• High-Calvinist Views On The Biblical Covenants

An Elegy Upon the Death of That Reverend and Faithful Minister of the Gospel Mr. Henry Forty, Late Pastor of a Church of Christ at Abingdon, in the County of Berks, who departed this Life in the 67th. Year of his Age, and was Interred in Southwark, Jan. 27th. 1692/3.

Mourn, mourn, O Sion! thou hast Forty lost,
Wave upon wave, with Tempest thou art tost
Our Sorrow’s great, and worser things draw near,
Sad Symptoms of most dismal Days appear:

Christ’s blest Ambassadors are call’d away,
And few these things unto their hearts do lay.
Many we lost before, for which we mourn,
And shall we Forty lose without a Groan?

Shall we not sigh for him who lately fell?
Or not deem him a Prince in Israel?
Say if you can, what cause gave he to fear,
He was not ev’ry way a Man sincere?

How many years did he his Master serve?
And never from Christ’s Truth did start or swerve
Shall Envy then his Name or Glory stain?
Or Prejudice wound him to death again?

O let his Name! his precious Name still live,
And to his Ashes no Abuses give.
Near Twelve long Years he did in Prison lie,
As Exeter can fully testify,

For witnessing unto God’s holy Truth,
Which he most dearly loved from his Youth;
An Instrument was he in Jesus Hand
In his Converting many in this Land:

Nay, his own Father and his Mother were
Ev’n both Converted by…

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Those ‘Theological Swearwords’ ‘Antinomianism and Hyper-Calvinism’ Again

Some years ago in the Evangelical Times, one of their directors, John Legg, referred to the terms ‘Antinomianism and Hyper-Calvinism’ as ‘theological swearwords’ and used them indiscriminately with his co-director Errol Hulse to describe my practice of preaching the whole of the gospel to the whole man wherever I was placed by God to do so. This irresistible calling led to my marching 35 kilometers a day through swampy marshland and glacier-covered territory with a map and compass to help me find the way and a fishing rod, snares and a small casting-net in order so I could feed myself so I could take the gospel to nomad Lapps and to my work on and for the Native Americans years later. I have written of the work of the Gospel in Lapland in my ‘Tales from Lapland’ and of the history of the planting of the Gospel amongst the American Indians in my book ‘Isaac McCoy: Apostle of the Western Trail’. I have not written about my adventures for the Lord in Germany where I have been serving Him since 1971. My call to spread the Gospel in Germany was sealed and blessed by sinners being converted during my first two sermons in two different churches, one in Bochum and the other in Mülheim. My teaching Scripture in a Oberhausen Grammar School quickly led eleven pupils to study for the ministry and missionary service confessing they had received their call during my lessons. Why do I say this as it is obvious that a Christian’s life belongs to God in choosing out a people for Himself through gospel ministries and evangelising. This is a Christian’s normal experience.

I write these words as the Banner of Truth Magazine published in February 2005 a most negative comment on the fruitful harvest work God enabled me to do in His vineyard with all praise to His holy deeds! These defamatory remarks occurred in an editorial review of David Gay’s book The Gospel Offer is Free allegedly revealing the Hyper-Calvinism behind my presumed lack of evangelistic fervor. Taking Gay’s slander for gospel Walter Chantry wrote:

‘The author is right to be concerned that preachers should ‘confront their hearers with the immediate responsibility of trusting Christ, directly encouraging then to trust him, and appealing to them to do so now!’

I felt this to be a strange comment coming from the very magazine which had encouraged me to write on gospel matters and had first launched me into print with great praise from Iain Murray, his wife, Maurice Roberts, John Marshall and especially Sydney Houghton the BOT editor. Indeed, dear Mr Houghton who became my major mentor and his wife Elsie whom had been my ‘House Mother’ at the London Bibler College encouraged me to go to print with my experiences of working for Christ. When I stayed with them, I received the same bed in which Iain Murray slept on his many visits and Elsie spoke of us both as their special protégés. Three days before his death, Mr Houghten, had parceled my first book manuscript which he had kindly corrected and attached to it a note saying the work must be printed and would serve as a doctoral thesis. I presume Elsie took the parcel to the post-office as her dear husband was obviously dying at the time and was a mere skeleton because he could not eat. I have preserved the stamped and addressed wrapping paper with Mr Houghton’s hand-writing on it as also letters from him, Sidney Norton and Iain Murray from this early period in the history of the BOT before their theological U-turn. I have a small collection of poetry entrusted to me by Messers Houghton and Norton dealing with their conversions and trust in the Lord.

Mr Houghton and especially Elsie warned me that the tide of my open reception at the Banner was ebbing and my last postcard from Elsie told me that she was very depressed at what was happening but she trusted that the Lord would soon bring news to cheer her up. When Mr. Houghton died, I wrote to Iain urging him to write a biography and offered him my material including an account of Mr. Houghton’s conversion in his own hand-writing. Iain replied that no biography was planned and that my biographical material was not needed. I would have thought Iain would have felt blessed to accept and read what his mentor and patient guide through many turbulent years had to say. Sadly, the pioneering work of Sydney Houghton has never been truly documented by the BOT. The little booklet that did eventually come out was merely a trimmed-up skeleton of his Christian witness.

I have, however, kept many precious memories penned to me by Iain from a time when all was peace between us, especially throughout his years in Australia, but sadly, not only times change!

To return to Gay’s slanderous work which would not have withstood one day in a court of justice, never mind before God’s Tribunal. Typical of Gay’s confidence in his own judgement is that he tells his readers in his introduction that they should not read my works to find out what I believe but believe his ridiculous version of what he imagines I preach and teach.

Most of Gay’s list of what he imagined I never do, such as preach repentance and faith, has been my God-given task since I met Jesus in the winter of 1956-7 in a wood-cutter’s cabin in the wilds of Närke where the temperature was minus 35 degrees centigrade but my heart was boiling over with the heat of great joy. Thus I was astonished at the…

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First by way of Reprehension.

First. This reproves those (and may serve to convince them of their horrid Blindness and Unbelief) that look on Sin as a trivial thing, a small matter; and so go on in a wicked and ungodly course of life, who add Drunkenness to Thirst; and yet say they shall have Peace: O Souls! do you not tremble to think of the evil of sin? When you hear nothing but the Blood of the Son of God can atone for it, nor satisfy God’s offended Justice and injured Law, do you think God will spare you? pardon you while you live in your sins, and make Provision for the flesh to fulfil the Lusts thereof, did he not spare his own Son, when he stood in our place, charged with our Iniquities? but let out his Wrath upon him, and will he spare you? that have your own sins and horrid guilt and pollution charged upon your own Souls? if you refuse the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Merits of his blood, and do not fly to him, cleave to him, embrace him, and the tender of God’s Grace in and by him, but do neglect so great Salvation, and the means of it, down to Hell you will be brought every Soul of you with vengeance. Nothing shews the evil of sin more than the bleeding Sides, bleeding Heart, and bleeding Hands, and bleeding Feet of the Son of God: and did he suffer thus to satisfy for our sins? for your sins? and shall any Soul alive think, if they slight him, believe not in him, he shall escape Divine Wrath; how can your hands be strong in any way of Wickedness, whilst you look up and see Jesus Christ hang languishing on the Cross, and crying out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

2. This reproves all those (and may tend to convince them of their Folly and Ignorance) whose hopes lies in something else, and not in this Covenant. Those whose hope lies in their sober and civil Lives, they conclude all is well with them, because they are not guilty of those immoral Impieties and greatest Wickedness which others are defiled with: Alas! what good will this do you? when one evil Thought is a breach of that Holy Law that lays you under Wrath and the fearful Curse thereof; will you trust to your honest moral Lives, and sober Conversations, and so slight and neglect the Grace of God offer’d by Jesus Christ in this Covenant: Why Sirs, do you think God sent his Son into the World? if by leading a moral and sober Life Men might be saved.

3. This reproves also those who mixt their own Inherent Holiness and Evangelical Obedience with Christ’s Righteousness, in point of Justification and Acceptation with God, who make Faith in the large Extent, i. e. Faith withal the Concomitants of it, a Condition of Justification, who distinguish between Christ doing for us, as a Redeemer in the Flesh by dying, and render that more extensive, than what he does by the Spirit; as if he was the Head of all Mankind in dying, and all, as so consisidered, have Union with him: but that many of those he died for, shall never be saved by his Life; because they do not answer the Condition of Faith and sincere Obedience; intimating, that Faith is not a Fruit of Christ’s Death, but is wrought out by the Creature through the help of the Spirit; tho’ we have Faith for Christ’s sake, for Christ’s Merits (in a remote sense) as we have fair weather, Pacific paper, p. 5. For had not Christ atoned an satisfied for sin, and the breach of the Law of Works, we could not have had any Blessings either temporal or spiritual: but if it were only thus, then the Covenant of Grace is not so well ordered and sure as we believe it is, but how do they understand that Text, Rom. 5.10. for if when we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being now reconciled, we shall be saved by his Life. Were not all the Elect, or all Christ died for, virtually (as in our Head) reconciled to God by the Death of Christ? and doth not the Apostle assure us that we shall much more be saved by Christ’s Life, if he reconciled us to God by his Death? was not the Gift of Christ in his death for us a greater gift than the gift of the Spirit to us? Did not we all rise from the dead with Christ, virtually when he was raised? And doth not that give us Assurance that we shall be actually quickened and raised, First from a death in sin, respecting our souls; and also be all raised to Eternal Life and Glory, at the last day respecting our Bodies. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not freely give us all things, Rom. 8 32. may it not from these two Scriptures be confident∣ly asserted, that all Christ dyed for shall be saved, i. e. shall have Grace here and Glory hereafter? doth not the Apostle argue from the greater Gift of God’s Grace to the lesser Gift? and that he that gave the greater will not stick to give the lesser.

