David Westerfield

Gospel. Culture. Technology. Music.

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The Total Depravity of Man – Arthur W. Pink

Arthur Pink gives an outstanding explanation of total depravity in his book The Total Depravity of Man. You can download a free e-book of this excellent work on the link given. Here are a few excerpts:

It is a sadly neglected subject. Notwithstanding the clear and uniform teaching of Scripture, man’s ruined condition and alienation from God are but feebly apprehended and seldom heard in the modern pulpit, and are given little place even in what are regarded as the centers of orthodoxy. Rather the whole trend of present-day thought and teaching is in the opposite direction, and even where the Darwinian hypothesis has not been accepted, its pernicious influences are often seen. In consequence of the guilty silence of the modern pulpit, a generation of churchgoers has arisen which is deplorably ignorant of the basic truths of the Bible, so that perhaps not more than one in a thousand has even a mental knowledge of the chains of hardness and unbelief which bind the natural heart, or of the dungeon of darkness in which they lie. Thousands of preachers, instead of faithfully telling their hearers of their woeful state by nature, are wasting their time by relating the latest news of the Kremlin or of the development of nuclear weapons.

It is therefore a testing doctrine, especially of the preacher’s soundness in the faith. A man’s orthodoxy on this subject determines his viewpoint of many other doctrines of great importance. If his belief here is a scriptural one, then he will clearly perceive how impossible it is for men to improve themselves—that Christ is their only hope. He will know that unless the sinner is born again there can be no entrance for him into the kingdom of God. Nor will he entertain the idea of the fallen creature’s free will to attain goodness. He will be preserved from many errors. Andrew Fuller stated, “I never knew a person verge toward the Arminian, the Arian, the Socinian, the Antinomian schemes, without first entertaining diminutive notions of human depravity or blameworthiness.” Said the well-equipped theological instructor, J. M. Stifler, “It cannot be said too often that a false theology finds its source in inadequate views of depravity.”

Read more here.

The Proper Confession and Acknowledgment of Sin

Reading Psalm 38 was extremely helpful today in considering the proper posture of our hearts when we come and confess our sins. We don’t say  merely, “Lord, I made some mistakes, but I know You still love me.” No, rather, in these verses read the way David speaks of his own depravity to the Lord, despite knowing the Lord is for him:

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It is God Who Justifies

“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” – Romans 8:33

Recently, I have been in great need of repeating Gospel promises to myself, almost continually, otherwise my heart has seemed to slip very quickly into bitterness, misery, spiritual depression, anger, and the like. I’m not sure why, but it has been so. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Not me. Knowing Romans 8 to be chock full of promises from God, fulfilled in Christ, I read it and came across this one headline truth that I need pounded into my head and my heart. Romans 8:33 above.

This one statement sums up what the Gospel is about, namely it is God who justifies. The whole Bible itself can be summed up in that one central truth. I don’t justify my existence, or my works, or my interactions with others; God does, more precisely Christ does, and even more precisely in the cross and resurrection. Of course the Bible goes much further than just this simple statement that it is God who justifies. But if you could sum it up, I don’t know how much better you can get. This is what distinguishes the Gospel from all other truth claims of various religions, for each one is all about justifying yourself through what you do. And it is the one central truth I need headlined in my heart when the weight of sin and my own unbelief clouds my vision.

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What is Sin?

For most people, when the word sin is spoken, it is used either in a metaphorical sense or applied to people like Bernie Madoff, Hitler or Stalin, or used for exaggeration purposes, depending on the situation. When we consider our bad behavior or even the intentional harm we’ve caused others, we think of these things mainly in terms of mistakes, accidents or wrongs toward other people in particular … but sin? No, we’re not that bad! (Being facetious of course).

In our time, when we apply the word sin to ourselves in a serious manner, you will sometimes get a funny look. For instance, tell the average person you’re a sinner and it’s probable they will start wondering what major wrong you committed, or in other situations they will just say, “Oh, we’ve all made mistakes,” which is to say, it’s okay to sweep it under the rug, what’s past is past, no need to rehash something that can be left dead. Just move on!

