Saturday, August 27, 2011

Defining Fundamentalism


Fundamentalism-
Defining and an Explanation of This Word

First let us define fundamental and then proceed to add different suffixes and move on to adding different contexts.  After we fully explore the definition, different suffixes, and different contexts for the word fundamental, we will proceed to give a rebuttal to those who use this word outside of its definition to fit their own context.

Fundamental as defined by the Webster Dictionary by looking at fundament (which is an unused word) which means “foundation”.  Now moving on to fundamental we see that the definition along with the word evolves to “A leading or primary principle, rule, law or article, which serves as the ground work of a system; essential part.”  Now let us add some different suffixes to the word and see how the definition evolves, fundamentally: “Primarily; originally; essentially; at the foundation.”  By adding the suffix “ist” (dealer or doer) we turn Fundamental into fundamentalist and get the definition: A person who deals with or does the fundamentals.  My last suffix to add is “ism” (doctrine or belief) and this adds to our definition “belief or doctrinal fundamentals.”

Now, let us create context for fundamentalism and fundamentalist; there are many forms of fundamentalism/ists but I want to deal primarily with Christian fundamentalism today.  Therefore the context of this discussion on fundamentalism will be Christian fundamentalism.  Before discussing Christian fundamentalism and the fundamentalist let us discuss what happens when we add Christianity to the context of fundamentalism/ist.  Christian fundamentalism is the doctrines that are the primary principles or fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion. 

As we see in the above paragraph, Christian fundamentalism deals with the fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion.  I am going to continue by categorically explaining the Christian fundamentals and then look at what is not Christian fundamentalism.  The categories will be: Theology (General and Proper) and Christian Living/Application.

The first fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion is doctrines of Scripture.  The doctrines of Scripture lay a foundation of certainty concerning all the other fundamental doctrines.  Scripture is God breathed and did not originate from the minds of men (2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:20).  Also, God’s Word is authoritative and builds our faith (2 Timothy 3:16 and Romans 10:17).  From the fundamental Christian doctrines on Scripture we can trust Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura) for the rest of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion.

Relying on our doctrines of Scripture lets go explore some fundamental doctrines concerning God (Theology Proper).  God is self-existent and created all things, there are three main terms we use to describe Him: Omnipresent, Omniscient, and omnipotent.  Omnipresent refers to God’s existence being infinite, He exists in all places and times (Jeremiah 23:23-24).  His Omniscient attribute describes His knowledge which is not bound by anything but is infinite and perfect, He exhaustively knows all things without any limit by time.  In other words, before God created the universe He knew every little thing that has is and will happen (Isaiah 46:9-10 and 1 John 3:19-20).  God is omnipotent, basically all-powerful.  There is not much of a need to describe this one, it is self descriptive (Mathew 19:26).  Some of the more specific attributes of God are love, just, righteous, holy, perfect, orderly, sovereign, benevolent, glorious, and many others.  A more complex fundamental truth is that exists as a triune Godhead.  The doctrine of the Trinity is both simple yet complex and beyond full comprehension, God exists both ontologically and economically triune.  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each fully God and independently existent yet fully and perfectly in united.  Ontologically triune means that each person is a real, unique, and a different individual while economically triune explains that each individual interacts with the creation differently.  Contrary to the fundamental doctrine of the Trinity the Modalist (for instance The United Pentecostal Church, T.D. Jakes, et cetra) can accept the economical Trinity but reject the Trinity ontologically.  This means that they believe that God manifests Himself Triunely as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but these are mere descriptions of one being (Jesus) and not three individual beings.

Now let us look at man’s nature, Adam was made perfect but through his fall in the Garden of Eden all mankind is born into the bondage of sin with a corrupt will and ultimately eternal condemnation.  Within Scripture we find the fundamental doctrine of Total Depravity/Inability which simplified means that we are born as corrupt and evil as possibly can be.  We are unable to please God or do anything that is considered good.  This probably leaves you thinking I am a lunatic or out of line but please allow me to finish, God is benevolent and loving and thus the Holy Spirit instills godly morality in all men saving us from our own vileness.  We call this the doctrine of Common Grace.  This brings to the discussion man’s will, the unregenerate man cannot choose to do anything that is good by his own power, it is not within his capacity to do so.  In contrast, the regenerate man can not only choose to do good but by his new nature desires to do good and to walk in the good works Jesus prepared for him.

Let us break this discussion to look at how a perfect God must react to sinful man to maintain His perfect nature.  This will show how these fundamentals work together and build doctrines. 

As stated above, God is holy, righteous, and just thus to remain perfect He must punish us for our vileness.  God is also benevolent and loving and thus in His love Jesus came to redeem mankind through His sacrifice on the Cross.

The nature of the atonement is the fundamental of fundamentals!  The atonement doctrines are everything to the Christian Religion, and must be adhered to with the utmost strictness.  Let us now discuss this most important fundamental doctrine, the atonement.  Jesus Christ came and lived a perfect life with the intention of making the perfect sacrifice for all of mankind who would be set free from the bondage of sin through faith (Sola Fide) in Jesus Christ (Sola Christus), by God’s Prevenient Grace (Sola Gratia), and for His Glory (Sola Deo Gloria).  Jesus on the cross consumed our sins and God’s wrath.  He was our propitiation and by this we are justified, imputed with Christ’s righteousness, regenerated, and start our walk of sanctification.

The Church and the local fellowship of believers is definitely a fundamental of the Christian Religion.  The Church is the whole body of Christ where every believer has his part and role.  The roles of individual believers are usually practiced in the local assembly of believers often called Church.  The Scriptures are clear that we are to consistently come together and in the early Church we see what was commonly practice, Justin Martyr described the meetings as follows.  (paraphrased) “We begin our meetings on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) with the singing of hymns and then an elder or speaker will read from the Holy Word, usually a Gospel or one of the Apostle Paul’s epistles.  The speaker will then expound from what was read concerning how we should conduct ourselves.”  With nearly two thousand years we seem to have nearly the same liturgical style.

In brief, I will cover the last theological fundamental doctrines of eschatology.  First let us look at death, when we die we will meet our God and be judged.  The righteous repentant will go to Heaven and the rebellious God haters to Hell.  Concerning Jesus return, Millennialism, Dispensationalism, Amillennialism, and belief in a rapture are not fundamentals but believing that Christ will return.

Now let us move on to the fundamental that are concerned with living in this World.  They are and will be discussed in this order: The Seven E’s- Exalt, Equate, Evolve, Evangelize, Edify, Encourage, and Endure. Also covered will be the necessity to walk in the Spirit.  I am going to explain The Seven E’s rather quickly and simply, with Scriptural quotation.

Exalt God
"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-5)


Equate Yourself with Humanity
"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
(Matthew 5:43-44)

For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
(Galatians 5:14)


Evolve (Sanctification)
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
(Hebrews 13:21)


Evangelize the Lost
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
(Matthew 28:18-20)


Edify the Brethren
What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
(1 Corinthians 14:26)

So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.
(1 Corinthians 14:12)

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME." For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,
(Romans 15:1-5)


Encourage the Brethren
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
(Hebrews 3:13)


Endure to the End
If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
(2 Timothy 2:12)

Now let us move onto walking in the Spirit which is really how we accomplish The Five E’s and much more!  By walking in the Spirit we continue our sanctification, kill our flesh, and walk in the good works that the Lord has prepared for us beforehand.  The Apostle Paul wrote so much on Walking in the Spirit and much of Romans 8 is dedicated to this.  Romans 8, Colossians 2 and 3, and Galatians 5 all give us a great understanding of walking in the Spirit.  The simplest explanation is that walking in the Spirit is basically adhering to the sound teachings of Scripture concerning our conduct on Earth, putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and doing all this in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Many try to erroneously define walking in the Spirit as some kind of super spiritual esoteric privilege.  This is a dangerous position to hold and have heard many proponents of this position falsely believe that they do not need the Bible or Christian fellowship because they have this relationship with God where they are led by the Spirit and thus Scripture is irrelevant and so is Christian fellowship.

Having covered what I believe to be the most basic Christian fundamentals let us examine some groups that are falsely considered Christian fundamentalist but are nothing of the sort. 

First, we will look at the Westboro Baptist Church who has become famous for picketing the funerals of soldiers who died.  They tote signs that read “God hates America” and “God hates fags” this group twists Scripture so badly that they believe that they are justified in they own hatred towards who they deem “the non-elect” and go so far as to say it is sinful to even pray for who they deem to be non-elect.  They violate a lot of Scripture, there is no gentleness or peacefulness in their teachings as Scripture commands that we address the non-believers in a spirit of gentleness and that we live in peace with others.  The Apostle Paul also clearly states that we have no business judging those outside the Church.

T.D. Jakes and the United Pentecostal Church reject the Trinity as I already stated. 

Lastly, the Word Faith Movement and their views on prosperity and “healing in the Atonement” only cause discouragement and doubt in the faithful who fall for their heresies.  They are far from fundamental but all too often get labeled as such.  Their doctrines on prosperity and “healing in the Atonement” truly take away from the greatest miracle, God resurrecting the spiritually dead and justifying the lost.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Antinomianism and the True Gospel

I was listening to a Christian radio station; a very well known and popular preacher was talking about the Gospel versus legalism.  He stated that he was teaching from Galatians but not much Scripture was actually preached. 

At first it seemed to be a good message, the first quote I wrote down sounded quite nice, “Man has an incurable desire to replace the wonderful grace of God with some rules and regulations.”  I thought that was a great introduction to Galatians.  The message began to degrade considerably with the preacher quoting Jerry Bridges, “My observation of Christendom is that most of us tend to base our relationship with God on our performance, instead of His Grace.  In this sense we live by works rather than grace, we are saved by grace but are living by the sweat of our own performance.”  He added, “This is why the Church is failing.” 

I was astounded by his tone and what he was implying!  I will give one more quote that the preacher used before digging into the implications of this teacher’s message.  “More often than not what is proclaimed as Gospel is just another challenge to do better, try harder, pray longer, be more committed, stop sinning, love harder, be good, and be happy.  No wonder the Church has failed to connect with so many people out there, the hurting masses are seeking a cure for their ills and solutions for their problems, and too often the Church has just given them more expectations to fulfill, more rules to keep, more activities to maintain, more work to do and the result has been a trail of disillusionment and discouragement.” ~Dudely Hall

The preacher went on, comparing the Judaizers of Paul’s day to Churches that preach holiness and the need to be dedicated.  He gave in brief his view of the Gospel: Christ died, He was buried and rose again, His death was a propitiation for the sins of the world, and whoever puts their trust in the cross will become a new creation.  I agree with this assessment of the Gospel, but the preacher erred to leave it so overly simplified and within the context that he so beguilingly built.

His message was crafted very well; by using widely accepted terminology and vague terms the rebuttal seems less orthodox than his message.  Most of his terminology is sound but the context that twists the terms turns them into nothing less than antinomianistic theology.  Antinomianism “comes from the Greek anti, against, and nomos, law.  It is the unbiblical practice of living without regard to the righteousness of God, using God's grace as a license to sin, and trusting grace to cleanse of sin.  In other words, since grace is infinite and we are saved by grace, then we can sin all we want and still be saved.” (http://carm.org/dictionary-antinomianism)

As you may notice, even the preacher sees regeneration as a part of the Gospel.  However, regenerations role in his theology seems to allow a person to live as they please rather than live by God’s Spirit.  It seems to me that this man has twisted the meaning for Christian liberty and freedom, concerned more about what the “hurting masses” want rather than what is needed.  “The hurting masses are seeking a cure for their ills and solutions for their problems.”  Take note of the plural, cure and solution for their ILLS and PROBLEMS and the term “hurting masses”, I believe that this teacher has lost sight of the true problem (ß not plural) absolute spiritual death. 

Not just this preacher but many Churches have turned the Gospel into Antinomianism in the name of legalism.  They have replaced regeneration with false affirmations and true assurance with vain faith.  These false teachers have made a social service out of their churches, they may have a very loving and authentic community, counselors, Christian principles, good doctrine (on paper but not practice), great entertainment (falsely called worship), and secular solutions for the pains of the masses, but what they lack is very serious-the only solution for the spiritually dead! 

The dead masses do not need a hand or an encouraging word, they need Jesus and Him crucified.  They need the true Gospel, which starts with the fully dead and depraved world, the crucified and raised Lord who is our propitiation, authentic regeneration, and sanctification.  Jesus came to free the sin slave dead, the freed man is not free to sin but from the bondage of sin, the regenerate are turned from their wickedness to God and seek Him by nature (ß New Nature).

The preacher accuses the modern Church of attaching rules and regulations to the Gospel; I accuse the preacher of detaching true regeneration and attaching antinomianism to the Gospel.  Do not be fooled my brothers and sisters, do not let your ears be tickled by a different Gospel, do not given into the temptation to believe that it is okay to live as you please.  Remember the words of our savior, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25 ESV) And the God inspired words of Paul, “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:12-15 NASB

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Sinner's Prayer or Discipleship

The Sinner’s Prayer or Discipleship?


In a country where 73% of the population professes faith in Christ and say they have been born again; I ask, is the "Sinner’s Prayer" more detrimental than good? Vaccines are great but can create antibiotic resistant bacteria; can the sinner’s prayer do the same and produce Holy Spirit resistant false converts?

It is true that Romans 10:9 says “That if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you are saved.”  But what does it mean to “believe in your heart”?  When we look at this Scripture and the verses around it we see that mere oral profession is nothing in light to the belief in the heart, so how does somebody believe in their heart? 

First we must understand the nature of man prior any belief in the heart.  We are born sinful (Ps 51:5; Ro 5:12, 19), we continue in our sins (Ro 3:23), and ultimately that sin leads to eternal damnation (Ro 6:23).  Our previous nature was corrupt and fully depraved, (Eph 4:20; Titus 1:15-16) we were lost and hopeless in our sins.  In this hopelessness, can man find within himself any saving faith and would man even want to be saved apart from the Holy Spirit guiding him into truth and convicting him (ßGrace; John 16:8, 13-15)?  No, nobody has the understanding within to know the vileness that consumes them.

Jesus told His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit to convict the world and lead men into the truth and that is prevenient grace.  Now what happens when the Holy Spirit wants to lead a person into a true relationship with God, but that person resists this grace believing that he is already saved?  The Sinner’s Prayer capitalizes on false conversions, fleshly confessions of faith without any true belief in the heart!  73% of the U.S. professing faith in Christ is proof enough that profession is absolutely meaningless without true faith.  True faith produces true regeneration and life in Christ (Eph 4:20-25; Ro 12:1-2; Titus 3:5) while heartless profession of dead faith begets hardness of heart.  The big problem is that the hardened heart is inside of a man that believes himself to be saved and born again, and thus resistant to the Grace that leads him to true faith. 

True belief in heart is produced when a person does not resist the leading of the Holy Spirit and faith blooms from the inward work of God (ß That is grace; 2 Co 7:9-11).  We know that true faith immediately begets regeneration and in turn a regenerated man will produce the Fruits of the Spirit, do the Will of God, produce good works, and have the Holy Spirit within (Ga 5:22-23; Matt 7:21; Ja 2:17; Ro 8:6-16).  These things are not only an assurance of our own salvation but how we test others; Jesus Himself tells us that we will know false converts and deceivers by their fruits.

Words (Sinner’s Prayer) cannot replace true faith; people must become Disciples of Christ not confirmed as Christians because they say that they are saved.  This is not a complex issue; the heart is exceedingly deceitful and so is our enemy the Devil.  If profession is not followed by true regeneration, repentance, and discipleship the profession was false and could very possible lead to dangerous grounds.  The falsely converted man will resist the True God stronger than the most astute Atheist.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Help God Help You

Help God Help You
The Ordo Salutis

Matthew 7:21 if by itself clearly states that salvation is conditional on obedience to God’s will, even within its context if not looked at through other Scriptures Jesus is teaching that obedience is necessary to salvation.  The point that Jesus is making is that we must pass judgment on both teachers and other Christians.  This is painfully obvious in the statement that is the previous verse, “you will know them by their fruits.” 

Now we must get the correct information to understand salvation and works, for at this point it would seem that I am trying to prove that salvation is based on works.  However, Ephesians 2:8-9 states that we are saved by faith that is a gift from God and it is not of works.  So then, we have to find reconciliation for these two passages and for confusions sake I will add James 2:17 to the conversation, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.  So both Matthew 7:21 and James 2:17 states that our salvation is based on works.  Either we have had it wrong all this time or there something missing.  I would contend that there are some key Scriptures missing from this conversation, John 3:5 “unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  There is the context for Matthew 7:21 and James 2:17, the rebirth- New Creation- transformation- regeneration; and now we have a clear picture of what is being stated, it is not salvation by works but works by salvation. 

This is very simple, the depraved man from birth is sinful and unable to attain saving faith, as stated in Ephesians 2:8-9.  Without becoming a Calvinist how do we understand that faith is required and given by God but that He both died for the entire world (John 3:16) and desires all to be saved (2 Peter 3:9)?  The Calvinist would teach an irresistible and effectual (ßproducing the intended result) calling (Grace) to a limited amount of people chosen by God.  While the Arminian teaches Prevenient Grace, prevenient means preceding in time or order.

Now this prevenient or preceding grace precedes what?  It would be hard for me to explain this without first covering the Arminian Ordo Salutis, which means the logical order of redemption benefits.  So the Arminian order goes like this:

Prevenient GraceàFaithàSalvationàRegenerationàContinued SanctificationàGlorification

The Calvinist would state that regeneration is the preceding grace that causes us to be able to have faith and then salvation.  So prevenient grace precedes faith, but what is prevenient grace?  I have defined prevenient so a definition of grace should logically follow, Grace: A divinely given talent or blessing.  A preceding blessing from God which accomplishes much, John 6:44 illustrates for us the drawing of unregenerate sinners to God and Titus 2:11 shows us that prevenient grace is given to all- it is universal.  John 16:8 gives us more proof of the universalness of prevenient grace and that a part of prevenient grace is the Holy Spirit convicting all men of sin, which is why there is universal morals.  Now this grace prepares hearts for the hearing of the Gospel and causes God’s Word to become alive in the hearts of people. As we know that faith comes through hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).  If it were not for God giving us this grace every unregenerate sinner would be the absolutely worse they could be, making Hitler look like a saint, and salvation would not be possible unless God first regenerated men and then saved them by force. 

A common accusation thrown at Arminians is that they are Semi-Pelagian to get an idea of what Semi-Pelagian is I suppose that we will need to look at what Pelagianism is.  Pelagius an early 5th century theologian is believed to teach that man’s will was not completely corrupted by the Fall and could freely choose to be saved without any divine intervention.  Pelagius is then accused of denying the doctrine of Total Depravity.  Thus Semi-Pelagianism would have to be at least partly Pelagian or not Pelagian at all.  Arminius and the Remonstrants fully adhered to Total Depravity and the needed grace of God (Prevenient grace) to have faith.  Pelagius is accused of making God passive in our salvation but Arminianism teaches that God is very active.  It is God’s free gift of grace that gives us the ability to put our trust (believe in, have faith in) Jesus, what leads to faith is purely monergistic (God’s work alone) but salvation takes both faith on our part and God drawing us to Him.  Faith is a choice, but more than a choice.  You see, faith comes by hearing the Word of God, which is only possible because God first gave grace freely.

Now that I feel that I have been faithful in explaining the doctrines of grace I can move on to how salvation produces works.  Regeneration is the new birth.  ß short sentence ehh?  The doctrine of the new creation seems to be almost lost in our day and age, it is seldom that I hear that word in conversations or many of the teachings I subscribe to.  Sometimes we hear phrases that are synonymous with regeneration but rarely do I hear them applied properly.  The mortification of the flesh and walking in the Spirit are directly caused by regeneration, the fruits of the Spirit will be produced by the regenerate man.  When a man’s nature is completely and miraculously changed by God, he desires to do what is pleasing to God.  This is why God through the Apostle James can say that faith without works is dead and Jesus can say plainly that only those who do the will of my Father will enter Heaven.  My screensaver has three Scriptures that change every ten seconds, they are Matthew 7:21, Matthew 10:28, and Romans 12:2.  These three Scriptures keep me keep me grounded and in understanding of truth: I have been transformed thus I will do God’s Will even if it brings temporal pain from any form of persecution.  I fear God and not man, Saul the first king of Israel was rebellious and he lost everything, I do not want to rebel against my King and I do not want to suffer the fires that await those who rebel against the King of kings.  As Arminius, I am not fully decided on eternal security but I do lean more towards the possibility of being able to give up salvation.  Therefore it is important to have assurance of our salvation.

There are many articles out there that claim belief alone is our assurance of salvation but how does this view sit with Scriptures like Matthew 7:21, James 2:17, and Romans 8:13-14?  Not well it would obviously seem, Jesus taught that we must do the will of His Father, James taught that our faith must be accompanied by works, and Paul teaches that we must walk in the Spirit.  Romans 8:16 gives yet another assurance, which is the Holy Spirit living within us and testifying that we are children of God.  The assurance of our salvation stems from proof of regeneration and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit sanctifying us day by day.  The regeneration of a sinner is one that is sudden and immediately proceeds faith in Christ, this regeneration makes new the heart- that is the soul of men.  New life in Christ is very complex in nature, Total Depravity is a thing of the past for the born again follower of God’s Holy Spirit.  This belief that the one true assurance of our salvation is a statement of faith is counterintuitive to the Gospel and all the Scripture.  Salvation produces a new creature and there are certain fruits and principles that must follow, they must follow because it is only natural that a good tree bears good fruit.  As already stated, doing the will of God, works, sanctification (the continuing work to make us sacred and holy), walking in the Spirit, and faith is our assurance of salvation, for “faith alone is dead if by itself.” (James 2:17)  Not salvation through works but works because of salvation.

If prevenient grace is effectual in your life and produces faith to receive Jesus Christ, and you are born again (anew) you should maintain, that is hold tightly to your salvation and never give yourself over to unbelief of the One who was crucified in your place.  Embrace your sanctification and obey your Heavenly Father, love your neighbor as yourself and the LORD your God with all you have.  Help God help you by studying His word for within His word is life!  By studying His word we gain resources that are locked up in our hearts and resources that God will use to convict you, do not be afraid of His conviction because His conviction when obeyed is effectual in your sanctification and leads to the last part of our Ordo Salutis- Glorification.  

Thursday, June 2, 2011

REPENT

Repent: To think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction)

Compunction: A pricking of heart; poignant grief or remorse proceeding from a consciousness of guilt; the pain of sorrow or regret for having offended God, and incurred his wrath; the sting of conscience proceeding from a conviction of having violated a moral duty.

Repent holds both the pain of disobeying the all loving and all powerful Just God of all, and then turning away from what caused that pain.

I can think of two examples of this, first we have a good buddy of mine. Josh was a meth addict who loved the needle and cooking, God brought Josh to his knees and showed him the err of his ways. Josh felt such an immense pain and regret for the way he had lived his life that he took that second part of repentance. He turned away from meth and turned to the tender mercies of God, thus through the power of Christ's sacrifice Josh became a new man (literally, true salvation carries with it the new birth). Second would be a person already walking with God, he disobeys the law of God and immediately feels the conviction from the Holy Spirit. Filled with the first fruits of repentance (the pain of dishonoring God), he turns from that sin yearning for strength and guidance from a graceful and loving Father.

Darned Dispensationalist...

1 John 2:15-18
(15)  Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
(16)  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
(17)  The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
 (18)  Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.

Wouldn't it be nice to be a dispensationalist and say that books and epistles such as Johns epistles are meant for a future age, and  the Gospels were written for a past age?  Basically all we have to draw doctrine from are Paul's epistles and revelations although.  If Hebrew was written by Paul it would not count for it to is meant for a future generation according to the Dispensationalist.  But I am not a dispensationalist, so when 2 Timothy says that All Scripture is good for doctrine I actually believe it!  

Since 1 John 2:15-18 is Scripture and thus good for doctrine and has many implications for our lives.  "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."  It is reasonable to draw the conclusion that there is no such thing as a worldly Christian, no dual citizenship, the Kingdom of God has no allies but only enemies.  So then would it be a true statement that if a man was preoccupied with the things of this life while claiming to be Christ's is a liar and not born agian?  I would have to say yes, that to not crucify this life and live by the Spirit dedicated to living as a new creature fully owned by God.

Free Will and Total Depravity

The free will that fallen man has is not truly free, unregenerate man lives a life enslaved to sin, death, and Satan. a slave does not have free will, although in some areas a slave may be free to make decisions, he does not have free will. I am an Arminian, but lean towards Classical Arminianism which fully accepts total depravity. Fallen man cannot do anything that leads to salvation, fallen man cannot make a choice to be saved.

Billy Birch, a gentleman and a scholar states,

"This fact is supported by various scriptures, notably, a “corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit” (Matt. 12:18); we that are evil, how can we speak good things? (Matt. 12:34); we cannot come to Christ Jesus except when drawn by the Father (John 6:44); the unregenerate mind is not subject to the law of God, nor has it the innate ability to do so (Rom. 8:7); and we have no innate interest into spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:6-14): “To the same purpose are all those passages in which the man existing in this state is said to be under the power of sin and Satan, reduced to the condition of a slave, and ‘taken captive by the Devil’ (Rom. 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:26).”'

It is only by the Holy Spirit that men are freed and led to salvation