COMPATIBILISM

DEPENDENT RESPONSIBILITY

Peter’s words accusing his fellow Jews of crucifying JESUS:

“this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23 ESV).  “Though one may not understand fully how God’s sovereign ordination of events can be compatible with human responsibility for evil, both are clearly affirmed here and in many other passages of Scripture (cf. notes on 3:13-16; 3:17; 4:27; 4:28)” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2084, [Acts 2:23]).

“There are many instances in the Scriptures where the concepts of both dependence and responsibility appear in the same sentence or paragraph.” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p130).

“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain….” (Ps 127:1 ESV).

“Hundreds of passages…could be explored to demonstrate that the Bible assumes both that God is sovereign and that people are responsible for their actions.  As hard as it is for many people in the Western world to come to terms with both truths at the same time, it takes a great deal of interpretative ingenuity to argue that the Bible does not support them” (D.A. Carson) Justin Taylor (ref#295).

“…we are both dependent and responsible…Nehemiah…prayed and posted a guard.  He recognized his dependence on God, but he also accepted his responsibility to work…” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p131).

“God’s sovereignty is compatible with human responsibility.  Israel should have believed the gospel and trusted in Christ, but the majority refused to do so.  Still God’s saving promises will be fulfilled” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2174, [Rom 9:30 – 11:10]).

FATHER, as J.C. Ryle, this is what I believe: “I grant most fully that saving faith, like true repentance, is the gift of God.  I grant that we have no natural power of our own to believe on Christ, receive Christ, come to Christ, lay hold on Christ, and commit our souls to Christ.  But I see faith and repentance laid down clearly in Scripture as dutieswhich God requires at any man’s hands….(Acts xvii. 30; 1 John iii. 23.)  And I see it laid down with no less clearness, that unbelief and impenitence are sins for which man will be held accountable, and that he who does not repent and believe destroys his own soul (Mark xvi. 16; Luke xiii.3)” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p194).

“…what can be known about God is plain…his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse” (Rom 1:19-20 ESV).

REDEMPTION

THE TRIUNE GOD IN REDEMPTION

“Redemption is the result of the compassion of all three Persons in the Trinity” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p173).

“…one God without division in a Trinity of persons, and three persons without confusion in an unity of essence….The Trinity is a mystery which my faith embraces as revealed in the Word, but my reason cannot fathom” John Arrowsmith (ref#225, May 18th).

“God the Father has made everything through the Son by the Holy Spirit.  The blessed Trinity is operative in the whole work, always, but labor is divided up” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 10th).  “In the economy of redemption all is from the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit.  All proceeds from the foreordination of the Father, all that comes to the believer is through Christ, that is, on account of His infinite merits: all is actually wrought by the Spirit, for He is the Executive of the Godhead, the active Agent in all the works of redemption” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p169).

God said, Let us make man in our image” (Gen 1:26).  Do not let man be content until he knows something of the ‘us’…Endeavor to know the Father…Sit at His table, and let your heart be made merry in His grace.  Then press forward and seek to know much of the Son…Know Him in the unique complexity of His nature: eternal God, yet suffering finite man….Do not forget the Holy Spirit…who first of all moved upon chaos and brought forth order; who now visits the chaos of your soul and creates the order of holiness” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, May 8th PM).

FATHER, I marvel at the complexity of the Godhead.  I marvel more that You have shown me love through redemption.

FAITH

FAITH IN SUFFERING

“…Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through…suffering comes out proved genuine…” (1 Pet 1:6-7 MSG).

“…Paul…had a thorn in the flesh, and he could not understand it.  It seemed all wrong to him.  He wanted to preach the Gospel, but the thorn was a hindrance to him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, May 6th).

“Let us trust this love.  Trust it when veiled, trust it when it threatens to slay, trust it when it seems to frown, trust it even when we cannot trace it” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 6th).

“Jesus…is a…Brother born for your adversity.  His grace and sympathy are sufficient for you….You are now to walk by faith and not by sight.  This, then, is the great secret of a life of faith: to hang on Jesus daily, to go to Him in every trial, to cast every burden on Him, to take the infirmity, the corruption, the cross, as it rises, simply and immediately to Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 4th).

“According to the degree of our faith will be the degree of our peace, our hope, our strength for duty, and our patience in trial” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p195).  “…your faith may be sharply tempted or severely tried, but it shall never, never quite fail; for Jesus lives in you, and lives in you forever” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 3rd).

“…I am suffering…But I am not ashamed…for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return” (2 Tim 1:12 NLT).

FAITH

FROM FAITH TO FAITH

 “…the righteous will shall by his faith” (Hab 2:4 ESV).

“When faith and duty demand anything from us, we must close our eyes to all obstacles and go forward in our work; for all events are in God’s hands alone, and they will happen as he pleases.  Our duty is to proceed, even if we think our labors may be in vain and will not bear fruit” John Calvin (ref#164, April 28th).  FATHER, I desire help to possess the faith to allow the days to play out by Your hand.  May I find it not important whether I think I’m doing well or poorly.

“The grace you’ve been given is not just the grace of forgiveness and acceptance; it’s also the grace of empowerment.  So get up and follow….So here’s how this works.  God has promised to supply and empower; your joy is to follow him by faith where you live every day.  You don’t wait for the provision before you move.  God has not promised that you will see it beforehand.  You don’t try to figure out what God is going to do next and how he will meet your needs; you move forward in the certainty that he is with you, for you, and in you” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, July 6th).

“Would you have more faith?…Then take heed that you are diligent in the use of every means of grace,–diligent in your private communion with God,–diligent in your daily watchfulness over time, temper, and tongue,–diligent in your private Bible-reading,–diligent in your own private prayers” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p195).

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith” (Rom 1:17 NIV).

“Faith…teaches us to hope for and to desire every blessing from God” John Calvin (ref#164, March 1st).

FAITH

FAITH IN CHRIST NOT IN THINGS

“…Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” (Heb 12:2 ESV).

“Would you have more faith?  Then seek to become more acquainted with Jesus Christ” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p196).

“Is there anything in the true Church of God that would…indicate a proneness to substitute for Christ something in the experience of the believer?  Indeed.  Examples are…only too common.  When the act of faith is substituted for the object of faith…Faith is only the channel through which…blessings are received.  And yet, who has not detected in his heart a tendency to look to faith for the evidence of his Christianity instead of to Christ, thus making the act of believing a substitute for the object in which we believe” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 29th)?

“…where there is true faith, Christ will always be known and realized, as an actual living personal Friend.  He that knows nothing of Christ as his own Priest, Physician, and Redeemer, knows nothing yet of believing” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p191)!

“We glorify God when our service comes from faith in his strength, because the one who gives the strength gets the glory….1 Pet 4:11” John Piper (ref#220, p212).

FAITH

SAVING FAITH

“Saving faith is to cast myself and my own soul upon Christ for salvation” Thomas Cole (ref#225, p308).

“Believing in Christ is no mere intellectual assent…Doubtless there must be some knowledge before we can believe.  There is no true religion in ignorance.  But knowledge alone is not saving faith” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p182).

“Believing on Christ…is not mere feeling something about Christ.  This is often no more than temporary excitement…We may be pricked in conscience, and feel drawings toward the Gospel…We may even tremble and weep, and show much affection for the truth…And yet all this time our hearts and wills may remain utterly unchanged, and secretly chained down to the world.  Doubtless there is no saving faith where there is no feeling.  But feeling alone is not faith” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p182-183).

“True saving faith is not the kind of belief in the facts of the gospel that leaves the heart and life unchanged.  If it were, then God’s pleasure in obedience would indeed be bad news.  He would be saying that we are saved by faith, and then, to please him with obedience, we must move beyond faith to something else in order to produce good behavior.  This is not good news.  The good news is that saving faith is by its nature a life-changing power” John Piper (ref#220, p243-244).

“The moment that the conscience is convinced of sin, and the head sees Christ to be the only One who can save, and the heart and will lay hold on the hand that Christ holds out, that moment there is saving faith” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p183).

“…faith expresses itself in works…a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works…” (James 2:21-24 MSG).

FAITH

UNBELIEF

“’…If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all’” (Isa 7:9 ESV).

There is a significant difference between amazement and faith.  God doesn’t just want to blow your mind; he wants to rule your heart….You can be amazed by the grand sweep of the redemptive story in Scripture and not be living by faith…You can be amazed by the great worship music you participate in every Sunday and not be living by faith….You can be amazed by the wonderful biblical preaching and teaching that you hear and not be living by faith” David Paul Tripp (ref#190, June 27th).

“There is nothing really mysterious and hard to understand about saving belief.  But the whole difficulty arises from man’s pride and self-righteousness….They cannot understand it because they will not stoop” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p182).

“’…my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him’” (Heb 10:38 ESV).

“…faith…the more it is exercised, the mightier it becomes…God never places His child in any difficulties or throws on him any cross except to call faith to exercise; and if the opportunity of its exercise passes away without improvement, the effect will be a weakening of the principle and a feeble exertion of power in the next trial” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 27th).

FATHER, what scary information—that the less faith I have the less faith I have.  This hits on the subject of obedience.  How many times does my memory tell me of my disobedience?  Please keep me in remembrance of these four words: “disobedience flows from unbelief” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2366, [Heb 3:15-19]).  My disobedience is caused by not trusting You fully.  Oh to have great faith!

“…the real trouble with most Christian people is not so much in the realm of their conduct and practise as in the realm of their belief” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p39-40).  “The commandments of God are only as hard to obey as the promises of God are hard to believe” John Piper (ref#220, p250).

“Nothing more effectually…obscures our view of Christ than the sin of unbelief.  Not fully believing His Word, not simply and implicitly relying on His work, not trusting His faithfulness and love…”  Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 1st).

“…whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23 ESV).

FAITH

FAITH IS

“To believe, in the language of the New Testament, is simply to trust….Every one that believes on the Son of God, and trusts his soul to Him, is at once pardoned, forgiven, justified, counted righteous, reckoned innocent, and freed from all liability to condemnation” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p181).

“…doing something by relying on the strength which God supplies simply means doing it by faith” John Piper (ref#220, p245).  “…it is simply going out of yourself and taking up your rest in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 22nd).

“A true faith includes more than a mere belief; it is accepting the gospel…It is something more than a mere assent of the understanding, because it is called obeying the gospel…(1 Pet 4:17)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p93).

“…anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:35 ESV).

“…faith is trusting God and responding to him” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2104, [Acts 10:35]).  “Faith consists in two things: in being persuaded of the promises and in embracing them…(Heb 11:13)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p94).

“True belief in Christ is the unreserved trust of a heart convinced of sin, in Christ, as an all-sufficient Saviour.  It is the combined act of the whole man’s head, conscience, heart and will” J.C Ryle (ref#273, p183).  “The belief of an individual involves ‘the mind, emotions and the will’” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p4).

“Faith is likened to looking to Christ, and following Christ, and fleeing to Christ….Faith brings nothing to Christ but an empty hand, by which it takes Christ and all that is in Him” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p18).

“Faith is the ceasing from all nature’s efforts, and all other dependence; faith is confessed helplessness casting itself upon God’s promise, and claiming its fulfillment; faith is the putting ourselves quietly into God’s hands for Him to do his work” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p83).

SCRIPTURE

INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE

“The Bible, at first sight, appears to be a collection of literature—mainly Jewish.  If we enquire into the circumstances under which the various Biblical documents were written, we find that they were written at intervals over a space of nearly 1400 years.  The writers wrote in various lands…not only separated from each other by hundreds of years and hundreds of miles, but belonging to the most diverse walks of life” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p17).

“…the Bible itself, fairly examined, is the best witness of its own inspiration” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p4).  The 66 books contained in the Bible “…all tell the same story.  They all give one account of man,–one account of God,–one account of the way of salvation,–one account of the human heart” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p9).

“The Bible alone gives a reasonable account of the beginning and end of the globe on which we live” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p4).

“It boldly handles matters which are beyond the reach of man, when left to himself.  It treats of things which are mysterious and invisible,–the soul, the world to come, and eternity,–depths which man has no line to fathom” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p4).

“It is the book of the world, because He inspired it who formed the world,–who made all nations of one blood,–and knows man’s common nature.  It is the book for every heart, because He dictated it who alone knows all hearts, and what all hearts require.  It is the book of God” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p13).

“Biblical authors spoke on hundreds of controversial subjects with harmony and continuity from Genesis to Revelation.  There is one unfolding story: “God’s redemption of man” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p16).

SCRIPTURE

BIBLICAL WRITERS

FATHER, now is the time I sit before a large table full of paper slips placed into subject piles all containing quotes about Your Holy Scriptures.  Thank You for the honor to record what Your godly people have said about Your Book.  But, all these quotes are written by men and women who don’t possess the SPIRIT in order to write Your exact words.  Only men who have written the Bible fit that category.

“Sermons, and tracts, and theological writings of all kinds, may be sound and edifying, but they are only the handiwork of uninspired man.  The Bible alone is the Book of God” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p3).

“All the words in Scripture are God’s words” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p73).  “Its first line, its last line, all its teachings, understood or not understood, are by the same Author…Whoever may have been the writers—whatever their circumstances, their impressions, their comprehension of the book, and the measure of their individuality in this powerful and mysterious operation—they have all written faithfully and under superintendence…under the guidance of the same Master, for Whom a thousand years are as one day; and the result has been the Bible” Louis Gaussen (ref#246, p8-9, “God-breathed Scripture”).

“The apostles and prophets were the people to whom God revealed spiritual truth” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 7th).

“…no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21 ESV).

“…when these…were written, it was not a case of a man in control of himself, using his natural powers and propensities and abilities, thinking things out and then writing as best he could.  Not at all!  The whole time, he was controlled by…the Spirit…this divine energy.  This divine [creative impulse] came upon him, it held him and carried him, and he was borne along by the Spirit.  And it was as a result of that process that…prophecies and…Scriptures came into being” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#250, p45).

“If the Bible is not inspired in the strictest sense of the word, then it is worthless; for it claims to be God’s Word” A.W. Pink (ref#250, p3, “The Impregnable Rock”).