August 30, 2015
The spirit of another wonderful saint left this earth today at 1:57 p.m. My parents had just been there with her at her mission apartment home from 12:30-1:30 today and I had gone there with them yesterday to also say goodbye to her, as we’d heard she was failing fast. Both yesterday and today “Aunt” Vivian was not cognizant, but just a few days before she had been able to eat dinner at a friend’s apartment down the hall. All year “Aunt” Vivian has had the pain of cancer (which could not be treated), but nonetheless, she has been her jolly self, making people laugh and also caring for the plants throughout the building and planting flowers around the grounds.
“Aunt” Vivian was a Bible translator in the Philippines at the same time my parents were translating there too. She was always smiling and always cheerful, and even tonight when I emailed a childhood friend about her passing, my friend responded that she too remembers “Aunt” Vivian that way, and said it seemed that “Aunt” Vivian did not even know how to frown! I always thought “Aunt” Vivian looked very much like my mom’s mom who was always cheerful and smiley too, as well as incredibly nice, as was “Aunt” Vivian.
“Aunt” Vivian made it to 92 years old and her life was full of service to the Lord. As a single woman she translated the New Testament (and some of the Old, I believe) and brought the Gospel to a large and very responsive indigenous people group. My dad kept saying this weekend that many from that group will likely be helping to welcome her into Heaven and thanking her for her huge part in the blessed eternity they have been experiencing.
At 75 years of age, “Aunt” Vivian married for the first time. She married a widower who had also been in the mission, though in a different country, and when he got senile and sick, they moved to the mission center here and she cared for him with great patience, joy, and love until his death. Our family has felt very blessed to have her live nearby.
Well, definitely, we are sad about another very beloved saint passing away from our midst, but we are also all very much at peace, knowing her spirit is with the Lord. Yesterday I watched my dad bend over and hug her frail little body, and with misty eyes, he said, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” He was quoting Ps. 116:15. Today my mom quoted Ps. 23 to her, and another woman sang hymns to her. Truly “Aunt” Vivian’s friends have surrounded her all year with help, care, meals, and companionship so that she could finish her earthly days in her own home and among her mission family.
Death is not a pretty or easy thing. However, for those of us who know the Lord, walk with the Lord, and serve the Lord, death does usher us into the presence of our Savior and King –that Place where there is the absence of all that is painful or bad –forever after.
“Aunt” Vivian transitioned to that wonderful Place today.
P.S. Some photos:
On 3/21/14, my dad, my sister, and I visited “Aunt” Vivian at her apartment.
On 5/18/14 my dad, my husband, and I visited “Aunt” Vivian outside her apartment as she was gardening.
August 25, 2015
Last Thursday, while witnessing downtown at the bus and train stops, I had many excellent and exciting conversations (as I so often do) with people about what it means to follow Jesus. Really, I have a very easy mission field compared to the fields many are sowing in, and I am certainly thankful for it. Many people give me the thumbs up signal as they walk by, or even, from across the street (or railway tracks), some yell something positive to me about my signs. Each time I go, there will be some individuals, and occasionally even those in law-enforcement, who will come up to me and say, “Thank you for what you’re doing. It’s appreciated.” Others come over and ask me to pray for them, or will ask me a question about God’s Word and requirements, and commonly, while we are talking, others will come up and join in the discussion. Truly, it is a huge joy to be smack in the middle of the Lord’s will, sharing the Gospel for hours in the power of the Holy Spirit!
There are two things I wanted to mention, though, regarding this last Thursday. One was that, during the last hour down there, the Lord gave me a unique blessing by which I presented Him. A preacher that is often down there (who I don’t like because he often jumps around screeching, saying judgmental things about those he knows nothing about) finally left the spot that is most conducive for preaching. So I hung out there, and had many more conversations. But I kept feeling the Lord wanted me to lift up my voice to the crowds (which I have done periodically, mostly by quoting Scripture verses), but no, that didn’t seem to be exactly what God was prompting me to do. So finally, instead of praying quietly (as I do while waiting for another person to approach me), I started softly singing songs I was making up with the Spirit’s help. This I habitually do as well, but this time I got louder and louder. Pretty soon I was singing surprisingly loud –very loud –and beautifully (for without the Spirit I do not have a good singing voice). It was really special!!!!!
