Category Archives: salvation

“No one is too bad to be saved” by J.C. Ryle

“No one is too bad to be saved, or beyond the power of Christ’s grace. The door of hope which the Gospel reveals to sinners is very wide open.

Let us leave it open as we find it. Let us not attempt in narrow-minded ignorance, to shut it.

We should never be afraid to maintain that Christ is ‘able to save to the uttermost,’ and that the vilest of sinners may be freely forgiven if they will only come to Him.

We should offer the Gospel boldly to the worst and wickedest, and say, ‘There is hope. Only repent and believe. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.’ (Isaiah 1:18.)

Such doctrine may seem to worldly people foolishness and licentiousness. But such doctrine is the Gospel of Him who saved Zacchaeus at Jericho.

Hospitals discharge many cases as incurable. But there are no incurable cases under the Gospel. Any sinner may be healed, if he will only come to Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke, Vol. 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 2: 216-217.

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“It was right there in the text” by D.A. Carson

“Paul assesses the significance of Israel and the Sinai covenant within the larger biblical narrative. It is this essentially salvation-historical reading of Genesis that enables him to come within a whisker of treating the Sinai covenant as a parenthesis: the law’s most important function is to bring Israel, across time, to Christ—and to bring others, too, insofar as the ‘law’ is found among those ‘without the law.’

Here, then, too, we obtain a glimpse of how something could be simultaneously long hidden / eventually revealed and long prophesied / eventually fulfilled. It was right there in the text (provided one reads the Scriptures with careful respect for the significance of the historical sequence), even though, transparently, this was not how it was read by Paul the Pharisee.

Doubtless it took the Damascus road Christophany to make Saul of Tarsus recognize that his estimate of Jesus was wrong: Jesus could not be written off as a (literally) God-damned malefactor if in fact His glorious resurrection proved He was vindicated, and so the controlling paradigm of his reading of the Old Testament had to change.

But when it changed, Paul wanted his hearers and readers to understand that the Old Testament, rightly read in its salvation-historical structure, led to Christ.

In other words, as far as Paul was concerned the gospel he preached was announced in advance in the Scriptures, and was fulfilled in the events surrounding the coming, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus—even if this gospel had long been hidden, and was now revealed in those events and thus in the gospel Paul preached—the gospel revealed, indeed, through the prophetic writings.”

–D.A. Carson, “Mystery and Fulfillment: Toward a More Comprehensive Paradigm of Paul’s Understanding of the Old and the New,” in Justification and Variegated Nomism: The Paradoxes of Paul (ed. Peter T. O’Brien and Mark A. Seifrid; vol. 2, 181st ed.; Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament; Grand Rapids, MI; Tübingen: Baker Academic; Mohr Siebeck, 2004), 2: 427–428.

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“No longer my past but Christ’s past” by Sinclair Ferguson

“We share one bundle of life with Christ in what He has done. All that He has accomplished for us in our human nature is, through union with Him, true for us and, in a sense, of us.

He ‘died to sin, once for all’; ‘He lives to God’ (Romans 6:10). He came under the dominion of sin in death, but death could not master Him.

He rose and broke the power of both sin and death. Now He lives forever in resurrection life to God. The same is as true of us as if we had been with Him on the cross, in the tomb, and on the resurrection morning!

We miss the radical nature of Paul’s teaching here to our great loss.

So startling is it that we need to find a startling manner of expressing it. For what Paul is saying is that sanctification means this: in relationship to sin and to God, the determining factor of my existence is no longer my past. It is Christ’s past.

The basic framework for my new existence in Christ is that I have become a ‘dead man brought to life’ and must think of myself in those terms: dead to sin and alive to God in union with Jesus Christ our Lord.”

–Sinclair Ferguson, “Christian Spirituality: The Reformed View of Sanctification,” in Some Pastors and Teachers (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2017), 533.

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“Can there be a more delightful employment, this side of heaven, than to send the blessed news of salvation to a perishing world?” by Lemuel Haynes

“I stand here this day, my friends and brethren, to plead for thousands of poor, perishing, dying, fellow mortals, who need the bread of life, and whose cries and distresses call for compassion.

We stand this day to plead the cause of Jesus, who sits upon the holy hill of Zion with pardon in His hands.

We plead the promises and predictions of God’s Word that may encourage your hope and trust.

Be not afraid of the haughty mandate of the prince of darkness, for it shall be made to subserve the interest of Christ’s kingdom.

Can there be a more delightful employment, this side of heaven, than to wrest souls from the jaws of death and hell, and to send the blessed news of salvation to a perishing world?

To promote the felicity of the universe is the happiness of the redeemed in glory. And this spirit among Christians is heaven begun on earth.

If your hearts do not glow with holy affections towards perishing sinners, by which you are disposed to do something for their relief, then you have reason to fear and tremble that you have no inheritance among the saints in light.”

–Lemuel Haynes, “Divine Decrees: An Encouragement to the Use of Means,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 99-100.

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“Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, will be the great topic and darling theme of his preaching” by Lemuel Haynes

“A minister that watches for souls as one who expects to give account will have none to please but God.

When he studies his sermons, this will not be the enquiry, ‘How shall I form my discourse so as to please and gratify the humors of men, and get their applause?’ but ‘How shall I preach so as to do honor to God, and meet with the approbation of my Judge?’

This will be his daily request at the throne of grace. This will be ten thousand times better to him than the vain flattery of men. His discourses will not be calculated to gratify the carnal heart, but he will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God.

The solemn account that the faithful minister expects to give another day will direct him in the choice of his subjects. He will dwell upon those things which have a more direct relation to the eternal world.

He will not entertain his audience with empty speculations, or vain philosophy, but with things that concern their everlasting welfare. Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, will be the great topic and darling theme of his preaching.

If he means to save souls, like a skillful physician, he will endeavor to lead his patient into a view of their maladies, and then point them to a bleeding Savior as the only way of recovery. The faithful Watchman will give the alarm at the approach of the enemy, will blow the trumpet in the ears of the sleeping sinner, and endeavor to awake him.”

–Lemuel Haynes, “The Character and Work of a Spiritual Watchman Described,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 49-50.

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“None but He who spoke all nature into existence can triumph over the opposition of the heart” by Lemuel Haynes

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. I would consider the agent, or who it is that effects this great work.

If we consider the state that mankind are by nature, as has been described above, we need not stand long to know who to attribute this work to. It is a work too great to attribute to men or angels to accomplish.

None but He who, by one word’s speaking, spoke all nature into existence, can triumph over the opposition of the heart. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is represented in Scripture as emanating from the Father and the Son, yet co-equal with them both.

It is God alone that slays the native enmity of the heart– that takes away those evil dispositions that govern man– takes away the heart of stone and gives a soft heart– and makes him that was a hater of God, an enemy to God, to become friendly to His divine character.

This was not wrought by any efficiency of man, or by any external motives, or by any light let into the understanding, but of God. Hence we read that those that receive Christ are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13).

And that is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Also it is God which worketh in us (Phil. 2:13).”

–Lemuel Haynes, “A Sermon on John 3:3,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 34.

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“The wrath of God drove us out of paradise, but the grace of God invites us to return” by Jonathan Edwards

“‘Tis proclaimed in the gospel

  • that God is willing again to receive us into His favor, to pardon all our sins, to quit all enmity, to bury all former difference and to be our friend and our Father;
  • that He is willing again to admit us to sweet communion with Him, and that He will converse with us as friendly and intimately as He did before the Fall;
  • that God is willing to receive us to paradise again, to a like freedom from all grief and trouble;
  • that He will wipe away all tears from our eyes, and that sorrow and sighing shall flee away;
  • that He will make us to forget our former melancholic, forsaken, and doleful state;
  • that we may be again admitted to as great a fullness of blessings, to as pleasant and delightful a dwelling place as the garden of Eden, as full of those things which tend the delight of life, to pleasures as refreshing and satisfying;
  • that we shall be as free from want, and the curse shall be removed, and all frowns and tokens of displeasure. The world shall again smile upon us and congratulate us.

God will be our friend and the angels shall be our friends, and all things shall be at peace with us, and we shall enjoy as great and uninterrupted a pleasure in mutual society. The wrath of God drove us out of paradise, but the grace of God invites us to return.

The Son of God in the name of His Father comes and calls to us to return from our banishment. He ceases not to call us. He beseeches us to return again. He is come forth on purpose to make known those joyful tidings to us.

Christ calls us away from this cursed ground that brings forth briars and thorns, to a better country. Our first parents were driven away very loath and unwilling to go, but we are invited back again.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “East of Eden,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1730–1733, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 17, Ed. Mark Valeri and Harry S. Stout (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1999), 17: 342–343.

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