Apologetics · Church · God · gospel · heresy · Repentance · sanctification · saved · sharing the gospel · Sovereign choice · Theology · Uncategorized

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?

Repentance · Theology

Two Types of Repentance.

There are two types of repentance.  One that leads to death and one that leads to life.  Which one do you have?

There is one repentance that leads to death. That is the ritualistic, self-righteous act of atoning for your own sin. There is another that leads to life. That is the one of truly realizing that it is God who you have sinned against. Having true shame and sorrow over the sin that you have committed against God. A sorrow that leads you to hate the sins that you do. A sorrow that makes you zealous for God’s will and obedience to Him. One comes from a self-centered heart that is dead in sin. The other comes from a heart that is after God’s own will.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11 NASB [9] I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. [10] For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. [11] For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

Acts 13:22-24 NASB “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.’ [23] “From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, [24] after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

Theology

Through a mind made dim by sin and what is to come.

brain

Sometimes when I am groggy from sleep, drifting in or out I find myself behaving like an unthinking animal.  I don’t know if this is unique to me or if any of you have experienced this kind of lack of consciousness or not.  I don’t have any forethought in this state.  It is just beyond sleep and just ahead of being awake.  Those moments are fleeting.  They leave me with a sense of being less than a human.  I wonder if this is how some of the higher functioning mammals think and feel?  Like the gorilla that could do sign language.  She communicated from a mind with a different type of thinking, understanding, and desires.  I don’t like being subject to a lesser state. It is disconcerting.

Before we are saved, we think only as a person can under the noetic effects of original sin and bondage to that sinful state.  We operate in a state that is less than.  Our unregenerate minds can only conceive of evil and it continually.  We see our fellow men lost in the dark and shine a light for them to see.  We hope they will orientate themselves to and by that light.

Even those of us who have been saved still perceive and process from a state of being less than what we are to be.  The noetic effects of sin corrupt us as well.  We wait for glorification one day.  We wait for a time when our abilities to perceive and process without the effects of sin will be fulfilled.  How would we look back on our previous mortal existence?  How would we as creatures know and perceive our Creator in truth?  What would it be like?  I know that I can’t know everything even after glorification.  I also know that I won’t know things the same fallen way that I know them now.  To know Jesus now is a miracle wrought by God.  I can’t imagine what it will be like to know Him without this sinful flesh and corruption of mind.

Church · Theology

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

lamb

 

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!

 

Church · Theology

Hebrews 6:1-8, eternal security, perseverance of the saints, justification, and sanctification.

     Hebrews 6:1-8 has been incorrectly used to support works righteousness, and legalism for years. This misunderstanding of scripture comes from eisegesis and poor hermeneutics. It, in fact, is an agreement for perseverance of the saints. We will look at just the section of scripture to begin. Then we will give it context within Hebrews and then within the entirety of the new covenant. I think it will be helpful to those who have been struggling with their own justification and soteriology.  Hebrews 6:1-8;
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
     Here is a link to a book introduction from Dr. John Macarthur that will give us the context I was mentioning earlier; Book introduction for Hebrews

     Many have been confused by this section of scripture. It has been used to argue against perseverance of the saints. Perseverance has been misunderstood by some as to mean eternal security. They claim that eternal security is a false teaching, and if wrongly understood, I would agree. We don’t believe that one will be saved, and remain saved, while practicing all sorts of ungodliness in unrepentance. It is as God said through Paul in Romans 6:1-2;
“…1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?…”
John 14:15; “…15“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments…” and James 2:14-17, “…14What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?15If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. …”
     Here is a link from Matt Slick of CARM.org about perseverance of the saints; http://carm.org/can-believer-lose-his-salvation
     Here is a great article from CARM.org also dealing with this issue; http://carm.org/about-can-person-lose-salvation
     And here is another from GotQuestions.org that will also help us to see the context in the new covenant; http://www.gotquestions.org/license-sin.html

     A person, who is truly justified by God, granted faith and repentance, who has been regenerated by God, simply does not choose to fall away, or become apostate. They did not save themselves. God did the saving to them. How many of you pray for person to be saved, when you know they want nothing of God, and claim to hate Him? You don’t seem to care about their alleged free will at that time do you? No, you want God to change their heart. So for all who truly believe, it is an act of the Sovereign God miraculously regenerating them to justification and on through the ordo salutis. If Christ did the work to justify us, then what work could we do to negate the perfection of His? None! In keeping with the spirit of salvation, we are changed, born again, a new creature with new desires, and affections. This new creature, loves the things of God, and hates the sin of his past existence, and bondage to his fallen nature. In this state of God granted repentance, and regeneration the new creature, of his new will and volition, derives his joy from doing that which is of the Father’s will, as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did upon the cross of His crucifixion. For this creature there is no ability in him to apostatize. Only for the religious person, who has not been freed from the old nature can fall away in any real sense, alas they were never really in Christ, so their falling away is even a false apostasy, thus the hyperbole of this scripture. For the one made to be resurrected unto eternal life, there are no sins of his account, to be tallied against him on the day of judgment. They had all been expiated, through the propitiation of Christ Jesus. Thus, for them there would be no grounds to repent, and believe again, or to crucify Christ, who once and for all died once, and was resurrected to never be crucified or die again. The absurdity of this concept should propagate the ideology of perseverance not the antithesis.
We fall into this heresy when we don’t understand justification and sanctification rightly.      When we think we had something to do with our justification we tend to believe we need to keep ourselves saved. This view is held by all works righteousness religions. The practitioner maintains their state of pseudo-grace by doing deeds and sacraments. Well, we all know this is a heresy, so why do we fall for it? Idolatry and pride, that’s why. We still want to earn it. We want to be better than others. Then there is guilt and pride. You are so bad, look at you, of course there isn’t enough grace for you, you must add something. These are powerful adversaries to fight against because they are stealthy. They sneak in to rob you of your security and joy. They take from you the delight you have in the Lord of your salvation. When these appear we need to crop off their ugly heads with repentance and prayerfully remember who it is that did the saving. It is the Almighty God, Lord of Lords, and Eternal Creator, who justifies you! Justification is solely the work of Jesus. He did the work on the cross of atoning for our sins and imputing His righteousness to us. That is how we are justified.
     Sanctification on the other hand involves our efforts in obedience. We try our best out of the provisions of God to affirm His will and be conformed to it. Notice we aren’t doing it out of our own provisions because we have none of any efficacy. Our pitiful temporary repentance and faithless intellectual understanding don’t do a thing for our sanctification. It is also the Lord who sanctifies us to Him through His provisions of all that is necessary. We through the true repentance of sins and the true faith are in concurrence with God and desire His will be done to us and by us.
     So the difference between the two doctrines should be clear. In justification God does the saving and keeping. In Sanctification we do the agreeing and growing. We are like a baby in a crib. We can think about growth and desire it. We can focus all of our efforts towards it, but we will grow according to His will. It is His design for a baby to grow to maturity. The immature believer will grow by design. Of course here is where the synergism comes in, like a child we must be fed good things and given work and exercise. We must be nurtured and disciplined. God being our Good Father sees to it. We are part of our sanctification for sure, but it is not what keeps us saved. I hope this has helped.

Uncategorized

Marital Love

5_16_LoveLikeJesus_330742342

Marital Love

            When two people get married, usually they are in love.  This is true for Christians and the lost.  What happens when one person stops being in love with the other?  However this comes about, let’s assume that it has happened.  In a marriage of lost people, what is there to keep them together?  Once the one spouse realizes the other is no longer in love with them, why should they stay?  Why would anyone want to stay in a marriage where they are not cherished and loved?  There might be some pragmatic reasons like, convenience, money, or children.  Some people will stick it out just for these reasons.  What is the point of all of that if you don’t have the love of your spouse?  You might as well be living on your own, looking for someone to share love with.

Nobody gets married, thinking that one day they won’t be in love anymore.  People get married to share their love and lives together.  So what happens to a Christian couple when one of them stops feeling in love with the other?  The same thing happens to them, that happens to a lost couple.  About half the time they get divorced.  The others stay married out of pragmatic reasons or some sense of duty or obligation.

How should it be with a Christian couple?  What should the spouse do that has found out their spouse isn’t in love with them anymore?  What should the spouse do that doesn’t feel in love anymore?  Should they divorce and look for someone to be in love with?  Should they stick together because of duty, obligation, or their faith?  We know that God hates divorce.  We read about it in Malachi 2:16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”  So the Christian couple should stay together, but that doesn’t fix the problem.

They are not in love anymore.  Either both of them have no feelings for each other, or one of them has lost their feelings for the other.  How do we resolve this?  What does the bible say about love?  We read this about love and God’s love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, “1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

How pointless is life without love?  The love of Jesus for us, the love we should have for each other is explained in the cross of Christ.  In 1 John 4:7-13 we read this, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”  Are we starting to get the picture?

Maybe they are not in love anymore because one or both of them feel like they have been wronged or victimized?  If so, they are holding on to hurt feelings and resentment.  Healing of their marriage can’t happen until they forgive each other.  In Matthew 6:15 we read, “but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Ephesians 4:31-31, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

We know that in a marriage there are two sinners living together.  Sins are bound to happen.  One of them will sin against the other and the other might sin back or sin in the way of harboring a grudge, hurt feelings, or resentment.  If these things are left undealt with they will keep coming up to cause problems.  Both people must repent.  Sometimes one person believes they never did anything wrong.  They think, “It is all the other persons fault, I don’t need to repent.  What could I have possible done wrong?  They are the one who hurt me!”  Most of the time, both people are thinking the same thing.  This is why both need to repent and ask not only God to forgive them, but they have to ask for forgiveness from the other.  When you humble yourself and come to someone asking them for something that they can give or deny it takes the power away from you.  You are at their mercy.  Hopefully you have a truly saved spouse who can see their own sin and grant you their forgiveness because of how much they have been forgiven by Christ.

Even still, while you are living in this torment you can’t give up.  As Christians you aren’t allowed to stop loving your spouse just because they aren’t in love with you anymore.  Oh, you might want to.  You might even feel yourself beginning to resent them as you put yourself on the throne of your life.  You might hear, “You poor, poor person you…  You don’t deserve to be treated like that by them!  How dare they!  Don’t they know how good they’ve got it with you?  You’ll teach them!  You’ll leave, and then what will they do?”  So you like what sin is telling you?

Do you want to be on the pitty pot?  You have failed to remember that you are the worst kind of sinner.  Christ bled and died for your sins.  Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  Jesus pursued us, our salvation, and the Father’s will, all the way to the cross and the grave.  How dare we give up on forgiving, loving, and repenting!

Sinners who don’t think that they have been loved the way they think they should be, you have been loved by Jesus in spite of your many sins against Him.  Your sins are responsible for His suffering on the cross.  You don’t deserve love!  You deserve death and Hell, being so self-centered, to think that you deserve to be treated with love from anyone is ludicrous.  Repent of your selfishness, ask Jesus to forgive you.  Ask your spouse to forgive you for not loving them selflessly, even if your love is not reciprocated.  Love them, while they are yet, not in love with you.  The only love you need is the love of Christ.  Pour yourself out for them the way Christ did for you, and Love them to the grave.  See your sins, and how much they cost Christ.  Look at your spouse, and see them for what they are.  They are a sinner, just like you, in need of The Saviors’ grace.  Demonstrate love and mercy towards them, because you have experienced the love and mercy of God.  Repent of harboring bitterness and forgive them.  Fill your heart with the love of God and then pour it out as a merciful balm of healing on your marriage.  Together, repent and be restored to each other and God.  God can make all things new, including your marriage.  You should know this, because when you were saved, He made you new.

Uncategorized

Jesus Christ saves us by His grace according to His will not by our works or favor earned through deeds.

Titus 3:4-7 NASB But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, (5) He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, (6) whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, (7) so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.Image