Were not all that Christ died for, chosen in him before the foundation of the World? that they should be holy, and without blame before him in love, Eph. 1.4, 5. and did not the…

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A Sermon Preached By Joseph Hatton At Smallfields, 16 October 1881

“Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again; He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”—Micah 7:18-20

These words are a challenge to all the gods men worship, and all the gods they trust in and seek. Who is a God like unto ours? Whatever God we seek, we are sinners; therefore we must have a God that can deal with sinners. We must have one.that can have compassion on a sinner, and save a sinner. A sinner can never have compassion on himself; he cannot save himself, nor forgive his own sins. It is out of all reason to suppose a transgressor can pardon his own sins. If he could, there would be no unpardoned transgressors in the world; and all guard to life and property would be broken down.

It is solely the right of the offended to forgive the offender. There is no law of equity fulfilled in passing by transgressions but by the Lord. The law cannot pardon offences. To do so would wrong the offended. There is a right God has given to men in the gospel to pass by offences between man and man; wherein is a transcript of His own grace. It is the character of God only expressed here: “That pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage.” He can do it, because with Him there is atonement for sin. And if He passes by transgressions, He must do so by His infinite grace and glory.

It is often asked, if the Lord pardons a sinner through the atonement He has made, how can it be called mercy? If a man pays twenty shillings to the pound, how can his creditor be said to…

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A Sermon Preached By John M’Kenzie At Zoar Chapel, Great Alie St, London, On Monday October 24th, 1842

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word, is truth.”—John 17:17

From these words I shall at once proceed to make a few remarks, without staying either to consider their connection, or losing time with any introductory observations, but shall immediately come to the subject by dividing it into two general heads.

First: examine a little into the nature of the doctrine of divine sanctification; and

Secondly: enquire briefly what we are to understand by truth, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

We observe then, first, that “sanctification” throughout die Scriptures conveys the meaning of a separation or a setting apart for holy purposes. And under the ceremonial law, we find that not only the High Priest, but that all the other priests were sanctified and purified to consecrate and set them apart for their various offices in the service of the temple; and that everything connected with that dispensation was sanctified and set apart for some special and holy purpose; and as these were only types and shadows of good things to come, we are led at once to God’s spiritual and peculiar people, who were sanctified and set apart in the unalterable purpose and counsel of Jehovah from all eternity.

But in briefly considering the nature of divine sanctification, we shall take a threefold view of it.

I. Sanctification is ascribed to God the Father. In the first verse of Jude’s epistle, the elect are said to he “sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called,” and in Ephesians 1:8 the Apostle says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as he hath…

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5 Jan 2023, by


The Scripture sense of this word is the same as in the circumstances of common life; namely, an agreement between parties. Thus Abraham and Abimelech entered into covenant at Beersheba. (Gen. 21:32.) And in like manner, David and Jonathan. (1 Sam. 20:42.) To the same amount, in point of explanation, must we accept what is related in Scripture of God’s covenant concerning redemption, made between the sacred persons of the GODHEAD, when the holy undivided Three in One engaged to, and with, each other, for the salvation of the church of God in Christ. This is that everlasting covenant which was entered into, and formed in the council of peace before the word began. For so the apostle was commissioned by the Holy Ghost, to inform the church concerning that eternal life which was given us, he saith, in Christ Jesus, “before the world began? (Tit. 1:2. 2 Tim. 1:9.) So that this everlasting covenant becomes the bottom and foundation in JEHOVAH’S appointment, and security of all grace and mercy for the church here, and of all glory and happiness hereafter, through the alone person, work, blood-shedding, and obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is on this account that his church is chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. (Ephes. 1:4.) And from this appointment, before all worlds, result all the after mercies in time, by which the happy partakers of such unspeakable grace and mercy are regenerated, called, adopted, made willing in the day of God’s power, and are justified, sanctified, and, at length, fully glorified, to the praise of JEHOVAH’S grace, who hath made them accepted in the Beloved.

Such are the outlines of this blessed covenant. And which hath all properties contained in it to make it blessed. It is, therefore, very properly called in Scripture everlasting; for it is sure, unchangeable, and liable to no possibility of error or misapplication. Hence, the patriarch David, with his dying breath, amidst all the untoward circumstances which took place in himself and his family, took refuge and consolation in this: “Although (said he,) my house be not so with God, yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure; for this is all my salvation and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.” (2 Sam. 33:5.)

In the gospel, it is called the New Testament, or covenant, not in respect to any thing new in it or from any change or alteration in its substance or design, but from the promises of the great things engaged for in the Old Testament dispensation being now newly confirmed and finished. And as the glorious person by whom the whole conditions of the covenant on the part of man was to be performed, had now, according to the original settlements made in eternity, been manifested, and agreeably to the very period proposed, “in [what is called] the fulness of time, appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,” it was, therefore, called Covenant, in his blood. But the whole purport, plan, design and grace, originating as it did in the purposes of JEHOVAH from all eternity, had all the properties in it of an everlasting covenant; and Christ always, and from all eternity, “was considered the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8.)

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5 Jan 2023, by


A contract, or agreement between two or more parties on certain terms. The terms are made use of in the Scriptures for covenant in Hebrew and Greek. The former signifies choosing, or friendly parting; as in covenants each party, in a friendly manner, consented, and so bound himself to the chosen terms; the latter signifies testament, as all the blessings of the covenant are freely disposed to us. The word covenant is also used for an immutable ordinance, Jer. 33:20. a promise, Exod. 34:10. Is. 59:21. and also for a precept, Jer. 34:13,14. In Scripture we read of various convenants; such as those made with Noah, Abraham, and the Hebrews at large. Anciently covenants were made and ratified with great solemnity. The Scriptures allude to the cutting of animals asunder; denoting that, in the same manner, the perjured and covenant-breaker should be cut asunder by the vengeance of God, Jer. 34:18.

The covenants which more especially relate to the human race, are generally called the covenant of works and the covenant of grace.

The covenant of works is that whereby God requires perfect obedience from his creatures, in such a manner as to make no express provision for the pardon of offences, committed against the precepts of it on the repentance of such offenders, but pronounces a sentence of death upon them, Gen. 2. Gal. 4:24. Ps. 89:3,4. The covenant of grace is generally defined to be that which was made with Christ, as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed, Isa. 62:1-6. 1 Pet. 1:20. Is. 52:13.

I. the covenant of works was made with Adam.

The condition of which was, his perseverance during the whole time of his probation; the reward annexed to this obedience was the continuance of him and his posterity in such perfect holiness and felicity he then had while upon earth, and everlasting life with God hereafter. The penalty threatened for the breach of the command was condemnation; terminating in death temporal, spiritual, and eternal. The seals of this covenant were, the tree of knowledge and the tree of life; and, perhaps, the Sabbath and Paradise, Gen. 2, 3. Gal. 6:24. Rom. 5:12,19. This covenant was broken by Adam’s eating of the forbidden fruit, whereby he and his posterity were all subject to ruin, Gen. 3. Rom. 5:12,19; and without the intervention of the divine grace and mercy, would have been lost for ever, Rom. 3:23. The Divine Being, foreseeing this, in infinite wisdom and unspeakable compassion planned the covenant of grace; by virtue of which his people are reinstated in the blessings of purity, knowledge, and felicity, and that without a possibility of any farther defalcation.

