Archive for April, 2013

The Fallen Perception of Man!

If you were to ask the Antinomian or Arminian if there was a change in the nature of God progressing from the Old Testament to the New Testament, they would not have an answer that is grounded in sound thinking. People such as these question God’s Sovereignty in the election of His people in the New Testament and the election which is right in their face in the Old Testament is excused with view leaning towards the Dispensationalist.

Reading through the Old Testament, one can see that the prophets warned His people about the punitive justice of God that would come upon them for their apostasy. God used the heathen nations to strike strong reproof on this Nation He chose. The thing is today people who claim to believe in Jesus resort to the dialoguing tool of free will that ‘man chooses Christ’. The question that arises from this is that if man can truly choose Christ then it will seem that free will came into existence only with the New Testament revelation and human volition was nonexistent with the Old Testament saints. Yes, man does have free will but like everything else free will exist and has its meaning only under the Sovereign will of God. For all things that exist work to glorify His attributes of justice, mercy, love, wrath etc. equally. So as the Bible says that God does all things to meet His own purpose, free will was given to man to make man morally accountable to God and it so happens that what God decrees, man freely chooses, where it is the intentions that rival God that are judged for such is shown in Isaiah 10.

The Bible says that God reproves the people whom He loves and we see even in the New Testament that a rebellious believer is given over to Satan that he may be saved from eternal fire (1 Cor 5:5). Taking a run through history, it is seen that when the Church carelessly dealt with rampant corruption of sound Biblical doctrine that was the very time She was smitten. I will agree that ‘the blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church’ but how would you define a Martyr? If you care to notice: the Martyrs were the seeming minority against the seeming majority of the people of God. As the Bible says, it is the people who take the life of believers, who are under the notion that it is a good thing they are doing for God (John 16:2). We see that so much even today that the Church is attacked not only by pseudo religious extremist but also by those who claim to be the Church.

When God smote his people in the Old Testament, the prophets would cry out calling the people to repentance and those foreordained repented wearing ashes and sack cloth. Today when God smites nations, who earlier had a good foundational relationship with Him through His Son Jesus, there is never a call of repentance unto Christ but there is a call to action supposedly. The reprobate think, they never offended the aggressor to the extent of deserving such an onslaught and so unbelief rules where God becomes non-existent and the people never acknowledge their sin against God but play the blame game instead. Unbelief fails to see the aggressors as God’s punitive justice; this is the same unbelief of the people who failed to respond in repentance to the cries of the prophets in the Old Testament. However the aggressors are as much in God’s control (Gen 15:16) as are natural catastrophes, which will exist only until His full purpose with them is accomplished.

When we think of Jesus’ words on the cross: Father forgive them for they know not what they do! One feels the need to discern on whose behalf is He making this intercessory prayer? Considering that Christ died for the sins of His people, one can conclude that He as the only mediator between God and man is making this prayer for the Church that the elect among the Jews and Gentiles may receive the Spirit of Repentance and no longer continue in their apostate rebellion.

Psalms 116
6 The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.

What makes a person believe in Jesus and come to repentance is receiving the Holy Spirit, Whom God sends to His foreordained elect. The believer is known when he is transformed each day into Christ likeness, which is the work of the Holy Spirit. However many apostate denomination relate the work of the Spirit largely with un-interpretable gibberish. Had the gift of tongues existed today as it did with the early Church, it would testify of that Spiritual body as being from God, which today observing the Charismatics seems to speak otherwise.

As Isaiah 53 credits even the salvation of the Old Testament Saints to Christ’ work on the cross, we can say that the Church has existed since Adam and even before that in the mind of God. As everything works for the good of those whom He has called according to His purpose, even the harshest of admonishing and considered but birth pains (Romans 8:22), for the world is heading for its renewal and restoration in Christ.

The Parable of the Sower

All who have read the Bible are familiar with this parable in Mat 13. It principally states four different outcomes in the delivery of the Gospel. These four outcomes are as follows

1. The Gospel is not received at all by the person
2. The Gospel is received, but the man has no root in himself (v21) i.e. the word of God does not become the foundation of his life. He is not standing on the rock that is Christ and so he falls away rather than being sanctified in affliction.
3. The Gospel is received but this person attempts to serve two masters: money and the Lord. But as much as this person thinks he is in Christ, he is deceiving himself because the branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine i.e. Christ.
4. The good soil alone is the Christian example, it must be understood here that the good soil is not good by itself; you may want to consider the example of John the Baptist. It was prophesied of him to make straight the way of the Lord in John 1:23 and so John preached a Baptism of Repentance. But repentance is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer (Acts 11:18 Acts 5:31). So just as a farmer treats the soil to receive the seed. The Spirit readies the foreordained believer to receive Christ.

There are many who read the parables as plainly as the morning newspaper but for some reason these same people cannot come to terms with what Mat 13:10-15 plainly says. It seems so hard for these seemingly Bible believing Christians to understand that God hates the reprobate and loves the Church. As blasphemous as this may sound: the school of thought that says God hates sin but loves the sinner, attempts bring God to the feet of the unbeliever in believing that God’s love is subject to human volition in being reciprocated. Contrarily scripture states that we love because he loved us first i.e. had it not been for His love, we would not have the capacity to love Him beyond our flesh. 1 John 4:19 is therefore seen as matter of ‘cause and effect’ i.e. the absence of the effect means only the absence of the cause.

To oppose this many people may bring scripture showing that Jesus received and ate with sinners but it is interesting to note that Jesus detested the seemingly righteous Pharisees of his time. Since the Bible is internally consistent, an interpretation of scripture is only valid if it harmonizes with the rest of the Bible. Hence when Christ says that that He came to call sinners and not the righteous: so speaking in the light of Romans 3:23, it means to say He came to calls only those who had been prepared for Him in repentance. Take the Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, scripture ridicules the self righteousness of the Pharisee saying in Luke 18:11 that the Pharisee’s prayers were said to himself not God.

John 12
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

The response of the servant who was given one talent in the parable of talents can also be seen in the context of parable of the sower.

Mat 25
24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

Mat 13 (from the parable of the sower)
12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

From Mat 13:12 we see the Godly reproach upon the wicked servant in Mat 25. Notice the phrase: ‘whoever has’ and ‘whoever does not have’, it does not say ‘whoever has MUCH’ or ‘whoever has little’. It becomes only the question of having or not having. So when we see this in the context of the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Talents, the ‘has’ and ‘does not have’ becomes a question that is answered in Mat 13:11.

Mat 13
11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.

2 Timothy 1
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

So we see from 2 Tim 1:9 that the calling does not materialize unless it has been granted unto us in Christ according to His own purpose. To the antinomian the call to Christ is a call to a grace separate from the Law but that is not so because it is a call to obedience unto the Moral Law of God. The Gospel actually gives the believer a new heart to walk in statutes of God and follow His Law (Ezek 36:26-27). What the antinomians refers to as the weakness of the Law, was in actual a weakness of the people not the Law (Heb 8:7-8). The Law was meant to convict transgression and so sin got it power to kill from the Law but when man is born of the Spirit as stated in John 3:5 he receives the salvation of Christ and comes to life fulfilling the requirements of the Law (Moral not Ceremonial) in obedience because he now has a new heart upon which is written the Law of God.

Romans 8
3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

We therefore come to understand that in the very beginning God chose a people unto Himself and blessed them consecrating them as priest whom He would love and bring them to know Him and worship Him forever. We see that such a blessing can only come out of grace, His grace. In Eden man disobediently took a righteousness of self that is contrary to the righteousness of God. This self righteousness of man, has seen man see himself differently from the way God sees him, which has been in effect ever since the fall. Like the parable of the laborers in the vineyard who grumble against their Master concerning their wages, so too we see man grumble in regards to the doctrine of Sovereign Election because it makes no sense according to the self righteousness he has come to possess. God’s ways are not man’s ways so the Bible says and so the ‘parable of the sower’ tells us how the Sovereignty of God extends to the elect that He draws them through the Holy Spirit’s sanctification, out of the corruptions that has become of their nature and selves. This is the power of Almighty God that even angels look on (1 Peter 1:12) to see His Salvation at work in His elect.

The Righteousness of Christ!

It was once implied to me in a conversation that Adam fell because he was innocent and knew nothing of sin. Well, such is the view of many Antinomians, who fail to see the extent to which reprobate man has fallen short of the glory of God. The thing is, when there is a nature to sin then it is not sinning that make a person a sinner, for the thought needs to occur to him first and then the desire to materialize it and this is what makes a person a sinner for the act of sin would not be birthed if the nature to sin did not exist. A famous theologian once said that Satan is just the midwife but it is our will and lust which is father and mother to our sinful actions.

Romans 5
17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

There is a difference between Adam in his unfallen state and the believer who goes over to the other side of the grave. Adam had the capacity to fall because he was given a condition that could bring about his spiritual death, which was eating the forbidden fruit. As for the believer on the other side of the grave, His promise is eternal life in Christ (Titus 1:1-2), which means he no longer has the capacity to fall because then the promise would not be eternal. When Adam was created, his nature was not corrupt, so he was better off than the reprobate man in his resistance towards sin. As Jesus has said that even the thought of entertaining a sin is a sin committed in the heart (Mat 5:28) and as James 2:10 says that he who stumbles even on a single point of the commandments becomes guilty on stumbling on them all.

Hence the same verse Gen 3:6 in which Eve saw the forbidden fruit was good, is the same verse in which she also ate of it and gave Adam and he ate of it too. That was the time their eyes were opened meaning they received a righteousness of their own i.e. having a standard separate from God concerning what is right and what is wrong. Everything changed for them instantly, their view concerning even themselves was different from what God had concerning them because by themselves they turned ashamed of their nakedness (Gen 3:11). This sin has been passed through Adams loins to all his posterity and so now man determines what he is to believe concerning God. This is the Spiritual death permeating through the generations of Adam where reprobate man’s nature discerns the Law (James 4:11) of his maker thus bringing himself under His justice (Romans 2:12).

When man was created, God breathed life into him (Gen 2:7) and this was the Holy Spirit for His Spirit refers to that which God breathed and giving life. So the death of Adam and Eve in their disobedience was actually in their Spirit. The reprobate man therefore does not know the righteousness of God until he is touched by the Holy Spirit and it is for this reason that, in the entire Bible the only person of whom it is said that he can sin without even knowing it (Numbers 22:34) is the biologically alive man, for sin comes naturally to him.

John 20
.21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

Notice from John 20:22 that Jesus breathed on his disciples and said receive the Holy Spirit. If you were to read the Nicene Creed, which is a statement of faith of the early Church, you would find in reference to the Holy Spirit and He is the giver of life. It is for this reason that the Bible too is referred to as God breathed or Spirit inspired, because it gives life to those whom God foreknows (foreloves), it is the believers sustenance (Mat 4:4). It is important to see here that Christ is the fulfillment of Gen 3:15, because through the accomplishment of Christ work on the cross, Spiritual life was made available to the believer, that life which was lost in Adam. This was the very undoing of Satan’s deceit, for in his very attempt to thwart the redemptive work of Christ; he was dealt a fatal blow.

Phil 4:13
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Romans 8:10
10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Just as Eve’s sin was the moment she saw the fruit was good to eat, in the same way the sacrifice of Christ is received by the believer at the very moment he believes the Word. The very moment from the Father’s call to the believer to come unto Christ (John 6:44), sees the Holy Spirit impute the Seed/His Word into believer, which becomes the very beginning of the believer seeing a righteousness develop in him that is not his own but of God’s (John 1:13). So begins the process where the believer dies to his flesh and becomes alive in His Spirit (Romans 6:4) and he then steps forward to witness Christ in the sacrament of Baptism. The same thing is with the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, unless the believer is imputed by the Holy Spirit to receive in faith Christ’ redemptive sacrifice, the Holy Eucharist is only as much as bread and wine as Baptism is of water.

Romans 6:4
4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

The dying to oneself is brought about through repentance (Luke 13:3), where man acknowledges that his righteousness was nothing but filthy rags (Is 64:6) before God i.e. he doesn’t justify himself before Christ but acknowledges himself as a sinner before his Savior and Almighty God.

Romans 3
22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

Luke 15
21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate;24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’

Romans 1
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

Do you remember the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15? The Father sees him, the repentant son from a far and runs out to welcome him while he is still on his way i.e. the believer is joyously acknowledge before God in his repentance (Luke 15:10) while is still far off being led by the Holy Spirit into sanctification (Exodus 31:13). You notice he puts His ring on his finger, which is probably symbolic to the repentant son receiving the righteousness of God. This righteousness is not of men but of faith in Jesus Christ.

Romans 3
22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe;

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