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 OUR PASSOVER LAMB10552571_1564555450472203_1095884821233938201_n13076632_1188660301151933_5684932331029755454_n5695passover

 Passover is the time of year that the Jewish people remember their miraculous release from slavery in Egypt.  It was instituted by God and the details are very specific as recorded in the Book of Exodus. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” Exodus 12:1-2. This should get our attention. The first month on the Jewish calendar is Nissan and on the 10th day of Nissan a lamb was to be chosen. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats” Exodus 12:5. The lamb was to be perfect and was to be cared for. On the fourteenth day of Nissan the chosen lamb was to be killed and his blood put on the side posts and the upper door post of each household where the lamb was to be eaten. That night the Lord would move through the land of Egypt and the firstborn of both man and beast would die. The blood of the lamb was the only protection for the household. Only obedience to God would allow the firstborn of a household to be protected. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.” Exodus 12:14. It all happened just as God said and the Israelites were freed from bondage. God wanted them to remember what He did for them. Passover is celebrated to this day but there is a much deeper meaning to Passover. It was fulfilled by Jesus.

The Passover story is familiar to us and it is prophetic. Like all of the Jewish feasts, Passover is about Jesus. This important feast celebrates the Israelites being set free from Egyptian bondage, but by allowing Himself to be sacrificed, Jesus set us free from the bondage of sin and death. When He rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey He fulfilled many prophecies, including one in Daniel which foretold the exact day He would be hailed as the Messiah. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.“Daniel 9:25. Calculations based upon this prophecy reveal that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the exact day foretold in Daniel. When He traveled to Jerusalem on that final journey He knew that the time was right and He would be hailed as the Messiah, but then He would be sacrificed…crucified. Years before this John the Baptist had recognized Him as the Lamb of God, and Jesus truly is our perfect Lamb The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. Jesus truly was the once for all sacrifice to take our sin away. There is no more monumental event in history than Jesus’ crucifixion, except for His resurrection.

Jesus rode on a donkey colt into Jerusalem and the people hailed Him as Messiah…the people had chosen Him. Unlike the Passover lamb that was treated gently from the time of selection until its quick sacrifice, Jesus would not be treated kindly. In those final few days He would have disputes with the Jewish leaders and ultimately be betrayed by one of the twelve men who followed Him. After His arrest He endured beatings, scourging, mocking, and pure brutality. They spit on Him, pushed a crown of thorns onto His head, and put a purple robe on Him to mock His claim to be King. Pilate stood Him before a crowd of angry people and asked them if he should set Jesus free or a robber named Barabbas. The crowd called for the release of Barabbas, but gave the frenzied cry“ Crucify Him!” when Pilate asked them what he should do with Jesus. Then, the Lamb of God was sent to the slaughter. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.” John 19:17-18. The Passover lamb was slaughtered quickly, but Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” was beaten unmercifully and then nails were pounded into His hands and His feet. He hung on the cross for hours, dying slowly. He looked down at His mother and gave the responsibility for her care to John and He watched as the Roman soldiers gambled for His garments. In spite of all that was done to Him, His love and forgiveness was not shattered. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. Luke 23:34. His forgiveness is still available to us today.

Jesus had gone to Jerusalem knowing full well what He faced there, but He went willingly. At the last meal He shared with His disciples, He told Judas to go and do what he had to do…to go and betray Him. He kept silence during the illegal trial and the beatings. He carried His cross to His own crucifixion. Jesus, God the Son, had never been separated from God the Father because He was sinless and perfect, even in His human form. But as He hung on that cross He took our sins upon Himself and for the first time ever the perfect Lamb of God felt separation from God the Father because sin separates us from God. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is being interpreted, My god, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” Mark 15:34. The sin that you and I should be condemned for was fully paid for on the cross. Jesus’ blood was shed for each and every person who has ever lived and who ever will live. It’s up to each of us individually to accept or reject that gift of salvation. That gift is free for the asking, but cost Jesus dearly.944057_208770469472928_700770130468267408_n

Jesus fulfilled prophecy with precise timing, and after all things were accomplished, He chose the timing of His death. “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost.”John 19:28-30. It was finished. The blood of the Lamb was shed for you and me. We can look back and see the fulfilled prophecies and know that only His blood can redeem us. Those who followed Him were not so sure. They had followed Him and believed He was the Messiah, but now He had died. They feared that they would be the next ones crucified because they had followed Him.1957996_458968030964218_935759081704337320_n

For many reasons the burial was swift and they were unable to tend to His body the way they should have. At the first hint of light on the first day of the week a handful of women went to care for the body. Their grief was heavy as they walked to the tomb. A large stone had been placed at the entrance and they weren’t sure how they would be able to move it, but on they went. When they reached the tomb they were met with an astonishing sight. The stone had been rolled away! And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.” Mark 16:5-6. Can you imagine their joy! Jesus was risen from the dead! He’s alive!!

     From Exodus to Daniel to the Resurrection, the date is clear. God has gone to great lengths to establish when the Passover is to be celebrated and therefore when Christ was hailed as the Messiah, offered as the perfect sacrifice, and resurrected. In spite of that most Christians choose to celebrate Christ’s victory over the grave on a different day called Easter. That day is not related to the Jewish Passover. It occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox. That day is based upon a pagan celebration and the traditions surrounding it have nothing to do with Christianity. Is it wrong to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection on this pagan holiday? Each person needs to decide individually.Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Colossians 2:16-17. We belong to Christ and therefore we have freedom. Jesus fulfilled the Law and we need to be careful that we don’t return to the Law because that is not where salvation is found, but the date of His final entry in to Jerusalem, the day of the crucifixion, and the day of the Resurrection all seem important to God. We need to pay attention. Salvation is through Christ, but we need to honor Him in all our ways. Does coloring eggs and eating chocolate bunnies make you a pagan? No, but you need to be sure that you are identifying with Christ. We know that His sacrifice was during the Passover celebration which foreshadowed Him. It seems important to God that we know when Christ’s victory over death occurred. This year, 2016, Passover begins at sundown on April 22. Take time to read through Exodus chapter 12 and then read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ final week and also read through the Resurrection. Christ took our sins upon Himself and won the victory over death. Never forget that or take it lightly.

