Monday, January 30, 2006

Your Counsel is Requested...

It happened on a typical Sunday morning in the small sleepytown of Anyville, USA. The choir had just finished singing their first song when the door opened and in walked Mr. Professing Christian. He was dressed in a fine one piece suit with polished shoes and a crisp new red tie. In his hand was a beautifully bound black leather bible which had the look of being well used.

Mr. Keener, the head deacon was quick to offer this newly arrived gentlemen a fine seat in the padded pews near the front. Mr. Christian had the look of one who enthusiastically enjoyed the sermon preacher Parsons delivered that morning. As the service closed, Mr. Christian turned to extend a warm hand of fellowship to Joe and Martha Snobbly who in turn profusely welcomed the visitor with outstretched arms. Quickly taking hold of Professing's arm, Mrs. Snobbly led him straight to Pastor Parsons who was standing and talking to the other deacon, Mr. Hippicrit.

"Pastor Parsons, you must meet our new visitor, he is a fine christian if I have ever seen one". The pastor turned to greet the new gentlemen and glancing over his appearance immediately raised his right hand to welcome the man. "Why pleased to meet you sir, I do trust you enjoyed the service this morning?"

"Yes, I was really moved by your sermon, pastor, in fact I would like to discuss becoming a member of your fine church. As President of a global investment firm, I have chosen to set up our corporate headquarters in this tranquil little community. I do trust you will accept me as a member?"

Pastor Parsons paused for a moment, considering the bountiful increase in tithes that potentially lay head of him, then replied, "Why sir, we would be more than happy to have you join our loving church."

As Mrs. Snobbly scurried her newly found friend away, you quickly seize the opportunity to approach the pastor and question him on his quick acceptance of this unknown man.

Now It's Your Turn

What will you say? How will you discern whether or not this man is genuinely saved and is in fact a child of God? After all, as members of the congregation you will ultimately decide if this man can join your church and participate in the local ministry.

I would sincerely appreciate hearing how you would go about assessing the candidate for membership to your church based upon the requirement of salvation. Please give me your thoughts and be as brief or lengthy as you wish.

Thanks again for being an active participant.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Why Dost Thou Bloggest?

A few days ago, I noticed an article on someone's blog site about whether or not to blog. The author had pointed out that there were approximately 50 million blog sites currently with many of them producing nothing better than fluff. He also mentioned how our time could be spent more wisely and profitable doing other things. While I would wholeheartedly agree much time can be wasted on these sites, both reading and writing, I also think there can be much benefit as well. Let me explain...

First of all, our typical sources for news and information are the major media outlets. However we have come to realize that most if not all media has a biased approach to delivering their news according to a preset agenda. Sadly, much of today's so called news is nothing more than promoting current events through the lens of a humanistic and atheistic philosophy. The result is that we tend to feel overwhelmed and discouraged at the happenings around us. Furthermore, we are not receiving the truth much of the time as the editors couch the story in such a way to "color" the events to their favour. Now that may seem overly harsh but like they say, the truth hurts. Of course this does not discount completely the reporting of journalists and writers.

The benefit of the blog is that the common man or amateur can have a voice in the daily goings on. In fact, blogs are even beginning to influence policy makers in the halls of government. Talk about virtual democracy.

But the biggest reason I see for blogging, at least in the Christian realm, is the opportunity for fellowship. How else would I meet so many interesting characters? My initiation came through my acquaintance and brother in Christ, Daniel. From his site I discovered many weird and wonderful creatures such as the Centuri0n, the champion of literary causes. Then there was Pecadillo, the familial sidekick of Pyromaniac, another giant of literature proportions. Phil Johnson, aka pyromaniac, seems to have spread the fire bug and infected some new members to his team blog. I guess that is the latest trend in the blogosphere? It seems I have stumbled into a world of highly intellectual, young aspiring theologians, all eager to grind their spiritual axes. I am reminded of that verse, as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Ok, so some of the sharpening seems more like chopping, but we all mean well, right? Then there is Rose with her level headed reasoning’s, attempting to clear the smoke in some of the thickest battles. Of course when we all needed a break from the battle we would head over to Mark's Purgatorio for some gut wrenching laughter and frivolity. Another guy with some serious humour is a greatly undiscovered Aussie going under the pseudonym "The Teak".

