But

BUT I. All men are infected with Adam's sin. ROM 5:12; 3:9, 23. A. All are by nature spiritually dead and under God's wrath against sin. EPH 2:1-3; GEN 8:21; PSA 51:5. B. All are by nature worthless before God's holy law: 1. individually. PSA 39:5. 2. collectively. ISA 40:17; ROM 3:9. II. Any recovery scheme which hinges on man's resolve or action is futile. A. Perhaps if his good works outweigh his bad works on God's scale, man can recover himself from condemnation. BUT, ISA 64:6; ROM 3:10. B. Perhaps if he completes ritual according to a noble code, man can recover himself from condemnation. BUT, GAL 5:3; HEB 9:9-10; 10:1, 4. C. Perhaps if he strives to change his nature so that he might do good, man can recover himself from condemnation. BUT, JER 13:23; MAT 12:33-34; PRO 20:9 c/w JOB 14:4. D. Perhaps if he knows God's will and obeys it, man can recover himself from condemnation. BUT, ROM 8:7-8; GAL 3:10. E. Perhaps if he wills in his heart to choose God, man can recover himself from condemnation. BUT, JER 17:9; ROM 6:20. F. Perhaps if he receives the gospel of Jesus Christ, man can recover himself from condemnation. BUT, 1CO 2:14. G. Perhaps if he seeks God with whatever light he has, man can recover himself from condemnation. BUT PSA 10:4; JOH 3:20; ROM 3:11. H. All possible schemes of man-centered salvation are hopelessly inadequate to undo the corrupt nature of man and his propensity to defiantly sin against God. PSA 49:7-9. III. Scripture declares that "...salvation is of the LORD" (JON 2:9). God is the active power in recovering men from sin and condemnation. A. It is not man's purpose that produces salvation, but God's. 2TI 1:9; EPH 1:11. B. It pleased God to make His Son to be sacrificed for sin in the stead of men and then impute His righteousness to them FREELY. 2CO 5:21; ROM 5:19; 4:6. C. Men are redeemed FREELY by the justifying blood of Christ. ROM 3:22-24; EPH 1:7. D. This is salvation by GRACE, or "God's Riches At Christ's Expense." IV. Jesus Christ's death was a covenant death. HEB 13:20. A. Covenant: "A mutual agreement between two or more persons to do or refrain from doing certain acts; a compact, contract, bargain; sometimes, the undertaking, pledge, or promise of one of the parties." B. Note there are three parties to the Covenant: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. C. The covenant work of the Godhead is applied to the sheep as described in 1PE 1:2. 1. The Father WILLS to save some. ROM 9:15-16, 18. 2. The Son OBEYS the Father's will. HEB 10:9-10; JOH 6:37-39. 3. The Spirit APPLIES the Son's obedience according to the Father's will. JOH 3:8; 6:63; TIT 3:5-6. 4. No wonder that, when speaking of the election of men unto God's saving mercy, man's will is no consideration. ROM 9:16. 5. No wonder that, when speaking of the gift of the new birth, man's will is no consideration. JOH 1:12-13. 6. No wonder that, when speaking of how men are made God's children, man's will is no consideration. EPH 1:5. D. The work of the Father in the covenant is described as FOREKNOWLEDGE in 1PE 1:2. 1. This has two possible meanings: a. Foreknown creature activity. BUT, PSA 14:2-3. b. Foreknown creature identity. ROM 9:10-13. 2. There are only two other passages in the N.T. that connect foreknowledge and election. Both of them relate foreknowledge to identity, NEVER activity. ROM 8:28-33; 11:2-6. 3. The elect (not their works) are thus FOREknown. By contrast, the wicked (the non-elect) are NEVER known. 2TI 2:19 ct/w MAT 7:23. E. The work of the Son in the covenant is to establish righteousness for the sheep. 1. This He did by His obedience unto death. GAL 3:13; HEB 5:8-9. 2. By this, the sheeps' sins were exchanged for His righteousness. ROM 5:19; 2CO 5:21. 3. Again, the will of the Father is the active power here. 1CO 1:30. F. The work of the Spirit in the covenant is to apply the blood in power to the elect. TIT 3:5; ROM 8:11. G. The objects of grace in the covenant: the sheep. 1. Here are seven outstanding facts about the sheep. a. They were chosen before the foundation of the world. EPH 1:4. b. There is a definite and specific number of them. 2TI 2:19. c. They are all personally chosen by name. JOH 10:3, 11, 15-16. d. Their names are written in heaven. HEB 12:22-24. e. They were written before the foundation of the world. REV 17:8. f. They are the ONLY ones eternally saved. REV 17:14; 21:27; ROM 8:29-30. g. They can never lose their eternal salvation. 2SA 23:5; JOH 10:27-29. H. The miracle of grace is not that some are chosen, but that any are! V. The difference between death and life is not of man, BUT God! A. Under the impossible do and live nature of law-works (GAL 3:10-12), we were in bondage, "BUT...GOD sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,..." (GAL 4:3-5). B. Our nature so alienated himself from God that we could not put ourselves into any position of acceptability to Him. "BUT GOD commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (ROM 5:8). C. A dead Redeemer, though, would be of no value to anyone, since He could not complete the work He was sent to do. "...BUT GOD raised Him from the dead" (ACT 13:30). D. This redemptive work would be no help to us if it were not somehow applied to our nature to deliver us from sin's bondage. "BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" (EPH 2:4-5). E. The good news of what Christ has done for His sheep would elude us if it was not revealed or if we could not receive it. "BUT GOD hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God....Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, BUT the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (1CO 2:10-12). F. Perhaps the words of the Lord Jesus best answer the question, "Who then can be saved?" "...With men this is impossible; BUT WITH GOD all things are possible" (MAT 19:26). G. Knowing our salvation is entirely wrought in God and that we are crucified with Christ, we can say with Paul, "...I live; yet not I, BUT CHRIST liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who love me, and gave himself for me" (GAL 2:20).
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