The Grace of God

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

Posts Tagged ‘tulip’

False Ideas about God

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 24, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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!

  

Posted in Calvinism, Christian Life, Judgment of God, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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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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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