Archive for April 2010

FOR THE SINS OF ANOTHER

April 16, 2010

Freddy, you are the one who’s queer

How could you do this to me?

Why do you seek the living among the dead?

Derek Webb, singing to Fred Phelps about graveyard protests

Liberals tell us that God does not punish anyone for the sins
of others. And then quote Jeremiah 31: 29—“they shall no longer say: the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But everyone shall die for his own sin.” Ezekiel 18 also teaches that the soul who sins shall die.

Jeremiah and Ezekial wrote to people in exile who were suffering for the sins of an earlier generation. In context, the prophets’ assurances that the solidarity of the present generation to their fathers’ guilt would no longer continue functioned as encouragement to repentance. That specific situation is no reason to contradict other Bible texts which teach corporate responsibility.

For example, Romans 5 is very clear that all humans are born imputed with Adam’s guilt. Only a liberal individualist would deny original sin. There are numerous other examples of corporate responsibility in Scripture. For example, in Joshua 7, thirty-six Israelite soldiers die on account of the sin of Achan, and then his family members are executed with him because of his sin. In II Samuel 2, seven of Saul’s sons are executed for their father’s sins.

What God in his sovereignty ordains gives us humans no excuse to hate or punish sinners. Even though so many soliders have died because of the sins of Bush and Obama, this historical fact does not mean that their deaths are justified. Deuteronomy 24:16 explicitly prohibits humans from killing one person in the place of another: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers.”

This means that we cannot read the face of providence (as Fred and the Westboro group attempts) and determine that it was divine justice that caused so many Iraqi soldiers to die for their country. God ‘s judgment extends further than ours . God will judge the secrets of our hearts (Romans 2:16, Hebrews 4:12), but we humans cannot and should not try to imitate the coming apocalypse.

Some liberals  think that any notion of God being judgmental in the future only leads to violence now. But historically that is not how the “peace-churches” have understood it. Instead of reading current events as providential judgments, we have quoted Romans 12: 19—“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

In Luke 13: 4-5, the Lord Jesus responded to those attempting to interpret current events: “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them; do you think they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will likewise perish.” That threat from Jesus is not an endorsement of redemptive violence, not an excuse for us to kill anybody.

God judging justly is one reason we are not to kill. The other reason we are not to kill is that, when the soldiers killed Jesus, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” (I Peter 2:24) Liberals will tell us that this event was only humans killing another human and that God had nothing to do with it. But I Peter in context assumes that God does indeed punish His Servant for the sins of the others. I have no space left now to reflect on the wonders of Isaiah 53: “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; his soul makes an offering for sin…”

As I Peter 3:18 has it, “Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous.” There is no need for any of us to be killing, since there is now no other sacrifice for sins. Liberals  will deny that Jesus was punished for the sins of His friends, but it is that very hope which serves as the reason for patience in the face of current tragedies. I Peter 2:21—“leaving you an example, so that you would follow in his steps…when he suffered, he continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

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J P Boyce vs Andrew Fuller

April 12, 2010

Read J. P. Boyce in his excellent Abstract of Systematic Theology calls Fuller’s ‘Universalism’.Because Fuller sees the atonement as a symbol indicating sufficiency for all, he presents salvation as being there as a free-for-all. The purpose of the gospel and the evidence of nature is merely to prepare the above-mentioned feast. The food on the table is more than sufficient for those who have the appetite (will) to enjoy it. Fuller,in his The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptance, believes that man is naturally capable of keeping the Law and that the Gospel is merely a kind of law to be obeyed. He therefore teaches that though Christ died symbolically for everybody’s sin, it is efficacious where man’s agency is involved in following law which points to Christ. In this way, Fuller dodges the issue of whether Christ actually died for His elect only or for all sinners.

Is God your Puppet?

April 7, 2010

Have you heard this saying lately — “If God didn’t give us free will we would be robots”? It sounds like a clever little saying, doesn’t it? Perhaps you think it’s true. Well, before we all bow down and worship the god who gives man free will, let’s consider where this clever saying leads to.

First of all, if man has free will, God doesn’t. Let’s be frank — if man gets to choose , then God doesn’t. It’s one or the other, OK? If God only gets to foresee a man’s faith, and doesn’t get to decide who believes and who doesn’t, then God does NOT have the freedom to write the Book of Life. Put in plain English — if you believe man has free will, you believe in a god who does not get to control his own creatures (or a Potter who doesn’t get to mold the clay — see Romans 9). How about I put it even more plainly, for you? You believe in a god WHO CANNOT SAVE. In your belief system, men have to save themselves by their own free will, so your god is dependent on the decisions of mere mortals. Your god is without absolute choice. Your god is a robot and a puppet on strings.

Isaiah 45:20

“Gather yourselves and come; draw near together, escaped ones of the nations; the ones who set up the wood of their carved image, and the ones who pray to a god who cannot save; they know nothing.” (Isaiah 45:20)

If you believe man has free will, you know nothing of the True God. The True God made and CONTROLS all things for His own glory. His design in creating the universe was to manifest His perfection, and particularly His justice and His goodness. “Jehovah has made ALL for His purpose, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Pro16:4). The biblical truth is that God — the eternal Three — ALONE determines the future. All sin was decreed by Him, and He ABSOLUTELY controls the state of every single person. Read Ephesians 1:11. God works ALL things according to the counsel of His own will. God has DECIDED to not elect a group of people and DAMN them based on his CHOICE. They die in their sins because of God’s determination for them to do so. In fact, in Matthew 11:25, God the Son praises His Father that He “hid these things [ i.e. the gospel] from the sophisticated and cunning”, so that they might be damned. Christ says “THANK YOU” to the Father for hiding the truth from certain people.

God the Father draws all the elect, so that none for whom Christ died, will perish (John6:37). Therefore, the True Christ can also say — ” And this is the will of the Father sending Me, that of all that He has given Me, I SHALL NOT LOSE ANY OF IT, but shall raise it up in the last day.” (Jn6:39) If you believe Christ died for every single person without exception,  this “Christ” loses some of whom the Father gave him. Your “god the father” withholds some people from their purchaser “Christ”, who bought them with his own blood.

As an unbeliever, you are more ignorant of God than animals are of their habitats. “The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s manger, but Israel does not know; My people have not understood.”(Isa1:3) “Also the stork in the heavens knows her seasons, and the turtledove and the swallow and the thrush observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of Jehovah.” (Jer8:7).

Romans 10:20 “I was found by those not seeking Me; I became known to those not inquiring after Me,” Rom 10:20.

Abraham was justified — declared righteous — based on the obedience of Christ in His account. But this righteousness was NOT IN Abraham. It was wholly EXTERNAL. Isaiah refers to being “clothed with the garments of salvation” and “covered with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). What saved Isaiah was OUTSIDE him. He was covered and clothed with righteousness (like the wedding guests in the parable were covered with garments), and NOT infused with righteousness. This is one half of the gospel.

The sins of God’s people (also known as the “elect” or “sheep”) were imputed to Christ on the cross. Judicially the sins of the Elect became Christ’s (like a debt of $50 can be charged to someone else’s account and the debt becomes theirs , even though they never contracted the debt – so Christ never sinned himself). In Psalm 38:4 Christ calls the Elect’s sins “my iniquities”. We know that Psalm 34 is talking about Christ and NOT David, because v20 of it is applied to Christ in John 19:36.

(When the elect’s sin was imputed to Christ, and while He was atoning for those sins, they became His debt, or sins. Christ never sinned Himself, He never knew sin, and He was always perfect in His character and conduct. But the sin of the elect was transferred to Him, so that He owned them and His people no longer did! This is the gospel! Christ never broke the Law himself. Yet, in order to free His people, the load of the elect’s sins were laid on Him. He restored the Law, and magnified it in His obedience that ended with His death on the cross.

The Elect were “redeemed … with precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18 -19). They were “purchased through [His] own blood” (Acts 20:28). They “shall be saved from the wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9). They are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). They sing to Jesus Christ, “You were slain, and by Your blood purchased us to God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9) . Jesus Christ came to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 ) and to “set these free, as many as by fear of death were subject to slavery through all the [time] to live” (Hebrews 2:15). He is “the [One] delivering us from the coming wrath” (1 Thessalonians 1:10 ). He “gave Himself for our sins, so that He would deliver us out of the present evil age” (Galatians 1:4). He “gave Himself on our behalf, that He would redeem us from all lawlessness” (Titus 2:14). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law” (Galatians 3:13). He came “that He would redeem the ones under Law” (Galatians 4:5), “to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45 ). In Christ, “we have redemption through His blood” (Ephesians 1:7).

From start to end of salvation, God determines who, when and how people will be saved.

One transgression of this Law by Adam was sufficient to condemn every human who has ever lived (except Christ). “Because of this, even as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also DEATH PASSED TO ALL MEN, inasmuch as all sinned.” (Romans 5:12). EVERY transgression of the Law means damnation (and in the case of Adam, the damnation of all he represented), UNLESS the transgressor has the Substitute of Christ.

“The soul that sins shall die.” The gospel is NOT a message of God lowering His demand for perpetual holiness from his creatures. The gospel is a proclamation that totally sinless Jesus Christ obeyed the Law perfectly for the Elect. It is an announcement — The Just God WILL JUSTIFY the sinful Elect by imputing Christ’s obedience to the Law into their accounts.

Christ said, “I come to do your will, My God.” And He obeyed the will of God perfectly for the Elect’s salvation. Christ says — “I have set Jehovah ALWAYS before me” (Psa16:8), “And Jehovah has returned to me ACCORDING TO MY RIGHTEOUSNESS, according to the cleanness of MY hands before His eyes.” (Psa16:24), Christ finished His obedience by  purging the elect’s sins on Calvary. This is the ONLY THING NEEDED for the Elect to escape the wrath and curse due to them for sin. “For He made the One who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It’s not like Christ did His part for salvation, and the Elect now have to do theirs. He’s done ALL that is necessary for an elect to be perfectly, “JUSTIFIED from all things that [they] could not be justified by the Law of Moses” (Acts 13:39). Nothing! There is absolutely NOTHING at all required for an elect sinner to be saved. Neither thoughts, nor emotions, nor a commitment is required. The work is done. It’s complete. And they know it.

Christ’s blood and righteousness is the Christian’s only confidence before God. The Christian finds no comfort in his own personal holiness. Instead, all personal holiness is a FRUIT and EFFECT of the knowing that God has imputed Christ’s righteousness. We love Him because He FIRST LOVED us (1 John). Look at the woman in Luke 7. She loved much because she knew she was much forgiven.

Faith is nothing more nor less than believing God’s report or Word concerning CHRIST CRUCIFIED for the ‘sheep’/ ‘church’/ ‘people’/ ‘elect’ (those predestined to eternal life). God gives to the believer understanding to know this gospel to be true — and this is saving faith. Only then can the believer proceed — ALREADY justified — to desire and long after God . ”

Romans 5:1 Then being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1)

It’s only when the Holy Spirit regenerates and converts an Elect person to the truth, that they have peace with God. Prior to that, they are “children of wrath” like the children of darkness (Ephesians 2). It’s at justification when Christ’s righteousness is imputed to them, and they have a judicial peace with God. The Bibles says, there is NO CONDEMNATION IS CHRIST JESUS for believers of the gospel, because they have been legally charged “not guilty” with Christ’s righteousness in their account.

The Cross was not to Condemn you

April 1, 2010

Many religious songs have those who sing them confess themselves as having killed Christ on the cross. But I question this sentimentality. First, if we all put Christ on the cross, then Christ died for all sinners, and that is the false gospel.

Second, nobody but God has the ultimate power to put Christ on the cross. If we all are supposed to feel bad about crucifying Christ, then is the Tri-une God also to apologise? May it never be! Acts 2:23-24, “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”

The Bible teaches that God’s sovereignty does not eliminate the accountability of sinners. Certain specific lawless men killed Christ. But also, God gave Christ up to die for the sins of the elect alone. God and not man determined for whom Christ would die.

Christ purposed that He would die. The Tri-une God purposed that Christ would die.

This does not eliminate the accountability of “the lawless men”, even if they were soldiers, or of the “you” Peter is addressing in Acts 2. Troops should not be supported, when they refuse God’s standards.

Specific humans 2000 years ago purposed that Christ would die. This means that not all humans purposed that Christ would die. His mother Mary, for example, did not kill or intend to kill Christ.

We did not ourselves put Christ on the cross, because we are not the imputers. We do not get to decide when and if we put our sins on Christ. We do not get the opportunity to contribute our sins so that then Christ contributes His righteousness. Neither election nor non-election is conditioned on our sins.

Although believers are commanded to reckon what God has already reckoned, we can never be the original reckoners.

The cross is not what condemns. Good news for the elect, the gospel is not what condemns the non-elect. Rejecting the cross is not what condemns the non-elect, because we are all already condemned in Adam . The false gospel which says that Jesus Christ died for every sinner is not gospel. The false gospel turns a supposedly universal death into guilt for those who don’t meet conditions which supposedly make that death effective.