ELECTION

EFFECTUAL CALLING

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Jer 1:5 ESV).

“Salvation transforms a person’s nature, giving him or her the ability and the desire to serve and obey God.  The unresponsive heart of stone is changed into a sensitive heart of flesh that responds readily to God’s voice (Ezekiel 36:25-27) and desires to glorify Him out of gratitude for the indescribable gift of salvation” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p147-148).

“The foundation is laid in the death of Christ; it commences in the effectual calling of the Spirit; and by all the precious assurances of grace, wisdom, and strength…it is carried forward to glorious completion” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, March 20th).

“All of those who are thus effectually called by God will eventually believe and be saved, even though they may resist for a time (John 6:37).  They cannot forfeit the salvation they have received (John 10:27-30; Romans 8:31-39)” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p147).

“…the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29 ESV).

“…the eternal purpose of God, revealed and provided for…is that all who are chosen, called, and justified will be ‘partakers of his holiness’ in order to prepare for complete sanctification.  Heaven is a holy place and its inhabitants are holy people…The very election of the believer to eternal life provides for and secures his holiness” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, March 20th).

FATHER, You knew me and chose me before I was born.  The HOLY SPIRIT is making me holy.  He teaches me the right method of holiness where my inclinations, will and affections are interested in the spiritual only with no more self-interests.  Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p89).  Thus, I happily obey You, FATHER (1 Pet 1:2).  Hallelujah.

SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

WHAT IS MEANT BY THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD?

“The sovereignty of God—what do we mean by this expression?  We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the godhood of God.  To say that God is sovereign is to declare that God is God…(Dan 4:35)… (Ps 115:3)…(1 Tim 6:15).  Such is the God of the Bible” A.W. Pink (ref#234, p18).

“God has eternally made a decree, according to which proceeds all that transpires in this time state….We cannot analyze in what manner the Lord decrees and establishes His counsel and purpose.  We know, however, that He does so and that our human terminology gives expression to the unsearchable wisdom and immovability of God’s purpose, as well as His comprehensive plan concerning all things as to the manner of their existence and the time of their occurrence” Wilhelmus a Brakel (ref#232, p7).

“The LORD has done what he purposed; he has carried out his word…” (Lam 2:17 ESV).  “Have you not heard that I determined it long ago?  I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass…” (2 Kings 19:25 ESV).

“He fixed all the circumstances in the lot of individuals and all the particulars that comprise the history of the human race from commencement to close….Our days are numbered, and so are the hairs of our heads” A.W. Pink (ref#231, p2).

“God, by definition, is absolutely sovereign—that is, He controls and superintends every circumstance of life either by direct miraculous intervention or by the ordinary outworking of His providence…it denies that anything occurs outside of God’s control” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p146).

1ST COVENANT

COVENANTS

“…God works in history to redeem His chosen ones through a series of covenants.  These covenants define His law, assess penalties for breaking His law, and provide for the imputation of Jesus’ vicarious fulfillment of God’s requirements…” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p148).

INTERVENING FATHER, Your loving will and compassion work to my advantage through the covenants You set in place.  Through them I have no question about my course with You.

“A covenant is an unchangeable, divinely imposed legal agreement between God and man that stipulates the conditions of their relationship” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p515).

In sovereign authority You reveal Your desire and my part is only to accept or reject it (ref#63, p 515).  You will be my GOD and I will be Your child if I keep Your decrees and ordinances (Lev 18:5).  Moses writes that the man who can practice the perfect conformity to Your will shall live (Rom 10:5).  “If you obey…by loving the LORD…by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments…then you shall live…” (Deut 30:16 ESV).

FATHER, how I long to keep Your covenant but, my contribution makes it impossible.  I may not murder, but I certainly can’t keep Your law that says I am a transgressor even if I am angry at someone (Matt 5:21-22).  And Your stipulation is that if I fail in one point of Your law, I become accountable for all of it (James 2:10).

So, because I can’t keep Your covenant I am liable to judgment—liable to the hell of fire (Matt 5:22).  The very ordinance which You designed and intended to bring me life actually means death to me (Rom 7:10).  On my own I cannot keep Your covenant of works.

“…the covenant of works is still in force for every human being apart from Christ, even though no sinful human being can fulfill its provisions and gain blessing by it….for Christians today to think of themselves as obligated to try to earn God’s favor by obedience would be to cut themselves off from the hope of salvation” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p518).

Thank You, FATHER, for CHRIST and Your covenant of grace.

FAITH

INTELLIGENT FAITH

“…It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going….” (2 Cor 5:6-8 MSG).  “…Faith is the assurance of the heart in the adequacy of the evidence” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p4).

“When Jesus Christ and the apostles called upon a person to exercise faith, it was not a ‘blind faith’ but rather an ‘intelligent faith.’  The apostle Paul said, ‘I know whom I have believed’ (II Timothy 1:12)” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p4).

“The Christian faith is an objective faith; therefore, it must have an object.  The Christian concept of ‘saving’ faith is a faith that establishes one’s relationship with Jesus Christ (the object)…” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p4).

“’Faith in Christianity,’ Paul Little justifiably writes, ‘is based on evidence.  It is reasonable faith.  Faith in the Christian sense goes beyond reason but not against it.’” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p4).

“…defining faith…has to do with the substance (assurance grounded in reality) of our hope….It involves evidence (reliable proof) of things we can’t see.  God’s definition of faith removes it far from the realm of irrational leaps in the dark….Christian belief is based on fact” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p135).