The blood on the door posts of the Jewish households so long ago protected them from death on that night of the first Passover. The blood of “…the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” applied to your heart is the only means by which you can be protected from eternal death. Celebrate our true Passover Lamb.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html

 

All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed

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What Faith Can Do- Kutless w/lyrics

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hGStix70S1k

Having a problem is just a part of our everyday life, just have faith in GOD, trust him for he knows everything that we don’t understand and might wonder why we have to encounter a certain problem that we don’t even know how to solve it, but having a relationship to GOD as part of our daily routine, how small or big it is we can solve it for every problem their is a solution just be with GOD and everything is possible.

Without faith in GOD and faith in yourself reaching success will become a nightmare….never a dream come true.

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The Works-Salvation Delusion

Author: T.A. McMahon
Source: The Berean Call

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come[s] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. -Galatians2:21

When we compare biblical Christianity with the religions of the world, using the Scriptures to guide us, we see that the gap between them is unbridgeable. In fact, one is forced to the conclusion that there are really only two religions in the world: biblical Christianity–and all other religions. (Note: I refer to biblical Christianity as a “religion” only for comparative purposes: a religion is a manmade belief system, whereas biblical Christianity is what God has revealed to mankind.)

These two “religions” are set apart primarily by what they teach about salvation–how one can get to heaven or paradise or Valhalla or Nirvana or the abode of God, or whatever else people believe about the afterlife. Each of the two can be placed under one of two categories: Human Achievement and Divine Accomplishment–or, to put it simply, the religions of “Do” and “Done.” I’m referring to the fact that either there are things you must do (Human Achievement) or there is nothing you can do because it has already been done (Divine Accomplishment) to earn entrance to heaven.

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Biblical Christianity alone comes under the heading of Divine Accomplishment. All the other religions of the world must be placed under the label of Human Achievement. Let’s first consider some of the major religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and certain denominations or cults that profess to be Christian.

Hinduism has about 330 million gods who must be appeased through some type of ritual. A couple of years ago I was given a tour of a massive Hindu temple just outside Chicago. The parking lot was filled with luxury cars. There was imported stonework from Italy. No expense was spared. Inside, doctors, lawyers, and engineers, among others, according to my guide, were serving meals to the idols, Hanuman, the monkey god, and Ganesha, the elephant god.

Hinduism is a system of works–things that one must do to reach moksha, the Hindu heaven. It involves the practice of yoga, which, contrary to what many have heard, has never been for improvement of one’s health but is rather a means of dying to one’s body in the hope of delivering oneself from the physical realm. This is supposed to yoke one to Brahman, the Supreme Deity of Hinduism. Reincarnation, a system that supposedly enables one to work one’s way to heaven through many births, deaths, and rebirths, is one of the teachings of this religion.

Buddhism is also all about works. Buddha believed that the key to reaching Nirvana, which is allegedly the state of perfect peace and happiness, is through an understanding of the Four Noble Truths and by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path.

In essence, the Four Noble Truths declare that we endure suffering because of our desires or cravings. These “Truths” claim that suffering will stop when we cease trying to fulfill those desires. According to Buddhism, we can achieve this by following the Noble Eightfold Path, which has the elements of “right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.” This is all done by man’s achievement, i.e., “doing things right” in order to reach Nirvana.

In Islam, paradise is attained when Allah weighs a follower’s good works against his bad deeds on a scale at Judgment Day. The Qur’an declares: “For those things that are good remove those that are evil” (Surah 11:114). It’s a quantitative process. Good deeds need to outweigh or blot out evil deeds. From the Qur’an again: “The balance that day will be true: Those whose scale [of good works] will be heavy, will prosper: Those whose scale will be light will find their souls in perdition” (Surah 7:8,9).

Here’s an interesting example of what a Muslim faces to get into paradise: On April 3, 1991, the Egyptian magazine, Akher Saa, recorded a heated debate between four female journalists and Sheik Doctor Abdu-Almonim Al-Nimr, who holds a high position at Al-Azher Islamic University. One of the journalists asked him: “Is the hijab [veil or head covering] obligatory for women in Islam? If I do not wear the hijab, shall I go to hell in spite of my other good deeds? I am talking about the decent woman who does not wear the hijab.”

Dr. Al-Nimr replied, “The ordinances in Islam are many, my daughter, Allah made us accountable to each. It means if you do that ordinance you earn a point. If you neglect one, you lose a point. If you pray, you earn a point; if you do not fast you lose a point, and so on.” He continued, “I did not invent a new theory…for every man there is a book in which all his good and evil deeds are recorded…even how do we treat our children.”

The journalist said: “That means, if I do not wear the hijab, I will not enter the hell fire without taking into account the rest of my good deeds.” Dr. Al-Nimr replied: “My daughter, no one knows who will enter the hell fire…I might be the first one to enter it. Caliph Abu-Bakr Al-Sadik said: ‘I have no trust concerning Allah’s schemes, even if one of my feet is inside of paradise who can determine which deed is acceptable and which is not.’ [See TBC, 10/91] You do all that you can do …and the accountability is with Allah. You ask him for acceptance [Italics added for emphasis].”

In Judaism, heaven is attained by keeping the Law and its ceremonies. Obviously, that isn’t consistent with what the Tanakh (the Old Testament) teaches, yet that has been the practice of Judaism for millennia. As Jesus said, “In vain they do worship [God], teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew:15:9).

His words also apply to a number of “Christian” denominations and cults that stress works as necessary for salvation. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists, the Church of Christ adherents, Roman Catholics, Eastern and Russian Orthodox members, Lutherans, and many others all include something that needs to be accomplished or is necessary for salvation, whether it’s baptism, the sacraments, or joining their particular organization and fulfilling their requirements.