Well no rest for the spiritually discerning! The flag of an opposing theology was sighted on the horizon and all hands were bolstered to stem off the invading foe. The esteemed and tried stalwart of the faith, Reformed Calvinism, was the target of a single handed assault by the lone stranger, Antonio. Unabated by stiff cross fire and smoke screen, the lone stranger continued to advance upon the bulwarks of the mighty fortress flying the bright colors of the tulip flower.

One by one, the many peons lining the walls began to fire their inaccurate and weak volleys, which rather than aid the defence simply added to the noise and confusion of the battle. As our fearless hero began to scale the mighty walls of Castle Von Tulip, the cry went up for reinforcements. Suddenly the crack troops appeared who began firing well aimed rapid bursts of HE (highly educated) shells. Feeling the heat of these targeted shots, the lone stranger began to buckle under the weight of his burden. Just when it seemed like he would lose his foothold on the walls, a trumpet was heard far off in the distance.

He turned to see his faithful companion Tonto galloping up at full speed. As he looked back again through the haze of battle, he began to notice faint silhouettes appearing at the edge of the forest. Led by Captain Cautious, this ragtag group of loosely connected individuals slowly approached the raging battle. Carefully trying to discern friend from foe, they scanned the horizon. Almost instantly a shout rose up from the elderly Lieutenant Wisely. Unable to hear him clearly amidst the roar of cannon fire, Captain Cautious crawled over the rubble to get closer to the aged soldier. He looked up in horror to see exactly what the Lieutenant had been yelling about. There hiding and yet quite visible in the yonder foothills was the flag of General Diablo's forces flying brazenly above his black steed.

For a moment Cautious was breathless, if the enemy was there on the sidelines then who were they actually fighting against? Slowly the realization dawned upon his face that their sworn adversary had again worked his crafty deceit. One by one, reports began coming in from recon that General Diablo had placed double agents among the population of DoctrinVille. It seems that the dark lord had devised a plot to corrupt the intelligence of the leading generals and cause discord among the soldiers of light. His plan was could Captain Cautious and his comrades warn the other citizens of DoctrinVille? Could they make it in time to avoid the bloody civil war that was beginning? How could they accurately discern truth from error among all the volumes of doctrine their courageous generals had written?

Captain Cautious summoned his bravest sergeants and ordered them to begin at once the attack upon General Diablo’s forces. He then gave orders for Lieutenant Wisely to take the mighty sword of truth and assist the citizens of DoctrinVille in their efforts to root out the agents of darkness, or heretics, as they were fondly called by the Doctrinites. Will truth prevail? With the forces of darkness be repelled? Will the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ shine brightly in your life today? Only you can decide the outcome, may you seek wisdom in the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

South Dakota Banning Abortion?

I read an interesting article here about one state's battle against abortion. Too often we believe the media reports that the majority of Americans support pro-choice. And why is it that the Catholics are some of the most ardent opponents? Where are the evangelicals?

Drop me a line with your thoughts...

The Devout Unbeliever!

While reading the account of Cornelius in Acts 10 this morning, I was struck with the similarity between this story and the happenings in chapter 2. Now you might ask, what was so much the same? After all Peter's audience's were completely opposite; Jews vs. Roman heathens. However as I read, I began to notice some striking comparisons, actually quite revealing I believe.

I have touched on the account of Acts 2 in a previous post, so I will simply begin by showing the similarities and then some contrasts I have noticed. First of all, both the Jews and Cornelius are described as being devout. Furthermore the Centurion was a man who gave generously and prayed often. Even the Jews in Jerusalem were not credited with being given to prayer or alms.

To me the stark contrast appears in Peter’s presentation of the gospel and the respective audience's response to the same. In the 2nd chapter, Peter commands the Jews to repent, but in chapter 10 even while he is yet speaking, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon those that heard the word. There is no mention of repentance or even the hint of it in this chapter, yet the Spirit was given to these Gentiles in such a way that they began to speak in tongues and glorify God.

Peter's command to the Jews was to repent and be baptized and then they would receive remission of their sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. But the gentiles received the Holy Spirit while Peter was still speaking. Is that not a striking difference? What was it that the Jews needed to repent of? While they were sinners as much as the Centurion, they had also rejected the claims of Christ beforehand, and were even guilty of His crucifixion. Therefore they needed to publicly acknowledge their complicity with Christ's death by openly repenting and confessing.

This is just a short comment, but I found it most interesting. Please let me know your thoughts and insights on these passages.

God's richest blessings.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Election Day!!

Today our country goes to the polls to elect a new government. Let's pray for God's mercy upon us as a nation. Please pray that all those who name the name of Christ will not sit passively by, but exercise their right to vote and more importantly pray earnestly for righteousness to prevail.

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people"

To our brothers and sisters to the south:

We sincerely appreciate your prayers for the church in Canada, that we would be a true reflection of Christ and shine the light of the gospel boldly to our fellow countrymen.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


I just read a well written, and sober exposition of the accounting believers will do before the judgement seat of Christ. Antonio has done a great job of explaining this little understood doctrine of reward vs. loss. I encourage you to check it out, and let me know your feedback.

The Bema Seat Judgement!

Principle of Philemon

I was reading through the book of Philemon this morning and began to wonder what the deeper issue was in this text. Was the letter simply written exhorting Philemon not to treat his servant harshly when he returned? Was Paul just pulling rank and using up a favor to help out a new child in the faith?

As I finished reading, I began to think there is an underlying principle that is applicable to all of us. At one time or another in our life, we were are all in need of mercy and forgiveness by another person. Yet how soon we forgot our own misfortunes once things started to get easy and properous again. Perhaps this is a good reminder that none of us is really any better than the next guy, and therefore we need to show grace in our conduct with others who we would esteem lower than ourselves. What are your thoughts?

Every blessing in Christ,


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Faith Leading to Repentance

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”Acts 2:37-38

After reading these verses, one could conclude that repentance precedes salvation. That is, that the work of repentance ushers in the gift of the Holy Spirit. But if we are not careful, we might assume that baptism is also necessary to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which of course would be a false statement. Further more, we could also read into Peter’s statement in verse 40 that there is a need to save oneself from this crooked generation. So here are three points which when casually looked upon may imply a work on the part of the individual in gaining their salvation.

But I think in order to understand these particular verses more accurately, and for that matter the role of repentance and baptism in salvation, we must consider the surrounding verses in the whole context of this chapter.

We know clearly from scripture that faith comes by hearing and that by the word of God. Prior to verse 37, Peter had been preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to a large crowd of Jewish men who had gathered from every nation under heaven. Another interesting point is mentioned regarding these men; they were described as being devout. Clearly God had prepared these chosen men beforehand, to be present at Pentecost in order to hear the news of the gospel, and return to their lands, essentially spreading the gospel to the far reaches of the known world.

Much can be said regarding this monumental chapter of Acts, however I wish to focus on a few key points. Since these men were devout Jews, they were familiar with the Old Testament scriptures and no doubt the prophecies concerning Christ and His return. However, they had missed the coming of Christ and had written off His death as that of a deceiver and common criminal. But when Peter spoke with the power of the Holy Spirit, divine revelation was imparted into their hearts, cutting them to the core of their conscience, so that they cried out; “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The response was quite obvious but Peter guides them in their proper response to the Lord and commands them to repent and be baptized.

So we see here clearly that faith had preceded their realization of the need to repent, and had done a work of conviction in their hearts so that they willingly sought God’s forgiveness. They were then immediately baptized and solidly continued in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. What an awesome sight that must have been to see 3000 news believers meeting in oneness worshiping Christ.

Now obviously these devout Jewish men had a large foundation of scriptural understanding and knowledge that had paved the way for this smooth transition into the church. Since they knew of the prophecies and law of God, once their hearts had been illuminated by the Holy Spirit, they knew exactly where and what they needed to repent from. These were not your typical Jewish men at the time, but devout seekers of the truth.

Now what about people that come to Christ today? Can we possibly expect someone to repent who has never heard the law of God, or does not know what God considers to be sinful? As Galatians tells us, “The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.” There is a definite need of the preaching of the law these days. If God is warning all men everywhere to repent, they must know what to repent from. The word of God does the preparatory work in convicting the heart of sin, leading the individual to realize his need to repent and trust Christ for His salvation.

Only when we see a holy God, will we ever see our wicked and sinful condition. The need for repentance goes much further than the initial act of salvation. There will be the need at times to repent of things that we may not have seen, or have stubbornly held on to. As we spend time meditating on the word of God, the Holy Spirit will probe our hearts and bring conviction upon any ungodly act or attitude we may be harboring.

Let us not quench the Holy Spirit in our life today, but respond with humility as He speaks to us.

God's richest blessings!

Monday, January 16, 2006

CD Review....

A few weeks ago I noticed a free offer on Challies Dot Com for a CD, the stipulation being that the recipient was required to do a review and post it on their blogsite. This particular CD was advertised as for children. Naturally with 6 children I am interested in finding godly music for my young ones.

