Archive for March, 2018

Is It Wrong To Be A Legalist?

March 29, 2018

I had a caller on my March 4 Bible Crossfire SiriusXM radio program accuse me of “legalism.” What he meant by that term is that I was trying to follow God’s law too strictly.  Most of us should know this accusation is absurd. We should inherently know that being legalistic with God’s law is not a bad thing. What do you think God would want us to be – illegal? Of course God wants us to obey His law in all aspects. John 14:15 reads “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

Many people equate being legalistic with Phariseeism. But the Pharisees were never condemned for following God’s law too strictly. Jesus said in Matt 23:2-3 – “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” So the Pharisees were condemned for not obeying God’s law, the very opposite of legalism.

It is actually a good thing to follow God’s law strictly, to the letter. Jesus goes on to say in Matt 23:23 – “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” The Pharisees were indeed criticized for ignoring many weightier matters of the law, and so they were encouraged to start following the weightier matters, but not to ignore the lighter (smaller) matters either.

We are instructed to follow all of God’s New Testament laws, no matter how unimportant we might deem one of them to be. Such careful obedience is a matter of respecting God (Eccl 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man”). James 2:10 confirms this by saying “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”  Jesus put it this way in the great commission (Matt 28:20) – we are to “observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you” – not just the commands we deem important.

The same strictness was also expected under the old law – Matt 5:18-19 said “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

I think we would realize this if we just understood that John 8:32 is saying that only “the truth shall make you free.” So we can never be too careful in learning, obeying, and teaching the truth. Jesus made an argument in Matt 22:32 for the truth of the resurrection just based upon the fact that a word was in the present tense. And Paul made a argument for the truth just based upon the fact that a word was singular (not plural) in Gal 3:16.

Legalism (following God’s law strictly) is a good thing, not a bad thing. Jesus said as much in in John 15:14 – “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

To can listen to my 4-1-2018 Bible Crossfire radio program on “Legalism” at http://www.bibledebates.info/BibleCrossfire/BibleCrossfire-180401.mp3

Advertisements

David Just Thought He Was Forsaken In Psalms 22:1?

March 23, 2018

In the last few years I’ve run into some Christians who assert David was mistaken about being forsaken in Psalms 22:1. They say David felt forsaken, but really wasn’t.

They are in effect saying David was inspired but wrong. Here is what David actually said in Psalms 22:1-2:

· why hast thou forsaken me?

· why art thou so far from helping me?

· [why are you so far from] the words of my groaning? – NKJV

· I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not

· [I cry] by night, but have no audience – Geneva Bible

Was David wrong when he wrote those words through inspiration? The Holy Spirit is the real author of Psalms 22:1-2. Was the Holy Spirit mistaken?

If the writer of Psalms 22:1 was inspired but wrong, then how can we trust anything in the Bible? For example, how do we know Paul’s prohibition against women preachers in I Cor 14:34-35 is God’s truth, and not just how Paul “felt” at the time (as some claim)?

Suppose for the sake of argument that David was wrong. Wouldn’t that mean Jesus was also wrong when He applied these words to himself on the cross? That would certainly become a “sticky wicket,” wouldn’t it?

Does Salvation By Grace Mean Homosexuals Will Be Saved?

March 15, 2018

Gay Church members claim they are saved because salvation is by grace. It is true passages like Eph 2:8-9 teach salvation is by grace. Of course “grace” means that God’s salvation is FREE, but grace doesn’t mean that God’s salvation is unconditional.

Our obedience does not earn our salvation (Eph 2:8-9), but nonetheless, our salvation is conditioned upon our obedience (verse 10):

· Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

· Matt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

· James 2:24 Ye see … that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only

· Heb 5:9 Jesus became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him

Homosexual or not, if you are a believer, are you backing up your belief with an obedient life?

Repentance is one of those required conditions:

· Luke 13:3 except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish

· Acts 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds

Repentance requires the cessation of all homosexual relations.

The “unrighteous (including homosexuals) shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor 6:9). That is why it is said of homosexuals who had become Christians, “such were some of you” past tense (I Cor 6:11). They had changed.

If you would like to enroll in our free “Jesus The Way” Bible correspondence course, send me your regular mailing address.

What Saves – A Faith That Will Work, Or A Faith That Is Working?

March 8, 2018

I was asked recently by someone I was studying with – What saves, (1) faith that will work or (2) faith that is working? Though I obviously think the former is a very good thing, I answered that the latter is the correct answer. Let me provide some evidence for you to consider …

First notice Gal 5:6 – “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Doesn’t that verse answer our question directly? Here is how the ESV translates that – “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” So it is not just faith that avails (in regards to salvation); it is a faith that is working. Not only that, but it must be a working faith that has “love” as its motivation.

Next consider an illustration. Here is Heb 11:30 “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” Of course this is not talking about salvation, but notice how the Israelites’ faith did not avail (in regard to war victory) until their faith worked.

Thirdly notice Gal 3:26-27 which actually touches on our question as it specifically relates to baptism – “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Verse 26 is letting us know that our salvation is conditioned upon our faith. All certainly agree on that. But verse 27 pinpoints as to when we are saved by faith. As you know, the word “For” that begins verse 27 means “to introduce the reason.” So verse 27 is saying – the reason a person is a child of God by faith is because he has been baptized into Christ. See my point here? – it takes a faith that is working to become a child of God / get into Christ.

Question: Didn’t Saul have the kind of faith that would work when he said to Jesus in Acts 9:6 – “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Then why were his sins not washed away at that moment? You will remember that at least three days later, he was told to do something so that his sins would be washed away (Acts 22:16). So Paul was not saved when he first had the kind of faith that will work; instead Paul was saved when his faith did work.

What About Proof Texting?

March 1, 2018

Many denominational believers, and even some Christians, have a problem with what is commonly called “proof texting.” That is the practice of proving a particular doctrine with a Bible text.

This practice is not without a multitude of precedence in the Bible. Jesus constantly “proof texted.” You probably remember Jesus using three separate proof texts to reply to the devil’s three temptations of Him in Matt 4:1-11.

Also consider the example of when the Sadducees argued “that there is no resurrection” (after life) in Matt 22:23ff. Jesus responded to them in verses 31-32 by saying “… as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Jesus used one verse of old testament scripture to conclusively prove their false theory incorrect. I for one am glad Jesus did this, because I might not have noticed that this verse was so good against the no resurrection theory. Evidently the Sadducees had not regarded the passage in that light either.

I Thess 5:21a reads “Prove all things.” We should never be ashamed to do just that. One scripture that is conclusive on a subject is enough. More verses is even better, but God only has to say something one time for it to be true.