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As Delivered On The Baptist Bible Hour
By Pastor Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
Originally Published by
THE NEW TESTAMENT BAPTIST CHURCH
4828 Vine Street
Cincinnati 17, Ohio
This copy produced by
GRACE BIBLE BAPTIST CHURCH
26080 Wax Rd.
Denham Springs, LA 70726
The messages in this booklet were first preached in the New Testament Baptist Church of Cincinnati, and then on the Baptist Bible Hour which was carried by seven radio stations. After many had requested copies of the messages, they were published in the New Testament Baptist Witness; and now we are happy to be able to put them out in booklet form. We are conscious that the Spirit of God must reveal truth to the human heart, and it is our prayer that He will open hearts to receive the truth of God's Sovereignty as contained in this booklet. If a person is truly taught of the Spirit, these glorious doctrines will actually transform their life. To give intellectual assent to them is not enough; for if they are worked in a man's soul, he will rejoice in them, he will not be willing to hear any other doctrine, and he will be actively engaged in proclaiming them to others.
Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption)
Perseverance of the Saints (Final Perseverance)
Today, I am beginning a series of messages on "The Doctrines of Grace." Of course there is hardly a time that I stand in the pulpit but what I make reference to one or all of these doctrines; but, it shall be my purpose in these messages to deal with those truths as though my listeners had no knowledge of them whatever. And yet, I am not just trying to prove a doctrine; for though I could convince you that everything I say is so, if you are not taught by the Spirit of God you can have no spiritual understanding of them.
What we call the five basic doctrines of God's sovereign grace are these: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. Notice that if you take the first letter from each of these statements you have the letters, T-U-L-I-P, the word Tulip. That may help you to remember them.
Those who ascribe to these five doctrines are called Calvinist. Mr. Calvin did not invent the doctrines, nor was he the first to preach them; for they have been preached by the true followers of Christ down through the ages, but in the study of Theology this system of truth has become known as Calvinism and so we do not object to the term. When I tell you that I am Calvinistic in doctrine, it is just a quick way of telling you that I believe in the doctrines of God's sovereign grace. Those who hold the opposition position saying that man is not totally depraved, and that election is conditioned on man's choice etc., are called Arminians. And so when I use these terms it is simply to state briefly what a person believes as to how God saves sinners.
Our first message in this series is on, "Total Depravity." The text is Genesis 6:5, "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." That describes every member of the human race, "every thought of their heart is evil." God views them in this awful condition, and thus they are justly condemned and ready to perish.
I feel that it will be profitable before we enter into this message to read from the Philadelphia Confession of Faith. Sometimes those of us who preach the doctrines of grace are charged with preaching something new. But a look at this old Confession of Faith will immediately show that the Baptists of centuries past believed these truths. This Confession was adopted in Philadelphia in the year 1742, and had been adopted by Baptists in London, England in 1689. On the subject of the depravity of man it says: "Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them whereby death came upon all; all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body. They being the root, and by God's appointment standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generations, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions."
So we see that when I preach the doctrine of Total Depravity, I am preaching what Baptists believed in 1689; and I, shall proceed now to show you that I am preaching what is taught in the Word of God. Let us first consider,
WHAT IS MEANT BY DEPRAVITY
People sometimes get disturbed when they find that the term "Total Depravity" is not used in the Bible. But using this term is just an easy way to speak of this doctrine which is clearly taught in the Scriptures. For an example of this, we use the word "Trinity" to express what we believe about God though the word itself is not in the Bible. Thus since many of you may not be familiar with this term, I want to explain what we mean by total depravity. The word depraved means corrupt. And so when we say we believe in total depravity, we mean that men by nature are totally corrupt. Jeremiah chapter 13 and verse 23 declares this to be true. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." We know that it is utterly impossible for a black man by an act of his will to change the color of his skin, or a leopard to remove his spots. And just as these things are impossibilities, there is no way for man who is accustomed to do evil (that is he is corrupt by nature) to change and do good. Then in Matthew 7:18 Christ said, "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Since then man is corrupt by nature, he cannot bring forth one good fruit.
Furthermore, when we say that men are depraved; we mean they are completely incapacitated in the spiritual realm. Man is described as being dead in sin and thus he has no ability whatever to perform anything acceptable to God. "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." (Eph. 2:1.) My, isn't that plain? But you know I've actually heard people argue about how dead the sinner is. If I were to tell you that a certain man is dead, would you ask how dead is he? Why certainly not. When you here a man is dead only one thought enters your mind, he is completely dead, without even a spark of life in him. And that's just how dead the sinner is--he is completely helpless. You have heard preachers say, "All right sinner, take the first step and God will meet you half way." But the sinner can't even take the first step toward salvation because he is dead in sin. Christ made this very clear when He said in John 6:44, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."
And then by total depravity, we mean that since man is filled with wickedness and is devoid of spiritual life, he has no desire for God or His holiness. "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God," says Romans 3:11. Sometimes men get scared of Hell and may for a time show some interest in religion; but, no man ever desires to be delivered from sin apart from the effectual work of the Spirit in his heart. We read from John's Gospel chapter 3 and verse 19, "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." Men not only lack a desire for the person of Christ, but they even flee from the light of His gospel lest their corrupt nature be exposed.
I trust that you understand now what we mean by total depravity, and that brings us to consider,
WHAT PROOF WE HAVE OF MAN'S DEPRAVITY
First we see that man is depraved by birth. Romans 5:12 says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Adam stood as the head and representative of the human race. Yet he was not merely our representative by divine appointment, but by organic union; for, all the human race was in the loins of Adam. And so by birth we partake of the corrupt, fallen nature of Adam; having then a part in his sin. All who stood in Adam, all who have Adam's nature, are partakers in Adam's sin. This verse declares that death passed upon all men for all sinned (that is, they sinned in Adam).
In Psalms 51:5 we read, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." And in Psalms 58:3, "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." Some have the idea that a child must be 12 years of age before he is a sinner, but the Word of God says they are shapen in iniquity, conceived in sin, and go from the womb speaking lies. The other day I was riding down the road with one of my deacons and we passed a barn lot where there were several little pigs, probably not more than a few weeks old. I said, "What are those animals over there?" and my deacon said, "Why they are pigs." I laughed and said, "Why you don't mean they are pigs already, they look too young to be pigs." The brother answered, "They are just as much pigs now as they ever will be." Sure they were pigs no matter how small they were, because they were born with a "pig" nature. And a child doesn't have to be twelve or even six years to be a sinner, he is born with a sinful nature. Surely then it is evident that men are depraved by birth.
Secondly let us see that the will of man is depraved. Man likes to boast of having a free will, but his will is corrupt. He can will to do evil but not good, his will can take him down but not up. We could say that Niagara falls is free, but it is only free to go down for that is its nature. The Falls could not reverse its course and run upward for it is the nature of water to seek a lower level. Man's free-will cannot cure him of the toothache, or mend a broken limb; yet he vainly imagines that he can cure his soul. Can darkness create light? Can filth produce purity? Can corruption transform itself into holiness? Neither can man by an act of his will save his soul. This is plainly stated in Ephesians 2:2, "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:..." The sinner's will is dominated by Satan, he is fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and is by nature a child of wrath.
