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Archive for the ‘Wilhelmus à Brakel’ Category

  1. God has regenerated them by his Holy Spirit
  2. God has decreed from eternity that in time he would adopt them from the human race to be His children and heirs of eternal life.
  3. God has betrothed them to his son … In the Song of Solomon the Lord Jesus therefore frequently calls them his bride: "My sister, my bride" … As the father of the bridegroom also becomes the father of the bride by reason of marriage, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ likewise becomes the father of believers.
  4. They have children by reason of being united to the son of God.

Wilhelmus à Brakel (1700 A.D.) p.419

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Answer: (1) Christ did indeed suffer eternal damnation, for eternal damnation, death, and pain consist in total separation from God, in the total manifestation of divine wrath, and all of this for such a duration until the punishment upon sin was perfectly and satisfactorily born. However, Christ has suffered all this to the fullest extent, as has been demonstrated earlier. He suffered as long and in such a measure until He could say, “It is finished” (John 19:30), and “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:4). (2) Christ did not need to be locally in hell, for this does not belong to the essence of eternal damnation. His suffering did not have to be endless or eternal in duration. Man is subject to this due to his inability to endure punishment exhaustively and at the same time restore himself into a state of perfection. Consequently man would have to remain subject to it until he would make full satisfaction, which could not occur to all eternity. Since, however, the Surety has suffered everything to the most perfect degree and with utmost exertion, that is, as much as was necessary to satisfy divine justice, and since He fulfilled the demands of the law by His perfect obedience, it was neither possible to extend His suffering any further, nor “that He should be holden of” death (Acts 2:24). Additional Objection: Christ’s human nature, in which He suffered, was finite and thus was not capable of bearing infinite wrath. Consequently His suffering was not sufficient to atone for sin which merits eternal punishment. Answer: We cannot determine to what degree Christ’s human nature was fortified, but it always remained finite. In this nature Christ endured a total being forsaken by, and the full wrath of, the infinite God against whom the elect had sinned. One should note, however, that it was not the human nature which suffered, but the Person according to this nature, and since the Person is infinite, all that He suffered was of infinite efficacy and value.

Wilhelmus à Brakel (1700 A.D.)

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This glorified Jesus is beyond the reach of the children of this world, and therefore they gravitate towards occupying their minds with earthly objects and find some delight in doing so, there being nothing else for them. But believers, you who know and love Jesus, with what else should the eye of your understanding be occupied than in beholding the King in His beauty (Isa 33:17)? If one begins to get a view of Him, all that is here below will of itself lose its luster and glory and it will be a light task to withdraw your love and attachment from the earth. … Suppose that the Lord Jesus were to take you by the hand and lead you into His inner chamber, revealing to you all the heavenly mysteries pertaining to the work of redemption, revealing Himself to you in His divine perfections and in all the glory He has received as Mediator. Let us suppose furthermore that He would assure you with love that all His glory and fullness is for you and to your benefit, that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been mutually engaged to exalt you to incomprehensible and unspeakable felicity, and to satisfy and encompass you both now and hereafter in eternity with His love and all-sufficiency. In your opinion, can there be anything more delightful than this? … Beholding Him as such will cause the soul to be more intimately united with Jesus; and hence, the more virtue will go out from Him. The more the soul may receive the strength and influence of the Spirit, the less strength sin will have within him, and the more zealous he will be to be pleasing unto the Lord. From all this it may therefore convincingly be concluded that beholding the glorified Jesus has a sanctifying influence.

Wilhelmus à Brakel (1700 A.D.) p.655-658

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We have already demonstrated above that man is entirely incapable of converting himself Allow me to make you acquainted with yourself, your inability, as well as that your refraining from evil and doing good is of no value before God. Allow me briefly to convey to you what true conversion is. Some imagine that conversion consists in refraining from the commission of gross sins and in the performance of some good deeds. Conversion, however, is a complete change of man as far as his spiritual frame, intellect, will, thoughts, words, and deeds are concerned. This change can be compared with a person born blind receiving his sight, a deaf person being enabled to hear, a dumb person being enabled to speak, or a totally paralyzed person being enabled to move about. The Holy Spirit is given to the person who is to be converted, who, having made His residence in the soul, reveals to the soul how polluted it is from every perspective, causing the soul to detest and abhor itself, to be filled with shame, to be humbled, and to be perplexed concerning its condition. In addition to this the Holy Spirit reveals God to the soul as being holy, majestic, just, good, and a God of truth. He reveals to the soul the necessity and the fullness of the Mediator and grants him some understanding as to how he can be reconciled and united to God. He works love and fear for, and obedience towards, God. How precious this becomes to the soul, causing him to betake himself to the Mediator Jesus, to receive these matters out of His fullness! This produces grief and sorrow over the fact that the soul cleaves to all that is before the eyes and cleaves to sin—both the great as well as the small sins, both external and internal sins. Now he perceives and is conscious of all these sins of which previously he took no notice. Such a soul now seeks to exercise communion with God and desires to be near Him. The soul is either joyful or sorrowful in relation to whether he is far from God or close to Him. His disposition is one in which his back is turned the world and sin, even though he is frequently ensnared by them. He lives focused upon God, and even though all is darkness, he looks to Him for light, life, spirituality, comfort, strength to do battle against sin, as well as for holiness. Such a soul is not satisfied with mere performance. He knows that he must perform good works, but wishes to do so by faith, in union with Christ, and through Him unto God, doing so in the presence of the Lord out of love to God, in the fear of God, in obedience to God, and with denial of self.

Source: Wilhelmus à Brakel – Dutch theologian from the late 1600s

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Omniscient God

You, however, who take your refuge in the Lord Jesus, choose Him as your Surety, receive Him by faith, find all your hope and comfort in Him, and fear and serve the Lord—how the omniscience of God ought to be to your comfort! For,
1. He is cognizant of your sincerity relative to Him and your desire to please Him. …
2. The Lord knows of your religious exercises in secret, prayers, supplications, wrestlings of faith, sighs, weeping, cleaving to Him, reading, meditation, holy intentions, fear of God, and godly walk. …
3. The Lord knows of your secret strife; of your wrestling against unbelief; of your sorrow over your sins, lack of light, and being afar from God; and of all your spiritual anxieties. …
4. The Lord perceives your bodily needs, adversities, poverty, and tribulations. …
5. The Lord is cognizant of your innocence when people with lies speak evil of you and slander you. …
Oh, what strong consolation may believers derive from the omniscience of God, for He does not merely take note of their misery in an external sense, but He beholds them with compassion and is ready to help them in the time of His good pleasure!
(Source: Wilhelmus à Brakel)

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