May 31, 2010
Amen! –to what you conclude: “And I conclude by saying—If GAY MARRIAGE is INEVITABLE, then FIRE and BRIMSTONE, both in this world and the world to come, is also INEVITABLE. —see 2nd Peter 2:6, Jude verse 7, Genesis 13:13 and all of chapters 18 and 19 of Genesis.”
And I like the verse you quoted at the end: Prov. 28:13. The NKJV says, “He who covers [conceals –NIV] his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
For absolutely, no one will find mercy from God, since their assault against His holy instructions and just expectations is heinous… UNLESS………! –Unless they confess their sins AND –AND –AND!!! —FORSAKE their sins! Forsake means renounce and turn from. Not just for today or for one week –like fasting it or something!– but forever! I read Romans 1-6 this morning and again was hit with some very sobering truth that makes me tremble for us all. I hopefully will be able to write it for a blog post in the next day or so.
Oh, the hoards of “Christians” that are not making it to Heaven; but……… so smugly think they are! It does make me weep. For many are just downright deceived! Deceived because, in wanting to fit in, and hoping to have an excuse to hold onto that “oh-so-enjoyable” sin, they listen to “promisers of peace” when there is absolutely NO peace between sinner and God! The peace is only for those who, by abiding in Christ and His words, forsake the sins they confessed in repentance!
Unbelievable… –the foolishness of so many. It’s called, “Head In The Sand” –while a wretched fate speeds toward them like a tsunami…!
P.S. I’ve been praying for you several times a day, every day, about getting more work and for finances to come in for all three of you. God is blessing me… If we have to wait, it is often that we can later look back and SEE the results of our faith –that time frame (which seemed to last sooooooo long)– when we calmly kept the faithful assurance, which is so pleasing to our God… assured that He would come through for us, deliver us, save us, help us… –that He would part the Red Sea. For “He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him” (Ps. 145:19), and we do “receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.” (1 John 3:22)
Those are promises from the One who cannot lie, and we know and rest in believing ALL His promises –which that Holy Bible is so full of! So hold on. As He said clearly to me back a year ago (on May 27, 2009), “Patience, waiting one, for the Holy One on whom you wait, will not disappoint you.”
And He certainly hasn’t.
May 30, 2010
What is the purpose of Scripture? Well, one concise answer is found in 2 Tim. 3:16. It says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” And verse 17 continues, saying there is also a further purpose: “… so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Most of us know these verses well, but often use them to point out the authority of Scripture –that it is indeed inspired by God and the whole of it is His divine words to mankind. Definitely, this is a wonderful and important point. But what I am focusing on right now is not what Scripture is and where it originates (from God’s mouth), but what it is useful for.
Again, here are its uses:
Training in righteousness
Being thoroughly equipped for every good work
Now, with such valuable uses, it does seem strange that it is not then employed more often by those who say they believe it. For should not every believer aspire to be a “man of God” –meaning a servant of God who knows Him and communes with Him –all for God’s glory and the furtherance of the Gospel? And would not this servant want to be thoroughly equipped for every good work? Of course.
But how does he get equipped? By loafing around, puttering around the shop, playing golf, or by watching movies, sports, and news? What about by reading the latest Christian novel or Christian history book? How about by going to seminars about how to evangelize, study the Bible, or preach?
No, fine as those things may be sometimes, the way a servant of God equips himself for every good work –the kind of work that is in line with God’s perfect will for each individual– is to read, study, and meditate on Scripture, the Words of none other but the Living God whose Word is supernatural, living, active, sharp… (Heb. 4:12) and is Jesus Himself. (John 1:1,14 & Rev. 19:13) For nothing can compare with the Word itself in equipping us to do God’s work. For His work must be done under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit does not teach, rebuke, correct, or train us apart from using Scripture. He may use circumstances, devotional books, books on doctrine, conversations with others, sermons, His creation, etc., but these things are used in addition to the Scripture, not separate from it.
