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Saturday, May 31, 2014

"Lets Bundle!" Grace and Law and Sanctification?

Do you know of "things" that consist of several elements with those several elements themselves observable as individual "things" in other circumstances where they can and do exist as isolated individual things? What!? For example, water. Water is made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, H2O. Both hydrogen and oxygen exists in other settings individually. Water cannot and does not exist without both elements. If we remove either hydrogen or oxygen, water ceases to be water.

Or, for you cable and satellite subscribers, have you "bundled" your service? Supposedly customers are saving money by bundling several different services such as Sports channels, movie channels, etc. I say it is just a slick sales gimmick. Anyway, take any of those services out of the bundle and you will no longer have a bundle in accordance with the rules of the provider. But those individual services exist as individual services. Got it?

Now lets examine a God-provided bundle that is being dismantled (in my humble opinion) possibly costing some their very souls as they blend gospel and works. "Gospel + Law = Law;" Gospel + Law = Sanctification; Gospel + Law + Sanctification = falling from grace (Gal. 2:19-21; 5:1-5; and almost the entire letter to the Hebrews).

DEFINING THE BIBLICAL CONCEPT OF  "SANCTIFICATION"

In an earlier blog post dealing with sanctification, I copied and pasted lexical definitions of this word/concept. It, at its basic meaning, is "to be set apart by God for His glory and purposes, or, by man for his purposes, often involving religious ceremony." We sometimes refer to this very idea in our word/act of "consecration." It also involves our or God's designation as someone or some thing as "holy." We have been declared by God Himself "saints," "holy ones."

But words evolve. Our word "dynamite" comes from the Greek word dunamis, which has to do with an innate power. The Greek word does not mean "explosive" or "powerful" like dynamite. Dunamis has to do with ability. During my years in the Charismatic Movement it was common to read back into the original our 20th century meaning of dynamite. That's a minor error but an error just the same. We are making the same mistake in our day with the Greek family of words that we rightly translate as sanctification or holy. Our error is interpreting this word group to mean other than what it originally meant.

We are putting the weight of the act of sanctification on the shoulders of believers. For instance, one of the key verses employed by many in identifying occurrences of sanctification in the New Testament is Philippians 2:13, "For it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure." While this verse makes it clear that God is the One working in us "both to will and to work for His good pleasure," some make the believer the central actor. It is turned around to say that we must now be obedient and cooperate with the Spirit in bringing about our sanctification. God is working in us that we might be sanctified by our work, i.e., by doing God's will and work.

Our willingness and our working out God's will are possible only because God previously sanctified us.

God is at work in us in order to bring about our doing His will. We needed to be told this fact because we tend to complain about working in the kingdom of God (2:12-14). We want to do God's will solely because He has put that within us. The natural man desires no such thing. But His working in us stirs up our lazy man and we complain. We are sometimes blind to the fact that our inner man's "want to's" are actually His want to's and we repress God's work within.

Building one's understanding of sanctification on a misunderstanding of sanctification is misrepresenting the gospel idea of sanctification.

GOD'S SPIRITUAL BUNDLE(S)

In one passage where it is so clear that sanctification is all of God and initiated by God is 1 Corinthians 6:

1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.


It is important to note in v.11 that all the verbs, "you were washed," "you were sanctified," "you were justified," are passive, letting us know beyond any shadow of a doubt that it was God who washed, sanctified, and justified us. And fitting in with this passage is chapter 1 and verse 30 of this same book:



1 Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

And why is this important to know? Because it keeps us in our place of grace and humility and God in His place of exaltation:

31 that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord."

Too many of us have raised ourselves up just a notch by claiming the ability to somehow sanctify ourselves.

Do you see the "bundles?" Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption, washing (regeneration), and justification. We might say that "the fruit of the Spirit" is bundled (Gal. 5:22-23).

