This was the notes that I used in our Bible Study Series . And of courses there was a lot of research and study. Only the Holy Spirit can open your heart to accept these verses and statement.
Charles e. Whisnant-
Is man basically good or basically evil?
Ecclesiastes 7:29 – “See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”
Romans 5:7-8 – For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:12,19 – sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners
c.f. Job 15:14-16, 25:4-6; Ecclesiastes 9:3
All men? Are there any exceptions?
Psalm 143:2 – Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
Romans 11:32 – For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. (c.f. Galatians 3:22)
Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
2 Chronicles 6:36 – “there is no one who does not sin”
Isaiah 53:6 – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way
Micah 7:2-4 – The godly has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net. Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge.
Romans 3:9-12 – What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (c.f. Psalm 14:1-3, 53:1-3)
1 John 1:8,10 – If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we say we have not sinned, we make [God] a liar, and his word is not in us.
Mark 10:18/Luke 18:19 – And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.“
c.f. 1 Kings 8:46; 116:11, 130:3, 143:2; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Jeremiah 2:29; Micah 7:2-4, Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19; Romans 5:12-14; 1 Corinthians 5:9-10; James 3:2; etc., etc.
Are people good deep down?
Mark 7:21-23 – “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (c.f. Matthew 15:19)
Psalm 5:9 – For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.
Are men totally depraved? Is every faculty of the person corrupted?
Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Titus 1:15-16 – to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.
Ecclesiastes 9:3 – Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
Romans 1:28-31 – And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were… foolish
Ephesians 4:17-18 – you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
Jeremiah 10:7-8,14 – among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you. They are both stupid and foolish… Every man is stupid and without knowledge
Matthew 15:19 – “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (c.f. Mark 7:21-23)
Genesis 6:5 & 8:21 – The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… from his youth.
Proverbs 10:20 – the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
Proverbs 28:26 – Whoever trusts in his own [heart] is a fool
c.f. Deuteronomy 29:2-4; Psalm 10:4, 36:1-2, 58:4-5, 94:11; Proverbs 10:20; Ecclesiastes 8:11; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26; Matthew 13:14; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 8:7; Ephesians 4:17-18, 23
John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”
2 Peter 2:19 – They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.
Titus 3:3 – For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
Galatians 4:8-9 – Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
Romans 6:6,16,17,19,20 – We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey…? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed… For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
Romans 7:14 – For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
2 Timothy 2:25-26 – God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
c.f. Isaiah 42:6-7; Psalm 51:12; John 8:31-32,36; 2 Corinthians 3:17
Romans 1:24-27 – Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Ephesians 2:3 – we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Proverbs 21:10 – The soul of the wicked desires evil
John 3:19 – And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
John 8:44 – “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”
c.f. Genesis 3:16; Psalm 4:2, 52:3-4 140:8; Proverbs 10:23; 2 Timothy 3:2-4; 2 Peter 2:13
et al (Utter Ruin)
Titus 1:15-16 – to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.
Romans 7:18 – For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.
Isaiah 1:5-6 – The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil.
Can men change themselves or still do good when they want to?
Jeremiah 13:23 – Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.
1 Samuel 24:13 – “As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’”
Matthew 7:18 – “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” (c.f. Luke 6:43)
Matthew 12:34-35 – “How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.”
Romans 8:7 – For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Genesis 6:5 & 8:21 – The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… from youth.Titus 1:15-16 – to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
c.f. Job 14:4; Matthew 12:34; John 15:5; Romans 14:23; Philippians 1:11; 1 John 5:18-19
Are men at least born pure? What about the “tabula rasa”?
Psalm 51:5 – Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Genesis 8:21 – the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”
Psalm 58:3 – The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.
John 3:6 – “That which is born of the flesh is flesh”
c.f. Proverbs 22:15
What is the natural disposition of man toward God?
John 3:20 – “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”
Romans 8:7-8 – For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God
Colossians 1:21 – And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds
c.f. Romans 1:28-30; James 4:4
What is man’s relationship to God?
Psalm 58:3 – The wicked are estranged from the womb;
Ephesians 2:12-13 – remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:3 – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
c.f. Isaiah 59:2
Can man then do anything to please God?
Proverbs 15:9 – The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord
Proverbs 15:8 – The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord (c.f. Proverbs 21:27)
Proverbs 28:9 – If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
Isaiah 64:6 – We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please [God]
Romans 8:7-8 – Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
c.f. Psalm 50:16; Proverbs 21:4; Isaiah 1:10-15; Amos 5:21-24
Are men at least seeking God?
Psalm 10:4 – In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
John 3:20 – “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”
Isaiah 65:1 – “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
Isaiah 64:7 – There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
Romans 3:10-12 – “no one seeks for God.”
c.f. Romans 10:20
Can the natural man comprehend the gospel or come to saving knowledge of God on his own?
1 Corinthians 2:14 – The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – our gospel is veiled… to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18,21-24 – For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles
Deuteronomy 29:2-4 – And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.”
Matthew 11:27 – “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
c.f. Psalm 119:18; Proverbs 4:19; Isaiah 42:6-7; Hosea 14:9; Matthew 16:17; John 8:43; Acts 22:14, 26:18; Ephesians 4:17-19; 2 Corinthians 2:15-16; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 John 5:20
Can men of themselves accept God’s gift of salvation? Do men choose God or come to Him on their own?
John 3:27 – John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.”
John 14:16-17 – “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.”
John 1:12-13 – But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 6:44,65 – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
Romans 9:16 – So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Romans 11:35-36 – “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things.
1 Corinthians 1:30 – And because of him you are in Christ Jesus
Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
c.f. Jonah 2:9; Zephaniah 3:9; John 15:16; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 1:6; James 1:18
Who supplies faith/belief/repentance?
Acts 16:14 – One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
1 Corinthians 3:6 – I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
Acts 5:31 – “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”
Acts 11:18 – When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Philippians 1:29 – For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should… believe in him
Acts 18:27 – When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Romans 12:3 – For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
2 Timothy 2:24-25 – And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, [etc.]… God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth
1 Corinthians 12:3 – no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence
Romans 11:36 – For from him and through him and to him are all things.
1 Corinthians 4:7 – For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
John 3:6, 6:63 – “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.”
c.f. 1 Chronicles 29:14; John 5:44; Acts 3:16; Romans 1:8, 12:3; Ephesians 6:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:2
Can men do anything to help themselves?
Colossians 2:13 – And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses
Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-5 – And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked… But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved
c.f. Psalm 49:7-9; Jeremiah 2:22; Ezekiel 16:6, 37:1-3; Romans 5:6
Then what becomes of our boasting?
Romans 3:27 – It is excluded.
I recall back in Dr. George Norris class on Saturday had us to do this exact thing.
Whenever you look for people who are going to extend your ministry and expand your ministry and multiply your ministry,
You start with those who come to faith,
You start with those who have been faithful followers.
You start with those who have been called to be preachers.
And then you put them through a process of training
You then you send them out on short-term internships and
You do instruction as they come back off those experiences.
And finally, you can loose them and let them go. That’s pretty much a model that can follow in any realm of human endeavor.
So here we find them at the point of their initial internship, their first field experience. This will be their first try at sermons and signs.
They were the commonest of men. And that’s what’s so important and remarkable to me. They were just so common. They’re just like us.
And when the Lord goes out to find somebody to multiply His ministry through, it is absolutely true, Paul was right when he said, “There are not many noble, and there are not many mighty, they are the common and the base.” They’re just plain, ordinary people
In fact, in some ways you might think them sub-ordinary and yet chosen by their Creator who knows them perfectly.
And they are exactly the kind of people He chooses to use. It is already half way through His ministry before they’re even sent out,
before their formal training even begins.
They’ve just been listening.
They’ve just been hearing the explanation of parables.
They’ve been getting their theological training and their biblical training.
They’ve been listening to Him exposit Old Testament passages and give the meaning.
They’ve been listening to Him compare the truth of God with the apostasy of Judaism.
They’ve been sorting out their theology,
But now it’s time for formal training to be messengers. And there’s only eighteen months left before Jesus will be gone and they will be on their own. That’s a short amount of time. That’s half a seminary education.
And if you wonder whether that alone was adequate, just remind yourself that when Jesus was taken prisoner to be crucified, all of them forsook Him and fled. And you might have concluded by that that the whole eighteen months was a waste of time.
But, you can only conclude that apart from the Holy Spirit because when the Holy Spirit came, everything changed. In fact, when they saw the resurrected Christ, everything changed, and they were re-gathered and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
With only eighteen months to go, it’s time for them to really begin their training.
So, these twelve, mundane backgrounds, worked with their hands, not their brains, earthly vocations. And yet they’re given the most important task in the history of the world.
There is no second string. There are no backup players. There is no Plan B. And that would be a problem for men. That would be a problem on a human level. It’s not a problem on a divine level because God always accomplishes what He sets out to do. Twelve ordinary men with the most extraordinary responsibility.
The twelve are absolutely unique. Later Matthias replaced Judas, who was a traitor. And later on another man is called an apostle, he doesn’t belong in the twelve, another one, his name is Paul. He was a unique messenger coming after the twelve. These twelve were unique.
They took positions of authority in the early church.
They and their associates wrote the New Testament.
Their teaching became the rule in the church. In Acts when the church was born in Acts 2:42 it says they met together and they studied the apostles’ doctrine.
They were used by God to reveal the doctrine. God revealed sound doctrine through them and eventually that doctrine was written down.
When the Lord chose them, He chose twelve of them. And Why not twenty-four, eighteen, six, seven, three? Why twelve?
And the answer is, in the choosing of twelve there was a link to the twelve tribes of Israel. Israel is constituted of twelve tribes, twelve tribes.
And when the Lord picked twelve apostles this was essentially a judgment on Israel, solidifying, hardening unbelief and rejection of their Messiah.
These twelve, in a sense, constituted the new spiritual heads of the tribes of Israel. They were symbolic heads of the tribes of Israel.
That’s why you don’t find one rabbi among the twelve. You don’t find one scribe. You don’t find a priest. You don’t find a Pharisee. You don’t find a Sadducee, you just find these hoi-polloi, these ordinary guys.
It is a judgment on the apostasy of Israel that the Lord couldn’t find one person in the religious establishment to pick as an apostle. The choosing of the twelve ordinary men then becomes a judgment on apostate Israel.
