Why should we know God's Word?

In our day and age where anti-intellectualism runs rampant in the visible church, it is not surprising to see poll after poll verify what students of scripture have known for many years. The visible church does not know much about the scriptures they profess to believe in. This is sad considering many saints during the Reformation period lost their lives for the sake of being able to read and study God's word. Not to mention the many passages in scripture that speak as such:

Isaiah 66:2 This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
John 8:31-32 Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Psalm 119:162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.

The posts on this blog will address essential Biblical doctrines of the Christian faith. You can find much of the background for the posts here. My prayer for these posts is that the people who read them will be encouraged to open their Bibles and not just read a verse or two, but learn them and indeed, be transformed by them. As Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17). This is my prayer as well.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Definite Atonement as opposed to "Universal" Atonement pt 2

Definite Atonement as opposed to Universal Atonement pt 2
-                     Last time we showed how definite atonement is confirmed through the triumphant death of Christ.
o      He has perfectly satisfied divine justice and removed our sins on the cross therefore anyone for whom Christ died will be saved.
§       That is not the only proof for definite atonement.
o      There are at least two other rock-solid, Biblical arguments demonstrating the limited application of Christ’s death.
-                     Second argument relates to our union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
o      In Romans 6:3, Paul tells us, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”
§       The answer is YES!  Those who have been baptized in Christ were baptized into Christ’s death.
o      Paul tells us the implications of this in vs 4, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
§       If there was any confusion, Paul reiterates in vs 5, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
o      Easy question, “Who was united to Christ on the cross?”
§       Paul very confidently says that if someone was united to Christ in His death, then they will certainly be united with Him in His resurrection.
·       Only those who died with Christ were united to Christ on the cross.
§       As Paul succinctly says in vs 8, “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
o      This is another way of saying that Christ triumphantly secured the salvation of only the elect of God.
§       For all who were united to Christ in His death on the cross will certainly be raised to newness of life.
o      Although we will address this passage when we look at common objections to definite atonement, we should note 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 should be interpreted in light of Romans 6.
§       Unless, of course universalism is to be adopted, which obviously is not true, see Revelation 21:7-8.
-                     Third argument – The perfect agreement between the Trinity.
o      Salvation is ultimately a Trinitarian work within the Godhead.
§       This mysterious plan was determined before the foundation of the world.
o      Although we would wholeheartedly agree that the triune God was involved in each aspect of man’s salvation…
§       We see the scriptures describe the roles that each person of the Trinity plays within the plan of redemption.
o      The Father is said to have predestined us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-5).
§       The Father sent His Son into the world to accomplish the Father’s will of saving the elect (6:37-39, 44).
o      The Son died on the cross as a substitute for His people, bearing their sin and punishment (Romans 3:24-25, Revelation 5:9, Hebrews 9:28).
§       The Holy Spirit applies the work of redemption through regeneration (Titus 3:5, John 3:5-8).
o      This is a simplified summary of the Trinitarian work, but shows the point I am trying to make.
§       The Father does not elect some and send His Son into the world to die for every single person.
o      The Holy Spirit does not apply redemption to anyone who was not predestined by the Father.
§       There is not confusion in the Godhead as to who should or should not be saved.
o      There was a plan before the foundation of the world and the triune God worked it out to perfection.
§       We will address the objections next time and see they are only faint hopes of saving a baseless theological system (Arminianism).
o      The bedrock of the Christian’s faith is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ – the gospel.
§       If we say God is uncertain who or who will not be saved by the gospel, then that bedrock becomes a foundation of sand that will not hold.
-                     Praise God, Jesus laid down His life for the sheep (John 10:15) and because of that, He promises to raise them up on the last day (John 6:39,44).
o      This is why Jesus can dogmatically say, and for us Christians, glory in John 10:27-30
§       “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Definite Atonement as opposed to "Universal" Atonement pt 1

