The Strength and Secret of “Practical Atheism”

Taken from, “The Existence and Attributes of God”  
Written by, Stephen Charnock


All sin is founded in a secret atheism.

Atheism is the spirit of every sin;—all the floods of impieties in the world break in at the gate of a secret atheism, and though several sins may disagree with one another, yet, like Herod and Pilate against Christ, they join hand in hand against the interest of God.

Though lusts and pleasures be diverse, yet they are all united in disobedience to him. All the wicked inclinations in the heart, and struggling motions, secret repining, self-applauding confidences in our own wisdom, strength, &c., envy, ambition, revenge, are sparks from this latent fire; the language of every one of these is, I would be a Lord to myself, and would not have a God superior to me. The variety of sins against the first and second table, the neglects of God, and violence against man, are derived from this in the text; first, “The fool hath said in his heart,” and then follows a legion of devils. All licentiousness goes glib down where there is no sense of God. Abraham judged himself not secure from murder, nor his wife from defilement in Gerar, if there were no fear of God there. He that makes no conscience of sin has no regard to the honor, and, consequently, none to the being of God. “By the fear of God men depart from evil” (Prov. 16:6); by the non-regarding of God men rush into evil.

Pharaoh oppressed Israel because he “knew not the Lord.” If he did not deny the being of a Deity, yet he had such an unworthy notion of God as was inconsistent with the nature of a Deity; he, a poor creature, thought himself a mate for the Creator. In sins of omission we own not God, in neglecting to perform what he enjoins; in sins of commission we set up some lust in the place of God, and pay to that the homage which is due to our Maker. In both we disown him; in the one by not doing what he commands, in the other by doing what he forbids.

We deny his sovereignty when we violate his laws; we disgrace his holiness when we cast our filth before his face; we disparage his wisdom when we set up another rule as the guide of our actions than that law he hath fixed; we slight his sufficiency when we prefer a satisfaction in sin before a happiness in him alone; and his goodness, when we judge it not strong enough to attract us to him. Every sin invades the rights of God, and strips him of one or other of his perfections. It is such a vilifying of God as if he were not God; as if he were not the supreme Creator and Benefactor of the world; as if we had not our being from him; as if the air we breathed in, the food we lived by, were our own by right of supremacy, not of donation. For a subject to slight his sovereign, is to slight his royalty; or a servant his master, is to deny his superiority.

The Depraved State of the Heart, and Man’s Natural Inability to Choose God for Salvation

Taken and adapted from, “Representation of the Heart of Man
in its Depraved State by Nature.”

Written by, Paul D. Meyers.
Edited for thought and sense.

By the fall of man all the powers of nature were depraved, polluted, and corrupted.

First. The understanding was darkened. Eph. 4:18.
Second. The conscience was defiled. Heb. 10: 22.
Third. The will obstinate and rebellious. Is. 28:14; Rom. 8:7.
Fourth. The affections carnal and sensual. Eph. 2:3.
Fifth. All the thoughts uninterruptedly evil. Gen. 6:5.
Sixth. And the whole mind, or heart, a nest of abominations. Jer, 27:9; Matt. 15:19.

Original or birth sin is the corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually. Deformed as the picture is that is here drawn, it does not exceed in the darkness of its shades the original portrait, as delineated by the inspired writers in general. Moses, who informs that God created man in his own image, and after his likeness, soon casts a shade on his original dignity by giving us a sad account of his fall.

He represents him, after his defection from God, as a criminal under sentence of death,— a wretch filled with guilt and shame, and dreading the presence of his Creator,— and turned out of Paradise into a wilderness which bears the marks of desolation for his sake; and in consequence of this apostasy, he died, and all his posterity died in him.

