What good is it?

What good is it to call oneself a Christian and yet find reasons to not attend the service of the Lord’s church wherein saints gather together to worship the Lord? The many who identify themselves as Christians and fail in this area are Christian in name only, not in heart. They think they will be received by the Lord because of some semblance of attendance and some semblance of “the Lord knows my heart.” Surely, they think, “I am in better position than you might think I am.” Really?

Compare what you think with what the Lord said (as in the Charles B. Williams translation).

“Let us continue so to consider one another as to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. Let us stop neglecting our meeting together, as some do, but let us continue to encourage one another, and all the more because you see that the great day is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Those who love the Lord consider one another in their attendance, desiring to stimulate others toward faithful service and good works, glorifying the Lord. Those who love the Lord do not neglect their attendance.

The word “neglect” is an interesting word. The dictionary defines it to mean to give little attention to, to give little respect, to leave undone or unattended. Those who fail to regularly attend the services of the Lord’s church are guilty of exactly this, the words of denial not withstanding!

What good is it to be called a Christian and fail to meet with the saints because the kids have activities “to which I have to get them!”? What good is it?

It is only good in one’s mind, but not certainly the Lord’s mind. Those who love the Lord memorialize Him in the life lived. RT

#attendance, #priorities, #worship

A difficulty that needs to be addressed

Reflect on Proverbs 18:19 for a moment or two. As you look at the three translations below, it is easy to see that each version conveys the same idea. To separate oneself from another by thought, words and/or actions makes for a difficulty that must be addressed.

The KJV read, A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. The ESV reads, A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle. The NET reads, A relative offended is harder to reach than a strong city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a fortified citadel.

What does the word “offended” mean? We are not to understand the word to mean “What she said offended me!”  Instead, what is in view is something much different. One Hebrew scholar used the word “wounded” in this context. A wounded person is one who had been attacked. Another scholar gave this sense, “The proverb is talking about changing a friend into an enemy by abuse” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary-Revised). Continue reading

#offense, #sin, #unity

The Righteous Requirement of the Law

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4, ESV)

1. What could the Law of Moses not do? It could not save; it was not designed by God to save (Acts 13:39). The Law of Moses was not designed by God to bridge the gap between man and God. The Law of Moses was designed by God to show the nature of sin (Rom. 3:20) and those guilty of sin will be punished (4:15).

2. However, it is not God’s desire that any perish (2 Peter 3:9)

3. God bridged the gap with His gift to man, His Son (John 3:16); His Son (Jesus) condemned sin in the flesh (Hebrews 2:17-18; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

4. It is my view the righteous requirement of the law is best understood in relation to John 6:44-45 and Galatians 3:24-25, tied in with Paul’s earlier words in Romans 1:17, justification by faith.

5. Justification by faith means one walks in accordance with faith (Romans 10:17; 2 Cor. 5:7) because there is a clear realization of man’s nature, a nature that cannot bridge the gap between himself and God (cf. Romans 7:24-8:1).

#justification, #law, #romans

Have you been to Jesus?

In Acts 4, we read of the account of two men standing before the religious leaders of the day, an occasion that was not taken lightly by any that were involved when such a thing like this occurred. The religious leaders not only had moral force, but they could apply a heavy dose of peer pressure, even criminal indictment when the situation demanded it. Acts 4, from their perspective, was such an occasion.

There was some murmuring going on amongst the people, and when they learned about it, those in charge arrested those guilty of causing this disturbance (that is, Peter and John). The disturbance was only in relation to the healing of a man lame since his birth, but the troubling aspect of this disturbance was in direct relation to Jesus, God’s anointed (chosen) one, one who was actually rejected by many of the Jewish people. Rejected as he was, they killed an innocent man.

Still fresh on their minds, the man Jesus and that which He taught, they resolved: “This has to stop!”

After having been arrested, the Lord’s servants were standing before those in judicial authority, being called to give an account of what they did and why. Peter and John stood tall. They gave a direct answer, and then a pertinent application for them (those in authority and the whole community): the authority by which they operated was the same authority they rejected and killed. One day they were going to stand before Him and be judged. This was impressive and insulting to those making inquiry (Acts 4:13). Continue reading

#courage, #life-in-christ

Can one give up salvation?

A doctrine of man known as the impossibility of apostasy is a doctrine that closely clings to other doctrines of man known as unconditional election and limited atonement. Unconditional election is a teaching that God’s choice of a person is in accordance with His sovereign will, and the person chosen has nothing at all to do with this matter. In other words, God choice “was not based upon any merit [including one’s personal response] shown by the object of his grace.” Limited atonement is the teaching that Jesus died only for some, not all. “Christ died indeed, for many people, but not all.” If unconditional election and limited atonement are actual Bible teachings, then the question “Can one lose his salvation?” has to be answered in the negative. God’s choice can’t be overcome by any action or desire of man. In other words, one is saved no matter what.

Are those two doctrines taught in Scripture? The answer is no. Consider the following: Unconditional election is wrong because Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; he who believes not shall be damned.” Note the conditions before salvation is attained: belief and baptism. Thus, unconditional election is not taught. Limited atonement is wrong because Jesus died to atone for the whole world; 1 John 2:2 speaks of Jesus as being the propitiation (atonement) for the sins “for the whole world.” Note also that it is God’s desire that ALL come to the knowledge of the truth, that none be lost (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). Thus, limited atonement is not a teaching of the New Testament.

Since these two man-made doctrines are not taught in Scripture, what about the question, “Can one lose his salvation?” The Hebrews writer said, “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt” (Hebrews 6:4-6, ESV).

As all three are tied together, unconditional election, limited atonement and impossibility of apostasy, they all fall together also. RT 

#calvinism, #salvation

The only opinion that counts (2) (Word to the Wise)

“Our own heart, and not other men’s opinion, form our true honor.” Do you find the opinion of others concerning you important? If you do, you are not much different than the vast-majority of people in this country, even the western world. It is a shame, however, when God’s saint finds the opinion of another to be of greater importance than the Lord’s opinion of him (or her). The Lord’s opinion is always true and steady, never wavering (James 1:16-18). This can’t be said about the opinion of man, even one’s best friend. Your own heart, if you are wise, will be directed by the Lord’s way of thinking and not that of man who is uncertain of himself when he does think! Let your true honor come from the Lord; He loves you and is your security and has the only opinion that counts!

#gods-opinion, #mans-opinion

Paul Would Have None of It

Ash Wednesday and Lent are two days on the religious calendar that is not recognized by the Bible. In other words, the New Testament gives no sanction to either one of these days or periods of time observed by a good many people, both religious and not. Paul, in something of a similar context, wrote to the churches of Galatia about their own desires to observe days and months. He writes, “You are observing religious days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you that my work for you may have been in vain” (Galatians 4:10-11, NET). The context in which Paul wrote relates to a great many people who desired to continue observing the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses had all the markings of religious teaching, and certainly full of wisdom. In Paul’s time, there were some who promoted it as the acceptable way to please the Lord. Paul, writing by the authority of the Holy Spirit, would have none of it. Neither should we. Let us live holy all the time, and not just part of the time.

 

#ash-wednesday, #lent