≡ Menu

Children of God are Gloriously Empowered to Love One Another

LoveGod_LoveOthers

The Lie

In modern thought, so many professing Christians consider their salvation a sealed deal because of their affiliations.  First, the affiliation with an action such as membership, prayer of salvation, walking an isle etc, enables some “professors” to be comfortable with the reality that their souls are safe and thus, the need to look further into things of grace and salvation are not needed.  This is a lie and it breeds from the desires of the flesh of a fallen humanity and is perpetrated by Satan, the enemy of God who seeks to devour the church and the gospel. (Which will not happen.)  This lie establishes an ignorantly blissful aversion to spiritual matters, growth, worship and most of all, the fruit of God’s everlasting grace in those who indeed trust in Christ.  IN other words, many people who think they are saved prove otherwise because they do not love each other.

“By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in himought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:5-6, ESV)Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is nocause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:9-11, ESV)

So, the lie is that people are thinking they are in Christ when indeed, they have no love for their brothers and then, they do not walk as Christ walked who laid down His life for this brothers as the ultimate act and expression of true divine love.  The outcome of this lie stands in two pots.  First, the pot that some feel that they are loving in their heart and that is enough and secondly, the other pot that grows out of a false understanding of love in the first place.

The Truth

The truth is the Love does not in ANY WAY define God.  It is rather God who defines love.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1, ESV)

By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:10, ESV)

So as 1 John 4:8 states, …God is love…, then the reality of love is bound up on the person and character of God, not the other way around.  So, those who claim Christ but love not the way God is love… are they in Christ at all?  No they are not according to scripture.

The Way

Now the question comes is that, “how can one love like God loves?”  God’s word is clear on the power behind the love of God in those who belong to Him.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us andhis love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:7-12, ESV)

So those who do not love in a dying and sacrificial way are not of God and are by nature children of wrath prepared for destruction.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, andwhoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:13-21, ESV)

The power of God through Christ Jesus is given to His children in order that they abide in Him, in His love, in His commands, in fellowship with His people and in continual sacrifice and obedience to the every command.  No Christian is perfect, just being perfected.  Those who do not love have fear.  Fear of judgment by God.  Those who do not fear but should are blinded by the god of the world so they cannot believe (2 Cor 4) and those who are in Christ do not fear because they see and savor the glorious love of God in Christ Jesus as their only hope.

The Glory

What difference does this make?  Well, for the sake of God’s glorious name, when the people of God love like God loves it denies the very nature of culture, religion and depravity that so easily walks without shame in the world.  The manifold wisdom of God is shown, not only to the world, but to the enemy of God!  God is serious about His glory and has killed His own Son in order to bring His children into right standing with Him.  How much more do you think the one who hates the children of God will suffer because they have rejected the very ones that Jesus purchased with His blood?

 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that wekeep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

6 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify:8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:1-12, ESV)

So in the end, only those who are in Christ prove themselves to be in Christ by their love for the Son of God, the Father and the people whom Jesus has redeemed.  The one who denies these things actually denies the very nature of God who defines love and he along with all like him will face the wrath of calling God a liar.  God says that His commandments are not burdensome for His people because of His love toward us which empowers us to live unto sanctification.  If one rejects Jesus as the one who creates a people of this nature, then they are awaiting no love from God, but only wrath.

Come today to the precious love of God in Christ Jesus.  Repent and believe the gospel.  You who are in Christ, continue in the faith, contend for the faith and in the power of Christ, love one another to the praise of His glorious grace!

James

{ 0 comments }

The Goodness of God | by AW Pink

The Goodness Of God endureth continually” (Ps. 52:1). The goodness of God respects the perfection of His nature: “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). There is such an absolute perfection in God’s nature and being that nothing is wanting to it or defective in it; nothing can be added to it to make it better.

He is originally good, good of Himself, which nothing else is; for all creatures are good only by participation and communication from God. He is essentially good; not only good, but goodness itself: the creature’s good is a superadded quality, in God it is His essence. He is infinitely good; the creature’s good is but a drop, but in God there is an infinite ocean or gathering together of good. He is eternally and immutably good, for He cannot be less good than He is; as there can be no addition made to Him, so no subtraction from Him (Thomas Manton).

God is summurn bonum, the chiefest good.

The original Saxon meaning of our English word God is “The Good.” God is not only the greatest of all beings, but the best. All the goodness there is in any creature has been imparted from the Creator, but God’s goodness is underived, for it is the essence of His eternal nature. As God is infinite in power from all eternity, before there was any display thereof, or any act of omnipotence put forth; so He was eternally good before there was any communication of His bounty, or any creature to whom it might be imparted or exercised. Thus, the first manifestation of this divine perfection was in giving being to all things. “Thou art good, and doest good” (Ps. 119:68). God has in Himself an infinite and inexhaustible treasure of all blessedness enough to fill all things.

All that emanates from God—His decrees, His creation, His laws, His providences—cannot be otherwise than good: as it is written. “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). Thus, the goodness of God is seen, first, in creation. The more closely the creature is studied, the more the beneficence of his Creator becomes apparent. Take the highest of God’s earthly creatures, man. Abundant reason he has to say with the Psalmist, “I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well” (Ps. 139:14). Everything about the structure of our bodies attests to the goodness of their Maker. How suited the hands to perform their allotted work! How good of the Lord to appoint sleep to refresh a wearied body! How benevolent His provision to give the eyes lids and brows for their protection! So we might continue indefinitely.

Nor is the goodness of the Creator confined to man, it is exercised toward all His creatures. “The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing” (Ps. 145:15-16). Whole volumes might be written, and have been, to amplify this fact. Whether it is the birds of the air, the beasts of the forest, or the fish in the sea, abundant provision has been made to supply their every need. God “giveth food to all flesh, for his mercy endureth forever” (Ps. 136:25). Truly, “The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD” (Ps. 33:5).

The goodness of God is seen in the variety of natural pleasures which He has provided for His creatures. God might have been pleased to satisfy your hunger without the food being pleasing to our palates—how His benevolence appears in the varied flavors He has given to meats, vegetables, and fruits! God has not only given us senses, but also that which gratifies them; this too reveals His goodness. The earth might have been as fertile as it is without being so delightfully variegated. Our physical lives could have been sustained without beautiful flowers to regale our eyes, and exhale sweet perfumes. We might have walked the fields without our ears being saluted by the music of the birds. Whence then, this loveliness, this charm, so freely diffused over the face of nature? Verily, “His tender mercies are over all his works” (Ps. 145:9).

The goodness of God is seen in that when man transgressed the law of His Creator a dispensation of unmixed wrath did not at once commence. God might well have deprived His fallen creatures of every blessing, every comfort, every pleasure. Instead, He ushered in a regime of a mixed nature, of mercy and judgment. This is very wonderful if it be duly considered; and the more thoroughly that regime is examined the more it will appear that “mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:13). Notwithstanding all the evils which attend our fallen state, the balance of good greatly preponderates. With comparatively rare exceptions, men and women experience a far greater number of days of health than they do of sickness and pain. There is much more creature-happiness than creature-misery in the world. Even our sorrows admit of considerable alleviation, and God has given to the human mind a pliability which adapts itself to circumstances and makes the most of them.

Nor can the benevolence of God be justly called into question because there is suffering and sorrow in the world. If man sins against the goodness of God, if he despises “the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering,” and after the hardness and impenitency of his heart treasurest up unto himself wrath against the day of wrath (Rom. 2:5-6), who is to blame but himself? Would God be “good” if He did not punish those who ill-use His blessings, abuse His benevolence, and trample His mercies beneath their feet? It will be no reflection upon God’s goodness, but rather the brightest exemplification of it, when He will rid the earth of those who have broken His laws, defied His authority, mocked His messengers, scorned His Son, and persecuted those for whom He died.

The goodness of God appeared most illustriously when He sent forth His Son “made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). It was then that a multitude of the heavenly host praised their Maker and said, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). Yes, in the Gospel the “grace (Gr., benevolence or goodness) of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11). Nor can God’s benignity be called into question because He has not made every sinful creature a subject of His redemptive grace. He did not do so with the fallen angels. Had God left all to perish it had been no reflection on His goodness. To any who challenge this statement we remind him of our Lord’s sovereign prerogative: “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?” (Matthew 20:15).

“O that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men” (Ps. 107:8). Gratitude is the return justly required from the objects of His beneficence; yet is it often withheld from our great Benefactor simply because His goodness is so constant and so abundant. It is lightly esteemed because it is exercised toward us in the common course of events. It is not felt because we daily experience it. “Despisest thou the riches of his goodness?” (Rom. 2:4). His goodness is despised when it is not improved as a means to lead men to repentance, but, on the contrary, serves to harden them from supposing that God entirely overlooks their sin.

The goodness of God is the life of the believer’s trust. It is this excellency in God which most appeals to our hearts. Because His goodness endureth forever, we ought never to be discouraged: “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and he knoweth them that trust in him” (Nah. 1:7).

When others behave badly to us, it should only stir us up the more heartily to give thanks unto the Lord, because He is good; and when we ourselves are conscious that we are far from being good, we should only the more reverently bless Him that He is good. We must never tolerate an instant’s unbelief as to the goodness of the Lord: whatever else may be questioned, this is absolutely certain, that Jehovah is good; His dispensations may vary, but His nature is always the same. (C. H. Spurgeon).

{ 0 comments }

Reality of Justification | John Murray

Justification

by John Murray

The basic religious question is that of our relation to God. How can man be just with God? How can he be right with the Holy One? In our situation, however, the question is much more aggravated. It is not simply, how can man be just with God, but how can sinful man be just with God? In the last analysis sin is always against God, and the essence of sin is to be against God. The person who is against God cannot be right with God. For if we are against God then God is against us. It could not be otherwise. God cannot be indifferent to or complacent towards that which is the contradiction of himself. His very perfection requires the recoil of righteous indignation. And that is God’s wrath. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Rom. 1:18). This is our situation and it is our relation to God; how can we be right with him? The answer, of course, is that we cannot be right with him; we are all wrong with him. And we all are all wrong with him because we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Far too frequently we fail to entertain the gravity of this fact. Hence the reality of our sin and the reality of the wrath of God upon us for our sin do not come into our reckoning. This is the reason why the grand article of justification does not ring the bells in the innermost depths of our spirit. And this is the reason why the gospel of justification is to such an extent a meaningless sound in the world and in the church of the twentieth century. We are not imbued with the profound sense of the reality of God, of his majesty and holiness. And sin, if reckoned with at all, is little more than a misfortune or maladjustment.

If we are to appreciate that which is central in the gospel, if the jubilee trumpet is to find its echo again in our hearts, our thinking must be revolutionized by the realism of the wrath of God, of the reality and gravity of our guilt, and of the divine condemnation. It is then and only then that our thinking and feeling will be rehabilitated to an understanding of God’s grace in the justification of the ungodly. The question is really not so much: how can man be just with God; but how can sinful man become just with God? The question in this form points up the necessity of a complete reversal in our relation to God. Justification is the answer and justification is the act of God’s free grace. “It is God who justifies: who is he that condemns?” (Rom. 8:33).

This truth that God justifies needs to be underlined. We do not justify ourselves. Justification is not our apology nor is it the effect in us of a process of self-excusation. It is not even our confession nor the good feeling that may be induced in us by confession. Justification is not any religious exercise in which we engage however noble and good that religious exercise may be. If we are to understand justification and appropriate its grace we must turn our thought to the action of God in justifying the ungodly. At no point is the free grace of God more manifest than in his justifying act—”being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).

The truth of justification has suffered at the hands of human perversion as much as any doctrine of Scripture. One of the ways in which it has been perverted is the failure to reckon with the meaning of the term. Justification does not mean to make righteous, or good, or holy, or upright. It is perfectly true that in the application of redemption God makes people holy and upright. He renews them after his own image. He begins to do this in regeneration and he carries it on in the work of sanctification. He will perfect it in glorification. But justification does not refer to this renewing and sanctifying grace of God. It is one of the primary errors of the Romish Church that it regards justification as the infusion of grace, as renewal and sanctification whereby we are made holy. And the seriousness of the Romish error is not so much that it has confused justification and renewal but that it has confused these two distinct acts of God’s grace and eliminated from the message of the gospel the great truth of free and full justification by grace. That is why Luther endured such travail of soul as long as he was governed by Romish distortion, and the reason why he came to enjoy such exultant joy and confident assurance was that he had been emancipated from the chains by which Rome had bound him; he found the great truth that justification is something entirely different from what Rome had taught.

That justification does not mean to make holy or upright should be apparent from common use. When we justify a person we do not make that person good or upright. When a judge justifies an accused person he does not make that person an upright person. He simply declares that in his judgment the person is not guilty of the accusation but is upright in terms of the law relevant to the case. In a word, justification is simply a declaration or pronouncement respecting the relation of the person to the law which he, the judge, is required to administer. It might be, of course, that our common use would not be the same as the use of the term in Scripture. Scripture must be its own interpreter. And the question is: does Scripture usage accord with common use? This question is very easily answered. The answer is that Scripture uses the term in the same way. There are several considerations which prove this conclusion.

1. In both Testaments there are numerous passages where the term “justify” cannot mean anything else but to declare to be righteous. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Repentance and Conversion | George Whitfield

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” — ACTS 3:19.


WHAT A PITY it is that modem preachers attend no more to the method those took who were first inspired by the Holy Ghost, in preaching Jesus Christ! The success they were honored with, gave a sanction to their manner of preaching, and the divine authority of their discourses, and energy of their elocution, one would think, should have more weight with those that are called to dispense the gospel, than all modern schemes whatever. If this was the case, ministers would then learn first to sow, and then to reap; they would endeavour to plough up the fallow ground, and thereby prepare the people for God’s raining down blessings upon them.

Thus Peter preached when under a divine influence, as I mentioned last Wednesday night: he charged the audience home, though many of them were learned and high and great, with having been the murderers of the Son of God. No doubt but the charge entered deep into their conscience, and that faithful monitor beginning to give them a proper sense of themselves, the apostle lets them know that great as their sin was, it was not unpardonable; that though they had been concerned in the horrid crime of murdering the Lord of Life, notwithstanding they had thereby incurred the penalty of eternal death, yet there was a mercy for them, the way to which he points out in the text; “Repent ye therefore,” says he, “and be converted,” and adds, “that your sins may be blotted out.” Though they are but few words, they are weighty; a short sentence this, but sweet: may God make it a blessed sweetness to every one of your hearts!

But must we preach conversion to a professing people? Some of you perhaps are ready to say go to America; go among the savages and preach repentance and conversion there; or, if you must be a field preacher, go to the highways and hedges; go to the colliers; go ramble up and down, as you used to do, preach conversion to the drunkards: would to God my commission might be renewed, that I might have strength and spirit to take the advice!

Possibly others will say, do not preach it to us; pray who are you? I answer, one sent to call you to repentance; and although I might, yet I will not come so close to you at present, as to inquire in my turn, who are you; yet permit me to pray, that while I am preaching God’s Spirit may find you out; and not only let you know who you are, but what you are; and then you will not be easy with yourselves, nor angry with a minister of Jesus Christ for preaching conversion to your souls.

Repentance and conversion are nearly the same. The expression in the text is complex, and seems to include both what goes before and follows “turning to God”: and if the Lord is pleased to honor me so far tonight to be useful to sinners, as well as saints, I will endeavour to shew you,

First, what it is not to be converted; secondly, what it is to be truly converted: thirdly, offer some motives why you should repent and be converted: and fourthly, answer some objections that have been made against persons repenting and being converted, and yet at the same time, if you come and examine them, they know not so much as speculatively what real conversion is; the general notion many have of it is, a person’s being a convert from the Church of Rome to the Church of England.

There is a particular office in the large prayer book, to be used when any one publicly renounces popery in the great congregation. When this is done, that prayer read, and the person said Amen to the collects upon the occasion, every body wishes him joy, and thanks God he is converted; whereas, if this is all, he is- as much unconverted to God as ever; he has in words renounced popery, but never took leave of the sins of his heart. Well, after this he looks into the church, and does not like that white thing called a surplice; he looks, and thinks there are some rags of the whore of Babylon left still: now, says he, I will be converted; how? I will turn Dissenter: so after he is converted from the Church of Rome to the Church of England, he goes to the dissenting church: maybe, curiosity may bring him to the Methodists, those monstrous troublesome creatures, and, perhaps, he may then be converted a third time, like their preaching, like their singing; O dear, I must have a Tabernacle-ticket, I must have a Psalm-book, I will come as often as there is preaching, or at least as often as I can; and there he sits down, and becomes an outside converted Methodist, as demure as possible: this is going a prodigious way, and yet all this is conversion from one party only to another. If the minister gives a rub or two he will take miff perhaps, and be converted to some other persuasion, and all the while Jesus Christ is left unthought of; but this is conversion only from party to party, not real, and that which will bring a soul to heaven.

Possibly, a person may go further, and be converted from one set of principles to another; he may, for instance, be born an Arminian, which all men naturally are; and one reason why I think Calvinism right, is, because proud nature will not stoop to be saved by grace. You that are brought up in an orthodox belief, under an orthodox ministry, cannot easily make an allowance for thousands that have nothing ringing in their ears but Arminianism; you have sucked in orthodoxy with your mother’s milk, and that makes so many sour and severe professors. I knew a rigid man that would beat Christianity into his wife; and so many beat people with their Bibles, that they are likely, by their bitter proceeding, to hinder them from attending to the means God has designed for conversion. What is this but being converted from one set of principles to another; and I may be very zealous for them, without being transformed by them into the image of God.

But some go further, they think they are converted because they are reformed: they say, “a reformed rake makes a good husband,” but I think a renewed rake will make a better. Reformation is not renovation: I may have the outside of the platter washed; [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Unseen Beauty Portrays Spiritual Blindness | Quick Thought

Just a moment ago my children discovered a horribly terrifying creature crawling on the floor in the house right inside the back door leading into the kitchen.  They came in horror to tell me of the significantly deadly worm-like bug that would surely devour the entire household from the sound of their voices.  Upon coming into the kitchen what I expected to see was something akin to Mothra or a mutated lizard from Mars.  What did I see?  A very fat and crawly caterpillar with a mission.  Of course caterpillars are a little gross with their wormlike physic and sticky legs, but I saw something that my children did not see.  I knew what a caterpillar was for and what the outcome of his short life would bestow upon the world: beauty.

Just as I was preparing to move this critter outside, one of my children screams, “kill it daddy, kill it now!”  Immediately I was reminded of the cries of the people in the days of Christ.  “Crucify Him!”  Now, there is no parallel or Christ-centered lesson in caterpillars, but this little encounter has helped me to see practically how humanity approaches what they do not understand or see for what it really is.  “Kill it!” we scream.  This crazy bug that looks so gross and scary must die for it has no real purpose.  Well, that’s exactly how the world saw the Christ.  And for this reason, after three aquitals, the people wanted Jesus to die.  They looked at Him and could not see the glory of God.  But why?  Did not the oracles of God fortel of His coming?  Did not the teachers of all of Israel show them the way of the Lord in Christ?  Did not in the Spirit of Elijah did John the Baptist proclaim “Behold the Kingdom..?”  Then why did (does) the world hate Him so?  Because He is the righteousness of God and the darkness hates the light.

Jesus states in John 3

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
(John 3:19-21 ESV)

This judgment is not being able to see the light of Christ, His beauty, His worth or His Glory because the eyes of unbelievers have been blinded.  Let’s take time to praise God who has shown to us His glorious mercy and grace and made us alive in Christ by causing us to be born again and giving us a new heart in Christ Jesus.  We stand forgiven and can now see beauty and find satisfaction in the only Son from the Father full of Grace and Truth.

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.
(2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV)

For His Glory,

Pastor James Tippins

{ 0 comments }

Did Jesus Have a Wife? | Via BiblicalTraining.org (Bill Mounce)

The following is an excerpt from BIBLICAL TRAINING

Peter Williams, the Warden of Tyndale House in Cambridge, England, just sent out this evaluation of the manuscript discovery that to some people suggests Jesus was married. It also includes the evaluation by Dr. Simon Gathercole, another expert in these matters. Dr. Darrell Bock has also weighed in on this issue.

The Web is by now awash with stories of an ancient text in which Jesus says ‘my wife’. The story which broke yesterday in the New York Times and some other sources, is being carried today by outlets too numerous to list. Some of the reporting is responsible, but not all. Consider this extract from The Daily Mail:

“If genuine, the document casts doubt on a centuries old official representation of Magdalene as a repentant whore and overturns the Christian ideal of sexual abstinence.”

We are of course in a context where there is so much ignorance of basic facts about Christianity that even when the media properly relay facts they get completely distorted and misunderstood in popular perception. This can be seen in the way derivative media put spin on the story and in the online comments below the news items.

THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE AT BIBLICAL TRAINING’S SITE

{ 2 comments }

All of Grace | by Charles Hadden Spurgeon

OF the things which I have spoken unto you these many years, this is the sum. Within the circle of these words my theology is contained, so far as it refers to the salvation of men. I rejoice also to remember that those of my family who were ministers of Christ before me preached this doctrine, and none other. My father, who is still able to bear his personal testimony for his Lord, knows no other doctrine, neither did his father before him.

I am led to remember this by the fact that a somewhat singular circumstance, recorded in my memory, connects this text with myself and my grandfather. It is now long years ago. [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

My brother in Christ, Eddie Dalcour, Ph.D. of Christian Defense Ministries has prepared a good response to the issue of the latest SBC Resolution on the Sinner’s Prayer.  I will be posting a line-by-line response soon and Lord willing, we will be answering this and other issues in a public venue.  Please find Eddie’s words and contemplate them in line with the word in your heart and the spirit in your mind:

“Recently, a doctrinal lightning bolt has struck the Southern Baptist Convention. It centers on the open declaration of some Arminian SBC members affirming their doctrinal position and thus openly denying the doctrinal position of the Calvinistic members of the SBC—namely, denying Four of the Five Points of Calvinism[1] or, what is called, the doctrines of grace. Headed by Pastor Eric Hankins of FBC Oxford, MS, a statement of faith entitled, “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” was developed by a number of pastors and professors within the SBC. It consisted of Ten Articles of Faith affirming Arminian doctrines and denying Calvinistic ones. A Petition was attached for SBC members to sign. As expected, Arminian concepts and texts (esp. John 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:9; etc.) are merely cited in the Articles with its “traditional” understanding assumed. Ironically, Article Three uses the phrase (in agreement) “penal substitution.” But this is completely inconsistent—for this phrase is a borrowed phrase from the Reformers and thus a decidedly Calvinistic concept.

Undeniably, the Southern Baptists have enjoyed a long history of biblical scholarship; scholarship, however, which has been purely Calvinistic in soteriology. Josh Buice, pastor of Pray’s Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, GA, rightly asked: “Have we forgotten our history as Southern Baptists where we had Calvinists such as Lottie Moon, James P. Boyce, John L. Dagg, A. T. Robertson, John A. Broadus, and many others who served in our convention along with those who were less Calvinistic (Reformed) in their doctrine? They didn’t fight over it, throw mud, and pull out the heresy sword to use on one another.”[2] For decades SBC Calvinistic and Arminian pastors have co-existed with no problem. Now, by aggressively promoting this anti-Calvinistic Petition, the promoters of the Articles are causing a divisive and an unnecessary fraction within the SBC.

Sinner’s Prayer?
In the same Arminian pool, at this year’s SBC the so-called “sinner’s prayer” was happily “affirmed,” but not by all. The Calvinists have always seen the “sinner’s prayer” and its theological “implications” as a departure from the biblical view of salvation by grace-alone. For those not completely familiar with the “sinner’s prayer,” it is usually a prayer of repentance and “inviting Christ into your heart,” which is led by the evangelist/ minister/pastor in which the “unbeliever” (i.e., the “sinner”) is instructed to repeat. This has been the standard and traditional method at most evangelical events/revivals. However, as many have pointed out, not only is the traditional “sinner’s prayer” a relatively recent part of contemporary evangelism, for there is simply no historical evidence for it (or the accompanied so-called, “alter-call”) before the eighteenth century, but, there is absolutely no biblical evidence supporting the concept of it.
Proponents of the “sinner’s prayer” typically point to Matt. 7:7; Luke 18:13-14; and Rom. 10:9-10 to make their case. However, none of these resemble in any way, shape, or form the traditional “sinner’s prayer.” Also note, the words in this “prayer” are not the words of the unbeliever, but rather, they are the words of the minister, which are repeated by the unbeliever as directed. In response to the lack of biblical proof, some proponents will argue that just because it is not in Scripture or a recent method, it doesn’t make it invalid or wrong. True, but the real concern is not the lack of biblical (or historical) evidence, thus being “non-biblical,” rather, it is the “un-biblical” (contrary to Scripture) implications of the “sinner’s prayer” that is the heart of the issue. There is a difference between something “non-biblical” and something “un-biblical,” that is, something that opposes Scripture.
The Erroneous Implications of the “Sinner’s Prayer”

We use the term “implications” in order to draw a distinction between something that is comprehensibly promoted and something that is indirectly promoted or supported. With that said, some of the main biblical defects associated with the “sinner’s prayer” (in terms of its implications) include:

1) Decisionism. Decisionism is the teaching that one’s “decision” causes regeneration, that is, it is the cause of one being “born again.” It teaches that when an unbeliever makes a decision to accept Christ as his or her Savior, God then responds by regenerating him or her (bear in mind, theologically,regeneration is not justification, which is through, not as the cause of, faith). The idea that man does his part (the faith-act) and “after,” God does His part indicates man cooperating with God in salvation (i.e., synergism). It places a work (viz. the decision or faith-act) as a contributing work in addition to the work of Christ. Hence, it becomes (by implication) a grace + works system. This concept is also called “decisional regeneration,” which is similar to Rome’s doctrine of “baptismal regeneration,” where the act of water baptism is said to be the necessary cause (laver) of regeneration.

In contrast, Scripture teaches that regeneration is the gracious act of God alone—not God’s grace “and” man’s work (faith-act, decision, etc.). It is God alone who justifies and makes alive the spiritually dead unregenerate man (Rom. 8:29-30, 33; Eph. 2:1-3)—through the preaching of the gospel as normal means (Rom. 1:16). It is this act of God, then, that is the cause of one being born again in which, as a result, the now regenerated person believes by which is “declared” righteous (justified). Thus, man’s faith in Christ (which is grated as a grace-gift; see Acts 13:48; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29) is the result, not thecause, of regeneration—without the corporation of man as Rome teaches.

2) The “sinner’s prayer” opposes the biblical teaching: Regeneration precedes Faith. Passages such as John 1:13; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:29-30; 2 Thess, 2:13; 1 John 5:1; etc., teach exegetically that regeneration comes before faith. Before any unbeliever is regenerated, he does not naturally want to make a decision to believe or seek for God; he does not have the ability to have faith/belief in Christ—he only “loves darkness” (John 3:19), for he is a slave to sin, spiritually dead, radically deprave.

3) The “sinner’s prayer” presents a false view of the state of the unregenerate. Scripture teaches that because of the Fall of Adam, man has lost hisability to make spiritually good choices (John 6:44; 8:34-47; Rom.3:10-18; 8:7-8); the unregenerate man can-not[3] come to Christ unless the Father draws him (John 6:44, 65); he is spiritually dead—not sick (Eph. 2:1-3); thus, his will is not free, rather, it is a slave to sin (John 3:34, 36); it wills (thelō) to “do thedesires” [epithumia, lit., “lust”] of the devil (John 8:44); it is “held captive by him [the devil] to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:26). The unregenerate man, then, has no ability or desire to submit to or please God. Paul said in Rom. 8:7-8 that “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”[4] Paul also affirmed that “there is none righteous,” none “who seeks for God,” none “who does good”—“not even one” (Rom. 3:10-12).

Therefore, the concept of the “sinner’s prayer” where an unregenerate person does righteous “good” acts such as repenting and “inviting Jesus to come into his heart, thus pleasing God and submitting to Him[5] while “in the flesh” is clearly an unbiblical idea. Jesus said, “The flesh profits nothing”! (John 6:63) and “this ‘nothing’ is not a little ‘something’” (Luther). Only if God, by His grace alone, first regenerates (makes alive), through the gospel, the spiritually dead, “in the flesh,” sinner, granting him faith and repentance, will he then choose to believe and come to Christ. It was “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God. . . .” (Rom.5:10). While traveling on the road to Damascus, Saul was not “seeking” God nor was contemplating Steven’s message—for he hated Christ! It was when Christ first appeared to him, thus making him spiritually alive, that he asked: “Who are You Lord?” and then obeyed Him forever more. Thus, it is entirely by God’s grace alone that He regenerates anyone.

4) The “sinner’s prayer” introduces the idea of a “second” mediator—namely, the minister becomes the “mediator” by directing the unbeliever to repeat after him the “sinner’s prayer” to God consisting of repentance and inviting Christ into his heart. As a result, the minister becomes the “go-between” mediating between the “sinner” and God in the prayer. Passages such as 1 Tim. 2:5 show this Romish idea as patently false—God needs no “assistance” from a minister to help get Jesus in one’s life.

There are many other theological problems associated with the concept of the “sinner’s prayer,” however, these above suffice. Again we are not suggesting that all who practice the traditional “sinner’s prayer” and the Charles Finney[6] “alter-call” deny salvation through faith alone or promote the Roman Catholic doctrine of “another” mediator other than Christ. Nor are we saying that genuine salvation has not occurred at revivals that include the “sinner’s prayer.” Butanyone that confesses (believes in) Christ in a biblical sense has already been saved, thus, no need for a subsequent “sinner’s prayer.” We are simply saying that whether or not something seems “to work,”[7] if it is based on teachings or concepts that are unbiblical, it should not be practiced—“Do not go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6).

“Believer’s Prayer” of Thanks Giving!

So, how are we to record new converts for the purpose of follow-up at evangelical events? Answer: Turn the unbiblical “sinner’s prayer” to a “believer’s prayer” of celebration or thanks giving prayer. In other words, at a revival during the close—after the clear preaching of the gospel—the question that can be asked, should not be, “Who wants to invite Christ into your heart?” but rather, “Who here based on proclamation of the gospel, put their faith in (believe) Christ for the very first time?” (or something similar). Then, any following prayer is for “new believers” thanking God for saving them, making them alive, giving them faith, sending Christ to die for them, etc. This way, it glorifies God in that it publically proclaims: “It is His doing you are in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:30) and by “grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). It also affirms the gospel as “the power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1:16) and correctly acknowledges the total inability of man due to the inherent effect of sin, thus openly affirming that salvation is exclusively by God’s grace alone.”

—-CITATIONS/FOOTNOES—-
[1] The Five points of Calvinism are 1) Total depravity/inability, 2) unconditional election, 3) limited or definite atonement, 4) irresistible or efficacious grace, and 5) perseverance of the saints (note, point 5 is not disputed in the Articles).
[2] As reported in christianpost.com.
[3] The Greek term translated “can” in John 6:44, 65 (“No one can come.”) and 8:43 (“It is because you can-not hear My word”) is dunamai meaning “ability,” not “choice.” In these passages, the term refers to unregenerate man’s spiritual inability to come to (believe in) Christ and hear His words (see also Rom.8:7-8).
[4] As with John 6:44 and 8:43, the term “even able” in Rom. 8:7 (“for it is not even able to do so”) and “can” in the next verse (“and those who are in the flesh can-not please God”) isdunamai meaning “ability,” not choice. Thus, because of his nature, the unregenerate has no spiritual “ability” to come to Christ; to hear His words; to please or submit to God; he is “not even able to do so”—unless God first makes him alive, thus changing his enslaved will.
[5] The idea of “inviting Christ into one’s heart” has absolutely no biblical support. It is he who truly believes/has faith in Christ as a result of regeneration that has an intimate relationship with all three Persons in the Trinity.
[6] Charles Finney was a revivalist in the 19th century who popularized the “alter-call” method. However, Finney is rightfully labeled as a heretic for denying many essential Christian doctrines such as that the sole ground of justification is the righteousness of Christ, thus denying justification through faith alone. Finney also denied original sin and substitutionary atonement, to name a few.
[7] Although, as many have shown (e.g., D. A. Carson), statistically of those who came forward at a typical alter-call after praying the “sinner’s prayer,” less than 2-4% were attending a Christian church five years later. In other words, the artificial method of alter-calls and “sinner’s prayers” at evangelical revivals are not working—2-4%! This shocking statistic shows the very high number of false conversions utilizing these unbiblical methods.

{ 0 comments }

Preaching is God’s Natural Means to a Supernatural End

Recently the discussion of preaching has been in my ears and before my eyes.  Sadly, like most pastors and church goers, preaching has taken a back seat to “felt needs”, humanism and pragmatic comedy and proverbial enlightenment.  Creativity has taken the place of awe of the Creator and application has replaced worship.

Much needs to be said, however, much has already been said for thousands of years on this topic.  Sadly, the debate will continue and many will dismiss the reality of the present state of the church as “where we are” and try to fix it by continuing down the path of a reducing the Word of God to a plan apart from a Person who is Jesus Christ our KING!

In this, for those who desire to truly know, Spurgeon has a few thoughts on preaching.  Historically, he has been entitled as the “Prince of Preachers” so it would do us well to hear what he has said.  It would also do everyone well to visit 2 Timothy 4

[4:1] I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: [2] preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. [3] For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, [4] and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. [5] As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

(2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)

In light of this, the command PREACH THE WORD is enforced by the amazing reality that God in His awesome power and purpose in Christ has come and His Kingdom is established through through His glory therefore, Jesus will judge all creation and one can be certain He will judge preachers according to James 3:1.  Thus, preaching is required of pastors, it is required of those who are called by God, not to deliver man’s creative exploits as derived from the scriptures, but with complete patience one must reprove, rebuke and exhort through teaching of the Apostle’s writing as it was intended to be read and understood.  Many will not approve of such things in the name of “church growth” but Paul addresses that as well, that the time has come where people will not endure the truth.

Look at what Spurgeon had to say in line with this: [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Unsinkable Faith of John Harper | Titanic Anniversary

What a beautiful expression of God’s faithfulness.  If only we all could have the opportunity, maybe we should just take our lives as we live them and as we are going to share our faith.

For His Glory by His Grace

{ 0 comments }