By Grace: Mighty Grace, Abiding Grace

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

— Ephesians 2:8


Mighty grace.

For grace is also the power of God by which we are delivered from the dominion of sin and death.

Reconciliation alone is no salvation, nor could it possibly lead to salvation if the operation of grace ceased at the cross. It must be applied, so that from darkness we are translated into life, from sin into righteousness, and with cords of love we are united again with the heart of God.

How could this be accomplished?

Will we say that from the cross onward salvation is the work of man? That God has done his part, and now man must realize what God has accomplished? Or will we allow the grace of God and the will of man to mix, harmoniously and sweetly to work together to perfect the salvation manifested on the cross of Christ? Will we say that on God’s part he is willing to save all men, that he offers the reconciliation accomplished on the cross to everyone with the intention to save everyone, and that for the rest it depends upon the choice of man’s will?

God forbid!

The riches of his grace must be revealed.

By grace are we saved.

Through faith we are saved. It is not on condition of faith, a condition that man must fulfill if God is to bestow the blessings of salvation on him. There are no conditions unto salvation at all. It is not because of faith, as if faith were the new work required to obtain salvation. There is no work unto salvation—not even faith or the work of faith.

For by grace are we saved, through faith.

Faith is the means unto salvation.

It is the spiritual tie that unites us with Christ, the spiritual faculty whereby we know him, taste him, long for him, trust in him, rely on him, appropriate him, live out of him as the young tree draws its life-giving sap out of the ground through its roots.

Through faith.

It is God’s means, a means of grace, a power that is wrought in our inmost hearts by the mighty grace of God. By grace you are saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

By grace he unites us with Christ.

By the power of grace he quickens us together with him, making us new creatures. By grace he calls us, powerfully, irresistibly, sweetly, out of darkness into the light of the gospel. By grace he implants the faith in us whereby we embrace the Christ of God and all his benefits.

It is not of ourselves; it is God’s gift.

Salvation is of the Lord.

Wonderful grace.

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Abiding grace.

For we are saved.

Because it is by pure and sovereign grace that we are saved, we will surely be saved even unto the end of eternal glory.

Always salvation is of the Lord; never does it become of us. Always it is by grace; never does it become of works. Even as it is in free, divine, absolutely sovereign grace that he chose us and ordained us to become conformed according to the image of his Son; and even as it was by that same grace that he reconciled us unto himself through the death of his Son; and even as it was pure grace that wrought the faith within us whereby we lay hold on the Christ of God; even so it is by grace that we are preserved unto the final salvation that will be revealed in the last time.

By grace we are preserved.

Through the power of that gracious preservation we persevere.

For on the one hand, even our perseverance is not by works, nor on account of works, nor by virtue of our cooperation with the grace of God. It is of pure grace. Yet on the other hand, this preserving grace of God is not a power that remains external to us, so that we are passively, unconsciously perhaps, carried into glory. It is a power within us that causes us to hold on to the God of our salvation.

Grace preserves, and we persevere.

Who shall separate us?

Unchangeable grace!

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This is the third and final part of Chapter 19: By Grace taken from the book All Glory to the Only Good God by Herman Hoeksema, edited by David J. Engelsma.

Previous articles: By Grace,   By Grace: Blessed Grace

 

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By Grace: Blessed Grace

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

— Ephesians 2:8

 

Blessed grace.

For by grace are we reconciled unto God.

The same grace that motivated the Most High to ordain us unto salvation, according to which it was his purpose to make us lovely even as he is lovely, explains why he reconciled us unto himself through the death of his Son.

Saved we are by grace.

This means that we were lifted from the deepest depth of sin and shame, of guilt and condemnation, of corruption and death, to the highest possible bliss of eternal righteousness and life and glory.

Saved we are.

Created we were with all the elect in the first man Adam, who was made a living soul; who had life, but not in himself; who lived without being the lord of life; whose glory was corruptible, whose righteousness could be lost, whose life was mortal, and who was of the earth earthly. In him we violated God’s covenant and became guilty, liable to death and damnation, subject to corruption, children of wrath. Our condition was hopeless as far as we were concerned. For in Adam we could sin, but we could never pay a ransom for our sin; we could die in him, but we had no power to regain life in God’s favor; we could turn away from the Fount of life, but never could we return to him. We could only increase the guilt of our sin every day, through every word we spoke, by every deed we performed, with every breath we took. Enemies of God we were, hating him and hating one another.

Saved we are.

Saved by grace, by free and sovereign grace.

