Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bible Truth #343 - Isaiah 45:7, Amos 3:6

I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create evil, I the LORD do all these things.

Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?

Some may think God does not create evil, nor do evil, but here in these verses it is clearly spelled out for all. God is sovereign and nothing exists without Him creating it. No evil occurs in history unless God has ordained it to take place. Some may even think that the verses are being misunderstood but I will ask this - Did Satan create himself? Of course not. And if God didn’t create Lucifer with a purpose for him that was intentional, then He isn’t God. Do you think that Lucifer ruined God’s plan? NO! God fulfilled His plan for Lucifer.

Other versions of the Bible call the “evil” God creates in Isaiah 45:7 calamity, bad times, disaster, and woe. The same can be said of Amos 3:6 - God causes calamity, disaster, and affliction. I also wrote of this in Bible Truth #123, Lamentations 3:38.

God is sovereign and He is working His plan for Creation and for each and every individual human being (Psalm 57:2, Psalm 138:8, Revelation 17:17). God created what we call evil, but He takes what He created and is working it in accordance with His will (Ephesians 1:11), and that to glorify Him.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bible Truth #342 - Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Yet we cannot fathom what God has done, from beginning to end. Let that sink in - what God has done, past tense. It is already done, accomplished, He has already saved each and every man He is going to save. It is fact that when God chose His Elect before the foundation of the world He put them in Christ, it is a done deal, God has it rigged! Jesus Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), those whom God chose were placed in Christ, also from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Jesus Christ died a substitutionary death for those who were placed in Him - He died in our place! He did NOT die for those who were NOT chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.

As I wrote in Bible Truth #328, when God created time and every event that would transpire within history, He created the beginning, middle and the end - it is ALL history to God. And every event that has taken place, or will take place in the future, has already occurred as God sees it from eternity. This is why those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world will be saved in history. They, and they alone, will be drawn, they shall come to Christ (John 6:37), and Christ will raise them up (John 6:44).

We become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13). It’s God’s decision and He made it before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4)

Bible Truth #341 - Revelation 17:15-17

15  And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
16  And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
17  For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

What you just read is prophesy, it will take place. What I would like to point out is the fact that God will fulfill His will then as he does now, and as He has done throughout history.

God will move people’s hearts as he sees fit to accomplish His will (Psalm 57:2, Proverbs 21:1). To those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose, we know that all things work together for good! (Romans 8:28) Well why are all things working together for good? Because God is the One doing the work, in ALL things, not just some things. He is working everything in conformity with the purpose of His will (Ephesians 1:11), He has a plan and everything will go in accordance to it.

When God created time He created not only the beginning, but the end too. The events listed in Revelation will take place because they have already occurred in eternity (Isaiah 46:10). How else would all things work together for good? How else would everything be in conformity with His will, unless God was working in each and every person and event? For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, does anyone think the people spoken of in verse 17 would make any choice other than the one God intended? Did He force them? Of course not, He simply made them want to do His will.

God is immutable. Nothing has changed, nothing will change. God is sovereign and He gets His way (Isaiah 55:11), all the time, every time.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Bible Truth #340 - Acts 17:24-34

24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25  Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29  Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
30  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
31  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
32  And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
33  So Paul departed from among them.
34  Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

I wrote about this passage in Bible Truth #339 but I discussed verse 28. I want to continue on to verse 30.

God commands all men everywhere to repent but only those whom He has quickened will repent in a way pleasing to Him since they that are in the flesh can not please God (Romans 8:8).  This is because He has not granted repentance to those not chosen (2 Timothy 2:25).  Anything a lost man does, including believing, repenting, and “accepting” Jesus, is “of the flesh” and Jesus said the flesh counts for nothing (John 6:63).

