Following A Human Guru

July 16, 2018

Friends,
Last week, Wednesday, while evangelizing at the train and bus stops downtown, I went up to the restaurant area as I sometimes do. It’s always a less receptive crowd up there and also less people who believe the Bible is the Word of God. I encounter more atheists there as well as more people with weird beliefs.

There was one particular guy (I’ll call him Lance) who crossed the street toward me and to whom I offered one of my tracts. He stopped but wouldn’t take one and when I said it mentioned fearing God, he immediately told me that we should never fear God. I said we should and I was going to remind him of some Scripture verses that said so, but he interrupted me and asked if I knew a certain teacher on the internet, and he said his name. I said that I had heard the name (since I’d watched this psychologist once or twice but was not aware of anything spiritual that he teaches.)

“Oh, he is great!” Lance was all aglow as he talked about his favorite internet guy’s (very bizarre) teachings. On he went, oblivious to his rudeness of making me listen to him when he had refused to listen to me or even take a one-paragraph tract I’d written. He even reprimanded me when I gave him a look of disbelief.

“You’re just following a man,” I finally was able to interject. “How do you know he’s right?”

Lance went on to give me his reasons. He had initially said he believed some of the Bible, but when I tried to speak again of it, he turned to go, repeating that I should listen to his teacher who definitely has the Truth (supposedly).

“He is your guru!” I exclaimed. “Yikes!”

Lance was already stepping into the crosswalk, but he looked back at me with surprise, like I’d jolted him, for a moment, to his senses. I hope I did. I hope he thought about it and the foolishness of following a mere man… trusting a mere man… to teach him spiritual truth.

Why do people do such a thing? Why do they risk their lives and eternities on some human teacher who has simply made up his or her own brand of spiritual truth? Why do they not seek God Himself, research the validity of the Bible, and study there?

After Lance left, I thought of some Scriptures that, sadly, I felt described his state of being: “…but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…” (Rom. 1:21,22) And, “the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” (1 Cor. 3:19) And, God has made it so that “the world through its wisdom does not know Him.” (See 1:21)

Truly, no amount of listening to “wise” people is going to get anyone anywhere closer to knowing God, the Truth, the Way, the Life. It has to come by studying and believing His Word, listening to His Spirit teach us through His Word, and putting His Word into practice by the power of His Holy Spirit.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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Friends,
When people speak about signs that we are in “the last days” or are nearing the end of the age, we often hear them speak about the increase of natural disasters, alignments in the heavens, and the deceptions of false teachers. But what about the warnings from Scripture about the dissipation of love?

Jesus warns, “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.” (Mt. 24:10) Some of us have observed Christ-followers who have gotten lax or preoccupied with the world and turned back from following Jesus. But what about those who go further –hating those whom they once loved and even betraying them? Isn’t this increasing?

I used to think that in Mt. 24:12 when Jesus says, “…the love of most will grow cold” He meant that the love many had for Him would grow cold. However, if we look at the context and the verse above (v. 10), the cooling love seems to be directed toward other human beings. The verses imply that those who were once loved, namely family members and close friends, would be those who would become hated and betrayed by those whose love had grown cold. More than this, Jesus seems to be revealing that love itself within many people would wane –that they would cease to be loving, compassionate, thoughtful, warm-hearted, caring, merciful people, and that by doing this, they would be turning from Him (who is Love), even if they weren’t aware of it.

What causes this love growing cold in so many? Jesus tells us. He says in verse 12 that it is due to the increase of lawlessness. I’m sure most of us would agree that we hear from the news that this is happening throughout the world, and we likely notice it ourselves in our own experiences. Wickedness is rampant, evil is spreading, and disrespect and disregard for laws –both moral and civil laws– has been intensifying for years. And because of this, the love of most is growing cold –so cold that it has flipped into hatred as well as betrayal against those who were once cherished and protected.

2 Timothy 3:1 warns us, “There will be terrible times in the last days.” The following verses state that people will love themselves, money, and pleasure, but at the same time be without love toward other people, or toward God, goodness, or the Truth. (v. 3,4,8) They will have a form of godliness, but yet deny its power (v. 5), and they will be controlling and deceptive. (v. 6,13) Slanderous, treacherous, proud, unforgiving, abusive –these being just some of their other characteristics (v. 2-4)– are how they persecute their parents and those who are living godly lives. (v. 2,12) We are commanded to stay away from such people. (v. 5) –Not so that we behave unloving toward them, but so that, as 1 Cor. 15:33 warns, we do not learn their ways and also become corrupt.

