LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What are disciples?

Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

In the great commission Jesus commanded his eleven disciples to go into the world and make disciples by teaching them to observe all that he had commanded. Therefore, it is apparent that Jesus envisions a believer that would be more than someone who would through ‘simple faith’ take a get out of hell free card and continue on his merry carnal way. No, Jesus taught that his disciples are people that observe ALL that he commanded. Christians do not perfectly observe all that Jesus taught and commanded, but the mindset and desire to follow these teachings are there because God put them there with power through regeneration. The false teaching that a Christian can and may resist God’s power and make no effort to obey and observe the teachings of Jesus is exactly the message that Satan would like to have taught in every church in America. What an insult to the sovereignty and power of almighty God to suggest that his regenerating power is insufficient to accomplish his will. Regeneration brings faith, justification, and adoption by God and enables a redeemed sinner to cooperate in sanctification and strive for holiness. Anyone considering this unbiblical carnal Christian teaching should carefully consider the whole counsel of God as revealed in his word to discern the truth………

What does the Bible have to say about disciples, believers, and Christians?
(1) Disciples are Christians. (Acts 11:26)
(2) Christians are saved by grace alone through faith alone. (Eph. 2:8, John 3:16, Rom. 3:24-25)

(3) Christians are born again. (John 3:3)
(4) Christians are given the gift of faith. (Eph. 2:8, Eph. 2:5, Rom. 9:16, John 6:65)
(5) Christians have a new nature. (2 Cor. 5:17)

(6) Christians are “in Christ.” (Rom. 8:1, 2 Cor. 5:17, 1 Peter 5:14)
(7) Christians walk according to the Spirit. (Rom. 8:4)
(8) Christians live according to the Spirit and set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (Rom. 8:5)

(9) Christians do the will of the Father. (Matt. 12:49)
(10) Christians do good works that God prepared for them. (Eph. 2:10)
(11) Christians do not keep on sinning as a way of life. (1 John 3:6)
(12) Christians will strive for holiness. (Hebrews 12:14)
(13) Christians are given the gift of repentance from God. (Acts 11:18)

What does the Bible say about unbelievers and false professors of the Christian faith?
(1) Not everyone who calls Jesus Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matt. 7:21-23)
(2) False professors of Christianity will be mixed with true Christians. (Matt. 13:36-43)
(3) False professors of Christianity have a dead faith that does not save. (James 2:14-26)
(4) People who walk according to the flesh are not Christians and are not saved. (Rom. 8:5-8)
(5) People whose mind is set on the flesh are hostile to God and cannot submit. (Rom. 8:7)
(6) People who leave the faith are false professors. (1 John 2:19)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Jesus Only - an excerpt from The Spurgeon Archive

To suppose that the Lord Jesus has only half saved, men, and that there is needed some work or feeling of their own to finish his work; is wicked. What is there of ours that could be added to his blood and righteousness? "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Can these be patched on to the costly fabric of his divine righteousness? Rags and fine white linen! Our dross and his pure gold! It is an insult to the Savior to dream of such a thing. We have sinned enough, without adding this to all our other offenses.

Even if we had any righteousness in which we could boast; if our fig leaves were broader than usual, and were not so utterly fading, it would be wisdom to put them away, and accept that righteousness which must be far more pleasing to God than anything of our own. The Lord must see more that is acceptable in his Son than in the best of us. The best of us! The words seem satirical, though they were not so intended. What best is there about any of us? "There is none that doeth good; no, not one." I who write these lines, would most freely confess that I have not a thread of goodness of my own. I could not make up so much as a rag, or a piece of a rag. I am utterly destitute. But if I had the fairest suit of good works which even pride can imagine, I would tear it up that I might put on nothing but the garments of salvation, which are freely given by the Lord Jesus, out of the heavenly wardrobe of his own merits.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Fundamentalism in the Tabernacle

"Nowadays there appears to be in some minds a forgetfulness of the Father. Christ is loved, for He died, but many seem to look upon the Father as having no share in the wondrous work of redemption" C.H.S.... This lack of theocentric belief came to have a serious effect upon the content of the gospel message; too often forgiveness was presented as though that, rather than knowing and glorifying God, was the end of salvation. Similarly the manner in which the message was presented to men underwent a change. In their eagerness to 'win' men to Christ', evangelists tended to overlook the the fact that for sin to be measured in its true light men must know that they are creatures - dependent upon and obligated to the Creator. In the interests of 'successful evangelism' the emphasis was no longer upon the declaration of the character of God and the claims of His holy law, but upon encouraging men to 'open their hearts' to Christ. The apostolic phrase 'repentance toward God' dropped out of common usage and 'deciding for Christ' became the new comprehensive term.

There is no more serious charge to be brought against the 'Fundamentalist' school of Christianity than that it bred a generation of evangelicals who were largely without reverence for God and whose familiarity with Jesus was too often the product of ignorance."

The above is taken from "The Forgotten Spurgeon" by Iain Murray, pages 232-233.

In this chapter Murray was reflecting on the terrible influence that Fundamentalism had on the Metropolitan Tabernacle after Spurgeon's death, especially under the ministry of Dr. A.C. Dixon. Fundamentalism changed the Tabernacle for the worse, so much so that Spurgeon's personal secratary, J.W. Harrold, a man whose theology mirrored Spurgeon's, was forced out of his ministry there and out of the Tabernacle entirely. How sad. We can see today the effects of Fundamentalism on the gospel message. Where is repentance and the remission of sins preached? How often is the sinner directed to the question "Do you want to go to Heaven?" rather than to the fact that they are sinners that will one day stand before a thrice holy God to give an account of their sins? Where is the terribleness of the sufferings that Christ HAD to endure, to pay for the sins of man preached? What about the glorious resurrection of Christ three days later, and how that the converted sinner can now walk in newness of life as servants of God?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Before peace there is no peace

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. The access to this peace comes by faith and provides justification by God because of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Christ is the source and focus of the faith that justifies. Faith is the instrument used to take hold of the gift of eternal life that Jesus Christ purchased by his atonement for the sins of the redeemed on the cross of Calvary. Jesus Christ saves sinners and Scripture reveals in many places how Jesus does this by changing sinners from the inside out. It reveals how the Holy Spirit changes hearts of stone into hearts of flesh and enables sinners to respond to the gospel with new attitudes and desires. Scripture explains how this new attitude results in sanctification that produces fruit and good works. However, the interesting point in this particular verse is the declaration that a person at the moment of justification secures peace with God.

Therefore, this implies that we were not at peace with God before our justification. In Romans 1:18, Paul explains that God’s wrath is in play before one has peace with God. God is extremely angry at the ungodliness and unrighteousness of sinners and their destiny is spiritual death unless they have this peace as Paul explains in Romans 6:23. It is popular in evangelism today to proclaim that God loves you unconditionally. Is this the right thing to tell a sinner who is under wrath and in need of “peace with God”? It is also popular today to “invite” sinners to accept the gospel call and some even say you should not cloud the issue by bringing up subjects like sin and repentance. However, Paul told the men of Athens in Acts 17:30-31, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Did Paul have it wrong and all the seeker sensitive methods of today have it right?

Brothers and sisters we rejoice in God’s love and mercy, but sinners that do not have peace with God and are under his wrath should hear the bad news of why they need peace with God. God is angry with them and they have a problem that can be solved by the good news of grace through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. God uses Scripture and men to give the external call to lost sinners. We should endeavor to do it as accurately and completely as we can without sugar coating or ignoring God’s wrath at sin.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I Don't Want to Harp....

...but I just keep thinking about this. I refer you back to this post and the link to that nauseating song. Well, I ran across this dreadful piece again yesterday in my blogosphere travels. I should not have done so, but I listened to the thing again, and then the stupid tune got stuck in my head. I had to reprogram myself. :)

But I began to ponder...

According to the lyrics, here are the things God is able to do:

~set the boundries of the ocean vast
~carve out the mountains from the distant past
~mould a man from the miry clay
~breathe in him life
~hold the waters in My mighty hand
~spread out the heavens with a single span
~make all creation tremble at My voice
~own the cattle on a thousand hills
~write the music for the whippoorwills
~control the planets with their rocks and rills

But then, interestingly enough, with His human creation, God is unable to:

~make you whole UNLESS you want it and you say so

How man-centered can we possibly get? How long will we scoff in the face of a holy, righteous, sovereign God, Creator of heaven and earth? Why do we, for one minute, believe that the definition of a loving God is one who MUST give His creatures 'free will?' That to love them, they must be able to 'choose?' That seems akin to a parent saying, "Son/daughter, I love you SOOOOOOOOOOOO much that I'm allowing you to choose whether or not you'd like to play on the highway."

I, for one, have little faith in my 'chooser.' It is fickle, fallible, sinful and quite unreliable. And besides, it's quite clear in Scripture that, without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, I would never choose God in the first place.

How about lyrics like these instead:

Worthy, You are worthy
Much more worthy than I know
I cannot imagine
Just how glorious You are
And I cannot begin to tell
How deep a love You bring
O Lord my ears have heard of You
But now my eyes have seen
You're worthy
You're worthy
You're worthy
You're worthy to be praised
Forever and a day
Glory, I give glory
To the One who saved my soul
You found me and You freed me
From the shame that was my own
And I cannot begin to tell
How merciful You've been
O Lord, my ears had heard of You
But now my eyes have seen
We'll sing an anthem of the highest praise
We'll sound an anthem of Your glorious name

Monday, January 22, 2007

This N That

Well, I am in the closing chapters of "The Forgotten Spurgeon" by Iain Murray. What a look at Spurgeon. It shows a side of Spurgeon that you only see hints of in other biographies of his life.

For instance his views of Fundamentalism and Dispensationalism. He saw in these two (aren't they one and the same, though historically Dispyism predates Fundyism) very young movements some alarming trends: Namely the de-emphasis on the need for regeneration, and the resulting change of life that comes about from an encounter with Christ. How prophetic.

Murray goes on to chronical how that Dispensationalism and Fundamentalism found entrance into the Metropolitan Tabernacle through the preaching and counselling influence of A.T. Pierson (no relation), a Presbyterian and Dispensational minister whom Spurgeon befriended late in his life, and D.L. Moody. It was Pierson who filled the MT pulpit in the months after Spurgeon's death. Though Spurgeon resisted and disagreed with Dispensationalism throughout his life, yet he found in Pierson a man who took the scriptures for what they are - THE WORD OF GOD. This was at a time when Spurgeon was in the middle of "The Down-Grade Controversy", a controversy that brought about the new Higher Criticism way of looking at the Bible. During this period of Spurgeon's life there were very few who saw the threat that Higher Criticism would have on the following generations of Evangelicalism. Spurgeon sought to protest this movement by leaving The Baptist Union, a union of independant, evangelical churches. Among those aligned against Spurgeon in this move was Alexander McClaren. The union voted to censure Spurgeon for this act of protest. Many in the union were more interested in preserving the union than they were in preserving the truth of God's word. This move came at a cost to Spurgeon. Even his own brother signed the notice of censure. Spurgeon was all alone, except for A.T. Pierson and D.L. Moody. That was the upside.

The downside was in that Pierson was to bring his Dispensational, Fundamental influences with him into the Tabernacle, and Moody his revival meetings. Over time there was less and less emphasis on the need for regeneration in the preaching. "Decissions for Christ" were counted now instead of changed lives. And so began the Tabernacle's decline. By the 1930's and 40's the congregation had begun to shrink literally by the thousands. By the 60's there were only enough people to fill the front pew.

Enter Doctor Peter Masters in 1970. His views almost mirror Spurgeon's. The Tabernacle is now back into the hundreds. The Tabernacle is once again beginning to radiate the glory of God, with the uncompromising "Doctrins of Grace".

Spurgeon was indeed prophetic in his assessment of Dispensationalism. As I mentioned earlier, he was alarmed by the fact that there was no stress on regeneration and changed lives in that system. How sad. Now regeneration is rarely taught from the pulpit; a changed life may not necessarily happen. What would Paul the apostle say?

Mark D. Pierson

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Jesus Only - an excerpt from The Spurgeon Archive

Jesus Only

WE CANNOT TOO OFTEN or too plainly tell the seeking soul that his only hope for salvation lies in the Lord Jesus Christ. It lies in him completely, only, and alone. To save both from the guilt and the power of sin, Jesus is all-sufficient. His name is called Jesus, because "he shall save his people from their sins." "The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins." He is exalted on high "to give repentance and remission of sins." It pleased God from of old to devise a method of salvation which should be all contained in his only-begotten Son. The Lord Jesus, for the working out of this salvation, became man, and being found in fashion as a man, became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. If another way of deliverance had been possible, the cup of bitterness would have passed from him. It stands to reason that the darling of heaven would not have died to save us if we could have been rescued at less expense. Infinite grace provided the great sacrifice; infinite love submitted to death for our sakes. How can we dream that there can be another way than the way which God has provided at such cost, and set forth in Holy Scripture so simply and so pressingly? Surely it is true that "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Team Family Question

I have the utmost respect for your views, Mark and Wayne, so I have a bit of a question. Let me preface by saying that Ifully embrace reformed theology, you know that. But that doesn't mean I don't have to wrestle to reconcile some difficult truths now and again. :) It's a process, and I pray that I always possess a teachable spirit when it comes to the truth of the Word of God. Of course, anyone else wishing to weigh in, please do so. I welcome the discussion.

OK, first you need to read this, Sentences in the Book of Providence. It's a post on Tim Challies blog. Then, of particular interest to me is comment number 7, Stuart. First off, no one answered him; I would have loved to do so, but quite frankly, I'm wondering the same thing.

So I thought I'd put it to you guys. Dont'cha love it?!

I refuse to twist Scripture around to fit 'my' tiny finite perspective. Some truths sink in quite easily, but most of the time it means humbling myself and bending my stubborn will to His. I'm having a difficult time with some of what the discussion is on that blogpost. Anyway, I'll have more to say after you comment.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Transforming Knowledge

A transforming knowledge(Thomas Brooks,

"Heaven on Earth" 1667)"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory." 2 Corinthians 3:18

Saving knowledge is a transforming knowledge, which metamorphoses the soul.
Divine light beating on the heart,
warms it and betters it;
transforms and changes it;
moulds and fashions it into the very likeness of Christ!

The naturalists observe that the pearl, by the often beating of the sunbeams upon it, becomes radiant. Just so, the often beating and shining of the Sun of righteousness, with His divine beams, upon the saints, causes them to glisten and shine in . . .
humbleness, etc.
Divine light casts a general beauty and glory upon the soul; it transforms a man more and more into the glorious image of Christ!Look! as the child receives his features from his parents;just so, the beams of divine light and knowledge shining into the soul, stamp the living image of Christ upon the soul.Mere notional knowledge may make a man excellent at praising the glorious and worthy acts and virtues of Christ; but that transforming knowledge which accompanies salvation, will work a man divinely to imitate the glorious acts and virtues of Christ.

When a beam of divine light shined from heaven upon Paul, ah, how did it change and metamorphose him! How did it alter and transform him! It made his rebellious soul, obedient: "Lord, whatwill You have me to do?" Acts 9:6.
Divine light lays upon a man a happy necessity of obeying God. Divine light makes . . .
this lion--into a lamb,
this persecutor--into a preacher,
this destroyer of the saints--into a strengthener of the saints,
this tormenter--into a comforter,
this monster--into an angel,
this notorious blasphemer--into a very great admirer of God, and the actings of His free grace.

Just so, when a spark of this heavenly fire fell upon the heart of Mary Magdalene, oh what a change, what a transformation does it make in her! Now she loves much, and believes much, and repents much, and weeps much. Oh what a change did divine light make in Zacchaeus, and in the jailor! Truly, if your light, your Biblical knowledge does not better you, if it does not change and transform you, if, under all your light and knowledge you remain as vile and base as ever; your light,your knowledge, your notions, your speculations, will be like fire!That knowledge which is not a transforming knowledge--will torment a man at last more than all the devils in hell; it will be . . .
a sword to cut him,
a rod to lash him,
a serpent to bite him,
a scorpion to sting him,
and a vulture, a worm eternally gnawing him!

God at last will own no knowledge, but that which leaves the stamp of Christ, the print of Christ, the image of Christ upon the heart; but that which changes and transforms the soul, which makes a man a new man, another man than what he was before divine light shined upon him.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


But, athletic victories are nothing compared to the victory that overcomes the world….

1 John 5:1-5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

All victories that man achieves on earth pale in comparison to the spiritual victory that the Apostle John calls the victory that overcomes the world. This is a victory that is won by faith in Jesus Christ and is made possible by being born again. This victory and faith come to everyone who has been born of God. Everyone means all (100 %) of those born of God overcome the world. All human beings are prisoners and slaves of sin until they are born again. Since slaves cannot free themselves, God in his mercy and grace regenerates and frees them from the power of sin. After being freed from sin’s bondage, sinners turn with faith and repentance to Jesus Christ. This is the victory that overcomes the world. This victory results in a love for God and desire to obey his commandments, and everything flows from the grace of God that is wrought in the hearts of those born again.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Regenerated believers are now slaves of righteousness and while they stumble and fall in their earthly journey, they are headed in the direction that overcomes the world. The victory is assured. Praise God that his grace not only saves and justifies, it also sanctifies more and more unto righteousness.

Right On!

Please go to...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Christ's People-Imitators of Him - Spurgeon

Christ's People—Imitators of Him
A Sermon(No. 21)

Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 29, 1855, by the REV. C. H. Spurgeon At Exeter Hall, Strand.

"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."—Acts 4:13.
EHOLD! what a change divine grace will work in a man, and in how short a time. That same Peter, who so lately followed his master afar off, and with oaths and curses denied that he knew his name, is now to be found side by side with the loving John, boldly declaring that there is salvation in none other name save that of Jesus Christ, and preaching the resurrection of the dead, through the sacrifice of his dying Lord. The Scribes and Pharisees soon discover the reason of his boldness. Rightly did they guess that it rested not in his learning or his talents, for neither Peter nor John had been educated; they had been trained as fishermen; their education was a knowledge of the sea—of the fisherman's craft; none other had they; their boldness could not therefore spring from the self-sufficiency of knowledge, but from the Spirit of the living God. Nor did they acquire their courage from their station; for rank will confer a sort of dignity upon a man, and make him speak with a feigned authority, even when he has no talent or genius; but these men were, as it says in the original text, idiotai, private men, who stood in no official capacity; men without rank or station. When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and private individuals, they marveled, and they came to a right conclusion as to the source of their power—they had been dwelling with Jesus. Their conversation with the Prince of light and glory, backed up, as they might also have known, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, without which even that eminently holy example would have been in vain, had made them bold for their Master's cause. Oh! my brethren, it were well if this condemnation, so forced from the lips of enemies, could also be compelled by our own example. If we could live like Peter and John; if our lives were "living epistles of God, known and read of all men;" if, whenever we were seen, men would take knowledge of us, that we had been with Jesus, it would be a happy thing for this world, and a blessed thing for us. It is concerning that I am to speak to you this morning; and as God gives me grace, I will endeavor to stir up your minds by way of remembrance, and urge you so to imitate Jesus Christ, our heavenly pattern, that men may perceive that you are disciples of the Holy Son of God.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

All Praise to God

Revelation 1:5-6 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

" Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen."

What a set of verses to meditate on. Consider here the love of God in Christ towards us. " He loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood"... But it doesn't stop there, although it could have. It goes on "6and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—" He has made us a kingdom and priests to serve His Father. Might I say here that is what the salvation experience is all about, being brought into a relationship with the Father, one of obedience.

God the Father went into a rebellious and hostile human race to take out for Himself a people to serve Him as priests, a people to be in His Kingdom, under His rule, who would honor and obey His Word in their lives. God the Holy Spirit set those very people, whom the Father had chosen, apart from the world, and unto the sprinkling blood of Christ for the cleansing from sin and into a relationship of obedience to the Father. As God the Father would have it He has spoken in these last days through His Son, and we obey Him as we obey all that His Son has taught (the Law of Christ).

God reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. He brought us into a relationship with Himself. We were once hostile to Him and His Word. No more. Thanks to the work of Christ on the cross. As Peter said to his Jewish audience, a message that all the world has reason to rejoice for "Acts 3:25-26 (New International Version)

25And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.'[a] 26When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."

"Turning each of you from your wicked ways". Paul sums it up well, "And having been set free from sin, you became slaves o f righteousness". Romans 6:18. Folks that is what eternal life looks like, its recipients are slaves of righteousness, not perfect mind you, but headed in the right direction.

And now dear reader, have you come into a relationship with the Father through His Son? His Son suffered and died for sin. His blood is the only sacrifice for sin. Christ died to pay for sin with His blood. He rose again three days later, a testimony to the world that the Father accepted His sacrifice. Do you believe this? Then His command to you is to repent, meaning to turn from your selfish, self-seeking life style, and surrender to His rule in your life. Christ died to set you free from sin's penalty and dominion to be a servant of the Father. And we shall be with Him forever.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Slave ships on the Mississippi River!

The casino gambling boat in the photograph above stays open all day every day for slaves of the power of sin. These slaves have the ears to hear the lure of casino noises in their imagination and they respond. They come with money and they lose their money; however, they keep coming and while there are brief periods of winning, this is fleeting and the bottom line is one of losing. These slaves are addicted to this particular sin of gambling. Paul makes the point that sinners are slaves to sin in Romans 6:

Romans 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Entire families are financially ruined by this sin and some end up committing suicide. When you connect the dots it is evident that sin is it’s own punishment. The punishment for sin is many times the consequences that flow from the sin itself. It is self-inflicted. There are many other sinful activities and behaviors that produce slaves. Addiction to drugs, alcohol, sexual perversions, and idols are a few other things that are sinful and lure slaves to come, participate, and indulge. Romans 1:21-32 gives a longer list of sinful behavior and activity. All of humanity either is or at one time was under this power as Paul makes clear:

Ephesians 2:1-2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--

All of humanity began life dead in sin. They walk in sin and are slaves to sin. They follow the course of the world and the spirit that is work in the sons of disobedience. Since slaves cannot free themselves, they desperately need to be saved from the slavery of sin.

The good news is that the gospel of God through his grace saves sinners from this slavery. Praise God for this amazing grace.

Ephesians 2:5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--

This salvation, which comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, also sets sinners free from the power of sin. Salvation saves sinners to eternal life and from the power of sin.

Romans 6:17-18 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

While redeemed sinners still struggle with sin and may even patronize a slave ship, they are no longer under its power. They are no longer slaves to sin and are able and will produce fruit that leads to sanctification. They will overcome. It is a myth that a Christian can be totally fruitless and be all carnal all the time. This truth is pervasive throughout Scripture and Paul makes the point again as he closes chapter six.

Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
What wonderful powerful grace that saves sinners from the grip and power of sin and enables them to not be enslaved by those Mississippi River slave ships.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

God's Sovereignty & The Gospel Call

One of my favorite reformed bloggers is Alan over at Calvinist Gadfly. Alan is very articulate and very respectful in his tone, not to mention quite knowledgeable. Plus, I can just use his sidebar as my sidebar since he lists a whole lotta great links. ;)

Here is an interesting post worth reading... er...listening to.

But 'afore you do that, let me preface it by saying this. I'm not much into labels, meaning I don't call myself a Calvinist. I don't follow this man, John Calvin, though I do hold to/agree with much of this teachings. I do so only because they are biblical. I was awakened to this 'new' view of reformed theology, or doctrines of grace, a little over two years ago when God, in His wisdom and by His mercy, opened my eyes to the biblical understanding of His sovereignty. And that's what it's all about isn't it, when you get right down to it? The sovereignty of God. Just before God completely changed my core thinking, I remember being in an online discussion with some friends from a private Christian message board. Two of them were reformed, and then there was me. I certainly didn't know the term for it then, but I was of the Arminian persuasion, just having at it with (what I now understand to be) the typcial verses to PROVE God's universal love, desire to save the 'whole world,' et cetera. Basically, it was a complete man-centered theology.

Fast forward to now. I continue to be amazed by what God shows me. No doubt, He has given me more discernment, and He has given me a whole new perspective. In reading through the Bible, I now read it through the eyes of His sovereignty. What a radical difference that has made! He's given me such a hunger for His Word, a richer, deeper relationship with Himself, a greater desire to bring the Light to a dark world, a better (not perfect) marriage, and on & on I could go. During this time, I've wrestled through some difficult and weighty texts of Scripture, and have become convinced that God alone is in complete control of His creation.

Anyway that said, the above link to an interesting little song is quite telling. There are 193 comments following, some of which perhaps got a little out of hand, but are still worth the read. Bottom line: the gospel of Christ has been neutered, if not hijacked. I pray that God will have mercy and open the hearts and minds of His people, who have taken that gospel and twisted into something often times not even remotely resembling the Truth.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Books I'm Reading Now

Did you know that lowly factory workers actually read books too? Yes, yes, however, they do so much more slowly than everybody else.

Here are some that I am working on:

Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology - cover to cover. I'm about three quarters through now.
Ian Murray's "The Forgotten Spurgeon"
Philip Schaff's 8 vol. "History of the Christian Church", every page.
Vern Poythress' "Understanding Dispensationalists"

Unlike Jonathan Moorhead, who could do all of the above in two, three days, this is a 3 year project for little ol' me.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The History of New Covenant Theology

Please go to...