Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 14, 2015

The Consistency of Reformed Doctrine to Scripture

Today’s devotion comes from 2 Samuel 7:18-29.

“18 Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord, and he said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far?  19 And yet this was insignificant in Your eyes, O Lord God, for You have spoken also of the house of Your servant concerning the distant future.  And this is the custom of man, O Lord God.  20 Again what more can David say to You?  For You know Your servant, O Lord God!  21 For the sake of Your word, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness to let Your servant know.  22 For this reason You are great, O Lord God;  for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.  23 And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land, before Your people whom You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, from nations and their gods?  24 For You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and You, O Lord, have become their God.  25 Now therefore, O Lord God, the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and his house, confirm it forever, and do as You have spoken, 26 that Your name may be magnified forever, by saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel’;  and may the house of Your servant David be established before You.  27 For You, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made a revelation to Your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house’;  therefore Your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to You.  28 Now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant.  29 Now therefore, may it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You.  For You, O Lord God, have spoken;  and with Your blessing may the house of Your servant be blessed forever.”  2 Samuel 7:18-29.

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Reformed Doctrine has been taught in many different ways through Scripture.  To speak in terms of art, we have seen it taught as clearly as photographs in the doctrinal letters of Paul to the churches in the New Testament.  On the other side of the art spectrum, we have seen it taught with much less clarity as abstract art in the history stories of the Old Testament.  And, today, in the prayer of David, we see it taught with medium clarity, like French impressionist paintings.  Maybe, the parables of Jesus also fit in this third category.

But, this is the question with all these categories of Scripture:  Is Reformed Doctrine at least consistent with the Scripture?  

Today, we will examine how Reformed Doctrine is at least consistent with today’s Scripture.  We will consider “Total Depravity”, “Unconditional Election”, “Limited Atonement”, “Irresistible Grace”, and “Preservation of the Saints”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Consistent with the humility of “Total Depravity”, David started his prayer with “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far?”  Verse 18.

Consistent with “Unconditional Election”, David declared:  “For You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and You, O Lord, have become their God.”  Verse 24.

Consistent with “Limited Atonement”, David asked:  “And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself …?”.  Verse 23.  Note that David did not speak of redemption as universal redemption (that is, God redeems everyone), but rather as particular redemption (a/k/a “Limited Atonement”).  David singled out the one nation of Israel whom God redeemed.

Consistent with “Irresistible Grace”, David fully credited God.  “For You, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made a revelation to Your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house’;  therefore Your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to You.”  Verse 27.

Consistent with “Preservation of the Saints”, David concluded with his recognition and prayer that it is only through the blessing of the LORD that his house with continue forever.  “Now therefore, may it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You.  For You, O Lord God, have spoken;  and with Your blessing may the house of Your servant be blessed forever.”  Verse 29.

In summary, David summarized Reformed Doctrine:  “For the sake of Your word, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness to let Your servant know.”  Verse 21.  Let us break down that verse in three parts.  First, “For the sake of your word”:  the purpose of Reformed Doctrine is to help us understand Scripture by giving us a doctrinal framework or road-map.  (For the general importance of doctrine and creeds, check out the tag on top of my web site titled “Creeds”)  Second, “according to Your own heart”:  Reformed Doctrine is all about what God wants, not what we want (“For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 9:15-16).  Third, “You have done all this greatness”:  Reformed Doctrine exalts God’s works, not man’s will nor man’s works.

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