Four Reasons We Are Chosen in Christ

Four Reasons We Are Chosen in Christ: On What Basis Are We Saved? - Part 2by Jeremy Walker/

Read all the posts published to date in this 16-part series on the essential truths of the Christian faith. 

ON WHAT BASIS ARE WE SAVED? – PART 2

Chosen

In the previous post in this series, we established from Scripture that salvation involves a choice. We asked the questions “Who chooses?,” “Who are chosen?,” “In whom were they chosen?,” and “When were they chosen?” Now we move on to discuss four biblical reasons for this choosing, exploring two strands of inquiry: “On what basis are we chosen?,” and “To what end are we chosen?”

On What Basis Are We Chosen?

1) Not chosen out of merit. Negatively, and as we have already begun to see in Acts 13:48 (NKJV), we were not chosen because of any worthiness in us, either predicted or actual. The Lord has never dealt with people in this way. For example, in Deuteronomy 7:7 (NKJV), Moses assures Israel that “the Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples.” Israel at that time might have been tempted to look on the multitudes of the tribes and say, “Ah, this is why God chose us. Look at how many of us there are! Truly we are just the kind of people whom God might have chosen for his glory!” We still face precisely the same kind of temptations—we imagine that our numbers, graces, abilities, faith, wealth, charisma, influence, or whatever else it might be, actually lies behind God’s gift to us. In that scenario, salvation becomes a reward for what we already were or had become.

Scripturally, the truth is precisely the reverse.

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The Second Anchor Point of Faith

The Second Anchor Point of Faith: On What Basis Are We Saved? Part 1

by Jeremy Walker/

Read all the posts published to date in this 16-part series on the essential truths of the Christian faith. 

ON WHAT BASIS ARE WE SAVED? – PART 1

Chosen

If we drew only one conclusion from the preceding posts in his series, I trust it would be something along these lines: for men and women like us, by nature being dead in our trespasses and sins, the only possible solution or remedy lies outside mankind. It must, of necessity, lie with God alone.

We can put it another way, in the form of a question. If everyone by nature deserves death and hell, how is it that some obtain life and heaven? If someone has those blessings, where did they come from and how did that person come by them? The beginning of the answer to that question is addressed in the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, as well as in a number of other places.

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7 Rational Responses to a Fallen World

7 Rational Responses to a Fallen World: Who Needs to Be Saved? - Part 3by Jeremy Walker/

Read all the posts published to date in this 16-part series. 

In the previous two posts we examined two kinds of evidence affirming the innate fallen nature of man: the testimony of Scripture and the testimony of the world. So, what do we take from all this?

WHO NEEDS TO BE SAVED? – PART 3

Taking Stock

What shall we make of  all we have seen in the previous two posts? Given that Scripture and experience speak with one voice regarding our innate spiritual fallenness, what inferences and conclusions must we draw?

1: Realism. First of all, there should be realism about those who are, at this point in time, unconverted—those who are not true Christians. Such men and women, boys and girls, must be born again: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:5–7 NKJV). This is not the language of obligation (it is not a command) but of an absolute spiritual necessity. No one moves to God, or even desires to move toward God, without God moving first to draw that one to himself. We may and should mourn over the hardness of men’s hearts, but it should not surprise us. In fact, we are told to expect it. When believers take the gospel into the world, they take it to those who are utterly dead in themselves. We must be realistic about that and about what it means for the hostile reception that the unregenerate heart will give to both the message and messengers of the cross. We must be realistic, no less, about our own children, if we are Christians. We cannot excuse or ameliorate their sin. All their privileges growing up under the gospel, all the healthful influences brought to bear upon them, do not in themselves render our children less sinful.

2: Honesty. Furthermore, there must be honesty concerning our own condition. It may be that even now the Holy Spirit is using this blog post to give some reader, perhaps for the first time, a clearer understanding of the evil of your nature, the criminality of your record, the rebellion of your heart. Have you grasped that, as you are or were, there is no good thing in you or from you? That might be a dawning realization for a Christian who has never considered these things before. It might even be a revelation of your present utter lostness and your deadness to your own dead state. If that is so, do you see that you need a Savior? Do you now understand that from the womb you have gone astray? We must face the facts.

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4 Daily Proofs of the Fall

 Who Needs to Be Saved? Part 2by Jeremy Walker/

Read all the posts published to date in this 16-part series.

We continue to review our condition as fallen creatures. Last time, we examined the testimony of God’s Word as it pertains to our innate spiritual condition. Now we will examine the evidence of the world around us.

WHO NEEDS TO BE SAVED? – PART 2

Evidence: The Testimony of Daily Life

While the testimony of the Word of God should be sufficient for the Christian, we may also expect experience to bear out what we read there. In truth, if we survey the world with the same honesty with which we face the Bible, we do find this to be the case.

1: Children. We can see evidence of man’s innate spiritual poverty, for example, in the behavior of children. As any candid parent will tell you, no one needs to teach a toddler selfishness or greed or anger. No one must school a child in deceit or pride. But there cannot be many parents who set out to develop sin in their children. Nevertheless, in the face of the best human efforts, the blithest little baby allowed to develop in the most neutral or positive environment will soon enough produce the fruit of a fallen nature.