Verse 30 is also what some claim as proof that men were not held accountable for their actions before the Law. My former pastor (who is Arminian in his soteriology) has used Luke 12:47-48 as an explanation for the consequences of those who have never heard the Gospel. I agree with him. The servant who knows his master's will and does not do it will be beaten with many stripes, the servant that does NOT know his master's will and does not do it will be beaten with few stripes (but beaten nonetheless). Just as there are levels of reward in Heaven, so too are there levels of punishment in Hell. Those who lived before Christ who never heard the Gospel, as well as those who aren't chosen who live and die today in closed societies or remote jungles who have never heard the Gospel are still going to Hell but will receive less punishment for their sin than those who have heard the Gospel and rejected Christ.

Some claim that there is enough evidence in nature to get a man saved. They are sadly mistaken. They say that Romans 1:20 is the solution for the problem of those who never hear the Gospel, not only then but also today for the thousands who die every day without ever hearing the Gospel. Sorry, as I explained in Bible Truth #78, #81, and #373, what Paul writes in Romans 1:20 is only enough evidence in nature for man to acknowledge God the Creator, NOT God the Savior.

Some will say, “But that’s not fair of God to do that.” Oh really? ...who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” (Romans 9:20) You turn things upside down (Isaiah 29:16) and you quarrel with your Maker (Isaiah 45:9). God is not required to give anyone anything, whether a “chance” to hear the Gospel or an “opportunity” to be saved. We ALL, each and every single one of us, we ALL deserve hell from the moment of our conception because we are conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5). I just praise God that in His mercy and grace He chose to save some.

Those who have never heard the Gospel will be judged on how they live their lives according to how they see God in nature, but judged nonetheless. The Gospel is NOT in nature and it is only Jesus Christ of the Gospel that saves. As Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

Man doesn’t need God’s Word to know what’s morally right. Long before the Bible was written, in fact, even before the author of the first 5 books of the Old Testament was born, men knew the difference between right and wrong. The Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah, whom the Pharaoh told to kill the baby boys born to Israelite women, did not comply with the Pharaoh’s command because they feared God (Exodus 1:16-17).

You can go even farther back than that. Read the story of Cain and Able where Cain killed his brother. When God asked him where his brother was Cain lied to God trying to hide his deed (Genesis 4:8-9). Why did Cain try to hide the fact that he killed Able if he didn’t know it was wrong? Long before the Old Testament was written men knew right from wrong.

And finally, in verse 31 God again tells us that there is coming a day which He has already determined in which He will judge the world. When God created time, He created the beginning, the end, and everything in between. From God’s perspective in eternity, what was ever going to occur in time has already happened. God has already declared what will take place tomorrow, next week, next month and next year (Isaiah 46:10) - and yes, that includes quickening the spirits of those He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bible Truth #339 - Acts 17:22-28

22  Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23  For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25  Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

This is part of Paul’s “speech” to the Gentiles at Mars Hill and was the culmination of his preaching “getting around town” because of his reasoning with the Jews and God-fearing Greeks in the synagogue as well as his “witness” in the marketplace every day to any who would listen to him. We know this from the preceding verses. We also know he was distressed to see the city full of idols. He was then invited to share at the Areopagus (Mars Hill) to the intelligentsia of the day.

I’m certain it can be safely said that Paul was not preaching to Christians but the lost. One of the first things he said was that he noticed they were superstitious. The Greek word from which that is translated (deisidaimon) can be used either complimentary or derogatory and it is clear from his following comments Paul intended it to be complimentary so they would better pay attention to his words. He then proceeded to tell them about the one true God.

I wrote about verse 26 in Bible Truth #78 and won’t discuss it again here except to simply say this verse tells us God determined that hundreds of millions of people would never hear the Gospel. If you don't understand what I just wrote, please click on the hyperlink for Acts 17:26.

Now the verse upon which I wanted to focus: verse 28 - For in Him we live, and move, and have our being... Exactly what do Christians think this means? I believe it harmonizes beautifully with Philippians 2:13 in that it is God Who works in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Man can do nothing apart from God’s will and it is God who fulfills His plan in each one of us (Psalm 57:2, Psalm 138:8), every man who ever lived, not just His Elect. No one ever lives NOT fulfilling God’s plan for their lives.

Other passages that support my conclusion are:
Psalm 37:23 - God is directing our steps
Proverbs 3:5-6 - God is directing our paths
Proverbs 16:9 - God is directing our steps
Proverbs 19:21 - the Lord’s purpose prevails
Proverbs 20:24 - God is directing our steps
Proverbs 21:1 - God turns hearts
Acts 16:14 - God opens hearts

This is why Christ said apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:4-5). The lost can do many things, but nothing, N.O.T.H.I.N.G. NOTHING they do (including praying to “accept” Jesus) will please God (Romans 8:8) which makes it easy to understand Christ’s words in John 6:63 - the flesh counts for nothing.

The point is that we humans, lost and saved, do nothing apart from God...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bible Truth #338 - Luke 16:13-15

13  No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
14  And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

...that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Wow. Among men of Arminian persuasion, what is highly esteemed? Is it not “accepting Christ” as their personal Lord and Savior? Is it not repenting of their sins? Would it not be “putting their faith and trust in Christ?” ALL of these things are highly esteemed among men who believe they got saved by “accepting” Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Well the same Jesus Christ has news for them and it’s called the Holy, inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God.

God knows the hearts of men because He formed the hearts of men (Psalm 33:15). God turns hearts as He sees fit to accomplish His purpose (Proverbs 21:1). God is the one who takes out the heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). He gives His people a heart to know Him (Jeremiah 24:7) and fear Him for their own good and for the good of their children (Jeremiah 32:39). God opens hearts and keeps hearts closed (Acts 16:14). God turns hearts to hate His people, whether they be children of Israel or Christians (Psalm 105:25). And He does all of this while making men believe they have free will!

So you see, God is sovereign and does whatever He wants with His creation. The myth of a free will among Christians is simply a carry-over from the unredeemed life as ALL the lost, each and every one, believes they have a free will. It is a believer who is still hanging on to his flesh who believes he has a free will and who does not believe God’s Word.

...that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
This is why a man in the flesh can not please God (Romans 8:8), it is an abomination to Him - and every lost man is in the flesh.

Bible Truth #337 - Hebrews 2:8-17

8  Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10  For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11  For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12  Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
13  And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
14  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16  For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17  Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Most Arminians and anyone else who believes in decisional salvation will grab the phrase “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” in verse 17 as Christ’s work on the cross, which is absolutely true, but then try to apply it to each and every man who was ever born. That is incorrect and they who believe that are sadly mistaken.

What “people” is in view here? It is the “many sons” of verse 10, they “who are sanctified” of verse 11, “my brethren” of verse 12, the “children which God hath given me” of verse 13 and John 6:37, those who “were all their lifetime subject to bondage” of verse 15, “the seed of Abraham” of verse 16, and “His brethren” of verse 17.

So the work Christ did to make reconciliation for the sins of the people was a specific work for a particular people - those He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

It is in this context that we understand verse 9, “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Every man? Absolutely! Every man chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world! But if you’ve studied verse 9 (Bible Truth #335), you know the Greek does not read “every man” (hekastos - Bible Truth #324) but reads “all” from the Greek word pas (Strong’s #3956). This Greek word can be used two ways: 
1) individually - each, any, every, anyone, etc... OR 
2) collectively - some of all types or groups. And pas in the context of verse 9 is each and every one of the Elect, not each and every man of the human race.

We become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13). It’s God’s decision and He made it before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bible Truth #336 - John 1:29

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Arminians and others who believe in decisional salvation look at this, and similar passages such as John 4:42, 6:33, and 1 John 2:2, where the same author uses “world” and they say it means all fallen human beings. To that I answer, if the Lamb of God takes away the sin of each and every man, then that sin is GONE and can no longer be held against him. The simple understanding of the text should should make it clear that Jesus did NOT die for every human being and that He did NOT take away the sin of each and every man who ever lived. If Jesus DID take away the sin of each and every man in the world, why is there anyone in Hell today?

