Thursday, April 19, 2012
Recently a Bible believing born again Christian was telling me they were having doubts about their salvation. I had to tell them that I’ve had doubts as well; in fact, every Christian does at times, because of our remaining sin -- and the corruption of unbelief that’s part of that.
The important thing is…what do we do with our doubts? Doubts come down to one thing: sin. What do we do with sin?
As Christians, when we sin as sometimes we foolishly do, we go to Christ and confess it as sin (1 John 1:9). We don’t hide or make excuses for our sin; rather, we flee to the One who died to take our sin away and seek his forgiveness! We should do the same with our “doubts” or, perhaps we would be far better to say, we should do the same with our “sin of doubt”.
Remember the Devil ALWAYS seeks to sow seeds of doubt about ANYTHING that God has said (see Genesis 3:1). The Devil is the father of lies (John 8:44). We also have the flesh and the world to deal with. We’re in a real battle, every day. Praise be to God though that “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). By His grace, and in utter dependence upon the Lord, we're to continually look to HIM!
God is true and what He says is Truth (Jeremiah 10:10, John 3:33, John 17:3, 1 John 5:20). It follows, of course, that His Word (i.e. what He says) is also truth (John 17:17) and thus faith comes by hearing and hearing by God’s Word (Romans 10:17). In humble dependence upon Him by His grace, cleave to God and believe what God has said. Trust alone in Him come what may -- or whatever feelings may assert against what is true -- in short, replace ANY doubts IMMEDIATELY with what is TRUE (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Be vigilant. Be ready. Have your sword always ready – and use it often (Matthew 4:3-11 and Ephesians 6:10-18).
Why doubt this, O my trembling heart?
If what the Scriptures promise clearly
Is true and firm in ev'ry part,
This also must be truth divine:
By grace a crown of life is mine.
By grace alone shall I inherit
That blissful home beyond the skies.
Works count for naught, the Lord incarnate
Hath won for me the heav'nly prize.
Salvation by his death he wrought,
His grace alone my pardon bought.
By grace! These precious words remember
When sorely by thy sins oppressed,
When Satan comes to vex thy spirit,
When troubled conscience sighs for rest;
What reason cannot comprehend,
God doth to thee by grace extend.
By grace! Be this in death my comfort;
Despite my fears, 'tis well with me.
I know my sin in all its greatness,
But also him who sets me free.
My heart to naught but joy gives place
Since I am saved by grace, by grace.
- Christian Scheidt, 1742
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest upon unchanging grace;
In ev'ry rough and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant, his blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When I shall launch in worlds unseen,
O may I then be found in him;
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
- Edward Mote, 1834
If you have trusted in Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you can confidently know and say that the living Lord God is emphatically the author and finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). He loves you from all eternity -- and holds you securely (John 10: 29).
Be gone sin of unbelief! Look to Him today and rejoice in what He has done, not in what you think He may not have done.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
I was once having a conversation with a friend who said: "It doesn't seem right that, those in pagan lands and throughout history who have never heard the gospel, should then be damned to eternal separation from God in Hell; after all, they never had a chance to learn about God in the first place so they never had a chance to accept Christ as their Saviour."
May be you've been troubled by that question, too?
My friend asked me this question expecting a written response; here's what I answered (for brevity here, I've taken some points out), in point form:
- We first have to either accept or reject the Bible as divine authority. If we don't accept the Bible for what it claims to be (i.e. θεόπνευστος, theopneustos, "God-Breathed") and reject what Christ said concerning it (i.e. "Thy Word is truth", John 17:17), and reject the Biblical reality that "God said" over 3,000 times, then nothing that follows will grip your conscience.
- Thus, we must first be convinced by God the Holy Spirit that He has spoken... and that He has done so generally through Creation [General Revelation] and, specifically (to the saving of the soul) through Scripture/the Bible [Special Revelation]. On that, I'd encourage you (as I do myself) to pray the Lord to graciously speak to you through His Word and give you understanding and a receptive heart to it. See Luke 24: 44-48; Psalm 119:18,133; 2 Timothy 3:15.
- I submit the Word of God is true and it is what Christ claimed it to be. Therefore, I believe this: "Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments." (Psalm 119:137) and "The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works" (Psalm 145:17), italics mine. This means everything God does and is, is righteous; EVERYTHING. God is without any sin. He is perfectly Holy and He always does what is perfectly just and holy, in all cases and in all instances.
- As God is perfectly just and lawful and righteous and holy it follows that all His actions will be as well. In other words, nothing He does is bad, sinful or unholy in any way or manner, regardless of what we may perceive, wonder or what might even appear as contradictory to our senses. This includes our understanding of God's dealing with those in pagan lands (past and present) where they have not had the immense privileges and blessings of a land impacted by the blessings of the gospel.
- Consider Calvary; the cross. This was the most unjust, evil and wicked event to ever scribe the pages of eternal history. The death of the sinless Christ, when God's wrath and punishment was unleashed on Him for the sin of His people, for my sin and all those that trust in the Risen Redeemer. Where was the good in this; indeed, where was God in this we might have said with Cleopas on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) in those dark hours following the Lord's crucifixion? Yet, looking back we clearly see that God was eternally just, perfect, wise, holy and altogether righteous (and merciful and gracious) in all He did at Calvary while His people's sin, for whom He was punished, was the diametric opposite in every sense.
- In short, God never has, never does, or ever will, do anything unjust or sinful.
- In that Biblical context noted, think on this: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55: 8-9). What sometimes seems to be, is not always what we imagine it to be and, what sometimes seems to be our assessment on action or thought with God, is often not what actually is.
- So, when the Bible states over and over that God is just and right and holy and pure and lovely and wonderful and yet justly damns some men to Hell, even though they may never have heard the gospel as others, we must come back and say... I may not fully grasp that, but I still affirm that God is what He says He is: holy and righteous and just and, that being so, somehow in the economy of God's decrees that the thoughts, decrees, and sovereign actions of God in any matter past, present or future are wholly just and good and right and holy and pure in every sense. In short, we must not hold court on God our judge (Romans 9).
- The amazing thing, actually, is that anyone is saved, not that some are lost. We are all guilty before a Holy God. Yet, in His righteous and just eternal plan he has elected and decreed some to eternal life. This is a great mystery; namely that some (dead and undeserving as they are) should hear and then be moved of God to receive His unmerited salvation and not others. In contrast, the Scripture also states that if we, who have heard God's Word, reject it, our accountability will be so much the greater.
- Where do you stand with the God?
- The Scripture states: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" John 6:37. I believe this is one of the most incredible passages of Scripture! It's where our focus should land. It speaks of God's electing a people unto Himself for whom the Son will come and die for and then states that anyone that comes to Him (i.e for repentance and salvation and trusting alone in His righteousness; i.e. saved by grace through faith in Christ on the authority of His Word in the Bible) -- that He will not cast them away; in short, He will save them, sinners who are deserving of hell.
- "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me" (John Newton).
- Don't get distracted with trying to figure out why you can only see 3,000 stars empirically in the Northern Hemisphere on a clear night. Believe what God says (i.e. that there are more stars that can be numbered... something scientists can only recently empirically state). Believe what God says concerning Himself (that He is just and holy and good and only does what is right), acknowledge that His thoughts and ways are so much higher and greater than yours, believe what He says about your sinful and utterly lost condition outside of Christ and your absolute need to have His righteousness applied to your soul by grace (all his works and atoning death, none of ours) through faith (believing what He has said) through Christ (the sole object of true faith) on the authority of the Word (the Bible) He has so graciously provided and, even now, is printed in volumes upon volumes (millions and millions of copies everywhere) in just about every language and dialect all over the globe (where many can, but often reject, His Word).
- There is no greater question that this: What will I do with Christ the Saviour?
"And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4: 21-25).
Please prayerfully consider these things with open Bible; look to Christ... and then tell others all over the world (or "across the street") about His saving grace!