C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Unregenerate Spiritual Worth

Today around the world we hear people call one another either a “good person” or a “bad person”, whether speaking about themselves or name calling another. When someone passes away a family member may be heard at the funeral saying, “He was a good man”, “She was a good wife”. When we turn on the television or radio we hear of the murderer, rapist, and child molester that they are “bad”, “evil”, and “satanic”. What separates one into a category of “good” and a category of “bad”? Even in the Christian world, it is said of even a lost person, “They are a good person”, so where does that leave us? Who then is good? Are you? Am I?

Both the Old Testament and New Testament state that man is not good. Scripture claims man [and woman] is “dead in sin” [Ephesians 2:1, 5; Colossians 2:13], “there is none that doeth good, no, not one” [Psalm 14:3, 53:3; Romans 3:12], and even Christ said “there is none good but one, that is, God” [Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19]. Surely there were people of God [elect] at the time Christ said these words, so why is it that we call someone good? Is it because we are scared to say the truth?

We are ungodly creatures than “worship and serve the creature more than the Creator”. If honest, we would have to admit that we serve self more than we serve God. Whether we say it or not, Christ did.

As a saved man, woman, or child we have been “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” [1 Peter 1:22], “quickened together with Christ” [Ephesians 2:1, 5; Colossians 2:13]; “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” [Ephesians 2:10].

As a saved man, Paul said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” [Romans 7:18-25].

Paul says, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” What Paul says in this chapter is very important. Above we have seen that man is not good, and here Paul says that our flesh serves the law of sin. With this said, where do we find the lost man, without Christ, still “dead in sin” without the “Spirit of truth”?

Paul said, in the flesh “dwelleth no good thing”. John said of the “Spirit of truth”, that the lost man “cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him” [John 14:17]. Paul also said, “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” [1 Corinthians 2:14]. John also said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” [John 4:24].

When we call someone good or bad, we are most likely thinking of their actions and not their hearts, with the flesh and not the spirit. The one problem that we run into is that, “man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” [1 Samuel 16:7]. Man may outwardly do a “good deed” to fellow man, but can do no good thing in the eyes of God. This includes anything to merit salvation or “brownie points” with a Holy God.

For the saved person, “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” [Philippians 2:13], but for the lost person, they are blinded by the “god of this world” [2 Corinthians 4:4].


It is impossible for a lost person to come to Christ from within themselves [Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27]. Man simply does not contain a single grain of spiritual goodness to cause them to realize their need of God.

Remember this the next time you see or hear of an unsaved man doing something “bad”. It is in their nature. The only difference between them and you, is not you, it is the grace of God that has granted unto you salvation from the bondage of sin and His working in you to bring forth good works unto the glory of God.

Expect sin [bad] from the lost because he is without God; expect righteousness [good] from the saved because he is indwelled by God. God is the difference, not the person.

Pray that God will open the ears of the lost to the gospel, their eyes to the truth!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pray This Prayer And...

I recently read a missionary’s prayer letter and they were speaking about the church knocking doors and street meetings. He tells of a lady that he handed a tract and asked whether she knew if she had forgiveness of sins or not. She replied that she did not. He shared 1 John with her. Then he writes, “the woman understood clearly what she read, yet she would not pray and ask the Lord to save her”. [emphasis mine]

The missionary will go unnamed because [1] I am not signaling out this missionary or judging their character or witness for Christ, and [2] this is but a small example of what it seems like I am seeing all over within the Baptist camp.

The last few Baptist websites I have visited all have a similar page. The reader of the page is told, if they would like to accept Christ as their Savior or if they would like to be saved, please “pray this prayer” or “pray something like this”. They may even add, “If you feel this way in your heart”. I have also heard similar things from pulpits and others that go door to door witnessing. [This is not a personal attack on anyone reading this, but a general personal thought.]

We [Baptist] believe that the Catholics, Church of Christ, and Pentecostals are wrong concerning salvation because we believe that they include [or add] works for salvation. In my opinion it appears that the Baptists are beginning to do [or have been doing] the same thing with prayer.

