Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Trusting in Christ alone

In the early part of the year 1818, I frequently retired to ask the Lord to have mercy upon me. This state of things continued until the fall of that year, when I met with a domestic affliction, which seemed like overwhelming me. All my prospects for earthly happiness seemed gone; indeed I felt little desire to live, and I was very sure that I was not prepared to die.  
Sitting in my room alone one night, and reflecting upon the heavy bereavement I had met, I found myself complaining that the Lord had dealt hardly with me, and that I did not deserve the severe affliction I was then experiencing. In a moment the thought occurred to me, What am I at? Who has preserved me from my youth up? Who has protected me from the danger through which I have passed? I was astonished and alarmed at my presumption; and the scenes which I have heretofore recorded rushed into my mind; the goodness and sparing mercies of the Lord overpowered me, and I felt constrained to fall on my knees, to ask forgiveness for my many sins; all I could say was, Lord be merciful to me a sinner.
 Immediately after rising from my knees, the thought occurred to me, this is not prayer; it is only repeating what you have learned. I confess, the same thought frequently occurs to me now [54 years later.] It did appear to me that I had the most cause to be thankful to God of all creatures, that I was out of hell, and yet I believed there was none less thankful. I felt as though my ingratitude was such that the Lord would not much longer bear with me. My leisure moments I spent in reading the Scriptures, and when any opportunity occurred, in attending preaching.
 It seemed that my situation was peculiar; that I deserved the lowest, hottest hell. I think I loathed sin, although I was continually sinning, yet most ardently desired holiness of heart and life. I now embraced almost every opportunity of hearing preaching, and as long as the preacher was engaged in portraying the awful condition in which sin has involved its subjects, and the awful doom to which it had exposed them, I thought I understood him, and felt that I was the man and that an awful destiny awaited me. I could not feel my convictions as deep and pungent as I desired, nor could I feel that my exercises were such as those who are under the teachings of the Holy Spirit.
 When the ministers would describe the exercises of my mind, and then say, “Such are the effects of the new birth, and those who are thus exercised, may be assured that the Lord is at work with them,” I have been many times led to say in my heart, that the preacher was deceived, for such are my feelings, and I know that I am no Christian. I knew, nor thought of no other way to escape the judgment of God, but by getting better; this alas I found I could not realize. The poet's language suited me then, and I think it suits me yet: 

 “Worse and worse, myself I see, 
 Yet the Lord remembers me.”

 I recollect a certain night about eleven o'clock, on my bed, the thought occurred to me, Hell. I was pleased, not because there was such a place as hell, but I thought that I had now got hold of something that would make me live more uprightly. I immediately began to draw in my mind a picture of hell and the torments of the damned; and if I should make you sensible of that picture, you would think it an awful one indeed. I had not progressed far with my picture, until I began to find as I progressed it lost its terrors; hence I was constrained to conclude there is no mercy for me; the Lord has given me over to hardness of heart, and reprobation of mind. Hell with all its terrors seemed to have no impression on me. 
 Had I been asked, what do you want? I think I should have replied instantly, Holiness of heart and of life; and yet I seemed farther from obtaining my desire, than any other living being. The thought not infrequently occurred, if you really desire to be holy in heart and life would you not be more so than you are? I answered, Yes. In sincerity then, as now, a want of devotion to God, greatly distressed me. I felt that my prayers were too weak, too much mixed with sin to reach the ear of him to whom the Christian makes supplication. 
I labored on in this way for about nine months, when on a certain night, whilst lamenting my awful condition, concluding there is no mercy for me; I justly deserve the wrath of God; if he saves all the rest of Adam's family and consigns me to endless woe, it is just; the awful thought intruded itself into my heart, that I should have to preach the gospel. This seemingly presumptuous thought alarmed me greatly, and I endeavored to cast it from me as quickly as possible, but in vain. It occasionally intruded itself, until it was painfully realized. 
Shortly after this occurrence, I went to hear a Methodist preacher, who I learned preached a great deal about hell and damnation, fire and brimstone. I concluded he was the sort of preacher that I ought to hear. I went. He talked much about the terrors of hell, and the torments of the damned, but my heart was unmoved. I left the house at the conclusion of his discourse, and I well recollect that on my way home the thought occurred, well you have proof now that the Lord has given you over; you must be hardened indeed, when hell, with all its horrors cannot move you; you may now surrender all hope that the Lord will extend mercy to you. 
A few days after this an old-fashioned Baptist preacher visited the town where I resided. I concluded to see him. He dwelt much on the goodness, mercy and love of God to poor sinners, notwithstanding all their ingratitude. I found the tears stealing down my cheeks; my heart seemed to be softened. I felt to confess my ingratitude. In this situation I left the meeting. I reflected much on the preaching; one thing I could not then explain, which I trust I now understand something of. When the Methodist preacher had a few days previously described what I felt I was destined to experience it made no impression; but when the old Baptist preacher tells of blessings of which you can never participate, your heart is softened and the tears run freely; often did I conclude with the poet:

