In the economy of God’s kingdom the greatest among its inhabitants are decidedly the least. The weakest among them are to be glad because they are ideal candidates in whom God’s glory will be shown; and they get to taste of His power and strength as He works it in them. The ammasing of things is resisted and joyful giving is pursued which brings an altogether different kind of treasure.
If a teaching has us believing our best life now is found in earthly success, health, riches, prestige, prosperity, security, etc. then it is not a teaching representing the Christian kingdom of God described in the Bible. It must be rejected. How many claiming Christianity while spewing such garbage is almost hard to believe. God protect us from the many wolves teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach!
The poor in spirit will see God, the humble and meek will be blessed and receive grace. The mourners will be comforted. Those who love God do not love the world system and what it offers – no, they will be despised by it. The world hated Christ and it will hate His ambassadors.
Be strong and courageous. Be bold and gentle. Proclaim truth and do not compromise. Shine light in the darkness. Make good use of the law which drives sinners to the gospel. Amen.
Les Lanphere, a fellow brother in Christ I know through the Facebook group the Reformed Pub, is seeking crowd funding support on Kickstarter to produce a professional documentary on Calvinism. So far the support pledged toward his 35k goal has been incredible as he has already surpassed his goal with 20+ days left in his campaign. He is now seeking to hit “stretch” goals which will further enhance the reach and quality of this film. It’s been an exciting ride in the pub as we’ve all watched this campaign soar; this project is going to happen!
Anyone who enjoys the reformed teaching available from the likes of Michael Horton, Voddie Baucham, or James R. White will be pleased to know these men among others have agreed to participate in this documentary. The list of notable participating reformed elders, teachers and Doctors is growing as the campaign continues to gain steam. The current list of notable guests that will be a part of the film are as follows:
- Kevin Deyoung
- Ligon Duncan
- Michael Horton
- Tim Challies
- Carl Trueman
- Voddie Baucham
- James R. White
- R. Scott Clark
- Joe Thorn
As you can see, this documentary will be an awesome opportunity to ask key questions of those most able to shed light upon what Calvinists actually believe. As Les puts it on his Kickstarter page, the film will be “seeking to explain Calvinism, celebrate its recent resurgence, and answer the question ‘what’s next'”.
No doubt there is an organic resurgence of Calvinism among the youth in today’s church. I’ve experienced the unexpected call to doctrinal purity and I surprisingly found myself finding the same passion in the pen of Calvin and other great theologians upon whose shoulders we stand.
The comfort learning the doctrines of grace brought to me was not controversial, it was a blessing from the Holy Spirit.
Among the Christian community I’ve learned that the title Calvinist can be perceived as either a compliment or an insult depending upon the nature and tradition of the church where that title is being thrown around. Being both informed and gracious should keep most of us out of that latter group. This film comes at a timely state where clarity on the subject of Calvinism is welcomed – I pray we in the reformed camp and our brothers and sisters outside of it can see how important it is for us all to remain teachable while we also all can show our combined support to this project.
Click the link below and join in the effort to support this film.
“Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” – Hebrews 1:14 ESV
What has to be in place in order for someone to receive an inheritance? Well, at the most basic human level, one has to have a possession he or she wants to give to another, and then from there make the necessary preparations for it to be passed on. There is planning that takes place. There is also a process of election where those who are chosen to receive the inheritance are incorporated into that plan by the one who intends to do the giving.
Scripture often speaks in similar language when it refers to God’s plan of redemption. A group often referred to as the Elect in scripture are described as those who receive salvation only by their Savior’s merits and not of their own, they are called adopted sons and daughters, they are those who have received a great inheritance.
Hebrews 1:14 comes at the tail end of an awesome section of scripture where the Father is talking about the eternal glory of the Son and how much more magnificent he is above all things including the created angels. The Father here asks a rhetorical question to make a point as to the purpose for which His angels perform their appointed duties. He says they are “sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation.” Here is then a glimpse into God’s redemptive means – the elect are served by God’s angels for the express purpose that they will inherit salvation. Also worth noting is that the passage doesn’t say those who “may” inherit but rather “who are to.” I see preordained election in this passage; a glimpse into the plan where God has made known His intentions – to make alive those who are dead in sin through those servants of the gospel. How beautiful are those messengers who bring good news! May we servants of Christ be about this awesome business.
“ Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”Hebrews 1:1-2 ESV
The first verse here presses to the mind the awesome reality that God has spoken! It does so however with a very important qualification, that God speaks through His own appointed mediators. The varying accounts recorded in Old Testiment times were interpreted through the lense of such prophets. So history for God’s chosen people has always had theology as its primary emphasis. For sure, to the 1st century Jew, the events of the Old Testement were ancient history but they had the written word of these accounts passed down to them and they considered the texts revelation from God; Jesus himself held men accountable to those very texts as those who have heard from God through them.
Verse 2 then draws finality and closure to what is to be revealed from God when it tells us that a greater mediator has been given, The Son. Jesus is understood by the author here to have spoken to God’s chosen people again, in great display, after a long period of silence, in what is framed in the context of “these last days.” God’s revelation gets closure when Christ is done teaching us about His Father who sent Him.
God appointed Christ “heir of all things.” Instantly, the scripture commands that the relationship between the persons of the trinity come to the mind. The Godhead has determined that all things are for Christ, the Son has been appointed such a global and universal inheritance of glory that is hard to fathom. This assertion that all things have their purpose in this appointment is addressed in the very same sentence that states the Son also created the world. If anyone would credit this inheritance appointment due to the actions of Christ in time as we creatures know it, they miss that the appointment to inherit all things written of comes before His incarnation, it was planned from before the foundation of the world. The context here is that the Son was with the Father when the Father made the world through the Son. For certain, the actions Christ performed on earth revealed the glory due His name but that glory He kept vailed in the form of a suffering servant who would go to a cross and suffer wrath on behalf of His elect. The greatest truly became the least and will forever be praised as the greatest by those He saved in the process.
Christ is the ultimate purpose for creation and verse 2 here teaches that before time began for the creatures in God’s creation, this purpose was settled among the three persons of the trinity – creation is to be the theater where the Father unfolds the reality of this inheritance appointment to the Son.
“For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” – Galatians 5:5-6 ESV
The hope of righteousness that comes by faith produces an eager anticipation of the eternal life obtained in Christ…a hope which is longed for by every believer. A hope worth fighting for and keeping secure in ones heart. Paul warns here that the circumcision party was adding works to the equation of justification (beware any teaching other than that of faith alone in Christ for justification) and therefore was robbing the hope that is so precious to every ‘child of promise’ (those who have faith in Christ).
How does this righteousness produce hope? First by recognizing that it is not ones own righteousness that the one who has faith tastes, but that of Christ’s. This recognition comes to light by the grace of God when humility speaks honestly to ones own sinful nature; that ones best deeds done in the flesh are equaled to nothing more than that of filthy rags (scripture says that man’s ‘good’ works = menstrual rags). It is His Spirit working in the believer, through faith, that one performs true works of Godly love. Such works will not feed a self righteous mindset, but these are those that can only result in the believers ascribing glory to God…because such works are completely by His grace and granting from start to finish and the believer praising God will sense this to be true both in the experience of it or upon reflection of it as we do now.
In His providence I suppose these works can and often do go unnoticed by the believer; perhaps so that the right hand not know what the left is doing…thereby pride would continuously be slain at its roots. I also wonder how often these works are left undone by believers and what type of judgement awaits us who through slack and apathy stall our Lords call to serve. I fear this for many Christians, myself included.
I can speak for myself as I know I’ve turned aside many times from opportunities from His works. What comforts me though is that my Lord is faithful when I am not; that He is Lord and I am not; that He is the perfect Teacher and I His student; I am His subject and He is my kind Ruler; I am his adopted son and He my loving Father; that He saved me a sinner, not as a righteous man and has committed to conform me to Himself; that He will finish what He started; that He is mighty to save. Oh goodness! He has dealt ever so kindly to me, even when my heart condemns me and my accuser screams my list of sins at me, He has not forsaken me and He leads me to repentance…He restores my soul. Praise God, grace is mine as a son, eternally!
Let me not lose sight of the hope of righteousness; let me let go of the elemental powers of this world; let me fully trust in my Lord and walk in His ways. I know that when I walk in His righteousness I am eternally minded; the temporal is enjoyed and used for His purposes but it becomes necessarily secondary. I pray to do more and more of His works to know the joyous laughter of His praise and glory. May it be so. Amen.