The Terms Of The Covenants

October 31, 2011

Friends,
God (Dt. 29:6), through Moses, said, “Carefully follow the terms of this covenant…” (v. 9) This Old Testament (O.T.) Covenant was one of obedience (the Israelites’ responsibility) and of blessings (God’s responsibility). The Lord made the choice clear: “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.” (30:15) “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live… For the LORD is your life…” (v. 19,20) By choosing LIFE they were agreeing to love the LORD, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws. (v. 16)

However, this O.T. Covenant was not unconditional, for God gave a clear warning that went along with it: “But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed.” (v. 17,18) Page after page we read the warnings:

~~”If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all His commands… All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: You will be blessed…” (28:1-3)

~~”The LORD will establish you as His holy people, as He promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in His ways.” (28:9)

~~”However, if you do not obey the LORD your God… You will be cursed…” (28:15,16)

~~”The LORD will send you back in ships to Egypt [bondage and slavery] on a journey I said you should never make again.” (28:68) Let’s take note that the Lord is giving the warning that disobedience negates His vows to us.

~~”Make sure there is no… [one] whose heart turns away from the LORD…” (29:18)

~~”When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, ‘I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way.’ …The LORD will never be willing to forgive him; His wrath and zeal will burn against that man. All the curses written in this book will fall upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven.” (29:19,20)

People like Martin Luther and other OSAS adherents are extremely foolish to not listen to such warnings found over and over and over in God’s Word. Ohhhh…. but they must be thinking, “That’s the O.T. Covenant. We live under the new.” Okay, let’s go to the New Covenant and see what God’s Word says about that one:

~~”The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and… Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers… because they did not remain faithful to My covenant, and I turned away from them.” (Heb. 8:8,9) Let me stop and point out that God is indeed saying that there is something different with this new covenant. But, He is giving the reason for having to make a new covenant and that reason is that the people were unfaithful to the first one. And that because they were unfaithful, God is saying that He had to turn away from them –and actually forsake them. (Jer. 12:7)

~~In verse 10 of Heb. 8, God states what the New Covenant is: “I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.” The result will be this: That everyone in this New Covenant “will all know Me.” (v. 11b) It doesn’t say we will know “about” the Lord, but that we will “Know the Lord.” (v. 11a)

So, if God’s law is written on a person’s mind and heart, how will that person behave in contrast to how those under the Old Covenant behaved? That person will be faithful to God. And with what does God equate faithfulness to Him? If we simply look back to the verses I quoted above, it will be easy to see: OBEDIENCE. Obedience was required for the Old Covenant to remain valid, and it is required for the New Covenant to remain valid as well.

How does Jesus view those who say all sorts of honoring things about Him with their lips, yet have hearts that are far from Him? (Mark 7:6b) He calls them “hypocrites” (v. 6a), a group whose worship of Him counts zero. (v. 7) And in verse 8a Jesus clarifies that hypocrites are those who “have let go of the commands of God…” –which can be spelled: D-I-S-O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E. –Even though, as He finishes in verse 8b, they “are holding on to the traditions of men.” Church going… tithing… trying to appear good… doing benevolent deeds… will do nothing to save anyone if that person does not have a heart that seeks after God Himself (through Christ, the Way to God), does not get to intimately know Him, and does not continue to fully obey His Word and Spirit. (2 Thes. 1:7-10)

As Jesus says even to those who believe in Him (John 8:31), “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.” (same verse) “Then you will know the Truth…” (v. 32) Without holding to Christ’s commands, a person will not belong to Christ, they will not know the Truth, and they will not be “walking in the Truth.” (3 John 1:4) To not be walking in the Truth, is to not be walking in freedom (John 8:32), which means to not be on the Road to Eternal Life. For everyone abiding in (holding to… remaining faithful to…) the New Covenant knows what Jesus means when He says, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)

Our Lord means just what He says. Therefore it would take only a person under a strong delusion (2 Thes. 2:11) –a delusion sent upon them for refusing to love the Truth (v. 10)– who would be too blind to accept the clarity with which Christ, God’s Word, speaks, teaches, promises, and warns.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Christians often remind each other about putting on “the full armor of God” as Eph. 6:11 & 13 tell us to do. But I wonder if many of us meditate on the meaning of each piece of armor, how important it is to have all of it on, or even understand how to, in practicality, put it on.

