COMPATIBILISM

COMPATIBILISM

“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD” (Prov 21:31 ESV).

“What is compatibilism?…God is absolutely sovereign, but his sovereignty never functions in Scripture to reduce human responsibility.  Human beings are responsible creatures—that is, they choose, they believe, they disobey, they respond, and there is moral significance in their choices; but human responsibility never functions in Scripture to diminish God’s sovereignty or to make God absolutely contingent” (D.A. Carson) Justin Taylor (ref#295).

FATHER, I desire biblical balance between the SPIRIT’s power and my effort. “…there is both preservation on God’s part and perseverance in holiness on ours, and the former is accomplished by maintaining the latter.  God does not deal with His people as though they were machines, but as rational creatures.  He sets before them weighty considerations and powerful motives, solemn warnings and rich rewards, and by the renewings of His grace and the reviving of His Spirit causes them to respond thereto” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p170).

“Paul said he had learned to be content…He worked at it.  But he knew that he could be content only through the Lord, who gave him strength” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p133).

 “Each member of God’s people is responsible to lay hold of…grace from the heart to believe the promises, to grow in obeying the commands, and to keep on doing so all their lives long” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p937, “Introduction to the Psalms”).

“’To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me’ (Col 1:29)” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p51).  “He enables me to live a life pleasing to Him” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p134).

2ND COVENANT

LIVING IN AN OLD COVENANT WAY

“How many Christians today are striving to show their gratitude to Jesus, the one who brought the New Covenant to earth, by living in an Old Covenant way” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p159).

“…a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit.  For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3:6 ESV).

“The Jews rested in the letter…They did not look at the spirit…The new covenant set all these spiritual things at once before their eyes, and showed them the end, object, and design of the law…” Adam Clarke (ref#294).

“Every institution has its letter as well as its spirit, as every word must refer to something of which it is the sign or significator. The Gospel has both its letter and its spirit; and multitudes of professing Christians, by resting in the Letter, receive not the life which it is calculated to impart. Water, in baptism, is the letter that points out the purification of the soul; they who rest in this letter are without this purification; and dying in that state they die eternally. Bread and wine in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, are the letter; the atoning efficacy of the death of Jesus, and the grace communicated by this to the soul of a believer, are the spirit. Multitudes rest in this letter, simply receiving these symbols, without reference to the atonement, or to their guilt; and thus lose the benefit of the atonement and the salvation of their souls” Adam Clarke (ref#294).

“I was ‘trying to be good’…I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work.  So I quit being a ‘law man’ so that I could be God’s man.  Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it.  I identified myself completely with him.  Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ.  My ego is no longer central.  It is no longer important that I appear righteous…I am no longer driven to impress God.  Christ lives in me.  The life you see me living is not ‘mine,’ but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me….” (Gal 2:17-21 MSG).

“And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it.  How could they miss it?  Because instead of trusting God, they took over.  They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing.  They were so absorbed in their ‘God projects’ that they didn’t notice God right in front of them” (Rom 9:20-33 MSG).

FATHER, I must continually ask myself if I’m obeying commands or obeying JESUS.  By simply obeying commands I choose what command and when and where to obey it.  When I obey JESUS He chooses the ‘what, when, where, and how.’  FATHER, supply enough faith that I let JESUS make all my decisions.

2ND COVENANT

LAW VS. GOSPEL

“What is the difference between the moral law and the Gospel?  The law requires that we worship God as our Creator; the Gospel, that we worship Him in and through Christ.  God in Christ is propitious; out of Him we may see God’s power, justice, and holiness: in Him we see His mercy displayed.  The moral law requires obedience, but gives no strength…but the Gospel gives strength; it bestows faith on the elect; it sweetens the law; it makes us serve God with delight” Thomas Watson (ref#225, p319).

“The great and most distinguishing difference between the covenant of grace and that of works is that by the covenant of grace we are not thus justified by our own works, but only by faith in Jesus Christ” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p9).

“…the law…Its purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God…” (Gal 3:21-22 MSG).

“…we need God’s help not just in the doing part but also in willing to walk in his ways” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p157).

FATHER, the law holds me captive until I embrace the Gospel.  The law announces I will die because I’m not, in every point, keeping it.  The law holds me in sin.

“But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:6 ESV).

I have not just shunned or rejected the old law.  If that were the case I could come back to it. No, I am dead to it—transformed into a new person altogether.  I now have a spiritual nature that has the ability in joy to subject my members to righteousness.  FATHER, Your works move me to an impossible-to-express thanks.

HOLY SPIRIT

THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THE CHURCH

“It is for the church to explore the resources of the Spirit; the resources of the world are futile” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p19).

“…the Church of God has two Paracletes, or Advocates – one in heaven with the Father, Christ, and the other on earth, in the heart of the believer, even the Holy Spirit” Charles Ross (ref#241, p90).

“The Father gave Him [CHRIST] the gift, and He passes it on to us;…The gift of the Holy Ghost to the Church is also, then, the absolute proof of the sufficiency of the work of Christ and of its acceptance with God….’I accept your work, it is sufficient; You have died for the redeemed, they are Your people.  So I will give you My Spirit to give to them, and then they will know that they are Your people and My people…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p138).

