Archive for December, 2009

“Limited Atonement” versus Hebrews 2:9

December 31, 2009

For those who love God, Hebrews 2:9 is more than plain enough to prove that Jesus died for more than just the elect/saved: But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

They Profess That They Know God, But In Works They Deny Him (by Morris Bowers)

December 25, 2009

The above words form the opening statement in Titus 1:16. The verse goes on to say, “…they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” In the context, the apostle Paul was writing to Titus about the circumstances, the people, and the activities that the latter would have to face and deal with on the island of Crete. In the previous verse, Paul had specifically mentioned those that are defiled and unbelieving. Such people, he said, profess to know God, but in works they deny Him.

All serious Bible students are familiar with the fact that Simon Peter denied Jesus three times. It is also commonly known that Jesus said, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:33). But, what about the concept of denying the Lord with our actions? Remember, Titus 1:16 says that some deny the Lord in/by their works. Despite their claims, their behavior makes it evident that they are not really devoted to and faithful to the God of heaven. Are you and I of that number? Does our action undo/negate our professed allegiance to Him?

If I sing, “All to Jesus I Surrender,” but when it comes to my first-day-of-the-week contribution, I grudgingly drop my leftovers that amount to one or two percent of my income into the collection, my profession of surrendering all for my Lord is not very truthful, is it?

If I sing, “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God,” but I have no intention of attending any service of the church after the Sunday morning session because, honestly, there are other matters that I count as more important on Sunday night, during mid-week Bible study and any night of a Gospel meeting, then do my works not deny my Lord and my professed devotion to Him?

If I sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy” in praise to the Creator, but outside of the church’s meeting place I habitually take the Lord’s name in vain, then do I really have reverence for the Lord, or do my actions deny such?

If I sing, “I Want to Be a Soul Winner for Jesus Every Day,” but I wouldn’t be caught dead talking to a non-Christian about the Bible and the salvation that is available through Jesus, then does my practice match my claim, or am I denying my professed allegiance to my Lord and His Cause?

If I drive home to my denominational friends the truth that we must go by the Bible, only by the Bible, and always by the Bible, but when I find myself in a major mess because I have unscripturally divorced and unscripturally formed a second union that civil authorities call “marriage” and I try to brush off my sinful actions by saying, “Nobody is perfect,” does that not sound like I am denying my Lord by casting aside what He said about these matters (Matt. 19:9)?

Some, like Peter, deny the Lord by claiming they are not His. False teachers deny the Lord that bought them with their damnable, destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1). Yet others deny the Lord by their actions (Titus 1:16). None of these three forms of denial is commendable, defensible, or acceptable. Any of them will cause a person to lose their soul. Regardless of the manner in which we deny the Lord, “…if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Tim. 2:12).

If we say that we know God, then we need to prove it: not by flaunting our faithfulness or by boasting about our behavior, but rather by obeying Him that saved us. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3,4). Who among us cannot understand such language?

Jesus Died For Everybody, Not Just The Elect

December 21, 2009

I Timothy 4:10 reads, “… we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”

This verse is first saying that Jesus died for (thereby making salvation available to) all men, and then it is saying those that believe are the ones that take advantage of (accept) the benefits of his death (as in Hebrews 5:9 → Jesus is the “author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him”).

Notice that God … is the Saviour of all men, but the Calvinist thinks Jesus did not die for all men.

Compare “specially” (Strong’s #3122) with Galatians 6:10:  … let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.  Galatians 6:10 necessarily implies that Christians are to do good unto them who are not of the household of faith (non-Christians).

“Specially of those that believe” then necessarily implies that Jesus died for even unbelievers/non-elect.

Limited Atonement versus I John 2:2

December 19, 2009

The “Limited Atonement” theory is represented by the ‘L’ in the TULIP acronym which represents the five points of Calvinism. A true five point Calvinist will say that if you can disprove even just one of the five, then logically all five points fall. That is easy to do with a passage like I John 2:2 which reads, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Notice that Jesus is the propitiation for our sins, that is, the saved/elect. The text goes on to say “and not for ours only,” so Jesus has to be the propitiation for the sins of people other than the saved/elect. Then the verse says “but also for the sins of the whole world,” which contradicts the Calvinist’s position that Jesus did not die for the sins of the whole world. As far as I know, there is not a single place in the whole Bible where the word “world” refers to the elect/saved only. –

Matthew 19:9 One (And Only One) Exception To God’s Divorce Law

December 17, 2009

Jesus said in Matthew 19:9, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." This gives us God’s general rule on divorce and remarriage, and the only exception to that rule.