The natural consequence of this is, that everyone descended from him, comes into the world spiritually dead, dead to God, wholly dead in sin: entirely void of the life of God, void of the image of God, of all that righteousness and holiness, wherein Adam was accredited. Instead of this,every man born into the world, now bears the image of the devil, in pride and self-will; the image of the beast, in sensual appetites and desires. While a man is in a mere natural state, before he is born of God, he has, in a spiritual sense, eyes and sees not: a thick veil lies upon them. He has ears, but hears not; he is utterly deaf to what he is most of all concerned to hear. His other spiritual senses are all locked up; he is in the same condition as if he had them not. Hence he has no knowledge of God, no intercourse with him; he is not at all acquainted with him. He has no true knowledge of the things of God, either spiritual or eternal. He says unto God, depart from us we desire not the knowledge of thy ways; we do not want to know much of God, nor what is our duty to him.

The state of nature is a state of utter darkness; a state wherein “darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people.” The poor unawakened sinner, how much knowledge soever he may have as to other things, has no knowledge of himself; in this respect” he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” He knows not that he is a fallen spirit, whose only business in the present world, is to recover from ms fall, to regain that image of God wherein he was created.

He sees no necessity for the one thing needful even that inward universal change, that “birth from above,” which is the beginning of that total renovation; that sanctification of spirit, soul, and body “without which no man shall see the Lord.” Full of all disease as he is, he fancies himself in perfect health: fast bound in misery and iron, he dreams that he is happy, and at liberty. He says “Peace! Peace!” while the devil, “as a strong man armed,” is in all possession of his soul. He sleeps on still, and takes his rest, though hell is moved from beneath to meet him; though the pit, from whence there is no return, hath opened its mouth to swallow him up; a fire is kindled around him, yet he knoweth it not; yea, it bums him, yet he lays it not to heart.

Fearful and impious work do the passions make when they are engaged on the side of the flesh, the world, and the devil. What bold contempt of God and all that is holy! What unruly violence of love to vanity and sensual pleasure! What mad delight in sin! What impetuous desires of forbidden objects! What malice boils in the heart against our neighbors, upon every supposed injury! What wicked envy frets and rages in the soul at the welfare of others! What wrath and indignation, and revenge, are continually ready to be in arms! and how do those hellish passions employ the tongue in slander and lies, and sometimes stain the hands in mischief and blood? These are some of the fruits of the carnal mind which is at enmity against God, and spring from the heart of man in his fallen state.

By the carnal mind we understand a mind that is “earthly, sensual, and devilish.” It is earthly, as all its tendency and propensities are to the earth, and to earthly attachments and pursuits. There is no Natural disposition in such a mind to “set its affections on things above.” It is sensual, as it leads to the gratification and indulgence of all the senses and bodily appetites; and neither desires nor relishes spiritual things. It is devilish, because it includes in itself a principle of pride and of hostility to God and his government.

My friend, is this the character and state of your soul? Are thou in the “gall of bitterness, and bonds of iniquity?”

Arise, call on the name of the Lord, that the grace of repentance may be given unto thee, and thou find mercy in the forgiveness of all thy sins, by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

What a glorious victory is it to have the vicious affections entirely subdued, and the powers of nature, which had been usurped by the devil, seized and restrained, and consecrated to the God of heaven, and become instruments of holiness and peace!

The Proto-Martyr of Scotland, Patrick Hamilton. Part One, His Ministry.

44221But who shall open the martyr-roll in Scotland?

A youth of royal lineage was selected for this high honor. Patrick Hamilton, princely in mind as in birth, comes first in this saintly procession. He was the great-grandson of James II both by the father’s and the mother’s side. He was born in the year 1504. In 1517 he was appointed titular abbot of Feme, a Premonstratensian abbey in Ross-shire, and the same year he left Scotland to study in the University of Paris. There, it is probable, he formed his first acquaintance with the reformed doctrines, for at that time the opinions of Luther were the subject of keen discussion in both the city and university of Paris. He returned to his native country about the year 1522, taking up his abode for a short time at the family mansion of Kincavel, near Linlithgow. He soon removed to St. Andrews, then the first city of the kingdom, and whose colleges, schools, and learned men gave it special attractions in his eyes. He was at this time fully as much the disciple of Erasmus as of Luther; that is, he loved the ancient learning, he hated the monks, he earnestly longed for church reform; but the reform he aimed at was only transformation of the Roman Church. He never went to reside in his abbey; but in 1526 he had become less an Erasmian and more a Lutheran, for we find that early in 1527 rumors reached the archbishop of St. Andrews that Hamilton had openly espoused the cause of Luther ; and on inquiry into the truth of these rumors, the archbishop, finding that the young abbot was “inflamed with heresy, disputing, holding, and maintaining divers heresies of Martin Luther and his followers repugnant to the faith,” –summoned him before his tribunal at St. Andrews.

By this time James IV had fallen on the field of Flodden; around him, stretched out in death, lay the flower of the Scottish nobility. James V was a child, Margaret Tudor, the widow of the deceased monarch and sister of Henry VIII of England, held the regency; but the government of the kingdom had been grasped by the clergy, headed by the proud, profligate, and unscrupulous Beatoun, archbishop of St. Andrews and chancellor of the kingdom. The young Hamilton, whose rank and talents joined to his heresy made him so formidable a foe to the priesthood, Beatoun, beyond doubt, would have sent to perish at the stake, had not Hamilton, to avoid the danger, fled to Germany.

His purpose, when he left the Scottish shore, was to visit Wittenberg, then in the height of its fame, and make the acquaintance of Luther and Melanchthon; but Marburg lay in his way, and be repaired to it. Francis Lambert, the ex-monk of Avignon, who was altogether a remarkable man, was living there, Philip of Hesse having invited him to aid in the reformation of his dominions. Between the reformer and the young Scotchman a warm friendship speedily sprang up, and the simplicity and purity of Hamilton’s theological views, as afterwards disclosed in his teaching in Scotland, is to be accounted for by the indoctrination he now received from Lambert, whose opinions were entirely free from the mysticism, especially on the doctrine of the Supper, which continued to cloud Luther’s views to the very end of his life. “The large acquaintance with the Word of God which Hamilton possessed,’ says D’Aubigne, speaking of this visit to Marburg, “astonished Lambert; the freshness of his thoughts and of his imagination charmed him; the integrity of his character inspired a high esteem for him; his profound remarks on the gospel edified him. A short time after this the Frenchman, speaking to the Landgrave Philip, said,’ This young man of the illustrious family of the Hamiltons, which is closely allied by the ties of blood to the king and the kingdom of Scotland, who, although hardly twenty-three years of age, brings to the study of Scripture a very sound judgment, and has a vast store of knowledge, is come from the end of the world, from Scotland, to your academy, in order to be fully established in God’s truth. I have hardly ever met a man who expresses himself with so much spirituality and truth on the Word of the Lord.”

The college which the Landgrave Philip had founded at Marburg was opened during our countryman’s stay at that town. After the inaugural address, the rector, Montanus, opened the roll of the university to enter in it the names of its members. Among the first names to be inscribed was that of “P. Hamilton, of Linlithgow, a Scotchman, Master of Arts, Paris.” The name may be read in the registers at this day. When Hamilton set out for Germany his purpose was to visit Wittenberg, then at the height of its fame, and make the acquaintance of Luther and Melanchthon, those renowned teachers and champions of the reformed faith. Of his visit to Wittenberg no record exists, D’Aubigne’s Reform, in Europe, vol. 6, p. 40. and the probability is that it never was made. A rumor, which at this time was circulated throughout Germany, that Luther was dead, and that the plague was raging at Wittenberg, may have led to a change of purpose on the part of Hamilton. The plague had indeed visited Wittenberg; and so great were its ravages, that the university was closed, and the lectures were transferred to Jena. It was of no use therefore to go thither. The young Scotchman prolonged his stay a little while at Marburg, and employed his time in compiling certain theses known as Patrick’s Places, which he maintained in public debate in such fashion as to throw an eclat over the new university. The sum of his Places is that faith is the only door by which we can enter into a state of justification before God, and a life of good deeds before men. The doctrine of his theses was not more evangelical than the phraseology was clear, precise, and salient, qualities rarely found in the theological writers of Germany, Luther being the solitary exceptional most among his countrymen.

