CALLING ON CHRIST
"Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13). The name of the Lord signifies the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself! "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father." He who calls on the name of the Lord humbles himself before the Lord God! "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." He who calls on the name of the Lord recognizes His power! "He is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by Him." He who calls on the name of the Lord admits his own inability and need for the Lord's saving grace! "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?" He who calls on the name of the Lord honors Him as his God and rejoices in Him as his Savior. "My soul rejoices in God, my Savior." No one ever called upon the name of the Lord in this manner and went away unsaved!
Pastor Henry Mahan
The Greatest Message
Every time I read about, hear a sermon about, or think about what it is for a sinner such as myself to be justified before the Holy God, I say to myself, "That is the greatest thing in the universe, the greatest message I have ever heard or expect to hear." There is nothing that gives me hope, increases my faith, or motivates me toward my God like that blessed Good News. The thought of God choosing me, becoming a man, living under His own law in perfect obedience to establish righteousness as a man and imputing that righteousness to me -- oh, the wisdom and grace of God! The thought of Him dying on the cross at the hand of His own wrath to satisfy His justice for me and then revealing all this to me by His Spirit through the Gospel of His grace in Christ -- it is unbelievable -- too good to be true! But it is true, I do believe it and I do rejoice in it! Before God, in Christ, I am just like Christ! What amazing grace!
Pastor Gary Shepard
Augustine said many
centuries ago, "The soul of man will never rest until it rest in
him who made it." I say unto you who are strangers to this blessed
rest seek this rest above all else. Only Jesus Christ, the "water
of life," can truly satisfy that "thirst" which is in your
soul. Only He can give your conscience rest, for only He put away sin
by the sacrifice of Himself unto God.
I urge you, poor
sinner, do not be content to live another day or another hour in your
sins, without God, without Christ, and consequently without hope. You
need not die in your sins Jesus Christ died for sinners. You need
not suffer eternal death Jesus Christ is Life. "Believe on
the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." "He that believeth
and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned"
(Acts 16:31; Mark 16:16).
When a man is soundly
killed to all his sins, to all his righteousness, to all his comforts
whatsoever; and sees that there is no way but the devil must have him,
but he must be damned in hell, if he be not clothed with Jesus Christ;
'O! then,(says he) give me Christ on any terms, whatsoever he cost; though
he cost me friends, though he cost me comforts, though he cost me all
that ever I have! Like the wise merchant in the Gospel, they will sell
all to get that pearl (Matt. 13:46). I tell you, when a soul is brought
to see its want of Christ aright, it will not be kept back; father, mother,
husband, wife, lands, livings, nay life and all shall go, rather than
the soul will miss of Christ. Aye, and the soul counts Christ a cheap
Saviour, if it can get him upon any terms. Now the soul indents no longer
(as a man bargains for the terms of his impending servitude). 'Now, Lord,
give me Christ, upon any terms, whatsoever he cost; for I am a dead man,
a damned man, a castaway, if I have not Christ.' What say you, O wounded
sinners? Is not this true, as I have said? Would you not give ten thousand
worlds, if you had so many, so you might be well assured that your sins
shall be pardoned, and you souls and bodies justified and glorified, at
the coming of Jesus Christ?
the Spirit of God ever convince you of sin? Do you see yourself liable
to the curse of the law, and the just vengeance of God, for the innate
depravity of your nature, and the transgressions of your life? Do you
come to Christ humbled and self-condemned; sensible that unless you are
clothed with the merits of Him our Elder Brother, you are ruined and undone,
and can never stand with joy or safety before the holy Lord God? If so,
lift up thy head; redemption is thine; thou art in a state of grace; thou
art translated from death to life; thou art an heir of God, and a joint-heir
with Christ. But, if you never felt, nor desire to feel, this work of
the Holy Ghost upon thy heart, this conviction of sin, this penitential
faith, all the supposed righteousness of thine own, wherein thou trusted,
is but a broken reed; a painted sepulchre; and the trappings of a Pharisee.
come to Christ for life, is for the sinner to feel and acknowledge that
he is utterly destitute of any claim upon God's favor; is to see himself
as "without strength," lost and undone; is to admit that he
is deserving of nothing but eternal death, thus taking side with God against
himself; it is for him to cast himself into the dust before God, and humbly
sue for Divine mercy.
To come to Christ for life, is for the sinner to abandon his own righteousness
and be ready to be made the righteousness of God in Christ; it is to disown
his own wisdom and be guided by His; it is to repudiate his own will and
be ruled by His; it is to unreservedly receive the Lord Jesus as his Saviour
and Lord, as his All in all.
it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD
shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance,
as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. (Joel
God declares that
the invocation of his name in a despairing condition is a sure port of
safety. What the prophet had said was certainly dreadful that the
whole order of nature would be so changed that no spark of life would
appear, and that all places would be filled the darkness. What, therefore,
he says now is the same as though he declared, that if men called the
name of God life would be found in the grave. Since then God invites here
the lost and the dead, there is no reason why even the heaviest distresses
should preclude an access for us or for our prayers. If there is promised
salvation and deliverance to all who shall call on the name of the Lord,
it follows, as Paul reasons, that the doctrine of the gospel belongs to
the gentiles also. I would have been a great presumption in us to present
ourselves before God, except he had given us confidence and promised to
hear us. We learn from this place that however much God may afflict his
Church, it will yet be perpetuated in the world; for it can no more be
destroyed than the very truth of God, which is eternal and immutable.
Brothers and Sisters,
let us never think nor speak of physical death as those [persons] who
have no grace and no faith. They have only natural understanding, natural
reason, and the "common senses" with which to judge of physical
death. The unregenerate speak of physical death as if it were an end,
the final Omega. They refer to those who have died in the past tense,
as those who were or have been. But the dead are the living who have died.
While they were living, they lived, while they were dying they lived,
and having died, they live still. There are no "have beens."
Those who have been are and ever shall be. Physical death is not a state
or condition, but merely a transition, a mere passage from earth and time
into a timeless eternity.
Human life is life forever. To be is eternal being. Every man who has
died, who has passed through death, is at this instant, whether in heaven
or hell, in full possession of all his faculties, having the intensest
exercise of all his capacities. Somewhere in God's universe, whether in
heaven or hell, with a consciousness of the truth and reality of God,
he knows and feels in every fibre of his being that life, that life which
comes after death, is not less real but more real, not less great but
more great, not less full and intense but more full and intense than the
life which he lived on earth, that life when he was surrounded with the
crust and circumference of mortality. The dead are the living! They lived
while they died, and after they died they live on forever.
While bound with the chains of mortality one may ignore, disregard, or
even deny his or her responsibilities and accountability to God, but when
he or she passes through physical death there is TRUTH, there is GOD,
there is HEAVEN or HELL! There is no escape from God, before death, in
death, or after death. Every man and woman who has ever been, still is,
and has or shall acknowledge and glorify the God of the Bible, whether
in heaven or hell, judgment or glory. "I pray you in Christ's stead,
be ye reconciled to God" (II Cor. 5:20). "Be thou faithful unto
death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).
to me now in Scripture language alone,'' said a dying Christian. "I
can trust the words of God; but when they are the words of a man, it costs
me an effort to think whether I may trust them."
IS A GOOD HOPE?
II Thessalonians 2:16
hath given us a "good hope through grace."
conceived in sin, shapen in iniquity, and brought forth from the womb
speaking lies, it is the hope that I shall be born again by the Spirit
of God and the Word of God and given the very life of God through faith.
Being a sinner by choice and by practice, having offended God in thought,
word, and deed, it is the hope that my sins shall be forgiven by the mercy
of God and blotted out by the blood of Christ.
Having no righteousness nor merit of my own (for even my righteousness
are as filthy rags in His sight), it is the hope of being clothed in the
beauty of holiness and the righteousness of God accomplished by the obedience
and merit of Christ.
Being frail flesh and subject to temptations both within and without,
from the flesh and the devil, it is the hope that by the grace of God
I will continue in the faith of Christ, hold to my profession, and preserve
to the end -- being able to declare with Paul, "I have kept the faith."
Being a dying man (for I shall go the way of all who have lived before;
and as it is appointed unto men once to die, I shall die), it is the hope
that, in Christ, I shall have part in the first resurrection and that
this mortal shall put on immortality and this corruptible, incorruption.
Having a desire to be with Christ and to be like Christ, it is the hope
that I shall live eternally in His presence and be perfectly conformed
to His blessed image!
eyes shall see Him in that day,
The Lord that died for me;
And all my rising bones shall say,
Lord, Who is like to Thee?
There shall I bathe my weary soul
In seas of heavenly rest,
And not a wave of trouble roll
Across my peaceful breast.
A Plucked Brand
It is the object, pleasure, and mission of Satan, the accuser of the brethren, to watch for, mark out, and report every hint of inconsistency among the saints. When he perceives a work of sovereign grace, when he sees a knee bent in reverence toward God, a tear fall because of a broken and contrite spirit, or a head bowed in confession because of rebellion against God, it is there that he immediately directs his evil attention. The delight of Satan is to glean every bit of knowledge possible in order to plan the attempted downfall of God's own. Not only does the enemy of God's people accuse them before God as being nothing more than common criminals, but he also sees to it that these elect are bombarded with endless temptations in his effort to stir up the sin that resides in their flesh. That great liar unceasingly reminds the chosen of God of their waywardness. If that be not enough, he then plagues their mind with groundless doubts as to their sincerity toward the God they love. O how hopeless would be the beloved saint's warring and striving against one of such skill if they were to be left alone to fight their own battle against such a foe, that is, without One to be their willing and able Advocate. How could they stand alone in their frailty against the wiles of the Devil -- left to stand in their own blood, and without the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus?
The elect are not left in this pit of hopelessness. In the midst of such warfare the saints are reminded by God's Spirit, "Is this not a brand plucked out of the fire?" (Zech. 3:2) Truly, the elect were in times past unprofitable, unfruitful, and their conversation was in the lusts of their flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind and were by nature the children of wrath even as others (Eph.2:3). They were, as all men are, deserving of eternal separation from God. Have these not though, in spite of their sin, been chosen by the Father unto salvation, redeemed by the Son at Calvary, and gloriously called out by the Holy Spirit to be marvelously, powerfully, and justly delivered from the brink of destruction and hell? Has God not revealed in the Gospel of free grace His mercy to pluck off of the road of sure destruction (because He had found a Ransom) some that were like a branch cut off because of sin? Have these objects of His mercy not been found in the eternal love, will, and purpose of God Almighty's council to be preserved in Christ Jesus the Lord? By Christ's obedience to the law and the shedding of His precious blood on the tree in their stead, are these not accepted in the Beloved? Are these not the spiritual Mephibosheths (1 Sam. 20:14-17) that, because of the fall in Adam, now have no ability to walk in their own strength, but must be fetched out of the wilderness of despair and brought to sit at the table of the King and eat his Bread (Christ) only because of a covenant?
But one would ask, how is it that I may know that I have a part in this marvelous work of grace and might be found to be one of these brands plucked out of despair? My answer would be, do you by Divine revelation see yourself to be clothed in nothing but the filthy rags of self-righteousness because of sin? Do you behold Christ by faith to be your need, hope of redemption, and salvation? Does the thought of standing before the indescribably Holy God without a fit Substitute and Mediator (Christ Jesus alone) make Him to be the One your soul loves, desires, and must have? Does the glorious honor of God Almighty in the salvation of His people, because He has chosen to show mercy to some, strike a note of praise within your being? Is Christ precious to you in all His offices as God's Prophet, Priest, and King? Does the setting forth of Christ in the preaching of the glorious gospel set your heart aflame with love toward Him as He alone is revealed within the scriptures? Though there be a knowledge that (in your flesh) there dwells no good thing, is there a striving against because of a new law of love and life toward Christ in your mind all that is dishonoring, disrespectful, and disobedient to the God of Heaven? Have you cast yourself upon God's mercy and deliverance from His wrath for Christ's sake? If these things are found in you, rejoice for these marks are evidences of those plucked, as brands, out of the fire.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2: 8-9
The Word of God sets forth that there is but one way that any man shall ever be saved
graciously. Glorious salvation is not accomplished by any work or effort on man's part, for if it was, it would not be by grace and man would certainly have reason to boast. Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). God's elect are redeemed by the shed blood of Christ from death and sin to life and glory by God's free and sovereign grace. This gracious salvation is through faith. Not that faith is the cause or source of salvation, but faith is God's appointed means of receiving and enjoying His salvation.