The thought came to me at one point, “You look foolish and no one can hear but a few words, if any, as they drive or walk by.” However, immediately the Lord reminded me of 1 Cor. 1:27 in His Word (truly, when the devil attacks, it is highly beneficially to know the Word well), saying to me, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the ‘wise’.” I accepted this encouragement and felt extreme joy, boldness, and love well up in me, so that all the more I sang wonderful praise songs to God, as well as intercession songs for His mercy to come to the people. The Lord also encouraged me by telling me that even if many could not hear me, they could certainly see me and see Him shining through me. Isn’t this what Jesus commissioned us to do in Mt. 5:16? For He said, “Let you light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise you Father in heaven.” This is a command (not a suggestion) –that we put His Light, which is in us (–the Light being His Spirit), in a visible place so that men may see The Light and glorify God for who He is and what He has done. I too praise God for using those things that, “by human standards” (1 Cor. 1:26), are “despised and weak” (see v. 27,28), for that means He is able to use me, and even powerfully! This should encourage everyone willing to submit to being a light for Christ!
The other experience I wanted to write about is this: Right after the other preacher left and I went and stood near “his” spot, a young man came up and with obvious anxiety over the state of his soul, asked me questions about holiness, sin, and judgement. While we were talking, another guy came up and let me know, cordially enough, that we should be sure we are presenting the Gospel as it really is, and that is, that God is love and grants salvation to all who believe. See, my back sign said, “Jesus delivers all those who APPLY His Words. John 8:31-36”, while my front sign said, “Christ’s cross doesn’t cover a continuation in sin. Heb. 10:26”. This second man stated that he himself is an evangelist and that he has been one for many years.
While talking with this guy, and the first guy quietly listening, a third man came up. Pointing to my front sign and frowning worriedly, his remark was something to the effect of, “I really don’t think that is a good message, nor exactly true, for even believers sin every day and we are still saved. I’ve been a Christian for over 20 years and I know about this.”
Right about then, a fourth man came up and said something like, “Yeah, the Gospel I know about tells us to love and not judge, so this is really bad what you’re doing.” Thankfully, that guy just put in his “two cents worth” and kept walking.
So, here I was, having been encouraging the first guy, who was obviously welling up with hope in the fact that Someone (Christ Jesus) had emancipated sinners from their sins, and two other “Christians” had to step in and try to negate what I was saying. The third man brought up that even Paul, in Romans chapter seven, says that he struggled with sin, to which the evangelist laughed triumphantly, while heartily agreeing. “No,” I countered quickly. “Paul says at the end of that chapter, ‘But Jesus Christ rescues me from this!'”
Truly, it is awful that “Christians” believe they can fall back on Rom. 7:7-25 where Paul, using a first-person, present-tense literary (and debating) style, is showing how knowing the good one ought to do is not powerful enough for actually doing good and that we need the One who really does give freedom. How awful that they can see in Rom. 6:18 Paul telling us that we “have been set free from sin”, telling us in Rom. 7:14, “I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin”, telling us in verses 24,25, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God– through Jesus Christ our Lord!”, telling us in verses 1-6 (and elsewhere, like in Col. 2:11) that we have died to, and been liberated from (actually severed from), the sinful nature which once chained, owned, and controlled us, and telling us in Rom. 8:9, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you”, and still think that the person belonging to Christ cannot help but sin daily!!! Did the Holy Spirit live in Paul? Of course. And while often telling us that he, and we, are new creations in Christ, Paul also tells us at least six times throughout his writings to imitate his example! No, Paul, in that Rom. ch. 7 passage –which sin-safely-lovers think they can fall back on– is putting himself in the role of the unregenerate man –the man still locked in the prison of sin (v. 23) –the man who has not yet let Christ rescue him.
So, we were all being polite, but it was certainly alarming to see that the two “Christians” who claimed to be following Jesus were trying to nullify the reality of believers’ freedom and explain away the verses I was bringing up, even while the non-Christian appeared to be eagerly trying to grasp the Word and its Great News. The two “Christians” just kept insisting that the Gospel does not state that (true) believers have been freed from sin, even when I quoted 1 John 3:9 which says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s nature abides in him. He cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” And even when I quoted Gal. 5:24 which says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” There were several other Scripture verses that I quoted during the course of the debate, along with their references in case they wanted to check them out for themselves in the Word, but the only one really taking the verses to heart seemed to be the initial inquirer. In fact, about an hour after this encounter, he came back to me and asked me some more questions, including, “What happens if we don’t repent?” to which I answered with sadness, “Jesus says in Luke 13:3, ‘Unless you repent, you too will all perish.’ And perish means banishment to Hell.”
Well, the man who had claimed to be a Christian for over 20 years suddenly saw that his train had arrived and so he hurriedly exited our presence. The “evangelist”, who seemed a little persuaded, reminded me some more about God’s love, stating that he hardly ever mentions sin but rather just encourages people. Smiling, and seeming to be satisfied that I was probably giving a message of hope and love, he too soon said goodbye, but not without adding as he went, “They call me ‘Soldier for Christ’.” “Hmmm…” I thought. “I wonder if the Lord calls him that, considering all those whom he has refused to alert concerning the cancer within them.” I was saddened to think of his impotent message and I felt great dismay as I thought of how false Christianity has indeed become the norm for those who claim to be Christians. Contrary to God’s Word, their gospel is not about renouncing and rejecting all known sin, not about freedom from sin’s power, not about consistent obedience to Christ, not about f-o-l-l-o-w-i-n-g His commands, not about walking in the will of God daily, and not about being controlled by the Holy Spirit at all times throughout each day and night. By not believing the Truth, even when faced with clear statements from the Word of God, they deny God’s Word and thus walk in a counterfeit truth.
Aside from this troubling experience, the majority of my encounters were wonderful –absolutely wonderful. Definitely, it is exciting to be used of God to present the Good News of Salvation, Freedom, and Righteousness, and to explain how to walk in Truth’s Power. Without question, no task could be better.
August 19, 2015
The Truth and our two choices regarding it:
1. If we reject the Truth –any part of it which we have so far seen, heard, and comprehended– then we exist in unbelief, rebellion, and sin, and we will thus, because of our disobedience, receive eventual condemnation, unless we repent and walk in complete obedience to the Truth before one’s last chance arrives.
2. If we accept, grab ahold of, and consistently submit to and apply the Truth –all the amount of that which we have so far, and increasingly, seen, heard, and comprehended– doing so under the leadership of, and in the power of, the Holy Spirit, then we possess true faith and are thereby walking the Road of Eternal Life.
That’s it in a nutshell.
August 12, 2015
I have hesitated in responding to you for several reasons, one reason being that my blog does not exist for purposes of prolonged debate, but exists for the purpose of explaining what the Word of God teaches. This is done through my extensive use of Scripture, and I reject the use of all man-made doctrines –doctrines men have invented by changing the meanings of certain verses in spite of the Word of God repeatedly teaching to the contrary. I also have hesitated because, even though I disagree with you in several areas, I am inclined to believe that you are one of God’s specially chosen instruments to spread His Truth. However, that being said, let’s remember that any of us whom God has chosen, especially whom He has chosen to teach others, can, if we do not heed His corrections –which often come through His followers (Acts 18:24-26 // Rom. 15:14) or even through the most unlikely of sources (Num.22:21-38)– will be to our peril, as well as to the peril of those who listen to our errors. (Luke 10:10-16 // 1 Tim. 4:16)
You said that you believe I am splitting hairs with you and asked me what I am taking issue with you about. I don’t know why you would say this when you, actually, are the one who came over to my blog’s comment page on 6/27/15 to tell me, regarding my 6/22/15 post, that we should be sure to clarify that there are different types of works. I also wonder why you would do this when I had already clarified this point, such as when I wrote, “Jesus… reveals that works done outside of the will of the Father will result in eternal condemnation. Consequently, it is not hard, if we interpret Scripture with Scripture, (as we are supposed to always do), to recognize that human-inspired works and God-inspired works are not the same thing. The former is worthless to walk in, while the latter we are required to walk in… Even a child can understand that when God offered us, through Christ, the undeserved gift of salvation, our part is to believe, bow our knee to the King, repent of our sins, and turn away from disobedience to obedience.” I feel it was you who took issue with me, while I, then, simply responded.
Regarding my 7/7/15 post, you said, “I think it should be entitled Justified by Faith with the Evidence of that Faith being Works.” However, unless suggestions are solicited, I don’t believe it is appropriate to tell someone what they should have titled their own blog articles. I was and am aware that my title “Justified By Works” is anathema to “Faith Alone” teachers, but what I am trying to point out is precisely why I titled it that. We are justified by works –the works that are in line with God’s will and in accordance with obedience to Christ. I have consistently taught that if a person does not walk in obedience to the Spirit and the Word (and obedience cannot be separated from works / deeds / actions / conduct / thoughts / attitude / behavior), then that person is not saved.
As I explained before, even the first minute of (true) conversion does consist of works. The work includes looking, in humility and contrition, to Christ’s atonement, believing in it, confessing that Jesus is Lord and Messiah, repenting of one’s sins, calling out for salvation, and determinedly setting one’s mind to trust and keep trusting. All that is certainly work for those fleeing the dark sinful realm, though to be sure, the Lord has provided His Spirit by whom we are enabled to do this work. Even so, this required work is only the beginning, for work (the work of continued trust and obedience expressed through actions / words / teachings / attitude / etc.) is required from then on as well. This is the obedience (work / labor / fruit) that true faith requires the production of (Rom. 1:5 // 1 Thes. 1:3) for acquiring salvation. (Luke 13:5-9)
I will say it again and again –in every which way I can say it: It is, specifically, the obedient-to-the-Spirit-and-Word works –done through the power and leadership of the Spirit (who teaches us using God’s Word)– which saves us. (Rom. 8:9,13,14) The faith is like the body, the works are like the spirit. Without the works, the faith is dead. This is exactly what James 2:26 is teaching us.
Owning a car can be another analogy. A person might say, “I own a car.” However, if there is no engine in the car, or if there is an engine, but the car has no oil, or no wheels, or no gas, or maybe the guy lost the key, then there is no way to use that car to arrive at any desired destination. Yes, the guy does technically possess a car and he can sit in it and envision himself traveling to his destination. But the car is worthless until it has all that is necessary for making that car run. In addition to this, the owner of the car must, himself, turn the key, put his foot to the pedal, and drive. It is certainly a rest compared to having to jog the distance on his own. Similarly, the Truth is a rest we must, “with the help of the Holy Spirit” (2 Tim. 1:14), strive (with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength –Luke 10:25-28) to enter (Heb. 4:11) and work within (Phil. 2:12,13) as we strain toward the goal of perfection (3:12,13) so as to win the prize. (v. 14) Yes, perfection –meaning, imitating God (Eph. 5:1) and Christ (1 John 2:6)– is expected of us (Mt. 5:48) and is, therefore, what we are to strenuously struggle to achieve (Col. 1:28,29) by using Christ’s energy that He powerfully provides in us. (v. 29 // Eph. 3:20)
Furthermore, the driver of a car must obey all the rules of the road or he will endanger himself and others. The Holy Spirit gives the power by which we are to do the works Christ commands (2 Peter 1:3,4), but we are not in a trance, nor are we puppets. Choosing to submit our will, moment by moment, to the Spirit’s will, is how we accomplish God’s commands and abide in Christ who is Eternal Life Himself. (John 15:1-10 // Rom. 8:9,13,14 // 1 John 2:3-6 & 3:24 & 5:20) God’s grace is available for every human, but each person must access it, and live in it, according to the requirements. (John 10:1 & 15:10 // 2 Tim. 2:4,5 // 1 John 2:2-6) In other words, Jesus paid everyone’s sin-debt in full, but each individual must enter and abide as instructed. (Same verses)
You go on to say at my comment page, “There are no works we can do to achieve salvation without having faith in Christ, but our deeds certainly do reflect whether we have true faith.” This statement of yours is correct, and since you know that I agree with it, I feel that you are wording it that way so as to camouflage our point of disagreement. You know that I do not teach that we can achieve salvation through works apart from faith in Christ nor apart from the power of His Spirit.
What I do teach is that works are always an ingredient of true faith, that true faith means “faith in Christ”, that this true faith means “trust and obey, not just believe”, and that aside from having this kind of faith (this true faith), there is no salvation. This is why it would be accurate, albeit cumbersome, to say, “We are justified by the works we do which happen as a result of our obedience to Christ which we do because we trust in Jesus and His words, and that all this we are enabled to do because of God’s mercy, Christ’s atonement, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.” I do not believe you teach this, for even though you write about faithfulness to Christ, you also often write as those do who adhere to the “Faith Alone” falsehood. I have read a number of your articles, as well as many of your comments at the sites of other bloggers, and much of what you have written shows that this is indeed the case. (If you have changed your doctrine on this issue, or on any other issue, then you should proclaim that clearly.) Here are some examples:
On 9/28/13, you made a comment at the blog “Spirit of Error”, mentioning “grace alone, scripture alone, faith alone, Christ alone” and how Francis Chan, in participating with Mike Bickle, seems to be aligning himself with those who opposed Martin Luther and the Reformation, and who have (supposedly) “opposed grace.” You continue with, “How do we please God? Is it by entering into His rest and trusting in his blood ALONE –or is it by blending grace with works –corrupting the grace message and not keeping it pure and simple.” (See http://www.spiritoferror.org/2013/09/passionately-wrong/4211)
That comment of yours makes it pretty clear that you do not believe that our works make or negate our salvation. It also reveals that you believe this: That they are corruptors of the Gospel who are trying to point out that Jesus and the apostles taught the requirement of obedience. But who is corrupting the Gospel? For Jesus said, “Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:29) Jesus taught that those who keep sinning –which He pointed out consists also of those who are disobedient or negligent in doing good works– will be thrown into Hell (Mt. 5:27-30 & 13:41,42 & 24:45-51 & ch. 25), including those who have once been pardoned. (18:32-34)
Throughout the New Testament (such as in Luke 9:23,24 and Acts 26:20 and Gal. 5:19-21 and Heb. 10:26-31 and Ja. 2:14-26 and 1 John 3:4-10 and Rev. 3:1-6), we are warned that we must renounce and reject all sin and take up the work (the acts) of obedience to Christ. Indeed, only by choosing to turn away from wickedness and by doing what it takes to cleanse ourselves of improper things (–which the Spirit absolutely will convict and enable us to do –Rom. 8:13 // 2 Peter 1:3,4), are we made holy. (2 Tim. 2:19-21; see also Rom. 6:15-23 and Heb. 12:14 and 1 Peter 1:13-17) Therefore, anyone who thinks he can claim to belong to Christ without doing this, has deceived himself (Gal. 6:7,8 // Ja.1:22), is doing the devil’s will (2 Tim. 2:26 // 1 John 3:8) instead of God’s will, and is headed for Hell. (Mt. 7:15-27 // Titus 1:16 & 2:11,12 & 3:11 // Jude 1:17-19)
Also, it appears that you esteem Martin Luther and his teachings. That seems odd when certainly you know that although some good came as a result of his boldness, much evil has also come as a result of many vile things he taught. (Here are three sites– http://www.thepathoftruth.com/false-teachers/martin-luther.htm, http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/luther/general.htm, http://www.davidlgray.info/blog/2013/09/500-years-of-protestantism-the-33-most-ridiculous-things-martin-luther-ever-wrote/, and though I am not necessarily endorsing these sites, nor am I certain that every one of the quotes are authentically Luther’s, it is undeniable that Luther not only said and wrote many wicked things, but also taught an extreme form of the “Faith Alone” falsehood.)
At that same “Spirit of Error” post (see its link above), a guy named Rich Kelley commented on 10/18/13 saying that we should not, as some do, use the Scripture to justify doing works, even “spiritual” ones, but that we should concentrate only on a relationship with Christ. The same day you said, “Amen, Rich! I agree with you!” Yet both of you are off base, for a relationship with Christ comes about precisely by doing works of obedience to Him. (John 14:15,23 & 15:10,14 // 1 John 2:3,4 & 3:24 // etc.) As Jesus says, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23) 1 John 3:24 teaches the same: “Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them.” Should we adhere to the teaching found in God’s Word or should we adhere to the teachings of those who twist it and thereby deny it?
Again commenting at “Spirit of Error”, this time at another post, you responded on 10/9/13 to Lisa’s 10/8/13 comment by saying, “Lisa, I completely agree with what you say! To do it OURSELVES is not grace and rest, it’s works and self-effort.” (See http://www.spiritoferror.org/2013/10/prophet-rick-joyner-predicts-a-military-takeover/4241) Your words are misleading, for we ourselves are the ones who make the continuing choice/s to submit to the Spirit who then helps those who are submissive. (John 14:15-26 // Acts 5:32 // Rom. 8:9,12-14 // Gal. 5:16,24,25) You tried to reinforce your doctrine by mentioning how Abraham and Sarah, by their failure to wait on the Lord, produced Ishmael. However, pointing to this couple’s distrust in the Lord’s words to them (which led to their act of disobedience) does not support the doctrine of “Grace Alone, Faith Alone”. Of course their human-inspired solution was dead works. But that does not negate the fact that we are to obey, with good works, whatever the Lord commands –whether that be “Go to the land I will show you,” or “Sacrifice your only son,” or “Wait for My timing.”
At your own blog on 11/2/13, while speaking against Mike Bickle again, you asked why he would hold up Teresa of Avila to be modeled after, and then said, “She even opposed the Reformation and its message of ‘scripture alone’ and ‘grace alone.'” You are speaking the language of the “Faith Alone” teachers.
Several weeks before (on 9/22/13) you also wrote at your blog: “My concern is that the attempt to bring Catholic mysticism into the church has led the church away from grace and into religious works. It’s as though the Reformation led by Martin Luther never happened, and we are embracing the teachings of those who countered the Reformation –Ignatius of Loyola and Teresa of Avila –instead. We are forgetting faith alone, grace alone, scripture alone, and Christ alone.” (See http://narrowwayapologetics.com/2013/09/22/bild-international-and-the-antioch-school-moving-the-church-away-from-pure-grace/)
This 9/22/13 quote of yours confirms that you are an adherent to the “Faith Alone” doctrine. However, their phrase you use is not seen in Scripture, but is a man-made quote that is completely flawed. For what about Christ’s blood? That is necessary too. (Rom. 5:9 // Heb. 9:22) What about repentance? That too is a must. (Luke 3:7-9 & 13:3 // Acts 26:20) –So is walking away from the power of sin and self (Rom. ch. 6), from the power of the world (Gal. 6:14 // 2 Peter 1:4 & 2:20), and from the power of Satan. (Acts 26:18 // Col. 1:13,14) What about the necessity of being born of the Spirit? (John 3:3-8) What about that it is required to intimately know Christ is order to inherit eternal life? (John 17:3 // 2 Thes. 1:8,9) –And that this comes about only by walking in obedience to Him? (John 15:10,14 // Rom. 8:9 // Gal. 5:16-26 // 1 John 2:3-6) Truly the phrase is worthless, not of Christ, and is terminology used to speak peace to those who want to sin safely –even though God’s Word makes it abundantly clear that there is no peace with God for anyone who takes paths of sin and false doctrine. (Isa. 59:7,8 // Jer. 8:6-12 // Rom. 3:17,18 & 8:5-8 // Gal. 1:6-9)
Here is another example of your promotion of the “Faith Alone” false teachers: On 8/21/13, you tweeted a quote by Paul Ellis: “Faith is not a work, it’s a response and, one way or the other, everybody responds.” This is convoluted talk, for even a tiny response requires a tiny bit of work. Moreover, who is “everybody”? Is this a proclamation promoting universalism? You gave his link, so when I clicked there and went on to his page about himself at http://escapetoreality.org/about/, his statements there too certainly correspond to the “Faith Alone” teaching. How can their falsehoods not be seen when the Word of God repeatedly tells us to keep ourselves pure, to flee sin, to pursue righteousness, to fight unbelief, to take hold of eternal life, to keep Christ’s commands blamelessly, to be self-controlled (Mt. 5:48 // 1 Tim. 5:22 & 6:11-14 // 1 Peter 1:13 & 5:8), and to “make every effort” (Luke 13:24 // Heb. 12:14 // 2 Peter 3:14) to do what is necessary to keep from falling to destruction? (Heb. 10:35-39 // 2 Peter 1:10 & 3:17) Can we obey these commands by doing nothing? What nonsensical, untrue statements they mouth.
Regarding universalism: I’m aware that you do not believe in it, yet some of what you write does seem to sound like you do. Even those who responded to your 8/28/14 comment at the blog of Daz, the atheist (see https://theedixieflatline.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/the-decline-of-the-godly-smite/), seemed to take your words as such when you explained, using John 5:22 and 1 John 2:2, that the Good News proclaims that God’s wrath against sin has been satisfied through Christ’s atonement and that God has thus ceased to judge anyone. I exhort you to be more careful with your statements.
Your “Like” of Simon Yap’s 4/5/13 article about God’s grace is telling. He wrote there (using Eugene Peterson’s sloppy paraphrased “Message” while calling him “brilliant”) about how Mike Bickle doesn’t understand Jude 1:1-4. That same month, on 4/24/13, you wrote an article of your own against Bickle’s criticism of the hyper-grace teachers.
In Simon Yap’s 5/6/13 article about the book of James, he said, “When James says faith without works is dead, he is actually referring to the original faith of the Hebrews, the Jews. The Law of Moses. That faith is not faith in Christ but FAITH IN THE LAW OF MOSES!” (See here: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/does-the-phrase-even-the-devil-believes-in-god-mean-works-is-necessary/) Throughout this article, as well as throughout the other ones I’ve read by Yap, there is much false doctrine. Such a teacher has nothing to teach true Christ-followers.
I would also caution you about your debates at several blogs of atheists, for they too have nothing to teach us. If we want to understand more about science, there are plenty of people with honesty and normal reasoning skills that we can learn from. Atheists lack good logic or sense due to their self-hardened hearts and minds. (Rom. 1:18-23 // Eph. 4:18) They cannot see that, in spite of believing themselves to be “The Brights”, their insistence that they “know” there is no God is not only the height of arrogance, but also a belief that cannot be proven, and is thus a faith in itself. They cannot see how the fine-tuned orderly universe, how the incredible complexity of DNA (and its limitations which disallow for one species to evolve into another species), how the fossil record’s blatant failure to support their theory, and how the human eye (which can only function and survive when all its parts are working from the onset) proves their theory contradictory and laughable.
Scripture calls atheists “fools” (Ps. 14:1 & 53:1), their wisdom “foolishness” (1 Cor. 3:19), and their reasoning “futile” (v. 20), while also reminding us that in the wisdom of God, the world, through its wisdom, cannot know Him (1:21), cannot comprehend spiritual truths (2:14), and will, as ordained by God Himself, consider the Truth foolish. (1:18 & the whole context of 1:17-2:16) Thus we are told, “Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.” (Pr. 23:9)
Moreover, our Message does not penetrate minds and hearts through persuasive words of worldly wisdom, but only through the power and words of God. (1 Cor. 2:4-6 & 4:20 // Col. 2:2-4 // 1 Thes. 1:5 // 1 Peter 4:11) Therefore, to dialogue with atheists about God, unless they are, by using standard respect and genuineness, asking us to answer their legitimate inquiries, becomes a provision for them to mock God and ridicule His saints. To willingly allow this or submit ourselves to learn from them, especially within the context of a public conversation about God’s existence, could hardly be pleasing to the Lord. (1 Cor. 2:13-15) We are commanded to warn warped, divisive people no more than twice and then to get away from them. (Rom. 16:17,18 // Titus 3:9-11)
While we see the atheists’ folly in claiming they supposedly know, for a certainty, that there is no God, I exhort you again to see how you cannot legitimately assert that the 9/11 terror attacks were not a judgement from God. We cannot know whether they were or were not, but to so dogmatically insist that they were not, doing so by teaching that God, since the atonement of Christ, no longer discharges judgements on earth, is a doctrine that you, or someone you’ve listened to, has simply made up. For Scripture instead teaches that God has, throughout time, exercised judgements on the earth (Ps. 105:7 // Isa. 26:9 // Jer. 9:24 // Ja. 4:4-6 // 1 Peter 4:17 & 5:5), and some of those judgements that have been recorded, happened after Christ’s death and resurrection. To ignore this is to exalt men’s reasonings over Scripture’s teachings. To call “blasphemous” those who hold to sound doctrine, as it is clearly revealed in the Word, is folly. As 2 Tim. 3:16 informs us, “ALL Scripture” is useful for understanding correct doctrine. This includes the Old Testament. Yet even in regards to the New, I cannot see how your dismissal of God’s earthly judgements spoken about in such verses as Luke 12:51 & 21:20-24, Acts 5:1-11 & 12:21-23 & 13:10,11, Rom. ch. 1 & 13:4, and Heb. 12:6 is not a classic denial of God’s Word and Doctrine.
I’ve tried to respond to you that you and I do differ on several theological points, and I consider the “Faith Alone” one to be the most critical. On 7/8/15 at my comment page, you stated that you removed from your book manuscript your sentence, “Notice that faith is not a work.” You explained that you did so because you had reflected on my editing correction and therefore “tried to word it in a better way.” Yet you also then said, “I didn’t keep the comment about works in there because it wasn’t necessary to the point I was making in that section.” It seems, then, that you are saying that you did not actually reword it for the more important reason: That such a statement is a falsehood.
Being that I feel you have been, for the most part, resistant to my explanations and exhortations to you, and being that I have numerous posts you can read that reveal how our doctrines conflict (see https://knowgodsword.wordpress.com/sermons/trusting-christ-obedience/ for example), I ask that you not respond for a least two months, if ever. Please study, check, and recheck what I am saying and if you choose to not retract your doctrine and accusations concerning God’s earthly judgements, and especially your “Faith Alone” promotions, then consider us to be in critical disagreement, and allow us to part ways. May we both always remember, though, that the way we combat errors and counterfeits is to know the Truth, to walk in the Truth, to obey it, to preach it, to compare what others say with what the Word of God says, and to always go with the latter. May we do so with the utmost diligence, for “we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (Ja. 3:1)
August 5, 2015
It should be a subject of great concern that there are so many “Christians” insisting that the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not teach that man absolutely must submit his will, on a continual basis, to the rulership of the Word and Spirit of God. (John 8:51 // Rom. 8:9) Indeed, because people want so badly to feel eternally safe as they (and their loved ones) sin, even those who promote Jesus are choosing to adhere to gospels that do not save. (Mt. 7:15-27)
The Gospel that saves (Rom. 1:16) commands that everyone is to obey this Gospel. –That everyone must believe in it and adhere to it. –That everyone must learn it, put it into practice, and walk in it, all under the tutelage and control of the Holy Spirit who uses the Word to instruct us.
It is about submission to the King. It is about doing what He says. It is about carrying out His commands. Only by this, will a person walk in fellowship with God. Only by this will a person get to know the Lord. Only by this will a person remain clean (purified / righteous / set apart from sin / holy / sanctified), belong to Christ, and inherit the Kingdom of God.
Again, it is by hearing the Gospel, learning it, believing it, submitting our will to it, and conforming our thoughts, words, and actions to it and the King, that we are transformed into new Spirit-indwelt creations who live the new life (John 14:23 // Rom. 6:1-7 & 12:1,2 // 2 Cor. 5:15,17) and by which we are saved. (Rom. 6:22 // Gal. 6:14,15 // Heb. 5:9 & 12:14)
“So we must understand the whole Truth before we are saved?” a person may ask. No, but we must accept and walk in that which we have, so far, heard. If we refuse to obey that amount which we have heard, then we have rebelled. Moreover, if we refuse to search for the Truth or refuse to continue to listen and learn, we have rebelled. If we rebel, we need to repent (renounce our rebellion and turn from it forever). If we sin unintentionally, or even rebel again, we are to take extreme measures, if need be, to cut off every source of temptation. (Mt. 5:29,30) If we refuse to do these things, we have rebelled against God. We have made ourselves His enemies and we will not inherit Eternal Life. (Gal. 5:19-21 // Ja. 4:4)
Here are just a few more of the many verses found in God’s Word that teach what I have just written above:
1. John 8:31-36 & 15:3 & 17:17 and Ja. 1:18,21,22 and 1 Peter 1:22,23 –We become and are kept sanctified by applying the Word / the Truth / the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. Mt. 24:45-51 & 25:41-46 and Rom. 2:8 and Gal. 1:6-9 and Eph. 5:6 and 2 Thes. 1:8,9 and 1 Peter 4:17 –We are condemned if we do not obey the Word / the Truth / the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Alarmingly, way too many so-called “Christians” are teaching the exact opposite of that which is taught in the Word of God. Truly, the strong delusion spoken of in 2 Thes. 2:10-12 is already upon them –because they “have not believed the Truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (v. 12) Therefore let us not join with anyone who is polluted in heart, mind, actions, words, or doctrine. (Eph. 5:3-7 // 2 John 1:9-11)
For as the King will say regarding the rebellious, “But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want Me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before Me.” (Luke 19:27)