Finding security, purpose, satisfaction, and joy in life
USAF Veteran. Business owner (Financial Investments & Insurance Protection All lines); Minster/Pastor/Evangelist/Teacher for many years. Daily student of the word of Life found in the Holy Scriptures. Interests: The Holy Bible; Study of the dead men in the Faith; Writing and Communicating on issues and matters regarding Theology and even Politics in the USA and World at Large!
(EVERYTHING I STATED IN THIS ARTICLE AND OTHER ARTICLES ON GRACEWORX’S FROM 2020 TO THIS DATE IN 2021 HAS PROVEN TO BE A REALITY BUT PERHAPS EVEN WORSE THAN I COULD HAVE IMAGINED THAT HAS TAKEN PLACE IN THE USA! UNLESS GOD INTERVENES IN SOME MIRACULEOUS MANNER, WE ARE IN FOR SOME VERY DIFFICULT TIMES AS A PEOPLE IN THE USA! PRAY HE WILL COME AND HELP US AND MAKE SURE YOU DO PRAY AND NOT FAIL TO DO SO! ASK GOD FOR HELP FOR WE CAN’T OVERCOME THIS WITHOUT HIS TOTAL WORK AGAINST THE ENEMIES OF HIS AND ALSO OF HIS BRIDE, THE CALLED OUT ONES WHO FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST.)
Down through history we find people who could be described as wolves in sheep’s clothing existing in governmental affairs of peoples and nations. It is not something that just happened. It is a fact of life in all nations and their governments.Of course, the word of God, the Scriptures teaches us that these types of people are not only in the world systems of Government etc., but are also very much involved in their affairs of evil by infiltrating the local visible congregation of God’s called out ones, the body of Christ visible! This spiritual warfare exists in all aspects of mankind and his or her activities among the ventures or activities they engage in from day to day!
In other words, some individuals or parties like to fake it, pretend to be something that they are not in order for them to become controllers and in power so they can make money, have prestige, have control of others and actually seek to force people to be like they are and actually become slaves to them.
This is evident in all political parties that exist in the USA based upon what we now can observe and openly see! It doesn’t take a high school education to figure this out and see it either. Pretty evident and open today!
Our founders gave us a wonderful Governmental System, a Republic, knowing that all other type systems were not good for the over all population of people. A very limited government it was also. But today, it has grown to large! It is filled with people who seek a Lifetime position within the Government something that should never have existed. Also, it is filled with people who do not even really know anything about our founding fathers, our Constitutional Rule of Law, our purpose of a nation which is a Republic and NOT a Democracy. Today, people encourage the voters to put them in office and they have not even had a job close to even a clerk in a grocery store. Uneducated, empty suites, seeking to be something they are not. They are the wolves in sheeps clothing.
People who care, who value our way of life as expressed in our Constitution, etc., will note that being in a public office is a SERVANT attitude and activity placement. They are NOT bosses, and dictators, and high handed individuals who think people have to obey them as they make their rulesand put in place their own personal agendas! They are NEVER to entertain being bosses, or engaging in high handed rough do it my way individuals. They MUST recognize that their office is only there because the WILL of the PEOPLE under God allows them to be there and they are to Answer to them. Today, the parties that exist especiallyt the Left wing Socialists Democrats, and some Republicans think that we are to answer to them!! They have it upside down. That is the problem today. They care less about you and I except for our VOTE. All ends there!! From there on out is is their own money, position, and greedy hands and way of life which they engage in. Forget the people of the USA, we are their bosses! Wrong! You are not and it will eventually come back to bite your head off, like recently they saw just a token of what it can be and will be if they continue on down the line with the same rhetoric and activities they have been doing for some years now!! Will they learn? It doesn’t appear they will or even entertain such learning desires about it all. Today, they are trying to make you fearthem, by stating hate words, threats, and other very obnoxious ideas and ways of functioning.
By focusing on one person, they are promoting an idea that if you and I do like the President you are going to get the same. As if they are warning us this will be the way we will treat all of you!! For four straight years they were like Dogs and Wolves seeking to eat us alive. They promote threats to others and yet their threats are full of the accusations they are seeking to place upon others. This is insanity! This is what HATE Speech (Murder in the heart) does to individuals and even entire populations at times.
Now they are emboldened in their ways and think they can get away with it. They will NOT get away with it. They will eventually have the entire nation, even those who voted for them turn against them and they will perish!! They cannot survive!!! God will give them confusion and they will end up destroying each other. That is the way Satan and demons work in human beings. So stay tuned! This isn’t over yet. God has the last word!!!
Looking and reading and meditating upon the words of God written by the Apostle John, a man who wrote under the Inspiration (God breathed) power of God to him, said this about sin and forgiveness:
Chapter 2: “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will NOT sin. BUT if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ the ONE who is truly righteous. He Himself is the sacrifice that ATONES for our sins——-and NOT ONLY for our sins but the sins of all the world.”
God is through His servant John teaching us this about sin and forgiveness.
First, He is stating that our Lord Jesus Christ at the Cross, paid for and atoned for our sins. That means that every sin, past, present and future are fully paid for by Christ. Here in this verse the Lord through John, is telling us NOT TO SIN. We are to stay away from sinful activities. We are through the Spirit given to us live by the Spirit and not by the acts and deeds of the fallen nature (sin) still residing in our unregenerate bodies.
However, he did not say (God did not say), that we would never sin or not sin. We may sin and engage in such even after being born again, and have the Holy Spirit living in us. That is clearly shown here as a reality. But, God says, if we do engage in a sin(s), then we need to realize that Christ Jesus hasalready forgiven us for such, and it is covered by His blood.
Then God says that Jesus Himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins in verse 1 and 2 of Chapter 2. But He states that Christ NOT ONLY atones for our sins but the sins of the whole world. So what does that mean?
One has to recognize this about that statement; Other places in the word of God we are told that human beings who do not trust and rely upon Christ as their Lord God and Savior will be punished and be sent to hell and/or the Lake of fire. They cannot escape from God’s wrath unless they are born again, and unless they have Jesus Christ’s atonement upon them. So, when one trusts in Jesus, the wrath and condemnation is removed from their life. Eternal Life is Given.
So how do we deal with this truth that if God sacrificed His only begotten Son by shedding His blood and putting upon Jesus our sins and the sins of the world also, how can then lost peoples unbelief not be included in that atonement, yet it is included in the ones who are saved by God’s grace!
I would argue this by the following approach using scriptural teachings on the matters of atonement and propitiation(God Satisfied)!
Remember, that no man seeks after God ever! None! All have sinned and rebelled. So states Romans, an Epistle written to us given to Paul the Apostle by God. So, since none seeks after God, God seeks after those whom He calls and then draws them to His Son Jesus, and Christ makes them spiritually alive through His word and the Holy Spirits power, and then they have the abilities spiritually to cry out for forgiveness, making confessions of their sins, and asking Christ to save them, which they do, and God births them spiritually into His kingdom of believers and now they are saints!
The question comes up then about this; what about the fact that Christ’s atonement covered the sins of the whole world? Yes His work did! But remember, even though unbelief is a sin among all of the others, and the atonement would cover unbelief, but yet all do not come to Christ and engage in trust and belief in Christ. So, without that actually happening in a persons life (reason being they are lost and will not come and God has to act first in order for them to come to Him), they have no atonement personally because one has to believe in Christ! All that prevents them from having the Atonement done already by Christ in the shedding of His blood, is their own personal choice of living in sin and being in bondage to their father Satan. But they will not come!
This moves one to the answer of how then can anyone be saved? Romans 9 shows you how and why some are saved and others are not! But the fact remains that Christ took care of the entire matter of sin as an entity that exists when He died upon the cross and rose from the dead. SIN as an entity and and an power in human lives, must be dealt with in order for Christ to remove the entire Curse from it when He comes back and burns up the earth and makes a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells only righteousness. NO MORE SIN for it was taken care of at the cross. Remember, Satan, the author of sin, demons (fallen angels), and wicked people who hate God and are sinners and wicked people on earth, all are judged and punished by Christ. The Atonement had no effect for redemption with them, only those whom God called and saved have the Atonement made for them at the cross, but the blood was Sufficient, and Powerful enough to save all peoples and also to put down all evil that Satan was and is doing and his demons. But they are not saved nor are the wicked humans saved because they are NOT chosen by Christ to be under the Blood of Christ at all.
Actually this is the ONLY answer the word gives us. Why not all? We know not! But we should be asking WHY ME at all for we are all sinners!!!
Again, Christ and His blood is sufficient enough, powerful enough to save all humans but HE has not chosen to do so!! If we state it otherwise, such as, God will not do enough to save them, because they are stubborn and reject Him and He won’t force them, then we have serious problems, because we are saying that God is not able to do what is RIGHT and JUST and that something (rebellion and rejection and Satan also because every lost person is in his family) making Satan more powerful than God and sin more powerful than God, thus those are really God and GOD is not GOD! His attributes crush any thought otherwise!
So, as Paul states in Romans, God has a loving and right and just posture when He saves some and lets others stay where they are!! We know now why we are saved by His grace and mercy since we are the same type sinners as all others, but we are NOT to know they reason for our individual personhood being considered as the ones, so that mystery is left with God. We cannot call Him into question for doing otherwise. He does what is right all the time.
We don’t have the right or ability to question God and His choices!! So, the so called Armenians (free will folks), are just not correct and the problems they posture tear down the Attributes of God totally, and make God a NO GOD but a pawn in the hands of man, Satan and Sin! Never is true and never will happen! They have a wrong perception of the character and personhood of God! Also they have a false view of man and his character and make up under his total and complete depravity due to sin. Much is amiss with them.It is apparent that man wishes to make God to be what they wish him to be, that is in their own image! This is a terrible sinful posture to be in concerning our beliefs. We enter into blasphemy when we engage in corrupting the name which is above every other name given among men, other than the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and our God for the salvation of our souls.