 “Surely the mercy I have sought,
 Is not for such as I.”

 And that it was worse than useless for me to hope the Lord ever would extend his mercy to me, still I could not help begging for mercy, if it could be extended to the worst of sinners. It would occasionally occur: You have not been engaged in cursing and swearing, lying and gambling, and other sins, why then conclude there is no mercy for you? Immediately the response would be: “My heart is deceitful and desperately wicked;” others show what they are. I have concealed from man what sort of a heart I have; and I felt that if my friends could look into my breast, how they would gaze with strange surprise. My distress resulted mainly from what I felt within. I felt that I would willingly exchange situations with the dumb brutes that had no soul, for when they died there was no more of them; but I had a soul, susceptible of everlasting punishment. I felt I deserved it, and could see no way of escape. If sentenced to destruction, I had one request to make, namely; “That I might not sin against God, or hear his name blasphemed.” 
About this time, while meditating on my wretched situation and trying to conceal from others what I felt, the thought occurred: Suppose you could change the word of God so as to admit you into heaven, would you do it? I immediately replied aloud, No. A second question occurred: Why would you not change the word of God so as to admit you into heaven? The answer to this question was immediately at hand: Heaven is a place of holiness; the inhabitants of heaven are holy; the employment of heaven is holy; and could I go there as I am, it could be no heaven to me. And I yet believe, if we are not prepared for that blessed abode it can be no heaven to us. My prospects of escape seemed to be becoming gloomier, until I felt I dared not bow on my knees to ask for mercy of the Lord. I was too polluted, too unworthy. God was too holy to listen to the cries of one so unworthy. Still I found my cry internally was, Lord, save! Lord, deliver!

 On the third Saturday evening in February, 1820, I went to my father's where there was preaching in the evening. I concealed myself, feeling as though despair was about to seize hold upon me. The preacher described my situation infinitely better than I could have done it, and then said; These are the exercises of such as the Lord is at work with. I could not believe him. I felt it was impossible for God to save me, without his changing, and this I was assured he could not do.
 I spent a most restless, awful night, and the following morning when I awoke it seemed surprising that the Lord had spared me. I suppose that more than one hundred times during the morning, before going to preaching, on my way, and after reaching the meeting house, the following petition in substance was raised: 
O Lord, as I am to be lost at last, let me hear something today that may afford me comfort whilst I live. 
The minister proceeded, and after singing and prayer, read for his text Isa.28:16 – “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth on him shall not make haste.” 
On hearing the text read I was led, as I trust, to a view of the Lord Jesus Christ, as that tried and precious corner stone, and that it was alone through his merits that God could be just and save poor sinners. My heart seemed softened indeed, and tears of joy flowed copiously for a time. I raised my head, when the congregation seemed to be changed; they seemed the loveliest assemblage I ever witnessed. My feelings were again overpowered.
 When I was enabled again to raise my head, the language of Doctor Watts occurred, when with difficulty I refrained from crying aloud:  

“All over glorious is my Lord,
 Must be beloved, and yet adored; 
 His worth, if all the nations knew,
 Sure the whole world would love him too.”  

