Statement of Faith – Purity 974
Purity 974 02/23/2023 Purity 974 Podcast
Purity 974 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of a wooden stairway that comes with the warning to “Watch Your Step!” comes to us from yours truly as I captured this photo before I stepped on the actual beach of Myrtle Beach South Carolina on February 21st.
Well, It’s Thursday, and as is my habit I share this photo of this pathway as a visual encouragement for anyone reading or hearing this message to “step on up” to, or to resume, your journey of faith on the pathway of Christian Discipleship. Our Christian faith is supposed to be lived so let’s live it!
I am on vacation this week so when I posted yesterday I didn’t know, or remember it was Ash Wednesday. Can you remember something you didn’t know? Anyway, while I certainly knew of Ash Wednesday existence I didn’t quite know when it would fall in 2023 or if I did that information didn’t stick and that may have a lot to do with the fact that I go to a nondenominational church that doesn’t do the tradition of burning palm leaves from last year to make ashes to anoint repentant congregants with. Last year we had a worship service to mark the day but there were no ashes.
So I am out of the habit of following that tradition and while I know it and think that it can be a wonderful congregational ceremony and gathering that can be used to turn hearts to repentance for the season of Lent, I didn’t feel the need to find an Ash Wednesday service here in South Carolina.
Repentance is the continual business of a Christian Disciple and so we don’t need a season of Lent to repent as we are continually asking the Lord to reveal to us “what we are to give up” permanently, rather than for just a few weeks. But with that said, I wholeheartedly support Lent and all who seek the Lord in prayer, fasting, and other acts of faith because of it. Lent is a good reminder to Christians who “what it is we should be doing” and can really inspire us to “press in” to our faith so I am on board for Lent and will think about what I can do to observe it.
One way that Biblegateway.com is observing it is offering a 40 day devotional with Dietrich Bonhoeffer which I have signed up for, so I am sharing the link to sign up for it on the blog today. (https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-Day-Journey-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/today). As anyone who follows the blog should know, I am a Bonhoeffer fan and while I can’t say that I agree with absolutely everything he taught about Christian Discipleship, I can say that I agree with the vast majority of his teachings. So I will be walking through Lent with Bonhoeffer this year, I just have to figure out the sequencing of the 40 days and make sure I am caught up to end the study when Lent ends.
Another benefit of church traditions like Lent is that they remind us “what we believe in”. Liturgical churches often recite creeds in their corporate worship to stand together in the unity of faith. The liturgical church of my youth did the Nicene Creed at every service and for those who don’t know, the corporate recitation of a statement of faith can be a powerful experience as “our people” join together and proclaim the truth of Christianity and declare together that “we believe”.
Here at MT4Christ.org, I have never put forth a statement of faith before and didn’t really think about it until yesterday. Freedom in Christ Ministries, who I volunteer for as a Community Freedom Ministry Associate and an Online Discipleship Course Leader, sent out their statement of faith and core values yesterday for CFMA’s to affirm they “still believe”. FICM-USA requires that their volunteers to sign a statement annually saying that they not only believe in FICM’s statement of faith and core values but will abide by them in the way they live their lives and serve the ministry. The annual requirement, just like Lent, is a way to remind the CFMA’s what the ministry stands for and to affirm their agreement with and participation in FICM-USA’s mission.
So in thinking about a statement of faith, and the fact that I haven’t presented one for this ministry, I have decided to adopt FICM’s statement of faith as the statement of faith for MT4Christ.org, and thus the MT4Christ247 podcast & YouTube Chanell as well.
