Sovereign Grace Apologetics

Writing for God's glory! By Jeremy Hull

Open rebuke is better than secret love.

One of my favorite Christian rappers just released a new album. I have been listening to it a lot the last few days and I really enjoy it and think it may be his best album yet. In his album though he deals with some real things that are happening within Christian hip hop. That will be my main focus in this blog post.

Shai Linne is the rappers name and he has been faithful to the Word of God so far in all his albums. I can’t listen to him without also worshipping God and I would like to thank him for that. However in this last album he kind of stepped on some toes (as if he didn’t before with songs like “false teachers”) of some folks and it seems it hasn’t been well received. As a matter of fact one Christian rapper released a song the very next day in response to one of Shai’s songs, in a kind of battle rap intent.

I would like to say that I not only love Shai Linne and his music but I also love the men he was addressing and their music. I have listened for a few days now and do not see any ill intent from his album but a desire for the men to come back to their roots of Christian hip hop and to not be like the world with their careers. This is Shai being loving to his brethren! This is not him being “mean” or “unloving” but him being Christ-like and seeking to love his brother as he loves himself.

Back in 2004 when the Lord saved me I was very entrenched in the world’s hip hop. I listened to the most hardcore hip hop anyone could listen to but when He saved me I threw away all my rap albums, well over 100 of them. I threw them in the trash and never wanted to listen to that stuff again. Call me a legalist if you want but that was what God convicted me to do. I went a long while without listening to any music at all outside of what I heard and sang at church.

Then I found some so called Christian rap, which I didn’t know even existed. I started listening to these rappers who I thought were Christians but as I was growing I would notice them saying some heretical things in there music. So once again I got rid of it.

Then one day I heard a song by Lecrae, it was called souled out. I had already had an ill taste in my mouth for rap in general from my previous experiences but I listened intently. This song got me so pumped I immediately went and got every thing I could from him, which wasn’t much at that time. There was a line in the song that made me from that point forward recognize that hip hop can not only be good but it can teach and it can be set apart from the world! I loved it!!! I’ve never heard a rapper use words such as “systematic theology” and “eschatology” in a song before. It was almost like Lecrae was expounding God’s Word in rap music and he actually was.

From the time I fell in love with Lecrae’s music I started to listen to Trip Lee, Tedashii, Timothy Brindle, and haven’t even heard of Shai Linne yet. They all were still so small, I remember driving for about two hours to attend a free concert from Lecrae in Indiana. There were maybe 50 people there and the signs outside were small cardboard signs that were handwritten that said “free rap concert.” That was probably in 2005 and since then I’ve purchased every album he has released and found every song that I know he was featured in. I say all of this to say I love Lecrae and the 116 clique.

Now back to Shai’s album. I truly appreciate him loving his brother enough to take all the flack he has taken via twitter, rap songs in response, and whatever other means by which people have given him for it. Shai has Lecrae’s best interest at heart by calling him out and wanting him to come back to his roots. The writer of Proverbs say’s “open rebuke is better than secret love” and this is what Shai is showing in this album. He most certainly doesn’t hate Lecrae or 116. He most certainly doesn’t want to hurt Lecrae or 116. He wants the same thing I want and that’s them to be bold for the gospel. He wants them to be unashamed for the gospel as their motives were back when I started to listen.

I’m thankful for Shai’s album just as I’m thankful for Lecrae’s albums. Though I doubt anyone could argue that Lecrae is as bold now as he was in 2004. As I think on this I may not be as bold now as I was in 2004 and sometimes I need a swift kick in the rear end to get my head right. I’m glad that Shai was bold enough to do it and I think as Christians we shouldn’t get all uptight when we get corrected, especially when it’s in love by another Christian. I hope and pray that Lecrae listens to this album over and over again and truly hears Shai’s heart and love for him. I also pray for those that read this that you see true biblical love being shown in his album and my post. Then maybe one day Shai and Lecrae could help put together another 116 Clique album called the “14 letters” to finish up the New Testament.

For His Glory!

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Cast out the bondwoman and her son!


For the past couple weeks I have been spending some time in the book of Genesis. I have been reading through it and trying to see things afresh. Upon reading through it I come across the narrative of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, which actually immediately took me to the new testament, which took me to the gospel.

Let me explain. As I was reading it, my mind went to Galatians chapter four and it reads as follows.