2: The world. Or consider, more generally, the state of the world. As I write there are wars being fought out in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and countless other places around the world. By the time you read these words, those wars may well have been won and lost by respective sides, with all the resultant misery. Other conflicts will be simmering or boiling over in other parts of the planet, and you will be able to list them for yourselves. But you need not look so far afield. Walk the streets of your village, town, or city with your eyes and ears open. Do you see some rural idyll or scenes of metropolitan bliss? Or do you not find, more or less evidently, the marks of man’s iniquity scorched into countless lives? Do the sins and sorrows of this world contradict or illustrate the truth of God’s Word?

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6 Scriptural Proofs of the Fall

6 Scriptural Proofs of the Fall: Who Needs to be Saved? - Part 1by Jeremy Walker/

Read all the posts published to date in this 16-part series on the essential truths of the Christian faith. 

WHO NEEDS TO BE SAVED? PART 1

Fallen

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all.
For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable;
there is none who does good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:9–12, NKJV)

We must begin with our condition as fallen creatures, what the Scottish pastor and theologian Thomas Boston called “the state of nature.”i This is a vital first step because if we make a false diagnosis of our condition then we will seek out flawed remedies and accept false answers. To do so in this instance would be fatal.

In order to make a proper assessment of this matter, we shall trace out two strands of evidence. The primary and fundamental strand is the testimony of God’s Word. The secondary and supplementary strand, covered in the subsequent post in this series, is the evidence of the world around us. Having surveyed the evidence we shall, two posts from now, draw out some particular inferences and conclusions.

Evidence: The Testimony of Scripture

The testimony of Scripture must be, for Christians, the defining truth. This is where we begin seeking a final answer to every question addressed therein. What does the Word of God say about the human heart? What does the Bible reveal about our natural state or fallen condition? It describes it in various terms.

1: Deadness. Scripture describes our natural condition as one of deadness. Paul concludes part of his reasoning with the Roman Christians by telling them that, “therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12, NKJV). Paul traces our condition to its fountain in the sin of Adam. All mankind, descending from Adam by ordinary generation, sinned in him and fell with him in his first transgression. All our sinning is traced back to the sinful nature we inherited from our first father. Ours is an hereditary condition, and a dreadful one. Everyone, Christian or otherwise, is by nature “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1, NKJV). Death—spiritual death—is revealed by our pattern of existence marked by trespasses and sins. It is a state of spiritual inertness, or utter spiritual lifelessness.

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Anchored in Grace: A Blog Series

Anchored in Grace, a 15-Part Blog Series by Jeremy Walkerby Jeremy Walker/

Today we introduce a blog series featuring every word (very slightly adapted) of Anchored in Grace: Fixed Points for Humble Faith, by Jeremy Walker. Enthusiastically endorsed by Paul Washer, Joel Beeke, Conrad Mbewe, Derek Thomas, Brian Croft, and others, Anchored in Grace has already been translated into Farsi by The Gospel Coalition for use as a tool for both evangelism and discipleship in Iran and among the Persian diaspora. We consider it a largely undiscovered gem of a book. Enjoy!

Read all the posts published to date in this 16-part series.

INTRODUCTION

In his great treatment of spiritual warfare, The Christian in Complete Armour, the Puritan author William Gurnall speaks of what he calls “catechize-points.” These, he says, are “truths necessary to be known and believed.”[i] The truths upon which I wish to focus in these posts provide us with a stunning display of grace. They are truths which with Christians need to be thoroughly acquainted, truths with which pastors must thoroughly acquaint the people whom they serve. These are the paths to walk so that you do not miss your way to heaven, nor fail to honor the Lord God along the way. These are the anchors of the faith that mature Christians need to point out to the generations following us. These are spiritual realities to reckon with. These are the gospel verities that must be defended against the errors and heresies that repeatedly threaten to undermine or overwhelm them, either by force or by fraud.

These are central truths. They cannot be pushed to one side or downplayed without restricting our views of God and twisting our views of self. They are determinative, in large measure, for our views of Christian experience, life, duty, and joy. They help to define our gospel witness as the church of Jesus Christ. Get these wrong and so much else will be immediately and persistently skewed.

These are humbling truths. They strip away the boasting to which proud and rebellious man is inclined. With searing honesty they make us face the facts about our own sinful hearts, our spiritual need, and our utter dependence on the mercies and favors of God acting freely and graciously in accordance with his glorious character and infinite being. They are truths that necessarily empty us of self before they fill us with Christ.

These are saving truths. These things are the ground of our hope. Fail to reckon with these things and there is no deliverance for our souls and bodies. Again, there is a holy progression and a divine logic at work. Like a sick man, we must acknowledge the disease in order to pursue the physician. We must accept the diagnosis in order to obtain the medicine. With regard to our souls, we will not flee to Christ as Savior until we are brought to acknowledge the salvation we need as found in him alone. Then, and only then, do we run to him and hide ourselves in him and find all our joy.

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Anchored in Grace: Help us choose the book cover

anchored compressed 1

by Kevin

The cover contest is now closed, but you’re still welcome to comment. We ended up choosing C, and we really appreciate everyone’s opinion. Wish we could make all of you happy… Congrats to Barry Standley for winning two free ebooks!

Jeremy Walker is a blogger with Reformation 21, a pastor in West Sussex, England, and a writer who has clearly marinated his heart and soul in Scripture and the works of the Puritans. He has also written a wonderful little book for us that together we have decided to call Anchored in Grace: Fixed Truths for Humble Faith. It’s coming out in June (there was supposed to be a May book but getting this website in shape threw us off track a little), and we could use your help finalizing the cover.

Here are the three leading candidates, in quick mockup form, using watermarked (no pun intended) images.

These images may seem small, but the fact is that with the prevalence of online retailing, if a cover doesn’t work at 2 inches high it doesn’t work at all. So, which one do you think we should go with, and why? Please leave your comments and your vote. We may not end up choosing the cover that gets the most votes, but we are very interested in your thoughts. Also, after a couple of days we will pick one of you at random and offer you your choice of any two ebook titles, in either Mobipocket (Kindle), EPUB (iOS), or PDF.[Tweet “Help pick the cover for @Reformation21 blogger Jeremy Walker’s book. Might win 2 other books!”]

While you’re here, you might like to get a sense of what this book will be like. So feel free to take a look at the draft introduction below, complete with British spellings (for now). Or visit the book page, where you can also preorder.

Click read the draft Introduction

INTRODUCTION

In his great treatment of spiritual warfare, The Christian in Complete Armour, the Puritan author William Gurnall speaks of what he calls “catechize-points.” These, he says, are “truths necessary to be known and believed.”[i] The truths upon which I wish to focus in this short book provide us with a stunning display of grace. They are truths which with Christians need to be thoroughly acquainted, truths with which pastors must thoroughly acquaint the people whom they serve. These are the paths to walk so that you do not miss your way to heaven, nor fail to honour the Lord God along the way. These are the anchor points of the faith that mature Christians need to point out to the generations following us. These are spiritual realities to reckon with. These are the gospel verities that must be defended against the errors and heresies that repeatedly threaten to undermine or overwhelm them, either by force or by fraud.

These are central truths. They cannot be pushed to one side or downplayed without restricting our views of God and twisting our views of self. They are determinative, in large measure, for our views of Christian experience, life, duty and joy. They help to define our gospel witness as the church of Jesus Christ. Get these wrong and so much else will be immediately and persistently skewed.

These are humbling truths. They strip away all the boasting to which proud and rebellious man is inclined. With searing honesty they make us face the facts about our own sinful hearts, our spiritual need and our utter dependence on the mercies and favours of God acting freely and graciously in accordance with all his glorious character and infinite being. They are truths that necessarily empty us of self before they fill us with Christ.

These are saving truths. These things are the ground of our hope. Fail to reckon with these things, and there is no deliverance for our souls and bodies. Again, there is a holy progression and a divine logic at work. Like a sick man, we must acknowledge the disease and accept the diagnosis in order to pursue the physician and obtain the medicine. With regard to our souls, we will not flee to Christ as Saviour until we are brought to acknowledge the salvation that we need as found in him alone. Then, and only then, do we run to him and hide ourselves in him and find all our joy.

These are comforting truths. Here the soul—however stained or troubled in itself, however weak and feeble we know ourselves to be or fear ourselves to be, whatever challenges and obstacles we face, whatever trials and temptations lie before us—finds all that it will ever need. Here and here only we can rest in peace.

Finally, these are God-glorifying truths. They exalt God in Christ, they make much of him, they draw attention to his person and they shed light upon his work. Here his being and his doing are made manifest. Nowhere outside of salvation through the Lamb do we find such a high and clear revelation of who God is and what God is like. Here the glory of God shines in his grace as nowhere else, prompting lives of earnest service and songs of ardent praise.

My intention is simply to survey some of these fundamental truths—God’s display of his grace—in order that we might feel their sweet force for ourselves. In each instance, I will take what might be called an ‘epitomising text’—a short portion of God’s Word which encapsulates something of the truth in question. I hope to demonstrate that it is by no means the only Scripture that proves the point, and so to bring to bear something of the whole counsel of God upon the matter. My great concern is both to explain and to apply these truths. My intention is not first to be polemical, but I trust that as we see these truths springing from the pages of our Bibles it will be persuasive, to direct us and confirm us and encourage us in the things that God has made known. We must see that these are not dead letters, but spiritual realities that ought to grip our souls and govern our thoughts and deeds.

In so doing, I trust we shall be instructed, humbled, saved and comforted, and bring glory and honour to the God of our salvation as he holds before us in his word a display of his grace in Christ Jesus, his Son and our Saviour.

[i] William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour, 166.

[Tweet “”Fail to reckon with these things,” says Jeremy Walker, “and there is no deliverance for our souls and bodies.””]