Next we learn that man is depraved in mind, heart, and affection. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." (Rom. 8:7,8.) Yes, the mind is corrupt and is in no way subject to the law of God. The mind is better satisfied to study out evil than it is to think of God. The heart is described as being "deceitful" above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer. 17:9.) The sinner loves what he ought to hate and hates what he ought to love. Though his heart is desperately wicked, it is so deceitful that he is led to believe it is good. You have heard people speak of a man who is a drunkard, a man who starves his children and beats his wife, and say, "But he has a good heart." No, the trouble with the man is, his heart is "no count," it is depraved. Then we turn to the first chapter of Romans. Here we find such a vivid description of the man's corrupt affections, it ought to cause everyone of us to shudder when we realize this is a description of our own nature. I wish we could read the whole chapter, but let us begin with verse 28, "...they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
We do not mean that all men have committed all of these sins, but that these are all in our nature and that we are capable of them. One sin may exclude another, as a man filled with pride might be thus prohibited from adultery, or a man who is a drunkard could have no room to be filled with pride. But all these sins are in the heart of man, his affections are set on them, and it is only by God's restraining grace that each one has not been enacted.
In the fourth place let us note that man's depraved nature is expressed in his every deed. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Psalms 14:1-3.) Every act of sin is but an expression of his inward corruption. He is filthy, undone, vile, and abominable in the sight of God. In fact , oh sinner, if the throne of God were within your reach, and you knew, it would not be safe one hour. That's right . Every sinner would thrust a knife into the heart of God if he could. Oh how wicked is man! Surely he deserves nothing but a place in Hell.
Now let us look at Romans, chapter three, verse 10, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes." I pray that the Spirit shall convince any doubting heart that man is totally depraved. Surely this fact is so clearly taught in the Word of God that there need to be no dispute about it. Next consider,
WHAT THEN IS TO BE LEARNED FROM THESE FACTS
First let it be learned that there is nothing good in man by nature. All his righteousness is as filthy rags. All his boasted works stand for naught before the Holy One. The question is then asked, "How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?" (Job 25:4-6.) Oh sinner man, be not so foolish as to think that there is something good in your nature, for you are as a worm--a wiggling maggot--before God.
Secondly, learn that man is dead and blind and thus cannot comprehend spiritual things. Christ says He quickens whom He will, and the need of quickening reveals that one is dead. Paul writes that the gospel is hid to them that are lost for Satan has them blinded and again he says, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14.) No man ever understands the gospel, or any other spiritual truth until the eyes of his understanding are opened by the Spirit of God and he is instructed by that great Teacher.
Thirdly, let it be learned that salvation could not possibly be founded on works or any movement of the human will. Romans 9:16 proclaims this fact, "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." Today men are preaching that God tries to save all men, that the Holy Spirit moves upon all in the same manner, and that the final decision rests with the sinner. If this be true then salvation is of him that willeth, but God says it is of Him that showeth mercy. Man says that character determines destiny; but, God says it is not of him that runneth or works, but that salvation is of the Lord. Our will is depraved, our nature is corrupt, our deeds are evil; "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)." (Eph. 2:4-5.)
Let us also learn that regeneration is an absolute necessity if any live spiritually. "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3.) "Being born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible...," says 1 Peter 1:22. Man is incapable of doing anything pleasing to God until he is regenerated. The sinner cannot translate himself into the kingdom of God, he cannot call himself from darkness into light, and neither can he produce the new birth in his soul. This is the work of God and this is essential if any live spiritually.
Fifthly, and finally, let it be learned that there is no hope for any man apart from the sovereign grace which is given in Christ. If a man ever gets straight on this doctrine of depravity then he will have to believe the other doctrines of Calvinism. If he ever sees the condition of man he will have to believe that salvation is of the Lord. You see man is dead in sin, he has not the desire nor the power to come to Christ for deliverance. The sinner has no ability to turn from evil and do good, for that would be against his nature. His nature is corrupt, his heart is wicked, his will is depraved, and every act is out of harmony with the will of God. Thus if any sinner is ever saved it must be by God's sovereign mercy, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. And praise God, that is our hope. Our hope is in Christ. "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." (Rom. 5:10.)
Those awakened by the Spirit are brought to admit that these descriptions fit them. Sinner friend, if you feel that today I have spoken of your condition, that you are the worst sinner out of Hell, and if you are brought to admit that before God it is evidence of a work of grace in your heart. And if you see that you can only be pardoned through the blood of Christ and you are brought to rest in Him, you can know that He has granted you the graces of repentance and faith. We pray that the Lord may thus save souls this day for the glory of His name.
As we continue our messages on the doctrines of grace, we speak today on "Unconditional Election." Our text is I Thessalonians 1:4, "Knowing, brethern beloved, your election of God." Let us then at the very beginning be convinced that election is of God. Realizing this to be true, each one listening to this message should give their most diligent attention to the passages we shall read from God's Word. It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit may open men's hearts and teach them that election is of God. And surely the only way anyone can ever know this, being truly convinced in their heart, is for the Spirit to reveal it to them.
We shall look again at what the Philadelphia Confession of Faith says on this subject. We cannot give you the whole chapter, but a part of it says: "Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ to the praise of His glorious grace, other being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice.
"These angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished. Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, ... hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving Him thereunto.
"As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so he hath, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto; wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ, by His Spirit working in due season are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power through faith unto salvation; neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only."
First we must explain what is meant by election. And in brief we shall say, election is a sovereign act of God whereby He chooses certain individuals, from the fallen race, to eternal life for the glory of His name. Let it be remembered that the whole human race is condemned, having not the ability to remedy their awful condition. All mankind sinned in Adam, and fell in Adam; and, so are now dead in trespasses and sins. If salvation were then dependent upon man's ability to choose God, or to become righteous before Him; then none would ever be saved.
God would be just to cast every member of the human family into Hell, for each one is but a rebel against God. Man left to himself would choose nothing but sin, bringing eternal judgement upon himself. So it is only because of the choice of God that any shall be saved. One of the clearest definitions of the doctrine of election is found in the first chapter of Ephesians. We begin reading with the third verse, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:"
Notice it says, "he hath chosen us"; it was His choice, not ours. This choice was made before the foundation of the world and so it could not possibly be founded on anything in us. And note too, that He hath chosen us "in Christ." All the spiritual blessings we have are in Christ. We are chosen in Christ, loved in Christ; in Christ we have righteousness, sanctification, redemption, and "the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." You cannot separate the doctrine of election from the person of Christ. In fact the more we understand of election, the more we will come to appreciate the glories of Christ's person and desire His intimate fellowship.
Verse five continues, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." How were we predestinated? Was it according to man's free will? No, many wish it said that, but it plainly declares it was according to "His will." "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." You often hear people speak of, "accepting Christ." But if we are to use scriptural language, we must say we are "accepted in Christ." You see the choice is not ours, we would never choose Christ--for our hearts being evil, we would flee from the light rather than come to it.
