July 5, 2009

Now this is a "Blog" worth reading!

I have found the best “blog” that I think anyone will ever discover. Here is the “blog” owners profile and introduction, followed by a small snippet of one post:

Let me confess, I was a professor of religion at least a dozen of years before I knew any other way to eternal life, than to be sorry for my sins, and ask forgiveness, and strive and endeavor to fulfill the law, and keep the commandments, according as many other godly men had expounded them; and truly, I remember I was in hope I should at last attain to the perfect fulfilling of them; and, in the mean time, I conceived that God would accept the will for the deed; or what I could not do, Christ had done for me.

And though at last, by means of conferring with many other godly men in private, the Lord was pleased to convince me that I was yet but a proud Pharisee, and to show me the way of faith and salvation by Christ alone, and to give me, I hope, a heart in some measure to embrace it; yet, alas! through the weakness of my faith, I have been, and am still apt to turn aside to the covenant of works; and therefore have not attained to that joy and peace in believing, nor that measure of love to Christ, and man for Christ's sake, as I am confident many of God's saints do attain unto in the time of this life. The Lord be merciful unto me, and increase my faith!

And are there not others, though I hope but few, who being enlightened to see their misery, by reason of the guilt of sin, though not by reason of the filth of sin, and hearing of justification freely by grace, through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ, do applaud and magnify that doctrine, following them that do most preach and press the same, seeming to be, as it were, ravished with the hearing thereof, out of a conceit that they are by Christ freely justified from the guilt of sin, though still they retain the filth of sin?
These are they that content themselves with a gospel knowledge, with mere notions in the head, but not in the heart; glorying and rejoicing in free grace and justification by faith alone; professing faith in Christ, and yet are not possessed of Christ;—these are they that can talk like believers, and yet do not walk like believers,; these are they that have language like saints, and yet have conversation like devils;—these are they that are not obedient to the law of Christ, and therefore are justly called Antinomians.

Now, both these paths
leading from Christ, have been justly judged as erroneous; and to my knowledge, not only a matter of eighteen or twenty years ago, but also within these three or four years, there has been much ado, both by preaching, writing, and disputing, both to reduce men out of them, and to keep them from them; and hot contentions have been on both sides, and all, I fear, to little purpose: for has not the strict professor according to the law, whilst he has striven to reduce the loose professor according to the gospel out of the Antinomian path, entangled both himself and others the faster in the yoke of bondage? (Gal 5:1). And has not the loose professor according to the gospel, whilst he has striven to reduce the strict professor according to the law out of the legal path, "by promising liberty from the law, taught others, and been himself the servant of corruption?" (2 Peter 2:19).

For this cause I, though I be nothing, have by the grace of God endeavored, in this Dialogue, to walk as a middle man betwixt them both, in showing to each of them his erroneous path, with the middle path, (which is Jesus Christ received truly, and walked in answerably,) as a means to bring them both unto him, and make them both one in him; and Oh! that the Lord would be pleased so to bless it to them, that it might be a means to produce that effect!

Here are the individuals you will find dialoguing (the personal names have been changed):

EVANGELISTA, a Minister of the Gospel.
NOMIST, a Legalist.
ANTINOMISTA, an Antinomian.
NEOPHYTUS, a Young Christian.

For those unfamiliar with the terms: Antinomianism in theology, is the idea that members of a particular religious group are under no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality, and that salvation is by faith only. Antinomianism is the polar opposite of legalism, the notion that obedience to a code of religious law is necessary for salvation.

Of course many do not even know that they fall into one of the above categories because their antinomianism and/or legalism is subtle—so subtle that they would never suspect that they may be guilty of either error. The confusion comes because of a lack of understanding between the law of works and the law of Christ. Do you understand the difference?

