Reformed Theology

I'm not going back. Here's a rundown of what I read and explored this week:
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God Did it. Man Did it! Which Is It?

If I asked you who wrote the book of Romans, would your answer be Paul or would your answer be God? Both answers are true. But it's not right to give them both equal credit. Why not? Because God is the ultimate source; they are the words that He wanted written, so we must give Him full credit. And yet, Paul and the other human authors of scripture were not merely puppets on a string; they used their own words, mind, and personality in their writing. Do you agree with everything I've just said? If so, then you also have the basic framework in place for understanding how a soul is saved.

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The Salvation of Babies Who Die (part one)

when I was making the move to the Reformed camp, Phil and I had dinner with a Calvin Seminary student and the question about babies was the first one I asked. This answer is a good answer.
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Most Perfect and Complete - a sermon and Sola Scriptura in the Belgic Confession

Virtually every cult and false religion is founded upon the following premise: “Of course, we believe the Bible. But . . . We have additional holy books that no one else has. We receive new revelations from God. We have sacred tradition in addition to the Bible. We have an inspired prophet or leader who interprets the Bible correctly unlike everyone else.” So at the end of the day, the essence of false religion is basically this: We believe in the Bible, plus, we have an additional religious authority which corrects or explains what the Bible “really” teaches, or else supplements what the Bible supposedly leaves out.

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Five Solas
- Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone, for the glory of God alone, taught by Scripture alone.

One Faith
- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Five Points
- Total Depravity of Man; Unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, perseverance of the saints

One Savior
- to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Zero Apologies
- For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes... For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith

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Reason #3 - I'm not going back

We are not as bad as could possibly be...but all possible parts of us are touched with bad.

When Adam fell, sin entered the world. As a result, we are all sinners. "Total depravity" doesn't mean that we are as wicked as we can possibly be. It does mean that every single part of our being has been tainted by sin. Our "will" (ability to make decisions) has been so tainted that not a single one of will willingly, of our own accord, turn and follow Christ. Because of our sin nature, no one seeks God...no not one. We have all gone astray. When left to our own devices, we will...we MUST...act according to our nature...and the nature that we are born with is a sinful one. Without the Holy Spirit's effectual call, we will continue the path of destruction, unable to choose any other path.

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I came across this today...

"Lord, I thank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists Lord, I was born with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not-that is the difference between me and them."

It really doesn't sound that much like Spurgeon...but maybe it does.

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(I'm not going back)

Henceforth:

I will call Bible things by Bible names:

- Predestined, elect, justification, sanctification

I will not be a wuss about using "Reformed" terms.

- "Doctrines of Grace"

I have hesitated because - that's what Reformers called TULIP but I've been a bit timid about using the term...because I'm afraid of "Dave Hunt."

No more.

😉 some of us have a "mid life crisis" - or "second childhood."

I may be having a "second cage phase"

Reason #3 - I'm not going back

My son was "Born With A Bomb" - he has this "thing" inserted into his DNA. It was there from birth, he inherited it from me. He went blind.

Everybody on the planet was born with a different bomb. We have this "thing" - a "sin nature" that we inherited from Adam. Because of this, we are blinded by the god of this age.

Tom cannot make himself "unblind." This is where he is. But there is hope. There's a physician (a group of them...best in the world) who have poured their lives into fixing this mess.

We cannot make ourselves unblind. This is where we are. But there is hope. There's a Great Physician who poured out His life, fixing this mess.

Tom's physician is the only one with the key to treating LHON. There is no other treatment available, and it is only available if you are chosen to receive the treatment.

The Great Physician is also the key to healing our sin nature. There is no other treatment other than Christ, and it is only available to those who trust Him.

But Tom cannot make himself unblind...

and just so, we cannot make ourselves unblind.

What happened in Sandy Hook yesterday was every parent's nightmare. I have no way to explain what was in God's mind when He allowed that to happen.

We question God. the painful cries of "why? WHY???" are in God's ears. The Holy Spirit is interceding with groans because there are parents who just don't know how to pray.

It struck me during this conversation that there is a difference between
1- questioning God's plan
2- questioning God's actions
3- questioning God's authority

The difference between "why are you doing this" and "how dare you do this?"

There is a peace in resting in the understanding that God is in control. Whatever happened yesterday, or the day before, or whatever will happen tomorrow...We are in the hand of God.

Whatever happens today, we have eternity.

God is sovereign over His creation and that includes us. That includes Lanza. And it includes the people who died yesterday.

(Romans 8:18-25

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Reason #2 - I'm not going back

OK - maybe not the whole thing. Taken one piece at a time.

A self-challenge. It just hit me today how comforting it is to believe that God has me. No matter what, who, how, where, when. God HAS ME.

I was listening to Matt Chandler. No matter what things come my way, if God's not in control, what good is suffering? If God cannot make this work out for good, why suffer?

Even if we cannot comprehend what good "this" could be...God does know, He has us in His hands.

Also reading Acts 9. Saul was minding his own business (of persecuting Jesus) when he was knocked on his butt. Not exactly consensual.

Later in the chapter, Peter raised Dorcas from the dead. Was she exercising her "free will"?

I need to touch base with the fundamentals. This challenge will be a cool start.

Reason #2 - I'm not going back.

Perseverance and assurance may go hand in hand, but they're not the same thing.

Perseverance and "once saved always saved" may sound like they're the same, but they're not.

Assurance is in the "now" - right now, you can be sure of your salvation.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life - 1 John 5:13

"Assurance" means that right now, this very minute, you can know that you have eternal life. It may be, if you believe such things, that tomorrow or the next day...or sometime in the future...you may sin too much or do too little and lose it. You can be assured now...but tomorrow may be a different story. You have the choice, in the future, to walk away.

"Once saved, always saved" gives the impression that..well, just what it says. No matter what you do or believe, you have no choice. It's the "fire insurance" way of thinking. Even if you want to walk away...shoot...even if you DO walk away...you're stuck with your salvation. "Once saved, always saved" is about what you have.

"Perseverance of the saints" is very different. It's not our salvation that is preserved...it's God who makes us persevere. If we are in Christ, we don't WANT to walk away.

"6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" ` Philippians 1:6

We are now, and will be, assured of our salvation because we are preserved and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory ` Eph. 1:11-14

Conclusion - both "perseverance" and "once saved, always saved" comes with assurance, and even "I can lose it later" can have assurance in the present.

"OSAS" - you don't have a choice if you wanted it
"POTS" - even if you have the choice, you are sealed by the promise that you won't want the choice.

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing

This was in my daily reading and it hit me again...without Jesus, I can do nothing, I can accomplish nothing...I AM nothing.

I'm not clean because of the works that I do, the choices that I make. It's not my works, it's the WORD that Jesus has spoken.

Before they (I) even knew..."Already you are clean because of the Word that I have spoken to you."

Sola Scriptura...The Word.

One letter apart...one very small difference...

"...for apart from me you can do nothing"

No longer are my works making me "good enough" - my works are a result of the Word and my gratitude that Jesus spoke.

worK
WorD

yet, such a huge impact on my life. I got off of the works treadmill, to rest gently in the Word.

Maybe I'll start counting...Reason #1; I'm Not Going Back