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].

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Are you taught by God?

John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—

1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, (10)for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,

In the photo above children are being taught about God. In John 6:45 and 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 shown above, the Bible teaches that believers will be successfully taught by God. 1 Thessalonians 4:9 affirms that believers are taught by God to love one another. When we looked at Romans 8:14, we learned that the children of God are led by the Spirit of God. Those that are led follow, and those that are taught learn from the Holy Spirit. The Christian walk consists of following the leading and applying what is learned. John tells us in 1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. John is telling us that love is shown by action and not just by word and talk. John in 1 John 4:7 (below) and Paul in Ephesians 2:5 trace the source of this love back to the power of God through being born again.

Is this what believers should do but, in some cases, do not do? No, the Bible, teaches that all believers respond to God’s leading and teaching by responding with a love that not only talks the talk, but it walks the walk. It is a love of action. John affirms that all believers participate in this love, 1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (8)Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is the same message that is taught over and over in Scripture. Those born of God will always show the results of their new Sprit led nature. John is stating very clearly that whoever does not love with deeds, does not know God and has not been born again.

Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 4:10 above, points out that believers should co-operate with the grace of the Holy Spirit and love more and more. This points to the fact that believers are not perfect and, while they are being taught by God and led by the Spirit, they should participate in the sanctification that is being worked in them by the Spirit. Because as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3: For this is the will of God, your sanctification.

Praise God that his regenerating power saves us to eternal life and from the power of sin. It justifies and sanctifies those born of God. Grace produces faith which overcomes the world, 1 John 5:4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. There is power in the blood of Christ and it never fails. Never!

Entry 2- The heavy weight of sin

There are Christians (at least self proclaimed) in the church today who say they have never felt the weight of their sins. When they call Jesus Saviour I often wonder what He has saved them from. If not the guilt and penalty of sin, what then? Bad breath? Poor posture? Sub-par hygiene? I don't want to come across in a mocking tone but when I analyze my own sinful propensities I know exactly why Jesus died for me. You see sin is a weighty thing. It is the chief weapon in the devil's arsenal. He is , after all, quite clever here. It isn't that he wants to drive you to drunkenness or pornography or womanizing (or "manizing" to give the ladies equal time) for the singular purpose of letting you enjoy those things for a measurable period of time. He has no interest in gratifying your flesh if the Lord will not. What he is aiming for is the after effects; the feelings of guilt and alienation that inevitably come to our minds when we have shamed Him by our actions. You know the thoughts full well. Oh I have sinned again. The Lord must really be disgusted with me now. I'm going to get chastised for sure. What will it be this time? A flat tire? Sudden sickness? Stubbed toe? Or maybe even something far worse. You see when we think this way the devil has gained the victory. Repentance is good. Self condemnation isn't . If He has saved you then you will forever be saved. He doesn't stop loving you because you have erred. Don't let the wicked one tease you with such things. Sin is a weighty thing but I think the Lord's arms are strong enough to hoist it far above his head and slay it forever on the old rugged cross. I wonder what consolation other "Christians" have who have never experienced the weighty nature of their sins? Probably no consolation since, in their own minds, there is nothing to be consoled for. I don't think, if given the choice, that I would ever want to trade places with them.

Friday, June 29, 2007


"Better is the sin which humbles me, than that duty which makes me proud." Thomas Watson

I read this quote and thought how true, God would rather see us humbled by sin, then show pride in what we do. Humility is straight from God, Pride is straight from Satan. It is self-serving, where humilty is Christ-serving. I found this and wanted to share it.

The Monster Pride!
(from Thomas Reade's, "On Humility")

Pride and vanity cannot thrive at the foot of
the cross. It is only when we remove from this
holy ground, that they shoot out their pestiferous
branches in awful luxuriance.

True humility loves the sacred mount of Calvary,
on which the lowly Savior bowed his head and died!

There, repentance sheds the contrite tear.

There, faith views with joy the great atonement.

There, love glows with fervent desires to the Friend of sinners.

Man is naturally a proud, selfish creature.

He tries indeed to appear humble and unselfish,
but the monster Pride is easily seen through the
thin veil of false humility, which is thrown over its
frightful visage; while Self, like another Proteus,
assumes a thousand forms to escape detection.

It is only when the divine Spirit puts forth his
new creating power, through the instrumentality
of the everlasting Gospel, that the proud selfish
sinner becomes the lowly follower of the Lamb.

Humility is, then, the work of grace.

"Oh! Spirit of holiness, open my blind eyes to see
the wonders of your grace. Quicken my dead soul
to feel its sacred influence. Make me truly humble
in heart, emptied of every self exalting thought,
which would oppose the freeness of your love. Mold
my whole soul into the lowliness and meekness of
Jesus. Preserve me from the subtle influence of pride
and vain glory. Keep me ever low in my own eyes.
Root out every sinful, selfish principle; and give me
a single eye which aims at nothing but your glory."

(Psa 75:5 NNAS) Do not lift up your horn on high, Do not speak with insolent pride.

(Prov 11:2 NNAS) When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.

