The Necessity of Effectual Calling (Or: We Need a Miracle!)

The Reformed Reader

Saved by Grace by [Hoekema, Anthony A.] This is a very helpful discussion of effectual calling/regeneration:

If you believe that the natural state of human beings today is that of moral and spiritual neutrality, so that they can do good or bad as they please (the Pelagian view), you will not even feel the need for an effectual call or for regeneration. If you believe that our natural state is one of spiritual and moral sickness, but that we all still have the ability to respond favorably to the gospel call (the Semi-Pelagian view), you will not need an effectual call. If you believe that, though we are partially or totally depraved, God gives to all a sufficient enabling grace so that everyone who hears the gospel call is able to accept it by cooperating with this sufficient grace (the Arminian view), you will not feel the need for an effectual call. But if you believe that…

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Love the Sinner as You Love Your Sinful Self?

BY NICK BATZIG, http://www.reformation.org

Over the past week, I’ve seen more appeals to the second half of Matthew 22:39 than I’ve seen artist postcards in a hipster coffee shop. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (which is the second greatest command, according to Jesus) is now apparently the favorite verse of atheists, agnostics and liberal Christians alike. Without doubt, it should be one of the most greatly beloved truths for anyone who calls himself or herself a disciple of Christ. However, this command can only be properly understood in light of the previous two verses, its own textual qualification and the teaching of Scripture regarding the person and work of Christ. 
Recently, while reading through Augustine’s “On Christian Doctrine,” I stumbled across an enlightening section on self-love, loving other and loving God. Augustine wrote: 
“He is a man of just and holy life who forms an unprejudiced estimate of things, and keeps his affections also under strict control, so that he neither loves what he ought not to love, nor fails to love what he ought to love, nor loves that more which ought to be loved less, nor loves that equally which ought to be loved either less or more, nor loves that less or more which ought to be loved equally. No sinner is to be loved as a sinner; and every man is to be loved as a man for God’s sake; but God is to be loved for His own sake. And if God is to be loved more than any man, each man ought to love God more than himself. Likewise we ought to love another man better than our own body, because all things are to be loved in reference to God, and another man can have fellowship with us in the enjoyment of God, whereas our body cannot; for the body only lives through the soul, and it is by the soul that we enjoy God.”
If we endure the enigmatic language of Augustine’s opening sentence, we come to what is one of the most profound thoughts on the relationship between the first and second greatest commandments. “No sinner is to be loved as a sinner,” he wrote, “and every man is to be loved as a man for God’s sake; but God is to be loved for His own sake. And if God is to be loved more than any man, each man ought to love God more than himself.” Augustine is walking back from the second great commandment to the first great commandment; and, in that way, is showing that we cannot properly understand the second great commandment if we do not rightly understand the first. 
We will surely find ourselves at a loss to properly explain what Scripture means when it says “Love your neighbor as yourself” if we do not have an adequate understanding of what it means when it says “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.” To love the Lord with all of our being is to live as a creature in dependence on our Creator, to humble ourselves under His word, to acknowledge His infinite, eternal and unchangeable being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth, to seek to do those things that are pleasing in His sight and to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. It is the first and great commandment because we are, in all that we do, to seek to please God rather than men (Gal. 1:10). In short, man’s chief end is “to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” 
Without doubt, a vital constituent of loving the living and true God is loving those made in His image. If we don’t love our fellow image bearers, then, the Apostle says, “he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20). It is impossible for someone to prove that he is living for and loving God if he is not seeking to love his neighbor as himself. 
When, however, someone bandies about Matthew 22:39–irrespective of its subordination in the taxonomy of Matthew 22:37-39–he or she often goes on to misconstrue its theological and ethical meaning. The second great command is not, “You shall love the sinner as you love your sinful self.” As Augustine succinctly put it: “No sinner is to be loved as a sinner.” Rather, we are to love our neighbor “as a man for God’s sake.” This involves first realize that “God is to be loved for His own sake. And if God is to be loved more than any man, each man ought to love God more than himself.” When we fail to place these truths in their proper order there is no end to the sorts of evil that we will readily tolerate in ourselves and promote in others.
Of course, none of us has loved the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. None of us has loved our neighbor as ourselves as we ought. In fact, we are all pervasively depraved by nature (Eph. 2:1-4). A Christian is necessarily someone who confesses that he or she has fallen short–so very short–of the glory of God (Rom. 6:23). A Christian is one who flees to the only One who ever perfectly loved the Lord with all of His heart, mind, soul and strength–to the only One who ever perfectly loved His neighbor as Himself. Jesus fulfilled the first and second great commandments. Jesus took the punishment, in His own body at the cross (1 Pet. 2:24), for our failure to keep these two commandments. Jesus bore the wrath of God that we deserve for our failure to love the Lord and our neighbor as we ought. Jesus did not “love the sinner as His sinful self.” The sinless Son of God incarnate loved sinners “for God’s sake, God for His own sake, and God more than any man.” It is only as we keep the Jesus of the Scriptures before our eyes that we too will learn to love the Lord and our neighbor in a way that brings glory to God and good to our neighbors. 

