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.

Addiction, Compulsion, and Sin.

pilgrim's progress burden

We, knowing our own sin, and the power of temptation to keep drawing us in. We should be the first to have mercy, and demonstrate grace to others who don’t even know the Savior. Just like us, they know in their hearts, they don’t deserve mercy or grace from us or God.

The Word of God says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (NASB) Romans 5:8”

Some of us know addiction. There is a compulsion to do something that goes against every intent of our minds, but is so overwhelming. With obese people it is the compulsion to overeat. With drug/alcohol addicts, they need the high/drunk. With adulterers they crave what they shouldn’t have. With the homosexual/porn addict/pervert, they want what is wrong. How can they know freedom from their sin, and the punishment of it? How can they fight against it? How can we preach the gospel if we are only condemning them?  How can they ever know forgiveness if we only act in as self-righteous hypocrites?  

” Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any  affection and compassion,  make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from  selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 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.” (NASB) Philippians 2:1-11

So be like Christ to the world.  People are suffering in hopelessness, resigned to the notion that they will forever be a slave to their addictions, compulsions, and sins.  Do the most loving thing, and preach the gospel of Jesus to them.  

If they hear the gospel and get saved, what do they do if the temptations are still there? What does it mean if they sin again, and their hearts are being broken each time they give in to what the compulsion to sin is driving them to?

The gospel can set them free from their sinful compulsions. It doesn’t always happen immediately, but through repentance and faith, God will sanctify them, and give them victory over their sinful compulsions. His grace is sufficient. How long are you willing to stay in the fight against your sin? How many times are you willing to allow the shame and guilt to drive you to the feet of Christ to ask Him to forgive you?  Don’t give up on coming to Him.  Don’t let your loss of a battle, or many battles shake your faith in Jesus.  He has won the victory for us.  Trust in His victory.  

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. “(NASB) Philippians 1:6

God will forgive everyone who repents of their sin, and believes in the work of Jesus Christ alone. Don’t trust in your own righteousness, because it is filthy to God. Don’t trust in your good deeds, because they are tainted by your sin. Don’t trust in ceremony or rituals, they just tire you out. Trust in the God/Man Jesus Christ. He will demonstrate grace to you based on His love and goodness, not on any thing you might think deserves favor from Him.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (NASB) 1 John 1:9-10

May God grant you faith to believe in the work of the Savior, and repentance from sin. Put your faith in His finished work, and trust only in Jesus for your salvation. God will deal with you sins and justify you. He will keep dealing with your sins, and sanctify you. He will finally deal with your sins, and give you a glorified body to live with Him forever. In that eternal life you will never desire sin again. You will finally be free to only the will of God without temptation.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified  by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved  by His life.  And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (NASB) Romans 5:8-11

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (NASB) 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “ But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (NASB) Romans 1:16-17

So live by faith!  Believe that Jesus will do what He says.  Believe He is who the Bible says He is.  Believe the gospel, the good news preached in his name.  He will demonstrate His grace to you if you repent and put your faith in Him.

Why do Calvinists Evangelize?

Spurgeonevangelism

  1.  God commands it in His word. Mark 16:15 (NASB) 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
  2.  He ordains the ends and the means.
  3.  At that moment in time, it is not apparent to us who is among the elect.  If we share the gospel with a person who is among the elect, but it is not their due time to be regenerated, then they will reject the gospel.  If it is their time, they will respond with repentance and faith, that are also granted by God.  If we share the gospel with a person who is not among the elect, no matter when in their life they hear it, they will never respond with true repentance and faith.  Even a person who is not among the elect could affirm the gospel intellectually, but never be truly converted.

If people would look into the history of modern evangelism, they would see that many of the memorable evangelists have been Calvinists.

Calvinist Evangelists

  1.   The Apostle Paul 🙂
  2.   George Whitefield
  3.   David Brainerd
  4.   William Carey
  5.   Charles Spurgeon
  6.   C.T. Studd
  7.   Jonathan Edwards
  8.   Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones
  9.   Francis Schaeffer
  10.   Francis Chan

Just to name a few.  Oh, and before you get all persnickety and claim that some of the people on the list were Pastors, or theologians, remember they also evangelized.  Spurgeon said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.”  While we are at it, we all are sinners.  We have broken God’s laws and are guilty.  Repent from your sins.  Turn from them and obey God’s word.  Believe on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, where He atoned for your sin.  Don’t put your faith in your own efforts or works to save you.  You can never satisfy the requirements of God’s righteousness, but Jesus did.  His righteousness can be credited to you if you will repent and trust in Him.

I Know Everyone is Preaching Unity, Love, and Acceptance, but…

lamb

When the Bible talks about unity, it is for unity among the believers.  When the Bible talks about loving your brother, it is talking about your brother in Christ.  When it talks about acceptance, it is not about accepting sin.

The enemies of the gospel, Christ, and the cross are our enemies as well.  They are the ones who are sold out to Satan.  They hate the gospel, they hate Jesus, they pervert scripture, and they hate His sheep.  These people are not the same as the lost who are living their lives in ignorance.  The lost, for the most part are just plain ignorant about God.  They don’t really care.  The enemies of the gospel are different.  They have made up their minds.  They hate God, His Word, and His gospel.  They also hate His followers and everything that He says is good.

They push every sinful agenda you can think of.  These agendas are part of a larger, “Death Culture” worldview.  They love every defilement of what God says is good.  Just to name a few things; atheism, gender perversion, gay marriage/defilement of marriage, fornication, adultery, liberalizing of the Church, drug use, and so on.  They love anyone who agrees with them and they hate anyone who disagrees.  They preach tolerance while being some of the most intolerant people in the world.

So in the wake of this election, I’d like to share a different perspective and line of advice.  I am not preaching love, tolerance, peace, unity, and acceptance solely for their own sake.  No, I’m preaching being in the world, but not of it.  I’m preaching, put on the full armor of God, pray for your enemies…  they are your enemies.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are simply your neighbors and coworkers.  These are the folks that the Bible says will turn you over to the authorities to be martyred, your sons and daughters.

Remember folks, this is a life of death war, eternal life is on the line.  We are to blame for turning our Church services into entertainment for goats.  Church is for the saved of God, to give glory to God!  We are to worship Him together with our brothers and sisters.  We are to go out and be the ones who deliver the uncomfortable truth!  You are sinners!  Repent and believe the gospel!  Hell is real!  Jesus is God!

I don’t care how many people are triggered.  I want to trigger them all!  They need to be shaken down to their cores!  I don’t care how many of them are scared!  They very well should be scared!  They are headed straight to Hell for all eternity!  We need to scare them!  How else can we love our enemies?  This is true love, to tell them the truth, to give them the gospel that can convert their hearts.  So, offend them, offend them all in the name of God!

Something from Habakkuk to Remember.

habakkuk

Here is Habakkuk’s cry to God,

“Habakkuk 1:1-4 NASB The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw. (2) How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save. (3) Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises. (4) Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.”

Notice, his cry to God could be our cry today in the midst of a godless, secular, America.  Now look at God’s reply,

“Habakkuk 1:5-11 NASB “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days– You would not believe if you were told. (6) “For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, That fierce and impetuous people Who march throughout the earth To seize dwelling places which are not theirs. (7) “They are dreaded and feared; Their justice and authority originate with themselves. (8) “Their horses are swifter than leopards And keener than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen come galloping, Their horsemen come from afar; They fly like an eagle swooping down to devour. (9) “All of them come for violence. Their horde of faces moves forward. They collect captives like sand. (10) “They mock at kings And rulers are a laughing matter to them. They laugh at every fortress And heap up rubble to capture it. (11) “Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, They whose strength is their god.”

Do you see what God was doing there?  He was giving the prophet Habakkuk His word that He is using the pagan Chaldeans for His purposes.  He was raising them up to use as judgment against His people.  Israel had rebelled and neglected God’s word as revealed through the prophets.  Make sure to read the last part of verse 11, “But they will be held guilty, They whose strength is their god.”  The Chaldeans were going to be held accountable by God in His justice.

Habakkuk’s reply to God,

“Habakkuk 1:12-17 NASB Are You not from everlasting, O LORD, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. You, O LORD, have appointed them to judge; And You, O Rock, have established them to correct. (13) Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they? (14) Why have You made men like the fish of the sea, Like creeping things without a ruler over them? (15) The Chaldeans bring all of them up with a hook, Drag them away with their net, And gather them together in their fishing net. Therefore they rejoice and are glad. (16) Therefore they offer a sacrifice to their net And burn incense to their fishing net; Because through these things their catch is large, And their food is plentiful. (17) Will they therefore empty their net And continually slay nations without sparing?”

At first it seems that Habakkuk understands why God is going to punish Israel, but then he goes on pleading with God.  His questions seem to call for God to not allow this to happen.  Sometimes we can be like that.  We live in a great land.  Many of us are like the Chaldeans.  We put our faith in the strength of our military, or our wealth.  We trust a nationalistic ideology called America.  We offer our sacrifices to it.  We neglect God and His word.  We rebel against Him.  We kill our young and call it a woman’s right to choose.  We make legal all types of perverse abominations and call it progress, and liberty.  Just because we legislate it and make it legal does not make it moral.  Just because a secular majority deems something to be good doesn’t make it so.

As Christians we have an external moral authority Who is immutable.  He never changes and is eternal.  His decrees of good and evil stand for ever, no matter what human government makes legal.  The political candidates we have to choose from, the debased minds that many of our fellow Americans have, the perversions that are abounding, are all punishments from God.  We are under judgement.  We need to be outside of our Churches, evangelizing so that people might be saved and come in.  We need to repent of our personal sins.  We need to repent of the attractional model of Church.  We need to stop begging goats to come in to our Churches.  We need to go out to them and preach the gospel of Jesus, which is repentance from sin and faith in Christ’s work on the cross.

When people are miraculously changed by God they will become sheep.  They  will come to Church without the need of the gimmicks of silly centers.  They will hunger for the preaching of God’s word, fellowship with brothers and sisters, praising God with hymns, prayer, and the glory of God will be their aim.  Don’t be bashful, now is not the time.  Be bold for Christ and His gospel to go forth!  Are you saddened by the damage and hurt you see being done by sin in the lives of your friends and neighbors?  Do you think that you love them?  If you do, then you must give to them the only cure for their brokenness.  You must give them the only thing that will heal them and make them whole!  Give them the gospel of Jesus!  It is truth and love!

So if you find yourself crying out to God much like Habakkuk did, ask yourself why God is doing what He is doing.  Ask yourself what the proper response is to what He is doing.  Then I think you will come to the same conclusion.

The Differences Between Sins, and Mistakes.


Recently, I had a conversation with a person on social media about sins, and mistakes. Their first assertion was that, sins are the willful transgression of the known will of God. The second assertion was that people are not culpable to God for mistakes that they make. Lastly, they failed to define what mistakes are, even when asked several times. I quickly identified this as a Nazarene Church member, because I had been a member for approximately 19 years give or take. I decided since they came to my page to discuss this issue that it was a proper opening to engage them. I typically don’t go to other people’s pages and comment on things I don’t agree with. I see it as bad etiquette, but if they come to me, so be it. Listed below is the section 5.3 Sin, Original and Personal from the Nazarene Church’s Preamble and Articles of Faith;

5.3. We believe that actual or personal sin is a voluntary violation of a known law of God by a morally responsible person. It is therefore not to be confused with involuntary and inescapable shortcomings, infirmities, faults, mistakes, failures, or other deviations from a standard of perfect conduct that are the residual effects of the Fall. However, such innocent effects do not include attitudes or responses contrary to the spirit of Christ, which may properly be called sins of the spirit. We believe that personal sin is primarily and essentially a violation of the law of love; and that in relation to Christ sin may be defined as unbelief.

(Original sin: Genesis 3; 6:5; Job 15:14; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9-10; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 1:18-25; 5:12-14; 7:1-8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Galatians 5:16-25; 1 John 1:7-8

Personal sin: Matthew 22:36-40 {with 1 John 3:4}; John 8:34-36; 16:8-9; Romans 3:23; 6:15-23; 8:18-24; 14:23; 1 John 1:9-2:4; 3:7-10)”

As you can see from their article, it is what has led some of them to their minimization of sin, thus diminishing the importance of the gospel, as well as creating a legalistic approach to righteousness. This last consequence is also a product of their doctrine of Entire Sanctification. Their doctrine of Entire Sanctification is also a product of their minimization of sin. This is what Article 10 says about Entire Sanctification;

X. Christian Holiness and Entire Sanctification


10. We believe that sanctification is the work of God which transforms believers into the likeness of Christ. It is wrought by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit in initial sanctification, or regeneration (simultaneous with justification), entire sanctification, and the continued perfecting work of the Holy Spirit culminating in glorification. In glorification we are fully conformed to the image of the Son.

We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect.

It is wrought by the baptism with or infilling of the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service. Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by grace through faith, preceded by entire consecration; and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness.

This experience is also known by various terms representing its different phases, such as “Christian perfection,” “perfect love,” “heart purity,” “the baptism with or infilling of the Holy Spirit,” “the fullness of the blessing,” and “Christian holiness.””

Not that long ago the Nazarene Church made some changes to their Articles of Faith. What I linked to is their current one. They have clarified it to some degree, but you can’t lay all the blame on the average Church goer for their personal affirmation of false doctrines. After reading the Articles of Faith, I can see what they are trying to express, but it can confuse the layman. I think this is mostly due to their Ordo Salutis, and Semi-Pelagianism that is all part of the traditions of a portion of the people in the denomination. From what I understand they are slowly trying to move away from the errors of Semi-Pelagianism that were made in the past.

If you are old enough you’d remember a different looking CotN. The girls mostly wore dresses, and dancing was not allowed. They looked and acted like Pentecostal versions of the Mennonites almost. Some believed that a person could be entirely sinless in their life. That is what their personal understanding of their doctrine of Entire Sanctification looked like. If you read it now, you can see it is a bit more nuanced, but you can also see how it could lead someone to believe the other way. When you look at Wesley’s writings on the topic, if you have a good theological foundation, you can see where he is heading. The problem lies in the fact that so many people are very simple in their education and ability to reason, that they take his work to mean what it appears to mean at a superficial reading. I’m not saying I agree with his conclusions. I actually think he was poorly repaving a road that had been well paved, and traveled long before him, by men more learned and brilliant.

I see Wesley as more of an evangelist and less of a theologian.  I understand him to be attempting to make room for people who don’t know, or believe, everything rightly all the time to still be saved. All of us are wrong all the time about something whether we know it or not. That doesn’t ruin our justification. I used to think the Trinity was best expressed as the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as all three parts of God. I had no idea that was the heresy of partialism. Once I was taught by more mature Christians from scripture that they are three persons, one God I was able to repent of my heresy. Was I not saved back then? I think I was, but I was a material heretic. I was not a formal heretic. If I’d persisted to death in a heresy, and rejected all correction, then I would have proven to be a false convert and formal heretic.

The person I was having the discussion with was of the old fashion persuasion. They didn’t read Wesley. They just took a superficial approach to their denomination’s doctrines and ran with it. So for them, sin was simply willfully transgressing a known law of God and it excludes mistakes, infirmities, failures, faults, emotions, (feelings) and thoughts. They also argued that a Christian will stop sinning completely, even though I showed them 1 John 1:8 and explained that John was addressing Christians. I was also told that if I sinned and then died immediately after, without repenting, that I would go to Hell. This is another one of their misguided beliefs. They believe that a genuine Christian can apostatize by willfully sinning. What I was dealing with was a Semi-Pelagian, not a Wesleyan. It is interesting because they make a categorical error by contrasting sins with mistakes. I don’t know if it ever occurred to them that a sin is always sinful, but a mistake can be sin or not sin. I mentioned this and got no answer. The same can be said for the other things listed that they say are not sin. We know that having a lustful thought pop into your head is a sin, and that we must take every thought captive so it doesn’t come to fruition in deed. We also know that to God we are guilty of that sin. It sure is a good thing that Christ justified me, and paid for all of my sin. I am exceedingly sinful, and exceedingly thankful for His righteousness that He imputed to me upon justification. I think this eludes the Semi-Pelagian. They are in a works righteousness faith where they must maintain their position of being righteous by works. This particular flavor of Semi-Pelagian makes this task less daunting by watering down sin and man’s responsibility. In so doing they rob God of the glory, as it were. So much the worse for them, as many of them are not truly saved, but still lost. Of course, I would not say that all of them are lost. Some may be material heretics, just waiting to be corrected and brought into repentance. Could you be the one to speak into their lives with the truth?

An Offer You Should Not Refuse.

mafia
Hello, my name is inconsequential. My Boss has sent me to you with a message. You belong to Him. You are His property. He owns you. You are His person, and he is very angry with you. You have broken His laws. For that, He is going to kill, and punish you. It is not a matter of if, but when. It is a certainty. You will not escape it. My Boss will kill you. You will meet Him. You will bow to Him, and be judged for breaking His laws. He will punish you. You will bow to Him in this life, or the next. Because He is good, and loving, while you still breath my Boss makes you this offer, apologize, ask Him to forgive you, search yourself, see the truth, that you are not innocent, but you are guilty. Humbly bow down, and submit yourself to His rule. Serve Him. Believe in the work that His Son did on the cross to pay your debt to Him. If you become His servant, as I have, He will change you into a new creature. You will hate what He hates, and love what He loves. You will still die, but you will not be punished for eternity. Instead you will enter into rest. Because His Son endured the eternal punishment, He offers you grace, and mercy instead of giving you what would be just for Him to do. You will be in His glorious presence, and enjoy Him forever. This offer is only good for a short time. You have moments, days, years, or perhaps He will kill you right now…