OFFENDED!!!!!! TULIP, THE PEACE STEALER

 

While in conversation with a friend who is a Calvinist about Limited Atonement he said he had a verse which would end all teaching of Jesus dying for all of humanity. I asked him to give me the verse which would end that teaching:

 

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, 
“Worthy are you to take the scroll 
and to open its seals, 
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God 
FROM every tribe and language and people and nation, 
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, 
and they shall reign on the earth.”
 ESV

 

I capitalized the word from to indicate what he emphasized when reading that verse. When a person emphasizes a word in a passage it pays to watch out. What we see here is a scene from heaven after the resurrection of the dead. This is where the church catholic is gathered from all time and all nations. Yes indeed those were ransomed from every tribe, language, people and nations. What is clearly does not say is that those who are in attendance were the only ones died for. Those who refuse to trust in Jesus’ perfect life, death, burial and resurrection do not receive these gifts. That in no way indicates that those gifts are not theirs or that God in did not want them to have eternal life.

 

This is a sadness. Due to his or her own stubborn refusal to believe in Jesus that instead of eternal life the unbelievers are entering into eternal death. Many believers that I have talked to have loved ones and friends who are great folks but have a steadfast refusal to trust in Jesus. What these dear ones are trusting is in his or her own goodness. That if there is a god in their thoughts it is a false god who will weigh the good against the bad and all will be swell. Still others have children who were raised in the faith but have rejected it for various reasons. This can cause hours of tears in concern and prayer for these children’s eternal salvation.

 

One thing the L does for some of my reformed is to give them an out. A fiction which they can tell themselves so that the sadness can be kept at bay. Others eventually will commence blaming God for the lost condition of their family or friends. “Why did you let my son and daughter be born? Didn’t you have enough kindling for hell?” This is an example how the L of TULIP can steal peace. How can a man or woman with a child who rebels against Christ as many young people do not ask similar questions at least in the heart?

 

Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” ESV

 

God does not explain in his holy word, apart from unbelief, why that even though Jesus died for all sinners why some are saved and others lost. Father is merciful to his children so we can go ahead and pray and cry for our lost family and friends. Jesus did not die in order to send people to hell perhaps he will grant them true repentance and faith in Jesus. Let us believe this good news and live in the peace that it offers instead of telling ourselves the fiction of Limited Atonement. Sorry my friend no sale. Okay, not sorry. Instead very grateful that we can know, objectively, we are atoned for in the death of Jesus.

 

In the name of Jesus. Amen. †

 

 

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OFFENDED!!!!!! TULIP, THE PEACE STEALER.

One may ask me, How can you say the Doctrines of Grace, known as TULIP, steal the peace given by God?  What follows is a look at one of the letters in TULIP and how it steals God’s peace.

 

Let us start with the real tricky one. The P stands for perseverance of the Christian.  This teaching says that once one is saved he or she will never lose this salvation.  Wow!  Cool!

 

However, what is said about those who confess Jesus as Saviour for years only to become offended and denounce the faith?  The answer is usually that he or she did not really believe unto salvation.  The proof text used to support this idea is the following:

 

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

(1 John 2:19 ESV)

 

Okay, brother John, that is plain enough.  They were not really Christians, so there! But wait a minute.  How do I know I am really a Christian?  How does this apply to me?  Perhaps somewhere down the road I too will denounce the faith. How can I know that I am really saved?

 

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.

(1 John 2:18 ESV)

 

In the near context of this passage, we can see it is a specific group to which St John refers. These are not people who wanted Jesus until the heat was turned up; nor were they offended at poor treatment by other believers.  These were false to begin with, each one knew they were false, and these people were there for the purpose of turning people away from Jesus.  Later we see those were denying that Jesus was the Christ and not at all seeking to worship him and serve their neighbour. They had come to steal, kill and destroy others.

 

Instead of trusting in the P it would be much better to trust the strong promises of God. Through baptism, preaching of the word and the Body and Blood of our Lord we are saved and preserved. This preservation comes from outside ourselves and is based upon clear teaching of the scripture not man’s logic.

 

Trust this good news and live in its peace. Amen. †

OFFENDED!!!! DOUBLE PREDESTINATION. 2

For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!”
(Luke 22:22 ESV)

The above verse records Jesus telling of how his crucifixion was determined ahead of time. This also tells of his betrayal by Judas Iscariot. The statement of woe to the man that betrays Jesus is seen as a decree that Judas goes to hell.

It was prophesied that Messiah would be betrayed by a close associate. What was the reason the woe was pronounced on Judas? After all during his trial all of his disciples forsook Jesus. Peter betrayed Jesus by lying for fear for his own life. However, these men were forgiven;

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

(John 20:19-23 ESV)

We see after the Resurrection of Jesus the disciples are still fearful of his enemies. Jesus comes and tells them peace be with you. This greeting shows these men have peace with he whom they all betrayed by action of leaving Jesus alone at his trial. The difference for these men is that Judas did not truly repent and trust in Christ for forgiveness. It is not the activity of sin that condemns but rather unbelief.

 

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
(John 3:18 ESV)

Double predestination would have it that Judas was not condemned due to his rejection of Jesus but rather that God did not want him saved. Does the scripture really teach that God has chosen some to eternally die and he will not save them?  The clear teaching that God wants all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. This makes no sense how that a Sovereign God can have the desire that all be saved. However, do we want to disbelieve a truth in scripture because it makes no sense?

This will offend the insecure believer who, due to their sin, is in terror that salvation is even theirs. Rather teach the believer to look to Jesus only for assurance of salvation instead of whether one is predestined to believe or not. Trust in his death burial and resurrection is what receives the righteousness of God.

Believe this good news and live in its peace. In the name of Jesus. Amen. †

OFFENDED!!!!! DOUBLE PREDESTINATION.

The sovereignty of God is a great truth.  Some Christians seek to defend this truth at all costs.  The purpose of this post and subsequent posts is not to call into question the sovereignty of God; rather the purpose is to examine the proof texts used to show double predestination.  Do these scripture passages lead one to conclude double predestination?

The LORD has made everything for its purpose,

even the wicked for the day of trouble.

(Proverbs 16:4 ESV) 

This indeed looks at the outward appearance that God has made the wicked for the purpose of condemnation.  However, has he made the wicked to be wicked, or is it that he uses what the wicked desire to do?  Is this verse saying that he will not have mercy and grace toward these individuals?  As usual, placing the verse in the near context will give the answer.

The plans of the heart belong to man,

but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,

but the LORD weighs the spirit.

Commit your work to the LORD,

and your plans will be established.

The LORD has made everything for its purpose,

even the wicked for the day of trouble.

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD;

be assured, he will not go unpunished.

By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,

and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.

Proverbs 16:1-6 ESV 

We have a great example in scripture about a wicked man on whom God had mercy. Saul of Tarsus thought he was doing God a solid by persecuting the believers in Jesus.  Jesus showed up to Saul and granted him true repentance and forgiveness of his sin. Saul was retooled for the purpose of being the Apostle to the Gentiles.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29 ESV

Biblical references to predestination show it refers only to those in Jesus.  It is an offense to scripture to teach God predestined the unbeliever to hell.  This has offended Christians when the law has brought to mind his or her sins of the heart.  This teaching will call into question which group a believer belongs to. Does the believer belong to the predestined-to-hell-group based on a sin that is brought to mind, or does the believer belong to predestined-to-salvation group?  Rather those believers in Jesus should be pointed, once again, to the cross and resurrection.  It is there one finds peace for the troubled conscience and it is there we turn to in troubled times.

Trust this good news and live in its peace. In the name of Jesus. Amen. †

OFFENDED!!!!!!! ROMANS 9

Yes, the scripture is offensive to our sinful nature. This is most certainly true when used rightly.  The proper use will always show man’s condition before a Holy God. The important thing is to make sure to allow the scripture to do what God has designed it to do, which is to show Christ for sinners. That offense is of God not our use or misuse of God’s words.

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. Romans 9:1-5 ESV

These verses from Romans 9 tells us who this passage is speaking to.  We see God is not explaining how he deals with all of humanity. Instead this is how he has dealt with the seed of Israel. We see in scripture the nation Israel was dealt with more severely by our Lord than other nations. Why would this be? For it was through Israel that the Christ would come.

Like all of humanity Israel rebelled constantly against God. In order to return her to true repentance many judgments were laid on her by God using various means to bring it about. These means varied from Esau, the brother of Jacob, to Pharaoh and natural calamity. So broad and deep is the rebellion of mankind against our Lord that even those to whom the promise was given needed to be brought back to faith.

