Posts Tagged With: regeneration

How Vast The Benefits Divine

toplady_a

National Portrait Gallery

How vast the benefits divine which we in Christ possess!
We are redeemed from guilt and shame and called to holiness.
But not for works which we have done, or shall hereafter do,
Hath God decreed on sinful men salvation to bestow.

The glory, Lord, from first to last, is due to Thee alone;
Aught to ourselves we dare not take, or rob Thee of Thy crown.
Our glorious Surety undertook to satisfy for man,
And grace was given us in Him before the world began.

This is Thy will, that in Thy love we ever should abide;
That earth and hell should not prevail to turn Thy Word aside.
Not one of all the chosen race but shall to Heav’n attain,
Partake on earth the purposed grace and then with Jesus reign.

“How Vast The Benefits Divine”, hymn by Augustus M. Toplady, 1774

Categories: Doctrine | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pastor Mark, Do Reformed Churches Really Neglect the Holy Spirit?

Mark_DriscollIn a recent post entitled, Is the Trinity Father, Son, and Holy Bible?, Seattle Pastor Mark Driscoll writes, “In Reformed churches, you won’t hear a lot about the Spirit, as they tend to attribute much of his work to the gospel and the sovereignty of God.  So when lives are changed, the explanation is that what happened was because of the gospel without much reference to the Spirit’s application of it.”

Now I don’t know what experience Pastor Mark has in Reformed churches, but I would like to point out a couple things.

1. According to Reformed theology, as preached in Reformed churches, the primary means of sanctification is the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit, secretly communicating, persuading, and applying the word to believers.  At our congregation, I pray every Sunday in a specific purposeful prayer before the sermon that the Holy Spirit would work in us to make us more holy through the word.  This is known as the prayer of illumination, and has been a staple of Reformed worship ever since Calvin published La Forme de Prières et Chants Ecclélsiastiques, (1542) aka. the Genevan Liturgy.  And when we pray for the Spirit to illuminate us, we mean it, and we expect it, as I’m sure most Reformed churches do.  I usually preface it with a pithy exhortation reminding us how absolutely necessary the Spirit’s work is for us to benefit from His word.  So much for not talking much about the Spirit!

2.  According to Reformed believers, the Spirit’s greatest miracle is in the regeneration or New Birth of a sinner.  It is His own sovereign, particular, and peculiar work from start to finish.  Reformed preachers, myself included, tend to make the Spirit’s work in regeneration a specific point of emphasis.  As it should be.

There, now I feel much better.  Now, do you think that the Reformed tend not to emphasize the Holy Spirit?

Categories: Doctrine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

An Unexpected Conversion

O soul! what preparations, what thought, what clear intent,
Dwelt in you on that morning, when heaven’s call was sent?
That unexpected moment my foolish heart was drawn,
By unexpected measures, my very life reborn.

‘Twas God’s decree in action, His pure and holy plan,
All unbeknown, drew near me, His grace towards me ran;
All things worked to their purpose, wheels within wheels went round;
Saul sought his father’s asses, but ended being crowned.

Zaccheus little pondered, when climbing up the tree,
That God’s gift of salvation his house that day would see,
And so with Paul and Peter, with Magdalen and more,
I also, without seeking, found life for evermore.

William Williams of Pantycelyn, known as the author of the hymn: “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” and many others, reflects on his unexpected conversion by God’s free, pure, and sovereign grace, when one day he heard Howell Harris preach.

quoted from The Calvinistic Methodist Fathers of Wales, Jones & Morgan, p. 213.

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