Here is just a small snippet of this dialogue:

Nom. Sir, in this your answer to his question, you have also answered me, and given me full satisfaction in divers points, about which my friend Antinomista and I have had many a wrangling fit. For I used to affirm with tooth and nail, [as men use to say,] that believers are under the law, and not delivered from it; and that they do sin, and that God sees it, and is angry with them, and doth afflict them for it, and that, therefore, they ought to humble themselves, and mourn for their sins, and confess them, and crave pardon for them; and yet truly I must confess, I did not understand what I said, nor whereof I affirmed; and the reason was, because I did not know the difference betwixt the law, as it is the law of works, and as it is the law of Christ.

Ant. And believe me, sir, I used to affirm, as earnestly as he, that believers are delivered from the law, and, therefore, do not sin; and, therefore, God can see no sin in them; and, therefore, is neither angry with them, nor does afflict them for sin; and, therefore, they have no need either to humble themselves, or mourn, or confess their sins, or beg pardon for them; the which I believing to be true, could not conceive how the contrary could be true also. But now I plainly see that by means of your distinguishing betwixt the law, as it is the law of works, and as it is the law of Christ, there is a truth in both. And, therefore, friend Nomista, whensoever either you, or any man else, shall hereafter affirm, that believers are under the law and do sin; and God sees it, and is angry with them, and does chastise them for it; and that they ought to humble themselves, mourn, weep, and confess their sins, and beg pardon for them: if you mean only, as they are under the law of Christ, I will agree with you, and never contradict you again.

Nom. And truly, friend Antinomista, if either you, or any man else, shall hereafter affirm, that believers are delivered from the law, and do not sin, and God sees no sin in them, nor is angry with them, nor afflicts them for their sins, and that they have no need either to humble themselves, mourn, confess, or crave pardon for their sins; if you mean it only as they are not under the law of works, I will agree with you, and never contradict you again.

Evan. I rejoice to hear you speak these words each to other: and truly, now I am in hope that you two will come back from both your extremes, and meet my neighbour Neophytus in the golden mean; having, as the apostle says, "the same love, being of one accord, and of one mind."

Nom. Sir, for my own part, I thank the Lord I do now plainly see, that I have erred exceedingly, in seeking to be justified, "as it were, by the works of the law."
1 And yet could I never be persuaded to it before this day; and indeed should not have been persuaded to it now, had not you so plainly and fully handled this threefold law. And truly, sir, I do now unfeignedly desire to renounce myself, and all that ever I have done, and by faith to adhere only to Jesus Christ; for now I see that he is all in all. Oh, that the Lord would enable me so to do! And I beseech you, sir, pray for me.

Ant. And truly, sir, I must needs confess, that I have erred as much on the other hand; for I have been so far from seeking to be justified by the works of the law, that I have neither regarded law nor works. But now I see mine error; I purpose, God willing, to reform it.

Evan. The Lord grant that you may.

Okay – it’s not a “blog”; but in a sense it is. This is a book written in the 16th Century in the form of a dialogue and it is entitiled:

THE MARROW OF MODERN DIVINITY by Edward Fisher

The entire book is available online and I urge you to read the dialogue contained in this “old fashioned blog” before reading or posting on any modern blogs. I think you will find (as I did) that you will be embarrassed, humbled, encouraged, blessed, rebuked, exhorted, and thrilled.

Click here for the link to the table of contents. For a recommendation, read below.
“I have perused this ensuing Dialogue, and find it tending to peace and holiness; the author endeavoring to reconcile and heal those unhappy differences, which have lately broken out afresh amongst us, about the points therein handled and cleared; for which cause I allow it to be printed, and recommend it to the reader, as a discourse stored with many necessary and seasonable truths, confirmed by Scripture, and avowed by many approved writers: all composed in a familiar, plain, moderate style, without bitterness against, or uncomely reflections upon others,—which flies have lately corrupted many boxes of otherwise precious ointment.” May 1, 1645. JOSEPH. CARYL.
For those who may not know who Joseph Caryl is, I will tell you this: He wrote a 12 volume set entitled, “Practical Observation on Job” (with pen and ink) and it is my observation—after reading several volumes that the entire bible is most probably quoted somewhere within these 12 volumes.

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