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  1. What do Christians mean when they say that people need to be "saved"? Do we mean that people need to just modify their behavior and obey God's law? It would be great if it were that simple, but that is not what we mean. It means, rather, that human beings are prisoners, captives and slaves to their idols, to their own lusts, to the world system and to the devil. That we cannot extract ourselves from these things because, like those who have Stockholm syndrome, we have fallen in love with our captors, i.e. we love those things which are doing us the most harm. And while we all vaguely recognize that something is not right in the world and with the nature of human beings, we tend to shrug this off, suppress and ignore it, and willingly come under the illusion that we live in freedom. We cling to the falsehood of human progress and and think human ingenuity will somehow deliver us from ourselves and our problems. We pridefully hold to the false idea that we are something and can do something to make things right. But in the end we cannot extract ourselves from our captivity. No wisdom, no plan, no power, no understanding, and no technology can do so. The problem runs far too deep in us for that. Like the Hebrews in Egypt we are slaves needing rescue from our captivity. The tyranny of our idols and lusts are too powerful for nature to conquer. We need redemption from the outside. So salvation is not behavior modification. No. We are too entangled in the web of our own making to get out. We first need supernatural intervention by One like us who breaks the bonds and leads us out of slavery. Then, and only then, after being freed from our captors are we free to do right, to love mercy and do justly and to walk humbly with our God. View the full article
  2. by Thomas BrooksIf the saints have such an excellent, such a transcendent, and such a matchless portion, oh then, let them be content with their present condition, let them sit down satisfied and contented, though they have but a handful of meal in their barrel, and a little oil in a cruse, 1 Kings 17:12. O sirs, in having of God you have much, in having of God you have enough, in having of God you have all; and why then should you not sit down quiet with your present allowance? Certainly, if much will not satisfy you, if enough will not satisfy you, if all will not satisfy you, nothing will satisfy you: Heb. 13:5, 'Let your conversation be without covetousness (or love of silver, as the Greek word signifies); and be content with such things as you have (or as the Greek hath it, ἀρκούμενοι τοῖς παρουσιν, be content with present things): for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.' There are five negatives in the Greek, 'I will not, not, not, not, not leave thee nor forsake thee;' fully to assure and fully to satisfy the people of God that he will never forsake them, and that he will everlastingly stick close to them. What doth this unparalleled gemination, 'I will never, never, never, never, never,' import but this, 'I will ever, ever, ever, yea and for ever and ever take care of thee, and look after thee, and be mindful of thee.' Though they had changed their glory for contempt, Heb. 11:36–38, their fine raiment for sheep-skins and goat-skins, their silver for brass, their plenty for scarcity, their fulness for emptiness, their stately houses for holes and caves, and dens of the earth, yet they are to be contented and satisfied with present things, upon this very ground, that God will always cleave to them, and that he will never turn his back upon them. View the full article
  3. by Thomas BostonObserve the providence of God in the dispensations of it, about the man Christ, the most noble and august object of it, more valuable than a thousand worlds. Did not Providence keep this course with Him, first humbling Him, then exalting Him, and lifting Him up? First bringing Him to the dust of death, in a course of sufferings thirty-three years, then exalting Him to the Father's right hand in an eternity of glory? "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God. " "And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedience unto death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him." The exaltation could not fail to follow His humiliation. "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" And He saw and believed it would follow, as the springing of the seed does the sowing it. There is a near concern the humbled in humbling circumstances have here. View the full article
  4. by Thomas BostonIn your sufferings, "Consider His holiness and justice, showing he wrongs you not; His mercy and goodness, that it is not worse; His sovereignty, that it may silence you: His infinite wisdom and love, that may satisfy you in it." A spirit brought down to their lot. Their lot is a low and afflicted one; but their spirit is as low, being, through grace, brought down to it. We may take it up in these five things: (1.) They submit to it as just. Micah 7.9, “I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him.” There are no hardships in our condition, but we have procured them to ourselves; and it is therefore just that we kiss the rod, and be silent under it, and so lower our spirits to our lot. If they complain, it is of themselves; their hearts rise not up against the Lord, far less do they open their mouth against the heavens. They justify God, and condemn themselves, {72} reverencing His holiness and spotless righteousness in His proceedings against them. View the full article
  5. Question: Does a person have a choice when God deals with their heart? Response: All people without exception are called to repent and believe the gospel. God holds no one back from believing. However, due to a corruption of nature all people who hear the gospel reject it. But those whom he inwardly calls by his Holy Spirit out of all the ill-deserving sinners on earth, most willingly come to Christ. Paul declares, "we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 1 Cor 1:23-24 As you can see from the text, the gospel call goes out indiscriminately to all, both Jews and Gentiles... but to Jews it is a stumbling block, and to Gentiles it is folly (i.e. universal rejection) - but to THOSE WHO ARE CALLED out of these groups, the power to God... they all rejected the outward call but embraced the inward call. Make sure to notice the distinction Paul makes between the two types of calling in this Text. Likewise Jesus himself declared, "the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing ... that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it." John 6:63, 65 But in the same context of John 6 Jesus says "all that the Father gives me will come to me." John 6:37 Notice he says, ALL, not some, of those the Father gives him will come to faith in him. So let's place these two statements side by side since "grant" and "give" (vs. 37 & 65) are the same Greek word here and both sentences use the phrase "come to me": View the full article
  6. "In studying divine covenants in general, one is treading through understanding God's Redemptive Plan throughout history. This is a matter of Eternal Salvation. It answers the question: How may a sinful man approach God (Exodus 3:5)?" Herman Witsius Free aBooks Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man (eBook) by Herman Witsius A View of the Covenant of Works (eBook) by Thomas Boston A View of the Covenant of Grace (eBook) by Thomas Boston The Marrow of Modern Divinity: Modernized and Annotated (eBook) by Edward Fisher & Thomas Boston Covenant Theology: A Biblical, Theological, and Historical Study of God's Covenants (eBook) by J. Ligon Duncan The Covenants of Works and Grace (eBook) by Walter Chantry The Doctrine of the Two Covenants (eBook) by by Ezekiel Hopkins View the full article
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