The Grace of God

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

Posts Tagged ‘predestination’

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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Sovereignty and Free Will

Posted by israeliteindeed on February 1, 2010

Are Sovereignty and Free Will opposites?

Those who are trained to think of God’s sovereignty in the Calvinistic sense insist that men have no free will. To think a man can choose to repent and follow Christ negates God’s sovereignty, they think. They think if a man can choose one way or the other, then that man has control rather than God.

If God is completely all powerful (sovereign), is He not then able to apportion a measure of control to his human subjects? I say that to deny God’s right to do so is to attack the sovereignty of God; it is to say that He is not able to control a universe unless He micromanages every decision of His subjects. The truth is that God is more sovereign than Calvinists think.

There are many biblical truths illustrated in life for our learning, if we are observant and careful to compare everything to the Word of God (so that we don’t stray from it in our reasonings.)  In using parables, Jesus Himself often used natural things to teach spiritual principles.

I believe the tension between the sovereignty of God and the free will of man can be seen in two examples in nature: natural parental sovereignty, and the synergism between God and man in growing crops.

   

Natural Parental Sovereignty

Let’s say I have 10 children. I might say to my children, “I want you to get your chores done on time. Please be obedient. If you get your chores finished on time, you will have dessert. If you don’t get them done on time, you will be denied any dessert at all.”I am completely in control of whether they get dessert or not. If I decide to give them ice cream, they will enjoy some ice cream–and if I decide they get no dessert, there is nothing they can do about it. Since I have all the power on my side (sovereignty), I could even go back on my word and deny them dessert even after they finish their chores in time–but for the sake of argument, in our example I am a loving and just parent/ruler (as God also is), and I will always keep my word.

As a good parent, I have a high purpose in teaching them to do what is right with diligence–my rules are not arbitrary. They may not understand the importance of finishing their chores on time; nevertheless they have a choice to make, and an obedience to fulfill. They will reap exactly what they sow, and what they sow is THEIR choice, not mine. I am not going to force them to do their chores; neither will I hinder their efforts to obey. They have freedom to choose to disobey (which is contrary to my will). But they are not free to choose to have the dessert ANYWAY if they disobey. If they disobey me, I will keep my word and allow them no dessert. That part has been “predestined,” if you will, by their parent. They are free to choose, but their free-will is limited by my sovereignty.

Suppose a child were to say, “My parents are sovereign, and it is their sovereign choice whether or not I get dessert. There is nothing I can do to change my future one way or the other. There is no point in my doing chores or anything else; everything has been decided for me.”  Or suppose a child were to examine the history of his siblings, and notice that a few were routinely getting dessert, while others were routinely denied dessert. Should he then decide that his parents have predestined some for dessert and others to go without dessert completely apart from anything they might do? Hopefully you see the folly of such thinking. Yet this is exactly what the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty declares about God’s relationship with men, and using this distorted view of sovereignty, many attempt to shirk the responsibilities God has given to men.

   

Application

God has made His will known–it is His will that all men repent of their sins and come to Him through faith in Jesus Christ. He desires men to love Him with all their hearts, and to love their neighbors as themselves (doing no evil to any man.) He has said that all men will be judged by their works (Matt. 16:27; Rev. 2:23; Rev. 20: 12-13), and will reap either death or everlasting life depending on what they “sow” in this life (Gal. 6:7-8).  We are free to choose whether we will sow to please our flesh or the Spirit of God (free will), but we are not free to choose a reward that is contrary to what we have sown–God  in His sovereignty will make absolutely sure that we reap according to how we have sown–He will not be mocked. We will get our just desserts.

 

Growing Crops

If a man plows his land, sows wheat, and is diligent to care for his fields; then provided no catastrophe happens, he will reap wheat. If he sows corn, he will reap corn. If he is lazy and sows nothing, he will reap nothing but weeds and thistles. God has given knowledge to man, and man knows how to grow food through hard work. But God does not force men to plow and sow, nor does He choose for man what type of seed should be sown.  God allows him to sow anything he wants, or to sow nothing at all in his garden. God allows him to give half-hearted attention, full devotion, or total negligence to his fields. That is free will

Nevertheless, God is the one who put life inside a seed. God is the one who sends rain, and the one who either sends or withholds bad weather. What happens beneath the soil is a wonderful miracle, and no farmer–no matter how brilliant or diligent–has control over what takes place there. No farmer can reap anything in a field God devastates by floods or other natural disasters. No farmer can grow anything apart from God, because God is in the process from beginning to end–He is the Author and Finisher. That is sovereignty.  

Now suppose a farmer were to say, “God is sovereign. It’s all up to God, so I will just sit here and watch good fruit appear in my garden all by itself.” We know that this would not happen–this foolish man would starve to death with his family! God has taught men to sow and expects them to do their part. “Doing their part” to cultivate the soil and plant good seed in no way steals glory from God; rather it honors God by properly stewarding the gifts God has given to men.  This is called synergism.    

 

Application:

In salvation, repentance is the plowing of the soil. Even good seed simply won’t grow in rocky, hard soil. Jesus said unless you repent you will perish (no repentance, no life). God does not command what a man has no power to do (that would make Him unjust.)

Faith in Jesus Christ is the receiving of the Good Seed (Jesus, the Word) into the soil.  Endurance or perseverance must happen next, as Jesus taught you must not only hear the Word, but keep it and “bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15)  

While God is both the Author and Finisher of Salvation/Eternal life (as He also is the creator of the life in the seed, and the one who controls the weather in our former example), He still commands our participation in the salvation He offers. He allows us to CHOOSE whether we will:  

-Repent (plow),
-Believe (receive the Seed), and 
-Endure (bring forth fruit with patience).  

We are told that we have a choice to sow to please the Spirit or sow to please the flesh (Gal. 6:7-9). Please note in this verse that the CONSEQUENCES of this sowing are out of our control, though the sowing itself is in our control. We will reap “destruction” or “life everlasting” depending on what we CHOOSE to sow. (Everlasting life is at stake here, friends, not just heavenly rewards.) We can choose to sow to our flesh, but we are not free to still reap everlasting life if we do so. “Be not deceived . God is not mocked. WHATEVER a man sows [by his own choice] that shall he also reap.”  

“Whatever a man sows…” denotes free will choice.
“That shall he also reap.” denotes God’s sovereign and predetermined decision to give to every man according to his works (Matt. 16:27; Rev. 2:23; Rev. 20: 12-13.)

God bless you!

  

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Appointed to Stumble

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 15, 2009

Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “ The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,”  and “ A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. I Pet. 2:7-8

Question:  Why do some stumble?  Answer:  Because they are disobedient to the Word.

Men are not appointed by God to be disobedient (as Calvinism falsely teaches). They are, however,  appointed by God to stumble if they are disobedient. God has determined that all who are disobedient to His voice and His Word shall stumble. In like manner, God has determined that all who are obedient to His Word shall be upheld by it and shall not stumble.

The choice is with you; will you obey God’s Word or not? You are free to choose obedience or disobedience, but you are not free to choose the consequences of your actions. God has sewn into the fabric of the world the principle of reaping what we sow. If we sow disobedience to the Word of God, we are foolish men building upon the sand. No matter how beautiful the structure may appear for a time, the flood of God’s judgment will carry it away. (Matt. 7:24-27)

Jesus Christ is the Word of God (John 1:1, Rev. 19:13) and the “chief cornerstone,” without which the whole building falls. Those who reject Him are appointed to stumble. They are appointed to have their “house” destroyed.

Speaking to apostate and disobedient Israel, the prophet Jeremiah relayed this message:

To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised,  and they cannot give heed. Behold, the word of the LORD is a reproach to them; they have no delight in it.   Jer. 6:10

Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people—the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not heeded My words nor My law, but rejected it. Jer. 6:19

Therefore thus says the LORD: “ Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall on them. The neighbor and his friend shall perish.”  Jer. 6:21

Did you catch that? WHY did God say He would lay stumbling blocks before this people? It was because they did not delight in the Word of the Lord, and refused to heed it. They were disobedient. God lays the blame on the people; in fact, He said the calamity He would bring on them was actually “the fruit of their thoughts.” They would reap what they had sown.

Hosea 14:1 is another witness to the fact that disobedience is the reason why people stumble:


O Israel, return to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.

Again,

Hear and give ear: Do not be proud, For the LORD has spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God before He causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and while you are looking for light, He turns it into the shadow of death and makes it dense darkness. Jer. 13:15-16

Here is a warning–Hear and give ear to God’s Word! Give glory to the Lord or He will cause darkness to come upon you (spiritual blindness), and your feet will stumble.  You have a choice, friend.