If someone must pray and ask the Lord to forgive them of their sin to be saved, is that person saved at “Dear Lord”, “Amen”, or at the moment they say “forgive me”? I realize that this may sound silly, because honestly I don’t think there has been much thought put in to what is being said. If someone asks me, “What must I do to be saved” and I say, “Pray and ask God to forgive you for your sin”, am I not telling the person to work [pray] for their salvation?

I realize that scripture declares, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9], but I also remember when Paul and Silas were asked, “What must I do to be saved” they responded with “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” [Acts 16:31, 32]. John 3:18 says, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” I don’t find “pray this prayer” or “pray something like this” in scripture.

Am I wrong to think this? I will tell the Catholic, Church of Christ, and Pentecostal that they are unscriptural to tell someone they must be baptized to be saved because they are teaching works for salvation, but do I not do the same thing if I tell someone they must pray a prayer to be saved?

Can we find scriptural support or an example in scripture for when someone asks us “What must I do to be saved” that we can tell them “Pray this prayer”, “Pray something like this”, “Ask Jesus to forgive your sin and come in your heart”?

Surely no one believes that merely saying these words will save anyone, so why do we tell people it will?

Can I get saved without praying? If so, why are we telling people they need to do it?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Has Anyone Seen Grace?

When you think of grace, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Now that you have most likely thought of how and/or when you have received grace, can you think of a time when you have given grace?

What about to that person you are mad at? You know, the one that has offended or hurt you, the one that doesn't deserve it? What about that sinner with the long hair or short skirt, the one with the foul mouth or with three kids out of wedlock, or the one that lives in a foreign land that serves a false god?

Did you do something to deserve or merit it?

Then why are you waiting on someone else before you give it?

Do we really need to keep all the grace to ourselves and not share it?

God isn't selfish. I think He will give us more when we need it.

Do you think you can find a little grace to give to someone you don't think deserves it?

You do? Give it! Make the effort!

You don't? God help you! I hope God doesn't withhold it from you.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Does Scripture Bridle the Tongue of a Woman?

Here in 2007 we find ourselves with a question of where do women belong in the church in comparison to what we find in scripture. By this I mean as in roles of leadership, etc. not in whether a woman should or should not attend or be actively involved in church.

I realize that we have a multitude of churches and beliefs out there that all seem to declare that they believe and follow the Word of God, so why do we differ so much? We have women being “called” as pastors, most likely also as deacons, and other roles that put them over not only men, but the local church of God. Is this biblical?

Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:11, 12, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Why? “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” [13, 14]

How far is this to extend? Is this just in the church? 1 Timothy 2 does not appear to be limited to the church. [see here] Have we erred in allowing our women to teach or be in authority over men in schools, seminars, and in the work place, etc.? What about president of the United States?

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

Although 1 Corinthians 14 covers the speaking of tongues [see here], followed by the above verses, we still find women speaking in tongues in the churches today. Please know that I am not discussing whether tongues are of today or not [that would be for another post], but whether it is still ashamed for women to speak in the church today.

How far are we to take 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 35 without becoming too legalistic that we surpass scripture itself? Is it wrong for a woman to vote in church, serve over a committee of the church, speak in a business meeting, and/or pray out loud in the church?

Are we following scripture with regard to this issue in our churches today, are we just too scared to say that we are wrong, or is it that these verses are just obsolete?

What is your personal conviction and scriptural support?

Where do you draw the line in the sand?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Is There Any Way Around Limited Atonement?

Realizing that the very mention of the words, election, foreknowledge, and predestination seem to bring with them great controversy, I pray with this topic to show what I find seems to be a similarity that few may wish to acknowledge exist. Maybe I am way off base or grasping at straws, but I find this very interesting and would indeed like to see the comments of those much more versed in Scripture and in the things of God than I.

I will first define each word from Noah Webster’s 1828, American Dictionary of the English Language:

· Elect – One chosen or set apart
· Election – The act of choosing; choice; the act of selecting one or more from others
· Foreknow – To have previous knowledge of
· Foreknowledge – Knowledge of a thing before it happens
· Predestinate – To predetermine or foreordain; to appoint or ordain beforehand by an unchangeable purpose
· Predestination – The act of decreeing or foreordaining events

The definition of foreknowledge appears to be the pivot point within the arguments bowing side from side between the individual(s) defining it. There seems to be two definitions concerning God’s foreknowledge when in the realm of the salvation of man. Scripture clearly teaches that we were “chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world” [Ephesians 1:4], but there still remains a controversy.

1. In the beginning, God looked forward into time to see all those that would accept Him and those which would reject Him, and therefore foreknew whom would believe. Therefore He then foreknew and predestinated those to be conformed to the image of His Son, Christ Jesus, because of the foresight of knowing they would accept Him. They are His elect because of His choice to elect all that accept Christ, and He foresaw that they would make the choice to accept Him.

2. In the beginning, God choose [hand picked] those which He would save from the mist of an entire world [all of mankind] incapable of coming to know Him because of sin. Therefore He foreknew them and predestinated them to be conformed to the image of His Son, Christ Jesus, before they had done neither good nor evil. They are His elect, because He has personal chosen them individually by His choice from among others without looking into time to see what they may or may not choose.

I am sure that the above could be better worded or may slightly vary with person to person, but it should honestly show the most common views. If not, please add your thoughts.

There are the *BAD* words, Arminianism and Calvinism, and then a “middle” group which usually agree with 4 points [1-4] of Arminianism, but usually reject point 5 [the ability to lose your salvation] and almost take hold of point 5 of Calvinism; for they believe one cannot lose their salvation, yet one may not “act like a Christian” for their whole life after they accept Christ as Savior. Also, there be some which consider Total Depravity the truth over Human Ability, but will not accept the entire TULIP theology. An easy comparison chart can be viewed here.

This topic is not to consider the entire study between the two [or three], but to show what I feel to be a similarity between the three concerning salvation.

Leaving the T [Total Depravity] out, Calvinism usually gets a negative nod due to the U [Unconditional Election], for the very idea that God would choose individuals from among the entire world before the world even began and anyone was able to do good or bad. This leads further into the dislike of L [Limited Atonement – Particular Redemption], which enables only these elect to be saved and all others will be lost to hell forever. The cry is, “This leaves man without a choice and makes God a monster!” A non-Calvinist usually considers this to be heresy because it would not be fair to mankind and right for God to choose some and basically deny others salvation – although, all of mankind rejects God, so it is not really God rejecting man, but God saving a select few from an entire creation that would rather deny Him. [Isaiah 64:5-7; Romans 3:10-13]

Regardless of one’s definition of foreknowledge, God’s elect whether chosen by God before the individual’s deeds of good or bad or by His looking into the future to see whom would choose Him, Revelation 13:8 and Revelation 17:8 clearly teach that the names of the elect were written in the Book of Life “from the foundation of the world” and therefore cannot be changed. If it can, please show me a verse.

Therefore, I conclude that the very ones that shout of the Calvinist, “It cannot be so. God cannot choose some and deny others. Salvation is offered to everyone and anyone can be saved”, run into a very similar problem.

Please consider the following in fairness and without hostility before even reading it:

For the moment, let’s deny Calvinism and take the side that God looked forward into time to see all of those that would accept Him and all of those that would reject Him. He wrote all the names of those He foresaw would accept Him into the Lamb’s Book of Life [Revelation 13:8 and Revelation 17:8]. As soon as the Book was written, did this not limit atonement to those that are written and therefore exclude all others making it impossible for them to be saved? We sometimes sing the song, “There’s a new name written down in glory”, but I see no proof in Scripture that someone can be added to the Book.

So then, we come to the question at hand:

Does it not appear that both the Calvinist and the non-Calvinist teach limited atonement? The Book was written before the works of man, therefore settled before the choices of man, leaving man with the impossibility of choosing the opposite of what God foresaw [which He now foreknows]; so does that not leave man without the same choice [without “free will”] the non-Calvinist claims the Calvinist leaves man without?

Is there any way around limited atonement?

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.