H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
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.
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The Buzz

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.
- C-Train

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
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? - 1 Corinthianns 3:1-3 [NASB]

When Paul calls these Christians infants in Christ, he is not saying that they are young in the faith (as in new converts), he is saying that they are spiritually immature. How does Paul mark spiritual immaturity? He describes spiritual immaturity in terms of the flesh: these believers were still allowing themselves to be governed by those appetites that are aroused daily by their mortal frame. To use another Pauline expression - these Corinthians were walking in the flesh.

The problem we run into is the problem of the tares and the wheat. Immature believers live an awful lot like illegitimate believers. Both immature and the illegitimate believers consistently give into (ie. are ruled by) their own goals and desires, yet the tares are acting in accord with who they are in the world, where the wheat are acting in opposition to Christ who is within them. We cannot know for sure which is which if both the tare and the wheat share a common profession of faith. Even the angels do not possess sufficient discernment to know for sure.

So rather than use this understanding concerning spiritual immaturity to give us fodder for picking and choosing which ones among us are *really* saved, we should use such knowledge to examine our own selves. Am -I- governed by my own selfish desires? Do I surrender myself to God's desires? Which is it, am I spiritually immature or spiritually mature?

This is serious stuff, especially for those who aspire to the pulpit. With a heavey heart, I cannot help but imagine that more than half the pastors in today's pulpits are not qualified (spiritually) to be there (and don't even get me started on the rampant biblical illiteracy!)

So today's post is about the reality of spiritual immaturity, how to identify it; how to apply what you have learned to yourself (instead of to others), and how to know for certain if you are presently disqualified for ministry as a pastor..

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posted by Daniel @ 2:35 PM   4 comment(s)
Monday, February 21, 2011
Romans 10:4
"For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. - Romans 10:3-4 [NASB]

If I tell you that my work day will end at 3:00 p.m., you will understand intuitively that the word end, in this case, describes the point at which my work day ceases. On the other hand, if I tell you that the end justifies the means, you will understand that the word end, in this case, is describing a purpose or conclusion. I think that is why the word end is used to translate the Greek word τέλος, since the English word end shares this range of the semantic spectrum with τέλος.

This verse is therefore telling us that either Jesus (for God's righteousness) brought the law to an end, or that Jesus was the purpose of the law (for righteousness)?

When Paul speaks about Christ being the end of the law for righteousness in verse 4, we know from verse 3 that Paul is referring back to God's righteousness. Thus verse for is telling us one of two things, either Christ is the cessation of the law for the God's righteousness, or Christ is the purpose of the law for the God's righteousness. In order to know for sure which use Paul intended, we should follow his argument in the next few verses.

Okay, back to

Paul, a former Pharisee, presumes that his countrymen are going to refute what he has just written by quoting Leviticus 18:5 (cf. So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD [NASB]). In anticipation of this refutation, Paul himself alludes to the passage when he writes the following in verse 5, "For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.". Paul equates up front what his Jewish readers are going to equate: the keeping of God's statutes with the righteousness which is based on the law.

But in verses 6-8 Paul challenges the depth (shallowness) of this understanding by digging deeper into the Torah:

But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: "DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, 'WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?' (that is, to bring Christ down), or 'WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)." But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART"--that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, Romans 10:6-8 [NASB]

Look at the texts Paul is quoting and take instruction from the fact that Paul inserts Christ in this passage in the place of observing God's commands:

"For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?' Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?' But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it. - Deuteronomy 30:11-14 [NASB]

Now back to Romans 10:4, and our question concerning which meaning of the word τέλος did Paul intend. Paul's argument is that the Jews misunderstood the Torah by concluding that a man is made righteous by keeping the law, rather than is proved righteous by having kept the law. The distinction is subtle, so bear with an almost vulgar illustration. A person who has lot their virginity cannot become a virgin through any amount of abstinence. The virgin is the one who has abstained, but abstinence does not produce virginity. In the same way the One who has kept the law perfectly (Christ) has demonstrated that He is righteous. His keeping the law did not generate righteousness, it revealed it. No amount of law keeping can create new righteousness. This was what the Jews had missed. They thought that keeping the law produced righteousness in men, when it did no such thing.

