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].

Friday, August 31, 2007


by Colin Maxwell

When I am witnessing, I try to simply relate the basic gospel story as it is revealed in the Bible. Christ, the Eternal Son of God becoming man - coming to save His people from their sins - sin being the transgression of God's Holy Law - Christ living for us, dying on our behalf as a Sacrifice for our sins - paying the full price, satisfying the Divine Justice - proved by His resurrection from the dead and He alone being the perfect Saviour, received by faith that is repentant in its nature.

I impress upon my hearer his immediate need to come to Christ to be saved, maybe adding a warning that it could be left too late. The standard approach of old time evangelism both Calvinistic and otherwise. Basically until the shadier elements of the FG movement turned up to tell us that we may well be making our converts two fold more the child of hell than ourselves. I am thus witnessing (say) to a Jehovah Witness. He keeps assuring me that he is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. I raise the matter of the Watchtower, but this is easily dismissed because Watchtower is simply the faithful and discreet slave and the mouthpiece of Jehovah. I ask Him whether Christ is God and after we dispute a little over the difference between the mighty God and the Almighty God (both the same person BTW according to Psalm 50:1) he sticks to his red hot JW guns. Jesus is only a god. Michael the Archangel incarnated. The man Jesus is dead, forever dead. His dust still lies in some Palestinian tomb - the gas theory and all that. We are stuck! I offer to meet him again and desire to keep discussing the Bible because I hope/pray that some truth I bring forth in our discussions may actually set him free. Because even though he loudly professes to be going to some glorious afterlife on the basis of his JW faith alone in his JW Jesus Christ alone - He is a rank heretic peddling a damnable heresy.

Here's where I can see you (Free Grace proponent) giving me a response: There are fundamental doctrines that must be believed in order to be a Biblically accepted Christian. There are the details of those fundamental doctrines wherein we may disagree. The details of the Lord's return will broadly cover the Pre/Post/A Mill schools (BTW: I have no fixed position on prophetic details) but the fundamental fact is that He will physically return to earth and bring His people (both living and dead) to be with Himself. That is sufficient to know - the rest, although doubtless important - cannot be counted to be a fundamental of the faith. Anyone who knowingly denies this basic doctrine should not be recognised as a true Christian. It is true that the Lord knows such who are His, but we are not the Lord and we can only go on what is actually revealed to us in the Scripture. It may be that there is a later aligning up with the basic fundamental truth and we may be happy enough to suppose that the person is saved. I certainly wouldn't torture myself over dates etc., preferring to run with the fruit of the here and now, rather than a date written on some Bible.

You (Free Grace proponent) seem to run with the idea that the Muslim lustfest can be equated or at least put in the same league as the holy experience of Heaven. I find that thought utterly blasphemous, but I suppose that when we are rooted in this bare minimalist approach, then anything goes. I raised in my last post the idea that it is important to define the person of Jesus (lest we are really worshippers of Satan's spirit brother or the homosexual Jesus of the Sodomites) I also raised the matter that it is important that we assure Muslims that Eternal Life is not the name of the Best Little Whorehouse in Heaven. Now I raise another matter because it really is open season out there in the FG movement (from which I stand entirely apart): What constitutes faith? IF I mingle my faith in my wickedly defined Jesus with my idea of works, in order to go to my wickedly delightful Lustfest…on what consistent basis can you start insisting that I should refrain in order to keep within the Biblical parameters? Is the definition of faith now more important that the One to whom it is directed and the end it is brought forth for i.e. eternal life?

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Grace trumps law

Heb. 7:22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
Heb. 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.Hebrews
8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Matthew 22:37-39 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The law kills, does not save, and as part of the covenant given to Moses is now obsolete. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ who guarantees this better and saving covenant. The old covenant depended on mechanical external law keeping that flowed from duty. The New Covenant flows from a regenerated heart that is driven by grace and a new attitude that has been wrought by the Holy Spirit.

Paul warns in Galatians that attempts to satisfy the demands of the law out of duty and to be righteous are futile (Galatians 2:16). Jesus Christ perfectly obeyed the law and died on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of all that place their faith and trust in him and his righteousness. This saving faith gains access to an alien righteousness that is imputed to all that trust him. We are justified before God by the work of Christ and not our own works.

I am in no way suggesting that Christians should ignore sanctification and Christian living. However, grace and truth came through Jesus and believers are led by the Spirit and are enabled by the Spirit to follow and obey Jesus and his teachings. This is a dependence on grace rather than external law keeping. Jesus says that the law can be summed up by the greatest commandment which is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” He also said, “if you love me, you will obey my commands.” Notice Jesus does not say, “if you love me, you SHOULD obey my commands.” No, he says you WILL. This is grace and it comes with power. It does not make a redeemed sinner perfect, but unlike the law, it does not have to make sinners perfect because Jesus paid it all and all to him I owe as the great ole hymn proclaims.

Praise God that the New Covenant replaced law keeping with grace and truth. Let us as Christian keep our eyes on Jesus and his grace and not become entangled with Moses and the law. Jesus saves and the law kills.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The King’s Israel of God

At Mark's request, here is my echo of his post, which ironically we each made separately on our own blogs at the same time:

My buddy in blogdom Justin tagged me with a meme (thanks, Justin!): “Post that verse or story of scripture which is important to you, which you find yourself re-visiting time after time.”

Lately, I have found myself turning my attention again and again to Colossians 3:1-3.

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

The vitality of these verses became increasingly known to me with the development of my theological understanding. After Jonathan’s February 24 post titled “Is it True that 'Israel Always Means Israel' in Scripture?,” I began to consider that God’s Israel includes all of His elect, from eternity past through eternity future, based on many verses – not least of which the following.

“and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” – Luke 1:33

And who is Jacob?

“Then he said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” – Genesis 32:28

And who is Israel?

“Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, "And to offsprings," referring to many, but referring to one, "And to your offspring," who is Christ.” – Galatians 3:16

“And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.” – Galations 3:29

“But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” – Romans 9:6-8

“And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.” – Galatians 6:16

Interestingly, around the same time as my theology with regard to Israel was changing, I was exposed to partial preterism and eventually amillenialism. Both fit like pieces of a puzzle into a larger (as yet incomplete, but beautiful) picture. They all just made sense to me in the light of Scripture.

Christ is already reigning as King over His creation. He has received dominion over it from the Father.

“"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” – Daniel 7:13-14

“All things have been handed over to me by my Father,” – Matthew 11:27

“And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” - Matthew 28:18

The kingdom of God is already here. It was “at hand” during the days of John the Baptist and was inaugurated at Christ’s ascension.

“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or 'There’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” – Luke 17:20-21

It seems to me that if we are to really live our earthly lives as Christians, we should not interpret Scripture with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other – interpreting the days’ events prophetically. Eschatology must be Christ-centered. Our eschatological expectation should be neither epoch-centered nor a correlation of current events. God’s kingdom is the consummate manifestation of his covenant with His elect, originally made with Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world.

As purchased vassals of The King, paid for with the highest price, we should lay our own lives down each day because they mean nothing in comparison to the glory that is found in Christ, and we are to regard our earthly good as what they are – wind. What is the acquiring of possessions and valuing of same, after all, but chasing the wind?

I think the word ‘possessions’ is a bit of a misnomer. We hardly possess them. We’re just stewards of them because they are given to us by God, but ultimately, they are His and they will be burned by Him.

“And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” - Hebrews 1:10-12

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17

Our chains and shackles from the prison of earthly goods have been broken. We no longer need live as slaves to them and for them – in fact, we are admonished not to live for them. We are vassals of a King – one whose kingdom is not earthly.

“Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” – John 18:36

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,” – Colossians 1:13

Jesus is already King over His kingdom; we are but sojourners in a foreign land. Are we looking to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God, as did Abraham (Hebrews 11:10)? If so, then we are more inclined to walk in the Spirit as called to do. Our earthly lives are of little value unless lived with eyes cast upward.

To do so requires that we deny ourselves. We die to chasing after the wind down here and instead empty our flesh of the self life by His mercy and with His grace. To do this myself, I have had to plead for His help to remove from me my desire for even a simple hobby that takes up too much of my time and attention. What is seemingly innocuous can be an idol, and therefore, because I can’t remove it from myself in my own strength, I asked Him to remove it from the desire of my heart and fill it with a desire for more of Him. And He is! What a gracious, loving King we serve.

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” – Galatians 6:14

Christian, this earth has nothing for us at all, except to recognize that our lives are hidden elsewhere in our King, who lives and reigns this very minute. Let’s live as though we believe it. Let’s not trade our kingdom birthright for a mess of earthly pottage.

Being a meme, I think I’m supposed to tag others. Here goes:

Scribe to wake him from his blogging slumber

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Kingdom of His Beloved Son

Colossians 1:12-14

12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (NASB)

The Kingdom of His Beloved Son: all Christians are subjects in it, now. Elsewhere in the Bible it is called the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a kingdom prophesied about in the Old testament; was present in and with the King as He walked this earth; and is now present with the Church, in the realm of the Holy Spirit. It is also yet future, looking forward to the time when Christ comes back to this earth.

The Father has rescued a people - yes, He chose them in eternity past - having separated them from the world and slavery to sin - the Devil's domain - through the sanctifying ministry of God the Holy Spirit, and has brought them into a kingdom ruled by His Son. These people have their sins forgiven and are now temples of the Holy Spirit. They have been regenerated by Him; in other words, He has imparted new life to them. They have experienced conversion, the core of their being having been changed. They are no longer content to live for self. There are new desires to tremble at and obey God's word.

Now, no longer a slave to sin, no longer led about by the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience, this rescued people are subjects of Christ the King, under His rule and care. They are now walking in the light as they follow Him.

Thank your Heavenly Father today for His mercy in having rescued you from the dark rule of the Devil, and bringing you into His Son's glorious Kingdom.


Monday, August 27, 2007


"Grieve Not the Holy Spirit" Eph. 4:30.

Some Christians live and act and talk as if there were no judgment to come; toiling for wealth as if this world were all. They are as careless of souls, as though hell were a dream.Unmoved by eternal realities, unstirred by the terrors of the Lord, indifferent to the ruin of mankind, many professors live like worldlings, and are as unchristian as infidels. This is an indisputable fact, but one to be lamented with tears of blood.We are the purchase of Jesus' death upon the tree- he has bought us dearly, and he should have us altogether for himself.It should be the one end and object of our desire, to crown that head with gems, which once was crowned with thorns.~Spurgeon, "Grieve Not the Holy Spirit"~
Jesus deserves our best!
Every wound of his claims us, and every pain he bore,and every groan that escaped his lips, is a fresh reason for our holiness and complete devotion to his cause.
How must he grieve over us because we have not that tenderness of heart,that melting of love, that vehemence of zeal, that earnestness of soul which we ought to exhibit!

Set your affections on things above,
not on things on the earth." Col. 3:2

It's all about HIM! IS it?....Do we give Him the adoration He truly deserves. Do we share the love to others that He has shares with us. Do others see a difference in us, do they see the stillness in us, only found in HIm. Do they see our faith that whatever happens we have a calmness that we have draw from Christ. As we go out into the world do we let others know about the saving grace found in Christ? Do we take every opportunity to share the saving grace of God to those around us? Do we draw strength from Him when we are down in the valley? Do we pray enough? I have been asking myself these questions more and amore and I finding myself more ashamed of my walk. I need to make it more about Him then about me. Is it for His glory..or for mine?

The love of Jesus has a gracious influence on the life,conduct, and conversation of a true believer. The tree is known by its fruit; and those branches alone which bring forth fruit unto God, are in manifest union with the only true Vine.

Love to Jesus is the constraining principle of all holy obedience."If you love Me,keep my commandments,"was His dying injunction to His disciples. As,then,
His bleeding love is experimentally known, there will be . . .
a conformity to His image,
an obedience to His will,
a walking in His footsteps


Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:19-24 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

The works of the flesh proceed from the sinful nature as naturally as water flows down hill. In this passage Paul mentions many of the works of the flesh that the natural unregenerate man show in their lives. The natural man not only does not feel guilty or ashamed of the various manifestations of these traits, but in many cases is proud to claim them as part of his character. Many for example are proud of their drinking, sexual exploits, partying, etc. Our secular culture even makes heroes out of many who exhibit such behavior. Paul says plainly that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The text then reveals the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit. These characteristics are given by the Holy Spirit to those that have been regenerated and redeemed from the penalty and power of sin. They are Christians and have been changed from the inside out, and are no longer under law. They are under grace, led by the Spirit of God, and the fruit of the Spirit will flow from them just as naturally as the works of the flesh flow from the unregenerate. The Bible is clear that a redeemed sinner is not made perfect and can still succumb to the works of the flesh. However, unlike the unregenerate, they will not be proud or indifferent to their sin. They will be ashamed, sorry, convicted by the indwelling Holy Spirit, and will repent and turn from their sin.

The bottom line is that those who habitually practice these works of the flesh without remorse, shame, or repentance will not inherit the kingdom of God, no matter what kind of belief or claim they may have professed in Jesus Christ as their savior, unless at some point in their life they truly come to faith in Jesus Christ. Praise God that He does save such sinners such as this from not only the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin. When God does this work of grace, the born again sinner will not habitually wallow in the works of the flesh that Paul describes in this passage. When the son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Spurgeon encouragement

I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain. - Isaiah 45:19

“…You who say bitter things against yourselves should remember that, no matter what your doubts and fears may say, if God has not cut you off from mercy, there is no room for despair. Even the voice of conscience is of little weight if it is not seconded by the voice of God. What God has said, tremble at! But do not allow false ideas to overwhelm you with despondency and sinful despair. …

“…no true seeker can be decreed to wrath: ‘I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not [even in the secret of My unsearchable decree] unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain’ [Isa. 45:19]. …

“Trembling one, believe these sure truths – that prayer must and will be heard, and that never, even in the secrets of eternity, has the Lord said to any living soul, ‘Seek ye me in vain.’”

- excerpted from Morning and Evening, Revised Modern English version, Charles Spurgeon, August 21 entry (evening reading)

Labels: ,

Friday, August 24, 2007

What Intimacy With God Looks Like

by Reid Ferguson

Walk in Wisdom - Gleanings from the ScriptureFrom: Ephesians 5.11 Take no part in the unfruitful worksof darkness, but instead expose them.

We are taught in Scripture to comfort one another with thecomforts we've been comforted with (2 Cor. 1.4). In that spirit I would like to pass on to you one of the most powerful weapons for dealing with indwelling sin that I've had the joy of experiencing. All of us struggle with indwelling sin - whether we want to admit it or not. And far too often, we are even unwilling to make our struggles known to other Christians. Perhaps it is simple shame, fear of exposure, worries about what the other will think of us in the future, or maybe even what they might pass on to someone else. Most of these shouldn't even have to make a blip on our radar screen. Too sadly and realistically, they do.

That being said, this short verse nestled in Eph. 5, echoes an Old Testament principle - Prov. 28.13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. While the idea is more subtle in Proverbs, it is equally as applicable. And the way I have come to see and utilize these passages is in terms of actual battle -in terms of not giving into temptation, not simply dealing with its aftermath - as the Proverbs passage is most often applied. Nor in dealing with OTHER'S sins, as the Ephesians verse is most often applied.

