Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Question of Eternal Security, Part 6

Another objection I have encountered goes like so: God only seals obedient believers with the Holy Spirit. Also, He can be taken from a believer. I believe this teaching has surfaced due to a tragic and tangled misunderstanding of the Holy Spirit’s activity and function in the Old and New Testament. It is clear that the sealing of the Spirit began at Pentecost in Acts 2, and He has sealed the body of Christ since as part of the new covenant in Christ’s blood. The sealing of the Spirit was our guarantee, a promise of God’s fidelity that what He has begun, He will finish. Ephesians 1:13-14 tells us that having believed God (past tense) we were sealed; see also Ephesians 2:22. 2nd Corinthians 1:21-22 says, “He who has established us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” “Now He who prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee,” 2nd Corinthians 5:5.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Question of Eternal Security, Part 5

Biblical justification (salvation from sin’s penalty) occurs once; having been done it is finished. Sanctification is the ongoing process of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives as He conforms us into the image of God’s Son. Sanctification can be described as salvation from sin’s power in our daily lives, Philippians 2:12. This is not to be confused with salvation from sin’s presence, which no Christian will experience here on earth; that is glorification and will occur the instant we enter Heaven and are perfected by Christ, 1st John 3:2. John further urges believers that everyone who holds this hope would purify themselves (obey God’s command for holiness,) 1st John 3:3.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Question of Eternal Security, Part 4

This is where conversation generally becomes abrasive: we quote Scripture, but do not reason together whether we have a right understanding of Scripture. I don’t find a single place in the New Testament where Jesus simply quoted Scripture and ceased. He reasoned with His audience. So too did Peter in Acts 2 and 3, as well as Paul in Acts 17. It is a simple matter to step from sound doctrinal teaching to, “desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what [we] say nor the things which [we] affirm,” 1st Timothy 1:7. I am far from immune; if I stray in my doctrinal teaching then I expect (and I pray, welcome) needed correction from mature believers.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Question of Eternal Security, Part 3

The new covenant has a new Mediator, and was ratified not with animal blood, but with Christ’s blood. “Not with the blood of goats and calfs, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption,” Hebrews 9:12. Again, the past tense in the verse indicates that our positional salvation is secure; it does not hinge on our obedience through the Spirit, but by Christ’s obedience. “By one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous,” Romans 5:19. If all of our sins were not paid for by Christ (as conditional salvation must maintain), then the first time we sin after being born again we forfeit salvation. Why? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. “The soul who sins shall die,” Ezekiel 18:20. “You are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all,” James 2:9-10.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Question of Eternal Security, Part 2

Some biblical writers address the former sins we have been cleansed from, committing them in ignorance; other writers address the reality that believers have assurance that salvation is a permanent investment by our Lord. John writes that anyone sinning (after being saved) has an Advocate with the Father: Jesus Christ the righteous, 1st John 2:1-2. Though John presses the point that the new life imparted by the Holy Spirit should result in a radical transformation from the inside out, he concedes that sins will yet manifest in our outer man (the flesh); his goal was to remind and comfort Christians that sin will not separate a believer from his God so far as salvation is concerned. Does it cause severance from fellowship or usefulness? Yes, but not salvation. Christ’s ability to save and preserve His chosen is at stake, John 6:37-40. Verse 39 declares without stipulation: “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.” Paul also wrote, “[we are] eagerly waiting for the revelation of Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1st Corinthians 1:7-8.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Writer's Journey, Part 2

The last two years of my high-school career found me much in the computer room typing up copious notes for my new gaming world. By this time it was highly refined, filled with so many creatures, places and ideas birthed of my imagination that it had a life of its own. Truly it did consume me, though I would not have termed it so years ago. My junior year was part two of the vampire story for my Cloquet bound friend, and it was entitled Bloodlines: the Next Generation. I know, very classy and original. Well, it flopped a little. It was a B- at full credit, and the teacher critiqued the story, saying that it flowed too quickly and there were too many characters. I was crushed, and my ego was wounded. But never fear, in our senior year I bounced back with the conclusion that would launch a series of writings for me after school ended. It was called The Breaking of the Covenant. It was like no other story I had endeavored before, as I added in a little sensuality and a hero who was himself a vampire. I don’t know the particulars; but my friend told me he couldn’t return my story to me because the teacher had it published in some collection of stories somewhere. Apparently he liked it. If that was so, I was published! ...under my friend’s name, of course.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Writer's Journey

Where to begin? Please bear with me, dear reader, as I walk through details regarding my life in an effort to share with you how Andurun came to be and my inspiration for this labor of love. For anyone reading, the Canticles of Andurun is a fantasy series I am writing; book one of which will be published soon. I wanted to share with everyone the circumstances that molded my writing, and what it took for me to use such a gift for God's glory and not my own.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Question of Eternal Security

The endeavor of this particular Post is to address the erroneous teaching of “falling away” or “conditional salvation.” There is no possibility to make light of this doctrine. Either eternal security is correct and falling away is heresy, or falling away is correct and eternal security is heresy. This is a matter of the position of our salvation in Christ, and nothing short of a detailed, thorough examination of Scripture will suffice to find an answer. It is the Bible we seek our counsel from, and to that end we shall labor to avoid personal attacks. Having said this, let us press forward and see what we can learn concerning the doctrine of “falling away.” I hope to fully address the issue to the satisfaction of the reader.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The True God and Eternal Life, Part 9

Further contrasting law and grace Paul says that if a law could have imparted life to men, then righteousness would have been by the law, not grace; but if righteousness truly comes by the law, then Jesus died for nothing, Galatians 3:21; 2:21. Absorb the implications of this passage. If we can have any hand in salvation, then Jesus did not need to die at all. When Jesus was agonizing in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed the Father, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will,” Matthew 26:39. The Lord requested that if the salvation of mankind could be another way (than by Christ becoming sin for us) then let it pass from Him. But He knew there was no other way; we were powerless, ungodly, and dead in sins and trespasses.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The True God and Eternal Life, Part 8

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ made us free, and do not be entangled again in a yoke of bondage…every man who becomes circumcised…he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace,” Galatians 5:1, 3, 4. Here Paul contrasts salvation by works and grace. Are you justified by the works of the law? Or are you saved by faith in Christ alone? If you attempt the former then Christ is of no use to you. Your faith is in your efforts, not Jesus’ Person and finished work. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” Mark 2:17. These righteous were the self-righteous, who wanted to be justified by what they did for God, not by grace. The sick recognized their need of a Savior and clung to Jesus. Likewise Paul tells the church of Galatia that Christ died to make us free from thinking these perverse thoughts (that a man could contribute to his own salvation). Don’t be tangled in that yoke of bondage, was his inspired counsel.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Genesis Chapter Six, Part 2

6:8 Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.This is the first time in the Bible that the word “grace” is mentioned. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Was there something extraordinary about Noah? Not at all. Grace is the absolute unmerited favor of God which He gives to men of His own free will. Nothing we can say or do will ever make us worthy of grace, or compel God to look in our direction solely for our righteousness’s sake. All our righteousness are as filthy rags before a holy God, Isaiah 64:6. This is one reason why the doctrine of conditional salvation falls so shy of the mark. Grace is only found, NEVER earned! Ephesians 2:8-9 clarify this in some of the plainest wording in Scripture: “For by grace have you been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast.” Works do not enter the equation with either salvation’s conception or retention. Noah found grace, and was at that point a justified man before God. God’s plan of salvation has been the same from the beginning of time; there is no other method by which He brings sinful men and women before His presence, Ephesians 1:4.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The True God and Eternal Life, Part 7

The Pharisees asked a very reasonable question in their time: “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Mark 2:7. Yet Jesus could and did. All sin is against God, Psalm 51:4. Since we offend God by our sins, He alone must forgive. When you sin against someone, a neutral party cannot forgive you on their behalf. No, the offended party must forgive. Jesus forgives sins on earth because men have sinned against Him! The offended party offers forgiveness, or forgiveness is meaningless. Jesus promised that anyone who came unto Him for forgiveness of sin and eternal life would by no means be cast out, John 6:37. In fact, Jesus promised to give us rest, Matthew 11:28. This rest is free (His gift) and found in Him alone; our only work is to believe: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent,” John 6:29. The will of the Father is that anyone who believes in the Son of God would have everlasting life, John 6:40.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Genesis Chapter Six

6:1 when men began to multiply on the face of the earth
Chapter six begins with an overview or synopsis of man’s current state and numbers on the face of the earth. Chapter 4:16-22 and chapter 5 chronicle the growth of men on the face of the earth since the days of Cain and Abel. Some suggest hundreds of thousands might have been alive by this point; others suggest millions or even a population rivaling today’s world. If that is so, it might agree with our Lord’s words when He said, “But as the days of Noe (Noah) were, so shall the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered the ark. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be,” Matthew 24:37-39.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The True God and Eternal Life, Part 6

We need reconciliation; we need God’s mercy. We do not need to attempt to “be a good (fill in your religion’s name here.)” Then our faith is in ourselves and our works. The object of our faith is what makes said faith valuable. Faith in itself is nothing, unless it has an object worthy of resting upon. The very idea of faith, biblically speaking is humble trust, absolute reliance on the trustworthiness of the one who is the object of our faith. Being obedient does not create spirituality; rather, becoming a new creature through spiritual birth gives us the ability to be obedient!
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.