Apologetics · Book Reviews · Theology

A Review of Todd Friel’s Book, “Jesus Unmasked: The Truth Will Shock You”

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The title of this book is pretty indicative of the subject matter.  The author succeeds at explaining who Jesus was and is.  He teaches that Christ is the focus of the Bible in its entirety.  He demonstrates how Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies, shadows and types.  All of this is done with simple terms when possible.  When it is not possible Mr. Friel explains the nomenclature for the laymen.

I have to make a small disclaimer here.  I am a big fan of, “Wretched Radio.”  It is a radio show and podcast.  Todd Friel is the host/on-air personality.  I have learned a lot, a lot, a lot, from the show over the years.  My review will be from the perspective of a Reformed Baptist and a fan of the show.  So don’t expect much in the way of negativity.  I honestly agree with all of what is said in the book.  I find it to be Biblically sound and interesting to read.  It is a, “must read” for everybody.  If you’ve just been born again or if you’ve been 50 years into the sanctification process this book will edify you.

In the first chapter the author deals with world views, specifically post-modernism.  This was a great place to start as a philosophy class on epistemology would not be beneficial for the target audience.  This is a short chapter that sets the tone for the rest of the book.  You get a look at the serious subject matter and a look at some of Todd’s humor that makes him such an interesting fellow to listen to.  It is obvious that he has a level of mastery of the subject matter without coming off as an aloof overlord.

The following chapters flesh out some basics of Christian theology in simple terms.  Then he gets down to the bulk of the work, which is highlighting Christ from the beginning of the Bible to the end.  Vary rarely in Christian books of around 200 pages do we get such a complete and profound picture of Jesus.  Most of the books I’ve reviewed in the recent past have been theological fluff, Christian cotton candy, hardly worth reading at all.  You know how you feel after eating junk for a month?  Yep! That’s how most “Christian books” leave me feeling after reading them.  They were time killers with not nutritional value.  I probably would have got more out of them if I’d eaten them.  Well, that is not so of this work.  I would rank it up there with, “The Holiness of God” by R. C. Sproul, or maybe, “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan.

The main way that the author highlights Christ throughout the entire Bible is by expounding on the prophecies, shadows, and types, that Jesus fulfills.  This can be a bit tricky.  I’ve seen some pretty bad attempts that only make the Bible look disjunct.  When done correctly, as in this case, the Bible comes alive.  The harmony of scripture sings to the heart and mind of the believer who sees the richness and majesty of the true faith established once and for all by God.  Being able to see the ark Noah built and understand that it is a look forward to Jesus.  Seeing the rock that sprang forth lifesaving water in the desert for the Israelites, and how Jesus is the better fount.  Seeing the Sabbath, from our perspective, looking back to recognize rest in Christ’s work.  These and many more examples fill the pages of this book.  The gospel is fleshed out fully and explicitly.  You won’t find a list of, “do’s” to check off, and you won’t find some silly, formulaic, “pray this prayer.”  You will understand who Jesus is, what you are, what He has done, and how you should respond.  If you have loved ones who aren’t saved, get them this book.  If you have friends or family who are young in their faith, get them this book.  If you have become a crusty old codger, get yourself this book.  It will blow the carbon out of the old exhaust and get you fired up again.

You can buy this book from the wretched store.

You can pick up a copy at Christianbook.com

You can purchase it from the publisher Newleaf

or you can get it on Amazon in different formats including audio.

Apologetics · Theology

The gospel of Jesus

what-is-the-gospel1

The gospel of Jesus. We are a sinners who deserve death and hell. He is God incarnate. He is righteous and holy. He deserves all of the majesty of Heaven and our praise. In His longsuffering He endures our hatred of Him and His law. He condescends to save us from the condemnation of hell. He is raised upon a cross, thereupon crucified. He takes our punishment upon Himself, thus satisfying the justice of God. The wrath of God is assuaged by His atoning work. We hear about what He has done for us and either believe it or not. If not, then the flames of hell are waiting for us, and rightly so, for we are fully culpable for our transgressions. If we believe, then repentance is our faith revealed and testimony to the dying world. We hate our sins and turn to Christ our redeemer, who purchased us with His sacrifice upon the cross. He becomes our Lord and Master. Sin no longer rules us. Our minds are being renewed by the reading of His word. Our hearts are transformed into new living hearts with God honoring desires. He sanctifies us as we grow in faith and knowledge of Him. We are born again. Not to live as slaves to sin and death, but to live as bondservants of Christ and holiness. Love Jesus with all of your heart, for He is the Savior!