“ He [the SPIRIT] has come to reign over each and all.  Jesus Christ had defined His mission and outlined His program.  He was to unify them into one Body, guide them into all truth, and strengthen them for all service.  In the Church He is the supreme executive, but He has His seat in the soul.  He directs all things from the spiritual center of the inner life” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p44).  “His objective is to produce holiness…But His ultimate work is to make us a holy people…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 2nd).

FATHER, I know that the HOLY SPIRIT will create in all of us who CHRIST claims as His bride, holiness and purity.  Your perfect will is to bring us a life of prayer and brokenness before Your throne.  I hunger to be secluded with You in the secret closet waiting for You to bring Your remnant church into one mind—living only for You. David Wilkerson (ref#138, p165).

HOLY SPIRIT

SPIRITUAL PROGRESSION

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,”(Titus 3:3-5 ESV).

This renewing by the HOLY SPIRIT comes to Christians daily; it is a progression.  The SPIRIT’s actions do not surprise the believer. They do not just suddenly appear. Our Helper is not about shock and awing us.

Over a log period of time, at least for me, I have grown into an understanding of spiritual things. The more I submit myself to You, FATHER, the more I am privy to Your spiritual kingdom.

As I submit the SPIRIT moves me ahead in learning.  From faith to faith He moves me forward.  He begins to become clearer to me—becoming more of a Person I can embrace.  He moves me to the point where He can direct me to do something and I am ready to do it because He has strengthened my faith before He asks.  In this way He successfully constrains me.

He doesn’t constrain me by jerking me away from what I’m doing and make me do His will.  He prepares me beforehand so I am willing to do all He asks.  The process flows.

“Listen for the Holy Spirit to speak…to prompt you toward certain people and situations, to caution you against certain decisions and behaviors.  Choose to be aware of His presence with you and His directives to you” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p67).

“…we can’t live off what God did in our lives last week, last month, or last year. We need continual infillings of the Spirit to meet the strong, ungodly tendencies of the age.  There must be deeper enduements of power to meet deeper challenges” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p90).

A person who has spent many hours in Your presence and developed a burden to contribute to the development of the church and to the evangelizing of the unchristian world resides in spiritual progression.

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).

HOLY SPIRIT

THE DAY OF PENTECOST

“…you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now”(Acts 1:5 ESV).

“The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a definite and distinct experience assured and verified by the witness of the Spirit.  The disciples who were commanded to tarry until they were ‘endued with power from on high’ had already received the Spirit for salvation” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p49).

“…when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world”(Acts 1:7-8 MSG).

“The effects are seen in the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost…Pentecost changed all their outlook.  The Scriptures were made luminous in the light of the Holy Ghost.  The change in their characters was even greater than the change in their knowledge. The Gospels portray these men as proud and contentious, selfish and cowardly; but the first pages of the Acts of the Apostles tell another story…Pentecost transformed them.  It was the fullness that made the difference between timidity and joyous daring, shivering weakness and the exultant power. They were jubilantly fearless and hilariously happy.  That is the difference Pentecost always makes” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p159-160).

“The Holy Ghost clothed Himself with the waiting disciples in the Upper Room, and He still clothes Himself with consecrated believers….In them He find a Body, and in Him they find the power of spiritual expression and execution…There is an end of uncertainty when the fullness of Pentecost is known” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p158-160).

“…to be full of the Spirit is something distinct and observable in some way….Evidently the Holy Spirit had such control of certain people’s lives that it created a reputation; they were acknowledged for living victorious lives and blessing others through the Spirit’s power” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p109-110).

FATHER, praise to the HOLY SPIRIT for clothing Himself with me.  How clear He makes the Word and how easy He makes accomplishing Your will. When He clothes me I find no reason to question any thought that enters my mind.  He lights my path and I grow confidently into the likeness of Your Son.  What joy!  This is my destiny!

HOLY SPIRIT

THE SPIRIT CALLS EVERYONE TO REPENTANCE

“…it is Christ’s blood, but the Spirit must apply it” A. W. Pink (ref#269, p90).  “All merit is in the Son…and all power is of the Spirit” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p197).  “The Holy Spirit is here to take the place…of an absent Christ…” A.W. Pink  (A.W. Pink’s Commentary on John and Hebrews, [John 16:1-11], www.studylight.org)

“It is by the Holy Spirit our eyes are opened to see and our hearts to feel the enormity of sin, and thus are we enabled to perceive our need of Christ’s blood” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p110).  It is only ‘through the Spirit’ we can, in any measure, successfully ‘mortify the deeds of the body’” A. W. Pink (ref#269, p113).  “…the soul…does not know its real weakness and deep necessity until taught it by the Holy Spirit.  This is even so after conversion” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 4th).

“The Spirit shall convince…of sin, not merely tell…of it.  The Spirit convinces of the fact of sin, of the fault of sin, of the folly of sin, of the filth of sin, that by it we are become hateful to God…” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [John 16:7-15]).

“The renewed heart is moved and melted when it contemplates the holy Savior having our iniquities imputed to Him…But how rarely is it considered that it is little less wonderful for the Holy Spiritto exercise Himself with oursins and hold them up to the eyes of our understanding….He rakes in our foul hearts and makes us conscious of what a stench they are in the nostrils of an infinitely pure God” A. W. Pink (ref#269, p87).

“…He does in some degree mortify and subdue the evils of the soul in which He resides….Though He kills not sin in believers, He subdues it—though He does not subdue the flesh as that it never troubles or defiles them any more, its dominion is taken away” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p101).

FATHER, the movements of the SPIRIT amaze me.  He constantly kills my pride by dropping facts of my sin in my head.  He so times His conviction that I have no words to debate Him.  I am found out before I myself find out.  Thank You for constantly proving that I am depraved and You are holy.

“…what an unspeakable mercy to have One who knows us completely, and who can acquaint us with ourselves” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 4th)!  “…forgiveness can only come through Christ’s work on Calvary, daily living for the Lord can only be done through the Spirit” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p159).

HOLY SPPIRIT

BABES IN CHRIST

GOD in His mercy has given to His human creation laws that help us navigate living in a world full of sin. GOD’s commands are moral laws recorded in the Old Testament; if followed they reconnect us back to GOD healing our break with Him caused by the Fall.  And in our depraved nature we think we are able to, on our own, keep the laws and secure GOD’s favor.  However,…

Theologians coined the phrase, “covenant of works” to define that impossible way of reconciliation to GOD. GOD established the works of the law, not to reconcile us back to Him but to prove we can’t.  It is impossible for me to do what He asks.

JESUS who followed the laws perfectly can only accomplish our reconciliation back to GOD.  GOD requires of us that we acknowledge our inability to follow His laws and put our trust in JESUS to do it for us.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church says: “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1 NASB).  “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all…”(John 6:63 ESV).  “The indwelling Spirit is the sure mark of the believer’s freedom from the Covenant of Works…” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p100).

 “…the greatest lack of all in Christendom today is the absenceof the Holy Spirit’s power and blessing….Until the Holy Spirit is again given His rightful place in our hearts, thoughts, and activities, there can be no improvement.  Until it be recognized that we are entirely dependent upon Hisoperations for all spiritual blessing, the root of the trouble cannot be reached” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p7). “The issue is not our ability but rather our availability to the person of the Holy Spirit” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p45).

FATHER, I pray against defaulting back into the “covenant of works” where I try to reach and please You using my born-with abilities.  I am trusting You to remind me of the power and love of the SPIRIT so that I might walk daily with His blessing.

“The preservation of God’s people through all the vicissitudes of their pilgrim journey is accomplished, immediately, by the Holy Spirit.  He it is who watches over the believer, delivering him when he knows it not; keeping him from living in the world’s sinks of iniquity, lifting up a standard when the Enemy comes like a flood against him (Isa 59:19).  He it is who keeps him from accepting those fatal heresies which deceive and destroy so many empty professors [faux Christians]. He it is who prevents his becoming contented with a mere ‘letter’ ministry or satisfied with head-knowledge and notional religion” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p171, brackets mine).

HOLY SPIRIT

THE HOLY SPIRIT REPRESENTS CHRIST

“The Spirit…is Christ without the limitations of the flesh and the material world.  He can reveal what Christ could not speak.  He has resources of power greater than those Christ could use, and he makes possible greater works than his” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p18).

“…the Spirit…was the gift of God to His Son, and the gift of His Son to the world.  He came to fulfill the mission for which Christ came into the world.  He is our Lord’s Paraclete, His Advocate and Administrator” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p37).

“The Spirit is not our Advocate, but Christ’s.  An advocate appears as representative of another, and the Holy Spirit comes to represent Christ, interpret and vindicate Christ, administer for Christ in His Church and Kingdom; to be to the believer all that Christ Himself was and is…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p33).

“He [the SPIRIT] is sent primarily to make us holy—to conform us to the character of God” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p71, brackets mine).  “He reveals, through the Word, the great love of God to sinners…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 14th).

“…our spiritual life is drawn directly from the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are sustained by Him through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  There is nothing more important in the Christian life than to realize that our union with Christ is a vital one.  It is a living thing.  It is not something mechanical or conceptual; it is not a thought or an idea; it is really a vital, spiritual union….something of His fullness and of His life is passing into us, and we are receiving it” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 19th).

FATHER, guide me to correct thinking about the HOLY SPIRIT.  I too easily think of Him as a “vending machine”—His presence to aid me through life.  But He is CHRIST’s.  And CHRIST’s purpose is so I might walk in Your will and be transformed into holiness.

“He [the SPIRIT] employs simply and only the truth as it is in Jesus…He enters the soul…He moves over the dark chaos, without form and void, and in a moment a world of immortal beauty bursts into view.  He overshadows the soul, and a vital root is planted whose stream of existence, once it begins, flows on with the eternity of God Himself” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 4th, [brackets mine]).