JeremiahCry Ministries

The Gospel By Paul Washer

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Do God's Commands Imply the Ability to Obey? Quotes from Martin Luther

Do God's Commands Imply the Ability to Obey?
Quotes from Martin Luther

Luther's Bondage of the Will is one of the most important books every written. It is also a delightful read. l I found myself underlining choice quotes on almost every other page. I hope you find the following quotes to be as beneficial as I did.

For context, Luther, is responding to some of Erasmus' assertions in support of man's natural moral ability to obey the gospel. Erasmus presupposed that all of God's commands to obey proved that we had the "free-will" or moral ability to do so. Erasmus would often ask, "if we can do nothing, what is the purpose of all the laws, precepts, threats and promises in the Bible? All these precepts are useless if nothing is attributed to the human will. If it is not in the power of every man to keep what is commanded, all the exhortations of Scripture are of necessity useless," Erasmus would say. Luther responded by saying Paul gives the answer: 'by the law is the knowledge of sin'. With great wit and irony exposes why free will is an erroneous, unscriptural doctrine which, ultimately, undermines the gospel itself. Erasmus would continue to show Luther the commands of Scripture in an attempt to prove man had the native ability to believe the gospel on his own. But as Dr. Luther said to Erasmus, "when you are finished with all your commands and exhortations ... I’ll write Romans.3:20 over the top of it all" ("...through the law comes knowledge of sin."). In other words, the commands exist to show, not our moral ability, but our inability. This includes God's command of all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel, an impossible act of will apart from a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit uniting us to Christ .. so that in so far as the will is good at all, it is so from God, not from ourselves. The following are some quotes from Dr. Luther to this end:

"For if man has lost his freedom, and is forced to serve sin, and cannot will good, what conclusion can more justly be drawn concerning him, than that he sins and wills evil necessarily?" Martin Luther BW pg. 149

"...'if thou art willing' is a verb in the subjunctive mood, which asserts nothing...a conditional statement asserts nothing indicatively." "if thou art willing", "if thou hear", "if thou do" declare, not man's ability, but his duty. pg 157

"the commandments are not given inappropriately or pointlessly; but in order that through them the proud, blind man may learn the plague of his impotence, should he try to do as he is commanded." pg. 160

Speaking to Erasmus, "Throughout your treatment you forget that you said that 'free-will' can do nothing without grace, and you prove that 'free-will' can do all things without grace! Your inferences and analogies "For if man has lost his freedom, and is forced to serve sin, and cannot will good, what conclusion can more justly be drawn concerning him, than that he sins and wills evil necessarily?" Martin Luther BW pg. 149

"Even grammarians and schoolboys on street corners know that nothing more is signified by verbs in the imperative mood than what ought to be done, and that what is done or can be done should be expressed by words in the indicative. How is it that you theologians are twice as stupid as schoolboys, in that as soon as you get hold of a single imperative verb you infer an indicative meaning, as though the moment a thing is commanded it is done, or can be done? pg 159

"The passages of Scripture you cite are imperative; and they prove and establish nothing about the ability of man, but only lay down what is and what not to be done." pg 161

"Does it follow from: 'turn ye' that therefore you can turn? Does it follow from "'Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart' (Deut 6.5) that therefore you can love with all your heart? What do arguments of this kind prove, but the 'free-will' does not need the grace of God, but can do all things by its own power...But it does not follow from this that man is converted by his own power, nor do the words say so; they simply say: "if thou wilt turn, telling man what he should do. When he knows it, and sees that he cannot do it, he will ask whence he may find ability to do it..." 164

"By the law is the knowledge of sin' [Rom 3:20], so the word of grace comes only to those who are distressed by a sense of sin and tempted to despair." pg. 168

As to why some are touched by the law and others not, so that some receive and others scorn the offer of grace...[this is the] hidden will of God, Who, according to His own counsel, ordains such persons as He wills to receive and partake of the mercy preached and offered." pg. 169

The "imperative or hypothetical passages, or wishes, by which is signified, not what we can do, or do do...but what we ought to do, and what is required of us, so that our impotence may be made known to us and the knowledge of sin may be given to us." 174