II. The covenant of grace.

Some divines make a distinction between the covenant of redemption and that of grace; the former, they say, was made with Christ in eternity; the latter with believers in time. Others object to this, and suppose it a needless distinction; for there is but one covenant of grace, and not two, in which the head and members are concerned; and, besides, the covenant of grace, properly speaking, could not be made between God and man; for what can man restipulate with God, which is in his power to do or give him, and which God has not a prior right unto? Fallen man has neither inclination to yield obedience, nor power to perform it. The parties, therefore, in this covenant, are generally said to be the Father and the Son; but Dr. Gill supposes that the Holy Ghost should not be excluded, since he is promised in it, and in consequence of it, is sent down into the hearts of believers; and which must be by agreement, and with his consent. If we believe, therefore, in a Trinity, it is more proper to suppose that they were all engaged in this plan of the covenant, than to suppose that the Father and Son were engaged exclusive of the Holy Spirit, 1 John 5:6,7. As to the work of the Son, it was the will and appointment of the Father that he should take the charge and care of his people, John 6:39. Heb. 2:13, redeem them by his blood, John 17. Heb. 10. obey the law in their room, Rom. 10:4. justify them by his righteousness, Dan. 9:24, &c., and finally, preserve them to glory, Is. 40:11. Jesus Christ, according to the divine purpose, became the representative and covenant head of his people, Eph. 1:22,23. Col. 1:18. They were all considered in him, and represented by him, Eph. 1:4. promises of grace and glory made to them in him, Tit. 1:2. 1 Cor. 1:20. he suffered in their stead. 2 Cor. 5:21. He is also to be considered as the mediator of the covenant by whom justice is satisfied, and man reconciled to God. He is also the surety of this covenant, Heb. 7:22. as he took the whole debt upon him, freed his people from the charge, obeyed the law, and engaged to bring his people to glory, Heb. 2:13. Is. 49:5,6. He is called the testator of the covenant, which is denominated a Testament, Heb. 7:22. Heb. 9:15. He disposes of his blessings according to his will or testament, which is unalterable, signed by his hand, and sealed by his blood. In this covenant, as we before observed, the Holy Spirit also is engaged. His assent is given to every part thereof; he brings his people into the enjoyment of its blessings, 1 Pet. 1:2. 2 Thess. 2:13. He was concerned in the incarnation of Christ, Matt. 1:18. and assisted his human nature, Heb. 9:14. He takes of the things of Christ, and shows them unto us; cleanses, enlightens, sanctifies, establishes, and comforts his people, according to the plan of the covenant, Rom. 8:15,16.

III. The properties of this covenant are such as these:

1. It is eternal, being made before time, Eph. 1:3,4. 2 Tim. 1:9.—2. Divine as to its origin, springing entirely from free grace, Rom. 11:5,6. Ps. 89:2,3,28.—3. It is absolute and unconditional, Eph. 2:8,9.—4. It is perfect and complete, wanting nothing, 2 Sam. 23:5.—5. It is sure and immoveable, Isa. 54:10. Isa. 55:3.—6. Called new in opposition to the old, and as its blessings will be always new, Heb. 8:6,8.

IV. These two covenants above mentioned agree in some things, in others they differ.

1. “In both,” says Witsius, “the parties concerned are God, and man.—2. In both, the same promise of eternal life.—3. The condition of both is the same, perfect obedience to the law prescribed; for it is not worthy of God to admit man to a blessed communion with him but in the way of holiness.—4. In Both is the same end, the glory of God. But they differ in the following respects: 1. In the covenant of works, the character or relation of God is that of a supreme lawgiver, and the chief good rejoicing to communicate happiness to his creatures. In the covenant of grace he appears as infinitely merciful, adjudging life to the elect sinner, agreeably to his wisdom and justice.—2. In the covenant of works there was no mediator: the covenant of grace has a mediator, Christ.—3. In the covenant of works, the condition of perfect obedience was required to be performed by man himself in covenant. In the covenant of grace the same condition is proposed, but to be performed by a mediator.—4. In the covenant of works man is considered as working, and the reward as to be given of debt. In the covenant of grace the man in covenant is considered as believing; eternal life being given as the merit of the mediator, out of free grace, which excludes all boasting.—5. In the covenant of works something is required as a condition, which being performed entitles to reward. The covenant of grace consists not of conditions, but of promises: the life to be obtained; faith, by which we are made partakers of Christ; perseverance, and, in a word, the whole of salvation, are absolutely promised.—6. The special end of the covenant of works was the manifestation of the holiness, goodness, and justice of God; but the special end of the covenant of grace, is the praise of the glory of his grace, and the revelation of his unsearchable and manifold wisdom.”—7. The covenant of works was only for a time, but the covenant of grace stands sure for ever.

V. The administration of the covenant of grace.

The covenant of grace, under the Old Testament, was exhibited by promises, sacrifices, types, ordinances, and prophecies. Under the New it is administered in the preaching of the Gospel, baptism, and the Lord’s supper; in which grace and salvation are held forth in more fulness, evidence, and efficacy to all nations, 2 Cor. 3:6-18. Heb. 8. Matt. 28:19,20. But in both periods, the mediator, the whole substance, blessings, and manner of obtaining an interest therein by faith, are the very same, without any difference, Heb. 11:6. Gal. 3:7,14. The reader, who may wish to have a more enlarged view of this subject, may peruse Witsius, Strong, or Boston on the Covenants, in the former of which especially he will find the subject masterly handled.

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A Body Of Doctrinal Divinity, John Gill

Having considered the nature, perfections, and persons in God, I shall now proceed to treat of his acts and operations; which are such as are worthy of a Being possessed of those perfections which have been described; and so must be worthy of our notice. God is “actus purus et simplicissimus”; he is all act; if one may so say; having nothing passive in him; and therefore must be active and operative; “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work”, (John 5:17) in which words there is a term fixed, unto which God had worked, the then present time Christ spoke them; but none from whence he began to work: he had not only worked in providence till then, since the creation, and not only at the creation, but from all eternity; his active and eternal mind had always been at work; the thoughts of his heart were always employed in devising, forming, and settling things that should be done in time; and as the three divine Persons were taking infinite delight and pleasure in each other, so in the foreviews of what would be done by each of them in time, for the setting forth and manifestation of their glory.

The acts and works of God may be distinguished into internal and external. The “external” acts and works of God, are such as are done in time, visible to us, or known by us; as creation, providence, redemption, &c. His “internal” acts and works, which will be first considered, and are what were done in eternity, are commonly distinguished into…

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A Body Of Doctrinal Divinity, John Gill

The special decrees of God respecting rational creatures, commonly go under the name of “predestination”; though this sometimes is taken in a large sense, to express everything that God has predetermined; and so it takes in all that has been observed in the preceding chapter; which some call eternal providence, of which, temporary providence is the execution; for with God there is not only a provision of things future, but a provision for the certain bringing them to pass; and the counsel and will of God is the source and spring of all things, and the rule and measure according to which he works, (Eph. 1:11) but predestination is usually considered as consisting of two parts, and including the two branches of election and reprobation, both with respect to angels and men; for each of these have place in both. Angels; some of them are called “elect” angels, (1 Tim. 5:21) others are said to be “reserved in chains”, in the chains of God’s purposes and providence, “unto the judgment” of the great day (2 Peter 2:4). Men; some of them are vessels of mercy, afore prepared for glory; others vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction; some are the election, or the elect persons, that obtain righteousness, life, and salvation; and others are the rest that are left in, and given up to blindness (Rom. 9:22, 23, 11:7). Though sometimes predestination only respects that branch of it called election, and the predestinated signify only the elect; for who else are called, justified, and glorified, enjoy adoption and the heavenly inheritance? not, surely, the non-elect (Rom. 8:29, 30; Eph. 1:5, 11). This branch of predestination, election, must be considered first; I shall begin with,

1. The election of angels; of this the scriptures speak but sparingly, and therefore the…

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A Body Of Doctrinal Divinity, John Gill

I make use of the word “rejection” in this article, partly because it is a scriptural phrase and ascribed to God, and partly because it is that act of God which gives the name of reprobate to any; and is the foundation of that character, “reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them”, (Jer 6:30) and stands opposed to election, (1 Sam. 15:26, 10:24) but chiefly because the other word reprobation, through wrong and frightful ideas being affixed to it, carries in it with many a sound harsh and disagreeable; or otherwise they are of the same signification, and no amendment is made in the doctrine or sense of it, by using the one instead of the other. This doctrine of rejecting some angels and some men from the divine favour, is spoken of but sparingly in scripture, yet clearly and plainly; though chiefly left to be concluded from that of election, and from whence it most naturally and rationally follows. I shall begin with,

1. The rejection of some of the angels, which consists of two parts:

1a. A non-election, or preterition of them, a passing over them or passing by them, when others were chosen; and which may be concluded from the choice of others; for if some were elect, others must be non-elect; if some were chosen, others were not; if some were taken, others must be passed by and left: that some of them are elect is certain, they are expressly called…

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A Body Of Doctrinal Divinity, John Gill

The union of God’s elect unto him, their adoption by him, justification before him, and acceptance with him, being eternal, internal, and immanent acts in God; I know not where better to place them, and take them into consideration, than next to the decrees of God, and particularly the decree of election; since as that flows from the love of God, and is in Christ from everlasting, there must of course be an union to him so early; and since predestination to the adoption of children, and acceptance in the beloved, are parts and branches of it, (Eph. 1:4-6) they must be of the same date. I shall begin with the union of God’s elect in Christ.