All of the aforementioned situations presume a specific relationship in which the “mistake” plays out: between other people. But the question we must ask that is of the utmost importance is, what is sin as God defines it in His Word? Man has a definition of sin many times, and particularly in our society it is just a mistake or accident or it is very grave, depending on how you use it. But is man’s definition of sin Biblical? Is the relationship of offenses simply limited to other people? Paul lays out clearly what sin is in the book of Romans. Of course sins are committed against other people. But is that where it stops and is that the heart of what sin really is?

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The Pragmatism of the Church – John MacArthur

“Pragmatism has engulfed and swallowed up the professing church. Theology has been replaced by or subverted to styles of methodology. I think it is a strange phenomenon that throughout history denominations were established based around a common theology and now associations are established based around a common methodology. So much of current evangelical strategy is to identify what people desire and tell them Jesus will give it to them if they choose Him as their Savior. In fact, God is seen as sitting in heaven loving them so much that it’s almost irritating to Him that they won’t come to Him for the things that they desire. Few seem to be considering the fact that what the unconverted sinner desires is the last thing God wants to give him … until he desires righteousness and deliverance from sin and death and judgment.” – John MacArthur at T4G ’08 in this message (MP3)

The Lot of Jacob and Esau

As I have been reading through Genesis the past couple of weeks, something has become clear to me as the story line has progressed. We all know the story of Jacob and Esau, well, at least some of you reading might. As Paul says and properly interprets of this story in the latter part of Genesis, particularly as he says it in Romans 9:10-13, “When Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'”

Now of course everyone’s first immediate reaction to Romans 9 on election in particular is that this story of Jacob and Esau Paul cites is talking about God electing their temporal lots in life, not their eternal lots. And even then, the election spoken of, so goes the popular thought, is one of groups of people, not individual people, that is the election of Israel instead of Edom, as opposed to Jacob and Esau. That is at least how most people immediately interpret it nowadays, so as to lighten the hardness of the verses that come after these later in Romans 9.

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Comment on Monergism.com Concerning the Will

“Many today build a theology around the idea which assumes that God’s commands to us in the Bible somehow imply our moral ability to keep them … but we soon forget that Romans 3:20 declares that ‘…through the law comes knowledge of sin.’ In other words, the commands exist to reveal our moral inability, not our ability. This inability also includes God’s command of all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel, an impossible act of natural will apart from a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit uniting us to Christ. Only the quicking grace of Jesus Christ applied by the Spirit can turn our heart of stone to flesh and illumine the Text in such a way (to open blind eyes and deaf ears) wherein we and able to see Christ’s beauty and excellency. Those who are unregenerate cannot see Christ’s excellency and thus have no capacity to love what is spiritual and so are not partly but wholly dependent on God to translate them from darkness to light. This means that man’s affections are in complete bondage to sin until Christ sets them free … and if the will is in bondage, it is not free. It chooses, not by coersion but by necessity to sin.”

This is Just One of the Forms of Persecution the Church Faces

Christian Ministry Fined $23,000 in Gay Discrimination Case

Much can be said about where the modern notion of “tolerance” is headed in our society: the legal exclusion of those who are religiously and morally exclusive. More and more of these cases are starting to spring up in Europe and North America, not merely homosexual cases, but cases in which a ministry or church takes a stand on morality. We would be wise to pay attention and consider the cost of holding fast to our doctrinal convictions concerning the Gospel and its implications in our lives. Persecution is always good for purifying the church. Unfortunately, we need it, for we have become polluted by the world.

The Fear of the LORD is Hatred of Evil

“The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” – Proverbs 8:13

Within the church many times, we consider “gross” sins to be homosexuality, excessive drinking, fornication, adultery, thievery, murder, cursing, etc. And while those are in no way minimized in the Scriptures as sins that are destructive both personally and relationally (and above all in relation to God Himself), the passage above speaks just as strongly against those who are prideful and arrogant within themselves. In fact, as the passage says, wisdom hates pride, arrogance, the way of evil, and perverted speech, all of those together. Seeing as how the Scriptures are the Word of God breathed out, these are His thoughts. The LORD hates pride and arrogance with a just and righteous passion.

While even unbelievers should be humbled by the fact that God doesn’t bring His hand down to crush them at this instant, how much more humbled should we be who claim to have been shown mercy at the hand of God through Christ? And yet so often, this is not the case. We so quickly turn our judgment to the outside world and what they’re doing wrong, when we need to be turning the cutting standard of the Word inwardly and analyze ourselves, measuring ourselves against it, and not our own ideals of what is morally better and worse. What about our pride and arrogance against those very people who need Jesus and are running from Him in defiance? Is this pride we possess not just as wicked in the eyes of the Lord as the evil committed outside the church? What about our hatred of those who run wholeheartedly away from the Lord? Shouldn’t you have been the one that ran away from God? What made you humble and willing to believe in Christ, yourself or the grace of God alone?

I’m in no way saying I am exempt from having committed these sins myself and speak to myself just as much as anyone reading this. I’m a sinner and have fallen in so many ways. But regardless, it seems to be a spirit within many churches where others, those outside the church, are looked down upon as greater sinners who do not hold to our own personal moral standards, when in reality, we are murderers in our hearts just like those in prison who have committed the outward act. When we hate or look down upon people for their sins, the Lord sees our hearts much like He sees Jeffrey Dahmer’s. Meditate on that for a minute in light of Romans 3:9-18. We are commanded to be pursuing holiness through faith in Christ, and yet it seems we have forgotten the fundamentals of how we were saved.

So how do we come to hate what is evil, namely pride and arrogance within our own hearts? The answer is in the verse above. “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.” What does it mean to fear the Lord? “I thought we weren’t supposed to fear Him at all because of Christ?” There is one sense in which that is true. Those in Christ have been ultimately accepted for eternity. There is no fear of condemnation for those who believe. And yet at the same time, even as believers, we are called by Scripture to fear the Lord. This fear is humility. Andrew Murray talks about three separate ways in which we should be humbled as believers: 1) as a creature, 2) as a sinner, and 3) as a saint.

As a creature: There is great amount of humility we should have in being a creature subject to the King of glory. He created us without our permission, for His own glory and purposes, and He has freedom over us that we do not have over Him. This is abundantly clear in Scripture. He is the Creator, we are the creatures.

As a sinner: We should also be greatly humbled that as sinners, we have slapped God in the face and told Him, “No, you do not have control over me, in any sense. I control myself and my own destiny,” and yet He is extremely patient toward our evil toward Him. It is God’s sheer grace toward both believers and unbelievers that He doesn’t stomp us out right now for the vile that comes out of our hearts through our mouths, hands, and feet. We have offended an infinitely holy God and therefore the wrath justly due to us is infinite and eternal. This is greatly humbling and strikes right at the heart of human pride, and is one of the biggest reasons people cannot accept it. They are hardened to this message because they do not want to hear it.

As a saint: Having been rightly humbled by our willful disobedience against the King of Glory, how humbled should we be to see that this holy God who owes us nothing but wrath made a way for us to be accepted through taking that wrath Himself on our behalf at the cross? We should be greatly humbled and possess an honest fear at the greatness of the frightening power and unfathomable depths of the love of God. As a saint we are humbled to not be objects of wrath, but now, because of Christ’s perfect work, we are objects of mercy. Did He have to save you? No. Why did you believe while another person in a similar position that heard the same Gospel message did not heed the call? Why did you willingly say yes to Christ? Was it not the grace of God who Himself made you willing? Ultimately, this is humbling and should move us to love the things Christ loves and hate the things He hates more and more. “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.” All kinds of evil, including our own self-righteous pride and arrogance.

We must constantly reorient ourselves with our humble position as creatures, sinners, and as God’s adopted people through the work of Christ. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7) And at the same time, There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” These are both different forms of humility, one in which we despise ourselves for our rebellion and yet know that we are accepted. Reorienting ourselves with the Gospel daily should bring about a correct response of both acceptance and fear of God’s might and power. God had mercy on you through the work of Christ while you were still unwilling to submit to Him by yourself. And He did this by turning your heart and giving you a willing spirit that was sensitive to heed the call of the Gospel. Praise God for His grace in moving us to faith when we wanted nothing of it until He opened our eyes to His beauty! May that squash our pride and arrogance against an increasingly pagan society. Just remember, that should have been you and would have had God not intervened and gone underneath your entire being to move you to love Him.

Surely I was sinful at birth … Psalm 51:5

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” – Psalm 51:5

http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/chri … 20pretend/

Interesting … science backing up the Scriptural, spiritual reality of our hearts. We are sinful from birth, even from the time our mothers conceived us, just as David says in this Psalm. Well, we at least begin lying at six months old, as this article states. Before this study, it was thought babies did not lie prior to 4 years old. Now the bar has been lowered to six months. This study simply confirms that which is stated in the Scriptures: we are sinners from the womb. Our disposition, from the very beginning, is bent on evil, namely a suppression of the glory and righteousness of God. We must be delivered from this very nature by the work of Christ alone in order to even see Christ at all as worthy of our praise. The only difference between a grown up and a baby is that the adult has the means to carry out the wickedness that lies within the heart. Babies can’t talk in tangible language, they have very little strength to exert, but they can throw tempter tantrums, scream until they get their way, and as shown in this article, they have scientific proof babies begin conceiving deception in their hearts as early as six months. As cute as babies are, this is the reality of all of us and it starts at conception (just as the Psalm said). “It is hard to exaggerate the importance of admitting our condition to be this bad.” (Piper) We must be saved utterly by the work of God in Christ to deliver us from the deadness and nature of our hearts that are turned away from the glory of God. It is by grace alone (God granting regeneration, repentance, and faith) through God-wrought faith alone, in Christ alone that we are saved. Praise God for His mercy and may He move on my daughter Adelaide to turn her heart from the natural deadness that lies within, turned away from God, and draw her to Himself. May He raise her up, by His pure mercy, even now, and grant her regeneration unto salvation. We are prone to wander unless God holds us back by His mercy. This verse and this science both show this to be the case.

NOTE: I am NOT in any way saying I believe that babies who die either in the womb or at a very young age go to hell, as someone may think I lean based on my above statements. But unfortunately, there is not a lot of Scriptural evidence pertaining to this subject, except for one place that alludes to it in 2 Samuel 12:22-23. David has committed adultery with Bathsheba, she conceived, and now as a result of God’s punishment on David for committing the sin he did, the baby died. It states, “[David] said, ‘While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, “Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?” But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.'” In other words, as it seems the Scripture says here, I shall go to the child in heaven upon dying, but he will not come back to me in this life. Other than this, there are really no other places that speak of what happens to them upon death. And really this statement begs a lot of questions pertaining to the subject in my mind. Having affirmed the “sinful from conception” verse above that David himself wrote in the inspiration of the Spirit, whatever level of sinning a baby can do must be covered by the blood of Christ. So it is likely God, in His mercy, delivers children at this age from wrath through the work of Christ. But you must believe in order to be saved, someone may say. Right. So, how does that work? I have no clue, nor does Scripture say. We have this one ambiguous verse pointing that direction. And that’s about it. All in all, it is speculation to delve too deep into the subject, but rather we should simply trust the Lord that He knows what He is doing and know His actions are wise, just and righteous. This is an area where I believe we are forced to trust the Lord and know that He is good and find comfort in Him, not in answers to things that are not revealed. So really all I can do is leave it there.

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