The Will of God

The Will of God
Charles Spurgeon

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?

Charles Spurgeon

To me, Calvinism means…

To me, Calvinism means…
Charles Spurgeon

“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

Ignorant Formal Christianity

Ignorant Formal Christianity
J. C. Ryle, “What Is Needed?”

I am convinced that one of our grave defects today, is a most serious diminishing of the good old custom of private reading of the Bible. Between the growth of Christian periodicals and books, I have a strong impression that Bibles are not read as much and as carefully as they were two hundred years ago.

I am well aware that there are more Bibles in Great Britain at this moment, than there ever were since the world began! There is more Bible-buying and Bible-selling, more Bible-printing and Bible-distributing, than there ever was! But all this time, I fear we are in danger of forgetting–that to have the Bible is one thing–and to read it privately ourselves quite another!

I am afraid that the Bible of many a man and woman in Great Britain is never read at all. In one house, it lies in a corner–as stiff, cold, glossy and fresh as it was, when it came from the bookseller’s shop! In another house, it lies on a table, with its owner’s name written in it–a silent witness against him day after day! In another house, it lies on some high shelf, neglected and dusty–to be brought down only on grand occasions, such as a birth in the family–like a heathen idol at its yearly festival. In another house, it lies deep down at the bottom of some box or drawer, among the things not wanted, and is never dragged forth into the light of day–until the arrival of sickness, or death! These things are sad and solemn. But they are true. Continue reading

Waiting at Wisdom’s Gates

Waiting at Wisdom’s Gates
John Gadsby

“Blessed is the man who hears Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting at the posts of My doors” (Proverbs 8:34). In the Scriptures, no more than two classes of people are declared to be in the world. The one class is called “the blessed of the Lord,” and the other “the cursed of the Lord,” or “the people of God’s curse.”

This latter class contains all the “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction”; all “the generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet are not washed from their filthiness”; all the “generation of vipers that cannot escape the damnation of hell”; in short, all “whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life,” who are not among those whom Jesus has “redeemed unto God out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”

The former class, to which the characters spoken of in the text belong, contains all who are “chosen by God the Father in Christ before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before Him in love”; all whom He “predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace wherein He has made them accepted in the Beloved; in whom they have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:3-7); all whom the Lord the Spirit “quickens into spiritual and eternal life” (Eph. 2:1); and all to whom Jehovah says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you” (Jer. 31:3). Continue reading

Directions for Hating Sin

Directions for Hating Sin
by Richard Baxter

Direction 1. Labor to know God, and to be affected with his attributes, and always to live as in his sight.

No man can know sin perfectly, because no man can know God perfectly. You can no further know what sin is than you know what God is, whom you sin against; for the malignity of sin is against the will and attributes of God. The godly have some knowledge of the malignity of sin, because they have some knowledge of God who is wronged by it. The wicked have no practical knowledge of the malignity of sin, because they have no such knowledge of God. Those who fear God, will fear sinning. Those who in their hearts are bold irreverently with God, will, in heart and life, be bold with sin. The atheist, who thinks there is no God, thinks there is no sin against him. Nothing in world will tell us so plainly and powerfully of the evil of sin, as the knowledge of the greatness, wisdom goodness, holiness, authority, justice, truth, etc. of God. The sense of his presence, therefore, will revive our sense of sin’s malignity.

Direction 2. Consider well of the office, the bloodshed, and the holy life of Christ.

His office is to expiate sin, and to destroy it. His blood was shed for it. His life condemned it. Love Christ, and you will hate that which caused his death. Love him, and you will love to be made like him, and hate that which is so contrary to Christ. These two great lights will show the odiousness of darkness.

Direction 3. Think well both how holy the office and work of the Holy Spirit is, and how great a mercy it is to us. Continue reading

More than a Calvinist

More than a Calvinist
by John Newton

To be enabled to form a clear, consistent, and comprehensive judgment of the truths revealed in the Scripture, is a great privilege; But they who possess it are exposed to the temptation of thinking too highly of themselves, and too meanly of others, especially of those who not only refuse to adopt their sentiments, but venture to oppose them. We see few controversial writings, however excellent in other respects, but are tinctured with this spirit of self-superiority; and they who are not called to this service (of writing), if they are attentive to what passes in their hearts, may feel it working within them, upon a thousand occasions; though so far as it prevails, it brings forcibly home to ourselves the charge of ignorance and inconsistence, which we are so ready to fix upon our opponents.

I know nothing as a means more likely to correct this evil, than a serious consideration of the amazing difference between our acquired judgment, and our actual experience: or, in other words, How Little Influence Our Knowledge and Judgment Have upon Our Own Conduct. This may confirm to us the truth and propriety of the apostle’s observation, “If any man think that he knows any thing, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” Not that we are bound to be insensible that the Lord has taught us what we were once ignorant of; nor is it possible that we should be so; yet because, if we estimate our knowledge by its effects, and value it no farther than it is experimental and operative (which is the proper standard whereby to try it) we shall find it so faint and feeble as hardly to deserve the name. Continue reading

Abusing of the Doctrine of Free Grace

Abusing of the Doctrine of Free Grace
By F. W. Krummacher

What is the principle thing in Christianity? On what does all finally depend, and what is the surest sign of a state of grace? These questions, my brethren, are not difficult to answer. The principal thing, and the surest touchstone of Christianity, is this: that our godliness should shine forth in our life, business, and all our walk and conversation; in our sufferings, in avoiding of evil, in patience, in meekness, in peacefulness, in compassion, in industry, and in a faithful discharge of our daily calling. “Let your light so shine before men,” said the Lord, “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” “Not everyone that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven.” “By their fruit you shall know them.” “Show me your faith by your works,” says James. And Paul says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” “You are,” exclaimed Peter, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

In these, and many other passages of Holy Scripture, all our boasted godliness and fancied merit, are pronounced worthless and hypocritical; yes, even judged and condemned, when they do not so affect our hearts, as to produce a virtuous life, fruitful in good works. “Without holiness,” says God “no man shall see the Lord.” And in the first epistle of John we find, “He that commits sin, is of the devil; and whoever is born of God, does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot commit sin, because he is born of God.” “Whoever is born of God, sins not.” This is a remarkable passage; how are we to understand it? Are they who are born again really free from all sin? Need they no longer daily renew the complaints and sighs of a contrite heart, that they have been so remiss in their most sacred obligations; in love to their God, and to their brethren? Does not John himself declare, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”; yes, we make God a liar. How then can we bring these two passages, which seem to contradict each other, into unison? This will not be so difficult, my brethren, if we look more closely at the context. John tells us explicitly why the regenerated do not sin. He says, “He does not commit sin, because His seed (the seed of God, the seed of the new life from God, Christ Jesus, who is the true life) remains in him. Continue reading