Jesus repeated these warnings in the New Testament:

Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him. Luke 8:18

Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you… John 12:35

Jesus is both the Word of God and the Light of the World. If you will not heed the Word of God, nor walk in His Light while He shines His truth upon you, what light you have will be taken from you; and what Word has been sown into your heart shall be snatched away by satan or choked out by the “cares, riches and pleasures of life.” But if you hear the Word with a “noble and good heart, keep it (obey it) and bear fruit with patience,” you will be blessed of God. (Luke 8:11-15)

If you will return, O Israel,” says the LORD, “Return to Me; And if you will put away your abominations out of My sight, then you shall not be moved.” Jer. 4:1

Notice that little word “if” in the previous verse. Would you like to be kept from stumbling? Heed God’s Word (obey Jesus Christ) and return to Him, putting your sins out of His sight.

He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he. Prov. 16:20

I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons.  I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Psa. 16:7-8

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing causes them to stumble. Psa. 119:165

God bless you.

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All that the Father Gives Me will Come to Me

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 5, 2009

In this paper, I would like to examine a favorite “proof text” for the false doctrine of unconditional election, John 6:37 and 44, in light of other Scriptures.

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.  John 6:37

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44

Yes, Jesus taught that those who come to Him must be given Him or drawn by the Father.  Does this mean that God the Father arbitrarily chooses some for salvation and others for damnation, regardless of any choices a person might make in his life, as Calvinism teaches?

Calvinists build a false view of God, beginning right here in their misinterpretation of this passage and others.   By the time you follow their reasoning to its end, you are left to believe God callously pre-determines the fates of all human beings, a teaching which is a direct attack on the truth that the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (Titus 2:11). I believe this passage has a very simple explanation that Calvinists completely miss because they are reading what they already believe into the Scriptures, and failing to note the context of what Jesus said.

The context is this:  Jesus was speaking to His critics and pointing out that they were backslidden from God although they were claiming to be the people of God. They assumed because their forefathers were God’s “chosen people,” that they too were automatically God’s “chosen people” simply because of their natural bloodline and historical heritage. Most were apostate from God!  The reason they rejected God’s messenger (Jesus) was because they had first rejected God Himself. God will not show His salvation to those who hate Him and disregard His commands.

To him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God. Psalm 50:23

Here we see that it is the conduct of a man–not a predetermined, arbitrary choosing on God’s part–that determines if God will show him His Salvation (Jesus).

Will God claim to offer salvation to “whosoever” (as He does in numerous Scriptures), and yet damn the majority through no fault of their own? Astonishingly, Calvinism accuses God of this very thing.

Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Gen. 18:25

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. Eze. 18:20

Clearly, God testifies that each man is responsible for his own death, which he reaps by sowing his own sin.

Does God take pleasure when wicked men die?  It is “his pleasure,” says Calvin, for God to “doom to destruction” the wicked. Let God Himself prove Calvin a liar:

“Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”  Eze. 18:23

‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Eze. 33:11

God declares that He has NO PLEASURE in the death of the wicked, but rather desires all men to repent and be saved (Acts 17:30, 2 Peter 3:9).

If God desires and commands all men to repent and be saved, it follows that He has created man with the ability to repent and be saved; otherwise He is an evil tyrant, commanding what He has made impossible.  Even the soon-to-be-murderer Cain was told that if he did right, he would be accepted! (Gen. 4:7) Why then are some never saved? Why do so many refuse to come to Jesus for salvation? Why has the Father not “given” or “drawn” that person to Jesus?

But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. John 10:26

The Calvinist, well-trained in the interpretations of other men, reads this Scripture and quickly assumes that God has indiscriminately predetermined who His sheep will be. But was Jesus saying that?

Before the Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us, those who were faithful to God—that is those who were right with God according to the provisions of the Old Covenant—were called God’s sheep:

Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Psalm 100:3

When Jesus said, “You are not of my sheep,” He was claiming ownership of God’s sheep! He was, in effect, claiming to be equal with God. He was also openly accusing His detractors of being apostate from God–no longer His sheep.

Those Jews who had remained faithful to God through the Old Covenant, or who had recognized their backslidden condition and repented at the preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus, were prepared to receive and follow Jesus.

The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, says the LORD.  Isa. 59:20

Those Jews who merely honored God with their lips, but kept their hearts far from Him, did not believe on Jesus when He came. A prime example of this is the Pharisees, as Jesus testified:

“Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” Matt. 15:7-9

The unbelieving Pharisees were not “God’s sheep” because they were not faithful to the Old Testament covenant, which was the light they had already been given. They were transgressing the commandments of God to carry out their traditions (Matt. 15:6); neglecting justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matt. 23:13); filled with extortion and self-indulgence on the inside (Matt. 23:25); and only appeared clean on the outside—inside they were full of dead man’s bones, uncleanness, hypocrisy, and iniquity (Matt. 23:27-28).

The Pharisees claimed to follow Moses, yet Moses had prophesied thus:

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’  “And the LORD said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good.  I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.  And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.” Deut. 18:15-19

The Pharisees and other unbelieving Jews had rejected the Prophet—Jesus—whom Moses said they must listen to, proving they did not truly love and obey God—nor even listen to Moses!  If they loved God, they would have recognized His Messiah/Prophet.  If they were faithful to the light they had received, God would have given them more light.

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.” John 8:42

“But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.” John 5:42

“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” John 6:45

Jesus was not saying, as Calvinists falsely claim, that God pre-picked—apart from any personal choices—who would come to Jesus and who would be damned.  Jesus was emphasizing that the unbelieving Jews were apostate—they had refused to hear and learn from the Father, even though they claimed to be God’s people.  He was telling them the reason why they did not receive Him—it was because they were so far from God that they could not receive anything from God, not even His own Son. (See the parable Jesus spoke concerning the Pharisees in Mark 12:1-12.)

Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.  If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” John 7:16-17

Jesus taught that those who sincerely wanted to do God the Father’s will would be able to recognize that He Himself was true.  Those who had a teachable spirit toward God the Father would be pointed to Jesus Christ—the very Word of God—by God.  Those who accepted God’s witness through Moses, the law, and the prophets; would also accept Jesus Christ, since He Himself had come from God.  Those who were in rebellion against God the Father would naturally not listen to Jesus Christ any more than they listened to the earlier witnesses.  Jesus said of those who rejected the testimony of the earlier prophets,

“If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”  Luke 16:31

Such needed to REPENT toward God first, and then He would draw them to the Son whom He had sent!

In Hosea 5:4, the backslidden people of Israel were thus accused:

They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, and they do not know the LORD.

Here we see that “directing our deeds toward turning to our God” is an important step toward salvation. This is repentance from evil deeds. Those who refuse to “direct their deeds toward turning to their God” will not “know the LORD,” just as many Jews did not know Him when He was standing right in front of them.

Does this principle apply only to the Jews, or does it apply to Gentiles also?

Concerning the gospel message, Paul said in Acts 20:20-21:

I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks,

#1—repentance toward God and

#2—faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Repentance toward GOD is here listed before faith toward the Lord Jesus! It is significant that both John the Baptist and Jesus began their ministries preaching repentance toward God.  In fact, Jesus claimed:

“Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5

Without repentance, then, there is no salvation according to Jesus!  Trying to “receive Jesus” without first repenting of your sins is like trying to grow seed in rocky, weedy, untilled soil.

Again, Paul testified before Agrippa that he preached to everyone that “they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” (Acts 26:20-21) Repentance is first!

Thus says the LORD: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. “ Isa. 56:1

Here, God was telling the Old Testament sheep to keep a clean slate with God because the Messiah was about to come!

God … now commands all men everywhere to repent. Acts 17:30

To him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God. Psalm 50:23

Who is the salvation of God whom God will show to the one who first orders his conduct aright?

Salvation is “in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:10). He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life through whom men can be saved (John 14:6).

Nor is there salvation in any other [than Jesus Christ], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

While Jesus Christ is the only Way to be reconciled to God, it can also be said that repentance toward God is the way to Jesus Christ. A man still holding onto his sins does not yet realize how desperately vile they are, so how can he appreciate how much he needs Jesus Christ?  (The lack of repentance in today’s popular “gospel” message is a major reason why so many professors of Christianity are still in their sins! They remain unsaved.)

A wonderful illustration of the truth that God will show His salvation to the one who “orders his conduct aright”  is the story of the Gentile Cornelius in Acts 10. Cornelius was said to be “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.” (vs. 2) This man was divinely instructed by an angel to seek out the apostle Peter, and to “hear words from him.” Those words included the testimony of Jesus Christ. After the Gentiles present heard those words, the Holy Spirit fell on them, showing that God’s salvation was for Gentiles as well as for Jews.  Peter testified:

In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.  But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. Acts 10:34-35

Who is accepted? The one who fears GOD and works righteousness (repents of evil deeds.) Cornelius feared God first, then God sent him to Peter so that Peter could teach him that “whoever believes in Him (Jesus) will receive remission of sins.” (vs. 43)  Would Cornelius have been open to this message of having his sins remitted through Jesus Christ if he had not feared God first?

The one who seeks God with the whole heart is promised to find Him. If you seek after God, God will make the Way to Himself open to you. He will lead you to Jesus Christ, through Whom you can be saved. If a man does not seek God, neither will he have any true regard for Jesus.  This is the message Jesus was relaying in John 6: 37, 44.

Those who reject the light they’ve already been given will lose whatever light they had.

Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you…While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light. John 12:35-36

Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him. Luke 8:18

Stephen–a man “full of the Holy Spirit”–testified to the unbelieving Jews that stoned him,

You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Acts 7:51

Did God indiscriminately keep the unbelieving Jews from Jesus, or were those Jews guilty of resisting the Holy Spirit of God? Friends, the truth is that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” but we reap what we sow.  (I Tim. 2:4, Gal. 6:7)

In Romans 1:18-25, we see the progression into error by those who reject what God has already revealed to them:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.  Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Paul testified to the men of Athens:

And He [God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. Acts 17:26-27

Clearly, God WANTS all men to “grope for Him and find Him.” Unfortunately, many reject the light they already have—the dual witness of creation and their own conscience—and darkness overtakes them.

Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Your statutes. Psalm 119:155

Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. John 12:35

There are many promises in Scripture that those who seek God with all their heart will find Him. The promise is open to everyone!

But from there [when you are in distress] you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deut. 4:29

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13

You who seek God, your hearts shall live. Psa. 69:32

Seek Me and live. Amos 5:4

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me. Prov. 8:17

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Luke 11:9-10

Friend, those who repent of sin and seek God with their whole heart will be led to place their faith in and follow the Word of God, who is Jesus!  Salvation is open to all who meet God’s requirements!

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Rev. 22:17

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. Rom. 10:13

Whoever believes in Him [Jesus] will receive remission of sins. Acts 10:43

Come to Me [Jesus], all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. Luke 9:23-24

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. Rom. 1:16

Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit. Isa 27:5

God bless you!

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The Case Against Calvinism

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 4, 2009

If you have been influenced by Calvinism, or you would like to know more about it, please take the time to watch this excellent video by Jesse Morrell called, “Indictments Against Calvinism.”  God bless you.

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An Expose on John Calvin

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 1, 2009

Rachel, from Smilesback’s Blog, has written a good article exposing John Calvin entitled, “The Evil Theologian, John Calvin.” Please have a look. The first paragraph is posted here:

“Once upon a time there was this certain boy…  He grew up.  He studied law.  Got his doctorate in law and became an attorney.  After reading philosophies of “admirable” religious philosophers, he had a “conversion experience” and started reading his Bible.  He then proceeded to write things about the Bible himself, but alas, since his opinions were quite “unorthodox” for the era, he was banished from his town.  No matter.  He took solace with a friend and writing more and more, became a self-proclaimed theologian and “authoritative” writer…” READ MORE

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Election and “The Elect”

Posted by israeliteindeed on November 29, 2009

Without a doubt, “election” is a Christian doctrine.  The question is, what is election, and how is one elected?

Are Calvinists correct to say that God pre-ordains some particular men to be His “elect”, and other particular men to be damned, regardless of any foreknowledge God has of whether or not these men will choose to do right or wrong?

Or am I correct, when I say that God pre-ordained a particular class of men to be His elect, and this class is open to all who come to Jesus and abide in Jesus. This class contains those men found to be in Christ at the end of their lives, or at His coming, whichever comes first.  God also pre-ordained a particular class of men to be damned, which class is also open to all who persist in rebellion. And that class of men includes all who are not found in Christ at the end of their lives, or at His coming, whichever comes first.

The statement in bold type above is my thesis, and I will return to it.

If I understand the Calvinist position correctly, they believe no person can come to Jesus unless that person was first “elected” by God, and then given to Jesus, based on John 6:37 (which passage, by the way, does not use the word “elect,” nor does it even refer to election as far as I can see.) It says,

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

So it would seem, if this verse is wrested from its context, that no one can come to Jesus except by the Father.

I recall that Jesus said the opposite, “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6)  He claimed to be “the Way” to the Father.

So how are we to understand that no one comes to the Father but through Jesus, yet no one comes to Jesus but by the Father?  Either there is a contradiction, or one or both of these verses are not being properly understood.

I am completely unwilling to contradict Jesus in either case, so I seek to understand what He meant in both cases.

John 14:6 can really only be taken one way.  NO ONE can come to the Father except by Jesus Christ.  He is the ONLY mediator between men and God.  Salvation is fixed firmly in this, that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.  Salvation must always be Christ-centered.

So what do we do with John 6:37?  I contend that the context of Jesus’ words sheds light on what He meant—and He was not referring to “election,” but rather to the fact that truly God-fearing people would be led by God to Jesus Christ. A perfect example of this is Cornelius, a man who “feared God” but did not know Christ until Peter preached the gospel of Christ to him, after which he was saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. (Acts 10)

The Pharisees, to whom Jesus was speaking in John 6, were not men who “feared God.”  They were hypocrites who only pretended to fear God, and Jesus was exposing their hypocrisy by proving the fact that they didn’t really belong to God. If they truly feared God, they would come to Jesus, God’s only way to the Father, as did Cornelius. I will write more on John 6 in another writing.

I hope you can see that the way in which I’ve interpreted these 2 passages leaves no contradiction—the way to be reconciled to God is by Jesus Christ, but only a God-fearing man will come to Jesus Christ. The enemies of God will reject the messengers of God, including Jesus. But the way in which the Calvinist interprets the John 6 passage introduces a terrible contradiction, not to mention a slander on the character of God—for they assert that God hold back the majority of people from ever coming to Jesus for salvation, and then punishes them in eternal fire as punishment!

Back to my thesis, we are elect when we properly identify with the Son of God, Jesus Christ–that is, we repent of our sins as commanded and place a submissive and obedient faith in Christ. All who are found in Jesus at the end of their lives or at the coming of Jesus are God’s elect.  God has pre-determined that every person who properly identifies with Jesus (and endures to the end in such a state—Matt. 10:22) will be saved. These are His elect, whom He will gather from the four winds at His appearing (Matt. 24:31).

The key here is understanding that there is ONE QUALIFICATION for God’s elect. They must be found in Jesus, because Jesus IS God’s elect. Thus we see that Jesus truly is The Way, and no man comes to God but by Him.

Jesus IS God’s elect:

Isa 42:1 Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom my soul delights! I have put my Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.

I Peter 2:6 …Behold I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.

Other verses which refer to God’s elect are referring to those who are in Christ, including Matt. 24:22, 24; Luke 18:7; Rom. 8:33, 11:7; Col. 3:12; 2 Tim. 2:10; I Peter 1:2, 5:13; and 2 John 1:1, 13.

I Peter 1:2 tells us something important about the elect:

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…

God knows all things, past, present and future. His foreknowledge does not indicate that there is a pre-written script.  He exists outside of time. Thus He knows the future as well as the present.  He knows who will be found in Christ Jesus and saved. Notice in the verse that those called “elect” are those being sanctified and sprinkled by Jesus’ blood.  They are “in Christ.”  The verse does not tell us that unsaved people are arbitrarily elected to salvation. It tells us that those God foreknew would be in Christ are elected to salvation.  This is because Jesus is THE Elect One. This truth is evident from other Scriptures, which must also be taken into account.

God adopts all who are in Christ:

Anyone who has the Son has the Father also. I Jn. 2:24.

Those found in Christ are adopted as sons by the Father. Rom 8:15.

Rom 8:29 For whom He did foreknow (have knowledge of beforehand), he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Those whom God foreknows will identify with His Son, He also predestinates to be like His Son, and to be adopted into His family.)

Eph 1:4-6 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Please notice that we are “chosen” in Christ. (Christ is the Chosen one.)

Notice that we are predestinated for adoption by Jesus Christ.

Notice we are accepted IN Jesus Christ (the Beloved.)

The person who is IN Christ is therefore chosen, predestinated for adoption, and accepted—because they are in Christ.

Jesus is the Chosen one.

Matt 12:18 Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!…

Luke 23:35 …Let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.

I Peter 2:4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious.

If we are In Christ, we too are chosen:

Eph 1:4 Just as He chose us IN HIM before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.

Please notice we are chosen IN HIM!  This is because HE is THE CHOSEN ONE.

Jesus was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Rev. 13:8. This does not mean all people from the beginning of time are saved automatically. Nor does Eph 1:4 mean that individuals were singled out as “chosen” no matter what their own choices might be.

Jesus is the one chosen and slain before the foundation of the world. And God has ordained that all who are found in Him are chosen with Him.

God gives choice to all men and commands repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ. He enables all men to respond in faith; He has initiated salvation for every man, but all men have not met His conditions.  Only those who are found IN HIM can be called chosen, because God CHOSE before the foundation of the world to elect all persons who are IN CHRIST to be saved.

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Faith

Posted by israeliteindeed on November 28, 2009

The false teachings of Calvinism declare that God pre-selects certain individuals and gives them faith regardless of any choices they have made for good or evil.  It goes without saying, then, that God also (according to this abominable teaching) purposely withholds faith from other individuals, effectively keeping them from ever being saved regardless of any choices they might make for good or evil.

The following is just a small study I did on the subject of faith.

Faith comes from God, but God has given the opportunity to have faith to all.

Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. [Amazingly, the Calvinist is taught that God purposely created the majority of people with the inability to please Him!  The Bible, however, leaves the way open to all men to exercise faith in God and seek Him diligently.]

Deut. 32:20 And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation,  Children in whom is no faith.  (Was God angry with them for not having faith when it was His fault they had no faith?)

Acts 14:27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. [the “door of faith” is open to 2 groups–Jews and Gentiles! That covers everyone.]

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

If faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, then God has given every person the ability to have faith. We are to preach the Word of the gospel to EVERY creature; we are to preach the Word in season and out of season.

Those who reject the Word of God judge THEMSELVES unworthy of everlasting life! (It isn’t God judging them unworthy of receiving faith!)

Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.

Heb. 11:1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.  By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Is not the whole world responsible for understanding this same truth–that the world was made by God? Then it follows that every man has the ability to have this faith, but those who have been shown the truth and glorify not God…become fools because of their own choices.

Rom. 1:18-23 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,  because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools,  and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

What man does affects his faith in God.  A strong faith, weak faith, or dead faith is determined by how a person hears, and what he does with God’s Word.

I Tim. 1:18-19 Wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck. 

Luke 8:11-15 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who HEAR; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they HEAR, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.  Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have HEARD, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having HEARD the word with a noble and good heart, KEEP IT AND BEAR FRUIT WITH PATIENCE.

Luke 8:18 Therefore TAKE HEED HOW YOU HEAR. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.

Heb. 4:2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. [These Israelites who fell SEEMED to be God’s people, yet they did not add faith to the hearing of the gospel. Their faith had been shipwrecked, as I Tim. 1:18-19 states can happen; these “in time of temptation fell away.”]

James 1:21-25 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  (Notice you must DO 2 things: get rid of sin, and receive the Word with meekness) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (Again, what you DO counts. If you don’t DO the Word, you will become self-deceived.)For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;  for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Faith must be accompanied by and perfected by works/obedience to Christ.

James 2:19-26 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?  And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Faith works through love (Gal 5:6)

A Quick Scriptural Summary of Faith:

FAITH can be:

tested (James 1:3);

lacking, in need of being perfected (I Thess. 3:10);

denied (1 Tim. 5:8);

cast off (I Tim 5:12);

neglected (Matt. 23:23);

strayed from (I Tim. 6:10, 21);

departed from (I Tim 4:1);

overthrown (2 Tim. 2:18);

shipwrecked (I Tim. 1:19);

dead (James 2:17, 26);

strengthened (Acts 16:5, Rom. 4:20);

followed (2 Tim. 3:10, Heb. 13:7)

continued in (Col. 1:23, I Tim. 2:15);

encouraged (1 Thess. 3:2);

pursued (I Tim. 6:11, 2 Tim. 2:22);

grown (2 Thess. 1:3);

and kept (2 Tim. 4:7, Rev. 14:12).

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