Sure we have our work cut out for us. Certainly we are to live in a manner befitting of those whom God has designated saints. We are definitely to strive to live in a manner worthy of our high and holy calling. But even this is possible only by the gifts and calling of God. God has "consecrated" us, "called" us, "chosen" us, "sanctified" us, "justified" us, and "glorified" us. His sanctifying of us has enabled us to reflect His glory and grace and mercy and patience and our sanctification. And we must make an effort to do just that.

If you so choose to call our striving to live in a manner worthy of our calling in obedience sanctification, which at this moment I don't agree with (but I'm teachable), it may be then that it's just a matter of semantics. But if you see obedience as necessary in order to be sanctified and justified, you have a serious problem.

 

 
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Friday, May 30, 2014

Southern Baptists, How Does the Christian Life Begin?

Great question! And one that the SBC would do well to ask itself.

Then, the SBC would do well to suggests to its seminaries and their professors to revisit what the gospel is? SBC pastors have apparently strayed away from first things and have put all their eggs in a mega-church basket filled with rock stars and other entertainers. Easy believism reigns followed by "spontaneous baptisms" which, as we have seen recently at Elevation Church, can manipulate numbers and deceive those being baptized. When did water baptism become the goal of evangelism? (1 Cor. 1:17).

We must be clear about how the Christian life, the "new life," begins, else we will continue filling our baptismals and our pews with unregenerates. So, how does it begin? We cannot lay this out in chronological order, as you will soon see.

First, "It begins with the work of God that was finished before the foundation of the world."

We have very little to do with the beginning of the new life. Even the greatest preachers/teachers/evangelists cannot boast as though they had done anything. We merely water and plant in the hearts of those whom God has called unto Himself for the purpose of justifying the ungodly. We plant, we sow, but God gives the increase. Our flesh, that sinfulness that remains in all of us, has absolutely nothing to do with it. Yet it is through fleshly man-centered means that we have chosen to do "God's work." (1 Cor. 1:10-17; 3:1-9; Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:8-11).

Second, "It begins with the work of the Holy Spirit who sets us apart unto the gospel."

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.





Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain-- if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?

Hate it if you will, but you cannot deny the word of God; He chose you! Hate it if you will, but if He had not chosen you, you would be on your way to hell. And among all those to whom we proclaim the gospel, there will be God-chosen sinners whom He will set apart and justify.

Third, "It begins with our preaching the gospel and some hearing and believing the gospel."

Romans 10:13 for "Whoever will call upon the name of the LORD will be saved." 14 How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!" 16 However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, "LORD, who has believed our report?" 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Ephesians 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

The bottom line is this, salvation is all of God and all of grace, grace that is implanted by the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all who believe as the gospel is proclaimed..

 


 


 


 


 
 

 
 

 
 

 
  


 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Anathema:" To the Churches In Galatia/America, "Guard the Gospel:" "Anathema" Defined: Part two in a series

It's very strong word, "anathema," and the apostle Paul didn't bandy it about lightly.

It has a sense of finality about it. Once you're anathematized, you're always anathematized.

It has about it the idea of eternal condemnation.

From Bibleworks7:

avna,qema noun nominative neuter singular common from avna,qema

[GING] avna,qema

avna,qema, atoj, to,1. something dedicated to the deity, a votive gift v.l.—2. What is dedicated to a divinity may be either blessed or cursed (cf. ; LXX as an example of the latter sense, which came to predominate). So in the N.T. cursed, a curse, anathema ; ; ; ; .* [pg 12]

[Fri] avna,qema, atoj, to, strictly what is placed or set up; (1) as what has been dedicated to a divinity votive offering, consecrated gift (); (2) in a negative sense, as someone delivered over to divine wrath curse, one accursed (); (3) as a binding oath with dreadful consequences expected if not carried out curse ()

avna,qema N-NN-S avna,qema

[LS] avna,qema

avna,qema, poët. a;nqema, atoj( to,, (avnati,qhmi) = avna,qhma, Theocr., Anth. 2. esp. anything devoted to evil, an accursed thing, N.T. II. a curse, Ib. Hence avnaqemati,zw

[LN] avna,qema toj n (a) a curse 33.473 (b) cursed 33.474

[UBS] avna,qema, toj n cursed, under the curse of God; avnaqe,mati avneqemati,samen we are bound by a solemn vow ()

[Thayer] avna,qema

avna,qema, &toj, to, (equivalent to to, avnateqeime,non); 1. properly, a thing set up or laid by in order to be kept; specifically a votive offering, which after being consecrated to a god was hung upon the walls or columns of his temple, or put in some other conspicuous place: (Plutarch, Pelop. c. 25); in L T, for avnaqh,masi R G Tr WH; for the two forms are sometimes confounded in the manuscripts; Moeris, avna,qhma avttikw/j, avna,qema e`llhnikw/j. Cf. evpi,qhma, evpi,qema, etc., in Lob. ad Phryn., p. 249 (cf. 445; Paral. 417; see also Lipsius, Gram. Unters., p. 41). 2. avna,qema in the Septuagint is generally the translation of the Heb. ~r,xe, a thing devoted to God without hope of being redeemed, and, if an animal, to be slain (,); therefore a person or thing doomed to destruction, ; , etc. (Winer's Grammar, 32); a thing abominable and detestable, an accursed thing, . Hence, in the N. T. avna,qema denotes a. a curse: avnaqe,mati avnaqemati,zein, (Winer's Grammar, 466 (484); Buttmann, 184 (159)). b. a man accursed, devoted to the direst woes (equivalent to evpikata,ratoj): avna,qema e;stw, f; ; avna,qema le,gein tina to execrate one, (R G, but L T Tr WH have restored avna,qema VIhsou/j, namely, e;stw); avna,qema ei=nai avpo, tou/ Cristou/, (pregnantly equivalent to doomed and so separated from Christ). Cf. the full remarks on this word in Fritzsche on Romans, vol. ii., 247ff; Wieseler on Galatians, p. 39ff; (a translation of the latter by Prof. Riddle in Schaff's Lange on Romans, p. 302ff; see also Trench, sec. v.; Lightfoot on Galatians, the passage cited; Ellicott ibid.; Tholuck on Romans, the passage cited; BB. DD., under the words, Anathema, Excommunication).*

[LEH] avna,qema

avna,qema(&atoj+   -  N3N 6-13-1-0-1-22

; (bis); .

anything devoted to destruction, an accursed thing (semit., rendering Hebr. ~rx)

avnaqe,mati avnaqematiei/te auvth.n you shall devote it to evil or destruction, you shall curse it ; pa/n de. avna,qema( o] eva.n avnaqh|/ a;nqrwpoj every thing devoted to destruction that a man has dedicated ; VAna,qema Anathema (name of a city)

see avna,qhma

Cf. DEISSMANN 1901, 342; HARLé 1988, 214; MENESTRINA 1979, 12; VAN UNNIK 1973, 113-126; ïNIDNTT; TWNT


And here is every occurrence of the Greek word, anathema, in the English NT:

Romans 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,

1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.


1 Corinthians 16:22 If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed. Maranatha.
 

Galatians 1:8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.


The apostle Paul loved the risen Lord Jesus and His church and His word and His gospel and his beloved in the body of Christ. There is no other way under the sun, no other name given among men by which one must be (can be) saved. If anyone perverts the gospel by substituting Law + Jesus for justification by faith in Jesus alone, Paul took it as what it truly is, a matter of life and death and such false teachers/preachers/apostles/prophets/pastors/evangelists are anathema, accursed. The purveyors of "another gospel which is not a gospel" that Paul cursed in Galatians 1, taught "Law + Jesus = Justification." And specifically they taught "you must be circumcised before you can be in a covenant relationship with God."


Calls for obedience to the Law of Moses by those who profess faith in Christ to others who profess faith in Christ sound very noble and holy, but they are in fact deadly. The gospel is not "Jesus + Obedience to the Law = justification." To turn to the Law after hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ is to reject the blood of Jesus and to trample it under foot; it is to crucify Christ anew.

Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
 
 





 

"Anathema!" To The Churches In Galatia/America, "Guard the Gospel!" Part One

If you were to visit Dr. John MacArthur's web site, gty.org, right now, you will see in his list of articles available to read, a heading entitled something like, "Legacy Giving." Dr. MacArthur and the gty.org folks want to ensure that after Mac is "absent from the body" and "present with the Lord," we will have his sermons, lessons, etc., etc., readily available. That's a great idea. He has quite a legacy to leave to those who love the word of God.

The apostles Paul and Peter were determined to leave a legacy, a "gospel legacy." This gospel legacy is a legacy of grace and truth and righteousness and faith in Jesus Christ. Paul wrote this:

Galatians 2:1 Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. 2 And it was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. 3 But not even Titus who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 But it was because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. 5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.

Peter wrote this:
 

2 Peter 1:12 Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13 And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind.

These men want(ed) to ensure that the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel that proclaims justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, "might remain with" us. And being filled with the Holy Spirit, they were "moved" to write down and preach without compromise, the truth. We are today benefiting from their legacies. But today, May 29, 2014, the church of God, the church of Jesus Christ, finds itself again engaged with an enemy so subtle that he appears as "an angel of light:"

 
2 Corinthians 11::12 But what I am doing, I will continue to do, that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.

We are no different than those in the nascent church of Jesus Christ. We can preserve the gospel for those who come after us, defending it against 21st century servants of Satan who mix law and gospel, giving the appearance of proclaiming true new covenant righteousness. And whether they preach circumcision as necessary for justification or tithing or perfect (or imperfect) obedience to the Law of Moses, it is a false gospel they preach and are an accursed bunch:

Galatians 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.


These accursed men and women have been deceived by "the god of this world," this "age," and are convinced by him that in order to be in the new covenant and truly right with God, you must keep the law. This is what Paul wrote, 2 Cor. 3:2-14:

2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. 4 And such confidence we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory on account of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. 12 Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.

And: 2 Corinthians 4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 





 


 
 

 
 
 



 

 



 

 



 

 
 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jen Wilkin, Pastor Richard Philips, and the Trouble With Tullian Tchividijian: Part Three

Have you ever watched a favorite movie over and over, seeing something you hadn't seen the first time or two you watched it? That's the effect this article by Jen Wilkin is having on me; the more I read it, the more ridiculous it becomes. For instance, she writes:

"Failure Gets a Makeover"


fail "In recent years church leaders have rightly spoken out against moralistic therapeutic deism, which is really just a fancy name for legalism—the idea that we earn God's favor through external obedience to a moral code. Moralistic therapeutic deism, as in the days of Jesus, pervades our culture and even our churches. It's as harmful today as it was when Jesus spoke against it 2,000 years ago.

"As a response to this skewed view of Law, some have begun to articulate a skewed view of grace—one that discounts the necessity of obedience to the moral precepts of the Law."
 
As I pointed out in one of my previous posts, she has no idea what moralistic therapeutic deism is. But she knows that "it's as harmful today as it was when Jesus spoke against it 2,000 years ago." Her un-Biblical and anti-grace argument then is based on a rather egregious interpolation of something Jesus never addressed, Jewish teenagers who didn't care for religion. I agree with her, however, when she unwittingly says this is a "skewed view of Law."

She continues:

"Set Free to Obey"


"The gospel grants both freedom from the penalty of sin and freedom to begin to obey (Rom 6:16). And what are we to obey? The Law that once gave death now gives freedom. God's Word teaches us that behavior modification should absolutely follow salvation. It just occurs for a different reason than it does in the life of the unbeliever. Modified behavior reflects a changed heart. When Peter says we have spent enough time living as the pagans do, surely he means that it is time to stop disobeying and begin obeying. Paul tells us that grace teaches us to say no to ungodly passions, not merely to repent when we fail to say no."

"The Law that once gave death now gives freedom." Since when?


2 Corinthians 3:2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. 4 And such confidence we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?


If one considers himself/herself to be a wicked and vile unrighteous person, then you are one for whom the Law is given. If you believe and teach and preach that obedience to the Law is necessary, then you are one for whom the law is given. Good luck with trying to keep it.

1 Timothy 1:6 For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, 7 wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. 8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

 
The gospel as presented by Jen Wilkin and those of her ilk is the very false gospel Paul cursed in his letter to the Galatian churches (1:5-9). Let them be anathema.


I'll leave you with this by way of reminder:

Acts 15:1 And some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. 3 Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren. 4 And when they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. 5 But certain ones of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed, stood up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses." 6 And the apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. 7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 "And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 "Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 "But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are." 12 And all the multitude kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 And after they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, "Brethren, listen to me. 14 "Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. 15 "And with this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, 16 'After these things I will return, And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, And I will rebuild its ruins, And I will restore it, 17 In order that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,' 18 Says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old. 19 "Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 21 "For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath."

 


 
 



 

Jen Wilkin, Richard Philips, and the Trouble With Tullian Tchividijian: Part Two

"BUT THEY GOOGLED WHAT SHE WAS SAYING DAILY TO SEE IF THOSE THINGS WERE SO."
For those who didn't bother to do a search for "moralistic therapeutic deism," it has nothing to do with legalism as Jen Wilkin has defined it, rather it has to do with American teenagers who want nothing to do with religion. Or these kids practice (if one can practice "whatever") what one of my professors in seminary called "Burger King Religion," "have it your way." (see my previous post for the definition of the term). As for her made-up term, "celebratory failurism," supposedly meaning that some Christians celebrate their inability to keep the law, their failure to keep the law, in order to celebrate God's grace that overlooks their inability to keep the 10 Commandments, I have never met such an animal. I personally celebrate God's grace that reigns over my inability to be justified by keeping the law (Rom. 3:19-27; 4:1-8, 19-5:11, 18-6:2; Gal. 2:11-21). And I object to 21st century Judaizers who teach the necessity of keeping the law.

Jen Wilkin: "As a response to this skewed view of Law, some have begun to articulate a skewed view of grace--one that discounts the necessity of obedience to the moral precepts of the Law." This, my friends, is damnable heresy.

Wilkin says "Failure Gets A Makeover." I say "Judaizers Get A Makeover."

Wilkin: "Rather than tossing out the Law or devaluing obedience to it, he (Jesus) called his followers to a deeper obedience (Matthew 5:17-48) than the behavior modification the Pharisees prized. He called for obedience in motive as well as in deed, the kind of godly obedience that is impossible for someone whose heart has not been transformed by the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. Rather than abolish the Law, Jesus deepened his follower's understanding of what it required, and then went to the cross to ensure they could actually begin to obey it." Are you kidding me!

Wilkin: "Set Free to Obey" "The gospel grants both freedom from the penalty of sin and freedom to begin to obey (Rom. 6:16). And what are we to obey? The Law that once gave death now gives freedom."

My Berean friends, is any of the above true?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jen Wilkin, Pastor Richard Philips, and the Trouble With Tullian Tchividijian: Part One

Not knowing the role Jen Wilkin has in the current "Grace and Sanctification Wars of 2014," I am assuming that she is writing here in opposition to Tullian Tchividijian's understanding of grace and sanctification. Since Pastor Philips comes to her defense after Tullian's article against her article was published on his blog just a few days ago, I think it is pretty clear which side she is on.

