Only the Doctrines of Grace, based on God’s sovereignty, are bound to His glory. Pelagianism and Arminianism, based on Man’s common sense, deceive their adherents into believing God is powerless to save anyone unless they agree to decide for Christ. The Bible teaches that saving faith is a gift of God He gives to those He chooses by His grace. Man’s responsibility is to believe and obey. The main point God used to break through my own resistance to the Doctrines of Grace was they are the only ones that glorify Him in every part. No other form of Christianity does that.
113 I hate those who are double-minded,
But I love Your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
I wait for Your word.
115 Depart from me, evildoers,
That I may observe the commandments of my God.
116 Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live;
And do not put me to shame because of my hope.
117 Uphold me that I may be saved,
That I may have regard for Your statutes continually.
118 You have rejected all those who stray from Your statutes,
For their deceitfulness is a lie.
119 You remove all the wicked of the earth like dross;
Therefore I love Your testimonies.
120 My flesh quakes for dread of You,
And I am afraid of Your judgments. Psalms 119:112-120 (LSB)
There are really only two religions in the world. The first is God-based Christianity. The other includes all other religions in the world including all forms of Man-based Christianity. Man-based Christianity is heretical. What is the difference? All religions except God-based Christianity are false. The false religions’ focus is on Man’s performance in an attempt to do good works to attain salvation.
Not all forms of Christianity are truly Christian because the basis for some of them is unbiblical doctrines. This makes them heresies and they have been invading the Church from the beginning. For example, parts of the New Testament attack Gnosticism. Paul also wrote against the false teaching of some Jewish believers that all Gentile believers must become Jewish proselytes. Both are heretical views because they teach false views of God and Man. The history of Christianity is replete with heresies. Heresies spring from pride, which is the root of Man’s rebellion against God. Pride causes Man to come up with false doctrines that attempt to elevate Man’s ability to accomplish salvation. Natural Man has a problem grasping the wonderful truth that the shed blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient to cover Man’s sin. The Bible clearly teaches that salvation is a merciful gift from God to Man by His grace through faith. It also clearly teaches that Man is completely incapable of coming to salvation without it.
Aurelius Augustine was the Bishop of Hippo in North Africa in the fifth century A.D. The Roman Catholics call him Saint Augustine. He was a godly man who was a first-line theologian. His books, City of God and Confessions remain with us today. He published a book of prayers, which contained one that incited a tremendous controversy. The offending prayer was rendered thus, “O God, command what you wouldst, and grant what thou dost command.” I have prayed prayers similar to that many times. I have asked God to help me obey Him by commanding me to do whatever He willed and to empower me to obey Him. That was the essence of that prayer. The one who took offense to that prayer was a British Monk named Pelagius. He was living in Rome. He saw that a lack of morality was the cause of that city’s corruption. He began looking for ways to inspire those citizens to seek to elevate their standards. His solution was to teach a theology based on legalism called Moralism. This teaches salvation by good works. It sees people coming to God by being good. When Pelagius read Augustine’s prayer, he took offense because it was the antithesis of what he taught. It seemed to defeat his efforts in cleaning up Rome. He protested and appealed to the Bishop of Rome to have Augustine’s prayer censured. He was not arguing against the first part of the prayer, “Command what you wouldst.” His problem was with the second part. Pelagius contended God, who is just and righteous and holy, would never command people to do something unless they already had the power within along with the moral ability to obey. He logically concluded that moral responsibility always and everywhere implies moral capability. He was offended at Augustine’s appeal for God’s grace to empower us to obey Him. He said that simple request offended God. However, his motive was to have the Bishop of Rome declare salvation by works as valid.
This debate eventually led to the Council at Orange, which declared Pelagianism a heresy. Prior to the convening of the council Pelagius’ disciples had time to prepare their own doctrinal statement. The essence of their doctrine was there was no such thing as original sin via Adam and Eve. They stated all of Adam’s descendents were responsible for their own sin. Augustine made it clear in his writings that sin entered man via the original sin and all of us are helpless to save ourselves without God intervening. Pelagianism contends any one of us is capable of not sinning and thereby living perfect lives, which would allow us to earn eternal life. What Bible were they reading?
Why am I going over all this ancient history? This heresy is still with us. Arminianism is a form of semi-Pelagianism. It states Man is capable of coming to salvation on his own accord. It states there is enough righteousness left in each of us to seek God and salvation. On top of that, it teaches that after salvation we can live perfect lives, but if we sin, we lose our salvation. Pelagianism and Arminianism are doctrines of men and of devils. They are contrary to what the Bible teaches. Their roots are in pride and they are false gospels, which portray a false Christ. They are the culprits behind the Western Church’s spiritual bankruptcy. They have infiltrated the church so well they appear to be orthodox. On the other hand, most church people see the Doctrines of Grace as a suspicious interloper. Some theologians, pastors, and Bible teachers believe the reason the present form of evangelism has supplanted the Doctrines of Grace is that the Holy Spirit has moved on. They contend it is a silly, sentimental mistake to seek to return to these old-fashioned doctrines. They think those who seek return to the form of Christianity that was the essence of the Protestant Reformation are actually seeking to return to the 16th Century way of doing things. That conception is misinformed and missing the point. Let us be honest. Which glorifies God? Only the Doctrines of Grace, based on God’s sovereignty, are bound to His glory. Pelagianism and Arminianism, based on Man’s common sense, deceive their adherents into believing God is powerless to save anyone unless they agree to decide for Christ. The Bible teaches that saving faith is a gift of God He gives to those He chooses by His grace. Man’s responsibility is to believe and obey. The main point God used to break through my own resistance to the Doctrines of Grace was they are the only ones that glorify Him in every part. No other form of Christianity does that.
We must look at one other heresy. It, too, is pride based. On one extreme, we have Pelagianism and Arminianism supplanting the sovereignty of God with Man’s responsibility. This other heresy supplants the responsibility of Man with the sovereignty of God. Both extremes are heretical. This heresy is Hyper-Calvinism. It takes the Doctrines of Grace and logically extends them to the extreme thereby exterminating Man’s responsibility to believe. Hyper-Calvinism suppresses evangelism. It teaches that all of the elect will come to salvation eventually no matter what so we really should not share the gospel freely because that would expose the non-elect, the reprobate, to it. Many Arminians falsely believe all adherents to the Doctrines of Grace are Hyper-Calvinists. That is not true at all. Many Calvinists have fought hard against Hyper-Calvinism. Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, John Bunyan, and Charles Spurgeon were Calvinists who were evangelical to the extreme. True adherents to the Doctrines of Grace teach the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of Man. They do not teach that God does His all to save us and we do nothing or that He does His part as we do our part in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. No, they teach what the Bible teaches. God saves us by grace through faith. His regeneration of our hearts enables us to believe. However, we must believe. That is our responsibility. We must exercise that faith He gives us for salvation to come. God does all, we do all. It is not cooperation. Salvation is surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ by the new believer. This surrender is our recognition that we are sinners and, in turn, trusting in the blood of Jesus Christ to cover our sins. Jesus is the Lord and savior of all who do this.
God’s sovereignty is the basis for the Doctrines of Grace. They glorify God in every part as they reveal Man’s utter helplessness to come to salvation by his own initiative or ability. The Born Again believers who are adherents to the Doctrines of Grace should not be the proud. Instead, they should walk humbly before God fully recognizing they are unworthy of His grace. There is no reason to become puffed up with pride about being one of the chosen of God. He did not choose anyone based on any trait inherent in him or her. He chose whom He chose according to His sovereignty. With this fully understood the path to becoming a Spirit-led believer opens up because humility is a key component in our becoming Christ-like.
Those who reject the Doctrines of Grace may come to salvation, but it is via a watered-down gospel, which does not teach anyone to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Since these believers do not know to do that, they have a huge chance of remaining Soul-led and frustrated in their powerless religiosity. The path to becoming a Spirit-led believer from this gospel is going to be much more difficult since they do not understand the importance of humility in their walk. Those who come to salvation via Hyper-Calvinism are in even worse shape. They think they have no responsibility at all. God saved them because of who they are and He will mature them as He sees fit. It should be obvious how both extremes are out of balance with the precepts from sacred scripture.
In this post, we are looking at the stanza titled, “Samekh.” The first line in this stanza is, “II hate those who are double-minded, But I love Your law“ The King James translates this passage as, “I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.” The Hebrew word translated as “double-minded in the LSB and “vain thoughts” in the KJV means “divided mind.” What sort of person is the psalmist describing here? The person the psalmist is describing is the opposite of the believer who has an undivided heart. The undivided heart is one that is Spirit-led. The Spirit of that believer is predominate over his or her Soul. That believer’s Soul is performing its original function of expressing and reflecting God. The psalmist expresses it correctly that the Soul-led condition where the Soul is predominate over the Spirit produces a heart that is full of vain thoughts. All adherences to false doctrines, heresies, come from these vain thoughts.
The Hebrew grammar in this verse shows us the psalmist was not referring to other people that he hated. He was stating to God how he hates for his own mind to be dominated by double-mindedness or vain thoughts. If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit we struggle with this as well. However, if we cultivate and maintain a clear conscience there will be no peace with double-mindedness in our being. It is our enemy and it must be mortified. We must hate it and seek to kill it. Of course, when we are Spirit-led we are walking in the Spirit and are wearing the full armor of God. We do not have these vain thoughts when we are walking in the Lord’s light communing with Him as we pray continually. However, the step out of His light back into flesh-dominated darkness is very short and quick. When that happens, we must repent and turn back to God. If we do not do this, our vain thoughts will dominate us.