"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Edwards on Receiving Criticism | Main | An Important Mark of a Sound Conversion »

    The Satisfied Lamb

    Matthew 1:21 - you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

    Isaiah 53:8 - By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

    Ephesians 5:25 - Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...

    Rev. 5:9 - for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation

    Christ's work on the cross achieved all of the Divine purposes for it. The intent of the design was not merely to try to save all, but when all was said and done, the plan could fail for many because of that stubborn thing called "free will," with the Savior sad for all eternity because many He died for received no benefit for all His labor. No, He died a satisfied Savior, giving Himself for His friends, for His sheep, for His people, for His Church, and fully accomplished the work of redemption for all in this number.

    All who are particularists (who believe that not everyone will be saved - that some people will in fact spend eternity in hell) believe in some type of limitation to the atonement of Christ. The Arminian limits its power, for it only becomes effectual through man's cooperation; the Reformed person limits its extent. As C. H. Spurgeon said, "The doctrine of Holy Scripture is this, that inasmuch as man could not keep God's law, having fallen in Adam, Christ came and fulfilled the law on the behalf of his people; and that inasmuch as man had already broken the divine law and incurred the penalty of the wrath of God, Christ came and suffered in the room, place, and stead of his elect ones, that so by his enduring the full vials of wrath, they might be emptied out and not a drop might ever fall upon the heads of his blood-bought people." (Sermon 310 - "Christ our Substitute - New Park Street, Southwark)

    Elsewhere he preached, "I had rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than an universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of man be joined with it." (Sermon number 173 - Metropolitan Pulpit 4:121)

    In another sermon, Spurgeon said, "Once again, if it were Christ's intention to save all men, how deplorably has He been disappointed, for we have His own evidence that there is a lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit must be cast some of the very persons, who according to that theory, were bought with His blood. That seems to me a thousand times more frightful than any of those horrors, which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of particular redemption." (C. H. Spurgeon - Sermon 204 - New Park Street Pulpit 4:553)

    Posted by John Samson on July 17, 2009 09:08 AM


    Reading this, this morning, reminded me of what I read in one of the essays in the recently released book, [The Law is not of Faith].

    Michael Horton's essay, page 334:::>

    “Interpreting this strange freedom displayed in Luther’s [TREATISE ON CHRISTIAN LIBERTY], Wingren adds, “… In faith, which accepts the gift, man finds that it is not only “heaven that is pure with its stars, where Christ reigns in his work,” but the earth too is clean “with its trees and its grass, where we are at home with all that is ours.” There is nothing more delightful and lovable on earth than one’s neighbor. Love does not think about doing works, it finds joy in people; and when something good is done for others, that does not appear to love as works but simply as gifts which flow naturally from love…”

    The commandment to love, Luther insists, is lex naturae. Thus, the same law that was inscribed in the human conscience in the covenant of creation and on tablets in the covenant at Sinai is now written on our hearts in the new covenant.

    Under the law, in Adam, one is trapped in the cycle of sin and death, resentment and despair, self-righteousness and self-condemnation. Yet under grace, in Christ, one is not only justified apart from the law but is able for the first time to respond to the law of love that calls from the deepest recesses of our being as covenantally constituted creatures. It is not the law itself that changes, but our relation to it, and that makes all the difference.

    I believe the "separation" is for the very reasons cited, the article and that quoted writing of Michael Horton, pg. 334, which, for me, in my view, shines enough light on these verses and the reason for the separation that occurs:

    Mat 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
    Mat 25:32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
    Mat 25:33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
    Mat 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world....

    ....Mat 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

    "The Armenian limits its power, for it only becomes effectual through man's cooperation"

    For many Armenians, this is not true. Rather, Armenians I have known believe that God tried and _succeeded_ in providing salvation for all who would believe, hence the satisfied Savior, God being glorified in justly judging the lost, and the command for His people to similarly shake the dust off their clothes in protest against those who will not believe after being preached to.

    Still, some Armenians do teach that God tries to save all, and the implications are horrific.

    Jason, your comment is actually what I believe is meant by the Arminian limiting its power. In the case of your example above, God's power only extends to those who first meet his condition of faith. And since not all have faith the power of the cross is therefore limited in the Arminian scheme. Their belief is that one can assent to the preaching of the gospel through natural powers without the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. [Prevenient grace cannot be considered regeneration and the Bible gives no evidence that there is a state of being in-between regenerte and unregenerate.]

    In other words, in Arminian theology God's love on the cross is ultimately conditional, based on the response.

    You said to the Arminian, "God tried succeeded_ in providing salvation for all who would believe"

    The very fact that some others did not believe show that the same power was not extended to them as well. Rather, the bible teaches that God saves His people by free, unconditional, invincible grace, not only justifying us for Christs' sake when we come to faith, but also raising us from the death of sin by His quickening Spirit in order to bring us to faith. (John 6:63-65)

    Sirs, Please compare the following quote that was posted previously to 2 Corinthians 3. It's another clear example as to why people are seriously investigating NCT.

    "The commandment to love, Luther insists, is lex naturae. Thus, the same law that was inscribed in the human conscience in the covenant of creation and on tablets in the covenant at Sinai is now written on our hearts in the new covenant."

    2Co 3:2-8 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, recognized and read by everyone, (3) since it is plain that you are Christ's letter, produced by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God; not on stone tablets but on tablets that are hearts of flesh. (4) We have this kind of confidence toward God through Christ: (5) not that we are competent in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our competence is from God. (6) He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit produces life. (7) Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel were not able to look directly at Moses' face because of the glory from his face--a fading glory-- (8) how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?

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