Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Genesis 29-31

Jacob served Laban 14 years for his two daughters Leah and Rachel; 7 years each. Then Jacob served Laban another 6 years after that for a total of 20 years. Rachel is the one Jacob loved. Jacob agreed to work 7 years to receive Rachel as his wife, but when the time was completed Laban gave to him his oldest daughter Leah as his wife. This angered Jacob, but he agreed to work another 7 years to receive the one he loved, Rachel as his wife. Why would the Lord allow Laban to treat Jacob this way? After all doesn't the scripture say that the Lord loved Jacob? "Just as it is written, 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." (Rom.9.13). If Laban had given Jacob Rachel first he would have been satisfied and never taken Leah as his wife. Leah's fourth son was Judah through whom the seed that blessed the world would come. Jesus Christ the Lord.

Genesis 29, 30, 31

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I Am a Calvinist

I am a Calvinist, allow me to explain what that does not mean, and also what it does mean. That does not mean that I follow a man named John Calvin. I am a believer and follower of Jesus Christ alone. John Calvin is a Christian theologian who lived and wrote in Geneva, Switzerland during the reformational period of the Christian church of the 16th century. Geneva, Switzerland became the center of the reformation, it was a place that men could live free from the persecution of the Roman Catholic Church. Calvinism is the Christian theology that arose during the reformational period of the Christian church. Later other theologies would arise as well, therefore, to distinguish between them names were attached to these varying theologies. Calvinism was never called such during John Calvin's life time.

Calvinism is the belief that God is sovereign over all created things. Men are created by God, therefore, God is sovereign over the salvation of sinful man. An English Christian preacher, pastor and writer from the 19th century said this about Calvinism. "For the essence of Calvinism is that we are born again; not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (C. H. Spurgeon). He was referring to the conversation that the Lord had with the Pharisee Nicodemus in which "Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3 NKJV) He was also referring to the introduction of the Gospel According to John: "who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13 NKJV).

Calvinism is both loved by many and hated by many others. Now why would anyone hate that God is sovereign over the salvation of men? If God has saved you, giving you faith in His only begotten Son Jesus Christ you should thank Him by giving Him all the glory. There are only two viable answers as to why someone would hate that God is sovereign over the salvation of men. They either don't want to believe that God hates, or they want to have a part in their own salvation.

Can you honestly read the 66 books of the Bible and believe that God does not hate? The God of the Bible ordered the destruction of entire nations and people groups. "Just as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." (Romans 9:13) Two brothers from the same father Isaac and mother Rebekah (Romans 9:10) neither of which deserved the grace of God. Jacob is the father of the Israelites, while Esau the father of the Edomites. The Edomites no longer exist they were destroyed, but the Israelites do exist as the Jews.

The second is the same lie the serpent told the women, "you will be like God". The moment that you sinned you died spiritually, God is Spirit, you are not like God but dead in your trespasses and sins. Dead men do not rise up on their own, they must be raised from the dead, and only God can raise the dead.

"1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Ephesians 2:1-10 NASB)

The Bible talks about sheep and goats, all men are either a sheep or a goat. Currently the sheep and the goats are living among one another in the same pen, which is the world. At the judgment on the last day Jesus will separate the sheep and the goats. "31 But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left." (Mat.25:31-33). The sheep to eternal life: "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Mat. 25:34). The goats to eternal destruction: "Then He will also say to those on His left, ' Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mat. 25:41).

The most vile person that you know could be a sheep, and the best person you know by man's standards could be a goat, and vice versa. Therefore, we are not selective about who we preach the Gospel to, we have no idea who the sheep are or who the goats are, but we do know this: Jesus said, " I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." (John 10:11) "27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand." (John 10:27-28) "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out." (John 6:37)

We preach the Gospel to all with the hope that all who hear will be saved, but we also have the knowledge that God has elected whom He will save. "25 Jesus said to her" I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26). Jesus has promised eternal life to all who believe in Him; "who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." The gospel is about the righteousness of God, repent and believe in the gospel. If God has saved you, giving you faith in His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, then thank Him by giving all the glory for your salvation to God.

Holy Bible, New King James Version. (1982). Thomas Nelson, Inc.
New American Standard Bible. (1995). The Lockman Foundation.

Note: I primarily use the New American Standard Bible in all my reading and writing, but when citing from the first 5 chapters of the Gospel According to John I use the New King James Version, because I have memorized those chapters in that version, therefore they are part of my thinking.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Are Christians Under the Law?

Are Christians under the law? And if not, then what did Christ mean in Matthew 5.17-19? "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

He then goes on to say, "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mat.5.20). The scribes and Pharisees get a bad rap in Christian circles today, the reason Jesus said this was not because they were exceptionally bad men, but because they were by man's standard very good men. It is as though Jesus was saying to you and I; think of the very best person that you know, you've got to be better than him or her. In saying this He explains the purpose of the Law. The Law leaves you hopeless and defeated, compared to the perfect standard of the Law not one of us is righteous. That is the purpose of the Law, to bring the knowledge of sin.

"Now 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; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin." (Rom.3.19-20).

Not only does the Law bring the knowledge of sin, but it actually works to cause the sin in us to increase. "The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom.5.20-21). "For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death." (Rom.7.5).

That is why Paul said, "What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, " You shall not covet."" (Rom.7.7). The Law reveals the corruption that is inside of us.

The Law is like a surgeons blade, on the surface everything looks good, but once the tissue is cut into the corruption inside the body is revealed. Inside the body unseen is Metastatic cancer that cannot be removed by the surgeons blade, and once cut into it actually begins to increase spreading throughout the body killing it.

The Law cannot save, in fact the Law both reveals what we are, and arouses the sinful passions within us. The Law leaves us with nope hope in ourselves at all, and therefore makes the grace of God very good news indeed. " But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Gal.3.23-26).

The Christian has been placed on unconditional footing, through faith in Jesus Christ all his sins are paid in full and the righteous life of Jesus is applied to the Christian. So therefore, when God looks at the Christian He sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ. "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace." (Rom.6.14).

We as Christians are not under Law, but under the grace of God. "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!" (Rom.6.15). The Christian has not only been saved from the penalty of sin, but also the pleasure of sin. He hates his sin, and looks ahead to the day that he is in heaven with the Lord saved from the presence of sin.

New American Standard Bible. (1995). The Lockman Foundation.
Picture from.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Protestant by Convection or Convenience

Are you a protestant by conviction or convenience? If you believe that Roman Catholics are Christian too then it is by convenience rather than conviction that you are a protestant. I dearly love Roman Catholics but hate Catholicism. How can I say that I love Roman Catholics but hate Catholicism? It is because I love Roman Catholics that I hate Catholicism.

Catholicism keeps Roman Catholics from being justified in the sight of God. Catholicism teaches that salvation comes through baptism, through the keeping of commandments (CCC 2068), through confession to a priest followed by penance, and through sacraments all of which must be done in the Catholic church.

The bible in complete contrast to this teaches that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (you can't keep the commandments). That we are justified by God (not a priest) as a gift (not baptism) by His grace (not penance) through faith (not sacraments) in Jesus alone (not the church). (see Romans.3.23-26).

Jesus said to Martha; "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" (Jo.11.25-26). Twice in that statement Jesus uses the word believe. The bible was not originally written in the English language, the New Testament was written in Greek, so often times we can gain more understanding by studying the original language. The English word BELIEVE in that passage is translated in scripture, into English from the Greek word πιστεύω (PISTEUŌ); which means to entrust. This is more than a simple acknowledgement of the truth, it is an implicit trusting. So the question isn't do you believe in Jesus (who He is) while that is an imperative, because you must believe in Jesus before you can believe Jesus. The question is do you believe Jesus (trusting in Him alone for salvation)?

Catholicism teaches much about Jesus that is true. In fact I can't think of anything at the moment about the Lord Himself that Catholicism teaches that is not true. Therefore, Roman Catholics do believe in Jesus (who He is), that He is the Christ the only begotten Son of God, but that is not the problem. The problem is this; while Roman Catholics do believe who Jesus is they don't believe Jesus Himself, because Catholicism teaches one to trust the church and his own works for salvation.

"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" (Jo.11.25-26). If you do not believe this what you must do is repent. The English word REPENT is translated in scripture, into English from the Greek word μετανοέω (METANOEŌ); which means to change one's mind. Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John.3.3). Change your mind and come follow Jesus; He is the Christ the only begotten Son of God, and has promised eternal life to everyone who believes in Him. "The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark.1.15).

New American Standard Bible. (1995). The Lockman Foundation.
For more information on the difference between Protestant Christianity and Catholicism click on this article by Matt Slick: What is the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism?

Nursing and the Law of Christ

The Lord’s teaching recorded in John 13-21 is amazing. It is what the apostle Paul calls "the Law of Christ." (Cf. 1 Cor. 9:2...