1 John 4:12 tells us that “if we love each other, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” Is God’s love being made complete in us? Or have we stagnated it and let it cool? “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (v. 8 ) Indeed, when people behave cooly toward others, they reveal their lack of intimacy with God. They reveal their rejection of the Faith (Mt. 24:10-13), they reveal their opposition to the Truth (2 Tim. 3:8), and they reveal their denial of the power of Christ in their lives. (v. 5) Such people face rejection by God (v. 8 ) if they do not repent and walk in love, for as Jesus warns, “those who stand firm to the end will be saved.” (Mt. 24:13) Stand firm in what? The Faith. (v. 10) But what does the True Faith consist of? Doesn’t it appear that Jesus is stating in verses 10-13 that it consists of Truth, righteousness, and warm-hearted (fervent, tender) love? In fact, it looks like Jesus is revealing that these three concepts are synonymous.

The increase of lawlessness is threatening the existence of love in the world, of love amongst believers, of love in our hearts. But we can resolve to resist those icy winds, so that by the power of Christ, we will be found standing firm to the very end.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
On Wednesday, while evangelizing at the bus and train stops downtown, I was surprised by one of my prayer partners who met me there to pass out some of her tracts beside me for almost an hour. She had gotten off work early and her evangelism efforts, even in her shy way, as well as her faithful prayers, blesses me so much!!!

I was also blessed by a man –a white guy who said he is 64 years old– who told me that he just started following the Lord two months ago when he got out of prison after a 30 year term. He had a big Bible in his backpack he showed me and he was so excited to talk to me about Jesus and His Word and he told me about some situations where he too had witnessed to people recently. He also told me about ways the Lord was providing for him miraculously. He also said he had gotten a place to stay in a ghetto area, but clearly, he was thankful and hopeful and trusting in the Lord. He said he doesn’t have any friends yet, but he said he is ministering to others as best he can. Readers, please pray that this man goes on being thankful to the Lord, trusting in Him, and grows to be a mighty servant of God.

A little black woman, who I’ve talked to before, came up and hugged me. She had a boot on her one foot and when I asked about it, she said she’d gotten hit by a car. She gave me four quarters and when I said I don’t take money, she insisted, so I gave it to the guy who’d been in prison 30 years who I was still talking with. He was so thankful for it and hugged the little woman who was also clearly joyful about giving a blessing.

I talked with many others –one guy who complained that since there are so many different beliefs, how is one to know which is the Truth. He listened well as I spoke with him about it and he said he would take my suggestion to ask the Creator to reveal Truth to him and he also said he would read God’s Word.

Before that I spoke with a young atheist/evolutionist and when I reminded him that all that is built –like DNA, a skyscraper, a computer, and a cell phone– has to have intelligence putting it together to make it function, he did seem to waver, saying that maybe there is a Creator-God. I encouraged him to seek Him and he said he would.

A young man approached me at a different bus stop and said he was excited to see me evangelizing and said that he and his church group do the same –even with signs. He was definitely a blessing to talk with.

From there, on my way back to the train area, a well-dressed black woman seated on a bench, asked as I walked by, “What propels you to do this?” I stopped and said, “Well, the love of Christ.” She and I had a wonderful conversation about the Lord and right before her bus came she asked me to be praying for her about persecution she has been receiving. I said I would.

Later, when I was headed back to my car, a guy with an African accent took my tract and then tried to give me money. I said I don’t take money, but he then asked me to look up a verse, which I did, and he stuck a dollar between the pages and closed my Bible. I laughed and said thank you and went on my way. Seeing that my meter still had 25 more minutes on it, I headed for a busy traffic corner near there (the corner where I had witnessed for quite a while to the topless-bar dancer I wrote about before). An old white woman I’ve seen before greeted me and said she was headed for work (at a deli). She took my tract and asked me to be praying for her. I said I would and then gave her the dollar that that last guy had just given me. She was SO grateful. (Even a dollar is a lot for those in poverty.)

