Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bible Truth #390 - Acts 4:10-12

10  Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11  This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Salvation is found only in, and through, Jesus Christ. There is no other name given among men. It wasn’t given TO men, it wasn’t given TO mankind, it wasn’t given TO every man and it wasn’t given FOR every man. His Name was given among men and God gives it TO whom He pleases (Romans 9:15, 9:21).

... whereby we must be saved. “Must” in this context does not apply to men. It does not mean that every man must be saved, nor does it imply that God wants every man to be saved. If God wanted every man to be saved, every man would be saved. God DOES want every one of His Elect to be saved, for Peter wrote He doesn’t want even one of us to perish (2 Peter 3:9), and none of us will because He works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11). He OBTAINED salvation for His Elect (Hebrews 9:12) and His Elect alone. He saved every one of those He intended to save - His Elect. That’s why He hath done ALL things well (Mark 7:37).

The writer of Hebrews told us that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). But man cannot shed his own blood because it is stained with sin, the sin of the first man, Adam (Romans 5:12). Nor can the blood of bulls and goats take away sin (Hebrews 10:4). Well if man can’t sacrifice for himself, if he can’t pay the price for his sin, and the blood of animals is insufficient for God, how can we be reconciled to God?

“Must” in verse 12 applies to Jesus: it must be Jesus Who saves and Jesus alone. We have the words of Peter above but he was simply stating the same thing Jesus told us in John 14:6 “ one comes to the Father but through Me.”

It would take the blood of a perfect sacrifice, Someone whose father is not Adam. Jesus Christ is the answer, it MUST be Him and Him alone. This is why the virgin birth is imperative and significant (Isaiah 7:14). Jesus Christ was born not of the seed of man but of the seed of woman (Genesis 3:15). He is this perfect Lamb of God (John 1:36), Jesus Christ is the only one Who could die for us and thereby pay the eternal price for our sins. His shed blood alone is acceptable to God for the forgiveness of our sins.

It MUST be Jesus whereby we are saved.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bible Truth #389 - John 14:22-24

22  Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?”
23  Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
24  “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.

He who does not love Jesus does not keep His words, they will not obey His teaching. You can’t hear it any plainer than that. Would it be safe to say that those who do not love Jesus are those who hate Him? Of course the answer is yes. Every lost man hates Jesus (John 3:20) therefore, no man who is lost will obey Jesus’ teaching.

So how does one who believes in decisional salvation come to the conclusion that there are exceptions? How does one who believes they chose Christ reconcile their belief with the words of Jesus when He said we did not choose Him? (John 15:16)

As Jesus said earlier in His ministry “...everyone who does evil hates the Light and will not come unto it.” (John 3:20) Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12, John 9:5), He was referring to Himself.

Therefore it is indisputable that the lost do not love Jesus, they will not keep His words, they will not obey His teaching, and will not come to Him. It should then be incontrovertible that anyone who DOES come to Him has already been quickened by God and is being drawn by God to Jesus, thus fulfilling His Word in that every man given by God to Jesus WILL come to Jesus (John 6:37). And every one of those drawn by God, Jesus WILL raise up (John 6:44).

Salvation does NOT depend on man’s desire or effort (Romans 9:16), God has mercy upon, and saves whomever He wants (Romans 9:18). We become children of God NOT by the will of the flesh (John 1:13).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bible Truth #388 - Jude 3-4

3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
4  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Once more God’s Word tells us the Truth if we have eyes to see and hearts to understand. To whom was the faith delivered? Since we are saved by grace through faith, we must first acquire the faith God uses to save us. How do we obtain saving faith? God delivers it to us! And not because of anything we’ve done (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5), it is not of works lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:9).

“Works” is translated from the Greek word ergon (Strong’s G4021), and the definition in which it is used is #2:
- any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind

We are saved not by any decision made in the mind of a lost man - which is also exactly what John 1:13 clearly states. And what do those who believe in decisional salvation have to say about that? “But verse 12 tells us those who receive him... we have to receive him.” As if a lost man can “decide” not to receive Jesus. Well, as I heard a well-known evangelist once say, Sorry friend, when God calls, you’re coming. (John 6:37)

Jude then goes on to tell us in the next verse that certain men... certain men? God had determined who would do it, He has a purpose for their lives as He has a specific purpose for everyone’s life. And God WILL fulfill that purpose (Psalm 57:2, Psalm 138:8, Revelation 17:17). These men were before of old ordained, marked out for, condemnation.

