Thursday, April 29, 2010

Theology Part 3

Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses both believe Jesus to be Michael, the archangel. A peculiar Watchtower doctrine states that He was the greatest of God's creations, directly created by Jehovah and then used to create all else. Yet Scripture states that Michael was not unique. In Daniel 10:13 we read: “Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me.” Michael is merely one of a number of archangels, it would seem; this number may include Gabriel who is also mentioned in Daniel. Nor would Jesus claiming to be an angel bother the Jews; angels were part and parcel to their orthodoxy. When Paul was on trial before the Sanhedrin the Pharisees wanted to release him, thinking an angel had given him divine knowledge, Acts 23:9. Why not? Daniel and other prophets were frequented by angels numerous times. Yet the Jews wanted to kill Jesus; not for claiming He was an angel, but for claiming that He was God, John 10:33. As mentioned just prior, Jesus was worshiped by certain Jews. Yet the prohibition in the Mosaic Law was clear: worship of any being other than God Himself would merit the death penalty, Exodus 20:3-6. Later Paul would warn against worship of angels as a false religion, Colossians 2:18. He states in verse 19 that when we let go of the Head (Christ), we become vulnerable to idolatry, and worship created things. Such people exchange the truth of God for the lie (Satan's lie), worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator, Romans 1:25. We must then conclude that these Jews (including the original Apostles; see Matthew 28:17 and Luke 24:52) were idolaters worthy of death, or they recognized that Christ was in fact God in the flesh, and worthy of worship. The holy angels abhorred the thought of being worshiped, such as when John attempted to worship an angel, Revelation 19:10. Both Peter (Acts 10:25-26) and Paul (Acts 14:11-14) adamantly refused worship. What should we think of Jesus, who never blushed or felt shame for being worshiped? The Son is greater than the angels—Hebrews 1:4—because angels are ministering spirits, Hebrews 1:14; while Jesus is the Creator of all things, Hebrews 3:3-4.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The True God and Eternal Life, Part 5

Heaven is an eternal, literal place of bliss for anyone who is in Christ. Jesus told the apostles before He was crucified, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also,” John 14:2-3. In Jesus’ great priestly prayer He prayed the Father, “I do not pray for these alone (the apostles), but also for those who will believe in Me through their word (all Christians through all time)…and the glory You have given Me I have given them…Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world,” John 17:20, 22, 24.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hell? Yes

I will not form the habit of replying to commentary left on my Blog, but Mr. Rick Lannoye addressed a doctrinal issue that must be answered to. His comment is under “The True God and Eternal Life, Part 4” if anyone wishes to read it. I present my rebuttal on the matter.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The True God and Eternal Life, Part 4

In Philippians 2:12 Paul says, “therefore my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Since Paul’s message was always salvation by grace apart from any works, what is he referring to? Sin’s power in a Christian’s life is still very real, since no good thing is in our flesh (see Romans 7:18). Our daily dependence on the Lord, via the power and presence of His Holy Spirit, grants us the victory over sin’s struggle to have its way in us. When Paul says, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” he isn’t meaning we aren’t saved, or we have to work to maintain our salvation. The next verse states, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure,” (verse 13). Here is God the Holy Spirit dwelling within the believer as His temple, just as the apostle stated. What work then is God performing in us, that we should tremble that it occurs? Titus 2:11-12 states, “For the grace of God has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should liver soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” Sanctification is accomplished by our submission to the will of the Lord through His indwelling Holy Spirit. Paul also adds that Christ’s soon return should prompt a believer to want to live a godly life, and be found watching for his Master’s return, Titus 2:13; see also Matthew 24:42.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Signs and Wonders

I would like to take a moment to address the topic of spiritual gifts, especially as they relate to the concept of “spiritual revival.” The idea of a revival is to create or instill a resurgence of vigor into the lifeblood of the church; to renew man’s interest and worship of a holy God. It is to bring to mind our need of the salvation offered through Jesus Christ, His sufficient payment that was made for us at the cross, and the longsuffering of God when dealing with sinful men who constantly reject God’s will for them in their lives. A genuine revival should entail the preaching of the gospel in no uncertain terms, and utterly unadulterated. A revival should stir the blood of every born again believer to remember that we have been cleansed from our old sins and raised to newness of life; we are citizens of Heaven, and as such we should walk circumspectly on this earth, endeavoring on our part to fulfill the Great Commission that our Lord gave us. A revival should accentuate the unity of the Christian church without compromising the truth which is its very cornerstone: that Christ alone is our Savior; that He vouchsafed eternal life for those who believe, and that He dispenses this salvation to whomever He wills by virtue of the convicting and convincing power of God the Holy Spirit. Compromise of doctrinal foundations and truths for the sake of unity must be spurned, because God’s holiness is in all truth, and if we desire the authority and working of the Holy Spirit to enliven and empower our preaching, then we must present the gospel as God intended it to be heard, and leave the reaction of those who hear the word preached to God. He saves fallen men; not us.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Theology Part 2

Before exploring many of the teachings in the New Testament concerning Jesus, I would first like to examine numerous passages in the Old Testament that speak both of God's role as our only Savior, and the prophecies of the Messiah that not only testified of His humanity, but of His eternal deity as God the Son.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The True God and Eternal Life, Part 3

Suggesting human works as being plausible to attain or maintain salvation, places us firmly back in law/works, which the Bible forbids. Following the Ten Commandments was Israel’s attempt to attain their own righteousness, if you will. Yet what does God say? “What purpose does the Law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed (Jesus) should come to whom the promise (of the inheritance) was made…for if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the Law. But Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those that believe…Therefore the Law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith,” Galatians 3:19, 21-22, 24. The Law was given to show us the nature of sin, and our inability to save ourselves; instead abandoning this futile hope and casting our faith and trust in God our Savior. The Law was a mirror which revealed how sinful we were; it could do nothing but condemn. Paul is clear that the Law could not save us or sustain us. Present day efforts to work for salvation are law/works. To teach otherwise is to sin against God, who freely pardons those who trust in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation. It is rank unbelief.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The True God and Eternal Life, Part 2

One may question, “If you cease to believe, does that not disqualify you from eternal life?” It is a valid question, and one that the Bible does not fail to answer in simple terms. Romans 11:29 states, “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” Eternal life is God’s gift to us, and He will never rescind it. Our security in Christ is not measured by our faithfulness, but His, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith (or faithfulness) of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me," Galatians 2:20. This only makes Scriptural sense if one takes into account that Jesus is our life (Colossians 3:4) as well as the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). We are kept only and entirely by God, 1st Peter 1:5. If you have placed your faith in Jesus alone as Savior, then you are eternally saved, even if you should at some time fall into sin. Why is that? “If we are faithless (or unfaithful), He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself,” 2nd Timothy 2:13. He has given us the Holy Spirit as a seal and a pledge for the day of redemption. We are purchased property, as Scripture plainly declares: we are bought with a price, and we are temples for God the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us (see 1st Corinthians 3:16; 6:19, 20; Romans 8:9). David is inspired to write, “Though [a good man] fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His right hand,” Psalm 37:24. The terms eternal and everlasting would be misleading to say the very least if we could forfeit our salvation. It would nullify the entire idea of the comfort God wishes to bestow upon us. John writes, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and the Lamb!” Revelation 7:10. Clearly salvation’s work is entirely God’s doing, from beginning to end.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The True God and Eternal Life

Revised from 7/12/09 “Deceiving and Being Deceived.”
Greetings,This letter is addressed to those of opposing faiths, who reverence Jesus Christ, but have sadly and profoundly strayed in doctrine, stepping into gross error about the Person of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This letter is written out of love for such people, oft-times honest, diligent, earnest seekers of truth and salvation. I pray the Holy Spirit will bring the light of convicting truth about our blessed Savior, His mission and ministry into clarity for everyone's sake. I encourage you to be a Berean, and to search the Scriptures for the truth. Hell is no place for you, or me, or anyone, not while there is an open door through the mercy of our Father, by the blood of Jesus Christ! Find the narrow gate, and the road which leads to life, which is Christ alone.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Theology

Someone once noted, “A savior that is less than God is a savior incapable of saving.” It is understating the matter to say that if our Lord Jesus was not God incarnate He was unqualified to be savior of the world. Only God has the power, the capacity to save. Did God create the Son and send Him on the Father's behalf to redeem us? Could a finite being, no matter how powerful, redeem every person throughout all of time? And what of the numerous passages in the Old Testament where God reminds Israel (and through them all of mankind) that He alone is Savior, and beside Him there is no other? Did He change His mind, or was He mistaken? Was God unwilling to come to this earth and do what He promised in Scripture? If God did not come through the incarnation to partake of human misery and redeem us from our own sins personally, then we must conclude that He delegated another to do this for Him, who vicariously accomplished the task. In essence, God is still unknowable and remote, never having entered our world, and apparently desirous not to.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

God, Free-Will, and Sin Part 2

God was not caught unaware by sin's development in our first parents. He was not shocked. The Bible plainly states that God made provision for our rebellion and sin by erecting the cross of Jesus Christ before the world was formed, Revelation 13:8; Titus 1:2; Ephesians 1:4. God selected the Jews as a people through Abraham because He needed a people by whom Christ would come according to the flesh, Romans 9:5. He placed the Roman Empire as the head of the known world so that when the time came, Jesus would die the death that had been predicted for Him, John 12:32-33; Deuteronomy 21:23. If evil exists, why has God done nothing about it? The very real fact is that He has. He came in the person of Christ to abolish sin and death, and bring life and immortality through the gospel. The sins of the Old Testament saints were overlooked before the cross, because God looked ahead to the consummation of His payment for their sins, Romans 3:25. The sins of New Testament saints are forgiven in Christ, who is our satisfactory payment, and already suffered the punishment our sins deserve, 1st John 2:2. Christ is the solution for a hurting world, but the world at large rejects the solution God offers and strives for its own, all the while being very liberal in their blame of God for the reality of evil in this world. This is a hypocritical stance, and a poor method to resolve the reality of evil and suffering. Instead of accepting God's explanation for our current state we dismiss Him as though He does not exist. But now the atheist has no moral grounds to stand on. Without the reality of God, good and evil fall completely into the realm of subjectivity. There is no authority to set standards with which to measure either. God was the ground for absolute moral truth; without Him we can have opinions about what we prefer, but we cannot declare anything “good” or “evil” any longer. What is good to someone is evil to another, so now we are reduced to personal preference. If it works for you, do it: the ultimate pragmatic philosophy. But don't do it if it is detrimental to me, because I wouldn't like it!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

God, Free-Will, and Sin

Why this world? Why is there evil? Why do the wicked prosper?

These questions and more abound in the modern mind and in the minds of men since time immemorial. One of the simplest, most fundamental questions that can be asked deals with the idea of the reality we live out day by day. If God—that is, the Judeo-Christian God—exists, why too does evil exist? Why is there a physical and spiritual hardship across the globe, even among those who claim to be children of God? This Post is not meant to be an exhaustive treatment on the topic of evil; far from it. I merely wish to convey to the reader something to contemplate when hardship arises, and we look for answers. For more biblical study I would suggest Psalm 73, the Book of Job, Habakkuk, and Ecclesiastes. Though Ecclesiastes does not deal with the exact question, Solomon explores the idea of “life under the sun” and how pointless such a life is.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Genesis Chapter Five

5:1 the book of the generations of AdamThere are proponents who suggest that Genesis was transcribed by numerous ancient authors, beginning here with Adam. Though Moses wrote the book of Genesis, this theory suggests that he merely compiled the books of the various genealogies, having received them from his kinsmen, the Jews. The outcome then was the complete book of Genesis as recorded by its various authors as they lived through the passages described. Accordingly, proponents for this theory point out that Moses is never directly attributed as the author of Genesis in the New Testament. The second theory is divine revelation; that God on Mount Sinai revealed to His servant Moses not only the four books of the Law, but the foundation those books rested on with this book of beginnings. While the idea of numerous genealogies passed down from antiquity is possible, the passages that state, “the generations of” may merely draw the reader’s attention to the fact that the people spoken of in Genesis’s narrative are transitioning.
All Scripture is taken from the King James Bible (KJV) or New King James Bible (NKJV). Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.