Daily Archives: July 4, 2014

Trusting God as Freedom Fades

“We’re at the beginning of a long process of breaking down the walls of national sovereignty.”[1Assistant Secretary of State William Benton, 1946.

…the UN jealously guards the freedom of certain people and completely neglects the freedom of others.[2] Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“The future society will be a totally new civilization which will synthesize the experience of Socialism and Capitalism [the Third Way]...”[3] Mikhail Gorbachev, 1996.

“The Third Way agenda, to which Bill and Hillary Clinton have made a fundamental contribution, is the new agenda of our time.”[4]

“Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”[5] William Penn

What does the word “freedom” mean in the context of today’s corrupt culture? Amoral license? Liberty to follow feelings rather than facts? A ban on Christian expressions of faith? Mandatory “tolerance” for homosexual lifestyles?

To conform young minds to the vision of global solidarity, pluralism must replace God’s unchanging Truth. So seventh grade World History text books promote Islam and demean Christianity. Social Studies are used to “normalize homosexuality.”[6] And propaganda for “social justice seems more acceptable than loyalty to our sovereign God — even in churches![7]  As God warned us long ago,

“…when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them… when your heart is lifted up and you forget the Lord your God. … Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods… you shall surely perish.” Deuteronomy 8:12-14, 17-19

But few heed such warnings in these times of cultural “Christianity.” No wonder we are losing the God-given freedom that helped make America a strong and moral nation.

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4 Reasons for Christians to Celebrate Independence Day

July 4th marks the birthday of the United States. Many commemorate the occasion with fireworks, cookouts, or displaying an American flag. But are there any biblical reasons Christians can find to celebrate Independence Day? Scripture offers at least four clear reasons.

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Pope offers different versions of salvation?

On June 23rd, Kenneth Copeland, James Robison, John Arnott [Toronto Blessing] and their wives met with the Pope. On June 30th, Copeland declared to his followers at the Southwest Believers Convention, “The protest is over,” meaning Protestants no longer have differences with Catholics in understanding how people gain eternal salvation.

In a video message played at the convention the Pope said, “And this is a miracle; the miracle of unity has begun.”

Yet, June 25th, two days after the Pope met with Copeland and the others, the Pope declared a very Catholic understanding of salvation.

According to Catholic News Service, “Pope Francis described as ‘dangerous’ the temptation to believe that one can have ‘a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ without communion with and the mediation of the church.’” [1]

Communion? Mediation of the church? It appears the gullible charismatic leaders are being played like a well tuned fiddle.

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Heresy Rising: Christian Pastors Embracing New Age Syncretism

Williams goes on to explain, using what sounds like New Age language, how he pictures the human body as a “cave” through which breath passes and is sure that people who practice these rituals regularly could reach “advanced states” and become aware of an “unbroken inner light,” the Telegraph reports.

This smacks of syncretism. Syncretism is a blend of different religious, cultures or schools of thought. Syncretism defies logic, often mixing contradictory beliefs in the name of unity.

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The Beatitudinal Leader

In the history of the church, moral teachings often flow from the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues. The seven deadlies are wrath, avarice, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. The seven virtues tend to be chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility. One might reasonably ask where such lists come from and the answer is “lots of places, including the Bible.” So one thinks of the listings one finds in the Ten Commands or in Micah 5 or in Proverbs 6 or in Galatians 5. In the Christian tradition, while these virtues and vices applied to all Christians (and non-Christians in God’s mind), they were especially to be the case with pastors and priests and bishops and deacons.

But there’s another list at work as well, the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-12.

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Sin and the Work of Christ – John MacArthur

 

Code: B140626

by John MacArthur

What did Jesus set out to accomplish? Did His death and resurrection have any practical effect for this life, or was it all focused on eternity? Consider this: the holy Son of God set aside His glory, humbled Himself by taking the form of a man, lived a righteous life, and willingly surrendered Himself as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of others. Was all intended merely to forgive sin without removing it?

The apostle John wrote his first epistle to help his readers test the authenticity of their faith. These tests come down to examining whether Christ’s work has had its necessary effect on their lives. And in 1 John 3:5-8, he makes it clear that Christ’s work on our behalf ought to have a significant sanctifying impact in the lives of His people.

You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

Christ’s Work on Our Behalf

Jesus came to earth “in order to take away sins” (1 John 3:5). He came not only to pay the penalty for sin and provide forgiveness, but also to take sins away altogether. As a result of Christ’s substitutionary atonement, believers have been set apart from sin unto holiness. The lawlessness that once characterized their lives has been removed.

Therefore, it is inconsistent with His redeeming work on the cross for anyone who shares in the very life of Christ to continue in sin. In other words, because Christ died to sanctify the believer (2 Corinthians 5:21), to live sinfully is contrary to His work of breaking the dominion of sin in the believer’s life (cf. Romans 6:1-15).

The truth that Christ came to destroy sin is not merely a future hope; it is a present reality. John is not saying—as some have tried to infer—that believers will eventually be delivered from sin when they die, and in the meantime can be as sinful as they were before their conversion. On the contrary, while sanctification may be slow and gradual, Christ’s transforming work in salvation is immediate (Philippians 1:6).

At salvation believers experience a real cleansing of and separation from their sins. On a practical level, that separation continues as they become more and more conformed to the image of Christ. Titus 2:11-14 summarizes well the present and future aspects of sanctification.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

So the one-time work of Christ on the cross initiates His ongoing work in our lives. But what fuels that ongoing work? What transformation takes place that enables us to overcome sin in this life?

Our New Nature in Christ

John concludes verse 5 with the phrase “in Him there is no sin.” Jesus Christ is the sinless One (2 Corinthians 5:21). This truth has immense practical ramifications. “If you know that He is righteous,” John wrote earlier in the epistle, “you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:29). When God’s saving power is applied to a new believer, they are born again—they receive a new nature. And like a newborn baby, they embark on a life of learning to live in God’s kingdom.

Then in verse 6 the apostle describes the character of the person saved through the work of Jesus Christ. “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.” Abiding in Christ can be likened to dwelling in His kingdom, following His laws, and celebrating His victories. In short, the new nature draws one toward Christ and away from sin.

Years earlier Paul taught the same truth to the Roman believers.

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. (Romans 6:4-7)

That description outlines key provisions of the New Covenant (Ezekiel 36:25-31), which Paul further elaborates:

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18)

The emphasis of the apostle’s statements is on sanctification. True Christians have the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:12-17), receive a new heart (Acts 16:14), complete forgiveness (Colossians 1:14), and a transformed life (Colossians 3:5-10)—all evidenced in their new ability to obey the law of God.

Sanctification and Assurance

John taught that “no one who sins” (1 John 3:6) can also abide in Christ. It is not that people who become Christians will never sin again (1 John 1:8), but that they will not live as they once did, because “no one who sins” consistently or habitually in the pattern of the unregenerate “has seen Him or knows Him” (3:6).

John further cautioned his readers to make sure no one deceived them concerning a correct understanding of sanctification. Despite any deceptive teaching to the contrary, only the one “who practices righteousness” can have any assurance that he “is righteous, just as [Jesus] is righteous” (1 John 3:7).

John makes the obvious conclusion that because “the Son of God appeared . . . to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), it is impossible and unthinkable that true believers would continue in devil-like behavior. Today Satan is still opposing the plans and people of God (1 Peter 5:8), but believers are no longer his children or under his rule. We who know and love Christ have been freed from the captivity of sin, and the apostle John—through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit—says we must live accordingly.

So far we’ve seen that a lifestyle of sin is incompatible with saving faith because sin is lawlessness, and true believers have had that defiant, lawless heart replace with a heart of repentance. Today we’ve seen how Christ’s work not only forgives sin, but initiates the life-long process of sanctification. John has one final argument for why sin is incompatible with saving faith, and it focuses on the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit. We’ll wrap up this series with that last point next time.

 

(Adapted from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1-3 John.)


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250+ Free Online Seminary Classes, Courses, Programs, and Book Recommendations

The internet is revolutionizing every industry known to man. More resources and opportunities are available to everyone in the world like we could even imagine just a mere twenty years ago. Theological education is no different, and if anything presents students an amazing opportunity for students, pastors, and lay Christian leaders to bolster their faith.

Below is a smattering of every great seminary resource I could find.The courses come from a variety of schools and teachers and are organized by subject matter. Although there are some different theological views of teachers and schools listed below, I sought to provide resources (to the best of my knowledge) that maintain the authority of Scripture and orthodox evangelical beliefs. I will continually add to this post as more resources become available, so you may want to bookmark it and check back.

Let our theological pursuits echo the prayer of Philippians 1:9 that says, “…it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment..

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