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No salvation without faith – JC Ryle

April 16, 2010 Comments off

Faith in the Lord Jesus is the very key of salvation. He that has it has life, and he that has it not has not life. Nothing whatever beside this faith is necessary to our complete justification; but nothing whatever, except this faith, will give us an interest in Christ. We may fast and mourn for sin, and do many things that are right, and use religious ordinances, and give all our goods to feed the poor, and yet remain unpardoned, and lose our souls. But if we will only come to Christ as guilty sinners, and believe on Him, our sins shall at once be forgiven, and our iniquities shall be entirely put away. Without faith there is no salvation; but through faith in Jesus, the vilest sinner may be saved.

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The old man and the new – John Bradford

April 11, 2010 Comments off

A COMPARISON BETWEEN THE OLD MAN AND THE NEW, ALSO BETWEEN THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL; CONTAINING A SHORT SUM OF ALL THE DIVINITY NECESSARY FOR A CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE

by John Bradford (1548)

John Bradford was a fellow of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, and was martyred in 1555. The electronic edition of this preface was scanned and edited by Shane Rosenthal for Reformation Ink. It is in the public domain and may be freely copied and distributed.


A man that is regenerate and “born of God,” consisteth of two men (as a man may say), namely of “the old man,” and of “the new man.” “The old man” is like to a mighty giant, such a one as was Goliath; for his birth is now perfect. But “the new man” is like unto a little child, such a one as was David; for his birth is not perfect until the day of his general resurrection.

“The old man” therefore is more stronger, lusty, and stirring than is “the new man,” because the birth of “the new man” is but begun now, and “the old man” is perfectly born. And as “the old man” is more stirring, lusty, and stronger than “the new man;” so is the nature of him contrary to the nature of “the new man,” as being earthly and corrupt with Satan’s seed; the nature of “the new man” being heavenly, and blessed with the celestial seed of God. So that one man, inasmuch as he is corrupt with the seed of the serpent, is an “old man;” and inasmuch as he is blessed with the seed of God from above, he is a “new man.” Inasmuch as he is an “old man,” he is a sinner and an enemy to God; so, inasmuch as he is regenerate, he is righteous and holy and a friend to God, so that he cannot sin as the seed of the serpent, wherewith he is corrupt even from his conception, inclineth him, yea, enforceth him to sin, and nothing else but to sin: so that the best part in man before regeneration, in God’s sight, is not only an enemy, but “enmity” itself.

One man therefore which is regenerate well may be called always just, and always sinful: just in respect of God’s seed and his regeneration; sinful in respect of Satan’s seed and his first birth. Betwixt these two men therefore there is continual conflict and war most deadly; “the flesh and the old man” fighting against “the Spirit and new man,” and “the Spirit and new man” fighting against “the flesh and old man.” Which “old man” by reason of his birth that is perfect doth often for a time prevail against “the new man,” (being but as a child in comparison), and that in such sort as not only others, but even the children of God themselves, think that they be nothing else but “old,” and that the Spirit and seed of God is lost and gone away: where yet notwithstanding the truth is otherwise, the Spirit and seed of God at the length appearing again, and dispelling away the clouds which cover “the Sun” of God’s seed from shining. Sometimes a man cannot tell by any sense that there is any sun, cloud and wind so hiding it from our sight: even so our blindness and corrupt affections do often shadow the sight of God’s seed in God’s children, as though they were plain reprobates.

Whereof it cometh, that they often pray according to their sense, but not according to truth, desire of God to give them again his Spirit, as though they had lost it, and he had taken it away. Which thing God never doth in deed, although he makes us think so for a time; for always he holdeth his hand under his children in their falls, that they lie not still as others do which are not regenerate. And this is the difference betwixt God’s children which are regenerate and elect before all time in Christ, and the wicked castaways, that the elect lie not still continually in their sin as do the wicked, but at the length do return again by reason of God’s seed, which is in them hid as a sparkle of fire in the ashes; as we may see in Peter, David, Paul, Mary Magdalene, and others.

For these (I mean God’s children) God hath made all things in Christ Jesus, to whom he hath given them this dignity that they should be “his inheritance” and spouses.

This our Inheritor and “Husband” Christ Jesus, God with God, ‘Light of Light,’ co-eternal and consubstantial with the Father and with the Holy Ghost, to the end that he might become our “Husband” (because the husband and the wife must become “one body and flesh”), hath taken our nature upon him, communicating with it and by it in his own person, to us all his children, his “divine majesty,” as Peter saith; and so is become “flesh of our flesh and bone of our bones” substantially, as we are become “flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones” spiritually; all that ever we have pertaining to him, yea, even our sins, as all that ever he hath pertaineth unto us, even his whole glory. So that if Satan shall summon us to answer for our debts or sins, in that the wife is no suitable person, but the husband, we may well bid him enter his action against our “Husband” Christ, and he will make him a sufficient answer.

For this end (I mean that we might be coupled and married thus to Christ, and so be certain of salvation, and at godly peace with God in our consciences,) God hath given his holy word, which hath two parts, as now the children of God consisteth of two men; one part of God’s word being proper to “the old man,” and the other part of God’s word being proper to “the new man.” The part properly pertaining to “the old man” is the law: the part properly pertaining to “the new man” is the gospel.

The law is a doctrine which commandeth and forbiddeth, requiring doing and avoiding: under it therefore are contained all precepts, inhibitions, threats, promises upon conditions of our doing and avoiding, etc. The gospel is a doctrine which always offereth and giveth, requiring nothing on our behalf as of worthiness or as a cause, but as a certificate unto us: and therefore under it are contained all the free and Sweet promises of God, as “I am the Lord thy God,” etc.

In those that be of years of discretion it requireth “faith,” not as a cause, but as an instrument whereby we ourselves may be certain of our good “Husband” Christ and of his glory: and therefore, when the conscience feeleth itself disquieted for fear of God’s judgments against sin, she should in nowise look upon the doctrine pertaining to “the old man,” but to the doctrine only that pertaineth to “the new man;” in it not looking on that which it requireth, that is “faith,” because we never believe as we should; but only on it which it offereth, which it giveth, that is, on God’s grace and eternal mercy and peace in Christ Jesus.

So shall she be in quiet, when she looketh for it altogether out of herself in God’s mercy in Christ; in whose lap if she lay her head, then is she happy, and shall find quietness indeed. When she feeleth herself quiet, then let her look on the law, and upon such things as God requireth, thereby to bridle and keep down the old Adam, to slay that Goliath; from whom she must needs keep the sweet promises, being the bed wherein her sweet spouse Christ and she meet and lie together. As the wife will keep her bed only for her husband, although in other things she is contented to have fellowship with her servants and others, as to speak, sit, eat, drink, go, etc.; so our consciences must needs keep the bed, that is, God’s sweet promises, alone for ourselves and for our “Husband,” there to meet together, to embrace together, to laugh together, and to be joyful together. If sin, the law, the devil, or any thing, would creep into the bed, and lie there, then complain to thy “Husband” Christ, and forthwith thou shalt see him play Phineas’ part.

Thus, my dearly beloved, I have given you in few words a sum of all that divinity which a Christian conscience cannot lack.

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Sanctification – William Ames

April 11, 2010 Comments off

1. The real change of state is an alteration of qualities in man himself. 2 Cor. 5:17, Old things have passed away; all things are new.

2. The change is not in relation or reason, but in genuine effects seen in degrees of beginning, progress, and completion. 2 Cor. 4:16, The inner man is renewed day by day.

3. This alteration of qualities is related to either the just and honorable good of sanctification, or the perfect and exalted good of glorification. Rom. 6:22, You have your fruit in holiness and your end in everlasting life.

4. Sanctification is the real change in man from the sordidness of sin to the purity of God’s image. Eph. 4:22-24, Put off that which pertains to the old conversation, that old man, corrupting itself in deceivable lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Put on that new man who according to God is created to righteousness and true holiness.

5. Just as in justification a believer is properly freed from the guilt of sin and has life given him (the title to which is, as it were, settled in adoption), so in sanctification the same believer is freed from the sordidness and stain of sin, and the purity of God’s image is restored to him.

6. Sanctification is not to be understood here as a separation from ordinary use or consecration to some special use, although this meaning is often present in Scripture, sometimes referring to outward and sometimes to inward or effectual separation. If this meaning is taken, sanctification may relate to calling or that first rebirth in which faith is communicated as a principle of new life; a common confusion of regeneration and sanctification hereby arises. The term is rather to be understood as that change in a believer in which he has righteousness and indwelling holiness imparted to him. 2 Thess. 2:13, Through sanctification of the Spirit.

7. For God himself witnesses that holiness is a gift of inherent grace. Jer. 31:33, I will put my law into their mind, and in their heart will I write it; Ezek. 36:26, 27, I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put into the midst of you.

8. Sanctification is distinguished from that change in a man which is linked to his calling in faith and repentance, for in the latter faith is not properly considered a quality but a relationship to Christ, nor is repentance considered a change of disposition (for then it would be the same as sanctification), but a change of the mind’s purpose and intent. Sanctification involves a real change of qualities and disposition.

9. It is called a real change so as to distinguish it not only from justification but also from sanctification by institution, which is the case in the sanctification of the seventh day. It is also distinguished from sanctification by association with symbols, such as the sanctification of the elements in the sacraments. And last, it is distinguished from sanctification by manifestation, as God is said to be sanctified by men, I Peter 3:15.

10. It pertains to the whole man and not to any one part. I Thess. 5:23, Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. But the whole of the man, or that whole which the man comprises, is not immediately changed.

11. Although the whole man partakes of this grace, it is first and most appropriately in the soul and later progresses to the body, inasmuch as the body of the man is capable of the same obedience to the will of God as the soul. In the soul this grace is found first and most appropriately in the will whence it passes to other faculties according to the order of nature. Deut. 30:6, The Lord thy God shall circumcise your heart and the heart of your seed so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and that you may live; Rom. 2:29, Circumcision is of the heart.

12. It is called a change in man from sin to distinguish it from the sanctification which denotes simply the opposite of the negative, such as that which is attributed to the human nature of Christ which is said to be sanctified or made holy (although the nature of Christ was never defiled by unholiness).

13. The starting point of sanctification is the filthiness, corruption, or stain of sin. 2 Cor. 7: 1, Let us purge ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, being led to holiness in the fear of God.

14. Its end is the purity of God’s image (said to be fashioned or created once more in Knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, Eph. 4:24) or Conformity to the law of God, Jas. 1:25; Newness of life, Rom. 6:4; the New creature, 2 Cor. 5:17 and Gal. 6:15; and the Divine nature, 2 Peter 1:4.

15. The end is called a new and divine creature. First, because it is not produced by those principles which are in us by nature, as is characteristic of all the arts pursued with industry and discipline – it comes out of the new principle of life communicated by God to us in our calling. Second, because our natural disposition is of a completely different kind from what it was before. Third, because it takes for its model the highest perfection found in God himself.

16. There are two degrees of sanctification on earth. One occurs in this life which is generally called an Infancy, 1 Cor. 13:11, 12; Eph. 4:14; 1 Peter 2:2. The variety found in this life is so great that some who are sanctified when compared with others and even with themselves at different times, may rightly be called Infants, and others Adults during their life here, Heb. 5:13, 14.

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