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  • WORKS OF ARMINIUS - GOD THE FATHER & CHRIST'S WILL, & COMMAND


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    DISPUTATION XXXIX

    ON THE WILL, AND COMMAND OF GOD THE FATHER AND OF CHRIST, BY WHICH THEY WILL AND COMMAND THAT RELIGION BE PERFORMED TO THEM BY SINFUL MAN

    I. In addition to the things that God has done in Christ, and Christ has done through the command of the Father, for the redemption of mankind, who were lost through sin, by which both of them have merited that religious homage should be performed to them by sinful man -- and in addition to the fact that the Father has constituted Christ the saviour and Head, with full power and capability of saving through the administration of his priestly and regal offices, on account of which power, Christ is worthy to be worshipped with religious honours, and able to reward his worshipers, that he may not be worshipped in vain, it was requisite that the will of God the Father and of Christ should be subjoined, by which they willed and commanded that religious worship should be offered to them, lest the performance of religion should be "will-worship," or superstition.

    II. It was the will of God that this command should be proposed through the mode of a covenant, that is, through the mutual stipulation and promise of the contracting parties -- of a covenant, indeed, which is never to be disannulled or to perish, which is, therefore, denominated "the new covenant," and is ratified by the blood of Jesus Christ as Mediator.

    III. On this account, and because Christ has been constituted by the Father, a prince and Lord, with the full possession of all the blessings necessary to salvation, it is also called "a Testament" or "Will;" therefore, he, also, as the Testator, is dead, and by his death, has confirmed the testamentary promise which had previously been made, concerning the obtaining of the eternal inheritance by the remission of sins.

    IV. The stipulation on the part of God and Christ is, that God shall be God and Father in Christ [to a believer] if in the name, and by the command of God, he acknowledges Christ as his Lord and saviour, that is, if he believe in God through Christ, and in Christ, and if he yield to both of them love, worship, honour, fear, and complete obedience as prescribed.

    V. The promise, on the part of God the Father, and of Christ, is, that God will be the God and Father, and that Christ will be the saviour, (through the administration of his sacerdotal and regal offices,) of those who have faith in God the Father, and in Christ, and who, through faith, yield obedience to them; that is, God the Father, and Christ, will account the performance of religious duty to be grateful, and will crown it with a reward.

    VI. On the other hand, the promise of sinful man is that he will believe in God and in Christ, and through faith will yield compliance or render obedience. But the stipulation is that God be willing to be mindful of his compact and holy declaration.

    VII. Christ intervenes between the two parties; on the part of God, he proposes the stipulation, and confirms the promise with his blood; he likewise works a persuasion in the hearts of believers, and affixes to it his attesting seal, that the promise will be ratified. But, on the part of sinful man, he promises [to the Father] that, by the efficacy of his Spirit he will cause man to perform the things which he has promised to his God; and, on the other hand, he requires of the Father, that, mindful of his own promise, he will deign to bestow on those who answer this description, or believers, the forgiveness of all their sins, and life eternal. He likewise intervenes, by presenting to God the service performed by man, and by rendering it grateful and acceptable to God through the odour of his own fragrance.

    VIII. External seals or tokens are also employed to which the ancient Latin fathers have given the appellation of "Sacraments," and which, on the part of God, seal the promise that has been made by himself; but, on the part of men, they are "the hand-writing," or bond of that obligation by which they had bound themselves that nothing may in any respect be wanting which seems to be at all capable of contributing to the nature and relation of the covenant and compact into which the parties have mutually entered.

    IX. From all these things, are apparent the most sufficient perfection of the Christian religion and its unparalleled excellence above all other religions, though they also be supposed to be true. Its sufficiency consists in this -- both that it demonstrates the necessity of that duty which is to be performed by sinful man, to be completely absolute, and on no account to be remissible, by which the way is closed against carnal security -- and that it most strongly fortifies against despair, not only sinners, that they may be led to repentance, but also those who perform the duty, that they may, through the certain hope of future blessings, persevere in the course of faith and of good works upon which they have entered. These two [despair and carnal security] are the greatest evils which are to be avoided in the whole of religion.

    X. This is the excellence of the Christian religion above every other, that all these things are transacted by the intervention of Christ our mediator, priest and king, in which, numerous arguments are proposed to us, both for the establishment of the necessity of its performance, and for the confirmation of hope, and for the removal of despair, that cannot be shown in any other religion. On this account, therefore, it is not wonderful that Christ is said to be the wisdom of God and the power of God, manifested in the gospel for the salvation of believers.

    COROLLARY

    No prayers and no duty, performed by a sinner, are grateful to God, except with reference to Christ; and yet, people have acted properly in desiring and in beseeching God, that he would be pleased to bless King Messiah and the progress of his kingdom.

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