Yes, God accepted the elect in Christ; and they, and no more shall be saved. The question is then immediately raised, "Why does God choose some, and pass others by leaving them to perish in their sin?" And to this we must give the answer of our Lord Himself, "...Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight." Shall we bring into question the sovereign rights of our Holy God? Can any charge that the God of glory does not do right? No, my friends, let us fall prostrate before Him, and with great awe and wonder repeat that marvellous phrase, "Even so, Father...for so it seemed good in thy sight."
The end of this choice is to make a people like Christ for the praise of His name. He "...hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." The language again points to the fact that salvation is of the Lord, "He raised us"; we didn't raise ourselves. And to the reason for all this--why, He shall show the exceeding riches of His grace. Yes, when the many sons are brought unto glory, and all those who were predestinated have been conformed to the image of Christ; surely then His name shall be greatly magnified, for all that blood washed throng shall fall before His throne singing, "Holy, Holy, Holy," and no doubt even the angels will stand amazed at what God has done for those who were by nature children of wrath.
By unconditional election, we mean that the choice of God was not conditioned on anything within man. Since man was utterly sinful, there was nothing in him to attract the favor of God. Then too, the scriptures plainly declare that this choice is not by the will of man. John 1:13 says, "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." To say that election is conditioned on the foreseen faith of man, or any other act of his will would deny this plain passage as well as the rest of God's Word. Again we can say that election must be unconditional, for salvation is by grace; and, so could not be founded on anything in man for then it would be by works.
Next, we will examine a number of passages dealing with this subject to see how election is taught in the Bible. Time will permit us to make only brief comments. Turn first of all to Nehemiah 9:7 "Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham." You see, it was God who chose Abram; and it was God who brought him forth from the land of idolatry. We cannot possibly attribute Abram's conversion to anything but sovereign mercy.
Look now at Matthew 20:16, "... many be called, but few chosen." Yea, many there be who hear the gospel audibly--that is, they hear the general call--but only few are chosen, and they only hear effectually by the Spirit. Coming now to John's gospel chapter six and verse thirty-seven we read, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Often times the last part of that verse is quoted like the first half was not there. It is true that he who comes will not be cast out, but who comes? Those who come are the ones given to the Son by the Father, they are the elect of God. You see the Father chose a people; Christ entered into the covenant of grace promising to die for those people; and the Spirit pledged Himself to apply salvation to their hearts. Ah, how good to know that every one given to the Son shall come to Him, and if the desire to come is within your heart you know you will not be cast out, for the desire itself is a gift of God.
Verse 44 declares: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him," and then verse 65, "... Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." No man has the desire to come to Christ save the elect of God, and no man has the ability to come except it be given him of the Father. Next we come to chapter 15 and the 16th verse, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit...," now verse 19, "... I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." Some poor soul may reply, "But I chose Christ"; but dear heart if you chose Him it was because He first chose you. If you love Him, it is because He first loved you. If you have any interest in Christ it is because long before you were ever born the Father set his affection upon you, and in time has now wooed you by His Spirit. If you are saved, give Him all the glory; for it is He who hath begun that good work in you (Php. 1:6.).
John 17:2 says, "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." How many shall receive eternal life? As many as the Father chose and gave to the Son. Verse six says, "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word," then verse nine, "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine." The prayer of intercession offered up by Christ was not for the whole world, but for the elect. So it was with His death and so with the effectual work of the Spirit, it is for those who have been predestinated unto eternal life.
Coming now to Acts 13:48 we read, "... and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." They did not believe in order to be ordained to eternal life, but they believed because they were ordained to it. In our preaching we urge men to believe on Christ, but none will ever believe except those who were ordained to life; for it is only unto them that the graces of repentance and faith are granted. Let it ever be remembered that our believing is not the cause of God's choice but the evidence of it.
Then in Romans chapter eight we have the various blessings of this great salvation brought to our view. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Oh brethren, that ought to make us shout for joy. Think of it. We who in ourselves are vile, corrupt, and abominable in the sight of God have been made the recipient of these glorious mercies. Notice that "He" who predestinates, it is "He" who calls, it is "He" who justifies, it is ,"He" who glorifies. And we see that all these blessings are linked together, for just as surely as a person is predestinated, he shall be glorified. There is not a place in that great plan of God for a single one of His elect to be lost. What a blessed hope we have! We who have been called shall be glorified--that is, we shall be made like Christ, we shall be delivered from the body of this death, yea, we shall find our eternal employment to be singing of praise unto our Redeemer.
The entire ninth chapter of Romans will be helpful in studying the doctrine of election, but we wish to read verses 11 to 16. "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." Before the children were born, God loved Jacob and hated Esau; and this was God's sovereign right, for He was under no obligation to love either of them; but His choice was thus made before their birth that His purpose might not rest upon works, but upon His own mercy. None can charge that there is unrighteousness with God; because as the potter has power over the clay, He has power of His creatures.
II Thessalonians 2:13 says, "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth..." And then we turn to II Timothy 1:9, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."
Surely you can see from these many scriptures that unconditional election is taught in the Bible. Once the Spirit opens your heart to this truth, you will be able to see that it is taught from Genesis through Revelation. And though this doctrine strikes the death blow at the pride which is in men, and thus often is resented by them; we believe it to be a most glorious and comforting truth. I wouldn't waste five minutes arguing about this doctrine or any other teaching of God's Word, but often, there are those who have sincere questions. I couldn't deal with every question in this broadcast, but it might be profitable to consider a few.
One question which is asked frequently is, "Doesn't man have a choice?" To this we answer, man had a choice in the garden of Eden; but in Adam he chose sin and so lost his ability to choose good. Many times people will attempt to refute this doctrine by saying, "I believe that whosoever will may come." And it is true that the thirsty may drink of the living water, the hungry may eat of the bread of life, the weary may come and rest, the willing may come and be received; but, the thirst for the water, the hunger for the bread, the desire for the rest, and the willingness to come are all given by the Lord and are given only to His elect.
Having seen that election is a Bible doctrine, we shall further consider that election is profitable. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable..."; and since election is taught in the Scriptures, it must be profitable. First we can say it is profitable because it gives us the only proper view of God. You cannot truly worship God unless you believe He is sovereign. In fact any Christian service which does not rest upon the foundation of God's sovereignty and does not recognize His choice of a certain people, is nothing more than an expression of carnal energy put forth for the glory of man.
Secondly, we know the preaching of election is profitable because it puts man in the dust. You can't go to seed on preaching this truth because you can't exalt God too much and you can't put man low enough. We are made to see our own corruption, and come to realize that anything we get better than Hell must be by sovereign grace.
Election is a most glorious display of God's love and mercy. God has determined before the foundation of the world to call out from the fallen race a people for His name, and in time Jesus Christ came from glory and died for these upon the cross-- redeeming them from sin. These are quickened by the Spirit, called by the gospel, eternally justified, and shall be glorified at the coming of the Lord. Oh my friend , there is a reason for us to shout the praises of our Saviour. This doctrine is not hard and cold, but causes us to become chiefly interested in the person of Christ in whom we have been chosen. This doctrine will not lead to a licentious life; for He has predestinated us to be holy, and no man has the right to claim he is one of God's elect unless the seal of holiness is upon his soul.