God Incarnate says; 'I would, and thou wouldst not." God Incarnate, I repeat, was sent for this purpose, to will, say, do, suffer and offer to all me, all that is necessary for salvation; albeit He offends many who, being abandoned or hardened by God's secret will of Majesty, do not receive Him thus willing, speaking, doing, and offering. As John says: "The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness com comprehendeth it not' (John 1.5)

And again: "He came unto his own, and His own received Him not. (v. 11)"The law indicates the impotence of man and the saving power of God..."if any man will come after me': 'he that wills to save his life'; 'if ye love me'; 'if ye shall continue'. In sum, as I have said-let every occurrence of the conjunction 'if', and all imperative verbs, be collected together (so we may help the Diatribe...) [indicating that all commands to believe or follow Christ are conditional, not stating man's ability]

"Apart from grace, 'free-will' by itself is Satan's kingdom in all men." p. 201

Let all the 'free-will' in the world do all it can with all its strength; it will never give rise to a single instance of ability to avoid being hardened if God does not give the Spirit, or of meriting mercy if it is left to its own strength." p. 202

"But if the foreknowledge and omnipotence of God are conceded, it naturally follows by irrefutable logic that we were not made by ourselves, nor live by ourselves, nor do anything by ourselves, by by his omnipotence. Seeing that He foreknew that we should be what we are, and now makes us such, and moves and governs us as such, how, pray, can it be pretended that it is open to us to become something other than that which He foreknew and is now bringing about? So the foreknowledge and omnipotence of God are diametrically opposed to our 'free-will'...This omnipotence and foreknowledge of God, I repeat, utterly destroy the doctrine of 'free-will'." pg. 216-217

"omnipotence and foreknowledge of God, I repeat, utterly destroy the doctrine of 'free-will'...doubtless it gives the greatest possible offense to common sense or natural reason, that God, Who is proclaimed as being full of mercy and goodness, and so on, should of His own mere will abandon, harden and damn men, as though He delighted in the sins and great eternal torments of such poor wretches. it seems an iniquitous, cruel, intolerable thought to think of God; and it is this that has been such a stumbling block to so many great men down through the ages. And who would not stumble at it? I have stumbled at it myself more than once, down to the deepest pit of despair, so that I wished I had never been made a man. (That was before I knew how health-giving that despair was, and how close to grace.)" Luther BW pg. 217

" was not of the merits of Jacob or Esau, 'but of Him that Calleth that it was said of Sara: the elder shall serve the younger' Paul is discussing whether they attained to what was spoken of them by the power or merits of 'free-will"; and he proves they they did not, but that Jacob attained what Esau did not solely by the grace of "Him that Calleth"224

Now, since on God's own testimony, men are 'flesh', they can savour of nothing but the flesh; therefore 'free-will can avail only to sin. And if, while the Spirit of God is calling and teaching among them, they go from bad to worse, what could they do when left to themselves, without the Spirit of God? Your [Erasmus] observation that Moses is speaking of the men of that age is not to the point at all. The same is true of all men, for all are 'flesh'; as Christ says, 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh' (john 3:6) How grave a defect this is, He Himself there teaches, when he says: 'Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (v. 5)...I call a man ungodly if he is without the Spirit of God; for Scripture says that the Spirit is given to justify the ungodly. As Christ distinguished the Spirit from the flesh, saying: "that which is born of the flesh is flesh', and adds that which is born of the flesh cannot enter the kingdom of God', it obviously follows that whatever is flesh is ungodly, under God's wrath, and a stranger to His kingdom. And if it is a stranger to God's kingdom and Spirit, it follows of necessity that it is under the kingdom and spirit of Satan. For there is no middle kingdom between the kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan, which are ever at war with each other. 241, 253

"I say that man without the grace of God nonetheless remains the general omnipotence of God who effects, and moves and impels all things in a necessary, infallible course; but the effect of man's being carried along is nothing--that is, avails nothing in God's sight, nor is reckoned to be anything but sin. 265

"the Baptist's word means that man can receive nothing unless given him from above; so that free-will is nothing!"

I say that man, before he is renewed into the new creation of the Spirit's kingdom, does and endeavours nothing to prepare himself for that new creation and kingdom, and when he is re-created has does and endeavors nothing towards his perseverance in that kingdom; but the Spirit alone works both blessings in us, regenerating us, and preserving us when regenerate, without ourselves..." 268

"All the passages in the Holy Scriptures that mention assistance are they that do away with "free-will", and these are countless...For grace is needed, and the help of grace is given, because "free-will" can do nothing."

"In Rom. 8, [Paul is] dividing the human race into two, 'flesh' and 'spirit', as Christ does in John 3 (v. 6) ... It stands good then, that those who lack the Spirit are in the flesh, and under Satan. Now let us see that Paul thinks about endeavor and the power of 'free-will' in carnal men. "They that are in the flesh cannot please God.' Again, "The carnal mind is death.' Again: 'The carnal mind is enmity against God.' Once more: "It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.' (vv. 5-8). Let the guardian of 'free-will' answer the following question: How can endeavors towards good be made by that which is death, and displeases God, and is enmity against God, and disobeys God, and cannot obey him?...Paul here calls everything without the Spirit 'flesh', as I have shown. Therefore, the highest virtues of the best men are "in the flesh"; that is, the are dead, and at enmity with God, not subject to God's law nor able to be so, and not pleasing God. " pg. 300

"'Free-will' is nothing but the slave of sin, death and Satan, not doing anything, nor able to do or attempt anything, but evil!" pg. 301

"...not only that the works and efforts of 'free-will' are unavailing, but that even the very word of the gospel (of which he is here speaking [John 6:44]) is heard in vain, unless the Father Himself speaks within, and teaches, and draws. 'No man, no man can come,' he says, and what he is talking about is your 'power whereby man can make some endeavor towards Christ.' In things that pertain to salvation, He asserts that power to be null ... the ungodly does not 'come', even when he hears the word, unless the Father draws and teaches him inwardly; which He does by shedding abroad His Spirit." pg. 311

Quoted from Martin Luther's Bondage of the Will

A Christ-Centered Message - J. Randall Easter

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Problem Is You Won't Repent by Tim Conway

John 5:24-29 (ESV)

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

You Don't Look So Good

You Don't Look So Good: "You Don't Look So Good
When humorist Erma Bombeck saw her new passport photo, she gasped, 'Anyone who looks like that is too sick to travel!' Getting a good look at yourself can be deflating to say the least.
It might surprise you to know that when you look in the mirror in your bathroom you don't really see yourself. You see the exact opposite of yourself. Your left ear is on the right side and your right ear is on the left side. Spiritually, most people think that they are looking pretty good, compared to others. But are we seeing the truth?
Physicist David Thomas made a curved mirror in 1975 that actually reflects the correct image of the one staring at it. The Bible is that kind of mirror for the soul. When you look at it, you will see exactly what you are like before God.
What does the Bible say you look like?
Paul gathered some Old Testament Scriptures to make an accurate portrait for us. He said,
'There is no one righteous, not even one;
There is no one who understands, no one who searches for God.
All have turned away and together become worthless.
There is no one who does good, not even one.'

You're not righteous. Jesus once called some of the most religious people of His day, 'white-washed tombs filled with dead men's bones'—not very flattering, but perfectly accurate from the Holy One's perspective. One man may appear to be righteous before another man, but before God there is no one truly righteous. The only righteousness that God accepts is His own. To stand before God in our own righteousness is certain rejection.
You have no understanding. A professor may give a lecture on 'The Nature of Biblical Conversion' and state every fact accurately, yet not understand. When he comes into the teacher's lounge he ridicules the beliefs he just articulated. Sh"

The Third Commandment A.W.Pink

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain” (Ex. 20:7). As the second commandment concerns the manner in which God is to be worshipped (namely, according to His revealed will), so this one bids us worship Him with that frame of spirit which is agreeable to the dignity and solemnity of such an exercise and the majesty of Him with whom we have to do: that is, with the utmost sincerity, humility and reverence. “Fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD” (Deut. 28:58). O, what high thoughts we ought to entertain of such a Being! In what holy awe should we stand of Him! “The end of this Precept is that the Lord will have the majesty of His name to be held inviolably sacred by us. Whatever we think and whatever we say of Him should savour of His excellency, correspond to the sacred sublimity of His name, and tend to the exaltation of His magnificence” (Calvin). Any thing pertaining to God should be spoken of with the greatest sobriety.

Let us first endeavour to point out the scope and comprehensiveness of this commandment. By the Name of the Lord our God is signified God Himself as He is made known to us, including everything through which He has been pleased to reveal Himself: His Word, His titles, His attributes, His ordinances, His works. The Name of God stands for His very nature and being, as in Psa. 20:1; 135:3; John 1:12 etc. Sometimes the Name of God is taken for the entire system of Divine Truth: “we will walk in the Name of the Lord our God” (Micah 4:5) — in that way of Truth and worship which He has appointed. “I have manifested Thy Name unto the men Thou gavest Me” (John 17:6) — instructed them in the Heavenly doctrine. But usually, and more specifically, the Name of God refers to that by which He is called and made known to us. To “take His Name” means to employ or make use of the same, as the Object of our thoughts or the Subject of our speech. Not to take His Name “in vain” is the negative way of saying it must be held in the utmost awe and used holily in thought and word and deed.

It will thus be seen that this Commandment requires us to make mention of the Name of God. Since He has given us so many and gracious discoveries of Himself, it would evince the vilest contempt of the greatest of privileges if we expressed no regard to those discoveries and made no use of the same. Those who make no religious profession and desire not to be instructed in those things which relate to the Divine glory are guilty of thus slighting the Most High. But we make use of God’s Name in public worship, in private prayer, and when taking religious oaths or making solemn vows. When we draw nigh to God in prayer, we should adore the Divine perfections with a becoming humility, as did Abraham (Gen. 18:27), Jacob (Gen. 32:10), Moses (Ex. 15:11), Solomon (1 Kings 8:33), Hezekiah (2 Kings 9:25), Daniel (9:4), the inhabitants of Heaven (Rev. 4:10, 11). Negatively, this Commandment prohibits all dishonouring thoughts of God, all needless, flippant, profane or blasphemous mention of Him, any irreverent use of His Word, any murmurings against His Providence, any abuse of anything by which He has made Himself known.

Let us now point out more specifically some of the ways in which God’s name may be taken in vain. First, when it is used without propounding to ourselves a due end. And there are but two ends which can warrant our use of any of His names, titles or attributes: His glory and the edification of ourselves and others. Whatsoever is besides these is frivolous and evil, affording no sufficient ground for us to make mention of such a great and holy Name, which is so full of glory and majesty. Unless our speech be designedly directed to the advancement of the Divine glory or the promotion of the benefit of those to whom we speak, we are not justified in having God’s ineffable Name upon our lips. He accounts Himself highly insulted when we mention His name to idle purpose.

God’s Name is taken in vain by us when we use it without due consideration and reverence. Whensoever we make mention of Him before whom the seraphim veil their faces, we ought seriously and solemnly to ponder His infinite majesty and glory, and bow our hearts in deepest prostration before that Name. They who think and speak of the great God promiscuously and at random, how can they use His Name with reverence when all the rest of their discourse is filled with froth and vanity That Name is not to be sported with and tossed to and fro upon every light tongue. O my reader, form the habit of solemnly considering whose Name it is you are about to utter, that it is the Name of Him who is present with thee, hearing thee pronounce it, who is jealous of His honour, and who will dreadfully avenge Himself upon those who have slighted Him.

God’s Name is used in vain when it is employed hypocritically, when we profess to be His people and are not. Israel of old was guilty of this sin: “Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which sware by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness” (Isa. 48:1) — they used the Name of God, but did not obey the revelation contained therein, and so violated this Third Commandment: compare Matt. 7:22, 23. When using the Name of God, we must do so in a way which is true to its meaning and to its implications, otherwise He says to us, “Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). In like manner, we are guilty of this awful sin when we perform holy duties lightly and mechanically, our affections not being in them. Prayer without practice is blasphemy, and to speak to God with our lips while our hearts are far from Him is but a mocking of Him and an increasing of our condemnation.

God’s Name is taken in vain when we sware lightly and irreverently, using the Name of God with as little respect as we would show to that of a man, or wl1en we sware falsely and are guilty of perjury. When we are placed on oath and we attest that to be true which we do not know to be true, or which we know to be false, we are guilty of one of the gravest sins which man can possibly commit, for he has solemnly called upon the great God to witness that which the father of lies has prompted him to speak. “He that swareth in the earth shall swan by the God of Truth” (Isa. 65:16), and therefore it behooves him to consider well whether what he deposeth be true or not. Alas, oaths have become so excessively multiplied among us — being interwoven, as it were, into the body politic — and so generally disregarded, that the enormity of this offence is scarcely considered. Let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oaths, for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord” (Zech. 8:17).

And what shall be said of that vast throng of profane swearers who pollute our language and wound our ears, by a vile mixture of execrations and blasphemies in their common conversation! “Their throat is an open sepulchre . . . the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness” (Rom. 3:13, 14). Utterly vain is their thoughtless plea that they mean no harm: vain their excuse that all their companions do the same: vain their plea that it is merely to relieve their feelings — what a madness is it when men anger thee, to strike against God and provoke Him far more than others can provoke thee! But though their fellows do not censure, the police arrest, or the magistrate punish them (as the law of our land requires), yet The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain.” “As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him . . . as he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water” (Psa. 109:17, 18). God is dreadfully incensed by this sin, and in the common commission of this Heaven-insulting crime our country has incurred terrible guilt.

It has become almost impossible to walk the streets or enter mixed company without hearing the sacred Name of God treated with blasphemous contempt. The novels of the day, the stage, and even the wireless, are terrible offenders, and without doubt, this is one of the fearful sins against Himself for which God is now pouring out His judgments upon us. Of old, He said unto Israel, “Because of swearing (cursing) the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil” (Jer. 23:10). And He is still the same: “The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain.” Sore punishment shall be his portion, if not in his life, then most assuredly so, eternally so, in the life to come. A .W.P.


The Moral Law a Rule of Obedience by Samuel Bolton (1606-1654)

The Moral Law a Rule of Obedience by Samuel Bolton (1606-1654):


by Samuel Bolton

QUERY I: Are Christians freed from the moral law as a rule of obedience?
Our text (John 8.36) is the main basis whereon this doctrine of Christian freedom is built. But many have endeavoured to build their own superstructures, hay and stubble, upon it, which the foundation will never bear. Indeed, there are so many opinions which plead patronage from this doctrine that I conceive it is my great work to vindicate so excellent a doctrine as this is-true Christian freedom - from those false, and I may say licentious, doctrines which are fastened and fathered upon it. I must show you that neither this doctrine, nor yet this text, will afford countenance to, or contribute any strength to the positions and opinions which some would seem to deduce from it and build upon it.

Human Nature in its Fourfold State

Human Nature in its Fourfold State:


'For I know that you will bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living.' Job 30:23.

I come now to discourse of man's eternal state, into which he enters by death. Of this entrance, Job takes a solemn serious view, in the words of the text, which contain a general truth, and a particular application of it. The general truth is supposed; namely, that all men must, by death, remove out of this world; they must die. But where must they go? They must go to the house appointed for all living; to the grave, that darksome, gloomy, solitary house, in the land of forgetfulness. Wherever the body is laid up until the resurrection, there, as to a dwelling-house, death brings us home. While we are in the body, we are but in a lodging-house, in an inn, on our way homeward. When we come to our grave, we come to our home, our long home, Eccl. 12:5.

All living must be inhabitants of this house, good and bad, old and young. Man's life is a stream, running into death's devouring deeps. Those who now live in palaces, must leave them, and go home to this house; and those who have not where to lay their heads, shall thus have a house at length. It is appointed for all, by Him whose counsel shall stand. This appointment cannot be shifted; it is a law which mortals cannot transgress. Job's application of this general truth to himself, is expressed in these words: 'For I know that you will bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living.' He knew, that he must meet with death; that his soul and body must part; that God, who had set the time, would certainly see it kept. Sometimes Job was inviting death to come to him, and carry him home to its house; yes, he was in the hazard of running to it before the time"