May 2011

Another excellent Grace Gem

The following is the content of yesterday’s grace gem sent out from gracegems.org. Please read it and consider what it says carefully
prone-to-wander2[4]
Prone to wander!

My people have wandered, and have forgotten their resting place.” Jeremiah 50:6
Even true Christians are prone to wander from their resting place. Every sinner is a wanderer, and while sin dwells within us–we shall always feel a disposition to wander. This is against our better judgment, our solemn profession, and our new nature–yet still there is the disposition to wander, and it is called into exercise by a variety of things:

1. A love of novelty–a desire to see, possess, or enjoy something new–will sometimes set us wandering.
2. The weakness of our graces, as faith, hope, and love–is at other times the occasion of it.
3. The power of corruption within us, which at times works with peculiar force and power–makes us restless.
4. The temptations of Satan, which beguile, bewilder, and captivate us–lead us from our resting-place also.
5. And so do the errors that abound and spread all around us.
False views, Satanic temptations, powerful corruptions, and the weakness of grace–are the principal things which lie at the root of our backslidings.

Reader, are you a restless wanderer?
If so, return, return unto Jesus.
Go to Him, and confess your sins.
Go to Him, and entreat His pardon.
Go to Him, and prove the kindness of His heart.
Go to Him, and be happy once more in His grace and love.

O Savior, bring me back from all my wanderings by Your invincible grace; let me enjoy rest in Your precious love, and keep me near Your loving heart and bleeding side forever!

James Smith, “Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed” 1855

If Only They Had Read The Verse

May21[2]
In light of the recently come-and-gone apocalypse and rapture that failed to happen on May 21st (yesterday) it is relevant for me to address the issue with a post and with a clear verse in scripture.
Matthew 24:36 But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.
Let me put this into . Jesus was asked by his disciples when will His (Jesus’) prophecies be fulfilled and when will be the sign of His return and the closing of the age (vs 3). Jesus then begins telling them about events that will happen during the build up to His return, the ‘signs of the end of the age.’ It is interesting that He begins by warning His disciples (and us):
See that no one leads you astray” (vs 4)
He then goes on to describe a number of events that will happen during this time, leading up to Jesus’ return. This includes the statement:
Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. (23-26).
Jesus specifically warns us that in the last days, people will present false christs, and false apocalypses. This goes even further than Mr Camping does, saying Christ HAS ACTUALLY RETURNED. we are warned beforehand, these things will (and even already have happened)
However, Jesus then goes on to describe how He will actually return which brings us up to the verse in question (vs 36) where Jesus states that no one know when He will return. That no one includes us ordinary human beings, angels of heaven, demons & Satan, and even the Son, Jesus Himself, has laid aside in omniscience as a man such that He does not know the day or the hour. Only the Father knows, and that His return will be like a thief who comes in the night, and is obviously, totally unexpected (1 Thes 5:2).
If only the followers of Harold Camping had read and understood this very clear verse in scripture, we wouldn’t had the anti-climax of so many deceived people being disappointed. I pray God grants them an understanding of this scripture and that they would repent.
There is a few applications and further observations I would like to point out:
Firstly, for the Christian: be ready for Christ’s return, it could happen at any moment, the least expected moment. And don’t follow after the next deceived individual who decides on the next date of Jesus return. Also be ready to defend the true faith. Harold Camping positions himself (and is seen be the whole world to be) and evangelical Christian. This event has caused unbelievers to mock genuine Christians to scorn, one more time. We need to be able to distance ourselves from false prophets.
To the unbeliever: Just because some false prophet, claiming to be evangelical, is proved to be false, and that Jesus did not return as he said, this does not mean that Jesus Christ will not be returning. He (Jesus) has promised that He will, but that it will be unexpected. I beg you to repent and believe the gospel, to be ready for the day when the time is fulfilled and Christ returns. Also understand, we, the Christians, distance ourselves from Mr Camping and other false prophets who claim to know the hour of His return, we are not deceived by his prophecy and are not the same as them.
Finally to the Camping follower, Let Matthew 24:4 ring in your ears: “Do not be deceived”. I have sympathy for you, you are very disappointed. Many of you were very genuine in your desire to see Jesus. Nevertheless, you were deceived. Now I beg you, repent and return to the true Gospel, the only one that offers hope for eternal life. Also be weary, many of todays most popular and mainstream cults are formed out of groups of people who, in the past, believed in some other false prophet who said the world would end at such-in-such a time, on such-in-such a day. You are now in the position of being sucked into a new cult. I pray that this does not happen, and I beg you to flee from this.

In hopeful anticipation of Christ’s return…

A (Very) Brief Defence of God’s Sovereign Choice Over Man’s Freewill

An acquaintance of mine posted on Facebook recently a message, the substance of which is this:
”Every person in the world is forgiven by God on the cross, however if a person refuses to accept Jesus, that sends the person to hell. They are condemned because of their non acceptance of Jesus Christ, not because of their sins”

There are two parts to this statement which need to be addressed: first the subtle undertone of universalism inherent in the statement. Because I don’t think that this was the intention of the statement, I didn’t address it much, although I did a bit at the end.

The main issue here is that our salvation is now dependant purely on our choice, our acceptance. This is both unreasonable and works righteous.

Its unreasonable because, what of the person who never heard of Jesus Christ? The biblical answer to that question is that they (like the rest of humanity) are condemned because of their sins and only the sovereign grace of God saves some of them (us). However if their contention is true, they are basically good to go, if only they new enough to ‘accept’ Jesus. It is also works righteous, in that salvation (in their contention) is based on a work (the sinner accepting Jesus) rather than grace given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

With all that being said, This was my response to him (and the large group of people agreeing with him in the comments section). I submit it because in it I took the time to make the biblical (referenced) case:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (the brackets are mine)

Or do you not know that the unrighteous (i.e. sinners) will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral (sin), nor idolaters(sin), nor adulterers(sin), nor men who practice homosexuality(sin), nor thieves(sin), nor the greedy(sin), nor drunkards(sin), nor revilers(sin), nor swindlers(sin) will inherit the kingdom of God.

How unreasonable to say that a person is required to accept Jesus in order to access the forgiveness already bought for them. What if they have not heard of Jesus or even the Father, no the bible says the opposite, we are all dead in our trespasses (Eph 2:5, Col 2:13) and unless a person is born again they cannot see the Kingdom (Jn 3:3)

Now Christ offers us a chance to be born again and we are required to respond to His call to repentance (Jn 3:16,18) But if we reject His offer of grace, then we are condemned and are judged according to our sins (you could argue the chief of which is unbelief).

Oh yes, and the bible DOES NOT say that every single person who lives is covered by Jesus’s death on the cross. Romans 8:30 is but one of several passages that contradict that

Ok so maybe not so brief, but this could still do with some flushing out, so stand by for it

Grace & Peace

Five steps in correct Biblical interpretation

CB064047When studying the bible, it is very important to correctly interpret the bible correctly. This is very important so as to avoid bad or false teaching and to know exactly what God is telling us in the bible. The process is called hermeneutics. Basically there are 5 steps in the process of hermeneutics. Approach each text you ready with the following:

  1. What did the text say to the original audience Examine their context: Who and to whom; What was the reason for writing; From where to where; When did he write it; What is going on. Also figures of speech and repeated words, or therefores If we have a different understanding of a verse than the original audience, we are always wrong
  2. Measure the width of that gap between them and us Is their culture different; different language; persecution; Covenant
  3. Drawing out the principle eg. You shall not murder becomes, “life is sacred, don’t do anything to end it”. Try and state it in a pithy sentence.
  4. Does the NT change our Understanding of the Text.
    Mainly because of different covenants.
  5. Applying it to our lives. 
    To apply the text directly, the situation must resemble that of the text

Might fill this out a bit later