Mining Grace

…the more happiness you have, the more I shall count myself glorified

Archive for March 2008

Resolution 1 – Jonathan Edwards

“Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God, and my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration; without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved, so to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.”

– Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Hendrickson: Peabody, 2000), 1.lxii.


Written by Joe Holland

March 31, 2008 at 5:29 am

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The Cause of this Undeserved Election – Dort 1.10

But the cause of this undeserved election is exclusively the good pleasure of God. This does not involve his choosing certain human qualities or actions from among all those possible as a condition of salvation, but rather involves his adopting certain particular persons from among the common mass of sinners as his own possession. As Scripture says, “When the children were not yet born, and had done nothing either good or bad…, she” (Rebecca)” was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated”” (Rom. 9:11-13). Also, “All who were appointed for eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).

– The Canons of the Synod of Dort, 1.10

Why am I posting this?

Written by Joe Holland

March 30, 2008 at 7:58 am

Rational Righteousness Imputed

The biblical doctrine of justification–being made righteous before God by the imputed righteousness of Christ–is unpopular to many.  However, it is the very core of orthodox Christian religion.  The unpopular importance of this doctrine creates in me a certain joy when I read or hear pastors give pause to show the simple clarity of justification.

I came across an author doing just that as I read this morning from Thomas Boston’s works.  In expounding the Christian’s union to Christ, he gives the following application:

“There is a solid rational ground for the doctrine of our justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ.  Let profane men deride it as a putative or imaginary righteousness and justification, to make way for their own works; and let the corrupters of the Protestant doctrine set up faith, repentance, and new obedience, as our evangelical righteousness, upon which we are justified, as the fulfilling of the gospel-law; we need no other righteousness for justification but Christ’s.  For a believer is by faith united to Christ.  Having this union with him, we have a communion with him in his righteousness, which is ours, since we are one with him, and being ours, must be imputed to us, or reckoned ours on the most solid ground.  Christ is the believer’s Surety by his own voluntary act, the debtor’s consent by faith, the Judge’s approbation in the world.  What then is more rational than that this righteousness be imputed to the believer, and thereupon justified?” [1]


[1] Thomas Boston, The Complete Works of the Late Rev. Thomas Boston (1853; repr., Tentmaker Publications: Stokes-on-Trent, 2002), 1:553.

Written by Joe Holland

March 28, 2008 at 8:07 am

Spiritual Depression

Sorry for the lack of significant posting recently. I’ve been busy planning for our annual Bible Conference which begins tonight and runs through the weekend. Dr. Derek Thomas will be with us speaking over four sessions on the topic of spiritual depression.

Even though Derek is a good friend from my time serving in Jackson, I’ve never heard his stuff on spiritual depression. I’m anxiously awaiting his teaching on this crucial and personal topic.

Be in prayer for our church. We have been on our knees for the past week and half asking God to bless this conference to his glory. We want to see non-Christians come and hear the gospel. We want to see our own congregation grow in their knowledge of Scripture, God, and their own hearts. We want God to bless Derek’s preaching with spiritual power. We want Christ to be exalted and proclaimed as the only hope for the darkness of the soul.

I’ll keep you posted as I am able. I’ll also put links to the audio when it is available.

Written by Joe Holland

March 27, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Foremost Benefactors of The Human Race

“Paul passed a stranger and pilgrim through this world, hardly observed by the mighty and the wise of his age.  And yet how infinitely more noble, beneficial, and enduring was his life and work than the dazzling march of military conquerors, who, prompted by ambition, absorbed millions of treasure and myriads of lives, only to die at last in a drunken fit at Babylon, or of a broken heart on the rocks of St. Helena!  Their empires have long since crumbled to dust, but St. Paul still remains one of the foremost benefactors of the human race, and the pulses of his mighty heart are beating with stronger force than ever throughout the Christian world.”

–  Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church (Hendrickson: Peabody, 2002), 1.331.

Written by Joe Holland

March 25, 2008 at 9:31 am

1 Thessalonians 4:1-3a – The Will of God

I preached from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3a last night. In these two and a half verses Paul is making a transition and preparing the stage for what is to come.

Up to this point, Paul has been recounting to the Thessalonians what has happened in his journey since he left Thessalonica.  His emphasis was on his abiding love for the young Thessalonian church.  The end of chapter three records Timothy’s return from Thessalonica bringing with him a report about the state of the Thessalonian church.

In chapter 4, Paul begins to respond to some of the issues that Timothy tells him about.  He is most notably going to address sexual immorality, brotherly love, eschatology, and some scattered topics on morality.  But before any of this, Paul wants to briefly cover God’s will for these new believers–their sanctification.

I didn’t want to prematurely cover Paul’s exhortations without giving a sermon on the doctrine of sanctification.  That is what this sermon is for.

My sermon outline was as follows

  1. The increase of sanctification
  2. The authority of sanctification
  3. The will of God in sanctification

Under the last point I specifically addressed a definition of sanctification as well as answered the perennial question, “Is sanctification my work or God’s work?”

With this summary work done on the doctrine of sanctification I’m ready to cover in the coming weeks the more specific topics of sexual immorality and brotherly love.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-3a – The Will of God

Written by Joe Holland

March 24, 2008 at 11:11 am

Not on the basis of foreseen faith – Dort 1.9

This same election took place, not on the basis of foreseen faith, of the obedience of faith, of holiness, or of any other good quality and disposition, as though it were based on a prerequisite cause or condition in the person to be chosen, but rather for the purpose of faith, of the obedience of faith, of holiness, and so on. Accordingly, election is the source of each of the benefits of salvation. Faith, holiness, and the other saving gifts, and at last eternal life itself, flow forth from election as its fruits and effects. As the apostle says, “He chose us” (not because we were, but) “so that we should be holy and blameless before him in love” (Eph. 1:4).

– The Canons of the Synod of Dort, 1.9

Why am I posting this?

Written by Joe Holland

March 23, 2008 at 12:26 pm