(Isa 2:17 NNAS) The pride of man will be humbled And the loftiness of men will be abased; And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

(1 John 2:16 NNAS) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Pride is something we all battle throughout our walk. I sometimes question myself is this for the glory of God or is this for the glory of Cristina? As Jonathan Edwards quotes "Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil's reach as humility...Real humiliation is what all the most glorious hypocrites, who make the most splendid show of mortification to the world, and high religious affection, grossly fail in...Pure christian humility disposes a person to take notice of every thing that is good in others, and to make the best of it, and to diminish their failings..."


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Interesting Thoughts

"Give me the love that leads the way, The faith that nothing can dismay, The hope no disappointments tire, The passion that will burn like fire, Let me not sink to be a clod: Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God."
-Amy Carmichael

"Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
-Abraham Lincoln

"No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar."
-Abraham Lincoln

"Since much wealth too often proves a snare and an incumbrance in the Christian's race, let him lighten the weight by 'dispersing abroad and giving to the poor'; whereby he will both soften the pilgrimage of his fellow travelers, and speed his own way the faster."
-Augustus Toplady

"There is an essential difference between the decease of the godly and the death of the ungodly. Death comes to the ungodly man as a penal infliction, but to the righteous as a summons to his Father's palace. To the sinner it is an execution, to the saint an undressing from his sins and infirmities. Death to the wicked is the King of terrors. Death to the saint is the end of terrors, the commencement of glory."
-Charles Spurgeon

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible!"
-George Washington

"Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic text book in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct."
-Noah Webster

"If thou wouldst rule well, thou must rule for God, and to do that, thou must be ruled by him. Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."
-William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania

"If sound doctrine is given up, the real Gospel of redemption by the blood of the Son of God is denied, worldliness follows."
-A.C. Gaebelein

"Dr. Bonar once said that he could tell when a Christian was growing. In proportion to his growth in grace he would elevate his Master, talk less of what he himself was doing, and become smaller and smaller in his own esteem, until, like the morning star, he faded away before the rising sun."
-D.L. Moody

"Someday, when in the presence of our Savior, we will thank Him for every burden, every trial, and every heartache."
-J. Vernon McGee

"Today, when people say they cannot believe, it is not a mental problem; it is
a matter of the will of the heart—they do not want to believe. Some say they have certain “mental reservations,” mental hurdles which they cannot get over. My friend, your mind is not big enough to take even one little hurdle. The problem is never in the mind but in the will. There is sin in the life, and
a man does not want to turn to God; he does not want to believe Him."
-J. Vernon McGee

"The scriptures are the only external guide in matters of religion; they are the way-posts we should look up unto, and take our direction from, and should steer our course accordingly: To the law and to the testimony: if men speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isa. 8:20)"
-John Gill

"No power of earth, or hell, men or devils, can possibly stand against the word of God; and hence it is the very height of folly and wild madness for any one to set up his thoughts or reasonings in opposition to the plain statements of Holy Scripture; and, on the other hand, it is the beginning and end of all true wisdom to submit in all things to the absolute authority of that Word which is settled forever in Heaven."
-CH Mackintosh



Wow, half the year has gone by already. Time to pause and look back...

In January I started to do some smart things with this blog in deciding to become a minor player here. My carpel tunnel was not getting any easier to deal with, and, quite frankly, I could no longer rub two thoughts together to save my life. What to do. Well having friends who happen to be some of the best thinkers and writers in blogdom made things easy here, so inviting them on board to do the bulk of the writing struck me as the way to go. I have not regretted that move for one second. They have all done me proud.

The real life-blood of bluecollar is found in the writing of Gayla, Wayne, Cristina, Dave, Doug, Susan and John.

You guys have made blogging fun again. What's exciting is that every morning when I go to the blog I never know what I am going to find, ON MY OWN BLOG, no less. Ya gotta love it.

As I said, you guys are the real life-blood of this blog. Thank you so very much.



Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Book Sale

This is not so much a post as it is an announcement. All books and Bibles are on sale for $5.00 - that's right - Five Dollars at Desiring God, today and tomorrow.

So...run, don't walk, to the nearest computer and order yourself up a plethora of John Piper books. You'll be glad you did.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


It is my intent to begin a series of short, practical musings that I hope will be of benefit to my readership, whether that be large or insignificant. The purpose is not to be controversial or plunge the depths of deep theological quandaries. Instead, I desire to bring Christianity home with topics that touch our every day living. At times my entries will read like excerpts from a personal journal which, I suppose, will be purposeful. The Christian lifestyle is not easily unfolded in a sinful world and the execution of living that life is seldom easy. I hope some of these posts will shine like candles along the way to give light and direction to some weary pilgrims. Well, time to plunge in. Here is the first.