So instead of sharing a Bible Verse today, I hereby present the:
MT4Christ.org Statement of Faith
• The Bible is the inspired, infallible, and only authoritative word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16,17; John 17:17; Matthew 5:18)
• There is one true God, eternally existing in three persons--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--each of whom possesses equally all the attributes of Deity and the characteristics of personality. (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Peter 1:4; John 10:27-30; Acts 5:3,4)
• Jesus Christ is God, the living Word, who became flesh through His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit and His virgin birth. Hence, He is perfect Deity and true humanity united in one person forever. (John 1:1-4; Matthew 1:21-23; Philippians 2:5-11)
• He lived a sinless life and voluntarily atoned for the sins of men by dying on the cross as their substitute, thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. (Isaiah 53:4-6; 1 Peter 2:24,25; Acts 4:12; John 3:16-18)
• He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. (1 Corinthians 15:1-6; Luke 24:36-43)
• He ascended bodily into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own. (Acts 1:9-11; Hebrews 1:1-4; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 7:25)
• Each human being is wonderfully and immutably created by God as either genetically male or genetically female. These two distinct and complementary genders together reflect the image of God. (Genesis 1:26,27)
• All human life is sacred and of inestimable value. That includes the pre-born, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, as well as every other stage or condition of humanity from conception through natural death. (Psalm 139)
• The original man sinned by disobeying God; thus, he was alienated from his Creator. That historical fall brought all mankind under divine condemnation. (Genesis 3:8-12; Romans 5:12-14; Romans 6:23)
• Man’s nature from Adam is corrupted, and he is thus totally unable to please God. Every man is in need of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:12; Titus 1:15,16; Romans 8:7,8; Hebrews 11:6; John 3:5,6; Titus 3:3-7)
• The salvation of man is wholly a work of God’s free grace and is not the work, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness or religious ceremony. God imputes His righteousness to those who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation, and
• thereby justifies them in His sight. (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 11:5,6; Galatians 2:15,16; Romans 3:21-26)
• All true believers in Christ are children of God, new creations in Christ, saints who are free to walk in newness of life in Him though never achieving sinless perfection in this life. (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Romans 6:4-7; 1 John 1:8)
• It is the privilege of all who are born again of the Spirit to be assured of their salvation from the very moment in which they trust Christ as their Savior. This assurance is not based upon any kind of human merit, but is produced by the witness of the Holy Spirit, who confirms in the believer the testimony of God in His written Word. (Romans 8:15,16; 1 John 5:11-13; John 5:24)
• The Holy Spirit has come into the world to reveal and glorify Christ and to apply the saving work of Christ to men. He convicts and draws sinners to Christ, imparts new life to them, continually indwells them from the moment of spiritual birth, and seals them until the day of redemption. His fullness, power, and control are appropriated in the believer’s life by faith. (John 15:26;John 16:7-11; John 3:5,6; 1 Corinthians 6:19,20; Ephesians 1:13,14; Ephesians 5:18-21)
• Every believer is called to live in the power of the indwelling Spirit that he will not fulfill the lust of the flesh, but will bear fruit to the glory of God. (Galatians 5:16-23; 2 Corinthians 3:17,18)
• God has established marriage as a lifelong, exclusive union between one genetic male and one genetic female. (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6)
• Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, His Body, which is composed of all men, living and dead, who have been joined to Him through saving faith. (Ephesians 1:23,24; Colossians 1:18-20)
• God admonishes His people to assemble together regularly for worship, for participation in ordinances, for edification through the Scriptures, and for mutual encouragement. (Hebrews 10:24,25; 1 Corinthians 11:22-26; Matthew 28:19; Colossians 3:16)
• At physical death, the believer enters immediately into eternal, conscious fellowship with the Lord and awaits the resurrection of his body to everlasting glory and blessing. (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21-23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57)
• At physical death, the unbeliever enters immediately into eternal, conscious separation from the Lord and awaits the resurrection of his body to judgment and everlasting condemnation. (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Revelation 20:11-15)
• Jesus Christ will come again to the earth--personally, visibly, and bodily--to consummate history and the eternal plan of God. (Philippians 3:20,21; Ephesians 1:9,10; 1 Corinthians 15:20-29; Revelation 1:4-8; Revelation 22:20,21)
• The Lord Jesus Christ commanded all believers to proclaim the gospel throughout the world and to disciple men of every nation. The fulfillment of that Great Commission requires that all worldly and personal ambitions be subordinated to a total commitment to "Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.” (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Colossians 1:27-29; Revelation 5:9,10; 2 Corinthians 5:11-16; Galatians 2:20)
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND THE HUMAN WILL
3. The Impotency of the Human Will
Does it lie within the province of man’s will to accept or reject the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour? Granted that the Gospel is preached to the sinner, that the Holy Spirit convicts him of his lost condition, does it, in the final analysis, lie within the power of his own will to resist or to yield himself up to God? The answer to this question defines our conception of human depravity. That man is a fallen creature all professing Christians will allow, but what many of them mean by “fallen” is often difficult to determine. The general impression seems to be that man is now mortal, that he is no longer in the condition in which he left the hands of his Creator, that he is liable to disease, that he inherits evil tendencies; but, that if he employs his powers to the best of his ability somehow he will be happy at last. O, how far short of the sad truth! Infirmities, sickness, even corporeal death, are but trifles in comparison with the moral and spiritual effects of the Fall! It is only by consulting the Holy Scriptures that we are able to obtain some conception of the extent of that terrible calamity.
When we say that man is totally depraved we mean that the entrance of sin into the human constitution has affected every part and faculty of man’s being. Total depravity means that man is, in spirit and and soul and body, the slave of sin and the captive of the Devil—walking “according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). This statement ought not to need arguing: it is a common fact of human experience. Man is unable to realize his own aspirations and materialize his own ideals. He cannot do the things that he would. There is a moral inability which paralyzes him. This is proof positive that he is no free man, but instead, the slave of sin and Satan. “Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts (desires) of your father ye will do” (John 8:44). Sin is more than an act or a series of acts; it is a state or condition: it is that which lies behind and produces the acts. Sin has penetrated and permeated the whole of man’s make-up. It has blinded the understanding, corrupted the heart, and alienated the mind from God. And the will has not escaped. The will is under the dominion of sin and Satan. Therefore, the will is not free. In short, the affections love as they do and the will chooses as it does because of the state of the heart, and because the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked “There is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11).
