Tag Archive | Salvation

Justified Only By Faith

Hugh Binning, Works, p. 449:

Once believe this, – if I should sweat out my life in serving God, and never rise off my knees, if I should give my body to the fire for the truth, if I should melt away in tears for sin, all this is but filthy rags, and I can never be accepted of God for all that, but the matter of my condemnation groweth, – if I justify myself my own mouth proves me perverse: God needeth no more but my good deeds to condemn me for, in all justice: and therefore it is a thing impossible, – I will never put forth a hand, or open a mouth upon that account any more. I will serve God, because it is my duty, but life I will not expect by my service; when I have done all, it is wholly mercy that I am accepted, my good works shall never come in remembrance; I resolve to be found, not having my own righteousness. I will appear among the ungodly sinners, as one that hath no righteousness, that I may be justified only by faith in Jesus Christ. I say, drink in this truth, and let it settle in your hearts, and then we would hear numbers cry, “O what shall I do to be saved?”

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/not-having-my-own-righteousness.89992/, Comment 1

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Who are the “All Men” Christ Desires to Save?

DTK on the Puritan Board on limited atonement and an early church writer:

Fulgentius, an early church writer, north African bishop, and disciple of Augustine, explains the meaning of God’s will to save all men, namely that it means not all men without exception, but all men without distinction.

Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe (c. 467-532): For this reason regarding all those whom God wishes to save, we must understand that we do not think anyone can be saved apart from God who wills it. Further, let us not imagine that the will of the omnipotent God either is not fulfilled or is in any way impeded in certain people. For all whom God wishes to save are unquestionably saved, and they cannot be saved unless God wishes them to be saved, and each person whom God does not will to be saved is not saved, since our God “has done all things that he willed.” Therefore, all are saved whom he wishes to be saved, for this salvation is not born of the human will but is supplied by God’s good will. Nevertheless, these “all men” whom God wishes to save include not the entire human race altogether, but rather the totality of those who are to be saved. So the word “all” is mentioned because the divine kindness saves all kinds from among all men, that is, from every race, status, and age, from every language and every region. In all of these people, this message of our Redeemer is fulfilled where he says, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself.” Now he did not say this because he draws all men whatsoever, but because no one is saved unless he himself draws him. For he also says: “No one can come to me unless the Father who has sent me draws him.” He also says in another place: “Everything that the Father has given me will come to me.” Therefore, these are all the ones whom God wills to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Fathers of the Church, Vol. 126, Fulgentius of Ruspe and the Scythian Monks, Correspondence on Christology and Grace, trans. Bob Roy McGregor and Donald Fairbairn (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2013), p. 101. See Epistola XVII in PL 65.
Latin text: Quos omnes homines Deus vult salvos fieri. Per omnes homines non semper totum genus humanum intelligitur.—61. Quocirca illos omnes quos Deus vult salvos fieri, sic intelligere debemus, ut nec aliquem putemus salvum fieri posse nisi voluntate Dei, nec existimemus voluntatem omnipotentis Dei, aut in aliquo non impleri, aut aliquatenus impediri. Omnes enim quos Deus vult salvos fieri, sine dubitatione salvantur, nec possunt salvari, nisi quos Deus vult salvos fieri, nec est quisquam quem Deus salvari velit qui (al. et) non salvetur: quia Deus noster omnia quaecunque voluit fecit. Ipsi omnes utique salvi fiunt, quos omnes vult salvos fieri: quia haec salus non illis ex humana voluntate nascitur, sed ex Dei bona voluntate praestatur. Verumtamen in his omnibus hominibus quos Deus vult salvos facere non totum omnino genus significatur hominum, sed omnium universitas salvandorum. Ideo autem omnes dicti sunt, quia ex omnibus hominibus omnes istos divina bonitas salvat, id est, ex omni gente, conditione, aetate, ex omni lingua, ex omni provincia. In his omnibus ille sermo nostri Redemptoris impletur, quo ait: Cum exaltatus fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum. Quod non ideo dixit, quia omnes omnino trahit, sed quia nemo salvus fit, nisi quem ipse traxerit. Nam et alibi dicit: Nemo potest venire ad me, nisi Pater, qui misit me, traxerit eum. Item alibi: Omne quod dedit mihi Pater ad me veniet.Hi ergo sunt omnes quos vult Deus salvos fieri et ad agnitionem veritatis venire. Epistola XVII, Caput XXXI, §61, PL 65:489.

He goes on to state in the same letter…

Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe (c. 467-532): These are all those on whom God has mercy because they are preceded by his mercy so that they may believe and be freely saved through faith. The fact that they believe does not take its beginning from the human will, but faith is given to the will itself in accordance with the free generosity of the merciful God. Blessed Paul recorded this distinction between different senses of the word “all” (a distinction that a faithful understanding must preserve completely) at one place in his letter so that even when he says “all men” without noting any exceptions, he might still indicate all men of a certain kind while excluding others. Fathers of the Church, Vol. 126, Fulgentius of Ruspe and the Scythian Monks, Correspondence on Christology and Grace, Fulgentius’s First Letter to the Scythian Monks, trans. Bob Roy McGregor and Donald Fairbairn (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2013), p. 103.
Latin text: Hi sunt ergo omnes quorum Deus miseretur, quia misericordia ipsius praeveniuntur, ut credant et gratis salvi fiant per fidem. Eorum namque credulitas non ex humana voluntate sumit initium, sed ipsi voluntati fides gratuita Dei miserantis largitate donatur. Hanc omnium discretionem, quam fidelis debet intellectus omnino servare, beatus Paulus uno Epistolae suae loco sic posuit, ut omnes homines sine aliqua exceptione dicens, statim quosdam omnes homines exceptis aliis intimaret. Epistola XVII, Caput XXXI, §64, PL 65:490.