Now I must plead some ignorance here as to the background of the Sovereign Grace Church movement. I had understood them to be of a Reformed background and therefore assumed them to be fairly conservative in their approach to music and doctrine. So when I received the CD and began listening, I was a bit surprised at the 'heavy' sound of some of the songs, especially since they were targeting a young audience.

But to be fair and try to bring an objective look at this Album, I will divide the CD into a few different sections and examine them separately.


As the back cover states, "How do kids learn about God's greatness? One excellent way is to sing songs that express God's character and nature in words that kids understand". I think that has been fairly well accomplished in these songs. The words reflect the issues children think about such as, who is God? Does He love me? How does God relate to this world and us as people? Will He forgive me when I sin?

Of course the gospel's message of Christ's propitiatory sacrifice is presented through his incarnation, suffering, and death to take our place on the cross. Many of the songs contain an element of the blood washing us from our sins, enabling us to stand in God's presence.

So overall, the songs are well written, and constructed in a way to impart some fundamental truths of scripture set to catchy melodies.

Presentation and Vocals

I was actually quite impressed with the overall quality of the presentation as most Churches do not have the talent and ability to release similar CD's. But then I guess this is the compilation of several Churches working together under the common ministry of Sovereign Grace.

The vocalists did very well and although I had a hard time guessing the ages, I would say there were a few soloists that were not much into their teens. Of course, children have a natural excitement and energy that flows out through the songs.


This is the part where I get into the controversial. While it is true that there are many different 'tastes' in music, I cannot but think that there are some elements of the way an instrument is played that accentuate the fleshly nature of our fallen self. What do I mean? Well it is fairly obvious that romantic music is designed to create a certain 'mood' in the listener. Other music such as heavy metal causes the listener to feel intensely powerful and invincible. Much, if not all of our modern day Rock scene is wrapped around a sense of anti-establishment, anti-authoritarianism, and 'do it my own way' thinking. This is the mentality these songs create in the minds and hearts of the listeners. So I was a bit saddened, to say the least, to hear the 'heavy' current in a number of these 'childrens' songs.


While the overall presentation of this CD was quite professional, and the words were well written and scripturally relevant, I doubt I will be letting my children listen to the songs as a whole. There are a couple of songs that I believe may become 'classics' in worship circles, and most certainly were they arranged more modestly in the musical approach, I would definitely enjoy presenting them. Also, I think the age group of this CD would fall more in the early to middle teen range rather than as young as 7.

Hear for Yourself

Of course, please don't just take my word for it. Here is a link to their website where you can listen to short snippets of these songs and actually download the lyrics and music.
Sovereign Grace Ministries

Friday, January 13, 2006

Are You Saved...?

There has been a debate raging now for some time in the Blogosphere. It seems to me that certain parties are attempting to dismantle the "sound theology" of the Calvinistic doctrine. The particulars of this debate revolve around the means of salvation and whether or not the same carries any guarantees from scripture. In other words, can you know for sure that you are saved, without any doubts or hesitations.

So, I would like to ask all of you in Blogdom, especially those of the reformed persuasion to set the record straight once and for all.

Are you saved, yes or no? Please give a detailed explanation from scripture on why you believe you are, or are not.

I look forward to hearing some lucid, convincing and solid answers.

Don't Sweat It...

"Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof". Matt. 6:34

What? Don't worry about tomorrow? When you think about it, our culture is so engrained in planning, preparing, conniving, and all sorts of scheming to get ahead and make sure we are protected from any adversity or hardship that may come our way.

Notice in this verse that Jesus did not say - do not plan for tomorrow - but rather not to worry about it. There is a marked difference between planning and worrying, however our peace of mind should not come from the fact that our planning is perfect but instead that we have a faithful God.

Now if we take the words in this verse literally, "Take no thought", then we would have to admit that what Jesus is saying is, don't even think about tomorrow and the needs you will have. In scripture there are underlying principles that are true regardless of time, place, or other temporal situations. Here the principle Jesus is teaching us is daily dependence upon Him for everything we need. Does not our heavenly Father know what we need? Of course He does, but I think the issue becomes one of trust and reliance. Are we willing to depend solely upon Christ for all our needs, not just our spiritual food?

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

Are you seeking His kingdom today, and His righteousness? Perhaps the reason the Lord withholds certain things from us is that He knows they will only lead to our destruction. Consider the rich man, when coming to Jesus asked what he must do to inherit eternal life, could not forsake all his riches to follow Christ. He went away sorrowing and missed the blessings of God. Are you seeking the face of Jesus today, or are you simply looking for the blessings that come from His hand?

So while proper planning may be prudent and even necessary in our tech saavy world, we must learn daily dependence upon our heavenly Father for all our needs, both spiritual and physical.

"Give us this day our daily bread".....

"But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:19

Lord Jesus, help me to seek your glory today and desire to please you in all I do. Let me serve you not with eye service only but from the heart, that you may be glorified in my life. Amen.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

His Grace Is Sufficient...

Have you ever considered that there could be times where God's grace is not made available to you? Romans 1 says, "Should we continue in sin that grace may abound?". This chapter tells us that where sin did abound, grace did much more abound. Does this mean that our sinning is beneficial in helping the flow of grace? On the contrary, Paul clearly points out that the one who sins becomes a slave of that sin.

There is another aspect of grace that I would like to focus on; while we all realize that grace is the means of our salvation, it is also the means of our sanctification. But to gain this grace, there is a requirement on our part. James warns us that, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble". Peter quotes the exact same words in Pet. 5:5. In fact, Peter tells us to be clothed with humility. So clearly, we need a healthy dose of humility to receive God's grace. This must be a daily occurrence of acknowledging our need for the Lord, coming to Him humbly seeking light from His word, and the freshness of His Spirit.

Can mature Christians still struggle with pride? To be sure yes, for there are many things in our lives that can cause us to stumble. Consider your own knowledge of the Bible...have you ever been proud of how much you know compared to the guy down the street? Or maybe how well you understand the doctrines of some particular "ology". Correct Biblical truth is vital, but it must be woven inside of wisdom and humility.

In fact, we are told that "knowledge puffs up". This kind of knowledge comes void of humility, when there is a personal selfish drive for recognition and prestige. I heard a well known Bible teacher say words to this end; "Knowledge tells others how important I am, while wisdom tells me how little I know".

May you all experience abundant grace in your walk today!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tempted and Tried

Tempted and tried
Deep down inside
I can’t deny
That I’m tempted

The words from this song clearly portray an inner battle of the soul in a struggle with sin. This is true whether you consider yourself a believer in Jesus Christ or have never confessed Him as Lord and Saviour.

Everyone of us is and has been tempted at times to do things we innately know are wrong and violate our conscience. Of course the more “liberated” among us will simply declare that this was some moral standard imposed upon them by some dominating authority.

I have seen a strange sight though, Christians who boast in the amount of temptation they experience and how they are able to not give in. This seems rather strange after considering the words of James in chapter 1:13-15;

"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death".

The presence of temptation in our life reveals to us that we have wandered away from God by our own lust. From this position, we easily fall prey to sin’s destructive influence in our life and reap the fruit of sin, which is death.

For whatever reason, the translators of the KJV used the English word “temptation” for two different Greek words. The first one in 1:2 implies testing for a greater purpose; such as persecution, lack of resources to test our faith, or silence from God on some issue that causes us to seek His principles in His Word. The second Greek word has the connotation of a real temptation for the purpose of ensnaring or enticing, with a final goal of destruction. Praise the Lord, our God does not tempt us in this way but His desire for us is that we might be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

How do we avoid sliding into this wrong kind of temptation? Scriptures give us clear commands to “bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”. It all starts with our thought life, if we lose the battle there, we will lose all the way down the line. Let us dwell upon His words today, as David says so simply put; “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee”.

Grace and Peace in your walk today.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Judicial Nominations

Is anyone following the nomination process of Judge Samuel Alito? This is one of those defining and pivotal moments in the history and future of America. Why? Because these Supreme Court Justices will help to decide how current and future laws are interpreted, and whether the same are "constitutionally valid".

This is far from some obscure political process, but rather an integral and rather sobering decisive moment in the battle for the soul of America. Gone are the days of objective and non-partisan legal decisions, and those that hold to blind justice are simply fooling themselves.

It has become obvious that your moral persuasion can be a negative factor in the selection process...for we would not want some fundamental activist judge overturning the sacred and imperishable right to destroy our offspring without impunity. I mean, come on, now that everybody is building their life around the ability to do as they please knowing that - should contraception fail, they can always resort to the butcher's knife to end an intrusion into their "quality of life" - how could we possibly remove this reliance of the law? What? Since when was the law to be a reliance for murderers and adulterers as protection from justice?

Does this sound familiar? "Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil". If you name Christ as saviour and Lord, then I plead with you to spend time praying for your leaders, and in particularly this judicial nomination.

Sadly, the process has been flawed from the start due to Senator Arlen Specter being Committee Chairman. While he wears the colors of the the Republican party, his personal philosophy endorses abortion, and at best he is a moderate conservative. Thankfully God is sovereign, so let us intercede for this and future generations.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Politically Correct Reformism

Having only been in the blog world for a couple of months now, I am still new to the whole concept. However, I have noticed in my wanderings among the Christian blog sites, a very heated discussion that has consumed many keystroke and comment entries.

Somehow I feel like I have stumbled straight into the good ole’ boys club of Evangelical Christendom. What I mean is that it seems there are two disparate opinions or views on scripture, and two much divided camps.

It seems to me that one is labelled with one of two different distinctions; either that of Calvinist or Armenian. While this may be a general statement, it is my observation that if one that does not hold tightly to all 5 points of the TULIP doctrine, the same may be considered as treading upon dangerous ground doctrinally. Further it seems to me that certain well known preachers have become figure heads for these polar sides, and are used frequently to state a point.

I am not attempting to promote one side or the other, or to further drive a wedge between them; but rather my desire is to seek common ground, not on the merit of man’s doctrines but solely upon the Word of God. To that end, I would like to dissect this argument a bit in order to find the point of contention, and ultimately the areas of agreement. Sometimes we can labour an issue to such degree that it gets blown completely out of proportion. Of course, I am in no way attempting to negate or diminish the importance of doctrine or truth. God’s Word is unchanging and as such, its truth has the same relevance today as it did thousands of years ago.

I must also confess that I have not read much from either John Macarthur or John Piper. Neither have I read any of Zane Hodges or such Free Grace authors. So, my premise and foundation will simply be scripture. I believe that scripture itself gives us the best reference for interpreting the meaning of Bible passages.

The Crux of the Matter

The doctrine in question, it seems, is the means of salvation. How are we saved? Is it by grace alone through faith alone, or are there requirements that precede faith such as works; and are works necessary to prove saving faith?

I have also noticed that the saying “birds of a feather flock together” seems to ring quite true as well in the theological realm. It seems we would rather promote the teaching of our favourite pastor, preacher, or bible commentator than placing our stand solely upon the Word of God. Why must we filter all of our understanding of doctrine and scripture through the lens of any man’s fallible and inherently slanted take on truth?

Now don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly believe in the exhortation and teaching other men of God can provide, but my foundation must be the inspired Word alone. Just like the Bereans, we must diligently search the scriptures when any person teaches us doctrine.

The Big Issue

Okay, can we take each point separately so that we do not confuse the issue with sideline traps and rabbit trails?

How are we saved? Is it by faith alone?

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph. :8-9

Now tell me, do you actually need a commentator to understand those verses? Praise God He has made the way of salvation easy enough for a child to understand. These verses put the onus of salvation clearly in the hands of God; He is the one presenting the gift of faith. Further, we read that works have no part in this transaction, lest any man should boast and take some of the glory for himself.

Now where does this faith come from? Is it something I worked up, or decided to believe?

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom. 10:17

In this verse, the Greek for “word” is Rhema, which is different from the other Greek word Logos. Rhema is the instant spoken word, the living word, and the convicting word. It is by the Rhema of God that we receive faith to believe unto salvation. It is also the same Rhema that we are to live and walk by. Consider the following verses in the context of Rhema vs. Logos (being the written word).

But the Rhema of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the Rhema which by the gospel is preached unto you.
1 Pet. 1:25

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Rhema of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
Heb. 11:3

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the Rhema of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Heb. 1:3

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Rhema of God.:
Eph. 6:17

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the Rhema,
Eph. 5:26

For I have given unto them the Rhemas which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
John 17:8

Just a Few Thoughts

This is just a brief sampling of the usage of Rhema in the New Testament. What strikes me as fairly obvious is that our God is a speaking God. Isn’t that what the Old Testament prophets mocked the heathen for; that their idols could not speak or move? Scripture tells us that God spoke all things into existence. The faith that we received as a gift came to us through God speaking it into us. This was not an audible voice, but rather God moving through His written word (logos) enlivening our understanding. We then became receivers of His grace and resurrection life. Christ has become the life giving Spirit imparting His Divine life into all who receive Him as saviour.

Is this not the essence of Salvation, the new birth into Christ and His Spirit indwelling our spirit? Would you not agree that this is entirely God’s doing? There is nothing we could have done, or could ever do to merit His grace.

Please let me know your thoughts, I hope to continue along this line as we seek to find oneness in Christ.