Definite Atonement as opposed to Universal Atonement pt 1
-                     We have looked at controversial doctrines such as sovereign election, total depravity, etc.
o      But when it comes to controversial doctrines, for some reason, this one takes the cake.
§       I have spoken with people and read systematic theologies that profess to believe in the utter sinfulness of man and sovereign election but...
o      When it comes to definite atonement, AKA limited atonement, then that is where they draw the line.
§       This is interesting considering definite atonement, IMO, has stronger arguments than the other two.
o      As an aside, I do not use the phrase limited atonement since it gives the wrong connotation.
§       Limited atonement is meant to convey that the atonement is limited to the elect but…
o      It is mistaken to mean that the power of the atonement is limited, which could not be further from the truth.
§       It is unlimited in power, value and efficacy but limited only in its application.
o      Definite atonement is better since it simply conveys a definite, absolute, completed atonement.
§       Let’s look at the strong arguments for definite atonement.
-                     The strongest argument comes from the nature of Christ’s death
o      Let us first ask, “Why does God send people to hell?”
§       Reasons:
·       Because of their sins (Romans 3:23, John 8:24, Revelation 18:3-5).
·       God’s wrath abides on them due to their sins (Romans 1:18, 2:5).
o      Second question, “What did Christ do when he died?”  See our study here for a fuller explanation.
§       He was our propitiation, removing God’s just wrath and perfectly satisfying His justice (Romans 3:25, 5:9, Isaiah 53:10).
§       He bore our sins, therefore removing them (1 Peter 2:24, Hebrews 9:24-28)
§       He reconciled us to God, removing the hostility and separation between us (Romans 5:10-11).
§       He accomplished redemption – guaranteeing our freedom from sins’ curse and bondage (Galatians 3:13, Titus 2:14).
o      What these things clearly and unequivocally show, is that Christ’s death removed everything that would have sent us to hell.
§       His death infallibly secured the salvation for whom He died.
o      Here’s a great quote by Matt Perman:
§      "If Christ died for you, you cannot perish for His death has removed everything that was causing you to perish. For example, our sins have made us enemies of God but Christ's death reconciles us to God, thus removing the enmity. Would God condemn someone that has become His friend by the blood of His Son? Again, hell means being eternally punished by God's wrath but Christ took away God's wrath for everybody He died for. Therefore, if Christ died for you, you cannot go to hell because God has no wrath to pour out on you."
o      Something to think about if you disagree with any of this.
§       If Christ died in the place of someone who would reject Christ, taking their sins upon Himself and the wrath of God they deserved, why is God punishing that person twice?
·       God punished them once in their substitute, Christ Jesus and a second time in hell for rejecting Christ.
§       If you say, “It is because they did not believe!” Then you are saying Christ did NOT bear God’s full just punishment on behalf of that sinner.
·       For that sinner will be justly punished a second time.
§       This is a dangerous slight at the completed work of Christ and if true, none of us can have 100% assurance God’s wrath was completely removed.
o      Pardon my candidness, but “universal” atonement is an affront on the completed work of Christ and denigrates what Christ did on the cross.
§       “It is finished!” becomes “It is close to being done.”
o      We will get to the other arguments for definite atonement in future blog entries, but for now I leave saints with this blessed passage on the benefits infallibly assured for those whom Christ has died.
§       I emphasized parts within the passage where Paul promises benefits based on Christ’s death.
·       Notice these are NOT conditional promises but are sure and strong in the death of Christ.
§       What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39).
o      Hallelujah for His victorious death and His unfathomable love!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

John MacArthur - Jesus the ONLY way...

Regardless what Billy Graham and other so-called Evangelicals say.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sovereign Election - objections pt 2

