Daily Archives: February 1, 2015

No One Exempt

NO ONE EXEMPT

There is no soul exempt from the curse of Adam’s disobedience.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Christ did not come to applaud the “righteous” in their self-delusion,
but instead, came to call sinners unto repentance,
believing upon Him alone for salvation.

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CultureWatch: Standing and State

by Bill Muehlenberg

One would have thought that a very basic, long-standing, and well known theological principle needs little or no defending and explaining. But regrettably it seems clear that many believers do not have such basic understanding, and one must go back to basics and seek to elucidate some primary biblical themes and principles once again.

But there is nothing new here in this regard sadly. As the author of Hebrews had to say 2000 years ago, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again” (Heb. 5:12).

christianity 3So let me deal with what is known as the standing/state doctrine. I emphasise this because there are plenty of groups who are going off into real error – if not heresy – because they fail to get this basic theological principle. For example, the emergent church folks seem to utterly fail to grasp these biblical truths.

So do the hyper grace folks, And so too those who rail against what they call ‘lordship salvation’. These three groups – and others – all flounder because they have forgotten or rejected this basic biblical teaching. So just what is it then?

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CultureWatch: The False Gospel of False Grace

by Bill Muehlenberg

Here is a biblical truth you can bank on: any gospel which makes it easier for you to sin, and to feel OK about sinning, is not a gospel of Jesus Christ, but comes straight out of the pits of hell. Any message proclaimed from the pulpit, printed in books, or heard in conferences, which gives the believer the idea that sin is no big deal and that we can just relax about it all is a gospel of demons.

The really amazing thing about this is we have been there and done that. This is already 2000 years old for heaven’s sake! Paul dealt with the error of cheap grace, or false grace, or hyper grace, some two millennia ago – so why are we still having this discussion?

He too had to deal with false teachers who peddled a false gospel of cheap grace. His words are so perfectly clear on this that it staggers me that we are still repeating these same diabolical errors in the church today. In the book of Romans – Paul’s great treatise on justification by grace through faith – he deals directly with this pernicious error. As he says in Rom. 6:1-2, 15-16:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? … What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

We cannot save ourselves – that is why it is all of grace. But we also called to work out our salvation. We have a role to play. We must obey, resist sin, appropriate what Christ offers us, and so on. Spirituality is not automatic. We have much to do to see sanctification progressively worked out in our lives.

Yes, in Christ we are complete and perfect – all due to his grace – but we must work out what we already are in Him by our daily choices. We must resist and fight sin, and we must desire and pursue holiness. Obedience is a crucial part of the Christian walk, and we dare not allow a doctrine of cheap grace to trap us in sin.

Several recent articles deal with this in more detail, and are well worth citing here.

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Justification and Sanctification

Let me show you the essential difference between justification and sanctification. Look at it like this: Justification is an act of God the Father; sanctification is essentially the work of God the Holy Spirit. There is this division of work in the blessed Persons of the Trinity. It is the Father who declares righteous and just. It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies.

Second, justification takes place outside us, as in a tribunal; sanctification takes place within us, in our inner life. I stand in the court when I am justified, and the judge pronounces that I am free; it is a statement about me, outside me. But sanctification is something that is worked and takes place within.

Third, justification removes the guilt of sin; sanctification removes the pollution of sin and renews us in the image of God.

And therefore, last, by definition justification is a once-and-for-all act. It is never to be repeated because it cannot be repeated and never needs to be repeated. It is not a process but a declaration that we are pronounced just once and forever, by God. Sanctification, on the other hand, is a continuous process. We continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord until we are perfect beyond the veil.

So there is nothing quite so erroneous and confusing and unscriptural as to mistake the essential difference between justification and sanctification. That is the whole trouble with Roman Catholic teaching and all Catholic piety. If you confuse sanctification with justification, you will be doubtful as to whether you are justified or not. If you bring in your state and condition and sin that you may commit, then you are querying your justification. But if you realize that justification is forensic, external, and declaratory, you know that you are justified whatever may be true about you.

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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GodLife: You Are God’s Masterpiece

Scripture: “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10

The Bible says when we accept Jesus, we are forgiven and given new life. When you start your new life, God crafts you into a masterpiece. Here are 3 things that happen when God turns you into a masterpiece.

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Just for You

Do you want to learn who you are after you accept Jesus? Click to learn more about your identity in Christ in the Articles for Growth series.

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“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:11

To Confess

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

9 ἐὰν ὁμολογῶμεν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν, πιστός ἐστιν καὶ δίκαιος, ἵνα ἀφῇ ἡμῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας καὶ καθαρίσῃ ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἀδικίας. (1 John 1:9 NA28)

9 If we confess our sins , He is faithful and just, that he may forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

When the focus of “Christianity” is moved from being God-focused to Man-focused confusion is the ultimate consequence. We see this with so-called Christian leaders like N.T. Wright who is nothing more than an intellectual “Christian” liberal who is attempting to redefine the Gospel or “Good News” along the lines of those who follow Jesus asserting Christ’s kingdom here on earth. On the other hand, there are multitudes of other aberrations of Christian doctrine in which so-called Christian leaders with no understanding of the Sovereignty of God and His…

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