So, back to our main thought; Sinful acts can be done by saints, but they obey the law of Christ, which means we fall under His Atonement and we remember He is our Savior and paid for all of our sins and that means forgives them all, so we rejoice in that and let Him know we understand His total work of forgiveness for what we have done, and how He did it and how that HE KEEPS us from totally falling into condemnation again. If one has the Holy Spirit, knows He or She trusts in Christ, and knows the truth, then they are saved even if they sin personally after being saved. There is a part of our entire spiritual being that is now perfect in Christ, living in Christ, and abiding in Christ that cannot be corrupted by sin even by our own fallen nature which exists in our bodies. We are perfect in Christ and called Saints now! We do have struggles and problems with the fallen nature during our journey of life here but Christ keeps us from falling into perdition and hell and the lake of fire, and keeps us safe from the wrath and condemnation of God the Father by making intercessions for us 24/7!!!
Today, on New Year 2021, a time in which I would like folks to remember making all of these vows and goals you set to do this or that will not work and it is futility. I think our God wishes us to engage in the walk of faith (trust, reliance, and confidence) in Him alone to continue HIS good work in us. Remember, He said, “”work out your own salvation with Fear and Trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work according to His own good pleasure. ” Philippians 2:13.
As you see, our good works (those initiated by God alone) are the only ones worthy or the only ones with value before God since HE is the initiator and not us! If it were us we would be doing the work and it would NOT work, would not avail, would be of no value at all. That is what walking in the Spirit means when you read such in the word of God. As most of you perhaps know, we live in a fallen, corrupted body by sin which is falling apart and finally will go back to dust. But in that body because of sin and the curse from God in Adam, we had SARX (SIN) living and doing its work throughout our total lifetime, even after we were forgiven and born again. God freed us from its power as it exists in our body of flesh, but we must exercise this power of His resurrection via faith to overcome the desires which seek to go out of control due to the sin factor. God allows sin to operate in this body of flesh we live in so HE can show off to us and the world and to the powers of the unseen world HE is mercy, grace, love and pardon and eventually the ONE who only can glorify us and make us totally pure and holy before Him in Love.
Notice some thoughts From Key Life, on the matter of sin and our salvation and what God is doing. “There is a direct correlation between a Christian’s proclivity to wear a mask and God’s proclivity to rip it off. While this is difficult, remember that it is God’s grace. God is a merciful God who, in his mercy, rips off our masks and stomps on our hidden agendas.A kind God allows us to sin . . . and sometimes sin big. Well, maybe it would be better to say that a kind God will clearly reveal your sin to you or he will clearly reveal it to others. He will reveal the greatness of your sin to you or allow you to sin greatly.An example: Nathan confronted David about his murder and adultery in 2 Samuel 12. If that doesn’t make you wince, there’s something wrong with you. Then David writes one of the most profound confessions found in the entire Bible, Psalm 51.Read that psalm and watch God ripping the mask off David. It will give hope to the great sinner (that would be you and me) that God is a gracious and forgiving God. And not only that, you will know the source of David’s power, the reason he could write such incredible and moving psalms, and why he is called “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).
There is a direct correlation between a Christian’s proclivity to wear a mask and God’s proclivity to rip it off.The greatest gift that God gives to the people he loves is their sin . . . when they know it. And the greatest curse to a Christian is that Christian’s obedience . . . when he or she knows it.As I understand it, the Bible teaches that people are sinners because we sin . . . all of us. Sin, rebellion, and disobedience haveinfiltrated the fiber of every bit of God’s creation and all of God’s creatures. That’s not because God likes sin. He hates sin because it is destructive and dangerous to everything that is important. It isn’t because God doesn’t want us to have a good time.
He is not the “spoilsport” some preachers and religious folks make him out to be. It isn’t because he takes delight in punishing us when we get out of line. Good heavens, God did just the opposite and perpetrated the greatest injustice in the history of the world, the punishment poured out on his own Son as a “propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2).God allowed sin for his grandeur and majesty (the Bible calls that his “glory”) and for your freedom. For God’s sake, don’t waste your sin; acknowledge it. Don’t kick against the goads, carefully plan your agendas of protection, or tighten the masks lest anyone see. Besides, God, because he loves you, won’t let you do it. Then you will be free.God hates the way the shame, fear, and guilt of our hidden agendas and masks rob us of freedom and joy.
He hated it so much that he went through a “mess” of trouble and pain to set us free.After you have suffered enough, been embarrassed enough, been wrong enough, and sinned enough, he will hug you and invite you to a party he throws for people who are really free, who don’t care much what others think, and who have been deeply loved when they didn’t deserve it.You’ll be better for it.I know, I know. I hate it when people say that to me. But in this case, it’s true. Maybe not “better” but free—and that really is better.Adapted from Steve’s book, Hidden Agendas: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart.“
Article in parenthesis above is from Key Life Ministries and is not indicating all of Key Life’s positions are advocated by GraceWo
THE FOLLOWING IS A REPRINT OF A LETTER SENT BY THE LATE JOHN REISINGER TO THE LATE DR. R.C. SPROUL. EXCELLENT UNDERSTANDING AND READING OF THE ISSUES AT HAND!
Saturday, September 10, 2016
An Open Letter to Dr. R.C. Sproul by John G. Reisinger
Dear Dr. Sproul:
For many years I have benefited from your ministry. Your books present the reality of our sovereign, gracious God and his amazing love for undeserving sinners in clear, biblically accurate language. We have used your videos in Sunday School classes and youth groups and have encouraged many others to do the same. I was, therefore, greatly disappointed, but given your unreserved commitment to Covenant Theology, not at all surprised by your unjustified attack on New Covenant Theology in general and two other men and me in particular. Your magazine, Tabletalk, of September 2002 carried five articles against ‘antinomianism.’ One of those articles, “The Death of the Decalogue,” by Richard Barcellos, applied the odious label of theological antinomian to Tom Wells and Fred Zaspel, co-authors of the book New Covenant Theology (page 55), and to me (page 16).
I have no doubt that your sincere concern is for the truth of the gospel. I believe that you, like my friends and me, are concerned to help the people of God to be more holy in their lives. The articles in your magazine make it clear that we disagree on the specific message that will best reach that goal.
We welcome all open discussion on the subject of law and grace. We are especially grateful to you for clearly defining, in the article by Morton Smith (pages 8-10, 54), what was historically considered antinomianism. We can only wish you had used that definition consistently throughout the entire issue instead of having it discarded for new and different definitions, especially the definition used by Richard Barcellos. In another article, “Dispensing with the Law,” by Keith Mathison (page 11), Dispensationalism is labeled as antinomian. If you agree with Mathison’s position, we can only wonder why you have Dr. John MacArthur, a man openly committed to Dispensationalism, and therefore, according to Mathison, an antinomian, as a speaker at your conferences. I have read nearly everything that MacArthur has written and I have not found any explicit or implicit antinomian statements despite the fact that he is an avowed Dispensationalist. Since I am not a Dispensationalist, I am not defending Dr. MacArthur on partisan grounds. For Mathison to automatically label MacArthur, or anyone else, an antinomian just because he is a Dispensationalist is wrong. Granted, a Dispensationalist disagrees with the Covenant Theology of the Westminster Confession of Faith on some points relating to the law of God, but since the Confession is not equal with the authority of Scripture, this does not automatically make Dispensationalism equal to being an antinomian, or against the Law of God. Rejecting Covenant Theology’s view of law and grace and rejecting the Law of God itself are two different things.
I agree with you that true antinomianism is a heresy and a failure by church leaders to label it as such is a sin against Christ and his Church. If Mathison is correct, then it would seem you are duty bound to condemn John MacArthur as an antinomian. However, to either falsely accuse someone of this heresy, or to use an inaccurate definition when labeling someone an antinomian is also a sin against Christ and a fellow believer. Morton Smith, on page 10 of Tabletalk, quotes a work entitled Antinomianism Discovered and Confuted by Thomas Gataker, a member of the Westminster Assembly, that lists six marks of antinomianism. Not a single one of the six things on that list are true of Tom Wells, Fred Zaspel or me. One of the six could conceivably apply, but only if our view was misunderstood. The other five are far off from our convictions. Your magazine’s articles, especially the one by Barcellos, that use our name in print, rest their case on two major points. First, we disagree with Covenant Theology’s view of the Sabbath (as does John MacArthur, and as did Calvin, Luther, James M. Boice, and others), and second, we believe Christ is a new lawgiver who, in revealing more fully and completely the character of God, not only raises the Law of Moses to a higher and more spiritual level, but also gives the church some new laws.
I do not at all enjoy writing in a public forum against a fellow believer whom I deeply respect. However, since you chose to use that setting to criticize me as a proponent of New Covenant Theology, I felt it appropriate to respond in kind.
Let me clearly spell out my view of the Ten Commandments. I ask you to show me what I believe that deserves your condemnation of me as an ‘antinomian’ heretic. Please show me where I am anti-law in any sense whatever in my understanding of the Ten Commandments. Apart from viewing the Sabbath as a ceremonial law, I hold to the same set of ethical standards, raised to an even higher level, than Covenant Theology holds. At the end of the day, I think the most that can be consistently claimed is that New Covenant Theology, as I understand it, is antinomian only because it presents the Sabbath as a ceremonial and not a moral law. The nature of the Sabbath commandment is the crux of the entire case. To be consistent with the basic charge against me, you would also have to charge Luther, Calvin, James Montgomery Boice and John MacArthur with antinomianism since none of them were or are Sabbatarians.
Here is my view of the Ten Commandments, compared with that of Covenant Theology. Please show me where my view is antinomian.
One: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the first commandment – “No other gods” – see Exodus 20:3. I believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘be against the first commandment.’ (See also Acts 14:15 and 1 Cor. 8:6.)
Two: Do you believe that a Christian is duty bound to obey the second commandment – “No idols / images” – see Exodus 20:4-6. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘be against the second commandment.’ (See also 1 John 5:21 and 1Cor. 10:7).
Three: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the third commandment – “Don’t take God’s name in vain” – see Exodus 20:7. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘be against the third commandment.’ (See also James 5:12).
Four: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the fourth commandment – “Keep the Sabbath” – see Exodus 20:8-11. I believe and teach that Christ himself is our Sabbath and we “keep Sabbath with God” when we truly rest in Christ’s finished work of atonement. See our booklet, The Believer’s Sabbath (Frederick, MD: New Covenant Media, 2002). I believe the Sabbath was the ceremonial sign of the Mosaic covenant (Exod. 31:14-18).