This morning I received a text from someone who works at the country nursing home where I still sometimes visit. She is so poor and needs some help. She has told me before that she is trying to follow the Lord and she has sometimes texted me for prayer, giving no specifics.

There are so many needs. May we all do our part… do what we can… to help a hurting world by giving them Jesus –His Word, His message of hope and freedom and salvation, and His love and compassion and care.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

But We Are To Fear God!

June 19, 2018

Friends,
We are to fear God. Jesus tells us to fear Him who has authority to throw us into Hell (Luke 12:5) and reveals the depth of this necessary fear by actually negating our need to fear those who can kill us yet who “after that can do nothing further.” (v. 4) The contrast is stark! We are not to fear humans or anything they fear, but we are to fear God! (Ps. 56:4 // Isa. 8:11-13 & 51:7,12 // Heb. 13:6 // Rev. 14:6,7 & 15:4)

Heb. 9:27 reminds us that we die once and afterwards will face judgement. Chapter 10, verses 26-31 warn us that those who keep on sinning, thus insulting Christ, His blood, and His Spirit of grace, deserve severe punishment, should fear judgment and raging fire, and should dread the Living God who avenges. Rom. 11:22 warns us as well, that we should reflect not only on God’s kindness, but also on His sternness, so that we will be careful to walk the Way of Truth, faith, and humility. (v. 20,21) It is no small thing to be commanded to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil. 2:12) We must do so. Thus we must courageously resist those who teach otherwise and we must fight our own tendency to be lax. In other words, we must fear God!

Fearing God has to do with believing God and His Word. Those who do not believe God and His Word do not fear Him. Those who do not fear the Lord do not believe Him and His Word. They are not believers. Those who are true believers do fear God. Those who do fear God believe what He says —what He states, what He warns, what He promises, and what He commands, and they act accordingly. They trust God, they follow Jesus and His teachings, and they submissively obey the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, holy fear of God, propelling actions of obedience to God, is what true faith looks like. (Heb. 11:7)

1 Pe. 1:17 says, “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” This verse should be one of our life verses. We should meditate on it often. Let’s read it slowly, thoughtfully. Let’s consider each word and take the information and the command to heart. For we are being told that God is going to judge our work, our lives, our behavior –our obedience and holiness, or lack thereof. (v. 13-17) We are being told that the Lord will judge our deeds impartially, meaning He will judge our character and conduct without being partial to what claim we have made. Yes, this is the case, for it is clearly a warning to those who claim God as their Father (v. 17) / to those who are “God’s elect… who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood.” (v. 1,2) Consequently, may none of us become “hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Heb. 3:13) and develop a “heart that turns away from the living God” (v. 12) so that God says of us, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.” (Titus 1:16)

Heb. 12:25 says, “See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks.” The verse goes on to caution us about turning away from God who is warning us. The next four verses inform us that God is going to shake out all that is not firmly in His Kingdom, reminding us of this, and that God is a consuming fire, so that we will worship and serve Him acceptably –with gratitude and with godly fear, respect, reverence, and awe.

Many say that the numerous passages of Scripture that command us to fear God are merely commands to reverence God. But this is not so. God’s Word tells us to reverence God and to stand in awe of Him, but when we are told to fear Him, it means to fear Him. When we study Scripture’s references about fearing God, it includes dread and terror. God is the Eternal King of Kings, the Most High Sovereign, and the All-authoritative, All-seeing Judge. Though He is merciful, He is also completely just and holy. He does render to everyone what each person has done, said, and thought. (Mt. 12:36,37 // John 5:29 // Rom. 2:5-11 // 1 Cor. 4:2-5 // 2 Cor. 5:10 // Heb. 4:12,13) Absolutely, He will reward us or punish us, He will acquit us or condemn us, based on what He has seen in and from us.

