Why Did Jesus Speak in Parables?

Here is the setting and context,
Mat 13:1 That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea.
Mat 13:2 And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach.
Mat 13:3 And He spoke many things to them in parables,
He was preaching to the Jews about salvation and what that would look like,
saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow;
Mat 13:4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.
Mat 13:5 “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.
Mat 13:6 “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Mat 13:7 “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.
Mat 13:8 “And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.
Mat 13:9 “He who has ears, let him hear.”
Then His disciple ask the question,
“Why do You speak to them in parables?”
His answer in context to what He was teaching seems pretty clear.
Mat 13:11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.
It appears that He knows that they are not permitted to understand, and that the parables are part of that judgment from God against them. God has granted to them to hear and understand, but He has excluded the others as judgment against them. They don’t have the ability to hear or understand according to God incarnate. If we have Jesus we have the Father. He sovereignly willed that they not come to an understanding of salvation.
Jesus explains further that it is because they didn’t have him from the beginning and that what they have(not him, but self-righteousness) will be taken away.
Mat 13:12 “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.
Mat 13:13 “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
Here Jesus recalls the prophecy He gave through Isaiah,
Mat 13:14 “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
Mat 13:15 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’
As judgment against them they would be blind until the land of Judea was destroyed by the Romans. So God determined to do this to them in His sovereign, just, and righteous will.
This in context to the earlier verses shows us the other side of the coin, that these people are the ones who will be given more.
Matthew 13:16-17 NASB
[16] “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.
[17] “For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Matthew 13:34-35 NASB
[34] All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable.
[35] This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES; I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.”
These truths are from the beginning, before anyone was created.

Our lives will end.

Our lives will end. The time we have, we are spending. It is up to us how we spend it, but once it is gone we cannot get it back. We can spend it being angry, sad, or hurt by our loved ones, or we can love them more than being angry, sad, or hurt. Nonetheless, the time will be gone and we will be remembered. If God is our master, wash the feet, endure the suffering. Jesus left the majesty of Heaven, to seek and save the lost. He washed the feet of sinful men whose sins He would suffer for on the cross. Our sins, on the cross of His suffering. Surely our loved ones have sinned and hurt us. We have sinned and hurt Jesus. What is our suffering compared to His? Forgive the broken sinful people in our lives, and love them more than we love our own anger, sadness, hurt, pain, and being victims. We are more than that, through Christ we are conquerors. He has won the victory in the war. Dear Christians, just keep fighting the battles. When we fall to the enemy’s tactics, remember Jesus. Repent, and get back in the fight against sin. We must give grace and mercy to our loved ones and all people who hurt us or make us feel like victims. Our time will be well spent, loving well.

1 Peter 4 (NASB) 1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Share the Sufferings of Christ
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

 

The Hypocritical Statement of Target.

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How can anyone look at their statement, and not see the extreme hypocrisy behind it?  This seems like a no-brainer to me.  Here is a quote from their site, “…Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It’s something we celebrate. We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day…”  Let’s look a bit more closely at this.  First, they insist that “Inclusivity is a core belief at Target.”  Now remember, inclusivity is their justification for allowing men in the ladies’ room and women in the men’s room.  To most reasonable people inclusivity would imply that Target allows everyone from every walk of life to shop at their stores without prejudicial treatment.  They provide public restrooms for their patrons to relieve themselves.  So to be true to their policy, they should either do away with restrooms, offer only a universal public restroom, or offer separate restrooms for every type of pseudo-gender that any insane person identifies as.  Those are pretty much your options if you insist on identifying as, “inclusive.”

The first solution is not practical.  As part of good customer service people expect to have access to a public restroom.  The second option would be fine, but they would have to have several separate, self-contained unisex bathrooms, that only could be occupied by one person at a time, each.  This is not as burdensome and impractical as the last option.  In that case, every time someone imagined a new gender, Target would have to install and label a new restroom just for their newly sinfully imagined gender.  The sin addled mind is incapable of making righteous use of reason.

Of course, there is the fourth option.  They could just do what they are doing right now.  They are taking the discriminatory, bigoted, hateful, intolerant, exclusive, and hypocritical approach. They force the 99.8% of the public, who identify as either male or female to fall in line with the new morality.  Which by the way, is neither new nor moral.

Here is another quote from their site, “…We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief,Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination…”  They say that they believe in absolutes.  You can see this when they say, “everyone, every team member, every guest, and every community.”  but this isn’t what they really mean.  Sure they say it and it sounds good, but it isn’t the truth.  They are lying to us.  It is impossible to do what they are saying.  When you have communities with world views that make mutually exclusive statements, you can’t equally affirm them all.  Ultimately you will affirm some of them over the others, and that is what Target has done.  they are affirming the anti-Christian, secular, satanic, sinful, destructive, death culture worldview, over its antithesis.  In so doing, they have prejudicially discriminated against all who oppose the worldview they affirm and have acted to exclude them from consideration in regards to their beliefs.  They have upheld the beliefs of the perverse over the moral and called it good while denigrating anyone who criticizes them as evil.

The left has created this insane notion that reality doesn’t matter and there is no absolute truth.  It is obvious that there are only two genders.  The problem is that we should have never engaged them in the conversation or used their terminology.  It should still be considered a crime for a man to go into the ladies’ room.  It should be a crime to do a sex change surgery.  It should definitely be against the Hippocratic oath.

Since we allowed the discussion, we somehow gave some sense of legitimacy to their argument.  As soon as this issue came forward we should have laughed in their faces, refused to discuss it, kept things the way they were, and walked away.

I get it.  Sinful people are hurting.  They need real help.  Not this insanity.  You don’t give a suicidal person a knife.  We have to do what is good for crazy people because they aren’t competent enough to know what is good for them or to want it.  They need to be regenerated by God and saved from their sins.  They need counseling and help not mutilation by surgeon.  Most of all they need Jesus.

God only made two genders for mankind.

God only made two genders for mankind. Male and female is all there is. You don’t go to the hardware store looking through the nuts and bolts to buy a nolt! If you found one it would be good for nothing. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe God when Jesus quoted His words from Genesis while He was being questioned by the Pharisees in the book of Matthew, “And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
[Matthew 19:4-6 NASB]
So if God eternal, and incarnate has explained what He meant, when He revealed what is written in Genesis to us, and it isn’t good enough for you, then it isn’t the rest of us that have the problem. It is you! You are sick! You are not well in the head! You are in deep confusion and sin! You are evil through and through! You need to repent of your sin and ask God to forgive you and heal you from this deep perversion. If you repent and believe upon the finished work of Christ, there is hope for you! You can be saved! For those of you monsters, confusing your very own little children into believing they are not the gender God blessed them with, there is a special place in Hell reserved for the likes of you! Your punishment for harming those little image bearers of God will be exactly as severe as God justly imposes. This should scare you! You are an abuser of children and a blasphemer! Repent! Repent!! REPENT!!! Your death may come upon you at any moment. The next moment you will be in front of the one true and holy God. He will judge you and without the atoning work of Christ to make you just in His sight, you will be sent to Hell for eternal torment and suffering. One moment will be worse than the last. You will feel as if you are being eaten from the inside by worms that never finish their meal. You will feel the immense pain of being burnt up, but never being finished with the burning. You will be in darkness with no solid ground beneath your feat. You know the feeling you get when you miss a step in the dark and begin to fall? That is the anxiety and fear you will feel for ever and ever. You will only hear the suffering others in hell. The gnashing of teeth and wailing will be ringing in your ears. The smoke of their torment will rise up forever. Your only experience will be suffering. You won’t know how long you’ve been there. Has it been a minute, a day, a thousand days, a year, a million years? Eternity is an ageless age. An existence without time, and you will be suffering for all eternity. There will be no fellowship with God. God will be there pouring out His wrath on you. You will justly deserve it. Repent now while there is time! Turn from the judgment to come. Stop approving of sin. Stop calling evil good and good evil. Acknowledge God truth! Believe in the Savior for the forgiveness of your sins!!!

Men, Submit to God. Women, submit to God. He says, submit to your Husbands.

Untitled

So, you are a modern woman, and you have heard, perhaps even said, “I can do what I want!  You don’t own me!  I don’t need a man!”  Well, if you are Christian woman, you should eschew such ignorant, godless, rhetoric.  It is prideful and selfish.  Very unbecoming of a Christian man or woman.  I am so sick of how the world has been portraying husbands and wives.  Let’s not allow the culture to define us.  Let’s be defined by God’s word.

Imagine a man who claims to be Christian, and won’t submit to God’s word.  Instead of doing what God has commanded, he does what he wants.  Is that a man who is at war with his sinful flesh, or is that a man who is giving into his flesh?

Imagine a man who claims that nobody has ownership of him.  We know that is wrong.   God tells us in His word that our bodies do not belong to us.  A husband’s body belongs to his wife.  A wife’s body belongs also to her husband, but God owns them both.  They are His creatures.  The ones who die in rebellion, will burn forever in Hell.  He will pour out His righteous wrath on them for eternity.

Imagine now, an arrogant, prideful, man exclaiming that he doesn’t need a woman.  That man is calling God a liar.  Why, the very first book in God’s word explains why He made Eve.  It was because it was not good for man to be alone.  God made for him a helpmate.  Everyone knows that men need women.  If we are to be fruitful and multiply it is obvious.  So, to subdue the Earth, we must have wives and they must have husbands.

Modern notions of gender are so diabolically satanic.  They defile, degrade, and mock what God has made for our good and His glory.  The enemy loves it every time a feminist howls in rebellion, every time a man becomes a selfish boy.  We need to embrace our roles as God has defined and ordained them to be.  We should reject what culture says.  The cultural hermeneutic says, “The verses in the Bible that tell a woman to submit to her husband, the verses that say a woman should not teach or have authority over a man, the verses that tell men to support their families, to be the spiritual leaders of their homes and Churches, the word of God that tells us how to live as godly men and women should not be applied as God intended because modern culture’s consensus is superior.”  Well, last time I checked, we don’t ask culture to explain God to us, we read His words and hear straight from God Himself in the reading of it.  I don’t have to consult the latest social pundits.  God has spoken, and He has done so with the ultimate authority that entails.

Want to know why your marriage doesn’t work?  Want to know why you are miserable in your Church?  Want to know why your children run your home?  Simple, you have forsaken God’s will as expressed in His word.  Rebels and scoundrels, each and every one of us!  Repent and believe the word of God and live to please the Savior who has bled and suffered for you on the cross of His crucifixion.  Christ submitted to the will of the Father to cleanse for Himself a bride.  That bride is the Church.  It submits to Christ.  Submit yourselves to His headship as Lord and master of your lives.  This means even unto death.  We must love our wives as Christ loved the Church.  Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.  We did not deserve His love or sacrifice.  We were, by nature His enemies, and He died to save us.  Men, love your wives when they don’t deserve it.  Women love your husbands when they don’t deserve it.  Men, submit to Christ.  Women, submit to your husbands, not because he says to, but because the one, true, living God, almighty says to!

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
[Ephesians 5:22-33 KJV]

Husband, head, protector, provider.  Not what T.V. says, not what the movies show.

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…

The Church has Surrendered the Royal Law to the Secular Federal Government.

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An argument against socialism, undeclared socialism, and communism from a Christian perspective.

The Church has been robbed of one of it’s greatest joys, and duties.  Mark 12:31, “ “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ”  Since we have surrendered this joyful grace and duty to secular government, we will not experience some of the fruit of the gospel the way our predecessors did.  

