The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Archive for the ‘Calvinism’ Category

Those Who Are Called

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 4, 2014

For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (I Cor. 2:22-25)


Who are “those who are called”?

Does God only call a select few from among the Jews and Gentiles, and enable only them to answer the call? Does God then cause those select few whom He called to inherit eternal life? If you only read the following passage, you might think so:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Rom. 8:28-30)

Paul is referring to those who presently “love God.” “Those who are called” = “those who love God.” Those who love God are “the called according to His purpose,” because they are submitted to His purposes rather than their own. And these, Paul says, were “foreknown” by God, predestined to look like Jesus, called to follow Jesus, justified and glorified. Paul speaks of these things as having already been done in the past, but this does not mean that a calling guarantees the final glorification. We need to carefully weigh this passage with other passages before concluding that God only calls certain people, or that one who is called always inherits eternal life.

Remember, Peter acknowledged that some of Paul’s writings were “hard to understand,” and “untaught and unstable people” were twisting his writings to their own destruction. Then Peter warns, “THEREFORE…beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.” (2 Pet. 3:15-17) So let us have a look at other Scriptures that speak of our being called.

The call can be ignored with terrible consequences.

Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes (Prov. 1:24-26)

This call of God to hear His wisdom and submit to it has gone out since the beginning to all simple ones, scorners and fools (1:20-22). This is a call to forsake our own wisdom and cleave to God’s Wisdom (Christ.) But many refuse to take God’s hand, disdain His counsel, and reject His rebuke. He called, but they refused. It is only those who turn at God’s rebuke who come to know His words (1:23). Many in Jesus’ day had already been ignoring God’s call; thus their hearts were ill-prepared to see the salvation of God (Psa. 50:23). They would not turn at His rebuke, so they were denied access to His Words.

The call comes through/in God’s Grace.

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace… (Gal. 1:15)

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel. (Gal. 1:6)

This is the same grace that has appeared to all men and teaches them to live soberly, righteously and godly (Titus 2:11-12). When Jesus was lifted up, He drew all men to Himself. The ultimate display of God’s love should cause us to love Him and answer His call to be like Him. But there are some who count the blood of Christ a common thing and insult the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29).

The call comes by the gospel.

to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess. 2:14)

And to whom are we commanded to give the gospel?–to every creature from every nation (Mk. 16:15; Col. 1:23).

The call includes a command to repent (Not everyone repents).

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39

Peter is teaching that everyone who is called can receive the promise if they repent! The call itself does not necessarily mean eternal life is guaranteed.

The call is a call to leave darkness and come dwell in light.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (I Pet. 2:9)

The call is a call to follow Jesus.

Early in Jesus’ ministry, He began to call men to follow Him. We should wonder what made Him call certain people and not other people in those early days. Why did He call fishermen and a tax collector, for example, rather than esteemed leaders of the day. Wouldn’t more well-known people have had more influence? Paul explained this in I Cor. 1:26-31–

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

Notice:

1. The words “called” and “chosen” seem interchangeable in this passage. For example, “Not many wise…are called, but God has chosen the foolish.”

2. God purposely refrained from choosing that which had fleshly glory, so that no flesh could glory in His presence.

3. In so doing, He fulfilled His word in Psa. 18:27, 25:9; 147:6, 149:4; Prov. 3:34, etc., in which He promises to save and help the humble. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble!

Does this mean that someone who had an esteemed position among men could not be called, chosen, or saved?–No, for Paul was advanced in Judaism and his credentials did not keep him from being saved. Yet he had to humble himself and submit to Jesus, counting his credentials as rubbish (Phil. 3:8). Many who have the esteem of men will not risk losing it for Christ, as Paul did. Nicodemus also was a leader who was looking for truth, and Jesus responded to his search for understanding by teaching him.

The call is a call into the fellowship of Jesus.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (I Cor. 1:9)

Is one who is called into this fellowship guaranteed to remain in this fellowship?

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (I Jn. 1:5-7)

We must walk/remain in the light in order to remain in fellowship with Jesus.

The call to fellowship with Jesus is a call to suffer patiently.

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps I Pet. 2:21

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Phil. 3:10).

not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. I Pet. 3:9

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. I Pet. 5:10

If we aren’t willing to suffer with Him, neither will we be glorified with Him (Rom. 8:17).

The call is a call to fight a good fight.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Tim. 6:12)

The call is a call to be holy, obedient saints.

Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: (Rom. 1:5-7)

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (I Cor. 1:2)

but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. (I Pet. 1:15)

The call is answered when someone obeys it by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called… (Heb. 11:8)

The call must be followed by knowing the One who called us.

As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. (2 Pet. 1:3)

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3:10-11)

We must walk worthy of the calling! (Some do not!)

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. (Eph. 4:1)

We do this by putting off the old man with all of its ungodly behaviors, and being taught by Christ how to live in true righteousness and holiness (same chapter, vss. 17-32).

We must be diligent to make our calling and election sure, lest we stumble!

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble. (2 Pet. 1:10)

If you do these things you will never stumble“–the things mentioned in vss. 5-7. That is, we must add to our faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. If we do not do these things, our calling and election are still unsure.

We must go past being called to being sanctified and preserved in Jesus.

Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ. (Jude 1)

Those who are not sanctified are not doing God’s will (I Thess. 4:3). Only those who do God’s will and obey Christ’s teachings shall be saved (Matt. 7:21). We are sanctified and preserved as we abide in Jesus, the Word of God. Scripture is clear that those who don’t remain abiding in Jesus will be cut off the Vine because of their fruitlessness (Jn. 15:5-6).

We must go past being called to being chosen and faithful.

For many are called, but few are chosen. Matt. 22:14

Judas was called and even given supernatural power–

And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. (Matt. 10:1)

Judas was chosen

Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (Jn. 6:70)

But Judas was not faithful

This he [Judas] said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. (Jn. 12:6)

Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’ (Jn. 13:17-18)

Those with Jesus are called, chosen, and faithful:

These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14)

In summary, the call of God goes out through the earth to all nations, to every creature. So in that sense, all men are called to come to Christ. Yet, “those who are called” in our original passage refers to those who have not ignored the call (in general, the humble), have not received God’s grace in vain, have repented, and have obeyed the gospel. These are following and fellowshiping with Jesus, are suffering patiently, are fighting the good fight, are being holy and obedient, are walking worthy of their calling, and are being sanctified by Jesus as they abide in Him. These will inherit eternal life if they are faithful to the end, and do not turn from the heavenly calling as Judas did.

Posted in Calvinism, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Treachery of Unbelief

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 20, 2014

 

I will be drawing select verses from Numbers 14, but you can read the entire chapter here for context.

Moses had sent the leaders of each Israelite tribe to spy out the land of Canaan, which God had promised to give them. When they returned, ten of the leaders gave the Israelites “a bad report,” faithlessly proclaiming, “We are not able!” (Num. 13:32). Caleb, however, boldly proclaimed, “Let us go up at once….we are well able to overcome it.” (13:30).

How did the people respond to this mixed review? Did they recall to mind God’s promises and the way He had so gloriously delivered them from the Egyptians (Exo. 14)? Did they consider how God had fed them miraculously in the wilderness, and provided water and shelter from hot days and cold nights by His fire and cloud? –Hardly. Instead they complained against their leaders and declared their wish that they were already dead! (14:2) Then they voiced their suspicion that the Lord had victimized their families, and decided to choose a leader who would lead them back into the bondage of Egypt (14:3-4).

Joshua and Caleb, horrified at this mass apostasy, tore their clothes and exhorted the people with the following main points:

1. The land is an exceedingly good land! (14:7)

2. IF the Lord delights in us, He will give it to us. (14:8)

3. ONLY DO NOT REBEL AGAINST THE LORD…the Lord is with us…do not fear them. (14:9)

How did the congregation respond to this show of faith?