Here is the point then, simple, profound, powerful and practical.To refrain from taking part in the unfruitful works of darkness, the most effective thing you can do, is to take your temptation to God right then, and expose it - BEFORE you act on it. In other words, we need to enlist God's intervention right up front. And that is going to call for a brutal kind of truthfulness within ourselves, and before Him. A brand of truthfulness many of us are not conversant with. and even less comfortable with. That my dear friend, is where we tend to balk. For very often(at least has been so in my own experience) we do not even want to admit to ourselves what it is we are contemplating inwardly - let alone confess it to God before we've even acted upon it. And when I say admit - I mean, call it for what it is in all of its horrific reality. Sin has an incubation period. Each person is tempted when he is lured away and enticed by his own desire.Then desire when it is conceived, gives birth to sin. (James 1.14-15) It is in the owning of the desire right up front - recognizing it and calling it what it is, that we find the help we so desperately cry for. To run to God when the thought first flashes through the mind, and confess, that apart from His intervention, this is whatyou've conceived inwardly, and you are seeking His Spirit's work to keep it from bearing fruit. Bring it to the light. Expose it. And it dies in His presence.Beloved, I cannot begin to tell you how wonderfully and sweetlyand consistently God honors and answers such interaction and dependence upon His indwelling Spirit. He loves to be drawn into the midst of it. To be our champion. To let us learn how truly "the"battle is the Lord's." Our chief failure is in not running to Him BEFORE we eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. Enlisting His aid to do battle with the thoughts and the Satanic suggestions rather than trying to face them on our own, and then hiding in shame in disgrace because we are unable to meet and beat the Enemy singlehandedly.You need to hear this - There is no shame in exposing the sin this way. The shame comes as the aftermath of failure, NEVER in thepre-emptive confession and plea for help. Never. God will never chide you with "you're coming back to me with that AGAIN?"Never. NEVER! Instead, He will greet you with open arms and you will know the smile of His pleasure because you tore down the walls and fled to His waiting arms.This beloved is what true intimacy with God looks like. It is being naked, AND unashamed before his face. It is freedom in Christ.-- "For the sake of the Name" -

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Blessed are those who mourn

Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Jesus continues in pronouncing his blessing on those who are in right relationship with God. These so blessed are the sons of God that he came to save by his atonement on the cross of Calvary. Those who mourn are blessed because they will be comforted. Born again Christians will respond with their new heart of flesh and realize the extent of their sin and lack of righteousness. This will lead them to mourn and repent of the sin for which they have become convicted. Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. With the Holy Spirit at work in them, they are led to feel a Godly sorrow and hatred for their own sinful condition. This grief for sin brings about a repentance and desire to change and turn from their sin. Therefore, through God’s grace, mourning Christians are comforted as they realize they have been pardoned and set free from the penalty and power of sin.

Praise God that all three persons of the trinity are at work in bringing about redemption through justification and sanctification in the life of those that are redeemed by the blood of the lamb. Salvation comes with POWER that saves and changes sinners. Jesus provides the redemption on the cross and the Holy Spirit provides the change in the heart. In this beatitude, Jesus is acknowledging that only those who mourn and repent of their sin are redeemed and comforted. God’s grace saves completely.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Found This Comment on Another Blog...

by Colin Maxwell

First of all, in line with many (probably most) Calvinists, I do not limit the love of God only to the elect. I hold that He loves all men without exception, although He loves His elect with a deeper (and ultimately) saving love i.e. a love that effects their salvation, bringing them to actual faith in His Son etc., I think you too believe that He loves His elect people with a deeper love, because He loves them with am everlasting love and I don't think you believe that He still loves the souls in Hell who feel the manifestation of His anger and rage against them. Certainly (if you do) you could never at this stage say that He loves them just exactly as He loves His own reconciled people. At least I hope not. Secondly, my Calvinism teaches me of the universal offer of the gospel (hence the question above) that relays to me the bona fide offer of God to all sinners without exception. It is there that I must look for my answers and it is there in texts like John 3:16 and many others that I read that any soul that sincerely casts itself upon the mercy of God is saved. My guiding star is not the decree of God, much of which lies buried out of my sight, but the clear commands and promises of a God who is rich in mercy and who has no delight in the death of the wicked. My Calvinism teaches me (as indeed the gospel does) that if I cast myself upon the mercy of God like the publican in Luke 18, then I am justified and we know that such justification is eternal. Therefore I can never be lost. I will certainly persevere unto the end, not in order to be saved, but because I am saved and safe in the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ. Re: spurious faith See: http://goodnightsafehome.blogspot.com/2007/08/wheres-my-shovel.html which I write in good old plain English and the problem of the FG position. I think we should bear in mind that God's will for His people is that they should be saved and know it and not be plagued by doubts. It is also His will that their assurance should be based on a Bible based reality, rather than a false notion that if they believe on the Mormon spirit brother of Satan Jesus or the Muslim Jesus (PBOH) or "a god called Jesus" of the Watchtower or the Wafer Jesus of Rome and are living like the Devil without any change of life whatsoever, that they are Heaven bound. I take this theme up in the posting referred to. You rightly declare that God started a work in your life when you were born again. If you see someone claiming to be born again, but with the building site empty, do you not at least draw some kind of question mark over their claim? Re: old Christians getting mental illness etc., I don't think you are going to find a Calvinist claiming that such folk are outside the pale.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Beware of another Jesus

2 Corinthians 11:1-4 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

There is one gospel, one Jesus, and one spirit and Paul is refuting anyone that preaches a different gospel or a different doctrine of Jesus or a more powerful gift of the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 1:6-9 Paul admonishes anyone who would preach another gospel and states there is no other gospel. This gospel affirms that salvation is from God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The person and work of Christ as he is presented in the Holy Bible saves sinners that place their faith in his atoning sacrifice as a substitute for their sin debt. This is the good news of the gospel.

When false teachers, cults, and false religions change and tweak the gospel, it is no longer a gospel at all. Paul says plainly that anyone that proclaims another Jesus is teaching a false gospel. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the second person of the trinity and the infinite God-Man that was and is fully God and fully man. Therefore, the Jesus of the Koran, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and others is not the Jesus of the Bible. Such a Jesus is another Jesus and has no power to save according to Paul.

In spite of these warnings by Paul, there are many who deny Christ’s atonement as a sacrifice for their sin debt and prefer to be called a follower of the way of Christ or a postmodern Christian. Still some, of the so-called free grace thinking, assert that the “other Jesus” as he is presented in the Koran is a saving Jesus as long as a person has faith in such a Jesus. It does not require too much logic to discern that a person that believes in Allah of the Koran and denies the trinity is placing faith in a Jesus that is false and what Paul calls another Jesus. A few years ago a Methodist Bishop proclaimed on national television that there were other ways to salvation than faith in Christ. Paul says no. Within the past week a Catholic Bishop stated that Christians should refer to God as Allah to show good will toward Muslims. The list goes on and on as politically correct pluralistic thinking is celebrated in our culture. Such thinking may make a person popular, but it is a disaster for the soul.

I would encourage all Christians to read and apply 1 John 4:1 which states, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Go to Scripture and not to false teachers for the truth.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Christmas Card Christianity

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Christmas Card Christianity
by John MacMillan

One of the fond memories I have from my youth came during the closing weeks before Christmas when the mailman’s arrival meant another ten to twenty Christmas cards would be deposited in our box. Back then postage was cheap so it wasn’t unusual to receive that many cards on a daily basis. My mother would divide the cards between my sister and I and we would each enjoy the benefit of opening the envelopes entrusted to our childish hands. I think what I was drawn to most were the pictures on the face of each card. Images of reindeer, bells, snow laden chimneys and decorated trees held the attention and amazement of this young boy. Most of all, I think, I enjoyed the cards that displayed pictures of churches situated on hillsides, with snow carpeting the landscape, deer standing in the distance, a clouded moon lighting the sky and faint images of church goers singing favored Christmas hymns. To me that was a pristine picture of peace and joy. It was a colorful essay of harmony, tranquility and love; a treasury of things most absent in a world of sin. Maybe deep down that card represented what I was longing for most. Possibly so. I can’t say for certain what was running through my mind back then but I do know that those childhood Christmas images sufficiently reflect what I was longing for most as a young Christian some fifteen years later. It was my certain, though sadly disappointed, expectation that Christianity would unfold in my life like one of those prettied up Christmas cards. Having entrusted my eternal wellbeing to Christ and His most generous gift of forgiveness, I felt that my life would take a certain and obvious turn for the better. Like that snowy hillside, I felt that peace, love, joy, acceptance and lifelong tranquility would come as a natural consequence of my union with Christ. My marriage would be great, my life happy, my ministries successful and my love for Him and His church ever abounding. Miscarriages in life and love only come to those who are outside of Christ. These, foolishly so, were expectations created more out of my own personal desire than Scriptural and historical truth. Not surprisingly, my “Christmas card Christianity” was soon thrown to the rubbish like those cards once the Christmas holiday had passed. Christianity, at least on this side of eternity, was not to be enjoyed on clouds of ease. There would be many temptations, trials and losses (some horribly gut wrenching) that would rip my colorful and deluded expectations to shreds. After thirty one years of laboriously walking with the Lord I can say that the battle scars are still there. I have been disappointed in love, passed through valleys of depression and often brought to the point where peace seemed like a word of letter but without substance. I had come to the sad realization that “Christmas card Christianity” was as make believe as Santa himself. But, though I despaired, I did not despair as those who have no hope. There was a greater, far more profound reason for hopefulness. The Savior and His wonderful promise of eternal bliss are no fancied images of a child’s imagination. It is certain that in this life we will have our share of tribulation. But, be of good cheer. He has overcome the world through His resurrection triumphs and we, like our great Predecessor, shall be raised triumphant as well. The peace for which we all long for will one day be eternally ours. That is a cetainty that isn't as wavering as a child's imagination. Now, that is the best kind of Christmas cheer and one, I am certain, that will never be found on the face of a Christmas card.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Positions: They Are a Changin'

I've been doing a lot of thinking on 2 Cor. 13:5 lately. "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-unless indeed you are disqualified."

I have Read MacArthur's "The Gospel According to Jesus" and "The Gospel According to the Apostles" as well as "Hard to Believe". I am familiar with his take on this verse, that Christians should examine themselves to see that they are genuinely regenerate. I once held this position too. I no longer do.

Throughout this epistle Paul's apostleship is challenged. He answers those challenges in several places in this letter. Note, for example, chapter 3, where he asks the Corinthians if he needs to commend himself or does he need letters of commendation to them or from them. His answer: "clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart."

Note he says "ministered by us". Note also the Spirit's work on their hearts as a result of Paul's ministry. The work of the Spirit on the hearts of the Corinthian's was proof of Paul's apostleship. So it is in chapter 13:5. The evidence of Paul's apostleship is to be seen in the fact that the Corinthians have exhibited spiritual life. It isn't so much a test for them as it is a testament to his apostleship.



Friday, August 17, 2007

The Wrath Of God In Relation To The Atonement

Frederick S. Leahy

If we are wrong in our doctrine of God, we are wrong all along the line. We shall be in error in every doctrine of the Faith if we hold an erroneous doctrine of God. So our doctrine of God will relate powerfully to our doctrine of the Atonement. If, for example, we do not believe that God is a God of wrath as well as a God of love, and that his essential holiness means the inevitable punishment of sin, then we shall not believe in the substitutionary and vicarious nature of Christ’s death on the Cross. That is why the doctrine of God’s holy wrath borne by his Son at Calvary is repugnant to the liberal theologian. He has an erroneous view of God.

The Bible makes it clear that the unforgiven sinner stands under God’s curse and that ‘the wrath of God abideth (or rests) on him’ (John 3:36). ‘When it is stated that ‘Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us’ (Gal. 3:13), not only is it implied that we were ‘the children of wrath’ (Eph. 2:3), and under God’s curse, but also it is implied that when Christ was made a curse for us he was the object of divine wrath. On the Cross Christ bore the full penal sanction of the law of God which was our due. Our punishment was transferred to him. The curse which he endured consisted especially in his experience of being forsaken by God. There was an awareness in his human nature of a complete withdrawal of God, and that is the essential element of damnation and eternal death: that is hell.

It was not that the Father hated his Son on the Cross. There was no emotional anger on the Father’s part. He never ceased to love the Son in whom he was well pleased. There was, however, a judicial suffering caused by God. God’s wrath in this context should be seen not as a divine emotion, but as a divine act, a point that is stressed by Shedd in his masterly treatment of the subject. Calvin makes the same point:

Yet we do not suggest that God was ever inimical or angry toward him. How could he be angry toward his beloved Son, ‘in whom his heart reposed’? (cf. Matt. 3:17). How could Christ by his intercession appease the Father towards others, if he were himself hateful to God? (Institutes 2:16:11).

God never loved his Son more than when he was suffering for the sins of his people on the Cross. To some this may seem somewhat esoteric and scholastic, but really it is intended to avoid grave misunderstanding about God’s attitude when he caused the sufferings of our Saviour.

It is clear from Scripture that Christ’s atoning death was substitutionary or vicarious and that by it he satisfied the holiness of God and so rendered him propitious or favourably disposed to his people. John Murray says that ‘propitiation presupposes the wrath and displeasure of God and the purpose of propitiation is the removal of this displeasure’ (Redemption: Accomplished and Applied, p. 36). The apostle Paul speaks of ‘Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, by his blood’ (Rom. 3:24f.). Many, following C. H. Dodd, replace ‘propitiation’ by ‘expiation’, a much weaker word. The word translated ‘propitiation’ has to do with the averting of divine wrath. Leon Morris comments: ‘If there is “a righteous anger” of God, and the New Testament is clear that there is, then it cannot be ignored in the process of forgiveness’ (The Cross in the New Testament, p. 349). Propitiation, then, a turning away of God’s wrath, lies at the heart of Christ’s redemptive work. Well does John Murray say: ‘Grace indeed reigns but a grace reigning apart from righteousness is not only not actual; it is inconceivable’ (Redemption, p. 20).

When James Denney avers that the Atonement ‘is a homage paid by Christ to the moral order of the world established and upheld by God; a homage essential to the work of reconciliation.. .‘ (Doctrine of Reconciliation, p. 235), he betrays a radical flaw in his understanding of substitution. The Atonement was infinitely more than and qualitatively different from a ‘homage’ paid to God’s righteousness. If that is all that is meant by substitution, then the term is being used in a much lowered sense. Christ’s sufferings, on this view, were an example of what sin deserved, an exhibition of God’s displeasure with sin. It is really the old governmental or rectoral theory of Grotius (1583-1645) which sees no enduring of the penalty of the Law and reduces the Cross to little more than a symbol. It is not surprising, then, that Denney openly rejects the doctrine of the Atonement as held by Luther, Calvin and John Owen (Reconciliation, p. 263 and p. 49).

Naturally, the idea of averting the wrath of God by a substitutionary suffering is repugnant to liberal theologians. Carl Henry quotes H. H. Titus:

To many it seems immoral to picture God as . . . one who needs to be appeased by the blood of a victim. We cannot think . . . of atonement as the propitiation of an angry monarch God. We feel a moral revulsion at the thought of sinners in the hands of a wrathful God. . . . Many conceptions which are set forth in terms as blood atonement, expiation, ransom, substitution, satisfaction . . . and the like, have not only lost much of their meaning, but they offend the enlightened moral sense of today. (What is a Mature Morality? pp. 146f; Henry’s Christian Personal Ethics, p. 364f).

Thus man would make God in his own image!

Certainly this aspect of the Cross has been caricatured and misrepresented as when it is suggested that Christ had to placate an angry God in order to change him into a loving God. A recognition of the love of God is crucial at this point. ‘God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ (Rom. ‘5:8). The Cross of Christ is the supreme demonstration of the love of God. God ‘spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all . . .’ (Rom. 8:32). The costliness of the sacrifice matches the greatness of the love. There is no conflict between God’s wrath and God’s compassion; they exist simultaneously. There is this difference, however; God’s wrath against sin is inevitable, whereas his mercy is optional and depends entirely on his sovereign pleasure. As a holy God he must punish sin; but he is not obliged to propitiate his own wrath.

In mercy he determined to do this and he has done so by the Cross of Jesus Christ. There is no conflict, then, between God’s holy wrath and God’s holy love. John Murray puts it neatly: ‘It is one thing to say that the wrathful God is made loving. That would be entirely false. It is another thing to say that the wrathful God is loving. That is profoundly true’ (ibid p. 37). ‘Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins’ (1 John 4:10). Thus the apostle Paul, with the Cross in view, could say: ‘We shall be saved from wrath through him’ (Rom. ‘5:9). We are saved from the wrath to come, the wrath that will be ‘dispensed to the ungodly at the day of judgment’ (Redemption, Murray).


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blessed are the poor in spirit

Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount by pronouncing a blessing on a particular group of people. This is not a universal blessing to all people. This divine blessing is the fantastic good news of eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. These blessed people are the redeemed sinners that Jesus came to earth to save by his sacrificial atonement on the cross of Calvary. They have been born again and washed by the blood of the Lamb. They are justified, adopted sons of God with a new attitude and new characteristics.

How does Jesus describe these people? Does he describe them by temporal blessings such as health, wealth, power, popularity, beauty, and other attributes that men cherish? Does he describe them as having great self-esteem that the culture of today thinks is so essential to happiness? No, the first characteristic Jesus mentions is that redeemed sinners are poor in spirit. Why? With a new heart of flesh, regenerated sinners have an increased awareness of their sin and also God’s holiness and righteousness. This causes them to realize exactly how spiritually poor they are in light of the awesome attributes of God. With the Holy Spirit indwelling them, the redeemed have encountered the reality check to end all reality checks. They can see with clarity that they are not “basically good” as the world asserts but, instead, fall far short of the glory and righteousness of God. This realization leads them to the foot of the cross with an understanding that they are indeed poor, in poverty and in great need of spiritual renovation.

Praise God that Jesus saves completely and the redeemed will inherit an eternal kingdom and not a worldly fantasy magic kingdom that is but an illusion.

Fred Zaspel, A Look at New Covenant Theology


Happy reading!


Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Follow the Lamb

"Intimacy with God is the very essence of religion, and the foundation of discipleship. It is in intercourse with Father, Son, and Spirit that the most real parts of our lives are lived; and all parts that are not lived in fellowship with Him, 'in whom we live, and move, and have our being,' are unreal, untrue, unsuccessful, and unsatisfying.

"The understanding of doctrine is one thing, and intimacy with God is another. They ought always to go together; but they are often seen asunder; and, when there is the former without the latter, there is a hard, proud, hollow religion.

"Get your teaching from God [Job 36:22; Jer 23:30]; take your doctrine from His lips; learn truth upon your knees. Beware of opinions and speculations: they become idols, and nourish pride of intellect; they furnish no food to the soul; they make you sapless and heartless; they are like winter frostwork on your windowpane, shutting out the warm sun…

"Be much alone with God. Do not put Him off with a quarter of an hour morning and evening. Take time to get thoroughly acquainted. Converse over everything with Him.
Unbosom yourself wholly--every thought, feeling, wish, plan, doubt--to Him.

"He wants converse with His creatures; shall His creatures not want converse with Him? He wants, not merely to be on 'good terms' with you, if one may use man's phrase, but to be intimate; shall you decline the intimacy, and be satisfied with mere acquaintance? What! intimate with the world, with friends, with neighbours, with politicians, with philosophers, with naturalists, or with poets; but not with God! That would look ill indeed. Folly, to prefer the clay to the potter, the marble to the sculptor, this little earth and its lesser creatures to the mighty Maker of the universe, the great 'All and in all!'"

- Horatius Bonar (1808 - 1889), "Follow the Lamb"

Labels: ,

Monday, August 13, 2007

Book Recommendation

Folks, ya just gotta check out "PROGRESSIVE DISPENSATIONALISM" by Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock. It is a wonderful eye opener for the New Covenantalist (me), Covenant Theologian, and Classic Dispensational Theologian.


Sunday, August 12, 2007


"The main end of a Christian man is,that having been bought with precious blood,he may live unto Christ, and not unto himself."

When its all been said and done, Will I able to look back and say I stood up for Christ, did I share the Cross to the lost around me enough, did I show the love and patience of Christ when dealing with someone that fought against the Truth? Did I praise your name enough Lord? Did I love my brothers and sister enough, even if we did not agree on certain things? Did I store treasures in Heaven that I can throw at your feet Lord?

The sum of one's words and deeds constitute a message. When there is a contradiction between words and deeds,the deeds will communicate much more effectively than the

Walking with God...

by Don Fortner

"Enoch WALKED with God...." Genesis 5:24
My heart is motivated, driven and governed by FOUR GREAT
CONCERNS. Here are four things I want more than anything
in this world.

I am not an ambitious man. But I am ambitious for these four
things. For the attainment of these four things I am prepared, by
the grace of God, to sacrifice everything else. I count all other
things to be but rubbish by comparison.

1. I want to know Christ (Phil. 3:10).
Yes, I believe that in measure I do know him. God has revealed
his grace and glory to me in the Person of his dear Son. Still, I
want a growing, spiritual, experimental knowledge of the Lord
Jesus Christ. I want to know all that he has done for me. I want
to know him. I want to know him fully.

2. I want to be totally committed to Christ.
I want to totally lose my life to Christ and in Christ, so that I can
truthfully say with the Apostle Paul, "For me to live is Christ." I
want to be committed to Christ as he was to the Father, so that
my heart says to him in all things, "Not my will, thy will be done"
It is my continual prayer that God will give me a heart--
committed to the Lord Jesus Christ,
committed to his will,
committed to his gospel,
committed to his people,
committed to the cause of his glory in this world.

3. I want to be like Christ.
My heart longs to be like him, conformed to him, made into his
likeness. I want to be like him love, tenderness, and
thoughtfulness, in zeal, dedication, and devotion, purity, holiness,
and righteousness.

4. I want to live in communion with Christ.
Like Enoch of old, I want to walk with God.

I know these goals are not attainable in this life. Yet, they are the
things for which my soul hungers and my heart thirsts. I cannot
be satisfied with less. "I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press
toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ
Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14). "I shall be satisfied when I awake with
Christ's likeness" (Psa. 17:15), but not until then.
"Enoch WALKED with God...."

May I walk in your footsteps Lord, so that "When it is all been said and done"The words I will hear from you are, "Well done my Faithful Servant, Well done."


Saturday, August 11, 2007


Mark asked me to post this...

Isa 57:15 (NLT) "The high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: "I live in that high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts."

I have often loved darkness,
observed lying vanities,
forsaken thy mercies,
trampled underfoot they beloved Son,
mocked thy providence,
flattered thee with my lips,
broken thy covenant,
It is of thy compassion that I am not consumed.
Lead me to repentance, and save me from despair;
Let me come to thee renouncing, condemning, loathing myself,
but hoping in the grace that flows even to the chief of sinners.
At the cross may I contemplate the evil of sin, and abhor it,
look on him whom I pierced,
as one slain for me, and by me.
- From The Valley of Vision.

A Bennett

If you're headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-Turns. He is a God of Grace, a God of fogiveness. He loves His own, so much. His gift of eternal life to us and the promises associated with it are never in jeopardy. We are His children Forever, for Eternity. There is no greater love found, then the love found in Our Savior Jesus Christ and no greater forgivness found,then from Him and Him alone.

If you have sinned, do not lie down without repentance; for the want of repentance after one has sinned makes the heart yet harder and harder.-- John Bunyan

An error gracefully acknowledged is a victory won. Caroline Gascoigne

Let any man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped in his leaner and weaker days. ... A. W. Tozer

Repentance is a grace of God's Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed. -- THOMAS WATSON

Friday, August 10, 2007


A repost from my blog because Mark is one tough boss. :)

So, speaking of transformation...that's what my pastor has talked on the last couple of weeks. Yep, I'm gonna tout two more of his sermons, Salt & Light, part one and part two.The Holy Spirit has undoubtedly been convicting me in this area of transformation. Is the Word of God, through the power of the Holy Sprit, distinctively affecting me? Is my life changing? Is my mind being renewed? Most importantly - am I being obedient to the the things I already know, or am I continually driven to pursue and obtain more 'information?" Knowledge without a transformed life is of no substantive value at all. And I'm not talking about merely an outward alteration of behavior; we can all conform under compulsion if need be. I'm referring to true inner transformation, resulting in true changes in behavior.In wrestling with God on this issue, Roger and I talked about Christian maturity. He posed these thoughts. It's always nagged him that, historically, the "litmus test" for evaluating your spiritual growth has been to look back at the last year or so of your life. If you see that you're 'sinning less,' then you're maturing in the faith. Could it be, though, that what more accurately defines maturity in a believer has more to do with relational rather than than behavioral? Put another way, could maturity in Christ be defined as an increased or increasing desire to know God, and a lesser desire to satisfy ourselves? The standard of measurement - amount of sin - is incorrect. Sin, after all, was fully taken care of at Calvary. Roger compared it to using a ruler to calculate your weight. For me, this is pretty profound and gives me more to ponder...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Robert Wilkin's Latest Attack On The Gospel

Mark asked me to post this here...

The latest attack on the Gospel from the Robert Wilkin/Zane Hodges led Grace Evangelical Society (also known as Free Grace Theology) is found in their newest newsletter. In it, he offers a critique of The Way of The Master, a ministry of Rey Comfort and Kirk Cameron (see here) Apparently, Mr. Wilkin takes exception to, and is offended by, Christians telling non believers that they are sinners, or that they will be judged for their sins. It is an insult to the cross, Wilkin writes. In the article, Wilkin makes a number of incredible statements. One of the more audacious is this:

Jesus often never even brought up the issue of sin when He evangelized. Look at what He told Nicodemus in John 3. He never even mentioned sin there.

That is a very incredible statement that leaves one wondering if Mr. Wilkin has actually read the chapter in question.

Before going on in the text, let’s sum up Mr. Wilkin’s thinking on this: John 3 does not have anything to do with sin because sin is not mentioned there. Roman Catholics use this same type of thinking – since nowhere do you find the words “Mary sinned,” Mary was therefore Immaculately Conceived and lived a sinless life. Where does such thinking stop? We could go on: there is nowhere in scripture that mentions Nicodemus eating food, and since we do not find those words, then Nicodemus never ate. That type of thinking always leads to foolishness.

It should be quite obvious to all but those caught up in the extremism that pervades the Free Grace movement (if one would even want to call their “society” a movement) that the assertion made by Wilkin is completely ludicrous. Jesus equates His being lifted up to that of the lifting up of the bronze serpent in the wilderness in Numbers 21. Perhaps Mr. Wilkin is either a) unaware of the events of Numbers 21, or b) does not understand that the raising of the bronze serpent had to do with the judgment of God on sin. We all know the story, and how that fits with the theme of John 3. We are all under judgment due to our sin just as the ancient Israelites were under judgment, and it is to the Lord Jesus lifted up who we are to look to so that judgment on us for our sin may be removed.

Yet this is what Mr. Wilkin doesn’t understand – the very basics of God’s wonderful salvation. To him, there is nothing in the passage that speaks of sin. May God open his eyes.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Repent and believe the whole gospel

Mark 1:14-15 ESV Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

The debate has raged on many Christian blogs over whether or not repentance is required for salvation and if it even should be a part of the gospel presentation. Some claim it is not part of salvation, not required for a redeemed sinner and is only necessary to secure temporal blessings. The Bible says something different. The ministry of Jesus was immediately preceded by the ministry of John the Baptist who preached, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In the Mark 1:14-15 passage above Jesus says in one short sentence to repent and believe the gospel. There seems to be agreement on what repent means but what exactly is the gospel to which Jesus refers? Mark 1:1 calls it the gospel of Jesus Christ. Can there be any serious doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the same gospel that Paul says he is not ashamed of in Romans 1? This gospel is the good news of the free gift of eternal life through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ that Paul explains in great detail in Romans and elsewhere. This gospel also includes the fact that man is dead in sin, under the wrath of God, and is commanded to repent and turn from sin to the son of God, Jesus Christ. There is no other saving gospel and Jesus started his ministry by saying repent and believe the gospel.

What about the Kingdom of God? Does it refer to national restoration of Israel as some say in order to assert this passage is not talking about the gospel of salvation? No, this is the spiritual eternal kingdom that believers are redeemed into? The phrase kingdom of God is mentioned 67 times in the ESV version of the New Testament and zero times in the Old Testament. It is mentioned 68 times in the KJV New Testament and zero times in the Old Testament. It is mentioned in the beatitudes and many places where it is clear that the Kingdom of God refers to the spiritual kingdom of God. In
John 3:3 Jesus says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
This passage speaks of the need for regenerating power from God before a person can even see the kingdom of God. This power so changes a person that they are convicted of their sinful condition, and repentance and faith flow naturally from the new heart that has been wrought in them by the Holy Spirit. This is a spiritual kingdom that includes all who believe in the entire gospel, and not just a partial “bare minimum” gospel.

As the photo above illustrates, you should not send a batter to bat with a half a bat and do not want to encourage and teach a sinner to face God on judgment day with half a gospel. I would encourage new Christians to beware of teachers who preach a Lordless salvation.

What are your thoughts? Is salvation and forgiveness of sins possible with no repentance?


Mark asked me to post this here...

It is mid-autumn as I write, and another year is dying before our eyes. The greenery of June has faded and changed into the colors of decay. At the merest breath the leaves loosen and fall to the ground like rustling rain. The wind gathers them in circles on the lawn, or scatters them in the clouds, or drive them along the open road. Helpless and worthless-the remains of the glory of summer soon to be buried out of sight-the withered leaves affect one with sadness and sympathy. They are a parable of human life, which also has its fleeting seasons and its final disappearance. First comes the spring-time, when the buds burst on the the branches, and life is a boundless possibility; then follows summer, when life rises to its fulness and strength; by-and-by autumn checks the flow of sap, and begins to detach us from life; and, last of all, winter, with a timely kindness, covers our lives and our faults beneath the cold pure snow. For a day our neighbours speak of us; for a short while man who served with us in the great enterprise of life miss our presence; for a longer time our friends will recall us; and all her life, till the faithful heart grows cold in death, a woman will keep our memory green. Then the last who knew us will also be covered by the snow, and our remembrance will cease the earth.

While we was in Grand Rapids, we visited a store called "Bakers". It is a wonderful christian book store that I could easily get lost in and not mind one bit,there are books apon books, the best part is the used sections. As I was checking out all the authors, I came across a book Called "The Life of the Master", by John Watson. The book is 100 years old and still in pretty good shape. I paid $8.50 for it, Thank You Lord!

What I posted above is from the book and I wanted to share with you all. As I read it, I thought to myself that I guess I am in the Autumn, of my life. I have fewer days ahead of me, then I do behind me and realizing this, I have fewer days ahead of me to share Christ Crucified, fewer days to be that example that Christ wants me to be, fewer days ahead before I meet my Maker, my Lord, My Master. When it is time for the winter to come, I want to be the child of God that the Lord will say Well done my fine servant, well done. I would like to have folks that knew me, know that I knew Christ and know that I loved Him with all my heart.

Thank you Lord for taking this wretched soul and making me your child. May I honor you for the Season, I have left in my life.


Monday, August 06, 2007

The Woes of the Scribes and Pharisees

”O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”
- Matthew 23:37

I was blessed with the gift of a book titled The Potter’s Freedom by James R. White, given to me by my pastor awhile back. Yesterday, I read something interesting about this particular passage of Scripture that is often used to defend the “free will” of man. I’d like to share with you White’s enlightening exposition of this verse.

“The first fact to ascertain in examining any passage of Scripture is its context. This passage comes in the midst of the proclamation of judgment upon the leaders of the Jews. Matthew 23 contains the strongest denunciations of the scribes and Pharisees in all of the Gospels.

“Who, then, is “Jerusalem”? It is assumed by Arminian writers that “Jerusalem” represents individual Jews…capable of resisting the work and will of Christ. But upon what warrant do we leap from “Jerusalem” to “individual Jews”? The context would not lead us to conclude that this is to be taken in a universal sense. Jesus is condemning the Jewish leaders, and it is to them that He refers here. This is clearly seen in that:

“1. It is to the leaders that God sent prophets;
2. It was the Jewish leaders who killed the prophets…;
3. Jesus speaks of “your children,” differentiating those to whom He is speaking from those that the Lord desired to gather together;
4. The context refers to the Jewish leaders, scribes and Pharisees.

“A vitally important point to make here is that the ones the Lord desired to gather are not the ones who “were not willing”!

“Jesus speaks to the leaders about their children that they, the leaders, would not allow him to “gather.” Jesus was not seeking to gather the leaders, but their children. This one consideration alone renders the passage useless for the Arminian seeking to establish freewillism. The “children” of the leaders would be Jews who were hindered by the Jewish leaders from hearing Christ. The “you would not” then is referring to the same men indicated by the context; the Jewish leaders who “were unwilling” to allow those under their authority to hear the proclamation of the Christ. This verse, then, is speaking to the same issues raised earlier in Matthew 23:13:

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”

“John Gill added this insight:

“That the persons whom Christ would have gathered are not represented as being unwilling to be gathered; but their rulers were not willing that they should. The opposition and resistance to the will of Christ, were not made by the people, but by their governors. The common people seemed inclined to attend the ministry of Christ, as appears from the vast crowds which, at different times and places, followed him; but the chief priests and rulers did all they could to hinder the collection of them to him; and their belief in him as the Messiah, by traducing his character, miracles, and doctrines, and by passing an act that whosoever confessed him should be put out of the synagogue; so that the obvious meaning of the text is the same with that of verse 13…and consequently is no proof of men’s resisting the operations of the Spirit and grace of God, but of obstructions and discouragements thrown in the way of attendance on the external ministry of the word.””

Labels: , , ,

Have a Look-see

Please check out Team Pyro...


See what theological systems come to mind while reading this.



Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Sunday Funnies

Alrighty then...

What do you call a peice of wood with nothing to do?

Ya give up?



okay maybe it wasn't that funny....


Folks, Ya Just Gotta See This.....


You are encouraged to go there and comment; or you can do so here as well.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Why parables?

If the way in which a man is saved is synergistic (man chooses to believe in God) – and not monergistic (God’s work alone for man’s regeneration) – then why did Jesus speak in parables, the purpose of which was to obscure the truth from those who were not His?

And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that "they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven."
- Mark 4:11-12


Friday, August 03, 2007

Repent or perish, part deux

Gojira has a post immediately below that shouldn't be missed, but the timing on my receiving this was uncanny, so I must share it now.

"Putting My Daughter to Bed Two Hours After the Bridge Collapsed"
Author: John Piper

At about 6 PM tonight the bridge of Interstate 35W over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed. I am writing this about three hours after the bridge fell. The bridge is located within sight of Bethlehem Baptist Church. Most of us who minister at the church cross this bridge several times a week. At this point I don't know if any staff was on the bridge. Desiring God offices are about a mile from the bridge.

There are no firm facts at this point about the total number of injuries and fatalities. When we crossed the bridge Tuesday on our way out of town, there was extensive repair work happening on the surface of the bridge with single lane traffic. One speculates about the unusual stresses on the bridge with jackhammers and other surface replacement equipment. This was the fortieth anniversary of the bridge.

Tonight for our family devotions our appointed reading was Luke 13:1-9. It was not my choice. This is surely no coincidence. O that all of the Twin Cities, in shock at this major calamity, would hear what Jesus has to say about it from Luke 13:1-5. People came to Jesus with heart-wrenching news about the slaughter of worshipers by Pilate. Here is what he said.

"There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

Jesus implies that those who brought him this news thought he would say that those who died, deserved to die, and that those who didn't die did not deserve to die. That is not what he said. He said, everyone deserves to die. And if you and I don't repent, we too will perish. This is a stunning response. It only makes sense from a view of reality that is radically oriented on God.

All of us have sinned against God, not just against man. This is an outrage ten thousand times worse than the collapse of the 35W bridge. That any human is breathing at this minute on this planet is sheer mercy from God. God makes the sun rise and the rain fall on those who do not treasure him above all else. He causes the heart to beat and the lungs to work for millions of people who deserve his wrath. This a view of reality that desperately needs to be taught in our churches, so that we are prepared for the calamities of the world.

The meaning of the collapse of this bridge is that John Piper is a sinner and should repent or forfeit his life forever. That means I should turn from the silly preoccupations of my life and focus my mind's attention and my heart's affection on God and embrace Jesus Christ as my only hope for the forgiveness of my sins and for the hope of eternal life. That is God's message in the collapse of this bridge. That is his most merciful message: there is still time to turn from sin and unbelief and destruction for those of us who live. If we could see the eternal calamity from which he is offering escape we would hear this as the most precious message in the world.

We prayed during our family devotions. Talitha (11 years old) and Noel and I prayed earnestly for the families affected by the calamity and for the others in our city. Talitha prayed “Please don't let anyone blame God for this but give thanks that they were saved.” When I sat on her bed and tucked her in and blessed her and sang over her a few minutes ago, I said, “You know, Talitha, that was a good prayer, because when people ‘blame' God for something, they are angry with him, and they are saying that he has done something wrong. That's what “blame” means: accuse somebody of wrongdoing. But you and I know that God did not do anything wrong. God always does what is wise. And you and I know that God could have held up that bridge with one hand.” Talitha said, “With his pinky.” “Yes,” I said, “with his pinky. Which means that God had a purpose for not holding up that bridge, knowing all that would happen, and he is infinitely wise in all that he wills.”

Talitha said, “Maybe he let it fall because he wanted all the people of Minneapolis to fear him.” “Yes, Talitha,” I said, “I am sure that is one of the reasons God let the bridge fall.”

I sang to her the song I always sing,

Come rest your head and nestle gently
And do not fear the dark of night.
Almighty God keeps watch intently,
And guards your life with all his might.
Doubt not his love, nor power to keep,
He never fails, nor does he sleep.

I said, “You know, Talitha, that is true whether you die in a bridge collapse, or in a car accident, or from cancer, or terrorism, or old age. God always keeps you, even when you die. So you don't need to be afraid, do you.” “No,” she shook her head. I leaned down and kissed her. “Good night. I love you.”

Tonight across the Twin Cities families are wondering if they will ever kiss a loved one good night again. Some will not. I am praying that they will find Jesus Christ to be their Rock and Refuge in these agonizing hours of uncertainty and even loss.

The word “bridge” does not occur in the Bible. There may be two reasons. One is that God doesn't build bridges, he divides seas. The other is that usually his people must pass through the deadly currents of suffering and death, not simply ride over them. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you” (Isaiah 43:2). They may drown you. But I will be with you in life and death.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Killed all day long. But not separated from Christ. We go through the river. Not over it. He went before us, crucified. He came out on the other side. He knows the way through. With him we will make it. That is the message we have for the precious sinners in the Twin Cities. He died for your sins. He rose again. He saves all who trust him. We die, but because of him, we do not die.

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”

Talitha is sleeping now. But one day she will die. I teach her this. I will not always be there to bless her. But Jesus is alive and is the same yesterday today and forever. He will be with her because she trusts him. And she will make it through the river.

Weeping with those who weep, and those who should,

Pastor John

Psalm 71:20 You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 02, 2007

In Honor Of The Feast Of St. Alphonsus De Liguori

Unless I am mistaken, yesterday was a feast day in the Catholic church. It was to honor Alphonsus De Liguori. He is better known as the author of the book The Glories Of Mary.

Of him, it was written:

When the grave of Alphonsus was opened at Nocera, three fingers of his right hand were taken and sent to Rome. This was the wish of Pope Pius VII, who said: "Let those three fingers that have written so well for the honor of God, of the Blessed Virgin and of religion, be carefully preserved and sent to Rome."

In honor of his feast day, here are a few snippets of his aforementioned work. I am going to post an opening scripture before each quote, just to add a little perspective.

John 3:16 states:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

de Liguori writes:

But again, we are exceedingly dear to Mary on account of the sufferings we cost her. Mothers generally love those children most, the preservation of whose lives has cost them the most suffering and anxiety; we are those children for whom Mary, in order to obtain for us the life of grace, was obliged to endure the bitter agony of herself offering her beloved Jesus to die an ignominious death, and had also to see him expire before her own eyes in the midst of the most cruel and unheard-of torments. It was then by this great offering of Mary that we were born to the life of grace; we are therefore her very dear children, since we cost her so great suffering. And thus, as it is written of the love of the Eternal Father towards men, in giving his own Son to death for us, that God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son ("Sic Deus dilexit mundum, ut filium suum unigenitum daret."—John, iii. 16). "So also," says St. Bonaventure, "we can say of Mary, that she has so loved us as to give her only-begotten Son for us" ("Sic Maria dilexit nos, ut Filium suum unigenitum daret"). And when did she give him? She gave him, says Father Nieremberg, when she granted him permission to deliver himself up to death;Chapter 1, Section 3

Jeremiah 17:5 states:

Thus says the LORD,
"Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the LORD."

de Liguori writes:

"Modern heretics cannot endure that we should salute and call Mary our hope: "Hail, our Hope!" They say that God alone is our hope; and that he curses those who put their trust in creatures in these words of the prophet Jeremias: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man ("Maledictus homo qui confidit in homine"—Jer. xvii. 5). Mary, they exclaim, is a creature; and how can a creature be our hope? This is what the heretics say; but in spite of this, the holy Church obliges all ecclesiastics and religious each day to raise their voices, and in name of all the faithful invoke and call Mary by the sweet name of "our Hope,"—the hope of all."
-- The Glories of Mary Ch.3 section 1 "Mary, Our Hope"

de Liguori goes on to state:

"The King of Heaven, being infinite goodness, desires in the highest degree to enrich us with his graces; but because confidence is requisite on our part, and in order to increase it in us, he has given us his own Mother to be our mother and advocate, and to her he has given all power to help us; and therefore he wills that we should repose our hope of salvation and of every blessing in her. Those who place their hopes in creatures alone, independently of God, as sinners do, and in order to obtain the friendship and favor of a man, fear not to outrage his divine Majesty, are most certainly cursed by God, as the prophet Jeremias says. But those who hope in Mary, as Mother of God, who is able to obtain graces and eternal life for them, are truly blessed and acceptable to the heart of God...

de Liguori writes in support of the above:

St. Ephrem, reflecting on the present order of Providence, by which God wills (as St. Bernard says, and as we shall prove at length) that all who are saved should be saved by the means of Mary, thus addresses her: "O Lady, cease not to watch over us; preserve and guard us under the wings of thy compassion and mercy, for, after God, we have no hope but in thee" ("Nobis non est alia quam in te fidueia, O Virgo sincerissima! sub alis tuae pietatis protégé et custody nos"—De Laud. Dei Gen.). St. Thomas of Villanova repeats the same thing, calling her "our only refuge, help, and asylum" ("Tu unicum refugium, subsidium, et asylum"—In Nat. B. V. Conc. 3). St. Bernard seems to give the reason for this when he says, "See, O man, the designs of God,—designs by which he is able to dispense his mercy more abundantly to us; for, desiring to redeem the whole human race, he has placed the whole price of redemption in the hands of Mary, that she may dispense it at will" ("Intuere, O homo, consilium Dei, consilium pietatis: redempturus humanum genus, pretium universum contulit in Mariam"—De Aquaed).

Philippians 2:9-10 states:

9. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
10. so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth

de Liguori writes:

The great name of Mary, which was given to the divine Mother, did not come to her from her parents, nor was it given to her by the mind or will of man, as is the case with all other names that are imposed in this world; but it came from heaven, and was given her by a divine ordinance. This is attested by St. Jerome (De Nat. M. V.), St. Epiphanius (Or. de Praes. Deip.), St. Antoninus (Hist. p. 1, t. 4, c. 6, #10), and others. "The name of Mary came from the treasury of the divinity" ("De thesauro Divinitatis, Mariae nomen evolvitur"—S. de Annunt.), says St. Peter Damian. Ah, yes, O Mary, it was from that treasury that thy high and admirable name came forth; for the most Blessed Trinity, says Richard of St. Laurence, bestowed on thee a name above every other name after that of thy Son, and ennobled it with such majesty and power, that he willed that all heaven, earth, and hell, on only hearing it, should fall down and venerate it; but I will give the author's own words: "The whole Trinity, O Mary, gave thee a name after that of thy Son above every other name, that in thy name every knee should bow, of things in heaven, on earth, and under the earth" ("Dedit tibi, Maria, tota Trinitas nomen quod est super omne nomen, post nomen Filii sui, ut in nominee ejus omne genu flectatur coelestium, terrestrium, et infernorum"—De Laud. B. M. l. 1, c. 2). But amongst the other privileges of the name of Mary, and which were given to it by God, we will now examine that of the peculiar sweetness found in it by the servants of this most holy Lady during life and in death.
chapter 10, paragraph 1

Happy belated Feast Of St. Alphonsus De Liguori Day!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Repent or Perish!!

These were the words of the incarnate Son of God. They have never been cancelled; nor will they be as long as this world lasts. Repentance is absolute and necessary if the sinner is to make peace with God (Isa. 27:5), for repentance is the throwing down the weapons of rebellion against Him. Repentance does not save, yet no sinner ever was or ever will be saved without it. None but Christ saves, but an impenitent heart cannot receive Him.

A sinner cannot truly believe until he repents. This is clear from the words of Christ concerning His forerunner, "For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him" (Matthew 21:32). It is also evident from His clarion call in Mark 1:15, "Repent ye, and believe the gospel." This is why the apostle Paul testified "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). Make no mistake on this point dear reader, God "now commandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17:30).

In requiring repentance from us, God is pressing His righteous claims upon us. He is infinitely worthy of supreme love and honor, and of universal obedience. This we have wickedly denied Him. Both an acknowledgement and amendment of this is required from us. Our disaffection for Him and our rebellion against Him are to be owned and made an end of. Thus repentance is a heartfelt realization of how dreadfully I have failed, all through my life, to give God His rightful place in my heart and daily walk.

The righteousness of God’s demand for my repentance is evident if we consider the heinous nature of sin. Sin is a renouncing of Him who made me. It is refusing Him His right to govern me. It is the determination to please myself; thus, it is rebellion against the Almighty. Sin is spiritual lawlessness, and utter disregard for God’s authority. It is saying in my heart: I care not what God requires, I am going to have my own way; I care not what be God’s claim upon me, I am going to be lord over myself. Reader, do you realize that this is how you have lived?

Now true repentance issues from a realization in the heart, wrought therein by the Holy Spirit, of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, of the awfulness of ignoring the claims of Him who made me, of defying His authority. It is therefore a holy hatred and horror of sin, a deep sorrow for it, and acknowledgement of it before God, and a complete heart-forsaking of it. Not until this is done will God pardon us. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Prov. 28:13).

In true repentance the heart turns to God and acknowledges My heart has been set upon a vain world, which could not meet the needs of my soul; I forsook Thee, the fountain of living waters, and turned unto broken cisterns which held none: I now own and bewail my folly. But more, it says: I have been a disloyal and rebellious creature, but I will be so no longer. I now desire and determine with all my might to serve and obey Thee as my only Lord. I betake myself to Thee as my present and everlasting Portion.

Reader, be you a professing Christian or no, it is repent or perish. For every one of us, church members or otherwise, it is either turn Or burn; turn from your course of self-will and self-pleasing; turn in brokenness of heart to God, seeking His mercy in Christ; turn with full purpose of heart to please and serve him: or be tormented day and night, for ever and ever, in the Lake of Fire. Which shall it be? Oh, get down on your knees right now and beg God to give you the spirit of true repentance.

"Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5:31).

"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death" (2 Cor 7:10). -A.W. Pink