The citations above are simply two examples, but throughout this entire letter Fulgentius explains repeatedly to the Scythian Monks that the word “all” (with respect to those whom God desires to save) means all men without distinction, but not all men without exception.

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/fulgentius-on-the-meaning-of-all-men-whom-god-desires-to-save.95274/, Comment 1

Are You a Wine Glass or a Coffee Mug?

Wine glass 300x531I really like this analogy by William Gairdner on how different people respond to God.  I have already quoted from his article on another blog and don’t want to violate copyright so I will paraphrase it here. The basic thought is this:

If you put a vibrating tuning fork near some dishes, a wine glass will vibrate in response to it whereas a coffee mug will not.

In the same manner, when it comes to God, some people vibrate to the divine. They are like spiritual wine glasses.  Other people do not vibrate to the divine. They are like spiritual coffee mugs. The coffee mugs can’t conceive of what the wine glasses experience.

You can read the original, more eloquent piece here: https://www.williamgairdner.ca/more-thoughts-on-god/

So, which are you? A wine glass or a coffee mug? Click your answer below:

 

What is it to Love our Souls?

Hugh Binning (Practical Sermons), Works, p. 581:

Self-love is generally esteemed infamous and contemptible among men. It is of a bad report every where; and indeed as it is taken commonly, there is good reason for it, that it should be hissed out of all societies, if reproaching and speaking evil of it would do it. But to speak the truth, the name is not so fit to express the thing, for that which men call self-love, may rather be called self-hatred. Nothing is more pernicious to a man’s self, or pestilent to the societies of men than this; for if it may be called love, certainly it is not self-love, but the love of some baser and lower thing than self, to our eternal prejudice. For what is ourselves, but our souls? Matt. 16:26; Luke 9:25. For our Lord there shows that to lose our souls, and to lose ourselves, is one and the same thing. But what is it to love our souls? Certainly it is not to be enamoured with their deformed shape, as if it were perfect beauty? Neither can it be interpreted, any true love to our souls, to seek satisfaction and rest unto them, where it is not at all to be found; for this is to put them in perpetual pain and disquiet. But here it is that true self-love, and soul-love centereth, in that which our Saviour propounds, namely, to desire and seek the everlasting welfare of our souls, and that perpetual rest unto them, after which there is no labour nor motion any more. Therefore, to draw unto himself the souls of men the more sweetly, and the more strongly too, he fasteneth about them a cord of their own interest, and that the greatest, real rest; and by this he is likely to prevail with men in a way suited to their reasonable natures. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are wearied, and I will give you rest.”

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/what-is-it-to-love-our-souls.90386/, Comment 1

The Root and the Fruit

Hugh Binning (Practical Sermons), p. 577:

I desire you may consider both the order and the connexion of these integral parts of the gospel. The order of the gospel is a great part of the gospel. In some things method is arbitrary, and it matters not which go before, or which follow after, but here they become essential, and so a great part of the matter itself. There must be first coming to Christ, and then taking on his yoke; first believing, then obeying his commandments. This is as essential an order, as is between the fruit and the root, the stream and the fountain, the sun-beam and the sun. Will any man expect fruit till he plant? There must then first be the implanting of the soul into Christ by faith, and then in due season follow the fruits of obedience by abiding in him. The perverting of this order makes much disorder in the spirits and lives of Christians. But how can it choose but all must wither and decay, if the soul be not planted by this river, whose streams gladden the city of our God, if the roots of it be not watered with the frequent apprehension and consideration of the grace of Christ, or the riches of God’s mercy?

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/the-fruit-and-the-root.90380/, Comment 1

Old Religious Instincts Die Hard

A bit of Anglo-Saxon history:

“The question is sometimes put why the Anglo-Saxons were converted to Christianity so quickly. The truth is that they were not converted at all quickly. In spite of there being good political and cultural reasons for the conversion of kings to Christianity, in spite of an extraordinary galaxy of able and saintly missionaries, it took nearly ninety years to converts just the kings and the greater part of the aristocracy, not to speak of the countryside which was a question of centuries. In the course of that nearly ninety-years hardly a court was converted which did not suffer at least one subsequent relapse into paganism before being reconverted. The old religious instincts die hard.”

~Henry May-Harting, The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England (London, 1972), p. 29, qtd. in David L. Edwards, Christian England: Its Story to the Reformation (David L. Edwards, 1980) p. 44-45.

It Is Mercy That Premises Threatenings

Hugh Binning, Works, p. 399:

It is strange to think what mercy is mixed with the most wrath-like strokes and threatenings. There is no prophet whose office and commission is only for judgment; nay, to speak the truth, it is mercy that premises threatenings. The entering of the law, both in the commands and curses, is to make sin abound, that grace may superabound, so that both rods and threatenings are the messengers of Jesus Christ, to bring sinners to him for salvation. Every thing should be measured and named by its end; so, call threatenings promises, call rods and judgments mercies; name all good, and good to you, if so be you understand the purpose of God in these.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/call-threatenings-promises.89771/, Comment 1