Five: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the fifth commandment – “Honor your parents” – see Exodus 20:12. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘be against the fifth commandment.’ (See also Eph. 6:1-3).
Six: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the sixth commandment – “No murder” – see Exodus 20:13. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘against the sixth commandment.’ (See also 1 John 3:11-15 and Rom.13:9).
Seven: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the seventh commandment – “No adultery” – see Exodus 20:14. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘against the seventh commandment.’ (See also Eph. 5:3-7 and 1 Cor. 6:9, 10).
Eight: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the eighth commandment – “No stealing” – see Exodus 20:15. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘against the eighth commandment.’ (See also Eph. 4:28).
Nine: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the ninth commandment – “Don’t bear false witness” – see Exodus 20:16. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘against the ninth commandment.’ (See also Col.3:9 and Eph. 4:25).
Ten: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the tenth commandment – “No coveting” – see Exodus 20:17. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘against the tenth commandment.’ (See Eph. 5:3-7)1
Dr. Sproul, can my view, as expressed above, in any sense whatsoever, be considered against law in general or against the Ten Commandments in particular?
The catch question that is often posed is this: “Do you believe that the Ten Commandments written with the finger of God upon the Tables of Stone are the rule of life for a Christian today?” Our reply is this: “We believe that the Ten Commandments, as they are interpreted and applied by our Lord and his apostles in the New Testament Scriptures, are a real and essential part of our rule of life.” According to Morton Smith’s stated definition (page 10), the very most that I can be called is a 1/10 antinomian. The heart of the issue with New Covenant Theology and myself concerning the Ten Commandments boils down to whether the Fourth commandment, the Sabbath, is an eternal, unchanging, moral law, or the ceremonial sign of the covenant God made with Israel at Sinai (Exod. 31:14-17). As I understand it, the Sabbath alone is your real point of difference with New Covenant Theology. That one commandment alone is our only point of disagreement.
We feel we have much biblical evidence for our view. Exodus 31:16 specifically states that to keep the Sabbath was to actually keep ‘the covenant.’ “The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant,” and both verses 11 and 17 state that the Sabbath was the sign of the Mosaic covenant. It is vital that we recognize that the Sabbath, like circumcision, the ceremonial sign of the Abrahamic covenant, was indeed the ceremonial covenant sign of the Mosaic covenant. To violate the ceremonial sign of a covenant was to disown the entire covenant. This is why both signs, circumcision and the Sabbath, even though ceremonial in nature, carried the death penalty for violation. Within the context of marriage, the worst thing I could do would be to take off my wedding ring, throw it at my wife, and walk out. That one act would be a deliberate and total rejection of our entire covenant relationship. That is exactly what the man did who ‘merely’ picked up a few sticks on the Sabbath. He threw the wedding ring in God’s face. That is what Moses was doing by not having his son circumcised. He was refusing to wear the wedding ring.
A particular day of the week cannot be intrinsically holy, in the sense of moral purity, any more than a spoon, an article of furniture, certain clothing, or a piece of land can be holy. The Most Holy Place ceased to be holy in any sense the moment the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom. Everything that God in any way associates with worshipping him was always prefixed with the word holy. However, in most cases, the connotation of the word ‘holy’ is “separated unto God” and not “morally pure.” Holy days, including the seventh-day Sabbath, are in the same category as the Holy Place, holy garments, holy ceremonies, holy altars, holy furniture, etc. None of these things reflect the eternal, ‘moral’ character of God.
Dr. Sproul, please explain why your magazine labels New Covenant Theology as antinomian when we not only affirm just as strongly as you that the Christian is not only under clear objective ethical commandments in the New Covenant, but we also insist those New Covenant laws are even higher than those written on stone. How is it possible for our belief in a higher law to be turned into anti law? Your September issue of Tabletalk condemns us as heretics simply because we believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is a true lawgiver in his own right and, as such, gives higher and more spiritual laws than anything Moses ever gave. Why do we deserve the odious label of antinomian simply because we believe that Christ replaces Moses as the new lawgiver in exactly the same way he replaces Aaron as High Priest? Our view is completely consistent with the teaching of Hebrews 3:1-6. What is anti-law about binding a Christian’s conscience to obey the higher demands of grace found in the Sermon on the Mount and the Epistles? How do we in any way demean either Moses or the holy Law of God by insisting that the law of God under the New Covenant demands a higher and deeper spiritual response than that given through Moses? Does progressive revelation not in any way apply to ethical behavior? Do you really believe that law can demand more than grace? Why must the highest, fullest, unchanging standard of moral conduct that God ever gave be those laws written on the stone tablets of the Covenant (Deut. 9:9-15 and Heb. 9:4) that God made with Israel? Why do you insist that Moses must be the greatest lawgiver; the giver of the ‘eternal, unchanging, moral law of God,’ and Christ merely be the greatest exegete of that law that God gave Moses? If the Sermon on the Mount is really no more than the greatest Rabbi’s true exposition of the Ten Commandments, then would it not be correct to call that sermon “the Talmud of Jesus?” How is it unbiblical for us to insist that Christ is a greater lawgiver than Moses? How are we in anyway demeaning either Moses or the holy Law of God in any way by exalting Christ over Moses as the new Lawgiver?
I am especially grateful that your magazine made the real bottom line issue so crystal clear. After condemning my view as “more dangerous than explicit antinomianism” (I find it hard to believe that is possible), Barcellos then clearly states his own definition of antinomianism. He plays games with the words ‘against’ and ‘anti’ and then says the following. The emphasis is mine.
In other words, although NCT may not be against law in an absolute sense, if it denies that the moral law of the Old Testament is the moral law of the New Testament, and if it replaces the moral law with another, then it is antinomian on two counts. (page 15 )
Barcellos could not possibly have stated the heart of the issue more clearly. His position, as yours, grows out of his unconditional commitment to the perpetuity of the Decalogue or Tables of the Covenant. To change in any way the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments (Exod. 34:28), written on the Tables of the Covenant, the Decalogue (Deut. 9:9) is, in Barcellos’ eyes, to be antinomian. What an admission! It does not matter if ‘changing the law’ means raising it to a higher and deeper level, it is still antinomianism. It does not matter that our Lord himself raised the standards. Even that is immaterial; it is still antinomianism. In other words, the actual content of the law we preach may be built upon and go past the laws written on the stone tables, but that makes no difference, we are still antinomian! The fact that we changed, even by raising to a higher level, the “unchanging moral law of God” justifies Barcellos in accusing us of being worse than the worst of Antinomians. It does not matter what law we used to replace the law of Moses, even if we use the very law of Christ himself, we are still antinomian. Our teaching that Jesus Christ has raised the law of Moses to a higher level is heresy simply because we have dared to believe and teach that the Sermon on the Mount makes higher and deeper demands upon the children of grace than the Decalogue. We have dared to say that the law of Moses is not the highest law that God ever gave. We insist that our Lord’s law is higher than the law given to Moses.
When Barcellos declares that anyone who “replaces the moral law with another…is antinomian,” he is laying it all on the table. He is dogmatic that the Decalogue gives us the highest revelation of the moral character of God that has ever been given. We reply, no, our blessed New Covenant prophet goes past Moses and gives us a higher revelation of God’s moral character. Barcellos does not care if we replace the laws written on stone with the laws given us by our Lord himself; we are still more dangerous than explicit antinomians like Agricola. If believing that the sovereign grace of God and the authority of Jesus Christ our new Lawgiver demand a higher and deeper spiritual response than the law of Moses, then we plead guilty to the charge of antinomianism. In the name of Christ our New Covenant prophet, and, we trust to the glory of God and the good of his church, we will continue to insist that our Lord replaces Moses as God’s lawgiver over the church in exactly the same way he replaced Aaron as High Priest. We only ask that those who condemn us realize the true grounds upon which we are being condemned. We are labeled and condemned as ‘against law,’ not because we are at all opposed to any law, but solely because we believe the higher law of Christ replaces the Law of Moses. Barcellos has written a book entitled In Defense of the Decalogue. A response to that book could well be entitled In Defense of Jesus Christ, the New Lawgiver. The Barcellos quotation cited above demonstrates how these two titles define the heart of the issue.
Let me say again, I am grateful that your magazine has clarified the issues. The bottom line has nothing to do whether we believe in clear, objective, moral absolutes. We preach those as clearly as you do. The question concerns whether Jesus Christ is merely a true, full, and final interpreter of Moses or whether he is a new lawgiver who replaces Moses in exactly the same way he replaces Aaron as High Priest. Is he only a scribe, even the greatest of all scribes, or is he a true prophet who gives new and higher laws? That is the real issue.
Barcellos introduces his article in Tabletalk with a quotation from Ernest Kevan:
“The main object of the moderate Antinomians was to glorify Christ; but, failing to understand the true relationship between ‘law’ and ‘grace,’ they extolled the latter at the expense of the former.” (page 14)
I am sure there were some people who may have been guilty of Kevan’s charge. However, I also think that Tabletalk’s attempt to glorify Moses and his revelation of law has been at the expense of the greater glory of Christ and his new and higher revelation of law.
If Covenant Theology’s position that Jesus never changed any of the laws written on the Tables of Stone is true, we should not be able to find one unambiguous example where Jesus clearly and definitely changed one of the Ten Commandments. We can show more than one such instance. Before doing that, we may legitimately ask if Covenant Theology has indeed changed one of those unchanging laws. We might ask, “Where does any New Testament writer command that the seventh day Sabbath be changed to the first day, and observed for a totally different reason than the two reasons given in the two different versions of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5?” We must remember that an example does not constitute a commandment, especially when we are considering (1) changing one of the ‘eternal, unchanging, moral laws’ of God written in stone, and (2) that the particular commandment that we are changing is no less than the specific sign of a covenant document. When we read in the New Testament Scriptures of the furor that was created by the Jews because the apostles taught that circumcision was no longer necessary, can we possibly believe that the apostles could have changed the holy Sabbath of God from Saturday to Sunday and the Jews would have never said a word of protest? I submit that if the apostles had changed God’s holy day, the Jews would have created havoc and yet there is not a single word of that problem mentioned in the New Testament! Why? Because the New Testament does not command a change of days. The grounds upon which this is done are purely circumstantial and in reality, arbitrary.
Let me show some instances where Christ, the new lawgiver, changes one of the Ten Commandments written on stone. As stated earlier, one example only is necessary to refute the basic premise of the position you are not only defending, but are using as the grounds to condemn New Covenant Theology as heretical.
The seventh commandment says, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exod.20:14). We believe that commandment is just as binding on us today as it was when it was written on stone. However, we also believe that Jesus clearly changed the definition of what constitutes adultery. Under the Law of Moses, divorce was possible under different rules than it is for a Christian living under the new laws of Christ based on grace. The old rules allowed divorce for reasons other than adultery. Actually, they allowed divorce, according to some commentators, almost at the whim of the man. Here is what the Law of Moses says about divorce and remarriage.
1. If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house,
2. and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man,
3. and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies,
4. then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance. (Deut. 24:1-4 NIV)
All agree that “something indecent” in verse one could not be, or even include, adultery. That would have been punished with death. Under the Mosiac law, remarriage after divorce for “something indecent” was not considered adulterous. In Matthew 19:1-9, Jesus said the Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 concerning divorce was given because of the hardness of men’s hearts. It would also seem it was designed to protect women against that hard-heartedness. Regardless, it is clear that Jesus is saying, “In my kingdom, I am raising the standard and redefining adultery. ‘Something indecent’ is replaced with marital unfaithfulness as the only grounds for divorce.” Later on, Paul will make another change and add another ground for divorce (I Cor. 7:12-15). Both Jesus and Paul changed the definition of adultery as it had been expressed in the seventh commandment, and detailed in the explanatory correlating material. Jesus specifically forbids precisely what Moses allowed. This is in no way a contradiction. The old rules, or Law of Moses, were fine for hard-hearted sinners who lived under a covenant based on law, but members of the new kingdom of grace are not hard-hearted sinners as were most of those under the Old Covenant. Every person in the New Covenant has a heart of flesh; both God’s will and God’s love are written on those hearts (Heb.8:7-12; 10:15-17). That is the very greatness of the New Covenant based on grace over the Old Covenant based on law.
We might ask if the Old Covenant believer had Deuteronomy 24:1-4 ‘written on his heart’? One thing seems certain; he did not have Matthew 19:1-9 ‘written on his heart.’ It cannot be denied that there are clearly different rules under the Law of Moses and under the law of Christ concerning divorce and remarriage, and both sets of rules could not be applicable to the same person at the same time. Divorce, adultery, and re-marriage had different laws, or different canons of conduct, under the Old and New Covenants. I am aware that this proposition is impossible within the system of Covenant Theology. Just as there is one Covenant of Grace and one redeemed people under that one covenant, so there must also be only one unchanging canon of conduct for that one people. If there are two different canons of conduct, one for Israel and one for the church, and I have just demonstrated that such is the case, then Covenant Theology is without a foundation in its view of law and grace.
The second change in the seventh commandment (as expounded in Deuteronomy 24) concerns the legitimacy of allowing a man to remarry a woman after he had divorced her. Under the Law of Moses that situation was not allowed under any circumstance. The very same thing is not forbidden in the New Covenant under which we live. It is obvious, in this case, that what was “detestable in the eyes of the LORD” under the Old Covenant is not detestable to him under the New Covenant.
A third change to the adultery commandment concerns polygamy. Under the Law of God given to Moses, polygamy was not considered adultery. In fact, the Law of Moses actually mandated that a man had to sleep with both wives if he took a second wife (Exod. 21:10, 11). I think any honest person will admit that a change from a law allowing, even if we make it a reluctant tolerance, polygamy to a law insisting on monogamy alone (Eph. 5:22, 23) is more than just a surface change in the definition of adultery and marriage. John Murray clearly saw this problem, and because he was an extremely honest writer, frankly admitted what was at stake. He wrote his treatise on ethics attempting to prove that Polygamy was just as sinful for David as it would be for us today.2 If that cannot be proven, and it surely cannot, then there are two canons of conduct, one for Israel and one for the Church, and Covenant Theology loses its foundation.
I repeat; if Covenant Theology’s position concerning the absolute “unchanging” character of the Ten Commandments as written on the Tables of Stone is correct, I should not be able to produce one clear specific change to a higher level in any of those commandments. I think I have done that without question. I also repeat that we insist that Christ is not in any way contradicting Moses as if Moses were wrong. Contrasting and raising a law to a higher level is not a contradiction. Laws to govern unregenerate rebels are not always the same as laws to govern regenerate saints.
In your own article “To the gallows with Moses!” you quote Johannes Agricola: “His full statement was this: ‘Art thou steeped in sin, an adulterer or a thief? If thou believest, thou art in salvation. All who follow Moses must go to the Devil. To the gallows…'” (page 5). If Agricola had changed the tense of his verbs to read, “If you will truly believe, you will come into salvation” he would have been preaching the gospel. However, his statement as it stands is the epitome of antinomian heresy because it teaches that a person can willingly live in sin and still be a child of God. Likewise, if he had said, “All who follow Moses in the hope of being saved by their obedience to him must go to the Devil”, he would have been telling the truth. Your readers, by implication, have every reason to believe that Wells, Zaspel and I believe the same thing as Agricola. However, we have preached, and will continue to preach, the absolute necessity and certainty of the final perseverance of the saints. We disagree with Agricola just as strongly as you do. You unjustly malign us by innuendo.
Your caricature of antinomianism by using a parody of a great hymn again lumps us into the same camp as Agricola:
Free from the law, O blessed condition; We can sin all we want And still have remission.
If your parody is indeed the “theme song of antinomianism” (page 6), then I have never met a true antinomian. All the New Covenant people with whom I associate would, like you, totally reject the philosophy set forth in your parody. However, we would also unashamedly sing from grateful hearts the original words of the hymn you choose to use for your caricature.
Free from the law, O happy condition, Jesus hath bled, and there is remission; Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, Grace hath redeemed us once for all. (P.P. Bliss 1873)
If that hymn is talking about justification, and it most certainly is, then it proclaims the gospel in all of the purity of sovereign grace. It presents the blood of Christ our Lord as the sole grounds of remission of sin. This is precisely the point that Paul drives home in Romans 3:20-31. To mock that hymn is to mock the very gospel itself. Where is the theological flaw in this hymn that praises God’s grace alone for full, free and forever justification?
You mention how the Reformers correctly sought to qualify the truth of justification by faith and protect it against antinomianism. They said:
“Justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone.” Luther, in keeping with the epistle of James, argued that saving faith is a fides viva, a living faith that always yields the fruit of good works. (page 6)
Tom Wells, Fred Zaspel, I and all of our New Covenant friends have been faithfully and fervently declaring that very same thing for many years; even using those exact quotations. No one has fought ‘easy-believism’ and empty professions of faith any harder than we have.
I would like to believe that it was not the intention of Tabletalk to label us as true antinomians, but the facts seem to show otherwise. Barcellos wants to eat his cake and have it too. He first admits that we are not “morally antinomian” and then further also admits that we are not “typical antinomian.” However, he then says that New Covenant Theology is “more dangerous than explicit antinomianism” (page 15). So he actually labeled us as holding an even more heretical antinomianism than the worst of the explicit antinomians described in the rest of the articles. We are even more dangerous than Johannes Agricola. Unless you and Barcellos have adopted a very extreme ‘carnal Christian’ doctrine, your readers have absolutely no reason to believe that you consider those who hold to New Covenant Theology as truly converted.
Your magazine accepted and printed an article that publicly labels us as more dangerous than ‘explicit antinomians” which means we are outside the camp of true orthodox Christianity. I believe this draws a false line in the sand. An open discussion of issues involving law and grace, especially as they relate to the Sabbath, is long overdue. The September 2002 issue of Tabletalk has raised the issue, but does not promote such a discussion. You may, with the use of false labels, help to widen the present gap and create even more divisions among believers and churches. Surely this is not the outcome either of us would desire.
We have received many reviews of the Wells / Zaspel book, New Covenant Theology. Nearly every one, even those from people within your own camp, are far different responses than that expressed by Barcellos in Tabletalk. We would welcome your own opinion, based on your personal reading of the book. Perhaps you would agree with Barcellos, but it is just as possible that you would express a far different sentiment. It might, at any rate, open the door for further discussion.
Following are five quotes that contribute insight into Tabletalk’s view of antinomianism. These quotes clearly demonstrate John Calvin, Martin Luther (along with most early Reformation Churches) John MacArthur, Colin Brown, James Mongomery Boice all consciously rejected the Westminster Confession of Faith’s view of the Sabbath. In no sense whatever am I suggesting that any of these men would agree with my understanding of New Covenant Theology. What I am saying is that every one of these men deserves the odious label of antinomian if they are judged by the standard that was used to judge me. They all clearly affirm that our blessed Lord dropped one of the laws, the Sabbath, that Covenant Theology considers to be a part of the ‘eternal, unchanging, moral law of God.’ It is clear that Christ viewed the Sabbath as no longer in force but as fulfilled in Himself. As the new Lawgiver, he had every right to do so.
One: R.L. Dabney, an avowed Sabbatarian, in his Systematic Theology, gives a clear and honest statement of Luther’s and Calvin’s views of the Sabbath.
We find that, in theory, almost all Protestants now profess the views once peculiar to Presbyterians and other Puritans … (p. 366). The historical fact, of which many intelligent Christians are not aware—that the communions founded at the Reformation, were widely and avowedly divided in opinion as to the perpetuity of the Sabbath obligation. A number of the Reformation churches, including some of the purest, professed that they saw no obligation in Scripture to any peculiar Sabbath observation (p. 366). The second opinion [that the Sabbath is a moral commandment and not ceremonial] is that embodied in the Westminster symbols, and, to the honor of Presbyterianism be it said, first avowed in modern times, even among Protestants, by that party in England … (p.367)
On pages 368–371, Dabney shows that the Mennonites, Lutherans and Anglicans were all non-sabbatarian. He then says:
[Calvin’s] views of Sabbath-observation are substantially those of Luther. (p. 372)
On the whole, it may be said that the Protestant Churches of continental Europe… properly speaking, have never had the Sabbath; for it has only been to them a holy-day, ranking no higher than Christmas or Easter. (p. 373)
Two: John MacArthur’s view.
The MacArthur N.T. Commentary, MATTHEW 8-15, by John MacArthur, Jr., (Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1987).
