Monday, February 27, 2012

Bible Truth #353 - Psalm 24:1

The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

Not only does the earth belong to God and everything He created, but also “they that dwell therein” - every single person who ever lived or will live. This goes hand-in-hand with Romans 9:20-21, the Potter can do with the clay as he sees fit, He owns it. This fact perfectly reconciles with 2 Peter 2:1 in which Peter writes that there will be false teachers who are bound for destruction who will deny the sovereign Lord who bought them. Christ owns everyone but He chose NOT to redeem most.

Now, some may agree that God does “own” believers because they made a conscious decision to accept Christ and these are the same ones who believe in “once saved, always saved.” However, the problem for them is that this passage in Psalms does not differentiate between saved and lost. The psalmist tells us that every single human being on the planet, and by implication, anyone who was ever conceived or will be conceived, everybody belongs to God.

Since God has ownership, He can and does what He wants with His property. 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). God works all things after the counsel of His own will, not some things, He works His will in ALL things (Ephesians 1:11). If it was God’s will that He wants everybody saved, they would be.

They - ALL they - each and every man that dwell on the earth, is the Lord’s.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bible Truth #352 - 1 Peter 1:1-3

1  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen
2  according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Verse one - Was Peter writing to everyone? Was Peter writing to everyone in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia? Anyone who believes that Jesus Christ died for every man who was ever born or would be born, the answer should be, “Yes, Peter was writing to everyone.

The problem is that Peter is very clear as to whom he was writing - To those ... who are chosen. Clearly Peter was differentiating between the general population and those to whom he was writing, a distinct, specific group of people.

The Arminian may claim that the sentence doesn’t stop there, that they were chosen according to the foreknowledge of God. Well of course! Since God has a plan for each and every human being ever conceived... notice I said conceived and not born. Not everyone is born - and God has a plan even for those who were or will be aborted or miscarried. We may not understand it but the believer had better accept it as God’s plan and thank Him for it (Ephesians 5:20).

Back to the subject - of course they were chosen according to the foreknowledge of God. God has a plan for everyone who was, or ever will be conceived. Whether that plan included their call to salvation or not is according to His will, i.e. His foreknowledge (Psalm 37:23, 57:2, 138:8; Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:9, 19:21, 20:24, 21:1; Isaiah 14:27; 46:10; Jeremiah 10:23; Lamentations 2:17; Ephesians 1:11). The plan God has for each and every human being will be executed and accomplished, no ifs, ands, or buts.

One reason I can believe this with certitude is because of what God had Peter write in verse 3. Because of His mercy? No, not just His mercy, but because of His great mercy - because of His abundant mercy He has caused us to be born again. We had nothing to do with it, He chose us (Ephesians 1:4) and caused us to be born again - NOT because of anything we have done (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5). God caused us to be born again and until we were born again, we could do nothing spiritual because we were dead (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5; Colossians 2:13).

Just as a baby does not cause himself to be born, neither can we cause ourselves to be born again. Just as a baby can not do ANY of those things for which babies are known (cry, drink, eat) until after he is born, neither can a man do ANY of those things for which Christians are known (repent, believe and trust in Jesus, love God) until after he is born again. Why? Because every imagination of the heart of a lost man is only evil, continuously (Genesis 6:5), the Bible allows no exception to this; a lost man who is accustomed to doing evil cannot do good (Jeremiah 13:23), the Bible allows no exception to this; a lost man hates Jesus and will not come to Him (John 3:20), the Bible allows no exception; a lost man is hostile toward God and can not please Him (Romans 8:7-8), the Bible allows no exception; a lost man understands nothing from the Holy Spirit and thinks it is all foolishness and he can not understand it (1 Corinthians 2:14), the Bible allows no exception. Over and over God’s Word tells us of the Totally Depraved nature of a lost man and what he cannot do.

We become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bible Truth #351 - Revelation 13:8

Revelation 13:8
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Jesus Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He died in our place, it was substitutionary atonement. Since He was slain before the foundation of the world, all those who would be saved in history had to be chosen and placed in Christ also before the foundation of the world. If this is true, God had to have stated it somewhere in His holy Word.

Well He did! God stated it succinctly in Ephesians 1:4 - According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, ...
Obviously it stands to reason that if we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of world, there were many who weren’t chosen. Why? Why would God choose some and not choose others? Is it because of something we did, or something they didn’t do? NO! Just as He said (through Paul) in Romans 9:11 - Between Jacob and Esau He chose the younger before they were born and before they had done any good or evil. Besides, if God made His choice based on something man did or didn’t do, that would make Him a respecter of persons - and Peter said God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).

The bottom line is that Jesus was slain before God created the earth, it was God’s plan. He died for those placed in Him, He did not die for those who were not placed in Him. If He died for each and every single man who would ever exist, why would God put some in Christ and the rest not? Is there a difference between the two groups at all? Of course, the answer is yes, there is a difference. Those chosen in Christ are those the Father has given the Son (John 6:37). They are the same ones that the Father will draw and Christ will raise up.

Jesus will raise up EVERY man God draws (John 6:44), NOT every man who accepts the drawing.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bible Truth #350 - Isaiah 29:15-16

15  Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, "Who sees us? Who will know?"
16  You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "He did not make me"? Can the pot say of the potter, "He knows nothing”?

This is the passage the Apostle Paul was quoting when he wrote, in his letter to the Romans, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20)

But God saying through Isaiah that these people, those who think they are hiding their plans from the LORD, these people are turning things upside down - or they’ve got it backwards. In today’s vernacular that is the same as saying, “You’ve got the cart before the horse.” And that is what some Arminians have actually told me - that those who accept God’s Word regarding His sovereignty in Election, have it backwards.

Even though God tells us over and over that man is Totally Depraved and not only unwilling, but unable to do the first thing toward his own salvation, those who believe in decisional salvation nevertheless insist that a lost man can do all that God says he can’t.

The Arminian claims a lost man can:
- have a thought toward spiritual matters that is good, yet in Genesis 6:5 God says he can’t
- do a good thing (spiritually), yet in Jeremiah 13:23 God says he can’t.
- believe in Jesus and enter through the narrow door, yet in Luke 13:24 Jesus said he is unable.
- make a decision for salvation, yet in John 1:13 God says he can’t.
- choose to love Christ, yet in John 3:20 Jesus said he hates the Light.
- choose to come to Christ, yet in John 3:20 Jesus said he won’t come.
- understand Scripture without the Lord opening his mind, yet in Luke 24:45 God says he can’t.
- choose to believe without God working in him, yet in John 6:29 Jesus said it is God’s work, not man’s.
- reject God’s drawing, yet in John 6:44 Jesus said he can’t.
- understand God’s word, yet in John 8:43 Jesus said he can’t.
- choose Jesus and then God chooses him, yet in John 15:16 Jesus said we didn’t.
- reject a Divine appointment to believe, yet in Acts 13:48 God says he can’t.
- seek God and understand Him, yet in Romans 3:10-12 God says he can’t.
- please God in a number of ways, yet in Romans 8:8 God says he can’t.
- choose not to sin, yet in Romans 14:23 God says everything he does is sin.
- can understand the message of the cross, yet in 1 Corinthians 1:18 God says he can’t.
- accept something from the Holy Spirit, yet in 1 Corinthians 2:14 God says he can’t.
- choose to believe on his own but God said in
1 Corinthians 15:2 that it is in vain.
- see the Light of the Gospel of the Glory of Jesus Christ, yet in 2 Corinthians 4:4 God says he can’t.
- exercise his free will accepting Christ, yet in Ephesians 1:11 God says he can’t.
- believe in Jesus completely of his own volition, yet in Philippians 1:29 God says he can’t.
- come out of the dominion of darkness on his own, yet in Colossians 1:13 God says he can’t.
- believe in something that is hidden from him, yet in Colossians 1:26 God says he can’t.
- have faith, yet in
2 Thessalonians 3:2 God says he doesn’t.
- be saved by something he does, i.e. believe in Jesus, yet in 2 Timothy 1:9 God says he can’t.
- repent unto salvation without God giving it to him, yet in 2 Timothy 2:25 God says he can’t.
- acknowledge the Truth, yet in 2 Timothy 3:7 God says he can’t.

There are many more but suffice it to say that I have given enough examples to credibly, and with sincerity ask, “Who has put the cart before the horse?”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bible Truth #349 - Acts 2:22-23

22  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

What can be said to clarify verse 23? Nothing. It is as clear as anything ever written in God’s Word. Jesus Christ is, not was, Jesus Christ IS the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Before He even created the world it was God’s plan to crucify His Son. And not only was it His plan, He carried it out, it was accomplished before the foundation of the world.

When God created time, everything that was going to take place in history, has already occurred in eternity (Isaiah 46:10). That is why He said that Christians were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Christ died a substitutionary death for us and He did it before Creation. If a man wasn’t chosen and placed in Christ before God created the world, he has no hope of being saved (Ephesians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:13). On the other hand, we were predestined for salvation according to God’s plan and He works all things after the counsel of His own will, His plan (Ephesians 1:11).

Judas was chosen just as the other 11 apostles were chosen but when he devised his plan of betrayal, was this something he did of his own volition? I’ve heard a man of God say the worst thing God could do for any man is to leave him alone and that man, according to his nature, the nature he is conceived and born with, that man will naturally do evil and not be able in any way, shape, manner, or form please God (Romans 8:8). Not only did Herod and Pontius Pilate do what God wanted them to do (Acts 4:28), Judas did exactly what God intended him to do, he was fulfilling God’s prophesied plan for his life (Psalm 41:9). Yes, Judas exercised his so-called “free will” but it was God’s plan for him just as it was God’s plan for Herod and Pontius Pilate. Judas did what God’s determinate counsel had him to do.

Everything, EVERYTHING has been established and ordained of God, including His choice of the Elect, and the death of His only begotten Son. God planned it and determined it would take place.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bible Truth #348 - Psalm 37:23

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And he delights in his way.

This precept is repeated in many other Scriptures, e.g. Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 16:9; Proverbs 19:21; Proverbs 20:24; Proverbs 21:1, Ephesians 1:11 and many others. Someone please tell me where the free will is in this passage or any of the others I’ve listed.

A man may think that he is making choices and determining his course but:
- the Lord is working in every situation through which a man gathers information,
- the Lord is in the man's mind affecting the way he is receiving information,
- the Lord is influencing the man's thought process in considering different courses,
- all of which the Lord uses to determine the man’s final decision. And He does it most of the time without making it known to the man that He was ever involved.

The idea of “free will” is simply a carry-over from the flesh which the believer has not yet learned to let go. Please don't forget that most every lost man also believes he has “free will.” Most Arminians claim belief in God's sovereignty but their anger in seeing God sovereignly work in the lives of others frequently betrays their true beliefs.

We become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bible Truth #347 - 2 Timothy 2:1-7

1  Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
3  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
5  And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
6  The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
7  Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

Paul begins his thoughts here by giving Timothy some advice and encouragement by relative comparisons to secular life - soldier, athlete, farmer. And please take notice in verse 4 of how one becomes a soldier for Christ. He is chosen and I talked about this in Bible Truth #294. God's Army is NOT an all-volunteer Army like the United States has.

I have included more verses for context but would like to focus on verse 7 - “...the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

This not only reconciles with other passages that speak of God’s sovereignty in what men do and what men believe, it supports them. The Lord will give you understanding - so if a man doesn’t understand spiritual matters it’s because the Lord hasn’t given him that understanding - and he may never give it to him. This is why a man without the Holy Spirit can’t understand anything from the Holy Spirit, and he will NOT accept it for it is foolishness to him (1 Corinthians 2:14). We can prepare the ground, plant the seed, or water the ground - but it is God who causes it to grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). A lot of ground simply will not “accept” the seed - ground that is rocky, full of briars, or close to the path. (Matthew 13)

Look at Luke 10:22 in that only those to whom Christ chooses to reveal Him can know the Father. Or Luke 24:40-45 where Jesus did not open the minds of the apostles until after His resurrection. It was not until then that they were able to understand the Scriptures. Many times we read the Gospels and think, “How can the apostles not understand the plain language of what the Son of God was clearly telling them?” If you didn’t know that truth before, now you know. They did not have the ability to understand until it was given to them.

So as with the lost today, and even Christians regarding the doctrines of Grace. Many believers refuse to accept the truth that they did not choose Christ, God chose them (John 15:16). They refuse to let go of the worldly notion of free-will. Yes, I said worldly because every lost person believes he has a free will. Those who believe in decisional salvation have not yet let go of everything that is of the flesh.

Bottom line - A man will understand only when the Lord wants him to understand, if ever.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bible Truth #346 - Luke 8:26-36

26  They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee.
27  When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs.
28  When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!"
29  For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
30  Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him.
31  And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
32  A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission.
33  When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
34  When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside,
35  and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
36  Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured.

Many an Arminian will claim over and over that God doesn’t “force” anyone to be saved, that God will not force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. Notwithstanding the many passages about which I’ve written that say just the opposite (Proverbs 16:9; 19:21; 20:24; 21:1, Ephesians 1:11) right in the verses above we see a man who does NOT want to be “cured” of his problems but Jesus cured him anyway. Did the demoniac of the Gerasenes have a choice? No. Neither the demons, nor the man had a choice in the matter. Since he was under the control of demons (like every lost man - Romans 6:17-18), the man simply said what the demons wanted him to say.

The Arminian may argue that it was not the man but the demons in the man that did not want to be driven out, that the man would really want to be freed. Well, that can be said of every lost man! It is my contention that Paul tells us that every lost man is demon-possessed (Ephesians 2:2) which is why:
- every imagination of the heart of man is only evil, continually (Genesis 6:5),
- he cannot do good (Jeremiah 13:23)
- he loves the darkness and hates the Light and won’t come unto it (John 3:19-20)
- he is hostile toward God (Romans 8:7)
- he can not please God (Romans 8:8)

Who in their “right mind” would not want to be saved? Who would not want to go to Heaven? Everyone would want to, is that not correct? But yet many people every day reject the Gospel, reject Christ, and reject God. Many believers think that it makes no sense. “Why would people reject the good news of salvation?

