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This is the first of the lights and perfections to be found in the Lord, which cast a brilliant beam of beauty and an untarnished channel of truth on an earth, otherwise sunk in contradictions and confusion.

Let us look at the marvel of God, when His truth from the Bible is applied to this realm in the affairs of man, his duty, his opportunities, his place, his plight and his destiny.

Before our time  was, God has put Himself on record as foreknowing each one of us who is His, and predestinating accordingly. We have often seen this, and it is in Romans 8:29ff., Ephesians 1:4ff., II Timothy 1:8ff.. Specifically, it was before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1) and the gift itself, before the times of the ages (`Titus 1). This Author, without whom nothing that was made,  was made, apart from whom there was not even such a category as "the made", He knew His works, even to the point of the outcomes of the liberty bestowed on man in making him in His own image,  even before it hit the tarmac of the earth, the site of Eden. With then due preparation, He made man, to have more and more as a race, after its kind.

In so doing, it was His will that He might save all; but this was conditioned FOR and BY HIM, on one point: it would have to be by the blood of the Cross of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:19ff., Galatians 1, Revelation 14).

This being so, He acted. With this desire, and that method; and He drew those who were His and appointed them to salvation and  glorification as in Romans 8:29ff..

When man came to this earth, the matters were already resolved. History however was not a mere extra, a dilatory option: far from it.

IN  history, many would be drawn, and come, and more be moved, but not come (John 6:37-40).

"All that the Father gives  Me shall come to Me;
and the one who comes to me I will in no way cast out.

"For I came down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him that sent me.
And this is the Fatherís will who has sent me,
that of all those whom He has given me I should lose nothing,
but should raise it up again at the last day.

"And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one who sees the Son, and believes on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day


That is the counsel of eternity; this is earth.

People will variously experience these things,  according to the will of God and the way He desires to release information as He works within man, each one. Consider some who have been saved.

To a portion of these, God may wish repentance to focus in an extraordinary way, or regeneration, or the battle of the will in its encasement of sin. This last, the will,  despite its being soiled, spoiled and at this height out of action, that is,  in the arena of 'choosing' God, nevertheless it is still relevant to Him.

To another portion, He may wish them to have experience the overpowering dynamic of God, which echoes the fact that the matter was resolved long before our time itself so much as existed. Others may be given special insight into and experience of the drawing with the cords of love. Theories of salvation may be made up on the basis of these diverse experiences, where different emphases may appear to the person being converted. However every Christian has, in whatever degree of intimate or dramatic intensity and perception, the eventual repentance itself, regeneration and faith.

It must particularly be realised that it is just as real that the God who statedly would like all to be saved, deals with the human will:  outside its own conscious and time-governed self to be sure, but yet, does so deal. It is this which statedly is the blockade for faith and salvatoin, manifest and formed in eternity and formulated on earth. It is not some mystery that the will of man gets in the way of the divine love: it is stated (John 3:19, Matthew 23:37ff.).

The reason for it is sin; but the responsibility of it is not thereby reduced.  Nor is it some baleful package, in which it appears that the wilful one simply deserved what he got, and the other, the saved sinner,  did not deserve what was pure divine grace. While the latter proposition is delectably true, for the very will needed release and interpretation before all time,  and sin, defiling it, made it inoperative in time; yet before its was actually extant, it was yet inspectable by the God before whom all things are manifest (Hebrews 4).

As to the lost,  their desert is not in question. ALL deserve the wages of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23). It is necessary not to confuse the issue. The point is this: that the additional guilt of refusing salvation is not dictated in reality and finality, by a pathological condition, qua sinner, but by actual and expressive choice; and the other parallel point is that it is God who MUST make that choice on man's behalf, not wilfully or in caprice, but wisely, knowing the truth as only He can.

Since man in sin is incapable of it, and man before sin is not extant, only God can do it: but it is this, and not another thing which He does, in terms of destiny. He statedly and repeatedly and in incandescent desire yearns for man to come, and in sealing those who DO come, He confirms what the omission likewise confirms on the part of those who do not. It is imperative to perceive that God in His wisdom has exposed two things. Firstly, it is HIS desire for all, and despite this, MAN'S refusal as before HIM of this desire, AND secondly, it is His method which has a selective impact: namely the Cross of Christ (Colossians 1:19).

