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  • WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON THE CHURCH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, OR UNDER THE GOSPEL


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    DISPUTATION LII

    ON THE CHURCH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, OR UNDER THE GOSPEL

    I. The Church of the New Testament is that which, from the time when that Testament was confirmed by the blood of Christ the mediator of the New Testament, or from the period of his ascension into heaven, began to be called out from a state of sin which was plainly manifested by the word of the gospel, and by the Spirit that was suited to the heirs who had attained to the age of adults -- to a participation of the righteousness of faith and of salvation, through faith placed in the gospel, and to render worship to God and Christ in the unity of the same Spirit; and this church will continue to be called out in the same manner to the end of the world, to the praise of the glory of the grace of God and of Christ.

    II. The efficient cause is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now most plainly manifested himself to be Jehovah and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; and it is Christ himself, elevated to the right hand of the Father, invested with full power in heaven and on earth, and endowed with the word of the gospel and with the Spirit beyond measure. The antecedent or only moving cause is the grace and mercy of God the Father and of Christ, and even the justice of God, to which, through the good pleasure of the Father, the fullest satisfaction has now been made in Jesus Christ, and which is clearly manifested in the gospel.

    III. The Spirit of Christ is the administering cause, according to the economy, as he is the substitute of Christ and receives of that which is Christ's, to glorify Christ by this calling forth in his church, with only a full power to administer all things according to his own pleasure. The Spirit uses the word of the gospel placed in the mouth of his servants, which immediately executes this vocation, and the word of the law, whether written or implanted in the mind; the gospel serves both antecedently that a place may be made for this vocation, and consequently when it has been received by faith.

    IV. The object of this evocation is, not only Jews, but also gentiles, the middle wall of partition which formerly separated the gentiles from the Jews being taken away by the flesh and blood of Christ; that is, the object is all men generally and promiscuously without any difference, but it is all men actually sinners, whether they be those who acknowledge themselves as such and to whom the preaching of the gospel is constantly exhibited, or those who are yet to be brought to the acknowledgment of their sins.

    V. Because this church is of adult age, and because she no longer requires a tutor and governor, she is free from the economical bondage of the law, and is governed by the spirit of full liberty, which is, by no means, intermixed with the spirit of bondage; and, therefore, she is free from the use of the ceremonial law, so far as it served for testifying of sins, and as it was "the hand-writing which was against us."

    VI. This church, also, with unveiled or open face, beholds the glory of the Lord as in a glass, and has the very express image of heavenly things, and Christ, the image of the invisible God, the express image of the Father's person, and the brightness of his glory, and the very body of things to come which is of Christ. She, therefore, does not need the law, which has the shadow of good things to come; on which account, she is free from the same ceremonial law, by which it typically prefigured Christ and good things to come.

    VII. The church of the New Testament has not experienced, does not now experience, and will not, to the end of the world, experience, in the whole of its course, any change whatever with regard to the word itself or the spirit; For, in these last times, God has spoken to us in his Son, and by those who have heard him.

    VIII. This same church is called "catholic," in a peculiar and distinct sense in opposition to the church which was under the Old Testament, so far as she has been diffused through the whole world, and has embraced within her boundary all nations, tribes, people and tongues. This universality is not hinder, by the rejection of the greater part of the Jews, as they will also be added to the church, some time hence, in a great multitude, and like an army formed into columns.

    IX. We may denominate, not unaptly or inappropriately, the state of the church, as she existed from the time of John until the assent of Christ into heaven, "a temporary or intermediate one" between the state of the promise and of the gospel, or that of the Old Testament and of the New.

    X. On which account, we place the ministry of John between the ministry of the prophets and that of the apostles, and plainly, and in every respect, conformable to neither of them. Hence, also, John is called "a greater prophet," and is said to be "less than the least in the kingdom of heaven.

    COROLLARY

    The baptism of John was so far the same with that of Christ, that there was afterwards no need for it to be restored.

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