Sinners Before an Infinitely Holy God

The following is a negative response by a visitor to the Christian belief that those who trust in their morality will end up in hell - that good morality is not what makes a Christian.

I don’t accept a belief system [like yours] that preaches equality. So even if I am a better human being I might deserve less in an afterlife? 

No one is good before an infinitely holy God. Anyone trying to approach the Sun would be instantly burned. How much more sinners trying to approach an infinitely holy God, apart from Christ. 

If, because of our foolish decision, we end up stranded on an island and need to get back home 1000s of miles away. Consider: some people can't swim at all, others may be able to swim several miles. One is clearly a better swimmer than all the rest, but compared to the 1000s of miles necessary, the distance is negligible. I may swim one mile, the best swimmer 30 miles, but that only scratches the surface of the length needed for anyone to get home. 

In that hypothetical example, I would be the worst swimmer in the group. The scum of humanity. But, in His mercy, God scrapped me off the bottom of the barrel. And His mercy keeps me off, none owing to myself. If there is hope for someone like me then there is hope for anyone. 

When the prodigal son returned to his father after squandering everything, seeing him far off, the father ran to embrace him, then put the best robe on him and threw a party. But the older brother was angry with the father and refused to go in and celebrate, thinking he was more deserving. Self righteousness, it turns out, is just as much a sin as the other.

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 09:34 -- john_hendryx

How Do You Know All Things Can Be Explained by Natural Causes?

Atheist: A supernatural explanation of the universe is wrong because it cannot be explained by natural causes.

Response: Your assertion reveals an a priori commitment to naturalism. You conclude that all things must be explained by natural causes by assuming that all things must be explained by natural causes. This is a viciously circular argument - an arbitrary assertion, and as such, it is irrational. Why dismiss the possibility of creation? Any philosophy which arbitrarily (without justification) does away with ideas which are potentially true is poor philosophy.

Everyone has ultimate presuppositions which undergird their thinking but only the biblical explanation makes sense of the data of the real world we live in. The naturalistic explanation cannot account for things which underly the world, including logic, morality, free agency, meaning and the uniformity of the cosmos. The atheist uses all these things on a daily basis, of course, but cannot account for them. In fact, when held consistently, his view contradicts them. He is forced to behave AS IF these things have a basis, which is another way of saying he must pretend. On the other hand, the biblical view can account for all of them.

Mon, 09/02/2019 - 16:25 -- john_hendryx

Atheist Says You Should Not Lie to Your Children

Atheist: It is wrong to teach the Bible to your children because you're lying to them.

Response: Didn't you say you were an atheist who believes in evolution? Your assertion is actually self-refuting. I'll show why below.

First, I do believe lying is wrong. But for the sake of argument, if all human beings are merely chemical accidents, as you affirm, what does it matter whether I lie to someone, especially if it has survival value? How can you be outraged at mere chemical interactions?, since, according to you, that's what we are, and nothing more.

Second, as an atheist you claim there are no universally binding moral codes. Yet here you have appealed to some objective moral standard that you think is binding on me - that I am morally obligated to not teach the bible to my son. How do you know what is wrong, not just for yourself, but for others? By what standard?

You see, your assertion is self-refuting because, by appealing to objective morality, you just acknowledged that (although suppressed) deep down you believe in God, a universal lawgiver. For universally binding moral laws don't come from rocks.

I believe atheists have morals. There are many very moral atheists that I personally know..We know atheists have morals. Off course. They were created in God's image so they cannot escape the fact that we are moral beings. That is not the question at all. The question is how do atheists account for universally binding morality? Atheists claim to be moral relativists but then turn around and say that other people are morally wrong. That is a contradiction. As soon as you say others are immoral, you are no longer a relativist. 

It is one thing to say you have moral preferences for yourself, it is quite another to be morally outraged and say OTHERS are morally obligated to follow your morality. I ask again, by what standard? Yours?


Thu, 08/29/2019 - 11:27 -- john_hendryx

Can Objective Morality be Arrived at by Unaided Reason Alone?

Atheist: Objective morality can be arrived at with reason alone and we should all be obligated to live by it. Right is simply what makes the most people happy.

Response: I am not sure you understand the implications of your assertions. Given your worldview you have no reason to believe in a moral imperative that is true for everyone. Who decides? And to whom is everyone accountable? And by what standard? In an accidental universe, whatever happens, just happens. Chemical reactions simply follow the law of physics.

To claim that morality is OBJECTIVE is like saying that they are like the laws of logic, which are true for everyone, regardless of where they were born and what culture they were brought up in. The law of non-contradiction, for example, is true regardless of whether you were born in Mexico or Indonesia. And, as you know, these abstract and immaterial laws of logic do not change with time and are always true without exception. Is that what you mean by objective morality? And what is to prevent your neighbor from creating a different morality than you? Why should your view be the accepted view?

In an accidental universe why would there be universal standards? Therefore it is quite plain that morality could never be objective in a strictly atheistic material universe. To claim something like right is something that makes the most people happy is to make an arbitrary assertion. Why should people be obligated to follow THAT particular preference? And even if they did, they might have a different definition of happiness. And how could one chemical reaction be morally obligated to another? If we are merely the reaction of chemistry over time why does anyone deserve respect?

Wed, 08/28/2019 - 21:06 -- john_hendryx

Repentance in the Ordo Salutis

Repentance is not forsaking sin that you may turn to Christ. It is turning to Christ that you might forsake sin.

When we trust in Jesus Christ we do not simply go to a generic Jesus, but to Jesus Christ, the Savior from sin (Matt 1:21). You do not merely believe in Jesus' existence to be saved (James 2:19) but you trust in him to redeem you from the guilt and tyranny of sin. So when you, by grace, initially go to him in faith, you are trusting in Him to not only liberate us from our captivity to sin, but for the spiritual resources to overcome sin.

The command to repent and believe does not assume the moral ability to do so. For this to happen, the Holy Spirit must show us the misery of our sin and create in our heart the desire to be free from it (Ezek 36:26, John 6:63, 65) This initial repentance is, seeing we cannot save ourselves from sin, we turn to Christ to rescue us from it. That turning to Christ could be called the initial seed of repentance because, by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, you no longer want to be under the tyranny of sin, but since you cannot break the shackles of sin yourself you still need Christ, so the actual forsaking of sin only occurs when Christ has broken its bondage and liberated us from its tyranny. In other words, the consumation of repentance only takes place after we are united to Christ by the Holy Spirit through faith, because it is only then that we have the resources to begin to forsake sin.  

So if people are taught they must first clean themselves up BEFORE Christ will accept them, you have no small doctrinal error.

Calvin said, 

Mon, 08/26/2019 - 15:25 -- john_hendryx

Why do Christian's Always Talk About Salvation?

What do Christians mean when they say that people need to be "saved"?

Do we mean that people need to just modify their behavior and obey God's law? It would be great if it were that simple, but that is not what we mean. 

It means, rather, that human beings are prisoners, captives and slaves to their idols, to their own lusts, to the world system and to the devil. That we cannot extract ourselves from these things because, like those who have Stockholm syndrome, we have fallen in love with our captors, i.e. we love those things which are doing us the most harm. And while we all vaguely recognize that something is not right in the world and with the nature of human beings, we tend to shrug this off, suppress and ignore it, and willingly come under the illusion that we live in freedom. We cling to the falsehood of human progress and and think human ingenuity will somehow deliver us from ourselves and our problems. 

We pridefully hold to the false idea that we are something and can do something to make things right. But in the end we cannot extract ourselves from our captivity. No wisdom, no plan, no power, no understanding, and no technology can do so. The problem runs far too deep in us for that. Like the Hebrews in Egypt we are slaves needing rescue from our captivity. The tyranny of our idols and lusts are too powerful for nature to conquer. We need redemption from the outside. 

So salvation is not behavior modification. No. We are too entangled in the web of our own making to get out. We first need supernatural intervention by One like us who breaks the bonds and leads us out of slavery. Then, and only then, after being freed from our captors are we free to do right, to love mercy and do justly and to walk humbly with our God.

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 12:49 -- john_hendryx

Be Content With Your Present Condition

by Thomas Brooks

If the saints have such an excellent, such a transcendent, and such a matchless portion, oh then, let them be content with their present condition, let them sit down satisfied and contented, though they have but a handful of meal in their barrel, and a little oil in a cruse, 1 Kings 17:12. O sirs, in having of God you have much, in having of God you have enough, in having of God you have all; and why then should you not sit down quiet with your present allowance? Certainly, if much will not satisfy you, if enough will not satisfy you, if all will not satisfy you, nothing will satisfy you: Heb. 13:5, 'Let your conversation be without covetousness (or love of silver, as the Greek word signifies); and be content with such things as you have (or as the Greek hath it, ἀρκούμενοι τοῖς παρουσιν, be content with present things): for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.' There are five negatives in the Greek, 'I will not, not, not, not, not leave thee nor forsake thee;' fully to assure and fully to satisfy the people of God that he will never forsake them, and that he will everlastingly stick close to them. What doth this unparalleled gemination, 'I will never, never, never, never, never,' import but this, 'I will ever, ever, ever, yea and for ever and ever take care of thee, and look after thee, and be mindful of thee.' Though they had changed their glory for contempt, Heb. 11:36–38, their fine raiment for sheep-skins and goat-skins, their silver for brass, their plenty for scarcity, their fulness for emptiness, their stately houses for holes and caves, and dens of the earth, yet they are to be contented and satisfied with present things, upon this very ground, that God will always cleave to them, and that he will never turn his back upon them.

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 18:48 -- john_hendryx

The Providence of God After the Pattern of Christ

by Thomas Boston

Observe the providence of God in the dispensations of it, about the man Christ, the most noble and august object of it, more valuable than a thousand worlds. Did not Providence keep this course with Him, first humbling Him, then exalting Him, and lifting Him up? First bringing Him to the dust of death, in a course of sufferings thirty-three years, then exalting Him to the Father's right hand in an eternity of glory? "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God. " "And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedience unto death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him." The exaltation could not fail to follow His humiliation. "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" And He saw and believed it would follow, as the springing of the seed does the sowing it. There is a near concern the humbled in humbling circumstances have here.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 14:46 -- john_hendryx

How We Ought to Respond to Difficult Providences

by Thomas Boston

In your sufferings,

"Consider His holiness and justice, showing he wrongs you not;

His mercy and goodness, that it is not worse;

His sovereignty, that it may silence you:

His infinite wisdom and love, that may satisfy you in it."

A spirit brought down to their lot.

Their lot is a low and afflicted one; but their spirit is as low, being, through grace, brought down to it. We may take it up in these five things:

(1.) They submit to it as just. Micah 7.9, “I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him.” There are no hardships in our condition, but we have procured them to ourselves; and it is therefore just that we kiss the rod, and be silent under it, and so lower our spirits to our lot. If they complain, it is of themselves; their hearts rise not up against the Lord, far less do they open their mouth against the heavens. They justify God, and condemn themselves, {72} reverencing His holiness and spotless righteousness in His proceedings against them.

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 10:33 -- john_hendryx

Does God give People a Choice?

Question: Does a person have a choice when God deals with their heart?

Response: All people without exception are called to repent and believe the gospel. God holds no one back from believing. However, due to a corruption of nature all people who hear the gospel reject it. But those whom he inwardly calls by his Holy Spirit, out of all the ill-deserving sinners on earth, willingly come to Christ.

Paul declares, "we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 1 Cor 1:23-24

As you can see from the text, the gospel call goes out indiscriminately to all, both Jews and Gentiles... but to Jews it is a stumbling block, and to Gentiles it is folly (i.e. universal rejection) - but to THOSE WHO ARE CALLED out of these groups, the power to God... they all rejected the outward call but embraced the inward call. Make sure to notice the distinction Paul makes between the two types of calling in this Text.

Likewise Jesus himself declared, "the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing ... that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it." John 6:63, 65

But in the same context of John 6 Jesus says "all that the Father gives me will come to me." John 6:37

Notice he says, ALL, not some, of those the Father gives him will come to faith in him.

So let's place these two statements side by side since "grant" and "give" (vs. 37 & 65) are the same Greek word here and both sentences use the phrase "come to me":

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 17:03 -- john_hendryx


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