Posts Tagged ‘unbelief’

Potter & Clay

Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?” (v. 21).

See – – Romans 9:14-24

If only some people are predestined to be saved, then it logically must follow that other people are not. The doctrine of predestination to salvation is called the doctrine of election, and the doctrine of predestination to damnation is called the doctrine of reprobation.

There is some mystery in these doctrines of predestination, but as we have said before, if we don’t say that God predestines all things, we don’t have a God at all. If He is not totally sovereign, He is only a “big man” like Zeus or Baal. At the same time, there are some things we can say about the doctrines of election and reprobation, and we need to say them.

First, the fact is that all mankind is in sin and rebellion against God. God does not have to elect anybody. When God chooses to save a sinner, He puts forth an action to save that person. God works to create belief in us. This contrasts with the doctrine of reprobation. God does not put forth an effort to cause people to sin. When God chooses to bypass a sinner, He does not work to create unbelief in that person’s heart. Rather, God simply lets him go his own way.

Thus, second, we say that election and reprobation are not “equally ultimate.” In election, God powerfully acts to change a person from a sinner to a saint. God does not act to change a saint into a sinner. Election is an act of God; reprobation is simply the reflex of that action, the fact that God has not elected everybody.

Third, we have to say that God’s action of deciding to save some is simultaneously a decision not to save others. The decision to save is called election, and the decision not to save is called preterition. Since this is one action, it can be seen as two sides of one coin, and “equally ultimate” in that sense.

But, and this is most important, when God implements election by calling the saints, He saves us apart from anything we have done. When God implements preterition by reprobating the wicked, He does not do anything to them; He simply leaves them alone. In this important sense, the work of God in condemning the wicked is not the reverse side of His work in saving sinners.

Many people are put off by the things we have discussed today. Read Romans 9:19–21. Notice how Paul deals with those who objected. The bottom line of Paul’s reply is this: We must bow the knee to God. He has decided not to save everybody, and we have no right to criticize Him. Can you agree?

Shared from www.ligonier.org.

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The Truth About Jesus

There is a 2,000 year old truth about Jesus that may still need to be discovered in your life. The Bible informs us that we tragically exchange the truth of God for all kinds of substitutes (Romans 1:25). And yet, marvelously, the truth can win us over. It’s the truth about why Jesus came and why he died.

Jesus’ Bold Claim and How He Proved It

Jesus made a bold claim during his days on earth. He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV).

Did you get that? Jesus says that you can only know God the father through belief in him. That’s a pretty radical statement! But he backed it up by going to the cross, dying in our place, and rising again on the third day. The Bible says that we should have been punished for breaking God’s law, but he took the punishment in our place. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came to earth to reveal a marvelous message that our offenses can be forgiven and we may become reconciled to God, and have eternal life.

How You Can Know the Truth

Are you wandering, not sure about truth, lost in your search for identity? Do you know yourself to be guilty of unfaithfulness to God? Do you know you need to be saved from moral compromise? Well then, there’s very good news for you. Jesus appeals to you to come to him, to ask him to forgive you and make you a child of God.

For you see, anyone who receives him has the right to become a child of God (John 1:12). This is the message Jesus taught that Peter and Mary believed. Jesus calls you to know the truth so you can be set free (John 8:32).

How You Can Receive the Truth

If you’d like to know the God of truth, lift up the empty hands of faith and trust Him for your salvation. Come to Him on your knees and pray this prayer:

O Lord, I am lost without You. My life is empty without Your truth and your love. I commit my life to You. I turn away from my sinful behaviors and I turn toward You. Forgive me for all my offenses and give me the power to do good. Reconcile me with Yourself. Look at me only through the work of Jesus, and enable me to live for Him. Thank You that You care for someone like me. Thank You that You welcome me into heaven, because Your love knows no bounds. Help me to grow in grace and guide me in all my ways. In Christ’s name, Amen.

How You Can Continue in the Truth

Now that you have committed your life to the Lord, it is important that you identify yourself to a leader from a Bible-believing church in your area. You have begun an amazing journey. The church is there to ensure that you grow and enjoy the Lord in fellowship, and not alone. The church will help you understand more about all of these things, and will guide you into the life of worship and the celebration of the sacraments.

I can help you. Call 888.492.0285 or Send an email and I will pray with you and/or for you!

God bless you all!

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Salvation is the grace gift of God to man, received by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16). No one ever earns or deserves anything from God. But in His infinite love and grace, God freely provides everything for us to have an eternal relationship with Him.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that [salvation] not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Ephesians 2:8–9)

God’s plan of “grace and truth is realized through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17), the uniquely born Son of God. Jesus Christ became true humanity to be our substitute and pay the penalty for our sins. When our Lord Jesus Christ was on the cross, He was judged for the sins of the world. Every sin that has ever been committed in the history of the human race was imputed to Him on the cross and judged.

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross. (1 Peter 2:24a)

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf [as our substitute], that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Because of the work of Jesus Christ, salvation is available to everyone.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten [uniquely born] Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Jesus says, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

And Peter said again, “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out…” Acts 3:19

And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved.” (Acts 16:31a)

Believing in Christ means you receive as true the fact that He died as your personal substitute. In the moment you believe, God gives you eternal life and guarantees your salvation. Instantly, you are brought into an eternal relationship with God forever.

Your heart attitude toward Jesus Christ determines your eternal future. You can either believe in Christ for eternal life or reject Him for eternal condemnation.

Repent, believe, and be baptized. Turn from sin to God. Turn 180 degrees around to God. Trust in, rely upon, believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our Savior, Who died on the Cross for your sins, Who is risen from the dead, and now sits at the right hand of the Father in glory. Follow the example of Jesus Christ, as an answer of a clear conscience toward God by the declaration of your faith, be baptized.

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey [believe] the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36)

God bless you all!

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“If you are yet unsaved, our heart yearns over you: and we would fain say a word which may be blessed to you. Open your Bible, and read the story of the lepers, and mark their position, which was much the same as yours. If you remain where you are you must perish; if you go to Jesus you can but die. “Nothing venture, nothing win,” is the old proverb, and in your case the venture is no great one. If you sit still in sullen despair, no one can pity you when your ruin comes; but if you die with mercy sought, if such a thing were possible, you would be the object of universal sympathy. None escape who refuse to look to Jesus; but you know that, at any rate, some are saved who believe in Him, for certain of your own acquaintances have received mercy: then why not you? The Ninevites said, “Who can tell?” Act upon the same hope, and try the Lord’s mercy. To perish is so awful, that if there were but a straw to catch at, the instinct of self-preservation should lead you to stretch out your hand. We have thus been talking to you on your own unbelieving ground, we would now assure you, as from the Lord, that if you seek Him He will be found of you. Jesus casts out none who come unto Him. You shall not perish if you trust Him; on the contrary, you shall find treasure far richer than the poor lepers gathered in Syria’s deserted camp. May the Holy Spirit embolden you to go at once, and you shall not believe in vain. When you are saved yourself, publish the good news to others. Hold not your peace; tell the King’s household first, and unite with them in fellowship; let the porter of the city, the minister, be informed of your discovery, and then proclaim the good news in every place. The Lord save thee ere the sun goes down this day.”  ~ C. H. Spurgeon

Do you, like me, have family members who do not believe in Jesus? If so, we are in good company. So did Jesus. And I think this is meant to give us hope.

According to the Apostle John, “not even his brothers believed in him” (John 7:5). That’s incredible. Those who had lived with Jesus for 30 years really did not know him. Not one of Jesus’ brothers is mentioned as a disciple during his pre-crucifixion ministry. But after his resurrection and ascension, there they are in the upper room worshiping him as God (Acts 1:14).

Why didn’t they believe? And what made them change?

The Bible doesn’t answer the first question. But I’ll bet it was difficult to have Jesus for a brother.

First, Jesus would have been without peer in intellect and wisdom. He was astounding temple rabbis by age 12 (Luke 2:4247). A sinful, fallen, gifted sibling can be a hard act to follow. Imagine a perfect, gifted sibling.

Second, Jesus’ consistent and extraordinary moral character must have made him odd and unnerving to be around. His siblings would have grown increasingly self-conscious around him, aware of their own sinful, self-obsessed motives and behavior, while noting that Jesus didn’t seem to exhibit any himself. For sinners, that could be hard to live with.

Third, Jesus was deeply and uniquely loved by Mary and Joseph. How could they not have treated him differently? They knew he was the Lord. Imagine their extraordinary trust in and deference to Jesus as he grew older. No doubt the siblings would have perceived a dimension to the relationship between the oldest child and their parents that was different from what they experienced.

And when swapping family stories it would have been hard to match a star appearing at your brother’s birth.

Jesus out-classed his siblings in every category. How could anyone with an active sin nature not resent being eclipsed by such a phenom-brother? Familiarity breeds contempt when pride rules the heart.

More pain than we know must have been behind Jesus’ words, “a prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household” (Matthew 13:57).

So as we assess the role our weak, stumbling witness plays in our family members’ unbelief, let’s remember Jesus — not even a perfect witness guarantees that loved ones will see and embrace the gospel. We must humble ourselves and repent when we sin. But let’s remember that the god of this world and indwelling sin is what blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4).

The story of Jesus’ brothers can actually give us hope for our loved ones. At the time his brothers claimed that Jesus was “out of his mind” (Mark 3:21), it must have appeared very unlikely that they would ever become his disciples. But eventually they did! And not only followers, but leaders and martyrs in the early church.

The God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” shone in their hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of their brother, Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:6).

So take heart! Don’t give up praying for unbelieving family members. Don’t take their resistance as the final word. They may yet believe, and be used significantly in the kingdom!

And while they resist, or if they have died apparently unbelieving, we can trust them to the Judge of all the earth who will be perfectly just (Genesis 18:25). Jesus does not promise that every parent, sibling, or child of a Christian will believe, but does painfully promise that some families will divide over him (Matthew 10:34-39). We can trust him when it happens.

It is moving to hear James refer to his brother as “our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory” (James 2:1). Can you imagine what this phrase meant for James? The Lord of glory had once slept beside him, ate at his dinner table, played with his friends, spoke to him like a brother, endured his unbelief, paid the debt of his sin, and then brought him to faith.

It may have taken 20-30 years of faithful, prayerful witness by the Son of God, but the miracle occurred: his brothers believed. May the Lord of glory grant the same grace to our beloved unbelievers.

~ John Bloom

The Passions: A Spiritual Disease

Posted: October 24, 2011 in Biblical, catholic, Charismatic, Christian, Church, Evangelical, Liturgical, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Reformed, Renaissance, Repentance, Sacramental, Scriptural, universal
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Passions

A passion is a spiritual disease that dominates the soul. When one repeatedly falls into a certain sin, it becomes second nature – a passion – for him to keep falling into this sin. Thus, one who misuses the God-given powers of the soul of desire and anger, or one who continually succumbs to temptations of lust, hate, malice, or jealousy, or one who succumbs to pride and vainglory, acquires those passions. It is primarily through repentance, faith, obedience to God, submission to His will, and dying daily to self is one healed of the passions.

The passions are:

harshness, trickery, malice, perversity, mindlessness, licentiousness, enticement,

dullness, lack of understanding, idleness, sluggishness, stupidity, flattery, silliness,

idiocy, madness, derangement, coarseness, rashness, cowardice, lethargy, dearth of

good actions, moral errors, greed, over-frugality, ignorance, folly, spurious knowledge,

forgetfulness, lack of discrimination, obduracy, injustice, evil intention, a conscienceless

soul, slothfulness, idle chatter, breaking of faith, wrongdoing, sinfulness, lawlessness,

criminality, passion, seduction, assent to evil, mindless coupling, demonic provocation,

dallying, bodily comfort beyond what is required, vice, stumbling, sickness of soul,

enervation, weakness of intellect, negligence, laziness, a reprehensible despondency,

disdain of God, aberration, transgression, unbelief, lack of faith, wrong belief, poverty of

faith, heresy, fellowship in heresy, polytheism, idolatry, ignorance of God, impiety,

magic, astrology, divination, sorcery, denial of God, the love of idols, dissipation,

profligacy, loquacity, indolence, self-love, inattentiveness, lack of progress, deceit,

delusion, audacity, witchcraft, defilement, the eating of unclean food, soft living,

dissoluteness, voracity, unchastity, avarice, anger, dejection, listlessness, self-esteem,

pride, presumption, self-elation, boastfulness, infatuation, foulness, satiety, doltishness,

torpor, sensuality, over-eating, gluttony, insatiability, secret eating, hoggishness, solitary

eating, indifference, fickleness, self-will, thoughtlessness, self-satisfaction, love of

popularity, ignorance of beauty, uncouthness, gaucherie, light-mindedness,

boorishness, rudeness, contentiousness, quarrelsomeness, abusiveness, shouting,

brawling, fighting, rage, mindless desire, gall, exasperation, giving offence, enmity,

meddlesomeness, chicanery, asperity, slander, censure, calumny, condemnation,

accusation, hatred, railing, insolence, dishonor, ferocity, frenzy, severity,

aggressiveness, forswearing oneself, oath taking, lack of compassion, hatred of one’s

brothers, partiality, patricide, matricide, breaking fasts, laxity, acceptance of bribes,

theft, rapine, jealousy, strife, envy, indecency, jesting, vilification, mockery, derision,

exploitation, oppression, disdain of one’s neighbor, flogging, making sport of others,

hanging, throttling, heartlessness, implacability, covenant-breaking, bewitchment,

harshness, shamelessness, impudence, obfuscation of thoughts, obtuseness, mental

blindness, attraction to what is fleeting, impassionedness, frivolity, disobedience,

dullwittedness, drowsiness of soul, excessive sleep, fantasy, heavy drinking,

drunkenness, uselessness, slackness, mindless enjoyment, self-indulgence, venery,

using foul language, effeminacy, unbridled desire, burning lust, masturbation, pimping,

adultery, sodomy, bestiality, defilement, wantonness, a stained soul, incest,

uncleanliness, pollution, sordidness, feigned affection, laughter, jokes, immodest

dancing, clapping, improper songs, revelry, fluteplaying, license of tongue, excessive

love of order, insubordination, disorderliness, reprehensible collusion, conspiracy,

warfare, killing, brigandry, sacrilege, illicit gains, usury, wiliness, grave-robbing,

hardness of heart, obloquy, complaining, blasphemy, fault-finding, ingratitude,

malevolence, contemptuousness, pettiness, confusion, lying, verbosity, empty words,

mindless joy, daydreaming, mindless friendship, bad habits, nonsensicality, silly talk,

garrulity, niggardliness, depravity, intolerance, irritability, affluence, rancour, misuse, illtemper,

clinging to life, ostentation, affectation, pusillanimity, satanic love, curiosity,

contumely, lack of the fear of God, unteachability, senselessness, haughtiness, selfvaunting,

self-inflation, scorn for one’s neighbor, mercilessness, insensitivity,

hopelessness, spiritual paralysis, hatred of God, despair, suicide, a falling away from

God in all things, utter destruction –

Altogether 298 passions……….

These, then, are the passions which have been found named in the Holy Scriptures.

St. John Climakos states: “If you seek understanding in wicked men, you will not find it.”

For all that the demons produce is disorderly. In common with the godless and the unjust, the demons have but one purpose: to destroy the souls of those who accept their evil counsel. Yet sometimes they actually help men to attain holiness. In such instances they are conquered by the patience and faith of those who put their trust in the Lord, and who through their good actions and resistance to evil thoughts counteract the demons and bring down curses upon them.

From A LIST OF THE PASSIONS, Saint Peter of Damaskos The Philokalia; The Complete Text compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth Volume Three Translated from the Greek and edited by G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherard, Kallistos Ware faber and faber, 1984