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What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down?

Reformedontheweb's Blog

Their foot shall slide in due time (Deut. Xxxii. 35).

The observation from the words that I would now insist upon is this. “There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.” By the mere pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God’s mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment.

The truth of this observation may appear by the following considerations.

2. What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down? They deserve to be cast into hell; so that divine justice never stands in the way…

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Election, Grace, and Love (Van Dixhoorn)

The Reformed Reader

The Westminster Confession says this of the elect: “[God] chose them out of his free grace and love alone, not because he foresaw faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of these, or anything else in the creature, as conditions or causes moving him to do this…” (ch. 3.5).  The following Scriptures teach as much: Eph 1:4, 9, 11; Rom. 8:30; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Thes. 5:9, Rom. 9:11, 13, 16.  I appreciate Chad Van Dixhoorn’s comments on this truth of unconditional election:

“All of this flows out of God’s sheer, ‘free grace,’ a grace which is tinged – no, saturated with his love.  Of course, the Lord sees all things.  But he did not peer into the future in order to find sparks of faith that he could fan into flame.  To think that we can do something that will make God then choose us is to construct…

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The Reformation and Election (Van Dixhoorn)

The Reformed Reader

I recently started reading this resource in my Logos library: T&T Clark Companion to Reformation Theology.  One article that stands out is Chad Van Dixhoorn’s work on election.  In this essay, Van Dixhoorn talks about the historical background of election, the definition, the various views, the Synod of Dort, Amraldianism, and so forth.  I appreciate how he summarized the Reformed view of election, which is drawn exclusively from Scripture:

At this juncture in Protestant history the precise nature of divine foreknowledge was not yet contested; each side in the dispute would agree that Scripture indicates that God has known all things “from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18). Indeed, the Reformed were willing to press further the extent of God’s knowledge. In his arguments against Pighius, Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499–1562) argues that God does not only know all that has happened and will happen. He also knows all…

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IF YOU FEAR GOD YOU NEED FEAR NOTHING ELSE!

IF YOU FEAR GOD YOU NEED FEAR NOTHING ELSE!

Compiled by Michael Jeshurun

The fear of God will be or should be one of the favorite topics of the Christian. Unfortunately, it’s very misunderstood. This may be partly because it isn’t mentioned much anymore, and many tend to understand the word fear as fright, and only fright. The fear of God is a very multi-faceted doctrine. It doesn’t just mean awe or reverence but a whole lot more.

The Bible has a lot to say about ‘The fear of God’ – see Genesis 22:12, Deuteronomy 6:1-2, Psalms 2:11, Proverbs 9:10, Isaiah 50:10, Acts 9:31, Revelation 14:6-7, for a good representation.

The fear of God starts out with the realization of our sin, and realizing what we’ve been saved from.

Because believers have been saved from sin, and from God’s wrath, we want to obey God not because we’re afraid…

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Bethel Church peddling New Breed heresy (Part 3): Vallotton claims “You are gods” (aka Princes and Princesses)

PLEASE NOTE: What they actually say is what they actually mean: Bethel believes you are a ‘god’.
Don’t fall for their word games.

Did you know that Kris Vallotton, (good friend of Dr Michael Brown), claims Christians are ‘little gods’? (And why should Dr Michael Brown care since he too believes in this New Breed/Little Gods heresy that Vallotton teaches?)

Time and again, Michael Brown endorses some of the most dangerous NAR Apostles and NAR Apostles in some of the largest and most dangerous cults who are perverting Christianity for their own selfish means. We say this in light of Bethel’s heretical NAR New Breed heresy. (The basic concept behind this teaching is that humans are actually divine.)

Bethel Church peddling New Breed heresy (Part 1): Spirit of Sonship = Spirit of Adoption
Bethel Church peddling New Breed heresy (Part 2): Johnson wants you to manifest the Glorified Rev 1 Christ?

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