Jan 31, 2007

How can God command Cain to rule over his sin?

God told Cain that, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it."

If the Reformed doctrine is true, then Cain cannot please God without a mighty work OF GOD in his heart. So how can God command Cain to rule over his sin, and yet, know that he indeed cannot?

Jan 30, 2007

My shortcomings

Last night I had this brilliant idea that I would mash a bunch of banana and olive oil, spread it all over my hair, and do a deep conditioning so that my hair would be shiny and pretty. Well, I don't know if you've ever tried to mix oil, banana and hot water, but it doesn't really like to wash out. I washed my hair almost 10 times and had to sit on the floor with my head tipped over, and brush all of the banana out manually until it was clean. It seriously took about 2 hours. I have very curly, crazy hair. So it was deeply embedded in every part of my hair. There was banana all over the shower, the sink, the bathroom floor, our bedroom floor, 3 towels, all over me and, of course, all over my hair. I was on the verge of tears and yet on the verge of exploding in laughter at my stupidity.

If you know me, this is not uncommon to my everyday life. I'm a huge klutz, and I very often have many "brilliant" ideas that turn into disaster.

A long time ago, these sorts of things use to bother me a lot. I didn't know why I would do such ridiculous things or seemed to be so odd....but today, after experiencing the love of Christ, I sort of marvel at my own short comings. I wonder if God has given them to me to realize how perfect and sufficient He is? And I rejoice at the love I know God has for me, simply because He chose to love me. My klutziness, my odd adventures, my "brilliant" ideas....none of them matter. I don't have to show off for God. He loves me despite. And that love is so magnified in my heart when I realize that I can and will never be able to merit God's love for me. And that friends, is awesome.

Jan 29, 2007

An interview with Bob

Bob: Sam, you believe in predestination, right?

Sam: Yep

Bob: So you believe that God has predestined everything that will come to pass?

Sam: Yep. He is God, isn't He? All sovereign, all omniscient, the Beginning and the End, Alpha & Omega..........

Bob: So you believe He predestined us to sin then, right?

Sam: No, I never said that nor would I insinuate that. James 1:13 says that God tempts no one. Sin is in complete opposition to God. He cannot look at sin, nor can He forgive it without Just Satisfaction.

Bob: Yeah, but you seem to be contradicting yourself. How can God predestine everything, yet not predestine us to sin or to be evil? Your viewpoint would make God the author of sin.

Sam: No, no contradiction at all actually.

What is evil? It's the absence of good. It's the absence of God, right? We know that God is completely good. In fact, He is what makes good good. He is the standard. An absence of Him cannot be good, right? (Thanks Stan!) That is why man without God is in fact evil. Man cannot possess God unless He changes their hearts. God cannot live in the heart of a sinner, can He? The "heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9).

EX: A good example of this is the sun. The sun is the positive cause of light, the sun makes light. However, it is also the ultimate cause of darkness. When the earth rotates and is no longer facing the sun, it no longer receives the suns lights. Therefore, the sun is the ultimate cause of darkness, though it is not the positive cause, rather it is the negative cause. The absence of the sun is what creates the darkness, but it would not be right to say that the sun is the morally guilty cause of darkness. (from http://www.geocities.com/mattperman/evil.html)

Conclusion: God is not the author of sin or evil. The absence of God is the cause of evil.

All right. Now onto why God does not "predestine" us to sin: God knows all things. It's not that He foresaw our decisions, He allowed them to come to pass. And by allowing these various sins that we commit, He works them out for the counsel of His will. While we mean evil while we sin, God turns it for our good (in the lives of His elect that is). For example: Job. God allowed satan to hurt Job. Satan can only do what God allows Him to do. A quote I read by Sproul said, "God Himself tempts no one (James 1: 13) but He employs created means under His sovereign control."

I know I probably made a pretty confusing argument on the subject. I must admit that this subject is one I do not completely understand. So Bob, that is the best I can answer your questions on this topic.

Bob: Yeah, you made me more confused.

Sam: Oopsie.

Conclusion: The bible seems to have no problem with God's Sovereignty. Man does. And I see it more and more with each new doctrine and belief. God is King. He is God. He created all things, is completely Good and Just. It cannot be that He is unaware of what we will do or surprised by any thing or any one. If there was an ounce of question in the LORD's mind about anything, then He wouldn't be God. He would be human. And associating God with a lack of knowledge is an uneducated belief of His character and completely unbiblical. For His Name and His Glory, He saved us from our deserved damnation. It is not unfair for God to elect to save some, nor is it unjust to leave some men in their unregenerate state. To display His mercy and His wrath at sin, God predestined before the foundation of the world whom He would love.

