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#48923 - Monday, June 25, 2012 9:05 PM Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins
Tom Offline
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Registered: Sunday, April 8, 2001
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It is my understanding that the Reformed doctrine of Total Depravity is basically the same thing as saying "dead in trespasses and sins” as in what we read in Eph.2:1-5.

Is my understanding correct?

Tom

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#48925 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 6:09 AM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: Tom]
Pilgrim Offline

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Yes, dead (spiritually) in trespasses and sins is a description of the unregenerate, totally depraved man. That's how Paul describes the natural condition of man negatively. He later, in chapter 4:17-19 describes the unregenerate, natural man positively:

Quote:
Ephesians 4:17-19 (ASV) "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; 19 who being past feeling gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."

So negatively we see that the natural man has no natural ability to know, or even respond to God nor to do those things which are holy, just and good, and positively, we see that the natural man is active in his depravity and ever increases in its expression in their lives. (cf. Rom 1).

Contra the quote by Michael Horton that was posted today, the Bible and the overwhelming majority of the Church has confessed that man has NO NATURAL ABILITY to relate to God. The natural man will not, because he cannot. And he cannot because he will not... because the natural man is spiritually DEAD; the thoughts and intentions of his heart are evil continually (Gen 6:5; 8:21; Jer 4:22, 13:23; Hos 5:4; Ps 36:1-4; Jh 3:19,20; Rom 9:6-29; et al).

Addendum: I should have added a salient question, but unfortunately I was rushed in my response... sorry. frown

There are two classic passages spoken by the Lord Christ in the gospel of John which show both the natural inability, and the natural unwillingness of the unregenerate man to desire to be reconciled to God. Can you, Tom, or anyone else provide those two passages? grin


Edited by Pilgrim (Tuesday, June 26, 2012 10:54 AM)
Edit Reason: Addendum
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#48928 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 1:05 PM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: Pilgrim]
RJ_ Offline
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The Inability of Man
"No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him, ..." John 6:44a

The Unwillingness of Man
"For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved." John 3:20


-Roberta


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#48929 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 1:19 PM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: Pilgrim]
sojourner Offline

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I think the "inability" would be shown in John 6:44,"no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him."
I'm still looking for the other one.
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#48931 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 1:21 PM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: RJ_]
Pilgrim Offline

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RE: RJ & Roger: John 6:44 is definitely the one I was thinking of which shows the "inability" of man re: spiritual things. The word "can" in the original Greek is "dunatai", which literally means, "be able, or "power".

Re: RJ: John 3:20 is a good one but not the exact one I had in mind. wink
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#48932 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 1:43 PM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: sojourner]
sojourner Offline

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Just to say something different,how about John 8:44a,"You are of your father the devil and your will is to do your father's desires"


Edited by sojourner (Tuesday, June 26, 2012 1:45 PM)
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#48933 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 3:06 PM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: Tom]
Pilgrim Offline

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Hmmmm, although this was directly specifically to the Pharisees, it is applicable to every other individual as well. It is certainly a salient passage although it isn't the one that I'm thinking of. giggle

Don't give up..... try again! grin
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#48934 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 3:28 PM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: Pilgrim]
Tom Offline
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Registered: Sunday, April 8, 2001
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Taken with the context, I believe John 6:37 is applicable.
37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
Also John 6:65

Tom

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#48936 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 4:11 PM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: Pilgrim]
Tom Offline
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Registered: Sunday, April 8, 2001
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Pilgrim
Quote:
Contra the quote by Michael Horton that was posted today


Can you please show me the Horton quote, I have been looking for the past 5 minutes for it with no success.

Thank you
Tom

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#48937 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 4:16 PM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: Tom]
Pilgrim Offline

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Registered: Tuesday, April 3, 2001
Posts: 13305
Loc: NH, USA
Originally Posted By: Tom
Pilgrim
Quote:
Contra the quote by Michael Horton that was posted today


Can you please show me the Horton quote, I have been looking for the past 5 minutes for it with no success.

Thank you
Tom

Here's the quote in the "Quote" forum: HERE

Read the entire quote to see the several places where Horton appears to contradict himself. If think I have read his words incorrectly, please show me. grin
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#48938 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 4:18 PM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: Tom]
Pilgrim Offline

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Registered: Tuesday, April 3, 2001
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Originally Posted By: Tom
Taken with the context, I believe John 6:37 is applicable.
37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
Also John 6:65

Actually, I was thinking of John 5:39,40 as one of the best passages that shows man's unwillingness:

John 5:39-40 (ASV) "Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me; 40 and ye will not come to me, that ye may have life."
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#48941 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 8:41 PM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: Pilgrim]
Tom Offline
Needs to get a Life

Registered: Sunday, April 8, 2001
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I find his wording to be confusing at best. If he had posted that on this board, I would have asked for clarification.
As it stands, I can only say that it appears you are correct.

Tom

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#48946 - Thursday, June 28, 2012 11:47 PM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: Pilgrim]
Tom Offline
Needs to get a Life

Registered: Sunday, April 8, 2001
Posts: 3868
Loc: Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
In the Roman 6 thread that is related to this one, I told you that I was having a conversation with a Reformed Christian who believes that as Christians we are still “Totally Depraved”.
I have learned in the last year that I need to pick and choose my fights carefully. In this case, I would probably not even be taking the time to study this issue the way I am if it wasn’t for the fact that the person I am discussing this with is an elder whom I have a lot of respect for in the Church I attend. Even at that, I realize that I must not spend too much more time on this issue; to do so would not only be a waste of time, but also it would be beating a dead horse.
It is his position that at regeneration we are no longer “dead in trespasses and sins”; however, this does not include “Total Depravity”. Which he believes is something else entirely. To say that regeneration includes “total depravity” is to down play in some way the effects of sin in us after regeneration. Regeneration gives us the power to fight sin and turn to Christ through faith, but it has nothing to do with “Total Depravity”.
Previously I had given him a few articles from the Highway written by RC Sproul and AW Pink; to show my position clearer.
He came back to me and said that Pink clearly supports his position and also said that the LBCF clearly supports his position also, as shown below.
http://www.the-highway.com/reg4_Pink.html
Quote:
The salient elements which comprise the nature of regeneration may, perhaps, be summed up in these three words: impartation, renovation, and subjugation. God communicates something to the one who is born again, namely, a principle of faith and obedience, a holy nature, eternal life. This, though real, palpable, and potent, is nothing material or tangible, nothing added to our essence, substance, or person. Again, God renews every faculty of the soul and spirit of the one born again, not perfectly and finally, for we are “renewed day by day” (II Cor. 4: 16), but so as to enable those faculties to be exercised upon spiritual objects. Again, God subdues the power of the sin indwelling the one born again. He does not eradicate it, but He dethrones it, so that it no longer has dominion over the heart. Instead of sin ruling the Christian, and that by his own willing subjection, it is resisted and hated.
Regeneration is not the improvement or purification of the “flesh,” which is that principle of evil still with the believer. The appetites and tendencies of the “flesh” are precisely the same after the new birth as they were before; only they no longer reign over him. For a time it may seem that the “flesh” is dead, yet in reality it is not so. Often its very stillness (as an army, in ambush) is only awaiting its opportunity or a gathering up of its strength for a further attack. It is not long ere the renewed soul discovers that the “flesh” is yet very much alive, desiring to have its way. But grace will not suffer it to have its sway. On the one hand the Christian has to say, “For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Rom. 7:18). On the other hand, he is able to declare, “Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

He went to say that what he believes is the classic Reformed position and he found out recently in his studies that there is a movement a float that seeks to change the true Reformed position towards the position that I said I believe.
When I read that I remembered that Pilgrim said that what he described is the classic Reformed position.
Although I definitely agree with Pilgrim, I am looking for something tangible to cling to in this matter. What I am going to do with that information, is pray for wisdom for the best way to use it; regardless of whether or not I even talk to him about it again.
Thank you
Tom


Edited by Tom (Thursday, June 28, 2012 11:51 PM)

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#48947 - Friday, June 29, 2012 5:42 AM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: Tom]
Pilgrim Offline

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Registered: Tuesday, April 3, 2001
Posts: 13305
Loc: NH, USA
Tom,

The quote which you provided by Pink clearly contradicts what this elder friend of yours maintains, i.e., regeneration has no effect on total depravity.

Quote:
Again, God renews every faculty of the soul and spirit of the one born again, not perfectly and finally, for we are “renewed day by day” (II Cor. 4: 16), but so as to enable those faculties to be exercised upon spiritual objects... He does not eradicate it, but He dethrones it, so that it no longer has dominion over the heart. Instead of sin ruling the Christian, and that by his own willing subjection, it is resisted and hated.

That alone refutes his position, especially the last sentence and this phrase, "it is resisted and hated". Someone who is totally depraved doesn't resist sin but revels in it. And one who is totally depraved certainly doesn't hate sin but rather he loves sin and hates all that is good.

What this elder friend of yours seems to be promoting is the classic Arminian concept of "prevenient grace", but even the Remonstrance believed that after this "ability to overcome one's depravity in order to be able to repent and believe" and consequently regeneration took place, one's total depravity was broken, i.e., it no longer had dominion, which is what Pink and all the Reformed Confessions state.

One thing about Pink, which you probably should take into account is that he was a trichotomist vs. the majority of Christians who are dichotomist, thus he makes much of the "flesh" as being almost another entity that wars against the 'spirit' and 'soul' rather than the 'spirit' and 'soul' being synonymous.

Let's look at what some of the Reformed Confessions teach:

Quote:
The Belgic Confession of Faith, Article XV
Original Sin

We believe that through the disobedience of Adam original sin is extended to all mankind; which is a corruption of the whole nature and a hereditary disease, wherewith even infants in their mother's womb are infected, and which produces in man all sorts of sin, being in him as a root thereof, and therefore is so vile and abominable in the sight of God that it is sufficient to condemn all mankind. Nor is it altogether abolished or wholly eradicated even by regeneration;[1] since sin always issues forth from this woeful source, as water from a fountain; notwithstanding it is not imputed to the children of God unto condemnation, but by His grace and mercy is forgiven them. Not that they should rest securely in sin, but that a sense of this corruption should make believers often to sigh, desiring to be delivered from this body of death.

The Belgic Confession of Faith, Article XXIV
Man's Sanctification and Good Works

We believe that this true faith, being wrought in man by the hearing of the Word of God and the operation of the Holy Spirit, sanctifies [1] him and makes him a new man, causing him to live a new life, and freeing him from the bondage of sin. Therefore it is so far from being true that this justifying faith makes men remiss in a pious and holy life, that on the contrary without it they would never do anything out of love to God, but only out of self-love or fear of damnation. Therefore it is impossible that this holy faith can be unfruitful in man; for we do not speak of a vain faith, but of such a faith which is called in Scripture a faith working through love, which excites man to the practice of those works which God has commanded in His Word.

These works, as they proceed from the good root of faith, are good and acceptable in the sight of God, forasmuch as they are all sanctified by His grace. Nevertheless they are of no account towards our justification, for it is by faith in Christ that we are justified, even before we do good works; otherwise they could not be good works, any more than the fruit of a tree can be good before the tree itself is good.

Quote:
The Canons of Dort, Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine
The Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, & the Manner Thereof - Articles of Faith

Article 1
Man was originally formed after the image of God. His understanding was adorned with a true and saving knowledge of his Creator, and of spiritual things; his heart and will were upright, all his affections pure, and the whole man was holy. But, revolting from God by the instigation of the devil and by his own free will, he forfeited these excellent gifts; and in the place thereof became involved in blindness of mind, horrible darkness, vanity, and perverseness of judgment; became wicked, rebellious, and obdurate in heart and will, and impure in his affections.

Article 2
Man after the fall begat children in his own likeness. A corrupt stock produced a corrupt offspring. Hence all the posterity of Adam, Christ only excepted, have derived corruption from their original parent, not by imitation, as the Pelagians of old asserted, but by the propagation of a vicious nature, in consequence of the just judgment of God.

Article 3
Therefore all men are conceived in sin, and are by nature children of wrath, incapable of saving good, prone to evil, dead in sin, and in bondage thereto; and without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, they are neither able nor willing to return to God, to reform the depravity of their nature, or to dispose themselves to reformation.

Article 11 But when God accomplishes His good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion, He not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illuminates their minds by His Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God; but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit He pervades the inmost recesses of man; He opens the closed and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised; infuses new qualities into the will, which, though heretofore dead, He quickens; from being evil, disobedient, and refractory, He renders it good, obedient, and pliable; actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.

Article 12
And this is that regeneration so highly extolled in Scripture, that renewal, new creation, resurrection from the dead, making alive, which God works in us without our aid. But this is in no wise effected merely by the external preaching of the gospel, by moral suasion, or such a mode of operation that, after God has performed His part, it still remains in the power of man to be regenerated or not, to be converted or to continue unconverted; but it is evidently a supernatural work, most powerful, and at the same time most delightful, astonishing, mysterious, and ineffable; not inferior in efficacy to creation or the resurrection from the dead, as the Scripture inspired by the Author of this work declares; so that all in whose heart God works in this marvelous manner are certainly, infallibly, and effectually regenerated, and do actually believe. Whereupon the will thus renewed is not only actuated and influenced by God, but in consequence of this influence becomes itself active. Wherefore also man himself is rightly said to believe and repent by virtue of that grace received.

See also the "Fifth Head of Doctrine - The Perseverance of the Saints"

Quote:
The Second Helvetic Confession - Chapter IX
Of Free Will, and Thus of Human Powers

What Man Was After the Fall. Then we are to consider what man was after the fall. To be sure, his reason was not taken from him, nor was he deprived of will, and he was not entirely changed into a stone or a tree. But they were so altered and weakened that they no longer can do what they could before the fall. For the understanding is darkened, and the will which was free has become an enslaved will. Now it serves sin, not unwillingly but willingly. And indeed, it is called a will, not an unwill(ing).[1]

Of What Kind Are the Powers of the Regenerate, and in What Way Their Wills Are Free. Finally, we must see whether the regenerate have free wills, and to what extent. In regeneration the understanding is illumined by the Holy Spirit in order that it may understand both the mysteries and the will of God. And the will itself is not only changed by the Spirit, but it is also equipped with faculties so that it wills and is able to do the good of its own accord (Rom. 8:1 ff.). Unless we grant this, we will deny Christian liberty and introduce a legal bondage. But the prophet has God saying: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts (Jer. 31:33; Ezek. 36:26 f.). The Lord also says in the Gospel: If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36). Paul also writes to the Philippians: It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake (Phil. 1:29). Again: I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (v. 6). Also: God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (ch. 2:13).

The Regenerate Work Not Only Passively but Actively. However, in this connection we teach that there are two things to be observed: First, that the regenerate, in choosing and doing good, work not only passively but actively. For they are moved by God that they may do themselves what they do. For Augustine rightly adduces the saying that "God is said to be our helper. But no one can be helped unless he does something." The Manichaeans robbed man of all activity and made him like a stone or block of wood.

The Free Will Is Weak in the Regenerate. Secondly, in the regenerate a weakness remains. For since sin dwells in us, and in the regenerate the flesh struggles against the Spirit till the end of our lives, they do not easily accomplish in all things what they had planned. These things are confirmed by the apostle in Rom., ch. 7, and Gal., ch. 5. Therefore that free will is weak in us on account of the remnants of the old Adam and of innate human corruption remaining in us until the end of our lives. Meanwhile, since the power of the flesh and the remnants of the old man are not so efficacious that they wholly extinguish the work of the Spirit, for that reason the faithful are said to be free, yet so that they acknowledge their inffrmity and do not glory at all in their free will. For believers ought always to keep in mind what St. Augustine so many times inculcated according to the apostle: "What have you that you did not receive? If then you received, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?" To this he adds that what we have planned does not immediately come to pass. For the issue of things lies in the hand of God. This is the reason Paul prayed to the Lord to prosper his journey (Rom. 1:10). And this also is the reason the free will is weak.

I could also quote from the Westminster Confession, Savoy Declaration and others which ALL teach the same truths are those quoted above. In regeneration there is an ACTUAL and RADICAL change to the nature of man in which the TOTAL DEPRAVITY of man's original fallen state is defeated and changed, albeit not completely eradicated. The regenerated man, out of his renewed (regenerated, born again, born anew, enlivened) nature desires and wills to do that which is good, which previously was impossible due to the inherited sin nature; total depravity. This is NOT a "new movement" to change or deny what the historic Reformed Faith has taught, but rather to AFFIRM what has been taught and recorded in the great Reformation confessions and catechisms.
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#48980 - Monday, July 2, 2012 2:28 AM Re: Total Depravity & Dead in Trespasses & Sins [Re: Tom]
Jobeluan65 Offline
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Registered: Friday, January 20, 2012
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“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him. John 6.

We have now had a view of the total corruption of man’s nature, and that load of wrath which lies on him, that gulf of misery into which he is plunged in his natural state. But there is one part of his misery that deserves particular consideration; namely, his utter inability to recover himself, the knowledge of which is necessary for the due humiliation of a sinner. What I design here, is only to propose a few things, whereby to convince the unregenerate man of this his inability, that he may see an absolute need of Christ and of the power of His grace.

A man that is fallen into a pit cannot be supposed to help himself out of it, but by one of two ways; either by doing all himself alone, or taking hold of, and improving, the help offered him by others. Likewise an unconverted man cannot be supposed to help himself out of his natural state, but either in the way of the law, or covenant of works, by doing all himself without Christ; or else in the way of the Gospel, or covenant of grace, by exerting his own strength to lay hold upon, and to make use of the help offered him by a Saviour. But, alas! the unconverted man is dead in the pit, and cannot help himself either of these ways; not the first way, for the first text tells us, that when our Lord came to help us, ‘we were without strength,’ unable to recover ourselves. We were ungodly, therefore under a burden of guilt and wrath, yet ‘without strength,’ unable to stand under it; and unable to throw it off, or get from under it: so that all mankind would have undoubtedly perished, had not ‘Christ died for the ungodly,’ and brought help to those who could never have recovered themselves. But when Christ comes and offers help to sinners, cannot they take it? Cannot they improve help when it comes to their hands? No, the second text tells, they cannot; ‘No man can come unto me,’ that is, believe in me (John 6.44), ‘except the Father draw him.’ This is a drawing which enables them to come, who till then could not come; and therefore could not help themselves by improving the help offered. It is a drawing which is always effectual; for it can be no less than ‘hearing and learnIng of the Father,’ which, whoever partakes of, come to Christ (verse 45). Therefore it is not drawing in the way of mere moral suasion, which may be, yea, and always is ineffectual. But it is drawing by mighty power (Eph. 1.9), absolutely necessary for those who have no power in themselves to come and take hold of the offered help.

Hearken then, O unregenerate man, and be convinced that as you are in a most miserable state by nature, so you are utterly unable to recover yourself any way. You are ruined; and what way will you go to work to recover yourself? Which of the two ways will you choose? Will you try it alone, or will you make use of help? Will you fall on the way of works, or on the way of the Gospel? I know very well that you will not so much as try the way of the Gospel, till once you have found the recovery impracticable in the way of the law. Therefore, we shall begin where corrupt nature teaches men to begin, namely, at the way of the law of works.

Sinner, I would have you believe that your working will never effect it. Work, and do your best; you will never be able to work yourself out of this state of corruption and wrath. You must have Christ, else you will perish eternally. It is only ‘Christ in you’ that can be the hope of glory.”

This is an excerpt from an article extracted from Boston’s classic work Human Nature In Its Fourfold State (Chapter 3, pp. 183-197). This text, which was first published in 1720, is now in the public domain and may be freely copied and distributed. The material was scanned and edited by Shane Rosenthal from Reformation Ink.

I firmly believe Michael Horton would agree with all the words above and the entire article written by Thomas Boston published in 1720.

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