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My Sin Makes Me Worry If I am Really Saved

Once in a while I will receive an email like the following from someone who is worried that some sin they have committed may have crossed the place of no return to God's favor.

Visitor: Even after I was sealed for the day of redemption, I still have sinned against God. I continue to fight addicting sin(s), and though most of the time I defeat the sin, sometimes I foolishly give in to it. I'm so sorry that I have given in to foolish and sinful lusts, and all I want to do is to cast away those actions forever, and to be forgiven, and sin no more. But I don't know if I am saved anymore, because I have really been scared that my repentance is not true, because I have again sinned, and that God has cast me away. Please help me, because I am very scared. I want to be forgiven and be different.

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 22:56 -- john_hendryx

Moralism & No-Lordship Antinomianism

Two great errors in the church today are 1) moralism and 2) no - lordship antinomianism. One has pride in his own goodness, and puts his hope (at least partly) in his own self-righteousness, not realizing he is spiritually bankrupt, saved by the free grace and righteousness of Christ alone. The other error acknowledges the imputation of Christ's righteousness but ignores the impartation of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, thus rejecting the fullness of God's grace to us in salvation. The tragic result is they see no need to yield in allegiance to Christ alone as LORD and sovereign. They end up presuming on God's grace in justification often allowing sin to go unchecked, as if God no longer required a holy life from us as believers. But the Scriptures unambiguously declare that we are to obey, not in order to be saved or to somehow maintain our salvation ... no, we are to obey BECAUSE we are saved and are the children of God. Those who are born again love God by obeying His commands and His commands are not burdensome because they have been born again.(1 John 3:9, 5:1-4)

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 16:40 -- john_hendryx

It Does Not Take a Prophet ...

It does not take an inspired prophet of God to know that the USA is now under Divine judgment. How so? Well, just look around. - fallen humans have always sinned and there was a time when people understood, even if they sinned, that they had done wrong and felt guilty for it. But no longer - that is being cast off... it is obvious now that not only do we not feel guilt about evil but openly celebrate it, calling good evil, and evil good ... and even give hearty approval of others who do evil (see Rom 1:18 +). According to this passage of Romans, the worst judgment of God takes place (at least in this life) when God gives people over to their sinful "free will" and when onlookers give approval to the evil of others.

There is little doubt we are already there. But as we consider this it is critical to remember that the problem is not just OUT THERE. Repentance must begin with us, the church. We must repent of the sin and false teaching that permeates our own thinking. We must pray and, by the grace of God, align our thoughts with God and get our own house in order before we remotely expect to have any influence on the world.

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 12:46 -- john_hendryx

On Calvinism, Evil and God's Holiness

I received an email to my to Monergism.com account from a visitor named Shawn. He asked some important questions on on Calvinism, Evil and God's Holiness. I have reproduced his email in full with my response (with a couple paragraphs on Job that quote liberally from John Piper)

Dear Mr. Hendryx,

I've been reading your website with interest and find it to be one of the very best Calvinistic resources I've seen on the net. I am not a Calvinist, though I can't say I'm decisively against Calvinism either. I still have lingering questions which I hope you might be able to answer, or point me to resources that would help.

Perhaps my main objection to accepting Calvinism involves the problem of evil. I've read several of the articles you have on the subject (by Piper, Bahnsen, [Cheung] and two others by authors whose names I can't recall), but none seemed to offer any new or helpful answers to my objections/doubts/questions.

This is what I understand the Calvinistic claim to be: God is sovereign over everything, having decreed before the foundation of the world everything that will come to pass. This would include, I should think, all moral evil, whether realized in word, thought or deed, or merely imagined in man's heart. In other words, before there was a devil, man, or sin, God 'imagined' (for lack of a better word) all of the horrific, sinful and debased things that have ever and will ever come to pass, and then chose to actualize them. God was not coerced into allowing evil to exist as if it was outside of his power. Rather, God chose to actualize sin and evil where before there was none. Would that be an accurate conception so far?

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 14:08 -- john_hendryx

Pragmatic vs. Kingdom Outcomes

It seems that in many of these political discussions on the upcoming election, we tend, as a group, to think a lot about political policy outcomes but think little to none about Kingdom outcomes. Here is what I mean:

What if our witness to the world depended (in large part) on how we collectively vote as Christians? The world is definitely watching. How many "Christians" would be willing to give up their vote for their candidate if they knew it meant, by the grace of God, more people coming to Christ? ... but in exchange we knew we would have to live under a much more oppressive state. I obviously do not know God's secret will, but my point is that obedience, instead of pragmatism, is definitely more aligned with God's revealed will and His redemptive plan, especially when much of the world would see mass evangelical votes for Trump as an obvious and blatant hypocrisy. As followers of Christ, our choices should be based, not on their perceived outcome, but in our trust that wherever God leads is always right, even if the results may temporarily appear worse politically.

Since both candidates are just awful, at this point God appears to be bringing us as a unit to a place where we are stripped of all hope in an ideal outcome ... so we can only, in utter dependence, pray for Him to intervene and faithfully serve Him by doing what we know to be right.

Just consider where our culture wars have gotten us so far.  How many decisions were made by pragmatism rather than trusting in God along the way? Have you ever read Crime and Punishment? Doing something evil hoping that good may result? No, that shouldn't be an option for us. Obedience is our job. But how the results fall into place are His. A pragmatic choice may, for the moment, appear to further Christian principles the legal realm, but at what cost? Perhaps the cost is lost opportunity on souls.