Hamilton’s preparation for his work “destined to be brief but brilliant” was now completed. He saw that the doctrine of “salvation by works” had covered Christendom with darkness, and that the opposite doctrine, “salvation by grace,” could alone cover it with light. He began to burn with a vehement desire to spread the knowledge of that doctrine in his native land. He could not hide from himself the danger of returning to Scotland, ruled over as it was by a vicious and tyrannical churchman, whose glory and pleasures the diffusion of the gospel would bring to an end. But he must and would brave the danger. He set out, and arriving on his native shore, he took up his abode at the family mansion of Kincavel. It was not to taste repose, much less to enjoy the revenues of his abbacy that he had returned to Scotland; but to engage in a great work, though that work had to be done with the sword of Beatoun hanging above his head.

He began, first of all, to communicate the good news of the recovered gospel to the members of his own family. His elder brother, Sir James Hamilton, who had succeeded to the titles and estates; his brother’s wife, Isabella Sempill, who belonged to an ancient Scottish family; his sister, who in decision and elevation of character resembled himself; and especially his mother, the widow of a knight who in his day had been the mirror of Scottish chivalry all opened their hearts to the truth now communicated to them by their young-relative, and in later life gave good proof of the sincerity of their conversion.

After his kinsfolk, his neighbors were his next care. He visited the houses of the gentry in the neighborhood, where his birth, the grace of his manners, and the fame of his learning made him at all times welcome, and he talked with the inmates on the things that belonged to their peace. He began to preach in the “churches of the surrounding villages, and among his audience might be seen priests from Linlithgow and ladies of noble birth. The common people liked to gather round him; nor did he wait till they came to him; he went forth into the field in quest of them, and joining himself to groups of laborers as they rested in the heat of the day, he would explain to them the mysteries of the kingdom, and exhort them to press into it.

Waxing yet bolder, he entered the church of St. Michael, Linlithgow, and there, amid its images and altars, preached the gospel. Linlithgow was then the Versailles of Scotland, although its palace boasts a much greater antiquity than that of Louis XIV, and members of the royal family would at times come to hear the young reformer. Avoiding declamation, he discoursed with that simplicity and chastity of speech which was best fitted to win its way with such an audience as was now before him;  Knowest thou what this saying means,” would he say, “Christ died for thee? Verily that thou should have died perpetually, and Christ, to deliver thee from death, died for thee, and changed thy perpetual death into his own death, for thou made the fault and he suffered the pain. . . . He desires nothing of thee but that thou wilt acknowledge what he hath done for thee, and bear it in mind; and that thou would help others for his sake, even as he helped thee for nothing and without reward.”

Among his hearers was a maiden of noble birth, whose heart the gospel had touched. Won by her virtues and graces, and disobeying the commandment which the pope had laid on priests, “thou shalt not marry,” seeing in it, as Luther did, an affront to God’s institution, and a source of enormous pollution to society, he asked this lady to be his wife. The marriage was celebrated but a few weeks before his martyrdom.

On the other side of the Firth of Forth, its towers almost visible from the spot where the young reformer was daily engaged in evangelizing, was the archiepiscopal palace of Dunfermline, where Archbishop Beatoun was at that moment residing. Tidings of the young evangelist’s doings were wafted across to that watchful enemy of the gospel. Beatoun saw at a glance the necessity and yet the difficulty of taking steps to stop the work that was in progress.

Had Hamilton been an ordinary evangelist the case would have been a very simple one; but here was a preacher with royal blood in his veins, and “all the Hamiltons at his back,” throwing down the gage of combat to the hierarchy. What was the head of that hierarchy to do? He could not send men-at-arms to seize Patrick, and yet he could not suffer him to go on undermining the Papacy and preparing its fall: he in must in some way or other waylay him and dispatch him. The cruel and crafty Beatoun, after consulting with his fellow priests, hit on a device which succeeded but too well.

We will cover the final outcome in Patrick’s life in “The Proto-Martyr of Scotland, Patrick Hamilton. Part Two, His Martyrdom.


Taken from, The Scots Worthies, Their Lives
Written by,  J.A. Wylie

When They Come to You to Deceive: The Gospel and the Antichrist

Written by, Michael Pursley.

“For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.”

–Matthew 24:5



It has been noted by Commentators…

…that traditionally, Protestants have identified and have used this passage in speaking about the Pope (or Papacy) in the context of the Antichrist. As a result, this Matthean passage is often historically proof-texted together with 2 Thes 2, and Rev 13. But I believe this is a very narrow application of the passage, and like an ill-shot arrow, widely misses the mark.

I think perhaps, that wonderfully pregnant phrase, “many will come,” truly opens up the historical concept of the Antichrist. “For many will come…” indicates the repeated danger of false preachers, teachers, prophets, and all those that may come in place of Christ. Here, instead of seeing a singular “man of sin” in this verse, we are admonished that many will come who “will lead many astray.”

In defense of the historical Protestant position of the Antichrist, namely; that in a more generic sense, the Pope does usurp the role of Christ when he presumes the role of being the “Vicar of Christ” and “Alter Christus” –is not necessarily denied or threatened; but it does mean that his description is not the only role that may fit this bill.  And yes, there are certain religious groups who will remind you that there have been a number of Popes throughout history who can and do interpretively fit that bill, thereby completing it.  But without realizing it, these same groups are in fact also confessing that they too believe there is not a single man of sin, a single antichrist, but a number of them; perhaps in a serial fashion, perhaps from the same denomination, but in essence these commentators are still quietly professing multiple antichrists, though they may be openly and publicly denying it.

As a result, in looking at this verse, I am not so sure, that the Bible has an altogether singular meaning on the subject, or necessarily, a single person in mind. One well-respected, conservative theologian, recently addressed the problem by distinguishing between a personal Antichrist and a literary Antichrist. Noting that, “Ever since the Enlightenment, there have been reconstructions of the “real Jesus.” Reimarus, Strauss, and Renan are three earlier examples.”  And then he proceeds to correctly name a number of others.  He also goes on to interestingly point out that, “These are literary Christs. But to be more accurate, these are literary Antichrists. They attempt to replace the historical Christ, the Biblical Christ, with a substitute Jesus.”

He may be on to something. For what this author is really doing, is portraying the Antichrist as someone who has reconstructed the real Christ, in a literary sense, for one who has now been made into man’s own image. Now I am sure this well-respected scholar has taken a rather tentative tone so as not to unduly ruffle the feathers of any uber-traditional, Protestant Christians. But I believe that he does have a point.

Further, in consideration of the work of Christ, and in comparing it to the work of the Antichrist, one could say, that we are in a sense reconstructing the Christ of the Bible, when we reconstruct the Gospel. Here, the words of C. H. Spurgeon naturally spring to mind here where he says, “The root of every heresy in history is adding something of our own to the work of Christ.”

Now, all of a sudden we have a multitude of Antichrists, and some very dangerous ones at that.

With this in mind, let’s go back to Paul,

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. –Gal 1:6-9

In the above text we look at the curse Paul calls down on this “other Gospel” and those that preach it. And while we don’t often think of Paul’s words here as a curse, yet it is, and further, it was spoken by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  So in this passage we certainly see what God thinks of any work that can be considered “another Gospel.”  But consider deeply, the condemnation is not just reserved for the work of reconstructing the Gospel, but also in the proclamation of it.  If we are to look at how this fearless apostle attacks those who preach and teach this other Gospel, one would need to look no further than the same book from whence we took this passage.  But I want to consider also Paul thoughts when he expresses his deep concern to the wavering Corinthian church.  You see, the Corinthians were mounting a challenge to Paul’s authority as an Apostle, thereby discrediting his ability to teach and preach under his Apostolic authority.  Not only were they disparagingly comparing him to the “twelve” but it seems that they were even more disposed to listen to false teachers that had since sprung up. Listen to how Paul “unloads” on these the wavering Corinthian for their false teachers who were reconstructing the Gospel, and that Christ he had preached to them in in the midst of all of his sufferings and trials:

