Tag Archives: grace

The Duty of Believing Parents

In order for Adam and Eve to properly teach their sons about sin, they had to point to themselves.  Where else were they going to look?  It was Adam and Eve that fell and brought sin into the world, and this they couldn’t hide from their boys.  There was no way they could point the finger at anyone else, because there was no one else there to point the finger at.

This is a sobering, yet essential example for believing parents.  It is our duty to make sure we model repentance to our children.  It is a major part of loving them rightly, bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and teaching them about the grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When we as parents fail to do this, we are always looking to point the finger at someone else.  The more our children see this, the more it becomes the standard in their own lives.  If any parent had a desire to hide the truth of sin from their children, it was the first Adam, the perfect, created man who walked in fellowship with God in the garden.  I’m sure it wasn’t an easy thing to teach his children about sin, but this he did, and this we must.  For if our children understand nothing about guilt, they will never understand grace and repentance.  They will avoid repentance because they will avoid their guilt.  And God never forgives those who come to him with excuses.

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Why We Need Grace

Are we able to pray these puritanical words today,

Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to thee.  Convince me that I cannot be my own God, or make myself happy, nor my own Christ to restore my joy, nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, rule me.  Help me to see that grace does this by providential affliction, for when my credit is good thou dost cast me lower, when riches are my idol thou dost wing them away, when pleasure is my all thou dost turn it into bitterness.  Take away my roving eye, curious ear, greedy appetite, lustful heart; show me that none of these things can heal a wounded conscience, or support a tottering frame, or uphold a departing spirit.  Then take me to the cross and leave me there.

We need grace!  Grace to see our condition apart from Christ that we might even have a desire to pray this way!  Grace to pray this way!  Grace to pray this way every day!

 

Understanding Calvin

There are a lot of misunderstandings in the Christian Church about John Calvin.  I recently heard a clip of a Bible study on the Internet, where a pastor told his people that John Calvin didn’t believe in a literal resurrection.

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The dear brother, in his zeal for Christ (and I mean that), went on to say something to the extent of hell having no fury compared to a Calvinist when his beliefs are challenged.  Those weren’t his exact words, but it is a pretty accurate summary of what was being said.

The problem here is that my brother in Christ was wrong with what he said about Calvin.  I don’t know if he has spent anytime in Calvin’s Institutes, but I wish he would.  And no, I don’t mean in place of the Scriptures.  To infer that would be a non sequitur.  Rather, I mean alongside the Scriptures.  Examine what Calvin truly believed, not just what somebody with an agenda told you about what Calvin believed and taught.

The thing is, we all have our agendas, don’t we?  Of course, we do?  On the flip side, I’ve seen it by many Calvinists with their view of the Fourth Commandment.  Most of them have read John Calvin on the sabbath, and yet what they say Calvin teaches about the Sabbath seems to be different than how I see it.  But if you simply question whether Calvin seemed to take more of a Continental view of the Sabbath, as opposed to the Puritan view, you hear good brothers in Christ saying things like, “Well, you can’t just take snippets of Calvin on a subject or you’ll get him out of context.”  They also say, “You know, Calvin wasn’t right on everything!”  True and true!  Yet one has to wonder sometimes, if nothing more than simply to play advocate, if the Calvinists understand John Calvin anymore than those that are vehemently opposed to the truths that he taught.

The bottom line seems to be, if you want to know what Calvin believed about a literal resurrection, read his Institutes.  If you want to know what Calvin believed about the Sabbath, read his Institutes.  If you want to know what Calvin believed about traducianism, read his Institutes.  If you want to know what Calvin believed about election, baptism, expiation, the law, the Scriptures, grace or __________, read his Institutes and you’ll probably find an answer.  It only seems fair, does it not?  Perhaps no other figure in the history of Christianity has been as much of a lightning rod as Jehan Cauvin, and very few have been as misunderstood and misapplied, from both sides.

You won’t agree with everything he says, but maybe, just maybe, you’ll find he makes more sense than just what you’ve been told about him.

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If you are interested in diving into the Sabbath issue, here is a good starting point from one of the most respected Reformed ministers alive:

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/qas/how-are-we-keep-sabbath-todays-society/

Though my strict Sabbatarian friends will almost certainly accuse me of starting you at the wrong point there.

Admonished in Miseries

In his commentary on Genesis 3:19, John Calvin says:

So it is best that when we are admonished of the miseries of the present life, we should weep over our sins and seek relief from the grace of Christ, which not only can assuage the bitterness of grief but mingle sweetness with it.

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In my Christian life, I have experienced this to be true over and over again.  Some of my sweetest moments of fellowship with my Savior were when the miseries of this present life were most expounded to me.  As I feel humbled over my sin and misery, I am so thankful for a Savior who is there with me, admonishing me in my misery, and restoring me unto himself.

If you are a believer, I would love to hear how Jesus Christ has shown himself mighty on your behalf.

If you are an unbeliever, I would love to hear the ways in which you deal with your misery and suffering.  This is not a setup or trap.  If you are a non-believer, I would very much enjoy having a civil discussion on how you deal with the problem of suffering.