Leave “The System” , but don’t go off the deep end. We should lay down our lives for the brothers and the sisters.
Leave “The System” , but don’t go off the deep end. We should lay down our lives for the brothers and the sisters.
Of course very few would ever say it out loud, but that does not stop people from feeling that God really had to save them because they have some value or merit.
This idea is reinforced by modern teachings that God needed us and that He somehow was incomplete without us. At the very root of these ideas is the thought that we have some “redeeming qualities” and that there is something within me that is basically good and desirable to God. Sometimes we look at others and feel that in comparison, we are not so bad and that we are basically quite good. After all, we have not sunk as low as some people.
Thus preachers create the impression that God is begging people to get saved since He so desperately wants and needs them. All this is based on the incredible pride and deceitfulness of the human heart. If we only we could understand our true situation then we would be begging God for mercy.
Our post-modern liberalism and conceit has blinded our eyes to how reprehensible and abhorrent our sins are to God. It is just not acceptable to mention sin anymore let alone expose the utter corruption and wickedness of the human heart. In addition we have become so removed from the scriptures that the Law is no longer able to reveal our total sinfulness. The Law is a schoolmaster and it teaches us that we cannot redeem ourselves and that we need Christ (Galatians 3:24). This is because the Old Testament is no longer taught or believed and thus we have stripped the Law of its function of conviction.
Also, because we live in a time when there is no longer absolute right and wrong, we grow up feeling that no one is really bad (except the criminals who get caught). Our entire society, culture and upbringing is geared away from making us feel inadequate and towards feeling pride and satisfaction at who we are. But that is all a humanistic way of looking at things – it is not the way God sees us.
With God things are not relative. We are not relatively good when we compare ourselves to others. God’s standard is absolute and everything that comes short of that is evil, sinful and worthy of death. God’s standard is perfection. Jesus said: “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:4Cool. Paul said: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). When we fall short of God’s standard it is not a minor little problem that can be overlooked. A single, no matter how small, sin is sufficient to banish us from His presence forever. Just think of what happened to Adam and the angels who sinned.
Again, we don’t understand this because we don’t appreciate the extent of God’s absolute holiness, perfection and glory. The angels have never sinned and are glorious beings in their own right. Even John mistook one of them for the Lord (Revelation 19:10, 22:Cool. Yet, when these angels stand before God they feel unclean and inadequate and they cover themselves with their wings and shout “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Yet we feel that we, for all our sinfulness, are able to brazenly strut into His presence and demand that He has to save us.
We have lost our sense of awe at God’s greatness, holiness and absolute perfection. But we have also lost all sense of our own incredible sinfulness. Romans 5:6 says that we were “without strength” (to save ourselves). It does not say we were “weak” no, we were without strength meaning we had no ability and were totally at His mercy. Romans 5 also says we were “sinners”, “ungodly”, and “enemies” of God. Ephesians 2 says “we were by nature the children of wrath”, we were Gentiles and dogs and, “were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
Ezekiel describes our situation very graphically: “on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born” (Ezekiel 16:4-5). Were it not for His grace, we would have died out there in the world.
I cannot find a single scripture that describes any “redeeming qualities” we may have had. “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). In other words, our best and most righteous acts are absolutely filthy before God. No one can plumb the depth of the depravity of the human heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9).
If we truly understood how God sees us, we would be crying out to Him for mercy, or worse, would not even feel we dare raise our voice in a plea for clemency.
But God who is rich in mercy gave His Son to die for us even in our sinful state. This wonderful act of grace had nothing to do with anything that we had or could bring to God. He saved us simply because of His selfless love, mercy and grace. For no other reason. He did not need us – He is perfect, complete and content within Himself and would have continued to be so without us. Neither did God have to save us. He would have been perfectly just and righteous if He never died for us and condemned every single one of us. That is all we were, and continue to be, entitled to.
There is no human reason why He should save us, let alone die for us. But He did “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:7-9).
There can only be one fitting response to such amazing grace. We aught to love, serve, adore and be absolutely devoted to Him every moment of the rest of our lives.
When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.
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Ian says: The *only* point i would differ on is that God does indeed want us.
Its an awesome revelation to receive, when the Father Himself tells you He wants you. You may be totally unwanted in this world, and no one else may want you, but He does.
But, as Anton points out, its not from a human want or need that He wants us, yet still He wants us.
Excellent article. This is an example of the true prophetic.
How could the Spirit of Truth ever bring forth, or enunciate, a truth that is not in the Bible, or contradicts the Bible?
“Ah!”, someone says, “The Bible doesn’t tell us where to go and what to do, and when to do it!”
The leading of the Holy Spirit is NOT truth, it is direction, yet His leading will never contradict the Truth He inspired in the Scriptures.
The teaching, however, of the Holy Spirit is exclusively Bible truth, without exception.
This counters the bogus-ludicrous dichotomy (false separation) that is often presented these days: “Taught by the Spirit Vs being taught by the Scriptures”.
There is no truth apart from Scripture. If we test anything anyone says at anytime, either, it agrees with, or conforms to, Scripture, or it doesn’t.
Whenever we talk it is either in harmony with Scripture truth, or it is something else.
Our Lord said that when the Holy Spirit comes He will bring all the Words Jesus has spoken to our remembrance. That’s the “kind” of word/truth we should hear, and be in our hearts, His.
We don’t quote scripture to one another constantly as a means of communicating what’s in our heart (though we certainly all don’t yet have the proper esteem for His Word) YET, if the TRUTH of what I say at anytime differs, clashes with, or negates from the truth of Scripture, then it’s a lie.
So unless the “Spirit Vs Bible” debaters (or anyone else) have a scriptural basis/foundation for their argument, that is, the truth they speak IS actually God’s Word, then its man’s word (Matt 15:9) and that is sin and vanity, eh.
Someone will also say, “Jesus is the Truth!”. Yes He is. How will you know whether you have the real Jesus, or an imaginary, or demonic counterfeit? The Bible alone will be the only authority on that matter.
For if you *forgive men* their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their offenses, neither will your Father forgive your offenses.
“Forgive men” means the whole human race without exceptions. We are to hold forth forgiveness to all, at all times, right in the face of offense to us and to God.
Yes, if they have not bowed the knee to Jesus Christ then God has not forgiven them, true. Jesus Christ is the Righteous judge of the living and the dead.
But that is not our calling, our calling is to forgive all, instantly, continuously: a constant stream of forgiveness flowing out from our inner man.
Even we when have the tough call of separating from the “bad leaven” in christendom, the constant stream of forgiveness – grace must keep flowing.
In researching his book, “Christmas: A Candid History,” Bruce Forbes discovered that major American denominations–Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists and Congregationalists–either ignored the holiday or actively discouraged it until the late 19th century.
That rejection was rooted in the lack of biblical sanction for Dec. 25 as the date of Jesus’ birth, as well as suspicion toward traditions that developed after the earliest days of Christianity. In colonial New England, this disapproval extended to actually making the holiday illegal, with celebration punishable by a fine. From:
How well do we know our Father in heaven, as truly our Father? (I bow my knees to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ)
He is our Father. We were made by Him, in His image, and after we were lost and cut off from Him by our sin, were recreated into the image of His Son when we were miraculously regenerated! In Christ, we are now His dear children.
When we go through testing, that’s when we really are faced with deciding some things about His Fatherhood, and how much He can be trusted, and the essence of what it means to have God as our Father : The One who sees the sparrow fall, who numbers the hairs on our head, who knows our thoughts from afar, who searches our inner most being.
So, we can truly rejoice IN the trials, IF we receive the Father’s tutelage : what He wants to teach us about Himself, thru being put into a place where we have no choice but to trust Him and heed Him alone.
I’m talking about faith : from faith to faith, from glory to glory..
Imagine if there were no Bible.
If there were no Bible, there would surely be many wannabe “bibles” in the market place, jostling for position ; its just human nature. Bible means “book”, and all the nations follow various books, their own type of bible ; I mean, the source of authority for what they believe, what they stand on and stand for, and whatever values or principles (or lack of them) they have: it all comes from somewhere, from a source, or sources.
Of course, today, TV and internet sources are probably where most people have imbibed their “truth”. It’s got to the point now in the world that any source of authority for truth, secular or religious, is considered a more authoritative source of truth than the Bible.
Oprah and Dr Phil are the modern prophets. If you went on Oprah and quoted Plato or Nelson Mandela, there would be hushed reverential respect, but if you quoted the Bible, you would get smirks.
It’s no different in the “emerging church” scene : the leaders’ opinions are taken ever so seriously, (especially if he wears thick-rimmed glasses), and the Bible not so. See:
In the days when the Bible was contraband, that era was called “The Dark Ages”.
Imagine if there were no Bible? Thank the Lord God for preserving His words, His truth in Jesus, till now.
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of boasting? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy. 1 Thess. 2:19-20
Hang on a minute, a man could say that his Christian friends were his hope, joy and crown : his glory and his joy?
Hmmm. Must have been living in some kind of love that’s nearly unknown today.
Everything which is esteemed great in this present world will soon be gone and forgotten forever. Every idol, every great name, every great ideal, all the great music and art, religion or philosophy, every sin, every wicked thing : it will be forgotten forever, never to be recalled.
The world to come belongs to Jesus Christ and His Father, alone.
Be found ready.
Eph 1:10 …for an administration of the fullness of the times, He might bring together all things in Christ, those in heaven and those on the earth–In Him.
Sometimes do you feel like your faith is “only” like a Mustard seed?
What did Jesus say that is possible for such?
Another thing, this truth separates between what is faith, and what is “bluster” (huffing and puffing).
(29) Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD.
(30) ‘ And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
(31) And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Eph 1:5 …having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
Rom 8:28-30 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (29) Because whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. (30) Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
From G4253 and G3724; to limit in advance, that is, (figuratively) predetermine: – determine before, ordain, predestinate.
From G3725; to mark out or bound (“horizon”), that is, (figuratively) to appoint, decree, specify: – declare, determine, limit, ordain.
Therefore, Predestinate, Pro-orizo (Pro- horizon) means to establish the “horizons” – the boundaries, beforehand.
This is far more than foreknowledge. Just because one may know what will happen in the future doesn’t mean they have the power to make it happen. God has both the foreknowledge and the power to cause predestination, the power to know what will happen and the power to make it happen.
Mockers of this Bible word of predestination propose, Is God forcing us to do every little thing? Like, to go to the toilet, to have a coffee? Etc. etc.
NO. As revealed above, predestination means that God sets limits in advance. It doesn’t mean that He forces everyone to do every little thing, as though they were programmed robots, even though He does have the power to do that, if He wants to. Of course.
However, He can cause you to want to have a cup of coffee so that you go down to the café, and then, lo and behold, there’s someone there whom God has arranged for you to meet, a divine appointment. In this case, did He force you into wanting a coffee? No. Was He causing you to do His will? YES. Can you comprehend it with your mind? NO.
In this “coffee” scenario, He mystically worked His will into our will. You wouldn’t say that God forced you to want a coffee, yet, after the fact, you can say that God caused you to do His will.
The “limitations” aspect of predestination should be very evident in the life of the saints. One saint said, “If God had allowed all my plans to succeed, they would have destroyed me.” God, setting the limits in the life of a saint, according to His wisdom, for His purposes, for His glory. It can be very frustrating to undergo this “limiting” of the Holy Spirit. In time we see His wisdom in it. It’s the loving restraint of the Father, for truly, Father knows best. Spiritual babies, especially, need this fatherly restraint, as do natural children.
The life of Joseph
Look at the life of Joseph to see an example of how God can work out His preordained plan in our lives. God showed Joseph thru dreams what would happen to him, what God’s preordained plan was for him.
Then, all the “bad” that fell upon Joseph had nothing to do with Joseph’s will or choice, and he was not reaping what he had sown either. It was cast upon him, and it was a terrible suffering and anguish. God meant it for good, and for the salvation of all Joseph’s family. Joseph’s will had nothing to do with it, only in as much as in his sufferings he was faithful to the Lord and did not deny Him. Joseph trusted His God. Joseph would never have chosen to be sold as a slave, neither to be imprisoned in Egypt. God chose that for him. That’s predestination. Later, everyone was glad that God did choose this.
The mystery is that our God can work HIS will in us, pre-ordained from before the foundation of the world (without coercion) and not violate our freewill. i.e. To cause us to do His will, without over-riding our will, and we sometimes mistakenly think that everything in our life is solely due to our will and choices. We do need to see the sovereignty of God and try and understand His purposes.
Various predestination scriptures:
Rev 13:8 And all those who dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose name is not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Preordained for the cross before He made the world.
Rev 17:17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the Beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
Act 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go your way, for he is a chosen vessel to Me to bear My name before Gentiles and kings, and the sons of Israel.
Act 9:16 For I will show him all the things that he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
Act 17:26 And He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell upon all the face of the earth, and He ordained their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
Act 17:27 in order for them to seek the Lord, if perhaps indeed they might grope for Him and find Him, and yet being indeed not far from each one of us;
Rom 11:30-36 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now you were shown mercy through their disobedience, (31) even so these now were disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also might be shown mercy.
(32) For God has shut up all to disobedience, that He might show mercy to all.
(33) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and untraceable are His ways!
(34) “For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has been His counselor?” (35) “Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be repaid to him?” (36) For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things; to Him be the glory forever! Amen.
There’s so many more.