Marriage, as a Typological Representation of Christ and the Church.

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In today’s culture, many people are embracing the doctrine of egalitarianism, as it is applied in theology. They go so far as to ignore what scripture says. For them, it is more important to conform scripture to the corrupted and sinful judgments of humans, then to be sanctified in obedience, and humility to the standard of scripture.

Egalitarianism, as it is applied to human equality is noble. In so much as it is not improperly applied. It is true that God is no respecter of persons. In His perfect and holy sight we are all justly damnable. Every man, woman, child, from every race, religion, and creed, are all sinners. In Christ we love and treat all with humility. We should consider ourselves as the worst sinners, while considering others better than ourselves. So does this notion of considering others as better than ourselves fit with egalitarianism? A noble idea is not noble at all when seen in the light of true humility and mercy. Christ left majesty and dwelt among His creations in the flesh. He washed the lowly, sinner’s feet, bore our scorn, made propitiation for the expiation of our sins, by enduring the wrath of God until He declared, “It is finished.” Philippians 2:6-11(NASB)

who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In the true faith we are all equally adopted and justified by Christ, but we mustn’t err by taking egalitarianism so far as it offends the word of God. “How far is that?” you may ask. Scripture, I believe is very clear. It is so clear, in fact that I am not going to list every single verse that refutes it. A plain reading of the scriptures, from beginning to end is an overwhelming avalanche of proof, that God has ordained the complimentary roles of male and female.

Marriage, as a typological representation of Christ and the Church is diminished by egalitarianism. The deeper theologies are robbed of their import by such societal concessions. If we understand that man, through sin, is separated from God and that through Christ he is rejoined, it is a marvelous thing. We see this typological example in marriage. Woman was separated from man. She went out of his flesh. In marriage the woman is joined again by the power of God to her husband. They are beautifully unified again part of the same body. Christ is our head and over us he rules. We the Church are His body, and we submit to His loving rule over us, His bride.  Marriage portrays such a beautiful thing. The gospel of Christ is portrayed in each marriage ceremony. When we see a married couple we should be reminded of the work that Christ did on the cross to justify us with God. When we look upon our beloved wife we should see someone who we would lay down our lives for. When our dear wives look upon us they should see someone who is willing to sacrifice all for them. We all should be mortified at the perversion of marriage in the world. It has been perverted by brazen things like polygamy, and same sex marriage, but even the subtlety of egalitarianism should offend us. Instead we embrace all of these. Ashamed of nothing, proud, and arrogant, we tell God how we will understand Him. We tell God how we will do things, and never truly repent with a bent knee and penitent heart.

Marriage is truly ordained by God. It is a union that should preach the gospel to us as believers and be a witness to the world. Let us pray for God to perform His will in our lives against our fleshly desires. Let us affirm His word and be conformed to His sovereign will in all things.

If Politics And Government Are Not The Answer, What Is? (Part Two)

So to continue from the last article, I concluded that politics and government were not the answer to our problems as a nation. Some of the things that led me to conclude that were the scenarios I ran, presupposing that I would be in government. I thought, what could I do when the nameless representatives of some super-powerful, world-wide consortium, comes to me and says, “Vote this way, or your family will die in a house fire, or we will release these doctored pictures of you to the press, showing you with a prostitute in a hotel room with five pounds of cocaine, or you have a lot of money in your account right now, do what we say or people will find out, and ask questions.” These people are so powerful they answer to nobody. They are above the law. They have people killed, and direct the courses of the nations. They don’t do it for God. They do it for their real masters. I believe these are the powers and principalities of the Bible. Men who are so powerfully, influential who receive their marching orders from the devil, and his legions. As the Bible says, these men are not my enemies, they are controlled by them. If you kill these people, more people will fill their roles. It is pointless. I grew up in an America that no longer exists. We have to wake up to the real problem, it is sin. Mankind is totally depraved, and the only hope for us is Christ. We wonder to ourselves, why anyone would want socialism, acceptance of gay marriage, legalized gambling, legalized drugs, socialized medicine, minimum wages, labor unions, big government, no prayer in school, over-sexualized kids, gratuitous sex and violence on television, blasphemy of God and the Bible in the media, and on and on and on it goes. Total depravity, kidos! Our sinful natures drive us to all kinds of evil. What should we do? Preach the gospel to everyone we meet. Think about it, what would be more beautiful than a country full of devoted Christians who love Christ above all else? God says in His word that if we love Him we will obey His commands. If we all preached the gospel and made disciples of all men, if we obeyed this command, “…’YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND…” or this one, “…YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF…” or if we prayed for our enemies, What if we stayed married and worked it out, or Fathers were more than a paycheck and fix-it-man, or Mothers were more than a cook and shuttle service, what if we took responsibility for ourselves and families instead of insisting on some governmental fix? Think about how it would look compared to the secular Europe or the islamic middle east. Even if the world-wide government continues to work it’s evil will, we still have to focus on Christ and His goodness. We might not be able to ever change the course of the nation, but we are all responsible for our own sins and will be judged. We will be found in Christ or in the world. Personally, I like the famous hymn from Rhea F. Miller,

“I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

Refrain:
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name
He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead “

So while we can, we need to repent and put our faith in Christ, the true hope of man.

If Politics And Government Are Not The Answer, What Is? (Part One)

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For many years, I was a dyed-in-the-wool, hard-core, conservative, Republican. I was so Right-wing, I made Rush look like a moderate. You name the stance, and I was firmly and extremely on the right. I couldn’t watch the news unless it was from Fox. It got so bad I couldn’t even watch Fox anymore. Everything made me frustrated or mad. I vowed to go into politics when I retired from my career in Corrections. I figured that the only way for things to get better was if I got into the game and made some allies. I figured if there is a secret organization behind the scenes pulling the strings, I would make my own cabal to fight them.
For years I considered, “what if” scenarios. I tried to account for variables that could occur. I ran scenario after scenario by my cohorts. It was like the scene from the movie, “War Games” where Matthew Broderick tricks the W.O.P.R. computer into stopping the nuclear attack by playing tic-tac-toe. woprIt came to the conclusion that what it was doing was futile. That’s exactly where I found myself. I realized what I was doing was futile.

The theology of prayer, and an omnipotent, sovereign God.

We tend to think of prayer as having an effect on God and His decision making process. It is sort of like petitioning a parent for something desired. If God is sovereign and omniscient, how can we change His mind on anything? He already knows what we are going to pray about before the situation even occurred, before we realized we were going to pray, before we were born, before the Earth was made He knew what we would be praying for and had already determined whether or not He would answer the prayer with a yes, no, or wait. Since this is true, we might ask, “Why should I even pray?” Simply put, we should pray because we are told to be in prayer without ceasing. So the short answer is that we do it to be obedient to God.

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We are going to look at some deeper reasons to pray. Just like a child who understands to obey out of knowledge of punishment matures into obedience out of love and respect so too should mature Christians obey. We move on to deeper understandings. I think that prayer is a blessing, grace, and it is sanctifying. We are blessed because of the work of Christ He made it possible for us to pray directly to God with Him as our intercessor instead of a human priest in a temple. Christ hears us because the Holy Spirit has made our prayers acceptable to God. It is a grace, because in prayer we sense the relationship with God and feel closer to Him. It is something He has given us to involve us in the carrying out of His will. It is sanctifying because as we are conformed to His word and will we pray for the things that our new natures desire. This also ties into the grace of prayer. Through prayer we express the desires of the new person. We show and see our new love. We can start to understand how God is using us in His sovereignty to accomplish His will when we pray. It is a sweet moment to come to God in prayer for any reason when we know we are being obedient to Him in our prayers. Our obedience is worship.

We are free to think our thoughts, feel our feelings, and do our deeds, but only in the will of the Creator in as much as He has ordained. We could go our entire lives without ever being enlightened to this reality. Many people do go on feeling, thinking, and doing without ever knowing the reasons behind it. Their lives remain a mystery to them. It is like a big uncertain, unfolding story where they are the unqualified masters of their own destinies. We could go on believing we are the masters of our own destinies. Matter of fact, Hollywood loves to promote this ideology. (A very good reason to be suspicious) A cast die does not land, a bird doesn’t fall dead from the sky, and man doesn’t direct his steps, God has determined all things. This doesn’t diminish our experiences or dull our feelings. If anything it should give us great peace as we go on about our days. “…And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…” The two ideas do not conflict. They are not mutually exclusive. Just because we might not understand exactly how this works doesn’t mean that it doesn’t. So I encourage you to go on praying out of obedience and love towards God. After all it is for our good to do what He has willed.

Hebrews 6:1-8, eternal security, perseverance of the saints, justification, and sanctification.

     Hebrews 6:1-8 has been incorrectly used to support works righteousness, and legalism for years. This misunderstanding of scripture comes from eisegesis and poor hermeneutics. It, in fact, is an agreement for perseverance of the saints. We will look at just the section of scripture to begin. Then we will give it context within Hebrews and then within the entirety of the new covenant. I think it will be helpful to those who have been struggling with their own justification and soteriology.  Hebrews 6:1-8;
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
     Here is a link to a book introduction from Dr. John Macarthur that will give us the context I was mentioning earlier; Book introduction for Hebrews

     Many have been confused by this section of scripture. It has been used to argue against perseverance of the saints. Perseverance has been misunderstood by some as to mean eternal security. They claim that eternal security is a false teaching, and if wrongly understood, I would agree. We don’t believe that one will be saved, and remain saved, while practicing all sorts of ungodliness in unrepentance. It is as God said through Paul in Romans 6:1-2;
“…1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?…”
John 14:15; “…15“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments…” and James 2:14-17, “…14What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?15If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. …”
     Here is a link from Matt Slick of CARM.org about perseverance of the saints; http://carm.org/can-believer-lose-his-salvation
     Here is a great article from CARM.org also dealing with this issue; http://carm.org/about-can-person-lose-salvation
     And here is another from GotQuestions.org that will also help us to see the context in the new covenant; http://www.gotquestions.org/license-sin.html

     A person, who is truly justified by God, granted faith and repentance, who has been regenerated by God, simply does not choose to fall away, or become apostate. They did not save themselves. God did the saving to them. How many of you pray for person to be saved, when you know they want nothing of God, and claim to hate Him? You don’t seem to care about their alleged free will at that time do you? No, you want God to change their heart. So for all who truly believe, it is an act of the Sovereign God miraculously regenerating them to justification and on through the ordo salutis. If Christ did the work to justify us, then what work could we do to negate the perfection of His? None! In keeping with the spirit of salvation, we are changed, born again, a new creature with new desires, and affections. This new creature, loves the things of God, and hates the sin of his past existence, and bondage to his fallen nature. In this state of God granted repentance, and regeneration the new creature, of his new will and volition, derives his joy from doing that which is of the Father’s will, as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did upon the cross of His crucifixion. For this creature there is no ability in him to apostatize. Only for the religious person, who has not been freed from the old nature can fall away in any real sense, alas they were never really in Christ, so their falling away is even a false apostasy, thus the hyperbole of this scripture. For the one made to be resurrected unto eternal life, there are no sins of his account, to be tallied against him on the day of judgment. They had all been expiated, through the propitiation of Christ Jesus. Thus, for them there would be no grounds to repent, and believe again, or to crucify Christ, who once and for all died once, and was resurrected to never be crucified or die again. The absurdity of this concept should propagate the ideology of perseverance not the antithesis.
We fall into this heresy when we don’t understand justification and sanctification rightly.      When we think we had something to do with our justification we tend to believe we need to keep ourselves saved. This view is held by all works righteousness religions. The practitioner maintains their state of pseudo-grace by doing deeds and sacraments. Well, we all know this is a heresy, so why do we fall for it? Idolatry and pride, that’s why. We still want to earn it. We want to be better than others. Then there is guilt and pride. You are so bad, look at you, of course there isn’t enough grace for you, you must add something. These are powerful adversaries to fight against because they are stealthy. They sneak in to rob you of your security and joy. They take from you the delight you have in the Lord of your salvation. When these appear we need to crop off their ugly heads with repentance and prayerfully remember who it is that did the saving. It is the Almighty God, Lord of Lords, and Eternal Creator, who justifies you! Justification is solely the work of Jesus. He did the work on the cross of atoning for our sins and imputing His righteousness to us. That is how we are justified.
     Sanctification on the other hand involves our efforts in obedience. We try our best out of the provisions of God to affirm His will and be conformed to it. Notice we aren’t doing it out of our own provisions because we have none of any efficacy. Our pitiful temporary repentance and faithless intellectual understanding don’t do a thing for our sanctification. It is also the Lord who sanctifies us to Him through His provisions of all that is necessary. We through the true repentance of sins and the true faith are in concurrence with God and desire His will be done to us and by us.
     So the difference between the two doctrines should be clear. In justification God does the saving and keeping. In Sanctification we do the agreeing and growing. We are like a baby in a crib. We can think about growth and desire it. We can focus all of our efforts towards it, but we will grow according to His will. It is His design for a baby to grow to maturity. The immature believer will grow by design. Of course here is where the synergism comes in, like a child we must be fed good things and given work and exercise. We must be nurtured and disciplined. God being our Good Father sees to it. We are part of our sanctification for sure, but it is not what keeps us saved. I hope this has helped.

I’m a mormon now! Yep, just call me LDS.

     I’ve decided to be a mormon now. I am LDS. I don’t believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. I don’t believe the book of mormon. I don’t believe that I need to be baptized into the mormon cult. I don’t believe that God was once just a man.  I don’t believe that Jesus and satan are brothers.  I believe in the Triune God of the Bible. I believe in His word, the Bible, as being infallible and inerrant.  I believe that the 2nd person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, is God incarnate, and that He lived a perfectly sinless life, obeying all the laws to earn righteousness.  I believe He obeyed the will of the 1st person of the Trinity, God the Father, and went up on a cross to bear the sins of all who would be saved.  Their debt was imputed to Him, and His righteousness was imputed to them, so that they could be justified in the sight of God, thus glorifying God through the salvation of sinners.  I believe that God, being just, will pour out His wrath on those who have not been granted repenctance and faith.  He will be glorified in the damnation of sinners, by demonstrating His justice.

     So as you can see, I’m not really mormon.  I talked with a mormon man yesterday.  He insisted he was a Christian.  I asked him, “Are you a Baptist?”  He said, “No, I’m a mormon.”  I said, “Then you are NOT A CHRISTIAN!!!” 
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He looked very perplexed.  He didn’t understand why I was so offended.  I think he believed he was the one who should be offended.  I explained to him, “If you are a Christian then I am LDS.”  Then I told him the things that I mentioned previously in the first paragraph of this article.  To which he uttered a firm, “You can’t be a mormon if you don’t get baptized into the church!”  I then said, “Exaclty my point.  Thank you.  So then, ipso facto you are not a Christian.”  I was going to explain that if there are in fact, doctrines that make one mormon or not, then there are also doctrines that must be affirmed by a believer to verify that they are Christian, but alas the lad stormed off in a huff.

     So my mormon friends, I emplore you, please stop telling your people to declare, “I’m a Christian!”  When in fact they are not.  If you are so pleased with being LDS, just declare that you are LDS, but don’t insult, and offend me by blaspheming the one true God, whom I, and all true Christians serve.  We are not fooled, and neither is God.  Truly, we find it quite disturbing that you would consider them to be compatible, and obviously, so do you when confronted with the doctrinal differences.

Grace is not an item to be doled out

Grace is not an item to be doled out, and issued to sinners like a communion wafer. Grace does not come down a procession of human authority. A man does not receive it, to then pass it on in some diminished way to those under his authority. So that they, then might allow others to partake of the ever diminishing portion. No! Grace is a state of existence, inside the unmerited favor of Christ our Lord. He, is our grace. In Him we abide and His grace is efficacious. He is our propitiation, amen.