IN so choosing, the Lord is not fulfilling a work of mere power, but of a chaste love which has no place in taking what is not willing, but goes so far as the Cross IN HISTORY, to open the way for any, and for all who come. Its definition of attainment is to be found as far back as before history and the sequences of creation. It is found in divine KNOWLEDGE, as He states in Romans 8:30, in terms of which He has made the choice.

This is the 'election' assuredly is. It also assuredly is HIS choice; and not less, it reflects what is the equivalent of our own, known to Him who alone could descry it. It is however more than a virtual choice, on our part, since in its making we were neither there nor in any form which we would gain, before judgment. It is actual divine choice instituting what love in wisdom finds in its unqualified desire, one which however, is not lust.



Does this put it all back on God  ? Certainly it does, for from Him and to Him and through Him are all things (Romans 11:33). Does it make it mystery why many are not saved ? Of course it does not do so; for it is STATED that the blockade is from man and that the desire on the part of God in His so coming was NOT to judge (John 3:17), BUT that the world might be saved. Is it taken that this means that His desire was NOT that the world might be saved, and that it WAS that the world might be judged in His so coming ?

That is absurd, interpretation by contradiction. It is a high degree unfortunate that Calvin, having seen so much and so well, and having made a major contribution to the history of theology in the Christian Church, became so confused on this issue. Sovereignty does not state the NATURE of that sovereignty. God electing those to be saved does not by that very fact indicate HOW they were elected. That comes form the scriptures noted, concerning His own assessment!

Again, God stating and re-stating and putting the thing into endless seeming scenarios, practical demonstrations in the laboratory called history, makes it exceedingly plain how He yearns to save the unsaved, moves mountains to draw near to them,  laments for their loss and is NOT double-minded. That is a fault of the sinner (James 4).

Wesley had the point right about the love of God, but not about the operative efficiency of the will of man (John 1;12); yet the relevance of that will as being part of the very stature and status of man in God's image, He did not foozle.

If God allows one man to sense and even in significant measure to participate in this or that aspect of the original foreknowledge, clearly discerning for example, the sovereign power of the resultant of God's election or the penetrating analysis or oversight of the will of man before ever he was: that is His affair. Theology is not to be built on the experience of any one; but on the word of God and on NOTHING ELSE.




This is precisely why the blessed Declaratory Statement of the Presbyterian Church of Australia was necessary for the well-being and accuracy, the fidelity and truth of its Standards. It specifically makes a provision for tender consciences in terms of God not being willing that any should perish, and this is stated not as a thing already put, but as a PROVISION for these consciences. It is not intended to deceive, like a liar or fraud or trickster, but to enlighten and to show that such a realm of theology as this is by no means to be ignored. It is as true as any other; since the word of God is not limited to personal insights or preferences, except when it is muted by sin.

This II Peter 3:9 is in a whole channel of scriptures such as Colossians 1:19ff., and of events, and principles, such as Ezekiel 33:11 and Luke 19:42, which declare the unqualified nature of the love of God as it reaches out to man, though the results are  selective enough, as is any examination. This element of the Bible, in the Declaratory Statement,  is evoked for a reason.

The condensation of all of that DS into the Westminster Confession, as in the 1991 General Assembly,  is an impermissible annulment of the Basis of Union; for it changes the Basis without more than a vote in Assembly about what something means. If the church wishes to drop this Declaratory Statement, it would have to go through the processes for that, and would become a different Church, not the historic Union at all.  There is a provision called the Barrier Act, under the heading of  Amendment, in the Constitution, which requires a long process involving State Assemblies, Presbyteries and the General Assembly, and proportions required in each, before this can be done.

Until it does so, it is in breach of its commission, and is drawn to the right side of theology, unmitigated  sovereignty as if this had no QUALITY considerations about HOW it is used relative to man, just as it earlier was to the left side, when it directly rather than as now, indirectly attacked both the word of God and its own Constitution.