Romans 9:14-24
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

**Bob is not real

Jan 24, 2007

Edifying discussion wanted

"All that God does is to let them alone and allow them to go their own way without interference. It is their nature to be evil, and God simply has foreordained to leave that nature unchanged. The picture often painted by opponents of Calvinism, of a cruel God refusing to save all who want to be saved, is a gross caricature. God saves all who want to be saved, but no one whose nature has not been changed wants to be saved."

"God called out of his grace Abraham, when Abraham was living in paganism. Why did God elect Abraham and not anyone else? Is God unfair? God elected a tiny nation called Israel, over other nations, God took care of them like a father to a son and other nations did not have that blessing, Is God unfair? Moses had killed an Egyptian and hid him in the sand, he was a murderer. God gave grace to Moses and not to Pharaoh, is God unfair? Saul of Tarsus was an enemy of God, killing the Christians but God instantly gave mercy and grace to him while Pilate was not elected. Is God unfair? Paul was a violent persecutor of the church and so were Pilate and Caiaphas who was against Christianity. Therefore is God obliged to give the same mercy and grace that he gave to Paul? Jacob and Esau before they were born, before they could do anything good or bad God elected Jacob, so God's election will stand. In later years Jacob deceived his brother and father, yet God's election and his word did not change. Why did God elect you over your friends? Did you deserve salvation? Are you better than others?"

My question is, do you agree or disagree with these quotes? Remember folks, be kind, gentle and don't be afraid to share your opinion. I won't bite. I'm not posting these things to start arguments. I am posting them for the sake of our edification & sanctification.

References on quotes:
1) Professor Floyd Hamilton 2) Steve Weaver

Jan 23, 2007

And the LORD said, "Samantha, do you deserve heaven?"

No LORD. I don't deserve heaven. I deserve hell. I walked after self righteousness and was dead in sin and trespasses. Yet you were merciful to me because of the sacrifice of your Son, Jesus Christ! You sent Him down to carry my sin, and it pleased you to bruise Him to satisfy your wrath. It pleased you to bruise Him because through His sacrifice many were declared righteous. And when you saved me, you opened my eyes so that I would love your law, and so I would abide in you and forsake my sin. And by your great sanctifying power, you lead me in the ways of righteousness and caused me to walk in your statutes; you've persevered me to the end. So LORD, I cannot claim that by my own merits I deserve heaven, but through You Lord! Through YOU, I will have eternal rest and peace in your arms.

Jan 22, 2007

GOD cursed. Man chooses to end curse?

Adam and Eve sinned.

God cursed man.

Man suddenly, by his own free-will choice, chooses to jump out of the line going to hell and jump into the line going heaven? (I borrowed that from Paul Washer)

Do you see where I'm going with this...?

Jan 17, 2007

Why argue about theology?

Why not?

There is, of course, a standard that the bible explicitly demands from us: in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 1 Peter 3:15-17

I see many Christians who are ready to make a defense, but I also see very few Christians (myself included) who do it with "gentleness & respect." We all need to remember that once (I'm speaking to believers) we were ignorant to the Truth. We all once walked in darkness, succumbing to the temptations of sin and lawlessness. We hated our Creator and God's wrath abided on us. When we forget our former state, then how can we possible minister to an unbelieving world? Let us remember what we've been saved from!

I also want to say that "gentleness & respect" does not mean covering up God's Truth. Some things are hard to hear. Yes, it is sometimes difficult to share the Gospel, but trying to be "seeker sensitive" is blasphemy itself. There is no reason to hide the Truth of the bible. Remember, it is God who saves. We can be confident that when we share the sacrifice Jesus made, His call for us to die, the depravity of our minds, the consequences of our sin, etc. etc. that God's elect will come forth. We do not need to hide anything!

And lastly, I just want to state that correct theology is important: so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. -Ephesians 4:14

So please, stand up for God's Truth, glorifying Him in a way that leads men into repentance. Let us not forget our former ways of unrighteousness, but let the Spirit of God so transform us that the words out of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts would be pleasing to God, our Rock and our Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Jan 15, 2007

Paying for admittance into heaven

(Horatius Bonar, "Bible Thoughts and Themes")

"He saved us--not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy." Titus 3:5

Ritualism, or externalism, or traditionalism are all different forms of self-righteousness; man's self-invented ways of pleasing or appeasing God, or paying for admittance into heaven. These forms of self-righteousness are a human apparatus for procuring God's pardon. They are the means by which the performer of them hopes to win God's
favor--perhaps, also, man's praise--most certainly, his own esteem.

Every act, or performance, or ceremony, which honors self, exalts self, or gives prominence to self--is an accursed thing. It is an abomination in the sight of God--however religious, or sacred, or solemn, or devout, it may seem to man.

It is to self-righteousness in some form or other, that man is always tending. Man attempts to make up for this badness, or to cover it over, by works, and devotions, and ceremonies. All this is pure self-righteousness.

The religion of self-righteousness in our day consists of works, feelings, fancies, music, rites, festivals, fasts, gestures, postures, garments. It is something which gratifies self; which pleases the natural man; which makes a man think well of himself; which gives a man something to do or to feel in order to earn pardon and merit heaven. Pride, religious pride, is at the root. Ritualism is man's expression of rejection of Christ. It was self-righteous religion which crucified the Son of God. All human rites and ceremonies are man's ways of getting rid of Christ. What can all these things do? Can they save? Can religious postures save? Can religious garments save? Can religious candles save? Can religious music save? Can religious architecture save? Can religious cathedrals save?

No! They lead away from Jesus! They make void
the cross, and trample on His blood!

"He saved us--not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy." Titus 3:5

Jan 9, 2007

Yet the love of the LORD will stand

On Sunday evening, I was asked to babysit in the nursery at church. I was assigned to the toddler room which consisted of five little toddlers pushing, punching, whacking, throwing, peeing, and screaming. I was trying my hardest to be patient, when two of the little boys started fighting over a ball (really funny actually. There were dozens of balls, but they had to fight over that one). So I just grabbed it and took it away from them. Of course, one of them started screaming and having a tantrum and I thought, "This is for your own good. I wish you couId see that! I don't want to be mean!"

The next little kid on a slide started arguing with another little kid who was trying to get on the slide and they both started pushing each other off of the slide! So again, I grabbed them and took them off the slide. And, of course, they started crying and having tantrums.

THEN a little girl said, "Teacher! I want more graham crackers!" and I said, "No, you don't need anymore. You just had one!" and then she pouted and kept asking, "but why?" "but why?" and after she saw that I had no intention of giving in, she finally sulked away.

During all this, I kept thinking, "if only they could understand that this is for their own good! I do not want to be mean!" Letting them have their way every time will not teach them anything!"

And then it dawned on me. With God, I am just like those little toddlers. I don't always understand why He takes away certain joys and allows me to cry. But in time, I always, always realize that it was for my own good. Just like a child, I don't always see "love" when I am not allowed to have my way, but for the Christian, we know that if God did not discipline us, He wouldn't love us.

It's definitely not easy to deal with suffering while we are going through it. But through every trial I've been through, I always see God's Hand. And it doesn't always lead to joy, but it always leads me to closer to Christ. And when I remain in love with Jesus through it, I see that He is showing me my salvation, His redeeming power and His awesome love.

Jan 4, 2007

Urgent Prayer Needed

My husband's co-worker and friend just found out he has a brain tumor and prostate cancer. Please, if you could, pray that he finds the Lord before it is too late.

Jan 3, 2007

A sobering thought

Those who are born of God cannot walk up to Jesus as He hangs on the cross and say, "I know that you are suffering now for my sins and that it is your dying wish that I sin no more. But there's this one need that I have that I can only satisfy by sinning and so I hope you'll understand as I thrust this other sword into Your side. There now. I am sure glad that everytime I do that Your blood forgives me." Those who have been born of God cannot think like that. So all I have to say to a person before He chooses to commit sin is, "Advance at your own peril. There may be no forgiveness because you may be so decisively hardened by crucifying Christ afresh (Hebrews 6:6) that you will not be able to find genuine repentance anymore." -John Piper

Punishment & Judgment

Here's a couple more questions:

I was always under the impression that even though we sin (as believers) we are not punished for those sins. God may discipline us (for our own sanctification) but He doesn't punish us.........right...?

Secondly, when we die, are God's elect going to be judged for our sins? When Paul says in Romans 8:1 that, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" should I assume that when I die, I won't be judged because I am in Christ Jesus OR that I will be judged, but that judgment will not be condemnation?

(sorry, my questions are sorta messy because my mind is also!)

Jan 2, 2007

Questions from a young Calvinist

This is going to sound silly coming from a so-called Calvinist, but I guess I just don't quite understand the whole free-will issue. I know that God has chosen who will be saved, but how does that work with man's responsibility? I know my dear friends will help me solve this, right? I'm not even sure if I worded the question correctly. If you need me to clarify, let me know.

Jan 1, 2007

Ezekiel 36

Regeneration & Self-Denial by Paul Washer
Ezekiel 36:22-27, Matthew 13:44

Description: Paul Washer explains how self-denial is more than a wearisome relinquishing of worldliness. Speaking with great passion, he shows how self-denial is a work of God that makes surrender a joy and delight. This message penetrates with prophetic urgency the need of true conversion under the power of God.
**Taken from sermon index**

If you have a chance, take a moment to listen to this sermon.