Authority Over Satan

“This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. But every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist; you have heard that he is coming, and he is already in the world now. You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:2-4. HCSB.

“Because this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality. Now when this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” 1 Corinthians 15:53-57.

Yes, every Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ does have authority over Satan. However, I must qualify my statement by saying this, It is Christ in us Who gives us this authority for we do not have this power simply because of our relationship with the Son of God. We are given this “because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:2-4. We MUST recognize this statement for what it is. We are in Him and without Him we can do nothing. Jesus is quite clear about this, “Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:4-6.
We must also be reminded with this statement in Jude 6-9 that we cannot face the power of a Fallen Angel without the authority of the Lord, “ And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

We must hold a deep respect for the authority of Satan because this power is allowed him by God. “The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.” Job 1:12. However, this respect for his power should not bleed over to his person. We are only human beings who are not able to stand up without the indwelling Spirit of God. It is God, not we alone who will fight our battles. What we do know is that our daily conflicts are spiritual in nature, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13.

Are we able to defeat Satan? Yes, but not in our strength. Just as Paul was content with who he was in Christ Jesus because He empowered him for His glory alone. And when we boast, just as Paul did, we boast in Christ, “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:28-31. But let us not stop there for Paul also writes, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.” Galatians 6:14-16.

Jesus is Lord.

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Are You ‘Integrity Challenged?’

The Word of God clearly demonstrates the importance of integrity for every Follower of the Christ. In this sinful world it is obvious that the Believer’s integrity must fulfill the righteousness of God. The example of  sinless integrity can only be found in Jesus. However, the ability to accomplish the impossible is present in every Follower of the Christ. It is absolutely imperative for every Believer to follow the steps of the Spirit of Jesus, “Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:8-11 HCSB.

There are those among us who claim to be Christian and challenge those who are able to demonstrate the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives with consistency. Do these folks sometimes sin? Absolutely, but the consistency in their walk will always overshadow the weaknesses that are in every Believer. What we must understand that no one among is perfect. I wish this were not the case, but, “Hello, we live in a fallen world and sometimes the best of us will commit sin.” I hope that you are not surprised by this.

Please note this admonishment coming from the pen of the Apostle Paul, “And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; He triumphed over them by Him. Therefore don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a sabbath day. These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is the Messiah.” Colossians 2:13-17.

What we now understand from the message of the Gospel is that the Law was/is fulfilled in Christ Jesus. Jesus made the complete sacrifice for our sin which was/is the revelation of God’s will for everyone who believes in what Jesus did on the Cross. Jesus made possible everything possible for salvation which was completed on the Day of His resurrection. By this one event we have in Christ what is required and by faith we are in Him.  There is now the circumcision of the heart because of the crucifixion of the flesh of the Christ, the death and burial the defeat of sin, and the resurrection to newness of life proves that our sins are forgiven.  Everyone who now chooses to Follow the Christ is delivered from the curse of the Law. Through Christ we who were dead in sins, are now made alive in the risen Christ. Christ’s death was the death of our sins; Christ’s resurrection gives the Believer’s soul life everlasting. What more are we able to say? I am certain that I may have missed something. But this is the reason that

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the perversity of the treacherous destroys them.” Proverbs 11:3.

 “And who will harm you if you are passionate for what is good?  But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, but set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.  However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:13-17.

For this reason, the death burial and resurrection of my Lord, I am able to live a victorious life in the Holy Spirit every day that I live. I do not understand why every Follower of the Christ does not live like this and I want to encourage every Believer with the words of the Apostle, “Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you.” Romans 8:4. This is the foundation of our walk of Christian Integrity, the Spirit of God lives in you. Jesus is Lord.

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What Does ‘Putting God First’ Really Mean?

What does it really mean to put God first in your life? Perhaps, to answer that question, we might begin by answering from a biblical perspective. In Deuteronomy 6:5 we find these words, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Quickly review Exodus 20:5-6, “You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.”HCSB. ‘Them’ refers to ‘other gods.’The first order of the day is to love God primarily as the first 4 Commandments tell us and the remaining 6 are a result of obedience to the the first 4.
 
We cannot love without first loving Him in the Person of Jesus Christ for in Him we are a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”2 Corinthians 5:17–21 HCSB. What we are now able to do is to love as He loves because we are in Him.
Because we are ‘in Christ’ we will follow Him and not the desires of our hearts. John writes in 1 John 2:3-6, “This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him: The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked.”Verse 6 is the operative phrase which simply tells us that Followers of the Christ will walk as Jesus walked. This is not as difficult as one may think. Remember that Paul spoke of his ability to accomplish difficult things, “I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13. His strength to endure and accomplish is found in Christ Jesus. We also know that our relationship with the Christ has foundation in two inseparable stones of spiritual truth: “For through the law I have died to the law, so that I might live for God. 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. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” Galatians 2:6-21 and “Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. 7 Therefore, do not become their partners. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— discerning what is pleasing to the Lord. Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. Everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you. Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.” You might think that v 18 is the operative statement here, but not so. Vv 15 and 16 introduce the thought of being filled with the Holy Spirit; “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” Followers of the Christ, we must not neglect who we are in Him, but take care of how we walk in Him because our environment is deceitful.
We will love one another and without question, but a lost person cannot love apart from the love of Christ which comes by faith expressed in His grace. Jesus is Lord.
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Confronting Absolute Values in Morality and Ethics

Many movements of immorality within our culture have allowed sexual activity outside of the biblical standards of morality. Homosexuals simply have an “alternate lifestyle” and a different “sexual orientation.” Cohabitation without marriage is a “domestic partnership.” Seldom do we hear words like “fornication” or “adultery.” However, the LBGT movement has become so accepted that those who do believe and hold to biblical morality have been marginalized to a great degree and within the local church there seems to be a growing number of folks who wish to protect those participating in immoral activity.
Questions such as, :”How should we determine what conduct is moral or immoral?” and “What principles should determine what is morally right or wrong?” For thousands of years the Word of God has stood as His absolute standard of morality around the world. Until recent decades mankind has generally agreed that the Bible has revealed God’s will and has been the manual used to understand and apply it
We are presented with the question of what standards or standard should be used to to determine what is right and what is wrong. Many think that local or national government should set the standard for moral correctness. History tells us that often times governments are morally corrupt which results in horrible atrocities And it is historically true that mankind discovers over and over again that just as Peter claimed in Acts 5:29, “We must obey God rather than men“No matter the opposition we must hold to the teaching of God’s Word.

Many believe that immoral practices must be acceptable because a certain group approves them. What we must understand is that the majority point of view may very well be displeasing to God. Let the biblical record speak for itself, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the wilderness.”1 Corinthians 10:1-5. What we do know is that Jesus said most people are on the road to destruction, “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14.

Some folks wish to justify sin simply because people they know are involved in it. But if we are honest we will admit that we are sinful and fallible lot then we must also admit that we are wrong. IN the end we must obey Jesus even though we do not agree with those around us. Look at these powerful words of the Christ, “Now great crowds were traveling with Him. So He turned and said to them: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:25-27.

Absolute values are determined by the God of the Universe. Because He is God and Creator He rules over this creation. And like it or not everyone in the room will be judged according to whether or not we have repented from our sin and conformed to His will. “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31.

Right here lies the end of our dispute. If we believe the Bible to be the infallible Word of God, our conclusions about moral issues will always be in conflict with those who do not believe in the biblical record. Jesus is Lord.

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What Is Paul teaching in Romans 3:10-12

Romans 3:9-20 and Ephesians 2:1-3 may be the most often used when the subject is Total Depravity. First, let us view the entire passages and then view a few select verses which will demonstrate what happens when they are taken from their context.

“What then? Are we better off? Certainly not, for we have already charged that Jews and Greeks alike are all under sin, just as it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves, they deceive with their tongues, the poison of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:9-20 HCSB.

Paul makes it obvious in the very last phrase of this text that our knowledge of sin comes through the laws of God, but that we are not made righteous before Him because we are able to achieve good works found in the law. This thought must not be forgotten as we move along. But, now let us examine these statements which are so fundamental to the argument for Total Depravity……

“What then? Are we any better? Not at all! For we have previously charged that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin, as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one.” Romans 3:9-12.

It is not difficult to see why these vv are popular among those who support the philosophy of Total Depravity. Paul teaches us that everyone is under sin, no one is righteous, cannot understand nor seeks after God. Simply stated and seen alone, this statement does seem to indicate the total inability to achieve any kind of good. Before we become alarmed and race to find verses to support Total Depravity, let us move forward.

Observe a few things taken from their context in Romans 3:9-20: The Apostle tells us no one is righteous and no one who does any good. We are not considered unrighteous because the weight of sin is mixed with our goodness, but our unrighteousness is present until we are made righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul clearly states that in our corrupt state we are incapable of achieving a single good thing.

In Ephesians 2:1-6 Paul writes, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!” From these 6 verses we find it difficult not to find an avenue of Total Depravity. However, we must continue reading this letter and we find something else, not different, but instructional, “You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth. Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the Devil an opportunity.” Ephesians 4:25-27. We cannot miss the active participation of ‘the way we were.” That is, the sinner making a choice to remove “your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted…” The corrupted sinner has discovered the Christ by grace through faith and has now made a choice to remove himself from the old way of sin. It is quite remarkable that those immersed in Calvinism refuse to see this truth.

From Romans 3 we are able to discern that without help from God no one has any righteousness with which to call upon Him and there is no simple understanding of or a desire to look for Him. However, Paul does make a statement in Romans 1 about His presence in our world, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.” Romans 1:18-20.

From chapter 1 we know that God makes himself known to everyone “So people are without excuse” and what we find no mention of an argument for Total Depravity in Romans 3:9-10. However, what we do discover is that the Apostle gives us insight concerning choices man has made from the beginning. Obviously, in order to have no excuse for sin before God, choices must have been given and made. Without choices there would be no excuses. But we do know that Eve made a choice when tempted by the serpent to disobey God. And soon thereafter Adam and Eve attempted to hide their nakedness from God. Choices of disobedience and deception are painfully obvious from the beginning of human existence. They could have chosen differently, but did not and NOT because of so-called Total Depravity, but because of the freedom of the will to choose given by God. God makes himself known to us, choices are made by many to ignore Him and there is no excuse to say, “I do not know of God” or “There is no God.”

In spite of statements taken from their contexts, Romans 3:9-20 does not mention Total Depravity nor total inability. While Paul does tell us that we are sinners as seen in 3:23, verses found within vv 9-20 must be left within the context of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome.

Yes, removed from the context this passage does seem to suggest Total Depravity and is extra-biblical in nature. However, when studied within the bounds of context we must be carefully honest with ourselves others about personal motives. We must seek first the direction that God takes the reader before we apply our life experiences.

Paul’s letter to the Romans really is not about “How to Go to Heaven” even though most of us evangelicals will know what the “Roman Road” is and we must be candidly careful just how this is utilized for to remove any verse of Scripture for whatever reason is not justifiable without careful exegesis.

Here it is important to understand that the message of Romans is not simply about justification or how to be saved. Paul’s message to the Romans is the instruction to a local church. His thought is how to live and function as Followers of the Christ according to the gospel of Christ, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.“ Romans 1:16-17. The Apostle’s thoughts in cc 1-8 are concerning a sinner’s situation in the face of the consequences of sin.

But this does not continue the contextual evidence found in the first 8 chapters, but crossing to Romans 9–11 Paul suddenly changes subjects and turns to God’s covenant with Israel. We who follow the Christ must know that Paul is writing to Believers concerning God’s provision now.

Returning to Romans 3:9-20 we find a warning to Believers in Rome not to become proud of their place before God. Paul instructs us that we stand with the same measure before the Almighty. There is no privileged position found in His Presence. Even Jesus said the mother requesting a place of importance for her two sons in Matthew 20:26-28, “It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life — a ransom for many.”

Paul’s instruction to the Jewish believers is because they have the Law and the Prophets does not make them guiltless before God. However, they are just as guilty as the Gentiles is found in his question in vv 1-2, “So what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Considerable in every way. First, they were entrusted with the spoken words of God.” But, did they have a privileged position as a result? Yes, However, “What then? If some did not believe, will their unbelief cancel God’s faithfulness? Absolutely not! God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written: That You may be justified in Your words and triumph when You judge.”

Those that hold to the idea that God has previously elected some to be in Heaven with Him and previously damned others to Hell apart from Him holds to a perspective of privilege which Jesus and Paul clearly object to. Just a thought for Jesus is Lord.

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The High View of Scripture Stands Against Calvinism

 

Those of us who are opposed to Calvinism will agree that God is completely sovereign and is demonstrated over and over again in His Word. We will also disagree with the philosophy of Calvinism to be the guide of Christian faith as opposed to Scripture. The same holds true with Scripture demonstrating the omnipotence of God instead of leaning on Calvinism. Do I believe that God is all-knowing? Absolutely, because Word of God speaks of His omnipotence countless times throughout. My question is this, “Why should I or anyone else listen to the philosophy of Calvinism?”
The Bible narrative from Genesis to Revelation demonstrates that God never changes. “Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace and not by foods, since those involved in them have not benefited.” Hebrews 13:7-9 HCSB.. One of the most difficult things that Calvinism expresses is ‘total depravity’ which removes anyone from responding to the message of the Gospel to save those who believe. Is man sinful? Absolutely so, but Calvinism restricts God from allowing His most precious of creation, because of sin, to freely believe that His Son’s sacrifice on a Cross provides eternal salvation.
We know that God’s grace is demonstrated in Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Please note that mankind has access to His grace by faith and not that His grace is irresistible as Calvinism claims.
Election is not at issue with those who have a high regard for the Word of God because we find that anyone who is found to be “in Christ” is of the ‘elect,’ but the philosophy of Calvinism holds to an ‘unconditional election.’ In other words, some folks will go to Heaven and others to Hell because of God’s predetermined selection before time began. But, what does Paul write? In Romans 8:15-17 is found these words, “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” And in Ephesians 1:10-13 the Apostle continues, “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him for the administration of the days of fulfillment—to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him. We have also received an inheritance in Him, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory. When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 1:21 reads like this, “For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.” But, what does Calvinism express? This philosophy changes that last phrase to say, “was pleased to save those who He caused to believe.”
Ephesians 1:13, “When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” again, we find a discrepancy in Calvinism which tells us, “after that you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise, you believed.” Which is correct? Calvinism or the Word of God?
Romans 5:2 tells us, “We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” But, Calvinism simply changes the position of the words ‘faith’ and ‘grace’ and then we find, “we have access through Him by grace into this faith.” Which is correct, Calvinism or God’s Word?
John 6:44-47 records these words of Jesus, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me— not that anyone has seen the Father except the One who is from God. He has seen the Father. I assure you: Anyone who believes has eternal life.”
However, the philosophy of the Calvinist will claim that Jesus is speaking of irresistible grace, but what is actually said here? Jesus tells us, “Everyone who has listened and learned from the Father comes to Me.” Yes, the one who learns from Him will come to the Christ, but this is an illustration of the undeniable freedom of the will to listen which is not prejudiced by a predetermined act of God.
And, yet again we find that Calvinism throws a wrench into the Word of God and attempts to change the context of Acts 13:44-48, “The following Sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the message of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to oppose what Paul was saying by insulting him. Then Paul and Barnabas boldly said: ‘It was necessary that God’s message be spoken to you first. But since you reject it and consider yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles! For this is what the Lord has commanded us: I have made you a light for the Gentiles to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the message of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed.” Follow this statement of Luke with Paul’s statement in Ephesians chapter one. The entirety of this chapter speaks of predestination founded upon the fact of believing faith in what Christ had done on the Cross. Paul writes that the Gospel message is what God uses to bring His elect to faith, that is, the good news of “salvation.” When Gentiles heard it, they listened to it and believed Paul’s message just as Jesus had said in Luke’s narrative. Their faith resulted in salvation and being sealed by God’s Spirit. He simply provides eternal security as a result their expressed faith in the Christ.
The point to be made is that we who are not Calvinists certainly believe in the stated fact of election or predestination as found in the New Testament. However, where we differ with the Calvinist is that faith is an expression of the freedom of the will which God allows us and not His predetermined and calculated design for all of mankind to be allowed into Heaven or condemned to Hell. Read what the Christ said to Nicodemus in John chapter 3, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.” vv 16-18. Jesus is Lord.

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Countering Foolish Statements III

“I believe that the entire Bible is in some sense, but not all of it in the same way, the Word of God.”

There has never, ever, been a single moment in my lifetime that I have doubted the accuracy, truth or infallibility of the Word of God, ever. Almost 7 decades account for my short time in this frail body that my soul occupies and I have vague memories of my third year. From my first memories of church the Bible has been an important part of who I was am at this very moment. Paul says an interesting thing, “You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NASB. I began to learn about the Christ from a very early age, most likely from the first Sunday after my birth which would be about my 6th day of life. Bible verse memory was a vital aspect of my learning experiences. From that first week of life and after I expressed public faith in Christ as a 7 year-old at the First Baptist Church of Lubbock, Texas, there has never been a question as to whether or not the Bible is completely true.

However, over the course of these many years and encounters with thousands of people, indeed I have heard this statement, “I believe that the entire Bible is in some sense, but not all of it in the same way, the Word of God.” But, I do recall with vivid clarity the first time I was confronted by someone who did not hold to the same understanding. I was in my first semester at Texas Tech University and was visiting a ‘Coffee House’ which was one of many hangouts of Tech students. We were sitting across from one another talking about religion when for the very first time I heard someone challenge the veracity of God’s Word. The young man spoke disparagingly about the Bible and questioned the truth of it. To say that I was offended is just the half of it. In fact, I was asked to leave the building. To say the least, I could have responded differently, but I did not know of anyone who could have possibly speak in such a derogatory fashion about the Bible.

What I do know today is far different from what I knew on that night almost 50 years ago, but the intensity of the argument of unbelievers has increased many times. However, the words of the Scriptures have not changed in an effort to meet the growing challenges of those who stand and war against it. The most interesting thing is that while the efforts of the evil have increased and the attempts to weaken the Fortress of Truth, this one statement has not changed in face of the repeated attacks, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.” Hebrews 13:7-9.

Certainly, the audience that will most likely read this will no doubt agree with me. My hope and prayer is that this audience will somehow find it within themselves not to compromise the Word of God when confronted with those who vehemently stand against them. There a many more than any of can imagine who not only disagree, but may possibly violently opposed to the truth that is the foundation of their faith. Peter writes these words of encouragement, “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.6 For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.”  1 Peter 2:4-8.

 

There is much, much more which can be said, but with this I conclude, “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,  and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17. Jesus is Lord.

 

 

 

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