The Arminian will say, “Because they refused to accept the free gift of eternal life.

O.K. So is it a sin to refuse to accept this free gift? If it IS NOT a sin and Christ indeed “took away” every sin of each and every man, then you’ve got people in Hell who are sinless. If it IS a sin to refuse to accept this free gift, then Jesus did NOT take away the sin of the whole world, nor the sin of each and every man who ever lived.

Jesus did not even pray for the world (John 17:9), why would He die for it? Why would He go from Pilate to the scourging pillar and endure the stripes for those whom He knew weren’t chosen and would never believe? Why would our Savior go through the humiliation, excruciating pain, and suffering of the cross, for those whom He knew were destined to disobey the word of God? (1 Peter 2:8)

No, John is clearly intending “world” to be understood in the context and purpose of transcending the general thinking among the Jews that the Messiah was coming for them alone, or a nationalistic Jewish particularism.

Bottom line - John frequently uses the word “world” to specifically inform people the Messiah did NOT come for the Jews alone but also for the Gentiles, i.e. the whole world.

See Bible Truth #66 for more discussion on “world” and how it does NOT mean “each and every man” ever born.
See
Bible Truth #324 for discussion on the Greek word that IS defined as “each and every.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bible Truth #335 - Hebrews 2:6-11

6  But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7  Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8  Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10  For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11  For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

Some will jump on verse 9 and claim, “Here is proof that Jesus died for everyone! It says that Christ tasted death for every man.

I would like to point out the reason why they misunderstand this passage. When the King James Version translators wrote “every man” in this verse, they wrote it from the Greek word pas (Strong’s #3956), which can be used two ways:
1) individually - each, any, every, anyone, etc... OR
2) collectively - some of all types or groups.

It can even be misunderstood in this passage - out of context - as those who believe in decisional salvation will claim. If verse 9 is casually read in light of verses 6-8, some will get the wrong interpretation of the context of “every man” (pas) and believe that the writer is referring to each and every man of the human race. They could not be more mistaken. First because it would contradict the rest of God’s Word in that there is no one in Hell for whom Christ died (Matthew 1:21, Romans 8:29-30, Ephesians 5:25), and second is because verse 9 starts with a contrasting conjunction.

So please, yes, read verses 6-8 and understand the writer is talking about mankind, or even each and every man. However, because verse 9 begins with a contrasting conjunction, the author is now changing the subject from that of the preceding verses. The author writes “But we...” Should the reader understand he is still referring to each and every man of the human race? NO! But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour;Does each and every man of the human race see Jesus crowned with glory and honor? Of course not!

The author of this letter has now qualified the recipients to a specific group. It is clear he is now referring to believers, for only believers will see Jesus crowned with glory and honor. This is confirmed by his continued writing in verses 10 and 11 when he writes of Him bringing many sons to glory (a specific, limited group), they who are sanctified (a specific, limited group), and He is not ashamed to call them brethren (again, a specific, limited group).

The bottom line is clear, the Greek tells us NOT that He tasted death for each and every man. It says He tasted death for “all,” pas (Strong’s #3956). All of who? Answer: All of the Elect, those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Or you can understand that He tasted death for all - used in the collective context, some of all types of men; i.e. some rich, some poor, some Jews, some Gentiles, some white, some black, some tall, some short, etc...

One of the biggest stumbling blocks Arminians have, and anyone who believes in decisional salvation, is that they believe the Greek word pas (Strong’s #3956) can only mean individually (each and every) every time it is used. Besides studying the word itself which should provide clear understanding for every believer, I give several examples of “all” being used collectively (some of all types) in Bible Truth #330.

The truth may be argued but it can never be refuted.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bible Truth #334 - Psalm 119:18

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

The psalmist is confirming for us the fact that by nature, our eyes are closed to spiritual truths and they must be opened by God. Moses said the same thing to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 29:4. And Jesus said essentially the same thing several times:

- At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. (Matthew 11:25)

- At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. (Luke 10:21)

- “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Luke 10:22)

Even the apostles who had been under Jesus’ direct teaching for more than 3 years could not understand until after the resurrection when Jesus opened their minds so they could understand (Luke 24:45).

Further, Paul writing in his letters to the Corinthian and Roman Christians confirms that without the Holy Spirit, NO ONE will understand (Romans 3:11; 1 Corinthians 2:14).

This is the main problem Arminians have, which is they believe a lost man, a man whose spirit is dead, can see, hear, or understand spiritual truths. How many times did Jesus say, “He that hath ears, let him hear.” ? (Matthew 11:15, 13:9, 13:43, Mark 4:9, 4:23, 7:16, Luke 8:8, 14:35, Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22, 13:9) The entire point of Jesus saying that is because the only ones who have ears to hear are those whom God has quickened!

The Psalmist does nothing but confirm the Totally Depraved nature of man and his inability to do anything spiritual unless God sovereignly works in the man first.

The bottom line - it is God Who decides not only the extent of how far eyes are opened, but whose eyes are opened to begin with (Deuteronomy 29:4).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bible Truth #333 - Mark 11:12-14

12  On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry.
13  Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
14  He said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again!" And His disciples were listening.

It must be said that Jesus cursed the Fig tree not for simply not having fruit, but for having a full display of leaves portraying that it had fruit. At this time of year (Passover) fig trees were beginning to get leaves. It was indeed rare for a tree to have it’s full measure of leaves. When it had all of its leaves it would also have fruit. Jesus cursed the tree for looking like it had fruit but bearing none.

The same can be said of “professed” Christians, those who think they’re Christians but don’t live like it. They are the tares in the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-43). They are those in the church who believe in vain (Bible Truth #316). They believe in vain because they believe “in their flesh,” their belief was not given to them by God (John 6:29, Philippians 1:29). They are cursed because they are acting like Christians but have no fruit. They have no fruit because they have not been grafted in the True Vine, Jesus Christ the risen Lord. And apart from Him, NO ONE can bear fruit. (John 15:4-5)

No man who is lost can please God (Romans 8:8) and believing in Jesus Christ [in the spirit] would certainly please Him, hence the lost can’t believe in their heart, their spirit is dead (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5; Colossians 2:13). No man can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him, and those the Father draws, Jesus raises up, period (John 6:44).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bible Truth #332 - 2 Corinthians 7:8-10

8  Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it--I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while--
9  yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.
10  Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Let us discuss the difference between Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow - or more specifically, the source of each.

The cause of Godly sorrow is God. Just as a man can’t repent in a way pleasing to God (Romans 8:8) unless God grants him repentance (2 Timothy 2:25), neither can he be truly sorry over a matter unless God causes a man to be sorrowful. This is what Paul meant when he wrote “sorrowful as God intended” in verse 9, and what God intends, occurs (Ephesians 1:11). How can I write that with certitude? Because if Godly sorrow leads to repentance and man can’t repent unless God grants it to him, then the only source of Godly sorrow is God! That is why Paul identified it as Godly sorrow.

Worldly sorrow is simply the way the flesh feels, a sorrow initiated by the flesh when a man is caught doing something he shouldn’t have been doing. If a man did something he shouldn’t have done but isn’t caught, he is thrilled he got away with it, or relieved. Very rarely will he feel guilty. But if he does, that is not even worldly sorrow, much less Godly sorrow. But if he’s caught, he may be sorry because the consequences will hurt him, either physically, emotionally, financially, etc. But since this sorrow was initiated by his flesh, it is not pleasing to God and it counts for nothing (John 6:63).

Does anyone actually think that a lost man, in the flesh, can generate Godly sorrow? If so, please explain how. I believe God’s Word says a lost man can’t, of his own volition, initiate Godly sorrow because he is spiritually dead and every imagination and thought he has is ONLY evil, CONTINUALLY (Genesis 6:5), he can NOT change (Jeremiah 13:23), he hates the Light and will NOT come into it (John 3:20), he can’t hear (understand) Jesus’ words because he is not of his Father God but of his father the devil (John 8:43-44), he is hostile toward God (Romans 8:7), he can NOT please God in any way, shape, matter, or form (Romans 8:8), he can’t understand ANYTHING from the Holy Spirit (Romans 3:11; 1 Corinthians 2:14).

Would generating Godly sorrow be considered a righteous act? If so, then a lost man can’t do it (Romans 3:10). How can a man who is not righteous, do anything that IS righteous? He can’t, all because a lost man is demon-possessed (Ephesians 2:2).

Based on that understanding, verse 10 is as clear as a bell, so LET IT RING!! Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bible Truth #331 - Acts 20:25-31

25  And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
26  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
28  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
29  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
31  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

When I read in verse 28 how the Holy Spirit made the elders from Ephesus overseers, I see nothing that the elders did which implies they had anything to do with being put in that position. A man is not made a pastor, nor is a man made a deacon or elder by anything they choose to do. It was God’s plan from before time began that they would be doing what they’re doing. (Proverbs 16:9, 20:24; Jeremiah 10:23; Lamentations 2:17; Isaiah 14:27) A man may think that he chose to serve the Lord as a pastor, deacon, or elder, but it was actually God working in that man to make him want to do what God had already determined he would do (Philippians 2:13).

Paul also said in verse 28 that God had purchased His church with His own Blood. There is nothing here, nor anywhere else, that would lead a man to think that He purchased every single man who ever lived. I read passages like Ephesians 5:25 where Paul writes Jesus loved His church and gave Himself up for her. Why? Because it is ONLY His church that was chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), it was only His Elect which comprise the church that are foreknown by God, predestinated, called, justified and glorified (Romans 8:29-30), and it is only His Elect that are drawn to Him (John 6:44). Now before you jump on the often misquoted Scripture John 12:32 that Christ will draw all men to Him, please go back and read Bible Truth #51.

If Christ DID purchase every man with His Blood, and Christ is now interceding with the Father FOR a man that God is sending to hell, is Christ not a failure? I’ve written this before but do so again:

1 - It is impossible the Son would not intercede for EVERYONE for whom He died. If Christ dies as their substitute, how could He not present His sacrifice in their stead before the Father? Can we really believe that Christ would die for someone He that did not intend to save?

2 - It is impossible that anyone for whom the Son did NOT die could receive Christ’s intercession. If Christ did NOT die on behalf of a certain individual, how could Christ intercede for that individual since He would have no grounds upon which to seek the Father’s mercy.

3 - It is impossible that anyone for whom the Son intercedes could be lost.

Now here is the real issue. Can we imagine the Son pleading before the Father, presenting His perfect atonement on behalf of an individual that He wishes to save and the Father rejecting the Son’s intercession? The Father ALWAYS hears the Son (John 11:42), would He not hear the Son’s pleas on behalf of ALL those the Son desires to save?

Furthermore if we believe that Christ can intercede for someone that the Father will not save then we must believe that either 1) there is dissension in the Godhead (the Father desiring one thing and the Son desiring something else) or 2) the Father is incapable of doing what the Son desires Him to do. Both positions are utterly impossible.

The bottom line is that Paul was telling these elders from Ephesus that a sovereign God made them overseers and to take care of the people for whom He died.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bible Truth #330 - 1 Timothy 4:9-10

9  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
10  For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.

The simple language of verse 10 should tell you He is not the Savior of each and every man because there are men in Hell today. How can Jesus be someone’s Savior if they’re in Hell? That is, unless you believe Christ failed. He DID say that He has come to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10) and since the whole world is lost, and since each and every man is not going to be saved, did Jesus fail? NO! He saved every man He intended to save. His substitutionary death was ONLY for those chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

So obviously “all” in this passage (Strong’s G3956) is not used individually in context, but collectively (some of all types). I’d also like to point out that I believe “specially” is a poor transliteration of malista. Better: “...who is the Savior of 'some of all kinds' of men, CHIEFLY those who believe.” The Arminian may disagree and think it's Calvinist spin but it's the only interpretation that can be reconciled with the rest of Scripture.

