John Calvin Institutes 3.2.34

Indeed the Word of God is like the sun, shining upon all those to whom it is proclaimed, but with no effect among the blind. Now, all of us are blind by nature in this respect… Accordingly, it cannot penetrate into our minds unless the Spirit, as the inner teacher, through his illumination makes entry for it.

John Calvin Institutes 3.2.34.

Ask Pastor John App

This is a great source for some short audio snippets that answer some common questions and topics in under 10 minutes. There’s over a couple hundred clips, all given by Pastor John Piper from Desiring God Ministries. This app is free and worth a look.

Ask Pastor John Screen 2

Download the Ask Pastor John App on iTunes

Desiring God Online is a great resource for learning and reading material on the word of God, which is all free and available.

(I have no affiliation or connection to Desiring God, I am just a supporter of their beliefs and material.)

Spiritual Gifts – Prophecy

Part 2 from Brian Schwertly’s writing on the spiritual gifts. This article is comprehensive in defining prophecy and its function. Here’s his introduction to this chapter:

We will learn much about New Testament prophets as we interact with the very popular Pentecostal view of this subject. Charismatic churches teach that the prophetic gift is still in operation today. That is, there are men and women who are receiving direct revelations from God. However, most Charismatic churches have a very schizophrenic view regarding this gift. On the one hand, they claim that divine revelation is not closed but continues. Yet, on the other hand they want to maintain the unique authority of Scripture. Thus, what is supposedly direct revelation from God is not treated the same as the Bible. Modern prophecy is treated as a secondary form of revelation that cannot be trusted. In Charismatic churches prophecy is not treated as an authoritative or binding “thus saith the Lord,” but as a vague exhortation or simply an exciting part of the service (like a music soloist). Charismatic intellectuals have even attempted to justify existing Charismatic practice by developing the notion that New Testament prophecy is different than Old Testament prophecy; that it is a lesser form of revelation. Is New Testament prophecy different than Old Testament prophecy? Is it somehow a lesser form of revelation? In order to answer these questions, we must first ask what is prophecy?

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Why the Gift of Prophecy Is Not the Usual Way of Knowing God’s Will

A sermon given by John Piper that distinguishes that the gift of prophecy is different to the prophecy that is used in the NT; scripture is super ordinate and the gift of prophecy is subordinate. Paul regards this as a gift to the church that is good for our edifying, hence we must wrestle with how it functions today.

Man’s Utter Inability to Rescue Himself

By Thomas Boston
The following article has been extracted from Boston’s classic work Human Nature In Its Fourfold State (Chapter 3, pp. 183-197).


We have now had a view of the total corruption of man’s nature, and that load of wrath which lies on him, that gulf of misery into which he is plunged in his natural state. But there is one part of his misery that deserves particular consideration; namely, his utter inability to recover himself, the knowledge of which is necessary for the due humiliation of a sinner. What I design here, is only to propose a few things, whereby to convince the unregenerate man of this his inability, that he may see an absolute need of Christ and of the power of His grace.

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Shai Linne – Q&A

Verse 1
Who is God? God is the universe’s Creator
And Sustainer plus the only Savior, there is no one greater
He triune, holy, omnipotent, omniscient, absolute
Loving, sovereign and righteous are a few of His attributes
How do we know this? Well, we know this from the Bible
Where God has revealed Himself- anything else is just an idol
What’s the Bible about? Man’s complete ruin in sin
And what God has done in Christ to bring us to Him again
What is sin? Sin is the breaking of God’s law
Plus our condition, which means from birth we all got flaws
What’s the result? The result is by nature we’re God’s enemies
And must pay the penalty unless God provides the remedy
What the remedy? The remedy is the cross of Christ
Where He suffered all the strikes for the lawless type
I’ve been rescued by the Lamb, I’m convinced that He’s risen
And blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven!


Just fall back, and with the eyes of faith
Behold the beauty of surprising grace
Because the Lamb has died, third day He had to rise
He’s magnified- God’s wrath is satisfied
Just fall back- there’s an atonement now
The cross of Christ is holy ground
Because the Lamb has died, third day He had to rise
He’s magnified- God’s wrath is satisfied

Verse 2
Regeneration- the Holy Spirit’s true work in His love
To the elect, who receive new birth from above
Expiation- expiation means God’s removed my filthiness
The old testament type was the goat into the wilderness
Redemption- we’ve been freed from slavery to sin
And His very own blood is the price He paid, my friend
Propitiation- Propitiation means since the Lamb has died
His work is finished- God’s wrath is satisfied
Adoption- adoption means God is now my Father
I got the hottest Poppa and by the Spirit holler Abba
Reconciliation means there’s no more enmity
God is now a friend to me, we’re no longer enemies
Justification- God declares us righteous
Sanctification- we’re being made into His likeness
Glorification- that’s what happens at the finish
When God conforms believers perfectly to Christ’s image!


Verse 3
God’s grace is magnificent, He slayed His innocent
Son- through faith and repentance we get the benefits
What is faith? Faith is a gift from God- when we receive this
We trust and treasure the person and finished work of Jesus
Repentance? Repentance is turning from your sin
And trusting Christ as the Spirit cleanses you within
What is grace? Oh, grace is unmerited favor
Our inheritance major ‘cause we cherish the Savior
Right, and if I may quote again, we were doomed with Satan
But believers get Jesus’ righteousness through imputation
Imputation? God takes Jesus’ righteousness amount
Through faith He credits it into the Christian’s account
Anything else? Well, I guess this overview must suffice
But none of this is possible apart from union with Christ
And finally, once you know the ways of the Lord than the
only thing that you can say is Soli Deo Gloria!


Two Wills in God

Sam Storms – Nov 8, 2006 

Series: Theology of Jonathan Edwards

“When a distinction is made between God’s revealed will and his secret will, or his will of command and decree, will is certainly in that distinction taken in two senses. His will of decree, is not his will in the same sense as his will of command is. Therefore, it is no difficulty at all to suppose, that the one may be otherwise than the other: his will in both senses is his inclination. But when we say he wills virtue, or loves virtue, or the happiness of his creature; thereby is intended, that virtue, or the creature’s happiness, absolutely and simply considered, is agreeable to the inclination of his nature. His will of decree is, his inclination to a thing, not as to that thing absolutely and simply, but with respect to the universality of things, that have been, are, or shall be. So God, though he hates a thing as it is simply, may incline to it with reference to the universality of things. Though he hates sin in itself, yet he may will to permit it, for the greater promotion of holiness in this universality, including all things, and at all times. So, though he has no inclination to a creature’s misery, considered absolutely, yet he may will it, for the greater promotion of happiness in this universality. God inclines to excellency, which is harmony, but yet he may incline to suffer that which is unharmonious in itself, for the promotion of universal harmony, or for the promoting of the harmony that there is in the universality, and making it shine the brighter” (Misc., 527-28).

Again, he insists that

“there is no inconsistency or contrariety between the decretive and preceptive will of God. It is very consistent to suppose that God may hate the thing itself, and yet will that it should come to pass. Yea, I do not fear to assert that the thing itself may be contrary to God’s will, and yet that it may be agreeable to his will that it should come to pass, because his will, in the one case, has not the same object with his will in the other case. To suppose God to have contrary wills towards the same object, is a contradiction; but it is not so, to suppose him to have contrary wills about different objects. The thing itself, and that the thing should come to pass, are different, as is evident; because it is possible that the one may be good and the other may be evil. The thing itself may be evil, and yet it may be a good thing that it should come to pass. It may be a good thing that an evil thing should come to pass; and oftentimes it most certainly and undeniably is so, and proves so” (Misc., 542-43).


The Gospel is Shocking

A few notes and inspirations from my Professor, Dr. Darian Lockett

To my brothers and sisters who are in Christ, I pray you hear God’s voice through my words and may the Holy Spirit guide you:

You know what is actually quite shocking? The gospel. The gospel isn’t just something we get through as a stage in our walk; not simply “we know it, now we can focus on bigger and greater things” or “I heard it and I believe”

But rather, the gospel is something that we live in everyday.

We are broken and we need Jesus.

Why is it shocking? Because the deeper the message of the gospel seeps into you, the more you begin to realize just how much you fall short of the glory of God; we are so broken.

The deeper we go with Jesus, the more we need Jesus.

We actually discover that we are more broken than we thought we were.

The gospel reveals more on how bad we are.

Even our efforts are seen as filthy rags before God, what can we do?

The gospel is shocking.

How can we stop ourselves from just giving up?

Even though we feel like we are too far away from God, even as we go deeper and deeper – realizing we are more broken than yesterday, there is only one answer.

We need the cross more.

In 1 John, the mistake the readers make was the self-deception, they believed they “have no sin” (1 John 1:8) But we do have sin, we are still messed up. Yes, we are transformed by His spirit now but our perfection is yet to come.

Repeatedly in our lives we are to repent and believe, repent and believe…

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

We are striving for holiness with God’s help but who is the perfect Christian?

Who is the perfect other than Jesus? Surely no-one or yourself came to mind but yet our expectations of others resemble near perfection.

We all make mistakes, we all still sin. Even in our transformed self now, even under Christ, we are still broken. We are crippled creatures, crippled till we meet Jesus. But yet, we expect that we’ll be healed completely in our lifetime.

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

And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Rom 8:30)

Amen, that he has began a good work in us. Amen, that he has transformed us now and continually working in us. Final amen, that He will also complete His work in the future.

Brothers and Sisters, I hope you don’t mistake this as an endorsement for wallowing in our brokenness. I by no means want to encourage the notion of “we are broken and still sinning even in Christ”.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:2)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Cor 5:17)

We are a new creation and our old self has died with Christ on the cross. We should live with this identity by all means but to remember that the work in us is still a continuation. “…continue to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12b)

Claiming we are not broken is self-deception. Claiming that we are perfect now is self-deception. We should be more thoughtful on this subject.

(What scares me, just as much as it should scare you, is the idea of self-deception. There could be things in our lives that we are unaware of and actively still sinning. Nothing but the word and the Holy Spirit can convict us. Something to think about.)

To keep it real, we have to understand what it means to be real. We are messed up and we are broken, but we are continually transformed now. We don’t live perfect lives, even if we try – it becomes rags. We screw up and we make mistakes. But thank God for the cross, for which we increasingly need daily.

“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” 1 Cor 9:16

A Reformed View of God’s Love

by Rev. Chris Connors  (Manasquan Reformed Bible Church)

John Knox wrote; “You make the love of God common to all men, and that we constantly do deny.” Why did he write that? He wrote it because he knew that…

Love is one of God’s attributes, along with holiness and righteousness.

Love is an attribute of God (1 John 4:8,16; Romans 5:8).

Holiness and righteousness are equally attributes of God (Josh. 24:19; Ps. 99:5; Rev. 4:8; Psalm 145:7; Acts 17:31).

God cannot love sinners without justice being fully satisfied (Ex. 34:7). God does love some sinners because Divine justice and mercy meet in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on their behalf (Psalm 85:10; Rom. 5:8).

God does not need to love any sinner.

There is nothing about us sinners that moves God to love any one of us (Ps.l4:l-3; 144:3; Gen. 6:5; Rom.3:10-19).

God’s own good pleasure is what moves Him to have mercy and show love to any particular sinner (Eph.l:5/9, 11; Rom.9: 15,16; Exo.33:19; Deu.7:7-9).

Election is the fountain of God’s love for sinners.

Before the foundation of the world. God has set His love upon some sinners in unconditional election (Jer.31:3; 2Tim. 1:9; Eph.l:4). Electing love gives the elect to Christ, and Christ to the elect, as the gift of love to save the elect (Johnl7: 6/11; Eph. 1:4). At the same time God, to show the glory of His justice, leaves others in their sins as objects of His righteous hatred (Matt. 11:25-26; Rom. 9:13,15,18, 21-23).

God’s love always saves.

Because the elect world is loved in Christ (Eph.l:3ff).

Because Christ was given to die on the cross to save the world of elect sinners (John 10: 11, 26-29: John 3:16; Rom. 5: 8; 2Tim. 1: 9, Gal. 2:20).

Because God’s love, flowing from election, produces effectual calling, justification and glorification (Romans 8:28-31; Jer. 31:3; I Peter 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:9).

God loves the elect – God hates the reprobate.

God loves the elect eternally, unchangeably, and savingly (Jer. 31:3, Mal. 3:6). God justly hates the reprobate (Rom. 9:13,18, 22; 2 Peter 2:8).

The hatred of God is sovereign and righteous. Sovereign in that God passes by for no other reason than his own good pleasure. Righteous because God hates them as guilty sinners and purposes that, in the way of their own sins, they should be condemned and damned.

It is NOT true that God loves all sinners, but hates their sin.

Sin can not be separated from the sinner, because it is the nature of man that is sinful (Psalm 51:5; Jer. 17:9; Matt.l2:34-35; Luke 6: 44-45).

The Bible speaks of God being angry with, and hating the wicked, that is people who do wickedness (Ps. 5:4-6; 11:5-6; Prov. 16:4).

The proposition is true only of God’s elect for God loves them in Christ (Rom.5:8-10; Eph.2:l-10). God loves them because He predestinated them unto the adoption of children in Jesus Christ, and He has satisfied His justice against them and their sin when Jesus died in their stead on the cross of Calvary. And, God loves them in such a way that they ALL are all united to His Son for justification, sanctification and glorification – being brought to live unto God, confessing always: “The life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Eph.l:4-5, Gal. 2:20).

God is not actively loving non-elect men when he gives them good things in this life, like money, health etc, or even when He sends them the gospel to hear.

Prosperity is no sign that God’s loves this or that particular sinner (Ps. 73:18-19; Luke 12:20, 21).

Hearing the gospel preached is no sure sign that God loves this or that particular sinner (Matt.l3:10- 15, 22:14; 1 Peter 2:8; 2 Cor.2:14ff).

A sinner may be assured that God loves him/her only when there is evidence of that love having produced saving faith in their life. In other words. God’s electing, redeeming love, is manifest in their lives through true faith and repentance (1 John 4:19).


The Biblical and Reformed faith teaches that God’s love flows to His elect, and His elect alone, in and through Jesus Christ.

© 2012 Manasquan Reformed Bible Church (Source)