Stephen Altrogge describes what it means that Church Should Be A Place of Undistracting Excellence.
All posts tagged church
Hanserd Knollys expounds on believers’ Obligation to the ordinary means.
William Kiffin describes some tell-tale signs of backsliding, namely, a lack of attendance to the divinely appointed means of grace.
And he shall send his angels with a loud sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one extremity of heaven to the other. -Matthew 24:31
He describes the effect of his power, that he will send his angels to gather his elect from the most distant parts of the world; for by the extremity of heaven is meant the most distant region. But Christ speaks hyperbolically, in order to show that the elect, even though they were carried away from the earth and scattered in the air, will again be gathered, so to be united in the enjoyment of eternal life under Him as their head, and enjoy the expected inheritance; for Christ intended to console his disciples, that they might not be altogether discouraged by the lamentable dispersion of the Church.
Whenever, therefore, we perceive the Church scattered by the wiles of Satan, or torn in pieces by the cruelty of the ungodly, or disturbed by false doctrines, or tossed about by storms, let us learn to turn our eyes to this gathering of the elect.
And if it appear to us a thing difficult to be believed, let us call to remembrance the power of the angels, which Christ holds out to us for the express purpose of raising our views above human means. For, though the Church be now tormented by the malice of men, or even broken by the violence of the billows, and miserably torn in pieces, so as to have no stability in the world, yet we ought always to cherish confident hope, because it will not be by human means, but by heavenly power, which will be far superior to every obstacle, that the Lord will gather his Church.
-John Calvin, Commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke, Vol. 3
“The true Israelites in the Old Testament, as well as in the New, are not the natural descendants of Abraham as such, but only they who share his faith. In the election of Israel, God did not, in the last analysis, aim at the separation of Israel as a nation, but at the formation of a spiritual people, primarily gathered out of the chosen race, but also in part out of the surrounding nations. From the earliest times, proselytes were incorporated into Israel. Solomon, in his dedicatory prayer, did not forget the stranger who might come to worship in the temple (I Kings 8:41 ff.); and the prophets looked forward with joyful expectancy to the time when the Gentiles, too, would bring their treasures into the temple of the Lord.
“[The law] was not purely an external rule; the pious Israelite had it written on the tablets of his heart (Ps. 37:31; 40:8). They were not saved in any other way than New Testament believers. They needed the same Mediator and the same Holy Spirit, and received the same blessings of the covenant of grace, though not so abundantly, nor in exactly the same manner” (Principles of Biblical Interpretation, pp. 135-136).