But some sinner may ask, "How can I know I am one of God's elect?" And I ask you, do you see yourself a sinner? Do you realize that God would be just to cast you into Hell? Do you have any desire for Christ? Do you long to be saved from sin? Oh, sinner friend, if these attitudes are in your heart, if our Lord has granted unto you repentance and faith, you can know you are one of the elect. All that the Father gave the Son shall come to Him, and those who are thus willing shall not be refused. May He grant you grace to flee to Christ for refuge this day.
I am continuing our message on the doctrines of grace, this is the third in the series today. The subject is limited atonement or particular redemption. The text is found in John's gospel, Chapter 10 verse 15. "As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep." Certainly that is a blessed text and that is the very heart of what I intend to preach to you today, that the Lord Jesus Christ laid down His life for the sheep. There's a distinction made between sheep and goats in the 25th chapter of the book of Matthew. We learn that in the day of judgement those that are the sheep and are on the right hand of the Father shall enter into the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world; and, the goats that are on the left hand shall be cast out into outer darkness. Surely it is evident then, that Christ did not die for the goats; but, He died for the sheep, those who were given Him by the Father. I wish for us to consider first of all,
WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST?
If we can get this straight in our thinking it will help us tremendously to understand the theme that is before us. We turn first of all to the book of Hebrews 10:9. "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." We learn, that the purpose of His death was to accomplish the Father's will. Christ came for that special purpose--to fulfill the will of His heavenly Father. Now we must determine what was the will of the Father in the death of Christ. And from a close study of the scriptures, as we did speak to you last week on the doctrine of election, we see that it was not the purpose of the Father to save all men; but, that He has chosen some to salvation. If then Christ came to fulfill the purpose of the Father; and, it was not the purpose of the Father to save all men: then it was not the purpose of Christ to die for all men.
In the everlasting covenant, the covenant of grace, the Father chose a people, Christ promised to die for them, and the Spirit pledged himself to apply salvation to their hearts. In Isaiah 53, I wish we had time to read the whole chapter for it teaches this subject so clearly, but I confine our thoughts to verses 10 to 12. "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him;" Notice, it pleased the heavenly Father to bruise Him, His only begotten Son. "He hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." We learn that Christ saw the travail of His soul and was satisfied. He saw the suffering and the agony which He would have to endure; and yet, He was content with it, for He realized that by His death, everyone for whom He died should be redeemed from sin. Now if Christ died for all men and some for whom He died should go to hell, then Christ could not have seen the travail of His soul and been satisfied but He would be a disappointed Christ. And so we are preaching to you today the doctrine that the atonement of Christ was limited. It was limited in purpose; not in its value but in its purpose, for it was designed for the objects of the Father's love and they were the elect of God.
Furthermore we see that the purpose of the death of Christ was to save His people from their sins. That is clearly stated for us in Matthew 1:21. "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." It did not say that He would save the whole world, nor does it say that He should attempt to save His people; but that He would save His people from their sins. If that was the prophesy given concerning the birth of Jesus Christ and the purpose for which He came, we must surely know that which was determined by the Father was fulfilled by His faithful Son. Next we read in the book of Luke 19:10, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." If that then was His purpose; He accomplished that very thing.
Now in the third place, we see that the purpose of His death was to bring the elect unto glory. In John 17 we find the prayer of intercession made by the Lord Jesus; and we see in the second verse that as He prayed, "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." You see that eternal life was not for all men, for we are sure that some shall perish and shall spend eternity in the lake of fire; but, He gives eternal life unto as many as were given to Him by the Father. In the ninth verse He says, "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine." Do you believe then that Christ would limit His prayers to those given to Him by the Father, and at the same time die for all men? Surely not. He prayed for those for whom He died, and He died for those given Him by the Father. His purpose then was not to save the entire human race, for, if that had been His purpose He would have accomplished it. I preach to you today a sovereign Christ. I preach to you a Christ who is all powerful and accomplishes everything He intends to do. It was His purpose to save only the elect of God, and His purpose was fulfilled.
Hebrews 12:2 says, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." There was joy set before Christ. Oh yes, there was great agony as He looked forward to the cross, it was a terrible cup He had to drink, how bitter it was when His Father had to turn His back on Him because the sins of the elect were laid there, and He cried out, "Oh, my God why hast thou forsaken me." But beyond the cross was joy, and what was that joy? It was the joy of seeing many sons brought unto glory. It was the joy of seeing His chosen ones being conformed unto His holy image. That was the joy set before Him; but, suppose Christ looked forward and said, "I will die for all men but my death will not be effective unto any, unless their free will be joined with it." Since man's will is depraved and corrupt then there would have been no joy set before Him, for there would have been none saved. But oh, there was joy set before Christ; for all those the Father had given unto Him should surely be redeemed by His death, and that very thing was fulfilled.
Now we read in the book of I Peter 3:18, once again revealing the purpose of His death and just notice the words of the scripture and see if you could possibly imagine that any other idea was in the minds of these that wrote under the inspiration of the Spirit, than that all for whom Christ died should be eternally saved. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit." He did not die in order to put us in a savable state, but he died to bring us to God; and if He died for that purpose, then He brought everyone to God for whom He died. We see then something of the purpose or design of the death of Christ. Second let us consider,
WHAT THE DEATH OF CHRIST ACCOMPLISHED
What was accomplished by His death upon the tree of the cross? We read in the first book of Peter 2:24, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (You were not put in the position where you might possibly be healed, but you were healed by His stripes.) For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." You see, my friends, He actually bore our sins on the tree of the cross. Could you imagine that He bore the sins of Judas Iscariot who now burns in the very pit of hell? Could you imagine that He bore the sins of all that vast multitude who shall be cast into the lake of fire on the judgement day? Surely not. Oh, it makes me to shudder to think of such a thing; but, we do know that He bore the sins of God's elect and all of them having their sins remitted by His precious blood shall finally be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ and shall inherit the celestial city which He has gone to prepare for them. We note then in the first place concerning what was accomplished by His death that He actually bore our sins.
Next we find that He died for His sheep, and because of this none can be lost. In John 10:10 He says, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." And the 28th verse, "And I give unto them eternal life" (He does not offer them eternal life.) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." He died for the sheep, and He gives eternal life unto everyone for whom He died. In Hebrews 13:20, "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep." He was not a Shepherd of goats, but the Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant. Furthermore we turn to the book of Matthew 26:28, "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." We learn then that He suffered or He died for many. And in the 15th Chapter of John's Gospel the 13th verse we learn something more of His death, we learn that He died for His friends. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." Now does this mean that we carry out His commands in order to become His friends? No, if we are His friends, we shall do whatsoever He commands us, giving evidence of our friendship with Him; and so, He died for His friends.
Now back to the book of Hebrews Chapter 10. You know, if you'll just notice the language of the Scriptures as I read to you these verses, and just in your own private devotions notice how the Holy Spirit has inspired the writers to word the phrases concerning the work of Christ; you will see by the language itself that it cannot be imagined but that the death of Christ was restricted to those who were given to Him by the Father. Now the 14th verse of Hebrews 10, "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." Who are the sanctified ones? They are justified. Who are the justified? They are the called. Who are the called? They are the predestinated-- they are the elect of God. We see then God's purpose working from the other direction. They were elected, they were called, they were justified, they were sanctified; and, it says here that Christ "hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." "When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Heb. 1:3.) He actually purged our sins. Christ did not come to attempt to save men; He came to redeem His people. He purged their sins and then sat down on the right hand of His Father.