Thus when Paul shows that Christ kept the command of God, it shows that He alone is righteous, and his overarching argument is that Christ is our righteousness - and that this righteousness is God's righteousness, not our own - not something we generate.

Going back to the text then, is Paul saying that Jesus Christ has terminated the law for God's righteousness, or is Paul saying that Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of the law by which everyone who believes is able to partake of God's righteousness? If you have been following the flow, you must conclude, as I do, that Christ is the fulfilment of the law proving Himself to be God's righteousness for those who believe.

Some argue from this text that Christ has abrogated the law, I think this is not the text to use to make that argument. This text does not teach that Christ terminated the law, it teaches that Christ was the fulfillment of the law.


posted by Daniel @ 8:37 AM   0 comment(s)
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Romans 8:13
"for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." - Romans 8:13 [NASB]

I love this kind of arithmetic. If A then B, but if C then D. Two paths, two destinations. Simple.

Paul is talking, in the context, about a Christian obligation. He has masterfully shown, in previous chapters, that no matter how pious we may be, we always end up doing evil. We want to obey God and we don't want to disobey God - but in spite of these desires, we find that there is something in us that conquers our will, so that we cannot rise above this reality. Paul aptly uses the metaphor of bondage to picture it. We are slaves to something that is foreign to our will and that something is sin. Paul tell us that this sin resides in our flesh - not that it resides in our skin and bones, but rather it has been part of our mortality ever since the fall of Adam. As long as we are in these bodies, sin (and the struggle against it) is going to be with us.

When Paul talks about living according to the flesh, he is talking about being led by all the various ways sin provokes us in our mortal frame. When Paul writes that we must die if we are being thus led, he isn't giving us a command to follow, he is telling us about the judgment that waits for those who pursue that path.

In the same way, Paul describes the other outcome - the one that Paul says ends in life. Here he is not giving a command, but describing a fact. If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

This does not mean that if you want to live you should start "putting to death" the deeds of the body. First of all, the the putting to death is done by the Spirit, not by the Christian. If BY THE SPIRIT you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live [emphasis is mine]. Paul is describing the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer, whose ministry it is to comfort and convict, to intercede for us in prayer, and to sanctify us. If the Holy Spirit is in you, He is putting to death the deeds of your body, if this ministry is going on - you will live.

Read the passage in the context. That is what Paul is saying. He is talking about our obligations - we aren't obliged to obey God in order to produce anything, nor are we obliged to God in order to receive anything, we are obliged to God because we have received, and because of what He is producing in us. Our obedience flows from what He is doing and has done, and not from the hope that by doing such and such God will respond favorably.

This verse tells you, Christian, that if Christ is working in you, you have life. If Christ is not working in you, you do not have life.
posted by Daniel @ 7:28 AM   5 comment(s)
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Romans 6:10
For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. - Romans 6:10 [NASB]

We can miss it as we zip through Romans six, so I want to put the brakes on a bit. Paul says something here that is world-shakingly important to any Christian who is actually trying to live their life in the manner that is worthy of the calling they were called to.

You see it in these words: "the life that He [Christ] lives, He lives to God." There - did you get it? The life that Christ lives, Christ lives to God.

When Paul writes (in Galatians 2:20) that it is no longer him who lives but Christ who lives in him, we don't want to miss the significance: Paul is teaching that Christ is living His life to God in every believer.

It isn't merely that Christ is taking up a sort of dormant residency in the believer - it is that Christ is still living out His life to God in the believer. Our union with Christ does more than get us into heaven - through it the life of Christ continues to live to God, He is alive in us, and actively living to God (ie. ministering to us in accord with the will of God).

Such truth is not hidden in a corner, but boldly set forth in the new testament as a foundational truth. I wonder how many of us are actually resting on that truth daily? I suspect the numbers are smaller than they ought to be.