As I quoted C.H. Spurgeon in Bible Truth #217, the Greek word pas, frequently translated “all” and sometimes “whosoever,” is used in different ways and the Arminian will simply have to accept that. When they believe “all” means individually (each and every one) and it contradicts other Scripture, they are mistaken. “All” is also used collectively (some of all types) and when that usage fits the verse AND is reconciled with every other passage on the same subject, then that usage must be understood to be accurate.

Here are some more examples of “all” when it is NOT used in the individual context meaning each and every but rather, in the collective context meaning some of all types:

- Acts 22:15 Paul is relating the story of when he was told that he would be a witness to “all men.” Well, was he a witness to every single man who ever lived or will live? Or for that matter, was he a witness to every single man alive when he was alive? No. Was he to be a witness to each and every man he met? Yes. So we are talking about a specific group of men, NOT each and every man of the human race.

- Acts 21:28, that he would teach all men everywhere.. did Paul teach each and every man of the human race? No. Did he teach some of all types? Yes. Once again we are talking about a specific group of men, NOT each and every man of the human race.

- Colossians 3:11. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
Is Christ in each and every man of the human race? No. Is Christ in each and every man in Colosse? No. Is Christ in each and every believer in Colosse? Yes. So once more we are talking about a specific group of men, NOT each and every man of the human race.

As I’ve written before (Bible Truth #324), there IS a Greek word that is used only when each and every man or object is the subject. That word is hekastos and it is never used in the context of the atonement of Christ as in “He died for each and every man who was ever born.”

Since there are other passages where it is clear that “all men” does not mean each and every single man, and “all” can mean either individually (each and every) OR collectively (some of all types), then the proper understanding of 1 Timothy 4:10 is clearly Christ is the Savior of some of all types of men since it would otherwise contradict other passages in God’s Word.

Jesus Christ is NOT the Savior of a man in Hell for if He were, that would make Him a failure. My Savior is not a failure, is yours?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bible Truth #329 - Matthew 6:25-34

Matthew 6:25-34
25  "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
26  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28  "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31  So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
32  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


Three separate times Jesus Christ said not to worry. Why? Why would Jesus tell us not to worry? Would the reason be because God tells us over and over in His Word that He is sovereign and in control? YES!

Paul writes in Romans 8:28 to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose, we know that all things work together for good. Well how do we know that? Because it is God that is doing the work! And the fact is, God has already done the work, the timeline of human history is finished and complete. When God created time, He created the beginning, the end, and everything in between. From God’s perspective in eternity, what was ever going to occur in time has already happened. God has already declared what will take place tomorrow, next week, next month and next year (Isaiah 46:10) - and yes, that includes quickening the spirits of those He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

Do you want more proof that God is working His will and that we are not to worry? How about Ephesians 1:11 where God tells us He works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will. And the context of that passage is in direct reference to those He chose having been predestined. Predestined for what? Predestined for SALVATION.

Those who worry are simply stating by their words and actions that they don’t like the way God is managing their life and they are afraid that something is coming that will hurt. Hurt them physically, financially, or emotionally - or someone they love. But as with anything else Jesus tells us to do or don’t do, if we worry, it is sin.

God wants us to trust Him, no matter what. He wants us to thank Him, for EVERYTHING! (Ephesians 5:20). Trust Him and acknowledge Him in ALL that you do. Do NOT rely on your own understanding because it is God who is ordering your steps (Psalm 37:23; Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:9).

With God in control of every detail in our lives, is it any wonder Jesus said not to worry?

Considering all of this, why do some think that man has a free will and can, of his own volition, choose to believe in Christ or not? We become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13).