It is an open renunciation of all the religious men and the structures in which they existed, which was utterly corrupt. The religious leaders of Judaism constituted the core of those who were apostate. They were the core of those who hated Jesus, who hated the gospel, who hated to be indicted for their sin and who sought and achieved His death.
So Jesus picks twelve new leaders for Israel.
Forget the religious establishment. And with the number twelve symbolically pronounces a judgment on the apostasy of that nation.
These twelve apostles literally became the twelve true spiritual leaders of Israel.
They were the true heads of the twelve tribes.
They were the Israel of God.
They are the true penitent believing Israelites.
They also, by the way, became the foundation stones of the church, didn’t they? Ephesians 2:20, the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles, Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone.
Exclusivity of Jesus
Saving faith is something more than believing certain things which are true. The problem is as you flow down in this text you do a little bit of pathological study of a non-saving faith. They have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. it doesn’t do anybody any good to have a zeal for God if it’s not correct, if it is not precise.
“Well, my faith is a very private thing.” Let me tell you something, it’s not the Christian faith, and it’s not a saving faith. Jesus said, “If you confess Me before men, I’ll confess you before My Father who is in heaven.
The right answer to the questions: “What does your Christianity mean to you?” is “It means to me that jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord. He is my Lord and my Savior, and there is no other lord, and there is no other savior.” That’s the right answer.
There is this comfortable ambiguity that has now captivated supposed Christianity today, where you basically don’t have to commit to anything because you might be intruding on someone’s sensibilities because they might disagree with you
They had a zeal for God and they were the chosen people, but it was not in accordance with knowledge. And what was wrong with their knowledge Verse 3 “Not knowing about God’s righteousness.
They didn’t understanding how righteous God was. So they went to seek their own righteousness. In other words, they thought God was less righteous than He was, and therefore they were able to be righteous enough to please God. So they didn’t understand their own sin and inability. They didn’t, therefore, subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
They didn’t really come under the threat of divine righteousness in a beatitude attitude, the attitude of publican of Luke 18. They thought they were so good that God was low enough to accept that goodness.
They had a warped view of salvation. You understand that? A warped view of God’s righteousness essential to understanding salvation, a warpred view of their own unrighteousness, thinking that they could attain to salvation by their own effort.
They had a misunderstanding of the cross of Christ. They got their theology wrong, and they got their theology wrong, their soteriology wrong, , they go their hamartiology wrong, they got their Christology wrong.
- 4 To everyone who “believe, that is not by words, its’ by faith.
Romans 10:13 in other words, you can’t be saved unless you believe. you can’t believe the right thing unless you’ve heard it. You can’t hear it if somebody doesn’t tell it to you. And that is why those who preach are so beautiful: “How beautiful are the feet of those bring glad tidings of good things”, because you can’t be saved until the message arrives that you must believe.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.”
The Gospel is outside of us, it is not intuitive to us. It is something we have to hear, and somebody has to be the spokesman for that hearing.
This kind of ambiguous evangelism is a salt on the integrity and the sacrifice of believers through the ages who were willing to die for the precision of the truth.
Today there is such a indifference toward precision and clarity in proclaiming the gospel and it has basically kind of come out of some theo9logical views, or it’s defended by some.
Nature theology: That is man has innately, intuitively inside of him the natural reasoning power to come to God and be saved without the Scripture and without the gospel. Advocates say that man can discover the existence and the nature and the attributes of God in Romans 1, and that is true and human reason will lead you back to God, because human reason functions on a cause and effect structure and cause and effect eventually leads you back to the primary cause.
You can know a lot about God, You can know something about His power by looking at the world in its macro and its micro sense.
It is true, and so they go further and say “man thus becomes capable of knowing enough of truth of God to satisfy God without the necessity of divine revelation.”
He sort of finds his way to God. It’s nice if he has the Bible, it’s nice if he has the gospel; its not necessary.
Here is what the Vatica said about salvation : “All who live a just life will be saved, even if they do not believe in Jesus Christ in the Roman Catholic Church.” So if those in a false religion which is a barrier to salvation, but people apart from the Bible and the gospel can be saved if they can work their way around the barrier.
The heretical Thomas Aquinas who adopted Aristotelian kind of philosophy. Officially adoped as the position of the Romans Catholic Church in Vatican I: present, of course, in the new Catholic catechism: T
The biblical teaching that salvation only comes in response to faith in Christ is rejected as unreasonable and cruel. People are saved if they live good lives and are sincere in their beliefs whatever they are. Well, so much for the Catholics.