Gal. 4:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

So in order to see what the Apostle Paul is saying here is to understand the context. Paul is dealing with heretics who have came into the church and are perverting the gospel. He says, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel,” in the very first chapter of this epistle. In chapter two he says, “And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.” What was this bondage that Paul is speaking about? The bondage of the law! The bondage of the ministration of death! (2 Cor. 3:6-9) The bondage of trying to earn striving to please God by our works! This same bondage is preached form many pulpits in America today! However Paul vehemently condemns it and says, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

Paul in the first two chapters condemns them for trying to use the law for justification. In chapter three Paul condemns them for trying to use the law for sanctification. Paul states, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” What Paul was condemning specifically was the false teaching that, “you may be justified by faith but you also must observe the law of Moses.” Remember Paul marveled that they were so soon removed from the gospel. They were removed from the gospel within one generation and looking back to the law and Paul is rebuking them for it!

Now unto chapter four and the picture Paul gives us from Genesis. If you remember, Abraham was an old man and so was his wife. Not only was Sarah too old to have children but she was barren! She couldn’t have a child at all! However God promised Abraham a son, the “son of promise.” What did Abraham do? Well he moved in unbelief and sought after a woman other than his wife to have a son, enters Hagar, the handmaid. Abraham in his unbelief entered into a sexual relation with Hagar to have a son, whom Abraham thought to be the son of promise. In other words, Abraham looked to the arm of his flesh to gain the promise of God. That’s a perfect picture of the false doctrine of self-righteousness or justification by works! He didn’t trust God and tried to use the law to bring about this promise. This is what Paul is stating in these verses! This is what Paul is condemning throughout this epistle!

God, through Paul, also shows us that these two women were pictures of covenants. He states that the old covenant which was given at Mount Sinai, “gendereth bondage.” The word for “gendereth” comes from a word in Greek that means to procreate, or beget, or conceive. So the old covenant given an Mount Sinai begats bondage and Paul is condemning that covenant! Why would Paul do that? Well because we have a better covenant that is not like the old covenant according to Jeremiah and the writer of Hebrews. (Jer. 31 and Heb. 8) The old covenant was full of types and shadows of the “good things to come” (Heb. 10:1), the new is full of the very image of what the types and shadows were pointing at! What God is saying through Paul here in Galatians is we are in the New Covenant, not the old, and we shouldn’t be looking back like Lot’s wife.

Let’s notice one last thing from this text in Galatians four. Notice God says, “Cast out the bondwoman!” He doesn’t say it’s okay to have the bondwoman and the freewoman! You can either have the bondwoman or the freewoman but you cannot have both! If you want the bondwoman (the law, the old covenant) you will be a slave, if you want the freewoman (the gospel, the new covenant) you will be free! Paul is telling these Galatians who have been so soon removed from the gospel to look to Christ, and not the law to attain the promise of God. There is no attaining the promise of God in within the law, the law condemns and kills. The only way to attain the promise of God, which is His Son, is through faith! We must look to Him and cast out the bondwoman!

For His Glory!

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Matthew Henry on Daniel 2:45

The stone cut out without hands represented the kingdom of Jesus Christ, which should be set up in the world in the time of the Roman empire, and upon the ruins of Satan’s kingdom in the kingdoms of the world. This is the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, for it should be neither raised nor supported by human power or policy; no visible hand should act in the setting of it up, but it should be done invisibly the Spirit of the Lord of hosts. This was the stone which the builders refused, because it was not cut out by their hands, but it has now become the head-stone of the corner.

1.) The gospel-church is a kingdom, which Christ is the sole and sovereign monarch of, in which he rules by his word and Spirit, to which he gives protection and law, and from which he receives homage and tribute. It is a kingdom not of this world, and yet set up in it; it is the kingdom of God among men.

2.) The God of heaven was to set up this kingdom, to give authority to Christ to execute judgment, to set him as King upon his holy hill of Zion, and to bring into obedience to him a willing people. Being set up by the God of heaven, it is often in the New Testament called the kingdom of heaven, for its original is from above and its tendency is upwards.

3.) It was to be set up in the days of these kings, the kings of the fourth monarchy, of which particular notice is taken (Luk 2:1), That Christ was born when, by the decree of the emperor of Rome, all the world was taxed, which was a plain indication that that empire had become as universal as any earthly empire ever was. When these kings are contesting with each other, and in all the struggles each of the contending parties hopes to find its own account, God will do his own work and fulfil his own counsels. These kings are all enemies to Christ’s kingdom, and yet it shall be set up in defiance of them.

