Let’s be civil.

Let’s be civil, and act as mature people in Christ while dealing with the lost. Remember, the people who have modern leftists ideals are not your enemy. It is the power behind them, pulling their strings. That is why our Lord, and His apostles, when they were killed, could ask God to forgive their murderers, due to their ignorance. We are dealing with a group of people who are unable to recognize truth, reason, love, and who are enslaved to sin, their master. They are children of their father, satan. According to Romans 1, their minds are debased, and unable to reason. Pray for the miracle of regeneration to happen to them, that they would be born again, and that they would repent of their sins, and trust solely in Jesus’ work on the cross for their justification.

Incomparable Categories.

puppets

We tend to compare human volition with that of God’s.  I believe this is what causes so much confusion when it comes to understanding sovereign election, and man’s culpability.  We hear comments like, “If God decides who gets saved, and who doesn’t, then it doesn’t matter what I do.  We are just a bunch of mindless robots.”  Now we know that we are not mindless robots, and our choices have consequences.  We also know from scripture that God says we are culpable for our sins.  We also should know, that we as finite, cursed, creatures, can’t know perfectly the attributes of God.  We can only know them as much as we are made able to know them.  That isn’t to say that our knowledge is insufficient for our spiritual needs, it is simply something we must acknowledge before moving on.

I’m not going to go into great detail in this article, as I do think the subject needs deeper, and more thorough treatment.  I plan on writing a larger paper, or book on the topic later.  I’m only going to use a few attributes in this example.  Also, please keep in mind that even though there are attributes that were communicated to us in our creation by God, making us in His image, those attributes cannot be directly compared to them as found in God, as He is incomparable, having no analogous being.

God’s will is informed by His sovereignty, omniscience, and beneficence, to only name a few of His attributes.  How do you think those qualities affect His determining compared to the enslaved, ignorant, malevolently informed wills of human beings?  You see, the will of man cannot be rightly compared to that of God’s.  In eternity past, when God created everything out of nothing, and determined all things, He did so with perfect rights, as owner/Creator.  He did so with perfect knowledge of everything in all times and places, and even of all things not constrained by space-time.  Finally, He did so with perfect goodness, love, and justice, these all being informed by all of His other perfections/attributes.

When man makes a decision it is informed by his enslaved nature.  He is a slave to sin unless he has been born again.  Then he is a slave to Christ Jesus.  Those two facts make an eternity of differences.  His will is also informed by his ignorance.  Man can only consider what he reasons that he knows, when making a decision.  If we consider this honestly, we would admit that compared to God’s omniscience our knowledge is incomparable.  They belong in different categories.  Our wills cannot operate independently apart from our sinful flesh, even when we are born again, due to our residence in the unredeemed flesh.

Since these two wills operate in different conditions, one being eternal/timeless, and the other being confined to finite, unfolding time, and space, the experience of these wills is very different.  I can experience the situation that requires a response, the reasoning through the known options, make a decision, and experience the consequences of my decision as they unfold in my temporal, material, experience of life as a creature.  This doesn’t in any way negate the reality of God’s volition in eternity past.  I, as a result of God’s will in eternity past experience my life as He has determined it.

I know this seems impossible to people.  We are stuck many times trying to compare things that are not in the same categories.  By looking briefly at how different the two wills are, we should be able to accept that there is an aspect of ignorance in our reasoning due to our nature as creatures, that can’t justify fully how we can have a personal volition, and that God can determine all things, without there being a conflict.  Our experiences as creatures are real.  We are culpable for our sins.  We do make choices in the construct in which we reside.  Outside of that small, finite, dark, construct exists the full, luminescent, glorious truth of God.  He is sovereign, omniscient, and good.  We can trust those attributes as we experience the temporal, and eternal consummation of His will.

Romans 9:6-33 (NASB Strong’s) But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “ through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: “AT this time I will come, and Sarah shall have A son.”  And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate MY power in you, and that MY name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?  What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea,
“I will call those who were not MY people, ‘MY people,’
And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’”
“And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not MY people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;  for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.” And just as Isaiah foretold,
“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us A posterity,
WE would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written,
“Behold, I lay in Zion A stone of stumbling and A rock of offense,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

Sovereign Election, and Man’s Volition.

st-paul-conversion

God is omniscient. He knows everything. He cannot learn. He has always known who He would save, and who He would not. He did not have to look down the corridors of time to see who would choose Him. He knew before He made them. It is not evil for God to save only the elect. We cannot judge God. He is the infinite, transcendent Creator. We are small, finite, creatures, with limited faculties as creatures, then add on to that the noetic effect of our sin natures inherited from the fall of original sin. In Adam all die. The wages of sin is death. All of us, even the newborn, deserve death and Hell, but God in His mercy saves some. If there are two doctrines that are seemingly at odds, in your understanding, it is not the truth of God that is wrong. If the Bible says we have a volition, make choices, and suffer the consequence, or reap the rewards of those choices, then it is true. If it says that God has determined, or ordained all things to come to pass according to His will, then that is also true. Just because someone can’t justify the two ideas in their small, finite, creaturely, sin sick minds doesn’t negate the truth of God.

We are limited to an existence in space/time. We only experience life in a linear progression through unfolding time, in space. We see our lives as a series of instances, and of choices, and outcomes. Eternity is not like that. God is bigger than space/time. He transcends His creation. He sees all things, perfectly, as the actually are, forever. God made the construct of this material world for us to live in, and for His story to be experienced in. He made it for His glory.

The Bible, the Gospel of Christ, are theocentric, not anthropocentric. In Eternity, God sovereignly chose who would respond to their sin, and the gospel, with repentance and faith. He grants repentance and faith, to those whom He chose. This does not negate our culpability. He says as much in Romans. It doesn’t mean that we don’t experience choices and the outcomes of those choices. Let God be true.

You can read that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, Israel was chosen, Aaron, and Moses were chosen, Hosea, and Gomer were chosen, even the pagans were chosen to work God’s will in their wickedness they were used to punish Israel when they strayed. Christ chose His Apostles. Paul was chosen, and we see that on the road to Damascus. Romans 9, Ephesians 1, God’s sovereign choices are all over the old and new Testaments. We can’t ignore it, or interpret in a way that makes it anthropocentric. Our purpose is to glorify God, not man.

Sanctification is about being conformed to the Word of God and His likeness. A Christian would love for His sinful will in the unredeemed flesh to be gone. It is one of the things we look forward to in eternity, is being in a glorified body, that no longer desires to sin, but entirely desires to do God’s will only. People make the accusation that God wouldn’t make a bunch of mindless robots, but I would love it if I no longer sinned or were tempted to sin. It doesn’t mean that I would be mindless. Election, and man’s volition are both true. Before a man is saved, his will is enslaved to his sinful nature. After he is saved, it is enslaved to the Christ Jesus His Lord and Savior, who died for his sins.

In the Midst of This Tragedy.

We see at work in the world, both good and evil. This last weekend, I was reminded of the battle that is being waged in the spiritual realm, and its ramifications in the material world. After a wonderful service at Church, I checked my Facebook account, only to find out about the Church shooting in Texas. I was frustrated at my response. I was not outraged, or shocked. I felt bad for the victims. I prayed for them, but I was not burdened enough by the horror that had occurred. I found myself desensitized by the violence, and the evil that propelled it. Part of this hardening is due to my 22 years as a Corrections Officer, witnessing the doctrine of Total Depravity fleshed out.

I began to think about this in contrast to the wonderful time of worship, prayer, fellowship, and learning, I experienced on the Friday, and Saturday, that preceded the evil that occurred on Sunday. Hundreds of brothers, and sisters in Christ, from different Churches around the area, came together for the Reformation 500 Conference. It was such a joy to see the unity of the body. I was encouraged by news of revival by Dr. Beeke during the Q. & A. session. I could see the results of it in my little corner of the world. I met some brothers, I had not known before. Fellowship in Christ was easy, and familiar like a homecoming. I went home encouraged and uplifted.

The next morning at Church Dr. Dennis exposited the word of God faithfully, it too was a joy. Then to hear about the malignant work of evil in Texas, as I mulled over my lack of significant emotional response, and what it meant about my heart. Then later in the day, news came that struck much closer to home. A teen, who was about my daughter’s age, and the son of a Pastor I know, had committed suicide. This young, well liked, healthy, teen, killed himself. There was some lie he had heard from the enemy, in some shape, way, or form, which moved him to this. I don’t know what it was. The details don’t matter right now, just the fact that they have had their beloved son torn from them by evil, and its lies.

This happened directly after such a wonderful time, which it caused in me to think of how much was going on behind the scenes, so to speak. We live our lives, not considering the battle going on about us, oblivious to it and the effects. Why does it seem the highs and lows of the spiritual life are in constant rise and fall? A wonderful thing happens, and is immediately followed by a horrible thing. An unspeakably evil thing occurs, and then a marvelous event is witnessed. It keeps going on, and on.

Do I believe there will be a great revival in the end times? Yes I do. Do I believe there will be a great apostasy in the end times? Yes I do. I don’t think they necessarily are going to happen separately. I think we can see them happening now. Ebbing and flowing, in increasingly dramatic levels. Like birthing pains, increasing in frequency, and intensity. I don’t mean to imply that in the spiritual battle the enemy ever has victory. What ever back and forth fighting is happening, rest assured, it is all working according to God’s good, and final will.

While we are able, let’s revel in the glory, love, and righteousness of God. Let us love and minister to the hurting, and share the gospel of Christ with the world. They, who are laboring under the burdens of the world system, and the condemnation of sin, have no reprieve, unless by the power of God they be saved. Let’s be bold in proclaiming hope through Jesus. Let’s not neglect the delicate work of soul care. The injured, battered, abused, victims of evil in this world must be led by those justly inflicted, injurious wounds to the only one who can heal, and bring them to wholeness, Jesus Christ.

White Privilege?

WHITE PRIVILEGE

I saw a video on a friends facebook wall. The link is at the bottom of the article.  It was disturbing to me that so many Americans feel ashamed of their, “privilege” and don’t thank God for it, and His providence. We are not entitled to good things just because we are here. Here is my take on the video.
Let’s reason together. Now that we have had emotional reactions it is time to put this sentiment into its proper perspective. Leave the white, black, and hispanic, “underprivileged” American kids on the field. Replace all the other kids with some Somalian kids. (Could have just as easily used anyone one of these classes of children;children who are in wheelchairs, have down syndrome, or were aborted.) Now ask a set of questions that will be certain to demonstrate how much improved the lives of the American kids are without those other setbacks are. What you are seeing here is a direct attempt at emotional manipulation by someone who does not care about original sin, individual sin, theodicy, God, His sovereignty, or His providence. Listen, you should thank God for being born in this country, to the parents you had, the color of skin, the air you breath, the clean water and abundant food. You should thank Him for everything. You should feel compassion for your fellow man, but don’t allow it to cloud your reason. A man goes to an orphanage to adopt a child. He looks among all of the children, finds the most pathetic looking one he can, adopts him, nobody would call that man a sinner for not adopting all of the children. He would get a pat on the back for changing just one of their lives. Every last one of us are guilty sinners. Each one of us deserve, suffering here on Earth, painful drawn out deaths, and an eternity in Hell, because of our sinful natures, our rebellion against God, our individual sins, and our hatred of Him before our conversions. He is under no moral obligation to save anyone, or give them a comfortable, “fair” life. We are not morally obligated either. If you buy into the left’s logic, we must ensure that everyone starts our with, and continues to have, all of the same opportunities and privileges. Who do you think would enforce that? How would they enforce it? I’ll tell you what it would look like, it would look like the USSR. People would be marched off at gunpoint to concrete block houses. The government would become your god. They would enforce mutual oppression of everyone, or kill those who dissented. One of the wonderful things about our founding documents is that we have the right to pursue happiness. We are created equal by our Creator, God. We are not made equal by government. What we do with our lives is up to us. You can blame other classes of people, who under God’s sovereign providence had a more comfortable life, but that does not mitigate your condemned condition before the Lord of glory. What if, God only saves the elect whom He predestined in eternity? Are you going to blame Him, and call Him immoral, or a fool?
Romans 9:14-24 “14What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
19You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”
Let those who have been given new natures by God, and are born again, have compassion on the less fortunate. We will minister to their needs out of the excess of love that Christ has demonstrated on the cross towards us. Don’t rob us of that blessing. Don’t reduce the less fortunate to wards of the state, and welfare which is a nameless faceless benefactor with no compassion. Let them instead seek mercy from the Lord and His elect so that they will see His kindness in them, to them, and from them. Let them see that they must come to God with nothing, entitled to only suffering and Hell, just as we did. Beggars of divine grace, filthy, defiled, hands. They aren’t just empty hands after all… They have been tools of the enemy full of perversion, sin, and unrighteousness.

Karma… Christian, Please Stop Using This Hindu Doctrine To Explain Theodicy.

nokarma

The problem with the Hindu idea of karma is that it relies on some universal force without intellect, or reason, that isn’t a person, to keep track of all the wrongs every person does, and then dole out justice. We seem to readily accept this notion, but rule out the Biblical standard of, “You reap what you sow.” In this notion, there is an all knowing, all powerful, perfectly intelligent, flawlessly reasonable, perfectly just and righteous judge, who knows every sin, of every person, and then uses those people in their sinfulness, to accomplish His will. We know from reading the Old Testament, that when Israel sinned, God would punish them by using a sinful pagan nation to come in and militarily defeat them, or enslave them. This was God using sinners to punish sinners in His sovereign will. This would cause Israel to see their sin, because they believed in Him and knew that they were being disciplined for their sins against Him. They would then repent, and turn back to Him. When we are being disciplined for sin, we should do the same thing. Repent of our sins, turn to Christ, and believe on Him and His work on the cross to justify us to God. We should not trust in our goodness, which is actually not goodness at all when compared to the perfect goodness of God, but rather it is sinful unrighteousness. We need to give up on karma, which is a Hindu belief, and trust in the One true and living God, Jesus Christ.

Galatians 6:6-10 (NASB)

” 6The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. 7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”

Absolute Truth Can Be Known.

Absolute truth can only be known totally, perfectly, and absolutely by the transcendent being who is the origin of that truth. His creatures, by their nature as lesser beings, created by Him, can only know what He has made them capable of knowing. This is also true of their ability to perceive, reason, understand, and communicate.

Then we must factor in the effect the curse had on Adam’s progeny due to his sin in the garden. We are born enslaved to a sinful nature, and are destined to suffer injury, disease, and death due to his sin, known as original sin, and our own individual sins. Sin also has affected the way we perceive, reason, understand, and communicate. This is known as the, “noetic effect” of sin.

When we consider these two ideas, it might seem that it is impossible for us to know absolute truth. This would be incorrect. God has made us able to know of absolute truth, just not perfectly, absolutely, or totally. We can know that God exists, fire burns, and the wind blows. We can even understand how combustion works, and what the source of the wind is, but to know them as God does is impossible in our current state and even in our glorified state.

If you look at an apple on a desk, you’ll see an apple. If you use a magnifying glass, you’ll see the pores on the skin as well as the blemishes. If you use a microscope, you’ll be able to see the cells of the apple. Advanced technology allows us to look at the micros and macros of the cosmos in ways that were never before possible for us. No matter what technology we develop, we will never be able to perceive things the way that God does.

God wants us to know Him. He has given us the creation to see His work. He has given us the progressive revelation of His word for us to know Him. In the person of the Holy Spirit, He makes His word understandable to us. In the person of Christ Jesus, He has made it possible for us to be justified to Him, to be adopted as sons and daughters. The Bible says this about Jesus, “…He is the image of the invisible God…” (Col 1:15) It also says, “…For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form…” (Col 2:9)

If you’d like to know absolute truth, in as much as you can, I encourage you to think about your guilt as a sinner. Consider how holy God is as the sovereign Creator of everything. Think about His perfection in all of His attributes. Repent of your sins. Forsake them. Turn from them towards Christ. He is your only hope. “…let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”…” (Acts 4:10-12) “…Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”…” (2 Cor 6:2)