To fear God is to be pursuing discipline, wisdom, insight, humility, and the knowledge of God. (Pr. 9:10 & 15:32,33) We cannot know God, understand Him, walk with Him, or have our prayers met if we do not fear Him (Ps. 33:8,9 & 145:19 & 147:11 // Pr. 2:1-5), and we will lack His provision and protection. (Ps. 33:18,19 & 34:7-11) We cannot hate pride, perverse speech, and all other evil, nor keep ourselves clean by rejecting sin, if we do not fear the Lord. (Job 28:28 // Pr. 8:13 // 2 Cor. 7:1) If we do not fear the Lord we will not talk about Him with love and honor nor with correct doctrine. (Mal. 2:1-9 & 3:16-18) If we do not fear the Lord (His Name and His Word which He has exalted above all things –Ps. 138:2), then we cannot please Him and we will not receive Eternal Life. (Ps. 2:10-12 // Pr. 23:17,18 // Isa. 66:2 // Acts 10:35 // 2 Cor. 5:9-11 // Gal. 6:8)

“Now… here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ec. 12:13,14) So, just as the early church, while enjoying a time of peace, strength, growth, and encouragement by the Holy Spirit, was “living in the fear of the Lord” (Acts 9:31), let us obey the command to “live as servants of God” (1 Pe. 2:16), which means, simply put, to “fear God”. (v. 17) Then we will be included in that great throng to whom it will be said from Heaven’s Throne: “Praise our God, all you His servants, you who fear Him, both small and great!” (Rev. 19:5) “‘For I am a great king,’ says the LORD of Hosts, ‘and My Name is to be feared among the nations.'” (Mal. 1:14)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Divorcing Christ

June 5, 2018

Friends,
With all the divorce going on, it seems strange that many Christians think that it is not possible for someone to “divorce” Christ. If they cannot recognize that Scripture teaches that we can do so, and that we must therefore carefully guard against it, it does seem that people would admit the concept just through watching any relationship go sour, for, truly, numerous relationships that begin excitedly and happily and with expectations of harmony and unity, do just that.

Paul says in Gal. 1:6,7a, “I am astonished that so quickly you are deserting from the one who called you in Christ’s grace to a different gospel –which is really no gospel at all.” He goes on to inform us that adhering to a false gospel is to walk the road of confusion and damnation. As he also warns in 1 Tim. 4:16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” Anyone then, who does not continue in the Truth (learning it, knowing it, and living it), being warped and sinful, is self-condemned. (Titus 3:9-11)

Shouldn’t we take note of what John 6:66 says? It informs us that after hearing a teaching from Jesus that they didn’t like, “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” John says “disciples” did this. Disciples are those who listen and learn from and follow a particular teacher. However, they changed their minds and turned back. What does Jesus say of such individuals? He says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) In other words, defectors will be rejected at the celestial gates.

1 Tim. 4:1 says, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” To abandon something or someone is the same as to renounce, disown, discard, and completely give up. We certainly have seen people give up a hobby, a career, a philosophy, a belief, a marriage, or a person. It does happen, and quite frequently.

In one’s relationship with the Lord, the Lord is always faithful, even if we are not. (2 Tim. 2:13) This does not mean, however, that He will not disown us if we disown Him, for precisely this consequence is what verse 12 states. It says there, “If we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we disown Him, He will also disown us.” Not only is this last statement clearcut, but it, along with the first statement, seems to draw a contrast –that those who do not endure in the Truth (in dying to the old and living in the new –v. 11 // Rom. 6:1-11) have, through their failure to endure, disowned Christ and will not reign with Him in His coming Kingdom.

“But I haven’t disowned Jesus,” a person may say. Yet such a person is forgetting that the Word of God reveals that there are more ways to disown Christ than by declaring, with words, a renunciation. Titus 1:16 says, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.” The two verses previous say of these types that their minds and consciences are corrupt and that they do not believe the Truth. This tells us, then, that though people may claim to know God, through their sinful actions and minds they are actually denying Him. Jesus makes this same concept clear in Mark 8:34-38 when He teaches us that in order to save our soul we must deny ourselves, carry our cross, follow Him, and not be ashamed of Him and His words. 2 Tim. 3:1-8 speaks similarly, revealing that although certain people may have a form of godliness, they remain depraved and rejected if they are denying God’s power –particularly that it is fully adequate to transform.

There are numerous other passages in Scripture that warn us that it is possible to veer off the Path of Truth (who is Jesus Himself). There are warnings in Revelation to the church of Sardis about their deeds not being complete (3:2), and thus the command to “strengthen what remains and is about to die”. (Same verse) Verses 4 and 5 show that one must live pure and be an overcomer to be found worthy so as to not have one’s name erased from the Book of Life.

