Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fearing God - The Duty of Man

When I was having my long discussion on this blog with Hardshell apologist Jason Brown, we got into the issue of whether the "fear of God" was a proof of regeneration.  In other words, are all those in Scripture who are said to have feared God and trembled before him those with renewed souls?  Brown contended that Cornelius (Acts 10) was regenerated or born again before he came to Christ, before he believed and obeyed the Gospel, because he is said to fear God.  My contention was that he was not saved till he heard the Gospel by the mouth of Peter and was saved.  (Acts 11; 14)  I also contended that the extreme position of Brown and the Hardshells on this issue forces them to say that the demons are regenerate, for they fear God and tremble before him.  (James 2: 19)

In this posting I do not wish to focus on the issue of whether all who fear God are saved, but to focus on whether fearing God be not both a duty and a blessing accompanying new life in Christ.  One of the leading Hardshell premises that they have given as an oracle to the world, which they think inspired and a rule or key for interpreting Scripture, is one that says "whatever is a duty cannot be necessary for eternal salvation."  And this similar one - "whatever is given in regeneration cannot be a duty."

Of course I have already in this blog posted numerous proofs from Scripture that show the falsity of their proposition.  In this posting I will add to those proofs this text.

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."  (Ecc. 12: 12-14)

What is the "whole duty of man"?  Does it not include fearing God?  Keeping all his commandments?

Wrote Dr. Gill in his commentary on verse 12:

"Fear God" and especially Jesus Christ, the "Alpha" and "Omega", the sum and substance of the whole Bible..."

On verse 13 he said:

"the fear of God" includes the whole of internal religion, or powerful godliness; all the graces of the Spirit, and the exercise of them; reverence of God, love to him, faith in him, and in his Son Jesus Christ; hope of eternal life from him; humility of soul, patience and submission to his will, with every other grace...and "keeping of the commandments", or obedience to the whole will of God, is the fruit, effect, and evidence of the former; and takes in all the commands of God, moral and positive, whether under the former or present dispensation; and an observance of them in faith, from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory of God..."

I don't know why some men claim that Dr. Gill was opposed to duty faith and repentance in light of the above words.  Gill says that the command to "fear God" includes loving and believing God and his Son Jesus Christ.  He also says that it "takes in all the commands of God," which must include the command to believe and repent and acknowledge Christ.

On verse 14 he wrote:

"Not in this life, but in the day of the great judgment, as the Targum explains it; that is, whatever has been done by men, from the beginning of the world, or will be to the end; all being observed and taken notice of by the omniscient God, who has registered them in the book of his remembrance, and, being Judge, will be able to bring them all into account at that awful day: which is here given as a reason why men should fear God, and keep his commandments..."

Was the view of Gill here the "old Baptist" view in the time of Gill and before?  Is it NOT the view of today's Hardshells who nevertheless call themselves "primitive" Baptists?

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