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, June 18, 2010

Consider the cost...

"Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:27-33 - Jesus

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Paul Washer on Prayer - Communion with God

I almost entitled this The Paul Washer you may not know because when a number of people think of him they often think of a scathing preacher who exposes today's Christless religion (what people call the "church"). He certainly does expose it and, like a prophet of old, speaks about its rebellion and heresies with vivid and strong language. BUT he does love the true church and her head, Jesus Christ, and speaks passionately about our need and God's delight for us to draw near to Him. This video is a prime example of this holy passion.

Brother and sister in Christ, you may not have time to watch all of the video but even if you only watch the first 5 minutes you will NOT regret it. I pray it encourages you and, yes, lovingly draws you into the presence of God in prayer.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Definitely Atoned For

When I have considered the debate on whether the atonement is "limited" or "unlimited" it has always baffled me why it is really a debate for true blue orthodox Christians. The word "limited" itself is oftentimes misinterpreted because people either think you are limiting the power of the atonement or limiting the gospel message to a chosen few. This gives us another reason why we should be precise with our language and seek to avoid words that can convey a distorted message. Even with that being the case, when someone says (like me!) that they believe in limited atonement, they do NOT mean the gospel message is proclaimed to a limited number of people, nor do they mean the power is limited in the least bit. But what they do mean is the application of the atonement is limited.

This is why I prefer to say I hold to particular redemption or definite atonement. Both phrases better convey what is meant by "limited" atonement, although they do ruin the TULIP acrostic many of us love (it is such a pretty flower:).

What do they convey and why isn't every dyed-in-the-wool believer on board with the better terminology? The second question I can't fully answer, but in reality every true believer to a degree does believe in a particular redemption. Why? Because every true believer does NOT believe in universalism and they believe it is only through the blood of Jesus that Christians are saved (What can wash away my sins, Nothing but the blood of Jesus!). The phrases clearly convey that when Christ died on the cross and propitiated the wrath of God on behalf of sinners, bearing their sins, atonement was definitely, 100% made and therefore only a particular  amount of people would be redeemed by that atonement. Otherwise, everyone would be in heaven since there is no more wrath of God against mankind, nor sin to be accounted for. Some may say, "That is Calvinist logic! There is nothing of the sort in the scriptures!" Is that so?

Go to my studies here and here which lays out what I believe is a strong Biblical, exegetical case for a definite atonement and particular redemption. If that is not enough, check out this lengthy and IMO irrefutable article by Brian Schwertley here.

One last thought to consider. If you are a Christian reading this, your sins have definitely been atoned for, correct? YES, you say. A second question then, have they been definitely atoned for in the same way a non-believer's sins have been atoned for? If you say, YES, then your God could bring your sins up against you on the last day the same way he will bring the non-believer's sins against them on the last day. For God will condemn the non-believer based on his sins.

Praise God that will not ever happen! His never-failing, irrevocable atonement not only forgave our sins, but gave us the promise that God will NEVER bring them back up again to condemn us. Psalm 103:12  As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord for His indescribable gift!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Beware of the ME Monster!

This is not an explicitly Christian video but one with not a little levity. Keep Proverbs 17:22 & 10:19 in mind when listening:)

My Soul Finds Rest in God Alone

Psalm 116:7  "Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you."

Friday, June 04, 2010

Ten Indictments

It hit me the other day that I had not placed this sobering, prophetic message on my blog. It "hit" me because I have been blessed and encouraged by the ministry of Paul Washer and this is one of his most well-known online messages. This is not for the faint of heart though (which Washer message is?) but it is for anyone (or church) willing to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror. May God grant us repentance and revival for the glory of His Name!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Why people "leave" God

Dan Phillips over at the Pyromaniacs blog oftentimes posts unique yet Biblical and relevant blog entries. He did just that on people who at one point decided to follow Jesus, but then decided to stop following him for varied "reasons" (another example of BAD theology having dire consequences). IMO He hit the nail squarely on the head in the article. The article can be found here.

Here is a small portion of the well-done article:

All of the sad stories I've heard or read, by contrast, amount to this: I left God because He did not meet my expectations. Let's try on a few of the more popular specifics:
-Death might be a good reason to leave God if He had promised that men and women would never die. He did not.
-A tragic death might be a good reason to leave God if He promised to prevent all tragic deaths. He has not.
-Any death might be a good reason to leave God if He lacked the right to deal out both life and death. He does not.
-Misfortune might be a good reason to leave God if He promised His children, let alone everyone, exemption from misfortune. He does not.
-Inexplicable (by us) tragedy might be a good reason to leave God if He promised to prevent all such tragedies from happening. He does not.
-Hard events befalling believers of which no sense can immediately be made, and in which no good can immediately be seen, might be a good reason to leave God if He promised that such would never happen. He does not.