The Lord warns the Ephesian church as well: “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (Rev. 2:4,5) Forsaken, fallen, repent, remove… these words make the warning clear: Christians can forsake the Lord, fall away, and be removed from their position of salvation. Verse 7 adds to the fact of this concept when Jesus says, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” In other words, those who do not overcome (do not continue in the Truth) will not be given that right. Verses 10 and 11, addressed to the Smyrna church, show also that one must overcome, and be faithful until death, to reap eternal life.

Peter warns that people who distort the Scriptures do so to their own destruction. (2 Pe. 3:16) He warns us to be on our guard about not falling for these distortions which would cause us to fall from our secure position in Christ / in Salvation. (v. 17) He warns us to make every effort to be found blameless before God. (v. 14) He warns us that it is possible, after escaping the world’s corruption by knowing Christ, to again be entangled and overcome by the world, which would put us, he says, in a worse position than had we never know the way of righteousness. (2:20-22) Heb. 6:4-6 says similar and so does chapter 10, verses 26-31 and 35-39. Jesus Himself explicitly taught that there are those who believe the Word of God for a while, but then through hardships or pleasure, fall away (Luke 8:11-15); and He said as well that there are those in Him who get cut off, thrown into the fire, and burned because they did not remain in Him through obedience to His commands. (John 15:1-10)

I could go on with the Scripture verses, but what I am pointing out should be clear: People can “divorce” Christ. They can turn from following Him. They can disown allegiance to Him and His words. They can commit treason and “adultery” against Him. (Ja. 4:4) They can spurn His Kingship and Leadership. They can rebuff His love and His Shepherding and His voice. They can do all this even after years of having loved Him and having worshipped Him.

We’ve all seen someone disown a spouse, even after 10, 20, 30, or 40 years of upholding a marriage covenant. It does happen, and it happens because one or both allow temptations or boredom or trials to wedge in and divide them. Humans are fickle and we have to work to not be so. Jesus is never fickle, but always faithful. However, He also will not force anyone to come to Him or stay with Him. I came across a youtube video a couple of weeks ago of a man who talks on and on about how silly it was of him to have loved Jesus and have fervently evangelized like he did for so many years. He says he had believed in Jesus and His words whole-heartedly, but now his claim is that he knows he was under the influence of brainwashing. Did this man formerly have a genuine relationship with the Lord? He says that at the time, he was certain that he did; but now he says it was merely an illusion. Sadly, this is certainly not the only “divorce” from Christ that I’ve seen.

Disowning the Truth is a possibility –for any of us. We must, therefore, in order to remain unified with our Lord, make every effort, and take every precaution.
Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,

An analogy:

A small, old-fashioned church building stood on a shady hillside over-looking a lush meadow, a tranquil lake, and a winding railroad track. The members of the church decided to host a picnic for some new families in town and the day they chose turned out to be lovely. Many people came and spread their blankets on the hillside and proceeded to have a time together of good food and fellowship.

Unfortunately though, there arrived down by the lake, several cars from which emerged a bunch of noisy, drunk, young people. They played loud music and shouted and swore and laughed as they swam in the water and played on the train tracks. The church picnic seemed ruined.

However, the church choir director, a former award-winning athlete, stepped forward announcing that he would take care of the boisterous crowd below. The parishioners agreed that something must be done so they watched in anticipation as the volunteer walked down to the drunk rabble, turned off their music, and tried to reason with them. Obviously the drunks didn’t listen but instead sat down on the railroad tracks and started singing incoherently while waving their arms so as to mock the choir director. What the choir director did next shocked even the church people, for he, one by one, knocked them all out with his fist. Hence, there on the tracks, lay the whole group of drunk people, quiet and still.

As the choir director made his way back up the hill, the picnickers began discussing what had just happened. “But notice how quiet it is once again,” someone said. “Yes,” said another. “Those people down there are evil anyway.” Soon all the church people were happily eating again, playing croquet, or relaxing on their blankets, ignoring the whistle of a train in the distance.

“Oh my!” said the choir director suddenly. “A train is coming!” And off he raced down the hill. The rest of the people looked on, motionless with horror. Nevertheless, their tension eased when they saw that the choir director had already quickly saved a few of the unconscious drunks, pulling them several yards off the tracks to safety.

The train was coming fast, though, and the picnickers could see that the bend in the tracks would keep the engineer from being able to see in time the doomed people still laying on the tracks.

“There is still time to save the rest,” whispered a church woman.

“You’re right,” answered someone. “But then why is our choir director just standing there?”

“He saved some,” snapped another. “I didn’t see the rest of us running down there to save any.”

The congregants watched as the choir director went to the edge of the lake, rinsed his hands, and splashed water on his face, his back turned to the railroad track as the train swept by and rattled off into the distance. Everyone just stared.

Soon the choir director started back up the hill to the picnicking people.

“That was heroic!” a man suddenly yelled out to the “hero”, and others chimed in similar cheers.

“But he could’ve saved all of them,” a little girl noted, whimpering.

“He didn’t have to save any of them,” countered someone. “If those people hadn’t have been drunk, they could have gotten off the tracks themselves, and they actually would not have been there in the first place.”

“But our choir director is the one who knocked them out while they were on the tracks,” an old man responded cautiously.

“They were on the tracks because they were mocking,” someone else retorted. “Those wretches deserved what they got.”

“Yeah,” another agreed. “Didn’t you notice that our dear choir director tried to reason with them first?”

“So true!” several people said in unison.

At this, many of the parishioners stood up and crowded around the choir director, applauding him for his heroism in saving a few of the doomed drunks from the deadly fate the rest of the drunks encountered.

Hmmmm…. what should the reader think of this choir director? Was he really a hero? Any reasonable person would say no, he was not a hero, but was in fact a mass murderer. And how should the church people be viewed? Were they sane?

Let’s ask the Calvinists now: How is this choir director much different than their god –their god who, from eternity past, supposedly ordained all thoughts, words, and actions (meaning evil ones as well) that occur throughout history, who ordained that Lucifer would rebel and propagate sin and horror and anguish, who ordained the fall of man in Eden by decreeing that Adam and Eve disobey him, who sent his son to die for those few he chose to save from eternity past, and who created most people to be damned (though he could have saved them also), and all this so that he might receive more glory from those who should be grateful for their eternal salvation and peace?

How should we view the calvinists’ god? And furthermore, how should we view the calvinists themselves who adore such a god?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
My husband and I came across this one minute clip last Saturday and listened, appalled, as R.C. Sproul explained how God’s regenerative (saving) grace has not been offered to everyone: https://youtu.be/pA-MdYusaIM

Sproul is not teaching the Good News here, but rather perverting it. Gal. 1:8,9 has a dire warning of eternal condemnation for those who do this, and verses 6 and 7 reveal that anyone who believes the words of such teachers are deserting the Lord to walk in the confusion of a different gospel –one that does not save.

The issue really comes down to what all false doctrines tout: “God actually means something other than what His words appear to mean.” It is therefore an issue of the authority of the Word of God. Who is a person going to believe? –The straight-forward, commonsense reading of Scripture, or instead the philosophies that men impose upon it.

God’s Word has told us repeatedly that God, in wanting all people to be saved (2 Pe. 3:9), sent Jesus to pay for sin, all sin, thus pardoning everyone (Isa. 53:6 // John 1:29 & 3:14-18 // 2 Cor. 5:15 // 1 Tim. 2:3-7 // 1 John 2:2) and that the Light (Life / Jesus) has been given / offered / extended to every single human being. (John 1:4-9 & 12:32 // Titus 2:11) This Gift of Salvation is not forced upon any person, but each person, of his own choosing, must reach out and take the Gift, doing so by believing in Jesus’ name. (John 1:12 & 6:28,29,33,40 & 11:25,26 // 2 Cor. 5:18-21) After the person chooses to do this, God gives that person the right to become His child / to be born from above, and to be an heir of eternal life. (John 1:12,13 & 3:3-21,36 // Eph. 1:13)

Calvinists don’t accept that the word “world” in God’s Word means “world”. They change the word to mean “the world of those elected by God from eternity past to be saved”. They refuse to acknowledge that in doing this they are rejecting the authority of the Word of God so that they can press into the text their man-made theology. Moreover, they refuse to recognize that in claiming that God decreed, from eternity past, everyone’s fate –some to be saved and most to be damned (for His glory and because He wills this scenario)– they are actually negating the need for Jesus to die to pay for anyone’s sin. Truly, why would Jesus have had to die for the elect if the elect were already, from eternity past, and before they believed in Jesus, unchangeably decreed saved?