Sabbath observance was at the heart of the Jewish legalistic system, and when Jesus violated the traditions as to how that day should be honored, He struck a raw nerve. (p.280)
But that law [Sabbath commandment] is the only one of the Ten Commandments that is non-moral and purely ceremonial; and it was unique to the Old Covenant and to Israel. The other nine commandments, on the other hand, pertain to moral and spiritual absolutes and are repeated and expanded upon many places in the New Testament. But Sabbath observance is never recommended to Christians, much less given as a command in the New Testament.
When Jesus began His ministry, the Old Covenant was still in effect and all its requirements were binding on Jews, the special people of that covenant. Jesus observed every demand and met every condition of Scripture, because it was His own Word, which He came to fulfill and not destroy (Matt. 5:17).
Because the Lord of the Sabbath had come, the shadow of His Sabbath rest was no longer needed or valid. The New Testament does not require Sabbath observance, but rather allows freedom as to whether or not any day is honored above others … The Lord’s Day is not the “Christian Sabbath,” as it was considered to be for many centuries and still is in some groups today. (p.287, 288) Three: From: The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, edited by Colin Brown, Vol. 3, (Zondervan).
Sabbath observance is strongly emphasized in both versions of the Decalogue, though a slightly different form and with a different reason suggested. (p. 405)
The Sabbath was to be kept holy, because Israel was a redeemed people. The Deuteronomic version then includes a second reason for its observance. Creation and redemption are both [equal] motives for its observance, the one for all men, the other for Israel. (p. 405)
Galatians 4:10. Paul is addressing Gentile converts who now, after their conversion, are turning to a scrupulous observance of Jewish ritual, special days, new moons, feasts and the yearly observances [and weekly] enjoined in the Levitical regulation [note in Leviticus 23 that the weekly is the head of the list]. They are taking on themselves the Jewish law. Paul will not countenance a reversal to Jewish practices for Gentile Christians. (p. 410)
Colossians 2:16. Here Paul argues that the Jewish law (the legal demands) were canceled in the death of Christ (v. 14), and therefore the Jewish food regulations and religious calendar are not binding on the Christian. Included in this ritual was the Jewish sabbath observance. These observances, Paul claims, pointed to a spiritual reality fulfilled in Christ. (p. 410)
There remains one other passage bearing on the sabbath. This is Hebrews 4:9: “there remains a keeping of sabbath [sabbatismos] to the people of God.” Here the rest typified by the sabbath is seen as the rest of the heart, provided in Christ (cf. Matt. 11:28) as realized partially now and finally in the life to come. (p. 410, 411)
Four: J.I. Packer and the Reformer’s view of the Sabbath.
A Quest for Godliness, by J.I. Packer, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990).
First, however, we must fill in the historical background of our study.
The Puritans created the English Christian Sunday—that is, the conception and observance of the first day of the week as one on which both business and organized recreation should be in abeyance, and the whole time left free for worship, fellowship, and ‘good works.’ This ideal was never generally accepted by continental Protestants [Luther’s and Calvin’s view – JGR]… ( p. 235)
James I’s Declaration of sports (1618) laid it down that apart from bull-and bear-baiting and bowls, all the popular games of the day might be played on Sunday after church. In fact James hereby ‘simply reiterated what had been the law of the State and the Church since the early days of the Reformation’… (p. 235)
Against this background of history we now turn to the Puritan teaching itself.
1. The meaning of the Fourth Commandment (Ex. 20:8-11). Here the Puritans advanced on the Reformers. These latter had followed Augustine and medieval teaching generally in denying that the Lord’s Day was in any sense a Sabbath. They held that the Sabbath, which the Fourth Commandment prescribes, was a Jewish typical ceremony, foreshadowing the ‘rest’ of a grace-faith relationship with Christ. (p. 236)
Packer then proceeds to show “the Puritans, however, corrected the [Reformers] inconsistency.” (p. 237)
Five: Dr. James Montogery Boice’s View:
Dr. Boice, in the April 1994 issue of his Bible Study Hour monthly magazine (pages 38-45) reviews the three basic views of the Sabbath. After stating the Sabbatarian view, Dr. Boice acknowledges that the “Westminster Confession of Faith takes this view, calling the Lord’s Day the ‘Christian Sabbath'” … There is no question that this was the view of the English and American Puritans. It is held by most Reformed churches today.
Dr. Boice than gives his own view which is “Sunday Worship as a new ‘Lord’s Day:'” This view holds that the Sabbath has been abolished by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that a new day, the Lord’s Day, which has its own characteristics, has replaced it … This is my view also.
Are differences on this matter divisive? Yes, in some cases. Speaking of my own denomination only, it is worth pointing out that the most serious conflicts within the Presbyterian Church of America, which is a conservative denomination, are between those who insist on a strict adherence to the Westminster Standard, with its Sabbatarian view, and others who hold to the Standards more loosely … In our denomination there are people who would like to get pastors such as myself excluded, because we think this is a non-essential matter on which the Westminster Confession of Faith has gone beyond what ought to be required of anyone.
Dr. Boice then gives his reasons for rejecting the “Sunday worship but as the Sabbath” view and accepting the “Sunday worship as the new ‘Lord’s Day.'” He shows how the first view can easily lead to legalism and the second view can lead to libertinism, and then warns against both dangers. The context in which Dr. Boice is discussing the whole Sabbath question is Christian liberty as set forth in Romans 14:5, 6. His conclusion would be ‘vile heresy’ to anyone who adheres, without reservation, to the creeds.
Let me say that I do not believe you are “breaking the Sabbath” by eating out on Sunday, playing ball with your children, going to a football game or even-horrors of horrors-going to a movie. When my wife and I lived in Switzerland we used Sunday evening for evangelistic work, and that sometimes included taking our non-Christian friends to movies. But even though the right approach is not legalism, surely you can see that you are somehow missing the boat if Sunday is not a day of spiritual refreshment, an evangelistic opportunity, hours of genuine worship, and a time of joy for you. If going to church is something you want to get over with quickly, I would almost rather have you think of Sunday in a legalistic fashion.
It is interesting that Dr. Boice pleaded for tolerance and acceptance because there are sincere Christians who hold both views. It is even more interesting that Dr. Boice realized that the strict Sabbatarian view of the Westminster Confession finds it essential, in most cases, to make its view of the Sabbath a test of fellowship. Tabletalk’s readers could infer from the September issue that its authors and editor would fall into the camp that labels any view but that of classical Covenant Theology as antinomianism. We would echo Dr. Boice’s plea for tolerance and acceptance, and above all urge all involved to openly discuss the biblical data instead of sticking an undeserved label on those who disagree with a creed.
1 I am indebted to Pastor David Frampton for the above. It was taken from his tract, “Me, An Antinomian? You Must be Kidding!” (Frederick, MD: New Covenant Media).
2 Principles of Conduct, by John Murray, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, pages 14-18.
Copyright 2004 John G. Reisinger
II. VIEWS OF THE LOCAL VISIBLE CONGREGATION OR ASSEMBLY OF CHRIST!
It is clear that the Bible in the N.T. reveals that the visible assembly or congregation is called the “called out ones by God Himself unto His Son Jesus into Salvation and given a command to take the Gospel to all the nations”!
Peter in fact in his epistle – 1 Peter 2:9 calls it and describes it as follows:
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal Priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful Light.”
My point is this; we are all members into one spiritual body which means there are no lost people existing in it at all, and regardless where we attend with others who congregate, if they profess the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah, Savior and Lord, and also, they have received the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ into their life by the new birth, I am immediately to be recognized as part of that body that is the “same” as I. I do not have to be ‘marked’ and ‘identified’ on some membership roll and have my name signed to so statement of faith or confession etc.! I am automatically by God Himself identified as part of the Body of Christ Jesus here on this earth which of course is a spiritual entity that exists but yet, human beings in a body of flesh also.
That in no way speaks against the local visible body having such items as Confessions of faith, Statement of Faith, or some form of membership roll identifying those who normally meet together at one specific location to carry out together the instructions of Christ regarding things relating to the ministry and discipling of the saints.
But however, it does say clear and loud, that no elders, ministers, deacons, or any other titled type person in the local assembly can deny me my spiritual rights and promises to conduct myself when I meet with other saints, any Biblical role I am to be engaged in even regarding my gifts given by the Holy Spirit which I should use and operate under their power.
I also know that the local assembly and those who direct and seek to lead the fellow saints and priests, should identify via consultation verbally with each other excatly what one adheres to regarding the faith, and also, examination of such ones. That is fine. Paul met with Peter and the Jerusalem church leaders on occasions and that is what they did regarding Paul, but Paul reminded us all that their designations did not mean that he was to be controlled and or forbidden to do anything they might suggest or he wasn’t considered one of them!! God has no favorites in the matter. God is the one who gives gifts, directs His people by the Holy Spirit and each should be on the same page when it comes to things like this if we have the Holy Spirit within who will certainly testify to such.
I have found sadly that some local congregations have leaders who have made it harder to get into their assembly than God and our Lord Jesus Christ did to get into the kingdom of God through the New Birth. Using tools they have developed and called them Statement of FAith or Confessions, they have added so much material to it even doctrinally, that no one can be a member and be honest because it is almost impossible that someone is in agreement on every issue stated. Certainly there are essentials we must all agree upon if we are to be considered a saved person, and know Christ, but other issues regarding the doctrine of last things, and perhaps even covenant issues regarding law and grace and the local assembly matters will mean many are not even close yet due to time and a persons own studies regarding their knowledge of such.
Let me give a few examples: I went to a local Church in a small city some years back and desired to identify myself with them and actually desired to use my gifts of teaching etc., in that body if I joined with them regularly. However, I disagreed with two issues in their Statement of faith which were; (1) No one could be a member of the body of Christ there unless they were 18 years of age. – Now you would think anyone could see that is not biblical. If a person is saved at 12 years of age they are automatically in the body of Christ spiritually and even visibly (local). I can see you may need to have a Constitution which will not allow young children to vote? on issues brought forth to the congregation just because such children would not understand and so the voting may be restrictive, but that is a matter which would NOT mean they are not bondified and real members of the body of Christ.
The second disagreement I had was with their statement saying, that unless you agreed with every detail of the Statement of faith you could not be in any area of service in that local assembly. I had a disagreement with their views regarding their dispensationalist ideas of the 2nd Coming of Christ and Israel’s role. Even though I stated I would express the local churches and/or Elder/Pastor views but would also like to express some aspects of disagreement and do so in a loving and caring and non divisive manner. But they would not allow such. So, I had to decline trying to be a part of the assembly and could not function using my gifts given by God to me! Two counts and I was out! I could be in Christ’s kingdom but not theirs. Those were NOT essentials of the faith at all.
FOCUS: In Acts 17:11, we read words given to Paul the Apostle by God the Holy Spirit regarding how individuals must approach the scriptures and messages given by others. It reads, “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
This article is certainly not going to be a exhaustive writing on textual criticism but rather a very short word on some important aspects of proper Biblical interpretation and understanding of the scriptures to keep one from falling into traps and knotty problems which seem to bring about nothing but divisions and even heresy and ultimately apostasy if one is not careful.
First and foremost one has to believe that the scriptures are the very inspired, holy, sacred, total complete words from God Himself and not humanly developed. Either God gave these words to certain writers He chose, or they are a fabricated storehouse of man made fairy tales with no authority at all. In fact, if these are not God breathed words, we are wasting our time and are still in our sins and do not know the creator God at all.
But proof is in the pudding they say. God’s word can be confirmed as true and absolute, and that it changes the lives of human beings dramatically, and also the miracles and events were and are real that it speaks about. Enough proof exists down through history one cannot get around it all successfully. One can deny and hate the word of God, but that doesn’t change it at all!
Now let’s look at a few items which are usually not handled or brought forth when we exercise ourselves in the reading and study of God’s words.
I will just list a few major items to consider which usually are left on the table or not even thought of by anyone when they read the scriptures, even left out of the equation by Ministers, Professors, Teachers and the average saint in the body of Christ.
The following if not considered and understood will bring about a totally wrong final comprehension of what the Bible actually teaches and what God wants us to know:
Understanding the meaning of the term Israel.
An improper understanding of this term will create a totally wrong view of God’s Gospel message, in terms of who are the saved people and the ones composing the body of Christ. Also, not understanding this term and who and what is being identified by that term in context will introduce all types of concepts now regarded by Systematic Theological views which are purported to be proper Bible Doctrine.
Identification of what is hidden behind the term Israel is the key to proper comprehension of God’s Covenants and the entire doctrine of regeneration and also the doctrine of End Times.
In fact, if one does not know the following meaning of the words I will give they WILL NOT properly interpret the Bible narrative.
The term Israel is usually totally identified by most of us as the name given to Jacob and it became the name tagged onto the Jews and their various tribes. This is of course correct, however there is more behind this term than just a person or tribe of people.
A study of the term by Hebrew scholars will come up with this concept or meaning of the term: “He has become a Receptacle in which God can be received and retained.” In other words, the basic word points toward a Person who is known by terms which John the Apostle wrote in John 1. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word became Flesh and dwelled among us.” In other words, Israel is the ONE SEED promised who has Eternal Life and is our Savior namely Jesus! All things point to and end up with Jesus the Son of God the God/man!
Now let’s think about a very important thought we must keep in mind we are speaking, or teaching or preaching the word of God to to others, and specifically, when we are considering the SEED of Abraham. From Abraham of course we see the development of the usage of the term Israel and also the term SEED singular which is so important to unpack (seed singular not plural)!
There are 4 Distinct Seeds mentioned in the Bible which if we do not understand their distinctive meanings we will end up misinterpreting the Covenant of grace, and also the Doctrine of Last Things and even who the Church or body of Christ consists of!
Here are the four seeds of Abraham described and when you come to the Bible you must determine which seed is being spoken about, for making it just a normal usage of one word and one concept of such, will throw you off totally in proper Biblical revelation. Here are the seeds:
Natural seed: Includes all physical children of Isaac and Ishmael, jacob and Esau, Jews and Arabs.
Special Natural Seed:The nation, or children, of Israel, all of the physical seed of Jacob and his twelve sons.
Spiritual seed: All believers of all ages, David and Paul, Jewish and Gentile believers, you and me.
Unique Seed: Christ the Messiah and King!
I would recommend the book (small) easy reading: Abraham’s Four Seeds by John G. Reisinger available over most book outlets for your study on this and read the book over and over to you really get it. I have read it perhaps 10 times already. One can’t in any way get away from the truth and facts presented. In fact, this entire subject would destroy most denominational setups and bring the body of Christ together that is how important it is. It destroys Presbyterian Covenant theology, Dispensationalism which is held by most today even thought it was a newby on the block and came about some 1800 years after Christ on the doctrine of Last or End Times.
Understanding the Seeds will also prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the word of God places all Jews and Gentiles that God calls and saves into ONE body and there is NO future Temple built with sacrifices established anymore, and destroys any idea the local REAL body of Christ is seperate from the Israel of God but is the Israel of God itself because we are in the Israel of God (Real SEED singular) Christ!
Hope this creates some desires to study the word of God more carefully. Blessings to all!
All of us seek to look for life fulfillment where it will never be found. But that temptation haunts us every day of our lives. We major on horizontal focus rather than on vertical most of the time and we even ask creation to be our Savior and through it find fulfillment. But that is another illusion.
I think Paul David Tripp has it down very clearly the way we do such things. Notice his list, which of course is not exhaustive, but illustrates my point:
We attach our identity to the respect of another.
We draw too much of our sense of well-being from our physical appearance.
We think material possessions have the power to make us happy.
We attach our meaning and purpose to our achievements.
We ask our jobs to make us content.
We try to base our identity on our children.
We attach our sense of spiritual well-being to the “perfect” church.
We base our identity on our education.
We ask our spouses to make us happy.
We look to food and drink to satisfy and calm us.
We continually say, “If only I had _________, then my life would be ______.
We attach our identity to the luxury of our cars, or the affluence of our neighborhoods.
All of those things are not evil or wrong, but rather God has designed them to POINT us toward Him rather than to the creation itself. He is the ONLY ONE who can provide us with Life and that more abundantly. Signs are to point you to something else besides the sign.
So, all good things such as situations, locations, possessions, relationships, achievements, and creation which is beautiful, are blesings given by God alone, for those things can never give you what you need. Note John 14:6:
“I AM the way, the truth and the life”, Jesus said. So, we need to stop searching when the needs is already here and we need to look for it no where else for it isn’t there. Read also Psalm 115.
As we live today especially considering those of us in the United States of America, we are finding that there are many of our foundational values in our culture are falling apart. We are at a crossroad which if certain things do not happen today (January 6, 2021), our nation will become another Marxist Socialist nation politically speaking, and that means, all of the values, morals and ethics we previously held will disappear.
As a Christ follower and ones who know Him as Savior and Lord, we also know that no political system or person in politics is our Savior. Government of any type will not suffice and supply to our hearts that which we long for at all. They are powerless in that field for they are products of this world system.
Having stated that, God does use people and help them develop systems in the Governmental affairs which are Godly and moral. Not being perfect, our nations policies and Constitutional Government based upon a Republic rather than a Democracy is a better form of Government for the people than any that exists on planet earth today. Yet, the enemies of morality and God and Christ, have been working hard over the last 100 years in the USA to tear down this Republic. Marxist educators had infiltrated the schools and taught their dogma slowly but surely to students for several generations.
I contend that the results of the voting that takes place this very day reflects that they have made great advancements in brainwashing the people of America to accept and go along with Marxism to a great degree. However, the majority of people living here still uphold a lot of the principles that are taught in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, but the controlling people in places of Government are the children of the Marxist Educators and their influence is now beginning to flesh out more strongly as we see full blown Marxist elected to offices.
Georgia for instance elected a Marxist black licensed minister of a so called Baptist? church to be in the Senate of the USA! That speaks real bad on two fronts: 1. A Baptist and Christian would NEVER endorse what this man endorses. 2. The Constitution and Bill of Rights which he will swear to uphold stand totally against what this man believes. We are now more in danger as a people in losing our precious freedoms and move closer to being under a dictatorial slave type leadership in our Government. More on the order of Russia, China, Iran or other type non freedom governments.
I argue that what is taking place is ordained by God Himself, and is NO accident, and NO chance happening. It is orchestrated totally by God alone! If God allows the evil spirit of Satan and his demons to control the spirits of those in the USA to vote wrongly and against good sound judgment etc., then God has some strong High purposes He is putting into place which can be found spoken about in the scriptures regarding the Last Days.
Some points God has shared with us concerning the last days are: 1. The world will seek to unite as one and be under the control of people who preach and establish a one world type government which is led by anti-Christ type people, and eventually One special Anti-Christ person and a False Religious leader Anti-Christ individual. Note the black so called Baptist Christian in Georgia who is a Marxist and could in now way Biblically be considered a Christian is a case in point! He is a type of what God speaks of as the False Prophet in the last day when Christ comes back and brings judgment upon this world.
The USA was one of the last nations on earth to have such a Republic which endorses Christian ethics and morals and freedoms as we have them. So the ONE world Religion and One world Political system is growing stronger as I write this article.
I sense that the Judge (God our Christ Jesus) is at the door! He perhaps is standing up from His seat at the Throne of the Father and preparing to come back and execute Divine judgment upon the people of this earth and its leaders. He will cown down and literally burn up and crush all of the wicked people and Satan and his demons for sure, casting them into hell and then makes a totally new earth and heaven where dwells only good and righteousness, being our King and Lord over all of His people who will be with Him.
These proud, arrogant, lying, self promoted leaders who think they are something, should be trembling in their shoes rather than being delighted they won a political race. Our God is a consuming fire and their sinful souls and unbelief will send them right into the pit of hell fire and damnation.
It is sad, but I pray, for God to grant mercy and grace to all and bring about a great spiritual revival and bring many of these to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus who is the only ONE who can save, the Only one who can provide peace, security, joy, satisfaction, stability and complete contentment to any living soul! Cry out to Him for mercy and pray for His saving grace in Christ Jesus escaping the wrath of God to come!!
C.S. Lewis stated; “If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. …..it would seem to many that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
“That’s it! The enemy of Worship is not that our desire for pleasure is too strong, but too weak! We have settled for a home, a family, a few friends, a job, a television, a microwave oven, an occasional night out, a yearly vacation and perhaps a new laptop. We have accustomed ourselves to such meager, short-lived pleasures that our capacity for joy has shriveled. And so our worship has shriveled. Many can scarcely imagine what is meant by “a holiday at the sea” — worshipping the living God.Through long drinking at the broken cistern of mud-pie pleasures, many have lost almost all capacity for delighting in God “by John Piper in Desiring God page 99.
Let all of us repent and turn from such sin, and begin to worship by dancing, singing, praising, playing loud all types of musical instruments, shouting, engaging others with great happiness and praise to our Lord Jesus, and be “real” true worshippers. Let there be a Jubilee!Christ Jesus said God desires all of us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Our spirit anchored in the word of truth the scriptures is absolutely essential. We do not enter into worship like it is ‘air’ and ’empty’ of doctrine and theology, but rather, with such for in doing so we find true worship exists for it is not only our ‘spirit’ but also with ‘truth”! Lack of scripture understanding and engagement produces or makes it dangerous as we enter into such worship, that the engagement will end up only on the outward demonstration and not reach God or Christ at all. Great care must exist in that we are to be in the word of God daily seeking Him and Loving Him to have true worship.
I shall never forget a gentlemen who has now passed away – a friend of mine, who was offended in the services we attended when someone raised their hands and praised the Lord. Of course, he would never do such a terrible thing as praising God with hands lifted and would never utter Amen out loud for that would be beneath his dignity and he would call it irreverence. However, today, I am absolutely 100% sure that God has corrected all of that and if he could come back he would be dancing in the aisle when songs of praise went up for Jesus!!!
Where are you in your worship? Do you throw it to the wind those inbred desires that wish to be unleashed as you would really like to do in the presence of Jesus and others? Or do you wish to turn from such unbiblical deadness and stop quenching the Holy Spirit and really begin to worship God in more ways than one!
Most folks think that worship stops when it moves from hearing the word of God, and singing a few hymns or praise songs. However, we must have our feelings, our emotions, our desires expressing how much we really do love Jesus and our Lord. To do otherwise is to deny what God has and can give us in this life today, worshipping HIM in spirit and in truth.
Check out David the chosen King of Israel, and what the Holy Spirit directed him to write in Psalm 150. Go thou and do likewise!!!How dare anyone deny or contradict the word of God and what He says to the saints about worship!!
People enjoy worship sport games, entertainment, and other various and different platforms of life, but when it comes to God and Jesus they wish to remain silent and keep in the background when if really saved and KNOW HIM,HE is calling us out of our shell of complacency and self-righteous pious attitudes, to enjoy Him and let it be seen with our very total being.
If you have the LIGHT of the world in you, do not put it under a Covering where no one can see it. For if we truly have Jesus in our hearts HE needs to be seen in our total conduct and our total humanity, expressing to the world that HE is in us!
Oh, yes, I know, you worry about others who are doing such and they are way off base doctrinally, or perhaps even living lives which are suspect, but who has called us to be a judge of others anyway, when we don’t know for one moment about what is going on in the hearts of others. Be careful, and not throw stones at others when we may have Stoney hearts that will not budge a inch for Jesus in exhilarating outward expressions of our emotions and feelings, which come from a heart and mind and soul of those who enjoy God and seek to please Him forever.
FUN OR FOLLY! THE KINGDOM OF SELF AND THE COSTUME KINGDOM!
As Christians, we must be aware of how the kingdom of self is a costume kingdom. Sin is so deceitful it does a amazing job of masquerading as the kingdom of God and our activities as good and godly.
Spiritual fakery is a major work and tool of God’s enemy and our enemy Satan. It produces spiritual blindness. It can be so insidious that we think it is just fine and we are not the least bothered by it.
“Bewareof false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
These words of Christ show us that sin and the Devil enjoy looking like and pretending to be something they are not. In another place, we are told that Satan goes around pretending and posing to be an angel of light.
So, the kingdom of sin and self centeredness is a costume kingdom. All of this brings deep down inside spiritual confusion. So many times we think we are engaging in service to God or worshipping Him, when we are actually giving worship and service to some aspect of the creation, even including our own self who we make an idol. Idolatry is so common but yet so covered with the costume of fun and frivolity we can’t see for it blinds us.
In fact,this masquerading idol we allow to control us, has no power at all to deliver to our hungry hearts what Jesus our Lord alone can give to us. We desperately need God to give us insight about this and free us from our bondage to the little costume kingdom we have invented through sins deceptiveness.
Some examples of things that are really sinful idols but appear to fine are:
Focus on material things, but we pretend it is good stewardship.
Control, but we pretend it is a gift of God being exercised.
Anger, many times is just plain I didn’t get my way.
Self Righteousness Legalism, but we pretend it is a love for God’s law.
Think we are building God’s kingdom, but all the while it is our own power and abilities rather than God.
Fear of man, but all the while we think or pretend we are helping someone in need.
Selfish attention seeking but all the while we pretend it is about open real needs we have.
Judgmentalism and Criticism can pose as being devoted to honesty.
Theological pride can be thought of by us as devoted to God’s word and truth.
Lust can pretend it is just considering something beautiful in creation.
Gossip is a real bad one for we pretend we are prayerfully considering others and their needs.
Let us cast off these sinful fruits, and take off our masks and quit pretending but rather, confessing and forsaking such things and walk with God in the Spirit mortifying the deeds of the flesh.
THINK ABOUT THAT TODAY! LET US QUIT CLOWNING AROUND AND BE THE REAL THING IN CHRIST JESUS! SELAH!
Article written by Lamar Carnes with help from Paul David Tripp and his meditations!
Over the history of the assemblies of the Lord Jesus, called the body of Christ on earth, the people of God have been looking for the promised return of the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Creator and Sustainer of all things that exist! Will HE be coming soon? What are the ways or even the promises made by Christ that He will return? This article will touch on a few items about all of this.
The entire Bible has as its subject the person Christ Jesus the King, the Lord, the God/man, the Commander in Chief of Heavens Armies who was promised to come and be the Messiah or Savior of His people, the High Priest interceding for His people forever, the King who will rule and reign over them and the entire creation forever, and also, that He would come back down to planet earth in the same manner they had seen Him ascend back to heaven in the clouds!
Do the signs of the times speak about His soon return?
Is there anything preventing His return even today?
Since the Bible spoke of His very soon return to the people living during His period of time right before He left earth, was He wrong since He hasn’t come back for some 2000 plus years, or have we interpreted His words incorrectly?
UNPACKING BIBLICAL TEACHINGS ON HIS COMINGS AFTER HE LEFT PLANET EARTH!
SOME POINTS TO REMEMBER:
In Matthews Gospel and also the other Gospels we find words concerning how Jesus stated He would come back to ‘that generation’ of people living whom He was speaking to at that very moment. In fact, He stated that His next coming the judgment of Christ would be exercised upon them all including judgment for all of their killings of the prophets of God in time past, that is, they (the current generation) would have God’s punishment placed upon them due to their past fathers murdering God’s servants, etc.!
Also, moving into the Epistles of Paul and of Peter, including Revelation by the Apostle John, we find that Jesus was to come back real soon! So did He? Did He keep that promise?
Yes, He did! He came back in 70 AD and even the few years prior He began a work of Judgment upon the Jewish unbelievers and the nation. It was finalized in 70 AD. Christ came down into the area of the world where Jerusalem was and its Jewish inhabitants and the part of the Roman world which controlled that area. Christ, with His Holy Angels, came back in judgment which was so terrible, absolutely unheard of strikes which caused many signs and wonders upon the area of a magnitude never before seen in such a manner.
Jewish people killing each other, family members slaughtering each other, the Romans killingthem also, and being killed along with them in warfare. Blood flowed so heavily around the area it really was a land deep with blood all over the place. One needs to read the historian Josephus, a Jew who was considered one of the honest and dependable writers and person of the day, who wrote about all he could find and what he observed during this time. He even reports signs and wonders in the sky above, actual appearances of heavenly beings appearing to be in a warlike activity, not to speak of other miracles and signs that took place. Christ follower were warned ahead of time so they could flee from the area and escape the judgment that was to come and they did. So, Christ did come back as He promised but in judgment. However, there is still another coming which was promised and it has not taken place yet. That is the final last day of last days! That I would like to address in order to examine what scripture gives us about that time and what is going on prior to this last Coming of Christ.
THE LAST COMING OF CHRIST IS NEAR!
Much is written in the O.T. and N.T. about the last and final coming of Christ to planet earth. As you can see from what was shown in this article this would be the 3rd coming of Christ back to earth. There are many different matters which must take place prior to this event.
For instance, through out Pauls epistles, he gives us much information about the times and events going on prior to His last coming. Such things as people conducting their affairs as usual, but also, wars, rumors of wars, and conflicts and people filled with many sinful activities of life.
I direct you to the epistles of Thessalonians, Timothy, and even Peter in his epistles and Jude.
Paul speaks to Timothy in 2 Timothy chapters 3 and 4 (please read), that people generally will engaged in so many sinful activities the list is long. Selfish, conflicts, slander, hate, chaos, terrorism, sexual perversions, no love for others, haters of God and Christ, haters of the Lords people, persecutions, lying, murder, rape, etc., etc.! Plus we find out also in the epistles that there has to be a work of Satan whereby he raises up the Anti Christ (a single person), along with a False Prophet, and they will be working to deceive people who are living on this planet. It will be not only going on in the USA, but the entire world system of nations.
We must remember there are only two types of people living on this earth. One group is a group who is in the family of Satan and demons. They hate God, morality, Christ, and God’s chosen people. They also hate each other. The second group are those who are God’s and Christ’s chosen elect ones who follow Christ Jesus as King and Lord. People will have in their very families many times this mixed multitude and it is hard for parents or even children to realize that some of their own immediate family members may be like this, but it is very clear and the truth. Today, people do not wish to entertain the fact that Satan has human beings in his family and kingdom! But denial of or just not wanting to think about it doesn’t change the fact as it really is! So these two evil personages will come on the scene before Christ comes back and they will be working many miracles and deceptive things seeking to make a one world Government and a one world religious body, persecution and killing Christ and God followers and worshipping idols and even ONE person who claims to be God.
THE CURRENT AFFAIRS IN THE USA!
Presently, we find big signs that things like I mentioned above are taking place in our very country right now. The burning of buildings and properties, the burning of police cars and demanding we get rid of police departments so crime can continue without interruption and no accountability, the hate and the slander and the lies such as you see taking place against our President Trump has now gone on for almost 4 years.
Hate, persecution of the Churches and Ministers and members is going on stronger today than it ever has been in the USA! Governors and Mayors are persecuting the Lord’s people and forbidding worship and seeking to harm the body of Christ. These God haters keep executing their rules of evil over Christians and even Jews nowbreaking every law and rule our nation has against such actions.
I would argue that these are signs of the coming of the Last Day of Days upon this planet earth. God may bring a revival or an awakening to certain nations or peoples, but He also may bring the final Day of Judgment. We do not yet know which way it will go, but we know HE will certainly bring judgment or spiritual awakenings one or the other for sure.
In closing, I would like to encourage God’s people to remember these things:
Psalm 32:8 shows God’s promise to us, and reads, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
So, to each of you saints of God, let us remember we are just as immortal as God is now because WE ARE IN HIM AND HE IS IN US! Nothing can happen to us unless God allows it to happen. We can’t change it for one minute. Even if we pray about a certain matter to change, God is still in charge and if He says yes and is positive about it to us, that was meant and decided to have been so before the world was even created because He had planned it that way.
What does this mean then? It means you can go forward in Faith, trusting in Him as you go and move through life and its events knowing that NOTHING will happen to you that God has not ordained to happen to you! So go forth doing what you do walking by faith, being joyful, happy, delighted in God, and Christ, dancing, singing, shouting, praising, playing instruments of music, witnessing, living for Jesus and fighting the good fight of faith and the enemies of the God also with the Word of God, rather than weapons of warfare of this world. That means we pay close attention to Ephesians 6. And also, 2 Timothy 3 and 4. Remember also God told us to not fear man, but fear Him! We don’t have to fear the possibility of thousands of terrorists for God will kill everyone of them before they harm us if that is in His will. We also will not get the Flu, a Virus, a plague ever unless God has ordained we have such. So go in faith and do not worry. Do not test HIM and be reckless, but do what is right and you will be just fine on God’s good green earth until He comes or we go to be with Him prior to that time. Remember HE is life eternal and we shall never die but live forever either here on planet earth and the translation or we go to Him ahead of that time and be clothed with a spiritual body until the resurrection. In any case we will be with HIM! Amen!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
Where will we find an anchor and a hiding place as we go through life’s journey?
Life is filled with many mysteries!
There are things we just can’t figure out!
In fact, we simply aren’t able to understand and make sense of our life here on planet earth! Working to figure things out will only frustrate us and we will never find inner peace and rest. We can work day and night to figure it all out and end up exhausted.
Peace and rest is only found in the wisdom and grace of the ONE who has it all figured out and rules it all for His glory and our good.
We must trust God our Father, our Creator, and our Lord! And we can only come to the Father through the Lord…
On a casual usage of the term world, most consider it to be a term describing either the planet earth, or the population of humans upon the earth and all other aspects of this worlds system. But in this article I will seek to argue scripturally that the term “world” a translation from the Greek term Kosmos, has to be interpreted according to how God uses the term in Holy scripture by focusing on the context and subject matter being spoken of by God!
Setting aside habits, traditions, bias, or perhaps just our very loose way of using our English language in a more neutral manner is hard to do many times. But it must be done. Usage of our English grammar along with the actual meaning of a term in Greek is a essential procedure in getting the right thought, doctrine and theological meaning of a portion of scripture one is studying.
To study this appropriately we need to find a portion of the word of God which will be very helpful in showing how one can be easily influenced away from Biblical teachings using just a normal thought process we all have as we use the English term World! Let’s examine the term in the Bible which is found in John 3:16. Most of us are familiar with that verse of scripture and have heard certain explanations since childhood which usually stays with us into our adult age. It reads:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
As we look at and consider the term ‘world’, we must remember that the term “Kosmos” (world) is NOT used with a uniform significance in the New Testament. It is used in quite a few different ways. I will give a few examples to show this:
Kosmos is used of the Universe as a whole. – Acts 17:24 – “God that made the world and all things therein seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth.”
Kosmos is used of the earth. – John 13:1; Ephesians 1:4, etc.! “When Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart OUT OF THIS WORLD unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world He loved them unto the end.” —- Depart out of this world signifies THIS EARTH. Also: “According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.” – Signifies before the earth was created – compare Job 38:4.
Kosmos is used of the world-system. John 12:31,’Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the Prince of this world be cast out — compare Matt. 4:8 and 1 John 5:19.
Kosmos is used of the WHOLE HUMAN RACE. Romans 3: 19 – “Now we know that what things the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that EVERY mouth may be stopped and ALL THE WORLD may become guilty before God.”
Kosmos is used of Humanity MINUS BELIEVERS: John 15:18 and Romans 3:6. “If the WORLD hate you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” – Believers do not HATE Christ, so that “the world” here must signify the world of Un-Believers in contrast from believers who love Christ. Also, note: “God forbid: for then how shall God JUDGE the WORLD.” Here is another passage where “the world” CANNOT mean “you, me, and everybody.” For Believers WILL NOT be Judged by God – See John 5:24. So this is the world of unbelievers HE is speaking about.
KOSMOS is used of Gentiles in Contrast from Jews: Romans 11:12, reads, “Now if the fall of them (Israel) be the Riches of the World, and the diminishing of them (Israel) the Riches of the Gentiles; how much more their (Israels) fulness.” Note: The first clause is DEFINED by the latter clause. Here, again, “the world” cannot signify all humanity for it EXCLUDES Israel.
Kosmos is used of believers ONLY: John 1:29; 3:16, 17, 6:33; 12:47; 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19. I leave these verses for you to turn to and see what they say. Be careful and note exactly WHAT IS SAID AND PREDICATED OF ‘THE WORLD’ IN EACH PLACE.
So it is seen that Kosmos has at least 7 clear defined different meanings in the N.T.! So study of context, noting also what is predicated of the world in each passage, and note this, as one studies all scripture on any or all words!
The principle subject of John 3:16 is Christ as the Gift of God. The first clause tells us WHAT moved God to GIVE His only begotten Son. That was HIS great LOVE. The second clause informs us FOR WHOM GOD GAVE HIS SON, and that is for WHOEVER or better EVERY ONE who believes. While the last clause makes known WHY God gave His Son (His purpose), and that is, that EVERYONE that believes should not perish but have everlasting life.”
This verse has to do with God’s world of believers or God’s elect ones. In contrast to “the world of the ungodly unbelievers” – 2 Peter 2:5.
In 1 Peter 1:1, Peter is writing this letter to a particular people. It states “……I am writing to God’s CHOSEN PEOPLE….”. Note verse 2: “God the Father…..Knew you and chose you long ago, and HIS Spirit has MADE you Holy.
Verse 21, states, “……through Christ YOU have COME TO TRUST in God, it is because of Christ we have come to trust and then obedience takes place not because of us! Because of HIM and HIS work, i.e., His calling, drawing, opening up our eyes, heart, ears and spiritual abilities to engage in calling upon Him, repenting, having faith in Him, and walking with Him. In other words the NEW BIRTH HAD TO TAKE PLACE BEFORE ANY OF THE OTHER TAKES PLACE. A NEW ABILITY HAD TO BE GIVEN TO A LOST SIN BOUND PERSON AND ONE WHO LIVES IN DARKNESS AND UNDER THE CHAINS OF SATAN’S BONDAGE.
BOTTOM TAKE OUT LINE:
Christ Jesus was sent into the world (all meanings here because He came to the earth, lived in the world system, presented Himself to pagans and people of faith, etc.!) Scripture reveals to us HE came to LIVE a holy, sacred, righteous life without sin, and to be taken and killed on a Cross by the pagan unbelieving world of humans both Jews and Gentiles, and shed His blood on that Cross actually paying the penalty for HIS PEOPLE’S SINS, ACTUALLY ATONING FOR THEIR SINS AND NO ONE ELSE’S!
POINT: No one else’s because if It were for all people then ALL people would be saved and forgiven for all of their sins the biggest one being UNBELIEF! But, we know the Bible doesn’t teach that at all. People do go to hell, and people do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have to pay for their own sin and punishment in hell and eventually the lake of fire. So, the Atonement was for the Lost Sheep, some were alive and followers at that moment, others had passed away in history past, and others in the future who will be saved and forgiven are included in this work of blood shedding and death on the Cross.
Also, Christ arose. If he had not risen from the dead we would all still be in our sins and nothing we are teaching and saying has any value ever. He arose, and now HE is seated at the Right Hand of God the Father making intercession for each of HIS SHEEP on a 24/7 basis throughout the rest of history. He also sent back the Holy Spirit to take His place in the actual body of the believers revealing and guiding them in their faith. Now, we are looking for His return to complete the following: Resurrect our bodies from the grave (all who have passed away), translate Christians into a new spiritual body if He comes in the air and we are still here, and then glorify all of us. Also, He will burn up the heavens above us and the earth beneath us and make it all new without any curse, sin, or evil or decay. Also, a New City will come down from heaven prepared for us in order for us to Live with HIM on planet earth which has been restored to perfection along with us. That is our hope today!! Maranatha!!
P.S. A thorough study of the teachings of scripture on Complete Depravity of the human from conception due to Adam’s fall in the garden of Eden is an essential doctrine that goes along with the teaching of this article due to its implications on ‘all’ humanity. Also, a study of the Definite Atonement made by Christ for HIS people is essential! Complete depravity does not mean a human being engages in the full extent the fallen nature and its fruits of sin, but it does mean people are as bad off as they could possible be until Jesus Christ saves them. Definite atonement does mean that Christ and His blood shedding and Cross work was not done with “hoping’ someone may be saved or with the idea that one could decide and make a personal choice to take it or leave it, as if it was a product on a market shelf. It does mean the blood did do what it was shed to do and His payment was made for actual sin and sins of HIS people and they WILL be forgiven and set free from the wrath and punishment they deserve. The Blood work did its work for His people and that is definite and cannot be otherwise. What God does He does perfectly and without any error and also without making happen what He desired it to accomplish.