Bible

Three Phases of Salvation

 

Been Saved, Being Saved & Will Be Saved

 

Without a lucid understanding of God’s entire and perfect plan for the redemption of mankind, certain scriptures could possibly be confusing. There are three phases to salvation; hence, the bible uses three tenses in delineating the doctrine of salvation. For me personally, it took many years to understand this—I was saved at 12 years old.

 

Briefly, let’s lay the following stone of truth that we may clear a path to our main topic.

We are saved by a free gift from God called Grace. Grace is bestowed upon those who believe and place their trusting faith in Christ Jesus— the truth. And forever after that, God’s grace continues working for the soul who is saved. Grace is not a once and done kind of thing. When the Lord regenerates us (2 Cor. 5:17) we’ve been born again, and a magnificent transformation has begun. All that we shall be discussing here is included in the works of God’s amazing Grace. In fact, all of God’s dealings with every soul He has regenerated (saved) is included in the works of His grace, even His discipline. All the various giftings for service and for glorifying Him, and for the propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are gifts of grace and works of grace: God’s work, not ours. His grace even fulfills every one of our needs and provides love, peace, joy, bodily provisions and inner strength, etc., etc.. When it comes time for our bodies to turn back to dust, the Lord even gifts us with grace to die with inner peace and assurance, looking forward to where we’re going.

 

SALVATION

 

The study of salvation, known among theologians as soteriology, includes all three tenses of past, present and future. The bible uses all three in referring to those of us who’ve been redeemed and are heaven bound. Some verses indicate that we who are in Christ have been saved. Other passages say we are being saved, while still others say we will be saved. The truth in Christ reveals all three to be correct at the same time. The past tense is true because God is doing this work of saving us, and that which from our perspective is yet to be done, is so certain that we can speak of it as already having taken place. If we have truly believed, then we have been saved, and the next two phases or stages both: are happening, and will happen, just as sure as water is wet. God is not bound by time—He is the creator of it and is outside of time, so He sees the completed products of His grace. He sees you and I as we will be in heaven. Time is for us, though it serves God’s purpose. He does not need the differing tenses, but we do, because we are bound within time, until it, at a final point, shall cease to exist. From our current perspective we could say that eternity is one exceedingly long and never ending day.

 

In view of demonstrating the varying tenses scripture employs I’ve cited three verses—each refers to salvation and each uses a different tense.

 

First, we have Past Tense.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” Ephesians 2:8–9.

 

Next, we move to present tense.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

 

Finally, here’s an example verse containing both the past and the future tense of salvation.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! Romans 5:9

 

This last verse is the perfect launching pad from which to discuss all three tenses. Because the doctrine of salvation, known in theological language as Soteriology (repetition deliberate) makes it exceptionally clear that there are 3 Phases to Salvation.

Those who have been born again of the Spirit, and who belong to Christ Jesus, AKA the redeemed or believers are right now in the middle, or current phase of salvation.

The gospel of Christ discloses:

  1. What has already taken place in the past for those who believe.
  2. What is currently taking place within those who believe.
  3. What will happen to those who believe when Jesus returns.

 

At this point we should identify the biblical terms for each of these 3 stages of salvation. They are as follows:

  1. Justification
  2. Sanctification
  3. Glorification

pho1

JUSTIFICATION

Through the atoning blood of Jesus, shed on the cross, that is, through His sacrificial death, we are forever justified before God. Justified means our sins have been forgiven.  A simple way to remember what justification accomplishes is “It’s just as if I never sinned!” Our sins are taken away and we are covered (covered is the meaning of the word atonement) by the righteousness of Jesus. We are given the righteousness of Christ as a covering. The blood of Christ cleanses us and His righteousness covers us. We are made right in the sight of God, by God Himself. To justify is actually a legal term and is important in keeping with God’s nature of being a “just” (right and good) judge. Jesus took our sins upon Himself, and in return covered us with His righteousness, making us right with God. We are straight up and down, perpendicular or justified before God. As a good judge God has seen to it that justice was done when He poured out His wrath against sin as Jesus hung on the cross. He saw to it that the penalty for sin was imposed and carried out. Jesus became sin for us, so that He could take the penalty that we deserved. Now that our sin debt has been paid, we have been (past tense) justified in God’s sight.

Jesus Christ is our deliverer! He delivered us from the penalty for sin. The penalty is death. This is being Justified.

 

But wait, what about the real us on the inside? I’m only covered with righteousness, viewed that way by God, but not righteous in actuality. We still sometimes sin! God did not pay our sin debt for us just so we could continue being such horrible sinners. On the contrary, He has justified us so that He could give to us His Holy Spirit, that we may have the requisite power to say “No!” to our sin nature, and overcome it in this life. Simply being justified is not the final product of salvation. Once justified we begin the growing process of sanctification. We are becoming holy, like Jesus. He is our perfect and exhaustive deliverer. God’s power in the form of His Holy Spirit doesn’t only give us the ability to do what pleases God, He also gives us the desire to do what is right and what pleases God—the urge to do His will, and the power to work it out.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13 NLT

 

I’ve been saving this point for right here, but first allow me to preface it with the following. I myself still have urges to do what the sinful flesh wants, like to be noticed as someone of importance. Vanity and pride still wage war against my new life in the Spirit, and this conflict will continue for you and for me until we are glorified. Romans 7 & 8 make this clear. But I am saved. I love God and all that is good. But my flesh still loves the world. I have to deny myself (the flesh), take up my cross and follow Jesus. I must decide daily to die to the flesh and choose to love God more than myself. See Luke 9:23, and Galatians 2:20.

I’ve stated that to ask, which do YOU love more? Oh wow, yes, I just shifted to a personal and pointed voice, because I love YOU and I don’t want to see you be eternally lost. But this is between you and God, I’m just a messenger. I believe a true test for whether or not we are saved could be: which do we love more—God or ourselves? Has God given you the DESIRE to please Him? If so, you are saved. If you choose to follow the flesh over the Spirit most of the time, you probably do not have saving faith. But you still can be saved by TRUSTING Christ with your life. Among other things, this involves doing things His way, knowing that He is going to give us everything that is good. I can humble myself because God has promised to exalt me. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6

 

SANCTIFICATION      pho2

To sanctify in the biblical sense means: to set apart as holy, to be used for holy purposes. The words; Saint, Holy, Set-apart, and Sanctify all come from the same root word in the Greek.

