Posts Tagged With: Christianity

From Sorrow to Comfort

Continued series on humility in relation to the Beatitudes

I have asserted the premise that humility is the foremost godly virtue required before any growth in Christ-likeness can be manifested. In fact, I don’t see how one could repent and be saved without first humbling themselves before God. There also appears to be the necessity of humbling ourselves associated with each of Christ’s commands. but this comes naturally when one receives a view of the One true omnipotent, infinite and sovereign God of the bible, and then compares self to Him. 

We’ve been gauging this assertion by recognizing the relationship between humility and the Christian qualities Jesus expounds in His manifesto on the mount in Matthew five—the Beatitudes. We now move to verse three. 

 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  

 

Our knee-jerk responses gravitate towards the word “comfort” while the natural reaction of the flesh is repulsed by the notion of “mourning.”—that doesn’t sound so pleasant.  

 

Let’s think of comfort first. 

A softened comforter heaped playfully on a comfy bed. 

Ice cream and apple pie, chicken soup, biscuits and gravy, chocolate…comfort food. 

Late spring in a mountain meadow painted in wildflowers against an azure canopy.  

Relief from intense pain—there are many kinds of comfort. 

 

A sky full of fuzzy-type things may pass through our minds when we hear that word. One soul may go to thoughts of tender kisses from a beautiful woman with whom they’re deeply in love, her caresses. For another, it could be a bottle of booze—a self-perpetuating and unfulfilling pursuit. The human spirit will always seek to be comforted; with leisure, fulfillment of purpose, self-indulgences…there are myriads of them. The thing is, all of these offer an incomplete comfort, and as slight as that comfort may be, it’s always temporary. It does not last.   

 

Thank God for His comfort! I’ve tried a lot of different things and nothing comes close to the permanence of the comforts God lavishes upon those who seek Him with their whole hearts. There’s a world of joy that I never before knew existed, until I did. The Lord allowed me to go down a road of great hardship, suffering and grief. I lost everything, including my reputation. My good name was no longer so good. You can read a small sample about that at the following link.  Dancing With the Devil

How did I end up there? By seeking comfort, pleasure, relief from mental anguish, and doing whatever felt good. I was doing it my way—the way of, what the bible calls: “the natural man,” referring to our sinful nature. Food, worldly success, position, honor, sex, alcohol and a lot more, and finally opioid pain pills. None of that provided the comfort I sought. Oh, I felt good sometimes, but it was so very temporary, and it always left me needing more. Instead of scratching the itch, those things merely intensified my yearning for comfort. 

“Okay God, I’ll try it Your way,” I decided one day. But I thought Christians were supposed to be joyful, rather than weeping and mourning. Blessed are those who mourn? Then I read James 4: 9 and was really baffled. “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.”  

While praying over this seeming contradiction to the Christian experience, the Lord taught me of its meaning and of the tremendous power that was available for me to finally receive the comfort and joy a Christian is supposed to experience. And it came through mourning, weeping and deep sadness—the very things I’d been trying to avoid. But what was I mourning over? Let’s read the verses preceding and following James 1;9, beginning with vs. 8.  

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and weep. Turn your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you (lift you up).”  

I won’t go into a full exegesis of these verses here. 

Verse 8 is speaking of seeking God and repentance from sin. I cannot properly repent until I understand how deeply I’ve offended a holy God. When we finally receive a clear view of God’s nature of holiness and purity, we are greatly humbled and saddened over how far short we fall from His glory. My sin was truly something to cry about. I wept and wailed over my iniquities and transgressions, acknowledging how deeply egregious they are to God.  

When I did that, something amazing happened! He took my sorrow and grief over my own sin and He supernaturally transformed it into elation and joy! He forgave my sin, cleansed me, and lifted my spirit to soar with the clouds of heaven. It was the greatest joy I’d ever experienced, and it never left—it remains today.  

It took humility to really look at, and see myself from God’s perspective. It brought great sorrow, but that was essential in order to experience the true supernatural joy that comes from the Lord. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 

 

Categories: Bible, Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, God's Kingdom, Growing in Faith, Hard to be Humble, Self Improvement, Stuff God Teaches, Testimony, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hard to be Humble

The stuff God teaches delivers the most enduring wealth of spirit.

Continuing the subject of humilty, there’s a few statements that need to be made. So I’m taking this opportunity to fill in some gaps on the topic, and this will come with greater detail and explanation in later posts as well.

Kevin Rudd

It’s in the deep recesses of a man’s convoluted thoughts where his hubris often takes up secret residence. Behind a façade comprised of false humilities, where he’s convinced Himself the projection of meekness casts its glow, he seeks the final jewel in his crown of grandiosity.

There’s not a single soul among us who’s not been influenced by the sin of pride. Developing an enduring humility, the antithesis and nemesis of pride, is a lifelong pursuit. It took tremendous tragedy, conjoined with the devastation of my reputation, before I could even perceive the pride that resided in my own heart.

So elusive is this virtue of godliness, that one’s life must often be reduced to rubble before the genuine attributes of humility can shine forth as diamonds peeking out from a mud pie. For me, it took an unfaithful spouse, divorce, and finally a term in prison to prep the soil of my heart for God’s loving humility to merely begin sprouting. When a man’s life turns to poo, he finally finds the handle, but even then, its residence is often as momentary as the proverbial travelling salesman’s night with the farmer’s daughter. Perhaps humility’s a bit like unto Bigfoot, never being captured with any certainty, so we may begin to doubt its very existence.

But we have a paragon of humble servitude, a perfect role-model in Christ Jesus. Isn’t it a fantastically ironic thing that only God Himself can perfectly model humility?

As Christians, it’s a trust issue. Can we trust our Lord to hold and mold our character, to provide our satisfactions, and bank our accolades, and finally our rewards? There are scads of attributes and accomplishments for which we hunger to be recognized.

After all, what’s wrong with the tasting of notoriety in the here and now? Am I supposed to be poor, unknown and miserable all my days? Will we really find contentment without being known as the great mind behind this or that? How do we appease this longing to be recognized, lauded and celebrated?

Like many youngsters, I endured the chicken pox as a toddler. I can still recall the incessant itchiness, and mom refusing to allow me to scratch it. That’s what this feels like, doesn’t it? We want to be awarded, noted, or at least afforded the credit we’re due, yet the Lord calls us to patiently endure the itch without scratching?

Better yet, what has the Lord promised in return? Do we know the secret that’s not so secret? That He offers complete and total satiation while still in this life below? The Lord desires us to discover the absence of want—to know the “I shall not want” of David’s 23rd Psalm, and how it’s realized both exclusively and comprehensively through total dependence upon our Lord.

 

Apostle Paul was used by God to convey the means of applying the truths expounded in Christ’s doctrines, that we may grow thereby and emulate His glorious attributes and virtues, including humility. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:11
It is solely through Christ Jesus that we are made alive unto God. When we are dead to sin, it loses the power it once had over us. On the other side of that coin, being alive to God, love now compels us to obedience to His word and to the Spirit of Christ within.

I believe the key to humility lies in accepting our complete and total inadequacies to develop humility on our own. We must sacrifice our pride, including how proud we are of our education and intellect, to Jesus.

 

“Father in heaven, we ask for our eyes to be opened to pride in each of our lives. Pride that so often we’re not even aware is resident within us. Help us to die to self on a daily basis, that we may truly live in and for Christ. Teach us, Lord, to be humble. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.” 

 

Next, we’ll look at “those who mourn” from Jesus’ sermon on the mount, and see how this too relates to humility.

Categories: Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Elusive humility, Hard to be Humble, Jesus, Stuff God Teaches, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blood of Life

In his book Written In Blood, Robert Coleman tells the story of a girl who was suffering from a disease that would soon take her life, unless… Lisa was told that without a blood transfusion her death would be imminent. Thankfully, she had a little brother who shared her blood type, which was very rare. The fact that he’d defeated this same disease three years earlier offered the doctor even greater hope for success. So the physician carefully explained all of this to Lisa’s little brother, Dennis, discretely informing him that without the transfusion his sister would surely die.

 

“For the life of a creature is in the blood…” Lev. 17:11

 

“Do you think you would be brave enough to give your blood to your sister?” he asked. Dennis’ lips trembled nervously as he contemplated the situation, but finally, he smiled and said, “For my sister, yes, I’ll do it.”

 

As the two children were rolled into the hospital room, Lisa’s body looked enervated and pale, while Dennis appeared quite robust. The boy smiled at his sister. Together, they watched the blood make its way through the clear plastic tubing as it flowed out of Dennis’ arm and into her’s. Eventually, the smile began to fade from the boy’s little face, and he lay there feeling weak. Looking intently up at the elderly MD, he asked, “Doctor, when am I going to die?”

 

Dennis thought he would have to give all of his blood to Lisa, believing he was trading his life for his sister’s. Because of his love for her, he was prepared to pay that price.

 

When the Son of God became a man, coming to earth revealing God to mankind, one of the memorable truths He disclosed sheds light on that young boy’s willingness to sacrifice himself for his sister. Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

 

That’s precisely what Jesus came to do—to be the Christ, the Savior—to offer Himself as a sacrifice to pay the terrible penalty for the sins of the whole world. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

 

Since no other person who has ever lived on earth is perfect, this was the only way a perfectly innocent sacrifice could be made. God Himself had to provide the Lamb for the sarifice.

 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

 

The good news of Jesus Christ has come, been declared and preached. This news concerns the greatest love ever known, and the greatest love ever shown.

 

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

 

God loves us. Jesus sacrificed Himself, giving His life blood to save you and me. God wants us to repent of our sins—turn to Him, and simply believe on His Son, Jesus Christ, and trust Him to be the Lord of our lives.

Categories: Bible, Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Devotional, Jesus, Love, Medical practice, sacrifice, Salvation, Testimony, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Are God’s Masterpiece

Have you ever noticed how adeptly Jesus addressed the issues of life? He always goes straight to the heart of every difficulty, and shines the light of truth to expose the root of everything that’s wrong with the world, along with the real cause of every sin. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Heb. 4:13)

I find it to be so very awesome to have a relationship with Christ Jesus—His wisdom is beyond the scope of my comprehension. And yet, He knows how to convey truths to each individual person in a manner that can be clearly understood. But there are some qualifiers—things He requires of us before He does so.

 

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He sets it forth like this—“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)

“Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:21)

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Col. 3:1)

We love from our hearts, or from the center of our being, at the very root of who and what we are.

Jesus Christ is “The Truth.”  Love desires to know the Truth.

Love desires to obey Truth—to act & speak in a manner consistent with and faithful to the Truth.

Love remains in the light—it doesn’t hide in darkness from the Truth.

A child of God who has been born from above, lives moment to moment seeking to perfect this Love.

Jesus has planted that seed of love in our hearts—in each of those who belong to Him. We are given a new nature and a softened heart that can be shaped by the hands of the Master. As the gardener of our hearts, our heavenly Father is faithful to nurture, prune, test, grow, and constantly tend that love until it finds completion on the glorious day when Christ Jesus returns.

God continues to impact who and what we are with His dynamic love, which produces transformation in us. Then He begins to love all others through us, for we have entered into Christ, and He dwells within us through His Spirit.

I have discovered a fantastic truth. The more I let God’s love flow out of me to others, the more of His love He pours in! So I say, let His love flow!

 

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Categories: Bible, Christian Living, Devotional, God's Faithfulness, Growing in Faith, Jesus, Love, new nature, Testimony, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Plan For You

Dear Christian,

God has one all-encompassing purpose for you, and He has promised to bring it to pass. That is, to make you like His Son, Jesus, which is the highest and greatest position anyone could ever possibly have! We are predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son. This in no way negates man’s freedom of choice. I’m not a determinist, yet do I believe in the sovereignty of God.

 

“…Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

Romans 8:29

 

Once you and I agree with God on this particular part of His plan, which says we are to be conformed to the image of Christ, it should become like a juggernaut, driving all that we do. It’s a process, and we grow into it. Our delight in doing God’s will takes all the sting out of life’s disappointments. It’s a love thing.

 

Whatever you may have aspired to, that God has thus far withheld, He has something far better for you. Sometimes, it might not look that way, but faith sees the invisible, including the future that Christ has promised to those who love Him. If you’re a Christian, then when you placed your faith in Christ to be saved, in essence you were saying that you trust in Jesus, so trust Him. He’s more than worthy, and immutably faithful to His word. 

 

In order for us to remain joyful and fully satisfied right now, He teaches us to be eternally minded. The bible refers to it as spiritually minded, and, we trust in His Promises. That’s how we embrace God’s will. It’s a way for us to grow to love Him and His plan, perfectly. 

 

It may be of benefit to list just a few of the plenteous eternal promises God has given to you.

  • God will not stop working inside you (making you like Jesus): “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” 
  • You will reign with Christ: “…if we endure, we will also reign with him.” (2 Tim. 2:12), 
  • You Will inherit all things: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17
  • There will be no more: sorrow, sin, death, night, pain, suffering—all the bad things in life will be forever gone (in eternity).
  • God will reveal Himself to you: “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” (He reveals Himself to His own, in this life, right now).
  • God will provide for your physical, spiritual and emotional needs:And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
  • He will give you power (supernatural assistance) to do what pleases Him. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13

      

(Be advised, this series will be coming in short bursts, and the next 4 posts will be coming approximately 2-3 days apart.)

