Wednesday, May 29

We are only a mist

When I was a senior in college I met and became friends with a graduate student who came to Mississippi State to get his masters degree. After I graduated in May of that year, I lost contact with him.

A few years later in May of 1967 I entered Air Force pilot training at Vance AFB in Enid, Oklahoma. In the middle of that summer I received a phone call from someone I didn’t know who was a friend of my friend from my college days. She informed me that he had been killed in a commercial plane crash and that his wife, whom I had never met or even knew about, asked her to call and inform me. He would have been about twenty-seven years old and I later learned that he had gotten his PhD degree in engineering and had a very promising career ahead of him. He had been married for about a year and his wife was five months pregnant when he died. A few weeks after that shocking phone call, we had a fatal T-38 crash at Vance that killed a student and instructor pilot.

All of these people had plans and were looking forward to long lives in which to pursue their goals. While there is nothing wrong with making temporal worldly plans, the reality is there are no guarantees that any worldly plans can be realized due to the uncertainty of life itself. The Bible points this out…………

(James 4:13-14 ESV) Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

However, there is one kind of planning for the future that cannot be shipwrecked by death or worldly events. While we are alive in this world we can make solid irrevocable plans for where we spend eternity. These plans are secure no matter what happens in this world of trouble and the Holy Bible gives us instructions on how to make these plans. The bottom line is …………

(Romans 6:23 ESV) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These are the only future plans that a person can count on. Have you made your plans for your future in eternity?

Tuesday, August 11

Thursday, July 30

Roman Catholic Retreats and Fails to Defend View

In the Jazzycat post of June 15, 2009 comment thread a Roman Catholic said the following:

Private Interpretation of Scriptures:
While the Catholic Church truly believes that reading and understanding the Bible is a good and holy thing, she cautions strongly against trying to understand the true meaning of sacred scripture on your own.

This response came as an explanation to why he could not discuss and debate Scripture on the point of justification by works. His assertion was that works were needed to add to the finished work of Jesus Christ in order for one to be justified [saved].

He totally failed to follow Scripture's exhortation in 1 Peter 3:15 which says:
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

Perhaps he can't understand the true meaning of this passage and needs the higher authority of Catholic Church leaders to tell him what to think. His comment suggests the Catholic Church to be a mere cult and not worthy of serious consideration in the Christian world.

Tuesday, July 28

Catholic Visits Jazzycat preaching a Gospel of Faith plus Works

Answer to Jazzycat visitor on comment thread of Monday, June 15, 2009 Post……
His assertion was that faith plus works are needed to be justified and saved by God.

Paul and James agreed that perfect obedience to the law would result in salvation, but that no one could meet that standard. Likewise no one is capable of perfect deeds. Therefore, you are asserting that imperfect deeds added to the atonement of Christ are needed to secure salvation. Does this make sense to you? Your attempt to distinguish righteousness obtained from the old covenant law [which is now obsolete] from good deeds apart from the law only goes so far. A perfect righteousness is needed to stand justified before God whether through the law or apart from the law. Paul points this out clearly in Titus:

Titus 3:4-7 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Paul dealt with your objection in Romans 4. Abraham’s obtained righteousness by faith long before the old covenant law was given at Mt. Sinai. His faith was credited apart from works [Romans 4:1-3]. Paul could not be talking about the works of the law here since this was 400 years before the law was given.

The human problem with standing before God, since the fall of Adam, has been sin and a lack of a perfect righteousness. Jesus Christ solved both of these problems by paying our sin debt and also providing the perfect righteousness required [Romans 5]. This is obtained by faith in Jesus Christ alone as a gift [Romans 6:23].

Believers are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, which produces good works of sanctification. Romans 6 through Romans 8 explain this concept. James is simply telling hypocrites that a claimed faith without deeds is not a sincere saving faith. He is not adding works to faith, but simply defining what faith looks like. A sincere saving faith will result in a “born again” life that will result in good works. That is why Jesus said, you must be born again [John 3:3]. It is why Paul describes a Spirit led Christian in Romans 8 as showing characteristics that are different from the non-Christian. However, these good works flow from being saved and justified and do not contribute in any way to being justified before God. If works were required, the final outcome would always be in doubt, and Paul certainly could not make the statements he made in Romans 5:1, Romans 8:1, Romans 8:31-39, and many other passages.

If we stand before God and present our deeds to be justified, we will have to present all of our deeds and that will mean we condemn ourselves since they are imperfect deeds. I for one plan on claiming the deeds of Jesus Christ through faith as my only hope which is what Paul says directly in Philippians 3:8-11…..

Monday, June 29

What Is The Spirit/Flesh distinction in Romans 8:1-14?

Mark [Bluecollar] and I have been debating the President of the Free Grace Alliance on his blog on the so-called carnal Christian view. This view holds that a person can be a true Christian and never show any obedience, discipleship, or fruit for his entire life. My discussion with him led to Romans 8:1-14 where my assertion was that Paul was contrasting believers with non-belivers in this passage [a position fatal to the existence of true carnal Christians]. His view is the passage is making a distinction between believers following either the Spirit or the Flesh, which verifies the carnal Christian concept. Which is it? Are those described by Paul as being in the flesh in this passage believers or are only those described as being in the Spirit believers?

Verses 4, 9, and 14 clearly show distinctions that are between non-belivers and believers rather than just two states of believers. It is the characteristics that are being compared here. It is not about justification by works, but the characteristics of born again, Spirit indwelled believers compared to the characteristics of unbelievers who are described as in the flesh. Paul is talking about a person's basic direction in this passage. He is contrasting whether a person is continually following and being dominated by the flesh or the Spirit. It is not about sinless perfection, but it is about regenerated, Spirit indwelled Christians being saved from not only the penalty of sin, but also the power of sin. Let us examine the verses in question.

In verse 4 Jesus’s crosswork is applied to who? To those who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Therefore, his crosswork justifies believers who respond how? They “walk not according to the flesh……..”. Those in the flesh are not saved in v. 4.

In verse 9 believers are what? They are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. If what? If in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Therefore, Paul says you are not in the flesh if the Spirit of God dwells in you. This leaves only one possibility for a person to be a true Christian and be in the flesh, and that is to not have the indwelling Spirit. However, Paul destroys that possibility with the last half of the verse when he says, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” Those in the flesh are not saved according to verse 9.

In verse 14 believers [sons of God] are described how? They are led by the Spirit. Those in the flesh do not have the Spirit and are not saved according to verse 14.

When a believer who is in the Spirit and walks according to the Spirit sins, it does not mean he is in the flesh and not being led by Christ. His walk is still in a direction according to the Spirit. However, a person who walks according to the flesh [as described by Paul] is continually pursuing a lifestyle of the flesh. Therefore, he is in the flesh continually and he is not being led by the Spirit in any way. He is not saved and his mind is set on the flesh with a hostility toward God (v. 7).

Verse 4 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.

Verse 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.

Verse 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

Verse 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

Monday, June 15

God powers sanctification

A pastor in the free grace theology movement made the following comment on his blog concerning the reformed view of justification by faith alone:

It [Reformed theology] is a view that says, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is not alone.” My book spends 300 pages and 600 footnotes trying to clarify the mistake in this cliche.

I think I can show through Biblical teachings why this cliché is true. If sinners were saved apart from God’s intervening grace, regeneration, and the indwelling Spirit, then this statement would be false and he could build a solid case. However, through regeneration (John 3:3, 2 Cor. 5:17, Eph 2:4-5) and the indwelling Spirit (Romans 8:9) those that are saved by faith alone are led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14) and are changed to different degrees. While still being far from perfect, these new attitudes, behaviors, inclinations, etc. are present in all saved Christians. Since saving faith comes with this POWER from God and not man’s effort alone, it is true that faith alone for justification does not exist alone. It comes with GOD POWER!

Monday, May 18

Temperature in the forties tonight in Mississippi

If you have bought into all of the propaganda about man made global warming, check your discernment meter because you are probably being manipulated in many other ways as well!