Certainly Calvinists, in holding to their doctrines of TULIP and claiming that God has already predetermined every thought, word, and action, including evil ones, should admit that their theology, if viewed logically, tosses out the need for evangelism, prayer, and preaching. In fact, why waste our time trying to do anything but meet our own indulgences, since God has supposedly already preordained everything, including who will be saved and who will be damned?

That false, absurd, and even cunning, philosophies of men and demons persist (Col. 2:4,8 // 1 Tim. 4:1) is why it is crucial that we read Scripture for ourselves, accept the clear statements that we read there, and progress in the knowledge of the Truth through the teaching of the Holy Spirit Himself. (John 14:26 & 15:15 & 16:12-15 // 1 Cor. 2:9-16 // 1 John 2:26,27)

~~~Let’s consider these verses, though there are many more, regarding the Truth that Jesus paid the ransom for all mankind:

In Mt. 28:19 Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”

In Luke 2:10 we read that an angel of the Lord said to the shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

In John 1:29 John the Baptist says of Jesus, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

In John 6:33 Jesus says, “For the bread of God is He who comes down from Heaven and gives Life to the world.”

In John 12:32 Jesus says, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth will draw all people to Myself.”

In Rom. 5:18 we read, “Therefore, just as one trespass brought condemnation for all people, so also one act of righteousness brought justification of life for all people.”

In 2 Cor. 5:15 we read, “For all He died, that those living should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them, and was raised again”; and in verse 19, “God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.”

In 1 Tim.2:3-6 we read, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the Truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men.”

In Heb. 2:9 we read, “…He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”

In 2 Pe. 2:1-3 we see that Jesus “bought” (redeemed / ransomed) even heretics, who, in following their heresy, forfeit their own salvation and bring condemnation and destruction to themselves.

In 1 John 4:14 the apostle John says, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.”

It is clear that Scripture teaches that Jesus died for all mankind.

~~~Now here are some verses, though there are many more, that show that everyone has been offered eternal life by means of choosing faith in Jesus:

In John 3:15,16 Jesus says, “…the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

In John 5:24 Jesus says, “Whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

In John 6:40 Jesus again reveals God’s way of salvation by saying, “For My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son [it’s a choice] and believes in Him shall have eternal life…”

In Acts 10:43 Peter says, “All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”

In Rom. 1:16 Paul says, “…the Gospel… is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”

In Rom. 4:24 Paul says, “…God will credit righteousness –for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.”

In Rom. ch. 10 we see that the Gospel is for the whole world, and that anyone who believes it, trusts in Christ, confesses that Jesus is Lord, calls on His name, and submits to God’s righteousness, is justified and saved. Note: We pursue God’s righteousness by faith (9:30-10:4) and in the power of His Spirit (8:4), and this results in obedience, righteousness, holiness, and eternal life. (6:16-22)

In Rev. 22:17 we read, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”

~~~God has commanded everyone to repent and believe the Good News, but giving this command would make God disingenuous if, while commanding this, He was actually withholding from many the ability to repent, believe, and be saved. Yet this is what Calvinism teaches. However, the Truth teaches that God’s offer of salvation, as well as His commands, are genuine and given to all without partiality. (Acts 10:34,35) Here are some verses showing this:

As Jesus preaches through Galilee (Mark 1:14), He gives this command: “Repent and believe the Good News!” (v. 15)

Jesus says in Luke 24:46,47 that the Scriptures teach that “The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

In Acts 17:30 Paul says, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent.”

In Acts 26:20 Paul says, “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”

1 John 3:23 says, “And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love…”

Are we really to believe that God sends these exhortations out, through His messengers and Word, to all towns and nations, while at the same time refusing to enable most of the people to actually heed the words? Are Calvinists really describing the character and decrees of the One True God who is perfect in His justice? (Dt. 32:3,4) Or are they describing a god who sounds more like a demon? In contemplating this, let’s remember that Calvinism teaches that God commands everyone to repent, and He holds everyone accountable and guilty who do not do so, but at the same time, God also, they say, deliberately withholds the ability to repent from those He wills to damn.

So, let’s get it straight what Calvinists are teaching about God. They say that God, being Sovereign, could save everyone, but that He chooses not to do so, and not for the sake of allowing everyone the freedom to choose Him or reject Him, but instead because He wills (desires) that many be damned, and this for the purpose of making the elect be more grateful and full of praise toward Him. In other words, God relies on damning many people in order to get the highest possible praise from the elect for His love, mercy, and justice. This is indeed what staunch Calvinists teach, so besides a perverted gospel, they also proclaim a perverted god.

Do such reasonings not deeply defame the True God’s character and make Him out to be sadistic? It sounds similar to what a disturbed boy might do who collects a bunch of crickets, and deciding to play a fantasy game of war, proceeds to torture with pins and rocks those on the side he wants to lose. Would not all of us view such a boy as demented? What if he decided to torment a duck or a puppy –just because he could? We would call such a boy deranged and we would definitely try to save the suffering creature from the evil boy.

But humans, who God made in His image, are much more valuable to Him than any creature would be to us. God is our Creator and our Father. Thus He would rather have His Son be killed to ransom those He created than to have anyone, usurped by the devil and caught in his evil kingdom, remain there. Yes, many remain there, but it is due to their own rebellious insistence to remain there, not because God refuses to save them. (John 3:17-21) Yes, God will eventually disown them, but only after trying to woo them and plead with them, the whole course of their lifetime, to believe His Message, to repent, and to choose Life instead of Death. (Isa. 65:1-3 // Ezek. 18:30-32 // Mt. 23:37 // 2 Tim. 2:12 // Heb. 9:27 // 2 Pe. 3:9)

Sproul and other Calvinists seem to often try to soften their awful doctrine of Limited Atonement by bringing up God’s “common grace” for all. Yes, truly, God “is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6:35), is merciful to them (v. 36), and commands us to be merciful to everyone also. (v. 27-36) But why even bring this up when speaking about eternal salvation? For Jesus warned, “What good is it for a person if he gains the whole world yet loses or forfeits his very self?” (Luke 9:25) If Jesus considered all earthly blessings to be worthless if one’s soul is lost forever, then why pretend God is good to the un-elect if, while giving them blessings on earth, He nonetheless withholds eternal salvation from them?

Let’s say that a husband and wife choose to have a lot of kids –let’s say, 15 of them. They meet the needs of all their children for about the first eight years of their lives, but then arbitrarily banish each of them, except two, to the basement for the rest of their lives, giving them the bare necessities so they don’t die. For the two they preserve for living normally, they present repeated reminders about their gracious parenting skills and about how grateful those two should be, as well as how benevolent they were to all the other 13 children for each of their first eight years. When finally found out and sent to court, these two parents excuse their behavior before the judge by saying, “Those children belong to us, for we conceived and birthed them, and we therefore have the right to do with them what we will.”

But are these parents correct? Of course not, and any moral court would find these sadistic parents worthy of prison. Similarly, how can Calvinists excuse their god who supposedly reasons that because he created all humans, he has the right to decree eternal favor or eternal torture to each, irrespective of anything the individuals have done.

No, when someone causes a life to be created, the “creator” is responsible for that life while it is still in a helpless condition. If someone breeds dogs, that person is responsible to make sure all those dogs are well cared for. If God creates humans who come into existence upon an earth that has been taken over by an evil ruler (the devil), then God, because He is Love (1 John 4:16), does and has done, that which is required for every one of the humans to be redeemed and saved.

Sproul says in the above clip that God is not obligated to give grace to anyone, but he is wrong. Love obligates anyone and everyone to seek the highest good for every living creature to the best of one’s ability, and because God has all ability (all power) and is Himself Love (1 John 4:16), then He does obligate Himself to offer and seek everyone’s eternal salvation. And He has done just that –contrary to what the Calvinists are teaching.

God is Love. And God is just. He loves everyone, He wants everyone’s highest good, and He has therefore paid everyone’s ransom. As 1 John 2:2 confirms, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel