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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Friday, March 26, 2010

Another Perverted Soul Embarks On Gravely Misrepresenting Christ

According to this article at FoxNews.com: ‘Residents of Stephenville, Texas, say they're furious that a local university will allow the performance of a play in which a gay Jesus shares a kiss with Judas and marries two apostles in a same-sex ceremony.’

It always amazes me when persons take not only a flawed premise (which most, if not all of us, are guilty of doing at some point or another), but also an outright denial of truth; to strive not only to misrepresent the teachings and person of Christ, but to go so far as to try and twist that which is good into that which is evil, merely to justify their own depravity. Isaiah says, ‘Woe’ to such persons and such thoughts.

Oddly, as controversial as the topic of homosexuality is today, given the clear instruction against the perversion in scripture – whereby many atheists even acknowledge such teachings – (Genesis 19; Leviticus 20; Romans 1), along with the fight of trying to redefine marriage in America, it is interesting that John Jordan Otte (student-director) would say the reasoning behind his production of the play is: ‘to "bring people together" and help gain acceptance for gay Christians.’

Here are just a few problems with this line of thinking:

1. Who in their right mind would believe that a homosexual depiction of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, of whom thousands upon thousands hold as the Holy Son of God, would have the potential of bringing together the sheep among the goats?

2. There may be professing Christians who practice homosexuality, but it is still a sin of which needs repentance, and clearly is not and will not be justified or accepted by God or His Word, nor should be by His Church. (* note, I said the sin)

3. The misuse of biblical characters into a lifestyle contrary to scripture, history, etc. is the direct result of a depraved mind with the purpose of gaining attention to oneself by corrupting history and defamation of character; just as it would to create a modern movie of depicting Democrats and/or the President (non-homosexuals) as homosexuals. Who would stand for such, claiming it were merely art?

Although John Jordan Otte claims to be a ‘devout Christian’, as he believes, ‘"I am not attacking anyone in choosing this play. I want people to see and understand another side to faith. I want us all to know that unconditional love means just that -- unconditional -- and I believe tolerance is a key message in this play. None of us, not one of us, should ever feel alone or separated from God or whomever we believe in,"’ he clearly misses the message of the scriptures that mankind is lost and dead in trespasses and sin, out of fellowship and separated from God, under the wrath of the Almighty.

While he wishes for us to see ‘another side of faith’, namely unconditional love, he fails to share one must also have repentance. Unconditional love is not God allowing mankind to do whatever we choose, especially in direct contrast to His Word, as if demanding God overlook our rebellion and rejection of Him and His righteousness; yet He embraces us nevertheless. Unconditional love is the Father sending the Son to live a holy life, suffer the death of the cross, with His resurrection from the grave granting forgiveness of sin, the restoration of fellowship, with the promise of eternal life to all who repent and put faith in Christ.

It is one thing to sin in ignorance, and quite another to transgress willfully with knowledge. A ‘devout Christian’ should know the difference, and quickly acknowledge our sin and repent before God. Although ‘freedom of speech’ may give rights to one to pervert the person and teachings of Christ in this life, no such clause shall save the wicked in the next.

Monday, March 22, 2010

OSAS Does Not Justify Abounding In Sin

I recently picked up the book entitled Green Zone (aka Imperial Life in the Emerald City) by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. In chapter 3, You’re in Charge!, I came across the following, which caused me to ponder the comparative thought many seem to believe when it comes to Once Saved Always Saved (aka OSAS).

“My driver, an English-speaking law student who had not dared to flout a traffic rule before the war, now coolly drove on the wrong side of the street, into opposing traffic at times, to avoid traffic jams. When I asked him what he was doing, he turned to me, smiled, and said, ‘Mr. Rajiv, democracy is wonderful. Now we can do whatever we want.’” (p. 52)

Paul tells us in Romans 5:20b-21 and 6:1-2, ‘But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’

Although scripture declares we are not to abound any longer in sin, but have been ordained to walk in good works by the workmanship of God (Ephesians 2:8-10), all too often many professing Christians find ourselves (whether consciously or subconsciously) gravitating to wickedness rather than righteousness. And even though we may not declare such outwardly, within our hearts we almost (or sadly even outright) seem to try to justify our lack of obedience.

Many times in our lost state we may have moments of fear, genuine worry, about where we may spend eternity based on our acknowledgment of poor morality or measuring up to God’s standard of holy perfection. Then we profess Christ with our mouth at our doorstep, a local event (concert, tent meeting, stadium, crusade, etc.), or local church; claiming we realize we are a sinner who needs the forgiveness of Christ, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So, we ask Christ to come into our hearts, possibly get baptized (but there be some who do not even make it to this step of obedience), and then we are all but done with our Christian walk and fellowship with our Savior.

We have done what we have been told must be done to give us a clear conscious and free eternal access to heaven, NO MATTER WHAT WE DO HEREAFTER. We allow sin to abound in our life, expecting, almost demanding, grace must also abound to cover whatever our flesh desires to do; even if is in total opposition to God and His Word, for we have prayed the prayer. As the taxi driver above, we smile, ‘Once Saved Always Saved (salvation) is wonderful. Now we can do whatever we want.’

With our backs pressed hard against the wall we may not claim this, but our actions declare it loud and clear both to God and man. When asked, we quickly mimic, ‘I am a Christian’, though we have no desire to attend church, pray, read or study scripture, speak or ponder the things of God, nor has there been any change in our thoughts and actions since the day we claim to have put faith in Christ.

No, Christians are not perfect, but there is more to Christianity than simply stating ‘I am a Christian’. James tells us (ch. 2) ‘Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.’

Now, let me make it fully clear, I am an advocate who believes scripture teaches once a person is truly saved, they cannot lose salvation; for we are in Christ (Romans 8). Yet, grace is not a license to sin, nor is profession of faith without works WHICH MUST FOLLOW (because of the spiritual quickening and indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us) a proof one is forgiven and bound for heaven. Anyone who claims salvation, yet has no desire for a personal relationship with Christ, needs desperately to examine themselves and seek repentance; for a truly repentant heart does as Christ: gives themselves over to the will of God rather than their own will.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Full or Half-Hearted Repentance

I was reading an article today at Challies.com, entitled Real Guilt and Sinfulness, and the following words of the writer just stood out to me:

I have met countless people who consider themselves Christians and who admit to sin in their lives and feel guilt and remorse for individual sins, but who seem unable or unwilling to admit the incontrovertible fact that their hearts are in rebellion against God.

This statement really made me think about my life before Christ, but also my life after Christ.

I have personally known persons who would not outright claim they were perfect, yet at the same time have difficulty confessing they were at fault for a particular act; lest they could somehow limit or nullify their part of the blame, by focusing more attention on the action(s) of another who surely is more than or just as guilty as they. This can be easily seen in children, whether between siblings or friends, but is rather easily found in the lives of adults as well. I suppose this shows our tendency away from true repentance; for although we may inwardly feel guilt or remorse for personal sins (for whatever one may name as sin in their life), we still have a difficult, almost impossible, time testifying of our guilt before God without casting some or all of the guilt upon another.

As I look at the statement above, I can’t help but ponder the idea of whether or not we as Christians have kept some of our pre-Christian ideas or excuses. I would assume most professing Christians would acknowledge in our pre-quickening state, many, if not all, seldom saw themselves in outright rebellion against God, but merely making mistakes, doing bad things, and just messing up – like everybody does. We would do better next time. The reality is, I fear, we as professing Christians do not see our hearts as we really are when we presently act in rebellion against God. We may humbly shake our heads in agreement with the pastor that scripture teaches there are sins of omission and commission, but do we confess any act we do contrary to the truth of God is done in outright rebellion?

We know better, yet do it anyway! Is this not our heart in rebellion against God? How do we repent of such, when we are confronted with such a truth by the Holy Spirit or spiritual brother/sister in Christ? Do we confess the act, but digress from repentance of the fullness of our sin? Our act of sin is not simply a mistake, but a willful disobedience in outright rebellion against the Holy One we claim to have redeemed us from the very bondage of transgression we so eagerly return to embrace (for whatever cause)! We cannot simply wink at sin, as if it is merely a mistake done in ignorance, or slide it under the rug with our light consideration of it; for all too often we know we are in disobedience, and follow through with the act with a heart and mind steadfast against God!

May God help us to see sin as it truly is, and give us a desire for true full repentance from it!

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.