4.) It is a kingdom that knows no decay, is in no danger of destruction, and will not admit any succession or revolution. It shall never be destroyed by any foreign force invading it, as many other kingdoms are; fire and sword cannot waste it; the combined powers of earth and hell cannot deprive either the subjects of their prince or the prince of his subjects; nor shall this kingdom be left to other people, as the kingdoms of the earth are. As Christ is a monarch that has no successor (for he himself shall reign for ever), so his kingdom is a monarchy that has no revolution. The kingdom of God was indeed taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles (Mat 21:43), but still it was Christianity that ruled, the kingdom of the Messiah. The Christian church is still the same; it is fixed on a rock, much fought against, but never to be prevailed against, by the gates of hell.

5.) It is a kingdom that shall be victorious over all opposition. It shall break in pieces and consume all those kingdoms, as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands broke in pieces the image, Dan 2:44, Dan 2:45. The kingdom of Christ shall wear out all other kingdoms, shall outlive them, and flourish when they are sunk with their own weight, and so wasted that their place knows them no more. All the kingdoms that appear against the kingdom of Christ shall be broken with a rod of iron, as a potter’s vessel, Psa 2:9. And in the kingdoms that submit to the kingdom of Christ tyranny, and idolatry, and every thing that is their reproach, shall, as far as the gospel of Christ gets ground, be broken. The day is coming when Jesus Christ shall have put down all rule, principality, and power, and have made all his enemies his footstool; and then this prophecy will have its full accomplishment, and not till then, 1Co 15:24, 1Co 15:25. Our savior seems to refer to this (Mat 21:44), when, speaking of himself as the stone set at nought by the Jewish builders, he says, On whomsoever this stone shall fall, it will grind him to powder

6.) It shall be an everlasting kingdom. Those kingdoms of the earth that had broken in pieces all about them at length came, in their turn, to be in like manner broken; but the kingdom of Christ shall break other kingdoms in pieces and shall itself stand for ever. His throne shall be as the days of heaven, his seed, his subjects, as the stars of heaven, not only so innumerable, but so immutable. Of the increase of Christ’s government and peace there shall be no end. The Lord shall reign for ever, not only to the end of time, but when time and days shall be no more, and God shall be all in all to eternity

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John 1:12

This past Sunday at our church’s Sunday School we were going through Romans 9. Mainly just doing an overview of what was already taught through the verse by verse exposition of the chapter. In doing so we looked at many other texts in many other books of the Bible. Well when we came across John 1:12 one of the laity asked a question in regards to predestination. Our pastor graciously answered the question but since the topic of our discussion actually wasn’t predestination (yes Romans 9 teaches more than predestination) he wanted to get back on track. However in thinking more on it I wanted to write what I was thinking about the question. So this blog post will be my attempt at handling the text and the question that was posed.

The question was asked, “how can you reconcile predestination with "as many as received him?” Now I understand that the question was a legit question and well meaning. However the question carries an assumption in it that needs not be there. The assumption is that those who believe in predestination don’t believe that people receive Christ. Now I’ve spoken with a lot of Calvinist, if you will, and I’ve never met one that doesn’t believe that the elect receive Christ! As a matter of fact the giants of the reformed faith would all teach that the elect receive Christ. i.e. Spurgeon, Edwards, Calvin, Luther, etc. So let’s put this assumption aside, we do believe the elect receive Christ and the reprobate (non-elect) don’t receive Him.

Now let’s begin to dive into our text.

Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

But as many as received Him!

So we must, no matter our presupposition, realize that there is a reception of Christ by some and a rejection of Christ by others, according to the previous verse. Now I would argue that this verse cannot be used to try to prove election or predestination wrong because it actually does just the opposite, it proves it true! How can I say that? Well, if we are dead in sins (Eph. 2:1), as the bible clearly declares us since the fall and since we cannot come to Christ according to Jesus in John 6:44, and that we cannot even understand or receive spiritual things according to Paul in 1 Cor. 2:14, then there must be something that distinguish those who reject and those that receive and it cannot be something that lies within that man himself. If there was something that lies within that man that made him receive and the other one reject then the man that receives has reason to boast! Yet we know that God, “…hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Cor. 1:27-29) So those that receive can only boast in God for He is the cause of their reception!

This concept is clearly taught in many portions of scripture from Genesis all the way to Revelation. We need not go to all of them because this concept is clearly taught in the text at hand and the surrounding texts. What our text say’s is that God gave them the power to become the sons of God! If there was a reception before God gave them the power then the doctrines of Grace (Calvinism) is wrong. However this is not what the text says.  This should remind us of Psalm 110:3 where David say’s, “thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” God makes His people willing! Those people that are dead in sins and cannot receive spiritual things, He gives life to and they receive Christ!

The word “power” in the text of John 1:12 that God give is a word that has many different meaning but they all pretty much teach the same thing. However I believe the Thayer’s Greek dictionary gives the right sense for this verse here when it say’s that “power” means, the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises. So God give man the ability or strength to receive Christ! How does He do this? Well, first He makes us alive, then He gives us faith (Eph. 2:8, Phil. 1:29) to believe in Him and receive Him. So there is definitely a reception of Christ by the elect, however the elect have no room to boast because even our faith that receives Christ is a gift of Grace!

This is how John can say in the next verse that they, “…were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” It is God that gives life! Man cannot will himself into spiritual life anymore than he can will himself into physical life. A physically dead man cannot just decide he wants to be back alive, just as a spiritually dead man cannot just decide he wants to be spiritually alive. John actually teaches this often. Two texts come to mind immediately. John chapter 3 and John chapter 6. John 3:5-8 clearly teaches us that the Spirit gives life! You must be born of the Spirit! He also teaches that the Spirit gives life wherever He wishes just as the winds blow wherever they wish. In John 6:63 it states, “it is the Spirit that quickeneth” meaning that it is the Spirit that gives life! Just as Adam was just a physical body without life until the Spirit gave him life so is the spiritually dead man without life until the Spirit gives him life.

I think the problem with some not grasping predestination or the doctrines of grace is that they don’t understand the position of man after the fall. If we start with a man that is spiritually dead and cannot understand spiritual things, cannot come to Christ, cannot receive the gospel, then the doctrines of grace aren’t that big of deal to understand. However if we start with a man that isn’t dead, as scripture declares, then the doctrines of grace are preposterous to us. The scriptures are very clear that man is dead and we must start there.

So those that receive Christ are made alive by the Spirit, given faith and repentance by God, and look to Christ for their justification.

For His Glory!

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Common Grace Refuted #2

In reading about Common Grace I also came across this quote which I believes nails the idea that I have presented to many, though not many agreed!

“In His providence God provides for all His creatures (Acts 17:25). This means that God gives many good gifts to the wicked, including not only rain and sunshine, food and shelter, life and breath, but also a rational mind, a will, and a spirit.

Many conclude from this that God loves the wicked and is gracious to them. These things, they say, are God’s “common grace,” His grace for all, a grace that does not lead them to salvation but is nevertheless a testimony to them of God’s favor and love to them. A common providence, however, is not the same as a common grace, and the two should not be confused. Nor does the Bible ever use the word grace to describe these common operations of God’s providence.

This is not to deny that the gifts God gives the wicked are good gifts (James 1:17). But because God may give them good gifts does not mean that He loves them or is gracious to them. To say that God gives good gifts to the wicked still says nothing about why God gives those good gifts. The Bible teaches that He has other reasons than love or mercy for giving good gifts to the wicked. He gives them these good gifts in His wrath, as a snare to them (Ps. 11:5; Prov. 14:35; Rom. 11:9), for a curse (Prov. 3:33), and for their destruction (Ps. 92:7). By these gifts He sets them in slippery places and casts them down to destruction (Ps. 73:18 in the context of verses 3–7). This is clearly seen in the way the wicked use these gifts to sin against God and to make themselves worthy of condemnation.

This is so true that we are even commanded in Scripture to imitate God in our dealings towards our enemies—to do good to them, and to do it in the understanding that if they do not repent and believe, our good deeds will be for their destruction and condemnation (Rom. 12:20-21).

It should not surprise us that a gift that is in itself good can be given for such reasons. For a father to gives to his infant son a razor-sharp butcher knife—something that is indispensable in the kitchen—would certainly lead us to question whether he was giving such a “good gift” in love and pity. The child will as certainly misuse it for his own destruction as the wicked do with every good gift God gives them.

Perhaps the greatest danger, though, in the teaching of common grace is that it destroys our comfort in God. If rain and sunshine, health and life, are in themselves grace, what are we to conclude when God sends us the opposite: sickness, poverty, drought, or death? Are these things His curse? Does He send them because He hates us? If grace is in “good things,” have we no grace when God does not give us those good things? Are we not rather to conclude this: that all He sends us, His people, whether in health or sickness, poverty or prosperity, life or death, He sends in His love and grace and for our good (Rom. 8:28), but that everything He sends the wicked, even though it be in itself “good,” is nevertheless for their condemnation? How else shall we be comforted in all our sorrows and afflictions?”

Ronald Hanko

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Common grace refuted!

It’s not usually for me to post something from someone I’m not totally familiar with but as I was reading the other day I came across part of this quote and had to google who it was and the context! I personally think he nails what I’ve been saying for quite sometime and though I’m not super familiar with him what here say’s here is dead on! Enjoy it or hate it, either way let me know what you think!

“We reject common grace on the basis of the Word of God. Common grace teaches that God loves the reprobate, but the Scriptures proclaim that "the Lord abhorreth” “the covetous” (Ps. 10:3). The Psalmist declares of God: “thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Ps. 5:5). God does not hate the sin but love the sinner! Moreover, “the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth” (Ps. 11:5). Here is the intensity of God’s aversion to the reprobate: his very soul—all that He is—detests him. Thus Jehovah “shall rain snares, fire and brimstone” upon him.

Common grace teaches that the good things which the reprobate receive in this life are proof of God’s love for them. This was Asaph’s mistake, and it is the mistake of many. In “the sanctuary of God” (Ps. 73:17), Asaph came to understand that “the prosperity of the wicked,” their health, food, riches was "surely” God’s setting them “in slippery places” before He casts “them down into destruction”. God gave them good things in His providence, but He "despised” them for their wickedness. 

Solomon, the wisest of men, declared, “The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked” (Prov. 3:33). All the good things in his house—wife, children, possessions, food etc.—come not with God’s love but with His curse. 

Some people say that we reject common grace on the basis of inferences drawn from the eternal predestinating counsel of God. But God’s revealed truth of predestination is not the only doctrine that militates against common grace. Against God’s unity (Deut. 6:4), common grace teaches that God has two loves, two mercies, two lovingkindnesses, etc. Against God’s immutability (Mal. 3:6), common grace teaches that God loves the reprobate in time and then hates them in eternity. Against the divine righteousness, which is so great that God cannot “look on iniquity” (Hab. 1:13), common grace says that God loves those who are completely evil (Rom. 3:10-18). In short, common grace postulates a temporary, limited, changeable, unrighteous love of God (outside of Jesus Christ!) for the reprobate. But the Scriptures teach us that God loves Himself, and that He loves His elect church (Eph. 5:25) with a particular (Rom. 9:18), eternal (Jer. 31:3), infinite (Eph. 3:17-19), unchangeable (Ps. 136) love in Jesus Christ. 

This initial error of a love of God for the reprobate is being used by many (including professing Calvinists) to erode the antithesis (Gen. 3:15), to soften total depravity, to compromise particular atonement, to preach a desire of God to save the reprobate, to silence and (then) deny unconditional reprobation and election, to refuse to condemn Arminianism and its teachers, and to enable fellowship with unbelievers.“ Angus Stewart

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The Gospel for Believers

A couple weeks ago while discussing the gospel with someone, who claims to be a Christian, and talking to him about a church we have both attended, he said something that made me want to pull my hair out. It bothered me so bad that as I was doing our weekly “call to confession” from the pulpit of my local church I had to mention it and warn our church against it, though it had nothing to do with what I was about to discuss. That was about two weeks ago and I still think about it almost everyday and it still bothers me, so that’s why I’m writing. Please bear with me as I pour this out for us. The very thing we were discussing and what was said I’ll elaborate on now.

I’ll begin with what we were discussing that brought up the comment. He had asked me what I didn’t like about said church that I left. Now there were many things but the main thing was that the gospel was not preached from the pulpit on a regular basis. Now I’ve spoken with a couple people that went there and they all act like I’m out of my mind when I say that. However, I made it a point to make a note if the gospel was actually preached every single time I was there, which was every time the doors were open. I got to the point that as I was thinking about the last time the gospel was preached in this church I couldn’t remember one time. I know you’re thinking now, “that’s your fault for attending a church that didn’t preach the gospel” or, “why would you stay or attend a church that didn’t preach the gospel?” Well, to answer that question, “I don’t know,” maybe immaturity, maybe pride (thinking I was right about attending), maybe it was love for the brethren there, I’m not sure. However, I was there and I did attend faithfully.

This brings me to his statement. When I stated my issue with the gospel not being present in this church, he stated, “I know the pastor and I know that he believes the church is supposed to be made up of believers. The pastors job is to equip the church to go out and preach the gospel. So that’s why he doesn’t preach the gospel from the pulpit.” He said this like it was ok, as I felt like he just stabbed me in the heart with a dagger. This is not biblical Christianity. You cannot read through one epistle and come away from it thinking, “the gospel is not for the church.” I don’t know where and why this thought is even present in the so called “church.” I could suggest a few reasons but I’m sure you have already thought of them.

Let’s look at a few scriptures concerning this false doctrine.

- Romans 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

Why is Paul ready to preach the gospel to those at Rome? Were they unbelievers he was writing to? We’ll let Paul answer that question.

Rom 1:7  To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

So Paul identifies these people at Rome as beloved of God, called to be saints. I think it’s quite clear that this was written to the church at Rome. However Paul is still ready to preach the gospel to them that are at Rome! Why would he do this? Well he tells us. First, because he’s not ashamed of the gospel, as it seems that some so called pastors are. He said elsewhere to a young pastor to always be ready to preach the gospel, in season and out of season. (2 Tim. 4:2) Why would he tell a pastor to preach the gospel like that? Well because secondly, the church NEEDS the gospel! There shouldn’t be a believer alive who say’s they don’t need the gospel. We don’t only need the gospel on Sunday when we come together, we need it Monday-Saturday to live. As Paul goes on to say that, “the just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:17) Faith in what? In Christ! In the gospel! In God!

The book of Romans, I would argue, is the greatest exposition of the gospel ever written and who is it written to? The atheists? The pagans? No! It’s written to the church! I could go on from scripture to scripture to prove this point but if you’re a believer I hope that you are well aware of this crucial fact about the gospel.

Now that we have seen some scripture concerning this, I also want to give a couple other reasons from our experience.

1. How many times have you walked into church thinking I totally failed this week? I did absolutely nothing I was supposed to do spiritually and not only that I did way too much stuff that I shouldn’t of done. Then upon walking into service, even though you don’t feel like it, you hear the gospel preached and you realize, “my past is gone! My sins are Gone! What I did or didn’t do don’t mean anything in the courtroom of God! I’m perfectly justified as a stinking wretch!” O, I know this experience too well.

2. How many times have you walked into church thinking I nailed it this week? I did everything I was supposed to do spiritually (which is a lie) and didn’t do anything I wasn’t supposed to (which is another lie). We know that’s not true but we act like that sometimes! Then we walk into church and this time we really want to because we are so good why wouldn’t God want me to worship Him. When we hear the gospel preached and realize, “I didn’t nail it this week! I’m a stinking wretch for acting like I could perfectly obey! I still need Christ and need Him more right now because of my pride.” I’m sure we know this experience as well.

Now to sum it up, I’m sure we can see that the gospel is for the church first and foremost. Though God uses the gospel to save His elect He also uses the gospel to grow His elect! Those churches that don’t want to preach the gospel are not churches but social gathering spots! I don’t know about you but I’d much rather sleep in on Sunday than go hang out with a bunch of people I barely know and may barely like. In closing, brethren don’t only preach and hear the gospel on Sunday but do it everyday to keep yourself in check.

For His glory!

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John Owen on the New Heaven and New Earth

I shall only observe, by the way, not to look into the difficulties of these verses, that I be not too long detained from my principal intendment, — that the apostle makes a distribution of the world into heaven and earth, and saith, they “were destroyed with water, and perished.” 

We know that neither the fabric or substance of the one or other was destroyed, but only men that lived on the earth; and the apostle tells us, verse 5, of the heavens and earth that were then, and were destroyed by water, distinct from the heavens and the earth that were now, and were to be consumed by fire: and yet, as to the visible fabric of heaven and earth, they were the same both before the flood and in the apostle’s time, and continue so to this day; when yet it is certain that the heavens and earth, whereof he speaks were to be destroyed and consumed by fire in that generation. We must, then, for the clearing our foundation, a little consider what the apostle intends by “the heavens and the earth” in these two places:—

1. It is certain, that what the apostle intends by the “world,” with its heavens and earth, verses 5, 6, which was destroyed by water; the same, or somewhat of that kind, he intends by “the heavens and the earth” that were to be consumed and destroyed by fire, verse 7. Otherwise there would be no coherence in the apostle’s discourse, nor any kind of argument, but a mere fallacy of words.

2. It is certain, that by the flood, the world, or the fabric of heaven and earth, was not destroyed, but only the inhabitants of the world; and therefore the destruction intimated to succeed by fire, is not of the substance of the heavens and the earth, which shall not be consumed until the last day, but of persons or men living in the world.

3. Then we must consider in what sense men living in the world are said to be the “world,” and the “heavens and earth” of it. I shall only insist on one instance to this purpose, among many that may be produced, Isa. li. 15, 16. The time when the work here mentioned, of planting the heavens, and laying the foundation of the earth, was performed by God, was when he “divided the sea,” verse 15, and gave the law, verse 16, and said to Zion, “Thou art my people;” — that is, when he took the children of Israel out of Egypt, and formed them in the wilderness into a church and state. Then he planted the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth, — made the new world; that is, brought forth order, and government, and beauty, from the confusion wherein before they were. This is the planting of the heavens, and laying the foundation of the earth in the world. And hence it is, that when mention is made of the destruction of a state and government, it is in that language that seems to set forth the end of the world. So Isa. xxxiv. 4; which is yet but the destruction of the state of Edom. The like also is affirmed of the Roman empire, Rev. vi. 14; which the Jews constantly affirm to be intended by Edom in the prophets. And in our Saviour Christ’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, Matt. xxiv., he sets it out by expressions of the same importance. It is evident, then, that, in the prophetical idiom and manner of speech, by “heavens” and “earth,” the civil and religious state and combination of men in the world, and the men of them, are often understood. So were the heavens and earth that world which then was destroyed by the flood.

4. On this foundation I affirm, that the heavens and earth here intended in this prophecy of Peter, the coming of the Lord, the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, mentioned in the destruction of that heaven and earth, do all of them relate, not to the last and final judgment of the world, but to that utter desolation and destruction that was to be made of the Judaical church and state; for which I shall offer these two reasons, of many that might be insisted on from the text:—

(1.) Because whatever is here mentioned was to have its peculiar influence on the men of that generation. He speaks of that wherein both the profane scoffers and those scoffed at were concerned, and that as Jews; — some of them believing, others opposing the faith. Now, there was no particular concernment of that generation in that sin, nor in that scoffing, as to the day of judgment in general; but there was a peculiar relief for the one and a peculiar dread for the other at hand, in the destruction of the Jewish nation; and, besides, an ample testimony, both to the one and the other, of the power and dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ; — which was the thing in question between them.

(2.) Peter tells them, that, after the destruction and judgment that he speaks of, verse 13, “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth,” etc. They had this expectation. But what is that promise? where may we find it? Why, we have it in the very words and letter, Isa. lxv. 17. Now, when shall this be that God will create these “new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness?” Saith Peter, “It shall be after the coming of the Lord, after that judgment and destruction of ungodly men, who obey not the gospel, that I foretell.” But now it is evident, from this place of Isaiah, with chap. lxvi. 21, 22, that this is a prophecy of gospel times only; and that the planting of these new heavens is nothing but the creation of gospel ordinances, to endure for ever. The same thing is so expressed, Heb. xii. 26–28.

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John Flavel on the love of God and excellency of Christ!

It is a special consideration to enhance the love of God in giving Christ, that in giving Him, He gave the richest jewel in His cabinet, a mercy of the greatest worth and most inestimable value. Heaven itself is not so valuable and precious as Christ is: He is the better half of heaven, and so the saints account Him: “Whom have I in heaven but thee?” (Psa 73:25). “Ten thousand thousand worlds,” saith one, “as many worlds as angels can number, and then as a new world of angels can multiply, would not all be the bulk of a balance to weigh Christ’s excellency, love, and sweetness.” O what a fair One! What an only One! What an excellent, lovely, ravishing One is Christ! Put the beauty of ten thousand paradises, like the Garden of Eden, into one. Put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness in one. O what a fair and excellent thing would that be? And yet it should be less to that fair and dearest well-beloved Christ than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths. Christ is heaven’s wonder, and earth’s wonder.


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