Tag Archive | Salvation

This is Grace’s Prerogative

Hugh Binning (Practical Sermons), Works, p. 626:

The kingdom of grace is worthy of all your affections and pains. That despised thing in the world called grace is the rarest piece of the creation, and if we could look on it aright, we would seek grace, and follow after it. Grace extracts a man out of the multitude of men that are all of one mass. Grace separates him from the rest of the world, and to this purpose are these usual phrases in scripture, “Such were some of you;” “Once ye were darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord;” “Among whom ye had your conversation in times past, fulfilling the desires of the flesh.” All men are alike by nature and birth, there is no difference. Grace brought to light by the gospel makes the difference, and separates the few chosen vessels of glory and mercy from the world, and now “they are not of the world, as I am not of the world.” All the rest of men’s aims and endeavours cannot do this. Learning makes not a man a Christian. Honour makes not a man differ from a Gentile or Pagan. Riches make you no better than infidels. Speak of what ye will, you shall never draw a man entirely out of the cursed race of Adam, never distinguish him from Gentiles before God, till the Spirit of regeneration blow where he listeth. And this is grace’s prerogative, beyond all other things.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/we-would-seek-grace-and-follow-after-it.90473/

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If He Wound, He Shall Heal

Hugh Binning (Practical Sermons), Works, p. 610:

This condemning law is delivered in a Mediator’s hand, even Jesus Christ, Gal. 3:19, 20. Who was he that spake out of the cloud, and fire, and came and set down his throne on Sinai, accompanied with innumerable angels? Deut. 33:2; Acts 7:53. It was Jesus Christ that spoke to Moses in the mount, and in the bush also, Acts 7:35, 38. Is it then the Mediator’s law, whose office it is to preach glad tidings, and the day of salvation? Sure then it needs be dreadful to no man. For if he wound, he shall heal, and he comes to bind up the broken-hearted. Ye may look on the command and curse as messengers sent by mercy, to prepare you, and make his way straight before his face. The end of the law is not to condemn you, to stop your mouth, and make you guilty. That is not the last work it is appointed for; but the Mediator hath another end, to bring you to the righteousness of faith, to save you without yourselves. Therefore ye may more willingly accept the challenge, since it comes in so peaceable terms.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/if-he-wound-he-shall-heal.90438/

Rutherford on Self-Examination

Samuel Rutherford (The Covenant of Life Opened, p. 65):

Self-searching is a reflect act upon the state (and such acts are more spirituall, then direct acts) and therefore it should be the work of all, to try, under what reign they are, whether of the first or second Adam. And whereas Angels cover their faces and their feet with wings, Isa. 6. before God and are full of eyes, as without, so also within Revel. 4:8. We may hence learn, such come nearest to the nature of these pure and heavenly Spirits, who have eyes within to see what they are, and their blacknesse of face and feet, when they compare themselves either with the Holy God, or his Holy Law. 2. The Carnall man is a beast, Psal 49:20. and beasts have no reflect acts upon their own beastly state. 3. The more of a spirituall life is in any the more stirring in communing with their own heart, the Law makes, the more of life that is in the worme when tramped on, the more stirring it makes: deadnesse and stupiditie in not being versed and well read and skilled in our selves and our own heart, argues little of the Spirit, and estrangement to a spirituall Covenant, nor can any lay hold on the Covenant of Grace in a night dream.​

In Virtue of this Union or Oneness

“To set the ground of imputation in a clearer light, we must observe […] that the elect, before the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them for justification of life, are so closely united to him by faith, as to be one body, and which is still more indivisible, or indissoluble, one spirit with him, nor are they only united, but he and they are one, and that by such an unity or oneness, in which there is some faint resemblance of that most simple oneness, whereby the divine persons are one among themselves. But in virtue of this union or oneness, which the elect have with Christ by faith, they are accounted to have done and suffered whatever Christ did and suffered for them.”

(Herman Witsius, Economy of the Covenants 1, p. 403, para 31)

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/union-with-christ-and-the-trinity.90083/

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

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: