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Month: April 2006

My Sinfulness, His Choice of Me

In writing my blog yesterday on Judges, it really hit me how great my sin is against God. Just thinking about the fact that in order for me to be saved from the eternal wrath of God that every man deserves (especially me), it was necessary for the Son of God to come into the world and die on the cross for me, the wrath of God falling on Him instead of me. And to think that my sins held the precious Son of God there until it was finished! What a great sinner I am! What great mercy is this that God would pardon me? Why did He choose me and not another? I cannot give an answer, but I just fall on my knees in praise. There is no answer other than He wanted to in His great divine eternal counsel that I cannot fathom. I am no better than anyone else that He should visit His eternal, covenantal blessing upon me. I’m a sinner of sinners. I fall on my face and stand and wonder at such love for me, a sinner; a sinner! Just think about that … How can God forgive anyone being that He is holy and we are wicked? We deserve His wrath, we’ve earned it. It is only through the cross of Christ that God can pardon men, by faith in His blood, it is only through God Himself becoming man and living the morally perfect life we are unable to and then dying the eternal death that was ours. If you think you are too far gone in your sinning that Christ cannot save you, consider the cross of Christ. On the cross, Jesus bore the sins of any who would believe in Him and He can wipe you clean; He was obedient even to death on behalf of those who believe in Him. After He died, He rose again, that any who believe in Him would rise to a better life, with a perfect body, forever. How great a sinner I am … but how great of a God is the Lord, that He would take my wrath in Himself and make me able to stand before the Father in perfect righteousness, His righteousness. What praise does the Lord of heaven and earth deserve? Unceasing praise.

The Book of Judges: An Illustration of Man’s Sinful State

The book of Judges can be summed up in the last verse of the last chapter, Judges 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Emphasis Mine). The point of Judges is not just to say, “Don’t be like Israel who turned away again and again,” but the greater point is that we are all just like Israel now when left to ourselves, apart from the intervening work of the Holy Spirit. Within the book of Judges, there is a pattern of Israel falling into sin, God judging them by bringing calamity or destruction upon them (disciplining them), Israel crying out for mercy to the LORD to deliver them, the LORD delivering them in His great patience, and then Israel falling back into sin despite God’s merciful help and kindness. This pattern goes on and on throughout the book and illustrates a huge point about man in general. Israel was the chosen people of God, a people for His own possession. And yet despite God’s pursuit of Israel as a people, personally speaking to them, giving them His law, the covenants, the temple worship, etc (partially quoting Romans 9:1-5), they still ran away from God. If the very people chosen by God were so wicked as to turn their back on the true God who pursued them, what does that say about the Gentiles, the rest of the world? What does that say about all of us together? If the very people of God failed over and over in Judges, how much more so have the rest of us failed?

This illustrates the greater point that we as fallen humans, both Jew and Gentile alike, are in total bondage to sin, slaves to sin, and the book of Judges couldn’t illustrate that more. “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Does that language sound familiar these days within our secular culture? And yet this was the people of Israel, the very people the LORD had spoken to Himself! And they still turned from Him, their hearts hardened by sin. What does that say about all of us wicked humans? If this doesn’t illustrate man’s wicked rebellion against the LORD God Almighty, I don’t know what does. The history of Israel within Judges shows that when man is left to His own devices to follow God, even when God calls to us in mercy, we will always turn from Him. God must come and uphold our end of the covenant we could never uphold on our own and then empower us to live holy lives, changing us from the inside out. God commanded Israel to follow His laws and commandments or else. And yet, it is not possible with man to follow the Lords precepts. This could not be clearer with Israel in Judges.

But there is an even greater illustration of the wickedness of man, even moreso than Judges. Judges is simply a foreshadowing of the greatest sin ever committed by man. What would man do to God if He came into the world as a human, living among us, fulfilling the law of God, upholding our end of the covenant perfectly on our behalf? Well, we put Him to death, whipped Him and beat Him, pierced Him, and strung Him up on a cross. As the song Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted states, “Ye who think of sin but lightly, Nor suppose the evil great, Here (at the cross) may view its nature rightly, Here its guilt may estimate.” At the cross, we see what man thinks of God; we hate Him so much we killed Him. That’s how great our sin is against the Lord. Oh the depths of our sinning! Who can fathom it? To look upon the perfect Lamb of God upon that cross and to think we put Him there with our sinning! It horrifies me. I ask all of you who think very little of their infinite sin against the Creator, how are we “basically good” if this is what we do to our Creator who came to save us, the Lord Jesus Christ?