Billy Graham Talks with Robert Schuller on How to Get to Heaven. Schuller: Tell me. What do you think is the future of Christianity? Graham: Well, Christianity and being a true believer, you know I think there is the body of Christ, which comes from all the Christian groups around the world, or outside the Christian groups, I think everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ whether they are conscious of it or not they are members of the body of Christ. And I don´t think that we are going to see a great sweeping revival that is going to turn the world to Christ at anytime. I think the apostle James answered that in the first council of Jerusalem when he said that God´s purpose of this age is to call out a people for His name. And that´s what God is doing today; He´s calling the world for His name. Whether they come from the Muslim world or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ because they have been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their heart that they need something that they don´t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I believe that they are saved, and that they are going to be with us in Heaven. Schuller: What I hear you saying is that it´s possible for Jesus Christ to come into a human heart and soul and life, even if they´ve been born in darkness and have never had an exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what your saying? Graham: Yes it is. Because I believe that. I´ve met people in various parts of the world, in Tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible, or never heard a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they believed in their heart that there was a God and they tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived
The Sufficiency of the Gospel
- The Gospel saves one for eternity: John 6:39; Ephesians 1:3-14
- The Gospel completely changes someone into a new creation: 2 Corinthians 5:17
- The Gospel translates us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light: Colossians 1:10-14 and 1 Peter 2:9
- The Gospel forgives sin and cleanses us thoroughly from our sin: 2 Corinthians 5:21 Ephesians 1:7
- The Gospel grants us eternal life: John 3:16
- The Gospel secures heaven as our home forever: John 14:1-6
- The Gospel overcomes death for it is eternally built upon the foundation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from their dead. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
- The Gospel defeats sin and brings us into intimacy and peace with God forever: Romans 5:1
- The Gospel is rich in grace and mercy: Ephesians 2:1-10, without which we would all before forever lost with no hope: Galatians 5:2-6
- The Gospel is completely efficacious for the believer in Christ, past, present and future: Romans 8:20-30
- With the Gospel we are saved: Ephesians 2:8-9
- With the Gospel w e are kept: John 17:12 and Jude 1
- With the Gospel we will be presented one glorious day: Jude 24
- With the Gospel we are justified, sanctified, and glorified: Romans 8:29-30. Through the gospel of our risen Lord and Savior
- Is it in wonder the Apostle Paul boldly proclaimed: Romans 1:16 and 1 Corinthians 1:16.
- It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is all sufficient and accomplished all saving grace.
In a Bible conference several years ago, a well-known speaker brought a message on salvation. He argued that to tell unsaved people they must surrender to Christ is the same as preaching salvation by works. He defined salvation as the “unconditional gift of everlasting life given to people who believe the facts about Christ, whether or not they choose to obey Him.” And one of his main points was that salvation may or may not alter a person’s behavior. “Transformed character,” he said, “is desirable, but even if no change in lifestyle occurs, the one who has believed the facts of the gospel and received Christ can rest in the certainty of forgiveness and heaven.” That’s pervasive in our society, preaching today; multitudes approach Christ on those very terms. They think there’s no real price to pay. They respond eagerly when offered forgiveness. They respond eagerly when offered the prospect of heaven, victory over death. They have no sense of the severity of their guilt before God. They have no desire to be freed, particularly from sin’s bondage, and they certainly have no overwhelming desire to obey Christ. And I’m convinced that such people are deceived by a corrupt gospel. The faith they are receiving and the faith they are relying on is only intellectual acquiescence, or maybe emotional grasping of something or someone to solve their problems, and it will not save. Yet this is the most common form of evangelism. And many are preaching this kind of weak deceptive message.
First Peter 5:5 “Put On The Apron of Humility”
AND ALL OF YOU CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH HUMILITY TOWARD ONE ANOTHER:
Several good translations of the verse:
Amplified: Likewise, you who are younger and of lesser rank, be subject to the elders (the ministers and spiritual guides of the church)—[giving them due respect and yielding to their counsel]. Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another. For God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful)—[and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble.
KJV: Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
NLT: You younger men, accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.”
Phillips: You younger members must also submit to the elders. Indeed all of you should defer to one another and wear the “overall” of humility in serving each other. ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’.
Wuest: Likewise, younger ones, be in subjection to the elders. Moreover, all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes himself to those who set themselves above others, but gives grace to those who are lowly.
Young’s Literal: In like manner, ye younger, be subject to elders, and all to one another subjecting yourselves; with humble-mindedness clothe yourselves, because God the proud doth resist, but to the humble He doth give grace;
AND ALL OF YOU CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH HUMILITY TOWARD ONE ANOTHER:
- (1Peter 4:1,5; Therefore, since Christ has 1suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
- Romans 12:10; Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
- Ephesians 5:21; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
- Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
- 1Peter 3:3,4; Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
- 2Chr 6:41; 41 “Now therefore arise, O Lord God, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your might; let Your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation and let Your godly ones rejoice in what is good.
- Job 29:14; “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban.
- Psalms 132:9,16; Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, And let Your godly ones sing for joy.
- Isaiah 61:10; I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
- Ro mans13:14; But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
- Col 3:12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
Clothe yourself (1463)
an apron a servant wears while working gather or tie in a knot, hence to fasten a garment, to clothe) (found only here in the NT) literally means to tie something on oneself with a knot or a bow and was a term often used to describe a slave putting an apron over his clothes in order to keep his clothes clean.
This verb also refers to the white scarf or apron of slaves, which was fastened to the belt of the vest and distinguished slaves from freemen, hence the idea is “gird yourselves with humility as your servile garb”.