Well, I understand why it doesn’t make sense. Most believers who think this way do not understand, or reject the fact, that every lost man is demon possessed. This is why God steps in and saves a man by quickening his dead spirit thus driving the demon(s) out of him. That man now trusts in God, accepts truths from the Holy Spirit, and believes that Jesus Christ is who He said He is. In his former state, the sinful nature with which all men are conceived, it was impossible for him to understand anything from God (1 Corinthians 2:14).

The point of this Bible Truth is that God is sovereign and He does what He wants, when He wants, how He wants, and to whom He wants. If a man is chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), that man can do anything he wants, even murder, and God will still step in and save him (i.e. King David, the apostle Paul - both of whom were complicit in murder). If a man is NOT chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world he can do many religiously and spiritually good actions, and it won’t make one bit of difference toward his salvation (Matthew 7:22-23) because they are “works” of the flesh (Ephesians 2:8-9), and Jesus said the flesh counts for nothing (John 6:63). A man can even call on Jesus, and it still won’t help him into Heaven (Matthew 7:21).

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)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bible Truth #345 - Psalm 51:5

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Because of Adam, every man is not only born a sinner and in need of redemption, he is conceived a sinner. A baby, infant, toddler, or child doesn’t become a sinner the first time he sins, he was conceived a sinner!

A man is not a sinner because he sins and a child doesn’t become a sinner the “first time” he sins, he sins because he IS a sinner. We may think a baby in his mother’s womb is as innocent as anyone can possibly be. While that may be true from a worldview, it is not true in God’s view. That baby is a sinner who needs to be redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ as much as a murderer on death row. The psalmist tells us as much.

Yes, I can understand why some want to believe that an infant, or a toddler, or even an unborn baby is “safe” from Hell. It doesn’t seem that it is fair of God to send an infant to Hell when they have done nothing wrong.

They have “done” nothing wrong??

That’s right! These “innocent” children have done nothing wrong and they haven’t had a chance to “accept” Jesus. That’s why they are only safe, not saved.

Don’t you understand by saying that, you are proving that you believe in works? Both of those examples are “works” of the flesh! And they that are in the flesh can not please God (Romans 8:8). As we are not saved by anything we have done (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5), neither are we condemned by anything we have done.

It is not our works that condemn us, it is the sinful nature that we have inherited from Adam - the sinful nature with which we are conceived and born. This sinful nature is what sends people to Hell and we received it when we were conceived. Our “works” do not determine our eternal destination. They DO however, determine our level of punishment or reward once we arrive (Luke 12:47-48, 2 Corinthians 5:10).

I wrote about this in Bible Truth #319. It’s easy to believe that God has chosen to save every baby whom He has determined would die before birth, as well as every infant, toddler, and small child whom He has appointed to die before they reach an age where they can “understand” the idea that every person is conceived in sin, needs a Savior, and must be redeemed - and it could be true. But the theory that God chose every baby is not directly supported anywhere in Scripture. Everyone lives and dies according to God’s plan for their life (Proverbs 16:9; 19:21; 20:24; 21:1) and that includes children. He works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will (Ephesians 1:11), even the deaths of our children, infants, and unborn. But that does not change the fact that even unborn children are not innocent, they are sinners in need of the same redemptive work of our Savior Jesus Christ as adults.

Psalm 51:5 tells us that a man is a sinner when he is conceived.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bible Truth #344 - Psalm 65:4

2  O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.
3  Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.
4  Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

In verse 2 the psalmist writes that God hears our prayer and that all men will come to God. All men? Will all men come to God? Will all mankind come to God? Of course not, at least not in life - all WILL come to Him one way or another, at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) or the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).

In the context of this passage God is referring to His Elect, during their lives. So it is obvious here, as in many places in the New Testament, that God clearly means “all flesh” collectively, some of all types. And this is exactly what Paul was writing in 1 Corinthians 1:26, not many are called (to salvation). He wrote ...not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

He then goes on to write in verse 4 what the Arminian will deny without ceasing - God chooses men and then causes them to come to Him, right after He causes them to be born again (1 Peter 1:3). This is the same thing Jesus said in John 6:37 and 6:44. God will draw men to Jesus, they will come and Jesus will raise them up. Each and every single man is not drawn.

Those who believe in decisional salvation may argue that Jesus said in John 12:32 that He would draw all men to Him. Please go to this link for the passage where I explain in detail that Jesus was not referring to each and every man, but some of all types of men. 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.

In this passage, as in all others, we again see the sovereignty in God choosing whom He wants and bringing them to Him. Jesus will raise up EVERY man God draws (John 6:44), NOT every man who accepts the drawing.