Monday, August 15, 2016

The Two "Choices" of Man

"And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” -Joshua 24:15

Most of my life I have heard the above passage as a reference to man's sovereignty over whether he will choose to follow God or not. I don't know how it took this long for me to notice this, but far from being a support of the Arminian position, it's talking about how the man that wants evil has already made his choice: idolatry. If it weren't for the Spirit of God drawing the Israelites, they would've fallen into this category.

I praise God for the doctrine of election, because if it weren't for this glorious truth that salvation is completely and totally of the Lord, then I also would not have chosen the Lord. I would have chosen from the two given choices for wicked man: false gods here or false gods there. Let's not allow this text to be so misused anymore and fight to restore its proper meaning. Man, when left to his free will, will always choose to rebel against God.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

God Chooses Who Will Be Saved

One of the biggest reasons people give for hating the doctrines of election that fill the pages of the New Testament are that they make God seem unfair. Another reason, that is not often given, is that it takes away man's autonomy and sense of power over his own destiny. I myself have spent many nights wrestling with my faith in the power of my own will. Keep these negative objections in mind so that you are well aware of what it is inside you that fights against the following scripture in Romans 9:

"Though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills."

I bolded a few points for the sake of clarity. These are emphases meant to be understood in Paul's letter to the Romans. He's teaching the doctrine of election; God's free right and decision to choose those He will save and those He will not. The question is not how can a person accept and believe this, but how can you not after seeing the clearest of scriptures on the subject here? Forget your angry thoughts of puppets and robots for a second and reread the previous scripture! Could Paul have been more clear for us? It depends NOT on human will, but on God who hardens some and has mercy on others. He even answers your objections in the rest of the chapter. My advice is to read the whole chapter humbly and prayerfully. May the Lord lead you to the glorious truth of His sovereignty and give you a God-centered view of salvation in which man is dead, blind, and in need the Holy Spirit, not the power of his sinful, broken will.

Friday, August 5, 2016

If You Didn't Repent, You Weren't Saved

Whereas in the past, repentance was another side of the same coin as faith, it is now preached against as some sort of accursed addition to the message of the Gospel. It is no wonder there is so little true conversion happening. People are getting their ticket to heaven and then going on with their sinful lives, because "they prayed a prayer one time" or "accepted Jesus as Savior." They aren't repenting, Christ isn't becoming their Lord, they are just getting a flu shot to prevent Hell. Yet, the New Testament refers to Jesus as Lord 925 times and as Savior 16 times. So if you've only accepted Him as Savior and not as Lord, then you've missed the emphasis of the Bible and you're still in your sins.

In Luke 24, Jesus says that "He suffered death, was raised, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations." His and the apostles teachings nearly always mentioned repentance next to faith. If it is so critical, then what does repentance mean exactly? The Greek literally means reconsideration or a change of mind. The change of mind is about sin and consequently a change of heart naturally occurs. For example, when I changed my mind about abortion, my heart ached at my past support of the murder of babies, leading me to change my conduct. In the same way every true Christian will experience a change of mind, leading to guilt over sin and so will begin trusting and obeying Christ. 

May the Lord bring back preachers who will proclaim "repentance and the remission of sins" to America. It is currently the most needed and missing message.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"Kill the Midianite Boys"

Does it ever make you angry that in Numbers 31 God commanded the killing of males of all ages in the Midianite camp? Does it make you doubtful of God's goodness? Most people with at least half a heart would say it's disturbing and upsetting. Do you not find killing disturbing? You ought to. God says "I do not delight in the death of the wicked." So why does He do it? Why did God kill the boys if He does not delight in their deaths, not a single one? What had the boys done wrong? Are you ready for this?

I don't know. 

The Bible doesn't state their specific sins, but I think there is one thing we always know with the killing passages. The wages of sin is death. Everyone that dies is dying as a result of being a sinner. When I die it will be because of my sin. When you die it will be because of your sin. The boys died, because they were sinful and they would certainly grow up to be even more sinful than their parents. It is the tendency of generations to surpass the previous ones in wickedness. God stopped it. The other side of the coin is why does God NOT kill an entire camp when clearing it out of the land of Canaan? They were terrible people! Their camps were full of murder, rape, incest, and child sacrifice. The poor kids right? Wrong, they were going to grow up to do the same thing! The adults doing those wicked deeds were once kids too!

I often think of Hitler when reading passages like this. What would I have thought if somehow I knew that God killed a little baby in Austria? I might be tempted to feel upset, but I don't have the foreknowledge of God in all his actions. Yet, if I knew who it was, I might be tempted to rejoice that the baby died, because that baby was just an undeveloped mass murderer. Why is it ok when God does that and not Hitler you might object? Because no one has the right to sentence but a judge. Here's the simple truth: God would and will be completely justified in destroying this whole wicked world. He knows the innumerable sins of man. However, what has He done rather than just kill everyone? He sent Jesus Christ to pay that price of our sins. Jesus Christ was killed in our place. If you're a Christian, you would be like the Midianite boys, but because of Jesus, you are given eternal life with a loving God instead. Repent and believe the Gospel. Praise the Lord.