Monday, 23 March 2015

The Gospel


What is the gospel?

According to the Strong's the word that has been translated "gospel" is from the Greek word meaning "good message" ...I've always seen it translated as "good news"...

The gospel is the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that provides full and free deliverance from the power and penalty of sin according to the grace of God alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Why is this such wonderful news?
You and everyone else have been born with a fatal condition. This condition is called sin. Why is this condition so serious? Because God is sinless and hates sin, for sin is rebellion against His perfect and righteous standard. And your sinful actions makes you an enemy of God (Romans 3:23; James 4:4). God made man imperishable, in His own image (Genesis 1:27). He made man so that he may have continual fellowship with Him. But when sin came, the intimate fellowship between man and God changed.

Things can be faked. We are all wicked, self-serving, self-loving above all others...we want to think that we are "good", but the truth is when push comes to shove, we will shove those who shove us and shove harder. Many times we see those who have a form of godliness yet deny His power (2 Timothy 3:5), and Jesus said they are difficult to tell apart without having His discernment, and even then, only after the wheat (true) and tares (false) grow into maturity (Matthew 13), because while these are yet immature they look very much is only after they bear fruit that we can see the difference.True godliness truly and honestly (perfectly? no, only God is perfect) loves others more than self. None of us have it truly....unless we have the Spirit of God making that true in our lives.

The word "gospel" first shows up in scripture here:

 Matthew 4:23-25  And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.   And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.  And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan. (KJV)

This is really the first time that I'm noticing that this good news went out beyond the borders of Israel during the time of Christ's ministry on earth....

Anyway, the good news is that we were doomed to hell, doomed in our sin, forever outcast from the presence of a holy and righteous God. The good news (gospel) is that God is merciful. He made a way out of this mess through the shedding of His Son's blood as payment for the ransom that needed to be paid for our transgressions.

When I watch the Investigative Discovery channel, the family of victims which were raped, tortured, and/or murdered are relieved when the perpetrator of the crimes is apprehended and sentenced to his just punishment. While he is not yet found, they worry that justice will not be served. But we fail to realize that because of our sinful nature we are all guilty before the perfect law that God demands to be able to stand in His presence. While we yet love sin (and face it we all do, it is part of our fallen human nature to love sin...even if it seems that we only love minor sins to a small degree, we are guilty to the full extent of the law), we do not want to stand in the presence of a holy God. I know that prior to being saved I hated anyone who told me the truth about my sin. Therefore how could I  stand before a perfectly holy God who would see every glaring but secret sin I ever committed that went without His punishment?....however He provided His Son to pay that debt! That's good news! It is like getting a reprieve from the governor while on death row.

A day or two ago DebbieLynne touched on the topic of "the gospel" while I was considering doing a post about it. She has some beautiful insights on this subject. Do take a look and meditate further on this blessed gift of God:

Friday, 20 March 2015

End Times and Other Speculations

Disclaimer: I have no idea about anything definite regarding the end times, Armageddon, the Gog Magog War, the new millenium, except for the vague mental pictures we get from scripture.

These things are so mind-boggling to me, and I know that speculations abound, and have succumbed to some speculating myself, however, the truth is what it is and sometimes we just won't know until the day we see it happening. In the meantime Jesus only cautioned us to understand the times from the point of being aware of today, this moment in time. He does not require that we understand everything about what will happen tomorrow, next week, or next year, but to remain faithful and aware today, to keep our eyes open and lifted up in anticipation that it can be any time....and in fact if I were to die today, my next moment of what I will experience will be what is often called "the rapture" or the resurrection of the saints (some might also speculate that we will have awareness between that time of our death and the time our body is reunited with our spirit to again be a living soul...I guess we will know for sure when that happens.

I was watching a few Youtube videos about the Gog Magog War, and a few different ideas circulating about what it is and when it will happen....and it made me realize that with all of scripture the Lord wisely gives us just enough "manna" for today. He knows that our puny brains would implode with all that He knows, so He gives us just enough for today. As Jesus put it:

Matthew 6:33-34  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.   Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. 

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.  (KJV)

So true.

So when I read the scriptures, I store away treasures that as the Lord sees the need, will bring to my remembrance and understanding the need of them for each day as it comes. I can learn from Mary:

Luke 2:19  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. (KJV)

There is so much that we do not know, but so much that has already been revealed to give us enough food for thought to get us through the evil that will face us today, and Jesus promised that tomorrow would take care of itself, and we would be wise to continue to seek His righteousness (prayer).

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


Today was such a gorgeous day...beautiful, truly, a lovely blessing from God, reminder that spring is just around the bend...

a couple miles down that way is our house :)

a nice farm...

what a cool barn!

 another nice farm, reminds me of autumn....
 however, it was taken today,

 I spy with my little eye...
another farm!

the snow is melting...
hubby says there will be one more storm
maybe two
I hope he's wrong...

I was afraid to get more than a couple
I thought they would turn out to be dry...
they are delicious...
wishing I bought more :)

and I bought this little gift for our kitchen window
a little cheerful!

The Lord blesses me in more ways than I can count, how often do I take Him and His gifts to me for granted? How many seconds are there in a day? Thank you Jesus for loving me and forgiving me and for helping me understand that your ways are higher than my ways...than man's (and woman's) ways. Thank you for teaching me about your way.

Why Evil?

A few days ago a commenter named Alice wanted me to "open my mind" to other possibilities being true and to read the writings that began her journey away from the Bible and Jesus. I want to touch on a couple of points that I found particularly annoying, starting with the idea that God created satan, and Adam and Eve fully intending for them to go wrong.

The first scripture this philosopher/preacher brings up is:

"For the creature was made subject to vanity not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain until now" Romans 8:20-22

His comments on this verse:
"Wow! Did you know that scripture is in the Bible? Have you ever meditated at length on its meaning? This one scripture does much damage to Christian doctrine. From a strictly carnal-minded approach, this scripture is devastating....The force of these verses in Rom. 8:20-22 is inescapable. It was God HIMSELF who subjected the whole creation to vanity, and He didn't ask anyone's permission before He did it. And it is only God Himself who will deliver the whole creation from the bondage of corruption, pain, and suffering. Make no mistake about it: God is the Creator of evil, and He takes full responsibility for the deliverance from the consequences of all the evils that have caused the creation to 'groan and travail in PAIN until NOW as Paul describes. God takes responsibility for the temporary failures of creation so that He can take all the credit and glory for its successes."

The Apostle Peter had words for such musings when he said:

2Peter 3:11-17  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?   Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;
even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;  as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.  

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (KJV)

Where do I even begin to untangle that mess of false doctrine?

First, to his credit, he admits this is view is from his "carnal perspective". What I get out of that passage in Romans by keeping the whole of what the Lord provides for our learning in the Bible in view; that God subjected creation to the consequence of it's vanity which is bondage of our corruption, with the means (Jesus redemption) of reclaiming some of creation (hope) rather than scrapping the whole of it (which would have been justified) into the dustbin of eternity (hell). Instead he concocts a whole new theology out of it that makes God a co-conspirator with evil so that He can then take responsibility for this evil by redeeming ALL of creation, since it was He Himself that made it to fail so that He could redeem all of it to His own glory and credit. God created something that could follow His instructions with happy consequences....or go against His instructions with unhappy consequences. The consequences were and are widespread, to all of creation. The cure is also found by following God's instructions, but many won't, and it is true that it is by His leading, His Spirit, and many won't seek it, in fact are unable to seek it unless God places it in our/their heart to do so.

This writer continues on, and on, and on, explaining further, with more mangling of scripture taken out of context, why there is no hell which I will lightly touch on in another post....and now I need another Advil.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Another Post on Hell

I've touched on the topic of hell from time to time, I have a video on Bible Treasures here that explains from scripture what it is and why it is.

From most pastors descriptions of it we get this mental picture:

That isn't what I see in scripture. What I see is even more terrifying. This is what I see from the Bible what hell will be like:

The depictions of burning and agony are descriptions of "likeness" me trying to describe the color red to someone who is blind. From the descriptions of "outer darkness" and "weeping and gnashing of teeth" I see a consciousness that still has understanding and forever feels the horror of being outside of the presence of God (all that is good, merciful and true understanding of all things that are godly) to be left only with their own dark thoughts of selfishness seething and writhing in their conscious thoughts, in eternal, dark, solitary confinement to themselves, because it is themselves whom they worshiped instead of God.

A couple of posts ago Alice asked me to read a link (if you wish to search it out you can find it, but I won't put it here, I find it to be a huge waste of time and effort, so I hope to spare you that trouble). I did read this man's thoughts on the topic of hell and why he doesn't believe there is one...the same tired reason I keep hearing about: "A loving  God would not send anyone to hell", then gives only those verses that seem to support his notions that a "true god" (of his imaginings) could never send anyone to hell because it is God who is responsible for making us fallible, therefore, He will simply and graciously forgive everyone because it was all His fault to begin with...because God created us to be like Him and the only way we could become like Him is if we ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil....wait....isn't that what the serpent told Eve? And, isn't the serpent in the garden of Eden....satan, the devil?, was satan then actually telling Eve the.....truth? Sigh. Anyway, yeah, gave me a huge headache to read his ramblings....and, sadly, it is no wonder that poor Alice went further and further away from the truth by believing and trusting this kind of foolishness....if you can drop one fact given in the Bible, why not continue on and find more "evidence" that the Bible contradicts itself and that it's all just a bunch of stories or fairytales or what have you.

However, like it or not, there is a God, who sent His Son to die for our sins in our place, who will keep those who are born of His Spirit from getting their just desserts, hell. Whether we believe the truth or not, whether we want to believe whatever it is we would rather believe, it won't change the truth. Even if I could convince EVERYONE, that what is true really isn't, and that what I want to put in its place is so much better than what the Bible says is true, that my ideas are so much more profound, so logical, so appeasing and pleasant, so loving (I would be elevating myself in place of God you see where I'm going with this?)...rejecting the truth of God, and wanting to replace my ideas with what God has made, and done, and what He promised He will do.....I have then made myself the emperor of the kingdom of myself....and He will give me the desires of my heart as a reward, or rather, as a punishment, because if I continue in that way, I will be in hell, with myself as my "god" forever, and my loyal subject is only myself, forever...and forever I will seethe in the reality of where that self love brought me.

God's love, however, is the kind that would die to self to save another. God's love is exemplified in Jesus, who died for sinners who did not deserve His love. His love doesn't save everyone. Those who love themselves so much that there is no room for God, will get what they worship, they will get what they love, they will end up with what they deserved. Those who repented, and humbled themselves before a holy God, who are born of His Spirit, and who then receive the gift of faith which brings them into true communion with Him (not as a religion, but as a reality) who would and do lay their lives down for their faith in Him, will get what they worship, eternity with a holy and loving God and all the good things that come with that eternal reward.

Seek Him while He yet may be found, and beg His forgiveness...and if you feel that He has not granted you the request of being renewed by Him, continue to be that beggar that begs His mercy, that seeks His forgiveness, and that seeks to forgive others and love others in the manner that He loves us.

God is a loving God, but He is also a just God. He will give everyone according to what we deserve. To those who seek forgiveness, He will forgive (not earned or deserved, it is grace). To those who seek self-gratification and self-righteousness and self-justification, He will give the reward of having themselves, forever, without Him, in hell, because hell is being eternally separated from God, eternally separated from the light of Truth, only  having yourself and your own lies and self-delusions to keep you company forever. Do not seek justice, because truly we all deserve that awful fate of being eternally separated from God. Instead of justice (eye for an eye) seek mercy and forgiveness, and if you continue in seeking He promised that He would lead you to Himself. That is my hope for all my unsaved family and friends, and for you dear reader that is reading this right now.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

What is Meant by Total Depravity

 And now...(drum roll )
             the topic of depravity of unregenerate man...

What Presbyterians really mean by terms such as "Original Sin," "Total Depravity," and "Inability of the Will" is defined by our Confession of Faith, Chapter 10, Section 3: "Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto."

 And from the CRTA (Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics) website:


Total Depravity is probably the most misunderstood tenet of Calvinism. When Calvinists speak of humans as "totally depraved," they are making an extensive, rather than an intensive statement. The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of his personality -- his thinking, his emotions, and his will. Not necessarily that he is intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.
The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called "Total Inability." The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God's making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).

I really appreciate the distinction the CRTA link makes about the unregenerate state of depravity being extensive rather than intensive. This is a crucial point and where most get hung up on the truth of this aspect of our relationship with our Creator/Redeemer. The fact that the fall has effected and infected every part of our being and extensively so is the very reason we are unable to turn to Jesus, unable to be sincere in our quest of Him, and unable to hear and/or understand His calling out to us.....UNLESS He intervenes and causes it to be so. 

 Everything about us, our understanding, our will or desire, our emotions, are self-directed NOT God-directed prior to salvation. Even if we are religious while unregenerate we cannot please God in this condition (I was very religious while unregenerate as a Seventh day Adventist, and then later as a Mormon, and then further into that regression in my unregenerate faith I was absolutely on fire for paganism in the new age movement) therefore our religion is to effect ourselves some credit for doing good out of our self-appropriated "goodness" rather than a true seeking of redemption from the hellfire we ought to know we are headed for (which we all deserve for the fact that we do not attain to the holiness required to avoid such a fate) without redeeming grace to assist us. This knowledge, this understanding does not enter into the unregenerate mind UNLESS it enters into it by the Lord's intervention, opening the understanding to the true hopelessness of our own situation without Christ's intervening and redemptive love. The fact that not all are redeemed some will say, reveals that God lacks love, however it reveals the fact that it is His love, not ours, that redeems us. Our love comes only in response to the love that is activated in our hearts which, prior to His intervention, is incapable of the agape love, the truly selfless love, spoken of in scripture...a love that continues even when rejected and martyred for the truth. 

The question: If God is so loving, forgiving and merciful, why does He send many to hell?

The two seem incompatible in our way of thinking, but we still think of things with our fleshy understanding of what is right and what is wrong. If we can come to grips with the truth about what depravity is, that we all truly deserve hell, than one person not getting what he/she deserves proves the point about God's unlimited mercy. He doesn't have to prove anything. He is God. But however, He chose to prove to His creation those things that are true about Himself through the means He has given. The Bible puts it this way: If a pot is constructed poorly does the pot then say to the potter "why did you make me this way?" ...we know that pottery has no way of addressing a potter, and likewise, unregenerate man has no way of addressing God. The Bible states that we were dead in our trespasses and sins. This is talking about a spiritual condition and we know this because it is talking about our sinful state, that sin caused us to be spiritually dead. Dead means dead. There was NO means of communicating with a living God because there was a huge chasm of separation (or a barrier, if you like that mental image better) between us where nothing, no communication of any kind, was able to cross over....but God made a way of crossing a cross....and even then He has to communicate  it to us, and spark that life and light into our understanding to  bring us over that chasm or through that impenetrable barrier.

If we think we are somehow able to credit ourselves with being good enough to enter into God's presence, we are still deceived with the notion that there is some inherent goodness which is able to gain God's respect, that somehow we can choose to force God's hand to give us what we want for ourselves. Many are deceived by that. There is absolutely nothing in us that is deserving of anything of God. If we can truly come to understand that, it is only by God's grace because our vanity won't penetrate that truth unless we have divine help...and once understanding it, then Jesus supplies us the ability to trust and to believe that Jesus is making the way for us out of our dire situation.
If this somehow helps someone, praise the Lord...I know that I can change no one,I can help no one unless it is the Lord Jesus intervening on your behalf, sparking His truth into your being. I can hope and pray that He may use these words to touch and heal someone of their separation from Him, to bring them out of their total depravity, and into the kingdom of His holiness and perfection and love.


Saturday, 7 March 2015


I will get to the topic of Total Depravity, I promise! For now I shall touch on something that leads up to that.

Today's topic continually comes up and it ties together all "tulip" points. That topic is CONVERSION. Jesus said "You must be born again". We cannot do the works that the Lord desires from us unless His Spirit resides in us to be able to do so. Any other "works" no matter how holy seeming, are all for nothing. Sure the Lord can use them if He desires, but for that person's salvation it adds or subtracts is what the Lord does, has done, and will do that matters. There are lots of scripture verses that substantiate that; I'll leave it for another time. However it would behoove us to look up study those verses, to do the digging.

