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means of grace

Discussion in 'Ask a Calvinist' started by StillGods, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. JM

    JM Absolute Predestinarian Supporter

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    Just no Trail of Blood please.
     
  2. StillGods

    StillGods Well-Known Member

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    I agree.
     
  3. sdowney717

    sdowney717 Newbie

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    Does someone receive the grace of God by means of a sacrament?
    I dont think so!
    When you think of means and think of grace what do you imagine they are.
    Honestly the whole substance here leaves me flat. sort of.
     
  4. JM

    JM Absolute Predestinarian Supporter

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    Preaching is a means of grace.

    The Bible is a means of grace.

    We receive grace by the preaching of the word, through the word, the same with the sacraments.

    Yours in the Lord,

    jm
     
  5. sdowney717

    sdowney717 Newbie

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    lets look at how the word is defined.
    sac·ra·ment
    /ˈsakrəmənt/

    noun: sacrament; noun: the Blessed Sacrament; noun: Blessed Sacrament; noun: Holy Sacrament
    1.
    (in the Christian Church) a religious ceremony or ritual regarded as imparting divine grace, such as baptism, the Eucharist and (in the Roman Catholic and many Orthodox Churches) penance and the anointing of the sick.
    2.
    (in Roman Catholic use) the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, especially the bread or Host.
    "he heard Mass and received the sacrament"
    3.
    a thing of mysterious and sacred significance; a religious symbol.

    Now tell me what comes first, the grace or the sacrament. I have a problem with the idea the sacrament imparts or creates the grace of God in your life. It is the other way round. The grace of God working in your life allows you to experience a sacrament. The grace comes first, otherwise God is waiting around on us to do something holy first before He gets to do anything.
     
  6. JM

    JM Absolute Predestinarian Supporter

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    D. A. Carson defines what you just did as an informal fallacy. Let's define the word according to its use by Reformed Calvinistic folks and not a google search.

    Reformed Christians believe that Baptism and the Lord's Supper were a means of grace.

    The Gospel is preached through the sacraments or ordinances just as the Gospel is preached in word. Not that they convey grace in the physical elements or means (like Calvin) or the work/ritual performed (RC), but that they convey the Gospel just like preaching the word conveys the Gospel.

    17th century Baptist catechism:

    Q. 99. Wherein do Baptism and the Lord's Supper differ from the other ordinances of God?

    A. Baptism and the Lord's Supper differ from the other ordinances of God in that they were specially instituted by Christ to represent and apply to believers the benefits of the new covenant by visible and outward signs.

    (a) Matt 28:19; Acts 22:16; Matt 26:26-28; Rom 6:4

    Q. 107. What is the Lord's Supper?

    A. The Lord's Supper is a holy ordinance, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ's appointment, His death is showed forth, and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporeal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of His body and blood, with all His benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.

    (a) 1 Cor 11:23-26; 1 Cor 10:16

    Q. 108. What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord's Supper?

    A. It is required of them that would worthily (that is, suitably) partake of the Lord's Supper, that they examine themselves, of their knowledge to discern the Lord's body; of their faith to feed upon Him; of their repentance, love, and new obedience: lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgement to themselves.

    (a) 1 Cor 11:27-31; 1 Cor 5:8; 2 Cor 13:5

    From the London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689:

    “…for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him…” 30.1

    “…Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed…”

    “…spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers…” 30.7

    Yours in the Lord,

    jm
     
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  7. sdowney717

    sdowney717 Newbie

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    It is The grace of God which brings salvation.
    If has been commonly thought sacraments are the ways we receive grace from God, example
    The Seven Sacraments

    Performing sacraments does not bring salvation, what is the purpose of the grace of God?
    To make you a new creation in Christ and present you to God perfect without spot and blemish, spiritually perfected, cleansed within.
    Baptismal regeneration, baptismal salvation are false.
    Partaking of the Lord's supper does not make you born again.
    Getting married does not give you eternal life or cause you to be adopted by God into His family.
    Sacraments are ways already saved persons interact in the kingdom of God.

    What is the purpose of the grace of God? The means whereby persons are being saved and for the work of the ministry to His people teaching them good doctrine.

    I looked up 'grace of God' and here are some verses.
    1 Cor 15
    For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

    Titus 2
    11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
    12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
    13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
    14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
    15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.


    Acts 11:22-24 New King James Version (NKJV)
    22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

    Acts 13
    42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

    44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us:

    ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
    That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”

    48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

    Romans 5:15 New King James Version (NKJV)
    15 But the free gift is not like the [a]offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

    Galatians 2:20-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
    20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
    21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

    Ephesians 3 also exposes the purpose of the grace of God is to create the church.

    Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

    Hebrews 12:15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

    1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

    1 Peter 5
    8 Be ]sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

    Farewell and Peace
    12 By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand.

    Jude 1:4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
     
  8. Radagast

    Radagast has left CF

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    "Means of grace" is a core Reformation doctrine. It refers to the preaching of the Gospel, on the one hand, plus the sacraments, on the other.

    To quote the Belgic Confession (#33) on the sacraments:

    We believe, that our gracious God, on account of our weakness and infirmities hath ordained the sacraments for us, thereby to seal unto us his promises, and to be pledges of the good will and grace of God toward us, and also to nourish and strengthen our faith; which he hath joined to the Word of the gospel, the better to present to our senses, both that which he signifies to us by his Word, and that which he works inwardly in our hearts, thereby assuring and confirming in us the salvation which he imparts to us. For they are visible signs and seals of an inward and invisible thing, by means whereof God worketh in us by the power of the Holy Ghost. Therefore the signs are not in vain or insignificant, so as to deceive us. For Jesus Christ is the true object presented by them, without whom they would be of no moment. Moreover, we are satisfied with the number of sacraments which Christ our Lord hath instituted, which are two only, namely, the sacrament of baptism, and the holy supper of our Lord Jesus Christ.
     
  9. twin1954

    twin1954 Baptist by the Bible

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    Of course this is one of the reasons that I am not Reformed. Once more I will reiterate that the only "means of grace" found in the Scriptures is faith. The preaching of the Gospel coupled with faith is a conduit through which faith is given and strengthened. We feed on Christ by faith not by means. We do not look to outward signs and symbols or the even the preaching of the Gospel to do or give anything spiritual. We look to Christ who is proclaimed and pictured in those things. To look to anything outward is idolatry whether it be a cross or any other physical symbol.
     
  10. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    I don't happen to identify with a tradition that sees the sacraments as the means of grace. The cross, the blood of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, those means of grace I can accept wholeheartedly. But the sacraments commemorate our means of grace, they don't. provide it.

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
  11. JM

    JM Absolute Predestinarian Supporter

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    Of course your views are ahistorical and definitely not Reformed according to the scriptures. They were developed much later by Anabaptists and Arminian Baptists. If you spend anytime reading the church fathers you'll see no one, not one Christian, believed what you folks are posting in this thread. The Reformed Baptist confession and catechism I quoted are inline with scripture and history.

    Best wishes,

    jm
    PS: I just want to add a 'means of grace' is only by faith. Nothing else. That should've been clear when I placed in bold the word 'faith' a number of times...but the old bias springs up to colour your understanding of the word 'sacrament' and you are prevented from understanding the Reformed Calvinistic explanation of it.
     
  12. JM

    JM Absolute Predestinarian Supporter

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    This post is a good example of ignoring what I have already posted which included a definition of what a sacrament is according to the scriptures....not Rome.
     
  13. JM

    JM Absolute Predestinarian Supporter

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    Ahhh, POPE Twin. You are missing the point brother.

    Watch this...I'll demonstrate how you ignored what I wrote. This kinda hurts my feelings a little considering how close we are but you taught me it's important to contend for the truth so here goes.

    You wrote, "We feed on Christ by faith not by means."

    I highlighted the following:

    of their faith to feed upon Him

    by faith, made partakers of His body and blood, with all His benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.

    confirmation of the faith of believers

    do then also inwardly by faith

    spiritually present to the faith
    Now you see how much we are in agreement? It's almost Gnostic the way modern Christians despise the physical realm.

    Yours in the Lord,

    jm
     
  14. JM

    JM Absolute Predestinarian Supporter

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    Sure, but you'll probably find a way around it.

    Laying on of hands as a means of grace.

    Acts 19:1-6
    (1) And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples.
    (2) And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
    (3) And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.”
    (4) And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.”
    (5) On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
    (6) And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.

    Taking part, by faith, in the real presence of Christ.

    1 Cor 10:16"The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?"

    Being united to Christ by means of faith and baptism.

    Gal 3:27 "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."

    Between Magic And Mere Memory
    by R. SCOTT CLARK

    When Christians receive the Lord’s Supper or when people are baptized, what happens? Is it the case that, as Rome claims, at consecration, the elements of bread and wine are transformed (transubstantiated) so that they are no longer, in substance, bread and wine but now actually the literal body and blood of Christ? Is it the case that when baptism is administered that the recipients are necessarily (ex opere operato) given new life by virtue of receiving baptism? Is it the case, as Huldrych Zwingli (1484–1531) seemed to say, that the Supper is really only an intense experience of remembering, that if Jesus may be said to be present, that presence is a subjective psychological-emotional presence? Many Christians have been presented with these sorts of choices. There is a blessed alternative.

    In the Reformed tradition and confession we have a category that is not widely shared by American evangelicals hailing from the revivalist traditions, i.e., especially those descended from Pietism and the Second Great Awakening, holiness, and “higher life” traditions. We speak of the “due use of the ordinary means.” This phrase comes from Westminster Confession of Faith (1647–48) 1.7. The Westminster Shorter Catechism(1648) defines what we mean by “ordinary means:”

    Q. 88. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?

    A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.

    For some Christian traditions, there is a divorce between the “outward and ordinary means” and the internal and spiritual. For those traditions, talking about “outward” things is a sign of nominalism. This is particularly true of the Pietists, who tended to set the two at odds. They did this because that movement (or those movements) arose mostly in the context of state-churches where everyone in a given parish was baptized, recognized as a Christian, and received as a member of the church (and typically) not placed under discipline regardless of whether one actually believed or not. The Pietists were concerned that there were nominal Christians, i.e., Christians in name but not actual spiritual Christians. They had seen people participate outwardly without evidence of actual, inward new life and true faith. Thus, they even became suspicious of outward means such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They became suspicious of the ordinary ministry of the church, e.g., the preaching of the gospel. They tended to prefer small groups, which they called “conventicles.” Some of this might sound familiar, since many American congregations are deeply influenced by Pietism even when they do not call themselves Pietists.

    For others, e.g., Romanists, the Christian religion is entirely about the outward or external ministry of the church. They do not know the Scriptures. They do not even know the Roman catechism but they do know their local priest or the priest who catechized them, the bishop who confirmed them, the priest who administers communion, who baptized their children. They cannot explain Roman doctrine but they trust that “holy Father” (the Bishop of Rome) knows, that the councils have decided, that the church has an unwritten tradition from the Apostles so they do not have to know these things. They may not even be sure that they themselves actually believe it all but it seems safer to act as if it is all true than to act as if it is not. They trust or at least they hope that the Roman sacramental system of baptism, confirmation, reconciliation (confession), communion, marriage (for laity), ordination (for priests), anointing of the sick (extreme unction) does what it does because it is what it is. For many inside (and outside) of Rome, the ministry of the church is magic.

    The Reformed and Presbyterian (P&R) churches understand Scripture and history rather differently. We understand that the ministry of the church is neither magic nor is its ministry essentially the cultivation of intense personal experiences (e.g., memory). Rather, we understand that God has always worked in his people through a divinely-ordained ministry of Word and sacrament (signs and seals). This began even before the fall. When the Lord entered into a covenant of life (or works or nature) with Adam before the fall, he spoke to him. He gave him a law. Scripture says, ”

    Then Yahweh Elohim took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Yahweh Elohim commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Gen 2:15–17).

    He also gave him two signs (sacraments) of that relationship. One was a sign of life (the tree of life) and the other was a sacrament of death (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). You can read about the institution of these sacraments in Genesis 2. So, as long as there have been humans there have been sacraments. God has never come to us, related to us, spoken to us, without also giving sacraments.

    Through whole history of redemption Yahweh Elohim both spoke to his people and gave them signs. To Noah he gave the sign of the rainbow. To Abraham he gave the sign of circumcision. To Moses (the Old Covenant strictly speaking) he gave the Passover, the feasts, and sacrifices. In the New Covenant Christ fulfilled all the types and shadows and he gave the signs of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Against the magical view of the sacraments, never did the shadowy signs create the realities they signified. Against the memorial view, the sacraments were always more than memories or indicators of subjective experience.

    We understand Scripture to teach that God the Holy Spirit has always used the external means of the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments to accomplish his purposes among the elect. In Heidelberg Catechism (1563) 65 we say:

    65. Since then we are made partakers of Christ and all His benefits by faith only, from where comes this faith?

    The Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts by the preaching of the Holy Gospel, and confirms it by the use of the Holy Sacraments.

    This is how it has always been. The Holy Spirit worked faith in the heart of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and all his people through the preaching of the gospel albeit in types and shadows. In the New Covenant what was in shadows is now openly revealed. God the Son has come in human flesh. He has obeyed for us, died for us, was raised for us, ascended for us, intercedes for us, and is coming again for us. The Spirit uses this gospel message to create new life and true faith and through true faith, union with Christ in all his elect. He confirms the gospel promise through the use of the holy signs and seals that he has instituted. The signs do not create the realities they signify (new life, righteousness, and salvation) but they do signify them to all and seal them to believers. We do not need to choose between magic and memories. There is another, better, option: means. God has instituted means that he uses to accomplish real spiritual realities.

    Posted by R. SCOTT CLARK | Monday, September 11, 2017 | Categorized Baptism, Lord’s Supper, Means of Grace, Sacraments
     
  15. twin1954

    twin1954 Baptist by the Bible

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    No I don't think that I am missing the point at all. I understand your position but disagree. Yes I know that you put faith before all else but to look to a physical to impart a spiritual is not correct nor biblical.

    I can't post Scripture on this IPad but I will when I can. Suffice to say that it is up to you to prove your position biblically. If I hurt your feelings it is only because I love you as a brother. I would rather hurt your feelings than compromise what I am convinced is truth. Please don't reject what I say before you have prayerfully considered it. I was once in your camp but the Scriptures convinced me otherwise. I was once Reformed but no longer am for reasons that you know about. With all the love in Christ for you my brother, twin.
     
  16. twin1954

    twin1954 Baptist by the Bible

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    There are several things in this post that I disagree with. Show me in Scripture where Covenant theology, Baptist not Presbyterian, teaches that the ordinances are signs and seals. They are pictures but they do not seal anything to us. That is the Spirit.
     
  17. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    Of course the aying on of hands communicates grace, since fidts of grace can be communicated in this way. I guess I'm just bot comfortavle with the sacraments being a means of grace because your not differentiating between saving grace and ministorial grace.
     
  18. Radagast

    Radagast has left CF

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    In what sense, then, are you a "Calvinist"?
     
  19. sdowney717

    sdowney717 Newbie

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    I did read what you had quoted and it seemed Romanesque to me.

    How do you view Romans 3, and do you think observing the sacraments are a requirement to salvation?
     
  20. JM

    JM Absolute Predestinarian Supporter

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    Missed the point brother! The physical DOES NOT impart anything. It's by faith ONLY.

    Love ya.
     
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