Apr 29, 2007
Apr 27, 2007
"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: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching."
Just wondering something sort of obvious....but when Paul says that Christ is the judge of the living and the dead, would he be classifying believers as being the living, and the unregenerate as the dead?
Apr 26, 2007
Yes, let's love them all the way to hell. That is all this sort of mindset will accomplish.
Apr 25, 2007
...Sitting in church daydreaming
...gossiping about that co-worker
...having lustful thoughts
...stealing the pen from the welcome folder at church
Every single moment. I could not fellowship with believers were it not for Christ. Nor could I pray, worship, confess, find hope....not without the sacrificial blood of the Lamb.
This, I am thankful for. "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 4:16)
Apr 24, 2007
"If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?"
"No" said the priest, "not if you did not know."
"Then why," asked the Eskimo earnestly, "did you tell me?" -Annie Dillard
Maybe the priest forgot to read Romans 1:18-23.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
According to Paul, we do not have an excuse.
I know it doesn't seem fair that someone should go to hell just because they haven't heard of Christ. But I think Paul was anticipating this response, which is why he says in Romans 10:14-18:
"But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for
"Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world."
God's justice is not man-made. God doesn't "cut people a little slack" because they did not trust in the cleansing power of Christ's blood. After all, what would be the point of Christ's death? His blood shed for His people, so that the unregenerate men who refuse to believe can be accepted into heaven?
Where's the justice in that?
The lovely thing is, God's purposes in salvation will indeed come to pass. Those whom He's elected to be saved will indeed be saved! They will hear the Gospel. Thankfully He's not waiting for us to act, because if He were, He'd still be waiting.
Apr 23, 2007
What an excellent idea! I would really love LOVE to buy Jonathan Edward's blank bible, but it runs at about $100 used to $200 new.
My reading list for the next few months:
1) The Excellent Wife (Martha Peace) ...Reading....
2) Redemption: Accomplished and Applied (John Murray)
3) Instruments in the Redeemers Hands (Paul David Tripp)
4) Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin (John Piper)
5) Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
At least, that's what I'm thinking. Any thoughts? Any books you would recommend?
Recommended book: Humility: True Greatness
Author: C.J. Mahaney
Apr 18, 2007
Apr 16, 2007
On the surface, this seems like an excellent idea: get away from the world, concentrate on prayer and scripture, limit worldly temptations and influences...yes, many "benefits." But I wonder, is this really what God has asked of us? After all, our Teacher did not live in complete solitude from man. In fact, He made His home among men. And if we are to be like Him, shouldn't we imitate His life as well?
Jesus has called us to be light in this dark world. I don't know how we can be light if we hide ourselves up in mountains. How can the world see Christ if we've vowed to not preach Him? Faith comes from hearing. How can the world hear the Gospel if we refuse to commune with lost souls?
A vow of silence not only inhibits the preaching of the Gospel, but also in the sanctification of our own souls. God is wise and has created a brethren...a family of believers for us. I have been richly blessed by my brothers and sisters in Christ, sharing in their sorrows, they in mine, sharing in public worship, prayer, fellowship....the benefits of being a part of Christ's living, breathing church is amazing. Like my friend once said,
"Ever see a film of lions in Africa hunting? What they do is try to find the "outlyer", the one who is outside the herd. If they can find a wildebeast, for instance, all by itself, they have a sure meal. Why? The animals they hunt weren't designed to be alone, so when they are, they are weaker and vulnerable. Oh! How odd! God says the same thing about us. "It is not good for man to be alone."Christians were designed to be "herd animals". We aren't called "the finger of Christ" - we are called "the Body of Christ". That's because we're designed to work as a group. That means that we receive the most when we are in a group. That also means that we are most able to exercise our gifts when we are in a group. All believers are called on to be ministers."
Amen to that!
Apr 15, 2007
Elberfeld, October 23, 1861.
Very Dear Brother,
I had a little lost sight of an important subject of your last letter but one, solely through the multitude of my occupations. This fresh breaking out of the doctrine of free-will helps on the doctrine of the natural man's pretension not to be entirely lost, for that is really what it amounts to. All men who have never been deeply convinced of sin, all persons with whom this conviction is based upon gross and outward sins, believe more or less in free-will. You know that it is the dogma of the Wesleyans, of all reasoners, of all philosophers. But this idea completely changes all the idea of Christianity and entirely perverts it.
If Christ has come to save that which is lost, free-will has no longer any place. Not that God hinders man from receiving Christ — far from it. But even when God employs all possible motives, everything which is capable of influencing the heart of man, it only serves to demonstrate that man will have none of it, that his heart is so corrupted and his will so decided not to submit to God (whatever may be the truth of the devil's encouraging him in sin), that nothing can induce him to receive the Lord and to abandon sin. If, by liberty of man, it is meant that no one obliges him to reject the Lord, this liberty exists fully. But if it is meant that, because of the dominion of sin to which he is a slave, and willingly a slave, he cannot escape from his state and choose good (while acknowledging that it is good, and approving it), then he has no liberty whatever. He is not subject to the law, neither indeed can be; so that those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
And here is where we touch more closely upon the bottom of the question. Is it the old man that is changed, instructed, and sanctified? or do we receive, in order to be saved, a new nature? The universal character of the unbelief of these times is this — not the formally denying Christianity, as heretofore, or the rejection of Christ openly, but the receiving Him as a person, it will be even said divine, inspired (but as a matter of degree), who re-establishes man in his position of a child of God. Where Wesleyans are taught of God, faith makes them feel that without Christ they are lost, and that it is a question of salvation. Only their fright with regard to pure grace, their desire to gain men, a mixture of charity and of the spirit of man, in a word, their confidence in their own powers, makes them have a confused teaching and not recognize the total fall of man.
For myself, I see in the word, and I recognize in myself, the total ruin of man. I see that the cross is the end of all the means that God had employed for gaining the heart of man, and therefore proves that the thing was impossible. God has exhausted all His resources, and man has shewn that he was wicked, without remedy, and the cross of Christ condemns man — sin in the flesh. But this condemnation having been manifested in another's having undergone it, it is the absolute salvation of those who believe; for condemnation, the judgment of sin, is behind us; life was the issue of it in the resurrection. We are dead to sin, and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Redemption, the very word, loses its force when one entertains these ideas of the old man. It becomes an amelioration, a practical deliverance from a moral state, not a redeeming by the accomplished work of another person. Christianity teaches the death of the old man and his just condemnation, then redemption accomplished by Christ, and a new life, eternal life, come down from heaven in His person, and which is communicated to us when Christ enters us by the word. Arminianism, or rather Pelagianism, pretends that man can choose, and that thus the old man is ameliorated by the thing it has accepted. The first step is made without grace, and it is the first step which costs truly in this case.
I believe we ought to hold to the word; but, philosophically and morally speaking, free-will is a false and absurd theory. Freewill is a state of sin. Man ought not to have to choose, as being outside good. Why is he in this state? He ought not to have a will, any choice to make. He ought to obey and enjoy in peace. If he ought to choose good, then he has not got it yet. He is without what is good in himself, any way, since he has not made his decision. But, in fact, man is disposed to follow that which is evil. What cruelty to propose a duty to man who has already turned to evil! Moreover, philosophically speaking, he must be indifferent; otherwise he has already chosen as to his will — he must then be absolutely indifferent. But if he is absolutely indifferent, what is to decide his choice? A creature must have a motive; but he has none, since he is indifferent; if he is not, he has chosen.
Finally, it is not at all thus: man has a conscience; but he has a will and lusts, and they lead him. Man was free in Paradise, but then he enjoyed what was good. He used his free choice, and therefore he is a sinner. To leave him to his free choice, now that he is disposed to do evil, would be a cruelty. God has presented the choice to him, but it was to convince the conscience of the fact, that in no case did man want either good or God.
I have been somewhat oppressed with sleep while writing to you, but I think you will understand me. That people should believe that God loves the world — this is very well; but that they should not believe that man is in himself wicked, without remedy (and in spite of the remedy), is very bad. One does not know oneself and one does not know God.
. . . The Lord is coming, dear brother; the time for the world is departing. What a blessing! May God find us watching and thinking only of one thing — the One of whom He thinks — Jesus our precious Saviour. Salute the brethren.
Your very affectionate brother,
J. N. D.
Apr 13, 2007
"...But in wanting the truth to be spoken, I will let you know that Calvinism is very Jehovah's Witness. They believe that only 144,000 people will be allowed in to heaven. The elect. Jesus died for all. Not just some. Being a believer and a servant of God should be enough on its own, without being made into an exclusive club that was decided before the world began. If that was the case, God would have never formed the Levities as the missionary priests of the Israelites. He is powerful enough to have his elect taken care of without going out to the world. Missionaries would be worthless, whoever convinced you to understand grace, was not needed. God doesn't need our help. He does it his way, as it pleases him. It pleased him to forgive, love, and give everyone a chance."
1) Calvinism is very JW's
I'm not sure what to even say about this. Every Calvinist belief depends solely on the grace of God, solely on the sovereignty of God, solely on Jesus Christ. JW's, on the other hand, base much of their beliefs on heretical teachings, slandering Jesus Christ's divinity and base their salvation on a gospel of works. They don't believe in hell or even believe in the Christ of scripture. Calvinists and JW's are not alike in any respect.
2) Jesus died for all. Not just some: I think Piper puts it best:
"For whom did Christ die?" But behind the question of the extent of the atonement lies the equally important question about the nature of the atonement. What did Christ actually achieve on the cross for those for whom he died?
If you say that he died for every human being in the same way, then you have to define the nature of the atonement very differently than you would if you believed that Christ only died for those who actually believe. In the first case you would believe that the death of Christ did not actually save anybody; it only made all men savable. It did not actually remove God's punitive wrath from anyone, but instead created a place where people could come and find mercy—IF they could accomplish their own new birth and bring themselves to faith without the irresistible grace of God.
For if Christ died for all men in the same way then he did not purchase regenerating grace for those who are saved. They must regenerate themselves and bring themselves to faith. Then and only then do they become partakers of the benefits of the cross.
In other words if you believe that Christ died for all men in the same way, then the benefits of the cross cannot include the mercy by which we are brought to faith, because then all men would be brought to faith, but they aren't. But if the mercy by which we are brought to faith (irresistible grace) is not part of what Christ purchased on the cross, then we are left to save ourselves from the bondage of sin, the hardness of heart, the blindness of corruption, and the wrath of God.
Therefore it becomes evident that it is not the Calvinist who limits the atonement. It is the Arminian, because he denies that the atoning death of Christ accomplishes what we most desperately need—namely, salvation from the condition of deadness and hardness and blindness under the wrath of God. The Arminian limits the nature and value and effectiveness of the atonement so that he can say that it was accomplished even for those who die in unbelief and are condemned. In order to say that Christ died for all men in the same way, the Arminian must limit the atonement to a powerless opportunity for men to save themselves from their terrible plight of depravity.
On the other hand we do not limit the power and effectiveness of the atonement. We simply say that in the cross God had in view the actual redemption of his children. And we affirm that when Christ died for these, he did not just create the opportunity for them to save themselves, but really purchased for them all that was necessary to get them saved, including the grace of regeneration and the gift of faith.
We do not deny that all men are the intended beneficiaries of the cross in some sense. 1 Timothy says that Christ is "the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe." What we deny is that all men are intended as the beneficiaries of the death of Christ in the same way. All of God's mercy toward unbelievers—from the rising sun (Matthew ) to the worldwide preaching of the gospel (John )—is made possible because of the cross.
This is the implication of Romans where the cross is presented as the basis of God's righteousness in passing over sins. Every breath that an unbeliever takes is an act of God's mercy withholding judgment (Romans 2:4). Every time the gospel is preached to unbelievers it is the mercy of God that gives this opportunity for salvation.
Whence does this mercy flow to sinners? How is God just to withhold judgment from sinners who deserve to be immediately cast into hell? The answer is that Christ's death so clearly demonstrates God's just abhorrence of sin that he is free to treat the world with mercy without compromising his righteousness. In this sense Christ is the savior of all men.
But he is especially the Savior of those who believe. He did not die for all men in the same sense. The intention of the death of Christ for the children of God was that it purchase far more than the rising sun and the opportunity to be saved. The death of Christ actually saves from ALL evil those for whom Christ died "especially."
3) Missionaries would be worthless, whoever convinced you to understand grace, was not needed. God doesn't need our help. He does it his way, as it pleases him.
I would like you to find 1 true, converted Calvinist who claims that preaching the Gospel is unnecessary. I highly doubt you'd find one. Faith comes from hearing the Gospel, and we've been commanded to preach it. So we do.
But here we do agree. God doesn't need our help. But He's chosen to make us instruments in spreading the Gospel. And yes, He does it His way, according to His will, according to His pleasure.
4) It pleased him to forgive, love, and give everyone a chance.
It pleases God to forgive us and love us because of His Son. It's not that we have any worth on our own. The only worth we have is in Him, who was crucified for us.
No one deserves a chance. Every single person on this earth deserves to burn in hell for all eternity. It's is amazing grace that the LORD has even saved one, single person. Amazing, amazing grace.
Apr 11, 2007
on my blessings. Too often, I forget to thank God for the marvelous things He's done in my life....in trials, in rebuking and discipline, in my brethren....etc. etc. I thought this might be a good way for us all to remember that not only can we come to God with our requests, but also our praise.
So this week..... I am thankful for my puppy: K.C. [Kind Companion]
Meet K.C. He's my black lab/springer mix. His favorite toys are tennis balls and his blanket. He drags around his blanket all over our apartment....puts it around my foot to play tug of war, he eats it (yes, I find it in his poop :) and he wrestles with it, putting it over his face and attacking is viciously. He also likes to put 3, yes, 3 tennis balls in his mouth at one time. He's a bit on the selfish side with his toys, but I don't think he realizes that Michael and I don't really care to fight him for them! What I am most thankful for with K.C. though, is his companionship.
I remember when we first got him. He was a tiny, little puppy, very naughty and stubborn. I thought it was a bad idea that we had him. I was only 19 at the time and I could barely take care of myself, let alone a dog! But God's providence is so wise. When Michael got his job, he started out working nights. I worked 8am-5pm, and he worked 4pm-12am. I never saw him. I was so lonely and sad, but praise be to God that He gave me K.C. He did whatever I wanted. If I wanted to go on a 3 mile walk, he obediently walked beside me. If I cried, he'd give me his toys, hoping to cheer me up a little (at least, that's what I think). He brought a lot of joy to my lonely heart.
Even now, he is one of my greatest joys. He's like my child. I don't want to think of the day that he's gone....even now I feel the tears welling up. God is so loving to give me a little piece of joy like my doggy, and I do not thank Him enough for him. So thank you God for showing me what companionship means through K.C. Thank you for teaching me what it means to be faithful and learning how to enjoy simple things....like grass, sticks, chasing birds, running in fields, rolling in mud....thank you for sanctifying me in my relationship with K.C.
Apr 10, 2007
Before I go on, let me state that I love Billy Graham, his ministry, and his passion to spreading the Gospel.
What's bothering me though, is that he is among the most "admired men in the world." In Matthew 10:22, Jesus says:
"...you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved."
Hated. Not loved, but hated. Isn't there a problem with this? When Jesus came into the world, men hated him. Why did they hate him? Because the Truth breaks pride, breaks strength, breaks self sufficiency. The Truth of the Gospel puts man at the bottom and God on top. The Truth of God's commandments show us how sinful we are. There is no room for "unity" in sin....if you are gay, repent. If you are living in sin (I am speaking specifically to lust), repent. If you lie, repent. If you are an alcoholic, repent. If you steal, repent. If you love the world, REPENT.
Do you see this? The Truth will always divide because it must! The LORD is separating His elect from the rest of the world. The world should not love us. And I don't mean that they should not love us because we are mean, but because we love God more than the world! Unregenerate men LOVE the world and love their sin. But they do not love God. And can we expect them to love us if they do not love God?
So I'm just wondering....what is it that makes Billy Graham "loved"?
That being said, before you all attack me....I'm just thinking this through. Your thoughts?
Here is something I remember reading....an interview with Billy Graham on Larry King. If you read it, it might explain why I am having such an issue with this!
Apr 8, 2007
Great was the joy of Israel's sons
when Egypt died upon the shore,
Far greater the joy
when the redeemer's foe lay crushed in the dust.
Jesus strides forth as the victor,
conqueror of death, hell, and all opposing might;
He bursts the bands of death,
tramples the powers of darkness down,
and lives forever.
He, my gracious surety,
apprehended for payment of my debt,
comes forth from the prison house of the grave
Free and triumphant over sin, Satan, and death.
Show me herein the proof that His vicarious offering is accepted,
that the claims of justice are satisfied,
that the devil's sceptre is shivered,
that his wrongful throne is levelled.
Give me the assurance that in Christ I died, in Him I rise,
in His life I live, in His victory I triumph,
in His ascension I shall be glorified.
thou who wast lifted up upon a cross
art ascended to highest heaven.
Thou, who was a man of sorrows wast crowned with thorns,
art now as LORD of life wreathed in glory.
Once, no shame more deep than thine,
no agony more bitter, no death more cruel.
Now, now exaltation more high,
no life more glorious, no advocate more effective.
Thou art in the triumph car leading captive thine enemies behind thee.
What more could be done than thou has done!
Thy death is my life, thy resurrection my peace,
thy ascension my hope, thy prayers my comfort.
-The Valley of Vision
Apr 5, 2007
How would you answer this question if posed by a non-believer?
Why does God allow bad things to happen?
(I ask because next Wednesday I am going to lunch with a co-worker who was in Vietnam. He is bitter and says that he doesn't understand why God would allow the war to happen, people to die....etc. etc. I told him we should discuss it over coffee and he's actually taking me up on it! But I'm scared and I can't even think of a way to answer the question biblically.)
ps: Could you keep me in your prayers, asking God to grant me wisdom and boldness in speaking the Truth of the Gospel? And that I would do it in a way that shows Christ's love?
Apr 3, 2007
But now that I know the Truth, I understand that I, yes, I would have yelled with the people, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" The state of my soul without Christ is just as evil and vile as the people were in His day.
This week, meditate on this very fact: Christ died for the ungodly. The ungodly being YOU and ME. While we cheered for His crucifixion, it was our souls that He was saving.
Think on these things. I pray that our hearts would be softened and that we would marvel at how very gracious and merciful Jesus Christ truly is.
"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8