not create the world for nothing. ‘Tis most certain that if there were not intelligent beings in the world, all the world would be without any end at all. For senseless matter in whatever excellent order it is placed, would be useless if there were no intelligent beings at all, neither God nor others; for what would it be good for? So certainly, senseless matter would be altogether useless if there was no intelligent being but God, for God could neither receive good himself nor communicate good. What would this vast universe of matter, placed in such excellent order and governed by such excellent rules, be good for, if there was no intelligence that could know anything of it? Wherefore it necessarily follows that intelligent beings are the end of the creation, that their end must be to behold and admire the doings of God, and magnify him for them, and to contemplate his glories in them.

Wherefore religion must be the end of the creation, the great end, the very end. If it were not for this, all those vast bodies we see ordered with so excellent skill, so according to the nicest rules of proportion, according to such laws of gravity and motion, would be all vanity, or good for nothing and to no purpose at all. For religion is the very business, the noble business of intelligent beings, and for this end God has placed us on this earth. If it were not for men, this world would be altogether in vain, with all the curious workmanship of it and accoutrements about it.

It follows from this that we must be immortal. The world had as good have been without us, as for us to be a few minutes and then be annihilated—if we are now to own God’s works to his glory, and only glorify him a few minutes, and then be annihilated, and it shall after that be all one to eternity as if we never had been, and be in vain after we are dead that we have been once; and then, after the earth shall be destroyed, it shall be for the future entirely in vain that either the earth or mankind have ever been. The same argument seems to be used, Isaiah 45:17–18.

They Still Speak

Jonathan EdwardsHave you tasted and seen that the Lord is good?

Have you, when you have thus been emptied of yourself and weaned from this vain world, found a better good?

Have you had those discoveries of Christ, or that sense of his excellency or sufficiency and wonderful grace, that has refreshed and rejoiced your heart, and revived it as it were out of the dust, and caused hope and your comfort to spring forth like the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain?

Has there been light let into your soul, as the light of the sun pleasantly breaking forth out of the cloud after a dreadful storm, or as the sweet dawning of the light of the morning after long wandering in a dark night, or the bright and beautiful day star arising with refreshing beams?

Have you had that divine comfort that has seemed to heal your soul and put life and strength into you and given you peace after trouble and rest after labor and pain?

Have you tasted that spiritual food, that bread from heaven, that is so sweet and so satisfying, so much better than the richest earthly dainties?

Have you felt something of the divine comfort and peace, which can’t be expressed and which passes all understanding?

Have you tasted that in Christ that has turned the stream of your affections that way and filled you with longings after more of him?

–Jonathan Edwards, “Like Rain Upon Mown Grass,” in Works, Yale ed., 22:315