As for Wilkin's usage of "moralistic therapeutic deism" as a "fancy term for legalism," Al Mohler might have something to say about her definition. And Wikipedia. And here. And here, yes, on the period. And one more here. Funny, but I can't recall Jesus, in His day, arguing with teenagers. Now if you really want an example of moralistic therapeutic deism, watch Joel Osteen next Sunday (forgive me for recommending that anyone watch that heretic).

And as for what Tullian actually said in response to Jen Wilkin's article, you can read that here...and it is spot on.
 

The "Now" Kind of No Condemnation: Romans 8:1

I take God at His word.

Since God the Holy Spirit moved the authors of holy writ to pen as He instructed them, I then take Him at His word, i.e., He said what He meant and He meant what He said. And by His grace and by His grace alone I believe every word of it.

2 Peter 1:19 And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

 

2 Timothy 3:14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

 

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus; 6 that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As Peter said, we do well to pay attention to everything the Spirit had put down on paper.

The Holy Spirit breathed life into the authors of the Hebrew Scriptures, the gospels and Acts, and the apostles Paul and Peter and James and John and Jude. And through them He breathed life into His word, the word "inspired" meaning just that, "God breathed." And the Holy Spirit can move every God-called pastor/teacher/evangelist, God's gifts to the church, to know those things given to us by Him, rightly dividing the God-breathed word of truth, preaching and teaching by the anointing of the Spirit, God-breathed messages. Every sermon can be and should be inspired by God. God so moves in us to do that very thing (Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 2:9-16; 2 Tim. 3:15; Phil. 2:12-13). Pressure and deadlines move against the work of the Spirit.

Now lets take Him at His word. Turn to Romans 8:1. God said what He meant and He meant what He said.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 God said it, not I. The qualification that assures us that we will never be condemned is that we are in Christ Jesus, and that solely by the grace of God. That's what the conjunction "therefore" reminds us of. For 7 chapters Paul has presented the whole gospel, the bad news and the good news. And now after telling us his conclusion of the matter of the old man verses the new man, he tells us that we will always serve the law of sin with our flesh (our remaining sinfulness, our remaining corruption), but he can likewise say with all authority that we will never be condemned for our sins (4:1-8).

 
God has not given any believer permission to sin, but knowing that we will sin He made gracious provision for our remaining sinfulness (1 Jn. 1:5-2:2). That's how the Holy Spirit could say through the apostle Paul that all who are in Christ Jesus have gracious provision for their sins and will never be condemned. Jesus and the Holy Spirit and Scripture and the fellowship of godly brethren are those provisions.
 
 
 

Monday, May 26, 2014

He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, not I

And aren't we all glad!

Jesus Christ is the Incarnation of everything the word of God says good about the way, the truth, and the life. He is the way, the truth, and the life in flesh. He is the ultimate and final incarnation of all the will of God. He is the embodiment of those essentials.

The Way doesn't merely describe Jesus, it is the juxtaposition of Jesus.

The Truth doesn't merely describe Jesus, it is the juxtaposition of Jesus.

The Life doesn't merely describe Jesus, it is the juxtaposition of Jesus.

He is the Way.

He is the Truth.

He is the Life.

It infuriates me to read the blasphemous words of men like Joseph Prince, Joel Osteen, Jesse Duplantis, Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland and the late Paul Crouch when they make themselves equal to the Lord Jesus Christ or rob Him of His exclusive place of preeminence.

 

"Look how God is blessing Joseph Prince:" And other deceptions

Big crowds and big bank accounts do not a success define.

The pathetic purveyors of the so-called health and wealth gospel are by worldly standards (by "worldly" I mean the damnable standards of Satan's kingdom, this "age"), tremendously successful. But as proclaimed by the Holy Spirit in the written word of God they are anything but successful. They are in fact, numbered among the many about whom Jesus spoke when He said He will send them to eternal damnation with a word (Mt. 7:21-23). Rather than being the "angels of light" as they pretend, they are in fact the servants of the devil himself:

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.

 
These are those whom Paul warned of when he left the Ephesians (Acts 20:17-38) and about whom Peter exhorted his fellow elders to be aware of in both his letters (1 Pet. 5:1-3; 2 Pet. 2). Every pastor, teacher, prophet(-ess) called of God will put these truths and warnings before their flocks.

An acquaintance of mine has done a much needed work concerning false leaders. You may read his work here.

If you love the teachings of men such as Joel Osteen, Joseph Prince, the Copelands, Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Fred Price, and T.D. Jakes, it is because you love the voice of strangers; you are certainly not listening to the voice of the Good Shepherd (Jn. 10). And second, you love these people because you have an itching ear and they are scratching it for you (2 Tim. 4:1-5).

I have those whom I dearly love and have known for many years who are deceived at this very moment by these false teachers/prophets/apostles/evangelists. I pray that God might be merciful unto them and grant them repentance.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sanctification: Conclusion

I am a Christian. First and foremost, I am a Christian, a follower of Christ, a disciple of Jesus Christ. I dismiss labels I have brandished about until recently such as Baptists and Calvinists and Reformed. By the grace of God I am a follower of the Way.

I did not wake up on that Tuesday morning in March of '74 thinking about God or Jesus or John Calvin or Jacobus Arminius or anything that remotely smelled of religion. But it was "the day that the Lord hath made" for me. I was about to experience the culmination of a work of redemption that began and was settled before time began, before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:3-6; 2 Tim. 1:8-10; Rom. 8:28-30). On that day I was numbered among the billions of the justified ungodly whom God had reconciled to Himself through His Son (4:1-8; 5:1-11).

Long before I heard of the notion of sanctification, God had "set me apart" for Himself, His glory, His use, and my eternal good. He manifested my sanctification when He graciously sent His witnesses to me with the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. I have been "consecrated" by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

The matter was settled:

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let there be no doubt, no reservation in the disciple's mind, our sanctification is all of God. And furthermore, our sanctification was settled in heaven before the foundation of the world and before time began. Man-centered/focused/initiated boasting about sanctification has no place in the kingdom of God. In sanctification the justified ungodly are passive:

Acts 20:32 "And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Acts 26:18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.'

Romans 15:16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, that my offering of the Gentiles might become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 1:2 to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
 
1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord."


New Testament sanctification is applied to those who are the called of God, the chosen, the elect. God has consecrated ("sanctified") us as His holy people. We are "saints by calling," the word "saint" coming from the same family as sanctify. We are the "holy ones," the "consecrated-by-God ones." Sanctification means called by and separated unto God. Only those who are called can be sanctified. Without God's call unto justification upon our lives, there can be no sanctification.

This reminds me of the tv ads for cable or satellite services. If you "bundle" you can save money. I can save even more money by not buying cable or satellite. We enjoy God's bundle, Himself, His love, His Son, His Spirit, His calling, regeneration, justification, redemption, reconciliation, righteousness, glorification and sanctification.

I'm satisfied that our sanctification as disciples of Christ is all of God. God initiates it and not we. The dead cannot sanctify themselves; they cannot initiate anything. How absurd for any disciple of Christ to insist that he or she has earned sanctification, either before or after conversion. To add the law into God's work of redemption is to spit in the face of Jesus.

I'm satisfied that our sanctification is a one-time act of God. If our living out our lives after conversion in a manner worthy of our calling sounds like "the process of sanctification" to you, great. If it doesn't, that's fine. It just may be that some of our arguments are over semantics.

There are almost an innumerable number of imperatives in the New Testament urging us to live in that worthy manner, a manner befitting saints, that folks on both sides of this argument have abundant food for thought. But do not be deceived into believing that the imperatives of the New Testament epistles carry the same life-destroying power of the law, the letter. The letter kills but the Spirit gives life. Do not be deceived into believing that those who have heard the gospel must now be obedient before they can be consecrated by God.

 


 



 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"Sanctification." Is it a gift, a Person, or a process? Observations based on the word of God springing up from the debate/war between Tullian Tchividijian and his opponents: Part One

I guess one could describe the title of this blog as a "spoiler." One can see by the fact that I capitalized the word "person" that that is the direction my answer will lead in. However, it could also be that the answer to my question in the title is "yes." Sanctification is a gift and a Person and a process. But that would be assumption on the reader's part as well. However #2, we'll see.

Jesus is that Person.

Here is the count for sanctify and its kin in two different English translations:

NASB New Testament

"sanctification" 8 times, "sanctified" 16 times, "sanctify" 7 times, "sanctifies" 2 times, "sanctifying" 1 time, "sanctity" 1 time.

NKJV New Testament

"sanctifies" 4 times, "sanctification" 5 times, "sanctify" 6 times, "sanctified" 16 times.


 
"I love to count." Count Dracula.

NKJV New Testament
"holy" 180 times
"holiness" 11 times
"holiest" 3 times

NASB New Testament
"holy" 177 times
"holiness" 7 times

 
And I wish that were it for this concept of sanctification, but it's not. We haven't even broached the subject of meaning.

The Greek word family behind our English word translated sanctify is translated "holy" or "holiness" in many places and "righteous" or "righteousness" in others. We can simplify this by saying that sanctification and holiness and righteousness are inextricable. That's a very helpful little insight when one considers the fact that all three notions are realized for the believer in Christ; apart from being in Him there can be neither sanctification nor holiness nor righteousness. And it goes without saying that God "bundles" these three necessities with justification. These four different words represent different and distinct works of God.

Jesus is our sanctification, our holiness, our wisdom, our righteousness, our everything.
 
So, just what is New Testament "sanctification?" What does the New Testament mean by our being "sanctified?"
 
Bear with me. This could be rather tedious. I lifted this straight out of my Bible program on my computer. Here you will find contributions from several of the best Greek lexicons as we begin defining sanctification.

a`giasmo,j noun nominative masculine singular from a`giasmo,j

[GING] a`giasmo,j

a`giasmo,j, ou/, o` holiness, consecration, sanctification , ; . Mediated by God through Christ . [pg 2]

[Fri] a`giasmo,j, ou/, o` (1) as the process of making holy dedicating, sanctifying; (a) as the operation of the Spirit making holy, causing to belong completely to God, sanctifying work (); (b) as the careful moral behavior that expresses one's dedication to God pure way of life, upright behavior, holy living (, , ), opposite avkaqarsi,a (uncleanness, impurity); (2) as the moral goal of the purifying process holiness, right behavior ()

a`giasmo,j N-NM-S a`giasmo,j

[LS] a`giasmo,j

a`giasmo,j, ou/( o`, consecration, sanctification, N.T.

[LN] a`giasmo,j ou/ m dedication 53.44

[UBS] a`giasmo,j, ou/ m consecration, dedication, sanctification, holiness

[Thayer] a`giasmo,j

a`giasmo,j, &ou/, o`, a word used only by Biblical and ecclesiastical writings (for in Diodorus 4, 39; Dionysius Halicarnassus 1, 21, a`gismo,j is the more correct reading), signifying: 1. consecration, purification, to, a`gia,zein. 2. the effect of consecration: sanctification of heart and life, (Christ is he to whom we are indebted for sanctification); ; ,; ; ; a`giasmo,j pneu,matoj sanctification wrought by the Holy Spirit, ; . It is opposed to lust in f. (It is used in a ritual sense, (Alexandrian LXX); ; (); , etc.) (On its use in the N. T. cf. Ellicott on ; .)*

[LEH] a`giasmo,j

a`giasmo,j(&ou/+   -  N2M 0-1-2-0-6-9

consecration, sanctification

* eivj a`giasmo,n for consecration -rzn/l? for MT ~yrzn/l for nazirites

Come back tomorrow for another exciting installment.