So if you haven't considered it before, Christian, know that Christ is living His life to God in you right now. It is by His hand that you were justified, and by His hand that you are being sanctified. He does this in obedience to God who (along with Christ) has set His love upon you.

I hope such a truth staggers you.
posted by Daniel @ 11:13 AM   2 comment(s)
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Romans 5:18
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. - Romans 5:18 [ESV]

The verse, in the Greek begins with a double connective (αρα ουν) that doesn't lend itself all that well to an English palate, so that most translations lose a bit of precision at the beginning of this passage when they translate it as "therefore" or "so". A more accurate way to begin this verse would be to say, "consequently, these things being so", but comes off, as I mentioned, a bit more of a mouthful than most translators care for. Thus an emphasis that is there in the Greek is lessened in the English. The emphasis being that the argument Paul had just concluded is the foundation that what he is about to say must stand upon, that it cannot be rightly (and therefore should not be) understood apart from the previous argument.

Paul had just made an argument from the lesser to the greater in the previous verse. The lesser argument was that death's universal reign came into this world as a consequence of Adam's sin. Said another way, death's rule came about through Adam. One man's sin had a consequence that affected all men.

Paul used the the fact that death came into the world through the action of one man (in other words, the fact that one man's one-time action could have lasting and profound consequences for all men) to show that it was not only possible for Christ to do something that would have profound and lasting consequences - but because of who Christ is, it was an inescapable conclusion - if a man's one-time action can have such an effect, Paul argues, how much more so will the action of the Son of God - the Messiah - produce a lasting and profound consequence?

In this case, the consequence of Christ's action is that those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of Christ's righteousness will in life be reigning over death and this through Jesus Christ.

Note this (because it will help us understand verse 18): not everyone reigns in live over death through Christ, but only those who have received an abundance of grace and (especially) the righteousness of Christ. That is, there are two groups - condemned sinners, and those who are saved by grace through faith in Christ.

Thus when Paul introduces this verse with what amounts to, "Consequently, these things being so," we expect that what he is about to say will look directly back, in some capacity, on what he has just finished saying.

One of the first things we notice in verse 19 is that there are no verbs in it.

In English, if we write a bunch of words without a verb, we have to rely on the reader 9and often punctuation) to imply a verb. For example, "To the victor the spoils." How would we understand that in English. We would probably throw in a colon to make it more readable, "To the victor: the spoils" - but either way we are left without a verb, and we have to guess at what the author is implying. However we want to portray the thought, most would agree that the intention of the author (in this case) is to show that the spoils go to, and become the property of, the victor.

The task of identifying the implied intention of the author, in this verse, is placed on any who would translate it. What relationship did Paul intend to imply? Simplified, Paul is saying something like this: through one act: judgment and condemnation; through the other act: justification and life. Paul is leaning on the previous verse to make this comparison, but some might, at this point, lose focus on what is actually being compared. I want you to see that what Paul is comparing is the two acts and their subsequent consequences.

The first act affected all men, the second affects all those in Christ - this is clear from the preceding passage which Paul points to as he introduces this thought. The comparison Paul makes is that if one man's action affects all men, how much more so will Christ's actions affect those who are in Christ. That is what Paul is getting at.

An interpretational problem arises however as we examine verse 18 because Paul used the same phrase twice (εις παντας ανθρωπους) in his comparison. The phrase literally translates thus: into all men.

Now you are probaly already familiar with the various "all" arguments, but just in case you are new to all this, the word here can mean every last one, just as easily as it can mean all kinds. To make matters more complicated, it can be used literally, and it can (and often is) used as an hyperbole. We know the difference between saying eat all your beans and all my friends showed up. In the former, I mean I want you to eat every last bean, but in the latter do I really mean that every friend I have ever had in my entire life showed up?