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 18:13 -- john_hendryx

Which Flavor or Ice Cream Do Atheists Prefer?

If morality is relative and based on personal preference, as atheists claim, then their moral judgments of others carry no more weight than if they told you which flavor of ice cream they prefer.

There is an inconsistency here. To claim to know what's right for everyone requires universal moral absolutes. So every time moral relativists declare how other persons OUGHT to believe or behave they are demonstrating their underlying belief in God (because they are appealing to universals we ALL SHOULD believe in) and their simultaneous suppression of that truth (since they claim there is no God) Their beliefs, therefore, betray the confession of their lips.

In moral relativism there are no universal "shoulds" or "oughts" to abide by. If there were it would no longer be relativism.

As an atheist you can be a morally upright citizen but you could also be a morally debauched rapist or murderer - in both cases you are being consistent with atheism. Good or bad are equally evanescent and equally valid expressions of atheism. But atheists often tell me they will do what is best for human flourishing ... but another atheist will do what is harmful to human flourishing. What is the difference? Both are being consistent atheists ... in equal measure. There is no better or worse in moral relativism.

Do I have any examples of atheists espousing moral absolutes?

Sun, 07/31/2016 - 14:58 -- john_hendryx

Does Belief in Effectual Grace Make God's Universal Call of the Gospel a Deception?

"All that the Father gives to Me will come to me..." (John 6:37)

VISITOR: This means He gives the ones whom he knows will come. I used to be a Calvinist, so I know all the philosophical reasonings that go on.

RESPONSE: You said, "He gives the ones whom he knows will come". UMM, Who is using philosophical reasoning here? These are YOUR words, not the Texts. You added them. And you do it as if you really believe its okay to do that. That is called self-deception. You are playing with fire by adding your own words to the Bible in order to to fit it to your viewpoint. Again, Jesus said, "ALL" (not some), of those the Father gives him will come [to faith] in Him...the giving of the Father to Him precedes their coming to faith in Him.

In addition, God is very sincere in calling us to what we OUGHT to do, even if we cannot ... because we will not ... the fault is ours because we are captive to our own sin. He is not coercing people or holding them back. They run from God because they love darkness and hate the light (John 3:19, 20)

VISITOR: Calvinists makes God insincere and deceptive- God commands all men everywhere to repent, yet made no plans to make the atonement for most and never had any intention of giving faith to most. That's like me inviting all my neighbors to a big party, but only making enough food for my next door neighbor because I never really planned on my whole neighborhood coming and never made food provisions for the entire neighborhood. Ridiculous, to say the least.

Thu, 07/28/2016 - 15:28 -- john_hendryx

Holy Perfection Demands Holy Perfection.

Holy perfection demands holy perfection. When we all fell in Adam, God did not lower His holy standard to accommodate man's sin. No ... God will not compromise His holy character because, to do so, He would no longer be holy and thus no longer be God. So His demand for holy perfection remains even though fallen men are morally impotent to perfectly live up to His holy standard. Left to our flesh we have no power to raise ourselves out of our misery. And the soul that sins must die (Ezek.18:20). What can be done? It sounds hopeless.

In mercy, God came in the flesh in Jesus Christ as the only person to ever live without sin and who died a death He did not deserve, taking the place of all the rebellious sinners who believe in Him. But men STILL love darkness (John 3:19-20) and will not believe (Rom 3; 1 Cor 2:14) That is why, in addition to outwardly calling people to believe the gospel - a gospel which is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, the Spirit must also inwardly call and quicken (1 Cor 1:23-24; John 6:63) - why salvation must be all of grace (Eph 2:8-9) and why works are woefully insufficient. That is why, in love He set apart a people for himself to save out of the world; people from every tribe, nation, language and people (Rev 5:9). For if He left us all to ourselves to our own desires and fallen wills to make the choice - the choice our own fallen flesh - no one on earth would have hope for eternal life. No he must remake us, renew us in the Spirit if we are to see the truth, beauty and excellency of Christ and so believe in Him.

 

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Thu, 07/21/2016 - 12:34 -- john_hendryx

An Exalted View of Own Goodness

As human beings we have a strong tendency to have an exalted view of our own character, and we flatter ourselves. But a Christian is one who, by the mercy of God, has cast aside all high views of his own character and righteousness. The beginning, middle and end of his hope is found, not in himself, but in the righteousness of Another. He is not one who thinks he is more righteous than others but, exactly the opposite, he is one who, by the grace of God, recognizes he is not righteous. But thanks be to God for His mercy, Jesus comes not to condemn, but to forgive all who acknowledge the truth that they are ill-deserving sinners and whose only credential on their resumes (for acceptance by God) is Christ.

This is perhaps the greatest difference that God has made between the Christian and the non-Christian. The non-Christian either 1) is attempting to work their way to heaven or 2) one who thinks presumptuously that, if there is a God, then they are already good enough to get in or 3) they don't care. In the first two instances they are trusting in their own righteousness. In the last instance, they have abandon themselves to their sin and corruptions. The Christian, in contrast, is one who has beheld the beauty and holiness of God and knows he is undone and no more deserving of heaven than anyone on earth ... and knows, in truth, that he is justly deserving of God's displeasure and that his only hope is in God's mercy toward Him in Christ.

 

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 14:26 -- john_hendryx

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