 How can we become eternally and spiritually minded, yet still live and operate in this temporal realm?

 

The answer’s right here, in God’s word.  We find the “How-To” peppered throughout scripture. Look at our main, recurring text for this series:  Paul summarizes it like this, in Romans 12:1-2.

 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

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Don’t miss the next post, when the above verses will be fully examined, and the “How-To” explained.  You are Christ’s most treasured possession, and as the church we are the Bride of Christ.

Categories: Bible, Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Growing in Faith, LIstening to God, Salvation, Sanctification, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Prison Poetry

Television networks like A&E make a fortune off of airing footage from inside state prisons. People seem intrigued or curious about what goes on inside those walls. There’s even a site online that sells memorabilia once owned by infamous prisoners. There’s a great deal of art, music and poetry that flow out of the prison systems as well, and often hand crafted products. I’ve known dozens of fine Christian men who are incarcerated, and I enjoy visiting with them. Some have now served their time and been released. Today I’m offering up this short poem written by one of those friends. You may find it odd, or different. It was written by my friend, Frank H. in Westville Correctional Facility, an Indiana State Prison. He has since gone to be with the Lord.

In honor of Frank H., a man completely transformed by the love of Christ. Miss you bro!

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Solo Party

 

Havin a party—it’s here, inside

No, you can’t come in, cause I’m me alone

It’s just a cup of joe

A penitent man and a radio

Walking down this beaten path

That’s winding through my brain

Listen now, and hear me laugh

A bend in time to kill the pain

Outside my window, upon the horizon

The sun paints colors there

Inside my windows, a glimpse, just one

Freedom blazes a gala fair

Behind the walls, inside the fence

The state penitentiary

My body’s here, they have this dust

But my spirit, it is free

 

Living a Christian life behind bars is not easy, and Frank had many challenges, and faced physical danger daily. Yet whenever we corresponded, he was always more concerned with how I was doing. He constantly assured me that he was praying for me, and he loved to share the bible with others.

 

The next post from Series On Doing God’s Will is coming very soon.

Please subscribe to be notified of future posts. Thank you and have a suprememly blessed day!

Categories: Christian Living, Incarceration, Jail House Religion, People, Poem, prison, Testimony, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura)

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It’s painful and sad to hear a preacher trying to explain away a wrong interpretation of scripture. Mans’ nature has always been to create a God of their own, which fits their lifestyle and beliefs. Falsehood runs rampant throughout communities of people who say they have Christ, and yet Christ does not have them—they trust in something more than the finished work of Christ. Worshipping a God of their own imaginations, they’re inculcated with a wrong theology based in humanistic reasoning. We can never come to know God that way.  

 

I remember several times throughout my 40 years of bible study (intermittently), when I’d read something I did not like. It didn’t fit with my idea of God. The enemy is good at offering us alternative meanings that we’re more comfortable with. But I praise God that I learned how necessary it was for me to humble myself and allow the Spirit to lead me into a proper understanding. The scriptures mean what they say. When the text is didactic, we cannot monkey around with its meaning, such as in the epistles of the New Testament. Where the text is a narrative, giving an historical account, we need to have more discernment from the Spirit. We must be very careful, prayerfully studying with a mind yeilded to the Spirit, before trying to claim a truth drawn from inference out of a historical narrative.  

To the intellectually humble, the Lord will give understanding and spiritual wisdom. Surprisingly, the very concepts we had difficulty accepting will be the same truths which end up blessing us the most. Often, we’ve simply had wrong understandings of them, or did not have the complete picture of that truth and the reason for it. Remember what God said, My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Mine are so much higher than yours—as high as the heavens are above the earth. This is why we MUST allow Him to teach us, rather than trying to reason from our own minds. He is God, we are not. 

 

“…Be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Romans 12:2b 

“…Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Colossians 3:10 

 

By Scripture Alone — Sola Scriptura 

What we mean when we say “Scripture Alone” is that here on earth the only thing which has supreme authority over the church is scripture—God’s word. The church is to be in subjection to the scriptures, rather than any member or group within the church usurping its authority—going beyond or subtracting from what has been revealed within it. We do acknowledge that Christ has delegated some authority to His church (to be discussed). The bible not only reveals to us what the truth is, the scriptures are also our Master’s explicit instruction manual. Adamantly proclaiming that the bible is our only supreme authority on earth comes in response to the church’s errors of superseding and adding to scripture.  

 

Scores of heresies have been imaginatively promulgated and thrust upon congregants of various assemblies, compelling them to participate. The veneration of and praying to Saints is idolatry. There’s been the false notion of purgatory and selling of indulgences. There has been the priest’s erroneous use of absolution and forgiving of sins, and a host of other heresies which have wrought much harm to the true church. There was the practice of purchasing deceased loved ones from purgatory, purporting that it would allow them entrance into eternal life in heaven. These are merely a few examples of a plethora of errors which have plagued us. Not to mention the numerous atrocities perpetrated by the church’s use of false authority spanning several centuries. The bible does not support any of these things of which we speak. In fact, many of them are in direct opposition to what God has declared to us in His infallible, authoritative word. 

 

“This concept (Sola Scriptura) came to the fore publicly during Luther’s famous confrontation with the rulers of the state church at the Diet of Worms on April 18, 1521.” Dr. R.C. Sproul 

 

Scores of books relate these events and several films depict Martin Luther’s 1521 appearance before this Roman Catholic council. 

 

Martin Luther was a professor of biblical interpretation at the university of Wittenberg. Earlier that same year (1521) he’d been excommunicated by the Pope. His works subsequent to the 95 theses had set off a chain of reform all across Europe. He was then called upon to appear before the Diet (assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire to answer for charges of heresy. Bound by Christ to remain faithful, he refused to recant.  

 

Standing before the papacy, Luther valiantly stated, “Unless I am convinced by sacred scripture or by evident reason, I cannot recant, for my conscience is held captive by the word of God.” He went on to state, “To act against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, God help me.” 

 

Sola Scriptura was Luther’s primary thrust or emphasis at this trial before a spiritually illegitimate council, which had blatantly usurped authority over God’s holy word. And as Luther too had earlier pointed out, we know that it is possible for a pope, a pastor, or even a church council to err and make mistakes. Yet the word of God is perfect and does not err.  

 

The only absolutely authoritative written source of Divine revelation is the scripture itself. There is also what we call “General Revelation,” which is drawn from creation, as we see expounded in Romans 1:20 — “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”  

 

Many of the Psalms too espouse this concept of general revelation—things we learn about God by what He has made. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1b 

 

In one of my recent messages, I stated that “Creation in its entirety is designed to reflect the glory of God. By observing the universe, we comprehend a glimpse of His divine; wisdom, love, power and splendor.” 

 

The scriptures are special revelation, rather than general revelation. Primary in the tension between Catholicism and Protestantism, from Luther on down through the years, has been over “Special Revelation.” Protestants proclaim the truth that there is only one source of special revelation, and that being scripture. But the church of Rome espoused the erroneous belief in two sources of special revelation—scripture and church tradition. But Sola Scriptura was not a concept born during the reformation. It was espoused by many church fathers throughout the preceding 1500 years. 

 

“The Scriptures alone are the proper source from which Christian doctrine and morals should be extracted.” Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430 AD) 

 

“I have learned to hold only the holy scripture inerrant.” Augustine 

 

 Rome held the Council of Trent in response to Luther and the Protestant doctrine. This council was spread out over a few years, holding various sessions. It was during the 4th session that the Roman Catholic church erroneously declared the truths of God to be found in both scripture and in the church’s historic traditions. The way it’s stated in the first draft of that session, says “The truth of God is contained partly in scripture and partly in tradition.” In effect this would mean that our doctrine should be drawn half from God and half from man. Granted, the traditions were from the history of the church. But the church is made up of fallible humanity. Redeemed or not, we are still not perfect. Not only is this so, but also: the bible is a perfect and complete revelation and needs no additions—explanation and exposition, yes—additions or subtractions, no. 

 

The bible clearly teaches that the idea which purports mankind can become perfectly sinless in this life, is glaringly false. If you’re not so sure about that, read Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 7, which is only one of many references we could offer to demonstrate that what is known in theological circles as the doctrine of perfectionism is erroneous. But that’s an entire issue in itself which can be addressed at another time. 

 

Our focus here is to declare that scripture is our only source of written revelation and the only written authority that can bind absolutely (though it’s not the only authority). During the reformation came the affirmation that the bible was the “Vox Dei” meaning “Voice of God,” or the “Werbum Dei”: the “Word of God.” It is inerrant because it comes to us through God the Holy Spirit’s superintendence. The bible is inspired to the extent that God is its’ author, even though it is transmitted to us through human writers. Human writers, admittedly are fallible. But we believe that God so assisted these particular 40 human individuals so as to accurately transcribe His intended meaning, His words, without flaw. Scripture declares itself to be authoritative. 

 

 In wrapping up this compendium on Scripture Alone, I’d like to affirm that God has given the church on earth authority. It has authority to teach, exhort, rebuke and to discipline, according to scripture. It has the authority and command to preach the Gospel and shine the light it has been given. The church has authority to act as the preservers of the truths found in scripture. It is to act as salt in arresting corruption and in preserving the word of God. It is given authority to speak and pray in Jesus’ name. No, we do not deny that the church has been granted some degree of authority, and yet its authority is always subject to the scrutiny of the word of God, the Bible. And so, we proclaim “Sola Scriptura.” 

 

Please note the articles yet to come on the Five Solas. We will cover: Faith’s relation to works of righteousness, the grace of God, Christ alone is sufficient. And finally an article on the purpose behind it all: the glory of God. Blessings to all!

Categories: Bible, Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Church, Reformation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reclaiming Truth from Error

Image result for martin luther nailing theses

God has always had His faithful remnant—those who hold to the true gospel of Jesus Christ and the doctrines given through His holy Apostles. And yet, much of that doctrine, along with the genuine essence of the Good news down through history, has gone through periods of being horrendously obfuscated for many. It was progressively obscured for centuries by the devilish deceptions imposed upon the minds of a great number of professing Christians. Much heresy was perpetuated by the Roman Catholic state church. But praise God! He has raised up genuinely heroic reformers who, though threatened with being ostracized, excommunicated, imprisoned, or even killed, shone the light of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

 

We do not reject or deny the salvation of individuals simply because of what denomination they may be. We hold that God has, and will continue to lead many souls across the threshhold of eternal life in Christ regardless of their denomination. Requisite, however, is the hearing of the truth of the gospel. So long as they are exposed to the scriptures, or have had the Gospel of Christ preached to them, for faith comes through hearing the word of God. 

 

Probably the best-known event which effectually launched those trying years of reformation transpired on October 31, 1517, when in defiance of the hierarchal reign of religious tyranny, Martin Luther valiantly nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle church. There were myriad truths to be reclaimed—truth which had been hazed over by powerful Catholicism. And out of this reforming movement came Protestantism, blazing with luminary, life-giving truth.  

 

Jesus said that He would build His church, and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. This magnificent promise continues to be a comforting balm of assurance, especially in our society’s current climate. It’s heartening to know our Lord has things well in hand—we need that affirmation. Because, pseudo Christianity is again on the rise, and a plethora of bogus doctrines are promulgated. False gospels abound and antichrists are plentiful. Most of these are nothing new, but merely old heresies packaged a bit differently than they were in the past to better deceive modern day man. Thankfully, God’s word remains flawless, and we strive to defend the faith delivered by our fathers—its precious authenticity, “against the novel opinions of its opponents.” (Augustine)  

 

If we were to condense some of the most dynamic truths recaptured by the reformation and communicated them, at the heart of such a synopsis would surely be the Five Solas; particularly in reference to soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). But equally important is the authority and inerrancy of scripture in juxtaposition with that of the church and its traditions. Sola is the Latin word for “alone.”

 

THE FIVE SOLAS ARE: 

  1. Sola Scriptura:  Scripture Alone: The Bible alone is our highest authority. 
  2. Sola FideFaith Alone: We’re saved through faith alone, apart from works.  
  3. Sola GratiaGrace Alone: We’re saved by God’s grace alone, apart from law. 
  4. Solus ChristusChrist Alone: Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and High Priest, or Mediator. 
  5. Soli Deo GloriaTo the Glory of God Alone: All that we do is for the glory of God alone.  

 

We affirm the faith delivered to us by Jesus’ holy Apostles who teach us that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. We also affirm the inerrancy and supreme authority of scripture. 

 

Taking each of these vital truths individually, for the understanding of everyone, I’ve already given each of them a brief explanation above. To treat them more thoroughly, I’ll be following up with truncated articles to expound each definition with corresponding examples and applications in succeeding posts and links. We will also discuss regeneration by faith alone, and the righteous works which invariably will follow.

 

These truths are vital for selecting which church to join ourselves to. They are vital for understanding how to be saved. Knowing them can aid us in detecting false doctrine and error. This is why I’ve begun with the most important of the “Alones”—Scripture Alone, from which all five are validated.

 

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Categories: Bible, Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Church, People, Providence, Salvation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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