It is intensely sad that a Church with so righteous and just a Constitution should so harass it, first on the one side and then on the other; and that one which was FORMED into a Union of various churches, by such an agreement, should now defile the soundness of what was then done, and by such means, that it should be so scrambled, suppressed and denuded.

It is to be hoped that a better day will come; but until it does, it is simply a grievous fact that this step was taken, in line with the rebellious evil of taking on an -ism, Calvinism, with its good and bad points, and allowing it to rule (cf. I Corinthians 3). It is not the word of Calvin or Calvinists which is to the point. We are aided by many who often disagree here with this or there with that; but in wisdom, we must take the good and leave the bad; for the BIBLE ONLY is the criterion in doctrine. It is not at all the Westminster Confession, but the Bible only; or, it is not the Bible according to the Westminster Confession as appears to be intended in the 1991 formulation, which is confessionalism in its essence, but where relevant, what is it ?

It is this: The Confession as an aid where it is read ACCORDING to the BIBLE so that the latter supersedes any statement, gives the background and basis to all.

Fighting corner pugnacity is not the best place for the Church, the less so when it is fighting the Bible in its utter liberty to mould all thought and doctrine: if one must fight, it is WITH and FOR the Bible, and with this, for Jesus Christ, not with carnal but spiritual weapons, as here. It is in the end, only this Bible which stands when all the changes are made, the doctrines are muted, disputed or uprooted, or instead, held and affirmed.

There is wisdom, to keep to it, and let it decide. Nothing it teaches is to be rendered faulty or pressed into contradictory premises for the sake of argument or preferability. That is the misled will of the flesh. The will of God is the word of God and for doctrine, nothing else even an influence on it. IT stands alone. What some would like as something to stand with it is already under the condemnation of Mark 7:7ff.. The Confession, as it beautifully states in delightful humility is a help. It is no part of the authority and the determination. It is a help, but as it notes, even councils err and have erred; so that nothing but what the Bible demonstrably teaches is to be required of any. It may not be affirmed by any sound church as if of individual or independent authority, on pain of rebellion.

Being too clever is a usual way of being foolish.

If one must be foolish, let it be for Christ, not for tradition or man's ideas. Let it be for the word of God, to suffer for it and with it, and not otherwise.



Let us consider the beauty of  all this: God is responsible for the creation, and man in it.

bullet God is responsible for making freedom, and man with it.
bullet God is responsible for nothing that man elects to do with it,
since a gift to one in His own image bears this responsibility along with its effusive wonder,
that one MAY  so elect.
bullet Man is responsible for sinning, and mankind for his position, as one race.
He is therefore responsible for that.
bullet God is responsible for making the effort, vast in plan, magnificent in scope, brilliant in wisdom,
for man's salvation, and this with vast and well-adapted provisions, but on an individual basis.
He is therefore to be praised for this.
bullet God's word tells us His desire for all to come to reconciliation with Himself,
not only without any qualification in scope from Him, but with emphasis
on the grandeur and expansiveness of that very scope:
ALL THINGS, and in breadth, heaven and earth.
bullet God is NOT responsible,
mysteriously or in any other way, for the loss of ANY.

His power is imperial, majestic, total, and His plans are in a situation which HE Himself has created.
bullet NOTHING limits His desires, but their own nature.
bullet To ascribe to THIS GOD Almighty, some responsibility in this way or that,
for any one lost, is to deny His word.
To ascribe to man the power on this earth to choose Him is likewise to deny Hios word (John 1:12).

Why not LISTEN and believe ALL that He says ? Is Calvinism or Arminianism so appealing that the word of God has lost its appeal ? Not for this Minister,  called and sent by Jesus Christ, not for me!

That there be no confusion, there is provision, though man is fallen in WILL as well as in WAY:

that man, though OUT of the way and will of God from birth, is WITHIN the scope of  the outward net of His salvation. When it comes to predestination, the matters are resolved; in foreknowledge the resolution is made. It is made according to the declared principles, preferences and desires of God, both in love and holiness, nothing qualified, nothing compromised, each part, sentence, principle and utterance from God, true, for He is the NOT-LIE God. Lying is both contrary to His nature and to His desire, like darkness in a room blazing with incandescent light. He says what He means, means what He says, and is not to be controverted - not even by theologians! (as in Jeremiah 23, where the false variety is focussed, with their dreams, adding to the word of God, stealing unprofitable 'vision' each from his neighbour in a carnal complex and complexity).

