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|The Nashville Statement
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
My complete profile...
Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich
His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole
[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos
Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead
There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
|Question: What did Jesus experience on the cross in our stead?
Answer: God's wrath on account of our sin.
Question: And how much of God's wrath did Christ experience?
Answer: All of it - that is, all the wrath that was supposed to be ours.
Question: So how much of God's wrath is left for us when we sin?
Indeed, we read in Habukkuk that God "...cannot look on wickedness" (Hab 1:13), in the Psalms we read that the Lord's face "... is against evil doers" (Psalm 34:16), and would that both time and patience permitted, I am sure I could demonstrate that "...God is angry with the wicked every day." (Psalm 7:11) . Many of our pastors do not fail to quote such verses to their congregations - painting a picture of God being angry with those redeemed in the congregation who are sinning. The message we hear is even though God loves us, yet somehow
God manages to hate us when we sin.
This message is ...confusing.
Now, some would say that God doesn't hate anyone - he just hates sin. But one would only be excused for believing such nonsense if they had never read a bible. While various philosophies tout the idea that love and hate form a yin/yang one or the other sort of relationship, the truth is that love and hate are not opposites. God is entirely able to love us and hate us simultaneously. The bible teaches us plainly enough that God loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8), and that God hates all sinners (Psalm 5:5) . There are enough verses available to demonstrate this truth, so I am not going to belabor the point.
We sing "Jesus paid it all"- yet how many of us assume that God hates us when we sin? Fess up now - you know who you are. We read all the verses that speak about God hating sinners, or the many more that plainly describe God's hatred for sin - and when we sin, we pour all of that on ourselves. We say without words, "God hates me because I have sinned!"
I would agree with that entirely except for the tense.
You see, God has hated you already - when He poured His wrath out on you in Christ. How much of God's anger and hatred and wrath did your sin receive in Christ on the cross? All of it. How do I know there is no more wrath left for me? Because when God raised Christ from the dead, I was in Christ, -- when God raised Christ He raised me too - God declared --me-- (once and for all) acceptable to Him (in the Beloved).
So when I sin, I can sit in a frump all I want - it doesn't cause God to love me any more, or cause him to spare his wrath poured out on Christ one bit. All it does is make me feel like I am earning the right to be in God's presence. A little wet-eyed remorse and I am certain that I am once again in God's good books.
Do you see that this mentality is poison?
Do you see that I am acceptable to God, not because I am righteous, but because I am in Christ? Do you see that the only thing that has ever made me acceptable to God, and continues to keep me acceptable to God is that I am in Christ?
If I imagine that my sin separates me from God I am half right. My sin separated Christ from God - and every verse in scripture that tells me how much God hates my sin, and hates the sinner - these are verses that describe what happened on Calvary - all of it meant for me - all of it applied to Christ. There is nothing, nothing at all, left for me.
Paul encouraged Timothy with the words, "You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." - I have been describing to you "the grace that is in Christ Jesus."
Some of us have a very weak understanding of this "Grace." We stick to linear definitions - "Grace = unmerited favor" - such that every time we read grace we do a word substitution, "for by unmerited favor you were saved through faith..." - but this is the stuff of a puddle deep faith. Why do we meditate on the meaning of grace? So we don't reduce what Christ purchased for us on the cross to an intellectually pleasing, but spiritually void word substitution.
Think this through brothers and sister - and think hard: How will your relationship change when you begin to walk in the confidence that Jesus really did pay it all? There is a freedom that comes with surety - but surety is hindered when we believe that our relationship with God depends on our own ability to maintain a sinless state. We might not articulate that thought - but if we find ourselves running for the garden shadows along with Adam when we sin - we have missed grace, swallowed the lie, and are crippling our trust in both Christ and God.
My encouragement to you who are reading this today - look to the cross. Look to the cross my brethren. Look at what was done there - all of it. Teach yourself what grace really means - then stop walking the Christian life cut off at the knees.
posted by Daniel @
So I used to be one of the quietest, least outgoing person I knew because I felt like my mistakes were going to keep me from being me and interacting with people.
When I realized that Christs death on the Cross freed me from all of that... man, my entire attitude/personality changed.
I remember someone telling me it was like night and day.
Weee... freedom rules
Wow. Right on.
God is really using you, Daniel. You have a gift for explaining Scripture succinctly and effectively.
I sent some of your posts (and commentary discussions) to my father, who noted that "it
certainly helped explain Calvinism and its predestination belief in a way that I could understand
and appreciate the thinking. The thought came to mind of Jesus telling His disciples that they would abandon him. Peter objected but Jesus had said 'It is written'(Matt 26:31). He might just as well have said
'It is predestined'. It is going to happen.
Also, we all believe that the events of Revelation are
predestined to happen.
However, the issue of free will and choice although addressed is not as straight forward. It tended to attempt to define how God plans
and decides, and this seemed a bit presumptuous...
Given all the above I find my theology rather simple. God wants everyone saved (1 Tim 2:4), but we must respond when He impresses (John 6:44). We can't choose any-ole-time we feel like it. But once responded let Him run the show."
I know this is related to a previous entry of yours (and not today's, for which I offer my apologies; this is probably bad blog commenter form), but I wanted you to know that what you write reaches an even wider audience than just your on-line readership.
I'm printing today's entry to take to our women's fellowship at church, because we all seem to be struggling with the issue of this post currently. And we need to stop focusing so much on the struggle and start growing. Redirect our focus.
God bless you.
Frank - Excellent testimony - you should blog it out one day!
Susan - It is good to meditate on grace.
Excellent post brother, I think you definitely painted our self-righteousness into a corner. After all, that is basically what it is when we think we can somehow earn God's love and favour.
Praise the Lord, we just need to be in Christ, it was already accomplished. When Christ said it was finished, He was saying much more than simply His life ending on the cross with our sins paid for. He was saying God's wrath was satisfied, the payment had been made and the way for our justification, sanctification, and glorification were made complete in Him.
Hey man thanks for stopping by my new blog, I appreciate it dude!!
Hey here is a link to two Chafer books, some papers, and chapters: Chafer
Is there any way to view your archived posts, beyond the most recent 10?
Yeah, in the menu on the right, under "archives" you can peruse earlier posts by month.
I personally love the idea of satisfaction as a term...
Wow...This reminds me of what we prayed at church this week.
Who may ascent into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His Holy Place? He who has clean hands....Psalm 24:3-4
Father God, Your Son did not die merely to send our sins away. He died to bring us near to You. But our memories are stained. We have committed more than forgettable mistakes. We have sinned against You. Despite your complete forgiveness, we have kept ourselves quarantined from Your presence. No Longer. We set aside every foolish thought that we are not wanted, or that You can not bear our presence. We banish the fears and misgivings that hold us back from approaching You. By the cleansing power of Jesus' death we come to You. We lift these clean hands to You in grateful praise.
I hope you're well!
I posted on wrath in Nov.
1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness
I see that word all as significant.
But our names are written in the Book and we are legally free from justification, and becasue of that we walk in the Spirit. The righteous shall actually live by faith and are therefore delivered from God's wrath on sin.
If I was obnoxious I'm sorry :)
Jodie - I am well, thank you.
I read your post, and I have a much better idea now where you are coming from. I suspect that your observations are fueled more by a peculiar nomenclature than actual disagreement with what is being presented.
When I speak of "wrath" above, I am speaking specifically in the Romans 5:9 sense - that is, "We (believers) shall be saved from -wrath- (i.e. God's righteous punishment for sin) through [Christ]"
When I speak of wrath I am not speaking of discipline or correction/rebuke. Scripture surely convinces us that God chastens and rebukes those whom He loves.
Curiously, in the verse you quote (Romans 1:18) Anthropos, in the genitive plural (men), which when taken as an "attributive" genitive, renders the translation, "against all the godless and wicked men who suppress the truth by their wickedness" - While both grammatic renderings are correct, the attributive genitive harmonizes neatly with the "who" found later in the verse, reminding us that the "who" refers to people and not to actions ("who" = those who are godless and wicked).
In the rendering you are favoring, the "who" is esoteric and hence you are free to apply it liberally according to your own preference ( as some do in order to apply it indiscriminately to both christians and non-christians.)