For even then, when we were dead in sin, objects of God’s righteous wrath, who could never be restored to the favor of God unless we would willingly take the way through the depths of hell, he loved us and reconciled us unto himself.

Us he reconciled. Do not express this differently. Do not say that he reconciled himself to us, for to reconcile is to restore a relation of love and faith and friendship that has been violated and broken, the relation of the covenant. On his part that relation was never violated. He is the eternal I AM, who changes not. With an eternal, immutable, sovereign love he loved his own, even when they were rebels. Us he reconciled. Us he restored to that state in which we were the proper objects of his favor and blessing, the state of eternal righteousness.

For such is reconciliation: restoration to favor in the way of perfect justice.

Justice required satisfaction, and satisfaction of the justice of God with respect to our sin could be accomplished only by a voluntary act of perfect obedience even unto death. Not merely to suffer the punishment for sin is satisfaction. Even the damned in hell suffer the agonies of death, yet they do not atone for their sins. God demands that we love him. This means that the sinner who violated God’s law and trampled underfoot his covenant must love God in his righteous wrath, love him in death and hell, if ever the sinner is to atone.

This act of perfect obedience we could never perform.

Reconciled we are by grace.

For when in sovereign grace he chose us and ordained us to be conformed according to the image of his Son, he chose us in him. By grace he ordained his Son to be the head of the church, to become flesh, to assume the burden of our sin and guilt, to enter into our deepest woe, to become sin for us, so that we could become the righteousness of God in him.

By grace he was sent into the world.

By grace he chose the way of suffering and death, the way through the depth of hell, there to lay upon God’s altar the sacrifice that would be sufficient to satisfy the justice of God.

God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.

That he could show forth the riches of his grace.

For by grace we are saved.

By grace only.

....to be continued.

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This is the second part of Chapter 19: By Grace taken from the book All Glory to the Only Good God by Herman Hoeksema, edited by David J. Engelsma.

Previous article: By Grace

 

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By Grace

 

 

 

 

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

— Ephesians 2:8

 

FOR!

Let us not overlook this little but significant word.

For by grace are ye saved. The conjunction presents the truth expressed as a reason for something else, an explanation of something that has been mentioned in the context. It informs us that this statement does not stand alone, that it is not an isolated truth that one can accept or not accept without much effect for the rest of the content of his faith, a truth that one can either deny or confess as of little or no practical significance and importance.

For by grace are ye saved.

It means that salvation by grace and by grace only is an indispensable condition for something else, a ground, a foundation, without which that something else cannot stand. Denying it is like destroying the foundation of an edifice: you pull down the whole structure. It is like cutting away at the root of a tree: you kill the tree.

That for which this statement is the reason can be read in the immediately preceding verse: “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

God is rich in mercy.

And he saved us. Even when we were dead in sins, he quickened us together with Christ, and raised us up together with him, and made us sit together in heavenly places.

All this in order to show the exceeding riches of his grace. Through our salvation the riches of his grace must be displayed.

But how is this possible unless salvation is by grace?

By grace only.

In grace your salvation has its source.

For the eternal fountainhead whence the whole blessed stream of your salvation gushes forth is sovereign election.

Chosen you are unto salvation before the foundation of the world. And the motive of God’s election of his people is grace—sovereign, absolutely free grace.

Pure grace.

Nothing else determined God in predestinating you unto conformity to the image of his Son. There are those who find in man the reason and the determining factor of God’s election. They too would emphasize that salvation is all of grace, not of works. It is grace that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, and grace that you may become partaker of the blessings of salvation in him. They speak too of election unto glory. Only the elect actually become heirs of eternal salvation. But election? According to them, is it also of mere and pure and sovereign grace? Ah, no! It is not of grace, say they, but of works. Yes, of works, though they themselves would use other terms to describe their view of election. Is it not an election of works that teaches that God found or foresaw in the elect a willingness to accept Christ and the terms of his salvation, in distinction from others whom he foreknew as stubborn and unwilling to come to Christ?

Then it is not of grace. Then it was man, his goodness, the foreseen choice of his will to receive Christ that determined God’s choice. Then it is not grace that makes the elect acceptable to and beloved by God in his eternal counsel, but it is some element of goodness in man that induced the Most High to prefer him above others. When God shows forth the riches of his grace in the salvation of the elect, they will always be mixed with this excellence of man.

But God forbid!

For you are saved by grace.

This implies that your salvation is of God from beginning to end, from its eternal source in the counsel of God to its final manifestation in glory in the day of Christ.

Grace ordained you unto salvation. This signifies not that God’s election is arbitrary, but that it has its reason and motive in God alone. Of him are all things. God is gracious. Full of grace is he in himself, apart from any relationship with or attitude toward the creature, for he is good, the sole good, the implication of all infinite perfections. As the supreme and only and infinitely good, he is the perfection of all beauty. He is pleasant and altogether lovely, and there are pleasures at his right hand forevermore. Eternally he is attracted by his own beauty, for he is God triune, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Of the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit, God knows himself, beholds himself, his grace and beauty, and inclines unto himself in eternal and infinite divine favor.

This infinite loveliness and divine pleasure in his own beauty is God’s grace.

By grace you are chosen.

By the knowledge of and attraction to the loveliness of his own perfection, God was divinely urged to ordain his people—a people who would be perfect as he is perfect, lovely as he is lovely, for whom he has foreknown, them he also did predestinate to be conformed according to the image of his Son—a people upon whom he looked with eternal good pleasure, a people in whom he would show forth the infinite riches of his grace, a people who would taste that the Lord is good.

For by grace are you saved.

....to be continued

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This is the first part of 'Chapter 19: By Grace' taken from the book All Glory to the Only Good God by Herman Hoeksema, edited by David J. Engelsma.

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Jehovah Our Sun and Shield

A sun is Jehovah God!

Wonderfully significant is the sun in nature as an image of the Lord our God.

With relation to our universe, that golden bridegroom of the day, issuing forth from his chambers and going on his way through the firmament rejoicing, is radiating with fullness of life and blessing for every creature.

When in the still and dark hour just before dawn of a day in June you repair to a favorite spot—where gentle zephyrs lisp, the trees murmur mysteriously, and the brook ripples playfully; where the humble wildflower displays the rich beauty of its colored garment for which it did not labor or spin; and where winged beauties sing and call to one another—to wait and to watch for the rising of the sun…

And when, as you watch, a pale glimmer in the eastern sky announces the approach of morning and dispels the darkness of the night, rousing from their slumbers the feathered inhabitants of the woods, who respond to the call of the morning, first cooing sleepily and complainingly, and then, as gradually the pale gray of dawn brightens into the gold of morning, chirruping and singing cheerfully; and when you see how the rising sun, now fast increasing in strength of golden brightness until finally the last streaks of morning cloud have vanished before its splendor, suffuses the entire scene with wondrous glory, pouring life and light over flower and leaf, into brook and meadow, transforming the black robe of night’s darkness into a veritable garb of many-colored beauty…


Oh, how wonderful a picture is the sun!

 

 

 

 

 

What a fullness of life it pours into the universe.

What a center of blessings it appears.

It draws from sea, ocean, and lake the rain into soft cloud-vessels and pours refreshing showers over field and forest; it nourishes and warms the seeds in the furrows and causes them to sprout; it makes the flowers bloom and reveals their beauty; it spreads life and joy, energy and light, and it calls man and beast to action.

The Lord God is a sun.

A sun not as if there were other suns, for he is God and there is no God besides him, but a sun because he is in himself the fullness of all good. He is light and there is no darkness in him. Such is his being. He does not possess light, but he is light. He does not simply live, but he is life. He does not just contain goodness, but he is goodness. He is light and life, brightness and holiness, goodness and grace and mercy, righteousness and justice, joy and peace. He is goodness and perfection, an ever-blessed light. And his perfection is not derived from any other sources. It is absolutely original with him, uncaused, and eternal. As the triune God he lives the life of perfect light by and in himself.

Still more.

The Lord God is a sun also because he radiates his goodness and pours forth his light-life upon all who are in communion with him. He is for them the fount of all good, which spreads grace and glory. Like the rising sun in nature, so he dispels the darkness of the night of sin and death. For he reveals the brightness of his beauty, the glory of his goodness, the perfection of his holiness and righteousness, the blessedness of his grace in Christ Jesus, and through him Jehovah scatters the blessed rays of his own light into the hearts of his children.

For Jehovah God is a sun. The uncaused light in himself, full of grace and glory.

He is also the sole cause of all light and life, radiating his blessed goodness into the hearts of all his children. He makes them partakers of his holiness, love, blessedness, and joy. In their hearts he spreads abroad the riches of his love, makes the night flee away—a night of sin and corruption, of hatred and the lie, of death and hell—and calls forth the dawn of a new day, shining with the light of righteousness and holiness, of love in truth, of heavenly bliss and eternal life.

For the Lord will give grace and glory. He radiates grace and makes his children partakers of it in Christ Jesus. And his grace makes glorious. Even as sin is corruption and makes one inglorious, vile, abject, repulsive, leading to outer darkness in eternal desolation, so grace is goodness and brings glory to those who partake of it, making them full of grace and beauty.

How blessed is Jehovah God!

What a fullness of joy and life is he. Surely he is a sun.

How blessed is his communion! For without him, without the scope of the radiation of his blessed light, there is the darkness of death. In his communion there is grace and glory.

How amiable are his tabernacles, the place beside his altar. How much more blessed to be only a doorkeeper in his house, catching at least some of his blessed light, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness, where all is darkness and death!

O Lord of hosts, light of lights, radiant with eternal perfection, how blessed is the man over whom thou dost spread thy tabernacle and who dwells in thy light!

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This excerpt was taken from the book All Glory to the Only Good God (Chapter 4a).

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All of Him

Thanksgiving does, indeed, imply joy and gladness of heart, but not in the abundance of earthly things, but in God who is really GOD, the Lord of all, who reigneth in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, who doeth all things well; who is, moreover, the God of our salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord, who forgiveth all our iniquities, who healeth all our diseases, and from whose fatherly hand we receive all things, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, health and sickness, joy and sorrow, life and death, and who causes all things to work for our salvation.

To give thanks means, to be sure, that we point to blessings received, and that we count them one by one, but not so that we exclude from these benefits anything that we received from the hand of our heavenly Father in this valley of death, so that we speak of “many things to be thankful for” while we know not what to do with those experiences that were contrary to our earthly desires; but so that we consider all things, by faith, and in the light of His promise, as gifts of His grace, for the which He is to be praised and adored.

It means that we praise Him and glorify His holy name because of the abundance of His mercy over us, but again, not in the vain imagination that by doing so we add anything to His glory, and oblige Him to us, but in the deep sense that even our thanksgiving and praise is a gift of grace, an unspeakably great privilege which He bestows upon us, and for the which we owe Him thanks.

And thus it implies that we deeply humble ourselves before Him, who is God, the Lord, and acknowledge that we are wholly unworthy of all His benefits.

To acknowledge Him as God alone, and to prostrate ourselves in adoration before His throne,—that is thanksgiving.

All of Him, none of self!

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This excerpt was taken from a meditation written by Herman Hoeksema in 1946. Read the full article at the Standard Bearer Archives: http://standardbearer.rfpa.org/articles/all-him.

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New Book Release: God's Goodness Always Particular

NEW RELEASE!

What does the Bible teach regarding God’s attitude to the reprobate ungodly? What are the implications that God has an attitude of favor to the wicked? Do the Psalms support or give the lie to the theory of common grace? Does Zwier’s “triple cord” of biblical texts hold firm, or is it cut to ribbons? Read and gain new appreciation for the truth that God’s goodness is always particular.

  • 144 pages
  • paperback
  • ISBN 978-1-936054-90-9
  • also available in ebook format

Note: This book will not be automatically sent to our Book Club members.

                     

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The Rock Whence We Are Hewn

Coming late January 2016.

This book accomplishes several purposes on behalf of the defense and maintenance of the gospel of grace with its accompanying Christian life of separation from the world of the ungodly.

First, the book recalls to the members of the Protestant Reformed Churches their doctrinal and historical origins: “Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn” (Isa. 51:1). Their doctrinal origins were the confession of salvation by sovereign grace, embedded in predestination, and insistence on a holy life of separation from the world of the ungodly—the antithesis. 

Second, the book exposes the popular theory of common grace as heretical. This theory consists of a well-meant offer of Christ to everyone in the preaching—preaching that has God failing to save many to whom he is gracious with a saving grace and that has those who are saved saved by their acceptance of the otherwise inefficacious offer.

Third, the book is evangelistic. With urgency, it calls, not only Reformed and Presbyterians, but also all Protestants back to their origins in the sixteenth-century Reformation of the church—the rock whence they are hewn: the gospel of salvation by sovereign, particular grace and antithetical holiness of life. And to martyrdom. 

By Henry Danhof & Herman Hoeksema, edited by David J. Engelsma
544 pages, hardcover

This book will be sent to Book Club members.

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Herman Hoeksema's Triple Knowledge Republished!

 

The RFPA is excited to announce that the first five volumes of the Triple Knowledge republication are now available! Found in these volumes is the most extensive commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism in English. This fine exposition on man's misery, deliverance, and thankfulness clearly sets forth the distinctive truths of the Reformed faith in a warm, personal way. These handsome volumes will make a fine addition to any library.

