Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Monday, December 22, 2014

"An Homily or Sermon Concerning the Nativity and Birth of Our Saviour Jesus Christ"

The following text is from the Second Book of Homilies of the Church of England, published in 1571. The author of the sermon is John Jewel, who was a disciple of Peter Martyr Vermigli. My Sunday school teacher, Tim Scott, had our class read from this sermon a couple of weeks ago at Kosmosdale Baptist Church. The following words are definitely a clear expression of the common Reformed Protestant [=biblical] understanding of Man's fallen condition and God's provision of a Savior.

John Jewel
Among all creatures that God made in the beginning of the world most excellent and wonderful in their kind, there was none, as Scripture beareth witness, to be compared almost in any point unto Man; who, as well in body and in soul, exceeded all other no less than the sun in brightness and light exceedeth every small and little star in the firmament. He was made according to the image and similitude of God; he was indued with all kind of heavenly gifts; he had no spot of uncleanness in him; he was sound and perfect in all parts, both outwardly and inwardly; his reason was uncorrupt; his understanding was pure and good; his will was obedient and godly; he was made altogether like unto God in righteousness, in holiness, in wisdom, in truth, to be short, in all kind of perfection. When he was thus created and made, Almighty God, in a token of His great love towards him, chose out a special place of the earth for him, namely, Paradise; where he lived in all tranquility and pleasure, having great abundance of worldly goods, and lacking nothing that he might justly require or desire to have. For, as it is said, "God made him lord and ruler over all the works of his hands, that he should have under his feet all sheep and oxen, all beasts of the field, all fowls of the air, all fishes of the sea" (Psa 8:6-8), and use them always at his own pleasure, according as he should have need...

But, as the common nature of all men is in time of prosperity and wealth to forget not only themselves but also God, even so did the first man Adam: who, having but one commandment at God's hand, namely, that he should not eat of the fruit of knowledge of good and ill, did not-withstanding most unmindfully (or rather most willfully) break it, in forgetting the strait charge of his Maker, and giving ear to the crafty suggestion of that wicked serpent, the devil. Whereby it came to pass that, as before he was blessed, so now he was accursed; as before he was loved, so now he was abhorred; as before he was most beautiful and precious, so now he was most vile and wretched, in the sight of his Lord and Maker... insomuch that now he seemed to be nothing else but a lump of sin, and therefore by the just judgment of God was condemned to everlasting death.

This so great and miserable a plague, if it had rested on Adam, who first offended, it had been so much the easier, and might the better have been borne. But it fell not only on him, but also on his posterity and children forever; so that the whole brood of Adam's flesh should sustain the selfsame fall and punishment which their forefather by his offense most justly had deserved. St. Paul in the fifth chapter to the Romans saith, "By the offense of only Adam the fault came upon all men to condemnation, and by one man's disobedience many were made sinners" (Rom 5:18-19). By which words we are taught that, as in Adam all men universally sinned, so in Adam all men universally received the reward of sin, that is to say, became mortal and subject unto death, having in themselves nothing but everlasting damnation of both body and soul. "They became," as David saith, "Corrupt and abominable; they went all out of the way; there was none that did good, no not one" (Psa 14:1,3). O what a miserable and woful state was this, that the sin of one man should destroy and condemn all men, that nothing in all the world might be looked for but only pangs of death and pangs of Hell! Had it been any marvel if mankind had been utterly driven to desperation, being thus fallen from life to death, from salvation to destruction, from Heaven to Hell?

But behold the great goodness and tender mercy of God in this behalf. Albeit Man's wickedness and sinful behavior was such that it deserved not in any part to be forgiven, yet-to the intent he might not be clean destitute of all hope and comfort in time to come-He ordained a new covenant, and made a sure promise thereof; namely, that He would send a Messiah or Mediator into the world, which should make intercession, and put himself as a stay between both parties, to pacify the wrath and indignation conceived against sin, and to deliver Man out of the miserable curse and cursed misery whereinto he was fallen headlong by disobeying the will and commandment of his only Lord and Maker. This covenant and promise was first made unto Adam himself immediately after his Fall, as we read in the third of Genesis, what God said to the serpent on this wise: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; he shall break thine head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen 3:15).

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