I’ve heard many Bible teachers quote this Timothy passage in order to support their ability to teach, rebuke, correct, and train others. Though applying the authority of these verses can be legitimate when used by a gentle and humble Spirit-filled teacher, often it can be misused to manipulate, teach falsehoods, or even spiritually abuse others. So why not apply this passage to our own selves? Can we not all allow the Spirit of God to use His Word in these ways toward us? We should.
And what would the Holy Spirit, in using the Scriptures, teach, rebuke, correct, and train us about? Would it not be about knowing God better and how to obey Him more quickly, eagerly, and perfectly? And what is that called? Wouldn’t it be called “training in righteousness”? Yes. For if we are trained in such, then we are able to fellowship with God and do His bidding in courage, joy, and faith. We’d be thoroughly equipped to pray, praise, and serve Him in every single way He would desire.
In fact, God’s purpose for Scripture –that Word that goes out from His mouth– will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish the purpose for which He sent it. (Isa. 55:11)
May it be so in the lives of every believer… every servant of God.
May 29, 2010
The Lord is in control. Disaster follows disaster in this fallen world… chaos, confusion, damage, loss, accidents, catastrophes… but those whose trust is in God and His Word, know that we have One who is mightier than all. For even all the world’s wise men, though they feverishly attempt to solve the problems constantly arising on our groaning planet, usually find that they cannot. And even when some men may have more money than they could ever spend, they realize that it’s completely useless to solve the problems of their marriage, their rebellious teen, or their hopeless slavery to their own wretched sin.
And for those who have fame or talent or beauty, what does that matter either? Everyone knows, as these people know too –deep down in their hearts– that such things are fleeting –here today, a new star to top them, tomorrow.
So what do we keep our eyes on? –Those of us who know what the worldly people know nothing about? –Those of us who walk in an entirely different kingdom –though for now it remains inside this world’s kingdom… indeed, a kingdom within a kingdom… a bubble of light within the darkness?
Yes, our eyes are on Him. On Christ Jesus. On our Shepherd- Master… our God… our King.
This God is not only mighty Himself, but His voice is mighty. “The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars… [It] strikes with flashes of lightning… [It] shakes the desert… [It] twists the oaks and strips the forests bare… The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever.” (Ps. 29:3-10)
“For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountains peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for he made it, and His hands formed the dry land.” (Ps. 95:3-5)
Therefore, we can say, “Lord, the disasters are in Your hand. The people… the children… The hills with wildlife… And Lord, the oil spills –with its damage done to the habitat? –That’s Your creation, Lord. It belongs to You. The sea is Yours. So please have mercy on Your creatures, Your creation. For God, You are compassionate, and mighty to save.”
Will He listen? Can He save? Absolutely! Such tasks are small things to Him. For as King, as Creator –He who created with His word (Ps. 33:6)… –is He not then in control of it all with His word, His voice, His command? He is. “He sends His command to the earth; His word runs swiftly.” (Ps. 147:15)
So “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.” (Ps. 95:6,7)
Therefore we will “ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; [and] worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.” (Ps. 29:2)
And say to Him: “I will praise You, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of You among the peoples. For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth.” (Ps. 57:9-11)
Yes, Lord. For You see it all. And You are in control over it all.
Therefore, we continuously put our trust in You.
May 28, 2010
A person is not unfaithful unless they once were aligned with another person at one time. So if someone did not ever know the Lord, walk with Him, or lay claim to His promises, could he be considered unfaithful to God? Maybe, in one sense –since all people have rebelled against God’s righteous law which He’s put within every conscience.
But then, how much more unfaithful would God consider those who had once communed with Him, yet turned away? What about those who have known the Lord (2 Peter 2:20), yet like Peter denied Him (Luke 22:54-62), or like Solomon, whose heart turned away from the LORD? (1 Kings 11:9) What about Gideon who spoke with the Lord, demolished an altar to Baal, led a courageous battle to victory for the Lord, yet later led Israel into idolatry? (Judges 8:27) What about King Saul, who the Lord picked as Israel’s first king, on whom the Spirit of God came (1 Sam. 10:10 & 19:23), and of whom 1 Sam. 10:9 says, “God changed Saul’s heart…”, yet of whom later God said of, “…he has turned away from Me and has not carried out My instructions” (15:11), and so had His Spirit depart from Saul? (16:14)
These types of people are especially grievous to our God –unless of course, they repent and turn again to the Lord in obedience. For it is like a double betrayal. For not only did they rebel against God’s law at one time, but then after deciding to follow the Lord, they later deliberately turn away. (1 Tim. 5:15) 2 Peter 2:20-22 says doing this is worse than if they had not known the way of righteousness in the first place! Like the grief and anger we’d feel from an unfaithful spouse, child, or friend, the unfaithfulness would hurt deeper than coming from an acquaintance or someone we barely knew.
“Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.” (Ps. 73:9) But their words claim things that do not match their hearts. “Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.” (v. 10) Indeed, others love what they teach, for they like claiming eternal life –as well as supposed God-sanctioned earthly prosperity– while still being allowed to tolerate sin in their lives.
However, what does verse 27 of the same chapter warn? It says, “Those who are far from You will perish; You destroy all who are unfaithful to You.” Does sin keep us far from God? Certainly. Can we come to God unless we genuinely repent of all known sin? No. To draw near to God, must we ask for cleansing, determining to never go back to the sin? Yes.
What does this verse –Ps. 73:27– say will happen to those who are far away from God? It says they will perish. And what about those who are unfaithful to God? What will God do to them? It says clearly: God will destroy them all –every one of them. No favorites. No exceptions.
Does unfaithfulness to God land someone in Hell?
It looks that way.
So should a “Christian” who lays claim to Heaven consider that turning toward sin, not carrying out God’s instructions, or denying the Lord’s kingship in one’s life –by sinful words, thoughts (heart), or deeds– might in fact cause them to be condemned to perish, instead of being saved, come Judgment Day?
It looks that way.
May 27, 2010
Does obedience to the Old Testament Law bring about the righteousness that God requires? No. For “the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.” (Heb. 9:9) Instead, “we have now been justified by His [Christ’s] blood… reconciled to Him [God] through the death of His Son… [and] saved through His life!” (Rom. 5:9,10) This sacrifice takes away our sins (Heb. 9:28) and makes us holy. (10:10) And it is “the blood of Christ… [which] cleanse[s] our consciences from acts that lead to death…” (9:14)
What are acts that lead to death? Well, we know that all sin, any sin, leads to death. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23)
Jesus died as a ransom to set us free from sin. (Heb. 9:15) This freedom is offered to all; but it must be taken by faith. Once it has, accompanied by genuine repentance, obedience to God comes as a result. (Rom. 1:5) “For in the Gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is from faith to faith, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.'” (1:17)
Is this a righteousness that is merely credited to the believer apart from what they do? It is not. As James 2:24 says, “… a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” For faith, as verse 22 informs us, is made complete by what we do.
So again, how do the righteous live? As Rom. 1:17 says, it is by faith. But Paul is quoting Hab. 2:4. And that says, “… the righteous will live by his faith” –with the word “faith” here also meaning “faithfulness”. So it can be translated, “… the righteous will live by his faithfulness.” Faithfulness to what? –to who? Well, the two verses before and after verse 17 give us a good idea. Rom. 1:18 lets us know it is about faithfulness (or the lack thereof) to Truth and godly living, while verse 16 speaks about the Gospel and how it is the power of God –which is the power to live pleasing to God, as the whole chapter says people purposefully won’t do.
Therefore, when those considered righteous by God live their lives, they must have faithful faith. They must be faithful to the Gospel, to Truth, to Christ Jesus, to God, and to righteousness itself.
This is why Rom. 6:15 asks, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace [–“the new order” –Heb. 9:10)–]? By no means!” For “we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Rom. 7:6) But that new way, that new order, that new covenant, still requires righteousness. “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known… This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Rom. 3:21,22) It is a righteousness that follows God’s moral, ethical law –the “law of the Spirit”. (Rom. 8:2) That law on which hangs all the law (Matt. 22:40) –“‘Love the Lord your God… [fervently, and] ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (v. 37-39) “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” (Rom. 2:13)
And again, is that the Old Law? No, it is referring to that law coming from a circumcised heart –one whose “circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.” (Rom. 2:29) And that Spirit will enable us to obey Christ’s commands, who is, and whose “name is the Word of God.” (John 1:1,14 & Rev. 19:13) As Jesus says in Luke 11:28, “Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it.” And back to the continuation of Rom. 2:29: “Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.”
In other words, such a man then –when he obeys– is righteous before God.
May 26, 2010
Let’s say that I claimed you as my best friend, yet often I ignored you, joined others when they’d laugh about you, and would even sometimes come up and slap you in the face. When these things were done, I’d sometimes pretend I didn’t do anything, while other times I’d say that I’m sorry –sometimes with a flippant attitude, sometimes accompanied by tears of remorse.
Does a sinner do anything less to God? –Especially when coming from one who says he loves Jesus? Why is it that so many who claim to be Christians keep talking lightly about their sin? Like downtown today at the train depot when I spoke with an acquaintance of mine who often himself preaches and evangelizes. Every time I talk with him, he makes statements about how we all sin. I can understand this coming from non-Christians or baby Christians, but why preachers?! And it’s not just him. I have been hearing this from such mouths for years now. And truthfully, it’s quite depressing. Because if the preachers themselves and other promoters of God’s Word can’t gain victory over sin, then how in the world do they expect their hearers to do so? Well, that’s just it –they don’t. They want to heap disciples after them, their church, and their belief system –not after Christ and The Truth. As the saying goes, “Misery loves company.” They are miserable that they can’t overcome sin, so rather than take the effort to slay it, they just make compensations to excuse it. And hoping others will also, they somehow feel better and more eternally secure.
Pretzel-twisting can be attempted to make God’s Word say what we want it to, but the distortions are obvious to anyone who is reading without the bias of wanting to hold onto sin or falsehoods. For example, how else can 1 John 3:6 be interpreted except in the way intended? It says, “No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.” Does that say anything about “the practice of sinning”? No. Sin-loving “Christians” often insert words that aren’t there. But, even if the word “practice” was in there, how would that really change much? How much of committing something makes it a practice?
We can be assured that most people would consider just a few times of indulgence to be a practice. Like, say, adultery. How many times a year of that indulgence would be considered a practice? Or how many slugs to one’s nose would it take to view that a practice? How many rapes? Murders? Thefts?
C’mon, sin is sin. Yet God’s Word tells us that we who are born of God cannot go on sinning. Yes, that’s what it says. Right there in 1 John 3:9. We can compare all the versions, but this is definitely what the verse is saying.
Or how about 2 Tim. 2:19? “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” Is it wicked to commit an immoral act? It certainly is. Jesus says in Matt. 5:28 “that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Then He goes on in verse 29 to say, “If your right eyes causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into Hell.” In other words, that lustful look? –It’s so wicked, it will get you thrown to the place of the damned.
How about lying? I find that most “Christians” do make allowances for themselves to tell a lie now and then. Yet Rev. 21:8 includes liars in the list of those who will have their place in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. I guess God must consider lying pretty wicked then too.
How about slanderers, drunkards, or the greedy? Well, 1 Cor. 6:9,10 informs us that such will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Heaven).
The point is this: Sin, for the person who is in Christ, has been slain. Eradicated. Destroyed completely. This is why 2 Cor. 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” The old and new what? The old and new natures. The old sinful nature is gone (Rom. 8:13); the new divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) has come. (*See note below.) As Col. 3:9,10 says, “…you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self…”
Therefore, if someone is trying to teach that we can love God, follow Jesus, yet at the same time sin deliberately –or have it control, overcome, or master us– then that person is teaching something contrary to what Christ and God’s Word teaches. Get away from such weak coaches, for under such teachers, you will never achieve the “Gold Medal” –eternal life. Instead, go to God’s Word. There you will hear the True Teacher’s voice –the Spirit of Truth, who will guide you into all truth. (John 16:13)
(*Note: This does not mean we are little gods; it means we die to self and thus being God’s temple, we shine out Him –the Divine One.)
May 25, 2010
In yesterday’s post I made reference to the fact that God is impartial in His judgement toward all people concerning where they spend eternity. For contrary to what Calvinists teach, God extends to all humankind His grace through Christ’s death and resurrection (1 John 2:2), the ability to know of Him through creation (Rom. 1:19), and a conscience to know right from wrong (Rom. 2:15) and seek that Creator (Acts 17:27) who can assist us in being upright.
Calvinists teach that God preordains some people to go to Heaven and most others to go to Hell. And that this decision of God’s is random –based on absolutely nothing we humans do.
However, the whole Bible is full of the opposite teaching, for it says God wants all people to come to repentance and be saved (2 Peter 3:9) and that He will judge us according to our deeds –that being if we did God’s will or if we did not. (Matt. 7:21 & 1 John 2:17)
1 Peter 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.” Many who say they are Christians definitely need to pay more attention to that command! For they are neither reverent nor fearful of God. Instead, they think that God, their “buddy”, is winking at their sin. Yet this verse informs us that it is our WORK that is going to be judged –and judged impartially. Which means, it is not based on who we are, but on what we DO. For the judgement is not based on what we SAY we believe, but on whether or not we live up to what we claim. (1 John 2:3,4)
God Himself says, back in Deut. 10:17, “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” So is He going to be swayed by someone’s words, “Oh, I love You, God. I just love my sin and myself more. But I believe in You and what Jesus did! And I’ll even evangelize for You once in a while. I’ll go to church and sing about You. Okay? Okay, thanks. Because I do want to go to Heaven when I die, not Hell.” –? No, God will not accept such silly bribes. He will show no partiality. He has set up instructions –obedience to Him, His will, His Son, His Spirit, and His Word– and that alone is what He is going to base His judgement upon. Yes, the Door to salvation is Jesus –repentance and trusting in Him– but the road must be walked too, with no turning back. (Luke 8:13,14 & 9:62 & Rev. 2:11)
Jesus’ impartiality was also obvious. In Luke 20:21 we read that spies questioned Him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth…” For even they knew that the way of God, that which is in line with the truth, never bows to partiality, but only to what is right.
What is it that brings on wrath from God? Well, Rom. 2:5 says it is having a stubborn and unrepentant heart. Is this merely about believing or not believing in what Jesus did on the cross? No. The whole spiritual world believes it, even the evil realm, for they saw it. But have they repented? No. How about those who say they’ve repented, but keep on sinning? Well, 1 John 3:8 says, “He who does what is sinful is of the devil…” while verse 6 says, “…No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.” Then verse 10 says, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.” Did we catch that word “do”?
Rom. 2:6 says, “God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done.'” Did we note each word in that verse? And this is the quoting of two other verses. One is Prov. 24:12 which asks, “Will He not repay each person according to what he has done?” And the context shows this question is being addressed to those not bothering to “rescue those being led away to death.” (v. 11) Then verse 23 says, “To show partiality in judging is not good.” With such verses to read, how can the Calvinists say that God can be partial with His grace, yet remains a good God? It’s because they listen to and follow a false god who is teaching them distortions and lies.
The other verse Rom. 2:6 is referring to is Ps. 62:12. That one says, “Surely You [God] will reward each person according to what he has done.” Do Calvinists want to continue making a mockery of such verses?
Rom. 2:7-10 says, “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil… but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good…” Can even a child not comprehend what God’s Word is saying here?! It’s not talking about rewards. It’s talking about Heaven or Hell. It’s saying, “Do good, find eternal life. Do evil, find yourself under God’s wrath.” This IS what is being contrasted. “For God does not show favoritism.” (v. 11)
And the good deeds must be done, not from impure motives, but for God’s glory, and from a circumcised heart –that done by the Spirit, not by the written code. (Rom. 2:29) For as God says in the verse right before the Deut. verse I quoted above, “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.” (v. 16) And as Col. 2:11 says, “In Him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ.” It’s about putting off sin, and putting on Christ. (Rom. 6:11 & 13:14)
And again, because God “shows no partiality” (Deut. 10:17), “and there is no favoritism with Him.” (Eph. 6:9)
It’s all based on what He finds in our hearts. –Be it circumcised –or not. For He knows which heart will obey His will –through actions.