It (the topic of conversion) goes back to the "U", "L" and the "I" of the 5 points. however there is something that we can find from delving deeper into the reformers writings that we do not get from a superficial study of the 5 points....the drawing of the Lord (irresistible grace) includes a determined seeking (which of course also comes from the Lord, because we cannot do anything good unless it is from the Lord to do it). His word goes out, those who act on it and receive it do so because the Lord has activated this call in those He calls, causing them to seek Him and not stop in that seeking until He allows us to find Him.

"But (you may ask) aren't there many who seek and yet never find Him?" Only the Lord knows who it is that TRULY seek Him. The proof (for us) is in the pudding, as the saying goes, because those who sincerely seek Him will do so until they find Him. Those who give up or turn away, were never sincere, no matter how much they argue to the contrary. How do I know? It is because of the fact that they stopped and they turned away, that is the proof given to us in scripture (gospel of John ch 6 and 1 John ch 2) and since the Bible says so, I believe God before I believe those who protest their own innocence in the matter.

Isaiah 55:6-7  
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found
call ye upon him while he is near:  
Let the wicked forsake his way, 
and the unrighteous man his thoughts: 
and let him return unto the LORD, 
and he will have mercy upon him; 
and to our God, 
 for He will abundantly pardon.(KJV)

Luke 11:9-10
  And I say unto you, 
Ask, and it shall be given you;
 seek, and ye shall find;
 knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
   For every one that asketh receiveth;
 and he that seeketh findeth;
 and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.(KJV)

In these the Arminian or semi-pelagian will flatter himself with the notion that it is his own seeking and perseverance that forces God's hand to move. Nothing of the sort. He is not moved by our manipulation. It is His choice that He answers, His goodness that moves Him, His promise that He honors to answer us, and not our pleadings (which may or may not be sincere).

Then there are those that say: "But God DOESN'T always answer, in fact, more often than not, He does not answer when suffering people cry unto Him" and I would argue that He always does, but not according to our fleshy notions of what an answer is supposed to look like. Jesus had plenty to say about the foolish generation that seeks after a sign, and yet He supplied the sign needed, the sign that meant exactly what He meant about moving mountains and spiritual blessings, the sign which was rejected...but that would be another topic for another time.

There is a passage in the book of Esther...the Jewish people are about to be annihilated because evil Haman wants all Jews murdered. Esther asks Mordecai to tell the people to fast and pray for 3 days. After the 3 days she approaches the king to bring him her request. If he leans his scepter towards her it means he honors her presence, if he doesn't she would face execution. That is the same situation we face if we stand before an almighty and holy God, He has the right to kill us on the spot and we would be powerless to say anything in our own defense. It is God's grace (and often prayers of others who are faithful in Christ) who make way for the Lord to receive us unto Himself. When we see Him we will know it is all because of Him, not anything we did, not our choice, that saved us.
Likewise, those that are left outside, eternally without God, seething, ever hateful, ever shaking their fist at God, will know that their choices brought them nothing, and will forever hate the Lord for not choosing them saying that He denied them their rights. We do not have the "rights" that we demand of God. We are beggars before our sovereign. Like Esther, we come before God knowing HE has THE RIGHT to kill us for our imperfections, our inner hidden sins, our pride that we would consider ourselves to be equal or higher than Him. Yet these will go on seething with this idea of their rights having been denied them, and will do so for all eternity, gnashing their teeth, weeping that they didn't get what they feel they deserve.

However, this little blog article won't convince anyone that believes in "their rights" being denied by God. It won't convince those who see the Bible by the "light" of their own darkened understanding....those who have determined (for themselves and do their best to try to convince others) that the Bible doesn't make sense, or contradicts itself...
 2Peter 3:16  
As also in all his (Paul's) epistles,
 speaking in them of these things;
 in which are some things hard to be understood, 
which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (torture, pervert),
 as they do also the other scriptures, 
unto their own destruction. (KJV)
I won't convince anyone, but I do hope the Holy Spirit will convict some, and bring them to true repentance in true humility before Him.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Harbouring Unforgiveness in My Heart

 Taking a little break from the Calvinist study to share something from my daily life...


"Cell Division" by Seliora

link to photo 


This Morning's Dream:

Interacting with many people in the hustle bustle of daily life, but I was noticing a change. People were becoming "more of what they are", like their inner lives were coming out into the open more and more, many seemed to be losing their minds. A few, like me, seemed to be outside of this transforming development. We were the truly thankful ones who had forgiven those who had hurt us in the past. The others that were changing ....became, or rather allowed themselves the freedom to exhibit their hatefilled self-centeredness, anger and their coldness. They still had a huge amount of anger, rage, and unforgiveness in them. Some didn't seem as bad, they still seemed to have a form of "goodness" but were quietly seething on the inside while appearing very haughty and still putting up an appearance of what looked like love, but it was only love for themselves and those they approved of. I tried to reach out to a man who seemed to be struggling in the middle. I told him to let go of all unforgiveness in his heart, to be truly thankful to God for the good things, for life. He looked at me and understood.

When I awoke from this dream this morning, I felt as though this world is like a cell in the process of cell division with the Lord's people on one side and the rest on the other, getting separated out, like the tares from the wheat, I didn't feel anxious or panicked about it, just very thoughtful, thinking over Jesus words about the unforgiveness and hatred I was seeing displayed in those who were not His:

 Matthew 18:23-35  "Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 
 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.'  
And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.  But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, 'Pay what you owe.'  So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.'  

He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.  

When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.  

Then his master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."(ESV)

 Matthew 6:15  but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (ESV)

There are a couple of people that come to mind that I have never fully resolved an irritating issue between us, still harboring anger towards them, but keep  "it" in a hidden part of my being, so others won't notice it, and once in a while, that monster pops it's ugly head out and I shove him back into the dark corner where no one will notice him. He is a part of my flesh, and am thankful for this (above) parable.  I have given this problem to the Lord and He will do the delicate surgery required to heal everything in His time....but that doesn't let me completely off the hook. Sanctification is something that often gets confused with justification. Sanctification is a process that the Lord does in the life of a true follower of Jesus who is filled with His Spirit. All the ones perfecting themselves through their own "goodness" and own "abilities" will find themselves eventually on the wrong side of the spiritual war that is going on even now. 

Like faithful Lot we can pray with the Lord about these lost ones, but in the end, like with Lot, the decision rests with God. Does He transform them into the likeness of His being?..... or will they go on "perfecting themselves", still unrepentant, haughty, self-satisfied, hellbound....


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Can We Lose Our Salvation?


Perseverance of the Saints

Perseverance of the Saints is a doctrine which states that the saints (those whom God has saved) will remain in God's hand until they are glorified and brought to abide with him in heaven. Romans 8:28-39 makes it clear that when a person truly has been regenerated by God, he will remain in God's stead. The work of sanctification which God has brought about in his elect will continue until it reaches its fulfillment in eternal life (Phil. 1:6). Christ assures the elect that he will not lose them and that they will be glorified at the "last day" (John 6:39). The Calvinist stands upon the Word of God and trusts in Christ's promise that he will perfectly fulfill the will of the Father in saving all the elect.

Many believe you can "lose" or "give back" salvation, a sort of cosmic abortion, if you will. Does that even make sense? If God begins something, He completes it (Phil 1:6) so if you "become" unregenerate, you were never His to begin with. (1 John 2:19)

It is possible to torture the text to make it confess all sorts of things... true, I see it all the time. The ones most guilty of such butchery are the ones who are most convinced that they can lose their salvation and that they chose God in order to be saved. God didn't leave such important work in our own hands to mangle, to  manipulate salvation out of Him, and then later toss aside saying "I can decide to do whatever I want because God gave me that choice". My husband says: "If you have the power to choose to be saved, you also have the power to lose it." (see John 10:29) 

" All the angels, and Adam, received from their Creator holy natures; yet our first father and the fallen angels show that they could totally fall away into sin. No one in himself is absolutely incapable of sinning, except the unchangeable God. Converted men, who still have indwelling sin, must certainly be as capable of falling as Adam, who had none. We believe that the saints will certainly stand, because the God who chose them will certainly hold them up." Link

Do we really believe we are better than Adam and Eve and the holy angels of God to keep our own salvation secure? In the gospel of John chapter 6 we see many who followed after Jesus turn away from Him and follow Him no more (John 6:66) after He told them

 John 6:65  And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." (KJV)

This is one of the most comforting aspects of the fact that it is God who saves us and God who keeps us why do so many reject Jesus at His word?

 John 6:63  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
John 6:64a  But there are some of you who do not believe."(KJV)

ohhhh.....yes, I see.

Read the links for more indepth study:

A couple of posts ago I stated I would talk about our Total depravity (the "T" in TULIP)....I I'll go into that next time :)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Does "All" Really Mean All?

 The last two posts I have been touching on the topic of "Calvinism". If you aren't familiar with this subject, or even if you are, it would be good to read the previous posts in order. The first is an introduction, the second explores one of the areas of debate on this topic:

The L in the Calvinism TULIP stands for Limited Atonement. This blog post will not cover all of the finer points of both sides of this much passionately debated issue, but I give it an overview with links for your further study. On face value, the term Limited Atonement (or also called Particular Atonement) sounds offensive and heretical. 

What! God's sacrifice for our sins is in no way limited!!! let us explore what this sound bite is actually talking about.

 Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many'; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all).

Sufficient for all, but not efficacious for other words the sacrifice itself is sufficient to save every person ever born on this earth, but it does not do so. It is not efficacious, effective, in everyone's lives. On that point everyone that calls themselves Christian will agree. So why is this such a disagreeable assertion for many?...I personally think that people get stuck on the shortened for TULIP's sake title of LIMITED atonement.

Everyone agrees that not everyone  "gets" saved, or all Christians would also be universalists. Something has to happen. Jesus said: "You must be born again" John 3:3

The idea that one can will himself to be born again was discussed in the last post, so this is a continuation on that idea. The fact that the Lords atonement is  not effective for everyone is accepted by most Christians whether they call themselves Calvinists or not. The problem lies in the fact that those who are not Calvinists accuse Calvinists of saying that God forces some to be saved, and forces others to be not saved by the fact that He determined when He made us whether we would be one of His or not. I had one semipelagian call the God of Calvinists a "rapist god", because He forces some to love Him. The problem is we cannot love Him unless He causes us to, changing our hearts and minds and lives in conformity to His will for us...but we tend to think in human terms so such a thing would be a limitation on our freedom and ability when in actuality it is the opposite: God frees us to be able to love Him (remember...the truth sets us free).

But the Bible tells us in John 3:16 that God so loved THE WORLD, and that all who believe on Him will be saved...yes...

Act 13:47  For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'"
Act 13:48  And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

Not everyone receives it. Not everyone is *ignited* by the truth of it. Some might be able to fake that for a while and fool a whole bunch of people into thinking they were born of the Spirit...but eventually the truth will bear it out whether they truly were transformed by the choosing of Gods saving Spirit who knows who are His...and who are not chosen.

I have heard many say "But that is not fair!!!!!"

True. Fair would send everyone to hell. Grace saves some that had no desire or ability to be good enough to be eternally with God. We do not want "fair", we desire grace.

Then I have heard from objectors: "When God said ALL He meant ALL...when Jesus said WHOSOEVER He really meant that for ALL"

Here is a link to a short article that goes into this a little further:

If that makes you uncomfortable, take it to Jesus, confess your need for His Spirit to transform you by His power. He is not obligated to give you what you ask, but He does keep His promises, and one of His promises to us is that He gives liberally to all who ask of Him (James 1:5). However He does it in a way that we know and ultimately acknowledge the fact that it is His choice, not ours, that saves us out of the destiny we all would have been headed for, hell, which we all deserve (whether we want to think so or not, the truth is we all deserve hell)...and that it is GRACE that keeps some of us from going to what we all deserve.

Next time: Perseverance of the Saints