Some look at verse 18, and conclude that because the Greek text is identical in each comparison, we must conclude that the author means the same thing in both usages - that is, if Paul means that "all people" suffer the consequences of Adam's sin (and they do) then it must be that the consequences of Christ's act is justification for "all people" - meaning that Jesus saved everyone.

The problem with that is that Jesus did not save everyone.

Some people like to try and take the half-way position - Jesus died to make salvation possible for all men; such that even though the text says "leading to righteousness for all people" they say that what Paul really means is that the possibility of righteousness came to all people.

The problem I have with that is that it is introducing an idea into the text in order, not to clarify the meaning that is there, but to add a thing to what is there in order to give it the meaning they want to find in it.

I have more respect for the person who cites this verse to "prove" universal salvation, than I do for the one who imposes meaning on the text that can't be pulled from it.

When John the Apostle writes that Christ is the "savior of the world" (John 4:42, 1 John 4:14) we don't, if we are doctrinally sound, conclude that Jesus is going to save every last person who was ever born. We understand that to mean that Jesus is the only Savior in the world. There is no other salvation outside of Jesus. He is the world's only Savior - but that doesn't mean that He saves everyone in the world, it only means that He is the one who Saves people in the world and no one else does.

Thus when we read in, 1 John 2:2 that Jesus "is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world", we don't conclude, as some are zealous to do, that this means that Jesus' death satisfied God's wrath against every last person on earth - that is, we do not conclude that everyone's sins are propitiated - rather we understand it to mean that Jesus is the only propitiation for anyone's sin, be that our sins, or anyone's sins in the whole world. Jesus isn't just the propitiation for the sins of John and company - He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.

So also then, when Paul writes in Romans 5:18 that the righteousness of Christ leads to life for all people, he isn't suggesting that everyone receives eternal life in Christ - Paul isn't a universalist - Paul is simply saying that this single, righteous act of Christ resulted in the only justification of life there is.

It isn't that Paul didn't mean what he said, it is that what he said doesn't mean what some people narrowly insist it means. Paul meant exactly what he said - that Christ's righteous act ended in justification for all people - which is not the same as saying justification for every last person on earth.
posted by Daniel @ 7:42 AM   0 comment(s)
Thursday, February 03, 2011
When my heart feels so corrupt I can't trust myself to pray.
It happens.

It is the feeling of guilt over our sin. Perhaps it is failure over some particular sin that we are unwilling to surrender, or perhaps it is many such sins -but make no mistake, we all will feel, from time to time, the ache of guilt so deeply that when we bow our heads to pray to God about it, we feel as though there is no way we can express our grief and failure because deep down, what is causing this ache is the fact that we don't want to give up the sin or sins that are causing us such turmoil in our soul.

What we are experiencing is the love of God, even if we are too dull to understand it as such. It is the loving ministry of the Holy Spirit within us that refuses to allow us to make peace with the sin in our life. It is God Himself ministering a godly conviction in us, so that we cannot easily ignore that which is limiting the only joy that matters. You see, God is for us, not against us, but the enemy will try and fool us into believing that God is against us because we are so corrupt and wicked - and this even after all God has done for us.

Here then is where truth sets you free. You see, God is not against you, He was already for you when you were still unsaved, and His unwitting enemy. It was He, and not you, who instigated your faith - He drew you in. Like Paul on the road to Damascus, you were not looking for God, God was looking for you - whatever experience you have had, however you came to want to be a Christian - God was the subtle, but sure Author of it. You were chosen by God to be His child, not because there was anything good found in you, not because you began to pursue God - rather you love God only because His love for you personally, drew you to Him.

This feeling of corruption, and worthlessness is a sharing in God's own affections, and God has no affection for your sin. What you are feeling is a watered down version of God's own revulsion over the sin that you are embracing, and you feel this in order that you may know that the thing is repugnant to Him. He lets you share in His revulsion because there is nothing in your flesh to show you the thing is wicked - in fact, your flesh is the very thing that wants to embrace it. Unless God shared this revulsion with you, all you would have is your knowledge that the thing is wrong, and perhaps your conscience would bother you.

So this revulsion is a good thing, but it is also something the enemy will attempt to use to blind you. The enemy wants to cripple you, and tell you that God hates you, or God won't understand you, or God is against you, and that until you straighten it all out, you have no right coming to God - that God's throne is a throne of judgment, and that if you are going to come to God, you better be clean, lest He judge you. He will try to keep you far away from God, because the longer you are absent from God in your affections, the colder you will become, and the more likely your faith will shrink rather than grow.

Scripture does not call the enemy a toothless lion - He is a roaring lion who is able to devour all the good that you should and could do by separating you from God so that you wither rather than grow.

Listen, when you feel that you cannot come to God because you are so foul, so stuck in your sinful ways, so unwilling to turn, that you regard prayer as something that would surely only affront God - that is when you need to pray the most. God already knows all these things - and if you are His child, He knew this would all happen even before He drew you to Himself - and even knowing your present failure, He still chose you. I don't know that God saw something in you, but God certainly put Himself in you, and you in Him. Don't let the devil win the field today, you are God's child - hand picked to be His adopted son or daughter. He knew this day would come, even when you were convinced that God loved you because you were so willing or so earnest. Now is the day that you need to trust in Him - trust that He has chosen you, and that His love is not conditioned on the perfection of your walk, or your obedience, or your faith - but is in fact unconditional.

The throne where you will meet Him is called the throne of grace, not because it sounds nice, but because that is the essence of it - we who approach it do so assured that God is going to be gracious, not because we deserve it, for grace cannot be earned. Go then to your knees if you have been long away, and trust that God is there, for you.

Don't let another day go by where the enemy dances over you, but stand up out of the mire, remember who your Father in heaven is, and Who has won you the right to stand in His presence - it has never been because you were worthy, but because you are in Christ. Go then to the throne in boldness.


posted by Daniel @ 6:14 AM   7 comment(s)
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Why did so many of the prominent Jews of Christ's day reject Him as their Messiah?

Think this through for a second: Was it because those Jews rejected the idea that God was going to send a Messiah? I don't think so - these Jews were described by Paul in the book or Romans as zealous. I don't think they were ignorant, and I don't think they were denying the fact that God was going to send a Messiah - what they were denying was that Jesus was this Messiah.

I believe I am describing what an empty faith looks like.

James, the brother of our Lord and author of the epistle that bears his name, spoke of two kinds of faith, one that cannot apprehend good works, and the other which cannot help but to apprehend good works. As I understand it, when James teaches that good works flow from a legitimate faith, and that the same do not flow from an illegitimate faith, he is not suggesting that the way to correct an illegitimate faith is to append a regiment of good works to your illegitimate faith. What he is saying is that unless living water is flowing out of your innermost being, the faith that you have isn't the kind that saves.

That is the kind of faith the Jews who rejected Christ had. They believed that there was a God, and that He was indeed the God of the scriptures. They even believed that God was going to send His Messiah - but when that Messiah came and they rejected Him, they demonstrated to all of creation the illegitimacy of their faith. It wasn't that they didn't believe the facts to be true. They believed in God so long as He remained a distant and unknowable entity. They believed in God so long as He remained impersonal and unapproachable. They believed in God so long as their belief never had to be more than an intellectual assent to certain facts. But their "faith" showed itself for what it really was (insufficient) the moment they had the opportunity to believe God was actually doing something in their midst.

When I share the gospel, I don't ask people to pray a prayer. I just let them know the truth: that God is not neutral towards them. That God has in fact damned them to suffer the full weight of His wrath the very moment they die, and this on account of their rebellion against Him. That God, as their Creator, is right to demand their obedience, and right to condemn them on account of their ongoing and continual disobedience. I explain from passages in scripture that God Himself blinds and confuses those who are being damned on account of their day by day rebellion, in order that they may continue in it without fear of the inescapable day that the consequences of their rebellion catch up with them. I let them know, in as much as I am able, that God is not neutral towards them but hates them - that the only reason they are alive right now is because God has granted them, in His profound grace, an opportunity to be reconciled to Him through Christ, and I do all in my power to encourage them to be reconciled to God.

If they are willing to be reconciled, I explain the way of salvation: That man cannot by himself, or through his own effort reconcile himself to God, that no one on earth can even desireϑ to be reconciled to God, such is the state of our depravity, that unless God grants them the grace to repent and believe, they will by no means be able to do so. Some may argue that this is putting an unnecessary burden on the person, but I would argue that it is in fact removing the unnecessary burden of trying to generate their own salvation through finding and applying the "correct" self effort that ends in their salvation. Instead I give them the simplicity of the gospel call; explaining that no one avoids God's wrath, that all must pass through it, whether "Christian" or non-Christian. That everyone who passes through God's wrath suffers the full effect of God's curse, just as it was in Noah's day - where all men on earth were made to share the same condemnation - the flooding of the whole earth a picture of the judgment that is to come - that all will face the flood of God's wrath, but that God has made a way to pass through this wrath unscathed just as Noah and his family passed through God's wrath safely in the ark, so also, God has made Jesus the Ark of our salvation - that everyone who is reconciled to God through repentance (surrendering the rule of their life to God) and trusting that God will save them in Christ if they call upon Him to do so. That every repentant soul who seeks to be reconciled again to God by calling upon the name of Christ will be baptized into the Spirit of Christψ by Christ Himself - what scripture calls the new birth, so that the wrath that God pours out on the believer is poured out on Christ whom the believer is "in" through that union with Christ that happens in the moment we are born from above, the very thing that our water baptism pictures - the moment we step out of the flood of damnation and into the ark of Christ we become partakers of Christ's eternal life. It isn't that our lives become eternal, it is that we become partakers of His eternal life - the same life that God raised from the dead, and in doing so, eternally secured all who have entered into Christ through this course of repentance and trust.

When I have presented this to someone who professes a willingness to be reconciled to God, I call on them to cry out to God for this salvation. I don't lead them in a prayer, and I don't try to provoke them into the kingdom with stories about people who have heard the gospel, and ignored it, then died suddenly on their way home because they didn't "make a decision" that night. I just let them know that they aren't saved until they are in Christ, and that the moment they are in Christ they will have full assurance that they are His.

If someone comes to me and says I have prayed and asked God to save me, but I am not sure that He did, I will tell them what I truly think: that they have not truly believed. That they are like the Pharisees who have assented to the truth of what is true without actually placing their trust in any of it. That they are not simply doubting because they are immature, but that it is more likely that they never really believed in the first place. I will sit with such a one and gladly spend as long as it takes to go over the promises of God with them until the truth becomes more to them than a formula for salvation - until they surrender to God for real, and in doing so come into life - not because they hope it worked, but because they have actually believed.

I think many in the church would consider me a real jerk because I don't fall all over myself telling people they are saved when they have doubts. I don't want to give these people a reason to continue believing they are the real deal if they aren't. Listen: if you don't know for sure that you are saved, you aren't saved. The Jews who believed there would be a Messiah but rejected Christ didn't have real faith - even as they assented to the truths of scripture.

The grand problem in our churches today is not that Christians are immature - though they are - it is that we are so politically correct and biblically ignorant, that we welcome people into the church who themselves couldn't tell you for sure that they are Christ's, and no one is willing to challenge them for fear of upsetting them or coming off as a jerk.

What kind of Christian are you, reader? Would you have recognized Christ, or would you have held onto your orthodox theology hoping to find salvation in the fact that you believe the words of Moses to be true, even as you deny in your heart the things they taught?

May God shake up the chaff, that it might turn and be saved.
The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken Me.- Deuteronomy 28:20 [NASB]
The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. - Psalm 5:5 [NASB]
ψOr do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection. - Romans 6:3-5 [NASB]

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posted by Daniel @ 9:27 AM   2 comment(s)
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