As to man, he is not per se an eternal outsider  to God because he foolishly became an insider to sin. He is an outsider to merit for salvation,  to hope in his own autonomous grasping of it; but not to the desire of God, that all might be saved. If then any one is NOT saved,  this is a secondary style of sequestration of man by man from the will of God.  To be sure, it is WORKED OUT by God before our time commenced, but it was also WORKED IN, for He knew His own, where the SCOPE of His desire and the NATURE of love met.

Thus love mourns for the lost whom He utterly desired (Matthews 23:37ff., Luke 19:42ff., Isaiah 48:16ff.); but it does not cancel their lostness by circumventing their foreknown and foreseen will, beyond all history and in the glories of foreknowledge.



As to that foreknowledge, it is apart from any conditions such as sin, uninhibited,  where the glory and the grandeur of God, in character precisely as Christ showed it to be (John 14, Hebrews 1), operated in finding His own. It yields neither to a species of sovereignty (as if apart from God) which would operate in some other selective manner than this of which He has spoken, nor to a species of autonomy, which would operate as if in a sin-freed will, again other than that of which He has spoken in designating this, our present race. We are not currently even in a position to be choosing God as if in an initial advent of the matter on earth.

What however is the actuality of the case, this blessed security in His own KNOWLEDGE, and foreknowledge wrought on changeless and eternal principles as stated by Himself, this and neither extreme rebutted, is the actuality. Christ is indeed a man who told us the truth, He being it (John  14:6), and from this He varies not at all, not even  to the blandishments of theologians, traditionalists or philosophers.

God IS WHO HE IS, and He does it AS HE SAYS, both in love and sovereignty absolute, irrespective of humanly endorsed extremism in either direction. It is entirely of God, salvation, and entirely without mystery in this, that He is entirely on record as desiring the salvation of all, even if unfrustrated but lamenting, in His love He does not impel so far, or insist past the nature of man's being, fashioned in the very image of God. It is man's sin which, afflicting his very will, God has overcome as a counter to regeneration in His divine foreknowledge, codifying it in predestination, so made.

Operative, in sovereign security, is the very quality of His own chaste love. The ground of loss is as stated and nothing other.

Praise God then for the purity of His love and the chasteness of His salvation, the mode of His selection and the impossibility that any who MIGHT have been saved, in the purity of His love, COULD ever be lost. It is His own whom He has known, from among all He would have liked to have, and these He gathers,

THUS freedom in man at the relevant level is secured as ONLY the inhabitant of pre-temporal eternity COULD do; and as only the pure and all-sufficient God who has need of nothing COULD ensure, since it is not to secure something extraneous that He acts, to manoeuvre or manipulate, who is without iniquity, but rather to secure souls in sincerity of a non-discriminatory love, and a non-annulling lordship, relative to man's created status as in the image of God.

Thus He saves His own without their either ceasing to BE souls, or becoming manipulees directly or indirectly, or on the other hand, being subject to the constraints of their own tainted wills and desires in their own degraded environments; since before all this came to be, in logical order, the whole matter was settled.

MAN is responsible, God is without guilt, ludicrously assignable though it would be. For sin man must answer; and Christ has put in place an answer on his behalf; for rejecting this man must answer again, and no soul will be forced to put up with a heaven that one loathes because of the place and nature of God. If it must go, then it will go where it belongs for its own insistent and persistent, chronic and resolute preference for darkness, and in this, eat but the fruit of its own doings, as seen in the spectacular drama of Proverbs 1.

God is indeed the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe (I Timothy 4:10). That is HIS salvation, and this is its outgoing glory. Its scope as always, is for all; its use is for those who use it. How splendid then was the Australian Presbyterian Church's Declaratory Statement in this: that

"He has provided a salvation sufficient for all, and adapted to all, and offered to all in the Gospel, and that every hearer of the Gospel is responsible for his dealing with the free and unrestricted offer of eternal life."

It is totally unnecessary for any to wonder if God is interested enough: if any man thirst, let him drink. It is God's DESIRE that he should, and this plus a thirst is unbeatable as the glass is raised to the mouth. There is equally no room for hypocrisy, since God KNOWS what is being drunk, and what is merely swished about in the mouth, as is the case, in essence, of those who have "tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come" (Hebrews 6:6).

In this, such a fall of any person, there is ONE lapse,  for there is no place for willing in and out: if it comes to the point and is spat out, or not swallowed, AFTER the case is most clear and impactive, then in principle that is the end.  Fall from a playing instead of a praying, a fooling about and not a faith acceptance, and there is then only one way to go, and that is to a fatality. WHERE adn WHEN such a state is reached in the good mercy of the only wise God, is KNOWN ONLY TO HIM. Therefore when you thirst, if you do not know the Lord, go and drink, and don't meddle with conditions. It is enough for Him to be your Redeemer, Saviour, Creator, Judge and Barrister, Pardon and Peace through His own gift. Concern yourself not with the gift, it is adapted to all; concern yourself with receiving it. If you had, like Naaman (II Kings 5), pride in your special features, then this is deadly.




You simply take it ALL for NOTHING (Isaiah 55, Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2), or it is not a thing that can be taken at all. If you grasp it with a co-saviour control of the thing, as if you and Christ would manage it together, it will assuredly be ungripped from this presumptuous grasp. Nothing but God is good enough to bring you to God, and none but the the Saviour has the quality for acceptance, or the perfection that makes harmony in heaven. IN HIM only, can you come in, with nothing else that you can control. You present yourself in nakedness, and He presents His gift without wrapping. ONCE IN, there is much to be gained in growth and wisdom, wit and knowledge; but the basis never varies. You are a pilgrim accepted by grace through faith, and the whole thing is not of yourself. Sanctification follows: it does not lead (II Corinthians 3:17-18).

Think then, what a marvel. No part of the application of the soul for His salvation can be sent back, with a sort of spiritual red ink, marked, 'Imperfect.' That is acknowledged, and indeed in this unique form of examination from the Lord, it is only when it is both acknowledged and presented, that you are a sinner, that there is anything to be saved from. As divine love seeks with heart, but with restraint in purity, so man in coming, needs to have nothing in mind but the Lord, for His buttress, deliverance and strength.

Thus not only does the Gospel and the word of God show how human liberty and divine sovereignty work together, but it does so in a way unique to the Gospel, and which, unless God were as He is, could not even be done. That involves His aseity, His sovereignty, His omniscience, His love and His action to cover in the Cross what was needed. Omit any one of these, and there is no resolution for guilt and grace, energy and initiative, responsibility and reality,  determinism and freewill, in their respective corners and in their actual modalities. There is no room in fact for  each to be grabbing a bit of things, like a growling dog, and going to its corner. Here there is indeed a CERTAINTY, but it is one determined with love through freedom; there is indeed will, but it is one known before its operational insufficiency and bondage limits its operation. Freedom therefore not only to do as one wills, but in essence to will as one wills, is given in the only way it COULD be given.

It is done by a pure and perfect, all-knowing Creator, who in love acts on our behalf, not to seduce or to forge a falsity, but to implement reality, of which all may in varying degrees have conscious awareness when conversion looms on the spiritual horizon.

It is good then, despite the present default on part of this in the PC of Australia, in recent years, to see how worthy was the summary in its Declaratory Statement, before it was levelled in Assembly, as if it were saying nothing that is not in the Westminster Confession. In this way, there was annulment of the office that was given to it, even of its excellent declarations of what the Confession handled without sufficient attention to the very nature and word of God, in this field. It was the pre-conditions appointed in love for love and through grace toward all, that were short-circuited, but amended excellently in the DS. God be praised for that. It has been subsumed in terms of another document: alas for the grief of such a fall, done in such a manner!

How good it would be if ever an Assembly of this PCA were to reassert that the Declaratory Statement indeed is not to be construed as adding nothing to the Confession, but was added for a purpose, and what it says is not to be annulled by annunciations of this type, but taken in heart and conscience by each as he will. It stands without subsumption under something else for which it was supplied as a proper characterisation of things needing to be said. Let them once more be said, and not by some kind of hijacking 'interpretation,' unsaid.

Moreover, how wise is this in the Declaratory Statement: "While the outward and ordinary means of salvation for those capable of being called by the Word are the ordinances of the Gospel, in accepting the subordinate standard it is not required to be held that any who die in infancy are lost, or that God may not extend His Grace to any who are without the pale of ordinary means, as it may seem good in His sight." With this, the "adapted to all" of the Gospel as stated in the DS,  goes well, since assuredly none, wherever, and whenever, will EVER be saved without it (Galatians 1:6-9).





As the GOSPEL is ever the way, so the time and place of its application is indeed of God's choosing; and presumption may elect what it will, but God has already elected in this what He will, which confirms the care of the Declaratory Statement at this point, which in these dealings with the love of God, adds much to the Confession, and overcomes an inadequate coverage of the pre-conditions of the plan of salvation which, effective as it is, DOES have precursors in the very nature of that great God whose words and works coincide in trustworthy honesty, integrity and the very summit and original of wisdom..

IF any person is not saved, when God pleases and by the Gospel, then it is the fault of that person, for preferring the absence of light (John 3:19). God then laments as in Christ with vast sorrow (Luke19:42ff.). He would have had it otherwise; but love in its purity will not stoop so low as to circumvent that purity. If response, however found,   is not from one in God's own image, in God's own knowledge, in that person's genuine and integumental will, not with a substitute, as if the truth were circumvented, but with spiritual fidelity, how can it even meet what is given by grace in the very creation of one in God's own image! Without this, it would be something else that was the subject of divine knowledge, not the actual person of whom He would be knowledgeable.

Hence when love is rejected, and its method ignored or despised, then man is responsible from  eternity to eternity.

It is not  too hard; not really. Nor is it to be saved. IF you want God, He is wanting you. If you do not WANT HIS WAY, then why bother. There is no other. If you are willing to take it, you are already in God's hands and it is He who so works. But if you dither and decide against, so be it, this is your way and your will, and doubtless it is inscribed from eternity. Yet if you are alarmed or  appalled or think it unfair, go to it, seek the Lord with all your heart. There is nothing unfair about God, but quite the contrary, He has gone so far in so much for so long with such intensity and at such cost for so many, that talk of fairness is like saying it is unfair for an uncle by marriage to give you only three million when he could have made it five. FAIRNESS would  see us all in hell.

He is most willing and certainly does not willingly afflict the children of men (Lamentations 3:33). NOTHING will separate you from the love of God in Christ but the REALITY, known to God of your will. IF that were to be, then you would never become a Christian, being so foreknown. If on the other hand,  you do really seek and desire Him,  so far from this being frustratable, that is totally impossible. If with all your heart you truly seek Him, you will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13-14). Nothing can go amiss; it is all known from eternity.

You are all ready, you say,  but fear that you may not be acceptable ? Rubbish, COME, He calls. If you hear, then GO! If you do not hear it, do not receive it, then go where you will, there is no other way, and you are on the way down. It bumps at the end, but that is the nature of all rebellion against reality.

And reality ? God is love, and one comes to Him as He is, or not at all. It is not His desire that any perish, but that all should come to a knowledge of the truth. It PLEASED the Father, that having made peace by the blood of the cross, He should reconcile ALL THINGS, yes ALL, to Himself.

Nothing will ever change that. Faith embraces it; fake and fraud fall on it. You are of no mind to be with the latter, and repent  ? Great, then  GO now where HE calls, to the Christ who will give you rest (Isaiah 55).  There is none like it, and none like Him. Praise God for that. Nothing will ever  alter Him, immutable (Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102, Hebrews 1), beautiful in holiness (Psalm 27), without iniquity (Deuteronomy 32:1-4), who is love (I John 4:7ff.).