Posts Tagged ‘Salvation’
Did you brush your teeth this morning? Probably without thinking. When you woke up did you have to ask your stomach if it was time for food? I doubt it.
We are creatures of habit. Things become natural for us after a short while, and we often do them without thinking. This can be a good thing: routinely cleaning your body is essential. But it can also be a bad thing. We must never stop asking ourselves this simple question when in regards to our obedience to Christ: why?
When you read your bible in the morning, stop and ask yourself “Why?” When you attend church on Sunday, when you sing hymns and worship songs, when you kneel at the alter, and when you pray ask yourself “why?”
Don’t let your worship become a monotonous activity. Worship Him because He is worthy, and has plucked you out of the fire.
Don’t read the Word because you are required, or to fill a daily quota. Read the Word because you are hungry for Bread.
Don’t attend a church because “it’s the right thing to do”. Go because you are strengthened through fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Never stop examining yourself. Begin with the question “why?”
1 Corinthians 11:28
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”
It’s odd that, despite all the technical things of Christianity that I am comfortable writing about, I find it difficult to write about grace. It’s the most fundamental and foundational aspect of my belief system, yet I don’t know very much about it at all. Perhaps it is because grace is so unnatural; so contradictory with human nature.
I have been convicted lately due to the amount of emphasis I have placed upon my own works. Somehow I transitioned to a place where I was a Christian based upon what I did and didn’t do, and how often I failed or succeeded. I know, based upon scripture, that this is not true Christianity.
“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;”
It’s hard for me to grasp the fact that God doesn’t need me to do good things to grant forgiveness. This is totally incompatible with our social structure. Imagine what would happen if nobody had to show up for work to receive their pay checks?
Grace works though. It doesn’t result in thousands of sinning and apathetic “saints”. Why? Because anyone who is truly saved and redeemed will become a new creation, and live to please God. It’s like getting a check in the mail, then going to work to see what the Boss wants you to do that day; because He deserves it, without demanding it.
I see many people abusing this precious gift, though. Claiming redemption when their lover is the World, and feeling justified because they prayed a little prayer and cried a little tear. That’s getting a check in the mail and, without showing up to work, seeking employment elsewhere to get a bonus.
This is where works comes in.
“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”
Repentance leads to salvation. Salvation leads to a new creation. The new creation, by it’s new found nature, will do good works. Not because we have to, or to fill a quota, but because the desire of our heart has been changed.
This isn’t to say that you will be without sin. No, the war is far from over. The Devil is still upset about losing you.
Christ has purchased me. He knew I was a sinner. He knew I deserved the deepest, darkest, flames of Hell. Yet He came, and payed a price I could never dream of paying myself.
Humbled by Jesus,
Sex. Alcohol. Nudity. More sex and alcohol.
The super bowl ads were full of all that garbage. Thankfully the host of the party had DVR so we could pause and fast forward all the crap.
What makes things worse is that the following ad was denied because it was too religious and offensive:
It leaves me speechless. They allowed the ad to be viewed in 2-3 states, but the content wasn’t appropriate for a national audience. I would go on about how this angers me, why this is wrong, and how it’s inconsistent, but I’m sure the gears in your head are turning too.
I’m thinking about what I want to do next year. I’m offended by the secular ads, so maybe I wont watch the game. Maybe I’ll write a few letters about how I cannot watch ads that worship sex.
Imagine a day when the ads were clean again. It’s possible. We just need to pray about it.
P.S. If even the mention of John 3:16 offends the world, then why am I, a Christian representing the Messiah, not offending the world?
Over the past couple days I have been evaluating the immorality of both the Nation and individual lives. Pondering where it comes from, and why it is so rampant in our country today in comparison with previous decades. I’m no theologian but I came up with an answer that has satisfied me.
Our country does not have a lust problem. Our country doesn’t have a racism problem. Our problem isn’t hate, anger, greed, politicians, divorce, adultery, hypocrisy, or false prophets. Our evil outward appearance is only the result of an inward problem: Jesus Christ deficiency.
Anytime that Jesus Christ ceases to be the cornerstone of society our natural tendencies to sin will corrupt what the devil doesn’t.
Put that into a personal perspective: you do not lack self control so much as you lack Jesus Christ. You are not angry so much as you are ignorant to the ways of God. Do not waste your time chasing the vices of your life when you can simply and efficiently cut them down at the source. You are a prayer away from complete and total submission. No fancy tricks, no super Christian powers required, no televangelist needed to direct you.
How are we kept from our knees? If God has provided a way out, and made it so simple to escape, then why have we not tapped this resource? I’m not sure. I imagine that it’s a mix of both the devil’s wise manipulation and our own lack of desire for holiness.
The point is summed up perfectly in my favorite verse:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
No submission, no resistance.
During on of our youth groups bible studies, a question regarding the Trinity came up. This led to a short discussion about how God can inhabit three Persons and still be one. I realize I have never written about this before, so I thought now is as good a time as ever. I have a simple understanding of the trinity which has been enough for me over the years.
This is not an explanation to non-Christians about the Trinity. There is no comprehensible way to explain it without delving into spiritual matters that they do not believe in. So, in order for a non-Christian to understand he must also choose to believe.
Exhibit A: The Common Mousetrap
It has many pieces, which all serve totally different purposes, but for a common goal: to catch a mouse. You cannot have the base without the latch, or the latch without the spring and bar.
Exhibit B: The Egg
I was talking with Mike W at church this morning and he brought up this example that fits perfectly. What is an egg without a shell? Or a shell without egg white? What is egg white without the yolk?
Jesus Christ, Jehovah, and the Holy Spirit are all one. Just as the mousetrap is a mousetrap, and an egg is an egg. They exist in perfect unity, with different purposes, but towards a common goal.
Let me explain them a little bit further individually.
#1 – Jehovah
Jehovah is the foundational member of the trinity. He is the omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient one. Where the Holy Spirit cannot go or what Jesus cannot do, the Father can.
He is called the Father for a reason. He has authority over the other two, thus producing unity. Where there is no authority, there is no unity. This is one of the reasons I had a problem with “The Shack.” It blatantly stated that there is no authority of one over the other in the trinity, when all this would produce is chaos. To say such a thing is in complete disregard to the scriptures and God’s creation. Observe marriage, nature, and civilization and you will recognize the creation called “authority.”
#2 – Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is no less important than Jehovah. However, He is fully man and is dependent upon the Father. He did not heal the sick, or multiply the loaves, or raise Himself from the dead. His Father did that. But there is something He did that the Father could not do. He fulfilled the law.
Jehovah requires sacrifice for the atonement (pardon) of sins. And although He accepted for thousands of years the sacrifice of lambs and other burnt offerings, these were imperfect sacrifices. They could not enable human beings to have complete and unhindered communion with The Father, as we were created for.
So, The Father sent Jesus, The Christ, to take our place on the cross so that His spirit could dwell with us.
#3 – The Holy Spirit
Also known as The Holy Ghost. Like Jesus, the Holy Spirit is no less important. God’s primary method of communication and leadership in our lives is through His Spirit. However our sin blemished and separated us from Him. This is why The Holy Spirit is not heard of much in the Old Testament, before Jesus.
Notice how in the Old Testament it was not only acceptable to cast lots, but it was also encouraged by God. He often altered History by changing the outcome of the cast.
Why? Because He could not communicate with us directly. He had to use barbaric forms of communication until He could break the barrier between Him and us.
Also, take note that there is only one time that the church uses lots in the new testament, after Jesus.
“And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
Many believe it was a mistake for them to cast lots instead of consulting the Holy Spirit, as we never hear of Matthias again. Perhaps they would have chosen Paul?
I hope you have learned a little something from my writing. I can only hope I helped clear things up a little bit in a subject that is notoriously confusing.
Thank you for reading.
In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings.
As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “Brian Moore.” I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.
And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.
A file named “Friends” was next to one marked “Friends I have betrayed.” The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. “Books I Have Read,” “Lies I Have Told,” “Comfort I have Given,” “Jokes I Have Laughed at.” Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: “Things I’ve yelled at my brothers.” Others I couldn’t laugh at: “Things I Have Done in My Anger,” “Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.”
I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked “Songs I have listened to,” I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked “Lustful Thoughts,” I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: “No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!”
In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.
And then I saw it. The title bore “People I Have Shared the Gospel With.” The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. And then the tears came. I began to weep.
Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again.
He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. “No!” I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was “No, no, ” as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.
He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards.
I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “It is finished.” I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.
-Written by Joshua Harris, 1995
I was reading an article by an atheist a very long time ago, and He used this image to argue that God was evil.
Before I discuss whether it is evil for God to kill people, I want to point something out about this image. It’s very inaccurate. God has killed many more people than 2,038,344. He cursed all of humanity, dealing us the inevitable blow of death.
Let us begin with the 9/11/01 attacks on America.
So many people ask the question “how can a good God allow this?” I have heard many answers. Some very good. But I wish to offer my own to you. It begins with an assumption. Let’s assume that 50% of the people in the twin towers were sinless, Godly people who deserved to go to heaven. And the remaining 50% were sinful wretches who deserved to go to Hell.
Please note that this is pure speculation and I am in no way trying to judge or belittle any of the victims of 9/11.
When the airplanes struck the towers, and when they eventually collapsed, all the people who deserved Heaven went to Heaven, and all the people who deserved Hell went to Hell. Why is this evil?
For those who deserve Heaven, Earth is the closest thing to Hell they will ever experience and thus desire to leave.
For those who deserve Hell, Earth is the closest thing to Heaven they will ever experience and their judgment will be good.
Who deserves Hell and who deserves Heaven?
During our assumption the people who deserved Heaven or Hell were split into a clean 50 – 50. Do you know the actual percentage of people who deserve Hell?
We have all committed sins against a righteous God and deserve His wrath.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;“
Few seem to grasp this. And is it no wonder, when we are bombarded by “you deserve this” and “you deserve that” in our commercials, radio and newspapers?
When God kills somebody He has the full authority to do so. Does this anger you?
What if you turned on the television and saw on the news that a judge allowed a serial killer go, simply because he was sorry? Would that anger you? Of course it would, because the judge was not good in his decision.
Would you be angry if the judge sentenced the man to death? Probably not, for that is a righteous and just decision.
When God sentences a man to death, it is because that man deserves it. And any anger you feel is due to your own pride and inflated image of self-worth.
See yourself as God sees you, and then you will know the balance between love, wrath and mercy.
I mean no disrespect to the Catholics who may end up reading this. But I simply cannot take your tradition seriously. I have examined scripture, and have found them to be both pointless and contradictory to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
For example, your near divination of Mary
Take a look at this verse in which Jesus rebukes a woman who praised Mary:
“And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed [is] the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed [are] they that hear the word of God, and keep it.“
Obviously Christ did not see any need to praise his Mother more than any other.
From what I understand, you must perform various miracles and be dead, among other things, to be considered a Saint among the Catholics.
Let us look at another scripture verse regarding Sainthood:
1 Corinthians 1:2
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called [to be] saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”
They’re not dead and there are no miracles to speak of. Why are they regarded as Saints? Because they are sanctified in Jesus Christ.
If that’s not enough for you, here’s another one.
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”
Ephesians has another troubling opposition to Catholics.
Jesus Christ is the mediator
I quoted Ephesians 2:19, but lets step back a little bit and read what else it has to offer:
“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
Stop praying to the Saints! Jesus Christ is the only mediator between us and God. Don’t you remember when Saul tried to speak to the prophet Samuel after he had passed away? Was he not rebuked and met with a demon?
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.“
Catholics have tried to earn their salvation in a number of ways, including “hail Marys.” Salvation is not for your to earn, but for God to give. Only through his Son Jesus Christ can you be saved.
And no, you are not supposed to confess to a Priest. Look throughout scripture, you will find that the man of God convicts the sinner, and the sinner repents to God.
David for example. He did no apologize to the Prophet who revealed the sin in his life, but rather he fell before God almighty and begged forgiveness.
Here is an account of a dedicated Catholic during confession:
“He told me I was absolved of my sins, and to go in peace.
I stared at him for a moment. “That’s it? Don’t I have to say Hail Marys? Our Fathers? The Creed? The Rosary? Anything?”
He laughed at me and told me to go do a good deed or something.”
The Priest told Her to “do a good deed or something.” How can I take that seriously? How can they argue that as scriptural? The rest of the story can be read here: http://caity.nu/musings/he-laughed-at-my-sins
There are too many holes and contradiction in Catholicism for me to offer any respect.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.
And he said unto them, Go ye unto all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Is this a suggestion, or a commission? I understand the fact that not all of us have been called to share the gospel full time. However, we are not excused from sharing it in day-to-day encounters.
I am ashamed of myself for my cowardice concerning this matter. I am without exscuse for not taking advantage of the oportunities given to me by God.
My conviction is deepened after going to this website:
A young man who has devoted his life to sharing the gospel. He obeys the great commission, and has reaped the harvest of it.
Check out the videos he has of open air preaching. They are both convicting and powerful.