Sovereign Election – objections pt 2
-                     We hit a few objections below, but let’s analyze a couple more objections.
-                     God wills all to be saved
o      1 Timothy 2:4 is the most common verse cited for this objection, but also 2 Peter 3:9 and the “world” passages.
§       For the sake of argument, we will say the words “all” and “world” refers to every human being that ever lived.
·       This is what is commonly called the revealed will of God, which is for all people to be saved.
o      Acts 17:30 – God commands all men everywhere to repent.
·       This is in contrast though to his secretive will – God’s eternal decree.
§       Deuteronomy 29:29 nicely sums up the two wills of God found in scripture:
·       The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
o      God reveals or commands things for us to do, such as obeying His law and the gospel.
§       Then God in His sovereign, secret will works all things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).
o      We will speak more about this when we look in depth at the sovereignty of God.
§       In sum, we have God’s revealed will for everyone to repent and be saved.
·       And God’s secret will to save only those who have been chosen.
o      Dr. Grudem answers the charge against God having two wills like this:
§       “While Arminian theologians sometimes object to the idea that God has a secret and a revealed will, ultimately they also must say that God wills something more strongly than he wills the salvation of all people, for in fact all are NOT saved.  Arminians claim that the reason why all are not saved is that God wills to preserve the free will of man more than he wills to save everyone. But this seems also to be making a distinction in two aspects of the will of God. On the one hand, God wills that all be saved.  But on the other hand, he wills to preserve man’s absolutely free choice.  In fact, he wills the second thing more than (emphasis mine) the first.”
·       Thus, the Arminian proclaims two wills of God, except it is totally unbiblical as shown.
-                     Election is unfair.
o      This may be the most common objection.  At the very least it certainly is the most emotional one.
§       Paul’s response in Romans 9:18-24 is not very flattering either.
·       The crux of it is found in vs 19-21:
·       19 You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault (emphasis added)? For who can resist his will?" 20 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?" 21  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?
o      After Job went through great tribulation and complained about his predicament, God answered him in this manner.
§       Job 40:1 "Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it."
o      These are not flattering answers, but they do challenge us to let God be God, and trust He will do what is right in infinite wisdom and power.
§       Paul does this in Romans 11:33-36 which comes after his great discourse on election and God’s sovereign purposes.
·       Romans 11:33-36 - Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" 35 "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
o      Something else to consider in light of our depravity.
§       Why should God save anybody?
·       We do NOT want God to be fair with us.
§       It would have been perfectly fair of God to send us all to hell for our rebellion and wickedness.
o      But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sovereign Election – objections pt 1

Sovereign Election – objections pt 1
-                     Last time, we built a strong, Biblical case for sovereign election here and here.
o      Sovereign election is not a product of a theological system, but is the consistent testimony of scripture.
§       Although this is the case, this is a sensitive topic for many, and people frequently object to sovereign election.
o      As we will see, most of the objections are not based on scripture, but on emotional arguments.
§       And when people use scripture to make a point against sovereign election it is either bad exegesis or a misapplication of a text.
-                     What are the objections?
o      Two common ones are, it is fatalistic and mechanistic
§       Fatalistic – Our human choices and decisions do not make a difference
§       Mechanistic – Everything has been inflexibly determined by an impersonal force long ago.
·       Therefore, we are more like robots or machines than genuine persons.
o      These objections stem from an emotional reaction to election and are really leveled against the sovereignty of God.
§       People want to say God is sovereign, but when it comes to election they quickly back track.
o      When we look at the sovereignty of God sometime in the future, we will answer them more fully.
§       From the standpoint of election though, we answered them for the most part in our study of "How free is the will?" here, here and here.
o      God’s predestination is described as being done in love and very personal
§       Ephesian 1:5 - In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ.
§       1 John 4:19We love because he first loved us.
o      Our choices are certainly meaningful according to God as we do have to believe and repent.
§       God does not repent and believe for us but man has to repent and believe on his own.
·       Scripture does not see any problem with God's election and our responsibility to repent and believe.
·       We must believe in the Lord Jesus (Acts 16:31)
o      Faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9)
·       We must repent from our sins unto God (Acts 3:19)
o      Repentance is granted (2 Timothy 2:25)
-                     Predestination is based on foreknowledge of our faith.
o      This view of foreknowledge is no where found in scripture.
§       In fact, foreknowledge in scripture enforces sovereign election not the other way around
·       God foreknows persons NOT actions, decisions and faith.
§       Foreknow simply means to know beforehand or know in advance.
o      Romans 8:29 - For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…
§       It is poor interpretation or more accurately, eisegesis, to insert faith or a decision in Romans 8:29.
·       God foreknew “those” a reference to people, not their decisions.
§       Continue reading in Romans 8:30 and Paul continues talking about “those” being predestined, called, etc.
·       “Those” are God’s people and Paul called them the “elect” in vs 33.
o      Foreknowledge is God’s intimate knowledge of His people, which He had before the world began.
-                     Does scripture ever speak of faith or anything else as the basis for election?
o      No!  Romans 9:11-13 about Jacob and Esau.
§       Vs 11 – “…though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad…” The Lord chose Jacob over Esau.
o      See also Ephesians 1:5-6, which we talked about last week, how God chose us according to His will.
§       And 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 – God chose the foolish and weak so no ONE may boast before God.
o      There are many more things that could be said about this unbiblical, faulty view of foreknowledge but just realize this.
§       In our depravity, if God had not chosen to regenerate and redeem us, but left us to make the final decision then we would have ultimately rejected Him.
o      Praise be to God, in His love and mercy He did choose us, He did redeem us, He did regenerate and make us His beloved children.
§       As the great hymn writer exclaimed, “Amazing pity! Grace unknown! And love beyond degree!”

