Volume. XXVIII, No. 50
Sunday, 15 June 2014


How Were You Saved?


How is a person saved, or born again, or made to be in right standing with God? Salvation is not received because one has faith, nor because one prays, reads her or his Bible, memorizes Scripture, does charitable deeds for others, or gives generously of personal resources. All of the above are valuable things, but they are not means of salvation for us. Faith is essential, but it is not an end in itself. Faith, like love, must have an object. Imagine hearing a young man say, “I am in love.” What question immediately follows? – “With whom?” or “With what?” If the love- smitten young man responds, “I’m not in love with any one, I’m just in love with love.,” you would wonder what has gone wrong in his thinking because love requires an object. Faith also requires an object. All of us place faith or trust in people, ideas, or things. Yet when it comes to saving faith, what you trust in makes the difference between salvation and damnation. Are you trusting in your merit or your efforts to find favor with God, or are you trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ who died in your behalf? When you place your faith in trusting in Jesus Christ and accept the payment He made for your sin, you are forgiven. The righteousness of Jesus is credited to your account while your sins are credited to the account of Jesus the Christ/ Messiah.

The essential question you must address is, have you trusted Jesus to be your Savior? Do you believe that He is the One who lived a life of perfect obedience, who became the substitute for your sin and died in your place to make peace with God? If you know the Lord as your Savior, how did you come to accept Him? Think of the time and place when you became aware of your salvation. What brought you to that point?

On one level, you bowed before the Lord, acknowledged your sin and rebellion against Him and accepted Him as your redeemer and Savior. You actively called upon the Lord to be saved. But what brought you to that point? Raising that question brings us to the subject of choice. Did you choose to accept Jesus as your redeemer or did God choose you without your involvement? Why did you get saved while someone else that you know has no interest in the God of your salvation? What does the Bible teach on this important subject?

These questions bring us to the second of the Five Points of Calvinism: “Unconditional Election.” Again, remember that this is the response given to the second of “the five points” of Arminianism. Below I have posted the summary of the two positions on election.

Conditional Election

God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world was based upon His foreseeing that they would respond to His call. He selected only those whom He knew would of themselves freely believe the gospel. Election therefore was determined by or conditioned upon what man would do. The faith which God foresaw and upon which He based His choice was not given to the sinner by God (it was not created by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit) but resulted solely from man’s will. It was left entirely up to man as to who would believe and therefore as to who would be elected unto salvation. God chose those whom He knew would, of their own free will, choose Christ. Thus the sinner’s choice of Christ, not God’s choice of the sinner, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

Unconditional Election

God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause God’s choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God’s choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

From the online resource “Graceonlinelibrary.org”

When an Arminian speaks of election he or she usually believes that God, at some time before the creation of the world, looked down the corridor of time and, without any action or influence on His part, observed the decision the individual would make of his or her “free will.” Once that decision was observed, God ratified it, thereby making that person “elect.”

They appeal to verses like 1 Peter 1:2; Romans 8:29; and 2 Peter 3:9 to support their position that God’s advance knowledge (foreknowledge) is the basis of His choosing. Some Arminians teach that God made no advance decision at all. He waits until a person chooses salvation then ratifies that choice, then that person is elected to salvation. If that person does not make that choice, he or she is not of the elect.

When Calvinists speak of Unconditional Election, they do not mean that humankind simply hangs like a blob and is brought to salvation. Rather, the Calvinists mean that when an individual professes faith in Jesus Christ for her or his eternal salvation, she or he is doing so actively from the heart, responding in repentance and faith to the Lord. But that action is in response to the prior working of God in one's heart to bring her or him to salvation. The basis of that choosing is not because of race, ethnicity, nationality, social status, or the individual’s sex. Rather, the basis of the choosing is because God in his love, for reasons only He knows, has chosen some of the human family to be saved. They refer to the Old Testament instruction to Israel in Deuteronomy 7 & 8 where God reminded the people that the only reason they were uniquely His was because He loved them. Calvinists believe that all are invited, but only those in whose hearts the Lord is specifically working will respond believingly to His invitation. They refer to passages like John 6:37, 44; Acts 16:14; and Romans 8:29-34 to support their position.

Some who identify themselves as Calvinists are really Hyper-Calvinists and do not believe that the invitation to salvation should be extended to all. Their argument is that one may be falsely led to believe that he or she might be saved, when they are not elect. But when the Scriptures declare, “Whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish...,” (John 3:16); “He that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life...,” (John 5:24); and “Whosoever calleth on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” (Romans 10:13 citing Joel 2:32), the Biblical Christian is duty bound to extend that invitation to all as God grants opportunity.

God is a generous God and He graciously and freely saves all who come to Him in repentance (turning away from sin) and faith (turning to Christ). In Acts 2:39, we have the promise stated by the Apostle Peter, “And the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Where might Peter get such ideas? From the teaching of Jesus and from the Old Testament. In Ezekiel 18: 21-22, we read, “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgression that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness, that he hath done he shall live.”

One writer, commenting on these verses wrote:

“In this sentence, God proposes the hope of pardon, and invites and exhorts to penitence all the transgressors of his law. But this doctrine is specially worthy of notice, in that God extends his arms, and is prepared to meet and receive all who betake themselves to good fruits: for despair hurls us into madness and then hardens our hearts by abandoned obstinacy. Hence it is necessary that God should extend his hand towards us, and animate us to penitence. This is the meaning of this passage of the Prophets, as soon as the impious is turned away from his impiety, God will be at peace with him. Now we see that no excuse remains for us if this humane invitation of God does not stir us up when he bears witness that he is propitious to us when we heartily desire to be reconciled to him....” (Emphasis added)

The writer is eager for the reader to understand what Ezekiel is proclaiming. Notice that a clear invitation to all is recognized in the exposition of this passage. The writer of the above lines was John Calvin in his Commentary on Ezekiel Vol. II, page 245. Check it out for yourselves.

Do not ignore the Gospel invitation. If you have never accepted the payment Jesus Christ provided for your sin and rebellion, I invite you to do so right now! Talk to Him right now, where you are. He is more ready to hear you than you are to speak to Him. -- If you know Him, invite others to come to Him.

 

Hoping to point you to Christ,

Dr Carl T Martin (New Life BPC, London)


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster Leader: Today: Bro Phil Surman.  Next Lord’s Day: Bro Raphael Ng

*All worshippers are encouraged to attend Bible Study classes & fellowship activities.

*There is a “Building Q&A” session on Saturday, 28 June, at 12:45 pm. All members are encouraged to attend.

*Pledges for Mrs WolHee Kim & family: please hand it to Bro Tony Law by next Lord’s Day. The pledge is for July 2014 to June 2015.

*No YAF meeting on Fri, 20 June.

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Dns Joyce Gong (Per/Adl); Bro Phil & Sis Iris Surman (Adl); Bro Houston Li & Sis Jan Sing (USA); Bros Raymond Ang (Adl/Pinnaroo) & Raphael Ng (Waikerie/Adl); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations. 

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

5. Job: Sis Michelle Lee

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Herbert (Dilly) Anderson (Kenya), Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicia’s father - S’pore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Margaret Hooper, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Queenie Lau, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Iris Surman’s brother, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi, Susan Weng & Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong; Mr Lucas Lee; Mr Tony Zhang; Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai); & others in affliction.

2. Special Prayer: Bro Raymond Ang’s father: renal dialysis & recovery from cardiac procedure (S’pore).

3. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis WolHee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

4. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim (missions work in South East Asia).

5. Cambodia Missions - Preacher Zhang & Ministry (Sihanoukville); Bro Liv Rotha & Ministry (Kampot).

6. New Life BPC (London) - strength & encouragement for congregation; Resident Preacher Mok.

7. Future ministry - God’s provision & guidance for Bro David & Sis Susan Weng. 

8. Ministry in Ebenezer BPC (June): Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe.

9. Ministry in Singapore: Pastor Ki (Calvary Jurong).

10.  Journey mercies: Bro Houston Li & Sis Jan Sing (Overseas); Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo/Adl) & Raphael Ng (Waikerie/Adl); Sis Mary Ting (Sabah); & others travelling.

11.  Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

12.  Final Weeks of pregnancy: Sis May Lau

13.  Health in pregnancy: Sis Tabitha Tan.

14.  God’s guidance & wisdom for those in authority in  Australia.

15.  PR application: Bro William Song; Sisters Xiao Hui Chye & Yashu Qin.

16.  Post-natal recovery: Sis Kerrie Lam; health & normal development - Isabella.

17.  High school & university students - strength & endurance in study & exams.

18. Vacation Bible Study: Speaker - Pr Hai Seng Lim; organizers, helpers & children.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063