Think about the things that are done by the government, with tax dollars, allegedly on our behalf.  Here is a short list of some semi-socialised and socialised systems in America; public schools, universities, health care/hospitals, social security, disability, medicare/aid, housing subsidies, foster homes, nursing homes, and government jobs.  Before there was a large centralized federal government, the Church performed most of these functions.  If you were born in a hospital chances were that it was built, and paid for by the Church.  Education was a priority of the Church.  Schools and universities were started by Christians to train up men of God, for the service of our Lord.  Children were treated like spiritual beings, in need of the same gospel as their parents.  They were instructed in doctrine and theology.  They were catechised and experienced confirmation, before acceptance in the Church.  The most prominent building in the center of most towns was the Church, with its high steeple holding the cross aloft for all to look upon.  Orphans were taken care of by the Church.  Christians built, funded, and staffed orphanages, and sanitariums, to help those in need.  The hungry and needy came to the Church for help.  The Church taught people to put away money for themselves in their old age, and to leave an inheritance for their posterity.  The elderly were taken care of by their families.  People sought provisions from God, dispensed through His Church.  

The Church was blessed with the duty and ability to love their neighbor as themselves.  The joy they must have known, demonstrating God’s love and grace to His creatures in their state of need.  The fellowship they shared, the sense of community, the sympathy for the suffering, identifying with other humans in their sorrow, feeling and sharing together the human experience of the divine, ministering to the elderly and dying, all of this service flowing from hearts that have been regenerated by Holy Spirit, people in the newness of spiritual rebirth, obedient to God and their new affections, all testifying to the glorious work of His gospel on and in them.

All of this grace and love shown to those in need, brought their gaze tenderly upon Christ and His cross.  The faithfulness of the Church, worked out in their lives, gave them a glimpse of the gospel they had heard, but never known.  Being blessed in such a way, as to have been helped and provided for when in deep distress, grows a fondness towards God and His body.  People were brought into the communion of believers, as the Holy Spirit convicted them, in light of the goodness of God, demonstrated through His people.

Our current state is so much the worse.  We’ve attempted to alleviate the, “burden” of the Church with social programs funded by taxation.  We’ve removed God as our King.  We’ve taken Him from His throne and cast an idol to be placed upon it.  Human government on the throne, accepting our praises, worship, and our supplications.  We abide atrocities, in hopes of a morsel of provision, to be doled out for the loyal subjects, while waiting expectantly for our false gods to take care of our children, widows, orphans, sick, needy, and old.   Everyone one of us, isolated and in our own compartments, safely tucked away from the suffering of our fellow man. “It is not my problem, isn’t there a government program for that?” We cry out when we gaze up from our electronic distractions to see the plight of a poor unfortunate soul in need.  

Our reliance has shifted from the providence of God in His mercies, to the politburo.  The few political elite imagine new laws to solidify their reign, and foist them upon us, as new commandments to be followed without question.  What was once the domain of the Church is now being dictated by our new secular gods.  What is marriage? Who is my brother? What is tolerance? What is a right? Are all questions our world asks the government to answer.  We wait for them to rule from on high and give us answers.  People wait in lines the first of the month for their food, after receiving their unemployment, social security/disability, welfare, food subsidies, and so on, with nobody in particular to thank, just the nebulous government, who doles out just enough to get by and keep them enslaved.  We need to repent, and enter into the realm of politics and public service as we are called vocationally.  We need to be the salt and light in all arenas of public affairs.  We need not be afraid, but rather boldly proclaim the joy of knowing the Lord.  “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 NASB

Power in the Blood, or the Shedding of it?

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Some people think that the blood of Jesus contained within it the saving power of God.  They believe that it cleanses us from sin.  If this is true, how much do you use to cleanse you of a lie?  How much do you use to cleanse you of murder?  How do you apply it?  Do you pour it over your head?  Do you drink it?  Do you inject it?  What do we do in this day and age when we cannot find the physical blood of Christ?  Is it a mystical thing?  These questions should help us to see that it was the shedding of His blood that was the work of atonement expiating sin.  The blood was special because it belonged to the God-man Christ Jesus, but it isn’t some property of the blood that we must consume to cleanse us of our sin.  It is the effect of Christ’s work through the shedding of His blood that is of import.  If we deny the efficacy of His work and the adequacy of His representation, we deny the gospel.  Claiming that the blood, apart from Him is salvific because of its properties as God’s blood, imparts a carnal attribute of mortality to the immutably immortal nature of God.  Only by the hypostasis of the two natures do we have a salvific euaggelion (εὐαγγέλιον) or gospel.  To deny the hypostatic union, is to affirm the heresy of Nestorianism.

Is 1 Peter 1:16 Instructive or Informative? “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”


I have been thinking about sanctification as of late and its implications in regards to assurance and security.  This verse came to  mind and I wanted to see if it was an instruction to strive for personal holiness or if it was informing us that we are holy in Christ.  I always thought it was the first, because of many years in the Nazarene denomination.  It turns out the answer is, “Yes.”

(NASB) 1 Peter 1:1,2 1  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Let’s examine verse 2 a bit more closely.  (NASB) 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

What is according to the foreknowledge of God the Father?  God’s election of the saved people living scattered among the cities listed in verse 1.  What work are we doing to be sanctified according to verse 2?  I’ll wait here while you look…  Back?  It was a trick question.  We aren’t doing the work.  The Holy Spirit sanctifies us.  The Greek word is, “ἁγιασμός”  (hagiasmos) g0038; from 37; properly, purification, i.e. (the state) purity; concretely (by Hebraism) a purifier: — holiness, sanctification.

To what end are we elected by the Father, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit according to this verse?  “…to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood…”  Spending most of my life in the Nazarene Church, I understood that sanctification was something I did.  I might be wrong here.  This might not be their official doctrine.  I’m just saying that this is what I thought.  The emphasis on the monergistic origination of sanctification never came across.  Still to this day, people insist that sanctification is synergistic.  I would only agree with that in a broad practical sense, because at the end of the day God isn’t sanctifying a dog or a cat.  He is sanctifying us, and part of that is our condition during the process.  So we are involved in sanctification, because it is happening to us.  We are actively participating in it, but it is not from us.  We were incapable of sanctification let alone desiring it, before the work of the Holy Spirit.

I know many of you are out there right now screaming, “What about all the verses that instruct you to behave!?!”  Well of course we should do what God wills, and refrain from what He has forbid.  That is a no brainer.  I am not saying we shouldn’t, but the fact that someone wants to and has the ability to, is proof that sanctification is supernaturally originated by God and not from within us.

So you’ve been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, in accord with the Father’s sovereign will in election, granted saving faith and repentance from God, and you have repented of your sins, and placed that faith in the atoning work of Christ on the cross, so that your sins were expiated, and His righteousness was imputed to you.  Now we would say that you have been saved, or justified.

Follow along here on the ordo salutis (order of salvation)  train. (concise version)  🙂  election, regeneration, justification, sanctification, glorification.  So as you can see all of those things find their origination in God and they are worked on/in us by Him.  If we think we are responsible for any of them, we are robbing God of His glory, being self-righteous, legalistic, and relying on our works in our man centered thinking.

This can lead to serious doubt.  It can wreck our assurance and cause us to question our security, because when we sin, we ask, “Why do I keep doing this?  Am I really saved?  If I’m saved how can I fall to this sin over and over? I must be a false convert.  I must be fooling myself.  I’ve taken the 2 Cor 13:5 test and failed!”  “…(NASB) 5  Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you  fail the test?..”  Notice that last part, “Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you  fail the test?”  Have you noticed that Jesus Christ is in you!? It is as if Paul is yelling, “Come on people! Don’t you see what has been done to you, for you, and for the glory of God?  Can’t you see the difference?  unless you truly can’t.”  When a Christian is doubting, and takes a look at his condition, it will be obvious that God has been at work renovating the sin wrecked ramshackle of a mess that they were.  Unless of course you can’t see His work anywhere in your life.

So we can rest in secure in the knowledge that if God has saved us, we are secure in Him.  When we fall because of our lack of strength, He keeps us with His infinite strength.  What He has done to us, nobody and nothing, can undo.

Romans 8:26-39 (NASB) 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 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. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was  raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
WE were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now that we understand what God has done to us in election, regeneration, and justification, we can see that He will sanctify us as well.  Philippians 1:6 (NASB) “6 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.”  Think about a newborn baby in a crib, looking up at his parents.  He doesn’t have to focus his attention on growing.  He doesn’t have to even try to grow.  Sure he grows, and is involved in the process, but his growth doesn’t come from him.  It is God’s plan, and design, that the child grows according to.  Imagine that baby saying to himself, “I need more milk to make me big and strong.  Grow legs! Grow grow grow!!!”  It is ridiculous, but that is the way many of us are as Christians.

We are focused too much on our own efforts and failures.  When we do see growth we might even attribute it to our efforts.  This robs God of His glory, and God will not be robbed.  So in our self-righteousness, we sin against God and don’t even realize it.  Then when we fail, we punish ourselves, as if that whipping we gave to ourselves could add to the perfect, gory, violent, painful, terrifying, work of our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ…  …  Think about that.  Let it soak in…  How dare we?  How dare we!  You should be crying right now.  I know it makes me want to cry, to think of how I would defile the work of Jesus with my self-righteousness.

Just like that baby, we will grow according to God’s plan, in His time, exactly by the trials He has for us, and in precisely the areas He has determined.  Rest assured, if you are saved, you will be sanctified, because God wills it, and what He wills, He accomplishes, unless of course you think you can stop him…

1 Peter 1:12-21 (NASB) 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
13 Therefore,  prepare your minds for action,  keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As  obedient children, do not  be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but  like the Holy One who called you,  be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not  redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (NASB) 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own  vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in  lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

So we will be holy, because God is holy.  He is actively sanctifying us and we are living out that sanctifying work, in Christ, by the power of the Spirit, in the will of the Father.  The answer to the question, “Is 1 Peter 1:16 Instructive or Informative?” is, yes.  Go with God and peace be with you.

 

Dr. R. Albert Mohler’s new book, “We Cannot Be Silent.” is a must read for Christians trying to make sense of all the gender chaos going on around us.

cannotbesilent
If you have been a regular listener of, “The Briefing” you’ll find Dr. Mohler’s newest book to be quite familiar, as he has addressed much of the subject matter on his program.  The book offers a fuller fleshing out of the history, and circumstances, that have lead to our current state, as well as a Christian analysis of it.

The chapter titles in the table of contents paint the picture of what you’ll read in the book;

1 In the Wake of a Revolution

2 It Didn’t Start with Same-Sex Marriage

3 From Vice to Virtue: How Did the Homosexual Movement Happen?

4 The Impossible, Possibility of Same-Sex Marriage

5 The Transgender Revolution

6 The End of Marriage

7 What Does the Bible Really Have to Say About Sex?

8 Religious Liberty and the Right to Be Christian

9 The Compassion of Truth: The Church and the Challenge of the Sexual Revolution

10 The Hard Questions

 

Dr. Mohler takes you step by step, setting the scene with historical information, about how the foundation for this revolution was put in place, so that in the right environment of postmodernism it could explode.  follow along step by step, to see how the plan of the enemy has been unfolding for decades.  Dr. Mohler cites the work of opponents, and proponents to Christian values effectively, and fairly in this book.  He uses their own words in thorough quotations from their published works.  You can trace a line from no-fault divorce, birth control, abortion, and now all of the gender issues.  As we deal with the consequences of these doctrines of death culture, Dr. Mohler educate and offers a Biblical analysis. He explains what these changes in our culture will mean for us as a nation, and for Christians.  

Dr. Mohler also explains what the Church’s response should be in light of our past failures to inform culture.  Bad theology, watered down truths, attractional models, moralism, and pragmatism have all gotten us where we are at today.  Real love, tells the truth.  We have to proclaim the truths of the Bible to the lost.  The things that seem difficult are often what are necessary.  The gospel is the only hope for the people of this nation.  Chapter 10 offers valuable Biblical responses to questions that are already being asked.  If you haven’t given these issues much thought and would like to, or if you are a bit confused and don’t know how we got to where we are today, I would recommend reading this book and referring back to it from time to time.