Many speak of salvation as being by grace, but a careful hearing of how men generally interpret grace only reveals that they actually believe in salvation by work (their work). Here is the way that false religion usually sets forth salvation by grace.
Man is in need of salvation because he is a sinner.
The Lord Jesus came to this world to die on the cross for every person to make salvation possible.
Christ having died on the cross and shedding His blood for sin, God now by His Holy Spirit, goes throughout the world, graciously offering salvation to every person because He wants to save everybody.
Men, as they hear the message of salvation, have a choice to make. They can accept or reject God's gracious offer. It's strictly up every man as to whether he wants to exercise his free will and go to heaven or to refuse God's gracious offer of salvation and thereby seal his own soul to hell.
My question to this line of thinking is
. Who then has the last and final word in salvation
man or God? Obviously, the answer to this question (based on this false gospel) must be "man". God, men say, has done all He can do and man must make his decision to choose life or refuse it. I, without apology, say that scripture teaches no such thing. The Word of God declares God's salvation to His people to be all of grace. For grace to be saving grace, these things must be so
A) Saving grace is Electing Grace. 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 (Eph. 1:4). God, from the foundation of the world, chose a people in Christ having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Eph 1:5).
B) Saving grace is Particular Grace. In the gospel according to John (chapter 17), this particular grace is undeniably set forth. (vs 2) Eternal life is given to as many as thou hast given him. (vs 6) God's name is manifested unto the men, which were given Christ out of the world. (vs 9) It is for those given Christ for whom He prays. Again, hear the words of our blessed Lord as He establishes who will come and follow Him--- " All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37)
C) Saving grace is Irresistible Grace. Men do not come to Christ kicking and screaming against their will. God's elect willingly come because they are given a new will to come (Ps. 110:3) and are willing in the day of His power. While men (as being born in Adam) have no desire for Christ i.e. to come to Him for salvation (Is. 53:3), the children of promise come by faith, come willingly, and come irresistibly because God has given them one heart, and He has put a new spirit within. (Eze.11:19)
D) Saving grace is Justifying grace. "and whom He called, them he also justified" (Rom. 8:30) God wills to not impute sins to His people but to Christ their Surety. "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21) There is not only the imputation of our guilt to Christ, but there is also the imputation of His righteousness to us. All God's elect are righteous, totally and completely by the imputed righteousness of Christ to them.
E) Saving grace is Persevering grace. They that endure to the end shall be saved (Mt. 24: 13). Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal. 6:9). That men must remain faithful to Christ to be saved is, without doubt, established in the scripture. But man, being weak in himself by the presence of sin, cannot keep himself faithful to God. If there is one thing that anyone must do (from the establishing of salvation to the maintenance of that salvation), then that salvation is not all of grace. God's people are faithful and shall not waiver from their hope of salvation because they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (I Peter 1:5)
F) Saving grace is Glorifying grace. God's people have (in Christ) eternal glory. Being considered in Christ as our federal Head, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs: heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. (Rom 8:16-17)
Truly God's people are saved by grace. This saving grace has no putrefying stench of man's work upon it. It is honorably set forth as being God's grace and is the gift given to His own by one man, Jesus Christ. (Rom 5:15) True saving grace is declared to be by God's election. This marvelous grace is for a particular people who shall irresistibly be called out of spiritual darkness into the marvelous light of Christ. By grace, the elect are justified, kept, and glorified by and in Christ Jesus the Lord.
The righteous are said to be scarcely saved; not with respect to certainty of the event, for the purpose of God in their favor cannot be disappointed, but with respect to their own apprehensions, and the great difficulties they are brought through. But when, after a long experience of their own deceitful hearts, after repeated proofs of their weakness, willfulness, ingratitude, and insensibility, they find that none of these things can separate them from the love of God in Christ, Jesus becomes more and more precious to their souls. They dare not, they will not ascribe anything to themselves, but are glad to acknowledge, that they must have perished (if possible) a thousand times over, if Jesus had not been their Saviour, their Shepherd, and their Shield. When they were wandering He brought them back, when fallen He raised them, when wounded He healed them, when fainting He revived them. By Him, out of weakness they have been made strong: He has taught their hands to war, and covered their heads in the day of battle. In a word, some of the clearest proofs they have had of His excellence, have been occasioned by the mortifying proofs they have had of their own vileness. They would not have known so much of Him, if they had not known so much of themselves.