And so Judges points out God’s absolute holiness, and the desperate condition of every man apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit to breathe new life into us, to enable us to live lives pleasing to Him; and it also ultimately points to the cross where our wickedness was at its worst point ever. And yet Jesus, the Son of God, in His great mercy, willingly came and submitted Himself to our wickedness, bore the penalty of that wickedness (the infinite wrath of God) for any who would believe in Him, died upon the cross, rose from the grave, ascended into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of God, and will come back soon to wipe out all of His enemies (those who betray Him and never trusted in Him for salvation). But those who believed in Him will live with Him forever in glory, being forever satisfied by His presence. Turn to the Lord from your wickedness, repent and believe in Jesus, the Son of God, who bore the sins of His people, to save them from the awful hopelessness of eternal destruction. Oh God, have mercy on any who read this, send your Holy Spirit to open their ears, their eyes, their hearts, their minds, to understand and believe in Jesus Christ that they may be saved. And for those who have believed in Christ, I pray the cross would bring them unbelievable joy, because they have been set free from the power of sin and hell, and are liberated to freely pursue You, Lord. Uphold us by your Holy Spirit, made possible through the cross.

Naples, FL was Awesome!

Florida was amazing. We all had such a great time; it was really one of the best vacations. It was really awesome to take a vacation with such close friends. The first day we got there we just hung around and then went to dinner at a great Italian restaurant. The next day, we went to the beach until about 3 and then swam in the pool for about an hour. That night we went out to eat sushi at a restaurant called Blu, very good. The next day we went out to the beach for about 4 hours (I stayed under the umbrella most of the time so I didn’t get burned anymore). Then that night, we went out for seafood. The next day (Sunday), we attended Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL. to hear the Executive Director of the Founders Ministry, Tom Ascol. It was such a great, Gospel-centered message. There was nothing particularly new about the content, but it was just an awesome, reformed message about the hope we have that comes as a result of the death and resurrection of Christ. The Dansby’s left that afternoon (they had to get back a day early). Us and the McCarthy’s stayed one more night and then left early in the morning. It was such an amazing trip. Praise God …

Three Common Objections to Election Addressed

Three Common Objections to Election Addressed – ReformationTheology.com

There seem to be so many non-Calvinists that have these three objections (amongst many) against election; that it:

1) Makes God an arbitrary dictator

2) Destroys personal responsibility

3) Eliminates the motivation to evangelize the lost.

I believe Nathan from ReformationTheology.com does a really good job of responding to these objections, and does so in a godly, non-standoffish way.

Here’s another resource, an excerpt from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology entitled, “Misunderstandings of the Doctrine of Election.” – Very good.

Acts 4:18-20 – Peter And John’s Response to the Sanhedrin

“So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.'” – Acts 4:18-20 (ESV)

Peter and John’s response to the Sanhedrin sums up what the Christian life is all about. They were with Christ for three years, they saw Him crucified, saw Him die, buried in the grave, saw Him alive after His resurrection, saw Him ascend into heaven, and were given power and strength by the promised Holy Spirit, the very Shekinah glory that was once only behind the curtain in the temple, but now lived within them as a result of the work of Christ on the cross. From everything that had taken place, their response was one of awe and amazement, “For we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” They were so struck by the glory of God, that they could not but speak of the amazing things they had beheld in Christ. To shy away and speak of anything less or opposed to what had happened, would have contradicted everything they had seen, heard, and experienced.

When the Holy Spirit breaks the chains of sin that were blinding our ability to spiritually see the light of the glory of Christ (a work the Spirit does alone), that which was previously just another belief system in the world from which to choose from, is suddenly truth and reality. We cannot know God apart from Him first intervening in our blind hearts to awaken us to our plight and see the glory of Christ in the cross. But once our eyes behold the glory of the Savior, behold what Christ did on the cross on behalf of any who would believe, that He actually turned away the wrath of God for them, we are then freed to see His character, attributes, loveliness, and we want to know Him more as a result. And once we see how amazing, powerful, and infinite all of His characteristics and attributes are in the cross, we cannot help but be changed by the light of His glory. And the more we spend personal communion time with Christ in prayer, once we behold His face in our Scripture reading/studying, and the more we experience Him amongst the fellowship of other believers, the more and more we are changed by Him and become conformed to Him, loving the things He loves and hating the things He hates.

The more we are changed by the Holy Spirit through all of these means together, we cannot but speak to those who don’t know Him personally and savingly about how wonderful He is, in order that some may be saved, as God sees fit to work. And we do so boldly and fearlessly, only because the Holy Spirit comes and gives us power, raising us up to do His mighty work. The natural outflow of a heart changed by the work of Christ, is that we are not able to shut up about the Gospel or God’s overwhelmingly infinite power, sovereignty, and glory. We cannot but speak of the things Christ has done in our lives to rescue us from the valley of death (eternal death). I pray for any who read this, both believer and unbeliever, that the Holy Spirit would come in power, loosing your chains of sin, that you may see how wonderful God is in the face of Christ.

Jesus is the exact representation and image of the invisible God. He is in fact God Himself, God the Son, and He willingly shed His precious blood in order that you may believe, be freed from sin, death, and ultimately hell, and be reconciled to the Lord of the universe, who spoke all things into being. For the unbeliever, you may gain a right-standing by throwing yourself at Christ’s feet and placing your faith in Him, no matter what you’ve done or where you are coming from. For the believer, you already have a right-standing in Christ’s death and resurrection. It is finished. No matter what you’ve done, the Father sees Christ when He sees you, as a result of the cross. And looking to the cross of Christ, His finished work, will inevitably empower us to live a life of gratitude and holiness. How can we do any less having been freed from the bondage of our sin? We aren’t trying to please God with our moral works anymore than Christ already has on our behalf, but we want to be holy because of God’s great mercy on us in Christ. I pray that all of you may be so struck by God’s glory that you cannot but speak of what your eyes have seen and your ears have heard.

The Christian life is one of gratitude for what Christ has done on behalf of those who believe in Him. And all of our actions should be a reflection of a heart changed by the Gospel of Christ. But our hearts can only be changed by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel, not by working up our own effort to change. Only the Holy Spirit can change you through the work of Christ on the cross. The Christian life is a life of trial and sacrifice for His names’ sake, because He was the ultimate sacrifice for us. But we do not fear because we receive power from the Holy Spirit. Peter and John, despite all opposition, even if all hell should have attempted to shake their belief in Jesus, were able to stand because the Holy Spirit alone had given them such great insight into the glory of Christ and gave them the strength to withstand. We don’t look to Peter and John and just immitate them alone, but we look to the God of Peter and John, Jesus Christ, the very One that gave them power to withstand the Sanhedrin’s insults and trials, and He will give us power to live lives of gratitude. I pray a double-portion of the Holy Spirit would be poured out in great measure on all of you who read this.

SBC/AT&T – New Telco Station / New Cable

Several weeks ago, there was a new telco station that went up near my house, along with a new tower right next to 820 and 30. And then within the past couple of weeks, cable crews have been out in my neighborhood laying new cable. I wasn’t sure if it was the cable company (i.e. Charter Comm) or SBC/AT&T, but I’m very sure now. They appeared to lay the cable from the telco station into my neighborhood (though I wasn’t sure if that’s where it was actually coming from). I haven’t been able to tell who actually owned the new telco station until this morning. As I was driving into work, and went past the new station, there were three SBC trucks setting up equipment within the new station. So obviously, SBC owns the telco station, and so I’m very positive that VDSL (or ADSL2+) is getting much closer to coming to fruition at least within my neighborhood. I’m very excited. I don’t know what speeds they’ll be offering, but I’m sure it will be substantially faster than it is now. How cool …

Update 11:48 a.m. on April 7, 2006

AT&T U-Verse
It appears the initial maximum speeds will be 6 mbps down / 1 mbps up. That’s still significantly faster than it is now … sweetness. And maybe it will be more stable dern it!

Why I’m a Calvinist

(This is simply an experiential, subjective argument for Calvinism, not so much a Scriptural defense).

I was raised in a Christian home with two parents who believed in Christ. I came to know the Lord at age five (though I’m still not sure about the sincerity of it looking back on my past). My mother, when she was growing up, was severely sexually abused by her mother. So needless to say, my mom, though a strong lover of Jesus Christ and His Gospel, had severe mental problems to say the least. Our family went through many very difficult times, because my mom’s problems resulted in multiple personalities. Some of these personalities were suicidal and my mother would cut on herself, thus getting admitted to psychiatric wards on many occasions.

