It is the will of God that Christ should bring all things in heaven and on earth back to a right relation with the Father. This is an unequal battle which Satan and his minions have no possibility of winning. Given that all things are governed by God’s eternal decree, this is a purpose that cannot and will not fail.
“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:20)
Everything on earth has been corrupted and disrupted by sin, including our culture and social institutions. There is a worldwide reach to redemption, the ultimate re-creation of a fallen world.
“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:20-23)
“The translators of the Authorised Version translated not only words, but they took with them the linguistic structure of the text. Wherever possible they retained the punctuation, clauses, and subordinate clauses, figures of speech, and more besides. They have given us a virtual transcription of the Hebrew and Greek texts in a style of English that has never been surpassed. Modern versions violate the integrity of the text,...and frequently reconstruct the text in such a way that the meaning is changed, obscured, or even lost altogether. Modern versions are consequently rarely a genuine translation but an equivalent, a rewriting of the Bible. We do not need an ‘equivalent’, either formal or dynamic, but a faithful and sympathetic rendering of the Scriptures in a language we can readily understand.” (p. 346)
Longer extracts here: SCRIPTURES
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"That which the true king is, the tyrant would seem to be, and knowing that men are wonderfully attracted with, and enamoured of virtue, he endeavours with much subtlety to make his vices appear yet masked with some shadow of virtue: but let him counterfeit never so cunningly, still the fox will be known by his tail: and although he fawn and flatter like a spaniel, yet his snarling and grinning will ever betray his currish kind."
− Junius Brutus, Vindiciæ Contra Tyrannos
We are all naturally inclined to lean upon a man whom we can see, rather than upon God whom we cannot see. We naturally love to lean upon the ministers of the visible Church, rather than upon the Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Shepherd, and Bishop, and High Priest, who is invisible. We need to be continually warned and set upon our guard. ...
We all naturally love to have a Pope of our own.We are far too ready to think, that because some great minister or some learned man says a thing,−or because our own minister, whom we love, says a thing, −it must be right, without examining whether it is in Scripture or not. Most men dislike the trouble of thinking for themselves. They like following a leader. They are like sheep,−when one goes over the gap all the rest follow. Here at Antioch even Barnabas was carried away. We can well fancy that good man saying, "An old Apostle, like Peter, surely cannot be wrong. Follow him, I cannot err."
− J. C. Ryle in Knots Untied
As godlessness increases in our western democracies, as our leaders seek to redefine morality, diminishing all real sense of right and wrong, so Christian believers are increasingly coming into conflict with the law. Our governments seem unable to bring themselves to punish wrongdoers adequately, and they are now frequently harassing the law abiding. This is a reversal of the godly order. The question now arises as to whether as Christian believers we are bound to obey every law our governments take it into their heads to put on the statute book?
This timely article has now been reprinted and is available free of charge to encourage wide distribution.
Recently reprinted in Bible League Quarterly (April-June 2012)
Even as the sovereignty of God encompasses the whole of reality and cannot be limited to those things deemed ‘spiritual’, so the authority of the Word of God extends to all things.
The 1611 Bible was never the 'modern version' of its day. The Authorized Version possesses its own unique English. ...
It is my settled conviction that those evangelicals who now oppose an inerrant and infallible Bible must also balk at biblical predestination, for the one cannot be held without the other. The God whom we know, love, honour and worship can do no other than speak infallibly. A much reduced and limited God, whose statements and works are susceptible to the vagaries of human fallibility, is one who has no real control either over the created universe or over himself. The denial of an inerrant Bible is also the denial of a sovereign God.
Genuine Christian believers make up a closely-knit community, a people with a style of living and a culture all its own. They do not seek unity but are already united as one body of Christ. Indeed, it is not possible to be a Christian believer and not be united with every other believer. To deny this unity is to deny we are Christ’s. Believers are one, even as the Father and Son are one, one in Him that the world may believe that God sent the Lord Jesus (John 1&21). Those who seek to be united imply an existing disunity, otherwise why would they seek unity? The true people of God are already one in Christ else they are not in Christ. If we are in Christ then we are all one in Christ with each other. It cannot be otherwise. To be anything other than united one with another is to be outside Christ. The body of Christ, the people of God, are a united body of those who profess that they with body and soul, both in life and in death, are not their own but belong to their faithful Saviour, who has with His own dear blood has fully paid for their sins and redeemed them from the power of Satan and has so given that without the will of their Father in Heaven not a hair of their head can fall (from Heidelberg Catechism). This is not the description of a universal ecclesiastical institution. Such are invariably divided, disunited, denying the Lord from heaven. The Lord Himself has placed all that is necessary among His people for the building up of that Body. Each and every member functions to this end and to the glory of Christ.
"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." (Romans 12:5)
There is but one Church and outside this Church there is no salvation. There are not two Churches, the visible and invisible, the local and universal. There is but one Church because Christ is one and He has one body. This one Church of Christ comprises all the elect, all the redeemed for whom Christ died at all times. The complete ‘membership roll’ of this Church is known only to God. We cannot decide, nor be invited to ‘join’ this Church but we are added to it by the Lord (Acts 2:47). Those who believe will seek the fellowship of each other whilst here on earth. These outward congregations are the visible and temporal manifestation of the Body of Christ in as much as they are true believers. They are sometimes called ‘Churches’ in Scripture. There will inevitably be those who attach themselves to local congregations of believers who are hypocrites having no saving faith, but they are not members of the Church of Christ in any sense.
Bishop J. C. Ryle’s remarks are a much-needed reminder for our day when understanding the true nature of the Christian Church has been undermined by a sectarian insistence on unduly emphasising largely its external or outward expression:
“I believe that to have clear ideas about the Church is of the first importance in the present day. I believe that mistakes on this point are one grand cause of the religious delusions into which so many fall. I wish to direct attention to that great primary meaning in which the word Church is used in the New Testament, and to clear the subject of that misty vagueness by which it is surrounded in so many minds.
Where is the Church? What are the marks by which this Church may be known? This is the grand question.
The one true Church is well described in the Communion Service of England, as “the mystical body of Christ, which is the blessed company of all faithful people.” It is made up of all God’s elect, of all converted men and women, of all true Christians. In whomsoever we can discern the election of God the Father, the sprinkling of the blood of God the Son, the sanctifying work of God the Spirit, in that person we see a member of Christ’s true Church.
It is a Church of which all the members have the same marks. They are all born again of the Spirit. They all possess “repentance towards God, faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ,” and holiness of life and conversation. They all hate sin, and they all love Christ.” (in THE CHURCH - what is it?)
Martin Luther also gives an excellent description of the Christian Church.
“Those who have and believe the Gospel are in Christ’s body, the Church (Ps,101:2). Unbelievers, even though they put on a ‘right and believing face’ are not and cannot be members of His body, but are rejected because of their rejection of His Gospel. The Church is a spiritual unity, or spiritual assembly. It is a holy, not a secular, kingdom – holy because of Christ’ merits, which are imputed to it (Ps 111:1; 114:2).” (Eugene F. A. Klug ‘Luther’s Understanding of ‘Church’, in Concordia Theological Quarterly, Volume 44 Number 1 January 1980 p.27)
“I believe that there is one holy Christian Church on earth, that is, the community or number or assembly of all Christians in all the world, the one bride of Christ, and his spiritual body of which He is the only Head. … In this Christian Church, wherever it exists, is to be found the forgiveness of sins, that is, a kingdom of grace and of true pardon. … Moreover, Christ and His Spirit are there. Outside this Christian Church there is no salvation, or forgivness of sins, but everlasting death and damnation.” (Luther’s Works, vol. 37, p. 367-368, Concordia edition)Here Luther is not thinking of individual congregations among which he anticipated there would be unbelievers and hypocrites. Nor does he have in mind any larger Church groupings such as Roman, Greek or Lutheran. What he has in mind is the one bride of Christ, His spiritual body, of which He is the head of “the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd” (Smalcald Articles  III:XII).
At the heart of the Christian Gospel, restored and revived to its rightful place, at the Reformation is the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ alone, in His merits alone and not our own works. It is a teaching now coming under attack, being modified or denied by some who previously confessed it including numerous evangelicals. The biblical name for this drift is apostasy. The teaching of justification by faith, or being declared righteous before God, in turn rests firmly on a biblical understanding of the doctrine of predestination, with no predestination there is no sure salvation. Were Christians not elect, not predestined to faith, then it would be quite impossible for anyone to believe, for nothing happens outside the perfect will of God. Were Christ not “the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8), there could be no sure promise of salvation.
Martin Luther was foremost among the Reformers in restoring justification by faith to its proper place in biblical preaching and teaching and he wrote this:
“For if you doubt, or disdain to know that God foreknows and wills all things, not contingently, but necessarily and immutably, how can you believe confidently, trust to, and depend upon His promises? For when He promises, it is necessary that you should be certain that He knows, is able, and willing to perform what He promises; otherwise, you will neither hold Him true nor faithful; which is unbelief, the greatest of wickedness, and a denying of the Most High God! And how can you be certain and secure, unless you are persuaded that He knows and wills certainly, infallibly, immutably, and necessarily, and will perform what He promises? Nor ought we to be certain only that God wills necessarily and immutably, and will perform, but also to glory in the same; as Paul, (Rom. iii. 4,) “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” And again, “For the word of God is not without effect.” (Rom. ix. 6.) And in another place, “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His.” (2 Tim. ii. 19.) And, “Which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (Titus i. 2.) And, “He that cometh, must believe that God is, and that He is a rewarder of them that hope in Him.” (Heb. xi. 6.). If, therefore, we are taught, and if we believe, that we ought not to know the necessary prescience of God, and the necessity of the things that are to take place, Christian faith is utterly destroyed, and the promises of God and the whole Gospel entirely fall to the ground; for the greatest and only consolation of Christians in their adversities, is the knowing that God lies not, but does all things immutably, and that His will cannot be resisted, changed, or hindered. (Bondage of the Will, Section XII. ‘The Sovereignty of God’)
All the Reformers emphasized the uniqueness of the elect. By God’s grace believers are called out and set apart from the mass of humanity. Being aware and convinced of their own salvation, they then set out to live for the glory of God. This consciousness of being called out is of enormous significance.