Modern American culture places a dubiously high value on individual personal happiness.

Modern American culture places a dubiously high value on individual personal happiness. This is purposefully, and directly opposed to the will of God. It is an elevation of man’s position and authority over God’s. The sinner should first and foremost seek to do the will of God and find His happiness in the peace that comes through being in God’s will. We are commanded to do what is right. Right, is not some secular consensus. It is what God has deemed right and good in His sovereign will as Creator and Sustainer of all things. To do God’s will is where we will find peace, happiness, joy, contentment, and fulfillment. We won’t find those things in any lasting or meaningful way seeking our own understanding of what happiness is. So you go ahead and try to find your happiness in the world, among things, and fleshly pleasures, and when you are empty, broken, and full of misery, remember… you did what made you happy…

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

A Quick look at Romans 4

 

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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.

Freewill?

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Why don’t we have a problem when God chooses people in some scriptures, but when it comes to salvation we say, “God is a gentleman and would never force us to choose Him against our freewill!”

For instance in Acts 40 we don’t have a problem with God choosing who would see Him after the resurrection.  “39“We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 40“God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.”  (Acts 10:39-41)

But, in Ephesians 1:3-5 when Paul tells us how God chose who would be saved by Jesus before He made the world everybody gets all offended about having their precious sinful, I mean ahem, “freewill” getting violated.  Excuse me, but I’d much rather have a divine intervention and go to Heaven than have a, “freewill” any day.  That is because I understand that before regeneration and justification my will is a sinful will, a curse from the fall, a will that is enslaved to do nothing but evil continuously.  After all aren’t we supposed to pray that the will of the Father be done?  Aren’t we supposed to become more like Jesus and less like ourselves?  Aren’t we supposed to die to ourselves daily and take up the cross of Christ?  It sure seems like our wills should be replaced with God’s will.

I think the problem lies in the sin of pride.  People think to highly of themselves and their abilities to please God, they don’t see how sinful their sin is, and they definitely don’t contrast it with the holiness and righteousness of God.  They need to see God as completely transcendent, totally other, instead they have to elevate man and lower God to protect their notion of freedom.  We should magnify God and humble ourselves.

I’m not saying that we are not responsible for our sin either.  People try to say that it is a mutually exclusive statement.  They say if you don’t have our brand of freewill then God can’t hold you responsible for your sin.  It seems to make sense.  Of course you would have to lower God and elevate man.  We are still morally culpable for sin because we are born sinners and choose it continuously because of our state of being dead in our sins and being slaves to our sin natures.  When God saves someone of His grace and mercy it is exactly that way.  He saves them by His grace (unmerited favor).  They did nothing to deserve salvation.  Matter of fact, everything they have done has come from a corrupted heart.  If God planned it this way then we as creatures have no right to judge Him or His plan.  He owns us and has all rights to us.  He would be just in destroying all of us whenever He wants to.  The fact that He saves any of us is wonderful news.

We make choices that are consistent with our natures.  God is consistent with His attributes.  God cannot be unjust, or evil, or untrue.  In the same way a sinner cannot be desirous of God while yet a slave to their sinful nature.  (Romans 5:8) “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  In their sinful nature they make all kinds of choices that are consistent with that nature.  These choices are allowed by God in His sovereign will to be used by Him for good in accordance with His will.   I would remind you that the problem is pride and how we see God, ourselves, and sin.  He ultimately has ownership rights over all of us as Creator and can do with us as He sees fit.

19You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. (Romans 9:19-24)

If you could see all of your sin it would be unbearable.

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If you could see all of your sin it would be unbearable. As Christians we see a sin that we committed and lament over it. Sometimes we spend way too much time beating ourselves up over it. Believe it or not, this comes from idolatry. We punish ourselves for sin as self-righteous idolaters. How dare we rob Jesus of the glory He is rightfully due? He paid for our sin debt on the cross of His crucifixion. He had the wrath of the Father poured out on Him unto completion, yet we dare to bemoan our lowly estate as victims! For those who are in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation of sin! Get up off your pity-pot and stand for Christ! See what He has done for you, not what you must do for yourself!

When we punish ourselves for failing it moves us away from Christ. Our shame and guilt stop us, or delay us from repenting. We languor in our own guilt and shame, powerless to do anything for God. We have put ourselves on the cross and on the throne of our lives. “I messed up so I must pay the price.” How ridiculous are we? How could we ever hope to pay the price for our own sin? It is this kind of narrow, short sighted view of sin that keeps us in bondage to the guilt and shame that separate us from our assurance.

What we need, is to see our sins as manifold as they are. We need to see them as God sees them. He is infinite in His authority. He is perfect in His righteousness. We can not fathom these things. Our finite minds see our occasional sin in part, never the way God sees them. He sees every… single… last… one… in… perfect… entirety… Think about this for a moment. Sinners! Don’t waste time whipping yourselves! By His stripes are we healed! It was Him upon the cross not you! Now that you see things in the proper light, don’t delay, REPENT! Go and serve your King with joy in your heart, knowing the Good God forgave you the bad sinner. All glory to God in the highest!

 

The Noetic Effects of Sin, and How it Affects Our Reasoning.

      I know it sounds complex, but trust me it isn’t… or perhaps it is? The word, “noetics” means; the science of the intellect or of pure thought; reasoning. So what we are talking about here today is how our ability to reason has been corrupted by sin. See, I told you it wasn’t that complex, but wait, there’s more! When we start getting into the concept I think we will all be amazed at how affecting this problem is.

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      Adam and Eve were made with good minds. They functioned free of sin. Well, then came the fall. They sinned, and God punished them, and their progeny. (us) Part of what happened is that we gained the knowledge of good and evil. We also gained the corruption of our ability to reason. We became spiritually dead and enslaved to sin. God says in His word;

9What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;

10as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;

11THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;

12ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVEBECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”

13“THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,” “THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”;

14“WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING ANDBITTERNESS”;

15“THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD,

16DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS,

17AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.”

18“THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”

19Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;20because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

      So God says there are none who understand or seek God. Think about this, if our reasoning wasn’t corrupted we would objectively reason through problems without pride or anger affecting those conclusions. Have you ever been so angry you couldn’t think clearly and made a bad decision you regretted later? Well that wouldn’t happen if we weren’t sinners. Imagine a mind operating free from sinful influence. Do you know who has a mind like that? I’ll give you a hint, the answer is what every kid in Sunday School says when they don’t know the answer… If you said, “Jesus” you are correct. So if you are not God, then you have the problem of sin affecting the way you perceive, process, understand, and apply everything that comes into your head. That’s right kids; we are all under the curse of original sin.

      Here is another example, have you ever been so enamored with a person that they could do no wrong according to you? Most of us could say yes to that. The problem is that they are just as much a sinner as everyone else. They aren’t the person you perceived them to be. The mind was not able to properly understand and judge the information available because of sins affect on reason.

      Our perceptions are affected by sin. We see what we want to see. We don’t see what is actual. Our reasoning of what we see is affected to. We run everything through a filter that is changing what goes in so that what comes out is not actual. When we are processing the unreal perceptions through a conduit that affects those perceptions we come up with flawed conclusions. These flawed conclusions are then applied to our situations with varying results, none of which are founded on actuality.

      We are so deeply corrupted by sin that we would never be able to repent and have faith in the God of the Bible without His direct intervention in our lives. So think about how you think and if you think the way you thought you thought or if you think the way sin makes you think if you think of sin as a thing that can affect the thinking of thoughts you think. smiley

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.