Even were there no verse, it is clear in my understanding that one does not punish the action, but the perpetrator of the action. Pouring wrath upon an "action" is a notion that makes no sense (nonsense if you will). English allows us to build nonsensical statements "tasting a colour" or "smelling a sound" are good examples of grammatically correct but rationally bankrupt statements. Having a choice between a rendering that is vague, and nonsensical when scrutinized or a rendering that is concise and rational I confess, my bias is towards the rational - a fact that greatly influences how I would translate that verse.
Note that I said, translate and not interpret; I want to be careful to point out that I am not talking about "my private interpretation" but rather I am talking about which of two equally valid grammatical renderings I would select as the having more "clout." In this case, I side with the one that produces an harmonious and rational picture. It isn't a question of "interpretation" but rather of hermeneutic.
Likewise, when I translate the verse in that way (Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godless and wicked men who suppress the truth by their wickedness) I find further the principle thought harmonizes with verses such as Psalms 5:5, where we read, "...thou hatest all workers of iniquity"
That is significant to me, because I would hesitate to translate the verse in this way if the truth it revealed were not echoed elsewhere in scripture. Surely, I have no interest in introducing a foreign and novel concept to scripture!
Grace, therefore, in the context of my post (and perhaps by definition - is the absence of God's wrath against us - the fertile ground upon which our relationship with God must grow. The purpose of my post on Grace was illustrative and diagnostic. I wanted to illustrate how futile it is to foster a "works" based "acceptance" with God. We are accepted in the Beloved, and only in the Beloved. I wanted to diagnose how "self" gets in the way of a right relationship with God. We tend to imagine that God hates/punishes/pours wrath upon/treats us differently when we sin, because we don't understand grace, and we have confused correction/disipline/rebuke/chastisement with rejection/punishment/wrath/anger/hatred.
To be sure, the Pharisees imagined that they were in the precise center of God's will. They surely felt that the tears they shed in sincere prayer, the sincere love with which they loved the Lord, and the various other efforts that they produced were genuine "fellowship" with God. They had all the language, and they did all the right things externally - and taking their cue from one another, they felt certain that they really had it. Paul certainly did. He was full of zeal - even an uncommon and profound zeal - a sincere and magnificent zeal.
If we could have interviewed Paul before the Damascus Road he would have had scorn and scoff for those who were not like him. Surely he was convinced that he was having regular fellowship with God - he was a prayer warrior no doubt. But his relationship with God was that of a slave under a master, not fellowship and certainly not personal.
I am convinced/afraid that most Christians today mistake their religious devotion for fellowship with God. They are genuinely saved, but haven't matured into a real relationship with God, being romanced as it were, by every charming wind that blows through the church.
A right understanding of Grace is the doorway into a closer communion with Christ - we cannot hope to draw close to one whom we paint as alternately loving and hating us depending on whether we have kept the law today.
Understanding that believers are already perfectly and fully accepted by God (and all that that implies) is perhaps the most needed lesson in Christian growth I can think of - our faith in Christ must be grounded on God's grace if we are to progress into maturity.
On a final note, I do -not- find you obnoxious (unless having a sincere desire to not only know the truth but to share it could be called obnoxious...), and I hope that I am not odious in your own estimation.
Thanks for posting.
Thanks for your well thought-out reply.
And now that I actually read your whole post, and not just the lead-in on your front page, I'm tracking with what you're saying. I agree that we're in substantive agreement but are categorizing certain passages differently because we are looking at the term 'wrath' differently.
I'll return to give references but I do think that wrath is included in God's rebuke of Christians, though I'm not dogmatic about it. (yet. give me time.)
My own views on your topic, I think the way we grow in grace is by knowing we are God's children because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and by really exalting in God's incredible depth of generosity on that score.
That tends to make us genuinely eager to get to know and to follow God. Then as we attemtp to live in the light of God's word He prompts us concerning sin and is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us. And even when we resist that leading He is available at the throne of grace for us to boldly access Him in order to repent etc.
As long as I know God loves me with the same stream of love He has for the Son I'm comfortable knowing he hates my sin, and perhaps even hates me when I sin, because it is a hate tempered with the love of a parent who is not going to let me openly rebel against Him. He has boundaries.
About 1:18 I don't think it is nonsense to believe that he reveals his wrath on the wicked behaviour of a certain type of man. Men who supress the truth by their unrighteousness.
Whenever I sin it is a step into delusion, a step away from the truth, a decision to push it away from my consciousness. So to me it makes sense:
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!
