Paul’s thanksgiving and prayer for the faithful in Christ:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:1-14 (ESV)
Election Unto Holiness
God neither chose them nor called them because they were holy, but He called them that they might be holy, and holiness is the beauty produced by His workmanship in them.
Grace does not choose a man and leave him as he is.
There is no man in this world chosen to go to heaven apart from being made fit to go there.
Foreordination to holiness is indissolubly joined to foreordination to happiness.
God’s choice of us was not because we were holy, but to make us holy; and God’s purpose will not be fulfilled unless we are made holy.
Purgatory is an Impossibility
Be not deceived about it, you are either on the way to heaven or on the road to hell. There is no purgatory or middle condition…
Purgatory is an impossibility, if full assurance be possible.
For what does Rome offer when you have done all? Purgatory and its pains! It tells you that when you have done all, you may have to lie for hundreds of years in a place of misery till you have been purged from sin.
Be not deceived about it, you are either on the way to heaven or on the road to hell. There is no purgatory or middle condition in the next world Purgatory is an invention of the Pope for the filling of his cellar and his larder; and no more profitable speculation has ever been set agoing than the saying of masses and the robbing of dupes, under the pretence of altering that state which is fixed for ever.
Purgatory Pickpurse was the name the first reformers gave it. You will go to heaven or to hell, and you will remain in one place or the other; for you have either a character that is fit for heaven or a character that is fit for hell, and there is no character which can be supposed, if we understand the Scriptures aright, which would be fit for a middle place, neither is there any middle place prepared for it.
I have no authentic communication by which to describe purgatory, but by Romish report it is a terrible place; now, if true believers go there, then God either does remember their sins, which he says he will not do; or else he punishes them for sins which he does not recollect.
Deny God’s Sovereignty?
“Answer me, ye that deny God’s sovereignty, and hate his election…”
However much this may be disputed, as it frequently is, you must first deny the authenticity and full inspiration of the Holy Scripture before you can legitimately and truly deny it.
I believe the man who is not willing to submit to the electing love and sovereign grace of God, has great reason to question whether he is a Christian at all, for the spirit that kicks against that is the spirit of the devil, and the spirit of the unhumbled, unrenewed heart.
Answer me, ye that deny God’s sovereignty, and hate his election—how is it that angels are condemned to everlasting fire, while to you, the children of Adam, the gospel of Christ is freely preached? The only answer that can possible be given is this: God wills to do it.
Our Arminian antagonists always leave the fallen angels out of the question: for it is not convenient to them to recollect this ancient instance of Election. They call it unjust, that God should choose one man and not another. By what reasoning can this be unjust when they will admit that it was righteous enough in God to choose one race—the race of men, and leave another race—the race of angels, to be sunk into misery on account of sin.
To this day, men cannot bear that doctrine. Free will suits them very well, but free grace does not. They would not let Christ choose his own wife; I say it with the utmost reverence.
The Will of God
We read in Scripture of several instances where God apparently changed, but I think the observation of the old Puritan explains all these; he says, “God may will a change, but he cannot change his will.”
My supremest will shall be not to will anything except thy will, and if I do will it I repent of so willing, and discard the evil will and the undesirable desire.
Infinite wisdom dictates what absolute sovereignty decrees. God is never arbitrary, or tyrannical. He does as he wills, but he always wills to do that which is not only most for his own glory, but also most for our real good. How dare we question anything God does?
To me, Calvinism means…
“I am not a Calvinist by choice, but because I cannot help it.”
To me, Calvinism means the placing of the eternal God at the head of all things.
The doctrines of original sin, election, effectual calling, final perseverance, and all those great truths which are called Calvinism—though Calvin was not the author of them, but simply an able writer and preacher upon the subject—are, I believe, the essential doctrines of the Gospel that is in Jesus Christ.
Now, I do not ask you whether you believe all this—it is possible you may not; but I believe you will before you enter heaven. I am persuaded, that as God may have washed your hearts, he will wash your brains before you enter heaven. Continue reading
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake. Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.
1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.
2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.
3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again. Continue reading