As I grew up, my mom, dad and Sunday school teachers taught me the love of God in Christ, His mercy and grace, and that it was all brought about because of the cross of Christ. In addition, my mom and dad both taught me from the Scriptures of God’s sovereign rule over all things. When I became a teenager, going through some of the roughest times within our family, and knowing God was loving and sovereign, I began questioning why God would permit 1) my mother to be abused in that way, and 2) why He allowed our family to be affected by all of the repercussions of that abuse. My questioning turned into anger, anger into rage, and I became so upset with God because I knew in my heart He had sovereignly ordained all of those terrible events for His purposes, and I was not happy with it because it made no sense to me. I turned to sin: drugs, rage, goth venues, terrible friends that pulled me down, and all sorts of other things to run from God, while shaking my fist at Him, though at the same time knowing I could not successfully thwart any of His plans or turn from Him ultimately (mainly because I still had desires, conviction of my sin, and genuine love for Christ, I was an extremely confused, wicked sinner; I was/am a sinner of sinners). I was miserable. Utterly miserable, because I knew Christ personally, but was so angry and frustrated with Him for sovereignly permitting those things.

The reason I believe I was saved (though I still debate it to this day) even amidst all my sinning is that every time I did something wrong (i.e. drugs, etc), I felt a deep burden and weight in my soul because of the guilt of the sin and all my friends had no idea what I was talking about when I told them I felt terrible about what I was doing. In particular, there was a time I was on acid, and I had a bad trip because I knew I was sinning against God, felt terrible and remorseful about it, but could do nothing to stop the drugs’ influence on my mind. And so I freaked out. Later that night after coming down off of it, I prayed to God to have mercy on me for turning to that, but that was not the end of my anger against Him. However, I believe God’s Spirit hedged me from pursuing the depths of my wickedness. This pattern of sinning, being miserable, and then asking for mercy and forgiveness from God continued for a while, from about 7th grade until 10th grade.

And then something absolutely amazing happened. The prayers my mom and dad had prayed for years, that God would pour out a double-portion of His Holy Spirit upon me, were answered. Leading up to that point though, the Lord was slowly but surely drawing me to Himself, even in the midst of the drugs. Throughout the spring semester of my sophomore year, I found myself desiring to read the Scriptures for the first time in a long time. I began reading the Psalms and they were hitting me right between the eyes (spiritually speaking). This pattern of hanging out and smoking pot, then going home and reading the Psalms, continued into the summer until it all climaxed with a couple of amazing experiences.

First experience: when hanging out with all of my friends during the beginning of summer, smoking pot, I became stoned (i.e. very high) and started hallucinating. All my friends were playing a video game and in the game the character on the screen was in hell. Then the screen came out and became reality (in my mind of course). I was frozen in place because I was so scared. All my friends then became demons and all of them turned their frightening faces toward me and said synchronously, “You don’t belong here, you are God’s.” And then everything went back to “normal”. At that point, I was convinced (mainly because I was so friggin scared) that I was not supposed to be there and that was not my calling. And so I got up in the middle of hanging out (around 8 p.m., when usually I left around 2 a.m.), and went home. My friends were totally confused. That night I read the Psalms for hours on end and God was speaking to me in the most powerful ways through His Word.

Second experience: after having left the people I was hanging out with and ceasing to smoke pot or drink anymore, I began seeing how great the love of God was in Christ through reading His Scriptures. One night in late July, after having read the Scriptures for hours and praying to Him, I went out into the backyard around 2 a.m. and I cried out to God to have mercy on my in my sin and how I had been turning from Him and He poured out His Spirit in great measure. All of my burdens were lifted and the guilt removed instantaneously. At that moment, experiencing God’s Spirit in a way I had never experienced it made me feel like I had one foot on earth and one foot in the heaven with Christ. It was the best night of my life. I cried and cried and cried at the mercy I had been shown in Christ. I saw how incredible my debt was to Him and how in Christ, my whole debt was removed, and that I was at that moment given His righteousness. It was absolutely wonderful, the most satisfaction I had ever felt. I was literally changed over night. (I very may have been saved for the first time that night, but I cannot also discredit my experiences from the past that occurred in looking at my life, but I had no assurance I was saved). That night, literally, everything changed in my life. In a lot of ways, I guess you could say I was the prodigal son. I was the Lord’s sheep, I turned from Him and wallowed in the mud of sin, hit rock bottom, was convicted of my sin against Him (by Him), came back to Him asking for forgiveness for turning from Him, and He not only removed my guilt, but gave me His robe of righteousness, the robe He earned on the cross. Ever since, God radically transferred me from the domain of darkness to the domain of His glorious Son, I have never ceased to be in awe of His great power and sovereign rule over my life. And I finally came to understand that His purpose in my family’s trials were for God’s glory and our good (our eternal good).

You may be asking, “How does this relate to Calvinism?” Well, upon reading over my story about how God delivered me from the “pit” of sin, you may be saying, “You asked God for forgiveness and then He blessed you as a result.” Yes that’s true and I will not deny that, because Christ said, “Anyone who comes to me I will in no wise cast out.” I came to Christ and He forgave the guilt of my sin, true. But my question to you is, “Why did I come to Christ? Why did I go to Him in the first place?” You may respond by saying, “Well, I guess because you wanted to.” And that’s right on target. I respond, “But why did I want to at all? Why did I come back to Christ, while one of my good friends never came at all despite hearing the same call?” If you say I came because I made better use of the grace of God, then guess who has something to boast about before God and men? Me. Why is that? Because if I made better use of it, that means I was wiser or smarter or more spiritual than my friend, right? So God, in this scheme only gets part of the glory, but I get a little too, because man, I made that little leap. Well, frankly, that’s not true at all and that’s not what happened in my life at all. The fact of the matter is that I was running from God. I do debate back and forth on whether I was a true believer or not before that night in my backyard. But regardless, why is it that I came to Christ while all my friends thought that was foolishness? If I came because I was a better person, or smarter, or wiser, then I get the glory, not God. But God will not have it (just read Old Testament stories about how jealous God is for His own glory). This is where Calvinism comes in.

When I came back to Christ that summer, God opened my heart and mind to see the things spoken of in Scripture. I saw His character, His justice, love, mercy, all wrapped up in the death and resurrection of Christ. When I was later presented with the five points of Calvinism, I read through every doctrine and had absolutely no problem with it at all. Why is that? Because everything it talks about was exactly my experience. And I saw that ultimately, Calvinism points not just to God’s sovereignty and rule over all things including salvation, but to the cross of Christ. That’s the point of these doctrines, to point to the cross of Christ where He didn’t just make salvation possible, but He made it actual in His chosen children.

The doctrines of Calvinism go like this:

– Total Depravity
– Unconditional Election
– Limited Atonement (Definite Atonement, I prefer)
– Irresistible Grace
– Perseverance of the Saints (Preservation of the Saints, I prefer)

Total Depravity – From my experience and story, I was a sinner running hard from God, i.e. I was not seeking Him in any manner. (even debating to this day whether or not I was a genuine believer during those times, mainly because there wasn’t a whole lot of evidence in my favor within my life, but I also know what I believed in my heart at that time too). Regardless, I was absolutely defiant and wicked (i.e. totally depraved: meaning every facet of my existence was affected by sin and corrupted: my will, emotions, thoughts, everything was corrupted by sin). I was unable and unwilling to submit to God’s will over mine because sin had grown its root so deep within my heart. When I consider my total depravity, I know that I’m not as bad as I possibly could be, but I do know that my entire being is affected by sin, and nothing has escaped its grasp. I was in bondage to sin and could do nothing but sin prior to Christ changing me. This doctrine was very much proved in my life.

Irresistible Grace – But then that summer, I began to desire God like never before, however, I desired Him only because the Spirit was opening my heart and my mind to see and hear what He was saying in His word because I was totally depraved (I could definitely and did successfully resist God, but when He choose He overcame all of my resistance and changed me from the inside out, effectually removing my resistance to Him). There was no doubt, even at that time, that I was being drawn to God by His Spirit working in me. And the Holy Spirit’s work in my life was a result of the cross of Christ, the atonement then being applied in my heart, and the result being that I was effectually drawn to Christ and made willing.

Definite Atonement – After God’s Spirit changed me and drew me closer to Himself, I spiritually saw what Christ died on the cross and that He had me in mind in particular when He was shedding His blood for my sins. And in fact, the night the Holy Spirit came upon me in power, I saw that Jesus’ death on the cross was the very thing that bought everything in my life leading up to that point (namely faith and repentance, resulting in salvation, whether it was when I was five or 17; what God demanded from me, He freely gave me in Christ as a result of the cross). This is definite atonement (or limited atonement, limited only in scope of who its applied to, not having anything to do with the sufficiency of the atonement). Christ did not potentially die for me on the cross, He effectually died for me and bought everything for me pertaining to salvation, from Alpha to Omega, beginning to end. On the cross 2000 years ago, before I was even born, He secured me and saved me with His precious blood, making my salvation sure, not just potential or possible. Jesus Christ made it actual.

Unconditional Election – And being presented from Scripture with the Biblical words “predestination” and “election,” I saw and agreed that if God effectually came and regenerated me which then gave rise to my faith in Him, that He must have chosen to do so of His own will, not based on my will in any way. My will was in opposition to His, I was an enemy, held in chains by my sin (total depravity). And He changed me from the inside out to where I desired to be His, as a result of the cross of Christ. The cause of my salvation was the cross of Christ; the effect was my faith in Christ’s sufficiency, that He had indeed paid my debt against God on that cross. He freed my will from sin at the cross, in order that I would definitely believe in Him. But when did He make that choice to deliver me? Ephesians 1 gave me the answer loud and clear: before the foundation of the world I was chosen in Christ, or in relation to Christ’s death and resurrection; before anything was even made, God fore-loved (foreknew) me. Wow! What cause for rejoicing! Did He choose me because I was better than anyone else or because He liked me more? No way! I still have no idea why He chose me to inherit salvation, (there was nothing in me worth saving) to which I praise Him and thank Him for His good, divine, secret reasons that cannot be fathomed and are not revealed in Scripture. I was the least of all because I knew the truth and still ran from Him! What a sinner! And yet He chose to deliver me and free me from my wickedness in great, great mercy through the cross … to which I find myself still weeping to this day thinking about such great love that made my salvation sure at the cross! And to think that the cords of that salvation go down into the depths of eternity, into God’s infinite, eternal counsel and purpose!

Preservation of the Saints – And I know that based on the cross of Christ, He has me secured and will never let me go. He will never let me drift so far away into sin that I abandon Him and fall into the pit of hell. His Holy Spirit is sufficient and efficient, in order that His people will never fall away. At the cross, Jesus secured everything pertaining to salvation; He secured the beginning, the end, as well as all the means to save me. How wonderful!

Calvinism is about the love of God in Christ’s death and resurrection for desperately wicked sinners like me. These doctrines are meant to point to the cross of Christ and nothing more. If we lose sight of the cross, where all of God’s attributes are so wondrously displyed, we’ve lost everything. These doctrines are meant to maximize the glory of God and to put man in His proper place, at His feet in submission to Him as a servant of the Most High God. They are humbling to say the least and flatten any amount of pride we may have. We are not to elevate this system of theology above the Scriptures, but I believe with all my heart that these doctrines do indeed outline the things spoken of in Scripture. I am a Calvinist because God chose to save me with everlasting cords of love, appropriated through the cross of Christ, in infinite self-sacrifice through the shedding of His precious blood.

I echo the words of Jonathan Edwards when he says: “I should not take it at all amiss, to be called a Calvinist, for distinction’s sake: though I utterly disclaim a dependence on Calvin, or believing the doctrines which I hold, because he believed and taught them; and cannot justly be charged with believing in every thing just as he taught.”

Resources pertaining to Calvinism:

Five Points of Calvinism (MP3’s) – John Piper > EXCELLENT!
What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism – Bethlehem Baptist Church and John Piper
A Defense of Calvinism – C.H. Spurgeon
Some Things Non-Calvinists Should Know About Calvinism
Calvinist Rejections of Hyper-Calvinist Beliefs – Monergism.com
A Primer on Hyper-Calvinism – Phil Johnson
Predestination and the Love of God – Matt Perman
Misunderstandings of the Doctrine of Election – Wayne Grudem

The Gospel’s Life-Changing Power

How has the Gospel affected you today? by Pastor John Samson

This was a really good blog entry on ReformationTheology.com about how the Gospel is the very power that not only saves us but changes us and transforms us “in the renewal of our minds” (Romans 12:2) in order that we become more and more conformed to Christ, loving the things He loves, and hating the things He hates (namely sin and unrighteousness). The power of the cross of Christ can overcome the worst of sin problems and we must cling to Him, constantly looking to Him and His cross, that He shed His blood to reconcile us from hell, sin, wrath, but most of all to reconcile us to Himself, that we may be in close intimate relationship with Him once again. How amazing! What a wonderful God, that He would so humbly set aside His heavenly dwelling to become one us, die on the cross, and rise from grave for our wicked souls that hated Him! How wonderful that we can now have personal intimacy with the God of the universe in Christ, through His cross. How I pray we would all apply the Gospel to our daily lives and constantly preach the cross of Christ to our souls that we may not boast in anything within ourselves or despair because of our sinful behavior, but press on toward maturity in light of Gospel, being forever changed by its power.

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