First of all, to put the armor on, we should just quote (or paraphrase) verses 14-17 as we say we are clothing ourselves with it anew (daily) in the name of Jesus. However, just saying it doesn’t make it so if we are not wearing the armor through our actual lifestyles. In other words, if we are not “walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4) but are instead walking in false doctrines, then we can say we’ve buckled on “the belt of truth” (v. 14), but we will be deceiving ourselves. To have “the breastplate of righteousness in place” (same verse) is also not a reality if we are continuing to sin, nor will our feet truly be fitted, in position, and ready to go forth with the Gospel of peace. Furthermore, if we are not walking in purity then we will have no close communion with the Lord, which means we will not have strong and true faith with which to raise the shield when the evil one’s arrows fly toward us. We will certainly not use The Sword (the Word of God) correctly –because the Spirit of Christ will not be in the lead– and if this continues, we, by our deliberate sin, will ourselves have taken off the helmet of salvation (Heb. 10:26,27 & Titus 1:16 & 2 Peter 2:20-22), setting it aside because we’ve chosen to rebel against the One who is the armor.

Jesus is the armor. When we put on God’s full armor, we are “clothing ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” (See Rom. 13:14) We do this by not “thinking about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (see same verse) and by putting to death, by the Spirit, even the first temptation to sin. (See 8:13) This is how we keep our “minds set on what the Spirit desires” (v. 5) and how we inherit life. (v. 6,14)

It is our responsibility to direct our mind to focus on the Lord Himself (Col. 3:2) and take every thought captive to His obedience. (2 Cor. 10:5) Once we do, then He will help us direct our thoughts toward what will please Him –which is “to live a holy life.” (1 Thes. 4:7) This we do by having “been clothed with Christ” (Gal. 3:27) and by having our life hidden in Christ (Col. 3:3) “who is our life.” (v. 4) Again, we are told that it is our responsibility: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature… [for] now you must rid yourselves of all such things… since you have taken off your old self [along] with its practices and have put on the new self… [which is being conformed to] the image of its Creator.” (v. 5,8-10)

Why does this last verse say, “its Creator”? It is because two selves are being contrasted –the old and the new– and Christ is the Creator of that new self for us…. which is really Him. (Gal. 2:20) We are putting Him on every day. This is our spiritual worship (Rom. 12:1) and why we are to offer our bodies to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him. (same verse) However, the only way we can do this is to stop conforming to the pattern of this world and become transformed by the renewing of our minds. (v. 2) This is why Col. 3:10 teaches that the new self is “being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Eph.4:22 makes this same point: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.” Again we see that we are the ones to put off the old self –which we can do by the power of the Spirit we’ve been given. (2 Peter 1:3,4) We must do this once (when we are initially crucified with Christ –Gal. 5:24– as well as clothed with Christ by having been baptized into Him –3:27), but we must also deny self daily (Luke 9:23,24) or we will not remain in the Vine, will become withered, and will have to be thrown into the fire. (John 15:6)

We see that while Eph. 4:22 speaks of putting off the old corrupt self, verses 23 & 24 go on to exhort us “to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God…” –how? –“in true righteousness and holiness.” And verse 25 tells us how to take a first step toward this. It’s by putting off falsehood –and speaking truthfully. This is why walking in true and correct doctrine (the Truth) is vital. For if we allow ourselves to abide in heresies, we most certainly have reclothed ourselves with the old self and are walking in the pattern of the world and of the sinful, earthly nature.

So, when people think themselves to be wearing the armor of God, they need to be sure their minds and lives are truly hidden in that armor (Christ Himself) –the proof of that position exhibited through holy living. Otherwise the devil’s fiery darts will find their way through the cracks, and increasingly so as they successfully weaken the victim, eventually bringing him down to full spiritual death. (Heb. 6:4-6) But –Good News! We who continue to abide in Christ our armor, are kept “safe, and the evil one does not touch him.” (1 John 5:18) For the Lord has given us authority to trample the enemy and to overcome all his power. (Luke 10:19)

Therefore, “be strong in the Lord and in HIS mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Eph. 6:10,11)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
It is alarming that so many Bible teachers revere men who preach or “preached rebellion against the LORD.” (Jer. 28:16) Have we gone insane? Can we not read God’s Word for ourselves and recognize that men who teach a license to sin are speaking from a different spirit than God’s Spirit? The core Truth in the Word of God is not that difficult to understand. If a certain passage seems so, here’s the antidote:

First: We should say, “Lord God, I’m seeking Truth. So I humbly ask You to reveal to me what Your Word is saying here.”