I thought, indeed, if all could see themselves as I saw myself, and then view the Savior as I viewed him, they would be constrained to love him. Nor am I yet convinced that I was wrong in that conclusion. 
I retained no special recollection of the sermon; the text, with its import, as it opened up to my mind, was enough for me. I think I then felt what the poet expressed: 

 “Here, Lord, I give myself away, 
 ‘Tis all that I can do.”

 At the conclusion of the discourse, [delivered by brother Samuel Trott] my father arose and made a few remarks, when he said, “Sinner, suppose you were called to the judgment bar of God tomorrow. How would you feel?” I found myself just about to speak out and say, I am perfectly willing, if he sinks me to hell; I feel that I deserve it; and if he saves me, free and sovereign grace alone shall have the praise. To this day, although it has been well nigh thirty-one years, I have never found another resting place. I say with the poet: 
  
“None but Jesus, none but Jesus,  
Can do helpless sinners good.” 

T.P. Dudley's writings from  https://www.mountzionpbc.org/Old%20School%20Baptist/Old%20School%20Baptist%20Writings%20-T.P.%20Dudley-MZ.pdf

Saturday, April 27, 2019

No yea and nay gospel

by Robert Hawker


AND what is the yea and nay gospel?—Truly it is much easier to say what it is not, than to tell what it is. For a yea and nay gospel is, in fact, no gospel at all. It is everlastingly made up of may be's and if be's. It is altogether-conditional, and therefore must of necessity leave the whole in the final event to a peradventure. It doth not rest upon God's will, but upon man's pleasure. It is not founded in divine appointment, but in the result of human attainment. Not in what God's grace is, but in what man's merit shall be. And of consequence, according to this state of things, the whole is left at the last to an uncertainty which shall prevail, God's power or man’s; the Lord's counsel or man's works. A precious sample this of a yea and nay gospel. 

 Moreover, all the principles of a yea and nay gospel are in correspondence with those outlines of the system. A yea and nay gospel takes for granted, that all men are alike in a salvable state; neither can any man fail of salvation, but from his neglect of the opportunity at one time or other afforded him. And if a man seeks for acceptance before God, partly by faith and partly by good works, he is certain of happiness. Christ is made by the yea and nay gospel, nothing more than a procuring cause. So that if a man so far makes use of Christ as by him to seek out his own salvation in the exercises of faith, and repentance, and good works; he doth all that is required of him, and Christ will make up the deficiency. The improvement of this opportunity with such men, is the sure way of salvation; and by the neglect of it, a man according to their creed may be lost. In those ups and downs, those hopes and fears, the principles of a yea and nay gospel consist. And thus living at an uncertainty, such men die at an uncertainty; and they go out of the world as they came into it, at a peradventure, concerning the one thing needful.


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Does God love all?

Some professors of religion teach that God loved Esau LESS than Jacob, and since it is expressed in a perfect axiom, then it is also obvious that God hated Jacob less than He did Esau.
But the above is not being very candid – the Old and New Testament shows clearly beyond rational dispute that God does hate the workers of iniquity.
Psalm 5:5
The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
He abhors the wicked every day:
Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
He hated Esau:
Malachi 1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,
Malachi 1:3
And I hated esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but esau have I hated.
And He plunged the entire world of the ungodly into destruction, saving only Noah and the seven others with him.
He has severely demonstrated His hatred in many, many examples of His terrible judgments upon individuals and upon nations.
No, there is not a Scripture that speaks of hatred as one of His attributes, but let us not overlook His hatred and the consequence it has upon unrepentant reprobates.
I am fully persuaded in my own mind that the constant hammering by misinformed preachers, that God “loves everybody,” that they “love every body,” and you ought to “love every body,” is one of the basic principles that have loosed men from the fear of God, and increased immorality, violence, vulgarity, rapine, lying, cheating, stealing, and every other passion of the Adamic nature as it is today.
The day is long gone when the ungodly still had sufficient fear to restrain them from what they now do openingly. There is a necessity for placing due emphasis upon God’s hatred, His justice, His judgments, and the eternal punishment of the wicked.
But alas! the Scripture is again fulfilled: “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Men MUST fear something to bridle their lusts and corruption. Fear of parents, fear for their good name, fear of the law, fear of courts, fear of God is the paramount fear for an orderly society.
Take that totally away, and chaos is the result.


By Stanley Phillips

Does the word of God command us to observe a Sunday Sabbath?

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9), but it is not found in a 24 hour day, on each Friday evening to Saturday evening at sundown, nor is it on Constantine’s legal day, beginning Sunday A.M. at 12:01 to Sunday evening 11:59 P.M.
I have never met a man that I could say was able to keep a “sabbath” day AS IT WAS COMMANDED.
Most will travel more than is allowed by that law on the sabbath day; kindle a fire in the winter time; cook something to eat on their selected day, etc. Almost all of them will violate the prohibition of carrying anything on that day, for most lug their Bibles with them as they go.
Only one ever kept that sabbath, and He was the Lord of the sabbath, and He needed not to keep it for Himself, but by representation, He did it for those numbered IN HIM, and that as a part to “fulfill all righteousness.”
I serve churches, some of which are first day sabbatarian; I serve others that are non-sabbatarian. It has NEVER BEEN AN ISSUE in the Old Baptist Church that I am aware of, as to what day one is required to worship. Nor, do I believe, it should be an issue. If it is ever an issue, EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM THAT CONTEND FOR EITHER A SEVENTH DAY SABBATH, OR THE CONSTANTINIAN SABBATH WILL BE UTTERLY CONDEMNED, for they are ALL alike: sabbath-breakers.
I remind the readers, what Paul wrote regarding this issue:
“Who are thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own Master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.”
(Romans 14:4-6)

Again Paul addresses the subject in this manner:
“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.”
(Galatians 4:9-11)

And especially in the quotation relating to the sabbath as our rest, he wrote:
“For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into My rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: again, He limited a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time: as it is said, Today if ye will hear My voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would He not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that IS ENTERED into his rest, he also HATH CEASED FROM HIS OWN WORKS, as God did from His.”
(Hebrews 4:2-10)

If the apostle meant to enforce the keeping of the sabbath (seventh day), or to have advocated changing it to the first day, (as Constantine and the Catholics), he had ample room to have stated that position much more clearly than I can find it in his writings.
In the sabbath there is “a rest”. I assume that one must WORK BEFORE he rest. While an Arminian, I worked exceedingly hard at entering that rest, and was as much a total failure as were all the Jews under that law. They did not enter that rest either. But I surely found sweet relief, and a precious rest, when I ceased from my own work, as God had ceased from His. I learned that “The work was finished,” as Paul said, “From the foundation of the world” (Hebrews 4:3).
I do, without shame or remorse, declare that I am a non-sabbatarian and a non-legalist.
The New Testament nowhere teaches that commandment to be laid upon believers, for Christ is our resting place.
BOLDLY DO I DECLARE: IT IS MY HOPE THAT CHRIST IS MY REST. PERIOD. I have no other to whom to turn, nor can I keep the ancient sabbath as the Jews of old were commanded to observe it. I’m glad I’m free from that kind of hopelessness now, nor do I ever wish to return to that miserable struggle of yester years.
Where did this teaching of a “sunday sabbath” originate?
Certainly not in the Word of God!
I can trace it no further back than Constantine the Great, and his legal prohibition of first day trade and commerce.
Paul, Peter, John, Matthew, Luke, Mark, none of these saints cite you any Scripture commanding such observance. In fact, the Word of God shows clearly that PAUL DID, IN FACT, oppose such a day!
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, where he is single-handedly mastering it over the Judizers, who said, “Except a man be circumcised and keep the law of Moses he cannot be saved”, he responds with this:
“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, TILL THE SEED SHOULD COME TO WHOM THE PROMISE WAS MADE; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”
(Galatians 3:19)

The Seed has already come!
This alerts me to search elsewhere than the law of Moses.
Did Paul not include the sabbath in this quote?
“Ye observe days, months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.”
(Galatians 4:10-11)

If he did not, he certainly did here:
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a HOLY DAY, or of the new moon, or OF THE SABBATH DAYS.”
(Colossians 2:16)

He made it clear that those, under the law, were “a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:17).
I do not know how one can read this next passage and yet hold to a “sunday sabbath”.
“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike, Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”
(Romans 14:5)

How could this scholar in the law, write such things, if in fact the law was still to be observed by the New Testament believer?
His house would be divided against itself!
Oh foolish sunday sabbatarians, who hath bewitched you!
To what history are we to give credence?
Paul, or Constantine?
But I see something far more serious in this than just which “day” of the week is to be a “rest day”. And that is, If we are to keep the law of Moses, for whatsoever reason any should give, are we not to observe THIS LAW AS IT IS GIVEN?
OR…are we to pick and choose, modify, add to, diminish, or in some way make it more desirable to us than the Jews found it to be?
The law provided “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh [not eighth or first] day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day” (Exodus 35:2-3).
Now that we have electricity to “spark” the furnance, or heat the coils, can we let these gadgets, that we PAY FOR, do our work on the sabbath day?
Or can we build a fire in the fireplace or wood heater in the winter time?
Did the Jews not have winters also?
Do you cook your meals on Saturday? or on Friday before the sabbath, or Sunday after the sabbath?
The “sabbath” is only one part of this law. Another says: “There shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you.” (Leviticus 11:9-10).
In the same chapter the prohibition of the beasts are given, and swine (pork) is unclean.
Shall we here pick and choose?
Do you eat pork chops or bacon?
It is a sin to do so, if you are under the law?
Oh yes, you may not garden today, but would you buy food produced on farms where two different types of seed are planted in the same row; as corn and running beans?
I must say – if you want to be under the law – this is a sin!
James tells us:
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
(James 2:10)

One cannot go “half-mil” in this:
You go the whole or loose the whole!
Either you do, or you don’t!
But the question still remains: Are we, as Gentiles, under that law?
This point was settled once and for all times by the apostles themselves.
ALL TWELVE OF THEM!
Not just “Paul.”
The whole body of the Apostles met in Conference to settle the dispute relative to the law-keeping by the Gentiles in the early church. Here is the finality of that whole issue for all times to come:
“Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them that they abstain from pollution of idols and from fornication and from things strangled, and from blood. FOR MOSES OF OLD TIME HATH IN EVERY CITY THEM THAT PREACH HIM, BEING READ IN THE SYNAGOGUES EVERY SABBATH DAY, Then pleased it the apostles and elders WITH THE WHOLE CHURCH, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.”
(Acts 15:19-22)

Read the whole chapter!
It is not a matter to me whether one thinks someone of divine authority changed the settled day of worship for ALL Christians from the seventh day to the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth. I have no knowledge of anyone with that authority, although I know Daniel taught the anti-Christ would “think to change times and laws:” (Daniel 7:25).
This is sufficient for me to be very careful of one’s “supposed authority” in this matter!
It is one thing to point out that the Corinthians met “on the first day of the week” and quite another that they did so believing that someone had changed the Jewish seventh day into a Christian first day.
I can’t find any such belief in the New Testament.
In fact, I can’t find “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy” anywhere in the New Testament?
Have I missed it?
Is the “Lord’s day” the new testament sabbath?
The straight answer is “NO”.
The “legal” or “Law” Sabbath is Friday evening through Saturday morning, exactly as the Jews yet observe.
As has clearly been show by the Word of God – it was given as a figure, or type, of Christ’s rest from all His redemptive work.
In the Creation, He worked six days, and rested on the seventh (Sabbath) and hallowed it.
No work of any kind was to be done on that day, for He did no other work after the six days of creation was completed. The Jews could not work, carry their Bibles to “Church” (Worship), travel beyond a “sabbath-days” journey, kindle a fire, speak of any secular affairs, but only mediate upon the law.
Needless for me to say, THEY could not keep it; nor can Christians.
Christ entered into His work for our salvation, and on the cross He “finished it.”
The “Lord’s Day,” expression, by John has been extrapolated to the FIRST day of the week, by Catholic edict, and Protestant copying. We are under no obligation to Constantine or Rome.
Why do I not observe a new testament sabbath day?
My reason is simple: It is not taught in the NEW TESTAMENT. It is taught, however, that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10:4).


By Stanley Phillips

HYPER-CALVINISM VS. FULLER/SPURGEONISM

BY STANLEY PHILLIPS 


 One of the greatest and most precious works of Christ was His suffering and death to satisfy the justice of God on behalf of those He loved that they might not suffer the penalties due their sins, iniquities, and transgressions. This "satisfaction" for the broken law of God is called "the atonement.” The Particular Baptists of England and the Particular and Old School Baptists of the United States have always believed in "limited atonement," or "Particular Redemption." Plainly written, they have always believed that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died for the sins of a particular people, the elect, which stood “hid in Christ in God,” eternally in seed-substance, and that His atonement was limited to them only. This is exactly what the Scriptures teach. It is rather fool-hearted to say that Christ died for the goats,when He made it clear that He "laid down His life for His sheep;” or, that He died for those for whom He prayed to His Father, "I pray NOT for the WORLD, but for those Thou hast given Me out of the world" (John 17:9.) 

 The apostle, in the only place in the New Testament where the word "atonement" is used, said: "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have NOW received (not, "accepted,” and it is in the past tense.) the atonement." (Romans 5:11). Before proceeding, note the word "now". The Hyper-calvinists, as one might have realized, believe this as it is stated. The atonement is not something preachers will help Him do in this time period. Note also, the word "received." In the English of 1611, the words "receive" and "accept" have distinctive meanings. A "gift" is given and received. If it is never "received," then it was not given. It was only "offered". If something is "offered:” it may be accepted or rejected. To illustrate: "To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God." (John 1:12.) In this case, He was the "gift of God" and they had "received" Him internally. They did not "accept" Him because He was not "offered" to them. Christ is God's "gift" to His people. He is never "offered" to any man. But He was offered to His Father as a sacrifice for the sins of His people, and the Father was well pleased. Look at the text more closely. "We," the believers "joy in God." They must have heard "glad tidings"! Why? It is through our Lord Jesus Christ, whom "we have received" something given. And that something was the atonement. They have now received this free gift of God. They already, now, have received it. They are not going to receive it when they hear about it; or when they believe it; yet let alone when they mentally decide to "accept" it. Is this the truth? Test it. Has everyone of Adam's race received this gift? Unless you are a Universalist, you cannot answer ''Yes.'' The apparent truth is that most have not! “We received the atonement." The "we" clearly shows it to be a limited atonement, for “we” is a personal pronoun. It is limited to the people represented by this personal pronoun “we” in this text. It is a particular redemption, because of the "we" in particular, who are redeemed thereby does not include “all”. One may do what one will; he cannot give this atonement to the "world of the ungodly." That world may, and some do, join religious societies believing that Christ's death was "for everybody;" but they cannot receive something that is not given to them. The "evangelist" or "soul-winner" may offer the "children's bread to dogs,"(Matthew 7:6) and the "dogs that are without" (Revelation 22:15) may attempt to accept his most generous offer, but since it is not his to offer, it avails nothing as far as salvation is concerned until God gives it and the sinner receives it. And this is evident in the lives of those who nominally "accept Christ as their personal Helper" and "got saved." It is evident, abundantly evident, that it does not work. If it did, their lives and conversations would be much different. All this seems simple enough, but highly intelligent minds have stumbled on it. Truly, it "is hid from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes." 


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