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, November 30, 2007

The Judgment Seat of Christ

Question: How much of our sin was dealt with on Calvary?
Answer: Every believer's sin has been dealt with on Calvary.

Question: In whole or in part?
Answer: In whole.

Question: Will believers be punished at the judgment seat of Christ for any of their sins?
Answer: Believers have already been punished in Christ - they will not be punished twice.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Greatest Hindrance To Genuine Sanctification

Okay, so you have stopped playing at being a Christian, and have begun to take it all very seriously. You know that you are supposed to be one way, and hate it when you continue to be another - and so you feel guilty all the time, and you sense within a growing concern and maybe even a little quiet frustration - why oh why am I growing colder rather than hotter? Why does it seem that my brain wants more, but my flesh wants less? Why is it that I seem to be less sincere today that I was five years ago? I know I want to be sanctified, and that I want to be as holy as the name I bear (Christian) demands - I want to walk worthy of Christ!

Yet it seems there is some hindrance to the whole process, the more I try and apprehend it the farther I am from it! Would that I could simply identify the problem perhaps I might be able to put it in an eternal grave, and dance upon that grave in joy forevermore.

Well, I am going to tell you what, if this describes you, the problem likely is -- but you will find that while articulating the problem is very helpful to your brain, simply having the knowledge won't solve the problem; the problem isn't entirely rooted in mere ignorance, it is really a spiritual problem, and while spiritual problems need to be understood, yet it isn't the understanding of them that sets us free. The Lord sets us free, and when He does, we are free indeed!

How frustrating it must have been to ask, "What must I do so that I do the works of God" and receive, instead of a practical, "do this, do that" answer, to receive what seems to be an esoteric riddle, "believe on Him who sent Me." Yet as I grow I see with greater clarity the brilliance - the concrete, literal truth in that answer. Sometimes the sheer perfection of scripture magnifies the deity behind the truth, and this is one of those verses that for me is fire and life - a verse that booms throughout all creation - God must be real, for the level of precision in this truth is so profound that no human could possibly have uttered it. Yet the problem will be solved by the same truth found in this verse.

Now, your problem is pretty simple once you isolate the main reason many of us desire to be sanctified. No, it isn't for God's glory, though it ought to be. The main reason most of us desire sanctification is because when we sin, we feel like we are hypocrites, we hate ourselves for giving into the flesh, and what we really want is to be free from the overwhelming sense of condemnation.

I mean seriously, we agree with God that our sin deserves condemnation; we know that God is the one who condemns sin; we know that God knows our innermost thoughts, and sees us for the hypocrites we are; therefore we conclude (with our feelings at least) that God cannot like us in this state, and our desire therefore it to become pleasing to God by exiting this state.

Do you see how subtle pursuing God in our flesh has become?

We desire to be pleasing because above all, we are still thinking that it is the things we do that will make us pleasing to God. This is, of course, a very subtle form of the error made by the Galatians. They were seeking to be sanctified, not by faith, but by human effort.

Look and see that you are not, and can never become acceptable to God by your own effort. You are coming to the plow, but looking back all the time. You cannot look back brother, sister. Put your hand on the plow and plow! You are either right with God in Christ, or you are not right with God. You cannot "make" yourself right - if you could Christ died for nothing. Look and see. Chew on that - be convinced. If you are in Christ, you are acceptable to God. Period.

If I continue to trust in myself to please God, it comes at the expense of trusting in Christ. I can never believe God loves me, and therefore never be free to love Him as I ought, so long as I am trying to do the impossible - "get right" with God by being good. The reason we continue on the mouse-wheel of works is because we don't really trust that God loves us without it. When we begin to see that the reason our sanctification is so stunted, beggarly, difficult, and tearful is because we have been pursuing it out of an irrational fear that if we don't do this God -will- reject us, then we may be ready to reexamine how God sanctifies us: which is by grace alone through faith alone.

You see, love is a far easier yoke than fear. Faith brings forth love, but effort only fear.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

But God,

Regular batteries are an illustration of human physical life and rechargeable batteries are an illustration of human spiritual life.

In the photo above, the regular batteries on the left are manufactured fully charged and can be used immediately after being purchased. With use and over time they will gradually become weaker and weaker and will eventually die. Regular batteries cannot be recharged. The rechargeable batteries on the right are designed so that they can be recharged many times. They cannot be used immediately after being purchased because they are dead and must be charged up with the charging unit. Unless an outside source (charging unit) charges them up they will never have life. Once they are fully charged they get weaker and weaker and must be recharged.

The physical life of human beings is similar to the life of the regular batteries. Human beings gradually get weaker and weaker as they age and eventually die. Likewise, the spiritual life of human beings is similar to the rechargeable batteries. Just as the dead rechargeable batteries must be charged in the battery charger to be made alive, spiritually dead men must be quickened by the intervention of God to be made spiritually alive. This is called regeneration or being born again. Man cannot regenerate or cause himself to be born again. It takes God to make a human spiritually alive just as it takes a battery charger to make a dead rechargeable battery alive. This is shown in Ephesians 2:4-5 where Paul says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—“ While we were dead in sin, God made us alive. Notice, the passage does not say man does something and then God acts. It says that God intervenes while we were dead in sin. God’s grace brings dead sinners to life just as the battery charger brings dead batteries to life.

Jesus in John 3:3 told Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Notice, the passage does not say man sees and desires the kingdom of God and then he is born again. No, it says that he will not even be able to see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” This passage affirms that God’s work of regeneration is radical and powerful. Notice, it does not say that someone who is in Christ may be or should be a new creation. It says they are totally changed and totally new. They have a new attitude, new desires, a new world-view and a new heart. In 1 Peter 1:3 Peter says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” Notice, this passage does not say man must do something to be born again. It says that God caused it unilaterally. In John 6, Jesus says that no one can come to him unless granted by the Father. He states further that all that the Father gives him will come to him. When these two dots are connected it is apparent that all that are enabled to come do come. Since all (100%) do not come, the only conclusion is that God’s drawing power is irresistible and perfect in it’s power. Paul validated in Romans 8:30 that all that are called are justified.

The external call goes out by preachers, evangelists, and the Bible. All those who have had their spiritual battery charged to life by God have ears to hear and respond in faith. This is grace. It is the power of God that regenerates and gives a new heart to sinners that are dead in sin.

New Christians, that come to faith and are justified through the power of God’s grace, are then sanctified by the same grace. New Christians have spiritual life and Paul tells us in Romans 8 that this spiritual life will prevail. God through his grace recharges the spiritual life of Christians just like a battery charger recharges weak batteries. That is why the sanctification of a Christian may have peaks and valleys.

The power of God is at work in saving and justifying sinners by giving them spiritual life that enables them to willingly come to saving faith. This same power is also at work in sanctifying redeemed sinners. However, many are pushing a powerless gospel that leaves man alone in coming to faith in Christ. While they acknowledge that God tries to woo sinners, the ultimate power is left with man and not God. Man decides and God responds is the bottom line of this gospel. Since no effective power is available from God in justification, they conclude there is no effective power from God in sanctification. They claim that it is possible that a redeemed Christian may (in some cases) not be sanctified at all. Even if such a person renounces Jesus and becomes a life long atheist until death, he is saved due to his brief moment of faith.

Question: Do you believe God intervened in your life by giving you spiritual life or do you believe that your salvation was decided by you making the crucial decision in and of yourself?

Real Christianity

Philippians 3:7-17 (Amplified Bible)

Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

7 But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Christ's sake.
8 Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One),
9 And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law's demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.
10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]
11 That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].
12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.
13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.
15 So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also.
16 Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.
17 Brethren, together follow my example and observe those who live after the pattern we have set for you.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Walking in the Spirit

Driving home from a Bible study the other night, a fog had settled in as I navigated my way through the back country roads around 9:30 at night. Without oncoming traffic, I shifted my lights from low to high beam and marveled at how the beam of light resembled a knife slicing through layers of white smoky cloud. It was a warm visual reminder to me of what we had just been discussing among the brethren – and that is that when we walk in the Spirit, we navigate our way without sin.

As is often the case, a lively discussion ensued among us, as we debated what exactly “walking in the Spirit” means. Although each of us expressed the idea differently, we were all pretty much in agreement that “walking in the Spirit” means obeying His voice (whether expressed in the Word or directly through the Holy Spirit in us).

“…in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” – Romans 8:4

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” – Galatians 5:16-17

Not unlike the high beams through the fog, our discussion brought clarity to me that true born-again believers will not dismiss sin casually or accept it lightly.

“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” – 1 John 3:8-9

Not that we are saved through our obedience, but that it is a sign and reminder to us that the Spirit is alive within us and as God’s children, we will indeed respond out of love for our Father, His Son, and the Spirit who tells us these things.

“My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” – Proverbs 3:11-12

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. .” – Hebrews 12:7-10

What a privilege to be disciplined by Him! What a travesty if we do not heed His reproof!

Incidentally, according to the on-line Encyclopedia Britannica, the word “travesty” means: “the treatment of a noble and dignified subject in an inappropriately trivial manner.” I was merely double-checking my use of the word to see if it fit, and it appears all the more a propos to me.

We can, of course, choose in our flesh to ignore the Spirit, but His sheep who recognize His voice cannot do so for long – otherwise they will be miserable. Those who are truly His will be neither content nor satisfied if they continually choose to not walk in (obey) Him.

“Do not quench the Spirit.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I do not believe that His Spirit ever leaves a New Testament believer, but I do believe that we can choose to not walk in (obey) Him and thereby not be continually filled with Him.

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,” - Ephesians 5:18

This affirms to me that obedience to Him, aka “walking in the Spirit,” is absolutely vital (in the true “life-giving” sense of the word “vital”) to our ongoing sanctification. I have read testimony on non-Reformed blogs to the contrary – suggesting that obedience is not required (unto salvation)– essentially making little of the exhortation of the Spirit in Scripture to the fulfillment of the flesh, while holding onto the ticket of salvation as their way into heaven.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 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. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” - Galatians 5:19-25

These aren’t idle words to be taken any less lightly than the rest of Scripture. Scripture says we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves of God. Although sons and daughters of the Most High, the Ancient of Days, and the great I Am, we are nonetheless purchased – at the highest of prices by the most precious of beings. We are no longer our own, but His and are therefore – once bought – required to be obedient, the way a slave is. If we as His slaves forsake that requirement, woe unto us!

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” – Romans 6:22

We are not saved by our obedience, but true believers will either obey, be miserable, or be called home. When the Spirit stirs the hearts of those who are His, they cannot resist for long.

Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.” – 1 John 3:24

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Good News!

Jesus Christ, who shed His life’s blood at Calvary, is a sufficient Saviour. He has done all that is necessary to save you. Faith is not a contributing factor but simply the outstretched hand of a bankrupt beggar that receives the free gift of God, purchased for helpless sinners in full by Jesus Christ.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

An Overview Of Various Eschatological Positions

An Overview Of Various Eschatological Positions

Posted on March 10, 2007 by Jeremy Weaver


Within Premillennialism there are three or four different positions. There is the Pre-tribulational rapture of the Church, the Mid-tribulational rapture, the Pre-wrath rapture, and the Post-tribulational rapture.It seems that the default position for most Premillenialists is the Pre-tribulational rapture position. Most everyone knows something about that view. The church is raptured at the beginning of the tribulation which lasts for seven years. At the end of the seven years a literal thousand years reign is initiated by Christ where he sits on David’s throne and rules from Jerusalem.The Mid-trib view is basically the view that after three and a half years of the tribulation, at the midway point, the rapture occurs, then after the remaining period of time a literal thousand year reign begins.The Pre-wrath view says that the rapture occurs before the wrath of God is poured out, whenever that may be during the tribulation. After the tribulation a literal thousand year reign commences.The Post-trib view (historic Premillenialism) says that after the seven year tribulation period the rapture takes place and a literal thousand year reign is inaugurated.


Since I have never been Postmil, I thought I would do better to quote a Postmillennialist on the view in the interest of fairness. “Postmillennialism is that view of the last things which holds that the Kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the Gospel and the saving work of the Holy Spirit, that the world eventually will be Christianized, and that the return of Christ will occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace commonly called the Millennium.This view is, of course, to be distinguished from that optimistic but false view of human betterment and progress held by Modernists and Liberals which teaches that the Kingdom of God on earth will be achieved through a natural process by which mankind will be improved and social institutions will be reformed and brought to a higher level of culture and efficiency. This latter view presents a spurious or pseudo Postmillennialism, and regards the Kingdom of God as the product of natural laws in an evolutionary process, whereas orthodox Postmillennialism regards the Kingdom of God as the product of the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit in connection with the preaching of the Gospel.”- Lorraine Boettner, Postmillennialism. You can also view some of the ‘myths’ about Postmillennialism here.


Amillennialism is the view that the millennial reign of Christ has both a present and a future reality. So Amillennialists are really misnamed in the sense that they do believe in a millennial reign, but that the millennium is to be interpreted allegorically as the period beginning at the first coming of Christ and following the second coming of Christ. In other words, the ‘millennial’ reign has both a present manifestation in the Church and a future realization at the second coming of Christ. Neither period is a literal thousand years.
In Revelation 20 the binding of Satan is seen as a work that Christ accomplished during His first coming. The little while that the devil must be released is the tribulation.Revelation 20 is the battleground. But we must remember also that all sides interpret Revelation 20 in the same way they interpret the rest of the Book of Revelation. So if there is any argument from any side, we have all got to remember how we got to Revelation 20.This is my view.

For a more detailed exposition of Amillenialism see Anthony Hoekema’s online works on ‘Amillenialism’ here.
There are also some good articles here. Click the sidebar icon titled ‘Eschatology’ and read Riddlebarger, Vos, and Hendriksen if you are interested.
Kim Riddlebarger provides some helpful links here.
Theology for Doxology

Filed under: Kim Riddlebarger, Theology, eschatology
« Kim Riddlebarger Interview God’s Glory In Christ-My Hermeneutic »

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Friday, November 23, 2007


Why are some Dispensationalists Calvinistic and Lordship while others adhere to Antinomianism (not intended as an insult, for many unashamedly claim that label) and non-Calvinism, claiming that Dispensationalism logically leads one that way?


Thursday, November 22, 2007


I'll be away today (I'm a poet, and don't even know it).

Enjoy your day!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Saved to Serve

…there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ.
(Philippians 3:18 – NLT)

Paul had earlier spoken of the legalists (3:2-3), now he speaks about the libertines. You are to forget the legalist path, the “make your own way” types of the past, but you are not to swing the pendulum too far. Your obedience is not the root of your justification, as the legalists would say, but it is the fruit of your justification, as the libertines wouldn’t say. Good works does not save you, but you are saved unto good works. Grace is a teacher – Titus 1:15-16, 2:11-14. Some are not walking the walk (Galatians 5:25), and they talk a different talk. It is all about what they are allowed to do, they use liberty as license, and they are deceived.

Be aware of this fact: it is not those who don’t even claim the name of Christ that Paul is talking about in this passage, it is those who remain self-indulgent, who don’t press on to maturity, but who keep feeding their old man, and then try and justify it by saying that they are allowed, or even that it is somehow right. They are ripe for deception, and are already deceived. It is not those who are trapped in sin, even, that Paul is discussing and warning about, it is those who defiantly state that they are of Christ but who won’t take their self-indulgent old man to the Cross. This is why Paul says to be following him and those who walk right because there are many who don’t, and they are dangerous.

When you are saved, you are saved to serve, and that means others, not serving yourself, like the people Paul warns about here. When you won’t go to church, what are you doing? Think about it. In order to get your food, you must always do what? Serve yourself, and you never serve others, do you? And you prevent others from serving you.

Paul says beware because these types tend to try and gain converts to appease their conscience. Other biblical writers warn us also. Jude 1:3-5 – obedience is believing, acting in accordance with what you believe (that sin is bad and that Christ has delivered us from its bondage). Look at 2 Peter 2:2, 10, 14, 18-20. 2 (sensual), 10 (despise authority, i.e. they won’t learn in community they won’t follow patterns they must make their own), 14 (they try and recruit others who don’t know better), 18 (they appeal to the flesh of those who are still struggling with it), 19 (they talk of freedom but they are slaves to sin and self), 20 (they are unfruitful in their knowledge – Hosea 4:6-10 / 2 Peter 1:8).

Their end is destruction, whose god is their belly, or their own appetites; they live for the pleasures of the body, mind, and soul. Romans 16:18 – and they try and win others to this view, which is why they are doubly dangerous, it spreads because it is an easy way. Their feelings, emotions, and passions rule them, meaning they do what they want to do; their god is their own self-ish desires, with its self-indulgent agenda. They are proud of their liberty, thinking they are more enlightened than those whom they see as more narrow-minded, and they are constantly trying to defend their “right” to import this or that practice from the world. They are worldly, they thought they could be whatever they wanted to be, worship however they wanted to, and approach a holy God anyway they saw fit, and still keep Jesus too.

They wouldn’t let anyone correct them, they wouldn’t accept rebuke or be admonished, and they thought that they knew better. They are not broken by their sin and instead of falling on Christ, He will fall on them to their peril (Matthew 21:44). They wouldn’t suffer the death of the flesh; they are enemies of the Cross of Christ.

In this way are they enemies of the Cross: they may have thought they believed in it for Jesus, and indeed that is all it takes to be saved, believing Jesus died on the Cross for your sins is a saving knowledge of Christ. However, the bible clearly teaches that this knowledge if held in truth will cause a believer to also follow Jesus to the Cross. Godliness teaches us to become more and more repentant, our lives will progressively become more and more unlike the world, not like the world.

The degree of effectiveness in an individuals life is not the question, the resolve to do it at all or to deny the need to is the matter at hand (1 Corinthians 5), the desire to become sanctified in practice, rather than defiantly avoiding the possibility of going to the Cross for the gradual death of the self life, that is the question. In essence, they deny this saving knowledge in practice, if not in doctrine, by not believing in and following Jesus to the Cross in their own life. They became progressively more and more deceived, their faith was proven not to be real, and they are damned.

Those that won’t go to church wind up serving themselves and that isn’t why we are saved.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Theological misconceptions, distortions, and outright falsehoods!

The following statement is often used by Christians to describe the relationship between justification and the results of justification, which the Bible refers to as discipleship and sanctification:

Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone

This statement was the subject of a post on a blog that has a long history of accusing reformed theology of affirming a faith plus works justification. The writer made the following observation concerning this statement:

Faith and Works

(Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone [implied is that it comes with Works]

The following are some of the comments concerning this statement by like minded readers of this blog:
1) It is a just another way of saying that we are saved by faith and works.
2) Works aren't necessary for salvation. Faith is necessary for salvation. But works are necessary for faith.
3) I don’t want the Old Time Evangelical faith. I want a new and fresh understanding of God's Word. I hear too much about 'old paths' and the glory days of revivals and stuff. Church history is bunk. Tradition is worn out. We need to seek fresh insight into the Scriptures, not the tired clichés of the past.
4) It seems to say that works are a necessary requirement to be saved, after all.
5) When push comes to shove, Reformed theology conditions eternal life on works.
Wow, these comments take presuppositions to a new level. Works is not mentioned in this statement, yet they all not only see works, but they attach works to faith and say the statement is affirming a works merited salvation.

Let’s take a close look at what the brief statement actually says and take the position that it means exactly what it says. It basically makes two declarations. First, it states that, “faith alone saves.” The dictionary uses the following words in defining alone: only; exclusively, solitarily, solely, without aid or help. What does faith alone without anything else do? It saves. Justification by faith alone is a hallmark of reformed theology and here in this statement it is affirmed without qualification. Reformed theology also affirms that justification is instantaneous and final. It occurs immediately after faith, and none who are saved will be lost. Once again: Faith alone saves and is final.

Secondly, the statement declares, “but the faith that saves is never alone.” ‘Not alone’ means other things happen along with saving faith. What are they? Jesus says in John 3:3 that a person must be born again to be saved. Therefore, the faith that saves occurs with being born again, so faith is not alone. Jesus says that redeemed believers will be in Christ (John 17:21). Paul also says that redeemed sinners are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). Paul says further, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) The bottom line is that saving faith comes with the POWER of God in regeneration and with the indwelling HOLY SPIRIT, which makes the saved sinner a new creation in Christ. This is what is meant by the statement, the faith that saves is never alone. It is not alone because God sends his Spirit to regenerate and indwell believers. Is that all? No, the indwelling Spirit gives the following fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. The new creation in Christ who is already eternally saved responds to this fruit of love, kindness, goodness, etc. with good works that God prepared in advance for them to do (Eph. 2:10). This is what the Bible teaches about salvation. If a person has a problem with this, his problem is with the bible and not with reformed theology.

Some of the people who take this statement and accuse adherents of reformed theology of affirming a faith plus works justification are misinformed, but some are practicing nothing short of theological slander. They are attempting to promote their theology of powerless sanctification by falsely portraying reformed theology as teaching works justification. The debate is not over justification, but is about sanctification. See more on my Oct. 8 Lordship Sanctification Post .

Consider, the alternative to this statement which would be what these people are affirming. Faith alone saves by a faith that is alone. This would mean no sanctifying grace, no power from God, a powerless regeneration, and an ineffective indwelling Holy Spirit. It would leave any Christian sanctification up to the sinner as an option. Instead of a new creation in Christ, you would have the same ole sinner still dead in sin and depending upon himself for sanctification.

I would pray and encourage everyone to be Bereans and study the Scriptures carefully before selling out to any theological system and that includes all systems including mine.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Repentance and Faith

The following can be found here... http://www.christiantruth.com/savingfaithandtheologians.html

Henry C. Thiessen

The Scriptures appeal to man to turn to God (Prov. 1:23; lsa. 31:6,59:20; Ezek. 14:6, 18:32, 33:9-11)...Conversion is that turning to God and it represents the human response to the call of God. It consists of two elements: repentance and faith.

The importance of repentance is not always recognized as it should be. Some call upon the unsaved to accept Christ and to believe without ever showing the sinner that he is lost and needs a savior. But the Scriptures lay much stress on the preaching of repentance.Repentance was the message of the Old Testament prophets (Deut. 30: 10-1 2 Kings 17:13; Jer. 8:6, Ezek. 14:6, 18:30). It was the keynote of the preaching of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:2; Mark 11:15), of Christ (Matt. 4:17; Luke 13:3-5), of the twelve as such (Mark 6:12), and in particular of Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38; cf. 3:19). It was also fundamental to the preaching of Paul (Acts 20:21; 26:20).

The dispensational change has not made repentance unnecessary in this age; it is definitely a command to all men (Acts 17:30). This is what Paul said at Athens, the farthest removed from a Jewish environment. Repentance is something in which all heaven is supremely interested (Luke 15:7, 10; 24:46f). It is the fundamental of fundamentals (Matt. 21:32; Heb. 6: 1) because it is an absolute condition of salvation (Luke 13:2-5).Repentance is essentially a change of mind, taking the word in a broad sense. It has, however, three aspects: an intellectual, an emotional, and a volitional aspect1) The intellectual element – This implies a change of view. It is a change of view with regard to sin, God and self.2) The emotional element – This implies a change of feeling. Sorrow for sin and a desire for pardon are aspects of repentance.3) The volitional element – This element implies a change of will, disposition and purpose. This is the inward turning from sin.Repentance is not a satisfaction rendered to God, but a condition of the heart necessary before we can believe unto salvation. Furthermore true repentance never exists apart from faith.. Conversely we may say that true faith never exists without repentance. The two are inseparably bound together.


What then is faith? ... In conversion, faith is the turning of the soul to God as repentance is the turning of the soul from sin ... We may say that the scriptures represent faith as an act of the heart. It therefore involves an intellectual, an emotional and a volitional change. Men believe with the heart to be saved (Romans 10:9f). The scriptures emphasize the intellectual aspect of faith in such references as Psalm 9:10, John 2:23f and Romans 10:14. Nicodemus had faith in this sense of the term when he came to Jesus (John 3:2) and the demons we are told, believe, for they know the facts concerning God (James 2:19). It is no doubt in this sense also that Simon Magus believed (Acts 8:13) for there are no indications that he repented and appropriated Christ.

We conclude therefore that faith must be more than intellectual assent. A man is not saved unless his faith has all three of these elements in it (emotional, intellectual, volitional). The voluntary element, however, is so comprehensive that it presupposes the other two. Certainly no one can be saved who does not voluntarily appropriate Christ. The voluntary element includes the surrender of the heart to God and the appropriation of Christ as Saviour. The former is brought out in such scriptures as ‘Give me you heart my son and let your eyes delight in my ways’ (Prov. 23:26). ‘Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me’ (Matt. 11:28). ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sister, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple’ (Luke 14:26).

That the Greek term pisteuo (to believe or trust) is used in the sense of surrender and commitment is seen in such statements as: ‘But Jesus on his part was not entrusting himself to them for he knew all men’ (John 2:24). ‘They were entrusted with the gospel’ (Gal. 2:7). The scriptures frequently emphasize that men should count the cost before deciding to follow Christ (Matt. 8:19–22, Luke 14:26-33). The thought of surrender is also implied in the exhortation to accept Jesus as Lord. The command is, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Acts 16:31). And we must ‘confess Jesus as Lord to be saved’ (Rom. 10:9) To believe in Him as Lord is to recognize Him as Lord, and we cannot recognize Him as Lord until we ourselves abdicate.

This note of faith is often overlooked or even referred to as a later time of consecration, but the scriptures connect it with the initial experience of salvation (Henry Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), pp. 268-270, 271-273).


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Paul's Gospel

12I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17To the King of ages, immortal,invisible,the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. - 1 Timothy 1:12-17 [ESV]

In Matthew 23 Christ describes the Pharisees as traveling land and sea to make a single convert, and that when a Pharisee finally makes a convert, the convert becomes twice as much a son of hell as the Pharisee who led him to that end ever was.


Paul, as you likely know, was not only the son of a Pharisee (c.f. Acts 23:6), but a Pharisee himself and was so entirely zealous a Pharisee that he personally led a one man persecution-marathon against Christianity. If your garden-variety Pharisee was a considered by Christ to be a son of hell, how much more a son of hell was someone like Paul who persecuted the early church?

We see therefore that Paul's description of himself as the foremost of sinners was not entirely hyperbole. Yet the account of Paul's conversion leaves us staggering under the truth of what Paul is saying here. See the reason Paul gives for his conversion? He says that it was because he was the foremost of sinners that Christ showed mercy on him. Do you see the flow of Paul's thought here? Christ came to save sinners, and if you doubt that you need only look to Paul whose conversion experience demonstrates loudly that salvation is not given to those who merit it by their own righteousness, but rather Paul's own salvation demonstrates that it is given as a gift to sinners, for only a fool would dare to argue that Paul was seeking Christ on the Damascus road... Paul's point is that his own salvation proves the character of Christ - for in saving Paul Christ put His own perfect patience with sinners eternally on display.

Paul wasn't fretting about whether or not he was "chosen" - his Damascus road experience was clear testimony enough, not only to him, but to us as well. Paul was chosen, his relationship with Christ began not as an initiator of his own faith, but rather in response to Christ's initiation. In Paul's experience, as well as in Paul's theology - God initiates faith, not man.

What we see here in this passage is that even though Paul was a sinner, and not merely a sinner, but a sinner who was by design and deep conviction a man entirely opposed to Christ and Christianity, even though Paul was as far from Christ as a man is likely to get in this lifetime - yet in a single moment on the road to Damascus, even this greatest of sinners was not hindered by his sin in coming to Christ, and especially, was by no means helped along the way by his own understanding of righteousness.

Paul knew and taught that we cannot take credit for our justification, that we cannot take credit for the faith that led to our justification, and that we cannot even take credit for the circumstances that gave us the opportunity to extend faith - that is, Paul understood that salvation is -all- of grace. That from beginning to end God decides whom He will show mercy upon, and that this decision by no means depends upon a person's worth or a person's initiating decision - or else Paul could not have been saved, for Paul was certainly not worthy by virtue of his great sin to receive salvation, and Paul was by no means the initiator of his faith, being about as far (at the time) from initiating a relationship with Christ as any man could ever be.

Paul's gospel was by no means Pelagian or SemiPelagian, it was all grace, yet what was orthodox has become repugnant, and what was heresy is now embraced. Men are offended by the idea that God chooses whom He will save by grace through faith. They picture all men as being equally deserving of salvation, when the right picture is that of all men being equally deserving of damnation. From their perspective, God cannot choose whom he will show mercy upon, because he must show mercy to all or he is "unfair". Thus they prune God down into a god who fits their understanding. They embrace an image of God wherein God is trying to save everyone, but can't save anyone unless the person does the right thing by coming to God in faith.

I hope you can see that were that the case, Paul could by no means have come to God in faith, because his own testimony teaches us that Paul was not coming to God in faith, nor in good works - but was in both running as fast as possible away from God IN THE VERY MOMENT that Christ came to him.

Whatever else Paul was, he was absolutely not SemiPelagian or Pelagian and by no means imagined that salvation followed the error of the Arminian scheme, whether in whole or in part.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Holy Spirit-led understanding

In response to a post at my blog, Jonathan asked a good question that I’d like to pose of readers here.

In part, I wrote the following on my blog:

“While I have maintained a habit of reading my Bible daily, I confess that I have gained so much valuable insight through other teachers via blogs and books that I lean perhaps too heavily on the latter. This was somewhat illustrated to me in a simple conversation between Jesus and Peter, taken from John 21, verses 20-24.

“Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them – the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, ‘Lord, who among us will betray you?’ Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?’”

“Jesus replied, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.’ So the rumor spread among the community of believers that that disciple wouldn’t die. But that isn’t what Jesus said at all. He only said, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?’”

“When I read this, it struck me that this rumor spreading among the community taken directly from the words of Jesus – “if I want him to remain alive until I return” – is not unlike some interpretations today. I read the banter back and forth taken from this or that interpretation and weigh carefully what is said, but still... I wonder.

How much of my own interpretation is coming not from my own diligent study of God’s breathed Word but from the words of men? Do I lean too much on the opinions of others rather than doing the hard work of putting my nose to the grindstone and doing some serious word studies? The truth is, I enjoy having others do the hard work for me, and while there can be blessing and wisdom gained from their efforts, I am depriving myself of vital nourishment and understanding necessary for life.

“I won’t stop reading other books, of course, because I believe God has given wisdom to others regarding proper interpretation, and it was, in fact, from men that I gleaned the importance of receiving instruction directly from God’s own Word. But this illustration of how easily interpretation can be swayed, even when the words seem to be plainly understood, well, the impression rests upon me to seek not only first but primarily understanding from God’s Word through Holy Spirit revelation.

“That latter is a tricky one, since I know several men who all claim to be led by the Spirit, yet they wouldn’t agree on interpretation. Some are dispensational. Some are Reformed. Others adhere to covenant theology. Some among all these are premillenial; others are post- or amillenial. And even if you find those of the same ilk, they’ll invariably disagree on something – paedobaptism or adult only? It’s very hard to understand what is proper interpretation when minds greater than my own may be all Spirit-led individuals who don’t agree.

“Nonetheless, I must read further what Scripture itself says on this matter and look to God’s Spirit to lead where I must go. I must trust God first in the matter of my own understanding and be careful to discern where I may be wont to read into text rather than draw from it. There is much counsel in Scripture regarding waiting on the Lord and patience, so I must put these into practice continually as I dwell on His Word.”

To which, Jonathan posed the questions: “Now the question is, why does God allow such divergent views in the body? Could God have a reason for it?”

I also wonder - How do we know who is (and what interpretation is) and who isn't Spirit-led, when all profess Christ? I don't know the answer. How can we possibly know (unless what they say blatently contradicts Scripture)?

And you, dear reader, what are your thoughts on this?

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Christ-Likeness: Growing from Glory to Glory

by Mark Pierson

In the Parable of the sower, as recorded in Mark 4, we see that what is sowed is the word; yes that same "implanted word" that we are to receive with meekness in James 1:21. As we see in Mark 4:8 the seed that fell on good ground yielded a crop that sprang up, some 30, some 60, some 100.

Question: what is that which is yielded in this crop? I believe it to be the fruit of the Spirit, mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. In short the crop is Christ-likeness in varying degrees from individual Christians.

Where FGT and I disagree is what salvation is all about. From what I have observed FGT seems to believe that Justification is the be-all and end-all. I believe it only holds to part of the over all big picture provided in the word.

The New Covenant is to be considered.

Jesus said "This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is shed for you". If we look at 2 Cor. 3:3-18 we get some insight into this new Covenant...

1)Christians are epistles of Christ to the world. vs.3

2) The Spirit of God is the writer, and our hearts are what He writes on. vs.3

3) Paul was a minister of that new covenant, that one by which the Spirit gives life. vs 6.

4) the ministry of the Spirit is more glorious than the old covenant. vs. 8.

5) the new covenant is called "the ministry of Righteousness" in verse 9.

6)Entrance into that new covenant means a veil is taken away from our eyes in Christ. vs.14-16.

7)Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. vs.17.

And now the clincher: as we look with unveiled faces at the Lord, through His word, we are transformed into the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit... Sanctification, Christlikeness.2 Cor.3:18.

I believe that the Holy Spirit applies the whole of the new covenant to every believer in Christ. Part of what Christ accomplished on the cross was our being set free from slavery to sin in order to be slaves of Christ, no middle ground. See Romans 6:18, also Acts 3:26. We are now in Christ's kingdom,under His rule in our lives, having been put there by God the Father. Col.1:13-14. See also 1 Peter 1:2. We are now temples of the Holy Spirit and evidences of His presence in the Christian life will show. Over time we grow from glory to glory, due to the Spirit's ministry to us through His Word. The seed (the word, attended by God the Holy Spirit, for they are always in concert) once planted begins to grow, grow towards its intended end, Christlikeness. Romans 8:29.

If we look at Luke's rendering of the sermon on the mount, 6:40, we see Jesus say that a perfectly trained disciple will be like his teacher. May I suggest that here we see the whole intent of Christ for His people?

Look at the great commission, Matt.28:18-20...We are to:"make disciples, baptizing them, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded.

Look at Eph. 2:1-22. The progression begins with our having been quickened, having once been dead in tresspases and sins, having walked according to the course of this world, walking according the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience, and were by nature children of wrath. Then God makes us alive with His Son (regeneration)and enables us to believe. We then become His workmanship (poema, His work of art)as He causes us to walk in good works. He causes Jew and Gentile to be one new man in Christ. We now have access by the Spirit to the Father. We are now a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. I believe this to be the very appex of redemptive history. It is the glorious work of God on once dead sinners comparable to the great scene in Ezekiel 37, the valley of dry bones. God's Spirit brings life where there was none, that life being Christ-likeness, coming to full fruition when we see Him in the air. 1 John 3:2.

Remember, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. An individual, once reconciled, will then experience the glorious working of God the Father as He paints the image of His Son on the canvas of his or her life. Man can now truely look like he was created in the image of God.

As we consider 2 Cor. 3:3 we see that we are now epistles of Christ to a lost world, written by the Spirit of God. We are the Father's workmanship (poema), Eph. 2:10, created unto good works. We are to let our lights so shine that men will see our good works, and glorify our Father in heaven. Matt. 5:16. Christ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works-Titus 2:14.


Friday, November 09, 2007

The Kingdom

by Jeremy Weaver

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Luke 17:20-37
Introduction: There are many opinions regarding the Kingdom of God today. On the one hand, some see the kingdom as a totally future reality, and relegate Christ's kingship to the 'sweet by and by'. On the other hand, others see the Kingdom as a merely internal enterprise, and work to bring forth a Utopian government where everyone simply co-exists. Our text quotes Jesus as saying, "The Kingdom is within you" (verse 21), is taken out of context and misinterpreted to mean that the Kingdom is in our hearts, which the whole rest of the Bible, nor this text support.
We do not desire to be on either side of this debate, but rather, we desire to see the truth that Jesus teaches in these verses concerning the true nature of the Kingdom. This is not an easy task. The answers that we uncover lead to more questions, but as we shall see, these questions are sufficiently answered in this text.First, the Kingdom is already here. Second, it is not here yet. Jesus tells the Pharisees, "The Kingdom is in your midst!", speaking of it's present reality. But He also tells the disciples, "The days are coming when you will desire to see one the days of the Son of Man, but you will not," speaking of it's future fulfillment. So we come to this text, recognizing that there is both a present reign of Christ from Heaven, and a future reign of Christ on the earth. This Kingdom of God has always been in power, but it has not always been obeyed. So it is in this sense that the Kingdom has already come, and yet is coming to reclaim it's place on the earth.This raises some very interesting questions, doesn't it? When we affirm that the Kingdom is present and yet future, we might ask, "When did the Kingdom come?", "Where is the Kingdom?", and "When will the fulfillment of the Kingdom take place?"These are some of the questions that Christ answers for us in our text.
I. When Did The Kingdom Come? In the Old Testament the Kingdom is seen as constantly coming, yet never arriving. Or put better, the Kingdom of God arrives with creation, then again with the formation of Adam, then with the calling of Abraham, with the Exodus from Egypt, with the giving of the law, with the possession of the land, with the deliverance by the judges, with the reign of David, with Solomon, and with the return from captivity. Yet in all these 'arrivals', there is a sense of anticipation for the arrival of the Kingdom in the person of the Messiah. This arrival is anticipated because of the rebellion of mankind on the earth. We have rebelled against the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is here, but it is coming to exert it's rule over us. As we read back into history, the specific place that we see the Kingdom of God arriving in judgment is in the Person of Christ.

A. The Kingdom arrives with the Christ. The Messiah is prophesied to be the Son of David. In both Luke's and Matthew's gospels, Jesus' genealogy is traced through the line of King David, pointing to Jesus as the rightful heir to the throne of the Kingdom. While Jesus is still in the womb, an angel appears to Joseph telling him that Jesus would save 'His people', pointing to the fact that this baby would have subjects. An angel tells Mary that Jesus would sit on the throne of David and that His Kingdom would be without end. After His birth the wise men came looking for the one who had been born 'King of the Jews'. Before Jesus was revealed in His public ministry John the Baptist, who was sent to prepare the way for the Messiah, was preaching "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" Jesus Himself begins His public ministry by announcing that "the Kingdom is at hand."

In our text Jesus tells the Pharisees who come to Him mockingly asking when He would set up His Kingdom, "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." (20-21 ESV) Jesus tells the Pharisees, "Do you want to see the Kingdom? Here I am. I am standing among you now." In a very real sense, Jesus is the Kingdom. Without Him there is no Kingdom. He is the Kingdom personified. Where Christ is, there is the Kingdom.

B. We also see in this text that the Kingdom does not come until Christ is crucified. (verse 25) When Christ begins to tell His disciples about the coming Kingdom, He prefaces it by saying that first "He must suffer...and be rejected by this generation." When John the Baptist and Jesus preached that the Kingdom of God was near, they preached it as a reason to repent. In fact their messages involved little more at times it seems than the command to repent. This repentance was necessary because of the judgment that must take place at the coming of the Kingdom. So when Christ tells His disciples that He (the King) must suffer and be rejected, we are to understand that He is referring to the judgment that comes before the Kingdom arrives. Jesus takes this judgment at the cross! In an unprecedented move, Jesus inaugurates His kingdom on this earth by taking the judgment that sinners deserved in His own body, removing the need for judgment upon those who formerly had rebelled against the Kingdom reign but now have subjected themselves to Christ's authority through repentance and faith!

C. This present Kingdom manifested itself in power on the day of Pentecost. The promised Spirit descended and filled the Apostles, who preached the Gospel of the Kingdom from Psalm 16, a prophecy from King David. Acts 2:25-36

D. The Kingdom will arrive in full at Christ's return. There is yet a day when the Kingdom will come with all of it's glory and power, the day when the Son of Man is revealed. this coming of Christ will be accompanied by judgment upon all those who did not press into His kingdom through faith and repentance. This is a secret day, when men and women are busy living their lives with no thought of a day of reckoning. Up until the day that the rains began, in spite of the preaching of Noah, everyone continued in their own ways. And Sodom and Gomorrah did not know that judgment was coming until it had fallen upon them. Even so in the days when the coming Kingdom is revealed with the appearing of Christ in the skies, people will be ill-prepared. They do not look for judgment because they have not believed the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom. they have not pressed into the Kingdom and so they are excluded from it as rebels and traitors to their rightful King.

II. Where is the Kingdom?, and, When will it's fulfillment take place? Properly speaking, the Kingdom of God is everywhere. More specifically, it is where Christ the King is.

A. Regarding it's present status on earth, it is in the midst of the Church as John sees the risen Christ walking in the midst of the candlesticks. Rev 1:13, 20 Daniel prophesied of the Kingdom that would come and expand on the earth until finally one day the whole earth would be filled with it's glory. This is the location of the Kingdom today. And as the Church is in the midst of the world, Christ said that the "Kingdom is in the midst of you." The Kingdom is now close by, and ready to accept those who surrender their own petty kingdoms built by hand. The Kingdom is where the Christ is, in Heaven, in the Church, and among believers. It is present now, waging battle against all those who do not believe the truth. It is seen when judgment falls on sinners. It is seen when sinners repent and believe the Gospel.

B. The fulfillment of the Kingdom is yet future. It takes place at a time we do not know. There are signs that accompany the coming of the Kingdom. These signs are economic, political, and geographical upheaval. These are always taking place, making it difficult to discern when the Kingdom will come. Some continually see these signs over and over and wrongly say that the Kingdom is not coming...that it is a myth. But we do have the assurance that it will come. Christ has promised that He will return. Retail stores sell there greatest inventory around Christmastime. When Christmas draws near they will put up a sign that says, "Only 100 more shopping days till Christmas!" This is not how Christ has revealed His return. HE has not sent an angel every day, week, month, or year to announce how much time is left before His return. Instead, he has told us here that His return and the coming of His Kingdom is sudden. When we do not expect it, He will return. When he returns judgment follows Him, but after judgment, everlasting peace. We will reign with Him as kings and priests on the earth. We are given the counsel to be ready through the examples of the flood and Sodom and Gomorrah. We are to watch for it, not continually gazing at the sky, or fitting pieces of the newspaper into our eschatological timetable, but living every moment in the light of Christ's promise to establish His kingdom on the earth.

We also see that Christ's return is universal. He tells His disciples, "Don't follow those who would say they know the timing and place of the my return. Just like when lightning flashes across the skies and you can see it from far off, everyone will see me at my return." We must be prepared for this moment in history. He will not return in phases giving ample time for warning of His arrival. When He arrives, He is here. No second chances. "Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy." Rev 22:11

Conclusion: The twin truths of God's present Kingdom and the Kingdom to come must motivate us to Kingdom living now, so that we will be identified as true citizens then. How is it that we should live?
The Kingdom is present, so live under the laws of the kingdom and under the Kingship of Christ.
The Kingdom is coming, so watch for it and be found faithful to the King.
The Kingdom is present, so live in the light of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom is coming, so let your light shine in this present evil, dark age.
The Kingdom is present, so live as in the presence of the reigning King.
The Kingdom is coming, so hope in the fact that you will see the face of the King.
The Kingdom is present, so live rejoicing in your inheritance.
The Kingdom is coming, so prepare to possess your inheritance.
The Kingdom is present, so worship the King.
The Kingdom is coming, so prepare to worship the King in complete Holiness.
The Kingdom is present, so partake of the Lord's Supper. Matt 26:26-29
The Kingdom is coming, so prepare for the feast of the Lamb.
The Kingdom is present, so be sanctified.
The Kingdom is coming, so prepare for glorification.
The Kingdom is present, so repent and believe the Gospel.The Kingdom is coming, so prepare to meet your God.

Posted by Jeremy Weaver at 8:05 AM

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Parables Of The Kingdom

Walk in Wisdom - Gleanings from the Scripture

by Reid Ferguson

Matthew 13 is a remarkable passage. Gathered together here are 7 parables. Parables of the Kingdom. A study of each parable by itself is very profitable. Each one, while simple, is profound and rich. But what often gets overlooked is the larger picture. In other words, what happens when we take all 7 together, and assemble the complete picture?

When we take all seven parables here and put them together, What emerges, is a primer for the Apostles, on getting a "Church Age Overview." A wonderful grip on what's happening, what to expect, and what to do. A severely neglected manual for keeping a vision for theChurch and its mission in every age.

Let's see the scheme in order.

1 / 3-9 & 18-23 / The Mystery of PROPAGATION: How the Church grows."The Sower sows The Word". This is God's means and method. All other schemes, programs, arrangements and allurements are human inventions without the promise of blessing. It is not about one nation or people rising and conquering with political or military power - it is about the Word of God bringing forth its fruit.

2 / 24-30 & 36-43 / The Mystery of PROXIMITY: The Wheat and the Tares. Explaining that there will be mixture and iniquity on the earth until Christ returns. Despite all of our efforts, there will be a mixed multitude among us. The Pagans will be with us to the end - both inside and outside the Church. Simon Magus's will enter. We will notbe able to purge them all out - nor should that be our focus. There will be necessary Church discipline, yes. But witch hunting? No. Do not be surprised that there will be imposters among us.

3 / 31-32 / The Mystery of TRANSITION: The Mustard Seed. Explaining the small beginning of the Kingdom versus its very great end. What will be, bears little resemblance to what is now.

4 / 33-35 / The Mystery of TRANSFORMATION: Leaven. The image is a deliberately internal one. Change in the Believer has an instantaneous start that produces its great effects secretly, inwardly and thoroughly, but over time. We GROW into the image of Christ's character, we aren't zapped there.

5 / 44 - / The Mystery of SUPREMACY: The Hidden Treasure. Explaining how it is that genuine believers are motivated to sacrifice all for that which others cannot see. Here, the man (inexplicably to the naked eye) values what is not seen by others above all else.

6 / 45-46 / The Mystery of SUPERIORITY: The Pearl. Explaining how it is Believers place Christ above all other religion. Christ is our greatest gain.

7 / 47-50 / The Mystery of The Consummation: The Dragnet. Explaining the free offer of the Gospel to all men. Many are called, but few are chosen. The net of the Gospel is cast into the sea of humanity, and all sorts are gathered in indiscriminately. However, we need not fear.The day of sorting will come. There will be a separating of the goats and the sheep.

Taken in order then we learn these 7 lessons.

A - Confidence and Comfort in the simple plan and program of God in evangelism. God's Word IS sufficient.

B - There is no need to fret or fear is the World seems to grow and progress in evil along with the Church. The harvest WILL come.

C - Though the Kingdom may seem small and insignificant now - wait. The half has not been told.

D - Though you seem to make little progress in sanctification, you WILL be transformed into His image as the Kingdom grows within you and affects every part.

E - Though others have not seen what you have - you are not a fool to forsake that which you cannot keep to obtain that which you cannot lose.

F - let no one dissuade you from the singular excellencies of Christ. Truth is all about us- but He is THE Truth, THE Life, and THE Way.

G - Give the Gospel to all men and draw them in. But give them no comfort in the MERE fact they dwell among the saints, simply because they found an attraction here. If they have not been changed, if they are spoiled or dead or unprofitable, they WILL be cast away.-- "For the sake of the Name" -


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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Swept Away

Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.
(Acts 17:29 – ESV)

I was listening to what many might call a “powerful” worship song the other day. I listened and watched the video, yes it is powerful, lots of feeling, biblical language, and easy to "get into". It didn’t teach heresy, and everyone was really excited about it, and seemingly praising the Lord with abandon. The “presence of God” seemed to be tangible.

Yet there was a lot of repetition, and my fear is that people simply fall in love with being "swept away". I know it is a problem I have had before, and it makes me cringe to see others caught up whom I know have no desire to truly worship the Lord. I am not trying to judge them on the spot; I am talking about things observed over time. They have a love for song but not a growing love for the One whom the songs are supposed to be about. The songs may seem like they are working right then, but they don’t seem to be working out in their lives.

For many, these type of songs are only hindering their growth, because they think the feeling of being swept away is the height of spirituality, and the goal to be in a continuous act of being swept out from shore, into the depths of God. That is what they think is happening, but they are only being swept away to the shores of their own self and falling in love with feelings and with their own ideas about God, even while we are presumably singing truth about Him. They might be learning how to get “in tune” more and more, but they don’t ever seem to be excited about the Bible, or doctrine, or things like that. Those other things don’t “bring the anointing” they say.

Some “worship leaders” seem to realize that certain amounts of happy clappy songs can be all too much like a pep rally, and so they switch gears, to a slower, more somber, “deep” feel. Or they speed things up, add instruments, and then during the same song strip back, and go with voices only, and it seems as if God arrives on the scene, it is so holy, they think.

No I don’t think so, I think it is just our emotions being taken on a ride, like with good classical music. It is okay to have variation in music, but to think this helps people “break through” is superstitious nonsense, and I don’t care what story you might tell me, what happened is that their emotions got touched, and emotions are not the keyhole to unlock spiritual doors. Truth is the key, and that is the truth. Instead of breaking though we are binding them to a pattern of emotional release that they think is spiritual growth.

Try this experiment sometime; instead of your favorite tune set to perfect music, etc., sing one of the great hymns of the faith with no accompaniment at all, just voices. If you just can’t seem to get into it, you just can’t worship as well, or whatever, then guess what, it is the feeling for the music you worship, not God.

It is not our job to get people swept away in emotions, and most often repetition of simple choruses breeds music appreciation not some extra power. It grieves me to hear of people saying a certain song “brings the anointing”. Worshipping God isn’t supposed to resemble an incantation or summoning. People are using certain music, flags, dance, and other peripherals as supposed power tools; in a sense they are trying to “summon the Spirit”. Maybe they are successful, but I’m not so sure about what spirit is coming in. Don’t get swept away by them.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Blessed are the pure in heart

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

In all of the beatitudes Jesus is describing the characteristics of Christians along with the blessings. Notice he is not describing what must be done in order to merit the blessing. It is not do these things and receive grace, it is the gift of grace produces these attributes. In this beatitude Jesus pronounces a blessing on yet another Christian characteristic. Those that are in Christ by the power of Holy Spirit have pure hearts that are focused on Christ. They have hearts that were made alive by Holy Spirit through regeneration, and they follow the leading of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). They are in Christ and their lives are centered on the things of Christ. From their pure hearts flow love, honesty, integrity, and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit. These Christians are powered by God’s grace and not their own man generated self-effort.

The blessing Jesus pronounces is that the pure in heart shall see God. The pure in heart are in Christ by the gift of God’s grace and they alone will see God. Jesus does not make any provision for the so-called carnal Christian (all flesh, all the time) to be included with the pure in heart. God through the power of the Holy Spirit begins the process of conforming all of the redeemed to the image of Christ during their earthly life. This is called sanctification and all Christians experience God’s power and work in their lives unless providentially prevented by events such as death immediately after conversion.

Praise God that the fruit of sanctification leads to eternal life where Christians shall see God.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Jeremy Weaver: A Great Post

God’s Glory In Christ-My Hermeneutic
Posted on March 13, 2007 by Jeremy Weaver

My hermeneutics have been attacked on more than one occasion. This post is where I am going to tell what the guiding principle in my hermeneutic is. It’s really very simple. God’s glory is the root of my hermeneutic.

I interpret all of Scripture though this lens. After I have read the text, determined it’s genre, and interpreted both literally and theologically I ask myself this question, “How does this text reveal God’s glory?”

There are several answers that can come from this question.Here are a few examples…

1. In a text such as Isaiah 6, it is obvious that God’s glory is revealed as His holiness through the vision that Isaiah receives.
2. In Exodus 20, God’s glory is revealed by His requirements for the Jews to be set apart.
3. In Romans 3:10-20, God’s glory is revealed in the fallen state of man.
4. In Romans 3:21-26, God’s glory is revealed in the redemptive work of Christ.
5. In John 1:1-18, God’s glory is revealed in Christ Himself.

Points number four and five are the main focus of my hermeneutic. God has most perfectly revealed His glory through His incarnate Son.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (Joh 1:14-18)

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (Joh 14:8-9)

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Heb 1:1-4)

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2Co 4:6)

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, (Col 1:13-19)

This means that my hermeneutic now becomes Christological in nature. This conclusion is supported by the following verses.

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luk 24:25-27)

If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (Joh 5:31-47)

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2Ti 3:14-15)

From these verses we learn that Scripture is not only about God’s glory, it is about the One through whom He has most perfectly revealed His glory, that is, His only Son. All of Scripture is about Him. I find Bryan Chapell’s statement most helpful when looking for Christ in the Scriptures.

“In its context, every passage possesses one or more of four redemptive foci. Every text is predictive of the work of Christ, preparatory for the work of Christ, reflective of the work of Christ, and/or resultant of the work of Christ.” Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the expository Sermon (1994; Grand Rapids: Baker Books), 275.

1. Predictive: these passages include specific prophecies, Messianic Psalms, and many of the ceremonial laws, which make no specific reference to Christ and yet are revealed to be about Christ when we read the New Testament.
2. Preparatory: Some of the Old Testament passages were meant to prepare God’s people for the coming of Christ. God’s covenants with man in Old Testament were preparatory in this sense.
3. Reflective:According to Chappell,

“Where the text neither plainly predicts nor prepares for the Redeemer’s work the expositor simply should explain how the text reflects key facets of the redemptive message…What does this text reflect of: God’s nature that provides the ministry of Christ; and/or human nature that requires the ministry of Christ?” Ibid., 277.
4. Resultant: These are passages that tell us how we should live based upon Christ’s work. It is important to recognize that these are not guidelines for earning God’s favor, but the results of the heart set free by Christ. (Points 1-4 summarized from Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon, by Bryan Chapell, pp.275-279.)

Now, none of what has been written in this post is to the neglect of the literal interpretation of Scripture. It is all founded upon the literal reading of texts in their historical contexts. It is not a method of reading Christ into the text (eisogesis), rather it is finding where He really is in the text. For example, in Genesis 1 the words ‘Christ’ or ‘Messiah’ or even ‘Son of God’ does not appear. But if we read John 1 literally we find that He is there. And further, if we read the passages listed above literally, then we must conclude that Christ permeates the pages of both the Old and New Testaments. And to interpret Scripture ignoring this fact is to miss the point altogether.
Theology for Doxology

Filed under: biblical interpretation


...I posted this on my blog and felt that others should listen to this dear man speak

God is Sovereign over everything and everyone. This dear man is an example of humbleness and exceptance of God's Sovereign plan for his life. I encourage you to listen to what this child of God says on the Sovereignty of God.

Sovereign, supreme disposal

(J. C. Philpot, "Meditations on Ephesians")

"And God has put all things under the authority of Christ,and He gave Him this authority for the benefit of the church." Ephesians 1:22

God has put all things, events, and circumstances under the authority of Christ! How vast, how numerous,how complicated are the various events and circumstances which attend the children of God here below, as they travel onward to their heavenly home! What an intricate maze they often seem, and how much they appear opposed to us,as if we never could get through them, or scarcely live under them!

Yet, there cannot be a single circumstance over which Jesus has not supreme control. Everything in providence and everything in grace are alike subject to His disposal.
There is not . . .
a trial,
a temptation,
an affliction of body or soul,
a loss,
a cross,
a painful bereavement,
a vexation,
a grief,
a disappointment,
a case, state, or condition,
which is not put under Jesus' authority!

He has sovereign, supreme disposal over all events and circumstances! As possessed of infinite knowledge,He sees them. As possessed of infinite wisdom, He can manage them. As possessed of infinite power, He can dispose and direct them for our good and His own glory!How much trouble and anxiety we would save ourselves,could we firmly believe, realize, and act on this! If we could see by the eye of faith that . . .
every foe and every fear,
every difficulty and perplexity,
every trying or painful circumstance,
every looked-for or unlooked-for event,
every source of anxiety, whether at present or in prospect,

are all under His dominion, and at His sovereign disposal--what a load of anxiety and care would be taken off our shoulders!

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me."
Matthew 28:18

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Sound of Silent Music

nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.
(1 Timothy 1:4 – ESV)

You might be looking at the verse above and wondering what this has to do with music. Well it is a verse that in context is one of many sections where Paul admonishes church leaders to keep sound doctrine at the fore. When observing and studying the “pastoral epistles” of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, we see that Paul continually speaks of sound doctrine, of correction, rebuke, exhortation, public reading of scripture and truth before feelings. They seem to be silent on the style and content of music. In searching through the pastoral epistles you will notice he doesn’t tell Timothy (or Titus) to make sure they have a great praise band!

So Paul wasn’t concerned with music. Or was he? Indeed he was; if Paul continues on and on about doctrine, then the means of which it is delivered must also adhere to his strictures. By his silence Paul isn’t saying anything goes, especially if it is loving, has a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. No he is saying that good doctrine will lead to those qualities in truth, which would lead to good music choices. He isn’t saying anything goes he is saying anything that goes must go according to his doctrine. When he says doctrine he means Gospel.

He isn’t implying that music isn’t important but he is obviously intending to say that music is secondary, it is an instrument for doctrine, doctrine first, and music as a means of delivery of doctrine. By concentrating on doctrine Paul doesn’t say don’t do music he is saying that all our music should be doctrinal leading to devotional. Right devotion is informed by right doctrine.

Music teaches us something, not just by what it says but also by what it doesn’t. If it is only fluff with no meat it is teaching us that doctrine doesn’t matter. It obviously does to Paul and to God since the NT focuses on teaching, and so obviously the content of our songs of worship must be doctrinally rich if they are to be biblically sound. Paul doesn’t downplay worship with music; he exalts it by exalting the Bible! First things first: in keeping his students focused on doctrine, he is keeping them focused on the content of their worship. It isn’t that “worship” is unimportant, but that it is, so much so that it needs to be seen in the right order. Focusing on the Bible will help us to focus correctly in worship.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Desiring Doctrine

desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
(1 Timothy 1:7 – ESV)

Right teaching MUST be under-girded by right goals. What is your desire, to teach the law or to teach love? Is your goal born from a love for being a teacher or from a love for the teachings themselves? Look at the words Paul uses in this passage, right doctrine is more important than personal devotion and desire. Of course there are those who have right doctrine but only in their heads, but right doctrine held rightly leads to right personal devotion and desire.

In their desire to teach the Word they were not really good students of the Word and so not good stewards of the Word. They strayed from the focus because they didn’t stay with the focus as a guide to their study and so they wandered off.

They try and teach strange things they swerve from the main aim and they had impure motives. What they wanted to do was to be respected as a teacher and they go off into areas they know nothing of and they handle the Word wrongly and deceitfully. They are and they become even more overconfident and unteachable (1 Timothy 6:3-5). These people did not even understand the implications of their own teaching. They didn’t have the Law right either and they were missing love. Their knowledge was superficial when they thought it super spiritual. Many think they are going deep but what they’re really doing is just splashing around a lot and making a lot of waves at the shallow end, or worse yet, diving into poison waters.

If you can’t explain the core don’t try and explain more. “I know the core, Jesus died for your sins”, well then is that just the jump off point into more stuff or is it the very life? Can you explain how the Gospel applies to every part of your life? Are you devoted to and desiring to learn that as a disciple? No, well then that is why it isn’t enough for you. The message of the cross isn’t the doorway to more stuff it is the stuff itself. It is the way to love as Jesus loved, and when we do that we fulfill the law from the heart (Romans 13:8-10 / Galatians 5:14).

A healthy church is about a people who love in the right way, they relate to God rightly and therefore to each other rightly. They will be increasing in the knowledge of God’s Word and in the grace of Jesus Christ and so therefore increasing in love and grace toward one another.

Our job as disciples is not just to find out the difficult things but concentrate on what we do know already. Are we even doing that? Then why think some new stuff is the key to doing the old stuff? The problem then and now is with people who seem to be or want to be advanced beyond applying the gospel to their own lives. Before you desire to teach some deep truths, you must be devoted to doing sound doctrine in your own life.

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