- There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
- He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)
- All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
- The Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26)
- We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
- Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
- Those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)
- If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
- Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? (Romans 8:33)
- Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. (Romans 8:34)
- Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (Romans 8:35)
- In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)
- For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
Tag: salvation Page 2 of 3
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In reading over this sermon again, some of these applications in the life of the believer are amazing, and good to reiterate. These things cannot be stressed enough. God is to be glorified, revered, submitted to in His sovereignty. As Edwards puts it, “He demands it of you.” In fact, he goes on to say, “If we go on contending with God about His sovereignty, it will be our eternal ruin.” To call God “Lord” is the same as calling Him your Sovereign. If He is your Sovereign, the One who rules your life, then you must submit to the Scripture in this, as terrifying the truth of His absolute sovereign might and power in salvation may be. I have taken the titles for each of his applications and explained them so as to make them a little more accessible to people who may have a hard time reading Edwards’ work (totally understandable).
By God’s sovereignty in salvation, by God choosing whom He is pleased to save of His own free will, we learn:
1) How absolutely dependent we are on God alone for our salvation.
2) With great humility to adore the awful, terrifying, and absolute sovereignty of God.
3) To attribute our salvation to grace alone and no other reason in us or outside of God’s grace in Christ.
4) What cause we have to admire the grace of God, that He should bind Himself by covenant to us whom He has chosen for salvation, that He should have mercy on any of us.
5) To guard those who seek salvation from two opposite extremes: presumption and discouragement.
1) How absolutely dependent we are on God for our salvation.
We are dependent upon Him even for our faith to believe in Christ. If the Lord has mercy on whom He has mercy, and hardens whom He hardens by His sovereign will, then exactly what is that mercy He has on some? Obviously it is salvation, but at what point does it start? It is the fulfillment of the great prophecy in Ezekiel 36:26-27 that says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Specifically, He is merciful upon us by creating light in our hearts, cutting through to the very core of who we are, where our desires lie, breaking through with the light of the Gospel, and changing us from the inside out, not the outside in.
Prior to belief in Christ, we rejected God, and were dead in sin, enemies of God, turned away from Him, wanting nothing to do with Him. This is what a sinner is, someone who has rejected and profaned the name of God, by thoughts and intentions of the heart, manifested in evil works. The level of depravity in our hearts is so great, that it literally takes an act of God (the Holy Spirit) to give us willing hearts that submit to Him in love. Apart from this grace, we would pursue sin and its delights straight to hell.
Had God not sovereignly cut into my life and turned my heart from rebellion to love for Christ, I would be forever lost, and God justly would have sent me to hell because I would have chosen to go there. My natural bent was toward sin, and sin I did. No good proceeded from me (that was acceptable to God) until Christ intervened in my heart, giving me the eyes to see and ears to hear the beauty and call of Christ to salvation. God went in before my desires and changed them so that I loved Christ and hated the sin I was in. And so it continues to this day, imperfectly. God chose to change me from the heart, I did not of my own natural desires choose Him. God has to do a supernatural work in us so that we desire Him. Apart from this we are hopeless to believe in Christ because it foolishness to those who are perishing, and all of us who believe were at one time perishing, under the condemnation of God’s wrath. Unless God intervenes with sovereign, free grace made possible through the cross of Christ, we are all hopeless. It is a wonder He has mercy on any, and yet what a merciful God He is in the Person and work of Christ! And this grace itself is sovereignly dispensed upon whom He chooses to dispense it. This is the conclusion of Romans 9:18. God does as He pleases in the heavens, and none can stay His hand or say to Him, what are you doing? (Daniel 4:35). We are absolutely dependent on God not only for redemption itself, but also for the faith in Christ to attain that redemption! (Edwards quote, paraphrased)
2) With great humility to adore the awful and absolute sovereignty of God.
This is not an easy teaching of the Scripture. It takes some people years and years to work through these things. It is one of the most difficult. But do not give up. God’s design in it is to humble us, in order that we see God as THE LORD, the sovereign of the universe. We have nothing to boast in except the cross. This is exactly what that means. The cross saved us, it did not just make us savable. This teaching shows us the greatness of His power and the greatness of our need. And in seeing the level of our need contrasted by His sovereignty, and how it would have been right for God to let us go our own way into eternal darkness, we stand in wonder and awe at His glory revealed in the mercy of Christ on poor souls like us.