They decided to stone Joshua and Caleb with stones. (14:10)

Note that the progression of the people into full apostasy was as follows:

1. They believed a lying report rather than believing God’s Word, even though God did have servants (Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb) who were speaking the truth faithfully.

2. They neglected to bring to mind the glorious victories God had already given them, or to trust His promises.

3. They complained and claimed to be victims.

4. They chose a replacement leader who would lead them back into bondage.

Is this not the same progression we see in professing Christians today? While God does have a few servants who remind us that we are well able to overcome all things in Christ, the majority of voices proclaim that we are victims of a God who has sentenced us to a losing battle until the day we die. Most choose to ignore the promises in God’s Word, and hold fast to the lying report instead. They complain against the truth tellers (verbally stoning them, if not literally), choose replacement teachers who tell them what they want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3), and return like senseless animals to the vomit they had once left behind (2 Pet. 2:22).

While this may seem like average Christianity to those of us who have been pickled in this apostasy for years, it is really nothing short of treachery and rebellion against God.

God’s response to the unbelieving Israelites was to declare that the people had rejected Him (14:11). He was ready to disinherit them and start over with Moses. Moses pleaded for and acquired pardon for the people (19-20), but the Lord still firmly decided that none of those who rejected Him would ever see the land previously promised them (23). In fact, He said they had despised the land (31), just as Esau had despised his birthright before he lost it forever (Gen. 25:34). God called them an “evil congregation who are gathered together against Me” and proclaimed, “You shall know my rejection!” (34-35)

A few questions:

Are we victims of a God who has sentenced us to a string of losing battles, as so many say?

Does God smile upon our unbelief?

Is it a small thing to gather together against Him, to refuse to listen to His voice, and to reject Him?

Will He really reject those who reject Him?

Lest you think I am drawing a false parallel between the Old Testament Israelites and New Testament Christianity, the apostle Paul drew this exact parallel so as to warn all of us upon whom the ends of the ages have come (I Cor. 10:1-12). He very plainly warned us not to do as the Israelites did, lest we be destroyed in like manner as they were.

Who will inherit the land (salvation)?

But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. (Num. 14:24)

Reject every false report, believe God’s Word and follow Him fully. In Christ, we are well able to overcome!

Posted in apostasy, Calvinism, Christian Life, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Speaking Sound Doctrine

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 13, 2012

Titus 2 begins with “As for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine,” and ends with “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority.” Sandwiched in between are teachings that constitute the “sound doctrine” which ought to be spoken.

In brief, the chapter includes requirements for character and conduct for older men, younger men, older women and younger women. Then it gives the proper definition of saving grace, and sums up how we should live in the present age with these three words: soberly, righteously, and godly. It ends with a reminder that Jesus died to redeem us from every lawless deed (He saves His people from their sins not just the penalty of sin), and His goal is to purify for Himself a peculiar people who are zealous for good works.

In today’s apostate religious environment, it is almost impossible to speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine without being labelled a pharisee, a legalist, a person working for salvation, or a false teacher who doesn’t understand grace.  Standards for character and conduct are considered outdated.  The grace of God has become a cover behind which we can sin willfully, rather than the gift of God’s teaching to an obedient disciple that it really is.  And God forbid you are zealous for good works; people will shake their heads at your misplaced zeal and call you a heretic for sure.

When apostasy from the truth is wide-sweeping and extreme, a person going against the flow by embracing and teaching the truth will seem like the extreme one.  He will have to be content to be the “odd man out” and the heretic and the pharisee, because most will not receive him. Yes, he will be beaten in the synagogues (figuratively, if not physically) and rejected. His name will be cast out as evil for the Son of Man’s sake. He will speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine–the doctrine which accords with godliness (I Tim. 6:3)–and because he has done so, he will be rejected as the worst kind of sinner. This is because in many of today’s apostate religious circles, the greatest sin is to stop sinning, and the surest sign of your salvation is your willingness to admit that you never stop sinning.  It is both ironic and heartbreaking to see people embracing such strong delusion because they have pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess 2:11-12) and do not want to repent.

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Tim. 2:19)  Make no mistake;  wicked behavior and the excusing of wicked behavior are both contrary to sound doctrine (I Tim. 1:9-10).  Those who continue in such can expect the judgment and fiery indignation that God is going to pour out on His adversaries (Heb. 10:26-31).

Sincere disciple of Jesus–

  • Continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine as the early church did (Acts 2:42).
  • Obey the doctrine to which you have been delivered, that you may be freed from the slavery of sin, and live as a slave of righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18).
  • Hold fast the faithful Word as you have been taught, that you may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict (Titus 1:9).
  • Teach this sound doctrine and no other (I Tim. 1:3-4).
  • Note people who seek to divide you from this doctrine (the doctrines of Christ, His apostles and prophets recorded in all Scripture–2 Tim. 3:16-17) and avoid them (Rom. 6:17).
  • Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables (2 Tim. 4:2-4).
  • Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you (I Tim. 4:16).
  • Abide in the doctrine of Christ and do not transgress, lest you no longer have the Father or the Son (2 John 1:9).

God bless you!

Posted in Apostasy, Calvinism, Legalism | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

False Ideas about God

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 24, 2011

What we believe about God does greatly affect our lives and character. After all, Christians are supposed to be “followers of God.” Contrary to what some well-educated and popular men teach, God has NOT:

1. Given His moral laws (10 commandments) SO THAT we break them.  While the law cannot save, but only show–through our disobedience–that we need a Savior, the law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul. It represents God’s perfect will for our lives, not a standard God has placed purposely out of our reach.  Salvation forgives us for our treason and cancels out our sin-debt, gives power to overcome the sins we have allowed to overcome us, and restores us to the loving, law-abiding status of the obedient children of God. According to Jesus, the moral commandments can be summed up in 2 commands–love God supremely and love your neighbor as yourself.  Who among us, who has truly been to the cross of Christ and remorsefully looked upon the One our sins have pierced, rejects the law of love?–Paul said if anyone loves not the Lord Jesus (our King and Redeemer), let him be accursed.

2. Cursed us with a level of depravity from which we cannot repent. When He commands all men to repent, He expects all men and holds all men accountable to obey that command. (Acts 17:30; 2 Pet. 3:9; Luke 13:3, 24:47)  To disobey the command (which is sent from God to lead us to salvation), is to harden our own hearts, to hate knowledge, to set at nought the counsel of God, to reject the fear of the Lord and despise His reproof. Those who do this will eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.  For the turning away of the simple shall slay them.  (Prov. 1:31-32)

3.  Unconditionally chosen a few to salvation while unconditionally damning the rest. Jesus said anyone who has seen Him has also seen the Father (Jn. 14:9). Jesus healed all who came to Him (Matt. 12:15; Lk. 6:19) and forgave the sins of all those who demonstrated faith, saying He would reject none who came to Him (John 6:37). Rev. 22:17 clearly says the offer of life is for “whosoever will.”  Furthermore, those who did reject Jesus, did so contrary to His will, for He testified with tears, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I WANTED to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but YOU WERE NOT WILLING!” (Matt. 23:37) If in fact, God destined from eternity past to damn these Christ-rejectors because it was His delighted will for them to perish, Jesus was being facetious at best and purposely deceitful at worst when He wept over this city and charged its people with being unwilling to come.

4.  Limited the atonement for the lucky few.  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I Jn. 2:2)  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (Jn. 12:32)

5. Forced “irresistable grace” on the select few.  The grace that brings salvation has appeared to ALL MEN–Titus 2:11-12–and CAN be resisted. God is not a rapist. Love allows Himself to be resisted. To say He does not is to make Him less honorable than most earthly men are; few earthly men are dishonorable enough to force their will on a woman. The Pharisees and lawyers REJECTED THE WILL OF GOD for themselves, not having been baptized by him [John the Baptist]. (Luke 7:30)  Stephen testified to his accusers, “You always resist the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 7:51)

6.  Saved people in such a way that they can’t leave Him even if they want to. His command is “Abide in me” and if you don’t, you will be lost.  His command is deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Him, and if you don’t, you will be lost.  His command to those who want to be disciples INDEED (not just in name) is “Abide in my Word.” (Jn. 8:31)  If you don’t, you will be lost.  His command is to get rid of whatever is causing you to sin, lest you be thrown into hellfire (Mark 9:43-48).  He said you must forsake ALL if necessary to be His disciple (Lk. 14:43).  He said if you deny Him before men, He will deny you before the Father (Matt. 10:33).  He said you must endure to the end in faithfulness to Him if you want to be saved (Matt. 10:22, 24:13; Mark 13:13).  The only Savior has given these warnings to those who follow Him; why are so many lying in His name, teaching some form of unconditional “once saved always saved”???

Dear reader, anyone familiar with the TULIP knows that the doctrines refuted above are the core tenants of Calvinism. This insidious doctrinal schema uses select Scripture (ripped from its context) to malign the character of God and the nature of salvation; and it leads to all kinds of evil fruit.

For John Calvin himself, false ideas about God led to his putting to death those who disagreed with him (completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus).  He became a dictator who ruled Geneva (his earthly kingdom) with an iron fist, rather than a servant laying down his own life for his friends as Jesus was. After all, his God was arbitrary and cruel, delighting in the damnation of the wicked, so why should Calvin be any different?  The Protestant churches of the Reformation era, as opposed to the Anabaptist churches which didn’t agree with these doctrines, were marked by rampant sin. False teaching always brings forth the fruit of wickedness.

Today, the problem is worse because so many sin-lovers with itching ears have turned from the truth and heaped up for themselves false teachers to tell them what they want to hear. People blame their sin on God rather than on themselves as they should. They believe if they haven’t repented, it is God who is to blame for not forcing them to be holy while they revel in their sins. They believe continual rebellion and sin is normal Christianity, and the warnings of Scripture somehow don’t apply to them. They believe they are “saved” to continue to do abominations, but with a cover that will shield them from the all-seeing eyes of God and His judgment to come. God forbid. I beg you to see that these lies were planted to stumble millions into thinking they won’t reap what they sow. Do not be deceived. Read the Scriptures and obey them; build your life carefully and deliberately on the truth lest you come at last to be destroyed, and your false ideas about God with you.

Posted in Calvinism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Imputed Righteousness–A Transference of Righteousness?

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 12, 2011

A pastor recently told me that when I was born again, all my sin was transferred (imputed) to Christ, and all His righteousness was transferred (imputed) to me.  How much of my sin was transferred to Christ, he asked?–ALL of it.  Therefore, even future sins would never be “imputed” to me.

I do not believe this view of “imputed righteousness” is correct, and I believe it leads to a whole host of other sin-excusing doctrines, including the infamous “once-saved-always-saved.”  After all, if my future sins cannot be imputed to me, then I have no reason to even feel guilty for them. According to this version of “imputed righteousness,” I can be positionally righteous even while being practically wicked. Or, as some would say, God doesn’t even see my sin–all He sees is Jesus. (Please click here for a refutation of that doctrine.)

Because “imputed righteousness” is a term used in the Bible, and misused and abused by so many teachers, it is imperative that the Christian learn what this term means in biblical context.

Some of the most common verses used to support the doctrine of a transferred righteousness are Psalm 32:2,  Rom. 4:5-25, and James 2:23.  We will look at each passage separately, and I hope to show you that the word “imputed” does not mean “transferred” at all!  Nowhere in Scripture does it expressly say that the obedience or personal righteousness of Christ is transferred to believers, although it is true that Christ’s atoning sacrifice makes our forgiveness possible.

1. Psalm 32:2

Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (Psa. 32:2)

The context of this verse is David’s adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, and his repentance after being confronted by the prophet Nathan. The previous verse (Psa. 32:1) states, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” David was simply thankful for the blessedness of not having his past sins of adultery and murder counted against him AFTER he repented and was forgiven by God!  If David had not repented of his wickedness, his transgressions would not have been forgiven, his sin would not have been covered, and his iniquity would have been imputed to (counted against) him.

2.  Rom. 4:5-25

5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Here, Paul reviews Psalm 32:2, showing how God imputes righteousness without works. David was not counted as righteous because he worked off his sins of adultery and murder, but because he was forgiven after he repented. It was his faith, working together with his repentance, that was counted for righteousness; the verse does not say that Christ’s perfect obedience was somehow transferred to David. The imputation of righteousness, then, happens at the moment of forgiveness.   A forgiven person is counted as having never sinned and is therefore counted as righteous. 

Please notice the Scriptures do not say that David’s sins were ever unseen by God, but only that they were forgiven by God (and his forgiveness was contingent upon repentance.)  The modern-day doctrine of imputation says God doesn’t even see your sin because Christ’s perfect obedience has been transferred to your account so that God sees Jesus rather than the sinner and his sin.

Notice also the use of the word “imputed” in verse 6 means the same thing as “counted” in verse 5.  David was counted as righteous once he was forgiven by faith.

 9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Here, Paul is explaining to Gentiles that even “Father Abraham” was justified by faith, not by conformity to the law of circumcision, and he is the father of physically uncircumcised people who also walk in like faith.  Again, notice that the use of the word “imputed” in verse 11 carries the same meaning as the word “reckoned” in verse 9. The truth being taught here is that righteousness is imputed to (reckoned to) the believer by faith, rather than by keeping Jewish law; therefore salvation is open to all Gentiles who will exercise faith like Abraham. Anyone who repents and believes according to the gospel can have their sins forgiven, and righteousness imputed to (reckoned to) them.  In other words, they can be reinstated to a right relationship with God, and their debt of sin can be cancelled or erased–THIS is imputed righteousness.

Nowhere do we see a transference of God’s righteousness to the believer as a covering behind which they can continue in sin, but rather a righteousness (clean record) which belongs to the believer by faith and because of forgiveness. 

20He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Again, we see that it was Abraham’s patient faith in God’s Word which was imputed to him for righteousness. He possessed “the righteousness of faith” (vs. 13).  It was not that God’s righteousness was being transferred to him, but that his own faith was counted for righteousness, and his sins were forgiven. And verse 24 tells us that we too can be considered or reckoned righteous if we have the same faith toward Jesus.

3. James 2:23

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

This Scripture is right in the middle of James’ teaching that faith without works is dead. James reminds us that Abraham offered his son Isaac in obedience to God, and his faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect.  According to James, it was this faith made perfect by works that became the basis for righteousness being imputed to him!  Again, nothing here suggests that the “righteousness of Christ” or “Christ’s perfect obedience to the law” was somehow transferred to his account, so that his future sins could be ignored.  Imputed righteousness is simply reckoned righteousness. Abraham was considered righteous in God’s sight because God had forgiven his sins.

To briefly summarize this paper, I believe that “imputed righteousness” is not a transference of Christ’s righteousness to our account, but a personal righteousness that is granted when a person repents and exercises saving faith, and God forgives his sins and declares him righteous (unblemished by sin.)  If a person–after being forgiven and declared righteous by God–returns to his sins, his righteousness will not be remembered (Eze. 3:20; 33:13).  Therefore, to the one who thinks he can hide present-tense sins behind a transferred “righteousness of Christ,” I repeat John’s words, “Let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” (I John 3:7)

For more in-depth study on this subject, please read Imputed Righteousness by Jesse Morrell.  Jesse includes all the uses of the Greek word (logizomai) from which we get “impute” in the Bible,  as well as its equivalent in Hebrew (chashab)–this is very helpful in understanding the application of the word.

God bless you.

Posted in Calvinism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

An Understanding of Romans 9 Without the Calvinist Spin

Posted by israeliteindeed on October 26, 2011

Introduction

In this paper, I would like to examine Romans 9 in light of its immediate context and other Scriptures.  This is necessary because this chapter is a favorite of Calvinists, who use it to “prove” that God arbitrarily chooses and forces some men to be redeemed and others to be destroyed, purposely withholding saving grace from some, despite all the Scriptures that assert His desire for all men to be saved.

Although Calvinists claim that Romans 9 eliminates all possibility of “free will,” this cannot be so, because free will can be plainly seen in the rest of Scripture as something God has sovereignly given to man.  Although God is sovereign, He has given the choice between life and death to men, and urged them to choose life.

I contend that the Calvinist reads into Romans 9 what he already believes is true, because his first loyalty is to the teaching of John Calvin and his followers.

Please read each section of Romans 9 carefully, along with the commentary I have provided. While my commentary is not inspired, I do believe it is more faithful to both the immediate text and the whole counsel of God, than the assertions and assumptions of Calvinism.  May God bless you with understanding as you read.

Paul Sets Up His Topic

Verses 1-9

I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,  that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.  For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,  who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;  of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,  nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”   That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.  For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”

Here the apostle Paul sets up his topic of discussion: his countrymen according to the flesh–national Israelites. This is very important to remember–Paul is speaking of the state of a nation, not individuals.

Paul explains that although most national Israelites are causing him “continual grief” due to their rejection of the gospel, it isn’t that the Word of God has not accomplished what it set out to do.  It isn’t that the promise to Abraham has failed to come true. For “they are not all Israel who are of Israel.”  Not all the physical Israelites belong to the “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16)–that is, the Commonwealth of Israel and Household of God to which both Jews and Gentiles belong by faith (Eph. 2:11-22) . Paul is saying that it is not all physical Jews (children of the flesh) who will be saved, but those who are “children of the promise”–that is, all those who have faith like Abraham (Rom. 4:12, 16; Gal. 3:7-14). We must keep this theme in mind when reading the rest of Romans 9.

Verses 10-13

And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac  (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),  it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”  As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

Here the word “election” is introduced with the story of  Rebecca’s two sons, Jacob and Esau. Paul took care to say that both sons were born of  “one man…our father Isaac.”  This means that both Jacob and Esau were physical descendants of Abraham.  Esau was the eldest; nevertheless God elected Jacob as the one through whom would come the Savior. Please note that the election did not elect Jacob the man to salvation, but it did elect the nation of Jacob to bring the promised Seed–Jesus Christ.  Therefore, this passage does not say that the man Jacob was eternally saved, or that the man Esau was eternally damned.  Neither does it say that every descendant of Jacob would be saved, or every descendant of Esau would be damned.  It simply tells us that God elected that Jesus would be born through Jacob’s descendants rather than Esau’s, proving that God can choose whomever He wants through whom to do His will.  God proved that He was not bound by the traditions of men to choose the eldest son (and Isaac’s favorite son), but He has authority to choose whomever He wishes according to His own will.

Remembering what Paul taught in the previous section, the right application of the example of the election of Jacob is this: Being physically descended from Abraham does not automatically entitle one to God’s favor. This was a vain hope that many Jews in Paul’s day were holding onto. They believed that being a physical “son of Abraham” made them automatically right with God.  This is why John the Baptist said to the unrepentant Jews:

Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.  And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matt. 3:8-10)

God has indeed raised up children to Abraham from the living stones who are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. (Eph. 2:19-20)

Just as God–choosing not to be bound by the traditions of men–chose Jacob over Esau through whom to bring the Savior, He was choosing to accept Gentiles as children of Abraham.  It was not “the works of the law” done by the cultural Jew that would save, but God had chosen to save all who met His conditions of repentance and faith (Acts 20:21).

Jacob Have I Loved, But Esau Have I Hated

We have come now to the oft quoted phrase, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”  This sentence deserves extra attention, lest one mistakenly see in it a great injustice on God’s part.  Paul was quoting Old Testament Scriptures, and we must visit those verses if we want to understand the context.

“I have loved you,” says the LORD. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” Says the LORD. “ Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated, and laid waste his mountains and his heritage for the jackals of the wilderness.” Even though Edom has said, “ We have been impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places,” Thus says the LORD of hosts:“ They may build, but I will throw down; they shall be called the Territory of Wickedness, and the people against whom the LORD will have indignation forever.” (Mal. 1:2-4)

First, it should be clear that the Lord was speaking of 2 nations — Israel and Edom (Esau’s descendants). God was not speaking of the two men Jacob and Esau; both men were long dead.  Nor is God saying He chose one race for salvation and another race for damnation. However, God DID choose (elect) one nation through whom to bring the Savior into the world (this had nothing to do with personal salvation.)  In this Malachi passage, God is reminding backslidden Israel how much He has loved them and favored them as a nation.  He sovereignly chose this nation to be used by Him to bless the whole world, and yet the nation (as a whole) had turned against Him!

When God says He hated Esau (the nation), we ought to keep in mind that Jesus also taught this:

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.  (Luke 14:26)

Did Jesus mean that we should literally walk in hatred toward our earthly family members?–No. For we are called to love both our brethren in Christ and our enemies, doing good to all.  Obviously Jesus meant that we must esteem (and fear) other people so much less than we esteem Him;  we are to love Him with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength.  We cannot be the servants of God while we are trying to please men.  In this case, “hate” can mean “to love less by comparison.”  In the same way, God did not bless the nation of Esau in the same way He blessed the nation of Israel. In the Malachi passage, God was calling the nation of Israel to account–for to whom much is given, much is required.  He had blessed them exceedingly, and they had repaid Him evil for His good.

.

It is quite true that God had punished the nation of Esau (Edom) by laying waste his mountains.  Did God do this for no reason?

.

The history of the nation of Edom is important to study.  Esau himself, though he despised his birthright and thus became an example of one who gives up the spiritual blessings of God for carnal indulgence, did not necessarily die an ungodly man (as many assume). Though he was angry with Jacob and wanted to kill him at one time, when Jacob came seeking forgiveness of Esau, Esau readily forgave him. There is no indication that Esau or his immediate descendants caused any trouble for Jacob’s family (the nation of Israel) for some time. In fact, the house of Esau was under God’s protection at one time:

And command the people, saying, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brethren, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. Therefore watch yourselves carefully.  Do not meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as one footstep, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. (Deut 2:4-5)

Furthermore, it is written that God did for national Esau just exactly what He also did for national Israel–that is, He uprooted and destroyed a wicked nation before him and enabled him to take possession of the land.

But the LORD destroyed them before them, and they dispossessed them and dwelt in their place,  just as He had done for the descendants of Esau, who dwelt in Seir, when He destroyed the Horites from before them. They dispossessed them and dwelt in their place, even to this day.  (Deut. 2:21-22)

The Israelites were specifically commanded not to despise the Edomites (house of Esau).

You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. (Deut. 23:7)

It appears that just as Israel apostasized from following the Lord, the house of Esau did the same. At one time, they apparently had wisdom and counsel:

Against Edom. Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Is wisdom no more in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom vanished?”  (Jer. 49:7)

God tells us exactly why Edom was judged and destroyed. It was not an arbitrary act on God’s part. Edom reaped what Edom sowed:

The pride of your heart has deceived you…For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.  In the day that you stood on the other side—in the day that strangers carried captive his forces, when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem—even you were as one of them. But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother in the day of his captivity;nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress. You should not have entered the gate of My people in the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor laidhands on their substance in the day of their calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut off those among them who escaped; nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained in the day of distress. For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; as you have done, it shall be done to you; your reprisal shall return upon your own head. (Obadiah 3, 10-15)

Edom [shall be] a desolate wilderness, because of violence against the people of Judah, for they have shed innocent blood in their land. (Joel 3:19)

For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he pursued his brother with the sword, And cast off all pity; His anger tore perpetually, and he kept his wrath forever. (Amos 1:11)

So we see that the nation of Edom/Esau was destroyed by God for SIN. Esau was not “hated” by God–either as a man or a nation–due to some unchangeable “election to damnation” before time began.

Remember:  while God elected Israel as the nation through which Messiah Jesus would come, He is no respecter of persons–but in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him (Acts 10:35).  When Israel was punished by Babylon and Assyria, this did not mean every Israelite lost salvation. There were those in Israel who were faithful to God. Likewise, any persons who lived in the nation of Edom–that feared Him and worked righteousness–were also accepted by Him.

God’s Right to Save Whom He Wills, Independent of Man’s Tradition

Verses 14-16

What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

Here Paul maintains that even though some Jews would be lost, there is no unrighteousness with God. He is certainly allowed to have mercy on whomever HE WILLS.  He does not have to conform to Jewish traditional thought, and save all those–and only those–who circumcise their children. God’s Word tells us plainly the man upon whom GOD WILLS to have mercy:

He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. (Prov. 28:13)

For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,  but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Ex. 20:5-6)

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  (Matt. 5:7)

Likewise, Scripture tells us who will NOT have mercy:

Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy.  (Jonah 2:8)

For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. (James 2:13)

Because the majority of the Jews were refusing to repent and rejecting Jesus Christ, clinging to the idol of Jewish nationalism as a means of salvation, God was under no obligation to be merciful to them.

Remember, Paul’s topic is about how most of the physical descendants of Abraham were rejecting the gospel, and not all the physical seed of Abraham are the children of God (vs. 7).   Just as God sovereignly chose Jacob (the nation) to bring Jesus to the world–even though tradition would have chosen Esau–God has the right to sovereignly choose whom to save based on His own will. Just because the Jews WILLED to be saved based on race or tradition, and just because they called Abraham their father–this did not make them saved.  They would have to meet God’s conditions by which He chooses to save men.  To learn those conditions, you have to look elsewhere in the Scriptures.  God chooses to save all those who have the FAITH of Abraham–not the blood of Abraham (study Galatians 3 and Romans 4.)  This promise is open to all, both Jews and Gentiles. Neither the will of man nor the traditions of man will ever change that.

The Example of Pharaoh

Verses 17-18

For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

Here, Paul mentions Pharaoh, whom God hardened. Why did God choose to harden him?  What Paul did not mention here is that Pharaoh also hardened HIMSELF repeatedly against the Lord. God–the Potter–absolutely has the right to harden a man in his chosen rebellion! He will not strive with man forever. This is why we are warned not to reject truth, or God shall send us a strong delusion (2 Thess. 2:9-11)!  And this is why we are told to walk in the light while the light is with us, lest darkness overtake us (John 12:35).

Though the Calvinist reads into this passage that God arbitrarily hardened Pharaoh–not desiring or allowing him space to repent–this cannot be true. For Scripture says, “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11) and that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)  Thus, grace appeared to Pharaoh, for God was not willing that Pharaoh should perish. But Pharaoh resisted grace (as some of the Jews resisted the Holy Spirit–Acts 7:51) until God became his enemy and fought against him. For he that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy (Prov. 29:1). Nehemiah 9:10 explains why God used Pharaoh in the way that He did:

You showed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his servants, and against all the people of his land. For You knew that they acted proudly against them. So You made a name for Yourself, as it is this day.

It was because of Pharaoh’s pride and persecution of the Israelites, coupled with Pharaoh’s hardening of his own heart against God’s command, that led to God’s fighting against him for his own destruction.  God had the right to use even Pharaoh’s rebellion in order to show His own power and make His name great in all the earth.

Once again, remember that Paul’s theme in Rom. 9 is his countrymen after the flesh–the Israelites who do not believe on Christ, and in fact persecuted the followers of Christ. If these Jews reject the truth, does not God have the right to harden them in their chosen rebellion, and use even their rebellion to make His name great in all the earth, meanwhile saving the Gentiles who repent and believe?  Indeed, He does.  As Paul and Barnabas testified so boldly before some of the Jews who rejected the gospel:

It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.  (Acts 13:46)

The Potter and the Clay

Verses 19-23

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”  But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”  Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?  What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,  and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.

“Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”  The Calvinist stresses that God makes the clay into whatever He wishes, some vessels of honor and some of dishonor. While this is true, their error is in assuming that the clay has no choice as to which he will be.

If we look up the Potter and the clay in the Old Testament to see what passage Paul is referring to, we wind up in Jeremiah 18, where God tells Jeremiah to watch and learn from the potter at the wheel.  There we see that when the clay becomes “marred” in God’s hand, He reserves the right to start over so that He can still bring glory to Himself despite the rebellion of the clay. In other words, He has every right to be glorified by our lives, and will be glorified by our lives, whether by our obedience or by our rebellion.  He also declares that if a nation or kingdom (the clay) repents, then He also will repent of the evil He is planning to bring on that nation or kingdom.  God clearly teaches through Jeremiah 18 that the “clay” has a choice! (Don’t take my word for it; read it for yourself!)

Further, there is another passage of Scripture that affirms that we have a choice in whether we will be a vessel of honor or dishonor in the Lord’s hand:

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. (2 Tim. 2:20-21)

If a man “purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor”! He has a choice! Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel [of honor] for the refiner. (Prov. 25:4)   If he does not purge himself from the deeds of dishonor, God will use him as a vessel of dishonor, just as He used Pharaoh’s rebellion to make a name for Himself in the earth.

Now, we must relate the Potter and the clay back to Paul’s original topic.– If the physical nation of Israel had become “marred” in God’s hands though unbelief and disobedience, did not the Potter have the right to pour out on them a spirit of deep sleep (Isa. 29:10), and use even their unbelief for His glory? As it is written in Rom. 11:11, “through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.”  Does this mean that ALL national Israelites are automatically elected to damnation? Paul answers, “Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” (Rom. 11:1)  Paul goes on to say that he hopes to “save some of them [his Jewish countrymen]” (Rom. 11:14), and that they can still be saved “if they do not continue in unbelief” (Rom. 11:23).

Much is often made of the phrase “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” in vs. 22.  Again, the Calvinist wrongly assumes that vessels of wrath have no choice in how they are being prepared. If a man submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, he will receive mercy. If he “purges himself from these,” he too can be “prepared unto every good work,” according to the promise in 2 Tim. 2:20-21. If he does not, he is being prepared for destruction even now–

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36)

Paul’s Conclusion

Verses 24-33

even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?  As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved.”   “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,‘ You are not My people,’There they shall be called sons of the living God.”  Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:  “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,  the remnant will be saved.For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth.” And as Isaiah said before:  “Unless the LORD of Sabaothhad left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah.”   What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;  but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.  For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.  As it is written: “ Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Paul here concludes, drawing from many Old Testament Scriptures for proof (shown in italics), that it was always God’s plan to save the Gentiles who believe, and it was never His plan to save men from only one race!  From the beginning, Abraham was told he would be father to many physical nations, not to one nation only.  Paul explains why some of his Israelite countrymen were currently being excluded from salvation. Was it because God desired from the beginning to put them in hell? No–but these were wanting to be saved based on the laws of the Jews, rather than by faith as God requires (vss. 30-32). In Rom. 11, Paul will go on to explain that even these unbelievers can still be saved if they do not continue in their present unbelief.

.

Conclusion

.

Paul’s main topic in Romans 9 was the NATION of Israel, the majority of which had rebelled against God. God was under no obligation to “save all the Jews” simply because they were physical descendants of Abraham. God will save whom He wants to save. And He has elsewhere declared that salvation is open to all who repent and believe. This was a sore point with some Jews who wanted salvation to be based on race or their lineage to Abraham, but God is the Potter and we are the clay.  He had every right to defy the traditions of men by electing Jacob’s descendants to bring Jesus into the world, and He has every right to defy Jewish traditions by saving Gentiles, and by using Israel’s current unbelief for the good of the Gentiles. He is not a respecter of persons, but “in every nation whoever fears him and works righteousness is accepted by him.” (Acts 10:35)

God bless you!

Posted in Calvinism, Commentary | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

What Spirit is Working in You?

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 27, 2011

And you [saints] hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. (Eph. 2:1-2)

I’d like to draw your attention to the last phrase, “the prince of the power of the air [satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”  The saints to whom Paul was writing had walked according to the course of this world only in time past.  Since then they had died with Christ, and been raised to a new holy life. Their conduct was no longer disobedient toward God, for those who are disobedient now are still being controlled by satan.

Many profess to be children of God and filled with the Spirit of God. However, the tree is known by the fruit it produces (Luke 6:44).

The Spirit of God is the HOLY Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to and finds rest in only those who obey God (Acts 5:32).  If a man is filled with the Holy Spirit, his works will be holy, for the Spirit working in him will produce fruit after His own kind (holiness). The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love (obedience to God’s commands–Jn. 14:23), joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance [self-control] (Gal 5:22-23).

If the fruit being produced in a man is fleshly and disobedient to God, the spirit at work in that man is the devil. He can say he believes in Jesus all he wants; even the devil himself believes in Jesus. Not only that, but the devil trembles, knowing that Jesus will soon crush him beneath the feet of the saints (Jam. 2:19; Rom. 16:20).  What the devil will not do is obey Jesus. And those who are taken captive by satan to do his will also live in disobedience (2 Tim. 2:26). As their father does, so do they.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. (John 8:44a)

Those who are doing “the lusts of your father [the devil]” are yet children of the devil.

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (I John 3:10)

Are you DOING righteousness? Not merely acknowledging that Christ was righteous, but doing likewise–living as He lived? Have you crucified your flesh with its affections and lusts?–If not, you are not yet Christ’s (Gal. 5:24). If you are still walking after the flesh, be assured that you will die (forfeit eternal life; Rom. 8:13). Let no one deceive you that you can walk after your flesh and yet possess eternal life.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Gal. 5:19-21)

Those who DO such things shall NOT INHERIT the kingdom of God. For King Jesus Himself will send His angels to remove from His kingdom all things that cause sin and those who DO sin and cast them into the furnace of fire (Matt. 13:41-42). It makes no difference what you believe in your mind and profess with your mouth, if your works continue to be unrighteous.  For many will say “Lord, Lord” on judgment day, and the Lord will turn them away forever because they did not put His words into practice in their everyday lives (Matt. 7).

So I ask you, dear reader, what spirit is working in you? Is it the Holy Spirit of God, working what is righteous and obedient to the Lord? Or is it the spirit of the devil, working what is disobedient?

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  (Eph. 5:3-7)

“Let it not once be named among you,” for the children of disobedience have only wrath to look forward to! Those who live and preach that we can only be disobedient for the rest of our lives have missed the whole purpose of the gospel of grace; they do not understand that Jesus has come to redeem us from all sin and purify for Himself a peculiar people who no longer walk in disobedience, but are zealous for doing what is good (Titus 2:11-14).

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence [lust], and covetousness, which is idolatry:  for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. (Col. 3:5-6)

Again, the children of disobedience will have wrath!  If this describes you, your only hope is to repent of doing evil, and turn to the Lord in obedience, trusting in His sacrifice to atone for your past rebellion.  Do not receive the grace of God in vain; do not do injury to the Spirit of grace by continuing in willful disobedience after coming to know the truth, lest you be considered worthy of greater punishment than those who despised Moses’ law and died without mercy (Heb. 10:26-29).

You must let the devil do his works in you no longer, giving him no place (Eph. 4:27).  Submit yourself to God (letting Him reign and rule in your life); resist the devil, and he will flee from you (Jam. 4:7).  The Son of God to Whom you submit was manifested to destroy the works of the devil (I Jn. 3:8). In becoming Christ’s servant and the servant of righteousness, you will no longer be the servant of sin or the devil. In submitting to His yoke (both His control and His divine assistance), you will find rest for your soul at last.  Follow the Lamb of God–Jesus–who only did what pleased the Father (Jn. 8:29).  As He lived, so you are called to live in this world (I Jn. 4:17).  If you do this, you will have confidence before Him at His coming because you have been abiding in Him (I John 2:28) and His Spirit has been living in you (I Jn. 3:24).

May God bless you and dwell in you by His Spirit!

Posted in Calvinism, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Refuting Calvinism

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 5, 2011

This is a very well-written article by Doctor Patrick Johnston, demonstrating how Calvinism is contrary to Biblical reason and sound doctrine.  God bless you!

Refuting What Calvinists Believe with What Calvinists Know

Muting the Objection of Conscience and Creation

There are many Calvinists both dead and living who have earned my admiration over the years. That I believe that they are in doctrinal error does not mitigate my respect and admiration for them as mighty men of God. Some of the greatest open air preachers and evangelists during the first and second Great Awakenings were Calvinists. Calvinists are leading Christendom in the restoration of biblical order for the home, in pioneering Christian home education, and are at the forefront of the attempts to apply the truths of God’s Word to issues generally thought of as secular: public education, welfare, economics, criminal justice, and the lordship of Christ over all matters of life. For that, they have my deep respect.

A Calvinist I deeply admire is Greg Bahnsen, one of my favorite Christian apologists who taught me, through his writings, books, and sermons, the presuppositional approach to evangelism and strengthened my belief in theonomy – the belief that governments and nations should obey God’s Word in all matters. When I prepared to listen to a CD that he preached on the subject of Calvinism, I grew concerned that my worldview was going to come crashing down. I have never heard Bahnsen say anything where he wasn’t overwhelmingly persuasive. I felt for certain he was going to bring a probing application of presuppositional apologetics to prove that Calvinism was true, necessitating a sea change in my theological beliefs.

What I heard from him, however, was the opposite: rather than a vigorous appeal to conscience and creation to prove the veracity of the Calvinist system, he advocated rather a suspension of our rational faculties and the muting of the predictable objection of human conscience. He did so based upon a passage from Isaiah, which is often misinterpreted. I’m sure you’ve heard a preacher say it: “God’s ways our not our ways, and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.” They often take that passage to mean that we just cannot understand God, and therefore shouldn’t try; just accept the truth of His Word by faith. However, a cursory perusal of the passage reveals the gross error in this thinking.

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so our my ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your  thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9

If your ways aren’t God’s ways, you shouldn’t just accept the conflict as unavoidable – you should repent. If your thoughts aren’t God’s thoughts, you shouldn’t give up trying to think God’s thoughts – you should repent. That’s what this passage plainly means. To interpret this passage to mean that sincere Christians cannot understand God or His thoughts or ways is absurd.

Before one fully embraces the Calvinist system, they must first fall prey to the unstated presupposition that we must suspend our rational faculties and mute the objection of our consciences to simply accept by faith whatever God’s Word says about how He governs. First of all, this is an impractical mission. Without our rational faculties we could not even understand Scripture, much less build a cohesive theological system.  In order for Calvinists to suspend their rational faculties and mute the objection of conscience, they first must engage their rational faculties to come to that conclusion, and enlist the mandate of conscience to submit to the Word of God. Thus, the unstated presupposition of Calvinism is false based upon what Calvinists in fact do. Calvinism’s conclusions so plainly contradict the testimony of nature and conscience that we must constantly be reminded by Calvinists like Bahnsen at the onset of their teaching on Calvinism that “God’s ways aren’t our ways” and we just need to accept Calvinist doctrine in spite of its apparent contradiction to self-evident truths.

Is it not a sin to reason. “Come let us reason together, saith the Lord.” It’s as if Calvinists think that God made our bodies and the devil created our intellect and reason. No, we are to “love the Lord thy God with all thy mind.” (Read More)

Posted in Calvinism, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

God Sees Your Sin, Pt. 3

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 23, 2011

In the previous post, I wrote out some Scriptures from the Old Testament that demonstrate that once being chosen and favored by God does not make one exempt from living a life pleasing to Him. After entering into covenant with God, one’s future sins are not invisible to God. Many members of “the chosen people” did not inherit the promise because they did not continue to obey the Lord; their carcasses fell in the wilderness, and these things were recorded to warn us that such can happen to us (I Cor. 10:1-12).  Now I would like to examine some New Testament texts that confirm our need for obedience to the Lord after being born into His family, and the consequences for disobedience.

A favorite doctrinal component of Calvinism is that if you have ever believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, or ever had a moment of true faith, His personal righteousness has been imputed to your account once-for-all, and is the only thing God will ever see when He looks at you in the future. In other words, even if you live a wicked life after that and die in sin, God can’t see it; all He sees is Jesus when He looks at you.  If such were true, then not only will He continue to see us as obedient when we disobey, He will be mocked.  He said we would reap what we sow, but we really won’t! He said the wages of sin was death, but we have found a loophole whereby we can sow to our flesh and not reap corruption! He is not only blind, He can’t chastise His children when they do wrong, since He can’t see their sin!

Complete hogwash!

One wonders how God could ever see the righteous acts of the saints, if He can’t see their sin! Do NOT be deceived by these teachings; God will not be mocked. If we sow to our flesh we WILL reap corruption, and God DOES chastise His children when they do wrong. (Gal. 6:7-8; Heb. 12:7) The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good. (Prov. 15:3) The Lord is wearied when people falsely say that evildoers are good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them (Mal. 2:17). People who do what is wicked are wicked; only he that does righteousness is considered righteous in the eyes of the Lord (I John 2:29; 3:7).

Jesus taught the following:

The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves…shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (Jn. 5:28-29)

In Matthew 7:21, Jesus taught the importance of DOING the Father’s will (righteousness), not just acknowledging or SAYING “Lord, Lord.” So important is it to DO the teachings of Christ, that the man who DOES them is likened to a house that survives a storm, while the man who does not DO them is likened to a house that is destroyed in the storm for lack of a proper foundation.  Friend, you ARE that house, and you are determining the final destiny of your house by whether or not you are submitting to Christ and doing God’s will. This is FOUNDATIONAL to your spiritual life.  Remember, King Jesus will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend (cause sin) and all persons who do iniquity, and cast them into the furnace of fire (Matt.13:41-42). So serious it is to get the sin out of your life, Christian, that Jesus said it would be better to cut off an offending body-part than to have your whole body “cast into hell.” (Matt. 5: 29-30)

So what if you don’t do as Jesus said, and deal a death blow to the sin in your own life?  Is all automatically forgiven because of His blood shed on the cross?

If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:   of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:26-29)

Friends, this Scripture destroys the license-to-sin doctrine.  If you willfully continue to sin after being sanctified, you are treating the precious blood of Jesus as an unholy thing!  God sees it and views you as worthy of much sorer punishment than the punishments inflicted on those who disobeyed Moses’ law!  When Ananias and Sapphira sinned in the church, was their sin hidden from God’s view? On the contrary, Peter, speaking by the Holy Ghost, rebuked them publicly. Their judgment was swift, and caused the fear of God to fall on the people who heard about it. Paul instructed Timothy to deal with sin in the church in like manner:

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.   I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.   Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.  (I Tim. 5:20-22)

Instead of following the right ways of the Lord, many in the church instead excuse or overlook flagrant sin, letting it spread like leaven through the whole lump. After all, if a person is considered positionally righteous even when they are doing unrighteous things, then who are they to judge?  False teaching is so dangerous!! Paul instructed the Corinthian church to put the sinner out of the church until he repents!! (I Cor. 5)  To refuse to do so is to be a partaker in other men’s sins and to become defiled.  Remember, the pure religion that pleases God includes keeping oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27); this presupposes that God sees when we become “spotted.”

In Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus–who is God–addresses the church. Does He only see His own righteousness when He looks at them, or does He assess them exactly according to their own works, and command repentance when necessary?  Indeed, Jesus makes some startling threats toward those who will not repent!

“Thou hast left thy first love.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:4-5)

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.   Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Rev. 2:14-16)

I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.   Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.  Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.   He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.  (Rev. 3:1-5)

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  (Rev. 3:15-19)

Please study those two chapters in full, and you cannot fail to see that all the beautiful promises of God are specifically for overcomers. We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). There is no easy way; the easy way taken by most is the wide road that leads to destruction. We must die to ourselves, and strive [make every effort, agonize] to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. (Luke 13:24)

Peter wrote that because the judgment of God is coming, and because we look forward to a new heaven and earth where only righteousness dwells, we must be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless…and beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Pet. 3:14, 17)  The righteous can be led away with the error of the wicked and fall? Yes!

Paul wrote of those who swerved away from love, a clean conscience, and sincere faith, and so had left the path of life and had only “vain jangling” or “meaningless talk”–the emptiness of religion without God (I Tim. 1:5-6). He wrote that some who had not held onto faith and a “good conscience” (they defiled and hardened their conscience by disobedience), had shipwrecked their faith! (I Tim. 1:19) He wrote that any who refused to provide financially for their own widows had, by his wickedness, denied the faith, and was worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8). He wrote that some younger widows, being idle and gossipers, had already turned aside after Satan. (I Tim. 5:15)  In fact, Paul recognized that he himself was not immune to falling away:

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.   And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.   I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:   But I keep under my body [keep my flesh crucified], and bring it into subjection [to God’s will]: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Cor. 9:24-27, brackets mine)

Paul recognized he could be cast away even after all his dedicated service to God! Just as a man who wants to win a race must be disciplined, so must the Christian life be disciplined, for “if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” (2 Tim. 2:5)  It is possible to begin the spiritual race and not finish the course, which is why we are urged to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and…run with patience [endurance].” (Heb. 12:1)  It is possible to engage in “the good fight” and not compete lawfully, being finally disqualified.

In 2 Peter 2, Peter wrote of false teachers who bring in damnable heresies [such as once-saved-always-saved or “God doesn’t see your sin”], even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  Peter describes these false teachers as having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices. Beware if your spiritual teacher shamelessly claims he cannot cease from sin, and that we must all sin every day in thought, word and deed! They teach such lies because they themselves are spiritually adulterous, loving the things of this world, especially the adoration and financial support of others who love sin and wish to have their ears tickled with sin-excusing lies.  Such teachers allure through the lusts of the flesh those who were clean escaped from them who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. And so these wolves pretending to be ministers teach the flock of God that they have “liberty in Christ” to sin all they want! But when a man serves sin, he becomes the slave of sin! His so-called liberty is false! Don’t be deceived. Peter called these who had at first escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and were again entangled therein and overcome worse off than they were before they knew the Lord!  They were like dogs returning to lick up the vomit they had expelled, or pigs washed from their filthiness returning to their filth.  Truly this is receiving the grace of God in vain!

Dear reader, it is possible to deny the Lord by your disobedient works (Titus 1:16). Consider this carefully:

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Tim. 2:19)

This is the foundation of the Lord, and will not change despite the empty promises of false teachers.  How do you then depart from iniquity? David said a man could cleanse his way by taking heed to God’s Word (Psa. 119:9)  It is by abiding in Christ that His good fruit will be manifest in your life (John 15).   I John 3:6 teaches that whoever abides in Jesus does not sin! When you go astray, it is directly due to your not abiding in Christ.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.  (John 15:7)

Paul said, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:2-3)  We must CHOOSE the things above or the things of this earth. We must CHOOSE to mortify our members which are on this earth, and to follow the things that please the Lord, because the wrath of God is coming on the children of disobedience (Col. 3:5-6).

Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy post!  I hope it is clear to you that in both Old and New Testaments, God’s covenants with men are conditional. If you have not already, please study both testaments on your own, asking God to open your understanding to the Truth. He has promised wisdom to those who ask, and He has promised to be found of those who seek Him with their whole heart.  He is the God of love, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and purify for Himself a peculiar people zealous for good works. His grace teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-14). I pray that you do not receive the grace of God in vain! I will leave you with this powerful statement by the Apostle Paul:

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Rom. 8:13)

God bless you!

Posted in Backslider, Calvinism, Christian Life, Once Saved Always Saved, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

God Sees Your Sin, Pt. 2

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 21, 2011

In this post, I would like to present you with Old Testament Scriptures which demonstrate that God deals with people on a day-to-day basis. He makes conditional covenants (agreements) with people, but if the people violate the conditions for blessing and refuse to repent, God is not bound to bless them still. The covenant has essentially been broken. Though God is merciful and loves to forgive, He does not blind Himself to the future sins of His people, allowing them to sin all they want and still remain under His protection and grace.

Some will argue that the Old Testament has no bearing on the lives of New Covenant believers, but this is error. We must remember that Jesus and all the New Testament teachers taught new believers from the Old Testament! It is applicable because God changes not. His character in the Old Testament is still the character He has today. There is a newer and better covenant in place, with a greater High Priest and more precious promises, but God remains the same covenant God, whose conditions must be met if one is to remain in His favor.

The Old Testament Judaic law was a shadow of things to come (Heb. 10:1)–meaning it was a type, from which we can draw truth and parallels relating directly to the present gospel time. Paul wrote exactly that in I Cor. 10:1-12, warning Christians that although the Old Testament Israelites had exited Egypt (symbolically: separated from the world), lived under the cloud (symbolically: enjoyed the protection of God), were baptized in the cloud and the sea (symbolically: old man crucified in baptism, resurrection to a new life as God’s child), ate spiritual meat (symbolically: partook of the True Bread, Jesus), and drank of the Rock who is Christ (received living waters), most were still overthrown in the wilderness before reaching the Promised Land. Why? They lusted, committed idolatry, fornicated, tempted Christ, and murmured in continual complaint, being unthankful. All these things happened to them, and were carefully recorded for examples to us, according to Paul!!

Therefore, we under the New Covenant can be sure that if we do the same things the Old Covenant people did, we will suffer the same fate. Though we have at one time separated from the world, enjoyed God’s protection, been baptized in Jesus, and feasted at the table of God, it is possible that because of our future sins, we will not receive the promise.  For this reason, the writer of Hebrews admonishes us,

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Heb. 10:36)

It is imperative for those of us who have faith in the promise of God to DO THE WILL OF GOD with PATIENCE–BEFORE we receive the promise!

Listen to the promise of God given to Israel in Deut. 31:8–

And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Right after Moses delivered this wonderful promise to Israel, God gave him a snapshot of the future; Israel would “rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.” What would happen next? Would God overlook their future sin and “never forsake them”?–

Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? (Deut. 31:16, 17)

When Joshua’s men suffered defeat at Ai, he sought answers of the Lord. Hadn’t the Lord promised to be with them? Why was He not keeping His promise? The Lord’s answer:

Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.  Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. (Josh. 7:11, 12)

Clearly, God’s promise to be with Israel was conditioned upon their remaining separate from “accursed things.”  God’s present favor is not a promise of unconditional future favor, no matter what you do.

If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. (Josh. 24:20)

The same warning was given to Solomon, a man gifted with wisdom from God:

Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.  (I Chron. 28:9)

Azariah, speaking by the Spirit of God, said the following to King Asa, and the people of Judah and Benjamin:

The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. (2 Chron. 15:2)

Let us not forget David, the man after God’s own heart, the shepherd king chosen to replace the backsliding King Saul. When he took another man’s wife and had her husband killed, “the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” (2 Sam. 11:27)  The Lord did not overlook the sins of the man He had chosen. Many people believe that David remained in a perfectly safe, “saved” condition during the long period of time before he repented, but the Bible does not make this claim–contrarily, it claims that unrepentant adulterers and murders will not inherit the Kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9; Rev. 21:8). Certainly, God’s mercy was extended to David in that he did not die in an unrepentant state, and His hand was heavy on David leading him to repentance. David could have hardened his heart at Nathan’s rebuke; thankfully, he did not.  We should not conclude from this story that David was an adulterer who was saved (unbiblical), but that God saw David’s sin and expected repentance.

In Ezekiel 8, the prophet was encouraged by God to look upon the wicked abominations–and greater abominations than these–being committed in the house of God. Was this not the house that once had the glory of the Lord resting upon it? (I Kings 8:11) But now God was angry at what the people were doing, so angry that He said,

Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. (Ezek. 8:18)

Dear reader, God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day (Psa. 7:11).  He does not turn a blind eye to the future deeds of those who are presently considered “righteous.” In fact, He declared that if a righteous person turns from past righteousness  to future sin, none of his past righteousness will even be remembered! (Ezek. 3:20; 18:24-26; 33:12) A righteous person’s future sins are not invisible to God! Dare you say to the all-seeing God, “You can’t see what I’m doing”?

Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? (Isa. 29:15)

The Lord says to His chosen people that turn to sin, “I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins.” (Amos 5:12) Not only does He know them, but “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Eccl. 12:14)  If you cover your sins (perhaps with unbiblical arguments like “God doesn’t see my sin”), you will NOT PROSPER, but if you confess AND FORSAKE them, you will have mercy (Prov. 28:13).

Although Israel had a covenant agreement with God whereby his sins could be covered and forgotten, his refusal to obey God’s voice, and his continuation in wickedness made his iniquity to be remembered (Ezek. 21:24). Because the people refused to restrain their wandering feet, the Lord no longer accepted them, but would now “remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.” (Jer. 4:10)

This doctrine that “God doesn’t see my sin” grieves the heart of God, who desires to heal backsliders of their ways if only they would “consider…in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.” (Hos. 7:1-2)

Apostasy was so rampant when the prophet Jeremiah was preaching, that the Lord directly said to the people, “I will utterly forget you…I will forsake you…and cast you out of my presence.” (Jer. 23:39)  Because the people transgressed the covenant and “cast off the thing that is good,” counting the “great things” of His law “a strange thing,” the Lord would no longer accept them, but would remember their iniquity and send them back to Egypt! (Hos. 8:3, 12, 13)  Because the people went whoring away from the God who loved them, and insisted upon corrupting themselves, He would “drive them out of His house,” “love them no more,” and “cast them away.” (Hos. 9)

The Israelites were taught by God, through the Levitical system, how costly sin was by seeing their innocent beasts die for their sins. Whatever sins were remitted by the shedding of blood would not be remembered against them. It was not a one-time deal, but a lifestyle of obeying God’s voice, examining themselves, and making appropriate offerings to God while seeking His forgiveness and favor. A man who became careless with the things of God was “cut off from his people.” Although the blood of animals cannot take away sins, these things were written for examples to us, and for our admonition (I Cor. 10:11).  Our offering for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ (shed once for all time), but this does not negate the fact that we must live lifestyles of obeying God’s voice, heeding His correction, examining ourselves sincerely, confessing and forsaking sin while seeking the Lord’s forgiveness, and looking to the crucified & risen Lamb of God with faith in His blood.  Carelessness and callousness can still result in being “cut off.” I will discuss this same theme in New Testament Scriptures in the next post.

God bless you!

Go to Part 3

Posted in Backslider, Calvinism, Christian Life, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: