Where Does Your Assurance Come From?

jesus is the only way

When we come to God to repent of our sins, do we come to Him feeling unsure, and insecure, about our repentance?  Are we ashamed that we sinned again?  Are we doubtful about our regeneration and justification, because we don’t feel as bad as we should about our sin?  Do we put off coming to Him to repent, because we are ashamed of how we failed again, how we sold Him over for some temporary pleasure, not much unlike how Judas Iscariot, who betrayed our beloved Savior for a mere 30 pieces of silver?  I want to be careful, so as to not appear to give license to sin, but if you are having doubts, let me ask, is your focus on your sin, how you failed again, and how you don’t feel bad enough, how you don’t deserve any good thing from God?  If that is the case let me suggest that you are trusting in yourself, rather than in the finished work of Christ.  If it is all about how you do, or don’t do, then it isn’t about who did.

Jesus is our righteousness.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” (Eph 2:8) When you, or I have sinned, we need to come to God, in the name of Christ Jesus our Savior.  Come and plead, ask for forgiveness, not because of anything of ourselves, but because of what Jesus accomplished.  “Lord, forgive me please.  I’ve sinned again.  I did “X” and deserve your wrath, but Jesus bled, suffered, died, and was resurrected Lord, for me…  Forgive me Lord because of Jesus’ Thank you, Amen.”

Lay hold of what Christ accomplished!  Claim it, cling to it, believe it, and live according to the reality of it!  It is the most real thing ever done for you, for any of us.  No person, has ever offered you any love that could compare.

The only true cure for gender dysphoria.

sin

If you have unbiblical preconceived notions about how you should be treated, or how your life should be going, you are not only in sin, but you will never be content, and you’ll always be angry.

If you are confused about your gender, you need the truth, not lies. If you pretend to be a man, when you are actually a woman, you will always know that you are not a man. It will be with you all the while. You will always know you are a woman pretending to be a man. You will never fit in with actual men. You don’t need people to help you lie to yourself. You need the truth. Your emotions are not tempered with knowledge that is true. This will only lead to more suffering. Accept the truth. The truth is that you have sinful feelings and thoughts. You, along with the rest of us, are perverted. We all need God to grant us repentance, and faith. Pray for God to lead you to actual truth, and free you from your sins.  Trust the finished work of Jesus Christ, on the cross for your righteousness.  He took our punishment, and satisfied the just wrath of God with His sacrifice.  We need to repent of our sins, and trust solely in Him.

Now it seems it is time to persevere.

foundry

Keep in mind, what I am going to be writing about is not a prophecy, nor did I get a, “word from God.”  This is just my own personal observations, and thoughts.  I have been thinking lately, that we have had an unusual time of learning, and growing for the last decade or so.  There have been good teachers, and plentiful resources.  Even though there has been persecution around the world, and oppression in other parts of the world, we have been pretty safe here in the USA.  We have had a lack of tribulation.  We have had plenty of time to mature in Christ.  We have been sitting in relative comfort.

I think this time is coming to a close.  I think many Pastors, and teachers are headed for a fall.  The world system, and the enemy are going to be putting Christians, their faith, and knowledge of Christ to the test.  Our sins will seem to come at us with a vengeance, and destructive force that we are not accustomed to.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  Will we buckle under the temptation?  Will we resort to being greedy, selfish, unkind, mean, arrogant, prideful, lustful, adulterous, covetous, abusive, addicted, or fill in the black with whatever sin has been eating at your assurance over the past years, some besetting sin, that you’ve as of yet not had victory over?(1 Peter 1:7, Heb 10:32-36)

We’ve already seen some Pastors/Preaching Elders fall into heterodoxy, or outright apostasy.  We have seen marriages end, and abuses happen.  I think these are just the beginning of what is to come.  We’ve had time to prepare, grow, and learn to fight sin.  I think the time has come, and God is going to put us through trials, and tribulations.  I’m not talking eschatologically here.  It seems the season is here for our good, the Churches good, and sanctification.  Those who are left standing after the fire, will be the ones who have persevered.  We need workmen who have shown them selves approved. (2 Tim 2:15, 1 Cor 9:24-27, James 1:2-4)

Don’t fret or worry.  Rest assured in the God who saves, and sanctifies.  He will also glorify.  When you fall to sin, repent immediately.  Accept Church discipline.  It is for your good, and the Churches good.  Don’t resist out of pride.  Don’t go to another Church, or movement.  Don’t utilize a loophole like that to escape what will bring you back to spiritual health in Christ.  It is the means He has ordained. (Rom 5:3-4)

Let’s do our due diligence, and submit to our Savior fully, and with all the zeal due Him.  Study His word, apply it, discipline your mind and body, make war against sin!  Rest in His righteousness, and utilize the weapons, and protections He has given us. (Eph 6:10-18, Heb 12:1-3)

Sovereign Election, and Man’s Volition.

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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.

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)

Who is surprised over the lost world’s response to the Nashville Statement?

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Who is surprised over the lost world’s response to the Nashville Statement? I’m not. I don’t believe any of the signers are surprised either. The liberal, “Christians” are shocked and surprised by the Nashville Statement. I don’t know why they are so shocked. It isn’t like we changed our tune. We’ve been affirming scripture over culture all along. As is often the case with liberals, it boils down to the redefinition of words.

It is almost like they have a different religion than we do… They call themselves, “Christians” yet they deny the authority of scripture. (Think God’s Word is wrong.) They say silly things like, “The table is a little bigger than that.” “The path is broader than you think.” “God’s love trumps theology.” “Love is love.” You get the idea. None of it is biblical. When you remind them that, (Matt 7:13, 14) “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” they insist that their feelings about God’s love trump what the scripture actually says.  They say, “My God isn’t as small and black and white as the way you understand her/him/x to be.” 

I talked with one who claims the Bible says nothing about homosexuality being a sin. When confronted with scripture from the Old Testament, he denies it and claims we are under a new Covenant. We are in a New Covenant, but the scripture from the Old Testament is pertinent. It demonstrates what God says about homosexuality. God is immutable. He doesn’t change. What was sin years ago is still sin.

So with that argument dismissed by the liberal, I moved to the New Testament. I cited scripture where homosexuality is listed along with other sins making it evident that it is included as sin. The liberal dismissed this as an interpretation problem on my behalf. He insisted that this is only about homosexual sex outside of marriage and that homosexuals at that time were being married in the Church and that their union was not sinful. When I asked him how he got there from what the scripture says, his response was less about scripture and more about how his view is from our modern context, and love. He also presumed to imagine how he though Jesus would respond now.

It is evident that liberal Christianity is just a redefining of the word, “Christian.” It isn’t Christian at all. They may claim Jesus as their savior, but they don’t really trust or believe Him. They deny His word, and they deny Him the ability and authority to define what sin is. They reserve for themselves the ability to define what sin is and is not. If you don’t know what sin is, how can you truly repent? If you don’t see yourself as a sinner, why would you want a Savior?

At the end of the day, don’t be alarmed by your liberal family, or friend’s response to the Nashville Statement. Understand that they are more than likely still in the dark and lost. Try to correct them from scripture. Pray for them. Don’t be swayed from the truth by their strange arguments. Even if their arguments manipulate your emotions remember, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Trust God’s word, not your feelings.