They were not ordained to this condemnation based on God’s foreknowledge, as if God looked down the corridors of time and saw what “decision” a man would make and then condemned him. As we are not saved by works, neither do works condemn us. The way man lives his life will determine only the level of punishment in Hell (Luke 12:47-48; Revelation 20:12) or his reward in Heaven at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). Man is condemned because of the sinful nature we inherit from Adam, the sinful nature everyone possessed from the instant of conception (Psalm 51:5).

There are many who say God never predestined anyone to Hell. God doesn’t have to predestine anyone to Hell. Because of Adam’s sin, we all inherited the sinful nature and we were all destined for Hell, NOT because of anything we did but because of what we ARE - a sinner. But God loved Jews AND Gentiles [the world] so much that He sent His only begotten Son, that all those believing on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 contains no “whosoever” in the Greek. The Greek literally says “ALL those believing on Him,” not whosoever.)

Now who will believe on Jesus? A lost man won’t because he hates Jesus and will not come to him (John 3:20). Since that is the normal condition of a lost man it is clear that God must FIRST do a work in a lost man to make him a believer (John 6:29), and he now believes because God gave him belief (Philippians 1:29). Believing on Jesus is something God must enable a man to do (John 6:65).

But the bottom line of this Bible Truth is that the true faith we have, the faith God gives (Romans 12:3; Ephesians 2:8), must be defended because even among the ranks of the believers there will be contention, there will be those of weaker faith who do not fully trust in God nor accept in application His sovereignty in Election. But there will be those outside the faith who creep into the church who look like Christians, who talk the talk, and seem to walk the walk but will turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God. These men have been ordained, marked out by God long ago for condemnation - long before they lived the lives God had already determined for them. (Psalm 138:8; Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:4, 16:9, 19:21, 21:1)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bible Truth #387 - Jeremiah 29:10-11

10  For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Could the Israelites return to their land of their own? The Lord said after 70 years HE would perform His good word toward them and cause them to return to the Promised Land. So it matters not if they wanted to return earlier, or if they didn’t want to return after 70 years. The Lord was going to cause them to return after 70 years. Where is the free will here?

Not only does God work in the lives of each and every one of His children, He also moves the heart of kings and rulers (Proverbs 21:1) so it is no surprise that the Israelites would be set free by their captors because that is what God wants.

He continues and said that He knows the thoughts He has toward them, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give them an expected end. There is nothing the children of Israel could do that would change God’s plan (Isaiah 14:27).

All of this is carried forward to His church for God is immutable, unchangeable. He causes every event and circumstance, He works all things together for His good (Romans 8:28), and not only that, He works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will (Ephesians 1:11). There are some who may say, “But this event or that particular situation is evil! God has not caused that!” If you truly believe that then you don’t know God’s Word. We may think it is evil but it is all from God (Ecclesiastes 7:14, Lamentations 3:38, Isaiah 45:7). Was it not evil that Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers? God intended and caused that (Genesis 50:20). Was it not evil that Jesus Christ, the innocent Lamb of God, was scourged and crucified? God caused that too (Acts 2:23, Acts 4:28).

God has a plan for our lives, as well as every human being who ever lived. No one will go through their lives not fulfilling God’s purpose for them (Psalm 57:2, Psalm 138:8, Revelation 17:17). Even Judas was destined to do what he did (Psalm 41:9, John 13:18, Acts 2:23). God owns each and every human being who was ever born (Psalm 24:1, 2 Peter 2:1), and can have mercy and compassion upon whomever He wants (Romans 9:15). He has an expected end for each and every person because we were created for for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11). Free will? Sorry, that is simply a weakness of the flesh that many believers have not yet overcome.

We become children of God NOT by the [free] will of the flesh (John 1:13).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bible Truth #386 - Isaiah 6:1-10

1  In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.
2  Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3  And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”
4  And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
5  Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
6  Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs.
7  He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”
8  Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
9  He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10  “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.”

This is the passage to which Christ was referring when He spoke as recorded in Matthew 13:15 and Mark 4:12.

Those who believe in decisional salvation will claim the people listening to the very words of the Son of God were making their own hearts insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim but Isaiah recorded the prophesy of what the Lord said, the people would have their senses rendered useless by God Himself. Why? Because if He would not do it they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and then return and be healed - AND THAT WAS NOT GOD’S PLAN! Obviously God did not want them to return and be healed.

Irrefutably God was working in the lives of these people to keep them lost. Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ question makes that indisputable. When they asked Him why He spoke in parables He said the ability to understand the parables was given to the disciples but it was NOT given to those whom God did not want to understand (Matthew 13:11). God was working in that situation to conform it to His Will (Ephesians 1:11) as He does in EVERY situation.

Do not forget it is this same prophet whose writings tell us God’s Word will NOT return void but WILL accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which It was sent (Isaiah 55:11). If God wanted the people in general to be saved He would also have given them the same ability He had given the disciples, and that being the quickening of their spirits so they could hear and understand spiritual truths. It is impossible for a lost man who is spiritually dead to understand any spiritual truth (1 Corinthians 2:14).

- Isaiah also tells us no one can thwart God’s plan (Isaiah 14:27).
- Paul quoted Isaiah when writing to the Romans about the Potter doing what he wants with the clay (Isaiah 29:16, Isaiah 45:9).
- Isaiah recorded God said once He acts, no one can reverse it (Isaiah 43:13) and since God has already created the entire timeline, the beginning and the end (Isaiah 46:10), and everything that will happen between the two, i.e. He HAS acted, He has already done all that pleasures Him, including who is saved and who is not.
- Isaiah quoted God as saying He forms the light, creates darkness, makes peace, and creates evil (Isaiah 45:7).
- Isaiah prophesied about Jesus that He would bear the iniquities (through His death) of many (Isaiah 53:11), not all.
- Isaiah is the one who recorded that God said His thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and if that doesn’t explain God’s sovereignty in Election, nothing will.
- Isaiah wrote that God MADE them wander from his ways and that God hardened their hearts (Isaiah 63:17).

Salvation does NOT depend on man’s desire or effort (Romans 9:16), God has mercy upon, and saves whomever He wants (Romans 9:18). We become children of God NOT by the will of the flesh (John 1:13).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bible Truth #385 - John 6:35

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Who will come to Jesus? No lost man will - as Jesus Himself states (John 3:20). This is the conundrum that those who believe in decisional salvation face. They claim that any man can come to Jesus of His own “free will” even though it contradicts Jesus’ own words. Everyone who does evil hates the Light (Jesus) and will not come unto it.

Who will believe on Jesus? Certainly not any lost person who hates the Light (Jesus). God must do a work in a lost man to make him a believer (John 6:29) and then, and only then, will a formerly lost man believe. He believes, and accepts Jesus as his Savior because God has quickened his dead spirit and given him belief (Philippians 1:29).

Believing, repenting, and coming unto Jesus are all the results of God quickening the spirit in a lost man - not the cause. If man was required to do those things first it would make God a respecter of persons, i.e. He saves those who believe and doesn’t save those who don’t believe. (Acts 10:34)

So why tell a lost man to come when he can’t and won’t? What better way to prove to Christians that the natural man can’t do something than to tell him to do it? This is no different than a cop pulling over a drunk driver only to have the drunk driver say, “I couldn’t obey the law because I’m drunk.” He is still responsible, accountable, and guilty.

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bible Truth #384 - Matthew 13:10-17

10  And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
11  Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.
12  “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.
13  “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
14  “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
16  “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.
17  “For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

I wrote about verses 10 and 11 in Bible Truth #39 but I wanted to include them here for context. I also wrote about the same conversation Jesus had with His apostles and disciples in Bible Truth #381 from Mark’s Gospel, but I want to touch upon something Jesus said here in Matthew but not in the Gospel of Mark.

In verse 16 Jesus said, “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.”

It is unmistakable that Jesus was telling the apostles and other followers that the ability to see and hear the spiritual truths He was teaching was a gift from God and NOT normal of the human condition (v11). The fallen nature of man, also known as the sinful nature or the “natural man,” prevents him from seeing and hearing any spiritual truth. The reason for this is that a lost man is dead in his sins, meaning he is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5; Colossians 2:13). As long as he is dead he is unable to please God because everything he does is in the flesh and from the flesh, and they that are in the flesh can NOT please God (Romans 8:8). Jesus said the same thing when He said the flesh counts for nothing (John 6:63).

Obviously everyone present saw Jesus and heard His words but until God quickens a man’s spirit, he will never understand the Truth (John 8:43, 1 Corinthians 2:14) and will consider it foolishness. Christ chooses those to whom He will reveal the Father (Luke 10:22).

But those He chose before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), because of NOTHING they have done, including “accept Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5), are blessed because they CAN see and hear Jesus - and here in Matthew is not the only time Jesus said this, see Luke 10:23.

