Sunday, May 27, 2012

Is God a "Respecter of Persons" If We Are Chosen?

Controversy is sometimes necessary. 
"The only way to avoid all controversy would be to consider nothing we believe important enough to defend and no truth too costly to compromise" (R. Albert Mohler, Jr. - Tabletalk, May 2012).
I have had several opportunities to engage friends and family members in conversations regarding the doctrine of election, which is by it's nature, controversial.  (These doctrines are opposed to the natural mind, which is at enmity with God.) 

Sadly, I am afraid I have not always adorned the doctrines of grace (which includes the doctrine of election) with the love and humility that I should have... especially when I was in my "cage stage" - "that period of time during which a new convert to Reformed theology should be locked up in a cage for his own good and the good of others around him" (Keith A. Mathison).

But more than once, those who argue against God's sovereign grace in salvation suggest that the doctrine makes God a "respecter of persons."  The Bible says in many places that God is NOT a "respecter of  persons," so this issue must be addressed.

This is one of the best explanations I have heard:

Why Arminian Conditional Election Makes God a Respecter of Persons
By John Hendryx

I love all my brothers and sisters in Christ, but some of you are clearly robbing God of His glory by believing that you had some part in your being born again.  If this is your belief (and it used to be mine), then I appeal to you to read this article... search God's Word... pray... and know the truth.

Grace and Peace!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Our Dying & Christ's Returning


"His body he leaves on this earth, but his soul goes to heaven.

This departure represents the culmination of earthly Christian life.  Picture it this way: when a man first comes to Christ he has one foot in heaven, one foot left on eath.  But then, for the rest of his life, he slowly shifts his spiritual weight.  With the passing of time he grows in love for God, even as he grows nearer to the day when he will enter the presence of God.  Finally, in death, he lifts his back foot from earth entirely and steps fully into the world above.  At last he is both of heaven...and in it too.

This truth transforms the prospect of death for all who are in Christ.

The experience of those in heaven now is what theologians have traditionally referred to as 'the intermediate state.'


I. Christ will give believers imperishable, glorious, powerful bodies.
II. Christ will judge the world.
III. Christ will renew the world.
Now the last one was a new thought for me.  The author points us to Ps. 2:8, Matt. 5:5, Isa. 65:17, and Rev. 5:10 as proof that this world will not be destoyed and eliminated, but dramatically renewed. 

"Just as my resurrection body will be my body raised, so will the new world be this world glorified.  Lo and behold, the promised 'new earth' will turn out to be this earth made new."

What do we say when a friend gives us a tour of his impressively remodelled home?  'I love what you've done with the place.'  How much more will we say that -- or at least think that, for the beauty of the sight may leave us speechless -- when we first behold on that great daywhat this world was always meant to be.

We will live and serve fruitfully on solid ground.  Life without fear, labor without frustration... The ground will no longer groan but rejoice, and we will rejoice with it."

I don't know about you, but that EXCITES me, friend! 

Now I don't think I'll write anymore about this book.  I've written enough, I suppose.  But I would highly recommend you pick up a copy and test it with Scripture.  It has changed my outlook in many ways, and the truths within give me greater hope and fill me with greater joy. 

This earth will be ours, dear brother or sister in Christ!  It will ours to reign with Him.  It will be ours renewed.  We will rejoice... God's people... and the earth!  And Jesus' prayer will be answered in full:

"Thy kingdom come. thy will be done, on Earth, as it is in heaven."

The Father always answers the Son's prayers, because the Son always prays according to the Father's will.

Think about it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Heaven - Chapter 2

In Chapter 2, titled "Show Me the Way Home," the author digs into the meat and potatoes of God's work. Here are some highlights:
"If we pose the question (and yes,my children have posed it; perhaps you know children who have posed it too), How will Jesus get us to heaven? -- the answer goes something like this: he will get us there by (1) our effectual calling, (2) our dying, and (3) his returning.
...[That] is a biblical answer. And because it is biblical, the more you reflect upon it, the more you realize just how exciting it really is! Think of it: he will get us there -- better yet, at the end of the age he will get heaven here -- and even death itself will serve his purpose along the way.

Put simply, the Spirit changes sinners' hearts so that they trust in Christ for salvation... The one who has been changed this way -- changed so deeply so as to believe truly -- has thereby become an already heavenly man, while he remains here on earth.
a. The Christian possesses a heavenly disposition. ...Of course, this does not mean the believer no longer sins. He does so regularly, and sometimes grievously... that deep-seated orientation exists beneath layers of sinful patterns and desires. This is precisely why he finds the Christian life to be a battle every day. Love for God is now his defining orientation -- his internal moral compass points heavenward -- but the vestiges of sin remain.
b. The Christian is animated by heavenly desires. ...His earthly pursuits will be governed by heavenly desires. Look him in the eye and ask him, "What do you really want? (and emphasize 'really' to make the point). His answer will not be: 'wife and children and picket fence'. His answer (to make use of the Westminster Shorter Catechism Q.1) 'to glorify God and to enjoy him forever, and to live in a world where everyone around me does too.' This is the Christian Dream. ...Christian, do you want to glorify and enjoy God? Do you want to live in a world where everyone else does too? Guess what: the saints and angels in heaven feel the same way, and right now they are gazing upon the One who lived and died and lives again to make it happen. It will happen. 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied' (Matt. 5:6). After all, your Father in heaven and the Son at his right hand desire it fat more earnestly than you do. Infinitely more. It will happen.
c. The Christian possesses a heavenly justification. ...Justification is an act of God's free grace wherein he pardoneth all our sins and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone' (WSC Q.33)... How is justification a heavenly blessing? In three ways.
First, to be justified is to possess the same right to heaven that belongs to those who are already there...
Second, justification is heavenly in that it anticipates the day when the believer will go to heaven through death...
Third, justification is heavenly in that it anticipates the day when the new world -- Christ's heavenly world -- will be ushered in.

2. OUR DYING (coming in my next post)

Thank you for reading.


I just finished a book titled Setting Our Sights on Heaven -- Why It's Hard and Why It's Worth It , by Paul D. Wolfe. It was one of those reads that changes the prism by which I view the works of God, the world, my life, and my journey. I hope to share a few posts on its content:
"The Son of God came into the world. Why did he come? ...Here is one: his mission was to go to heaven and lead his people there too."
Speaking of the fact that Jesus 'sat down' at God's right hand, he writes:
"...that language should not be interpreted to mean that Jesus has nothing left at all to do, simply because he is done with dying and rising. Remember, the ultimate goal was a new world -- that is, a glorious new physical world fashioned out of the old -- inhabited by all those whom the Father chose 'before the ages began' (2 Tim. 1:9), clothed in their resurrection bodies, living and serving free from sin, rejoicing in all the just and gracious works of God.
...Consider the present state of affairs -- look at the world, read the newspapers, look at your own life -- and you will see just how much of a discrepancy remains between present reality and that ultimate goal. According to Paul, it's as if the ground we walk on is 'groaning' under the weight of that discrepancy (Rom. 8:19-22), and we are groaning with it (v. 23).
...Thus we can say, as the nineteenth century Dutch theologian Herman Bavnick put it, 'In his state of exaltation there still remains much for Christ to do.'
...What work remains for him to do? First, there is his work throughout this age: drawing all his Father's chosen ones to faith in himself, building them up in holiness while they live, and welcoming them into his presence when they die.
...Second, there is his work at the end of the age: returning in glory, raising the dead, judging all men, and renewing the world.
...When the dust settles on the last day, the Son's mission will have been accomplished. Heaven will have been brought to earth. The place where God is most clearly revealed and most intimately known will no longer be some mysterious realm removed from earthly experience. It will be the whole world. Thus we sing: 'This is my Father's world; The battle is not done; Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and heav'n be one.'
...You see, Jesus' mission was 'to go to heaven and lead his people there too' (as I put it before), not by removing us from the earth into a condition of unending disembodiedness, but by bringing about the breathtaking glorification of the original created order, his people included, body and soul, and the earth included too.
...Christ will lead us, ultimately not by leading us away, but by leading us into: having gone first into the future by his own resurrection, he will lead us into the glory for which this world was originally designed. That was his mission from the beginning, and he will not fail his Father.
...Do you see how good the good news really is? In Christ we are not put back under probation and told, 'Try again and don't blow it this time.' Instead he ushers us into the full inheritance that passing the probation would have gained. By his own obedience -- obedience to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8) -- Christ has gained it for us."
Glory be to God! More later, Lord willing. In the meantime, please pick up this book... or I'll let you borrow mine.