Volumes 6-10 will be available in August 2015. 

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The Triple Knowledge was originally produced in a ten-volume set by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company beginning in 1943 with In the Midst of Death. Putting this series back into the 10 volumes—the way Rev. Hoeksema divided them—will bring the reader closer to the themes represented in the Heidelberg Catechism. 

Found in these ten volumes is the most extensive commentary on the fifty-two Lord's Days of the Heidelberg Catechism in English. This fine exposition on man's misery, deliverance, and thankfulness clearly sets forth the distinctive truths of the Reformed faith in a warm, personal way.

 Order Today 

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Reformed Spirituality: Monday Devotions

One of the RFPA’s exciting projects is the publishing of a series of books on Reformed Spirituality. These books contain meditations written by Rev. Herman Hoeksema and edited by Prof. David Engelsma, which are excellent for personal devotions. Currently I am reading through Peace for the Troubled Heart and decided to use it for my Monday morning devotions. Part I of the book is entitled Pilgrimage, and chapter 1 is entitled The Pilgrim’s Confession and based on Hebrews 11:13. I hope you will read the whole chapter. Here is an excerpt explaining the source of the pilgrim’s confession:

God makes his people pilgrims.

In his eternal counsel before the foundation of the world, he appointed them as foreigners, for he chose them and foreordained them in order that they should be made like unto the image of his Son, so that the Son would be the firstborn among many brethren. He chose them unto eternal, heavenly glory and unto citizenship in the heavenly Jerusalem. He also causes them to be foreigners temporally on the earth, for he gives to them the new, eternal life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and he calls them out of darkness into his marvelous light.

The new life is resurrection life!

It is differentiated from the life of the world not only because it is free from the law of sin and death, and thus free to express itself according to the law of the Spirit of life, but also because it is from above.

It is the life of heaven.

By virtue of having received the new life that is from above, they actually have become citizens of the Jerusalem that will presently descend from heaven as God’s blessing.

Their conversation is in heaven.

There is their real, eternal home.

And out of the principle of the new life springs forth the confession that they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For here is not their continuing city.        

They seek the city that comes down out of heaven.

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More RFPA titles now in ebook format!

                      

 

Contending for the Faith

Contending for the Faith presents the history of heretics that have troubled the church over the last two thousand years, treating errors from AD 100 (Marcion) to the present day (federal vision theology). What sets this book apart is its evaluation of every heresy from a consistently and unashamedly Reformed perspective. The reader will readily grasp the significance of the early heretics as Herman Hanko demonstrates the connection between their heresies and the errors arising later in history. The vibrant writing style brings the heretics—ancient and modern—to life. This trustworthy guide to the heretics equips believers today to "contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 1:3).

Contending for the Faith is a companion volume to Hanko's Portraits of Faithful Saints, a book of short biographies of the defenders of the truth from as far back as AD 100.

Covenant of God and Children of Believers, The

The Covenant of God and the Children of Believers defends the Reformed faith of the covenant of God by exposing the view of the covenant from which the attack of the "federal vision" arises. At the same time, the book sets forth the doctrine of the covenant that safeguards and promotes the gospel of sovereign grace, demonstrating that this covenant doctrine is biblical, confessional, and traditionally Reformed.

Since the controversy centers on the inclusion of the children of believers in the covenant, this book emphasizes the rightful place of children in the covenant of grace and the proper rearing of them. The author gives consideration to the views of the Protestant Reformed Churches, Baptists, the Netherlands Reformed Congregations, and the Canadian Reformed Churches ("liberated") on this topic. Leading representatives of these churches and traditions join in the discussion. 

Mysteries of the Kingdom, The

The parables form a substantial part of our Savior's ministry, and this is ample reason for us to give good attention to them. With simple and familiar earthly pictures, Jesus tells us what the kingdom of heaven is like.

"The author takes each parable and by careful exegesis opens up its rich seam of spiritual instruction, and gives a faithful and solidly Reformed interpretation. He shows us gospel mysteries of immense beauty, power, encouragement, practical relevance, and everlasting worth for citizens of a kingdom that is not of this world."Tamar Reformed Witness

Reformed Dogmatics: Volumes 1 & 2

This second edition two-volume set is a clear, systematic study and exposition of Reformed theology written by one who held the Chair of Dogmatics for some forty years at a Reformed seminary. Divided into the six generally accepted branches of theology (theology, anthropology, Christology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatolog), this scholarly work is logical, scripturally sound, and faithful to the Reformed creeds and traditions.

 

 

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