I shall not here treat of any time acts of union; as of our nature to the Son of God by his incarnation, when he became our brother, our near kinsman, flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone; and we and he were of one, that is, of one nature, (Heb. 2:11, 14, 16) nor of the vital union of our persons to him in regeneration, when we are quickened by the power and grace of God, Christ is formed in our hearts, and we become new creatures in him, and are in him as living fruitful branches in him, the living vine; which is our open being in Christ, in consequence of a secret being in him from everlasting by electing grace (see Rom. 16:7; 2 Cor. 5:17, 12:2). Nor of the more open and manifest union of the saints to God hereafter; who being once in Christ, are always found in…

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A Body Of Doctrinal Divinity, John Gill

I shall not here treat of these as doctrines, in the full extent of them; or as blessings of grace actually bestowed upon, and enjoyed by believers, with all the privileges and advantages arising from thence; or as transient acts passing on them, and terminating in their consciences at believing; but as internal and immanent acts, taken up in the mind of God from eternity, and which abide in his will; in which they have their complete “esse”, or being, as eternal election has, being of the same kind and nature, and are ranked with it as of the same date, and as branches of it (Eph. 1:4-6). In the other view of them they will be considered hereafter in course, in a proper place. I shall begin with,

1. Adoption; as predestination to it stands next to election. (Eph. 1:5)

Which is no other than his will to adopt the chosen ones, which is his adoption of them; for as the will of God to elect any is his election of them, so his will to adopt the same is his adoption of them; and the complete essence of it lies in his will, and is as such an eternal immanent act of it; in like manner as election is, and may be considered as a branch of it, at least of the same nature with it; and which agrees with the sense of the word “adopto”, from whence adoption comes, which is…

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A Body Of Doctrinal Divinity, John Gill

Having treated of the internal and immanent acts in the divine mind, and which are eternal; I shall next consider the operations and transactions among the three divine persons when alone, before the world began, or any creature was in being; and which are, chiefly the council and covenant of God, respecting the salvation of men: these are generally blended together by divines; and indeed it is difficult to consider them distinctly with exactness and precision; but I think they are to be distinguished, and the one to be considered as leading on, and as preparatory and introductory to the other, though both of an eternal date; and shall begin with the council of God, held between the three divine persons, Father, Son and Spirit, concerning the affair of man’s salvation before the world was. And it will be proper to enquire.

1. First, In what sense counsel, consultation and deliberation, can be ascribed to God, to the divine persons; and,

1a. This is not to be understood as expressive of any want of knowledge, or of the least degree of ignorance in God, or of his being at a loss in forming the scheme of salvation; since he is a God of knowledge, of all knowledge, is perfect in knowledge, wanting nothing; is the only wise and all-wise God, whose understanding is infinite, and reaches to all things, and…

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A Body Of Doctrinal Divinity, John Gill

The council before treated of, is the basis and foundation of the Covenant of grace, and both relate to the same thing, and in which the same persons are concerned. In the former, things were contrived, planned, and advised; in the latter, fixed and settled. The covenant of grace is a compact or agreement made from all eternity among the divine Persons, more especially between the Father and the Son, concerning the salvation of the elect. For the better understanding these federal transactions between them, before the world was, when there were no creatures, neither angels nor men in being; and which lay the foundation of all the grace and glory, comfort and happiness, of the saints in time and to eternity; it may be proper to consider,

1. The etymology and signification of the words used for “covenant”, in the writings of the Old and New Testament, by which it will appear with what propriety these transactions may be called a “covenant”.

The books of the Old Testament were written in Hebrew, and the Hebrew word for “covenant”, throughout those writings is ברית “Berith”; which, by different persons, is derived ברר from different roots. There are a set of men244 lately risen up, who derive the word from “Barar”, which signifies, to “purify”; and because the word we translate “make”, which usually goes along with “covenant”, signifies, to “cut off”, they warmly contend, that wherever we meet with this phrase, it should be rendered…

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A Body Of Doctrinal Divinity, John Gill

The various parts which each contracting Party take in this covenant, are next to be considered. The Father, the first person in the Trinity, takes the first place, and gives the lead in this covenant. “All things are of God”, that is, of God the Father; they are of him originally, they begin with him; all things in creation; he has made the world, and created all things by his Son; and so all things in the salvation of men, “who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ”; he set on foot the council of peace, and so the covenant of peace, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself”; that is, God the Father; he planned the reconciliation of men in council, and proposed it in covenant, and settled it with the other two persons; and he is not only the proposer, but the prescriber and enjoiner of things in the covenant; he both proposed the work to be done, and took upon him the authority, by agreement, to prescribe and enjoin it: hence we read of the injunctions and commands laid on Christ with respect to his discharge of his office, as the mediator of this covenant, (John 10:18, 12:49, 14:31) it was the Father that called Christ from the womb of eternity to be his servant, and directed and enjoined his work and service, as appears from (Isa. 49:1-6) and promised a reward to him on condition of his performing the service, and to bestow benefits on the elect in him, and for his sake. And let us,

1. First, Consider the work he proposed to Christ, which is the great and only condition of the covenant, and which he prescribed and enjoined him to do; which was,

1a. To take the care and charge of the chosen ones; these, as he chose them in him, he put them into his hands, not only as his property, but for their safety; and here they are safe, for none can…

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A Body Of Doctrinal Divinity, John Gill

The part which the Son of God takes, and the place and office he has in the covenant of grace, are next to be considered. Christ has so great a concern in the covenant, that he is said to be the Covenant itself; “I will give thee for a Covenant of the people”, (Isa. 42:6, 49:8) his work, that which was proposed to him, and he agreed to do, is, as has been observed, the grand condition of the covenant, and he himself is the great blessing of it; he is the Alpha and the Omega, as of the scriptures, so of the covenant of grace; he is the first and the last in it, the sum and substance of it; he is everything, ALL in ALL in it; all the blessings of it are the sure mercies of him, who is David, and David’s Son; he is prevented with all the blessings of goodness, and the covenant people are blessed with all spiritual blessings in him, as their covenant head; all the promises are made to him, and are all yea and amen in him; he sustains various characters and offices in the covenant. He is the representative Head of his people in it; he is the Mediator, Surety, Testator, and Messenger of it; of all which, more particularly and distinctly hereafter. At present I shall only observe Christ’s assent to his Father’s proposals, his acceptance of them, and open declaration of his readiness and willingness to act according to them, which formally constitute the covenant and compact between them; his consent thereunto is fully expressed in Psalm 40:6-8. “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering, and sin offering, hast thou not required. Then said I Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me: I delight to do thy will, O my God! yea, thy law is within my heart”. Which words, though spoken and written by David, yet as representing the Messiah, as is certain from the application of them to him by the apostle, in (Heb. 10:5-10) according to whom, the time when these words were spoken, was when “he cometh into the world”, that is, at his incarnation, when he came from heaven to…

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A Body Of Doctrinal Divinity, John Gill

Having considered the parts which the Father and the Son have taken in the covenant, the part which the Holy Spirit has in it is next to be treated of; who was not a mere bystander, spectator, and witness of this solemn transaction, compact, and agreement, between the Father and the Son, but was a party concerned in it. And,

1. First, The third person, the Spirit, gave his approbation of, and assent unto every article in the covenant.

1a. In general, what respected the salvation of the chosen ones; for that is the grand and principal article of the covenant; “this”, says David, speaking of the covenant, “is all my salvation”, (2 Sam. 23:5) that is, the whole of his salvation; all things relative to it were provided for in it, and secured by it; in the economy of which each Person took his part; and that of the Spirit is Sanctification; which makes meet for the enjoyment of complete and eternal salvation; hence called “the sanctification of the Spirit” (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2). And this clearly shows, that the Spirit approved of, and assented to the whole scheme of salvation, or of the thing itself in general; or otherwise he would never have taken a part in it; and as it was the purpose and will of God the Father to save men by his Son, and he appointed them to obtain salvation by him; so the Son of God came to seek and save men, being sent of God for that purpose in which mission of him the Spirit joined…

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A Sermon Preached By Joseph Philpot At North Street Chapel, Stamford, on Lord’s Day Morning, March 31, 1861

“And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 12:24

In the two verses immediately preceding our text, the apostle holds up to our view a rich cluster of gospel blessings as the happy and enduring portion of the redeemed and regenerated family of God. But in order to bring them more vividly and impressively before our eyes, he draws a contrast between the two dispensations—that of the law and that of the gospel; his intention being thereby to show more clearly and effectually that the believer in Christ is delivered from the curse and condemnation of the former, that he may enjoy all the blessings and mercies of the latter.

I shall, therefore, by way of introduction, briefly touch upon what he has here said upon these two dispensations, that we may, with God’s help and blessing, see more clearly the meaning and force of the words of our text. In order, then, to make the contrast between the two dispensations plainer and stronger, he tells us first what we are not come unto: “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched.” This “mount that might be touched” was mount Sinai, from which the law was given by Moses; and it is called “a mount that might be touched” as being an earthly object, an actual, literal mountain, and as such capable of being seen by the eye, touched by the hand, and trodden by the foot, as by the foot of Moses, or even (though it was against the prohibition) by that of man or beast. This literal, tangible mount well represented the earthly, visible character of the Law as contrasted with the Gospel, of which the emblem is “mount Sion,” not the literal height of Zion, but that heavenly Jerusalem, which is free and the mother of us all, (Gal. 4:26,) and as such is essentially invisible, spiritual, and heavenly, not to be seen by the natural eye, nor trodden by the actual foot. But, in allusion to the accompaniments of the law on that solemn day when God revealed it from mount Sinai, he speaks of the mountain as “burning with fire.” God, when he gave the law, came down upon mount Sinai in…

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Calvinism confused

Our Lord tells us to be balanced in our teaching, not giving that which is holy to the dogs, nor giving stones where bread is needed. This balance has been broken severely by the modern pseudo-Free-Offer movement.

Spurgeon summed Calvinism up as ‘salvation by grace alone’, but views of Calvinists in relation to saving grace have drastically changed. Besides, Calvin would be appalled to learn that the saving Gospel which emanates from God but which is open to such contrary interpretations now bears his name. It would be thus better to drop the term. This article is therefore not a defence of Calvinism but a defence of the doctrine of salvation by grace alone.

Two factions have emerged amongst modern Calvinists. One teaches that all men are potentially saved by virtue of Christ’s atonement for sin. The other teaches that without the grace of God mankind is not only lost but absolutely and certainly damned. The first group teaches that in evangelising one must hide the ‘deep and secret’ elements of God’s grace from the sinner and reserve the full gospel for the already saved. The good news that God loves the sinner must be preached and his responsibility and duty appealed to so that he will love God back. The second group teaches that only the full gospel is the power of God unto salvation which includes God’s teaching on man’s doom, depravity, His eternal electing love for His people, effectual calling, efficacious atonement, sovereign grace and the perseverance in faith of the saints. The latter preach to all men everywhere as the Spirit leads, knowing that the gospel comes as a savour of life unto life to some but as a savour of death unto death to others.

The first group used to be called Arminians, Free-Willers or Wesleyans but many of them now claim they are ‘Moderate Calvinists’, though ‘Modernists’ would be a better word. These ‘Moderates’ call the second group ‘Hyper-Calvinists’, ‘Antinomians’ and ‘Hardshells’. It is symptomatic of man’s spiritual blindness that he prevents the truth from being seen by using terms and titles forged on the anvils of Babel. These Arminianisers of the doctrines of grace can only maintain their theory of God’s provisions being made effective by man’s agency in salvation by abandoning the Biblical doctrine of a full, particular, sufficient and entirely successful atonement. It is also plain that these ‘Calvinistic Arminians’ are increasingly rejecting the Authorised Version because it affirms strongly the sovereignty of God to the detriment of man’s agency. Instead, a bevy of translations are now used when they affirm the so-called ‘Moderate Calvinist’ position, though rejected when they do not. Indeed, those evangelicals who in their youth renounced the Liberal Higher Critical Movement are now happily using their more negative methods to place their own highly limited gospel in a more acceptable light.

This new Modernism does not openly reject the all-sufficiency of the atonement in salvation. What it does is claim that the all-sufficiency of the atonement does not refer to its application in the case of sinners. For them, salvation accomplished is not the same as salvation applied. The atonement, is only theoretically sufficient for all, but it only becomes a practical proposition when it is accepted. Thus salvation is not effected in Christ’s work on the cross but merely on the sinner’s reception of it. Christ’s work as such saves no one. It must be appropriated by man. Thus man is made the measure of all things. If some men are lost, Christ died in vain for them. If some refuse salvation, it is because they have thwarted God’s will.

Johnson’s Jinks

Several of these Babel forgeries have bothered the Christian Press recently under the guise of duty-faith and the free offer. One is an article by Phillip R. Johnson entitled A Primer on Hyper-Calvinism, published by the Sword and Trowel (March, 2002). Here, the author boasts that we must twist Scripture to disagree with him. There is no danger of this. The little he says based on Scripture would be accepted by most of those he opposes and everything he says against his opponents is unfounded, undocumented prejudice and silly name-calling. Johnson’s argument that all men are duty-bound to believe in Christ within the ‘Free Offer’ is as rationalistic as it is illogical and un-Biblical. His premise is not that man is spiritually fallen and has not the Spirit of God but that man has two natures, the moral and the natural. The moral nature is fallen, the natural nature is not. Thus he concludes “The defect (sic!) in man is his own fault, not God’s. Therefore man’s own inability is something he is guilty for, and that inability cannot therefore be seen as something that relieves the sinner of responsibility.” There is much truth in this statement but where does it leave us? It leaves us with a man who is morally defective but bodily unfallen. All his inabilities are moral and not part of his natural make up. It appears that man’s ability to respond to the gospel is to be found in his unfallen natural capacities. But sin has marred all and man is fallen in all his capacities. Furthermore, to divide man’s nature into the fallen moral and the unfallen natural is quite foreign to Scripture which tells us that the wages of sin is death, ie. sin brings with it spiritual, moral and natural corruption. Even if we could accept Johnson’s simplistic theory as Scriptural, how can we deduce from this that natural, fallen man, dead in trespasses and sins, has the known and given duty to exercise faith savingly? And from whence does he receive the power to quicken himself? Johnson does not tell us and he ends his ‘proof’ by merely stating that the sinner is responsible for his moral defects. Who would disagree? Our concern, however, is how to make a fallen sinner stand again. Even if Johnson’s echo of old Liberalism were true, we cannot appeal to the duties of a morally corrupt person to give him insight into salvation nor can we appeal to his fallen natural abilities. We must return to the definition of Calvinism given by Spurgeon. Salvation is by grace alone and we are called to preach this to all as the Spirit leads but we, of ourselves, cannot guarantee this Salvation to every man or even any man. Salvation is not a commodity to be offered to all under a guarantee, but it is the status of those placed in union with Christ before the foundation of the world. The presentation of the gospel can only be made in conjunction with this fact. We preach Christ and Him crucified and the Spirit offers salvation to those for whom it was purchased. We are to do our work dutifully, knowing that the Spirit does His.

Though Johnson’s grounds for his duty-faith cum free-offer is based on a philosophical approach to man which is firmly denied by Scripture, he makes equal shipwreck of his historical argument. Dealing with so-called Hyper-Calvinists who allegedly oppose “all forms of evangelism and preaching to the unsaved”, he tells us that the most famous example of this kind is John Ryland Senior. Needless to say, Ryland took over a normal sized church-membership in Northampton and his evangelistic activities within very few years increased that membership seven-fold. His church-building had to be extended twice during his ministry. The busy preacher, friend of Hervey and Toplady, was not merely called to his own flock but evangelised in no less than twenty different surrounding villages. He constantly drove his coach to thickly populated areas or places of public recreation, stood on the driver’s seat and preach to the masses so that they trembled in their sin and pleaded to God for mercy. True, he criticised the use of the term ‘offer’ because of the philosophical approach to the atonement and man’s state newly associated with it. He affirmed, “The word offer is not so proper as declaration, proposal, or gift. The gospel is a declaration of the free grace of God. It is a proposal of salvation by Jesus Christ, and it proclaims Christ as the free and absolute gift of God.” These very words reveal the heart of a man dedicated to God in fervent evangelism.

Johnson also seriously errs when he presents William Huntington sarcastically as the ‘godfather’ of those who deny the gospel call. Huntington filled his London church week after week with three thousand people, though taking great pains not to poach other ministers’ hearers. No other minister of his day had such evangelistic success! Conversions accompanied most services. Johnson’s ignorance of the many appeals Huntington made to sinners to flee from the wrath to come is inexcusable in a man who claims to have read his works. Nor can Johnson place Huntington amongst those who reject the term ‘offer of the gospel’ as his works show that he used the words freely, though not in the limited and Liberal way of the modern Free Offer abusers of the term.

Johnson links the offer of Christ in the gospel with common grace. This grace, common to all men, he argues, is the general call of the gospel. Johnson gives us Scriptural evidence for God allowing the sun to shine on the just and the unjust alike but if this is all that Johnson means by his duty-faith cum free-offer system, it is quite void of the gospel that makes unjust men just. This was the gospel that Ryland Sen. and Huntington preached which Johnson labels ‘Hardshellism`, Hyper-Calvinism’ and ‘Antinomianism’. One wonders what purpose this modern scoffer has in thus standing the gospel on its head and slandering the saints of God under the thin disguise of one who ‘is concerned’ about the modern ‘threat’ to gospel preaching. One would think he wished to abolish it!

Johnson concludes by stating that God loves all reprobates compassionately but is unable to love them redemptively – God’s love is neither compassionate nor powerful enough to redeem such stubborn sinners! This is the pure ‘God is Dead’ heresy of Dorothy Sölle and her band of sceptics. If man’s agency does not procure his salvation, Christ has died in vain and thus He is Christ no longer.

Watts’ Whims

The second Babel pronouncement is an essay-reprint by Malcolm Watts entitled The Free Offer of the Gospel, published in the magazine of Emmanuel Church, Salisbury (2001-2002). Watts defines the ‘offer’ as an expression of willingness to give a person something conditionally on his assent. He thus compares accepting Christ as someone who on buying goods at Bristol market, finds them free of charge and accepts them. His proof text is Isaiah 55:1 “Ho, every one that thirsteth . . . . . . by wine and milk without money and without price.” He forgets that this passage is referring to the prepared Bride of Christ being called by the Bridegroom and not to every man jack. Striving to find backing not only in the above Scripture but also in the various Calvinistic tenets such as the Canons of Dort and Westminster Confession, Watts gets himself into difficulties. These documents speak of Jesus being freely offered to the elect in the gospel. This is what the Marrow Men believed when they used the word ‘offer’ and this is what Huntington taught. This offer, then, is not indiscriminately to all men, based on God’s common grace to all but for the elect only. Watt appears to admit this, yet contrary-wise teaches that ‘to offer’ means to be willing to give something to somebody if they are willing to receive it. Modern Free Offer Liberals call this the ‘well-meant offer’, i.e. you offer Christ as if you really have Him to offer people indiscriminately and you pretend that everybody can accept him and that salvation is truly for them. The preacher strives to hoodwink the hearer into imagining himself in a secure position and able to take advantage of the offer, though the only warrant (Watt’s word) for such action is in the deceptive call of the ill-intentioned preacher. Watt says he is not basing his theory on isolated texts. Evidently! He does not give any Scripture at all to back up his extraordinary psychological approach to preaching. Nor do I believe that he could find any.

Now Watts extends his deceit. He tells us that he is not talking about the whole revelation of God but merely the part that says Christ is Saviour – everybody’s Saviour! Here Watts quotes Boston for backing who tells us that a physician appointed to a particular society can be visited by any in that society. Watt’s is forgetting that Boston did not believe in the deceitful preaching of a ‘well-meant’ offer (nor do the other ‘experts’ he wrongly quotes) and, in Watt’s case, the comparison does not hold water. The physician was there to heal all, whereas the Scripture and Declarations of Faith Watts’ quotes say that only the elect are healed.

Quoting Isaac Watts, our Watts now tells us that “none of the sons and daughters of Adam” are excluded from the salvation offered in the gospel. He then asks “Does this surprise you? Well, frankly, yes. What need then for the Day of Judgement and hell’s torments? What need is there for God to have chosen an elect people in Christ before the foundation of the world? Again, Watts back-pedals, saying that he is only talking about those who ‘will’. But man’s fallen ‘will’ is a ‘will not’! Here Fullerism lurks with its slogan “I can if I will?” Now Watts tells us another tale of the Queen giving everyone invitations to walk into her palace. This is the Free Offer in the gospel. All may walk in! This is the warrant for faith, says Watts. Now the term ‘warrant’ means a written authorisation or guarantee. If Watts feels that he has a written authorisation and guarantee of salvation for all, he ought to produce it. If not, he ought to be honest and tell us that there are those for whom God neither authorises nor guarantees salvation.

Watts, like Johnson, ignores Christ’s atoning work with its adopting, justifying and sanctifying outcome. This is not part of his watered-down gospel which presents Christ as everybody’s saviour. He does tell us, however, that Christ is offered particularly. At once I thought that Watts was becoming orthodox and believed in particular atonement. No such thing! Watts tells us that salvation in the offer is not general to all but particular to each and every one of us.

This message from Babel’s tower ends with an assurance that Watts is sincere. This general offer which is for every particular one must be preached sincerely and lovingly, he tells us. When he speaks, hearers must feel that God is beseeching them! But how can Watts look a man in the face, whom he does not know from Adam and tell him that he is being given in loving sincerity an authorisation and guarantee of his own particular salvation. Would he tell this to Esau? Would he tell this to Dives? Would he tell this to Judas? Would he tell this to the devil?

Murray’s Morass

The third recent attempt to redesign and limit God’s saving grace is a reprint of John Murray’s essay on the Free Offer. Murray starts by telling us that God desires the salvation of all men and quotes a Presbyterian Church article which says that God loves the penitent and desires the salvation of the impenitent and reprobate. He then strives to back this up by quoting Ezekial 33:11 which does not say that God desires the salvation of reprobates but that he has pleasure in the wicked when they turn to him and are saved. Though he has not proven his point re God’s desire, Murray argues that God would not desire the salvation of all without distinction unless He had provided the means for them. Thus the free offer is not a mere offer but “God delights that those to whom the offer comes would enjoy what is offered in all its fullness”. The question of how God could delight in offering what He knows will not be accepted is left unanswered.

Murray now turns to what he calls the Scriptural basis for his Free Offer preaching. He finds this in common grace as exhibited in Matthew 5:44-48, Luke 6:27, 28 and Acts 14:17 which allegedly proves that believers and reprobates alike are recipients of God’s favour. Again, we are reminded that the sun shines on both the just and unjust and that such passages are “redolent of the pity and compassion in the heart of God that overflow in the bestowment of kindness.” But what has this to do with a warrant of salvation for both the unjust and the just provided in the Free Offer? Murray answers tantalisingly, “What bearing this may have upon the grace of God manifested in the free offer of the gospel to all without distinction remains to be seen”. A good writer always keeps his audience in suspense!

Quoting Deuteronomy 5:29; 32:29; Psalm 81:13 and Isaiah 48:18, Murray expounds his Liberal ‘Two Wills’ teaching which is so much part of the free offer psychology. God, he tells us, has a decretive will and a will to save those whom He has not decreed to be saved. God is undecided about the fate of the wicked. He has two wills about it. The Father has one will and Christ has another, contradictory will. Murray spends some time arguing his case here, mostly based on his highly critical views of the Hebrew text. His conclusion is that Christ has a totally different view of salvation to the Father’s. This cannot be put down to the Fact that Jesus was human and that the Father was not, Murray assures us, but it must reflect two distinct Divine wills. It is obvious that Murray builds his doctrine of a warranty of salvation for all on his imagined Jesus side, rather than on the decretal side of the Father.

Murray concludes the section by saying that God clearly is pleased to will that all should turn to Him in repentance. This is, however, not the dividing line between orthodoxy and Murrayism and his Free Offer gospellers. The line is where Murray preaches salvation for all where God demands repentance from all. The Scriptural demand for repentance does not automatically bring with it the guarantee or grant of salvation. All must repent because all have broken the law. Salvation is only by grace and God’s grace is obviously discriminate, otherwise hell would be empty. However, what Murray means by ‘pleased to will’ is not easy to discern. He does not tell us whether he is speaking of (for him) God’s effective will or His ineffective will. If it is God’s ineffective, non-decretal will that guarantees the salvation of all men, we can safely forget it as then no man will be saved. Murray merely tells us that what he calls ‘overtures’ to men are made on the basis that the full gospel must not be preached (‘Why?’ we must ask) and that the call to repentance brings with it the wherewithal to repent.

Murray promised explanation comes at the end in a garbled version of 2 Peter 3:9. Murray here questions that Peter is writing to the elect, though Peter says this, and tells us that we must take ‘The Lord . . . . is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish’ as Peter’s message to all men. He then proceeds to retranslate the passage giving it an interpretation which even his re-translation cannot bear. His warrant for this, he tells us, is ‘the analogy of Scripture’. But he has given us no Scripture which is analogous to his theory of a warranted salvation for all which he forces on Peter’s words. The gospel which Peter is preaching, Murray affirms, is not the gospel that all the elect will certainly be saved but that God wishes all to be saved, providing they grasp out and accept him. Paul is thus not speaking words of comfort to the already saved but words of theological confusion to the unsaved based on the watered down gospel which says, “God loves you. What are you going to do about it?’ Never be specific in preaching the gospel, Murray argues but keep the fact that the reprobate are doomed from them. However, the very fact that sinners are told to flee from doom is the gospel way of driving some to Christ. In Murray’s gospel there is only God’s ‘delight’ and ‘love’ for all men which morally drives people to him.

The height of Murray’s total theological confusion comes in his conclusion. “The full and free offer of the gospel is a grace bestowed upon all . . . . . the grace offered is nothing less than salvation in its richness and fullness. The love or loving-kindness that lies back of that offer is not anything less; it is the will to that salvation.” “The loving and benevolent will that is the source of that offer and that grounds its veracity and reality in the will to the possession of Christ and the enjoyment of the salvation that resides in him.” However, Murray has so confused the issue up to now with his various wills that it is not clear which will of God he means, the effective will or the ineffective one. We are thus left with the question, if God wills the salvation of all men, why are all men not saved? The question is also valid, ‘What has Murray’s free offer system to do with the preaching of the gospel?

A painful conclusion

The Finneyite ‘offer’ presented by these ministers is a mockery of the gospel call. It is a sad and perverse con-trick. It is not a well-meant offer, nor can it be a sincere offer, nor can it be a loving offer as it is an offer of deceit. The ‘gospel’ that Johnson, Watts and Murray so freely offer does not come as a certain life-bringer to some and a condemning judge to others. It is all empty smiles and cheers and desires on their god’s part. It rejects the God who has decreed all to save the elect and accepts a god who has decreed nothing and wills what he knows he will never have. It rejects the God who will have His holiness and righteous judgement preached to the nations. It rejects the eternal love of God for the people of His choice. It rejects the entire work of Christ in choosing the Bride promised Him from eternity. It sees preaching as a mere moral persuasion, based on the idea of a doting god who only wills for all people to accept him but does not will their acceptance. This is truly a blasphemous religion.

George Ella


George M. Ella is a historian, author and biographer. His writings may be accessed at the online archived, ”Biographia Evangelica”.

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Thirdly, I shall shew you how this Covenant is all the Hope, Desire, Salvation and Consolation of every True Believer in Life and Death.

By what I have already said, all may perceive how, or which way, all their Salvation and Comfort lies in this Covenant, so that I need say but little to this. But to proceed.

1. ‘Tis all our Hope, Desire, Salvation and Consolation; because this Covenant was the Contrivance of the Infinite Wisdom of God, the Top Glory of all his Transactions, for, and in the behalf of Man from all Eter∣nity: Nay, such manifold Wisdom, such depth of Wisdom shines forth in it, that the glorious Angels desir’d to pry into it, 1 Pet. 1.12. the Word signifies (as our Annotators intimate) a bowing down the Head, or stoop∣ing to look into a thing; O! they behold this Mystery of Salvation by Christ, in this Covenant with holy Amazement, and are willing to learn by the Church: and this Mystery is to this end, in part, manifest by the Gospel, that they might make it the Subject of their Thoughts, Contemplation and Meditation and Wonderment (as I may so say) ’tis to affect those glorious Spirits; to the intent that now unto the Principalities and Powers in heavenly Places might be known by the Church, the manifold Wisdom of God, Eph. 3.10. Angels, Sirs, do attend our Assemblies, to know, and hear, and understand the Mysteries of this Covenant and Redemption by Christ: Is it then any wonder? ’tis all the Desire, Hope and Delight of Believers, who are so eminently concerned in this Salvation, Christ is not a Redeemer of the Angels, for they who stood needed none. Yet as our Divines shew, he is their Confirmer, he is the Head of Angels, as well as of the Church, and they Worship Him, as well as we.

2. ‘Tis the Saint’s Desire and Delight, because ’tis suited so admirably to Exalt God in all his Holy Attributes, and abase, sinful Man; to Exalt Christ, put the Crown on his Head, and lay us at his Feet: this is that Jehovah, design’d and aim’d at, and this all Believers and truly gracious Souls aim at also; this is all their Desire, and therefore they are so taken with this Covenant. O let such look to it, that any ways go about to lessen or eclipse the Glory of God’s Grace in this Covenant, or magnify and exalt sorry man in the least degree.

3. ‘Tis because ’tis a great, a full, and complete Salvation that is contained in this Covenant: This is all my Salvation, ’tis not a part of it; Christ in this Covenant did not work out a piece of it, and leave us to work out the rest: all our Salvation is of Grace, whatever we as Sinners, or as Saints do want, ’tis contain’d in this Covenant. Christ is not only given for us, but also given to us; not only the Medicine, and but a…

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Every biblical framework and theological system recognizes the prominent place given in the scriptures to the covenants. However, not every one agrees on the number, meaning and arrangement of the covenants.

Here are four of the most popular views:

Modern Dispensationalism—originating with John Darby in the early to mid 19th century, this system of teaching has become one of the leading views of 21st century Evangelicalism. It arranges eight covenants in “time-tight compartments”, each serving a primary and distinct role within a specific timeframe of history.

New Covenant Theology—originating with those who were dissatisfied with the arbitrary time frames of Dispensationalism, this school of thought is one of the more recent theological developments. It arranges six covenants in a “stair-case advancement”, each serving a primary, distinct and progressive role throughout the course of history.

Presbyterianism—originating with John Calvin of Switzerland and John Knox of Scotland, during the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Its devotees are self-acclaimed “Confessionalists”, believing the 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith is the perfect articulation for their understanding of the Bible. It arranges the covenants into three categories: (1) Three foundational covenants—Redemption, Works and Grace; (2) One universal covenant—Noahic; (3) Four administrative covenants of Grace—Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic and the New. It holds to the view that God made a conditional Covenant of Grace with Adam after the Fall, and that each of the succeeding four covenants are one and the same with this conditional Covenant of Grace, administered differently at various points in history.

Traditional Reformed Baptists—originating with the resurgence of Calvinism among the Baptist and Congressional churches of England during the 1950’s, under the influence of men such as Ian Murray and Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and publication houses such as the Banner of Truth. Its devotees are also self-acclaimed “Confessionalists”, believing the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith is the perfect articulation for their understanding of the Bible. In many ways, this group has more in common with the Presbyterians than the Baptists, and are therefore more accurately identified as Reformed Presbyterians. Its devotees share a similar view with the Presbyterians on the arrangement of the covenants (see above).

1689 Federalists—originating with the Reformed Baptists of the 1950’s, this school of thought claims to have “rediscovered” the covenantal views of those who compiled and wrote the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. In recent years, the Reformed Baptists have been splintering and dividing, resulting in several distinguishable groups, each forming a separate branch of the Reformed Baptist movement. The 1689 Federalists is one of these branches. They often prefer to be called Particular Baptists, as they are passionate to reconnect with their Baptist roots, but are also unashamedly Reformed Baptists. They too are self-acclaimed “Confessionalists”, believing the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith is the perfect articulation for their understanding of the Bible. Although their arrangement of the covenants is similar to that of the Traditional Reformed Baptists, they believe the conditional Covenant of Grace was established on mount Calvary with the death of Christ, rather than the garden of Eden after the Fall. Henceforth, the conditional Covenant of Grace was promised in the covenants of the Old Testament scriptures, and realized in the New Testament scriptures. They believe only the New Covenant is one and the same with the conditional Covenant of Grace.

I do not belong to any of these groups, nor do I subscribe to their views on the biblical covenants.

Here is a summary of my understanding of the matter:

There are two spiritual and perpetual covenants—Redemption and Works; There are four earthly and temporary covenants—Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic. As for the New Covenant, it is an explanation of the Covenant of Redemption (the parties and terms of this covenant are the electing love of the Father, the redeeming grace of the Son and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit), rather than the administration or ratification of a conditional Covenant of Grace (as proposed by the Presbyterians and the Reformed Baptists). I do not believe a conditional Covenant of Grace (with man) is supported by the teaching of scripture. I use the label “Covenant of Grace” synonymously with “Covenant of Redemption”, “Covenant of Peace” and the “Everlasting Covenant”—the same covenant, with different labels. The New Covenant, as an explanation of the Covenant of Redemption, is addressed to the Jewish people living at the time of Christ and His apostles, within the context of the Mosaic economy and its laws. Properly speaking, therefore, the New Covenant is an explanation of another covenant, rather than a covenant itself.

Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (11/11/2022)

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Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:

I believe the major biblical covenants may be arranged under two headings: (1) Two spiritual and perpetual covenants—Redemption and Works; (2) Four earthly and temporary covenants—Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic. The New Covenant, properly speaking, is not an actual covenant, but rather, an explanation of the Covenant of Redemption to the Jewish people as a nation, within the context of the Mosaic economy and its laws.

In this study, an explanation is given for the two spiritual and perpetual covenants: First, aligning these covenants with the Framework of Sovereign Grace; Second, emphasizing how the Covenant of Redemption is one and the same with the Covenant of Grace; Third, showing why the Covenants of Works and Redemption are identified as “spiritual” and “perpetual”.

Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (18/11/2022)

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Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:

The Presbyterians and the Traditional Reformed Baptists believe God established a conditional covenant of grace with sinners (Gen 3:14,15), the substance of which is one and the same with the succeeding covenants, administered differently at various stages in history. The 1689 Federalists, a branch of the Reformed Baptist movement, believe God promised to establish a conditional covenant of grace with sinners (Gen 3:14,15), the pledge of which was renewed in each of the succeeding covenants, and finally established on mount Calvary with the death of Christ. I do not believe the scriptures support this notion of a conditional covenant of grace, and therefore the covenantal frameworks of the foregoing groups are erroneous.

In my view, the biblical covenants should be arranged under two categories: (1) Two spiritual and perpetual covenants—Works and Redemption; (2) Four earthly and temporary covenants—Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic. The spiritual and perpetual covenants are concerned with the human race and are the basis upon which sinners are in relationship to or with God; the earthly and temporary covenants are concerned with the Jewish race and the physical coming of the Messiah into the world (yes, even the Noahic Covenant).

A Summary Of My View On The Earthly And Temporary Covenants:

I believe the thread which ties together the earthly covenants is the promise of the coming Messiah—First, each covenant was made by God with individuals belonging to the bloodline through which the Messiah would be born; Second, the purpose for each covenant is directly linked to the coming Messiah. It is from this bloodline that God the Father would prepare a body for His Son. And, it is for this reason God set this bloodline apart with special honor (making with them earthly covenants, giving to them special laws and bestowing upon them earthly blessings) during the first 4,000 years of history.

However, with the birth of the Messiah came the end of His bloodline, resulting in the cancellation of these covenants and the termination of the special honor God placed upon the Jewish people as a race. In no sense should these earthly covenants be identified with a conditional covenant of grace, or, to be one and the same with the covenant of works or the covenant of redemption.