Currently, those who are in Christ are saved, and also are being saved, by undergoing sanctification: maturing and growing in holiness. True believers live in the resurrection power of Christ. We are buried with Him by baptism into His death, identifying with Him in His death, so that we may also rise with Him to walk in a new life by His power. We are being conformed to the image of God’s holy Son, Jesus. During this sanctifying process Jesus delivers us from the power of sin, giving us His Spirit. Holy Spirit is the dynamic employed to overcome personal sin, and live in a way that is pleasing to God. Jesus and Holy Spirit are both praying for us.

 

 

GLORIFICATION

When Jesus comes and calls us home to heaven and the saved are raised to life, we shall receive new spiritual bodies that do not sin—ever! The bodies we have now will be raised and radically changed from fleshly bodies to spiritual bodies (see 1st Corinthians chapter 15). We will be delivered from the very presence of sin. This is the final phase of salvation and it is called glorification.

 

“For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined He also called, those He called He also justified, those He justified He also glorified.” Romans 8:29-30

Did you notice how the “glorified” is in the past tense? That’s because it is so certain to happen! And God sees the completely saved you—after the 3rd phase.

 

Jesus saves us in three ways.

  1. He has delivered us from the penalty of sin—Justified (past).
  2. He is currently delivering us from the power of sin—Sanctifying (present).
  3. Jesus will deliver us from the very presence of sin—Glorified (future).

 

Once glorified we will never again sin, we will never see a sin committed—we will be completely taken away and separated from all that is sinful, evil and wicked—in a utopia known as heaven in the very presence of God with all His splendor and glory. God’s plan for the redemption of mankind is flawless, genius, and displays His love and patience with mankind in an extremely poignant manner.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

I pray that you hunger and thirst to know the Lord God with increasing passion, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has saved me and set me free from sin.

pho3 

 

If you would like to go a bit deeper and do a proper study of what we’ve discussed here, I recomend prayerful study of the New Testament. But the following is a resource that may help you further. Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology.

Blessings!

 

 

Advertisements
Categories: Bible, Christian Doctrine, Church, Faith, God's Faithfulness, Salvation, Sanctification, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Waiting in Hope

waiting

 

Leading Israel’s army, Joshua waited seven days for something to happen as they marched around the walls of Jericho. It must have felt like a silly thing to do, but this is what God had told them to do. Their patient trust was finally rewarded as the walls fell down, just as the Lord had promised. Without the hope that faith secures, waiting on God can often seem a difficult task, and can give rise to doubts. But that’s only when we’re not operating in faith.

Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for the promised pregnancy with Isaac in their old age. God had promised to make David king over all of Israel, but it wasn’t until waiting about 18 years before that happened. The Jews waited centuries for Messiah to come, but then He came. For ten days, Jesus’ disciples waited in Jerusalem for the power of God’s Holy Spirit to come. My own mother waited for several decades for her prayers to be answered. But finally, I fully surrendered my heart to Christ.

A person who lives in submission to Jesus Christ is someone who is often called upon to wait. And yet there are many good things we can be doing while we wait. Waiting time is not wasting time. With eager anticipation we all wait for Jesus to return and take us to our home in heaven. Yes, these are things that, as Christians, we must learn to do well—trust, hope and patiently wait.

 

They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Categories: Bible, Christian Living, Devotional, Faith, God's Faithfulness, People, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alcohol For Christians

alcohol

According to Google, among the most frequently asked bible questions have to do with what it says about drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and getting tattoos. Today I’d like to focus on the first one: Alcohol.

Let’s say I drank a couple fingers of 18 year old Macallan scotch. Have I sinned? Answers from pastors around the world are as plentiful and varied as the shoes in Nick Cannon’s closet. But we can’t settle for fallible people’s opinions. As believers we want to know what God has to say, and so we look to the bible under the Spirit’s guidance for answers. After all, God is the one we want to please.

 

If you wonder how God feels about you drinking, I strongly suggest you take a moment right now. Pause from reading this post, and pray—ask God for discernment and clarity on this issue once and for all. And then continue reading. My own prayers before, and while preparing this post, consumed much time, and I fervently sought the Holy Spirit’s counsel. The optimal means of gaining absolute certainty on this, as with any issue is to prayerfully excavate truths from the bible under the Spirit’s direction. I’ve provided several passages from which I hope to offer perspective. But you may want to buckle up; it’s going to be a bumpy ride with a few switchbacks along the way.

 

Is alcohol evil and sinful? No. But what we do with alcohol can be sinful. So, is drinking alcohol sinful? Yes and No. Clear as mud, right? Stay with us.

 

It’s a no-brainer that ALCOHOLISM IS SIN. Just about anything done in excess is sin, e.g. gluttony. A myriad of passages condemn being a drunken sot, or a glutton.

“…nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1st Cor. 6:10

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 1 Peter 4:3

 These are but two out of a plethora of passages that unequivocally identify drunkenness as sin.  So if we habitually get drunk…then yes, it’s sin.

 

I’ve included bible quotations that cover both the pros and cons of this most ancient of beverages. As with all spiritual issues, we must also look to passages that do not mention alcohol specifically, and yet, they set a spiritual precedent.

 

The following verse mentions wine, and we must apply it correctly, viewing it through the lens of the bible in its entirety. Scripture interprets scripture.

He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts. Psalm 104:14-15 (emphasis mine)

God created the earth primarily as a habitation for mankind. He told us to subdue it, to manage and utilize it. God wants us to enjoy what He has blessed us with—it’s all for our benefit and enjoyment.  Other verses, however, give strong warnings that expose the dangers of drinking too much wine. Anything, when combined with human weakness can become sinful.

In this last passage, the Holy Spirit indicates that alcohol, specifically wine, gladdens our hearts. It has the ability to make us glad or happy. But we can’t simply drive in a peg right there, or wave that verse around as validation for drinking any time we get the urge. There are other considerations—it doesn’t always make us glad, in fact, sometimes it can make us sad. The devil is in the details. Here’s another positive verse.

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Eccl. 9:7

Honestly, I don’t yet feel qualified to exegete that verse—I never fake it when it comes to passages I’m not real solid on. I included it only because I was led to do so.

 

Jesus & Wine

We’re all familiar with Jesus’ miracle of changing water into wine at a wedding celebration in Cana of Galilee. (See John 2:1-11) Throughout the bible we see wine used in joyous celebrations. Can you imagine how good the wine Jesus made would taste?

Many well-meaning, but woefully misguided people of God have assayed to perform a little miracle of their own. They attempt transforming the wine of this passage to mean unfermented juice. Come on now, let’s stop trying to change what the bible says. It says wine—it means wine. Jesus drank wine, but this in no way makes it right for everyone to do so in every circumstance.

 

I remember my strict grandmother who attended church every time the doors were open. She was a very devout Christian woman, for which I am deeply thankful. But I was surprised when I learned she took a glass of Mogan David wine before bedtime to help her sleep.

Medicinal Value

In Paul’s first letter to his protégé, Timothy, he advises him to “Stop drinking only water and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” 1 Tim. 5:23

Here, we see that alcohol has medicinal uses that God approves of. It’s also good for use as an antiseptic, killing most every germ and bacteria known to man. But alcohol also kills skin cells in your; mouth, throat, stomach and digestive tract, and we know that habitual use damages internal organs.  As the redeemed, we are now the temple of God, so we want to respect our bodies and take good care of them. We’ve already established that God has given us many things from the good earth to utilize, but we must do so wisely. Remember, alcohol can be a slippery slope, and that’s why we get so many differing answers. There are several spiritual precepts we should consider before we opt for a bottle of Bordeaux, or whatever kind of scamper juice you happen to choose.

 

In Christ we have freedom—liberty. Under grace we are freed from the written code, and now obey God out of love for Him. The Spirit of Christ resides within believers, affording them the power of God—to give them power over sin, so they have the capacity to live godly, pleasing Him while conforming to Christ.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. 1st Corinthians 10:23-24

 

Enter the Law of Love!

During my spiritual infancy I heard a great sermon on the Christian’s freedoms by Chuck Swindoll, and then another by Charles Stanley. Subsequently, I read books by both men about it. “Liberty on a Tightrope.” The title itself is revealing—sometimes it’s a real balancing act to know when it’s okay to exercise our freedoms. It requires wisdom and discernment that can be procured only through a close relationship with Jesus. Yet our sin detection is based upon love, and I’ve learned that love has many faces.

It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. Romans 14:21

Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. 1st Corinthians 8:13

I’m simply going to say, “That’s love,” and allow those two verses to speak for themselves. They are commands that we are to take literally and very seriously.

Here’s a PDF for an excellent article on this subject of our freedoms, and those who would deny us our freedoms. It’s by an astute Doctor of Theology: “Tyranny of the Weaker Brother.”

 

Caution: speed bump ahead! Do you have your seatbelt buckled?

Sinning Against Conscience

When our consciences question whether or not what we’re doing is sin, we should take heed. Whatever you believe to be sinful, for you, it actualy becomes sin, no matter what it is. If I think it’s a sin but I do it anyway, it is sin. Even if some misguided person believes using musical instruments is sinful, for them it’s a sin to use musical instruments. To do so would go against their God-given and God-governed conscience. They believe it is wrong and yet choose to do it anyway. That’s called willful sin against the conscience. Personally, I know God approves of musical instruments, so for me, I can use them with a clear conscience. For me it is not sin, and the same goes for alcohol. But out of love, I will not do so in the presence of a weaker brother or sister in Christ who thinks otherwise, or else I could cause them to violate their conscience, and sin.

 

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 1 Peter 2:16


God knows our hearts and our consciences. When we’re saved, the Holy Spirit directs our consciences, but we must remain attuned to Christ for this to be so. We can be deceived by false doctrines. We can be lured into participating in something that could tarnish our testimony for Christ. Or, we can have our freedoms chained up by wolves among the flock. And… Heaven forbid that by my drinking, I should embolden a brother or sister in Christ to drink, who has been enslaved to the old loony-juice in the past.

 

Consider this. Though slight, just one ounce of alcohol impairs our judgment, enervating our decision making prowess. We are commanded to be self-controlled. How can we be certain we’ll know when to stop drinking? If you’re going to indulge, you may want to determine the amount before you drink. If you’re at home, pour your set amount, and then put the bottle away.

 

Grandma used to say, “All things in moderation.” We shouldn’t be given over to anything, or to anyone, except to God. It’s easy to deceive ourselves into thinking we’re controlling our drinking when it could be the other way around. Again, we are to exercise self-control. It’s difficult enough to control our fleshly urges without having our commitment weakened by alcohol. We’re talikng about a fruit of the Spirit here, meaning, that God’s Spirit helps us maintain control so we can follow Him. “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) The Spirit provides for us the genuine article, not the false relief alcohol provides.

 

I cannot tell you whether or not using alcohol is okay for you, unless you are an alcoholic, and then it IS sin. This is something that’s between you and the Lord. He will give you the answer that’s right for you, as an individual. You will need wisdom and spiritual discernment. And you must consider all the variables, of which, I’d like to add one more.

 

Idolatry

When I turn to other things instead of to God when He has all we need (peace, joy, comfort, etc.) it is a form of idolatry.  If I turn to alcohol to help alleviate my hurt feelings or depression, anxiety, or because I’m angry, instead of seeking God’s provision for relief from these, then I’m turning to an idol. Anything we put in the place of God is idolatry. He provides peace and joy, security and wisdom and guidance and anything else we could ever possibly need. Every so often, that may include a tall glass of wine. Always seek God’s counsel on all decisions in life, and at all times. The following verse illustrates the truth of these things.

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit…”(Ephesians 5:18).

Noteworthy in this verse is the fact that our beloved comforter, Holy Spirit, provides for us the supernatural gifts of joy, contentment and inner peace. It is, however, often that believers have not yet learned how to call upon these helps, and will instead reach for an artificial means of feeling better, like drinking alcohol.

The following is straight from the bible’s book of wisdom.

Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Proverbs 31:6

 

When experiencing deep grief, the loss of a loved one, you’re dying, or when enduring tremendous pain, God has provided a little additional relief in alcohol. This verse appears to indicate we can use (but not abuse) alcohol for these purposes.

 

In conclusion

We’ve disclosed how wisdom, discernment and self-control, coupled with personally seeking God’s counsel make all the difference in discovering what’s right for each individual. Sometimes drinking alcohol is sinful, and other times it’s not. Alcohol is sin for some, but not for certain others who may lose their self-control by drinking. There are benefits of drinking and there are many hazrds of the same. So I pray I’ve left you with some pertinent truths to ponder. As you take this issue to the Lord, ask Him for enlightenment concerning each of the variables we talked about.