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Here is an example from the first 30 years of my own life as a Roman Catholic. I lived by a religious system of laws, many of which a Catholic is obligated to keep. It began with baptism. If one is not baptized, the Church says he can’t enter heaven. It also says that although baptism is required, it is no guarantee. There are many other such rules that a Catholic must keep.

I have a book in my office called the Code of Canon Law. It contains 1,752 laws, many of which affect one’s eternal destiny. Sins recognized by the Roman Catholic Church are classified as either mortal or venial. A mortal sin is one that damns a person to hell, should he or she die without having had it absolved by a priest. A venial sin doesn’t need to be confessed to a priest, but whether confessed or not, all sin adds to one’s temporal punishment, which must be expiated either here on earth through suffering or good works or else be purged in the flames of purgatory after one’s death.

There are obligations that a Catholic must fulfill regarding both beliefs and deeds. For example, one is required to believe that Mary was conceived without sin (an event called the Immaculate Conception). If a Catholic doesn’t believe that, he commits a mortal sin, which carries the penalty of eternal damnation. The feast day of the Immaculate Conception is a holy day of obligation, a day on which all Catholics are required to attend Mass. Failure to do so could result in commission of a mortal sin.

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All the belief systems that I’ve mentioned, and many others as well, consist of doing or not doing certain things to reach “heaven.” All are based upon human achievement. But what about biblical Christianity? How is that different?

Ephesians:2:8-9 spells it out for us: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that [salvation is] not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast [emphasis added].” That’s pretty straightforward. Our salvation doesn’t have anything to do with our achievements.

Verse 8 tells us that it is by grace that we are saved. Grace is unmerited favor. If any merit is involved, it cannot be by grace. It’s the gift of God. So if it’s a gift, it can’t be of works. That should be obvious. Someone puts in a tough month of work and his employer comes to him with his paycheck and declares, “Good job, Joe, here’s your gift!” No–Joe worked for what he was paid. No gift was involved.

Regarding a person who works, Romans:4:4 tells us that his wages are a payment for the debt his employer owes him, and his paycheck has nothing to do with grace or a gift. A worker who has done a good job can boast or feel a sense of pride in the work he has accomplished. Yet all of that is contrary to grace or a gift. Grace rules out any sense of merit, and a gift does away with any sense of something earned or paid for.

Paul’s teaching in Ephesians is affirmed in his epistle to Titus, chapter 3, verse 4:

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. [Emphasis added]

We can see that this is consistent with Ephesians:2:8-9 It’s not by our works that we are saved–not by works of righteousness that we have done –but it’s by His mercy that we are saved.

You may well imagine that, as a Roman Catholic conditioned by a life of Church rules and rituals, I had great difficulty believing that faith was the only basis by which I could enter heaven. It didn’t make sense to me.

Well, not only does it make sense–it’s the only possible way anyone can be saved. It is miraculously sensible!

First of all, what keeps anyone from heaven or eternal life with God? We know that the answer is “sin.” Here is a small sampling of the applicable verses: All have sinned (Romans:3:23); the wages of sin is death (Romans:6:23); sin separates us from God (Isaiah:59:2); the soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel:18:20); sin brings forth death (James:1:15).

In Genesis 2, God explains to Adam the consequences of disobeying Him. Adam was told not to eat from a certain fruit in the Garden of Eden. It was a commandment that was related to obedience and love–not of God’s withholding something from Adam, as the Serpent implied. Remember, Jesus said “If a man love me, he will keep my words,” that is, His teachings (John:14:23). Our love for God is demonstrated by our obedience.

What was God’s penalty for disobedience? Genesis:2:17: “…for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam and Eve loved themselves more than they loved God, because they didn’t “keep [His] words.” They disobeyed Him, and the consequence was death. “The day you eat of it you will surely die.” In the Scriptures, death always involves separation, and in God’s judgment upon them, two applications are found:
1) physical death (the degeneration of the body, leading ultimately to its separation from the soul and spirit), and
2) eternal separation from God.

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Adam and Eve did not die instantly, but the death process began at that point for them and for all creation. However, their spiritual relationship with God changed immediately and forever. God’s judgment for sin is eternal: separation from God forever. It’s an infinite penalty. And God, who is perfect in all of His attributes, including justice, had to carry out the punishment. He couldn’t let them slide by and just give them another chance. That would have meant that He was not perfectly true to His Word. The penalty had to be paid.

So what could Adam and Eve do? Nothing, except die physically and spiritually, which is to be separated from God forever. And what can the rest of mankind do, seeing that all have sinned? Nothing. Well, one might ask, what if we do all sorts of good deeds that might outweigh our sins, or if we go to church a lot, or get baptized, do religious things, receive the sacraments, and so forth? None of those things will help us. Why? Because they don’t pay the penalty. So what can we do? There is nothing that we can do-except to pay the penalty ourselves by being separated from God forever.

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Our situation would be absolutely hopeless except that God has some other attributes in addition to being perfectly just. He is also perfect in love and mercy! “For God so loved the world” that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the penalty for us (John:3:16).

And that is exactly what Jesus did on the Cross. It is incomprehensible to us that during those three hours of darkness (when He cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”) He took on the sins of the world and suffered the wrath of His Father-for us. On the Cross He “tasted death for every man” (Hebrews:2:9), that is, He experienced and paid the infinite penalty for everyone’s sins.

When that divine accomplishment ended, Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” meaning that the penalty had been paid in full. It was a divine accomplishment because it was something that only God could do! God became a man and died physically, because physical death was part of the penalty. Yet, as the God-Man, he was able to experience fully the penalty that every sinner would experience–being spiritually separated from God forever.

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God’s justice demands payment. Either we pay the penalty ourselves or we turn to Jesus by faith and receive the benefits of His sacrificial atonement. What does Roman 6:23 say? “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Bible could not be more clear that salvation can only be “the gift of God” and that we can only appropriate that gift by faith.

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Any attempt to merit salvation by our works is not just futile–it is impossible: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James:2:10). Worse yet, it is a denial of the infinite penalty that God imposed, a rejection of God’s “unspeakable gift,” and a repudiation of what Christ accomplished for us.

It used to be that most evangelicals would agree. This is no longer the case as the apostasy gathers momentum in these Last Days. Recently, a Pew Forum survey of more than 40,000 Americans found that 57 percent of those who said they were evangelicals believed that Jesus is not the exclusive way to heaven. Since Jesus is the only one who provides divine accomplishment, all that remains is the futile delusion of human achievement for salvation. TBC

Related Articles:

– Prayer Requests: Sedgefield Community (Wendy Mcreary) (ONE WAY)
Crossing Paths with God (ONE WAY)
Don’t Fence Me In (ONE WAY)
Hell Bound! (ONE WAY)
Salvation (for Richmond VA) (ONE WAY)
Is One Way the Only Way? (Orble.com)

 

Reblogged from http://pilgrimpassing.com/2013/01/20/are-we-saved-by-works-or-faith/

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GOD’S WONDERFUL PLAN OF SALVATION

Salvation, Atonement, and Redemption (It’s not that complicated!)

Author: Vlad Petrusevich

Source: BibleViews.com

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

The Bible is the word of God, the everlasting Truth. It contains the account of creation, man’s disobedience to God, and the agony which came upon man because of sin. It also tells us of God’s love for man in making a plan to redeem him. It tells of a Savior who was born, who died for man’s sin, and was raised from death for his [man’s] justification. Whosoever believes its message may have forgiveness of sins, peace of mind, love for all men, power over sin, and a living hope of eternal life. SALVATION IS GOD’S FREE GIFT TO MAN.

The Word of God

GOD’S WONDERFUL CREATION

Long, long ago there was no world at all. But God has always been. God, the Creator, is everywhere, is almighty, and all wise. By His spoken word all things were created in perfection. God said, “Let the dry land appear,” and it was so. He created the hills and valleys covered with grass, beautiful flowers, and trees of every kind. He created the fowl, and the birds which sing so many different songs. God created all the animals, great and small, who roam the lands, as well as the small insects and reptiles that live on and in the ground. He created the lakes and oceans for the dwelling place of the fish and all water creatures. He made the continents on which the people of every nation could live. God made the moon to give light at night, and He decked the sky with thousands of beautiful, twinkling stars. last of all God formed man from the dust of the earth. He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul. God called him Adam.

Seeing that Adam needed a helper, He caused him to fall into a deep sleep. Then taking a rib from him, God formed a woman with it, and brought her to Adam. Adam knew that Eve was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, and he loved her. Eve loved Adam too. They had sweet fellowship with each other. This is God’s plan for a family unit. God created everything in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. He looked upon everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. So God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it as a day of rest for man. God wanted Adam and Eve and all of their descendants to have a day of rest every week, that they might think and talk about God and all His wonderful creation. This would help them to love and obey Him.

The Bible also tells us of a fallen angel called Satan, or the devil. He was cast out of Heaven upon the earth and he is the source of all evil. Because of him sorrow, suffering, sickness, and death came into the world.

THE TRAGIC BEGINNING OF SIN

God loved Adam and Eve. He made a beautiful garden for them to live in. It was called the garden of Eden. Adam was to take care of it. In this garden were many kinds of vegetables and fruit trees for them to eat from. There was one tree called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam that he should not eat of this tree, for in the day that he would eat thereof, he would surely die. One day Satan came to Eve and told her a lie. He said, “Ye shall not surely die . . . ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

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As she looked upon the tree with it’s beautiful fruit, she thought it must be good for food, and eating of it would bring wisdom. So she took some fruit and gave also to Adam, they both did eat of it. Immediately they felt very strange in their hearts. They had never felt this way before. They knew now that they had done something very wrong. They were both ashamed of themselves as they thought of their disobedience. Fear came into their hearts as they thought of meeting God. So they hid themselves among the trees of the garden.

In the cool of the day God called Adam and said, “Where art thou?” They could not be hid from God, so they came into His presence and acknowledged their wrongdoing. God caused them to understand what a great sin it was to disobey His command. He told them that both must be punished according to their evil deeds. They would now have to suffer pain and trouble all the days of their lives. They would now have to work hard for their living. Their bodies would become old and worn out. They would die and return to dust again.

As they were driven from this beautiful garden, God placed Cherubims at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword to keep the way of the tree of life. They began to understand what it meant to sin and what great sorrow it brings.

THE SAD RESULT OF SINNING

Adam and Eve were very sorry for their sin of disobeying God. God still loved them, and made them coats of skins, and clothed them. He gave them the promise of a Savior who would come some day to bruise the serpent’s head.

The first two sons born to Adam and Eve were Cain and Abel. They brought an offering unto the Lord. Cain brought of the fruit of the ground. Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock. This lamb’s blood was shed, and was a type of the promised Redeemer who, many years later, came as the lamb of God to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Jesus died as an innocent lamb on the cross for our sins. Abel’s sacrifice pleased God, but God was not pleased with Cain nor his offering.

We must not neglect to do what God wants us to do. We now have His Spirit and Word which teach us how to live and what His will is for us.

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When Cain noticed that God was pleased with Abel and with his offering, but not with his, envy and hatred toward Abel entered his heart. Then one day as they were together in the field, Cain rose up and killed his brother Abel. God spoke to Cain and said, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain did not like to tell the truth, so he said, “I know not: Am I my brothers keeper?” Cain had not been obedient in following the Lord’s instructions. God had warned him before he killed Abel. He told Cain that if he would do well he would be accepted, but if not, sin was lying at the door. How much better it would have been had he corrected his attitude and loved his brother. Now his brother’s blood was calling to God from the ground. Cain was cast out from the presence of the lord and society. He became a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth.

GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS SON

“For unto you is born this day… a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

After Abel was dead and Cain had gone away from home, Adam and Eve had another son. His name was Seth. He grew up to be a good man. God blessed his descendants with many godly leaders, kings, and prophets, who heard and believed God’s wonderful promises of a Savior who would someday be born. Abraham, especially, believed God; for which he was called the friend of God. He was told that through him and his descendants all the families of the earth would be blessed.

birth_of_Christ

Many hundreds of years later God fulfilled the promise He had made of sending a Savior to the world. It happened, in a supernatural way, in the little town of Bethlehem of Judea. There In a stable, a babe was born to Mary; who was a virgin. She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger. (Read Luke 2:1-7). An angel told Mary that the baby’s name was to be called Jesus (meaning Savior). He was to become a great leader who would teach the people many things about God. Jesus grew up much like other children. He was loved and favored by many. At the age of twelve He was wiser in the word of God than many doctors and lawyers of Jerusalem. He seemed to know all about the law and prophets. No one could ask Him a question that He could not answer. He had great interest in the religious activities of His people. When He was about thirty years old, He took part in religious services. Once He read an Old Testament prophecy about the coming Messiah. When He had finished reading, He said to the people, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” He taught the people as one having authority. He preached that the Kingdom of God was at hand, and that repentance was necessary for entrance into the Kingdom. He taught people to worship God in humility and sincerity–from the heart. He rebuked the proud and unbelieving people of their sins, and preached the Gospel of love to the poor and needy.

JESUS HAS POWER OVER DEATH

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and life: He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall live” (John 11:25).

Jesus did many miracles, proving to the people that He was the promised Savior sent from God. He healed the sick, made the blind to see, caused the deaf to hear, cast out devils and raised the dead to life. Once He walked on the water and calmed the stormy sea by His words. His words spoken to a fig tree were so powerful, that it was found dried up from the roots the next day. At one time He fed more than five thousand hungry people with five loaves of bread and two fishes. when all had enough to eat, there remained twelve baskets full. Fishermen caught large numbers of fish when nets were cast at His command. One day Jesus met ten lepers who had heard of His fame. They cried, “Master have mercy on us.” At His command they were cleansed.

Large crowds followed Jesus daily, whether He was in town, traveling in the roads, or in the hilly country. The people felt blessed who heard “the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.” Some said, “Never man spake like this man”. Others were amazed and glorified God saying “We never saw it on this fashion.”

He began to tell the people that He was the Son of God, and that God was His Father. All who believed His words were made happy. He told those who believed, that they were children of God. Jesus said to His disciples, ““I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also“. (John 14:2-3). (This place in Heaven is for all true Christians).

“Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS

“When they were come to Calvary, there they crucified him” (Luke 23:33).

The scribes and Pharisees were greatly annoyed at Jesus and His teaching. He had often reproved them for their honor seeking in religion and unlawful money-making practices. They were very jealous and envious of Jesus, because so many people believed in Him, followed Him, and praised Him. They feared that the people might make Jesus their king.

They tried to make Jesus say or do things that would cause the people to lose faith in Him, but Jesus was too wise for them. They were not able to find occasion to accuse Jesus to the common people. Their hatred and anger grew as Jesus’ popularity continued to increase. Their ill will and hatred toward Jesus became so great that they made plans to put Him to death.

They took Jesus to court and charged Him as an evildoer and trouble maker in the community. They brought many false charges against Jesus. Then they took Him before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea. Pilate could find no fault in Him, so Pilate was going to release Jesus and set Him free. But the accusers of Jesus turned into a mad mob and cried, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” When Pilate heard their angry cries and threats, he gave in to their demands and turned Jesus over to them. They took Jesus and put a crown of thorns on His head and a rod in His hand. In mockery they called Him king. They spit in His face and beat Him cruelly. They finally nailed Him to the cross and left Him there to die.

Calvary

 

Jesus was put to death just as the innocent lamb that Abel offered on an altar hundreds of years before. Abel had offered his lamb as a type of the lamb of God who would die for the sin of the world. Many prophets of old had likewise foretold of Jesus’ suffering and death. John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”, (John 1:29). “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Salvation

JESUS AROSE FROM THE DEAD TO SET US FREE

“He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:6).

The third day after the death and burial of Jesus, very early, upon the first day of the week, several women came to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. They were surprised to find the tomb empty. The body of Jesus was not there. Their hearts were troubled. Then, suddenly, two angels stood by them in shining garments. They said, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen”. (Luke 24:5,6) Upon this they quickly went back to tell the disciples what they had seen and heard. The disciples could not believe their story. So Peter and John went to investigate for themselves. They, too, found the tomb empty and as they entered they saw the linen clothes lie, and the napkin that had been wrapped about Jesus’ head neatly folded as if by gentle hands, placed separately. When they saw these things they believed the story of the women. In the evening of the same day the disciples were together behind closed doors for fear of the Jews. Then Jesus suddenly stood in the midst of them and said, “Peace be unto you“. He showed them His pierced hands and side that they might believe. When they saw the lord they were glad and believed that He was the same Jesus who had been crucified and that He had risen from the dead. After this Jesus showed Himself to many people as full proof of His resurrection.

He_is_alive!

This bright morning when Jesus arose from the dead is still the most glorious day in all history. For on this day, God’s wonderful plan of Salvation was completed. Now all who receive Jesus into their hearts, even though they die and are buried, shall resurrect and live forever in Heaven. Jesus said, “Because I live, ye shall live also“(John14:19).
This wonderful plan of salvation is made effective by faith alone, to all who believe that Jesus Christ is God, in His sin-atoning death, and in His literal, physical resurrection.

“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead. thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Dear Reader: Have you enjoyed reading this absolutely truthful and impressive account of life and death? God is speaking to your heart. What is your response? Will you repent and believe the Gospel? If you surrender to God you will receive a love for righteousness and power over your sin. You will also want to witness to others of what the Lord has done for you. The Scriptures tell us in Romans 10:11 that no one who believes in Jesus Christ shall be ashamed.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Do not delay. Come to Jesus today.

Repent

The text of this tract is Vlad Petrusevich’s adoption of Leland M. Haines’ writings.

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RELIGION OR FAITH

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“Unlike many modern preachers, Paul refused to edit out the difficult parts of the message. He insisted on preaching the whole gospel.”

It is increasingly common today to hear parts of the gospel proclaimed. The same was happening in the early church. In Acts 20, Paul says to the Ephesian church elders, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you.  For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the WHOLE WILL OF GOD (Acts 20:26, 27).

Unlike many modern preachers, Paul refused to edit out the difficult parts of the message. He insisted on preaching the whole gospel.

In 604, Pope Gregory wrote about the “Seven Deadly Sins” which included pride, gluttony, envy, lust, anger, greed, and laziness. In the spirit of the Pope’s top seven, here’s my list of “Seven Deadly Sins of the Pulpit.” 

1. Preaching Christ Without the Cross.

No-cost Christianity. Paul was determined to know and preach nothing except Christ and Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). Today it seems we preach everything but Christ and the cross, causing many to live as enemies of the cross (Philippians 3:18).

2. Preaching Salvation Without Sanctification.

No-change Christianity. So many claim Christ today with no evidence or change in their lives, and the pulpit is at least partially to blame.

3. Preaching Decisions Without Discipleship.

No-commitment Christianity. I know we are getting crowds and decisions, but are we making disciples?

4. Preaching Love Without Lordship.

No-compliance Christianity. Jesus is Lord, and because He is Lord, He heals, delivers, provides, and saves.  

5. Preaching Prosperity Without Purpose.

No-cause Christianity. God blesses us so that we can be a blessing.

6. Preaching Blessing Without Birthright.

No-covenant Christianity. Esau threw away his birthright and still expected a blessing. It does not work that way. If we want the blessing, we must accept the covenantal responsibilities that go with the birthright. 

7. Preaching Revival Without Reformation.

No-transformation Christianity. We are called to be salt and light, to impact individuals and cultures, families and nations. The gospel is supposed to be transformational.

I have certainly been guilty of all of above at different times in my life as a preacher. As I have matured, hopefully, I’m being more and more faithful to preaching the WHOLE WILL OF GOD. How about you? 

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HAVEN TODAY BLESSING IN DISGUISE-LISTEN NOW !

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March 26, 2012

Website | Prayer | Devotional

Blessings in Disguise

God’s blessings are often unrecognized. Many people miss out on life’s greatest blessings and never realize it. Why? Because God often sends blessings in disguise and only eyes of faith can see them.

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EXTRAVAGANT DEVOTIONS

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John 12:1-8
Mary took a twelveounce jar of expensive perfume made from
essence of nard, and she anointed Jesusfeet with it, wiping His feet with
her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance (v.3).

What is Jesus worth to you? Most Christians would
answer, “Everything.” But if He were here in
the flesh, would you sell all your possessions
and throw Him a $50,000 party? Would you sell a prized
family heirloom to fill His house with a million roses?
We can hardly imagine Jesus accepting such
generosity, especially in a world of hungry people. But
there was at least one time that He did.

In Jesus’ day, traveling preachers were often invited to
be the guest of honor at banquets. They gave a lecture
and were “paid” with food. One day, when Jesus was
honored at a special banquet, Mary, Jesus’ close friend,
prepared the food out of love, not to “pay” him. She also
brought a large jar of perfume that was worth a year’s
wages (probably a family heirloom). She cracked the
seal and began pouring the precious, expensive perfume
on Jesus’ feet, wiping them with her hair (John 12:3).

Feet were washed with water, not anointed with oil.
And a woman’s hair was to be kept out of the gaze
of men. But Mary’s worst sin, according to Judas, was
her extravagance at the expense of the poor (vv.4-5).
Everyone shamed her for it (Mark 14:5).

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied (John 12:7). “You
will always have the poor among you, but you will not
always have Me” (v.8). Since Jesus came for the poor
(Luke 4:18), blessed the poor (6:20), and taught others
to remember the poor (11:41, 14:13), something important was being taught
here. Someone even more important than the (very important) poor was here.
Mary’s actions ended up being more meaningful than she realized (John 12:7).
In her own way, Mary threw a $50,000 party for Jesus and filled His home
with roses.

He was that valuable to her.

—Sheridan Voysey

Jesus Anointing

Image via Wikipedia

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Reversing The Reformation – How Some So-Called Protestants Are Subtly Undermining Justification By Faith

Note: This is re-posted from October 30, 2009. I want to add an important point: Much as I am reluctant to recommend studying the writings of neo-legalists…if you DO, you must remember one thing…they are false teachers, and false teachers almost always “blow smoke” (at best), confuse, and outright lie. This is important, because typically these neo-legalists will SAY that they believe in Justification By Faith, fooling the unstudied or gullible. By redefining “justification” and “faith”, they can say it with a straight face, and defend themselves when confronted with their own writings DENYING biblical justification, and promoting works salvation. This re-definition and deceit is similar to the statement in the document of “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” which declares that Justification is “by grace through faith”, yet is signed by Cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church — Cardinals who also subscribe to the canons declaring anathema on those who believe this.

October 31 is Reformation Day, celebrating the Protestant Reformation, when the biblical gospel of grace was re-introduced to the Church at large.

The Roman Catholic Church held an almost monopolistic grip on the hearts of millions of people for hundreds of years.

Through the Dark Ages and Middle Ages, the awful legalistic system of “salvation by works” nearly choked out the light of the Gospel of the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Only small pockets of true believers in Christ escaped the dark heavy blanket of Romanism.

Then around 500 years ago came what we call the Reformation.

Men like Luther and Zwingli and Calvin and Knox, intense students of the Scriptures, rose up and shined the light of the Gospel into the darkness of European Catholicism.

These brave men brought an end to the monopoly of the Popes. They boldly proclaimed that salvation was

by grace alone, not by merit;

by faith alone, not by works;

by faith in Christ alone, not in sacraments;

under the final authority of the Word of God alone, not the unscriptural teachings of the Bishops of Rome.

The Central Point of the Reformation

The central point of the Reformation is what we call Justification by Faith. This is the sublime and simple truth that when we believe in Jesus Christ we are “justified” or “declared righteous” by God. This means that we are fully in right standing with God, our sins forgiven and no longer held against us.

This is accomplished because God judged our sins in Christ on the Cross, and gave us the “gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17) by imputing the righteousness of Christ to us, when we believe in Christ.

As 2 Corinthians 5:21 puts it, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Romans Chapter 5:1,2 gives us the result of this wonderful act of the Lord:

“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”

The Permanence of Justification

When we are justified, declared righteous by God, it is forever. It is permanent. And it occurs at the moment when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, when we believe the Gospel.

The “gift of righteousness” can never be taken away, because it is part of a package deal, to put it crudely. This righteousness is given to us by grace through faith, and that is “not of yourselves” and “not of works” (Ephesians 2:8,9). Even the very faith by which we believe in Jesus Christ is a gift given by God through the New Birth, regeneration.

This “imputed righteousness” contrasts starkly with the unbiblical Roman Catholic teaching that one is actually “made righteous” (“infused righteousness”) through the sacraments like Baptism, and the Eucharistic Mass, and through meritorious good works — and that this so-called righteousness leaks out through sinning, and therefore can be lost, thereby damning the soul of the one who fails to maintain his “righteousness” by his works and attendance to the sacraments.

In Come the Neo-Legalists

The Reformation did not, of course, abolish Roman Catholicism. This cult of works salvation has continued these many years, and still thrives today.

But until recently one could more or less count on Protestant Bible teachers to uphold Justification by Faith Alone. One could more or less count on Protestant Bible teachers to oppose the so-called Justification of Rome, where grace and works are mixed, making it “no longer grace” (Romans 11:6).

But back in the 1960’s and 1970’s there was a professor at Westminster Seminary named Norman Shepherd. In 1975 some of his former students were being questioned for ordination, and when the question “How is a sinner justified?” was asked, they answered, “By faith and works.” Shocked questioners traced their answer back to their professor, Norman Shepherd.

Shepherd was allowed to teach for six more years, a disgrace in itself, but was finally released in 1981, the proverbial dung having hit the fan hard enough. Even then, several professors who then agreed with Shepherd were allowed to remain, teaching hundreds of students who spread the cancer yet today.

The big foot of undermining Justification by Faith had been stuck in the door, and the result has mushroomed into several full-blown ministries and movements, some directly from Westminster, and some relatively independent.

Allow me to name some names and then I will attempt to capsulize the kernel of the heresy.

Pioneering writers include E.P. Sanders, N.T. Wright, Steve Schlissel, Steve Wilkins, Douglas Wilson, and Peter Leithart.

They have been joined by a multitude of Pastors, bloggers and other writers, and teachers in Seminaries. Many in the Emerging/Emergent Church movement have gravitated toward these men, particularly N.T. Wright. And they have infiltrated otherwise orthodox places, including R.C. Sproul’s Tabletalk magazine, where R.C. Jr. as editor published a column by Douglas Wilson for three years, as well as articles by Steve Schlissel and Steve Wilkins.

[Important note — I would like to correct a wrong impression given by the last above statement. Since the publication of this post, R.C. Sproul Jr. has made the following clear to me…1) He loudly and publicly disavows Federal Vision, and 2) He not only published those FV gentlemen before anyone even heard of Federal Vision, but before that time and since that time has published many gentlemen who despise Federal Vision. I’m grateful to RCJR for that clarification.]

They operate under names and ministries you may have heard: Shepherdism, Auburn Avenue Theology, Federal Vision, or the New Perspective on Paul. And they lead churches in virtually every Reformed denomination.

What They Have In Common

I won’t pretend the issues and sub-doctrines are not varied and even complicated, but they have one important thing in common – a rejection of the biblical Justification by Faith (even while sometimes saying they support it).

Like most false teachers, their terminology is often the same as orthodox terminology. But the expression of their error can mostly be bunched under an important term: Covenant Nomism (sometimes called Covenantal Nomism). “Nomism” refers to “Law”.

Though their implementation of the doctrine varies (for example, some teach that one enters the “covenant” through water baptism, others through so-called “faith alone”), the basics are as follows:

1.One enters into a “covenant” of the “people of God”, through “faith” and/or baptism. This is a real covenant which makes one a real Christian.

2.Once in the “covenant” of the family of God, it is now one’s responsibility to stay in the covenant, and follow Jesus as Lord all the days of one’s life…or else (more on the “or else” in a moment). This is blatant Legalism.

3.IF one remains in the “covenant”, by assembling together and obeying the Law sufficiently, THEN, at the end of one’s life, or the end of the age, one will be truly “Justified”, or “declared righteous” ON THE BASIS OF THEIR LIFE AND WORKS.

4.Here’s the “or else”: If one departs from sufficient obedience to the Law, or (in some cases) stops fellowshiping in the local assembly, they are deemed “out of the covenant”, will never be “justified”, even though they truly believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and were in His “covenant” and were a true Christian. Their works, or lack of them, have ultimately damned them.

What Can Be Done?

Admittedly, this is an extremely brief introduction to Neo-Legalism, or Covenant Nomism.

The men teaching these things are not ignorant, and they’re not stupid. They are biblically classic false teachers.

What would I recommend?

1.I don’t recommend studying these men, except by the most discerning and biblically knowledgeable.

2.I do recommend studying the biblical doctrine of Justification by Faith, just as the FBI reputedly studies real money, in order to quickly identify the counterfeit.

There are many good books on the subject. A thorough classic is by James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification. Another good one, perhaps easier to read, is James White’s The God Who Justifies.

An excellent sermon by Charles Spurgeon can be read at:
http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/3392.htm

Scriptural support for Justification by Faith can be found at:
http://www.carm.org/doctrine/justification_verses.htm

3.If you accept true biblical Justification by Faith, have courage to say so. And don’t be afraid to mention names.

Too many Protestant believers and teachers have been “returning” to Roman Catholicism. While for some there may be an inherent attraction to the ancient religious trappings of Romanism, in many cases it’s simply an abandonment of the great truth that God justifies us, declares us righteous, forever, when we believe in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. To Him be all the glory.

Posted by Terry Rayburn

 8 comments:
bot1 said…
Thanks for this post. Just as we need to expose the error of “Easy Believism” you have done an excellent job of exposing the other extreme “legalism” which many reformed folks seem to so subtly embrace.

8/20/2011 9:08 AM
Terry Rayburn said…
Hey, thanks, bot!

And for putting on your blog 🙂

8/20/2011 10:29 AM
Aussie John said…
Terry,

Glad to see you writing regarding this great blot on the landscape of Christ’s people.

So many of my beloved brethren have been set free from one bondage and into a greater bondage.

8/21/2011 5:56 PM
Steven Coxhead said…
Hello Terry,

Just wondering what you would say about why, according to Jer 31:33, a key part of the new covenant has to do with the law being written in the heart.

What would you say to the idea that Jesus has come, not only to make full atonement for sin, but also to write God’s law in the hearts of the elect so as to move them to obedience in order that the promised blessings of the covenant might come?

Also, do you think that the Bible denies that God ever acknowledges the righteousness of those in whom he is working righteousness through the law being written in the heart, and that any such acknowledgement is not also a form of “justification” albeit on a different semantic level from the absolute righteousness that comes through Christ?

8/21/2011 10:13 PM
Terry Rayburn said…
John,

Good to hear from you. Thanks, mate.

8/21/2011 11:01 PM
Terry Rayburn said...
Steven,

As to why the law was written on the heart, I would say it’s to reveal the will and heart of the Lord to us.

Technically, I wouldn’t say that the *purpose* of the law written on our hearts is to move us to obedience. The Holy Spirit and our own new spirit accomplishes that when we “walk by the spirit”, but led, at least partly by the law written on our hearts.

I can’t think of any verse that would say that the promised blessings of the new covenant are conditioned on our obedience. On the contrary, I believe the New Covenant is quite unilateral as to our blessings.

In other words, we have already received “all spiritual blessings in Christ”, and future blessings (ultimate salvation, glorification, heaven) are nowhere conditioned on our obedience.

As to your third-paragraph question, I’m not sure what Scriptural passage you might have in mind.

“Justified”, in its plain meaning can be “declared or made righteous”, which is the normative meaning of what we call “justified by faith”.

It can also mean something like “shown to be righteous”, which is the demonstration of righteousness.

The former meaning is the important one regarding soteriology, because too many verses make it CRYSTAL clear that our works, obedience, or any performance has NOTHING to do with our salvation.

Still the Lord works in us “both to will and to do for His good pleasure”, but that is not the cause in any sense of our getting or keeping our salvation.

Blessings,
Terry

8/21/2011 11:15 PM
Steven Coxhead said…
Thanks, Terry.

In relation to my previous third paragraph, I have verses like “Well done, good and faithful servant” and Matt 25:34-36 in mind.

The Bible speaks about God commending believers on the day of judgment for the obedience that he has worked in us. Is that positive judgment on the day of judgment also not a form of justification in the sense that it is a judicial declaration that is the opposite of condemnation? If so, then it seems to be a kind of justification by works.

I ask this question because some of the Reformers like Calvin had a concept of double justification in their system. That is to say, justification through receiving the righteousness of Christ is by faith alone, but having been justified on that level God’s Spirit then works obedience in us such that there is also a justification on the level of works in a subordinate way.

8/23/2011 2:16 AM

Terry Rayburn said…

Steven,

I try to steer clear of debating Calvin 🙂 but I think he (as MANY others do today) went too far in his “double justification”.

He even once wrote, “No one can embrace the grace of the gospel, but he must depart from the error of his former life [ALL error?], enter into the right way [totally?], and devote all his attention [all?] to the exercise of repentence [for an instant? a day? a lifetime?].”

My bracketed insertions reflect the absurdity of the concept.

A few points, then:

1. This is an area where it’s extremely important to put on our sola scriptura hats. While we never want to ignore other Christian thinkers past and present, fine-tuning a doctrine like this calls for going straight back to the Source.

2. My “street” Bible Interpretation General Theory includes these two ideas:

a. “Progressive revelation” calls for all Scriptures to be examined in the light of the latest new covenant scriptures [rightly divided is a given] before coming to final conclusions.

b. The simplest plainest verses must take precedent over the more mysterious obscure verses.

I believe in the general perspecuity (clarity) of Scripture, but one would have to be nutty to think it’s all equally clear and understandable.

3. Even Calvin agreed that one’s obedience to the Lord was the fruit or result of their new birth.

Moreover, he agreed that basic justification (being legally declared righteous by God through the gift of His own righteousness) was the immediate result of faith alone in Jesus Christ (such faith technically being in turn the result of regeneration).

So far, so biblical.

4. Though there is a mysterious element of SEEMING to indicate a second “justification” (in the verses you cited, and some others) I can only refer those mysterious or somewhat obscure verses to VERY plain ones.

Indeed they are SO plain that they would truly have to be twisted to not mean what they clearly mean to entertain any idea of a “second justification”.

Examples of these plain verses should start with Ephesians 2:8,9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; NOT AS A RESULT OF WORKS, so that no one may boast.”

5. The problem with the “salvation partly though obedience” idea is that we believers remain so darned disobedient at times. Which leads one to QUANTIFY obedience on some kind of scale, but the scale is TOTALLY abritrary.

Yet I sure don’t subscribe to the Zane Hodges theory that one can be saved, born again, yet theoretically not exhibit ANY fruit or obedience in their lives. His arguments approach silliness when regarding a “new creation” with the Holy Spirit indwelling him or her.

But I would maintain that such fruit or obedience has literally NOTHING to do with salvation, which is by grace through faith alone, NOT of works.

Scripture goes even further to say that if works are added to grace, it’s not even grace!

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.” – Romans 11:6

6. Finally, one might say, “Well, the second ‘justification’ isn’t in regard to actual salvation, just to some divine pat on the back from the Lord, or some kind of reward.”

Maybe, but then I think the word “justification” is an atrocious choice of word, leading only to confusion and neo-legalism of the sort that my article above deals with.

Better to call it “pat on the back” or as common lingo has it, “final reward” 🙂

Thanks so much, Steven, for the interaction.

8/23/2011 11:56 AM

http://grace-for-life.blogspot.com/2011/08/reversing-reformation-how-some-so.html

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