Thursday, 12 May 2016

By Grace Alone

Reposted by permission from Lyn's blog: "Saved by Grace"

"The words sola gratia mean that human beings have no claim upon God. That is, God owes us nothing except just punishment for our many and very willful sins. Therefore, if he does save sinners, which he does in the case of some but not all, it is only because it pleases him to do it. Indeed, apart from this grace and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit that flows from it, no one would be saved, since in our lost condition, human beings are not capable of winning, seeking out, or even cooperating with God’s grace. By insisting on ‘grace alone’ the Reformers were denying that human methods, techniques, or strategies in themselves could ever bring anyone to faith. It is grace alone expressed through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ, releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from death to spiritual life.: - James Montgomery Boice

"Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Rom. 11:5, 6). The words "Even so" at the beginning of this quotation refer us to the previous verse where we are told, "I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Note particularly the word "reserved." In the days of Elijah there were seven thousand—a small minority—who were Divinely preserved from idolatry and brought to the knowledge of the true God. This preservation and illumination was not from anything in themselves, but solely by God’s special influence and agency. How highly favored such individuals were to be thus "reserved" by God! Now says the apostle, Just as there was a "remnant" in Elijah’s days "reserved by God", even so there is in this present dispensation.
"A remnant according to the election of grace." Here the cause of election is traced back to its source. The basis upon which God elected this "remnant" was not faith foreseen in them, because a choice founded upon the foresight of good works is just as truly made on the ground of works as any choice can be, and in such a case, it would not be "of grace;" for, says the apostle, "if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace;" which means that grace and works are opposites, they have nothing in common, and will no more mingle than will oil and water. Thus the idea of inherent good foreseen in those chosen, or of anything meritorious performed by them, is rigidly excluded. "A remnant according to the election of grace," signifies an unconditional choice resulting from the sovereign favor of God; in a word, it is absolutely a gratuitous election.
"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty: and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence" (1 Cor. 1:26-29). Three times over in this passage reference is made to God’s choice, and choice necessarily supposes a selection, the taking of some and the leaving of others. The Choser here is God Himself, as said the Lord Jesus to the apostles, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16). The number chosen is strictly defined—"not many wise men after the flesh, not many noble," etc., which agrees with Matthew 20:16, "So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few chosen." So much then for the fact of God’s choice; now mark the objects of His choice.
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim. 1:9). How plain and pointed is the language of Holy Writ! It is man who, by his words, darkeneth counsel. It is impossible to state the case more clearly, or strongly, than it is stated here. Our salvation is not "according to our works;" that is to say, it is not due to anything in us, nor the rewarding of anything from us; instead, it is the result of God’s own "purpose and grace;" and this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. It is by grace we are saved, and in the purpose of God this grace was bestowed upon us not only before we saw the light, not only before Adam’s fall, but even before that far distant "beginning" of Genesis 1:1. And herein lies the unassailable comfort of God’s people. If His choice has been from eternity it will last to eternity! "Nothing can survive to eternity but what came from eternity, and what has so come, will" (G. S. Bishop).

Monday, 9 May 2016

Dream (Earlier this morning)

 I've been looking at many of the news reports and the things that are happening in this world, and early this morning just before waking I had a very vivid dream.

I do not remember the exact details of the dream except that it was chaotic and very unsettling, much fighting, unrest, people rioting, running, and my own thoughts and feelings while in this dream were unsettled and chaotic, I was completely in it, part of the problems, terrified, not wanting these things to happen but helpless to stop it. I awoke for a moment, my thoughts turned to Jesus "Help me to know what to do" was my inward prayer, and then went back to sleep. I returned to that scene in the dream and again I saw the chaos and fighting, but was being drawn up from it, sensing that those whose hearts were of this world would destroy themselves and each other taking each other down, but those who are of the Lord will be lifted up, not part of the mess, and it then turned my thoughts to death and resurrection and the different experience that will be had by those who die loving this world more than God and those who die and are truly looking to God, Jesus, our all in all. In the dream it felt like angels were pulling me up and keeping me standing, and  it might be that I died in the dream at that point and was being lifted off the earth. It seemed like the images of "the rapture" in a way, yet not really that, almost that.

It again reminded me that we who are in Christ are "in the world but not of the world", and that when we are absent from the body (when we physically die) we will be present with the Lord. Very comforting thoughts while seeing all of the world's chaotic problems.

John 16:32-33 (ESV)  Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Mother's Day

A blogger friend wrote a beautiful letter in memory of her mother. I hope you can take a moment to read it, a blessing from above :)

Monday, 2 May 2016

A YouTube Gem!

If you've never read "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" you really need to do so. Some might get lost in the distractions; was it really written by "learned elders of Zion" aka Jews? and does reading it make one an antisemite? To me it doesn't matter who wrote it. What matters is the fact that so many of the things mentioned in it are playing out right before my eyes and it makes it clear that SOMEONE (or SOMEONES) are behind what we see happening, that there is a concerted effort to do all the terrible things outlined in Protocols, and it gives the possible reasons for where they want to go with all of this. God only knows how much longer this will continue on in that direction, we who believe in God know He will put a stop to it before this world completely self destructs, however it can get a lot worse before it gets to that point, so the question for me is "Just how far will the Lord allow all of this to continue to deteriorate?"

For those who don't want to sit and go through admittedly tedious and heavy reading, this youtube video provides a nice alternative, a 3 hour audio version!!! :)

Edited: I forgot to mention when the word "protestant" is used in this book it seems to me that it isn't the  meaning we automatically ascribe to, it means "dissentors" or maybe even "rioters"  or protestors. When we think of that word protestants we automatically think of a Christian group, but it seems to be used in a broader sense.