“We shall have a full definition of faith if we say that it is a firm and sure knowledge of the divine favor toward us, founded on the truth of a free promise in Christ, and revealed to our minds, and sealed on our hearts, by the Holy Spirit” John Calvin (ref#113, p360).

FATHER, I have found it is fatal to read something in Scripture then try to implement it in the flesh.  When I read about faith moving mountains, my carnal mind thinks, “this will take a lot of energy; I’ll have to conjure up a lot of faith.”

Moving with blind faith is like being willing to step over the cliff knowing nothing more—just closing my eyes tight and jumping—just trusting GOD to catch me.

No, no, no.  I must know my action is okayed by You, FATHER.  It is not about blind faith or my abilities; the SPIRIT must enable. There is something that must go on beforehand and it is not me talking myself into it.  It is the SPIRIT strengthening my faith by evidence giving me the confidence needed to proceed.  It is what I trust in but don’t yet see.

SCRIPTURE

MEDITATING ON SCRIPTURE

“…to pursue holiness with discipline, we must do more than hear, read, study or memorize Scripture.  We must meditate on it” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p99).

“One cannot stress too much the necessity of reading and meditating upon the Book…the Word of God is not like any merely human book.  There is a spiritual as well as an intellectual element in the apprehension of it….Therefore, we must always avoid mere knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but must allow the Spirit of God to make personal application of the Word to our own lives….God’s Word is intensely practical” Alfred Martin (ref#260, p123).

“Meditation of Scripture is a discipline” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p170).  “We must choose to meditate instead of thinking about other things, or listening to the radio, or watching television.  We simply have to decide which end of the influence continuum we want to live on and take steps accordingly” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p171).

“It is not necessary that we should discover new ideas in our meditation.  Often this only diverts us and feeds our vanity.  It is sufficient if the Word, as we read and understand it, penetrates and dwells within us” Dietrich Bonhoeffer (ref#28, p83).

“Can we ever know positively that our understanding of Scripture is entirely correct?…we cannot.  But we can know positively whether we are seeking God’s truth in a manner that glorifies Him” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p132).

“’Lord, my sweetest privilege is obedience to Thee; my highest freedom is wearing Thy yoke; my greatest rest is bearing Thy burden…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 22nd).

HOLY SPIRIT

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS SPIRIT KNOWLEDGE

“…all that has been done by God the Father and by God the Son will be of no value to us unless the Spirit reveals these things to our souls” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Feb 29thPM).

 “’What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.  For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God”(1 Cor 2:9-10 ESV).

“…our conviction of the truth of Scripture must be derived from a higher source than human conjectures, judgments, or reasons; namely, the secret testimony of the Spirit” John Calvin (ref#113, p33).

“When the Holy Spirit…comes, he shall guide you into all truth.  For he will not be presenting his own ideas, but will be passing on to you what he has heard….” (John 16:13 TLB).

“God’s truth comes to us through three essential processes: revelation, inspiration, and illumination” Carol Ruvolo (ref#228, p70).

“Revelation involves the actual disclosure of God’s truth…” Carol Ruvolo (ref#228, p70). “By revelation is understood those truths made known by supernatural means, because they lie beyond the power of man to discover” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p102).

“Inspiration is concerned with the means and processes by which these truths are made known” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p102).  “…inspiration has to do with recording divine revelation perfectly and completely…” Carol Ruvolo (ref#228, p70).

“…illumination is what enables us to understand that truth” Carol Ruvolo (ref#228, p70).   “…The Bible can neither be accounted for nor interpreted but by His [the SPIRIT’s] guidance…Revealed truth can be known only through the Revealer” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p15, brackets mine).

FATHER, since human reasoning is my default way of thinking, I ask Your help that I may train myself to be aware of the SPIRIT’s activity in giving the Truth.  I recognize my head knowledge has no ability to spawn appropriate spiritual actions.

HOLY SPIRIT

BE FILLED

“…be filled with the Spirit,” (Eph 5:18 ESV).

“…we are leaky vessels, and have to be kept right under the fountain all the time in order to keep full…” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p110-111).

“…Be filled”…literally rendered “be being kept filled.”…a command demanding conscious, continual action on our part (ref#228, p74).

“…it is one thing to have the Holy Spirit dwelling away back of consciousness in some hidden sanctuary of our being, and quite another thing to have that Holy Spirit taking entire possession of the house” R.A. Torrey (ref#223, p115).

“The fullness of the Spirit vitalizes natural powers, quickens dormant faculties, and reinforces capabilities…The brain gets a new quality of alertness, endurance and effectiveness.  The mind receives new powers of perception, intelligence and understanding.  The heart finds a new clarity of vision, a new simplicity of motive, and a new intensity of emotion.  The impossible becomes capable of achievement in the sanctified powers of the natural man” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p143-144).

“…seek to ‘be filled with the Spirit’!  Then your thirsting’s for God will be deeper, your breathings after holiness more intense, your communion with your heavenly Father closer, and your faith in Jesus stronger.  The indwelling of the Spirit is the root of all holiness; but the communication of the Spirit in the fullness of His gracious, sanctifying, Christ-transforming influence is the secret of a higher degree of heavenly-mindedness” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 13th).

“The work of God cannot be accomplished without the fullness of the Spirit, and everywhere God waits to give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.  It is His will that every believer should be filled with the Spirit, overflow in the power of the Spirit, and in all things prevail through the Spirit…God waits to fill ordinary people with extraordinary power, and to turn a baffled faith into a rapturous conquest” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p161-162).

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him (Luke 11:13 ESV).