We repeat our question: Does it lie within the power of the sinner’s will to yield himself up to God? Let us attempt an answer by asking several others: Can water (of itself) rise above its own level? Can a clean thing come out of an unclean? Can the will reverse the whole tendency and strain of human nature? Can that which is under the dominion of sin originate that which is pure and holy? Manifestly not. If ever the will of a fallen and depraved creature is to move Godward a Divine power must be brought to bear upon it which will overcome the influences of sin that pull in a counter direction. This is only another way of saying, “No man can come to Me except the Father which hath sent Me, draw him (John 6:44). In other words, God’s people must be made willing in the day of His power (Psa. 110:3). As said Mr. Darby, “If Christ came to save that which is lost, free will has no place. Not that God prevents men from receiving Christ—far from it. But even when God uses all possible inducements, all that is capable of exerting influence in the heart of man, it only serves to show that man will have none of it, that so corrupt is his heart, and so decided his will not to submit to God (however much it may be the devil who encourages him to sin) that nothing can induce him to receive the Lord, and to give up sin. If by the words, ‘freedom of man,’ they mean that no one forces him to reject the Lord, this liberty fully exists. But if it is said that, on account of the dominion of sin, of which he is the slave, and that voluntarily, he cannot escape from his condition, and make choice of the good—even while acknowledging it to be good, and approving of it—then he has no liberty whatever (italics ours). He is not subject to the law, neither indeed can be; hence, they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
The will is not sovereign; it is a servant because influenced and controlled by the other faculties of man’s being. The sinner is not a free agent because he is a slave of sin—this was clearly implied in our Lord’s words, “If the Son shall therefore make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Man is a rational being and as such responsible and accountable to God, but to affirm that he is a free moral agent is to deny that he is totally depraved—i.e., depraved in will as in everything else. Because man’s will is governed by his mind and heart, and because these have been vitiated and corrupted by sin, then it follows that if ever man is to turn or move in a Godward direction God Himself must work in him “both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). Man’s boasted freedom is in truth “the bondage of corruption”; he “serves divers lusts and pleasures.” Said a deeply taught servant of God, “Man is impotent as to his will. He has no will favorable to God. I believe in free will; but then it is a will only free to act according to nature (italics ours). A dove has no will to eat carion; a raven no will to eat the clean food of the dove. Put the nature of the dove into the raven and it will eat the food of the dove. Satan could have no will for holiness. We speak it with reverence, God could have no will for evil. The sinner in his sinful nature could never have a will according to God. For this he must be born again” (J. Denham Smith). This is just what we have contended for throughout this chapter—the will is regulated by the nature.
Among the “decrees” of the Council of Trent (1563), which is the avowed standard of Popery, we find the following:
“If any one shall affirm, that man’s free-will, moved and excited by God, does not, by consenting, co-operate with God, the mover and exciter, so as to prepare and dispose itself for the attainment of justification; if moreover, anyone shall say that the human will cannot refuse complying, if it pleases; but that it is unactive, and merely passive; let such an one be accursed”!
“If any one shall affirm, that since the fall of Adam, man’s free-will is lost and extinguished; or, that it is a thing titular, yea a name, without a thing, and a fiction introduced by Satan into the Church; let such an one be accursed”!
Thus, those who today insist on the free-will of the natural man believe precisely what Rome teaches on the subject! That Roman Catholics and Arminians walk hand in hand may be seen from others of the decrees issued by the Council of Trent: “If any one shall affirm that a regenerate and justified man is bound to believe that he is certainly in the number of the elect (which 1 Thess. 1:4, 5 plainly teaches. A. W. P.) let such an one be accursed”! “If any one shall affirm with positive and absolute certainty, that he shall surely have the gift of perseverance to the end (which John 10:28–30 assuredly guarantees, A. W. P.); let him be accursed”!
In order for any sinner to be saved three things were indispensable: God the Father had to purpose his salvation, God the Son had to purchase it, God the Spirit has to apply it. God does more than “propose” to us: were He only to “invite,” every last one of us would be lost. This is strikingly illustrated in the Old Testament. In Ezra 1:1–3 we read, “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, the Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel.” Here was an “offer” made, made to a people in captivity, affording them opportunity to leave and return to Jerusalem—God’s dwelling-place. Did all Israel eagerly respond to this offer? No indeed. The vast majority were content to remain in the enemy’s land. Only an insignificant “remnant” availed themselves of this overture of mercy! And why did they? Hear the answer of Scripture: “Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all whose spirit God had stirred up, to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:5)! In like manner, God “stirs up” the spirits of His elect when the effectual call comes to them, and not till then do they have any willingness to respond to the Divine proclamation.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 144–149.