En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘atonement’

Walking by faith…not by sight!

Posted by Scott on August 6, 2008

WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 1:1–12

Without Job’s knowing it, a dialogue took place in the invisible world. As the Lord and Satan had their strange encounter, the subject quickly turned to this well-known earthly man. The Lord calls Satan’s attention to Job’s exemplary life, and Satan responds with a sinister sneer. “Of course, who wouldn’t serve You, the way You’ve prospered and protected him. Take away all the perks and watch what happens; the man will turn on You in a flash.” God agrees to let the Adversary unload on Job.

And so, in today’s terms, the Lord bet Satan that Job would never turn on Him. Philip Yancey refers to that agreement as the “divine wager.” Satan instigates a sudden and hostile removal of all the man’s possessions, leaving him bankrupt. Within a matter of minutes, everything he owned was gone.

This brings us to the first lesson worth remembering: we never know ahead of time the plans God has for us. Job had no prior knowledge or warning. That morning dawned like every other morning. The night had passed like any other night. There was no great angelic manifestation—not even a tap on his window or a note left on the kitchen table.

In one calamity after another, all the buildings on his land are gone, and nothing but lumber and bodies litter the landscape. It occurred so fast, Job’s mind swirled in disbelief. Everything hit broadside . . . his world instantly changed.

You and I must learn from this! We never know what a day will bring, whether good or ill. Our heavenly Father’s plan unfolds apart from our awareness. Ours is a walk of faith, not sight. Trust, not touch. Leaning long and hard, not running away. No one knows ahead of time what the Father’s plan includes. It’s best that way. It may be a treasured blessing; it could be a test that drops us to our knees. He knows ahead of time, but He is not obligated to warn us about it or to remind us it’s on the horizon. We can be certain of this: our God knows what is best.

 

 

 

Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

 

 

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‘Bible’ lawsuit may be sign of things to come

Posted by Scott on July 31, 2008

Pro-family advocates say Christians should get used to legal harassment such as the lawsuit a homosexual activist recently filed against two Bible publishers.

Bradley LaShawn Fowler of Canton, Michigan, does not like the fact that the Bibles produced by Zondervan and Thomas Nelson Publishers both accurately convey God’s prohibition against homosexual behavior. So he is suing in federal court, seeking $10 million from Thomas Nelson and $60 million from Zondervan.

 

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, says Bible-believing Christians had better get ready for more of this type of sniping. “Obviously, this is a frivolous publicity stunt, but this is a portent of things to come,” he warns.

 

“We know that the homosexual activists are now targeting, essentially, born-again Christians and committed Catholics and Mormons who oppose their agenda. They’re out to re-write the Bible, to say that the Bible really does not condemn homosexual practice, which it obviously does,” says LaBarbera. “Ultimately, we believe they’ll be doing more and more of these lawsuits against Christians and Christian companies.”

 

LaBarbera says the suit reminds him of British actor and homosexual activist Sir Ian McKellen, who has admitted to ripping pages that contain scriptures condemning homosexuality out of Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms. “The fact is whether you rip the pages out or not, or whether you sue, or whether you pass a law against it, the Word of God still stands,” he emphasizes. “And God’s authority on that issue still stands, no matter what man does.”
 
The judge in the case has denied Fowler’s request for a court-appointed attorney, saying the court had “very genuine concerns” about the legitimacy of the claims in the lawsuit.

 

Jeff Johnson – OneNewsNow – 7/25/2008 10:50:00 AM

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Verse of the day!

Posted by Scott on July 22, 2008

Verse for today!

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning.”

-Lamentations 3:22-23

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All Noble Things Are Difficult-Our Best For His Glory!

Posted by Scott on July 11, 2008

“Enter ye in at the straight gate…
because straight is the gate,
and narrow is the way…”

~ Matthew 7:13-14

“If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome. Do we appreciate the marvelous salvation of Jesus Christ that we are our utmost for His highest?

God saves men by His sovereign grace through the Atonement of Jesus. He works in us to will and to do His good pleasure; but we have to work out that salvation in practical living. If once we start on the basis of His Redemption to do what He commands, we find that we can do it. If we fail, it is because we have not practiced. The crisis will reveal whether we have been practicing or not. If we obey the spirit of God and practice in our physical life what God has put in us by His Spirit, then when the crisis comes, we shall find that our own nature as well as the grace of God will stand by us.

Thank God He does give us difficult things to do! His salvation is a glad thing, but it is also a heroic, holy thing. It tests us for all we are worth. Jesus is bringing many “sons” unto glory, and God will not shield us from the requirements of a son. God’s grace turns out men and women with a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, not milksops [spoiled, pampered weaklings]. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to live the noble life of a disciple of Jesus in actual things. It is always necessary to make an effort to be noble.”

-My Utmost For His HIghest-Devotional July 7th, Oswald Chambers

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Jesus Christ’s Limited Atonement?

Posted by Scott on March 12, 2008

 

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Why I Am a Calvinist: Intro….by guest blogger David “The Thirsty Theologian”

Posted by Scott on February 16, 2008

I think this might be the first time on this blog that I have ever stated, “I am a Calvinist.” I know it’s something I seldom say directly in conversation. It isn’t that I’m embarrassed about my convictions, it’s that such a statement is too often taken as fighting words and has too often led conversations off the path and into that magical land of equivocation, straw men, and revised history. Rarely, if ever, has it produced a sensible discussion of monergistic regeneration and the doctrines of grace. (And, as you may know, I hate arguing.) Perhaps here, where I can speak my piece without being interrupted and pummeled with red herrings, I can do better.What I intend to do is write a series of short posts, each dealing with one of the five points. These posts will take you through my process as I connected the dots and came to conclusions that I think are not only logical, but obviously Biblical as well. I believe that if a person is able to leave his presuppositions behind (an exceedingly difficult thing to do) and approach Scripture unbiased, the analogia Scriptura will lead inevitably to the Doctrines of Grace. I know that sounds insulting to Arminians who will claim that they have done exactly that. But I don’t believe it. I don’t believe they have laid aside their own notions of what is just, which is really the greatest stumbling block to the acceptance of unconditional election and monergistic regeneration. God’s justice must be made to conform to the Arminian’s idea of justice. There are Arminians who have worked out a sort of Scriptural apology for their views. However, the average Arminian’s objection begins with, “. . . but that’s not fair! God wouldn’t do that!”

This will not be a restatement or exposition of the Canons of Dort. My views may not exactly follow orthodox Calvinist reasoning. I didn’t come to my conclusions by reading systematic theologies, but through a long and rather painful process of discovering that Scripture disagreed with me more often than not. However, I do believe my Calvinism is mostly in line with historic Calvinism. This will not be a sophisticated argument. I intend to demonstrate that Calvinism is not a complex system that only appeals to theology students and would never be drawn from a plain reading of Scripture, but that it is the plain reading of Scripture. I also will not be going into such details as infra- vs. supralapsarianism, or the precise ordo salutis. I may be wrong, but I don’t think Scripture answers those questions as completely as we would like. In any case, I don’t have it figured out, so don’t expect to find any profound nuances of theology here.

As I have stated, I may not be Truly Reformed® in all of my reasoning, but I will affirm . . .

  • . . . that man is thoroughly corrupted by sin and will not believe and repent without supernatural intervention.
  • . . . that God has, before creation, chosen those whom he would call to faith in him, and has not done so on the basis of anything in us or anything we would do, but only “according to the good pleasure of his will.”
  • . . . that Christ’s death on the cross did not only make salvation possible, but actually secured salvation for all who will be saved.
  • . . . that every person whom God calls, without exception, is inevitably saved.
  • . . . that all who receive the gift of saving faith are also given the grace to unfailingly persevere to the end.

In the next installment (which will probably not come until next week), I will begin explaining how I came to those conclusions.

Direct Link to this site
David “The Thirsty Theologian”
-Scott Bailey 2008

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TULIP-Calvinism!

Posted by Scott on November 28, 2007

 Calvinism


The Five Points of Calvinism


This system of theology was reaffirmed by the Synod of Dordt in 1619 as the doctrine of salvation contained in the Holy Scriptures. The system was at that time formulated into “five points” in answer to the unscriptural five points submitted by the Arminians to the Church of Holland in 1610.


According to Calvinism:

Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the Gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.


The Five Points of Calvinism are easily remembered by the acrostic TULIP


An Estimate of:
   • Calvin’s Character – A must read!
   • Calvin’s Work 
     _________________
   • The Closing Scenes of Calvin’s Life
   • The Will of John Calvin
   • Calvin’s Commentaries

T

Total Depravity (Total Inability)

Total Depravity is probably the most misunderstood tenet of Calvinism. When Calvinists speak of humans as “totally depraved,” they are making an extensive, rather than an intensive statement. The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of his personality — his thinking, his emotions, and his will. Not necessarily that he is intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.

The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called “Total Inability.” The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God’s making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).


U

Unconditional Election

Unconditional Election is the doctrine which states that God chose those whom he was pleased to bring to a knowledge of himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object of his grace and not based upon his looking forward to discover who would “accept” the offer of the gospel. God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for glory and others for damnation (Romans 9:15,21). He has done this act before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4-8).

This doctrine does not rule out, however, man’s responsibility to believe in the redeeming work of God the Son (John 3:16-18). Scripture presents a tension between God’s sovereignty in salvation, and man’s responsibility to believe which it does not try to resolve. Both are true — to deny man’s responsibility is to affirm an unbiblical hyper-calvinism; to deny God’s sovereignty is to affirm an unbiblical Arminianism.

The elect are saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:10). Thus, though good works will never bridge the gulf between man and God that was formed in the Fall, good works are a result of God’s saving grace. This is what Peter means when he admonishes the Christian reader to make his “calling” and “election” sure (2 Peter 1:10). Bearing the fruit of good works is an indication that God has sown seeds of grace in fertile soil.


L

Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption)

Limited Atonement is a doctrine offered in answer to the question, “for whose sins did Christ atone?” The Bible teaches that Christ died for those whom God gave him to save (John 17:9). Christ died, indeed, for many people, but not all (Matthew 26:28). Specifically, Christ died for the invisible Church — the sum total of all those who would ever rightly bear the name “Christian” (Ephesians 5:25).

This doctrine often finds many objections, mostly from those who think that Limited Atonement does damage to evangelism. We have already seen that Christ will not lose any that the father has given to him (John 6:37). Christ’s death was not a death of potential atonement for all people. Believing that Jesus’ death was a potential, symbolic atonement for anyone who might possibly, in the future, accept him trivializes Christ’s act of atonement. Christ died to atone for specific sins of specific sinners. Christ died to make holy the church. He did not atone for all men, because obviously all men are not saved. Evangelism is actually lifted up in this doctrine, for the evangelist may tell his congregation that Christ died for sinners, and that he will not lose any of those for whom he died!


I

Irresistible Grace

The result of God’s Irresistible Grace is the certain response by the elect to the inward call of the Holy Spirit, when the outward call is given by the evangelist or minister of the Word of God. Christ, himself, teaches that all whom God has elected will come to a knowledge of him (John 6:37). Men come to Christ in salvation when the Father calls them (John 6:44), and the very Spirit of God leads God’s beloved to repentance (Romans 8:14). What a comfort it is to know that the gospel of Christ will penetrate our hard, sinful hearts and wondrously save us through the gracious inward call of the Holy Spirit (I Peter 5:10)!


P

Perseverance of the Saints

Perseverance of the Saints is a doctrine which states that the saints (those whom God has saved) will remain in God’s hand until they are glorified and brought to abide with him in heaven. Romans 8:28-39 makes it clear that when a person truly has been regenerated by God, he will remain in God’s stead. The work of sanctification which God has brought about in his elect will continue until it reaches its fulfillment in eternal life (Phil. 1:6). Christ assures the elect that he will not lose them and that they will be glorified at the “last day” (John 6:39). The Calvinist stands upon the Word of God and trusts in Christ’s promise that he will perfectly fulfill the will of the Father in saving all the elect.


This description of the Five Points of Calvinism was written by Jonathan Barlow who acknowledges that not all those bearing the name “Calvinist” would agree with every jot and tittle of this document.-Scott Bailey 2007

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-Irresistible Grace!

Posted by Scott on September 25, 2007

“In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation.  The external call (which is make to all without distinction) can be and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call ( which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion.  By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ.  He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man’s will, nor is He dependent upon man’s cooperation for success.  The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ.  God’s grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.”

This is the 4th part of the 5 point of Calvinism by Steele-Thomas copyright 1963. 

Take this to God’s holy word and dig deeply into this theology.  Make your own determination based upon what God’s word says and these points.  I do believe with all of my heart that God’s grace is irresistible to those ready to believe.

-Scott Bailey (c) 2007

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