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Can God Be Trusted?


The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
    and faithful in all he does (Psalm 145:13).”

The spirit of our age is all about desire. Our desires determine our goals and dreams. For many, desire even determines right and wrong because, if we desire something strongly enough, it must be legitimate. Nothing should stand in the way of our desires, and if our wishes are not met, we have a right to be upset. And our frustration becomes further proof of the legitimacy of our wants.

God speaks His word even into this age, but we must hear Him with the ears of disciples, and not as the world. The Lord makes promises, and as the Psalmist says, He is faithful to those promises. But He doesn’t promise us whatever we want. He promises what is good for us, and what will bring Him glory. The world can sometimes even agree to that, until we get to the details. But for His followers Christ also promises trials and persecutions. At that point the world turns to run the other way. But Simon Peter answered Christ, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (John 6:68).”

Even believers, influenced as we are by the world in which we live, are frustrated when we don’t get what we want. We can even blame God. Why would He not grant our wishes? Satan takes advantage of this disposition as he did with Eve in the garden and provokes us to ask, “Is God really powerful? Does He really have my best interests in mind? Is He really good? Can He really be trusted?”

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 08:03 -- john_hendryx

If there is no objective morality ...

I often receive notes from atheists declaring how evil they think the God of the Bible is.

Response:

If there is no objective morality (any real, universal right and wrong) then all the continued talk of morality to me, as if you were trying to persuade me of something, is utterly irrelevant... it is just a personal preference like cooked eggs rather than raw. Why waste your time so passionately trying to persuade me of something so banal as how you like your eggs cooked? I don't care. Your moral declarations of how evil the God of the Bible is carries about the same weight with others as your preference for cooked eggs. If there is no truth to right and wrong then speaking with passion to others about it is absurd. Honesty and dishonesty, doing evil and doing good are all equally consistent with an atheistic worldview, and therefore, equally meaningless.

But humans are irresistibly drawn like gravity to be moral beings. We can't help it and know deep down there is a moral Lawgiver because God has written it in our conscience. Each time you tell others that they are following evil and therefore obligated to obey your morality you reveal your true colors: that you affirm objective morals - morals that are true for you and me regardless of personal opinions. That you believe your morals are better than others... and to be better you need some standard outside yourself to measure it by. Every time you make moral declarations about the evil in the Bible to me, you are not just telling me a personal opinion but want to persuade me... obviously you think you are right. And right means there is a wrong - for everyone ... in reality not just like which flavor of ice cream you like -- for you would never spend time here trying to convince me how vanilla is better than strawberry ice cream .... since that IS a subjective preference.

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 15:27 -- john_hendryx

The Blessed Hope in the Last Days


by Dean Davis

The following is the introduction to the book The High King of Heaven

Knowing that the Passover was at hand; knowing that his hour had come to depart this world to the Father; knowing that he must leave his disciples behind to continue his work; knowing that they, like him, would face terrible opposition in doing so; and knowing that they would need an unfailing source of courage and strength to fulfill so difficult a task, the Lord Jesus Christ—faithfully loving his own to the end—left them with this unforgettable promise: 

      Let not you heart be troubled: Believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am there you may be also.  -- John 14:1-3            

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 14:08 -- john_hendryx

"Blessed are you when others ... falsely accuse you"

The Bible calls us blessed if we are falsely accused for Jesus' name sake (Matt 5:11) and He gives the clear impression that being misunderstood is simply part of what we should expect when we bear the name Christian. In fact Peter even describes it as our calling as witnesses of Christ to bless those who speak and do evil against us.

It seems one of the great falsehoods of our age is the popular accusation that Christians bigoted or homophobic because we think of various culturally-popular ideas are among the many ideas the bible calls sinful. But as you know, this actually reveals a profound lack of knowledge and an unwillingness to understand the Christian faith more than anything else. The most central idea of Christianity is that God only saves sinners, even the worst kind like me ... and those who continue to have high thoughts of themselves or their own goodness have no hope for being made right with God. But all who, by the grace of God, repent of their self-righteousness and trust in Jesus alone, whatever their sins may be been, will be given a new heart, will be reconciled to God, know the forgiveness of sins and be granted eternal life.

It is one thing for people to disagree, to say they disbelieve Christianity and that their beliefs differ from ours, but quite another to pull out the prejudice and bigotry card falsely painting an evil motive on the Christian's call to help liberate fellow sinners from captivity. But we are called to "bless" those who make false accusations ... and since this seems to currently be front and center in this age, we ought to commit it to prayer how we can best bless the culture around us even when they accuse and falsely represent. How we can do good to all who are created in the image of God.

May the Lord give us wisdom to be humble and yet persevere in his ways.

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 13:38 -- john_hendryx

Visitor: Society Determines Morality and Much Biblical Morality is Unacceptable Today

Comment: Do you believe there is an absolute morality? It appears that in the days that we live society determines morality, and it has changed quite a bit from biblical times. There is no commandment against child abuse. Very little is mentioned in the bible that protects children. But, children need special protection because they are vulnerable. There are tribal wars in the bible and ordered killing of women, children, and babies in the bible. And there are many other acts and principles that we do not accept as moral today.

Sun, 04/27/2014 - 17:15 -- john_hendryx

Is it Moral to Punish Everyone for a Sin Committed by Adam and Eve?


Visitor: There are some issues that original sin bring up. Is it moral to punish everyone for a sin committed by Adam and Eve? Or do you consider the passage to be an allegory ? Excessively harsh punishments are immoral. For example if a man stole a loaf of bread would it be moral to put him in jail for life? The sins that one may commit in his or her life are not bad enough for eternal damnation. It does not seem right that God would create man imperfect and punish him forever for not having the ability to be perfect.

Response: It is not reasonable or coherent to call God immoral unless you can point to an absolute standard of morality that is greater than He. The whole concept of immorality requires a standard to appeal to, or you are only giving a personal preference which has zero authority. So anyone who claims NOT to believe in God and yet appeals to moral absolutes which He should be subject to is being inconsistent with his relativism and committing intellectual suicide. He reveals deep down he knows there is a just God.

Also, it does not follow that if God created man with the ability to make voluntary choices that He "created man imperfect." God declared his creation of Adam and Eve to be "very good".

As for excessive punishment ... if you sin against an infinitely holy God by your rebellion against Him then you are working with an entirely different idea than if you merely sinned against a man. Eternal damnation is not the result of man merely stealing a loaf of bread but of putting ourselves in the place of God as the ultimate authority. All sin is a direct challenge to the first commandment - a rejection of Him as our parent and His authority. And we continue to sin and rebel against God's authority -- as if we were cheering Adam on in his sin against God. Our sinful actions demonstrate that we are sons of Adam and maintain solidarity with him.

Sun, 04/27/2014 - 11:55 -- john_hendryx

Does Calvinism Believe People Were Created Unequally?


Visitor: It seems that Calvinism believes that all were not created equally but that some were preordained to eternal life and some to eternal damnation. Aren't there some moral problems with this view point?

Response: First I think it is important to note that the Bible teaches that ALL men are EQUALLY guilty of sin so it would be just if God saved no one. If anyone is saved it is pure unconditional mercy. If anyone is damned it is justice. God is not a respecter of persons so He does not choose people based on ANY advantage, merit, good will or virtue He sees in them. And he did not damn them apart from the fact that they were sinners.

In what may seem ironic to some, it is actually the non-Augustinian/non-Calvinist who believes NOT ALL were created EQUALLY .. since in such views they must ascribe their repenting and believing to their own wisdom, humility, sound judgement or good sense (at least partly) and not to Christ alone. In other words, synergists have to concede that they believe in Jesus and their neighbor doesn't because of some native wisdom they have that their neighbor doesn't. This means that skeptics of 'grace alone' believe God's love is CONDITIONAL... we must meet a condition if we are to trigger God's love toward us so that He will save us. But the Bible does not teach grace is a reward for faith but the cause of it.

Sun, 04/27/2014 - 10:19 -- john_hendryx

Mercy for the Willfully Blind


The only "free-will" natural man has is willful blindness (Deut 29:4, Rom 3:11-20), so it is not "free-will" that we need but mercy ... mercy to disarm and deliver us from our inflexible, obstinate, fortified self-will and its captivity to sin and the Devil. (John 8:34-36, 2 Tim. 2:26; Rom. 9:16).

Unbeknownst to many modern Christians, this was a foundational principle in the Reformation. With this same idea in mind, Luther in his "Bondage of the Will" said,

"I frankly confess that, for myself, even if it could be, I should not want "free-will" to be given me, nor anything to be left in my own hands to enable me to endeavour after salvation; not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversities and assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground ; but because even were there no dangers. I should still be forced to labour with no guarantee of success.¦ But now that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. Furthermore, I have the comfortable certainty that I please God, not by reason of the merit of my works, but by reason of His merciful favour promised to me; so that, if I work too little, or badly, He does not impute it to me, but with fatherly compassion pardons me and makes me better. This is the glorying of all the saints in their God." - Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will (Grand Rapids: Revell, 1957), 313-314.

Sat, 04/26/2014 - 09:42 -- john_hendryx

Bible Logic Fallacies of Libertarian Free Will Theism


The following numbered items are common assumptions made by synergists (Arminians, Roman Catholics and semi-Pelagians) in rejecting the bondage of the will and God's sovereign grace in salvation.

Fallacy #1. God would not command us to do what we cannot do.

God gave the Law to Moses, The Ten Commandments, to reveal what man cannot do, not what he can do.

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 13:37 -- john_hendryx

How Do I Know I am Saved?


If you claim Christ is your king and you are His subject, how is it that He came to occupy the highest place of your affections and trust and that throne atop your heart?

Prior to your redemption, the flesh and Satan quietly possessed your greatest affections, and like the rest, you were Satan's slave, his vassal. And since he reigned over your heart (and was much stronger than you) how did this transformation to Christ take place? How did you escape from the captivity he had over your heart? There is no doubt that Satan would have never willingly relinquished his reign of power over you. And you, being under the bondage of your own corrupt nature and Satan's dominion over you, would not have been willing to simply relinquish, nor able to resist the Devil's binding power, since he had taken you captive to do his will (2 Tim 2:26). For the flesh, the world and the Devil were enemies too powerful for you ... they were greater than your weak and corrupted will and had vast superiority over your base affections. You were the Devil's plaything and most willingly followed his suggestions. You could not untangle yourself nor did you want to, for you loved darkness (John 3:19 ) and most willingly suppressed the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18 ). Mere exterior persuasion did not scratch the surface of your heart.

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 15:55 -- john_hendryx

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