In my view, justification makes us so secure that we can 'now' trust the same power that raised Jesus from the dead to live a life that 'saves' us from God's wrath and causes Israel to be jealous.
Back to your remarks, I love your comment:
I am convinced/afraid that most Christians today mistake their religious devotion for fellowship with God
This is exactly right.
I look forward to learning more about grace as you flesh out that topic you seem to be interested in. I hope you find or construct a good definition.
I wish you'd read 'Six Secrets of the Christian Life.' It is actually (99%) common ground between the two sides of the Gospel debate. It gives the details of how to live obediently by God's power, with very, very specific advice on that sometimes fuzzy but practical topic.
Jodie - Thanks for taking the time to reply!
About 1:18 I don't think it is nonsense to believe that he reveals his wrath on the wicked behaviour of a certain type of man. Men who supress the truth by their unrighteousness.
Perhaps irrational would have been a more descriptive word than nonsense? My point was that when a punitive effort is engaged, the target of that effort is not the behavior, but the one exhibiting the behavior. If we translate "man" as an attributive genitive, the target of the wrath is concise. If we fail to translate it this way, the target is vague, in that it must be inferred, since a "behavior" can never be the target of punishment. (That would be like punishing "the gun" instead of the murderer)
I have never heard sin described as "stepping away from the truth" or "stepping into delusion" - sin, being an archery term, means failing to hit the mark, in the case of Christian faith, sin is the failure to meet God's righteous standard.
We certainly allow ourselves to be deceived with regards to just how righteous God's righteous standard really is. By that I am talking about the deceitfulness of sin, or the exceedingly sinfulness of sin. When we have determined in our hearts to pursue some sin even thought we know full well that it is an outright act of willful rebellion to do so, we sometimes find a way to paint the action so that it isn't really sinful. In that sense, I suppose sin is "delusional" and "stepping away from the truth" - but I fail to link this with God's wrath in the way you seem to be.
Perhaps I am missing a piece of that puzzle?
I am not sure I follow your thoughts on justification either - you seem to be saying that our assurance allows us to trust God to live properly, and that it is this same "living properly" that saves us from God's wrath (which I would define as chastisement/correction/rebuke, but you insist includes some punitive element that Christ didn't take to the cross), and thereby give Israel a reason to be jealous.
Am I not correct in understanding you as suggesting that our own good works save us from (at least part of) God's punishment for sin?
In my view an "awareness of justification" in no way empowers me to do good works, and even if such an awareness could provide me such an impetus, yet my good works would not purchase or merit any favor or freedom from sin's penalty or even sin's power. Surely every Jew that ever lived hoped that by resisting sin he might gain power over that sin - but trying to keep "the law" (that is, trying to live according to a moral standard via "resisting sin") does not endow anyone with the ability to do so. We might keep ourselves from a sin, and even develop good "habits" (as the Jews most certainly did) that enable us to avoid the outward act of sin, but we will in no way do anything more than that - we certainly will not experience "freedom" from sin under such a system - no more than the Jews did, or any other works based righteous system (Islam, hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) To be sure, "living a life" one way or the other can "save" us from chastisement/correction/rebuke - but it cannot "save" us from punishment (wrath).
What enables the Christian to live a life that is pleasing to God is not an intellectual assurance that they are justified - but rather the Spirit of Christ indwelling them. At least this is how scripture describes it. In my own experience it works out this way - I desire to obey God, so I do.
I may write more on grace as time permits.
I wish you'd read 'Six Secrets of the Christian Life.'
I think this is a sound premise: If Hodges' theology is wrong, reading this book will either annoy me, or worse, confuse, or still worse, convince me of error. If Hodges' theology is correct, Then I need not read it, since God will open my eyes to whatever the truth with or without Zane's exposition of it.
I make it my habit to ignore a man's entire catalog if I think he has fumbled the gospel - and in Zane's case (if Antonio's writings are any indication) I think Zane is preaching a different gospel.
It behooves me therefore to treat anything he writes with profound suspicion and to avoid it as counterfeit and most dangerous because it is a close counterfeit. No one follows an obvious counterfeit after all.
I confess, I find nothing fuzzy about scripture.
I appreciate your candor and remarks. I hope I don't come across as anything other than sincere, open, and cordial.