A Little Time With The 1689: Day 173

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Day 173

Of Free Will.

Chapter 9, Paragraph 2.

“…but yet was mutable, so that he might fall from it.

Scripture Lookup

Genesis 3:6

Reflection

Adam and Eve were righteous. They knew God’s law, loved it, and were able to keep it. They had open and unashamed fellowship with God and each other. Their interactions with creation had no hint of wrong.

And yet…

…with such an ability to will and choose good, there was also an ability for Adam to change his mind. He could will to disobey God and act on that disobedience. This is proven to us in Genesis when he took the fruit from Eve and ate it. The upright man, righteous and holy, plunged from such a happy state to a miserable condition. And it was entirely his choice. Despite blaming everyone else around them, Adam and Eve were fully responsible for their action. Adam was not so severely tempted as to be unable to resist. He had the ability to freely choose what was pleasing to God, but he willingly disobeyed.

What Adam and Eve did was disgraceful. Lest we be too harsh with them, though, let’s remember that we freely choose to sin as well. Christians, who have the ability to overcome temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13), still fail each and every day because we decide to do so. This makes Christ’s intercession on our behalf all the more necessary and urgent, so that we may continue to rely on His work, and not on our own efforts. Through His provision may find a way of escape, and resist evil.

Questions to Consider

  • Do you consider Adam and Eve worse sinners than yourself?

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 172

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Day 172

Of Free Will.

Chapter 9, Paragraph 2.

Man in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power, to will, and to do that which was good, and well-pleasing to God;…”

Scripture Lookup

Ecclesiastes 7:29

 

Reflection

There was a time when man freely chose to do good, and was capable of doing it. Pleasing God was an ability that Adam had without the intervention of a mediator. Such an ability is foreign to us, and hard to comprehend. How could Adam do good without relying on the work of the Holy Spirit? What does it mean to be upright without redemption?

Thomas Boston, in Human Nature In Its Fourfold State, says thus: “[God] did not first make him, and then make him righteous, but in the very making of him, He made him righteous.” Boston explains that Adam had perfect knowledge of God’s law, and what God required of him; Adam’s will was inclined to be in line with the will of God; and that his affections were pure and holy. No war against sin raged within Adam and Eve in their pre-fallen state.

Everything Adam and Eve did before the Fall was done in keeping with God and His law. They tended the Garden of Eden and ruled over the creatures with incredible wisdom, for it was not tainted with sin. Guilt was unknown; all pleasures of the world were acceptable and delightful. Their character was above reproach. They were the glorious creation of God.

“Had Adam stood, none would have quarrelled with the representation.” -Thomas Boston

 

Questions to Consider

  • What do you think Adam and Eve were like before the Fall?

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 171

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Day 171

Of Free Will.

Chapter 9, Paragraph 1.

God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil.

Scripture Lookup

Matthew 17:12

James 1:14

Deuteronomy 30:19

Reflection

 

Reformed folks believe in free will. This will has been bestowed upon humanity by God; autonomy is not a by-product of evolution. Each and every person has the ability to freely choose. I may choose to get take-out or cook a meal at home; you may choose to move across the country or stay put where you are. Not only do we have the freedom to choose, we also have the ability to act upon our choice. I can call the pizza place or I can pull out the cookbook; you can fly, drive, or walk across the country or flop on your couch. This ability to decide and act upon a decision is a natural part of being human.

This free will that all humanity possesses carries with it responsibility, for we are not subject to the whim of fate. There is no impersonal force that makes us live one way or the other. We cannot blame others for our actions, for we have the freedom and ability to decide what we do. It may be hard to accept that we all have free will. Sometimes it’s easier to wallow in self-pity, blaming parents, society, other races, or even God Himself for our choices.  But Scripture does not leave room for such wallowing. We are not forced to desire certain things; we alone choose them. We alone act on our desires. And we will always freely choose what we desire most.

Questions to Consider

  • Do you blame others for your choices?

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 170

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Day 170

Of Christ the Mediator.

Chapter 8, Paragraph 10.

“…and in respect to our averseness, and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue, and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need his Kingly office, to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to his Heavenly Kingdom.

Scripture Lookup

John 16:8

Psalm 110:3

Luke 1:74,75

 

Reflection

Christ must be king in order for us to be saved. Without His glorious interference in our lives, we are foreigners to God, and hostile ones as well. No one seeks for God (Romans 3:11), and without the work of Christ no one wants to. We need to be saved from our awful plight. Through His office of King, Jesus does just that for His church.

Having proclaimed the will of God concerning salvation, and procured atonement for the elect by operating as priest on their behalf, Jesus now performs His work as King. With authority He convicts the sinner of their need of a savior. He subdues His sheep, so that they no longer resist His rule but freely acknowledge His reign in their lives. We wretched sinners who could never return to God on our own are led to God by Christ Himself. With His love He has conquered us, His enemies. We are now citizens of His kingdom.

As citizens of Christ’s kingdom, we are not abandoned. He defends and protects His subjects from their enemies. By upholding us, He enables us to fight our remaining sin. He delivers us, so that we no longer need to fear the power of the prince of darkness. There is no question of returning to the vile estate from which we came, for He preserves us to the end of our days.

Christ’s victorious office of King, along with his offices of Prophet and Priest, come together in the majestic role of mediator. We have seen the majesty and wonder of such a role, and how there is no one else who could fill such a role except the God-man, Jesus. May we never fail to give Him the praise and honor due Him!

Questions to Consider

  • Have you been guilty of taking Christ’s role as mediator lightly?

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 169

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Day 169

Of Christ the Mediator.

Chapter 8, Paragraph 10.

“…and in respect of our alienation from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need his Priestly office, to reconcile us, and present us acceptable unto God:…”

Scripture Lookup

Colossians 1:21

Galatians 5:17

Reflection

Potty training. There’s a lot to learn when teaching little ones proper bathroom hygiene. Tonight, one of my children had an “accident”. Because he has been taught that it is not healthy to keep waste around, he attempted to clean it up. Himself. Which only made it worse. (I refrain from going into detail to spare those readers with more delicate stomachs.)

In the relationship God had with mankind, it was man that broke the relationship. God doesn’t change, but Adam chose to fracture the communion that existed. But in our sinful state we don’t see it that way. Viewing God as unfair, vindictive, and weak, we don’t give Him the time of day. Wallowing in our waste is our prerogative. Any attempt to clean ourselves up is useless.

Humans are alienated from God without the priestly work of Christ. Not only does He act as prophet by telling us of our vile state and need for cleansing, He shows us the way of salvation. In the days of the Old Testament, the priest offered up various sacrifices on behalf of the people. They were the representatives of the sinner before God. Jesus is the great high priest of the elect. He represents the sinner and offers up a sacrifice on their behalf. However, that sacrifice is His own righteous life and atoning death. Because of Jesus’ priestly intercession, those who are in Him have His righteousness imputed to them. God no longer views us as sinners, but welcomes us on behalf of the Son. He also works in us to destroy the remaining sin that clings to us, so that we are holy and without blemish.

Like how my child needed me to wash him off to make him clean, we need Christ to wash us. We need Him to be our priest, offering up Himself on our behalf, interceding for us, that we may be reconciled to God. His work as priest is perfect, so we may rest in knowing He views us as spotless, and that His church will be presented to Him as spotless. Christ alone makes us clean.

Questions to Consider

  • Do you still try to rely on yourself for righteousness, rather than wholly trusting the work of Christ?

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 168

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Day 168

Of Christ the Mediator.

Chapter 8, Paragraph 10.

This number and order of Offices is necessary; for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical Office;…”

Scripture Lookup

John 1:18

Reflection

You need Jesus as your Prophet. You need Jesus as your Priest, and you need Him as your King. You cannot pick and choose which of the three you would like most and discard the other two. If Christ is to be our mediator, then He must fulfill all three offices in our life.

Naturally, the order of these offices are necessary as well. You cannot be reconciled to God and be a member of Christ’s kingdom if you have no clue regarding the way of salvation! Since we are fallen creatures, we are blind to the truth of our condition and ignorant of the beauty of Christ’s work on behalf of sinners. Jesus, being with the Father since eternity past, knows the will of His Father perfectly. he is the perfect interpreter of God’s word (Luke 24:27). Not only is He accurate at delivering the word of God, He is the Word of God, the One who makes God especially known to the elect. Through Jesus, our Prophet, we are no longer ignorant of God and His salvific will. He has made Him known, and for that we are thankful.

Questions to Consider

  • Are you thankful for Christ’s role as Prophet?

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 167

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Day 167

Of Christ the Mediator.

Chapter 8, Paragraph 9.

This office of mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, who is the prophet, priest, and king of the church of God; and may not be either in whole, or any part thereof, transferred from Him to any other.

Scripture Lookup

1 Timothy 2:5

Reflection

There is no chain of command to go through to access God. The sole mediator for the elect is Jesus Christ. You do not go through a “representative” of Christ in order to receive salvation. You do not go through your husband to gain everlasting life. Your parents cannot redeem you from your sin. Why think that anyone else can grant that access to the Father, for who else can stand in that place between sinners and God? Who else lived a sinless life? Who else bore the infinite punishment that sinners deserved? Only Jesus could do these things. Only Jesus has done these things.

Can anyone else bestow the benefits of eternal redemption? If we view Christ’s mediatorial work as able to be split up among and dispensed by certain men, as some teach, then we have divided Him, and as a result lessened Him. And a lessened Christ is no Christ at all. For who can intercede for us constantly before the Father’s throne? Who sends the Spirit to unite us to Himself? Who reveals the mystery of salvation to us, governs us, and is Head of the Church? There can be only one Bridegroom. When we read again what Christ does for His elect, we realize that to place any trust in any other is foolish. There is no salvation outside of Jesus. There is no mediator but Him.

Questions to Consider

  • Are you viewing other people in the mediatorial role that Christ solely performs?