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Excuses for Ignorance

Instruct the Ignorant (2929229111)

Calvin commenting on Matthew 16.1-4 (cf. Mark 8, Luke 12):

There are many persons . . . who plead that on intricate subjects they have a good right to suspend their judgment, because they must wait till the matter is fully ascertained. They go farther, and believe that it is a mark of prudence purposely to avoid all inquiry into the truth; as if it were not an instance of shameful sloth that, while they are so eagerly solicitous about the objects of the flesh and of the earth, they neglect the eternal salvation of their souls, and at the same time contrive vain excuses for gross and stupid ignorance.​

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We Are Either Inside Or Outside The Ark

Noah P4280271

Frances Ridley Havergal, “Daily Thoughts of Coming to Christ“, p.19:

We are either inside or outside the Ark. There is no half-way in this. Outside is death, inside is life. Outside is certain, inevitable, utter destruction. Inside is certain and complete safety. Where are you at this moment? Perhaps you dare not say confidently, ‘I am inside’ and yet you do not like to look at the alarming alternative and say, ‘I am outside!’ And you prefer trying to persuade yourself that you do not exactly know, and can’t be expected to be able to answer such a question. And you say, perhaps with a shade of annoyance, ‘How am I to know?” God’s infallible Word tells you very plainly, ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ A very severe test you say? I cannot help that; I can only tell you exactly what God says. And if you are not in Christ, you are out of Christ, outside the only place of safety.

‘Come thou into the Ark!’ It is one of the tools of the destroyer to delude you into thinking that no actual step is necessary. He is very fond of the word gradually. You are to become more earnest—gradually. You are to find salvation—gradually. You are to turn your mind to God—gradually. Did you ever think that God never once uses this word nor anything like it? Neither the word nor the sense of it occurs in any way in the whole Bible with reference to salvation. You might have been gradually approaching the ark, and gradually making up your mind to enter; but unless you took the one step into the Ark, the one step from outside to inside, what would have been your fate when the door was shut?’

‘Come thou into the Ark!’ I want the call to haunt you, to ring in your ears all day and all night, till you come. For at this moment, if you are not in the Ark, you are in more danger than you can conceive. But ‘Come thou into the Ark!’ Jesus is the Ark. He is the Hiding-place from that fiery tempest. ‘I flee unto Thee to hide me’ from the wrath to come. ‘Thou art my Hiding-place.’

Whose fault is it if you do not enter in and be saved? Noah did not put it off. He and his family entered the very same day into the Ark. Then, once more, ‘Come thou into the Ark’, that when the great and terrible day comes, you may be found of Him in peace.

A Very Foolish Man, And Very Wretched

Carl Spitzweg 021

“He seems to me a very foolish man and very wretched, who will not increase his understanding while he is in the World — and [who would not] ever wish and long to reach that endless life where all shall be made clear.”

~King Alfred the Great, Blostman, qtd. in “King Alfred the Great and Our Common Law” by Rev. Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee, Department of Church History, Queensland Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Brisbane, Australia, August 2000, pages 4-5

The Glass of God’s Holy Law

Robert Traill (The Lord’s Prayer, John 17:24), Works 2:245:

MirrorThe law makes a representation of believers that they must not receive, but set Christ’s representation against it. Whoever seeth his own face in the glass of God’s holy law, seeth a hateful spotted face: For by the law is the knowledge of sin, Rom. 3:20. Now, if a believer think, that just as he seeth himself in this clear glass, so doth he appear in the presence of God, that were dreadful indeed. But there is another representation that Christ makes of them unto God, that the law knows not of. The more a man knows of the law, the more he knows of his own sin and danger. And this sad condition remains till he look beyond and above the law unto the righteousness of Christ, who hath satisfied and fulfilled the law by himself, and makes this over to a believer, and represents him to God, as clothed with it.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/the-glass-of-god%E2%80%99s-holy-law.91676/

This is Proper Believing

Robert Traill (The Lord’s Prayer, John 17:24), Works 2:235-236:

Faith is a large comprehensive grace, much spoken of in the word, more talked of than acted by many; and least known, and most mistaken by them that have it not. This faith I speak of, is not a bare believing, or giving an assent unto divine truth, upon the evidence of a divine testimony; nor is it believing and expecting of good from God, upon the ground of his faithful promise; though these are acts of true faith. But faith in Jesus Christ, in its closest, nearest nature, acts thus. The self-condemned sinner, loathsome in his own sight, and persuaded that as he is in himself he is far more loathsome in God’s sight, doth, on the gospel-call and promise, try, and trust Jesus Christ for making him accepted with God. This is proper believing, Gal. 2:16.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/this-is-proper-believing.91644/, Comment 1

What is True Conversion?

Steve Lawson:

6.3.1 (Road sign)Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). Jesus is clear that if a person of this world is to be accepted into this other kingdom—the kingdom of heaven—he must be converted. Put very simply, to be converted is absolutely necessary to enter the kingdom of God.

What does the word conversion mean? In the biblical sense, conversion means a turning—a spiritual turning away from sin in repentance and to Christ in faith. It is a dramatic turning away from one path in order to pursue an entirely new one. It involves turning one’s back to the system of the world and its anti-God values. It involves a turning away from dead religion and self-righteousness. It involves a complete pivot, an about-face, in order to enter through the narrow gate that leads to life.

Conversion also involves the idea of changing direction. A true spiritual conversion radically alters the direction of one’s life. It is not a partial change wherein one is able to straddle the fence between two worlds. It is not a superficial turning, a mere rearranging of the outward facade of a person’s life. Conversion is not a gradual change that occurs over a period of time, like sanctification. Instead, a genuine conversion occurs much deeper within the soul of a person. It is a decisive break with old patterns of sin and the world and the embracing of new life in Christ by faith.

This spiritual conversion is so profound that it involves many changes in a person. It involves a change of mind, which is an intellectual change; and a change of view, a new recognition of God, self, sin, and Christ. It involves a change of affections, which is an emotional change, a change of feeling, a sorrow for sin committed against a holy and just God. It involves a change of will, which is a volitional change, an intentional turning away from sin and a turning to God through Christ to seek forgiveness. The entire person—mind, affections, and will—is radically, completely, and fully changed in conversion.

Theologically speaking, regeneration and conversion are two sides of the same coin. Regeneration is God’s sovereign activity by the Holy Spirit in the soul of one who is spiritually dead in sin. Regeneration is the implantation of new life in the soul. Regeneration gives the gifts of repentance and faith. On the other side of the coin, conversion is the response of the one who is regenerated. Esteemed British pastor D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said: “Conversion is the first exercise of the new nature in ceasing from old forms of life and starting a new life. It is the first action of the regenerate soul in moving from something to something.” Regeneration precedes and produces conversion. There is a cause-and-effect relationship between these two. Regeneration is the cause, and conversion is the effect. Put another way, regeneration is the root and conversion is the fruit.

To affirm true conversion implies that there is also false conversion. Put simply, there is such a thing as non-saving faith. Not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” has entered the narrow gate (Matt. 7:21). People may know the truth and may have felt grief regarding their sin, but it is a selfish sorrow over what their sin has caused them to suffer, not how it has offended a holy God. The most stark example of a false conversion we have in Scripture is that of Judas Iscariot. In a counterfeit conversion, there is no death to self, no submission to the lordship of Christ, no taking up a cross, no obedience in following Christ, no fruit of repentance–only empty words, shallow feelings, and barren religious activities. On the contrary, with a true conversion sin is abhorred, the world renounced, pride crushed, self surrendered, faith exercised, Christ seen as precious, and the cross embraced as one’s only saving hope.

The whole purpose of conversion is to bring men and women into a right relationship with God. This is why Christ came, and it is the reason for which He died. It was God who was “in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself ” (2 Cor. 5:19). Conversion is the crying need of the soul. Until one’s life is turned from sin to Christ, nothing else matters.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

~What is True Conversiom?, http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-true-conversion/, Copyright 2017 by Steven Lawson, Ligonier Ministries, http://www.ligonier.org

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Conversion Without Consecration?

“I doubt, indeed, whether we have any warrant for saying that a man can possibly be converted without being consecrated to God! … If he was not consecrated to God the very day he was converted and born again, I do not know what conversion means. Are not men in danger of undervaluing and underrating the immense blessedness of conversion? Are they not, when they urge on other believers the “higher life” as a second conversion, underrating the length, and breadth, and depth, and height, of that great first chapter which Scripture calls the new birth, the new creation, the spiritual resurrection? I may be mistaken. But I have sometimes thought, while reading the strong language used by many about “consecration” in the last few years, that those who use it must have had previously a singularly low and inadequate view of “conversion,” if indeed they knew anything about conversion at all. In short, I have almost suspected that when the were consecrated, they were in reality converted for the first time!”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness (p. 57)

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/consecration-and-conversion-ryle.91092/, Comment 1