Speaking of these false teachers:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.  — 2 Corinthians 11: 13-14 

Obviously, many of the descriptions and  phrases used here can be transplanted to definitively describe the “Man of Sin” or the Antichrist.  Could there be a central figure in history that could be considered the ultimate “Man of Sin”?  I don’t think that we really know, but perhaps.

There are some who may be right now saying, give one text, one passage, one verse that gives any credence to this position of multiple Antichrists. And that is a fair demand.  My answer to those would come from the same apostle who wrote the book of Revelation, the Apostle John; the same one who speaks about the context of  Antichrist, and about all things historically ending with this world in his book.  Here is what he said:

“…and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”  -John 3:4

I would also ask you to consider this passage from John as well: 

“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. -1 John 2:18 

Instead of a single Antichrist, there are many, for John seems to indicate that there are many, and that they are here now, and that they are reconstructing Christ, and they are reconstructing the Gospel. On that note, I leave you here with these final words of Paul:

“If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen”

CHRIST’S FEDERAL WORK, and What it Means

Taken from, “Studies in the Scriptures”
Written by, Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)

Lamb of God - Atonement

BY the term “federal”1

…we mean that there was an official oneness existing between the Mediator 2 and those for whom He mediated or, in simpler language, that there is a legal union between Christ and His people. “When, in the Old Testament, the elect are spoken of as the party with whom God makes a covenant, they are viewed as in Christ and one with Him. The covenant is not made with them as alone and apart from Christ. This is taught in Galatians 3:16: ‘To Abraham and his seed were the promises made,’ but this seed ‘is Christ.’ The elect are here (as also in 1Co 12:12) called ‘Christ,’ because of the union between Christ and the elect. And in like manner, when Christ, as in Isaiah 42:1–6, is spoken of as the party with Whom the Father covenants, the elect are to be viewed as in Him. As united and one with Him, His atoning suffering is looked upon as their atoning suffering: ‘I am crucified with Christ’ (Gal 2:20).”3

“Christ is not only the Substitute but the Surety of His people. The Gospel is founded on the fact Adam and Christ are covenant heads and representatives of their respective families. Hence, they are termed ‘the first man’ and ‘the second man’ (1Co 15:47), as if there had been none other but themselves, for the children of each were entirely dependent on their head. In Adam all die; in Christ all are made alive (1Co 15:22). The first ‘all’ includes every individual of mankind, the last ‘all’ is explained by the apostle to mean ‘they that are Christ’s’ (1Cor. 15:23).”4

It was as the Head of His elect that God covenanted with Christ, so that, in a very real sense, that covenant was made with them. This it is that explains all those passages that speak of the saints’ oneness with Christ, as that, they were “crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20), “died with Him” (Rom 6:8), were “buried with Him” as Scriptural baptism symbolizes (Rom 6:4), were “quickened” with Him (Col 2:12), “raised with Him” (Eph 2:6), and made to “sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6). So they were legally one with Him and He with them in all that He did in rendering a full satisfaction to God. On this vitally important point, we cannot do better than give a synopsis of the last section from chapter two of Hugh Martin’s invaluable work:

“How are we to formulate and establish the relation subsisting 5 between Christ and His, as Redeemer and redeemed, unless we fall back upon the doctrine of the Covenant? 6 Some relation, it is evident, must be acknowledged as subsisting between Christ and those on whose behalf He dies, else we do not even come within sight of the idea of a vicarious 7 sacrifice. The possibility of real atonement absolutely postulates and demands a conjuncture between Him Who atones and those for whom His atonement is available. This is beyond the need of proof. And as there is an absolute and obvious necessity for some conjuncture or relation, so in searching for the conjunction or relation that actually subsists, our search cannot terminate satisfactorily until we reach and recognize the covenant oneness. The same reason that demands a relation remains unsatisfied until it meets with this relation.”8

It does not meet the necessities of the case to refer to the union between Christ and His people that is effected in their regeneration by the agency of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the faith that is His gift. True, this is indispensable before any can enjoy any of the blessings of His purchase. But there must have been a relation between Christ and His people before He ransomed them. Nor are the necessities of the case met by a reference to the Incarnation. True, the Redeemer must take upon Him flesh and blood before He could redeem, yet there must be a bond of union more intimate than that which Christ holds alike to the saved and the unsaved. He took hold of “the seed of Abraham” (Heb 2:16), not the “seed of Adam”! Nor is it sufficient to say that the relation is that of suretyship and substitution; for the question still calls for answer, “What rendered it fit and righteous that the Son of God should suffer for others, the Holy One be made sin?” It is to this point the inquiry must be narrowed.

Christ was the Surety of His people because He was their Substitute.

He acted on their behalf because He stood in their room. The relation of a substitute justifies the suretyship; but what shall justify the substitution? There is the hinge upon which everything turns. We heartily concur with Dr. Martin when he says, “We can obtain no satisfaction on this point, no sufficient answer to this question, and therefore no satisfactory conclusion to our whole line of investigation, until the doctrine of the everlasting covenant oneness comes into view. That is the grand underlying relation. That is the grand primary conjunction between the Redeemer and the redeemed, which alone bears up and accounts for all else in respect of relation which can be predicated as true concerning them. ‘For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren’ (Heb 2:11)…He is substituted for us, because He is one with us—identified with us and we with Him.”9

Promoted by infinite love, Christ as the God-man freely accepted the terms of the Everlasting Covenant that had been proposed to Him and voluntarily assumed all the legal responsibilities of His people. As their Head, He came down to this earth, lived, wrought, and died as their vicarious Representative. He obeyed and suffered as their Substitute. By His obedience and sufferings, He discharged all their obligations. His sufferings remitted the penalty of the Law, and His obedience merited infinite blessings for them. Romans 5:12–19 explicitly affirms that the elect of God are legally “made righteous” on precisely the same principle by which they were first “made sinners.” “Our union with Christ is of the same order and involves the same class of effects as our union with Adam. We call it a union both federal and vital. Others may call it what they please, but it will nevertheless remain certain that it is of such a nature as to involve an identity of legal relations and reciprocal 10 obligations and rights.” 11 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Rom 5:19)—“made the righteousness of God in him” (2Co 5:21).

More than a thousand years ago, Augustine 12 remarked, “Such is the ineffable 13 closeness of this transcendental 14 union, that we hear the voice of the members suffering when they suffered in their Head and cried through the Head on the cross, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Mat 27:46). And, in like manner, we hear the voice of the Head suffering when He suffered in His members and cried to the persecutor on the way to Damascus, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?’ (Act 9:4).”

The federal relation of Christ to His people was a real one, upon which the infallible God deemed it just to punish Christ for the sins of His people and to credit them with His righteousness, and thus completely satisfy all the demands of His Law upon them. As the result of that union, Christ was in all things “made like unto his brethren” (Heb 2:17), being “numbered (reckoned one) with transgressors” (Isa 53:12). They in turn are “members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph 5:30). In consequence of this federal union, Christ is also made “a quickening 15 Spirit” (1Co 15:45), so that, in due time, each of His people becomes a living and vital member of that spiritual body of which He is the Head (Eph 1:19–23).

The relation between Christ and those who benefit from His Atonement was therefore no vague, indefinite, haphazard one, but consisted of an actual covenant oneness, legal identity, and vital union. Suretyship presupposes it. Strict substitution demands it. Real imputation proceeds upon it. The penalty Christ endured could not otherwise have been inflicted. They for whom Satisfaction was made do, by inevitable necessity, share its benefits and receive what was purchased for them. This alone meets the objection of the injustice of the Innocent suffering for the guilty, as it alone explains the transfer of Christ’s sufferings and merits to the redeemed.

1 federal – legal representative.
2 Mediator – a go-between; “It pleased God in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus his only begotten Son, according to the Covenant made between them both, to be the Mediator between God and Man; the Prophet, Priest and King; Head and Savior of His Church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world: Unto whom He did from all eternity give a people to be His seed, and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified. (Second London Baptist Confession, 8.1)
3 William Greenough Thayer Shedd (1820-1894), Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 2 (New York, NY; Scribner’s Sons, 1891), 361.
4 James Haldane (1768-1851), The Doctrine of the Atonement (William Whyte & Co., 1845).
5 subsisting – existing.
6 Moreover man having brought himself under the curse of the Law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a Covenant of Grace wherein He freely offereth unto sinners, life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal Life, His Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe. (Second London Baptist Confession, 7.3; available from Chapel Library)
7 vicarious – suffered by one person as a substitute for another.
8 Hugh Martin (1822-1885), The Atonement: In Its Relations to the Covenant, the Priesthood, the Intercession of Our Lord (London: James Nisbet, 187), 30.
9 Martin, Atonement, 35.
10 reciprocal – given by each of two people to the other.
11 Archibald Alexander Hodge (1823-1886), The Atonement (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1867), 205.
12 Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430) – early theologian known by some as the father of orthodox theology; born in Tagaste, North
13 ineffable – incapable of being expressed; indescribable.
14 transcendental – supernatural.
15 quickening – life-giving.

John Owens Riddle For the Arminians

The Owen’s excerpt was taken and adapted from the extract, “The Death Of Death In The Death Of Christ,” Book I, Chapter III –
The following is from Vol X, p 173, THE WORKS OF JOHN OWEN

God imposed his wrath due unto, and Christ underwent the pains of hell for,

 st-francis-peace-prayer-judy-dodds 1.    either all the sins of all men,
  2.    or all the sins of some men,
  3.    or some sins of all men.

If the LAST, some sins of all men, then have all men some sins to answer for, and so shall no man be saved; for if God entered into judgment with us, though it were with all mankind for one sin, no flesh should be justified in his sight: “If the LORD should mark iniquities, who should stand?”-Ps.30:2 We might all go to cast all that we have “to the moles and to the bats, to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty.”-Is. 2:20-21

If the SECOND, that is it which we affirm, that Christ in their stead and room suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the world.

If the FIRST, why then, are not all freed from the punishment of all their sins? You will say, “Because of their unbelief; they will not believe.”

But this unbelief, is it a sin, or not?

If not, why should they be punished for it? If it be, then Christ underwent the punishment due to it, or not. If so, then why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which he died from partaking of the fruit of his death? If he did not, then did he not die for all their sins.

Let them choose which part they will.


Thomas Scott’s Sobering Words to Hypocritical Ministers

Originally posted on The Protestant Pulpit:

Multitudes of the strictest professors and teachers of the Jewish church were, not only superstitious and formal, (and so either blind guides or blindly led,) but even atrociously wicked; and yet they cloaked their crimes with apparent zeal.

Thus in all ages many love the credit of being called Christians, and the dignity of instructors, who “hate instruction”; and many discourse on the word of God with their lips, who pour contempt upon it in their lives. While they zealously plead for some parts of divine truth, they secretly, nay, perhaps openly, indulge themselves in lewdness, dishonesty, and in wicked and deceitful conversation, and the basest slander and calumny; especially against those who are strictly conscientious, and such pious persons as, being near to then: put them to shame by their example. Indeed, in this manner they often excuse their crimes, and even think they have compensated for them, by…

View original 254 more words