Next: We should read the passage slowly and meditate on it, continuing to focus on God, and believing in His goodness, His mercy, and His eagerness to guide us into all Truth. (John 16:13)

Next: If we need further clarification we should compare Bible versions, as there are plenty available in modern language.

Next: To start with the correct perspective, and to counteract the prevalent false teachings that abound, here is a good place we can start: Heb. 10:26,27 — “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”

Next: We should read those two verses again and on down to verse 31 if we want the context, taking note that to deliberately sin is to purposefully make oneself an enemy of God and to thus incur upon oneself Hell.

Next: We should decipher the meaning of each word and phrase. “Deliberately” means “purposefully”. “Purposefully” doing what? The answer is: “Keep on sinning after…” After what? After receiving the knowledge of… what? The truth. Who is the Truth? Jesus and the Spirit. (John 14:6 & 1 John 5:6) What is the Truth? No, not man’s word, but God’s Word as taught by the Spirit. (John 17:17 & 16:13) The simplicity of this is: To obey Christ’s command to repent and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15) and to deny Self, carry one’s cross daily, and follow Him (Luke 9:23) in the power of the Spirit which we are given (2 Peter 1:3,4) by our continuous total submission to His control. (Rom. 8:9)

Next: We should think on what the sacrifice is that is being referred to. It’s Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to pay for sin. How can we negate this payment in our own lives? By sinning deliberately. What happens when someone negates Christ’s atonement for themselves? They go to Hell.

Sadly, many seminaries and churches continue to spread the teachings of men rather than Christ’s teachings, rather than God’s Word, rather than the Truth. They continue to quote for us the words of men who were so obviously void of the Spirit, as if those men are authorities on God’s Word. They continue to tell us (as DAVID, THE CALVINIST did) that in order to understand what God’s Word is really saying, we must study the writings of “the Reformers”… Calvin, Luther, Augustine, and all those whose teachings branch off from them.

Here is a quote from Martin Luther: “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness… No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day… –you too are a mighty sinner.”

This quote can be found, along with a very, very good sermon, at this site:

http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/sin-boldly/

I strongly urge everyone to again go to this website and read this post called “Sin Boldly” concerning what God’s Word says in regard to this rebellious doctrine of Martin Luther and those like him. Here is a sample of what israeliteindeed says:

“Some may accuse me of taking Martin Luther’s words out of context, but I assert that his words have been used as a license to sin by many, and indeed seem custom-made for the job! He said you can murder a thousand times a day and still remain in Jesus Christ! Have you ever heard such blasphemy? I know Luther is a revered reformer, but Christ’s sheep hear His voice and they follow Him. They will not follow the voice of the stranger, and this is the voice of a stranger if I’ve ever heard one. Test the spirits by which men speak! Never assume that someone honored by others is the friend of your soul… They cannot cease from sin! Though Jesus said to cease from sin and gives victory over sin to those who abide in Him, and though His apostles taught that we must cease from sin and obey Jesus, these teachers not only cannot cease from sin in their own lives, but they also teach others, ‘Be a sinner and sin boldly…as long as we are here, WE HAVE TO SIN.'”

As this blogger correctly states, God’s Word says just the opposite. In fact, I do wonder how Luther commentated on 1 John 3:8: “He who does what is sinful is of the devil.” I’m sure he made up something. But then, how could he twist verse 9? For the meaning seems absolutely plain when it says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s nature abides in him; he cannot go on sining, because he has been born of God.” So…… if Luther tells us to “sin boldly”, what spirit must he be speaking from?