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

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bible Truth #383 - John 20:1-9

John 20:1-9
1  The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2  Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
3  Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4  So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5  And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6  Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7  And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8  Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9  For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

Verse 8, John saw and believed? But yet in the very next verse God’s Word tells us the apostles did not yet know the Scripture, that Jesus must rise from the dead. So if they did not know the Scripture, how could John believe? How could John believe something that he did not know? The answer is easy if you accept God’s Word on faith - God GAVE him belief (John 6:29; Philippians 1:29).

It was not until the Lord Jesus appeared to the apostles and others the evening the two disciples returned from Emmaus that their minds were opened by Jesus so they could understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)

A man is Totally Depraved because he is under the sin of Adam, is spiritually dead from the moment of conception (Psalm 51:5), remains spiritually dead his entire life unless God saves him (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5; Colossians 2:13), and can do nothing toward his own salvation because anything he does is of the flesh and they that are in the flesh can’t please God (Romans 8:8).

So how is a man saved? Without invitation and because of nothing the man has done (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5), God steps into the life of one of those He has chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), He quickens the man’s dead spirit through faith, the faith that He gives him as a gift (Romans 12:3; Ephesians 2:8). God simultaneously gives him belief (John 6:29; Philippians 1:29), repentance (2 Timothy 2:25), and understanding (Luke 24:45, 1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Timothy 2:7).

That man, who now has been enabled to recognize his wickedness and need for a Savior (John 6:65), WILL come to Christ (John 6:37) because the Father draws Him and those the Father draws, Jesus WILL raise up (John 6:44). There is no option for man to reject the call.

God has a plan for every person He bought, and He bought each and every man who has ever been conceived or will be conceived (Psalm 24:1, 2 Peter 2:1). He did not purchase salvation FOR them, He purchased THEM. The problem those who believe in decisional salvation have is that God chooses to redeem few. God does not call everyone to salvation (1 Corinthians 1:26) but those He does call, He also justifies and glorifies them (Romans 8:29-30). It is something God DOES and there is no option for man to reject the call.

The bottom line is that John believed without knowing or understanding Scripture, an impossibility without God working in him and giving him belief.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bible Truth #382 - 2 Peter 2:1

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.

There are some believers who claim that this passage proves Christ died for all men, even for those that will deny Him and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. This verse in particular tells us that false teachers will even “deny the sovereign Lord who bought them.”

Please note that Peter did not write that these men were “potentially” bought, but were in fact “bought,” period. Well if they are false teachers, deny the sovereign Lord and thus bring swift destruction on themselves, what does Peter mean that Jesus “bought” them? It certainly doesn’t mean Jesus bought salvation for them but they reject it. That is not what Peter wrote - again, Peter wrote that Jesus bought THEM, not salvation FOR them. So what does Peter mean that Jesus bought them?

Psalm 24:1 tells us that the earth is the LORD’S and everyone that dwells on it. Now if Jesus Christ owns each and every person who was ever conceived or will be conceived, can He not do with a man what He wants? This is the same thing that Paul tells us in Romans 9:20-21, the Potter can do with the clay as he sees fit, He owns it. If God wants to make a pot for dishonorable use, He can, and He does - every day.

The problem is that man has limited, finite wisdom, and some men are trying to understand an infinite God by applying human logic to a Divine work. “God is Love and He simply would not create a man for the sole purpose of damning him to Hell. It is not ‘Fair’ that God would not give every man the opportunity to choose to be saved.” Oh really? Then how does a man who believes that idea handle passages like:

- 1 Peter 2:8 - many are destined to stumble over Christ
- Romans 8:29-30 - some are predestined to be saved, most are not.
- Romans 9:22 - God prepared most vessels for destruction.
- Acts 13:48 - those appointed to eternal life, believed. Those who were not appointed, did not believe
- 1 Corinthians 2:7 - God’s secret wisdom has been hidden and destined for our glory before time began
- 1 Thessalonians 3:3 - we were destined for each and every event in our lives
- Ephesians 1:5 - we were predestined to be adopted, most were not
- Ephesians 1:11 - we were predestined to salvation according God’s plan, most were not

The bottom line is that passages in both the Old Testament and the New Testament tell us that God owns everyone and can do with us what He wants. I’m glad and will be eternally grateful that He chose some to redeem, for if He hadn’t, because of Adam we would ALL spend eternity in Hell.