Peter uses the aorist imperative which signifies a command calling for “soldier like” obedience. Calls for a specific, definite, decisive choice. “Do this now, at once “
This is a vitally important command that dare not be dismissed without significant consequences (e.g., pride blunts the Spirit fed stream of God’s amazing grace as in James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
And which is necessary not just for salvation the first time as in Ephesians 2:8-9, but is also necessary for “salvation” daily = sanctification, present tense salvation
In addition them its in the middle voice: which indicates we are to initiate the action and participate in the results or effect of this action.
This phrase can be translated “Put on the apron of humility” which is an appropriated paraphrase picturing the scarf or apron as the badge of a servant.
How easily the world’s competitive spirit filters into the hearts of Christians and Christian workers who become envious of one another’s success. How seldom we think of ourselves as servants for Christ’s sake
Its a problem in the local church that far too many Christians do not have this attitude of humility toward one another.
The Christian believer is as one put it “tie yourself up in humility” gathering it around us like a coat to shut out the blighting winds of pride.” What this phrase is saying: “it is performing selflessly an task God assigns, and bringing forth spiritual fruit.”
Vincent’s Word Study puts it this way: “Put on and wrap yourselves about with humility, so that the covering of humility cannot possibly be stripped from you.”
Remember as Jesus laid aside His outer garments and put on a towel to become a servant, so each of us should have a servant’s attitude and minister to each other.
Humility is not demeaning ourselves and thinking poorly of ourselves. It is simply not thinking of ourselves at all!
The idea is putting on as it were a coat of humility, and showing a yielding to another, in that you show support for the other person in their work for the Lord in the church.
Too many Christians want to think of themselves higher than others, but here Peter is saying just lie low, be humble. We are to think of ourselves in an attitude of humility, it is the quality of unpretentious behavior, a modest estimation of one’s abilities, without arrogance, even in our own mind we think modesty.
Here is the right attitude: Humility:
Inasmuch as we are small compared to God, this is the correct estimate of ourselves. The word indicates the esteeming one’s self as small or recognizing one’s insufficiency but at the same time recognizing the powerful sufficiency of God!
- Acts 20:19; serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me 1through the plots of the Jews;
- Eph 4:2; with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
- Phil 2:3; Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
- Col 2:18, 23; Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.
Vine’s (which I have used back in First Baptist Church, Altoona, Kansas) says:
that Humility” indicates, not a merely moral quality, but the subjection of self under the authority of, and in response to, the love of the Lord Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit to conform the believer to the character of Christ. In contrast to the world’s idea of being “poor-spirited” the Lord commends “the poor in spirit” Matthew 5:3
Humility was not thought of very highly in the ancient world (pun intended) and in fact was even considered to be a vice by the pagan moralists. Christ and Christianity elevated humility to the supreme virtue – the antidote for the self-love that poisons relationships.
Humility is not thinking poorly of oneself. Rather, it is having the proper estimate of oneself in the will of God. The person with humility thinks of others first and not of himself.
Humility, when it becomes self-conscious, ceases to have any value.
Jesus modeled the essence of humility which is being able to put others’ needs and desires ahead of one’s own Philippians 2:3-4).
simui justus et peecator
SIMULTANEOUSLY JUST OR RIGHTEOUS AT THE SAME TIME SINNER
Perhaps the formula that Luther used that is most famous and most telling at this point is his formula simul justus et peccator. And if any formula summarizes and captures the essence of the Reformation view, it is this little formula. Simul is the word from which we get the English word simultaneously. Or, it means ‘at the same time.’ Justus is the Latin word for just or righteous. And you all know what et is. Et the past tense of the verb ‘to eat.’ Have you et your dinner? No, you know that’s not what that means. You remember in the death scene of Caesar after he’s been stabbed by Brutus he says, “Et tu, Brute?” Then fall Caesar. And you too Brutus? It simply means and. Peccator means sinner.
And so with this formula Luther was saying, in our justification we are one and the same time righteous or just, and sinners. Now if he would say that we are at the same time and in the same relationship just and sinners that would be a contradiction in terms. But that’s not what he was saying. He was saying from one perspective, in one sense, we are just. In another sense, from a different perspective, we are sinners; and how he defines that is simple. In and of ourselves, under the analysis of God’s scrutiny, we still have sin; we’re still sinners. But, by imputation and by faith in Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is now transferred to our account, then we are considered just or righteous. This is the very heart of the gospel.
Will I be judged in order to get into heaven by my righteousness or by the righteousness of Christ? If I had to trust in my righteousness to get into heaven, I would completely and utterly despair of any possibility of ever being redeemed. But when we see that the righteousness that is ours by faith is the perfect righteousness of Christ, then we see how glorious is the good news of the gospel. The good news is simply this, I can be reconciled to God, I can be justified by God not on the basis of what I did, but on the basis of what’s been accomplished for me by Christ.
But at the heart of the gospel is a double-imputation. My sin is imputed to Jesus. His righteousness is imputed to me. And in this two-fold transaction we see that God, Who does not negotiate sin, Who doesn’t compromise His own integrity with our salvation, but rather punishes sin fully and really after it has been imputed to Jesus, retains His own righteousness, and so He is both just and the justifier, as the apostle tells us here. So my sin goes to Jesus, His righteousness comes to me in the sight of God.
According to the Index to the American Edition of Luther’s Works (AE 55:297), the basic concept underlying the “the simul” (i.e., simul justus et peccator) is exposited or alluded to in all of the following locations (see after my comments).