When Isaiah went before the throne of God in Isaiah 6, he was one of the most righteous in all of Israel. And yet, Isaiah’s response before God was, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” He saw the sovereign might and power of God right before him, and he shuddered. He trembled in fear by seeing Himself in comparison to such majesty, might, and raw sovereign power, and he knew he should die instantly and justly before such a wonderful, terrifying God. Isaiah’s only hope was the pure, absolute, sovereign mercy of God, and the Lord dispensed it to him. God is fully just and fully merciful all at the same time, what a wonder!
When Moses was in the desert on the side of the mountain in Exodus 33, he said to God, “Please show me your glory.” The Lord’s response to him was, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” The essence of the glory of God and the essence of His name is that He is sovereign (i.e. “I AM WHO I AM,” (Exodus 3) and “I have mercy upon whom I have mercy” (Exodus 33), both being the essence of the name of God as explained by God Himself), and He reveals that sovereignty to fallen men in the dispensing of mercy upon whom He pleases by His good will and pleasure. We should stand in awe that this sovereign and powerful God whom we have provoked by trampling upon His glory does not obliterate us at this very moment for the way we treat Him. Praise God for the work of Christ to turn away this wrath against His people! And we know it would be right for us to be obliterated in hell forever. And yet, in Christ, He has shown us such wonderful mercy that words fail to describe. It is mercy beyond comprehension, so much that it will take all of eternity to unpack and we will never come to its end.
3) To attribute our salvation to grace alone and no other reason in us or outside of God’s grace in Christ.
This is such an important thing to learn from God’s sovereignty. Why did you believe while someone else did not who heard the same Gospel message? What made you to differ in your state toward God over someone who shakes their fist in rebellion to God and runs from Him at every turn? Was it something within you naturally? Did the desire for Christ originate in you? If it was within you by nature, how can you boast in Christ alone, and say, “All glory to God” for your salvation? I have hit on this before in other blogs, but this is so extremely important to stomp out our wicked pride and self-righteousness, especially among those who claim Christ as Savior. We have nothing we can boast in, not even our faith, as said above. It is Grace Alone that made us to differ from those who reject God. We would have and did, prior to conversion, reject God. It is the grace of Christ in the work of His life, death, and resurrection that makes us to differ from the unbeliever. We are no better, but are sinners saved by sheer free grace alone.
4) What cause we have to admire the grace of God, that He should bind Himself by covenant to us whom He has chosen for salvation, that He should have mercy on any of us.
How beautiful is the grace and mercy of God, when contrasted with His wrath and justice! When you see what you are being saved from, only then can you really appreciate the enormity of the work it took to redeem us and we see how great the character is of the Person who performed that work. And Christ is that Person! He stepped in the way of awful wrath so that we could have Him as our treasure forever. God’s absolute sovereignty should cause us to stand in praise and tears at the mercy we have found in Christ. What a wonder God. To Him be the glory, now, and forever!
5) To guard those who seek salvation from two opposite extremes: presumption and discouragement.
God’s sovereignty in salvation is meant to guard us from two natural extremes of the human heart: pride, or fear and discouragement.
We should never presume on the mercy of God, that we may attain to it whenever we so please. God is sovereign in the dispensing of mercy and if you put off the pursuit of salvation through Christ, you may never attain it. If you say in your heart, “Right now, I want to pursue what I want, and I’ll get to God later,” it may be He lets you go into eternity just like this, only with no hope of returning. Turn to God and cry out for Him to have mercy on you now! Today is the Day of Salvation. The Scripture says, “Today, if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts.” Also, do not take advantage of the grace of God because it is infinite so that you can continue in your sin. Do not say in your heart, “Because God is infinitely loving, I can do what I want and he’ll forgive me.” There are strong warnings against this in the Scripture. It may be possible that because you care nothing for the things of Christ and continue in your sin unaffected by God’s grace, you have not been truly converted. In fact that is likely the case. A converted heart is a heart that loves Christ and loves the things of God, albeit imperfectly. Do not presume on the grace of God.
However, the other natural extreme is to despair of any hope in salvation at all because of the greatness of your sin. God is almighty and powerful and able to save because Christ’s blood is infinitely sufficient to cover a multitude of sins, no matter how great. He did not spread His arms out on the cross and shed His blood willingly for nothing. He did this very thing to provide payment for sinners who were without hope. To say that your sin is too great to be forgiven is to deny Christ as sufficient to save you. You are saying that Christ is unable to rescue you from the depth of your sinning. You are elevating your sin above the level of God and making it an ultimate thing. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved! His blood can cover infinite numbers of sins, no matter how big and how great.
Well, I cannot believe it has already been a year since Dave died. It seems like forever ago and at the same time it seems like yesterday. I can remember exactly how I felt as well as the circumstances in which I found out. Courtney and I had decided to stay home because of the ice, and then got a call from someone we didn’t expect to hear from saying, “Tell me this isn’t true!” We had no idea what they were talking about, but then it was confirmed. Dave had died. Man how sad that day was. But my fellowship with Christ was so sweet during those sad days. “He must increase but I must decrease.” And trials make that reality so true. So many things have already changed; Dave’s immediate influence and input on matters pertaining to the ministry have ceased, but the doctrines he so fervently taught have remained because these doctrines are scriptural (salvation and justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, spiritual growth through the preaching of the Gospel to our dead hearts, the sovereignty of God in all things amongst many others). Despite the changes that have occurred within the student ministries over the past year and the adjustments that have been made, Christ has stayed the same and caused His church to persevere through sustaining our faith by the Holy Spirit after his passing. I have listed a few of Dave’s sermons here that I have on my site in remembrance of him. Praise God for the years the Lord gave us with Dave. Man how the Lord used him as an instrument to change my life by showing me the value, worth, sufficiency, and glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ crucified and risen for our sins. O how we miss you Dave! It saddens my heart greatly that you are no longer with us … but praise God that you are now with the treasure of all who call upon Him, Jesus Christ.
Introduction to Romans (MP3)
Knowing God (MP3)
Romans 4 (MP3)
The Perpetual Gift (MP3)
For those of you who are interested, I’ve archived the internet articles written after Dave’s death on Feb. 19th and 20th of this year.
Feb 19th Article
Feb 20th Article
Also, I have setup an archive section on my site where I’m going to be saving articles and various things I’ve found interesting on the net. I’ll be going through a categorizing stuff in the near future as well to make it easy to find articles. So check it out … www.westerfunk.net/archives
To find more articles pertaining to David Phillips, go here: www.westerfunk.net/archives/personal.
Having described the condition of man apart from the intervening work of the Holy Spirit in my last entry on the depravity of man, it is important to understand that there is a great deal of error amongst those that call themselves evangelicals as it pertains to how we are saved. This error in the minds of these individuals has to do with the “slight” inclusion of human exertion and will in the work of grace, that man somehow cooperates with the work of grace. This is called synergism (or in it’s extreme form, human monergism) and comes in many different forms, from out-right heresy (human monergism), to slight contradictory inclusion of heresy (synergism).
The original debate concerning what role man plays in his salvation originally began between Augustine and Pelagius. The root of the Pelagian heretical error had to do with a dispute on the doctrine of original sin, or the imputed sin of Adam to the entire human race, that when Adam sinned, we all sinned. Pelagius denied this. Pelgius believed all men to be in the same place as Adam before the fall inherently. This heretical error was condemned first by Augustine but then officially condemned at the Council of Orange in 529 AD. This heresy is humanism at its base (or human monergism), that man controls his own destiny and is his own god, and indeed can attain perfection apart from God. And though it was officially condemned as heretical by the church, the Pelagian error began infiltrating the church in the form of synergism, that man cooperates with the work of grace. Throughout church history, this debate has reared its head one way or another, with Augustine and Pelagius, Luther and Erasmus, and Whitefield and Wesley. And the debate is alive and well these days. This “slight” humanistic thinking is prevalent within the church today and removes the only power by which people are saved: God alone. “So then it (meaning the granting of mercy) depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (And here’s the argument by Paul for the former statement) For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.‘ So then He has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever He wills.” – Romans 9:16-18.
One of the results of the Reformation was the Five Solas (Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone as our sole infallible authority; Solus Christus – Christ alone accomplished our salvation; Sola Gratia – God saves by grace alone; Sola Fide – through faith alone apart from works; Soli Deo Gloria – everything is for the glory of God alone). Pertaining to the work of grace in the life of man, Sola Gratia in particular states that it is grace alone that regenerates a soul or causes the new birth which then gives rise to faith within the believer (a gift of God), not grace plus something else (i.e. human choice, exertion, running, will, etc). If our doctrine of the utter depravity of man is true, then no man honestly wants anything to do with God when left to himself. But God must first regenerate our souls and free our hearts from sin to believe in Christ. Because of the dead state of man in his sin, he will never choose Christ when presented with the Gospel, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit alone (i.e. Grace Alone) to regenerate the person who is to be saved. Man will always choose sin by necessity (John Hendryx, great quote!). Why? Because we’re dead in sin! That’s what that means. Our souls our incapable of any moral good, apart from a work of God within us first. Therefore, because of this, the work of grace in the life of the individual who is to be saved is the only thing that will bring to life the heart and soul of a sinfully dead individual, in order that he cannot help but believe in Christ because He is irresistable in His beauty and glory and lovliness.
In Ezekial 36:26, God states that He will come in power and remove His people’s hearts of stone, giving us instead hearts of flesh (removing our resistance to Him, and instead giving us a willing heart). Is this not monergism (the work of Grace Alone) in the life of dead sinners? There is no cooperation with grace, otherwise it is not grace. Grace is receiving something you do not deserve, and I would even add that it is something you don’t even want in your naturally sinful state. We must first be made genuinely willing (regeneration, second birth). “At the right time, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). Did we ask for our hearts to be regenerated? No! We naturally kick and scream at such a prospect. We love sin, it’s the best thing humans do. And oh how much energy we use to that end! If we could only harness that energy for the cause of Christ! God freely gives of Himself on His own timing and to whom He pleases. When I came to know Christ truthfully, I was such a rebel against anything holy, and I can honestly say that the only reason I became willing is because God came and changed my heart. I did not cooperate with this grace, but was simply the unworthy recipient. God saved me by grace alone through faith alone, apart from works. This faith even was a gift of God. What do I now have to boast about before God or man? Nothing! If I cooperated with this grace in any manner, then when I walk into heaven, God has me to thank for making the right choice and I would have something to boast about. “Good job, David, you made the right choice man. Way to exert that ‘free will.’ You must have been smarter, more intelligent and more sensitive than the rest of those wicked sinners.” Wrong! Does this in any way sound like the God of the Bible? I think not. I was dead in trespasses and sins, corrupted by own perverse nature, in every facet of my existence, in my mind, will, thoughts, soul, heart, acts, motives, flesh, relationships, everything. He removed my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh, a heart that was sensitive, willing and able to love Him. “We love because He first loved us,” (1 John 4:19) not the reverse. This is the work of grace alone (monergism).
Apart from grace, there is no honest submission to the Gospel, we are unable to submit even. But this does not alleviate your responsibility. If you reject Christ, the Messiah, there will be no one to blame but yourself; you cannot bring a successful accusation against God almighty when standing before the Great White throne after you die. Man is so hopeless apart from the work of God, carried out by the Holy Spirit, provided through the cross of Christ. Throw yourself at His sovereign mercy and pray for Him to change you inwardly, to incline you to Himself. Ask Him to give you the eyes to see His glory through Christ on the cross and the ears to hear the call of God unto salvation in order that you will believe in Him and be saved. God’s sovereignty in salvation is our only hope for being saved at all. It’s God alone that saves, not man alone, or man cooperating with God. We’re dead. Dead means dead. We have nothing else we can trust in but God alone, through Christ alone, His death and resurrection.
Mankind is so utterly deceived and blinded to the sinfulness and depravity that lies within the human heart. How foolish it is for man, in his endeavor to attain perfection, to even think that he is less than at odds with the great God of the universe. It is humanism that says man can attain perfection and setup a utopia of sorts where man can enjoy the benefits of his long endeavor to overcome war, evil, death, and make a name for himself, exalting himself above the level of God. Little do they realize they are doing the exact opposite, because only God displayed through Christ, through belief in Him, brings true peace and true joy. Didn’t we see this endeavor in the past at the Tower of Babel? What was the end result? God scattered the people and confused their language. Why? Because He is God and we’re not, even though man deceives himself to believe whole-heartedly that he is his own god and controls his own destiny. God is jealous for His own glory. How could He not be? For God to value the most important thing in the universe, He must value Himself above all things, because He is the supreme value.
The Tower of Babel is a great example though of the human condition and the utter foolishness of his ways. Are we that foolish to think we could usurp the great God Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega? That the creation could overthrow the Creator? In Romans 3:10-18, Paul, quoting mostly from the Psalms, drives the nail in hard about our true condition, even if we do not see it that way. Let’s take a look at it:
As it is written:
‘None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.’
‘Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.’
‘The venom of asps is under their lips.’
‘Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.’
‘Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.’
‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’
Man. If this doesn’t sum up the human condition I don’t know what does. Someone may object that not everyone is as evil as they could be toward their fellow man. And that’s true. But we’re not comparing people to other people, but comparing people to God. Comparing finite against finite is useless. Comparing finite against infinite though brings about huge contrasts. Yes, at any given moment, we’re not as evil as we could be, thanks to the gracious restraint of the hand of God that we do not pursue what we desire most, sin. But in comparison to God, we are utterly wicked; we are foolish and deceive ourselves if we think differently. The human condition in comparison to the glory of God is so terrible, words cannot even describe it. This passage, amongst others within Scripture, is the closest to describing how desperate and helpless we are in our condition. Our sin has pulled a very opaque veil over our faces to the point where we think we are basically good people. This could not be further from the truth. John Calvin does an excellent job of describing this passage so as to unveil the truth of what lurks and lies within the heart of man:
“David says in Psalm 14:1, that there was such perverseness in men, that God, when looking on them all in their different conditions, could not find a righteous man, no, not one. It then follows, that this evil pervaded mankind universally; for nothing is hid from the sight of God.” “There is no doubt but that the character of men is described in those words, in order that we may see what man is when left to himself; for Scripture testifies that all men are in this state, who are not regenerated by the grace of God. The condition of the saints would be nothing better, were not this depravity corrected in them: and that they may still remember that they differ nothing from others by nature, they do find in the relics of their flesh (by which they are always encompassed) the seeds of those evils, which would constantly produce fruits, were they not prevented by being mortified; and for this mortification they are indebted to God’s mercy and not to their own nature. We may add, that though all the vices here enumerated are not found conspicuously in every individual, yet they may be justly and truly ascribed to human nature, as we have already observed on Romans 1:26.”
We are ruined in our natural state before this great God of the universe. The words of Isaiah ring true for all of us in Isaiah 6:4-5:
“And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of Him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!'”
Or consider Ezekial in Ezekial 1:26-28:
“And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.”
Take your place with Isaiah and Ezekial and bow before this great and powerful, righteous, and holy God. You are a sinner to your core. You have nothing to offer God. Give up on trying to please Him with your good works, because they are tainted with sin, corrupted and defiled as a filthy rag (Isaiah 64:6). Submit yourself to God in humble astonishment at His glory and how unworthy you are to have a Savior offered to you at all! Jesus Christ is God, the second person of the one God, He came to be one of us in great, infinite mercy because of the hopelessness of our condition, yet He was without sin, died upon a cross of His own will to pay the penalty for sin on our behalf, and rose from the grave by the power of God, in order that if we believe in Him, we will be saved from our plight toward hell, the just wrath of God against injustice done against Him. It is a command from the Lord Himself to believe in Jesus. If you ignore this command, you will receive the just penalty for this wickedness: eternal torment in the flames of God’s fury and wrath, forever. There will be no second chance after death (Hebrews 9:27-28). If you believe in Christ, He is faithful and just to forgive your sins (1 John 1:8-10). Consider these things …
Ever since Dave Phillips went to be with Christ, I have been feeling more like an alien here in this life. The reason for this has a lot to do with the knowledge that Dave has gone home, his true home, to be with the Lord forever in glory. That’s my home, this earth is not. What matters then? Christ. “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Everything is temporal here, but everything is eternal and perfected there where Christ is. Dave loved the things in this life that the Lord blessed him with, but He loved Christ more and desired to be with him more, because Christ is everything; He is truly lovely and He is life, and knowing Him is eternal life (John 17:3). Not knowing Him is dreadful and terrifying, because there is no good apart from Him. There is no life apart from Christ, there is only wrath and fury against you. Dave has been glorified in the Lord, something I cannot even begin to fathom. He’s been made perfect because of Christ’s death and resurrection. I’ve been thinking a lot more about heaven and being perfected in Christ, about no longer having a struggle with sin, but being freed from it! How wonderful. What an awesome thing to look forward to! The past week and a half or so, I have just been longing for my true home more. What a glorious day it shall be when I see Christ face to face, no longer living by faith but by sight! Dave has been finally conformed to Christ, and oh how I long for that day! Christ is my Savior, King, Lord, God, Stronghold, Strength, Deliverer, Righteousness, Rock, Fortress, Shield, Protector, my everything (Psalm 18:2). I have nothing apart from Him, even if I possess the whole world (Mark 8:36-37). I have found so much joy in knowing that Christ will rule one day forever and that I will go to be with Him because of His glorious work in my life through the cross. On the cross, He took my punishment on Himself, having become a curse for me, He then died, rose from the grave, ascended into heaven, and then at His pre-appointed time, applied the work of the cross in my heart by the Holy Spirit, that I would be regenerated from my dead, wretched, sinful soul that wanted nothing to do with Him, given the eyes to see and ears to hear the wonderous work and call of the Gospel, and He then gave me the gift of faith (provided through the cross) that I would apprehend Him and love Him (Acts 16:14). It is this truth that has set me free and given me life. God saved me, it is all His work, I was only a dead recipient, made alive by the Gospel. There is nothing I desire more than Christ. And it is this truth that Christ will ultimately conform me to Himself in glory that has given me so much hope in all my trials throughout my whole life. Dave is there in glory and perfected, no longer entangled in this mess of sin and corruption. And though I will miss him for a time, how wonderful is it that He sees the glory of Christ, right now!? The Dave we loved, talked with, interacted with, is now with the Lord. How I long to be conformed to Christ! This event has just driven me closer to Christ and desiring to be like Him, loving the things He loves, and hating the things He hates, and sharing the Gospel with others. Man I want to be there with Christ. He is my all and my wonderous God and King. He is so faithful and glorious. And it is through the cross that this has been made actual for Dave and will be made actual for me when I die and can be made actual for any of you who do not know the Lord, who do not know Him savingly. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave, that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). Then with this truth, do not be conformed to this sinful world any longer, but walk in the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:1-2), casting off sin by the work of the cross and look forward to the hope of the complete redemption of your soul at death, and the resurrection of your body on the Day of the Lord. O Lord, come soon, we love You and need You. Send Your Spirit in power that we may live lives pleasing to You. O Lord, teach us to love the things You love and hate the things You hate. Teach us and work in us, Father, to love and exalt Christ more than anything in this world. O Lord we are weak and frail sinners, corrupted by our wickedness and the vile that remains in our hearts. Cleanse us with Your blood, remove our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh (Ezekial 36:26) that we may live our lives in submission to Your sovereignty and rule over our lives, giving You glory in any and every circumstance (Philippians 4:12-13). O Lord, we are aliens in this life, and we should live as such, preaching Your cross and the redemption You have provided through it (Romans 10:14-15). Lord, as the song It Is Well with My Soul states, “Haste the day when my faith shall be sight.” Let us always consider that our dwelling is not here, where moth and rust destroy, but where the great God of glory lives, where the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world lives! You are holy and glorious! There is none like You.
“…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24
“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” – Job 1:21
“Frequently it is when we are crushed and devastated that the cross speaks most powerfully to us. The wounds of Christ then become Christ’s credentials. The world mocks, but we are assured of God’s love by Christ’s wounds.” – D.A. Carson.
For all of you who have not heard, David Phillips, the Life Stage 1 pastor over the student ministries @ Christ Chapel Bible Church, passed away this morning in a car wreck on his way to preach at the main services. This has been quite a shock for everyone, but Jesus is Lord, and nothing happens apart from His will. That, in addition to many other things (the death and resurrection of the Son of God being the main thing), is our comfort in the midst of this trial. This is a part of His perfect plan that we cannot fathom. Romans 5, Romans 8, James 1, all of Job, and the Psalms come alive even more so during times like this. This is for the Lord’s glory and the ultimate good of those who love Him. For me personally, as with many others, David Phillips played a huge role in my developmental process. As God’s instrument, he was one of the main influences Christ used in bringing me to Himself after having turned my back on Him in anger for the things He ordained to happen to my family. In addition, Dave was one of the main influences on my theology. When Dave first came on board @ CCBC, one of the biggest things he brought in his teaching was Justification and all that entails. Though I didn’t know that at the time (as far as the formal doctrine), his teaching of this essential piece of the Gospel, was one of the biggest reasons for my change, to trust in and fall on Christ and His perfect righteousness on my behalf, having taken my sin and it’s punishment on Himself and having imputed His righteousness to me through the cross. In addition to all of the doctrines he taught that are so essential to the Christian faith (5 Solas, Doctrines of Grace, Reformed theology), the one thing He brought that revolutionized my walk with Christ was his teaching on loving Him first and foremost above all other things, in all the facets of my life. Eating, reading, talking, thinking, in everything, do all things to the glory of God. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone). I was changed because I saw the practical, applicational nature of this in Dave. All of the theology undergirded that one thing, that one command even. He didn’t just talk about theology in some stoic, academic sense alone, but lived it out, applied it in his life, and as a result, many lives (including mine) have been transformed by the Gospel of Christ, under David Phillips teaching. I thank Jesus immensely that He sovereignly brought Dave Phillips into my life as God’s instrument of grace that I may live my life in love for Christ and pointing others toward Him. And Dave wasn’t only my spiritual father in leading me back to Christ, but he then became an amazing friend of mine. Praise God for Dave’s life, and praise God in his passing. I will miss him immensely, along with so many others, and I am deeply sorrowful for this loss. But what we mean for (or understand as) evil, God means for (designs for) good (Genesis 50:20).
Please pray for Dave’s wife, Jen, as well as both sides of their families as they mourn this great loss. And please pray for the student ministries at Christ Chapel as students process this information. Pray that many unbelieving students would come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior, and pray that those who do know Christ would persevere and endure in their faith, to the praise of the glory of the grace of Christ.
The Viewing will be held at Greenwood Funeral Home, Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The Funeral will be held at McKinney Memorial Bible Church Wednesday, Feb. 22 @ 4 p.m. with a reception following the service at the “Bubble” at Christ Chapel Bible Church.
Amazing. On Friday, Dave posted the sermon he was going to give (it is amazing because he had never posted his sermon notes online before and wow did it speak to the exact situation that occurred) …
Dave’s MySpace Sermon Entry
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
– Philippians 3:20-21
Many Christians hear the phrase limited atonement and just cringe. “What a repulsive idea! How could you even propose such an idea?” The term “limited atonement” within Calvinism is very misleading though. I instead prefer the term definite redemption, or definite atonement. First of all, many against Calvinism imply we are stating Christ’s death couldn’t have saved everyone, that we are “limiting” it’s power by making this assertion. This is just wrong. Christ’s blood possesses infinite value because He is God and He is infinite, eternal. His blood has infinite worth, able to cleanse trillions upon trillions, infinite numbers of sins and sinners. Could His death and resurrection have saved everyone? Absolutely! What are we talking about though in terms of the limit? It’s very simple. It’s not talking about the worth of Christ’s blood, but the scope of who it’s applied to. What was the intention of the cross? To make everyone savable (a possible salvation if the hearer adds a response of faith to the call of the Gospel (a faith produced by their unregenerated human nature)), or to render certain the salvation of specific people, namely His children, the chosen, the elect? Was it to cover all sins except unbelief or to cover all sins including unbelief (i.e. rendering certain faith and repentance)? IF our doctrine of Unconditional Election is true, stating that God, from eternity, from before the foundation of the world, chose specific individuals without regard to their future works, faith, repentance, looks, smartness, or any other thing (hence the word unconditional), but that He chose them simply because of His eternal love (to which we humbly, undeservingly, and contritely answer, “Praise God!”), then what was the intention of the death of Christ? To make salvation merely possible or to make it certain? That is what this doctrine is about. I believe John Piper is very helpful on this …
“The term ‘limited atonement’ addresses the question, ‘For whom did Christ die?’ But behind the question of the extent of the atonement lies the equally important question about the nature of the atonement. What did Christ actually achieve on the cross for those for whom he died? …
… Which of these statements is true?
1. Christ died for some of the sins of all men.
2. Christ died for all the sins of some men.
3. Christ died for all the sins of all men.
No one says that the first is true, for then all would be lost because of the sins that Christ did not die for. The only way to be saved from sin is for Christ to cover it with his blood.
The third statement is what the Arminians would say. Christ died for all the sins of all men. But then why are not all saved? They answer, Because some do not believe. But is this unbelief not one of the sins for which Christ died? If they say yes, then why is it not covered by the blood of Jesus and all unbelievers saved? If they say no (unbelief is not a sin that Christ has died for) then they must say that men can be saved without having all their sins atoned for by Jesus, or they must join us in affirming statement number two: Christ died for all the sins of some men. That is, he died for the unbelief of the elect so that God’s punitive wrath is appeased toward them and his grace is free to draw them irresistibly out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
(Taken from “What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism” – John Piper and Bethlehem Baptist Church Staff – This sums up what I believe pertaining to Calvinism as well)
11-Part MP3 Audio Series on Calvinism by John Piper
If We Go on Sinning Deliberately
By David Westerfield
On April 24, 2008
Excerpt taken from http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue65b.htm
Recognizing allusions may also prove helpful in casting light on passages that are often considered “difficult.” This turns out to be the case with the warning found in Hebrews chapter 10:
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29)
While there are several issues evident within this complex passage, I wish to focus on the term “sinning willfully” in verse 26. Many have struggled with what exactly the author of Hebrews is trying to convey with this term. The confusion proceeds from the fact that every “sin” is indeed done “willfully” in the sense that all who “sin” do the act of their own volition, thus “willfully” in one sense of the word. Furthermore, the Apostle John makes it quite clear: “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Thus, if we are to maintain that the Scriptures are consistent in its unified message, “sinning willfully” must have some other meaning than that noted above. The question then is: “What does the author of Hebrews have in mind when he writes the term: “sinning willfully”?
Light is cast on this difficult passage when we realize that the author of Hebrews is most probably alluding to a distinct yet similar warning found in the Old Testament. In Numbers 15 we find that those “under the law of Moses” were given instruction and warning regarding “sinning unintentionally” and “sinning willfully.” Note the following:
Also if one person sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one year old female goat for a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement before the Lord for the person who goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that he may be forgiven. You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them. But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on him (Numbers 15:27-31).
Therefore, since the author of Hebrews clearly notes that he is making an analogy to the punishment of those who “set aside the law” (vs. 28-29), we get a somewhat clearer picture of what he means by “sinning willfully.” Since there was a distinction in the Old Testament regarding those who had received the revelation of the Lord through Moses of “sinning unintentionally” and “sinning defiantly,” the author of Hebrews makes the following point analogous to the Old Testament instructions and warning: If those who defiantly spurned the Law after receiving the knowledge of its truth were put to death, how much greater will be the punishment of those who defiantly spurn the Gospel of Jesus Christ after receiving the knowledge of its truth.
After carefully examining the passage and the roots that the author of Hebrews is relating it to, it becomes evident the definition of “sinning willfully” carries with it the meaning of one who defiantly blasphemes the Gospel after accepting the concept that it is indeed true. When this is done, only a fearful expectation of the eternal judgment of God remains for that individual.