Simple spiritual discernment is all that is needed to figure it out. Yet many seminarians, preachers, teachers, bloggers, and others, continue to try their best to make up doctrines that will twist the Truth they don’t want to hear.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

To: Israeliteindeed at:

http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/an-understanding-of-romans-9-without-the-calvinist-spin/

May the Lord shower blessings on you for your diligence in pressing through to write your thorough commentary on Romans 9. It is a hard passage mainly because so many teachers have twisted it and then planted their falsehoods into so many minds. All my life I’d read this passage and never saw in it what the Calvinists see –until Calvinists “explained” it to me. However, I now find it hard to read, for what comes ringing into my ears are the sinister doctrines of Calvinists’ voices. It’s very sad. The human mind is amazing, but it is also strange and complex, and though Jesus sets us free from sin and fear and doubt, memory fades only over time. Like, for instance, when I read or hear Ps. 139, I still (unfortunately) think of a Sunday School teacher I had in ’04 who drilled us in the memorization of the whole chapter for the first 15 minutes of every Sunday, yet all the while she was secretly having an affair with my friend’s husband who was on the worship team with her. Truly, how Bible teachers behave, and whether or not they teach Truth, can affect others for years to come –positively or negatively.

Anyway, at that same church, we were shown, for a month on Sunday nights, some videos that were terrifying. Calvinists were propagating this video throughout the land and it was downright creepy. Tears (that I know were from the Holy Spirit grieving within me) would stream down my face like a real flood, and though I wasn’t crying aloud, I wanted to sob and wail each time. I knew it was not true of our beautiful God (I cry even now writing about it), but yet they were using Scripture to support their evil and horrifying tidings. Much of it was from Rom. 9.

We had discussions after each video and I would speak up a little, and once when I did, the pastor (this was in a Baptist church) got so angry at me, that he called the meeting to an abrupt end by saying that he guessed we couldn’t get anywhere if people were going to resist this teaching. All I’d said was that maybe we should consider another perspective based on some verses, and I quoted 1 Tim. 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 and I think one or two others. He called me a day later and yelled at me on the phone. I stayed amazingly calm, realizing I was up against evil itself, and not this pastor exactly. A week later he called and apologized, but I never went back to that church (though I did help them when the Katrina victims came through in ’05) and the pastor and I spoke very friendly to each other that whole time.

By the way, my mom went straight to your Romans 9 article and read the whole thing. She thought it was very good, but she had one comment concerning what you say about your commentary not being inspired. For when we, filled with the Holy Spirit, speak or write on behalf of God and His Truth, for God’s glory and by His Spirit’s prompting, Jesus promises us in Matt. 10:19,20 and Mark 13:9-11 and Luke 21:13-15 that the Spirit will be the one speaking through us. These promises are not just for the very end of the age, but anytime in these last days since the Holy Spirit has come to in-dwell any who believe, repent, and obey Christ. (Acts 5:32 & Rom. 8:9)

So be encouraged. For if we are clean of all known sin and are (thus) being controlled by “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9), then we can be confident that when we are proclaiming God’s Word, He is the one giving us the words. And God actually expects nothing less from the mouths of His ambassadors. As 1 Peter 4:11 says, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.”

Heb. 1:1,2 say, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son…” The Son is the Word of God (John 1:1,14 & Rev. 19:13,16) and it is His Spirit (who is also the Spirit of the Father) who comes to indwell us. (John 14:23) The more we grow in the knowledge of God’s Word, the more attuned we become to His voice, for the Spirit uses the Word (“the Spirit of Jesus” –Acts 16:7, and the words themselves –John 6:63) to speak to us in these last days. This is the New Covenant the LORD spoke about through the prophet Jeremiah (31:31-34), and why He said, “No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,’ declares the LORD.” (v. 34) This is God’s promise for all who have been redeemed and purified (see same verse) and who seek to know Him ever better. (Eph. 1:17 & 1 Cor. 2:2,10-16) Indeed, He will give us the Spirit of wisdom that we may grow in the wisdom of God. (same verses)

All who are “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8) should diligently press toward being “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19) “and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (4:13) Then, as we “grow up into Him” (v. 15), we will be like “Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 6:5) Stephen was chosen to minister because he was one who was “known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom” (v. 3), and he became one whose opponents “could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by which he spoke.” (v. 10) Being full of the Spirit was not meant just for Stephen or the disciples in his day. It is for all of God’s servants (Acts 2:17,18) and the result will be that we will prophesy (v. 18b) –that is, we will be given a specific word from God’s Word for the people. Furthermore, we will speak out God’s Word by God’s Spirit with boldness. (4:31) This is how God speaks in these last days by His Son (see Heb. 1:1,2 again) who is the Word (John 1:1,14) –He whose “name is the Word of God.” (Rev. 19:13)

