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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

Give Jesus a Try?

Sadly, many of those out there who now call themselves "evangelicals" are really nothing more than deists whose religion is to spread the so-called gospel of Christian values, behavior modification and therapeutic "salvation". It is painful to say but this large amorphous group can no more be identified with the Biblical gospel of grace than can Roman Catholicism. Both are semi-pelagian heretical movements that have only a nominal relation to the redemptive message of the Bible. Therefore, it is imperative that biblical Christianity make a clean break with these groups to make a clear distinction, lest the average man confuse the two and the gospel is completely lost on them.

Take the rally in Washington D.C. yesterday that had Pope Francis as one of the speakers. Pope Francis!!!! Speaking of Christianity I understand that he said, "Give it a try! You have nothing to lose! Try it."

But Christ is not a thing one gives a try like Coca Cola. No, Jesus is Lord and is soon coming to invade with His armies and will overthrow all injustice with the breath of His mouth. He is offering pardon in advance of His invasion to all those who receive Him (John 1:12, 13). Those who, by the grace of God, have joined themselves to Him now before He invades will be considered His ally and He will raise them up to be co-heirs with Christ as sons. Those who refuse will be trampled down in the wine press of the wrath of the Lord almighty.(Rev. 19:5) Trust in Him today and escape the wrath of God. That is a command, not something you "try".

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 12:10 -- john_hendryx

Doesn't the Story of Cain and Abel Overthrow Calvinism?

Question: Doesn't the story of Cain and Abel defeat Calvinism? "The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”" -Genesis 4:6-7 (ESV) See God tells him if he does something he will be accepted.

Response: "If you do well" is a phrase with a verb in the subjunctive mood - a conditional statement which asserts nothing indicatively. "if you are willing", "if you hear", "if you do" declare, not man's ability, but his duty - what he OUGHT to do but such statements say nothing of what he CAN do.

While it is true that if Cain did well he would be accepted and that he had a duty to resist sin. But that doesn't mean that he had the moral ability to do so.

The passage also contains the command, "...you must rule over it." What does the Bible teach about the purpose of Divine commands? According to Paul in Romans 3:19-20, the purpose of imperatives (commands) are to reveal sin, man's inability, and NOT his ability to do what he is commanded. It reveals his impotence and desperate need of grace. This is the reason the Bible ITSELF gives for God commanding us to do things we we are incapable of doing. Therefore any other conclusion is man extrapolating using only his own human reason to conclude that we must have the ability if God commands it. In this case human reason directly contradicts God's word.

So God commanded Cain to do something he was unable to do and the whole time God knew he couldn't do it?

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 10:00 -- john_hendryx

Diversity through Relentless Conformity

Dear friends, there is a great malignancy in our land called secular progressivism - a movement that ironically wants diversity through relentless conformity. But we cannot continue in our attempts to root out the cancer with the band-aid solution of surface arguments. While I do not doubt their sincerity in wanting to resolve the issues of the world, secularists do not know God, history or human nature, so their so-called solutions only serve to exacerbate the world's problems. I think we can all agree that there are serious problems in our world, but we are far apart on how these problems become solved. You and I know that sin cannot be effectively treated with Secularism, Marxism, liberation theology, more laws which increase power to politicians or re-educating our children. These "solutions" are the problem. They are a destructive force. Any view of the world which does not recognize the inherent sinfulness of man will put no limits on man's power. We can already see that the rule of law and balance of power is being torn down piece by piece and replaced by the rule of man. And so the more these "solutions" are forced upon us and our children the greater divisions and corruptions we will see.
 
So instead of treating cancer with a band-aid we must begin challenging our theological opponents such that they come face to face with their own basic assumptions and presuppositions about life. Socially liberal presuppositions about truth and the nature of humanity are as religious as anyone else. They have created their own narrative of the world and the nature of human beings, about who we are and where we are going. "Progressives" even have a whole narrative of redemption and liberation.
Thu, 07/14/2016 - 09:33 -- john_hendryx

Some Recoil At the Idea that God Ordains Evil or Disasters

It genuinely baffles me that there are professing Christians out there (e.g. Rachel Held Evans, Roger Olson) who, because of moral qualms, reject the biblical idea that disasters in this world are ordained by God. (Exodus 4:10-11, 12:29; Proverbs 16:4; 2 Sam 24:15-16; 1 Sam 15:2-3; Job 2:10; Isa 45:7; Amos 3:6; Eph 1:11) These concepts are so central to the biblical message that it makes the message of Christianity incoherent if they are rejected. Do they not stop to consider that due to the rebellion of Adam, humanity is now fallen and this whole world is under the judgment of God? And that anything that happens to us short of hell in this life is a mercy reminding us of our desperate condition and our need to flee to Christ for forgiveness?  Do these teachers think that we humans are innocent and do not deserve judgment? That a loving God would never do such a thing? Is not God also holy?  I do acknowledge that it is hard to behold the reality of our grim condition in our world, but it is vital if we are going to help those around us.

Some on the theological left contend that a truly sovereign God is a dangerous and un-Biblical concept. They cannot swallow the concept that the God of the Bible does preordain disasters, even disasters and evil that are enacted by men (Acts 2:23), and they can be seen as having been caused by sin, particularly original sin. That original sin puts humanity squarely in a place of judgment. Many of these folks on the left want to know how we can grieve disasters when they are ultimately God's plan. Reason:precisely because they are a punishment for original and continued sin. Ultimately catastrophes cause us to examine our own personal sin as well as the fallen state of the world. (Luke 13:4) Lord have mercy on us all.

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 17:32 -- john_hendryx

Inability and Accountability

"Can a ... leopard change his spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.
" - Jeremiah 13:23

There are a number of professing Christians who have actually been taught that God would never require us to do anything we are incapable of doing. But does not the whole Bible teach that we are required to obey the Law? Yet not one person, save Jesus, can perfectly obey the law? In fact, Paul declares that the purpose of the Divine legislation was not to show our moral ability, but to reveal sin i.e.. our utter inability and impotence to obey the law (see Rom 3:19, 20). Further, there was nothing that obligated God to send His Son to redeem us. He could have justly required the fallen human race to obey the Law and left us to ourselves to try ... and then He could have swept us all away in judgment when each of us failed to do so.

That people are accountable to do things they are incapable of doing is also evident in every day life. Consider those who borrow large sums of money from the bank and then lose it all through some foolish act. Their inability to repay the bank in no way alleviates them from the responsibility to do so. If the Arminian makes the charge that inability alleviates responsibility, then it follows that once I squandered the money away then I am no longer responsible to repay it. That I am off the hook. But we all know this is not the case.  Likewise, in Adam, we all owe a sin-debt that we cannot repay. The Arminian reasons that we are therefore no longer responsible for it if we can do nothing about it.

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 09:48 -- john_hendryx

Atheism and Existential Nihilism

Guest Post by Steve Hays

I'll comment on a post by Jeff Lowder:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2016/07/09/naturalism-theism-and-the-meaning-of-life/

Jeff's analysis is dependent on Erik J. Wielenberg's Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe.

    intrinsically meaningful life: a life has intrinsic meaning if the life is good for the person who lives it overall.

Take the head of a Latin American drug cartel. He enjoys the best of everything. Sexy women, gourmet food, yachts, mansions, sports cars, &c.

He has business rivals murdered. He has their family members murdered as a deterrent. He bribes judges and police. Those who can't be bribed he has tortured and murdered.

It's a very good life for him. He enjoys the perks. In fact, due to his sadistic streak, he even enjoys the vicious policies necessary to sustain it.

Doesn't that meet Jeff's definition?

If Jeff objects that it isn't "good" in the appropriate sense, does Jeff have a noncircular definition of "good"?  

    intrinsic value: something is intrinsically valuable if the thing’s value is inherent to the thing’s own properties, as opposed to its value being derived from the properties of another thing.

    extrinsic value: something is extrinsically valuable if the thing’s value is derived from the value of another thing.


Is it that cut-and-dried? Take a facsimile of Da Vinci's The Virgin and Child with St. Anne.

In one respect, the reproduction is valuable in its own right. If the original was destroyed, the reproduction would still be valuable. In that regard, the reproduction has a value independent of the original.

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 16:16 -- john_hendryx

12 Principles for Online Discussion

By His great mercy, through no merit of our own, God has delivered us from captivity and He has now given us a mission of mercy to declare the gospel to a world that is still in darkness. In the last 20 years or so, the new world of the Internet has opened up as an opportunity for us to bring the good news to people who may have never encountered it before. But how are we to go about this monumental task? Does our behavior or attitude make a difference?

Sat, 07/09/2016 - 11:57 -- john_hendryx

Four-Point Calvinists & Multiple Intentions in the Atonement

Visitor: 4-point Calvinists like Bruce Ware  affirm 'multiple intentions' for the atonement, all shared symmetrically within the Trinity. The Father employs election and preterition, the Son atones generally and redeems particularly, and the Spirit calls both effectually and non-effectually (or something to that effect). No disharmony in that economy.

Response: 5 point Calvinists have always acknowledged multiple intentions, if you include non-redemptive benefits. But the debate on this issue has always been about REDEMPTIVE benefits. That is why it is called PARTICULAR REDEMPTION. .I.e.. Christ died REDEMPTIVELY for the elect only. That has always historically been what is at issue in this debate ..

Here is an historical example showing Jonathan Edwards (a five point Calvinist) on particular redemption which shows that he affirms, together with traditional Calvinists through history. both redemptive and non redemptive benefits related to Christ's work:

Tue, 07/05/2016 - 17:18 -- john_hendryx

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