The force of the exception clause can be seen by comparing to other parallel constructions. Jesus said in John 3:3, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." We all realize this means that unless a man is born again he cannot be saved – there is no other route to getting to heaven. Similarly, Matthew 19:9 is showing there is no scriptural cause for divorce other than fornication (see also Matthew 5:32), there is no other route to a scriptural remarriage after divorce.

If a person divorces their spouse for any reason other than fornication (incompatibility, verbal abuse, drunkenness, desertion, whatever) and remarries, Matthew 19:9 says that person commits adultery. And the second part of Matthew 19:9 says adultery is the result when the person who is put away remarries, regardless of why they were put away.

Suppose such a person is in their second or third marriage, but wants to repent and be right with God. What should they do? They would be in a similar situation to Herod in his marriage to Herodias – whom Josephus says divorced Phillip. John the Baptist told Herod in Mark 6:18, "It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife." Does anybody think John was telling Herod that it was okay for him to stay in his marriage to Herodias? Neither is it okay with God for people to stay in unscriptural marriages today. They must terminate the adulterous marriage, and seek reconciliation with their original spouse (Romans 7:2-3).

Suppose you are scripturally married, but you are part of a church that allows people in unscriptural marriages to be considered faithful members of the congregation. Are you culpable? The Bible says you are in II John verse 11 – "For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." Congregations like that are just playing games with religion.

Romans 7:2-3 and the Marriage Bond

December 14, 2009

Romans 7:2-3 reads, "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man."

The above passage teaches that when an eligible man marries an eligible woman, they are bound ("obligated," Thayer) for life. Verse 3 says that if a woman marries another man (after divorce or other) while her original husband is still living, she commits adultery. This same general rule (with one exception) is taught in Matthew 19:9 and other like passages. This marriage rule or law says that even while the woman is married to the second man, she is still bound/obligated to the first. To correct the situation (as a faithful Christian is required to do) she would have to terminate the second marriage (cease the adultery) and go back to the original husband whom she is still obligated to. Hardly any churches today enforce this Bible law, but God still expects us to live by it, and He also expects congregations to withdraw fellowship from any such unrepentant persons (I Corinthians 5:5,11).

Sincerity and Proverbs 14:12

December 12, 2009

Proverbs 14:12 reads, "There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

This verse clearly shows it possible for a man to be doing what he thinks is right in religion, but not actually be doing what God says is right, and thereby be heading for spiritual death. Sincerity by itself is not enough. Paul was sincerely religious while he was persecuting Christians (Acts 23:1, 22:3-4), but he was wrong/lost nonetheless (Acts 22:16). Even today many think they are saved because they call upon God, or believe in Jesus to some extent, but are actually lost because they do not obey God’s will (Matthew 7:21). It is not enough to call Jesus Lord (Luke 6:46), we must actually do what God’s word says (James 1:22ff, Acts 10:35). Genesis 37:31-36 records the case where Jacob truly felt like his son Joseph was dead, but Joseph was actually still alive. So our feelings are not necessarily reliable. They can be deceived just like Jacob’s feelings were deceived. Just because you feel you are saved, that doesn’t mean it is so. Only by comparing your life to God’s written word can you tell if you are in a right relationship with him (Revelation 20:12). Jesus is only the author of eternal salvation to those that obey him (Hebrews 5:9).

If The Blind Lead The Blind, Both Shall Fall Into The Ditch

December 10, 2009

Jesus said in Matthew 15:14, "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." As He does on many occasions, Jesus is here using a physical illustration to make a spiritual point. Suppose two blind men walking together in a pasture come upon a ditch. Both will fall into the ditch because neither one can see to guide the other one around or across a bridge. One needs to be able to see in order to navigate a ditch successfully.

The blind leader represents the false religious teacher. The blind follower represents us if we allow the false teacher to lead us astray. The "ditch" represents everlasting punishment (Matt 25:46). The point of Jesus’ analogy is that it won’t be valid to tell God on the judgment day that we should be excused for following false doctrine simply because our preacher led us that way. Instead, we should be like the Bereans and search the scriptures to see if what any Bible teacher is saying is so (Acts 17:11).

Notice that Matt 15:14 applies to both saint and sinner – God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Notice also that sincerity by itself is not enough to get us to heaven. The blind follower didn’t fall into the ditch on purpose. But obviously he didn’t completely submit himself to "diligently seeking God (Heb 11:6). And lastly notice that Matt 15:14 shows that it matters what we believe. If we allow false teachers to lead us astray, we will not be saved … not according to Jesus anyway.

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death – Proverbs 14:12.

Modest Clothing (“The Picnic”) – by Jim King

December 7, 2009

It was a gorgeous day in May, and a family from church had invited everybody over for a get-together. Carl, who had only been baptized a few months earlier, was looking forward to socializing with the other young people. So, juggling some grocery bags, and with a camera around his neck, he rounded the corner of the house and entered the backyard.

What he saw caught him slightly off guard. At one end of the driveway, on a makeshift basketball court, eight of his brothers in Christ were already heavily into a game. Several had their shirts off, and some in shorts some in tank tops and jeans, were obviously having a great time. A number of the females had also dressed for the warm weather. In shorts of varying lengths and low cut, breezy tops, they were mingling and talking, some sitting, some standing.

Carl blushed instinctively, and his eyes awkwardly moved away. He was not used to seeing these Christians not fully clothed. And he wasn’t sure why it bothered him. Oh, he had heard 1 Timothy 2:8-9 mentioned in passing, about women dressing modestly, and he knew it had something to do with women who claimed to be godly. And he had heard Jesus’ statement about looking on a woman to lust (Matthew 5:28). But in his brief Christian life, he could quote neither passage. And besides, what little he had been taught about clothing from the pulpit had generally emphasized that the whole subject was a matter of opinion, and a scruple that mature Christians had outgrown. Still, something didn’t seem quite right. Maybe it was the vague remembrance of God having clothed Adam and Eve in the beginning. Maybe it was his own desire to look, or the less-than-pure thoughts fighting their way into his mind. Carl didn’t know…all he knew for sure was that looking at some of his sisters in Christ made him uncomfortable.

But everybody seemed to be having such a good time. Carl soon assured himself that he was overreacting, expecting Christians to be too different, and he relaxed. He even took the pictures of his new friends that he had intended to take, to show his parents.

But the next week while showing the pictures, the uneasiness returned. The photos didn’t lie. There they were, caught in all sorts of positions; a mixed company of disciples who looked like they’d left their discretion at home. Did these Christians really realize how much of their bodies they were revealing? They were good people. Surely they wouldn’t let their mere comfort or the culture override their concern for being a stumbling block to others. Maybe if they saw the pictures, how they really looked, it would make them think. Just how far could they go and still believe the way they dressed was ok? Carl wondered.

The “Thief On The Cross”

December 4, 2009

In trying to negate the Bible’s direct teaching that baptism is necessary to salvation, many turn to the "Thief On The Cross" as an example of someone who was saved without being baptized in water. Their reasoning is – if the thief can be saved that way, why can’t we? There are a number of things wrong with this argument. Let’s examine it …

First, we do not know the thief was never baptized. He could have been baptized with John the Baptist’s baptism before he was put up on the cross. The scriptures are silent on this point. It would be improper to assume either way.

Second, consider Hebrews 9:15-17: “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament … For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” Jesus and the thief did not live under the new testament law which requires baptism. They both lived under the old testament law. The thief was not required to be baptized as you and I are.

Consider also Romans 10:9 which reads, “That if thou shall … believe … that God hath raised Him (Jesus) from the dead, thou shalt be saved. The thief didn’t believe in the resurrection of Christ as an accomplished fact – so obviously he lived under a different covenant than we do (since he couldn’t meet the new covenant requirements of Romans 10:9 in order to be saved).

The thief on the cross didn’t need to be baptized for basically the same reason that Moses and a host of other Old Testament children of God were not baptized; that is, the New Testament law had not come into effect yet.

Remember these facts:

– The thief on the cross was forgiven before Jesus died.

– The thief died before the “great commission” of Mark 16:16 was ever given.

– Luke 24:47 – new covenant preaching and remission were to begin “at Jerusalem.”

– The new covenant did not go into effect until sometime “after” Jesus died (Hebrews 9:17).

The Scriptures are clear that baptism is a condition that a sinner must meet in order to be forgiven by the blood of Christ (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Galatians 3:26-27, I Peter 3:21). What does one have to gain by fighting against what God says? Instead, why not love God and obey Him (John 14:15)?