The earthly covenants were designed by God to established the boundaries around which He would relate to and bestow earthly blessings upon the Jewish people as a race, in honor of the Messianic bloodline. The spiritual covenants are designed by God to establish the boundaries around which He relates to the non-elect and the elect throughout the course of history.

In this study, I provide a fuller explanation for the first half of the first paragraph of the summary statement.

Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (25/11/2022)

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Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:

In the previous study, I began to explain my view concerning the four earthly and temporary covenants—the thread which ties them together is the promise of the coming Messiah. It was for this reason God made a covenant with men such as Noah, Abraham, Moses and David, each of whom belonged to or were connected with the Messiah’s bloodline. And, it is for this reason each of these covenants is directly linked to the Messiah’s coming into the world, whether it be that of His first or second coming.

For this study, I explain the significance of the Messiah’s bloodline. It is through this family lineage God the Father prepared a body for His Son. This union of the divine nature of the Son of God with a human nature, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, is called the incarnation. And this is the essence of the promise given by God in Genesis 3:15—the coming Messiah will be born of a woman. Now, the whole of our justification and redemption depends upon this great truth of Christ’s incarnation. Unless the Son of God would be given a human nature, He would not be able to redeem us from our sins, and therefore God the Father would not be able to justify us through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The redemptive work of Christ hinges on the incarnation of Christ, and that is the significance and the importance of the promise given by God in Genesis 3:15. The Son of God must be given a human body, and it pleased the Father to design that body through the biological lineage of a single family, beginning with Adam and Eve and culminating with the virgin Mary. The Jewish people as a race was created by God in order to prepare a body for His Son, and it is from this reason God honored the Jewish people as a race, making with them covenants, giving to them laws and bestowing upon them great earthly blessings.

Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (2/12/2022)

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Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:

Having explained the significance of the Messiah’s bloodline in the previous study, I distinguish between two “elect” groups of people recorded in the scriptures—the physically elect and the spiritually elect. The physically elect are those persons belonging to the Messiah’s bloodline leading to the incarnation of Christ. The spiritually elect are those persons belonging to Father’s saving purpose in the redeeming grace of Christ. The physically elect were secured earthly blessings under earthly covenants, whereas the spiritually elect are secured heavenly blessings under the spiritual covenant of redemption (grace).

After making these distinctions, I concentrate the remainder of the study on the covenant God made with Noah. Its laws and blessings are highlighted, together with an explanation why the covenant terminates with the second coming of Christ.

Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (9/12/2022)

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Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:

I continue in this study to explain the parameters around which God entered covenant with Abraham, Moses and David—the basic terms, promised blessings and limited duration for each covenant is set forth.

Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (15/12/2022)

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Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:

I return to the subject of a conditional covenant of grace, explaining why I believe the scriptures do not identify any such agreement. I show what the Presbyterians and the Reformed Baptists believe on the matter, and how their misunderstanding of the covenants has resulted in the teachings of duty faith and the free offer. I provide a response to these pernicious teachings, illustrating where the Presbyterians and the Reformed Baptists go wrong in their covenantal framework. I draw the study to a close by affirming the views I set forth to be aligned with the historic development of covenant theology according to the teachings of Benjamin Keach and John Gill.

Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (6/01/2023)

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Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:

Having dedicated the last five studies to an explanation on what I believe concerning the earthly and temporary covenants, I complete my thoughts on the subject by expounding the final part of my prepared statement, namely—“In no sense should these earthly covenants be identified with a conditional covenant of grace, or, to be one and the same with the covenant of works or the covenant of redemption. The earthly covenants were designed by God to established the boundaries around which He would relate to and bestow earthly blessings upon the Jewish people as a race, in honor of the Messianic bloodline. The spiritual covenants are designed by God to establish the boundaries around which He relates to the non-elect and the elect throughout the course of history.”

Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (13/01/2023)

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Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:

What rule (or law) governs a believer’s conduct? There are four basic views in answer to this question:

(1) A believer is born again in order to walk with God according to his/her obedience to the law inscribed upon the heart—first, to love God supremely; second, to love one’s neighbor as himself/herself.

(2) A believer is born again in order to walk with God according to his/her obedience to the moral law—the ten commandments.

(3) A believer is born again in order to walk with God according to his/her obedience to the precepts and prohibitions of Christ and His apostles—this includes all the commandments recorded in the New Testament scriptures.

(4) A believer is born again in order to walk with God according to the obedience and righteousness of Christ, under the authority of the covenant of grace (the covenants of grace and redemption are the same covenant)—this is the soul’s union with Christ (regeneration), by virtue of which the life and graces of Christ flow into the soul, making the sinner alive unto God and enabling him/her to bear the fruit of his/her new nature in Christ (created in righteousness and true holiness). To walk in newness of life, or, in the “spirit” (new nature), is the same as walking with God according to the obedience and righteousness of Christ imparted to the soul in sanctification. (1 Cor 1:30; Rom 6-8; Gal 5)

Generally speaking, the Presbyterians, Reformed Baptists, 1689 Federalists, Dispensationalists and the New Covenant Theologists subscribe to one or more of the first three answers, all of which are based upon the believer’s obedience and righteousness to a written code of precepts/prohibitions. Although they often divide over the issue, at root level, they share the same view.

The fourth answer, however, is based upon Christ’s obedience and righteousness by virtue of a believer’s legal and living union with Him. His obedience and righteousness is imputed to the elect judicially (justification) and imparted to them spiritually (sanctification). Henceforth, the rule of conduct for a believer’s life is his/her spiritual union with Christ, having all the virtues of Christ flowing into his/her soul (among which are joy, peace, humility, gentleness, meekness, patience, faith, etc), expressing themselves in thought, word and action (good works). This “rule of conduct” is a living union with Christ rather than a legal code, and is called in scripture the “law of Christ”, or, as I often describe it, the “gospel law”.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6:1: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” The expression, “ye which are spiritual”, is a reference to the new nature (the soul’s union with Christ), meaning that a regenerate sinner in a spirit of meekness is able to restore one who has been overtaken in a fault, because that virtue of Christ (meekness) flows into his/her soul. Henceforth, the Apostle continues in verse 2: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” That is, the “law of Christ” (spiritual union) is fulfilled when the regenerate sinner works out in thought, word and deed, what the Spirit of God works in by virtue of the soul’s union with Christ. The “law of Christ” is a living union, not a legal code.

Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (29/10/2022)

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Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:

In the previous study, I set forth the view that the believer is born again in order to walk with God according to the obedience and righteousness of Christ, under the authority of the covenant of grace (otherwise called, the covenant of redemption). By virtue of the soul’s union with Christ, the life and graces of Christ flow into the soul. The life of Christ makes the regenerate sinner alive unto God; the graces of Christ enable the sinner to bear the fruit of the new nature (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, patience, faith, humility, etc). The good works of a believer are nothing other than the graces of Christ expressing themselves in thought, word and deed. The obedience of a believer is nothing other than the believer working out with fear and trembling, those graces of Christ which the Spirit of God is working in him/her. In this way, both the obedience of the believer and the good works done by him/her are credited to Christ and to the Holy Spirit, that, according as it is written, “He that boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”

It is on this basis that the fallacious doctrine of progressive sanctification is denounced. Progressive sanctification is the view that a believer advances towards higher levels of holiness according to his/her obedience to a legal code (whether it be that of the heart law, the moral law or the mere precepts of the New Testament scriptures). However, holiness is a characteristic of the new nature, rather than a fruit. I wish to repeat, the new nature is the soul’s union with Christ. In Ephesians 4:24, the Apostle Paul refers to the new nature as “the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Righteousness and true holiness are characteristics of the soul’s union with Christ. They are absolute characteristics, precluding any notion of progression or advancement. The nature is either righteous or unrighteous; holy or unholy. Degrees or measures of righteousness and/or holiness are impossible. Henceforth, while the believer may grow in the fruit of the new nature which flow into the soul by virtue of the soul’s union with Christ (Galatians 5:22-25), yet he/she cannot progress or advance to higher levels of holiness or righteousness, as these are the characteristics of the new nature (Ephesians 4:24).

In a nutshell, there are two natures residing in the soul, one created in unrighteousness and unholiness, the other created in righteousness and holiness. The old nature cannot be reformed or improved, neither can the new nature be impaired or corrupted. That which is born of the flesh is flesh (old nature); that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (new nature). The flesh (old nature) lusts against the spirit (new nature), and the spirit (new nature) lusts against the flesh (old nature). These natures are contrary the one to the other, so that the believer cannot do the things that he/she would. However, if a sinner is led of the spirit (new nature), then he/she is not under the law (legal code, whether it be the heart law, moral law or mere precepts of the New Testament). Among the fruit of the spirit (new nature) is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Against the soul’s union with Christ there is no law (legal code). They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh (old nature) with the affections and lusts. If, therefore, the believer lives in the spirit (new nature), let him/her also walk in the spirit (new nature). To walk in the spirit (new nature) is the gospel law. (See Galatians 5)

The sinner is born again in order to walk with God according to the obedience and righteousness of Christ, under the authority of the covenant of grace—for of God is he/she in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto him/her wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (5/11/2022)

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