Thursday, March 18, 2010

From the paper - We must come to Jesus by faith

For a very brief introduction read the first paragraph here.

We must come to Jesus by faith
There was a man who was blameless in many ways.  He was honest in his business dealings, tried to treat everyone fairly without showing partiality and kept his life free from sexual immorality.  On top of that, he knew the scriptures quite well and was faithful to pray, tithe and even committed to fasting.  He would be an exemplary man in our day and age where so many do not live up to standards of decency and integrity. There is one big problem though – he was not a Christian.  He would have put most professing Christians to shame by his lifestyle, but that says more about professing Christians than the devout religious man.  How can I say he was not a Christian then?  He was the man in Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the publican in Luke 18:9-14, and no, he was not the publican.  The publican stood with his face to the ground and cried out to God for mercy understanding the weight of his sin.  The Pharisee we have been talking about had great hope that his life well-lived would be his ticket into heaven.  Jesus tells us the publican crying out for mercy was justified, and the Pharisee, however exemplary he was, was not.

We might wonder, “How can this be?”  Does God not care that we are doing the best we can, attending and participating in church, and being an example to those at our work and home?  All of these things may seem good on the surface, but even the Jew in our text believed in God and did so many good works that we would look like atheists compared to him.  We have already looked in depth at how Jesus bore the sins of many and took their punishment on the cross, and in doing so, He can now declare sinners righteous.  How do we receive it?  A jailer once asked the apostle Paul, “What must I do to be saved?”  Did Paul answer, “Help those who are in need and be generous and kind to everyone”?  No!  All he said was, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31).  Believe is the verb form of the word faith.  As I have shown from the scriptures in previous articles, everyone stands condemned in their sin and no amount of community service can change our verdict.  We must come to Jesus with the empty hands of faith.  Empty hands mean we do not bring anything to God – our works, our false belief that we are good.  We just bring our sinful selves to God confessing our sin.  Saving faith means entrusting our lives to Jesus Christ and His work of redemption.  It is more than just nodding our head in agreement, but trusting wholeheartedly in Jesus Christ to remove our sin and the wrath of God abiding on us.  Friends, my exhortation to you is simple.  Ensure you believe in Jesus alone and are saved!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

History Lesson - Saint Patrick

On St Patrick's day it is appropriate to be reminded of this extraordinary, godly man. This youtube video is about 56 mins long but teaches about the real Patrick and not what is parroted in the media or Roman religion. Good stuff indeed.


Monday, March 15, 2010

The Gospel in Joyous Song

Here is a wonderful contemporary rendition of Horatius Bonar's hymn, Not What My Hands Have Done.  What Christ accomplished on the cross is not just the way for people to be saved, but it is the Christian's joy and song every day throughout the week.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Albert Martin - Sermon Montage

Somebody spliced together some clips of Al Martin, and did a fine job of finding gems from the beloved preacher.  Al Martin is at his finest when probing the hearer to be filled with more of Christ and less of self, sin and the world.  His preaching is not popular but penetrating, necessary and life changing if one seriously considers his words.  I ask you to prayerfully consider them.

Friday, March 12, 2010

More wise words to chew on...

These come from Arthur Pink regarding Proverbs 1:7 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge."

"Happy the soul that has been awed by a view of God's majesty, that has had a vision of God's awful greatness, His ineffable holiness, His perfect righteousness, His irresistible power, His sovereign grace. Does someone say, "But it is only the unsaved, those outside of Christ, who need to fear God"? Then the sufficient answer is that the saved, those who are in Christ, are admonished to work out their own salvation with "fear and trembling." Time was when it was the general custom to speak of a believer as a "God-fearing man." That such an appellation has become nearly extinct only serves to show whither we have drifted. Nevertheless, it still stands written, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him" (Psalm 103:13).

When we speak of godly fear, of course we do not mean a servile fear, such as prevails among the heathen in connection with their gods. No, we mean that spirit which Jehovah is pledged to bless, that spirit to which the prophet referred when he said, "To this man will I (the Lord) look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" (Isa. 66:2). It was this the apostle had in view when he wrote, "Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king" (I Pet: 2:17). And nothing will foster this godly fear like a recognition of the Sovereign Majesty of God."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wisdom to Treasure

As I continue to contemplate wisdom and it's priceless value for life, it never ceases to amaze me how God endowed certain men throughout history with a seemingly endless supply of wise words.  I understand God promises to give wisdom to those who do not doubt (James 1:5-6) and we should be striving daily to feast on its fruit (Proverbs 8:19), but even then, there are those whose lives were enriched through and through.   Charles Bridges was one those.  You can learn about him here.

We are called to incline ourselves to the words of the wise (Proverbs 22:17), so drink from the well of wisdom today that springs from Charles Bridge's commentary on Proverbs 9:10-11:

Proverbs 9:10-11. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:  and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.
            The repetition of this weighty sentence (Proverbs 1:7, Job 28:28, Psalm 111:10) deepens our estimate of its importance. The fear of the Lord was a lovely grace in the perfect humanity of Jesus. (Isaiah11: 2, 3.) Let it be the test of our "predestination to be conformed to his image." (Roman 8:29) It is the genuine spirit of adoption. The child of God has only one dread—to offend his Father; only one desire—to please and delight in him. Thus is the fear of the Lord connected with his love. ‘The heart that is touched with the loadstone of Divine love, trembles still with godly fear.’ If this temper is the beginning, it is also (as the word imports) the head—of wisdom—not only its first rudiment, but its matured exercise. It is obviously combined with the knowledge of the Holy One.  For if men did but know his holiness--who would not fear thee, 0 Lord?" (Revelation 15:4) Days multiplied were the Old Testament reward. (Proverbs 3:2, 16; 4:10; 10:27.) And truly the value of life is only realized in the knowledge and service of God. Inconceivably joyous to us is the prospect of years of life increased into a boundless eternity—infinite desires; fully satisfied, yet excited unceasingly to more full and heavenly enjoyment.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Salvation's Song

Psalm 98:4-6 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

From the paper - Remember that God is 'just'

For a very brief introduction read the first paragraph here.

Remember that God is 'just'
The 1962 classic film, The Music Man, is about a con man that arrives in River City, Iowa and deceives the people into thinking he is a traveling band instructor.  He convinces the people to purchase instruments and uniforms for their children and then tries to run off with the money.  If you have not seen the movie, I will not give away the ending except that everything turns out just fine for the people and the con man.  Everyone lives happily ever after, so to speak.  It is not too uncommon for movies to portray “bad” guys who turn their lives around as never being punished for the bad they did.  We have to be careful not to project this common idea upon God.  Although He is love, He is also just and holy.  He does not wink at our sin, or push it aside even if we decide to turn our life around.  The scriptures testify that all men have sinned and are worthy of condemnation (Romans 1:18, 3:10, 3:23).  In order for us to have hope of being justified (declared righteous), our sin must be dealt with.  This is why the word “propitiation” is so important in the scriptures.  It tells us how a loving God can accept sinful man.  

The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 3:25 that Jesus was put forward as a propitiation by His blood.  The apostle John also says in 1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  Propitiation is at the heart of the gospel, so what is it?  It is God putting forth Jesus to not only bear the sins of many, but also the punishment sin deserves.  This is why Jesus’ death on the cross is often called a penal substitutionary atonement.  He died in the place of sinners, bearing their sins (substitute) and taking the just punishment of God (penalty) they deserved.  When Jesus sweat drops of blood in Gethsemane, asking His Father that if it were possible to remove the cup, He was not just referring to His physical suffering.  Christ’s immense sorrow stemmed from the wrath of God that the cup symbolized (Psalm 75:1-8, Jeremiah 25:15-18, Isaiah 51:17-21).  Jesus knew of the prophecy in Isaiah 53 that spoke about how the LORD would crush Him and put Him to grief (Isaiah 53:10).  This is what caused our Lord’s anguish – not the rods, the whips, or even the nails and excruciating pain of the cross.  He died on the cross in our place and was physically raised to life on the third day, proving that His sacrifice was accepted by God, meaning that God’s wrath was appeased and that sinners were forgiven.  Now anyone who trusts in this great work of Christ can know for certain their sins are forgiven and there is now no condemnation.  Do you trust in His work?

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Roman Catholicism - no gospel, no church

The Roman Catholic church has over a billion members in its institution and unfortunately claims to represent Christ's only true church on earth. 

The big problem is... they are not a true church.  They do not hold to the one true gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.  They have replaced it with a sacerdotal system via the sacraments, falsely thinking Christ's righteousness can be obtained in this manner.  Therefore, over a billion people are deceived and could perish unless they realize the only hope they have is in Christ ALONE.

In this vein, Rob Zins has written an excellent article contrasting the Biblical way of salvation with the Romanist way of salvation.  Here's a taste of the article below and a link to the article here.

Taken from "The Heart of the Roman Catholic Religion"
"Christians, trusting in the Bible alone for salvation and sanctification, understand that heaven is given to lost sinners on the basis of faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. Such faith consists in confidence that Christ alone, at His cross, suffered and died for all of the sins of His Church which is the Body of Christ. Such a faith completely trusts in the promises of God in Christ Jesus. One such assurance is eternal forgiveness of all sins and punishments based entirely upon the satisfaction of Christ’s death. Such a faith takes the righteousness of Christ as the complete ground of justification. Such a faith grasps Christ’s righteousness immediately. Christians believe there is only One mediator between God and man and that is Jesus Christ. Christians also believe there is no mediator between them and Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic religion believes itself to be the mediator between man and Jesus Christ. But Christians cannot conceive of a “go-between” and deny the necessity of a “a middle man” between poor lost sinners and Jesus Himself!

This is what separates Rome from the Gospel of Christ. Rome insists upon a priestly led sacramental salvation. In so doing, Rome is outside of the Bible and remains lost in the labyrinth of her own traditions, religious rituals and humanly conceived auto soterism i.e., self salvation. This is not the Christian Gospel. It is not Christianity."

Friday, March 05, 2010

Sovereign Election pt 2

Sovereign Election pt 2
-                     Election/predestination unto salvation is taught extensively in the New Testament
o      Paul powerfully argues for election in Roman 9 and uses the Old Testament for much of his argumentation:
§       Romans 9:10-13 – Paul points to the example of God’s choice of Jacob over Esau.
·       He quotes Malachi 1:2-3 – Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.
§       Romans 9:15 – Paul quotes Exodus 33:19 to prove God’s sovereign will and mercy.
§       Romans 9:17 –Paul points out Pharaoh as an example of adverse election.
§       Romans 9:21 – Paul alludes to Jeremiah 18:3-6 & Isaiah 64:8 when he refers to God as the potter & us as clay
o      Paul could not have spelled it out any better than in Ephesians 1.
§       Ephesians 1:4-5 - …he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will
§        Ephesians 1:11 - In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will
·       Predestine simply means to decide beforehand.
o      Also, notice the basis upon which the decision was made: according to the purpose or counsel of his will.
·       See also Acts 4:26-28
-                     Election unto salvation is not only found in these two passages, but throughout the New Testament
o      Paul argues that although Israel rebelled there was an elect within Israel – Romans 11:1-10
o      Acts 13:48 – Paul preaching in Antioch of Pisidia – 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.
§       See also Acts 2:47 – The Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
o      1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 - For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.
o      2 Thessalonians 2:13 - But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
o      2 Timothy 2:10 - I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
§       See also Titus 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:8-9, Revelation 13:7-8, 1 Corinthians 1:21-30, Colossians 3:12, 1 Peter 1:1, 2 John 1:1 & 13
-                     How does the Bible present this teaching?
o      Comfort – Romans 8:28-31 – God works all things for the good for His people.
§       John 10:27-28 – No one can snatch His sheep out of His hand.
§       John 17:9-12 – We are kept by Him.
o      Evangelism – 2 Timothy 2:10 – We endure all things.
§       Matthew 28:18-19 – All authority is with our Lord Jesus therefore we can go with boldness to fulfill the great commission.
§       Acts 18:9-11 – Paul stayed in Corinth for well over a year after God told him he had people in that city.
o      Praise – Ephesians 1:4-5, 11-12 – We were predestined to the praise of His glory
§       1 Peter 2:9 – We were called to proclaim His excellencies.
·       See also 1 Peter 1:3-8 – We rejoice with joy in inexpressible in our salvation.