The next thing that we see accomplished by the death of Christ, is that He reconciled His people to God. Could you imagine that all the world is reconciled to God? No, that is not so, for there are some who go to hell, and they are not reconciled to God. In Romans 5:9 He says, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." Furthermore, let us turn to Acts 20:28. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." Then the language of this verse reveals that He died for the church of God.
In Hebrews 2:10 we learn that the purpose accomplished by His death was the bringing of many sons unto glory. "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified." (Isaiah 45:23.) And Galatians 6:16 reveals that He had reference to the spiritual Israel, who are the chosen of God.
Now the third question that we wish to consider is this:
WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIONS TO THIS POSITION?
There are many who object to it, because it is the very heart of the gospel. This is the very heart of the doctrines of grace, and this is where so many rebel at that blessed truth that is taught in the Word of God. Well, there are many objections that are raised, and I could not possibly deal with all of them; but, I will consider just a few, lest there are some who have honest questions concerning this glorious truth. One of the first things that men immediately refer to is the use of the word "world" in the scriptures, and the first passage that is always read to us when we have preached a message of this kind is John 3:16, and so I will read it to you. But, let me say this, many people read this verse as though it were the whole counsel of God; however you cannot prove any doctrine by one verse of scripture, and yet this verse does not prove the doctrine that men try to make it prove; because rather than teaching a general redemption, it teaches a particular redemption. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16 simply states that the design of God's love, that all who believe in Christ should be saved by Him. "These believers in their unregenerate state are scattered abroad among the Gentiles as well as among the Jews, and so are fitly described by the word 'world.'" Now, my friends, if God loved every man from Adam to the last, I would ask you then where is the evidence of that love? Why, millions of people have lived and died without so much as hearing of salvation through Christ. Surely we can see that, "the word 'world' simply has reference to men of all nations. And to those who reject this explanation I might ask, when the scriptures say over there in the book of Acts, 'God hath also granted repentance unto the Gentiles or unto the Gentiles granted repentance unto life,' does it mean that every Gentile has been granted repentance, and that every Gentile shall be saved?" Why, surely not. When He says He has granted repentance unto the Gentiles, it simply means that all those of God's elect among the Gentiles shall be given repentance, that the Gentiles as a class of people had been given repentance and so it is here in John 3:16. It does not have reference to every man in the world from Adam to the last, but it has reference to men of all nations.
I feel that the best way to understand this is to see what was actually accomplished by the death of Christ. We turn to the book of Revelation and we read there in the fifth chapter and the ninth verse. "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Now that is the song they sing in Glory, and that will help us to understand what is meant by the use of the word world in the scriptures. It means that people of every kindred, tongue, and nation; that Christ's death was not restricted to the Jews, but that it was for members of the entire human race scattered throughout the world who were the object of the Father's love. So John 3:16 simply states that the object of God's love shall not perish because Christ died for them.
Now in John 7:7 we find there the word "world" is used to distinguish unbelievers from believers. In John 12:9 the word "world" is used of a special people. Romans 11:15 uses it to distinguish Gentiles from Jews, and thus so in passages such as John 3:16 and 1:27, I John 2:1 and 2 -- it is used of all the elect of God. There is yet a passage in Hebrews Chapter 2 which troubles many people and we shall turn there and examine it once again though we have already read one verse from it. Verse nine says, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." And somebody says, "You see there, Christ died for all men"; but, the context will explain what it means. "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings... For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." If then you will read the context you see that the passage has reference to sons, it has reference to the church, it has reference to the brethren, it has reference to those who are the children of God; so the verse properly translated would say that, "Christ has experienced death for every son," for every one that was given to Him by the Father. I wish I had the time to go on to the fifth chapter of the book of Romans which troubles some, but the use of the word "all" there, will show that it is "all unto justification;" not salvation for all men, but all that Christ died for, all who are finally justified: and that cannot possibly be interpreted to mean any more than the elect of God.
Finally, I want to read to you one more verse which is in the book of Romans, 8:34, and this is one of the plainest in all the Bible concerning particular redemption. He says, "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." We ask the question then how could any for whom He died be condemned? The law has been fulfilled, justice has been satisfied, sin has been paid for; and so, the Apostle argues that condemnation is impossible. And if condemnation be forbidden by His death, then none for whom He died can be condemned. All for whom Christ died, died in Him; thus the law could not again demand their death.
Oh, my friends, if Christ died no more for His people than the inhabitants of hell what hope have we? If Jesus died for Judas Iscariot as much as He died for you, what hope do you have of heaven? The death of Christ is the foundation of our Christian hope; but, those believing in a general redemption cannot possibly enjoy that blessed hope in Christ. They claim to believe in a redeemer who does not redeem, an atonement that does not atone; thus believing that the death of Christ must be joined with free-will in order to save. But I preach unto you today a Redeemer who does deliver His people from sin; and, if the Spirit of God has convicted you of your guilt and has given you a desire to be delivered from sin, and to be washed in the Saviour's blood; I assure you, that it is a great evidence that you are chosen of the Father. If you are drawn to Him just now, you can know that He does cleanse you in His own precious blood. May the Lord grant repentance unto some sinner today.
Today, I am bringing you the fourth in the series of messages on the doctrines of grace; and our subject is "Irresistible Grace." Psalms 110:3 is the text, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." This verse amply expresses the truth that I shall try to present in this message. "Thy people shall be willing" --that certainly is irresistible grace. On this subject the Philadelphia Confession says: "Those whom God had predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace of salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by His almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.
"This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power of agency in the creature, co-working with his special grace; the creature being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead."
We have already studied in this series that man is totally depraved, that God has elected a people according to His own sovereign pleasure, and that Christ died for the elect of God; now we shall see that salvation is then applied effectually to the heart of these chosen ones by the power of the Holy Spirit. First we shall consider,
WHAT IS MEANT BY IRRESISTIBLE GRACE
What do we mean when we use the term? First, we mean that the work of the Spirit in bringing men to Christ is always effectual. That is simple, but that is exactly what we mean. We turn to the Gospel of John and read to you from chapter 6 and verse 37, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." You see, every one of those given to the Son by the Father SHALL come to him. This is not a conditional salvation, but it is certain according to the purpose of God. In the 45th verse of the same chapter, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." The only one who can teach a man is the Lord Himself. Evangelists may persuade them, songs may stir them, but only the Spirit can teach them. Surely this brings us once more to the blessed truth, that salvation is of the Lord.
The call of God is not frustrated by the will of man; for if this were true, none would ever be saved. Since man's will is bound, he would never choose Christ. Since he loves sin by nature, he would never desire to be delivered from it. Thus if any are ever turned unto the path of righteousness, it must be by the irresistible call of the Spirit. Notice the language of I Peter 5:10, "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory." He "hath called us," this would tell us that the Lord accomplished exactly what He determined to do. Now you notice all the Scriptures which I read to you, and you will see that it is stated as though there was never anything in the minds of the writers but that God's call is effectual.
Secondly, in answering this question of what is meant by irresistible grace, we mean that the Spirit is active and man is passive in the initial work of grace upon the soul. The sinner could not possibly raise himself from the dead. In Ephesians 2:1 the sinner is described as being "dead in trespasses and sins"; certainly then he has no power to raise himself. But it says, "you hath He quickened," --He made us alive. The dead man could neither resist this work nor have any part in it. In the 5th verse of the same chapter we read, "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)." He did the quickening, He brought us to life, it was all by His might and power. You cannot imagine that a man who is dead physically could raise himself to life, and neither can a man who is dead spiritually bring himself to life in Jesus Christ. So when we speak of irresistible grace we simply say, that the work of the Spirit in bringing men to Christ is always effectual, and that the Spirit is active and man is passive in the initial work of grace upon the soul. We come in the second division of this message to note,
HOW THIS TRUTH IS TAUGHT IN THE SCRIPTURES
By turning to Ezekiel 11:19, we see that God has determined to give a new heart to His people--His elect. "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh." The Lord will take away that heart of stone, that rebellious heart, that wicked heart, and will give unto His elect a new heart, a heart that shall be willing in the day of His power. Jeremiah 31:33 says, "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." That is quoted by the writer of the book of Hebrews as having reference to those who are the elect of God. Ah my friends, this is not the language of the Arminians of our day, for they would make it appear that God shall only try to have a people, but should they refuse to become the people of God then He would be defeated; but the word here declares that He SHALL have a people. There is not one condition given. He will have them. How? Why He shall make them willing by the inward work of the Spirit, by taking away their heart of stone and giving them a new heart. You hear men say, "Give God your heart," but that's not the gospel. The message of grace goes like this, "I will give you a new heart saith the Lord." And Oh how we ought to praise His Holy name that this is true, for we who know our hearts, know that we would never have been willing if He had not made us willing. The message of grace is the message for sinners. The self-righteous might find consolation somewhere else; but they who truly know themselves to be sinners, can be content with nothing but that message which says "Salvation is of the Lord."
We read now John 5:25, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." Note that all who hear--hear this call, hear the voice of the Spirit, shall live. Many times preachers like to imagine that the conversion of sinners is dependent upon their ability as an orator, or the fervency of their delivery, or upon some power they possess themselves. But my dear friends, we see that the hour is now here that those who are spiritually dead, having heard the voice of the Son of God, shall live. Every one who hears the voice of the Spirit, not hears my voice, I have no power to bring men to life; it is the power of the Holy Spirit by which men are brought to life. Does this not teach irresistible grace? Does this not show us that His people shall be willing in the day of His power? Surely so!
Next we learn that those who are called effectually find the gospel to be most precious to their hearts. We look at I Corinthians 1:23, "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness." I preach to you today Christ crucified. To the Jew, or religious person, He is a stumblingblock; to the Greek or the cultured, He is foolishness. "But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." Oh how plainly that teaches what I am trying to get across. Though I give a general call urging men to repent and believe, none shall hear for the preaching of this glorious truth is utterly foolish to the natural mind. You hear people speak of wanting the preacher to speak so plain that a little child could understand, but if a man preaches the gospel that simply he is not preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, because the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be understood by any person whether they be young or old unless it is revealed to their hearts by the Spirit.
Let us now note that this truth is verified by the fact the Scriptures teach men are regenerated by the power of the Spirit. Jesus said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," and again, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." The passage does not explain how to be born again, but declares that the new birth is essential and that it is wrought by the Spirit. That which is born of flesh is flesh and can never be anything more. However many in this time are trying to prove that there is at least one good thing the flesh can do. They will say that man is a sinner and that he needs Christ; but at the same time they claim the sinner has the power to either accept or reject Christ. If the sinner had the power to accept Christ, or make any move by his own power, then the flesh could do something good. But man has not this ability, he can perform nothing in the spiritual realm until he is regenerated.
Now we read in Ephesians 1:19 of this mighty power of God which is manifest in the regeneration of sinners. "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe." You see this power is not unto all men, but it is to usward who believe according to the working of his mighty power. Notice what it says about this power, "which he wrought in Christ." It is the same power wrought in a sinner which was wrought in Christ when He raised him from the dead and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places. I want you to look at it. It is almost blasphemy to say that a sinner by his own will and power can raise himself from spiritual death when God says that it requires the same power to raise a sinner that is dead spiritually that it did to lift Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, out of the grave and set him at his own right hand. Oh! What power it is.
Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship." We are the clay; He is the potter. He hath made us, "created us in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Does an object which is created have any will in the matter of its creation? Certainly not, that would be absurd to imagine such a thing. Only God can create life in a dead sinner, and there is no other hope for sinners to be brought to Jesus Christ but by that power. In II Corinthians 4:3 we find this described in another way, stating that men are in darkness and had to be brought to light by this miracle working power of God. Verse 3 says, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." Do you not remember that in Genesis 1:3, "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." There was no time interval, there was no rebellion on the part of the elements to say that there should not be light, but God said, "Let there be light and there was light;" and that same God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The same power was required to bring light to the heart of that darkened sinner as there was to bring light upon the face of the earth. When God speaks for light to come into the soul of the sinner that has been in darkness; light immediately comes because all things are subject to the will of our sovereign God.
Now I wish for us to notice, that wherever the call of the Spirit is referred to in the scriptures it is always spoken of as being effectual. Romans 1:6, "Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ." You were called. That could not be understood as being anything but an effectual call. In Galatians 1:15, "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace." And then to I Peter 1:15, and just notice the language of it in every place reveals that the call of the Spirit is always effectual. "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;" and in the second chapter and the ninth verse he says, "that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." One scripture which I wish I had time to read, but I will only make brief reference to it, is Luke 14:21-23. There we have the parable of the man who prepared a feast and invited people to come to it and all refused, and so the Lord sent out his servant to go into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in. The Arminians would interpret that as saying that we are authorized to use pressure methods to get men to come to Christ. That is not so, because the servant there does not represent the Christian worker, but represents the Holy Spirit. It is only by the power of the Spirit that men can be compelled to come to Christ.
Then there is a very glorious illustration of the truth that I am trying to preach given in the form of a parable given in Luke 15:3, "And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." That is a very wonderful story, because it illustrates for us exactly what takes place in the salvation of a sinner. But the majority of preachers would picture the parable in this way. The shepherd counted the sheep and only ninety and nine were in the fold, so the shepherd went out and searched and found the little sheep; there it was in the pit where it had gone astray. Its legs were broken, it was unable to walk, but the shepherd would come and say, "Get up little sheep and come to the fold. Come now little sheep, you follow me, I am your shepherd, I want you to come." The shepherd would stand there and beg and plead, but the little sheep couldn't get up because his legs were broken. The shepherd would return back to the fold and sit down with his face in his hands and begin to weep and cry because the little sheep couldn't come home. Now that is the way men preach it today, but my friend that's not so. The story given here is this, the shepherd sees there are but ninety-nine sheep, he goes out until he finds that little sheep and he picks it up and layeth it on his shoulders and comes again rejoicing. And so it is when God saves a sinner. The Lord Jesus Christ is not a defeated shepherd, he does not cry over sheep who shall never be brought to the fold because all of his sheep, all of those who were given to him by the Father shall come to him. And he does not stand before that sinner who is utterly disabled and say come to me and leave him there, but He picks him up and lays him on His shoulder and brings him to the fold.
WHAT EXAMPLES DO WE HAVE OF THIS TRUTH?
In Nehemiah 9:7, the reference which is made to Abram says that God is not only the God who chose him, but broughtest him forth out of the Ur of Chaldees. In Matthew 9:9, we learn that there was a man sitting at the seat of customs by the name of Matthew. Christ said, "Follow me." And he followed him. In John 4:28-29, we learn that Christ dealt with the Samaritan woman until he drew her effectually unto himself. In Acts 9:6-8, we see that by the power of the Spirit, Saul of Tarsus was converted. It was not by his work nor his will, but by the power of Almighty God. We learn in Acts 16:14 that the Lord opened Lydia's heart so that she attended unto the things which were spoken by the apostle Paul. And let me say that this is true with every saint of God that listens to this broadcast today. Because in I Thessalonians 1:4-5, we find that the word came to us not just by the spoken word, but it came to us in power. And in II Timothy 1:9 we learn that he hath called us by his grace. I wish I had the time to deal with each one of these examples for we could see that the call of the Spirit is always effectual, that grace is always irresistible.
WHAT ARE THE EVIDENCES OF THIS GRACE?
First it is a deep sense of sin. The apostle said I am the chiefest of sinners. If you have been brought to see that you are guilty, corrupt, and vile in the sight of God, and that He would do justice to cast you into the very pit of hell, this gives some evidence that you have been made a partaker of the grace of which I have spoken today.
A second evidence of it is this, a hunger for the bread of life. Matthew 5:6 says, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." And too a willingness to receive Christ is a great evidence of this grace. "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power," says our text. Are you willing my dear friend? The very willingness in your heart is an evidence of divine grace. It is irresistible grace because the sinner is made willing. It is not that the Spirit overtakes him and the sinner says I don't want to be saved, but the Spirit says you will anyway. No. "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power" because they are given a new heart, the heart of stone is taken away and they are given a heart of flesh.
Another great evidence of this grace is the hearing ear and believing heart. These are definite evidences according to John 5:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
And finally, that great evidence of this grace is holiness of life. He says in II Peter 1:10, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." And so may it be with every heart today, let us search ourselves to make sure our calling and election of God. Look a moment at I Peter 1:13-16. "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." Have you been called by the Spirit? Has irresistible grace been worked in your heart until you have been brought to rest in Christ? If so you have great cause to rejoice. How wonderful to know that the people of God are made willing in the day of His power.
Our subject today is, "The Final Perseverance of the Saints." This is the last in the series of messages on the doctrines of grace, or the Five Points of Calvinism. As has been our custom, we shall look first at the old Baptist Confession which says, "Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance...and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet it is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity."
We read now the text which is Job 17:9, "The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger." I don't know of any better summary statement of the doctrine of perseverance than what we have in this verse. "The righteous," that is, the one made righteous by Christ, "shall" -- not "may," but shall -- "hold on his way." He that is a true partaker of saving grace shall continue in the way of holiness; and, this one who has clean hands shall grow stronger in the things of God. This truth is sadly neglected in this day. There is much said about the "eternal security of the believer"; but, little said about that professed believer persevering in grace. This lopsided view has lead preachers to say, "It doesn't matter what a Christian does, he is eternally saved"; but, I can find no such doctrine in the Word of God. Rather the Scriptures teach that only such as endure to the end shall be saved. Let us then consider that perseverance is required.
Perseverance is the only true mark which distinguish believers from false professors and so it is required of every one who shall finally be saved. "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." (John 8:31.) A mere profession was not enough to prove that these Jews had been genuinely converted; there could be no real evidence of it apart from their continuing in His word. This would teach us that no matter how sincere a profession a man may make, and regardless of how many evidences he may possess; if he does not continue in the word of Christ, he is none of His. Oh, may the Spirit use this to search our hearts. We claim to be the disciples of Christ; but, are we continuing in His word? Are we being conformed to His image? Are we growing in holiness? Are we holding on our way? Only if our answer is in the affirmative can it be said that we are His disciples indeed.
Look now at John 15:5-6, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
Then Matthew 10:22 declares, "...but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." Many have for a little season left the path of sin only to return to it again. Yea, many have for years been faithful in attending public worship and have been very diligent in their observance of religious duties; and, yet, have denied their profession by a wicked life. Oh, my friends, none of these shall inherit the blessings of that land above; for, only such as endure, persevere, unto the end shall be saved.
Another passage which plainly shows that continuance in grace is the only true mark of discipleship is John 10:27, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." How are the sheep distinguished from the goats? The sheep hear His voice and follow Him. No man has a right to claim that Christ is his Shepherd unless he will hear His voice and follow Him.
Let us further note that perseverance is pressed upon us as a duty. We are commanded to hold on our way, to continue in grace. We have such a command in Acts 11:23, "he...exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they should cleave unto the Lord." Here Barnabas appeals to their responsibility, saying that it is their duty to cleave unto the Lord. And so are we often exhorted, as in II Peter 1:4-10: "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge... For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." You see how we are admonished to grow in grace that we may not fall?
We turn now to Hebrews 10:22 and here we find one of the strongest discourses in the Bible on perseverance. "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works... For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries... For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." And the Apostle goes on to say, "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward... Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." This passage has been avoided by many and misinterpreted by many more. But regardless of what men say about it, there it stands as a warning and an exhortation to every pilgrim that journeys to the Celestial City. Notice how strongly our duty is enforced, "Let us draw near," "Let us hold fast"; and, especially take heed to the terrible warning, "If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." I know that some would say this means the loss of a "millennial" crown, but the verse plainly speaks of drawing "back unto perdition."
Now just one more verse before we pass to the next point. Jude, verse 20, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." What is the duty here enjoined? "Keep yourselves in the love of God." And someone will ask, "Is not this inconsistent with what you have already preached about the sovereignty of God?" No, my friends, it is not. This doctrine of perseverance is a very vital part of this system of truth concerning the sovereign grace of our Lord. There is no more inconsistency here than to say that we are free-men and servants of Christ at the same time, or to say with Paul that we are in joy and sorrow together. God shall keep His elect, but they are admonished to continue in the way.
Next we wish to point out that perseverance is worked in us by the Holy Spirit. "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6.) If the Spirit has begun a work of grace within the heart, He will complete it. It is His ministry to begin and complete this work; for otherwise, this grace could not exist.
In Philippians 2:12-13 the Apostle says, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." It is our duty to work out our salvation, and this is to be done with fear and trembling. Some have said that to fear is a sign of weak faith; but, in this passage we are admonished to fear. Why should we fear? Because we see so much corruption in our heart, so many fleshly lusts waring against our soul; we see our great adversary the Devil prepared to fight against us throughout our entire journey; and too, we are conscious of the fact that if we should draw back our Lord will have no pleasure in us.
This Scripture, as well as most of those that deal with perseverance, has frequently been used in an attempt to prove salvation by works. But the context clearly reveals that such an idea was the farthest from the Apostle's mind; for, we can only work out this salvation as the Spirit works in us both to will and do. No, this verse does not teach free-will, it teaches God's will. And so we see that perseverance is worked in God's people by His Spirit.
Furthermore, let us consider that the warnings of the Scriptures are used as a means to cause us to persevere. First we read Matthew 7:21, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." When most people read this verse they immediately think of some members of some religious sect which preaches heresy, and in so doing they miss that for which it is intended. This should be a solemn warning to every person who professes faith in Jesus Christ. Say not that it has reference to this person, or that group of people; but ask, "Lord, is it I?"
Those whom the Lord cast from his presence were sincere in their profession and their works. In fact they may have heard many a sermon on perseverance; but, treated them as some of you treat this message today, saying, "He speaks of someone else." Oh my friend, be not so presumptuous as to cast off these warnings. Take them to heart. Make your calling and election sure. Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith.
In Romans 8:13 we find another of these grave warnings, "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." What weary pilgrim is not made to tremble by such words as these? "If ye live after the flesh ye shall die." What effect should this have upon that one who claims an interest in Jesus Christ? It should cause him to put off fleshly lusts; it should cause him to ever walk cautiously, crying out to the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body; it should cause him to rely upon the all- sufficient grace of God to carry him on the way; and, should keep him from presumption.
I must hasten and so can make very little comment on the next verses, but I wish to call your attention to several more passages which are given as warnings. "And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62.) "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame... But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak." (Heb. 6:4-9.) "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." (I John 2:4.) "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (I Cor. 10:12.)
There is nothing that will kill out pride and presumption like this blessed truth. We cannot stand and say, "I am one of God's elect, I am eternally secure"; for, as surely as we thought we were standing we would fall. The best evidence of our election is a holy life; and, we have before us these many warnings that we might not turn from the path of righteousness. But yet there is another aspect to this truth, and thank God for it; because if the struggling saint should be taken up only with thoughts of his own sinfulness, the dangers of the way, and with the warnings which were given him; he might easily give up in despair. While on one side of the road over which he travels there are warnings to keep him from presumption, there are on the other side the promises to keep him from despair. And thus we next consider,
This side of the truth is more widely preached than the other, so I shall only deal with it briefly. Reading Psalms 94:14, "For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance." During those dark hours when our spirit is depressed and our hands hang down, promises of this kind are like a tonic to our troubled soul. How blessed to know that the Lord will not forsake His inheritance--His elect.
Jeremiah speaks of that everlasting covenant of grace and in so doing makes reference to this doctrine of perseverance. "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." (Jer. 32:40.) Is it not a comforting truth, to know that the Lord will not turn away from His people, He will not cease to do them good? And because of His fear which is placed in their hearts they shall not depart from Him. True it is that His people do not always walk as they ought, they often stumble, they are sometimes cast down; but, they shall never finally depart from their God.
Christ said, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (Joh. 10:28.) This assures the perseverance of all His elect; but, it in no way relieves them of their responsibility to hold on their way. He gives eternal life to His sheep -- and remember His sheep hear His voice and follow Him.
I Corinthians 1:8-9 speaks of Christ, "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." And I Peter 1:5 says, "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." The perseverance of the saints is further assured because they are sealed with the Spirit according to Ephesians 1:13-14, "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." And finally we shall see that their perseverance is founded upon the death and intercession of Christ. "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Rom. 8:34.) All of these promises are to give us courage to continue in the way, to strengthen us when we are opposed by our great enemy, and to keep us looking unto Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. And in closing we shall now consider,
This doctrine is clearly illustrated in the parable of the sower. As you remember the sower went out sowing the seed. Some of it fell by the wayside, some on stony ground, some among thorns; and yet, some on good ground. The seed which fell by the way side was taken away by the birds, which represents Satan taking away the word from one who understands it not. But the seed which fell on stony ground sprang up rapidly and appeared for a season to grow; yet, when the sun beat down upon it, it wilted and died for it had no root. So are they who make a profession of faith; they at first receive the word with gladness; for a little season they give the same evidences, perhaps better ones, as true believers; but, when persecution arises they draw back unto perdition, they turn out of the way and bring damnation upon themselves. The seed which fell among the thorns, represents that one who hears the word but has it choked out by the love for this present world. Notice that only one-fourth of the hearers of this parable actually received the word and brought forth fruit, giving evidence that a true work of grace had been wrought within them. Are there not multitudes in this day who make a good profession for a while, perhaps even for years, but, finally turn from it, thus committing the sin unto death.
Now my friend, what shall be your response to this parable? Are you now applying it to some neighbor or friend? Oh, be not presumptuous. Rather cry out to your Lord for grace sufficient to hold on your way. If many have been deceived, if many have taken the wrong path; yea, if many have turned back: is there any reason to believe that you are above such things? Surely not. The effect of these warnings upon the believing heart will be to drive them to the Saviour praying for persevering grace; they will cry, "Lord, save me or I perish."
Another illustration of these things is found in II Peter 2:22, "But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." If a dog has eaten too much and is sick he will vomit his food, only to return to it when he is eased. And this is true of many a sinner. He gets Hell scared, or he is afraid his sin will cause him to loose his wife, or his drunkenness has made him physically sick; and, so he puts away his sin for a little while; but, just as soon as his feeling of danger is gone, he returns to the same sins and his latter end is worse than the first.
Do you now see how well the text in Job expresses this doctrine. "The righteous also shall hold on his way." The righteous has all the warnings of God's Word to keep him in the way, to discourage him from turning back; yea, to keep him from presumption with which many are possessed in this day. At the same time there are many promises to give him courage. There is God's purpose of election, the death of Christ, the effectual work of the Spirit; all these to keep him from despair. Though to many this may seem to be inconsistent; yet, the doctrine is this: All the elect of God shall be finally and eternally saved; for the elect have been chosen to holiness; but, if any man draw back he shall be damned. Let these warnings grip your heart. If they fill you with fear, let it be so; it shall be for your profit. And yet, take courage, dear friend; the righteous shall hold on his way, he shall continue in grace, he shall persevere, he shall progress in holiness; for, it is God who worketh in him to do of His good pleasure.
"Ye pilgrims of Zion, and chosen of God,
Whose spirits are filled with dismay,
Since ye have eternal redemption thro' blood,
Ye cannot but hold on your way.
As Jesus in covenant love did engage
A fulness of grace to display,
The powers of darkness in malice may rage,
The righteous shall hold on his way.
This truth, like its Author, eternal shall stand,
Though all things in nature decay;
Upheld by Jehovah's omnipotent hand,
The righteous shall hold on his way.
They may on the main of temptation be tossed,
Their sorrows may swell as the sea,
But none of the ransomed shall ever be lost,
The righteous shall hold on his way.
Surrounded with sorrows, temptations, and cares,
This truth with delight we survey,
And sing, as we pass through this valley of tears,
The righteous shall hold on his way."
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