Therefore instead of the natural choice of the eldest son, Isaac, inheriting the promise, it was the younger son, Jacob, to whom the promise was given.  In order to have a grand exodus for the children of Israel, Pharaoh was raised up. Instead of a mean and vengeful God, we have a loving Father seeking to bring his chosen to repentance in order to bring forth the Lamb for the salvation of the world.

This is the golden thread throughout all of scripture. The discussion comes back to that of Jesus, who took the sins of the entire human race and bore them to the cross, resurrecting on the third day after burial for the Justification of those same sinners. God will stop at nothing in order to bring proud humanity to the realization of the need for a Savior.

Trust this good news and live in the peace it gives. In the name of Jesus. Amen †

OFFENDED!!!!!! LOOKING FOR GOD BEHIND JESUS.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
(Colossians 1:19-20 ESV)

On earth we have always been plagued with many differing religions. All promising the finding of God. One feature to all them is the attempt to explain God and what he is doing. This is not unusual and will continue until Jesus returns to put an end to all this foolishness. How tragic it will be to have people looking for God in all the wrong places and refusing Jesus’ call to repent and trust his finished work.

What is offensive and causes some to become so offended they leave the faith is parts of the Christian Church doing the same thing. This is a refusal to try to comprehend the events in life outside of suffering and the cross. These theologians will peer all over the place at logic, worldly and demonic wisdom and pagan philosophy. This is done in pride trying to wrap minds around the mystery of catastrophe, illness and other such events.

Looking at the account of Job we see horrible things happen to this man who feared God and rejected evil. The answer he gets from the Almighty was to show him he could not hope to understand the answer. This demonstrates the truth found in Isaiah 55:8,9 where Father proclaims his thoughts and ways are higher than our thoughts and ways. The answer down through the centuries has been for God’s people trust in him regardless of circumstances and our ability to comprehend the reason.

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 (Matthew 11:25-30 ESV)

A sweet invitation to those who believe in Jesus. The so called wise and learned theologians spend years speculating and cannot see this invitation. Take a long and loving look at our Crucified and Risen Lord and we will see the Father revealed to us through faith. I encourage my fellow believers in Jesus to leave off the searching for God, in all the wrong places, to the false religions of which there are many. Demonstrating to them how Our Lamb of God is the only God revealed to us.

Let us believe this good news and live in its peace. In the name of Jesus. Amen. †

OFFENDED!!!!! Sinless Perfection.

Another of the most pernicious errors taught in the church is that of sinless perfection. This is most offensive due to the fact that we are beset by indwelling sin. This will rob a believer, especially a longtime believer, of much peace. Having been a Christian for quite a while many of the old actual sins have vanished. Actual sins are those that take a special effort to commit. During this maturing process one can see actual improvement in behaviour which is quite amazing and assuring to the person.

You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
(1 John 3:5-6 ESV)

The above section is abused in order to show that one who is in Jesus does not sin. This is very disconcerting to the believer who is reading the law and taking it serious. The law always accuses and Satan, the flesh, false and erring brethren will constantly toss this in the face to terrify the believer. After a time of seeing the hopelessness of fulfilling the perceive requirement of a sinless life the person could lose faith.

But is this a faithful representation of St John? As always context is queen, When backing up a sentence, one small set of words and the picture is quite different.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
(1 John 3:4 ESV)

So there we have it don’t we? Close context shows not a person falling into sin and having a heart broken due to the sin but rather the one who makes a practice of the sin. I am sure everyone has heard from some people how he or she will brag on his or her sin. They seem to be looking to become better and better sinners and have no concern about it. Some of these people perhaps confess Christ as Saviour and say that they are forgiven so no big deal. This adds salt to the injury of the terrified conscience who will despair of his or her standing in the Lord.

The good news is that Jesus came to take upon himself the sin and death we all have by reason of our fallen condition. By the holy innocent suffering and death of Jesus on the cross all the debt for the entire human race is paid for. How tragic that a person will reject this gift in favour of a short time fulfilling the desires of the flesh.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

(1 John 1:8-9 ESV)

Let us believe this good news and live in the peace it gives. In the name of Jesus. Amen. †

OFFENDED!!!!!! SOFT ON SANCTIFICATION.

The other day I was listening in on some teaching a pastor was giving on what it means to be saved. He spoke of Christ crucified and resurrection for the forgiveness of sin. He also mentioned how that everyone in Jesus has the hope and promise of resurrection to life everlasting. I was rejoicing in my heart to hear a minister proclaim the good news in such a clear and simple manner.

The sadness hit in the next sentences. We can receive this after we clean ourselves up. His analogy was a clean person going into a filthy house. We would not want to do that and so Jesus will not go into a heart that is dirty. Indeed Jesus wants his believing ones to live in peace and righteousness, No where in scripture does it teach we are to first clean our lives before we are forgiven. Quite the opposite.

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45 ESV)

Thus Jesus spoke in response to the self righteous when they condemned him for what was thought to be sinning against the Sabbath. This shows the condition of a person who is trying to clean himself up but have no faith in Jesus. This is so sad and unnecessary for a person to experience in this life but many do who will try to clean themselves to be acceptable to God.

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:8-10 ESV)

We are fully sanctified through the perfect life, innocent suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus for the sins of the human race. This is a gift which is received by trusting in this finished work of Jesus.  It never was about cleaning oneself in order to be acceptable to God. Never was it about sacrifice either of produce, meat or time. How do we know we have this promised redemption? By how we perceive ourselves as holy?

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22 ESV)

This washing, in other scripture, shows we are not cleansing ourselves ritually. We are not showing our faith to others. Those both make baptism our work and takes baptism away from our Lord. When Jesus instituted baptism he promised that through it we have the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit placed on us. We can trust that promise and draw near to God in full assurance having a clean heart created by God and it is our gift through faith.

Let us trust this good news and live in its peace. †

OFFENDED!!!!! Using the law to tear Christ out of the heart

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:1-4 ESV)

This passage is directly about the Jews in the day of the Apostle Paul. In the larger context of Scripture we will see warnings from Blessed St Paul. These warnings were in order to have those who believe in Jesus not to trust in self righteousness. Galatians 3:11. In this passage we see that one is justified by faith. This justification is the righteousness of Jesus himself. This glorious gift is ours by faith for the just shall live by faith.

What, if anything, does this teach us who may not know any Jews who are trying to subject us to the law? Unfortunately in the church today it is overrun by those who, with good intentions, tear Christ out of the heart. One way this is done is to tell believers the only way to know if saved if one’s life is improving each and everyday. This may work for a while since the person may have some bad habits to give up. What about after all the actual sins such as drunkenness are forsaken? What improvement is one to see then? What about the other holy living spoken of by St Paul? He also lists sins of the heart like coveting as idolatry. One can end up coveting without notice. Can one look at their life to really tell that one is a child of our heavenly Father?

This offends the believers by taking assurance of salvation from the heart. Rather than teach a person to trust the sure promises given us in scripture they are led astray.

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  (Romans 10:8-10 ESV)

Isn’t that a glorious promise to those troubled by sin. Better to give that to the terrified heart rather than to point it to itself for assurance. God’s promises are sure and everlasting our good behaviour and thoughts are not.

Trust this good news and live in the peace it gives you. In the name of Jesus Amen. †

OFFENDED!!!!! Misuse of the law of God

 

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

On the the one side offense of this command is and extreme use of it. This use is that of accusing anyone who has a cross with a representation of Jesus on it. One can have said crucifix and have it as a reminder and a teaching of what Jesus did for the sins of the world. This remembering is not necessarily a worship of the image or the cross. This offends believers in Jesus for if he or she does not have a physical crucifix one exists in the mind. This takes the law of God and in the stead makes it a command of men.

On the other side of the offense we have the lack of teaching of what would be included in the prohibition of the image and service of the false god. One will never hear of how sinful the love of money can be. This love and service of money can take many forms and all are sinful. One of these is cheating on taxes which is theft. Theft is serving the false god of money for it is not trusting God to supply all our needs as promised by our Lord Jesus.

The final offense against this section of scripture is teaching that obeying it will sure up your salvation. This misuse will both offend the sinner in making one trust in working for his salvation. It may also offend the person in not giving the comfort of the Gospel and leave the person in terror of his or her lack of ability to obey.

The true teaching is that Jesus fully obeyed this command for us and we receive his righteousness by faith. The use, therefore, of the law in the Christian Church is the accusation of the sinner. This is in order to grant true repentance and trust in the finished work of Jesus. In his death burial and resurrection he provides the full payment for sin and righteousness we receive by faith.

Let us trust all this good news and live in the peace it gives. In the name of Jesus. Amen. †