Apologetics · Theology

Faith or Works, Why Do People Keep Arguing About This? It Is So Obvious!

A Quick look at Romans 4

 

Abraham-looks-at-stars1

So let’s look at Romans 4:4 out of context first and see what it says, “…Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.…”  Out of context we see that this verse is talking about receiving what one has earned for himself.  This seems pretty obvious.  When we add context we can infer so much more than a vague sense of getting what you deserve.  So let’s add some context now.  Here is Romans Chapter 4;

“  1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 4Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

7“BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,             AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

8“BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”

9Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 10How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.

13For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.

16For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17(as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” 19Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 23Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”

In the first two verses we read,

““  1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.”

This tells us that we cannot be justified by our works and that trying to cite them as justification before God is not.  To back this up Paul quotes scripture in verse 3,

3For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.””

And then in verses 4 and 5,

4Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,”

Now we have Paul explaining that the sinner who does works to attain righteousness can never do enough to remove their guilt and that they have earned for themselves condemnation.  This is in response to the Jews at the time who were attempting to put the gentile believers under their same yoke.  Then he explains that the ungodly sinner who puts his faith in Jesus for the fulfillment of righteousness has that righteousness from Christ.  In the next few verses Paul backs up what he said by quoting scripture again,

6just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

7“BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,             AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

8“BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.””

In verses 9 through 12 we see that the circumcision was the outward working and seal of the righteousness credited to him by faith before he was circumcised.  This is how we can know that saving faith that justifies and imputes righteousness can be for the gentiles as well, because it was done to Abraham before he was circumcised.

9Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 10How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.”

“      13For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.”

In 15 people have used this inappropriately to justify not sharing the gospel, but this is not what this is about at all.  This is about someone who by faith has been justified and is no longer subject to the condemnation the law brings.  That is the point being made and is supported in context by the rest of the scriptures.

Verse 16 says quite a bit so we will look at it by itself for a moment,

“      16For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,”

This verse unpacks the doctrine that elect people of the Jews and gentiles alike are part of the true faith that Abraham had from God Abraham and that through faith in the work of Jesus and by His grace to us all who believe and repent are part of the covenant of the true justifying faith.

In the following verses Paul sums up the doctrine of saving faith verse works righteousness,

17(as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” 19Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 23Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.””

Abraham’s faith that God would make him a father of many nations even at his old age was credited to him as righteousness and then we can see how it is extrapolated out to his descendants who include the Jews and the gentiles.  This is made clear in verses 24 and 25 as those who have faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection to save us from our sins.

Apologetics · Church · Theology

Two Types of Faith.

Alexandre_Bida_Jesus_and_Peter_on_the_water_700There are two types of faith. One type of faith is willingness to believe in something, which isn’t proved, or a hope in something that may be. Then there is a saving faith, which is granted by God to those who He has elected, and predestined.
The first type you might have had in a person. For instance, perhaps they told you that they would do something for you, and you believe that they will. Then you act on that faith in hopes that they will fulfill their promise to you. Some people have that type of faith in God, in a general sense. They believe there is a God, and they hope He is merciful. They might even believe He is merciful. They might even believe they are saved. Have you talked with someone who has many heretical beliefs, bad fruit, and still insists that they are a Christian? I’m sure you probably have. This person doesn’t have the second type of faith.
The second type of faith is the saving kind. It isn’t something we can come to without God. It must be granted to the person by God. You can want to believe, but without God granting it, you could never have it. Have you ever been talking with someone, sharing the gospel with them, and had them say, “Wow! That really sounds like a great gift, I just can’t believe in a God that would_______.” They can understand the gospel intellectually, they might even like it as a philosophy, but they just can’t believe it.
The second type of faith, when God grants it to a person, allows them to believe in Him rightly. It allows them to believe in the work of Jesus on the cross. Without it the cross is just another mythology. The true believer has the faith to do things that doesn’t make sense to the world. We have the faith to put into practice the doctrines of the Bible. God fulfills His promises and makes effectual that which He has willed. The believer will produce fruit in keeping with the spirit of salvation. The believer will persevere until the end. The believer will operate with the presupposition that the Bible is true. The believer will love Jesus. The believer will love others. You get the idea. They don’t do the things they do because they want to believe, they do them because they actually believe. This is a gift from God. It is coupled with true repentance when a person is justified by Christ.

Uncategorized

THE NATURAL MAN AND HIS DIRE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE REBORN SAINT.

The Natural Man and His Dire Struggle Against the Reborn Saint.

 

The Natural Man and His Dire Struggle Against the 
 
Reborn Saint.
 
 
     Before we were made alive by the rebirth wrought by Christ Jesus, we were solely the natural man. We were completely dead with only an ersatz construct of vitality. In carnality we pursued temptations ultimately to sinful ends. If left unaffected by the gospel of Christ our mortal selves would have remained until the carnal demise was consummate. Our unconverted hearts having not new affections but, old repenting not of sin but, reveling in its coils unto perfection of our damnation. Hence securing abidance of God’s holy and eternal wrath.
     In contrast to the condemned children of wrath, we who have been redeemed are reborn alive in Christ Jesus. His grace not in surplus or scarcity, entirely sufficient for our salvation ascribed to the end of our salvation. We to, have been crucified and resurrected in Him. The veil that dimmed our visage to the point of utter blindness, once and for all times being removed, our countenance that much more improved by Him, are awestruck by His glory. Being thus affected by His labors our flesh now is as a drowning man, who strives against the mire. Dreadfully gasping, and clawing at the world above in vain hopes that he might a respite find.
     We must take heed, and be cautioned not to afford him any quarter. He must be mortified so that his lusts for the debased, hedonistic pleasures of the flesh not assert ascendancy over us. If for only a moment our bulwarks are breached he that is drowning would drag us down to the depths of Hades. When he begs for our sympathies we must not be vitiated. Our resolve must not falter. Our outstretched foot must push him down into the depths where his calls will be muffled. His cries we can not attend, for we are called to be holy as our master is holy. No longer a subject to this abased imposter but, now enslaved by our majestic, sovereign LORD God. Justified to Him by the obeisance of His only begotten to His will and Word, we now and for always are free of condemnation.
Theology

Theology

Doing-theology1Theology

Theology is a Greek word that means, “The study of God.”  The first part of the word is, “Theo” from, “Theos” (Θεός) which is Greek for god.  The second part of the word is, “logy” from the Greek word, “logia” (λογία) which means, “The study of.”  So to the Christian the word, “theology” specifically is the study of God.  This is different for the lost person.  They look at theology as a study of some deity that may or may not exist.  In the secular world there are colleges and universities that have classes teaching this, dare I say, “Study of god.”  Their sources are like ours, as far as many of the texts go, but they don’t know the true God, and as such study Him with incorrect presuppositions.  It is imperative that Christians start with proper presuppositions.

First and foremost, is that God is the originator of all things, known and unknown to us.  This includes what can be learned.  All knowledge comes from the LORD.  Our ability to reason, use logic, remember, recall, convey, communicate and feel all comes from God.  We would not be able to know anything if He did not will it to be.  This seems basic, but there are books of theology that never assert this truth.  Think about this for a moment.  What does a tree know of God?  What does a child know of God?  What does a lost person know of God?  What do you know of God?  Read through those questions again and ponder the implications of each one of them, replace the, “what” with, “how.”  God is a communicative Creator.  We know this by His inclusion of the attributes essential to communication being integral to our faith and existence.  Without those attributes we could not know God the way He intended.  He planned to give us the progressive revelation of His word, in the form of the Bible.  He planned for us to be able to write, read, and relay the knowledge of Him and His good message.  We can know Christ the eternal God through what is written therein.   So it is supremely important that we ascribe God the Creator, primacy in originating all things, including theology.

We must not ascribe attributes to God that He Himself does not affirm in His word.  This would be a very dangerous endeavor.  We would be making a god for ourselves, which is not the same as the true God who reigns supreme over all creation.  Idolatry is, and has been, an insidious and cancerous evil.  It substitutes a counterfeit god who cannot save us.  The attributes or perfections of God that are taught in His word reveal to us the things that can be known by us of Him.  Let us study theology then, in true faith and repentance, humbly approaching the feet of God, giver of all things.