We read in Acts 15:32, “Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers.” We also read that “Philip the evangelist.. had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.” (21:8,9) It should not surprise us then, if God, who anoints us and fills us with His Spirit (1 John 2:27), will Himself speak through His representatives who “implore others on Christ’s behalf.” (See 2 Cor. 5:20) He has promised to do so if we hold to our part –which is to “live by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16) through our complete submission to His Lordship. (Rom. 8:4-6,9,13,14)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

We Are His, He Is Ours

October 27, 2011

Friends,
The LORD God, the Creator of the universe, is all-powerful, is all-knowing, and He exists everywhere –throughout time and outside of time. His understanding and His greatness are infinite –unfathomable to the human mind. (Ps. 145:3 & 147:5) Yet, what does this Majestic God do? He stoops to become a baby, born so that He will die… die to take the punishment for the sins of mankind… and by conquering death, He shows us we’ve indeed been bought back from the power of the evil one. Then what else does He do? He preserves His Word that we may read it and learn of Him and His ways. Furthermore, He moves across the earth by His Spirit, continuously trying to woo the hearts of His creatures… reminding us of His love, compassion, and mercy by the kindnesses He bestows… even upon a rebel planet. And, even upon each lone rebel individual, God grants mercy after mercy… patiently waiting for that one to repent, and love Him back.

Everyone has so much to be grateful for. We have all sorts of blessings, even amid a fallen world. For don’t we have good things to eat? Don’t we have shelter, stoves, beds, running water…? Don’t we experience smiles, laughter, and hugs… music, sunshine, breezes, and multitudes of other gifts through our five senses? But, in spite of how wonderful all of these things are, what is the most wonderful gift / experience we’ve been given? I believe it can be summed up here: “Then the LORD said… ‘I will free you… and will redeem you… I will take you as My own people, and I will be your God.'” (Ex. 6:1,6,7) If we read this slowly, meditating on it, realizing this is being said by the all-powerful God who reigns in splendor, yet who is eager to treat each submissive servant as His favorite, our spirit will fill with joy.

And with the joy comes gratitude. For just as He did for the Israelites, our God has set us free also. He brought us out from under the yoke of those things or people who enslaved us, freeing us so we may lovingly worship and serve Him. He performed mighty acts of judgement against our oppressors, and He brought us into a good land, the promised land, our inheritance. (See Ex. 6:6-8) Where is this land? It’s wherever our Lord leads us. It’s a spiritual place more than a physical place. For it’s by being in His perfect will that we reside in that “promised land” –that place where He provides for us, protects us, tutors us, lavishes blessings upon us, and best of all, lets us dwell with Him, reminding us daily that we are His people and He is our God.

What a blessing. And what a beautiful, amazing privilege –to be wanted for sweet and intimate communion with the most glorious Being there ever has been or ever will be –the everlasting Creator God, the reigning Ruler, the Loving Savior of mankind.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
We must repeatedly remind ourselves and others that God’s Word is to be interpreted by that same Word, and under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit. We are not to interpret Scripture by man’s teachings or by our own biases. Yet because these two things so often threaten to cloud our ability to learn only the pure Truth, we must ask the Lord to cleanse us of their negative affects so that we can hear clearly from the Spirit as He interprets the Word of God for us. Furthermore, we must be sure we truly have God’s Spirit, for the man who does not, will most definitely handle the Truth incorrectly. (1 Cor. 2:14)

God’s Word is a spiritual message. It is a message sent from God, who is Spirit (John 4:24), to “the spiritual man” (1 Cor. 2:10,15) who can discern spiritually (v. 12,14) and thus know the Truth and teach it. (v. 6,13) People who do not have the Spirit of God, yet who try to teach us God’s Word, “are the men who divide us” (Jude 1:19) and “bring the way of truth into disrepute.” (2 Peter 2:2) They are those who take men’s interpretations of Scripture and honor it as authority –even when the Word of God teaches nothing of the sort. They do this by isolating a few verses, or by twisting passages to fit into their made-up doctrines.

For example, Jesus says in John 14:28 that “the Father is greater than I.” But to correctly interpret this, we must take Scripture as a whole, for we know that “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” (Col. 2:9) We also know that He is the Creator (1:16) and the “Everlasting Father” (Isa. 9:6) and the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16), having the same title as the invisible God (1 Tim. 6:15,16) because they are the same Being. (Heb. 1:3 & Col. 1:15-19 & Rev. 1:17,18 & 21:6,7 & 22:13 & Isa. 44:6 & 48:12,13) We know that while our Lord walked the earth He was human (John 1:14), yet He revealed that “before Abraham was born, I am!” (8:58) He was calling Himself God (the “I AM”), which the Jews, considering this blasphemy, then picked up stones to stone Him. (v. 59) Why then did Jesus say “the Father is greater than I” in John 14:28? –Because He had “made Himself nothing… [when He was] made in human likeness.” (Phil. 2:6-8)

Whoever does not take time to meditate on God’s Word day and night as we are commanded to do, should be very careful about what they teach. Whoever is not consistently walking in the Spirit, should be very careful about what they teach. Whoever is holding to traditions of men or men’s teachings, should be very careful about what they teach. (Mark 7:6-8) For such people, having no grounding in the Truth, will teach hypocrisy. (Matt. 16:6,12 & Luke 12:1) They would do well to remember that Jesus taught the masses in parables for a reason –to separate out those who would seek Truth in contrast to those who did not really want to seek to understand (Matt. 13:10-16 & Mark 4:22-25 & Luke 8:18) for fear that they would have to change their ways. (Acts 7:51 & 28:25-28)

So, this being said, there is a certain false system of theology within the church that is growing rapidly –in spite of the fact that it was invented by a man whose dictatorship resulted in numerous people being burned as heretics at the stake as he immersed himself in the doctrines of a certain mixed-up Catholic. This false system is Calvinism, and neither its god nor its way of salvation is that which is found in God’s Word. For their god wills (desires) that billions be refused the “irresistible grace” that he imposes upon the few, so that he can get delight and glory in sending those billions to eternal torment. The true Gospel, however, teaches us that God wants no one to perish (2 Peter 3:9), that He died for all (1 John 2:2), and that He did this because He loves the whole world (John 3:16) and “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) Yet blatantly disregarding the Word of God and interpreting it to fit into Calvin’s theology, Calvinists insist that the words “all” and “whosoever” and “world” really mean “elect”.

One main passage of Scripture which Calvinists misinterpret because they do not consider the whole of Scripture, is Romans 9. However, a blogger friend of mine has just posted an excellent article that gives the true Biblical interpretation and I’d like to direct everyone to it. Here is the link:

http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/an-understanding-of-romans-9-without-the-calvinist-spin/

Let’s remember: Truth does matter. In fact, it makes for an eternity of difference. We’d best study it, then, as if our eternal souls were at stake. Because they are. Jesus repeatedly warned against deceptions, false beliefs, and false teachers. So did Paul, John, Peter, and the others. Should we not do the same?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

God’s People, Intervene!

October 25, 2011

Friends,
Many people are worried about what is coming upon the earth in the near future. They sense God’s anger against the prevailing wickedness and know that His hand of judgement is upraised. (Isa. 26:11) But what is it that God wants His people to do about it? He wants us to repent ourselves. He wants us to weep and pray and turn from the idols we ourselves are indulging in. “What idols?” ask those who claim Christ’s name. “I have no idols. I’m not an idolater.” Yet their main idol is Self, and “flattering themselves too much to detect or hate their sins” (see Ps. 36:2), they continue to cater to Self as much as they can –feasting its stomach with expensive foods, its body with fashionable clothes, its eyes with movie after movie, its ears with the latest trivia, news, and music, its heart with passions and pleasures… Yet “Self?” they quip. “Naw, there’s no idol of Self within me.”

So God continues to warn, to intervene with “wake-up calls” and through messengers. God takes no pleasure in destroying the wicked, but wants them to repent and be saved. (Ezek. 18:23) Therefore God says, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it.” (22:30) But does He find any who will do this? He says, “But I found none.” (same verse)

In Jer. 5:1 God says, “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city.” For us, “Jerusalem” in this verse can mean our church, our neighborhood, our school, our city, our state, our country, our home, our heart. What about it? Can one truly (thoroughly) righteous and faithful-to-God heart be found? Let’s quit pointing the finger at the world, at those who don’t claim to follow the Lord. For as verse 2 informs us, God is rebuking those who believe in Him. And verses 4 & 5 inform us that the problem is rampant amongst the leaders who pretend they know His ways.

God is merciful. Do we believe that He desires that people repent? If so, why are we not acting accordingly? Instead of wringing our hands in dismay, and instead of hollering across the internet in anger and fear, why are we not –each one of us not– getting down on our knees and crying out to God to cleanse the people –and cleanse our own hearts as well? Is it because we think God won’t withhold His judgement either way? Is it because we actually don’t think God can cleanse wicked hearts and turn the tide? Is it because we don’t really believe God cares enough or is powerful enough? What is the problem? Why won’t God’s people believe His Word and PRAY?! –Really pray? –Pray without ceasing… pray with fasting… pray with others… pray when we sit and stand and eat and clean and work and drive and shop…? And why do so many who do pray think that their own hearts don’t have to be eliminated of all sin in order for God to listen? (Ps. 66:18 & Prov. 28:9 & 1 Peter 3:7) Why are they not spending time with the Lord in sweet worship and meditation in His Word so as to renew their minds, convict their hearts, and so be cleansed “by the washing with water through the word”? (Eph. 5:26) Why are they not going out and proclaiming the Good News to everyone (Mark 16:15), teaching them in gentleness (2 Tim. 2:24,25) how to obey all Christ’s commands (Matt. 28:20) and how to grow in the knowledge of God (Eph. 1:17) so as to become conformed to the image of Christ? (Rom. 8:29)

Yes, heavy judgement is near. And it will begin with God’s sanctuary / His people. (Ezek. 9:6 & 1 Peter 4:17) Why? Because they have rebelled against God by their sin (Jer. 18:11,12,15)… by holding to other loves (Jer. 3:1-11 & Hosea 4:12)… by refusing to circumcise their hearts (Jer. 4:4 & 9:26)… and by distorting the Word of God. (Ezek. 22:26 & 2 Cor. 4:2) Therefore God will give His unfaithful people “her certificate of divorce and send her away because of all her adulteries.” (See Jer. 3:8) This He will do to the temple that bears His Name. (7:14) This warning is for any temple where He dwells which becomes contaminated and refuses to repent of it. (1 Cor. 3:17) God warns, “I will thrust you from My presence.” (Jer. 7:15)

So many “Christians” are trusting in their supposed “election” and their immovable position in Christ, all the while remaining apathetic to walk in God’s will. Such foolish ones should read what God actually says in His Word, rather than listen to the false teachers who speak peace to them. Look at what God says in Ezek. 23:5-10: “Oholah [Samaria] engaged in prostitution while she was still Mine; and she lusted after her lovers… and defiled herself with all the idols of everyone she lusted after… Therefore I handed her over to… [be] killed.” (OSAS adherents, read this again, along with Heb. 10:26-31, for God will indeed throw into Hell even those who were once His, but who then turn to sin and will not repent.)

“Now your impurity is lewdness. Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurity, you will not be clean again until My wrath against you has subsided… You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign LORD.” (Ezek. 24:13,14) (Calvinists, read that again and notice that “the Sovereign LORD” “tried to cleanse…”, but couldn’t. Might that be because God does not overrule men’s freedom of choice? And is God not stating that our own conduct determines how we are judged?)

Therefore, church-goers and Bible-believers, do not trust “in deceptive words that are worthless.” (Jer. 7:8) Instead: “Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for My Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel.” (v. 12) Yes, let’s go to God’s Word and read for ourselves what the Truth teaches, and stop listening to deceptive words that will only send us down the road to Hell. For God’s Word says that it is sinful actions that deny the God one claims to know (Titus 1:16), and that this will be cause for Christ to disown us (2 Tim. 2:12), nullifying the pardon once granted (Matt. 18:32-34 & Heb. 10:26-31) –something Jesus Himself clearly taught. (Matt. 10:33 & 15:7,8 & 7:21-23 & etc.)

So when we see the wickedness of society, let’s realize that we –as a church and as individuals– should have long ago been on our knees in weeping and prayer… should have long ago been proclaiming the Gospel everywhere… should have long ago been teaching others (and ourselves) to walk in obedience to God’s Word… But, even now, it is not too late. We can get ourselves right, step out in obedience in the power of the Holy Spirit, and ask God to bring repentance, revival, and cleansing to our land. For who knows? As Job 22:30 says, “He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel