Dec 27, 2006

"Are there any soldiers here?"

As a runner, I realize that I cannot always run on flat, smooth pavement. Sometimes there are hills, and I know that the hills are good for me because they strengthen my muscles and they cause my endurance to grow. So instead of running away from these hills, I know that for my own good, I must discipline myself to run hills as fast and as often as I can.

Sanctification is the same thing. It's an uphill battle. Being refined by God requires uphill battles! But the wonderful thing is that God has not left us on our own to fight this fight. In a race, when you run with a partner, you are likely to get farther than if you were running by yourself. God has given us a body of believers to help us persevere and more importantly, a Savior who has already ran the race. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." -Hebrews 4:15-16

I've ran races that have weakened my body, blistered my feet, sprained my ankles, sickened my stomach....yet after each race I feel a sense of accomplishment. When temptations come our way, let us not give up and jump into sin, but let us get bloody, get bruised, be ridiculed, be persecuted. Battling sin will hurt! It will separate us from the whole world, a world that lives for the enjoyment of sin!

God has promised new grace for us each day. And with each mountain that we climb, the more our endurance grows. God IS separating us from the world. This battle is going to be difficult because our flesh screams out at the denial of its own pleasures. But God has set His elect apart from the world. We are His own. We are losing ourselves to gain Jesus Christ!

I pray that with each temptation, we do not run away from the hills, but know that enduring will cause our endurance to grow. "Are there any soldiers here? Show me some scars before you talk about the power of sin! Don't show me your broken ankles at the bottom of the pit. I want to see blood!" -John Piper

Dec 26, 2006

There is a fountain

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

-William Cowper

Dec 13, 2006

Paul's thorn, our weakness

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." -2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Dec 11, 2006

Predestined by His foreknowledge of who would choose Him? Or Predestined by His choosing?

1) Salvation is a work of God
  • Psalm 3:8 "Salvation belongs to the LORD"
  • Matthew 19:23-36 "And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?"And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
  • Ezekial 36:22-32
  • Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God"
2) The Natural Man cannot accept God
  • 1 Corinthians 2:14 "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned."
  • Ephesians 2:3 "among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind"
  • Romans 3:10-11 " "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God."
3) We cannot do anything "good" without God
  • Isaiah 64:6 "We have all become like one who is unclean and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
  • John 15:5 " I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."

Therefore, salvation is a work of God because the natural man cannot accept the things of the Spirit of God, nor can the natural man produce any good works apart from God. The purpose of God in election is based on God being glorified to the fullest, so that no one may boast.

At least, that's how I see it....

Dec 7, 2006

Does God hate the sin, but love the sinner?

If God only hated the sin and not the sinner, why would He throw sinners into hell? It is God who demands Justice and He is justified at hating sin AND the sinner. God is love, but He also is Just and angry at sin.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Psalm 5:5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.

Psalm 11:5
The LORD tests the righteous,but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

Hosea 9:15
Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house.I will love them no more;all their princes are rebels.

"It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long for ever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh, who can express what the state of a soul in such circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble, faint representation of it; it is inexpressible and inconceivable: For "who knows the power of God's anger?" -Jonathan Edwards

Dec 6, 2006

How would YOU answer these questions?

Now, I know the answers to the following questions, but someone I care about is asking them and I'm having a hard time explaining them in biblical terms. I've always had a problem of clearly articulating myself so people understand what I'm trying to get could you guys help me so I can help someone in turn? REMEMBER: I ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER TO THESE QUESTIONS AND CONSIDER MYSELF A 5 POINT CALVINIST. ALSO, feel free to respond EVEN IF you do not agree with my theology! All opinions are welcome!

1. What if you were not elected to receive salvation, but you really wanted to come to Jesus? He'd just say, "No, you weren't chosen"?

2. Why should I witness if some people aren't chosen?

3. Isn't it a lie to say while witnessing, "Jesus died for your sins" if He didn't actually die for their sins if they were not elected?

Dec 1, 2006

The Pursuit of Holiness

"A farmer plows his field, sows the seed, and fertilizes and cultivates --- all the while knowing that in the final analysis he is utterly dependent on forces outside of himself. He knows he cannot cause the seed to germinate, nor can he produce the rain and sunshine for growing and harvesting the crop. For a successful harvest, he is dependent on these things from God.

Yet the farmer knows that unless he diligently pursues his responsibilities to plow, plant, fertilize, and cultivate, he cannot expect a harvest at the end of the season. In a sense he is in a partnership with God, and he will reap its benefits only when he has fulfilled his own responsibilities.

Farming is a joint venture between God and the farmer. The farmer cannot do what God must do, and God will not do what the farmer should do.

We can say just as accurately that the pursuit of holiness is a joint venture between God and the Christian. No one can attain any degree of holiness without effort on his own part. God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness. But He has given to us the responsibility of doing the walking. He does not do that for us."

-Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness