The Grace of God

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

Posts Tagged ‘grace’

Errors that are Perverting the Christian Faith

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 27, 2014

My last post explained how the combination of Old and New Testaments are one continuous unveiling of the one eternal gospel of salvation.

Many people do not recognize this beautiful, seamless story of redemption in Scripture, but instead think there are two groups of “chosen people” and two plans of salvation. This is largely due to the false teachings of dispensationalism and zionism, which are taught in most American churches. Zionism is also furthered in the American secular media, and the media controlled by “the religious right.” (Please remember that “religious” does not equal “godly.” While the religious right has a form of godliness in taking certain moral stands that the Christian can agree with, in many ways it wanders from the true path of godliness laid out by Christ.) You can read a history of modern dispensationalism here, and an illuminating list of Scriptural problems with that system of thought here. Some good articles about modern “Christian” zionism can be read here. I encourage any reader who hasn’t researched these subjects thoroughly to read several sources.

During the Babylonian captivity that judged Israel’s apostasy, some of Israel’s religious leaders(rather than repenting) were schooled in Babylonian religion/witchcraft, mixing it with their already apostate “worship of God.” This demonic hybrid religion was eventually set forth in the Jewish Talmud. (Read a history of the Talmud here.) This extremely racist and evil theology was kept by some of the Pharisees, and its deviations from truth had already colored the perceptions of many Jews in Jesus’ day. It specifically taught Jewish supremacy and a hatred for Gentiles. Certain verses from the Torah were cherry-picked to give support to this understanding, while ignoring the fact that God had promised in the Torah to bless all nations from the beginning! (Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:8) Perhaps this is why most of the Jews in Jesus’ day–even those who repented and followed Him–did not understand the Old Testament prophecies of Christ as a suffering King who would save all nations, but instead expected Him to be a military hero for Jews against Gentiles.

Those errant teachings have survived to this very day, and they continue to war against the truth! The Pharisees believed their lineage to Abraham secured them as “the chosen” despite their wickedness, but John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul and others corrected their brand of “once saved always saved” error. Most importantly, the New Testament records their corrections! Yet the error persists today in dispensationalism and zionism, an evil mixture of doctrines that insists there are two peoples of God, two salvation plans, etc., as if the Lamb of God hasn’t been slain and forever established His “one new man” Church/City/Holy Nation of Jews and Gentiles united by faith.

Dispensationalists undermine and reject the truth by insisting that there are two salvational programs for two separate people groups. They wrongly believe that “rightly dividing Scripture” is applying some Scripture to only Jews, and some to only Christians. “God’s people the Jews,” they say, are defined by blood or national borders, and are accepted by God even if they are committing evil and denying Jesus. This is a horrendous and wicked lie, and reveals a grossly inaccurate understanding of Hebrew and Jewish history. “God’s people the Church,” they say, is a “parenthesis” interrupting the Biblical story, and they proceed to chop the Biblical story into 3 or 5 or 7 “dispensations,” depending on which flavor of falsehood they hold to. Supposedly the Church is completely separate from the nation of Israel, rather than having been brought near and made citizens of the Commonwealth of Israel by the blood of Jesus (Eph. 2:11-13). Next comes a denial of many important portions of Scripture, with the excuse that said Scripture only applies to the Jews. One egregious example is a rejection of the Sermon on the Mount, either in full or in part. Another is the contention that all verses putting forth obedience as a condition of salvation are only for the Jews. Paul’s teachings that emphasize “belief” and “grace” are stressed (and usually twisted), while his teachings emphasizing obedience are downplayed or ignored. And thus dispensationalism leads to a gross mishandling of Scripture, and lays a false foundation upon which one can more easily shipwreck his faith through disobedience and presumption.

Dispensationalists, due to their errant concept of an earthly Israel being an alternative “people of God,” generally go on to adopt Israeli Zionism, which is basically a secular, racist movement among predominantly secular Jews–many of whom aren’t even Jewish by blood or connection to the Hebrew Torah! Their Christianized version of this political movement is generally called “Christian Zionism.” Through antichrists like John Hagee (a man who denies Christ came to be Israel’s Messiah), fables like the Left Behind series, and unholy alliances like the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (try to imagine the Apostle Paul participating in such a fellowship), undiscerning Christians are swept away in what amounts to apostasy from the true faith. Furthermore, the secular, political movement uses and exploits the support of undiscerning Christians in order to fund its advancement and insulate itself from having its injustices exposed and condemned.

All sorts of secondary false doctrines arise from this apostate belief system, such as: evil-doing America will be blessed so long as she gives military support to evil-doing Israel, giving money to Jews who are settling in occupied Palestinian territory is advancing the kingdom of God, evangelism of Jews is a waste of time, Arabs in general or Muslims in particular are not worthy of Christian charity and outreach, etc.

The dispensational/zionistic model is not a small problem, or a minor discrepancy of doctrine that doesn’t matter in the long run. While a person can be saved while believing all or some portion of this lie, the lie itself is a HUGE problem, and a HUGE blight on Christianity with global consequences. In effect, it transforms what the world sees as the “Christian Church” into a debacle that resembles the marauding crusaders of the past! While Christians don’t physically march to “the holy land” with a sword in hand, their blind support of this secular nation, and their financial aid in robbing Palestinians of their homes and livelihoods accomplishes much the same thing. And while they condemn Islam for being a bloody religion, they themselves are being used to perpetuate and excuse the shedding of more blood. All this in the name of Christ!

My friend, the Lamb of God HAS been slain, and the one new man HAS been created (Eph. 2:15). There is no going back, there is no ignoring this monumental fulfillment of the Promise, and there is no skirting its implications. The Church is not a parenthetical afterthought, but a fulfillment of all the promises! Those who are mastered by the Son of God are blessed, and those who reject the Son of God are cursed–period, end of story. I stand with Paul, who wrote of all who bring some alternative gospel, “Let them be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8) Please be on your guard against these continuing Pharisaical lies supporting a secular military state, now repeated ad nauseum in Christian churches, eroding and perverting the faith of many. There is only one story and one means of salvation for everyone! Woe unto them that call evil good by insisting that we bless what God Himself will not bless!!

Discern, brothers and sisters! You must discern the true people of God, which is the true Body of Christ. There is NO division whatsoever between Jew and Gentile in Christ. Do not give your support either financially or verbally to the enemies of God. If Paul had not been so insistent on this point, he might not have been so hated by the Jews! But he wouldn’t back down, and thank God! For this kept the purity of the gospel in tact despite the repeated attacks against it. It remains for us now to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Yes, God chose one family of people–a family in which God-fearing Gentiles have always been welcome–through whom to demonstrate His glorious saving truths. Each person who was chosen to carry the story forward was chosen based on faith. The faithful remnant of this family was used as a foundation upon which God’s True Temple is still being built. To them was given the privilege and responsibility of being God’s Kingdom ambassadors to the world, and this privilege and responsibility now falls upon every person who has been grafted into the olive tree.

However, while we appreciate the root from which our faith has grown, we must be careful to define God’s plant (His people) just as He does. We must not deny that when the King of Israel arrived on the scene to fulfill all the promises, only the faithful remained in His kingdom, and the unbelieving and unfaithful were expelled. Their place in His kingdom was given to others who would produce the fruit God wants (Matt. 21:43). And so the promise was fully realized: through Abraham’s Seed (Jesus), all nations have been blessed with the opportunity to be saved.

I also acknowledge that, in God’s timeline, there were two covenants given. The second covenant has superseded and fulfilled in spiritual reality what the first could only foreshadow. In God’s perfect wisdom, He made the first covenant such that it would lead those who had sincere faith to the Savior.

In a sense, we all begin our journey of faith in the first covenant, brought to a place of sorrow and death when we realize we are guilty of breaking God’s law. And from there, we must go on into the second covenant–that place of restored relationship with the Father through the blood of Jesus, and our obedience to Him. The Old Testament believers made this journey also, looking ahead to God’s Sacrifice by faith, pressing into the reality that was in heaven. Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. each made that journey! No person of faith has ever been left out of God’s unfolding plan of salvation, no matter which stage of the unfolding happened in their lifetime. The Hebrews 11 “hall of faith” is a monument to this wonderful truth. Perhaps that chapter continues as each one of us finishes our race.

I hope this writing has helped you to be more on guard against the destructive errors of dispensationalism and zionism. Perhaps it will at least encourage you to do more research into these subjects, to fill in whatever gaps you have in your understanding. This is a journey I myself have been on for about ten years, and I don’t expect any reader to simply believe everything I say. Neither do I assume I have arrived at a perfect understanding. However, I have a firm conviction that I must sound an alarm about these false doctrines, and this has been attempted in this post. May the God of Truth guide the steps you take from here.

Posted in "Christian" Zionism, Apostasy | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Unfolding Revelation of Salvation

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 25, 2014

The more I read the Scriptures, the more I realize the Book of God is one progressive written revelation–a revelation of God’s plan of salvation for all people.

Even the word “revelation” has within it a progression from something that is not yet revealed, to something that becomes manifest. Between the unrevealed and the revealed is the progression. In Scripture, the “manifold” (many folds) wisdom of God is peeled back layer by layer, to gradually reveal both His justice and His mercy, His authority and His voluntary humility, His unequaled greatness and His willingness to condescend to help the helpless. Reading and grasping the big picture in a progression of real historical events leaves one overwhelmed at the creative genius of our God.

All Scripture points to Jesus, the means of Salvation! But as you journey from Genesis to Revelation, Redemption is opened bit by bit.

Let’s begin in Genesis.

When there were only two human beings on the earth that needed redemption, God began His redemption story. When they brought sin into the world by their disobedience, He convicted them, subjected them to severe consequences, and promised–in Gen. 3:15–that there would be enmity between satan and the woman’s Seed, but the Seed would win the battle. This “Seed” was the first mention of Jesus Christ, the only Redeemer and Savior for sinners. The covering of skin over Adam and Eve’s nakedness pictured the covering we receive when our sins are atoned for and forgiven–a costly covering bought with the death of the Innocent and Holy God. “The woman” figuratively was the Church. God’s Church–those who belonged to God by faith–would go on to bring forth the Seed who would bruise the serpent’s head and rescue sinners from his kingdom.

The first two children born on the earth became a picture of the division that exists between those who seek to please God and those who don’t. Cain slew Abel because his brother’s deeds were righteous, and the Church’s first martyr was safely deposited under the altar of God, to rest there until the full number of his righteous brethren were also killed. (Rev. 6:9-11)

In the days of Noah, the Lord revealed His hatred for sin and many aspects of His means of redemption and the future final judgment. Only those who believe His warnings and work out their salvation with fear and trembling–in accordance with His commands–would be saved. Noah was the only patriarch of his time with ears to hear, signifying that comparatively few will be saved. He followed the Lord’s blueprint exactly, and his family survived to enjoy the new world. The ark was a type of salvation in Christ. When God shut the door on the ark, He demonstrated that the “day of salvation” would come to an end; thus the only safe time to get right with God is “Today.” The human rejection of salvation in Noah’s day, while two of each animal were saved, pictures how Jesus came to His own, but most of His own received Him not–and Gentiles were saved instead. Noah’s family pictured God’s Church (throughout all of history) issuing the invitation, and storing up such food as would sustain believers while they waited for the new world. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. (Lk. 17:26-27) Yes, the days of Noah pointed to future days, days which seem to be fast approaching.

Why did the Lord choose Abraham? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him. (Gen. 18:19) Here was another man seeking God, and he was also chosen to be an instrument of God’s grace. He believed the Word of God that he would have a child, he obeyed God’s command to leave his people and become a sojourner, and his faith was counted as righteousness. A promise was made to him that because of his obedience, in his Seed, all nations will be blessed (Gen. 22:18). It was, from the beginning, a promise with global implications. He would be the father not just of one nation, but of many (Gen. 17:4). Now who do you suppose this Seed was by whom all nations would be blessed? Yes, back in Genesis 3, we learned of a Seed who would crush satan’s head. The apostle Paul later identifies this same Seed as Christ. He tells us the promises to Abraham are fulfilled in Christ, and anyone who is Christ’s is Abraham’s seed and inherits the promise (Gal. 3:16; 29). Paul stated that in making the promises to Abraham, God had preached the gospel to him and foretold how Gentiles would be saved (Gal. 3:8). The beautiful, glorious GOSPEL, my friends! It was being unfolded in Abraham’s day and Abraham understood it, keeping himself as a foreigner even in “the land of promise,” always waiting for the heavenly city.

Next we come to Isaac, who was chosen over Ishmael even though both sons came from Abraham. God did not choose by blood or tradition; a faith response to His promises is what He looked for. Sarah foolishly tried to make God’s promise come true before the proper time by “helping” her husband father the child Ishmael through Hagar. Poor Hagar was caught in Sarah’s foolish act of the flesh, but God took care of her and her child, and continued with His plan, using each event to teach us. Isaac was born by a miracle of God, and received the blessing of Abraham’s inheritance. And what do these things mean? Years later, the mystery is explained by Paul. Hagar and Ishmael represent children born according to the flesh–Jews who think they are Abraham’s children by blood or religious ritual alone, who count upon having the letter of the law without having the Spirit who wrote it. (Though Paul applied it to the Jews of his day, I believe it also applies to Gentiles who think they are saved through the same fleshly means.) Sarah and Isaac represent the TRUE CHURCH–those who are born by a miracle of God and receive Abraham’s inheritance–salvation–by faith! Sarah herself pictured the “Jerusalem Above,” the mother of the free (for where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom). And so the very gospel that brings salvation to those who are born of the Spirit–not the flesh–came even more into view. (Gal. 4:22-31)

Jacob wrestled with God. He had desired the birthright of his brother Esau and deceived him to get it. As a man living a real life in God’s history, he needed to be broken and fully submitted to God, but his story became yet another picture of the gospel. The “birthright” of salvation can be taken from us and given to another who wants it more, if we place too little value upon it. Esau became a picture of those who sell the birthright (salvation) for temporary pleasure (Heb. 12:16). Again, bloodline did not seal anyone in the promise. God has always retained the right to choose only those who seek Him and place value upon His Word. Jacob later saw in a vision a ladder reaching from earth to heaven. Upon awaking, he exclaimed that he was in “the house of God.” (Gen. 28:12-17) This dream foretold the mediation of the Savior, who would come to earth and be the Way by which men are reconciled to God. Those thus reconciled would be His House, His very dwelling place!

Jacob had twelve sons, one of which became a picture of the Messiah/Seed. Joseph dreamed his brothers bowed down to him, and he was hated for this and his father’s favoritism toward him. Clothed in a coat of many colors, perhaps depicting the international scope of Christ’s ministry, Joseph’s close relationship with his father became unbearable to his brothers. Rather than doing what was right themselves, they wanted to kill the one who exposed their own unrighteousness. When they sold him to traveling merchants to be rid of him, they could not have known that in time, the Jews would “sell” their very Deliverer–the promised Seed–to be crucified, thus fulfilling the unfolding picture. In spite of much personal suffering, Joseph went on to become the unlikely savior of Egypt and all who would come to him for food–unfolding the truth that Jesus is the Savior of the world and all must come to Him for the bread of life. Even Israel (Jacob) had to come to Joseph to live, showing that even that nation must be saved by Jesus. Joseph’s brothers did bow before him, looking for mercy, just as all Jesus’ “brothers” must do to be saved. As Joseph, Jesus was “fruitful in the land of His affliction”–the earth. The Word of God has accomplished what He was sent to do.

When the children of Jacob/Israel were in bondage in Egypt, God raised up a deliverer, the humble Moses. The bondage of Israel represents the slavery to sin all sinners labor beneath. Pharaoh represents the cruel king of this dark kingdom–satan. He is a harsh taskmaster, forcing sinners to attempt what will always be impossible. Moses was saved from infanticide just as the Seed/Christ would later be saved–the dragon/satan always nipping at His heels and trying to abort the ministry of the One who would bruise his head. Moses, as a picture of Christ, battled against Pharoah–not with carnal weapons, but with the Word of the Lord and signs and plagues sent from heaven. The Exodus he led out of Egypt was a picture of the glorious Lord Jesus leading those who trust in Him out of the world and into the kingdom of God. The Israelites crossed the Jordan river safely, while Pharaoh and his army were drowned; this pictured the baptism into death God’s people must undergo to be saved, and also pictured the ultimate overthrowing of satan and those who hate God’s people.

Aaron, the High Priest of the wilderness tabernacle, was a direct picture of Jesus–the High Priest to come who would pass through the very heavens to mediate for His people (Heb. 4:14). While Moses was a shepherd and a prophet, a humble man who was willing to die for his people, Aaron sprinkled innocent blood on the mercy seat to atone for the nation’s sins. Both men, fallible as they were, were foreshadowing the works of the Seed/Messiah to come.

The sacrifices of animals were never able to atone for sin (Heb. 10:4). This sacrificial system given to the Hebrew family, including the blueprint for the tabernacle, was given as a copy of a reality which already existed in heaven (Heb. 8:5). The veil which kept the people from the inner sanctuary signified that the Way into the Most Holy place was not yet revealed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. It was a mere illustration of the reality which would soon be manifest. Christ would come and officiate in the “more perfect tabernacle not made with hands…not of this creation” (Heb. 9:7-11). As Mediator of the New Covenant, Jesus redeemed even the sins committed under the first covenant (Heb. 9:15). Thus He fulfilled the Old Testament shadow and became the Savior of everyone who ever lived, or would live, a life of repentance and faith.

By the time Joshua led the Hebrews into Canaan, there had already been a huge “cutting off” of those who did not have faith. The older generation, with exception of Joshua and Caleb, perished and never inherited the shadow of promise. They did not believe God, and they continually tested Him in spite of His past faithfulness. Neither their lineage nor their participation in the tabernacle rituals were able to secure for them an entrance into “the promised land”; thus they became an example to those who would come after, that we must overcome temptations and obey the Lord if we want to inherit the real promise (I Cor. 10:1-13). Joshua was a type of Christ, leading the people in battle as Christ leads those soldiers who side with Him (2 Tim. 2:33). Remember, however, that Joshua himself worshiped the Commander of the Army of the Lord, Who refused to be identified as fighting for either Joshua or the enemy. He fought only for the Lord (Josh. 5:13-15), signifying that God’s work is for His own glory, and He is not a respecter of persons. Joshua’s rescue of the Gentile Rahab from the city of Jericho was an early example of God’s grafting Gentiles into His spiritual nation. Heb. 11:31 declares that Rahab was saved by her faith!

David was chosen from among his more likely brothers to be king of Israel, demonstrating again that God looks upon the heart in His choices. As a shepherd who risked his life battling bear and lion to save his sheep, David demonstrated the heart of the coming Messiah who would lay down His life for His friends. As the youth armed with boyish weapons courageously facing the giant, he demonstrated how Christ would defeat satan with unlikely weapons because God was with Him. As the anointed king living like a refugee in the wilderness, hunted incessantly by jealous Saul, and supported by his faithful “mighty men,” he again demonstrated aspects of Jesus’ ministry. Before His time to die had come, there were unsuccessful attempts on Jesus’ life. Those seeking power in this world were and still are jealous of Jesus; they can no longer kill this overcoming King, so they persecute and kill His followers. Nevertheless Jesus’ disciples are His “mighty men.” They might not look like much in the world’s eyes, but those who know their God (Jesus) do exploits (Dan. 11:32).

For the sake of time, I will mention only two more collections of men that manifested the glory of God’s salvation–the judges and prophets of Israel.

The judges of Israel rose in a time when men were doing “what was right in their own eyes.” Rather than allowing the old covenant to lead them to faith in their Savior (Gal. 3:24), many were leaving God for the idols of the heathen. They continued to “honor God with their lips,” while withholding their hearts from the Spirit’s gracious influence (Isa. 29:13). They continued to circumcise their flesh, but would not circumcise their hearts. Judges were raised up by God to win battles and bring stability to the nation. Jesus promised His disciples that they would sit on twelve thrones judging Israel. I believe they are already on those thrones judging the Israel of God (the church). Some of His disciples were used to give us the New Testament Scriptures, by which we today judge all matters in the church. And in some sense, all God’s church members are called to judge in the church (I Cor. 5). Through righteous judgment, we rebuke impurity in those who say they are God’s, but do what is right in their own eyes, and we overcome the lies that continually try to lead God’s people off course.

Next came the prophets, pleading for Israel’s repentance and warning of God’s judgment if they should refuse. God’s people was His Bride, and she was meant to be faithful to Him. But most (thankfully, not all) under the old covenant were unfaithful, and turned God’s glorious unfolding gospel on its head by saying God had delivered them so they could now sin with impunity (Jer. 7:1-15). They insisted they could not be destroyed because they were “the people of God” and God was with them, deliberately forgetting that the promises had always included curses on the disobedient. (Does this sound familiar? The same sin-excusing doctrine is preached in many churches today–Jude 3-4). They persecuted, and sometimes killed, the prophets sent to them. Ultimately, Jesus would be THE Prophet Moses said would come, to bless the people by turning them away from their sins (Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:26). As the prophets came with the word of the Lord in the Old Testament, God has now spoken to us “in these last days” through Jesus (Heb. 1:1-2). He was crucified by those He came to save. Jesus taught that His disciples would also be mistreated like the prophets, but such are blessed and will inherit the kingdom of God (Matt. 5:10-12).

After years of prophetic silence, John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah and anounced that the Kingdom of God was here–not just in type, but in reality! The time for wishy-washiness was over; repent and believe the gospel or be banished from the kingdom! Only the repentant would be accepted.

Jesus came also calling for repentance. He did many miracles to support His claim to be God come in the flesh. He rebuked and corrected His enemies, who were perverting the truth with their professed adherence to the letter of the Law and purposeful ignoring of its spiritual intent. He openly declared that all things written in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms about Him would be fulfilled (Lk. 24:44).

The layers that had been unfolding over time suddenly revealed to the world the Plan of Salvation in all of its manifold beauty. He was lifted up, and He drew all men to Himself. The King of Glory didn’t look like much to carnal eyes, but the spiritually reborn had found the One whom their soul loved. Those who stumbled over Him, being disobedient, found themselves on the outside of a supernatural kingdom that can only be entered by the supernatural Door. And thus the Story reached its grand climax.

The examples I shared in this paper suffice to show us that Scripture is one beautiful unfolding revelation of one plan of salvation offered to all people. In the next post, I will try to explain why many people do not recognize the seemlessness of this beautiful redemption story in Scripture, but instead think there are two groups of “chosen people” and two “plans of salvation.” But for now, I want to end this writing focused on the amazing Truth–

God’s Kingdom/Church has been established on His holy mountain. The Seed of Gen. 3 has come and bruised the serpent’s head. God’s King is on His throne never to be de-throned, and His kingdom is advancing by the Word of Truth, by the power of God, and by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left (2 Cor. 6:7). As a kingdom which is not of this world, it is neither defended nor destroyed by anything the god of this world can create. Jerusalem Above is the eternal city of refuge to which poor sinners can, forsaking their sins, flee in good faith that they will find mercy and life.

The Gospel message of salvation–something Paul called “the revelation of the mystery”– has been fully opened to our minds by Jesus Christ, who fulfilled all things. The Old Testament prophets had “the Spirit of Christ in them,” and they prophesied of “the grace that would come to you,” says Peter (I Pet. 1:10-12). John called it “the everlasting Gospel” (Rev. 14:6) and referred to Jesus as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:7). The Book of Revelation wraps up what began in Genesis–the story of how the Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world, defeats every enemy including death, and inherits the nations. Praise be to Him forever!

Posted in "Christian" Zionism, Preach the Gospel | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Reciprocal Love

Posted by israeliteindeed on February 16, 2014

Many of us know what it is to receive reciprocal love. When we take care of a pet, and that animal voluntarily comes and shows affection toward us when it could run the other way, we are warmed inside by this “free will offering” of love. When our children do for us some act of kindness that goes over and beyond the rules, we experience the thrill of being truly cared for by them. There is something very precious about voluntary reciprocal love–not only to us, but to God.

God is love, and God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. While we were yet sinners–not concerned in the least about what God deserves–Christ died for us. While we still hated God, God cared to the point of His own hurt. While we were friends of the world, carnal, and enemies of everything good, God was working out a Way to redeem us and save us from our self-destruction.

What does such a God deserve? Does He not deserve sincere reciprocal love from us?

“We love Him because He first loved us.” (I Jn. 4:19)

And what does this love look like?

There are thousands–perhaps millions–of people who claim to love God while they live and behave in ways that make God sick and angry. Not only do they not reverence Him or do anything He says, they hate and hurt one another (sometimes even claiming they are doing it for God–John 16:2). But did not Jesus say, “He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me”? Yes, and He also said, “He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love Him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21)

God loved us through the sacrifice of Jesus. We owe Him love and gratitude in response to that gift, and our love will be evidenced by our keeping His commands. Our keeping His commands is the key to abiding or remaining in His love (John 15:10). Our reciprocal love toward Jesus will be met with MORE reciprocal love from God toward us.

The Apostle John wrote, “This IS the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” (I John 5:3) In this statement, John has written for us a very clear definition of the love of God. It has been, since the beginning of time, God’s will for men to heed His voice. This is only as it should be. He is the self-sacrificing Shepherd; we are the sheep. He is the benevolent Father; we are the children. He is the wise Potter; we are the clay–only useful to Him and others if we yield to Him.

However, men given over to the lusts of their own flesh despise authority. They want to be in charge of their own lives so they can do whatever seems good to them. Since they also want to be religious, they have decided for themselves that the love of God is something other than what the Word of God says. They have re-defined the love of God to be something that they find easy to fulfill. For some, going to church on Sunday fulfills their commitment to love God. For others, wearing a gold cross on their neck, or trying to be nice and agreeable (tolerating sin) is “proof” of their love for God, even while they ignore the things God says. But this “worship” toward God is not in Spirit and Truth, and God does not accept it.

For the person who has been truly born again by God’s Spirit, the commandments of God are not burdensome, because whatever is born of God overcomes the world (I John 5:3-4). True faith manifests as obedience to God because true faith recognizes that God is the wisest, kindest, and best Authority there is; and the only correct response to that authority is obedience.

David wrote in Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do your will, O my God, and your law is within my heart.”

This is a far cry from a reluctant attempt to appease God here and there while still trying to live for ourselves as we please. If we are still trying to please ourselves, we have not yet been crucified with Christ to this world and our flesh. This is why we have no resurrection power to overcome the world. No one can serve both God and self. If self is still allowed to rule, we demonstrate that we do not yet recognize how criminal this usurpation of authority is. As rebels, we are contributing to the world’s problems rather than being helpful to the world. And despite any lipservice we give to God concerning the Sacrifice He has made, we show by our disobedience that we do not value that Sacrifice at all.

If we are playing at religion while harboring love for the world–and our temporal lives in it–in our hearts, we need to come clean and admit we are enemies of God (I John 2:15-16). We need to sorrow over this sorry condition we are in, and commit to seeking God until we are completely changed from the heart.

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. And His grace has the power to teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age (Titus 2:11-12). In other words, God’s grace–if it is not received in vain by a hard, stubborn heart that doesn’t care–has the power to produce in us a sincere reciprocal love for God that manifests itself in obedience to His commands. And only those who love Him in this manner will escape the curse of damnation that is coming on this world (I Cor. 16:22).

Posted in Christian Life, Once Saved Always Saved, Repentance | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 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.

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The Serious Consequences of Unforgiveness

Posted by israeliteindeed on October 29, 2011

Jesus said that the one who is forgiven much, loves much. I hope this describes you, dear reader, for love will cover a multitude of sins.

Just after Jesus told Peter that forgiveness must be given to an offender not seven times only, but seventy times seven, He taught an important parable that every Christian should be careful to remember.

Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.  And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.  But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.  The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’  Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.  (Matt. 18:23-27)

Firstly, I’d like you to notice that being a Christian is likened to being in a kingdom under the jurisdiction of a King who will settle accounts with His servants. Jesus came preaching “the kingdom of Heaven” (or “the kingdom of God”) of which He Himself was and is the eternal King.  Each of us who have entered the good graces of that King, have done so by falling down before Him and desiring to be forgiven of a great debt we could not repay.  What man can cleanse his offending record and justify himself from the sins he has committed against this good King and His holy law of love? He cannot do it; he must have the compassion and forgiveness of the master, or he is all undone.  The master in this story (a picture of God) was “moved with compassion”–for the Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy (Psa. 145:8).  He released him from the debt and freely forgave him, just as God will do for any sinner who humbles himself before Him earnestly desiring the Master’s patience.

“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’  So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.  So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.  (Matt. 18:28-31)

Forgiven Christian, the question before you now is what will you do when one of your fellow servants becomes indebted to you through some injustice in word or deed?  Will you respond toward him the same way the King has responded toward you? Or will you hold the debt over his head, refusing to follow the example of the One who forgave you?  It is very important that we receive not the grace of God in vain. The kindness of God is meant to lead us to repentance. We ought not only to forsake the sin previously committed, but to become different people–people who respond to our debtors as God has responded to us.

Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” and adds this warning: For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.(Matt. 6:12, 14-15)  This is plain language indicating that our own forgiveness (and salvation) is in part conditioned upon our choosing to forgive our debtors.  If instead, we hold our debtors in the prison of unforgiveness, what will become of us? The Lord’s teaching is dangerously clear.

Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.  Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’  And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.  “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”  (Matt. 18:32-35)

Is it possible to be a servant of the Lord, fully forgiven of all debt (sins) by the compassionate King, and then through our subsequent choices, forfeit the mercy that was ours? Indeed, it is, for the Lord has spoken truly: So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses. And what will He do?  He will hold our past offenses (which were previously forgiven) against us until we pay for them. How can we pay for them and free ourselves from “the torturers”? We can’t.

Dear saint, you are called to be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48).  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matt. 5: 7). Therefore be merciful, just as your Father in heaven is merciful (Luke 6: 36).  You must forgive your brother from the heart, if you wish to remain in the love of God. Offenses sting and wound us, but as we forgive them, we are walking in the perfect way of love. We remember how great a debt the Lord forgave us, and how great a wound our sins imposed upon Him; and in the light of this, we count the sins committed against us of little regard and easily forgiven.  We lavish the same love on others that has been given unto us, thereby becoming conduits of the mercy of God to others. But if we reject this mission of mercy, we become debtors to God once again.

By the Spirit of God, our brother James wrote: 

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:9)

Did James write that we will merely experience some loss of intimacy with God if we grumble against one another, or did he write that we will be condemned?  The wise Christian will take warning, and not try to explain away the clear teaching of God.  Forgiveness is not always easy, but it must be done by choice despite our feelings.  We choose to obey our Lord and follow His example, knowing His ways are right and good, and He in turn comforts us in our afflictions and removes the sting of our wounds. You can have a still-smarting wound and choose to walk in forgiveness, just as Jesus said, “Father forgive them” even as He suffered on the cross.  Choose today to always forgive your debtors immediately and thoroughly, from the heart, and you will be blessed.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Col. 3:13)

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.  (Eph. 4:31-32)

May God bless you!

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Sin Boldly?

Posted by israeliteindeed on October 28, 2011

Martin Luther is credited with saying the following:

“If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness, but, as Peter says, we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small? Pray boldly—you too are a mighty sinner.”

Dear reader, I hope you shuddered in horror at these words. I would like to specifically zero in on this portion:  Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. 

Replacing the word “sin” with the word “murder” we have this:  Be a murderer and murder boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.  Or how about this: Be an adulterer and commit adultery boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. Or perhaps your favorite sin is lying:  Be a liar and lie boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.  Do you steal? Be a thief and steal boldly! Just make sure you believe and rejoice in Christ more boldly!

Some may accuse me of taking Martin Luther’s words out of context, but I assert that his words have been used as a license to sin by many, and indeed seem custom-made for the job!  He said you can murder a thousand times a day and still remain in Jesus Christ! Have you ever heard such blasphemy? I know Luther is a revered reformer, but Christ’s sheep hear His voice and they follow Him. They will not follow the voice of the stranger, and this is the voice of a stranger if I’ve ever heard one. Test the spirits by which men speak!  Never assume that someone honored by others is the friend of your soul.

To the shamed adulterer, Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)

To the man whom He had healed from a 38-year infirmity, Jesus said, “Sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you.” (John 5:14)  What could be worse than 38 years of perpetual infirmity?

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” (I Cor. 15:34)

He also wrote, “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Rom. 6:15-16)

Again, Paul wrote to Timothy, “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)

The Apostle John testified that he wrote his epistle “that you may not sin.” (I Jn. 2:1)

Peter wrote of false teachers who would deny the Lord who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction. How do they deny the Lord?–through disobedience and teaching disobedience to the Lord’s servants. For they profess to know God, but in works they deny Him. Some of their distinguishing marks are:  they will receive the wages of unrighteousness (because they are unrighteous), they count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime (not even blushing for their sins, but doing them boldly even in the company of the Christian church), and they have eyes full of adultery, and they cannot cease from sin (2 Pet. 2:1-14; Titus 1:16).

They cannot cease from sin! Though Jesus said to cease from sin and gives victory over sin to those who abide in Him, and though His apostles taught that we must cease from sin and obey Jesus, these teachers not only cannot cease from sin in their own lives, but they also teach others, “Be a sinner and sin boldly…as long as we are here, WE HAVE TO SIN.”

Do you hear the hiss of the deceiver in those terrible words?

Please do not misunderstand me. I know that Luther stood against the darkness of the catholic church, and I believe he started out on the right foot and even helped some to escape their slavery to the Roman church. However, he had some gross error, and this error about sin has likely led millions to deny the Lord who bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  Luther was a man so taken with his concept of “faith alone,” that he wanted to cut the book of James out of the Bible. Why? Because James wrote, “A man is justified by works, and not by faith only” and “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:20-24)

Dear reader, I am grateful that if I do sin, I have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  However, the goal is NOT TO SIN. When we were reunited with our Father through the atoning death of Jesus, it was not to continue a life of sin until the day we die.  We came back to the Father as dear children who love and obey their Father, not just because He has authority and power, but because He has proven His love and kindness in Jesus Christ. Death is not our Savior from sin; Jesus is our Savior from sin. Jesus will save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). Is Jesus Christ in you? Examine yourselves, to see if you be in the faith. Is His Spirit leading you, and are you walking in step with Him?–if so, then you are not fulfilling the lust of the flesh. The righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in those who walk after the Spirit (Gal. 5:16; Rom. 8:4).

Beware of any teacher, no matter how famous, who comes teaching you to walk after your flesh as boldly as you please. Beware of men who make you feel secure in Christ while you follow your flesh. They will say “God doesn’t see your sin; He only sees Jesus.” Or “The righteousness of Jesus is imputed to you even if you commit fornication or murder a thousand times a day!”  Do not be deceived. God will not be mocked, and those who live according to their flesh will DIE the second death. Though satan may whisper through his angels of light, “You will not surely die,” be assured that God’s warnings are true, and the wages of unrighteousness is still death.

God’s true servants always turn people toward obedience to God.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

“ Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.
They make you worthless;
They speak a vision of their own heart,
Not from the mouth of the LORD.
They continually say to those who despise Me,
‘ The LORD has said, “You shall have peace”’;
And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say,
‘ No evil shall come upon you.’”
For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD,
And has perceived and heard His word?
Who has marked His word and heard it?
Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in fury—
A violent whirlwind!
It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.
The anger of the LORD will not turn back
Until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart.
In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.
“ I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran.
I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
But if they had stood in My counsel,
And had caused My people to hear My words,
Then they would have turned them from their evil way
And from the evil of their doings.
“ Am I a God near at hand,” says the LORD,
“ And not a God afar off?
Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the LORD;
“ Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD.

~Jer. 23:16-24

God bless you.

Posted in Christian Life, False Teachers | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

“We Won’t Do It Anymore, Daddy!”

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 26, 2011

I once heard a man tell a true story that has stayed with me all my life.  He had commanded his three children not to cross over a certain dangerous street, and attached the penalty of a spanking to disobedience, lest they not take his command seriously and get hurt. One day he discovered to his horror that they had disobeyed him and put their lives in danger. With great sadness and sobriety, he took off his belt and calmly reminded his beloved children of his previous words–the rule which was meant for their good, and the punishment for breaking it. Then…

He began to “spank” his own leg with the belt. At first, his children were confused, staring at him in disbelief. As he continued hitting himself, he pleaded with his children to listen to him from now on, lest they come to harm. After a number of hits with the belt, his leg was becoming swollen and discolored, and tears of pain were running down his face, but he continued whipping himself.  By this time, his children were weeping themselves and screaming in horror, “No, daddy! Stop it, daddy! Please stop! We won’t do it anymore, daddy!”

Dear reader, please consider this story carefully.

This is a wonderful example of God.  He made moral laws for the good of men. His laws are love and are meant to promote the well-being of everyone. There is a penalty attached to disobedience, lest the whole world turn to rebellion and destroy itself, having no regard for its wise Maker and Governor, and no regard for His other creatures.  But when we like sheep had gone astray, He looked upon us with compassion. He carefully devised a plan whereby He could demonstrate the rightness of the boundary of His law, keep His promise to inflict a just penalty, convince the lawbreaker of the terribleness of his deeds, and turn his heart toward obedience–hopefully showing His prodigal children that He is not only just but also merciful and loving (thus worthy of the utmost love and respect in return.)

We love Him because He first loved us.  We respect His moral law because we see how earnest He is to uphold it. We understand that His commands must be for our good, because we see His good intention toward us in taking our pain upon Himself.

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  (Isa. 53:5)

How are we healed? He has both taken our penalty, and given us a new start with a better understanding of who He is. Seeing His character in clearer light, we are healed of ignorance and blindness, and never want to cause Him pain again. We are healed of the rift between us and God caused by our disobedience, because He has made a way back by allowing Himself to be afflicted for us.  We are healed of our hatred and disregard for His Word, and His love is shed abroad in our hearts, by which we learn to love God and others in like manner.

God forbid we ever truly consider the cross of Christ and continue in rebellion.

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?

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb. 10:26-31)

There are many today who claim to know and love Jesus, but by their works and continuing in disobedience, they deny Him (Titus 1:16). Jesus said,

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)

Those who profess to love Jesus and understand the cross, yet continue to disobey Him are like children who watched their father whip His own leg, saw His tears and heard His pleading, yet continued to do as they pleased. They have hardened their own hearts and done despite to the Spirit of grace;  they have received the grace of God in vain, for its teaching they have not submitted to.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:11-14)

When we consider the cross of Christ where the very blood of God was poured out (Acts 20:28), may we also cry out with a broken spirit and a contrite heart, “No, Daddy! We won’t do it anymore, Daddy!”  When the grace of God appears to us, so powerfully teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts in this present world, may we turn tear-stained faces and converted hearts toward Him in full surrender.

God bless you.

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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)

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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!

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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

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