 

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. Proverbs 20:1

 

God Bless You!

 

Categories: Addiction, Alcohol, Bible, Christian Living, Uncategorized, Wisdom & Discernment | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gore & Love Intersect

pexels-photo-208315.jpeg

“The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22 

 

As a boy of ten years, I kept a scrapbook filled with images of lions and tigers hunting. Many of them depicted gory kills. Several decades later, I can still picture the blood covered faces of those vicious beasts. One day my mom happened upon the bloody pictures I’d been saving. Understandably, she became concerned that I might be turning into some sort of twisted, sadistic kid. Blood has a tendency to make us recoil in horror. But my fascination had to do with a compulsion to understand death.

 

Many old Christian hymns include references to the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. Here’s one example—an old favorite performed by some promising musicians. “Nothing But The Blood” 

 

It’s the blood of Christ which cleanses us from our sins. What picture could better display the awful consequences of sin upon the world than grisly blood? God has a good reason for the use of blood in the bible. The blood used in the old sacrificial system of temple worship was a foreshadow of the blood of Christ. Justice demands blood.

When Adam and Eve sinned, it drastically changed mankind—even the earth was changed by a curse. The consequences of sin are exceptionally horrific. “For the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23a  

And, God says that life is in the blood. “For the life of a creature is in the blood…” Leviticus 17:11a  

And so, spilled blood is synonymous with death—and death is the penalty for sin.

 

As a lasting and stark expression of sin’s staggering cost, God clothed Adam and Eve with dead animal skins. This signified the horrors that the world would experience as a result of sin. Sin brought with it; sickness, war, a curse, slavery to sin, and death for every person since Adam and Eve. Some of the animals changed from herbivores into carnivorous creatures—the images of which I kept in that childhood scrapbook.

 

God has taught me that I should be aghast and horrified at the prospect of sin. It should make me shudder in horror—the same response one would have to a bloody, gruesome death.

But it’s in man’s fallen nature to trivialize sin, rather than to acknowledge its true devastating make-up.

 

Because of God’s awesome love for you and me, Jesus allowed His own blood to be spilled, taking that awful death penalty in our place. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord, (from John 10). The macabre sight of His blood flowing down to puddle in the dust, proclaims God’s monolithic love for you and me. Do you see the importance of the blood? If not, you do not yet understand the way of salvation that God has provided for us. His blood equals love, atonement, propitiation, forgiveness and salvation.

Bloody gore and love intersect at the Cross of Jesus. ©

 

Below is Alan Jackson singing  Are You Washed

 

Categories: Bible, Christian Living, Cross of Christ, Devotional, Faith, Salvation, Testimony, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Broken To Become Whole

break

Brokenness in the Christian experience can refer to bad and harmful brokenness, but more often it refers to a necessary state of dependence upon the Lord. This is a very good type of brokenness.

In her book The Broken Way Ann Voskamp testifies about the benefits of becoming openly broken together—of being transparent with each other about our brokenness and our weaknesses. She says there’s winsomeness when we are vulnerable together. Another woman who is from a long line of farmers was conversing with Ann and proclaimed how she clearly comprehends this brokenness as being like a seed.

In John 12:24 Jesus teaches the following.

 “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat fall to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds.”

 

When we can allow ourselves to become openly vulnerable with each other, the seed hull breaks open to germinate in the nutrient rich soil of God’s word as it is discussed in a group setting such as a bible study.

 

“A yielded life, surrendered to God yields the most.”—Ann Voskamp

 

If we hope to be glorified we must be crucified with Christ and die to the old self-life, as Paul so succinctly expounds.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

 

This is in perfect union with Jesus words in Luke 9:23 “…Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves…”

As excruciating as death sounds to human sensitivities, it is required. It is the secret to receiving great spiritual power for renewal and transformation, which, every soul of great faith has received from God’s Holy Spirit imparting the new life within.

 

This brokenness or death to the old self is clearly counter cultural. The world’s way is to avoid suffering, pain and brokenness. Here again, we see the upside down ways of God’s wisdom compared to the world’s perspective and beliefs.

 

How do I live my life surrendered to God, dead to self and alive in Christ? It is by my willingness to be broken by God. It is humbly accepting that I do not know, and God does know, so I must surrender my mind to Him. The world itself is broken, and yet, God is able to break the brokenness of the world and create a new wholeness, a new life which produces more of the same.

 

When a seed or kernel is planted in the ground it must break open, and then the embryo breaks through the earth to rise up and become a stalk of wheat with a full head of kernels. Because the seed yields to brokenness, the seed eventually produces many more seeds.

 

And so in our lives, as we prayerfully learn from the scriptures, humbly yielding every thought and each area of our lives to Christ, He brings to life in us ten times more than we have surrendered.

 

“…We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

 2 Corinthians 10:5b

 

If we could only see with His eyes how puny and haggardly the things our old lives cling to actually are, we’d drop them like glowing embers. During this maturing process, God does give us sight—light to see how destructive those things of the old life really are. We begin to lucidly perceive things from a spiritual perspective, and then wonder how we could have been so blinded by our old fleshly desires.

 

The Spirit will tell us to let go of that putrid practice, that immature way of thinking, that old disparaging habit, our pride. He will say, “Here, take these diamonds and emeralds instead.” Because, what God gives in return is worth exceedingly more than what we must surrender to Him. We could compare allowing ourselves to be broken with scrapping an old jalopy and exchanging it for a shiny new Rolls Royce. And to giving up a position as the janitor of a company in order to become the CEO of that company. And with trading the strength of a deathly sick Pee Wee for the strength of Sampson. And to trading ignorance for wisdom, knowledge and discernment. And to handing over our ticket to the lake of fire in exchange for a ticket to paradise. But without allowing ourselves to be broken and remade, we will not receive any of the good things God has to give us. We must become Broken Vessels.

Broken Vessels By Hillsong

 

If we hope to truly live we must put our old sinful nature to death, while nurturing the new life we have in Christ. We do so through prayerful study of God’s word, fellowship with Godly people, removing worldly stimulus, and all the rest of what the Spirit of God leads us to do. See you up yonder!

For more on Brokeness in relation to the Christian experience see this post and others from the site I received the opening image from: Sovereign Grace

Categories: Bible, Books, Christian Living, Growing in Faith, Sanctification, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When An Unsaved Loved One Dies

IMG_0149

 

The Lord has whispered in my heart concerning you, and His spirit urges me to pray, and to speak His truth into your difficulties which in turn brings strength and peace. In times like these we can go to our well of hope and strength to bask in the Lord’s glory. Suddenly, our burdens lift under the light of God’s wisdom and loving providence. John Piper offers good perspective for difficult times of grief and loss. He writes, “What we must keep our focus on is that God is just, God is good, and God does not do anything that we will not ultimately approve someday.”

The Lord has affirmed this truth to me in a personal way during a time of deep grief and loss.

 

One day we will look back upon all that was painful in our lives and nod in agreement with God. We will understand that He allowed the right thing to transpire at precisely right time, every time. I am glad that God is so big and mysterious. If I were to understand everything He does and all that He allows to happen, He might not seem quite so big and all knowing.  His infinite immensity is more than our imaginations can fathom. As we focus our thoughts upon God’s love, being absolutely convinced of His faithfulness to always do or allow what is best and good, we cling to the knowledge that we belong to Him. Doing so has often helped me to reconcile difficulties in my mind. Like the old hymn says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to Trust and obey,”—It rings from the hearts of those who can say along with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

 

Genesis 18:25 is like the voice of a clarion proclaiming the righteous faithfulness of our majestic Holy One, saying “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” We can rest in the understanding that God will always do precisely what is right and best for His children. He is the only one qualified to judge because He is holy and pure, and He makes judgements on our behalf that display the grandeur of His delectable mercy. But He also has the paternal passion for you and I that elicits tsunami sized waves of compassion and comfort. Let’s lift our voices to our Heavenly Daddy saying, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

 

Go to Him, and rest in His loving arms while trusting that God knows all things and we do not. Trust Him.

 

When Christ returns and gathers you and I to be with Him forever, there will be no sorrow, pain, suffering or tears. This is His promise. How will He accomplish this? I don’t know—nobody does. But what we do know is that God is faithful to keep His word. He will keep all of His glorious promises to you. I know a lot of people, many of whom I do not believe to be saved. I love them, and my finite mind cannot reconcile how I will not be bothered in the least by the fact that they will be in hell while I am in bliss. But I trust God, and I know He can and will keep His promise to wipe every tear from our eyes. Never doubt His love. He has inscribed your name upon His palms. That’s what He said. Rest in the glorious warmth of God’s mighty love, He will comfort you.

In summary, the one thing that will salve our hurting hearts during times of grief and loss is faith in God. Personally, I can feel His love for you in my own heart as He confirms His words of promise that He’s given to us all. Hope is found in Christ Jesus and His love will comfort us.

 

Categories: Bible, Christian Living, Death of Unsaved, Faith, God's Faithfulness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Revealed Truth

bible

 

In Mark 7:3-13 Jesus condemns the traditions of men when those traditions take precedence over God’s word.  Note, however, that not all traditions are wrong, or bad.  Apostle Paul wrote, saying to follow the traditions he and his missionary team had preached to the churches they had established through the Spirit’s leading.

 

Let’s read a short bible account that includes some of Jesus’ teaching.

 

Here are verses 1 through 9 of Mark 7.

“The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.) So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”

“Jesus replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”

 

Our Lord then goes on to say, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”

 

Jesus gave one example of how they did so in verses 10, 11 & 12. He then sums up the great truth He was teaching in the following verse (13). “Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

 

We often hear theologians quoting other famous theologians in order to validate their point. But if they cannot find that particular truth in God’s word, then they are teaching falsehood and error. Don’t get me wrong, many of them are fine Christians and are saved, and yet they do not understand certain truths of God’s word accurately. A good indication of this is, as I’ve already stated: they reach to quote another man’s words, rather than quoting the bible.

 

Nowhere in scripture do we find a command from God that told the Israelites to perform the particular ceremonial washing the Pharisees referred to when they were accusing Jesus’ disciples of breaking God’s laws. Yet there were ceremonial washings God had commanded, but the Pharisees and religious leaders added additional ceremonial washings to God’s commands.
It isn’t so much that the teachings of men are always wrong or bad: it is when those teachings usurp authority over God’s commands, and over God’s word that they become abominable to the Lord. No man is to be our authority when it comes to knowing the truth as it is clearly set forth in the word of God.

 

As believers we are afforded the assistance of God’s Spirit residing inside us to lead and guide us into all truth (See John 15:26 & John 16:13 & 14).

 

“The bible is the only book we can read with the author Himself always present.”—Unknown.

 

The scriptures were written under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and He knows precisely what He intended for them to mean. This is why we should always read God’s word prayerfully and submissively. Truth is the only right defense against falsehood and error. And we know that Jesus is “The Way, the Truth and the Life.”

 

On a personal note, I pray that you have a fruitful day, filled with the love of Jesus.

 

 

 

Categories: Bible, Christian Living, Faith, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bible Translation Wars

bible wars

 

As we continue our Bible Origin series this post focuses on various bible translations. Please reserve judgment until you read the post all the way through, as it may surprise you. This being a blog post and not a text book, we’re barely scratching the surface of a plethora of historical facts concerning how we’ve received the bibles we have today. There will be more along this vein in later posts.

 

The original bible texts were penned in Hebrew, Greek and some Aramaic.

 

The King James Version (KJV) translation of the Bible used 7 texts from which to translate the New Testament scriptures. They were the 5 editions of Erasmus, the 1550 edition of Stephanus, and the 1598 edition of Beza. Those were the seven printed Greek texts that the King James translators used between 1604 and 1611 to produce the New Testament of the King James Version of the bible. Erasmus only had between six and twelve manuscripts from which to draw. Today we have over 5700 ancient manuscripts from which to translate the New Testament. The KJV translation became known as the textus receptus (received text). So from the 1600’s to the late 1800’s that was pretty much the text that was used, even though it had a very small early manuscript tradition behind it.

 

As better manuscripts from the early centuries were found, naturally there was a drive to create increasingly critical editions of the scriptures which rigidly scrutinize earlier, more accurate manuscripts. We now use much earlier manuscripts than what the King James translators used.

 

Erasmus wanted to use Vaticanus, one of the oldest manuscripts of the Greek Bible of both Old and New Testaments, which is one of the four great uncial codices and is largely extant today. It was written on 759 leaves of vellum in uncial script. Through paleographic dating it has been determined to be from the 4th century AD. But Erastus was unable to access it, because it was in Rome, housed at the Vatican, which is where it gets its name Vaticanus. Viewing it was reserved for a narrowly select group who were at the top of the religious hierarchy: the religious pontiffs of Roman Catholicism which acted as a ruling body wed to the government. The manuscripts used to translate into the King James Version were documents about 1200 years later than the ones available to us today. But just because we now have those many older manuscripts available to us, in no way guarantees the integrity of the translators of modern versions of the scriptures. Granted, some of them have unscrupulous agendas, whether those working on the new translations are aware of it or not.

 

Any translation you pick up whether King James, American Standard, Holman Christian Standard, English Standard Version, or a host of others, there are going to be a few words that you disagree with. When translating from Greek, Aramaic and especially Hebrew, some meanings are extremely difficult to convey in English. But there are many dozens of other translations in other languages around the world, of which we have no idea how accurate they are because we do not speak that language and must rely on linguistic scholars to compare them. There is an Arabic bible translated from the Van Dyke text, but how many of us speak Arabic and have the ability to judge its accuracy? One thing is certain: God superintended the writing of His words. The bible is God breathed. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16 KJV

By the way, in the above verse the NIV uses the more literal, more accurate translation of “God Breathed” in place of “by inspiration of God,” because they didn’t understand it, so they changed it. Today we know it means that God literally spoke the words of the bible through His Spirit. In other places it’s the other way around where the King James translation is more accurate than the NIV’s.

 

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. “ 2 Peter 1:21 KJV

 

So let’s take the above verse as an example to point out a fact. Do you see those three words in italics? In the King James as well as in most all other translations, the italics indicate that those particular words do not appear in the manuscripts that were used to translate into English. But reading the text we see that it helps convey the true meaning of the text, as it specifies that it was the “holy men of God” who were “moved”. In no way does it change the meaning, rather it expounds the meaning. But then, when other transitions do the same thing many of the “King James only” advocates yell “foul!”

 

There are several fine newer translations that take into consideration not only the earliest Greek texts, but also the texts of earlier codices penned in various languages, including the Arabic, which was the language of the business world in the Apostles’ day; much like English is the prominent language of business today.

 

There also exists what are called AMPLIFIED translations. They don’t claim to be word for word verbatim of the original manuscripts. They write it in words they hope will help today’s readers understand the original writer’s intent. But they don’t always get it right, and that’s why amplified versions can be very detrimental when read by those who are reading the bible for the very first time. A case in point which I strenuously warn against for first time studiers is the “Good News” or “New Living” bible translations.

 

I’d like to inject here the necessity of using more than one translation when studying the bible. Even more importantly, we are to study prayerfully, in communication with the Lord. God through His Spirit is the literal author of the book, and He dwells within believers. Jesus promises that His Spirit will lead us into all truth. The Spirit renders the true meaning of any translation of scripture to those who are seeking God with all of their heart (In a later post I will point out the specific books that people claim are God’s word but are not). If one is not a believer they need only ask God to reveal truth to them as they read, and the Spirit will help them understand too! Only for them, He will do so from without, rather than from within. The Holy Spirit even moves upon unbelievers to set up circumstances as God wills, as demonstrated in the Old Testament. In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar was used to testify of the one true living God and he was definitely an unbelieving pagan.

 

On the other hand, for example, the most popular translation of scripture in America today is the New International Version (NIV), which many leading biblical scholars do not like. But because it is so popular, many contemporary bible scholars and theologians of Reformed Evangelical Christianity have been compelled to help the NIV readers understand what the original texts actually say. A case in point is that Dr. John MacArthur created an NIV study bible, and yet he speaks as if he does not like the NIV. He came out with an NIV bible that includes notations on every page which straightens out the misleading wording used in many places within the NIV. This is wise. If people are determined to read the NIV, then we need to have NIV’s that have notations explaining the true meaning of the text, rather than allowing fallacious thinking which can be derived from the translation itself.

 

There are Satanic and nefarious attempts to poison God’s word. Again, for the sake of example, I say that one of the driving forces behind some modern bible publishing firms is the attempt to create a more egalitarian view of scripture concerning gender roles, such as Zondervan. This is infection from the world. It was motivated by the age in which we live, with the majority of the populous wanting to embrace certain aspects of the demonic feminist movement. And there are other nefarious agendas as well.

 

Our goal should never be to condemn those who are seeking truth, and yet who may be misled by bad translations. They are reading what they believe to be the bible—they are seeking truth. Why not expound the truth to them rather than condemn them? Unless, of course, hatred and pride has so embittered our hearts that we no longer care about evangelizing the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus went to where the sinners were. He met them at their level of understanding and lifted them with truth. We should do no less. Our motives come from the love of Christ, abhorring even the garment stained with sin, while holding aloft the truth as the Spirit has; revealed, superintended the writing of, and expounded through preaching and teaching.

 

Yes, we are angry at Satan and the twisted work he has perpetrated in our world. We hate falsehood and lies because of the souls it corrupts and deceives. We want to rescue those deluded souls, not see them condemned!  We always confront error head on with the truth, in the hopes that every soul will be saved, because we are driven by the Love of Christ (we don’t know who the chosen are). Let’s stop with the hate speech and bashing each other over the head because of what translation of scripture we like best. We need to come alongside, humbly, and take this case by case, verse by verse to teach sound doctrine, explaining the differences in wording through the leading of God’s Holy Spirit.

 

Trust me, I understand the fervor and the zeal of many, just like Jesus’ fervor when He cleared the temple of those with minds fixed on monetary gain. But love for His (and our) Father and His house of prayer, as well as Jesus’ love for the worshippers was His motivation in driving the vendors out with a whip (see Psalm 69:9).

 

Let’s not taint our witness and our testimony for Christ by acting in a worldly manner, while trying to proclaim our translation is the only correct one. God needs no help in preserving His word of truth. But He will use us to preach and teach accurate doctrine. His truth is shed abroad in our hearts along with His love, as the Spirit translates God’s word to us. Blessings!

Categories: Bible, Bible origin, Christian Living, Research, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Medical Facts in the Bible

scroll

 

It was in the late 1400’s that the famed Italian explorer Christopher Columbus read in his bible the 22nd Verse of Isaiah chapter 40.

 

“He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.”

 

Though the intellectual community of Columbus’ day believed the earth to be flat, he believed the bible. But this was not by any means new knowledge to the world. 2000 years ago a few Greek scholars knew the spherical shape of earth, along with other ancient astronomers from various cultures. But still, Columbus dared to challenge the status quo of his day as he set out to prove his belief, and we are all familiar with the story of how he did so.

 

Ignaz Semmelweis

Picture this doctor from the 1840’s, a prickly sort, adjuring fellow surgeons coming from doing autopsies, “Wash your hands!”

 

With quickly reddening faces the top notch physicians would respond, “Wash my hands? Good grief, I’m busy saving lives here man! Time means lives, and you want me to stop and perform some meaningless act by washing my hands? Get out of the way!”

 

The pleading physician, an obstetrician, was an intemperate sort and not the most pleasant of characters to work alongside, but that’s not why all of his colleagues snubbed him. Had they know he was correct, perhaps he would not have been so ostracized by the other leading physicians of his time. Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian, had made an observation which eventually would end up saving a whole lot of lives.

 

The mortality rate of pregnant women was atrocious back in the 1840’s, and Semmelweis marveled that women who delivered at home, or using a midwife, stood a staggering less chance of dying than those who delivered in hospitals. The widespread ailment from which they were expiring is named puerperal, the word being derived from the Latin for ‘parent and child’. But it was more commonly called “childbed.”

 

As this astute doctor was observing the other physicians going straight from doing an autopsy to the delivery room, he cogitated correctly: there was an unseen culprit at work. Back then, they didn’t know anything about the hazards of microscopic germs and bacteria, but Semmelweis suspected something of the sort. That was less than 200 years ago. Today, we know that microscopic organisms are responsible for the spread of many and various diseases. Most everyone is familiar with the diligent sanitizing scrub every good surgeon must go through before operating on a person, much less before delivering a baby. One little microbe of decomposing flesh could mean a death sentence for the patient.

 

But it took several years for Semmelweis’ discovery to be confirmed by his detractors, accepted, and finally sanitizing practices were put into place. There’s much more to the story, but for our purposes this should suffice. (Cairney, .Prescience 2, 137-142 & some very old medical journals)

 

What does this medically historic event have to do with the origin of the bible? In previous posts we determined that if a book really was divine in origin that we would expect it to contain knowledge that nobody on earth knew at the time it was written.

Through Moses, God set down cleanliness laws 3500 years before micro-organisms were known to exist. The following is one example.

“For the unclean person (someone who has touched a dead person or animal), put some ashes from the burned purification offering into a jar and pour fresh water over them…. The person being cleansed must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and that evening he will be clean.” (Numbers 19:17,19).

 

Ash, water and time: all three are cleansing agents. The scriptures assume a knowledge about that which is unseen to the naked eye, namely that germs and bacteria are responsible for the spread of disease. But this was not discovered until the mid 1800’s. The Book of Numbers was written between the years 1440 and 1400 B.C.

 

As God was giving laws and guidelines for the nation of Israel to live by, He also instituted quarantines for contagious diseases such as leprosy. And there’s a myriad of other well documented medical facts that the bible has revealed long before mankind discovered them. Here’s another one concerning the human body.

 

When considering the history of the world it wasn’t all that long ago that “bloodletting” was still a common medical practice. It is thought to have originated first in Egypt thousands of years ago. As a first line treatment doctors would often open a blood vessel and drain some blood from the patient in an attempt to maintain proper balance of four humors. This fallacious thinking was derived from ancient Greek philosophy.

 

“The four bodily humors were part of Shakespearean cosmology, inherited from the ancient Greek philosophers Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Galen. Organized around the four elements of earth, water, air, and fire; the four qualities of cold, hot, moist, and dry; and the four humors, these physical qualities determined the behavior of all created things including the human body.” (The World of Shakespeare’s Humors)

 

leech

 

Often, leeches were employed to suck blood from the patient. I’ve had my own experiences with leeches down in the Florida swamps near Okeechobee, as well as in the Everglades. I don’t like leeches—not even a little bit. For one, I just don’t like slimy things, but my disdain for them is connected with a decidedly unpleasant experience. I was out hunting poisonous snakes for the purpose of milking their toxins that is used to make anti-venom. As I waded through the black mucky waters of Dead Maiden Swamp, one of those slimy blood suckers latched onto my manhood. And I don’t mind telling you, I screamed like a baby banshee when I ripped it off. There are different types of leeches and the ones in that swamp were humongous, unlike in the image above.

 

Anyway, there’s a very long and colorful medical history of bloodletting. Today, there actually are a very few extremely rare cases where it really can be beneficial…sometimes. But for the most part this practice has been done away with. Modern medicine now knows that when the human body is experiencing something detrimental, the blood is a good indicator of what’s happening inside the body. One of the first things that is done today in diagnosing health is to take a blood sample to be analyzed. And these days we give blood to a patient to heal them, rather than take it away. You’ve probably seen the signs in places that ask you to donate blood, which reads: “Give the gift of life.” (By donating a pint of healthy blood)

 

Kidney disease requires an artificial filtering of the blood, which is what the kidneys do, ferreting out toxins and other contaminates.

 

The bible tells us that “Life is in the blood.” It says it quite a few times in the book of Leviticus. Just one example is chapter 17. Several times in this one chapter the same truth is repeated. Verse 11 begins: “For the life of a creature is in the blood…”

 

How did Moses, the writer of Leviticus, know this unless God was guiding him in what to write?

 

There are plenteous more things we can and will show that the bible spoke of long before science and medicine discovered them.  It would take a full length book to discuss all of them, but we will be sharing many of them with you.

Please watch for the next installment, and may God Richly Bless You.

 

 

Categories: Bible, Faith, Medical practice, Research, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bible Origin Series

Create

 

The age in which we live is experiencing a full frontal onslaught against the authority and inerrancy of scripture, more than at any other time in history. God’s word is under constant assault with increasing intensity. How will our children answer when confronted with the objections of the world? Will they be prepared to answer the critics and make a strong defense of their faith? Will their faith weather the storms of horrendous negative peer pressure in college?

 

That is the reason why we’d like to provide you with some tools to help prepare you and your children, so that no matter what comes, your faith in the God of the Bible may stand firm. And so that you may:

 

“…Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: keeping a clear conscience, so that those who slander you will be put to shame by your good behavior in Christ.” 1st Peter 3:15 & 16 KJV & Study Bible

 

bible

 

In conjunction with the Bible Origin Series, and as a prelude to its exciting continuation, I was compelled to include some necessary truths. These are the very thoughts I’ve been wrestling with. The Spirit has laid them in my heart to study. So, after a tanker full of really good coffee, I went to work summarizing as briefly and concisely as possible, the issues that have been holding up the works, and I am presenting them in this post for your astute consideration.

 

Straight out of the starting gate I can tell you that in truest nerd fashion, science gets me all excited. I’ve made it a good habit to research everything that I am told, and put it under honest scrutiny, just as the Berean Christians did when Apostle Paul preached to them. It is wise to study the history surrounding not only events and documents of the past, but also the spiritual implications of things that have transpired long ago. Most interesting to me is when we can chart the formation of concepts, ideologies, and various religious practices, it provides insight that would have eluded us otherwise. I relate this not for the purpose of tooting my own horn, so to speak. Though, sometimes, I feel as if my head is swelling up with too much information or getting overheated, perhaps, until I think it’s going to burst. So let’s get to it.

 

On the subjects of providing scientific, archaeological, historic and other tangible proofs of God’s existence, and as for the Bible having Divine origins, we must consider the following before we continue.

 

  1. The existence of the God of the bible cannot be disproved by science.

Every such attempt has been dramatically debunked. The unbelieving world, under the influence of satanic deception, continues to perpetuate increasingly more fabrications (called theories) to explain away their own failures to disprove the existence of God.

  1. On the other hand, the existence of God cannot be proven to be true through science either.

I believe it should not even be attempted.  God has designed it that way for a purpose: That salvation may be by grace through faith. Scientific evidence can in no way bring a soul to saving faith in Christ Jesus. There are, however some very good organizations who have in  great detail scientifically disproven the claims asserted by atheistic and agnostic scientists. One that I can recommend is the Institute For Creation Research

Another I like is Cross Examined

Frank Turek is a wonderful Apologetics professor, besides he’s a funny guy and really cracks me up. You may want to check out some of his videos on Youtube.

I do give credit to and even applaud those Christians (apologists) who have made use of their scientific studies to help aid Christians whose faiths are faltering. Often, weakened faith results from un-surrendered pride of intellect, which was enervated via lies perpetuated by those who would have us believe they possess a superior intellect than we do. Or, perhaps the enemy has used a person’s circumstances to bring about their doubts. Superior intellect is the premise on which most anti-God scientists base their ludicrous theories. When Christian men of equal or greater (worldly) intellect disprove bogus scientific claims, the claimants of fallacious reasoning resort to name calling and attempts to demean or undermine the qualifications (intellect) of researchers who demonstrate truthful science, rather than using their own scientific method to attempt to disprove the science itself. That is a clear indication that they are already well aware of the inconsistencies of their own research and thinking.

The bible declares them to be “willfully ignorant” (Romans 2). NOTE: (We will see the bible’s meaning of “willfully ignorant” later in this post). Perhaps it is their innate sense of the ignorance they employ which drives these deceiving scientists to insist on their own intellectual superiority as a mask to cover their ineptness to disprove God?

 

As for Christians, nowhere in scriptures are we commanded to go forth and study the sciences to prove God’s existence. “For by grace you are saved through faith…” (Ephesians 2:8) It does not say that belief or faith comes through convincing scientific argument. Consider this next verse carefully.

For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom, knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1st Corinthians 1:21 KJV  (Emphasis mine)

 

If evidence beyond Creation, the bible, and that which the Holy Spirit of God has already provided is employed, belief is no longer by faith, but by extra evidence contrived by man. To demand more evidence is to have no faith. And yet faith is always rewarded with concrete factual assurances that our faith is not in vain. Where a soul employs saving faith, more evidence than anyone could ever need, or expect, is provided to that individual soul.

 

We are told by the Spirit of Christ that it is through the presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and preaching, and teaching of the bible, that souls are saved.  We cannot prove the resurrection of Jesus by reason. And the resurrection of Jesus is the central truth of the gospel. Without it, everything else of the Christian faith is worthless and powerless. No man knows Jesus rose from the dead unless that man has trusted Him in complete helplessness of soul. “If thou shalt confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and shall believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9&10).

 

This “belief” is not an intellectual one. Intellectual belief can never produce moral and spiritual results. The devil has an intellectual belief in Christ as being Lord of creation, and belief in His resurrection.

 

“Belief with the intellect does not produce righteousness, belief with the heart does.”—G. Campbell Morgan.

 

This saving faith is ‘certainty of the heart’ and it brings clarity about pure morality, and it precedes regeneration of life (it saves us, qualifying us for grace). By mankind’s absolute helpless dependence upon God, casting ourselves by faith into Christ, is received the inner spiritual witness that causes the soul to know for certain. Faith produces certainty—a certainty born of evidence provided by the unseen inner spiritual witness of God Himself, indwelling those who believe.

 

The resurrection is a fact that can in no way be proven, nor explained by reasoning, but must be accepted in, not intellectual assent alone, but also in faith. That faith is then rewarded by assurance that “He ever lives to make intercession for us.” We not only know it, we do not merely believe it—we have experienced Him and know for certain it is true: He lives!

 

The biblical “ignorance” in the Greek is the same word as “agnostic”. The same word in Latin is “ignoramus.” They mean the same thing: “The man who does not know.” But we can be sympathetic with the man who “cannot know” for he is forever bound to walk in the darkness of not knowing anything whatsoever of the eternal and the spiritual. How can we have anything but sympathy for such a one? Their entire life is predicated upon uncertainty in all things, and will be manifested in frustration, dissatisfaction with life, and will lack true, lasting purpose.

 

One who is spiritually blind, groping about in the dark, is far worse off than a person who is physically blind, and yet has spiritual sight. Spiritual sight is afforded through faith in God. And yet we can respect such a person who is honest enough to say he does not know. There is still hope for him. Unless, that is,  he has made his agnosticism a harbor of refuge and impertinence. If this is the case then all hope for him is lost, and his agnosticism has become a prison. But if he’s not done so, He may yet have faith bloom within him at some future time, that he may know the truth concerning the resurrection of Christ Jesus, as so receive inner eyes to see, and be forever certain. For this we earnestly pray.

 

Now, I can finally get back to sharing some absolutely amazing and incredible things about the Holy Bible. I eagerly anticipate providing some absolutely resounding proofs that the bible is divine in origin, and completely infallible, and authoritative. Some of it is guaranteed to be jaw dropping. It’s going to be an enlightening and a fun ride, so buckle up and be sure to watch for our next post.

Categories: Bible, Christian Living, Faith, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.