Entry 1 -- Reflections of a beloved friend

As a Christian, do you have a "beloved friend"? By that I mean, do you have someone that you can turn to in times of dire need and, in that person, find a receptive ear and caring heart? I feel that the Church of today is full of acquaintances but very few friends. We have an abundance of names written on "membership rolls" but too few that are written on our hearts. We see familiar faces each Sunday morning but a very small minority of the people behind those faces are, or ever will become, beloved friends. I have such a friend. His name is Mark and we have been meeting together once a week for about two months. How do I know that he is a beloved friend? Well let me share some observations. First, he is not reluctant to make time for me nor do I have any reservations in making time for him. We meet at a time close to the stroke of midnight when most folks are in bed. I know he is tired but still time is set aside for two fellow pilgrims to get together and share. You see a beloved friend is not afraid to put the desires of "self" behind the needs of a friend. Furthermore, I know he is a dear friend because he openly shares what is most pressing and painful in his life with me and I with him. There is no hiding behind a sterile facade. Failures, sins, weaknesses and vulnerabilities are shared in complete confidence. We both know that the confession of such personal issues will not invoke judgement and scorn but heartfelt counsel and care. It is just good to be able to unload on one who is a true and beloved friend. And I suppose another reason why we have such a relationship is because time just seems to whisk by when we are enjoying fellowship together. Midnight quickly becomes three in the morning and it is time to say good night. I am afraid that the Church is full of people who have numerous acquaintances but few if any friends. Do you have such a friend? I think that you will find that he, like your Saviour, will both now and forever stick closer to you than a brother.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

True Free Grace regenerates, justifies, adopts, and sanctifies.

Romans 8:14 KJV For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

It is a glorious reality that believers, who are led by the Spirit, are adopted and become sons of God. Paul has now added adoption to the theme he has been developing throughout Chapter 8. In the first 13 verses of Romans 8 Paul has given the following characteristics of believers: Believers are in Christ, set their minds on the things of the Spirit, live according to the Spirit, walk according to the Spirit, and have the Spirit dwelling in them. If someone is being led, then it means he is following the person doing the leading. A person that is led by the Spirit follows Jesus Christ and becomes adopted as a Son of God. While not perfect, He is a Christian and a disciple. One hundred percent that are led by the Spirit of God and them only are sons God. Paul in the first 13 verses of Romans 8 has contrasted this with unbelievers who live in the flesh and walk in the flesh.

Therefore, if a person is not led by the Spirit of God, then he is not a son of God. He has not been adopted because he has not been justified, and he has not been justified because he has not been saved. He is unsaved, still in the flesh, and has not been born again. This is yet another verse that refutes the belief that a person can be a Christian and yet not follow Christ. Adopted sons of God are followers of Christ because they are led by the Spirit and this verse does not offer any other possibility for justification.

If anyone is clinging to the false hope of the false carnal Christian teaching, then I urge them to read Romans 8 very carefully. Obviously being led by the Spirit of God would rule out the possibility of a believer being totally dominated by the sin nature. A person who claims to be a Christian, but is not led by the Spirit of God is a hypocrite and is not saved. A person who tells you that you can have faith and not be led by the Spirit of God is contridicting this verse and is a false prophet.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Serious Question To Free Gracers About Rewards

Free Gracers, at least the ones who would still talk to me, please enlighten me concerning rewards. Does your view create a hierarchy in Heaven? Do you seek reward outside of love for Christ, that is, can your work for rewards surpass love for Christ? What is your motivation for rewards? What is the place that rewards should have in the life of the believer?

Please, my debate mode is off. Tell me all about rewards.

Thank you.


Friday, June 22, 2007


If somebody were to consider Free Grace Theology, how important is it for that one to embrace the idea of the Kingdom as entirely future?


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


True repentance is always accompanied by sorrow.

Repentance is a deep, radical, fundamental, lasting change; and you will find that, whenever you meet with it in Scripture, it is always accompanied with sorrow for past sin.

And rest assured of this fact-- that the repentance which has no tear in its eye, and no mourning for sin in its heart, is a repentance which needs to be repented of.

In such false repentance, there is no evidence of conversion, and no sign of the existence of the grace of God.

The man who knows that his sin is forgiven, does not cease to mourn for it. No, brethren, his mourning becomes deeper as his knowledge of his guilt becomes greater. His hatred of sin grows in proportion as he understands that love of Christ by which his sin is put away.

In true believers, mourning for sin is chastened and sweetened, and, in one sense, the fang of bitterness is taken out.

But, in another sense, the more we realize our indebtedness to God's grace, and the more we see of the sufferings of Christ in order to effect our redemption, the more do we hate sin, and the more do we lament
that we ever fell into it.

The man who has led the purest life, when he is brought before God by the humbling influence of the Holy Spirit, is the man who almost invariably considers himself to have been viler than anybody else.

"Repentance is to leave
The sin we loved before,
And show that we in earnest grieve
By doing so no more."

From Spurgeon's sermon, "APART"

Cristina (Baptist Girl)

Well, Which Is It?

The Kingdom:

Now and not yet


Entirely future

Monday, June 18, 2007

Two For The Road -- In Honor of Susan

Anyone who has read Susan will find that she has a love for Eschatology. I came across some older papers today that made me think of her. I have no idea if she has read them before or not. Regardless, I offer them here.

The first is a paper by Vern S. Poythress concerning 2 Thessalonians 1 and Amillennialism

The second is a reply offered by Mike Stallard of Baptist Bible Seminary. It may be read here.

3.We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;
4.therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.
5.This is a plain indication of God's righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.
6.For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
7.and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,
8.dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
9.These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
10.when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed--for our testimony to you was believed.
11.To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power,
12.so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I don't know -- What do you think?


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Free Grace Theology -- The Frustrated Confusion Continues...

(Note: Due to my wife's grandmother's mishap, both the quality and the length of this post was not what I had intended, although I did want to continue on with my series. What follows is not an actual critique, but rather the frustration brought out by reading the extreme views of Robert N. Wilkin.)

Those from the Free Grace perspective suggest that sin can dominate a believer--with no time limit attached.
--Bob Wilkin, A Free Gracer

7 Little children, let no one deceive you! The one who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works. 9 Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how God’s children—and the Devil’s children—are made evident.
--1 John 3:7-10, The Infallible, Inerrant written word of God, NOT a Free Gracer

Although no reader here will know of it, this that you are reading is actually the fourth try of this article – and might be the fifth by morning posting. Writing about the confusions and dualities I see within Free Grace theology has not been an easy thing.

For instance, look at the Bob Wilkin quote above. He would affirm a new nature, but in saying that a believer can be dominated by sin without limit is to deny the very “new nature” he claims to believe in. It is making a severe docetic distinction between spirit and flesh. Why do I say that? Because Free Grace theology creates a very real dichotomy between the new nature and the life of a believer. A person may be born again, born from above, born of God, and yet that new life just may or may not have any impact on their life – for an unlimited amount of time! How can any Free Gracer be blind to that most dangerous and heretical statement made by Bob Wilkin?

Consider an example of what that is conveying:

Imagine a person living in ancient times. Not only do they consider Caesar to be a divine Lord, but are also a follower of, say, Venus, or DIONYSUS, because it isn’t the ritual sex they enjoy, just the fellowship (you know, kind of like those guys who reads Playboy for the articles). According to Bob Wilkin, Free Grace theology would teach that sin may dominate the life of the believer for an unlimited period of time, that the above person could claim conversion to Christ and yet continue to live in that wickedness for … well… for an unlimited period of time, and we are to consider them to be true believers even if that unlimited period of time is life long!

Will there be backtracking now? Yet I ask, how can such a conclusion be denied? Will it be: “The new nature is perfect, and none of those sins he would commit is an expression of that new nature.” That is the very epitome of a docetic tenant which taught a dichotomy between the spirit and the flesh. Saying that the new nature can never be dominated by sin but that the believer can is to separate a person from their nature. That would be no different from saying that a person, dead in sin, will not, by necessity, reflect that dead in sin nature. If it is true for the one, it is true for the other.

Consider the above imaginary example. It has basis in real life:

8 For the Lord’s message rang out from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place that your faith[4] in God has gone out, so we don’t need to say anything. 9 For they themselves report about us what kind of reception we had from you: how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
1 Thess. 1:8-10

According to Free Grace theology, the bottom line, in terms of the believer being dominated by sin, is that you can be converted without really having conversion. And that is tragic. Praise God that the believers described in this 1 Thess. passage did not know anything of such nonsense.


Repentance? What Saith Spurgeon

We tell men to repent and believe, not because we rely on any power in them to do so, for we know them to be dead in trespasses and sins; not because we depend upon any power in our earnestness or in our speech to make them do so, for we understand that our preaching is less than nothing apart from God; but because the gospel is the mysterious engine by which God converts the hearts of men, and we find that, if we speak in faith, God the Holy Ghost operates with us, and while we bid the dry bones live, the Spirit makes them live—while we tell the lame man to stand on his feet, the mysterious energy makes his ankle-bones to receive strength—while we tell the impotent man to stretch out his hand, a divine power goes with the command, and the hand is stretched out and the man is restored. The power lies not in the sinner, not in the preacher, but in the Holy Spirit, which works effectually with the gospel by divine decree, so that where the truth is preached the elect of God are quickened by it, souls are saved, and God is glorified. Go on, my dear brethren, preaching the gospel boldly, and be not afraid of the result, for, however little may be your strength, and though your eloquence may be as nought, yet God has promised to make his gospel the power to save, and so it shall be down to the world's end. See then, ye that are unsaved, before I leave this point, see what it is we are bound to require of you this morning. It is, that ye repent and be converted. We are not satisfied with having your ear, nor your eyes; we are not content with having you gathered in the house of worship—it is all in vain that you have come here, except you repent and be converted. We are not come to tell you that you must reform a little, and mend your ways in some degree: except you put your trust in Christ, forsake your old way of life, and become new creatures in Christ Jesus, you must perish. This—nothing short of this—is the gospel requirement. No church-going, no chapel-going, will save you; no bowing of the knee, no outward form of worship, no pretensions and professions to godliness- ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and if ye do not this, neither shall your sins be blotted out. Thus much, then, on the first point: the apostle commanded men to repent and be converted.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Prayer Request UPDATE

I'd like to submit a prayer request. My wife's (Kerry) grandmother just fell down and broke her shoulder. She is in her early 80's.

We are off to the hospital.

Thanks so much.


She is back at home now, in a little pain, but trying to rest. She will be going to to the hospital Thursday for surgery.

Thanks for your prayers, and please continue to keep grandma Terry in your prayers.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Potter's Freedom

Actually, the title of my post is the title of a book I’m “reading.” I put that in quotes because I tend to read a few books at the same time, so they all suffer together from lack of attention. Misery loves company, and my books are no exception.

At any rate, this book qualifies itself as “a defense of the Reformation and a rebuttal of Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free." Written by James R. White, The Potter’s Freedom was given to me as a gift, and I respect the person who gave it to me, so I wanted to give it a fair read.

Although the majority of the book strikes me as a good defense for Reformed theology alongside frustrating passages of Geisler’s work, there are some real gems that have resided in my grey matter over the past few weeks ever since I cracked open the first page.

Early on, White builds a case for the vital issue of God’s complete and absolute sovereignty. To do so, he cites three Scriptural examples back-to-back to structure his argument, and there’s much to this approach. See if you agree.

He writes:
“While many are content to allow God to control the ‘big things’ like hurricanes and the natural realm, it is the assertion that God’s freedom extends to the actions of men, even to their choices, that meets with immediate rejection.”

Did you catch that? He’s saying that God controls the choices of men, and therewith he begins with three Scriptural witnesses to testify to same.

He begins with Isaiah 10:5-7:

“Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. But he does not so intend, and his heart does not so think; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few;”

White notes the revelation that God Himself is sending Assyria (“the rod of my anger”) against His people Israel (a “godless nation”), adding that Assyria is not a willing party to the punishment of Israel. Assyria does not intend to be involved in the doing of God’s work, but instead “it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few.”

God says He is using Assyria, but will likewise will punish them for their intentions. As written in Isaiah 10:12: “When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes.”

White’s point is that God is perfectly just to judge on the basis of Assyria’s sinful intentions, as it acts in accordance with its own desires, while fulfilling God’s own decree.

Here’s where it gets good:

White likens the example of such providential acts to Joseph, who was sold into slavery at the hands of his own brothers and who recognized the providence of God in it all.

“But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones. Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
(Genesis 50:19-21)

While clearly recognizing the ill intent of his brothers, Joseph saw the over-riding hand of God in the same event for the purpose of bringing good.

White writes:

“One might ask, ‘But, if God decreed that this event would take place, how can He still hold Joseph’s brothers personally accountable for their actions?’ Even if we did not have an answer to this question, it would not matter: God makes it clear that He does hold men accountable. But it is clear that they are judged on the basis of the intention of their hearts. We dare not think that Joseph’s brothers were forced against the desires of their hearts to commit the evil of selling their brother into slavery. They desired to do this: indeed, if God had not intervened it is sure they would have killed him outright, so great was their hatred toward their brother. But God preserved Joseph’s life, and sent him to Egypt to preserve life and accomplish His will.”

And here’s the crescendo:

“But by far the greatest example of this is found in the pinnacle of God’s work of redemption, the cross of Jesus Christ. Surely no one can suggest that the cross was an after-thought, a desperate attempt to ‘fix’ things after all had gone awry. Jesus taught His disciples that it was necessary that He go to Jerusalem and die. (Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22).”

White cites Acts 4:27-30 to demonstrate how the early church had the proper understanding of God’s absolute sovereignty by decree alongside the evil of men as they nailed Jesus to the cross.

“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed'-- for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place."
(Acts 4:26-28)

I have heard it said that it was a good thing that the Jews killed Jesus because had they accepted Him at that time, the kingdom would have come then and none of us living today would have seen the light of day or had a chance at salvation, but that thinking puts God’s sovereign decree subject to man’s will.

Contrary to this fleshly thinking is Scriptural witness that Jesus had to come to earth to die – by God’s decree. God’s hand had predestined Christ’s murder.


I know. Not really a profound exclamation – but it leaves me in awe. Speechless. It’s so far beyond my comprehension. I mean, that’s amazing grace, to say the very least.

“No human being had the power to raise a hand against the Savior unless God so determined,” writes White. “But again, is it not true that what Herod and Pilate and the Jews and the Romans did was evil? Most assuredly. … Yet, what they did was predestined by God, and that to His glory.”

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007



Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Did Someone say Mariolatry?

"Remember: We do NOT worship Mary, that would be heretical and improper..."


Monday, June 11, 2007

Wondering About Repentance

I wish to dialogue with my Free Grace friends. You wish to use the Gospel of John, specifically, the Woman at the well passage, as the model and final authority on evangelistic messages. I say in doing so you neglect Jesus' commands of how He wants the gospel to be proclaimed.

Justification through Christ alone through faith alone is THE TRUTH. However, Jesus has given commandment how to get that message out-"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 things that I have commanded you... And He said to them, " Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned...Then He said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations...".

If your gospel presentation is not informed by the Great Commission, then are you not in sin, the sin of disobedience to Christ, as you are not following His commands of how to get the Gospel out?


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Free Gracers -- I am Confused -- Is They Or Ain't They?

Before I get into this, I want everyone to know that I have nothing against Free Gracers on a personal level. I have shared some private corraspondense with Antonio that has really blessed my heart, for example. I would also say the same in regards to Rose, HK Flynn (Jodie), and Matthew. I admire their zeal, as none of them take the punny, wimp way out of things and say something stupid like, "This is my truth, and what you have is your truth." They stand by their convictions, no matter if Free Grace theology, in the end, be true or false.

But I am very confused about their stance concerning works in the life of the believer. Is there double talk going on? For example, here on a latest thread we find a quote from Zane Hodges:

Of course, there is every reason to believe that there will be good works in the life of each believer in Christ. The idea that one may believe in Him and live for years totally unaffected by the amazing miracle of regeneration, or by the instruction and/or discipline of God his heavenly Father, is a fantastic notion—even bizarre. We reject it categorically." (Zane Hodges: We Believe in Assurance Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society) Emphesis made by Antonio

Next we read this:

Zane further writes:

"Finally, we must add that there is no need to quarrel with the Reformers' view that where there is justifying faith, works will undoubtedly exist too. This is a reasonable assumption for any Christian unless he has been converted on his death bed!" (Absolutely Free, pg 215).

Here we seem to have an affirmation that where there is faith in Christ, there will also be works. We even have a "categorical" rejection to the otherwise. Even Bob Wilkin writes:

Reformed theologians suggest that good works are the inevitable result of the new birth. All believers will produce good works, they say.

Some people from the Lordship Salvation position seem to think that we in the Free Grace camp deny such teaching. While GES has no specific statement directly on this point, most members of GES would not have a problem with the above statement--at least in terms of what it actually says.

Please note what Dr. Wilkin says: 1) That Reformed theologians teach that good works are the "inevitable" result of the new birth. 2) All believers will produce good works, and 3) in terms of the actual statement, "most" Ges members would not have a particular problem with it.

But alas, it would appear that a problem does come up. Wilkin writes:

There is a difference between what is hypothetically possible and what is likely and reasonable.

I would say that it is hypothetically possible for a believer never to produce even one good work. However, I don't think that ever has or will occur--except in the cases of people who trust Christ at the very moment of death. (Most consider such cases outside the scope of this issue.)

Wilkin introduces a hypothetical catagory. He then negates the possible reality of it, but then goes on to build a theology from that catagory. In his article, he actually weds what he has just said was hypothetical to what he teaches concerning the new nature. In doing so, he winds up negating all of his above affirmations. Wilkin writes:

The real issue in this discussion is to be found in the degree to which one's new nature will manifest itself. The question is: Is it possible for sin to dominate the life of a believer, and if so, for how long?

"Good works are inevitable," he writes, but brings in the extreme duality that the new nature can be dominated by sin. One might rightfully ask just how, if the new nature can be dominated by sin, can works in any serious way be affirmed as inevitable? I ask this because he writes:

The Reformed view cannot say how long a believer might be dominated by sin. Weeks? Months? Years? Decades? The reason for this imprecision is because the doctrine itself is unscriptural. There are many verses which warn believers not to let sin have dominion over us (e.g., Rom. 6:12-14; 1 Cor. 3:14; 2 Cor. 12:20-21; 1 Tim. 1:18-20; 2 Tim. 2:14-26; Jms. 5:19-20; 2 Pet. 3:17). There are none which say that there is a time limit on how long a believer can be dominated by sin.

(God does take disobedient believers home. In some cases, such as Leviticus 10 and Acts 5, God acts swiftly. In some cases, such as 2 Samuel 11 and 1 Corinthians 11, He does not. There is no indication in Scripture how long God might allow an errant believer to continue in sin before He would choose to take him home. He is sovereign and makes such choices as He knows are best in individual cases. He has not bound Himself to some formula.)

Since Wilkin introduces another catogory that the new nature can be dominated by sin lasting until death, in the case of God's judgment, with the possibility of domination being life long (years, decades), it appears to me that he has just committed a cagagory error that he himself introduced. That is, what is affirmed on the one hand, he appears to deny on the other.

And of course, I am left confused. Are good works inevitable or not?

Going on with my confusion, I wonder why Antonio would quote Hodges as affirming the reality of good works when Antonio himself has written this.

From his article, Antonio wrote:

...the intellectually repugnant paradox that Christian growth is "inevitable" but "not automatic"

Since good works are part of Christian growth, I am still left with confusion. Does Free Grace Theology teach good works to be inevitable or not? The appearance of things is that Free Grace theology wants to teach both. But then again, I am confused..... :-)

(Lord willing, I hope to offer a critique of this article next weekend. It is my hope to have a weekend series looking at Free Grace Theology.)


Thanks For Your Prayers

Friends, I want to thank you for your prayers for my dad. He woke up yesterday after two days of coma-like conditions. The down-side is that he is bleeding internally and no longer recognizes me or my wife. I don't know how much longer he will be with us. He wishes to join my mom with the Lord. May God grant his wish in HIS time. Amen.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11)

Hebrews 12:5-11 ……….. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, ……… God is treating you as sons. ………… If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. …………….For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

When a young boys baseball team travels to play in tournaments, the coach is responsible for maintaining discipline and order. This discipline teaches them to control their impulses and desires that tempt them to break the rules set by the coach. While there are consequences for breaking these rules, much greater consequences would result if there were no rules or discipline. Fathers are also called to discipline their children out of love and concern for their well being now and in the future. This discipline may seem painful at the moment, but children that have been trained and disciplined by their fathers reap the benefits for the rest of their lives. It does not take a multi-million dollar research grant for us to ascertain that children, who are not disciplined by their fathers or have no father, face serious problems in leading productive lives that take advantage of the limitless opportunity that our free society offers. One only has to look at prison and poverty statistics to see this truth. While secular activists and pandering politicians want to place the blame on society and everywhere else, the Bible is very clear about this truth. It is sad to see some religious leaders endorse every solution under the sun other than the need for fathers and discipline in the upbringing of children.

In Hebrews 12:5-11 God tells us that He disciplines the ones he loves. The discipline may start with the discomfort of a guilty conscience and a conviction of sin. If this does not turn a believer back to proper behavior, then the discipline gets stronger. This is painful for the believer, but the end result is the peaceful fruit of righteousness that results from the training of God’s discipline. This passage is clear that God’s discipline is only given to those he has called to be conformed to the image of Christ. Others are given over to pursue and participate in their desires as they see fit.

Praise God that he gives the elect the gift of tough love. God’s discipline benefits believers just like a father’s discipline benefits his children. Let us pray that our society would get back to the Godly principle of tough love rather than blaming the results of an undisciplined society on everything other than what God’s word reveals to be the true problem.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Take the covering that God provides!

Mark also requested that I post this here as well........

Romans 3:22b-25A For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.

Paul makes clear that salvation comes by grace that God gives as a free gift. This gift is bought and paid for by the redemption that Christ Jesus secured on the cross of Calvary. God satisfied his righteous wrath by making his own son, who had no sin, pay the penalty for the sins of the redeemed. Just as God had done in the garden by providing covering for Adam and Eve, he covered the sins of his people by providing a blood sacrifice. God will not allow His character to be violated and so sin has to be punished. Thank God that his amazing grace provided a lamb without blemish to pay the debt that sinners cannot pay. Jesus paid it all and, through faith in His atonement, the blood of the Lamb redeems sinners.

Sin, God, wrath, penalty, Jesus Christ, atonement, redemption, justification, propitiation, grace, faith, gift, eternal life…… When the dots of all these doctrines are connected, it is clear that Jesus Christ saves sinners that believe and have faith that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for their sins.

Have you placed your faith in Jesus to cover your sins or are you going to make your own arrangements on judgment day? Choose wisely.

Monday, June 04, 2007


Mark asked if I would post this here

I think we should always remind one another about what He did on the cross for us....

"For God bought you with a high price."
1 Cor. 6:20

Refresh in your souls a sense of the fact
that you are "bought with a high price."

There in the midnight hour, amid the olives ofGethsemane, kneels Immanuel the Son of God;he groans, he pleads in prayer, he wrestles.See the beady drops stand on his brow, dropsof sweat, but not of such sweat as pours from men when they earn the bread of life, but the sweat of him who is procuring life itself for us.It is blood! It is crimson blood! Great gouts of it are falling to the ground! O soul, your Savior
speaks to you from out Gethsemane at this hour, and he says: "Here and thus I bought you with a price." Come, stand and view him in the agony of the olive garden, and understand at what a cost he procured your deliverance.

Track him in all his path of shame and sorrow until you see him at Gabbatha. Mark how they bind his hands and fasten him to the whipping-post. See, they bring the scourges and the cruel Roman whips; they tear his flesh; the ploughers make deep furrows on his blessed body, and the blood gushes forth in streams, while rivulets from his temples, where the crown of thorns has pierced them, join to swell the
purple stream. From beneath the scourges he speaks to you with accents soft and low, and he says, "My child, it is here and thus I bought you with a price."

But see him on the cross itself when the consummation of all has come. His hands and feet are fountains of blood, his soul is full of anguish even to heartbreak; and there, before the soldier pierces with a spear his side, bowing down he whispers to you and to me, "It was here and thus, I bought you with a high price."

O by Gethsemane, by Gabbatha, by Golgotha, by every sacred name collected with the passion of our Lord; by sponge and vinegar, and nail and spear, and everything that enlarged the pain and increased the anguish of his death, I implore you, my beloved
brethren, to remember that you were "bought with a high price," and "are not your own."

C. H. Spurgeon

Propitiation by Phil Johnson

by Phil Johnson

Too many Christians think of divine forgiveness as something that utterly overturns justice and sets it aside—as if God's mercy nullified His justice—as if God's love defeated and revoked His hatred of sin. That's not how forgiveness works.

Is forgiveness from sin grounded only in the love and mercy and goodness of God—apart from his justice? Does love alone prompt the Almighty to forego the due penalty of sin, wipe out the record of our wrongdoing, and nullify the claims of justice against us, unconditionally?

Or must God Himself be propitiated? In other words, do His righteousness and His holy wrath against sin need to be satisfied before He can forgive?

It truly seems as if most people today—including multitudes who identify themselves as Christians—think God forgives merely because His love overwhelms His holy hatred of sin. Some go even further, rejecting the notion of propitiation altogether, claiming it makes God seem too harsh. The problem with every such view of the atonement is that mercy without propitiation turns forgiveness into an act of injustice.

Please read more here....

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Christianity 101- Part 6: Sanctification and Discipleship

New Christians that have been saved by Jesus Christ will experience a feeling of gratitude, joy and love for Christ in their hearts for the mercy they have received (1 Peter 1:8). The Spirit of God dwells in believers (Romans 8:9-11) and enables them with divine power to be sanctified. The process of sanctification in believers is a work of the Holy Spirit that gradually transforms sinners to increasingly mortify sin and live unto righteousness. He empowers new Christians to become disciples by following the teachings of Christ and performing good works. While it is primarily a work of God’s grace, believers can and should co-operate in their sanctification. True Christians do participate in sanctification to varying degrees. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus tells us that true Christians return a yield of one hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. Scripture does not leave any wiggle room for someone to claim Christ as savior, but deny him as Lord by refusing to co-operate in sanctification. This so-called carnal Christian view of a true believer is a myth and is refuted by many passages of Scripture such as (James 2:14). Christians may grieve the Holy Spirit and fall into sin for a season, but they will gain the victory over the bondage of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s discipline.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command? (John 14:15 ).” The Bible is full of warnings of things to avoid (Rom 12) and things to do such as love, forgive, serve, give, etc. These Biblical exhortations to good works are sometimes mistakenly thought to be the cause of justification by God. However, good works are the fruit of the grace of justification that comes from faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in Christ is what saves sinners, not their works in the sanctification process. Sanctification happens in a Christian because Jesus Christ not only saves sinners form the penalty of sin, but He also saves them from the power of sin (Romans 6).

As new Christians begin their walk of sanctification and discipleship they participate in and practice activities like worship, Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, and witnessing. These activities are not burdens but bring joy and peace to Christians in their Christian walk.

Praise God that the power of his grace is sufficient to not only save sinners but also sanctify them.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Christianity 101- Part 5: Saving faith

Sometimes the word faith is used in the Bible to represent a body of doctrine such as Jude 3 that exhorts us to contend for the faith. Faith is also sometimes used to express a belief that God will answer prayers of a temporal nature. Often faith is expressed as a mere mental assent much like a belief in a historical fact. The Bible tells us that eternal life comes by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone and is a free gift of God. But what is the definition of the faith that saves?

Saving faith is that faith and trust a sinner puts in the atonement of Jesus Christ to pay his sin debt. Scripture tells us, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins? (1 John 4:10). Saving faith is the instrument or means by which a person gains access to eternal life that the atonement of Jesus Christ secures. This faith is a gift of God and will also be accompanied by the gift of repentance (Eph 2:8-9 & Acts 11:18). Scripture is clear that honoring God with lip service, and not from the heart, is not saving faith (Matthew 15:8, James 2:17). Therefore, a person that has been given the gift of saving faith has crossed from death unto life due to being regenerated (born again) with power by the Holy Spirit of God (John 3:3). By virtue of this power and their new God given nature, Christians will have a new attitude and a new focus that will result in a Christian walk according to the Spirit with minds that are set on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:4-5 & Eph. 10). Christians will also be very thankful to God for the mercy and salvation that has been given to them from God.

Therefore, the definition of a true Christian is a person that has saving faith as described above. Just as the photo above shows, being a disciple by following Jesus, performing good works, and Christian service flow from being a true Christian. However, performance of Christian service do not make one a true Christian as works and deeds cannot justify (save) a person. Justification (being saved) is by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone and it is the amazing grace of God.

Next in Part 6 we will look at the Christian discipleship that flows from the power of God’s grace.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Christianity 101- Part 4: Jesus

Jesus is the eternal infinite son of God as John revealed in John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word in this passage is referring to Jesus. In verse 14 we are told that the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us. He was and is fully God and fully man and he entered history as a real historical person about 2000 years ago.

In the past few years there has been a lot of speculation on what would Jesus do in this or that situation. While this is good in keeping Jesus visible in an increasingly hostile culture, the far more important question is what did Jesus do when he came to earth as a man. In today’s culture we hear a lot about the teachings of Jesus and his love and compassion. He also healed the sick and lame and even raised the dead. While these acts are true and more proof of the deity of Christ, they are not the reason he came to earth. The reason he came to earth was to save his people from their sins….. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). John the Baptist said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) To make atonement and redeem a people he had to be fully God, so as to give the atonement infinite value, and fully man to perfectly satisfy the requirements of God’s law, thus becoming an acceptable substitute for sinners. The atonement that Christ made for our sins has the power to save us from the righteous wrath of God and is infinitely the most important thing Jesus did while on earth. The resurrection of Jesus was the proof for this fact, as Paul states in Acts 17:31. The prophet Isaiah prophesized about this 700 years before it happened when he said in Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of those redeemed by his sacrifice on the cross of Calvary and He offers eternal life as a free gift. This is the amazing grace that we sing about. But how do humans gain access to this grace? Does everyone receive eternal life?

Next in Part 5 we will look at how man gains access to this grace.