Luther used the exact phrase “simul iustus et peccator” only once: in his 1535 Lectures on Galatians (ch.3 v.6): “Thus a Christian man is righteous and a sinner at the same time (simul iustus et peccator), holy and profane, an enemy of God and a child of God. None of the sophists will admit this paradox, because they do not understand the true meaning of justification.” There is a note in the AE referring the reader also to 27:231, Luther’s 1519 Lectures on Galatians (ch.2, v.18):
A similar contradiction may be seen in Job, whom God, who cannot lie, pronounces a righteous and innocent man in the first chapter (Job 1:8). Yet later on Job confesses in various passages that he is a sinner, especially in the ninth and seventh chapters: ‘”Why dost Thou not take away my iniquity?” (9:20; 7:21.) But Job must be speaking the truth, because if he were lying in the presence of God, then God would not pronounce him righteous. Accordingly, Job is both righteous and a sinner (simul iustus, simul peccator). Who will resolve these contradictory aspects? Or where are they in agreement? Obviously at the mercy seat, where the faces of the cherubim, which otherwise are opposed to one another, are in agreement.’
Other syntactically similar constructions appear earlier, in his 1515 Lectures on Romans, starting with his scholia on ch.4, v.7:
“God is wonderful in His saints (Psalm 68:35). To Him they are at the same time both righteous and unrighteous.
And God is wonderful in the hypocrites. To Him they are at the same time both unrighteous and righteous.
(“Mirabilis Deus in sanctis suis”, Cui simul sunt Iusti et Iniusti.
Et Mirabilis in hipocritis Deus, Cui simul sunt Iniusti et Iusti.)
For inasmuch as the saints are always aware of their sin and seek righteousness from God in accord with His mercy, for this very reason they are always also regarded as righteous by God. Thus in their own sight and in truth they are unrighteous, but before God they are righteous because He reckons them so because of their confession of sin. They are actually sinners, but they are righteous by the imputation of a merciful God. They are unknowingly righteous and knowingly unrighteous; they are sinners in fact but righteous in hope… Therefore, wonderful and sweet is the mercy of God, who at the same time considers us both as sinners and nonsinners. (Igitur Mirabilis et dulcissima misericordia Dei, Qui nos simul peccatores et non-peccatores habet.) Sin remains and at the same time it does not remain. Therefore, this psalm must be understood according to its title. On the other hand, His wrath is also wonderful and severe, for at the same time He regards the ungodly as both righteous and unrighteous. And at the same time He both takes away their sin and does not take it away.” (AE 25:259-260; Lectures on Romans, 1515: ch.4, v. 7)
Later, in his gloss of ch.7, v.16-18: v.16: Now if I do, with my flesh, what I do not want, in the spirit, namely, to lust, I agree that the Law is good. For I want the good in the same way as that which says, “You shall not covet” (Ex. 20:17). Therefore I am at the same time a sinner and a righteous man, for I do evil and I hate the evil which I do. (“Ideo simul sum peccator et Iustus, Quia facio malum et odio malum, quod facio.” (WA 56:70)] v.17: So then it is no longer I, as a spiritual man in the Spirit, that do it, that is, lust, but sin, both the tinder of sin and concupiscence, which dwells within me, through my whole life. Blessed Ambrose, in his De sacramento regenerationis, says, “Sin works many things in us. Very often pleasures revive and rise again as from the grave, even when we are unwilling.” v18. For I know, through the spirit and the experience of contending against sin, that nothing good, that is, purity or lack of concupiscence, dwells within me, as a carnal man, from which it follows, that is, in my flesh, in my outer man. (AE 25:63-65)
And in his scholia on ch.7, v.18:
The sixth expression: For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. (v. 18). See how he attributes to himself flesh which is a part of him as if he himself were flesh. Thus he has said above: “I am carnal” (v. 14); and therefore he now confesses that he is not good but evil, because he does evil things. Because of his flesh he is carnal and wicked, for there is no good in him, and he does evil; because of the spirit he is spiritual and good, because he does good. Therefore we must note that the words “I want” and “I hate” refer to the spiritual man or to the spirit, but “I do” and “I work” refer to the carnal man or to the flesh. But because the same one complete man consists of flesh and spirit, therefore he attributes to the whole man both of these opposing qualities which come from the opposing parts of him. For in this way there comes about a communication of attributes, for one and the same man is spiritual and carnal, righteous and a sinner, good and evil. (Sic enim fit communio Ideomatum, Quod idem homo est spiritualis et carnalis, Iustus et peccator, Bonus et malus.) (AE 25:332-333)
These are the strongest references to “the simul” that I am aware of. As you can see, it’s a lot more complex than its haphazard use as a slogan and hashtag would suggest. Oh, well— as my college mentor always used to say, “Why read something when you can quote it?”
|1 Timothy 2:1-4|
|1. I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;||1. Adbortor igitur, ut ante omnia fiant deprecationes, obsecrationes, interpellationes, gratiarum actiones pro omnibus hominibus,|
|2. For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.||2. Pro regibus et omnibus in eminentia constitutis, ut placidam et quietam vitam degamus cum omni pietate et honestate.|
|3. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;||3. Hoc enim bonum et acceptum coram Salvatore nostro Deo,|
|4. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.||4. Qui omnes homines vult salvos fieri, et ad agnitionem veritatis venire.|
1 I exhort therefore. These exercises of godliness maintain and even strengthen us in the sincere worship and fear of God, and cherish the good conscience of which he had spoken. Not inappropriately does he make use of the word therefore, to denote an inference; for those exhortations depend on the preceding commandment.
That, above all, prayers be made. First, he speaks of public prayers, which he enjoins to be offered, not only for believers, but for all mankind. Some might reason thus with themselves: “Why should we be anxious about the salvation of unbelievers, with whom we have no connection? Is it not enough, if we, who are brethren, pray mutually for our brethren, and recommend to God the whole of his Church? for we have nothing to do with strangers.” This perverse view Paul meets, and enjoins the Ephesians to include in their prayers all men, and not to limit them to the body of the Church.
What is the difference between three out of the four kinds which Paul enumerates, I own that I do not thoroughly understand. The view given by Augustine, who twists Paul’s words so as to denote ceremonial observances customary at that time, is quite childish. A simpler exposition is given by those who think that “requests” are when we ask to be delivered from what is evil; “prayers,” when we desire to obtain something profitable; and “supplications,” when we deplore before God injuries which we have endured. Yet for my own part, I do not draw the difference so ingeniously; or, at least, I prefer another way of distinguishing them.
Προσευχαὶ is the Greek word for every kind of prayer; and δεήσεις denotes those forms of petitions in which something definite is asked. In this way the two words agree with each other, as genus and species. ᾿Εντεύξεις is the word commonly used by Paul to signify those prayers which we offer for one another. The word used for it in the Latin Translation is “intercessiones,” intercessions. Yet Plato, in his second dialogue, styled Alcibiades, uses it in a different sense, to moan a definite petition offered by a person for himself; and in the very inscription of the book, and in many passages, he shows plainly, as I have said, that προσευχὴ is a general term. 31HYPERLINK \l “fna_iii.iv.i-p14.2”
But not to dwell longer than is proper on a matter that is not essential, Paul, in my own opinion, simply enjoins that,
whenever public prayers are offered, petitions and supplications should be made for all men, even for those who at present are not at all related to us.
And yet this heaping up of words is not superfluous; but Paul appears to me purposely to join together three terms for the same purpose, in order to recommend more warmly, and urge more strongly, earnest and constant prayer. We know now sluggish we are in this religious duty; and therefore we need not wonder if, for the purpose of arousing us to it, the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of Paul, employs various excitements.
And thanksgivings. As to this term, there is no obscurity; for, as he bids us make supplication to God for the salvation of unbelievers, so also to give thanks on account of their prosperity and success. That wonderful goodness which he shews every day, when
“he maketh his sun to rise on the good and the bad,”
is worthy of being praised; and our love of our neighbor ought also to extend to those who are unworthy of it.
2 For kings He expressly mentions kings and other magistrates because, more than all others, they might be hated by Christians. All the magistrates who existed at that time were so many sworn enemies of Christ; and therefore this thought might occur to them, that they ought not to pray for those who devoted all their power and all their wealth to fight against the kingdom of Christ, the extension of which is above all things desirable. The apostle meets this difficulty, and expressly enjoins Christians to pray for them also. And, indeed, the depravity of men is not a reason why God’s ordinance should not be loved. Accordingly, seeing that God appointed magistrates and princes for the preservation of mankind, however much they fall short of the divine appointment, still we must not on that account cease to love what belongs to God, and to desire that it may remain in force. That is the reason why believers, in whatever country they live, must not only obey the laws and the government of magistrates, but likewise in their prayers supplicate God for their salvation. Jeremiah said to the Israelites,
“Pray for the peace of Babylon, for in their peace ye shall have peace.” (Jeremiah 29:7.)
The universal doctrine is this, that we should desire the continuance and peaceful condition of those governments which have been appointed by God.
That we may lead a peaceful and quiet life By exhibiting the advantage, he holds out an additional inducement, for he enumerates the fruits which are yielded to us by a well regulated government.
The first is a peaceful life; for magistrates are armed with the sword, in order to keep us in peace. If they did not restrain the hardihood of wicked men, every place would be full of robberies and murders. The true way of maintaining peace, therefore, is, when every one obtains what is his own, and the violence of the more powerful is kept under restraint.
With all godliness and decency
The second fruit is the preservation of godliness, that is, when magistrates give themselves to promote religion, to maintain the worship of God, and to take care that sacred ordinances be observed with due reverence.
The third fruit is the care of public decency; for it is also the business of magistrates to prevent men from abandoning themselves to brutal filthiness or flagitious conduct, but, on the contrary, to promote decency and moderation.
If these three things are taken away, what will be the condition of human life? If, therefore, we are at all moved by solicitude about the peace of society, or godliness, or decency, let us remember that we ought also to be solicitous about those through whose agency we obtain such distinguished benefits.
Hence we conclude, that fanatics, who wish to have magistrates taken away, are destitute of all humanity, and breathe nothing but cruel barbarism. How different is it to say, that we ought to pray for kings, in order that justice and decency may prevail, and to say, that not only the name of kingly power, but all government, is opposed to religion! We have the Spirit of God for the Author of the former sentiment, and therefore the latter must be from the Devil.
If any one ask, Ought we to pray for kings, from whom we obtain none of these advantages?
I answer, the object of our prayer is, that, guided by the Spirit of God, they may begin to impart to us those benefits of which they formerly deprived us. It is our duty, therefore, not only to pray for those who are already worthy, but we must pray to God that he may make bad men good. We must always hold by this principle, that magistrates were appointed by God for the protection of religion, as well as of the peace and decency of society, in exactly the same manner that the earth is appointed to produce food. Accordingly, in like manner as, when we pray to God for our daily bread, we ask him to make the earth fertile by his blessing; so in those benefits of which we have already spoken, we ought to consider the ordinary means which he has appointed by his providence for bestowing them.
To this must be added, that, if we are deprived of those benefits the communication of which Paul assigns to magistrates, that is through our own fault. It is the wrath of God that renders magistrates useless to us, in the same manner that it renders the earth barren; and, therefore, we ought to pray for the removal of those chastisements which have been brought upon us by our sins.
On the other hand, princes, and all who hold the office of magistracy, are here reminded of their duty. It is not enough, if, by giving to every one what is due, they restrain all acts of violence, and maintain peace; but they must likewise endeavor to promote religion, and to regulate morals by wholesome discipline. The exhortation of David (Psalm 2:12) to “kiss the Son,” and the prophecy of Isaiah, that they shall be nursing — fathers of the Church, (Isaiah 49:23,) are not without meaning; and, therefore, they have no right to flatter themselves, if they neglect to lend their assistance to maintain the worship of God.
3 For this is good and acceptable before God. After having taught that what he enjoined is useful, he now brings forward a stronger argument — that it pleases God; for when we know what is His will, this ought to have the force of all possible reasons. By good he means what is proper and lawful; and, since the will of God is the rule by which all our duties must be regulated, he proves that it is right because it pleases God.
This passage is highly worthy of observation; and,
First, we draw from it the general doctrine, that the true rule for acting well and properly is to look to the will of God, and not to undertake anything but what he approves.
Next, there is likewise laid down a rule for godly prayer, that we should follow God as our leader, and that all our prayer should be regulated by his will and command. If due force had been allowed to this argument, the prayers of Papists, in the present day, would not have abounded with so many corruptions. For how will they prove that they have the authority of God for having recourse to dead men as their intercessors, or for praying for the dead? In short, in all their form of prayer, what can they point out that is pleasing to God?
4 Who wishes that all men may be saved.
Here follows a confirmation of the second argument; and what is more reasonable than that all our prayers should be in conformity with this decree of God?
And may come to the acknowledgment of the truth.
Lastly, he demonstrates that God has at heart the salvation of all, because he invites all to the acknowledgment of his truth. This belongs to that kind of argument in which the cause is proved from the effect; for, if “the gospel is the power of God for salvation to every one that believeth,” (Romans 1:16,) it is certain that all those to whom the gospel is addressed are invited to the hope of eternal life.
In short, as the calling is a proof of the secret election, so they whom God makes partakers of his gospel are admitted by him to possess salvation; because the gospel reveals to us the righteousness of God, which is a sure entrance into life.
Hence we see the childish folly of those who represent this passage to be opposed to predestination.
“If God” say they, “wishes all men indiscriminately to be saved, it is false that some are predestined by his eternal purpose to salvation, and others to perdition.”
They might have had some ground for saying this, if Paul were speaking here about individual men; although even then we should not have wanted the means of replying to their argument; for, although the will of God ought not to be judged from his secret decrees, when he reveals them to us by outward signs, yet it does not therefore follow that he has not determined with himself what he intends to do as to every individual man.
But I say nothing on that subject, because it has nothing to do with this passage; f
or the Apostle simply means, that there is no people and no rank in the world that is excluded from salvation; because God wishes that the gospel should be proclaimed to all without exception.
Now the preaching of the gospel gives life; and hence he justly concludes that God invites all equally to partake salvation.
But the present discourse relates to classes of men, and not to individual persons; for his sole object is, to include in this number princes and foreign nations.
That God wishes the doctrine of salvation to be enjoyed by them as well as others, is evident from the passages already quoted, and from other passages of a similar nature. Not without good reason was it said, “Now, kings, understand,” and again, in the same Psalm, “I will give thee the Gentiles for an inheritance, and the ends of the earth for a possession.” (Psalm 2:8-10.)
In a word, Paul intended to shew that it is our duty to consider, not what kind of persons the princes at that time were, but what God wished them to be. Now the duty arising out of that love which we owe to our neighbor is, to be solicitous and to do our endeavor for the salvation of all whom God includes in his calling, and to testify this by godly prayers.
With the same view does he call God our Savior; for whence do we obtain salvation but from the undeserved kindness of God? Now the same God who has already made us partakers of salvation may sometime extend his grace to them also. He who hath already drawn us to him may draw them along with us. The Apostle takes for granted that God will do so, because it had been thus foretold by the predictions of the prophets, concerning all ranks and all nations.
MacArthur: The tension between Calvinism and the Gospel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHeAPdzQUNI