"There are Those...
"THERE ARE THOSE --
who tell us the Christian life is a rose bordered pathway covered with ease, but I have yet to know it experientially to be so. It seems to me to be as John Bunyan declares, to be life with many hills of difficulty, many a slough of despond, and often filled with monstrous forms from Hell to frighten false professors from the straight gate, and out of the narrow way.
It seems to me to be a constant warfare for which we are commanded to quit ourselves like men and to be strong. It seems to be a life filled with arduous toil, which we as spiritual farmers are to plant or water, while it is God who brings forth the true harvest. It seems to be the life of an athlete running his course. It seems to me to be a life filled with prayers which Paul likened to be the agonistes of the Greek wrestlers.
It seems to me the Christian life is one which we must resolve within ourselves that it is going to cost us our very life!"
OUR SOLEMN RESPONSIBILITY TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN
Text: "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." --Psalm 58:3
We will never come to realize the solemnity of our responsibility to teach our children until we come to see their true nature in the light of the Word of God.
Most parents are seriously deluded by silly sentimentality when it comes to their children, but these "sweet little bundles" are sharers in your own evil nature. This is true since Adam begat a son "in his own likeness, after his own image." --(Genesis 5:3) And, "As
sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." --(Romans 5:12) "The Fountain being corrupt," Thomas Watson writes, "all the streams are impure."
These "cute, little bundles" are NOT the "picture of Innocence" but instead are crawling in wickedness, and their propensity to evil is so great that if Christ had not come, there would none of them be saved.
Benjamin Wadsworth observed, "Their hearts naturally are a mere nest, root, fountain of sin and wickedness; an evil treasure from whence proceed evil things, viz. evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, etc. Indeed, as sharers in the guilt of Adamís first sin, theyíre
children of wrath by nature, liable to eternal Vengeance, the unquenchable flames of Hell. But besides all this, their hearts are unspeakably wicked, estranged from God, enmity against Him, eagerly set in pursuing vanities, on provoking God by actual personal transgressions, whereby they merit and deserve greater measures of wrath."
But there are two things which complicate the salvation of our children: l.) Besides, being depraved in nature, they are born ignorant, or as the philosopher would say, with a "tabula rasa" --a "blank table", and therefore they must have the instruction of Doctrine; and 2.) Because of their sinful nature, they must have the instruction of Discipline.
NEXT EDITION: OUR SOLEMN RESPONSIBILITY TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN DOCTRINE
Part II -- His Influence, No. 3 THE LIFE OF AUGUSTINE
Text: "Salvation belongeth unto the Lord.... " --Psalm 3:8
Merle DíAubigne: "Salvation considered as coming from man is the creating principle of all error and abuse."
Pelagius had taught in the first place, that human nature was not fallen in Adam. This meant, he had said, that infants are born in innocence, and that sin is a matter of will and not of nature. He had called both Original Sin and the Transmission of Guilt by parents to
their children, "Myths."
But surely Pelagius must have been aware that infants die. Life daily witnesses miscarriages of life. And why is it so? "For as in Adam all die." "By one manís offence death reigned by one.... Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.... " "For the wages of sin is death.... " --(I Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:
In the second place, Pelagius had taught man has the ability to do good if he wants to. This meant salvation was attainable without the Law and the Gospel or Divine grace, though, he confessed, these helped in the attainment of salvation. He added, Christ also helps us by His example. But, is the will of man free? Is everybody beautiful in his own way? Is man basically good? This is the teaching of every philosophical system in the world! As Martin Luther declared, "If you believe the grace of God has anything to do with man, YOU KNOW NOTHING OF THE GRACE OF GOD!"
Why was this assertion of Pelagius that man has a free will, a will capable of doing good if it wanted to do so, so terrifying to the Christian church? because it was a direct assertion that Goodness lay in external actions, and as we have already noted for any deed to be good and acceptable unto God, there must be the elements of faith and love. Ė(See Hebrews 11:6; Romans 13:10; Matthew 22:40)
"Here is the dividing line between philosophy and Biblical theology," Luther declared in referring to the pernicious doctrine of the free will of man. Luther was taught this truth from the Bible, and the Bible had taught it to Augustine as well.
God raised up a defender of the faith in the days of Pelagianism: it was the man Augustine. He drew men back to the Word of God proclaiming Bible truths that human nature is fallen in Adam, i.e. that it is inconsistent to maintain that man is "totally depraved, totally
corrupt" but that his will is pretty good; and that faith originates not in the heart of men but in the grace of God. Man is not the "master of his own fate, the captain of his own soul;" instead, it is Christ who is the "Author and Finisher of our faith." "Look unto Me," the Lord cries, "and be ye saved all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." --(Isaiah 45:22) It is God who saves!
Augustine was the man to preach definitively the doctrine of Holy Scripture which theologians call, the "Federal Headship Theory:" that Adam as the progenitor of the human race caused all mankind to fall when he sinned, for all mankind lay in his germ cells. The ominous
threat to the church has been beaten back by Godís champion, but how long can we expect our victory to last on this sin-ridden planet?
TO BE CONTINUED