These, we wrote last time, go hand in hand.
And, then, we do not mean that in sermons which are based on conditional theology the name of Christ is not mentioned. The use of the name of Christ does not save a sermon from being Christless. Even the modernist will mention the name of Christ repeatedly in his “sermons.” And yet the Christ is not in his “sermons” at all! The Christ of the modernist is the imagination of man’s mind, not the atoning Christ of God’s counsel.
The same is true of many religions which call themselves the Christian religion.
In sermons based on conditional theology, even though much time is spent and many words are employed to extol and to present the glorious salvation which is in Christ, there is still that Christless element that condemns it as being false doctrine. Listen to all the Arminian philosophy that pours as a flood out of your radio! Arminianism as a rule, rather than as an exception, speaks loudly and at length of the salvation that is in Christ. Yet its Christless element nullifies it all. Do not forget that even the Pelagians, against whose heresy the Canons of Dordt were composed, speak of men who “through the grace of the Holy Spirit” believe in Christ. And yet they teach salvation by works rather than by grace.
There are various legitimate means evangelism committees and mission committees use to spread the gospel. One such means already faithfully used by the PRC Mission Committee was that of the printed page. During the years that war was being waged in Europe and the south Pacific, various churches, especially First PRC in Grand Rapids, published pamphlets addressing diverse doctrinal and practical issues—many of them written by Rev. Herman Hoeksema. In the twenty-fifth anniversary booklet of the Protestant Reformed Churches the author writes:
There are the pamphlets of the Sunday School Society of the First Prot. Ref. Church in Grand Rapids, and I assure you they are worthy of mention, of honorable mention. Thousands upon thousands of these pamphlets have seen the light on many and diverse biblical and Reformed subjects, and they have been spread far and wide. And their influence can hardly be underestimated.1
Based on the gospel narratives from Matthew and Luke, this book tells the story of the greatest miracle in history: the incarnation, birth, and childhood of Jesus Christ, the Savior born for our salvation!
"The great strength of the book…is its captivating account of the history of Christ’s birth. Christianity is a faith based not in abstract and speculative ideas, but in real events unfolding in real time. Pastor McGeown makes the narrative of Christ’s birth come alive."
—Rev. Joseph Holstege, pastor of Zion PRC, Jenison, MI
"The book exhibits the exegetical excellence, clarity of expression, and beautiful simplicity that we have come to expect from this writer in his other volumes."
—Rev. Jonathan Langerak, pastor of Heritage PRC, Sioux Falls, SD
"If you only have time to read one book this Christmas season, I recommend Born For Our Salvation. McGeown’s writing style is clear; his exegesis is sober; his applications are convicting and edifying. People of all ages…will find the book understandable and encouraging."
—Rev. Stephen Regnerus, pastor of Lynden PRC, Lynden, WA
Hard copy coming soon…
Ebook now available!
These go hand in hand. Hand in hand they must go. For conditional theology wants us to believe that there are works of men that precede the works of God and for which God waits, either before saving us or before he can and will give us the next installment of salvation. We must believe, so the particular phase of conditional theology which was smuggled into the Protestant Reformed churches declares, before the promise of God to save us will go into effect. God promises salvation to everyone who hears the gospel on the condition that they believe. They must, then, first believe, and then the promise is for them. Before that it is not for them. And so, this particular brand of conditional theology maintains, it is also for man after he has been brought by God into the kingdom by his act of believing. Then his receiving and enjoying of the blessings of that kingdom still depend upon his doing something before God will give the next installment. He must convert himself before God will send to him that blessing of the kingdom, namely, the joyful experience of being in it, the comfort, the peace of mind of being a citizen of it. Man’s work is prerequisite to God’s work! Let them not say that they do not mean that! Let them rather convert themselves and become like little children and confess that the word prerequisite does not fit in Reformed theology when we are speaking of the good works to which God calls us.
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus,” Galatians 3:26
Faith in Christ! That is the way the Galatian Christians had been incorporated into the family of God. To be in the family of God is to be heirs of God’s covenant.—Justified Unto Liberty
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which…hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3
Our regeneration is like a taste of heaven that tells us what a blessed place heaven is. Knowing [this], we live in this valley of the shadow of death in the hope and longing for our home in heaven.—A Pilgrim’s Manual
A preacher and professor of the Reformed faith for more than fifty years, Prof. Hanko skillfully defines and applies the truth of scripture in these commentaries. His defense of the truth is detailed and precise and thoroughly comforts God’s people.
Prof. Hanko’s objective teachings of these two books of the Bible, coupled with many practical applications, make these two commentaries perfect for personal and family devotions and for Bible study groups.
Order one today!
Prof. Engelsma has written extensively on the covenant—developing the doctrine of the covenant and its practical implications.
The Covenant of God and the Children of Believers—learn how the biblical, confessional, and traditionally Reformed doctrine of the covenant safeguards and promotes the gospel of sovereign grace and how we must view our children in light of the covenant.
Covenant and Election in the Reformed Tradition—what is the relationship between the covenant and election? This book traces differing viewpoints in the Reformed community, from Calvin’s day through the 20th century. And using the Reformed creeds and confessions, Prof. Engelsma proves that the covenant is made unconditionally with God’s elect people.
“And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.” Romans 15:12
Other than Psalms, Isaiah is the most frequently quoted book in the New Testament. And Jesus and his apostles referred back to Isaiah more than all of the others prophets put together.
Because Isaiah is messianic—it speaks of Christ.
This two-volume collection of sermons by Prof. Homer C. Hoeksema reflects this central idea. These books give us a fuller, clearer understanding of the timeless words of Isaiah as he points us to Christ.
"[The savior] reveals himself as The Prince of Peace, the peace of God that passes all understanding, because he brings about that peace in his blood, causing us to be reconciled to God.
He brings about that peace in our hearts by the mighty operation of his Spirit. And he shall bring about that peace in the everlasting dawn, when he comes again to judge the living and the dead."
Christmas is coming, and books make great gifts!
Peace for the Troubled Heart—For the person who struggles or suffers, or who is wearied by the toll of this earthly pilgrimage. This devotional uses poetic language to breathing the comforting truths of scripture into the heart of the believing child of God.
Communion with God—Another collection of meditative devotions from the pen of Herman Hoeksema. For anyone who desires to know and feel fellowship with God in Christ, by the Holy Spirit.
Christ or conditions.
That is the issue! Either Christ and his work is the prerequisite for my entrance into the kingdom of heaven or else my act of converting myself is the prerequisite. Either Christ and his atonement is the basis for my salvation or else I am saved on the condition of faith, and perhaps on the condition of a few other things demanded of me.
Christ and conditions?