Friday, July 28, 2006

Is this Perserverance?

A fellow blogger had this to say in a comment. Do you agree?

Jim, with regard to your second question, it would not only be presumptuous -- it would also be contrary to Scripture -- to think that we have a guarantee of salvation. That's not to say, however, that we should despair of God's mercy. What we need to be careful of, however, is the error that we can make some kind of profession of faith and be assured we have an iron clad guarantee of going to heaven.

To the contrary, Scripture tells us that our salvation is an ongoing process, not a one time event. If one reads Scripture carefully, we see that we have been saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8); we're being saved (1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12); and, we hope to be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Even St. Paul said, "I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12), "with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ" (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13).

Wow. I can't speak for you, but if St. Paul felt he still needed to work on his salvation, I think it would be foolish of me to presume my salvation is guaranteed!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Why the Conflict?

When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Prov. 16:7

Looking at the current conflict in the Middle East, one has to question the reasons for this reoccuring unrest. As long as I can remember, Israel and it's neighbours have been fighting and waging war with each other. There must be a reason other than geo-political?

If we peel back the pages of history and read the accounts of Israel's earliest days, we see a struggle for survival. Many times, the nation of Israel had to fend off invading raiders, warring nations, and conquering kings. Has this always been because of sin or iniquity?

There are possibly other reasons why God allowed His people to face trials and afflictions. More than once, a God fearing king had to face the wrath of an invading nation.

But the main reason for Israel's loss on the battlefield was its divided heart as revealed through idolatry and worldliness. Time after time, the people would forget the commands and ways of their God and go after the gods of the nations. In His jealous wrath, the Lord sent armies to bring His people back to Him. Many times they did indeed cry out for deliverance, but sadly eventually they succumbed to the sin of idolatry and were driven into exile, their temple and beautiful capital city destroyed.


Much of what we see in the Bible concerning Israel is a mirror or picture of the Christian life. Sure, we have been brought out of Egypt, baptized into the Jordan, and entered into the good land. However, just as Israel had their giants and wicked nations to destroy, so too, we must put to death the old man and his evil ways. The giants that David faced are pictures of the same struggles we battle today; lust, greed, anger, pride, and fear. We read in 1 John 2:16 that "all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

To enter into the good land is not to escape these enemies. Rather, we are not confronted with them in a most agressive way. As sons and daughters of God, we are now also enemies of Satan. As such, he is opposed to us and will attempt to defeat our walk using the tactics mentioned above.

As soon as we begin to think we are able to stand on our own, the tempter lays a cunning trap which catches us off guard. We are then exposed to overpowering forces that our flesh is incapable of fighting off. At this juncture, we must acknowledge our weakness and cry out to God for help.

However, we do not need to let things go that far. By being constantly in fellowship with our Saviour and allowing Him to lead and guide us, we can avoid many problems and painful afflictions.

Are we being bombarded on all sides by our enemies? Perhaps our ways are not pleasing the Lord. But, there is also the possibility that our adversary is not happy with our testimony. In that case we must learn to resist the devil and he will flee from us. May our precious Lord Jesus keep us close to Him as we listen to that still small voice.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My Brother Daniel

I am not being lazy here, but I want y'all to read what Daniel has to say on the issue of the Tree of Life and it's relevance in our lives today. Please keep in mind that this post is not related to soteriological issues, so make sure you check your weapons at the door.


p.s. I am not endorsing his pornographic picture however. 18+ required.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Who are They?

And I will pour on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look on me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. Zechariah 12:10

Who is Zechariah referring to in this passage? Has this prophecy been fulfilled yet? If so, when?

If you have an answer that makes sense please let me know. I am interested in hearing the reformed view of this passage.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Cup of Trembling

Have you been watching the news on Lebanon lately? What has surprised me is the number of foreign nationals currently there. I am curious, why are there so many Americans, Canadians, British, and French there? I mean, 25,000 Americans, 40,000 Canadians, and over 25,000 Australians?

In a country of only 4 million people that is a lot of tourists and visitors?

Another question; why is there no evacuation from Israel when rockets are falling down all over the cities there? Could it be people have no confidence in the government of Lebanon. Would you, when they have obviously succumbed to the influence of Hezbollah?

If a nation wants to maintain sovereignty, they must keep control of any unlawful organizations in their country. Can you imagine if our government did not keep a tight lid on the Hells Angels?

The truth of the matter is that there is strong support for Hezbollah among the populations of the Arab nations. Why? Because they are venting an anger that the nations are unofficially willing to commit. They would rather finance and support the terrorist groups under the table than openly confront them and risk the wrath and military might of Israel (and for that matter, America).

Now, our western bleeding hearts media seems to only look at the current conflict through the narrowest angle, forgetting the historical context of this struggle.

At the heart of this conflict are two opposing religions and philosophies. The Arab nations with their strong Islamic beliefs and practices, and the Jews with their God given claims to the land of Israel.

What the media continually fails to acknowledge is the fact that all the Arab nations are silently working towards the extinction of Israel as a nation and the Jewish people as a race. Lately, Iran's president has voiced these same intentions with unveiled hatred and contempt. No wonder Israel's resolve to root out this militant arm of anti-Israeli sentiment.

As Christians what should our response be? We know from scripture that God is calling people out of all nations, tribes, and tongues. Therefore He desires even Palestinians, Lebanese, and every other Arab nation to come to Christ. Sadly, these people are blinded by the lies of a false god named Allah, and the writings of the prophet Mohammed. Conversely the Jewish nation has also been blinded to the truth of the gospel. Let us pray that the Lord would be pleased to open the blind eyes, and call many out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Are You Relevant?

In the pursuit of being up to date and current, many have overlooked the fact that some things really never change. As Christians, we have an insatiable desire to be relevant in the community and appear as "normal" to our neighbours.

This attempt at fitting in causes some to compromise their values, principles, and conscience, trying to garner the favour of a lost and dying world. Somehow we think the gospel will be more readily accepted if we present it cloaked in the modern influence of culture and fashion. Perhaps we even go so far as to change the terminology and phrasing we use to sound more cool or in touch with our society.

While being unnecessarily dated is not an advantage either, and can be a hindrance, our hope for souls to be won should not rest in our wisdom, looks, talents, or abilities; but simply in the gospel of Jesus Christ. For as the scriptures say; "God has chosen the foolishness of preaching the gospel to save..."

Now many today have boiled to gospel down to a simple "God loves you" message that is not the least bit offensive. The problem is that it is also very ineffective. You see, while it is true that God loves us, His love is tempered by His justice and righteousness. He cannot just overlook sin and rebellion, His just nature demands a penalty for sin.

In order for the good news to really become good news, the whole truth must be given; the fact that we have broken the eternal laws of God, and stand in the path of His impending wrath and judgement. Only after we see our sinful condition and our lost state, will the fact that Jesus paid the price sound good to us. As the song says;

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
To a believers ear;
It soothes his sorrow, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fears.

Now, another aspect of being relevant is the thought that we must be current on the popular culture and the pulse of society.

However, the more I look at the world situation and see history unfolding around us, the more I realize that God's word is the central theme guiding the course of this world. If we want to be truly relevant, we will immerse ourselves in the written word of God, and allow His divine nature to saturate our entire being, making us vessels capable of participating in the greatest adventure of history, the revealing of our Saviour and Lord to a lost and dying world.

Now, go and be relevant!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Our Man has Balls!!

It has been extremely refreshing to now have a Prime Minister who stands for more than the popular vote.

For the past 13 years we have had to put up with compromise after compromise, as the former leaders attempted to please everyone from the same-sex marriage advocates to the separatist Bloc Quebecqois.

Now, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is now attempting to right the wrongs and bring some sanity and honesty to the halls of government. After 5 months in office, his mandate is making some obvious improvements.

First, he has reestablished ties to the U.S. administration, which our former leadership had shamefully ridiculed.

Secondly, he has taken the reins of power by sticking to his word on several issues, such as reducing the GST and expanding the military's budget.

But, today I was very impressed to see his comments relating to the current Israeli-Lebanon conflict. Contrary to the apathetic leaders of Europe, he is acknowledging Israels right to a sovereign defense, and during his meeting with Tony Blair cited the need for Hezbollah to release the IDF soldiers as the way to achieve peace. Why is almost every head of state opposed to Israel's right to self-defense?

May God continue to give our Prime Minister wisdom, courage, and integrity to do and say the right things, no matter how politically incorrect. Now, let's pray he will have some guts to stand against the same-sex legislation illegally ramrodded through by the last government.

God bless Canada!

A Sick, Sick Story!

Daniel Phillips has posted on the disgusting selfish attitude of our modern yuppies and their justification for killing their "imperfect" children.

Check it out...this is what we are up against. Speak out!

Beautiful and Sensitive - make me puke!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stocks and Bonds

The Philippian Jailer

…And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open; he drew his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
Acts 16:27-34

This account of Paul and Silas’ time in prison leave us with some very interesting observations. There are a number of things I could point out, but I would like to first discuss the issue of the Jailer’s salvation.

It was obvious that he knew of the two men’s faith. They were quite vocal about it, even singing praises unto God in the midst of the prisoners, locked in the stocks.

However, God orchestrated an unusual thing to happen; an earthquake that opened every door and unlocked every chain. Here was their opportunity to escape, after all were they not unjustly arrested in the first place? But Paul had a true heart for evangelism, and here it shines through. In the midst of this chaos he cries out for the jailer to not commit suicide. The same man that was cruel and harsh with Paul and Silas is now being rescued from death by them. In one night he is saved both physically and spiritually.

Now the jailer didn’t need any more prompting, he realized that God was indeed a mighty God and the sudden realization of his lost state overwhelmed him. Rushing into the cell, he fell before them, and in a trembling voice asked what he must do to be saved…

What would you have said? Here is the simplicity of the gospel; all that is recorded for us is that was told to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved”.

The next verse describes them as speaking the word of the Lord to him and his household.

After this he and his whole household were baptized in obedience to the word of God. Then he began to wash the wounds of Paul and Silas as well as feed them. His once indifferent attitude was now changed to one full of appreciation and thankfulness for his new life in Christ.

Would to God we could be such witnesses of His grace and light to a dark and lost world.

Now, what else could be said on this passage?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A conversation on the Gospel

I recently had an online chat conversation with a young man who expressed confusion over the way of salvation. I had noticed the following phrase on his profile comment line..."the one who endures to the end, he will be saved."

I decided to find out what he meant by that and what follows is our conversation.

Jim: What do you mean by the one who endures to the end?

Young Man: what do you mean, read matthew 24... you might learn something...:)

Jim: Thanks. I like to learn new things.

Young Man: hahahahaha.

Jim: What does that mean to you to endure?

Young Man: last... to overcome...I think.

Jim: How do we do that?

Young Man: don't give in to temptation...overcome sin.

Jim: so what happens when we give in to temptation and sin?

Young Man: you better ask for forgivness and repent.

Jim: How does that fit in with enduring until the end?

Young Man: well you can't give in to temptation, you can't fall away from Christ...and no one knows when the end will come.

Jim: What does it mean to fall away from Christ?

Young Man: give into sin.

Jim: ha ha, you are giving me the run around on these answers.

Young Man: lose

Jim: What happens to someone who loses faith and gives into sin?

Young Man: maybe I don't have the answer...

Jim: What does one have to do in order to end up in hell?

Young Man: not believe...not repent...have no faith.

Jim: believe what?

Young Man: believe christ died for our's much easier to go to hell then to heaven.

Jim: no doubt...what does it mean to have faith?

Young Man: to believe that Christ died for our sins,to believe he's coming back for trust in his word.

Jim: Do you believe you will spend eternity with Christ?

Young Man: honestly, if the last day of the earth was tomorrow, no...but I'm working on it.

Jim: What do you think it would take to know for sure?

Young Man: to know deep down inside that I put the Lord first in my life and that I live every day for him...which I know I haven't.

Jim: Isn't that based upon your own efforts? Is there anything you can do to make yourself a better person or acceptable to God?

Young Man: yes.

Jim: what? The bible says that there is none righteous, not even one, and anything we try and do for God is like the filthy rags of a women having her period. gross eh!

Young Man: well being a good person won't get you into heaven but I think I would be more acceptable to God if I put him first everyday and told people about him.

Jim: Basically, there is nothing we could ever do to earn God's forgiveness. You could tell the whole world about God and that still wouldn't get you into the kingdom of heaven. Even if you put Him first everyday from now on, you have still fallen short of His glory.

Young Man: God's grace is a gift we can't earn it.

Jim: That's right, how do we access that grace.

Young Man: I'm not sure...give your life to him.

Jim: Do you believe Jesus Christ died for you?

Young Man: yes.

Jim: Do you believe He can forgive your sins?

Young Man: yes.

Jim: The bible says that if we confess Jesus as Lord, and believe that God has raised Him from the dead we shall be saved. "But as many as received Him, to them he gave the ability to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." You must believe He died for you, and confess Him as your Saviour. With our mouthes confession is made unto salvation. There is nothing we could do to earn God's favor. Jesus Christ took our place on the cross and the punishment (eternal fire) that we deserved. The payment was made in full, but we need to acknowledge that and trust Christ to save us. Living for Christ and telling others about Him are great, but they will never save us. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse us from our sins and allow us to stand before God, blameless.

Jim: That is a decision you must make between yourself and God. You must place your trust completely in His sacrifice...calling out to Him to save you and forgive you from your sins. The Bible says that he who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not is condemned.

Jim: Does this make sense to you?

Young Man: yes.

Jim: awesome!

Young Man: :) yes it is...thanx Jim.

Jim: Your more than welcome, I am always happy to try and answer any questions....I will be praying for you.

Young Man: thanx I greatly appreciate it.

While this man obviously knew the terminology regarding salvation, he lacked a key ingredient...assurance. He had no definitive confirmation of being saved. He really didn't understand trusting in Christ alone. Instead, he had included the need to repent, to not sin, to not fall away, and to tell people about God in order to incur His favor. This is the basic problem plaguing religion today...a man centered attempt at reaching God, without realizing that we cannot add to the finished work of Christ. He had not come to the place of simply abiding in Christ and entering into the rest Christ had purchased. This is interesting since many people can quote verses, doctrines, and theologies. But they lack the critical step of faith in Christ, apart from any other external activity. I sincerely pray that he will realize Christ is enough and the payment has already been made in full. He just needs to reach out by faith and lay hold of the promises in scripture. May we all return to the simplicity of trusting in Christ alone. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Beginning of Apostasy

When does a church or denomination begin the descent into apostasy? When is the line crossed from the pure teaching into the obscurity of falsehood and confusion?

How can one tell if a certain Christian group is on the level doctrinally?

While there are many warning signs to look for, the first and most obvious one is the means of salvation.

In other words, what a church, denomination, or organization teaches and promotes concerning the way of salvation is the true benchmark of apostasy.

It is so simple that we usually miss it: Whenever any condition is added to the doctrine of grace through faith, the die has been cast for declension into apostasy. If we make the gospel conditional upon any other factor than expressly required, we have created another gospel, and instead of being the good news it has now become the formula for attaining eternal life.

We are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ - plus nothing - minus nothing. Any addition of works or requirements pollutes the purity and power of the shed blood of Christ, and casts insult upon the finished and complete work of Christ.

When you add requirements to simply trusting in Christ alone for your salvation, you have in essence created a works based salvation, or as the theological elite like to call it, an anthropocentric gospel.

You may say, “But they have such sound doctrine or teach such wonderful hermeneutics”. Any such teaching will be flawed and fundamentally corrupted by their denial of the sufficiency of the atoning work of Christ’s blood for our sins.

To front or backload the gospel is to create another gospel. While many may in fact be saved through such incorrect preaching, there will exist doubts and fears that their salvation may possibly be false, spurious, disingenuous, or even be taken away should they not maintain good works and evidences of fruit.

So to nail it down: Our hope should rest on nothing else but Jesus’ blood and righteousness. In Christ alone my hope is found. Praise God that nothing can separate us from His love which is in Christ Jesus.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday's Quiz Question

Dear readers, I would like your imput on this question:

Who does the Bible mean when it refers to Babylon in the NT, especially in regards to its mention in Revelation?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Calvin's Hobble

If a 4 point Calvinist is in fact an Arminian, does a 4 point Arminian then become a Calvinist?