Friday, December 26, 2014

Eternal Life Problem Areas                                                     12-26-14

Psalm 119:105 (NASB) 105
 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Last week I supplied you with a list of certain passages amongst others, that many use to debunk the doctrine of Eternal Life found in God's Word. These, plus several others not mentioned, appear contradictory to security but when studied out,are easily explained. However, there are a couple that truly are serious arguments. One, in Second Peter which we won't look at; and another in Hebrews, where we shall focus our attention. A study of these passages requires fidelity to the context. In this case both the immediate and the wider contexts must be kept in view. To begin, some background material is essential to an understanding. While there is some argument as to whom this Book of the Bible was written to, the solid majority opinion rests with a community of Jewish believers living in Jerusalem or the outlying areas of Judea.The author calls them "brethren" and "partakers of the heavenly gift." He assumes that his audience has a detailed knowledge of the Old Testament. His many references and allusions to the Temple, the Levitical Priesthood, and the sacrificial system would require a basic understanding at the very least.

Also, the author(assumed to be Paul by most) had three messages to these Jewish believers. The
superior nature of Jesus as the Messiah. Superior in Divine revelation, superior to the angels and Moses, a better sacrifice than animals and consequently a superior Priest. Secondly, the author is trying to exhort this community of believers to stand firm in their faith and not to fall or drift away. Third, he pleads with them to get past the elementary principles of the Gospel and move forward into spiritual maturity.

Hebrews 1:1-2 (NASB) 1  God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
2  in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

Hebrews 2:1 (NASB) 1  For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.

Hebrews 6:1-2 (NASB) 1  Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
2  of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.

With that little bit of background we can now move forward with the central theme of the Book. This entire book is concerned with a community of Jewish Christians that are considering renouncing their faith and returning to the elements of Mosaic Law. That is why the first three chapters deal almost exclusively with Jesus and His "better" sacrifice. This community was hoping to escape the persecution of the Church in Jerusalem by returning to the elements of Mosaic Law,with the understanding that they could once again repent and accept Jesus, after the persecution had died down. The author pleads their basic assumption is flawed and even impossible; adding that if they continue on their course they will face a sure and irrevocable judgment.That prophecy would fulfill itself  a few short years later during the Roman siege in 70A.D., with over one million Jews being slaughtered.

Hebrews 3:16-19 (NASB) 16  For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?
17  And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?
18  And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?
19  So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

Before we get to the sixth chapter a very brief look at the third and fourth chapters is needed.
We need a little more familiarity before we look at the passage in question. In the third and fourth chapters the author chooses to compare the Wilderness Generation with this current community. You remember the Wilderness Generation don't you? They were denied entrance into the Promise Land because they believed man's report rather than God. All during the trek toward the Promised Land, the children of Israel provoked God because of a lack of faith. They were ready to go back to Egypt at the drop of a hat, and constantly complained to Moses about any inconvenience that arose.  At Kadesh Barnea, God had enough and would have destroyed them had Moses not intervened for mercy. However, this rebellion pushed Israel beyond the point of no return with God. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. Consequently, a Divine judgment was incurred. The substance of the judgment is what is of interest to us.

Numbers 14:20-23 (NASB) 20  So the LORD said, "I have pardoned them according to your word;
21  but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD.
22  "Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice,
23  shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it.

The reason I insert this at this point is to magnify the importance of context. When we look at the subject passage,the above  passage(s) will be crucial to deciding whether the judgment the author is talking about is temporal or eternal in nature. This is the exact nature of the judgment that was set in Jerusalem after the Jewish leadership committed the Unpardonable Sin by rejecting Jesus as their Messiah. The nation of Israel was forgiven, the Wilderness Generation was pardoned, but they both suffered a temporal punishment in the loss of their physical lives.

Matthew 23:35-36 (NASB) 35  so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
36  "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

  The judgment of 70 A.D., the judgment of Wilderness Generation, and the threatened judgment of this Jewish community are all of the same nature and kind and provide a type of God's judgments when dealing with His children. Both Moses and Aaron died for their sin in the wilderness and were not allowed entrance into the Promised Land. It is unthinkable that either one forfeited their spiritual life and security isn't it? This does not argue well for conditional security. At any rate, we will look at the Queen Mother next week. Consider this. It is not a sin problem that torments people it's a belief  problem.

Psalm 119:5 (NASB) 5  Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes!

God Bless.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Eternal Life At What Point                                              12-19-14

Psalm 119:105 (NASB) 105
 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Lots of Scripture today.

After a brief look at the word eternal  and the concept of neverending that it conveys, we now want to focus on whether one can lose their salvation as a result of sin. There are several passages of scripture that on the surface seem to support the possibility of a salvation that can be lost. I will list a few but will not take the time to argue against them here. Next week we will look at the most problematic of these, the "if" clauses in Hebrews and the Queen Mother of them all, Hebrews 6:4-8. Here's a list of verses(not comprehensive) 

Matthew 24:13 (NASB) 13  "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
1 Timothy 4:1 (NASB) 1  But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

2 Peter 2:20 (NASB) 20  For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
Romans 11:21-22 (NASB) 21  for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.
22  Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

 1 Corinthians 9:27 (NASB) 27  but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 
 Matthew 7:22-23 (NASB) 22  "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
23  "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

John 15:2 (NASB) 2  "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

There are more but this will give you an idea. You can study them for yourself if you want to.

Just like last week,there are few questions that jump out at us if we accept the premise of conditional security. Does Jesus Blood atone for all of our sins, past, present and future?Also, if you can lose your salvation, at what point do you lose it? What is the sin or sins that cause the loss of salvation? If there is a "drifting away," where in the drift do you lose your way? Not to mention how would anyone know except God? How can anyone know the condition of our heart except God and us? The Bible clearly states in the New Testament this truth.

The Greek verb "to be saved" is often in the Greek Aorist(?) tense(don't ask me) This tense, I understand emphasizes a singular act. It happens singularly, only one time. We only get saved once. Unlike confession of sin, which is never said to be singular,salvation is not repeatable. To add to that, there is not one single case in the Bible where someone gets saved, loses their salvation, then regains it. Nowhere is that recorded in the Bible. Even any recorded instance conveying that idea or concept is absent from the Scriptures. On top of that, it flies directly in the face of a host of Scriptures that speak to the believer's security . Turn your attention to Romans.

Romans 8:30 (NASB) 30  and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. 

Do you see the progression here? This speaks of an act or better, acts that God has already accomplished. We have been predestined, called, justified, and glorified. It's all been accomplished according to scripture before the foundation of the world. Look at what Paul says.

Ephesians 1:4 (NASB) 4  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

Ephesians 1:11 (NASB) 11  also we have obtained an inheritance, having been PREDESTINED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE WHO WORKS ALL THINGS AFTER THE COUNSEL OF HIS WILL..(CAPS MINE)
If the loss of our salvation were possible it would negate God's sovereign will and His sovereign purpose. We have been in God's plan from all eternity past. Understand that. Those verses speaking about foreordained and predestined are not speaking to some non descript goop of people, no, no. In the Greek they are speaking individually. To the individual, you and me. It is a comfort if you will. He predestined YOU. He predestined ME from eternity past to be called, justified, and glorified. Don't ask me why, I do not have a clue. It is God being God. All I can do is fall on my knees and say "thank You" It is beyond our comprehension when you take some time and meditate on it. That being the case, He will not allow His grand purpose and plan to be thwarted.If He has done all that, do you imagine that He is going to accept a sacrifice that does not have the power to save and preserve our salvation without anything being contributed on our part.?

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB) 8  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

............"not as a result of works....." Understand what this says. You and I are helpless. We are without merit(works) to obtain or maintain our salvation. Not the slightest tittle. For our discussion this means that if it is possible to lose our salvation, then there is no hope of ever regaining it. No work of our doing will suffice. Not confession, not repentance, NOTHING! We are doomed to an eternal hell once we lose it. That doesn't really fit does it? God sends His only begotten son to live a perfect life, endure a torture and death that is past our ability to comprehend, then raise Him from the dead, all for the purpose of losing His creation at some point because of sin or sins in the life of  His children. I just can't buy that.
Here is what the Bible says concerning Jesus' sacrifice.

Hebrews 9:12 (NASB) 12  and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Hebrews 10:14-15 (NASB) 14  For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

Hebrews 10:18 (NASB) 18  Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Read the entire Book of Hebrews. It is the Leviticus of the New Testament. It will give you an idea of just how perfect Jesus Blood is. The Lord Jesus' sacrifice has to be sufficient. It is essential that His death cover and REMOVE ALL OF OUR SIN past, present, and FUTURE. Otherwise, we are all lost and undone even now. Should we cheapen His passion by insisting or even hinting that His death is not enough? If we do, then how can we enjoy the benefits of His resurrection? Amen.

Psalm 110:4 (NASB) 4  The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek."

God Bless

Friday, December 12, 2014

 Eternal Life                                                                   12-12-14

  Psalm 119:105 (NASB) 105
 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Doctrine. A body or system of teachings relating to a particular subject. Like I said last week, I began this personal study when a doctrine that I believed in did not prove true to me. That's not to say that it was and is invalid, but I wanted to find out for myself, to my satisfaction. This material I will be sharing is not some great revelation given me. As a matter of fact it can be readily had for the asking if one is interested. The greatest benefit is that it might help you fill in the gaps about what you believe; and it might rescue you from getting your heart wounded. I wish I had done a systematic study of God's word thirty years ago but, better late than never right? O.K. then.

Eternal security. Better known as "once saved, always saved" is probably the most debated issue in God's Word. For the record I believe in it.......are you still there? If you are, then you probably are not among those that chastised me a while back when admitting that I agreed with it during a Sunday School class. At any rate this is our subject for a while. I intend to give you the positive side(security) with my evidence from Scripture and if you are interested you can study it out and make your own mind up.

Doctrines are debated.Doctrines are argued. Doctrines are fought over. It may appear that there are multiple differing viewpoints but, that is rarely, if ever the case. The Bible does not present opposing,contradictory viewpoints. God is not the author of confusion. So, why all the squabbling if only one viewpoint should prevail? In my very limited study it appears to me to be context. Context is skewed or ignored altogether. Because of this, Scripture is misapplied and we have differing interpretations. If we have two or more differing viewpoints and one is found to be true, then common sense tells us that the other is false OR is somehow a supporting view that we need to search out.This is the importance of context because this is a common occurrence in the Bible. At any rate,
to begin this study, we have to answer the question before looking at the evidence. How so Ronnie?What does the word eternal mean? There can be no gray area here. No in between. No margin for error. If eternal means eternal, then by it's very definition we either have eternal life as a present possession, or we do not.We will look at that later down the line. Look at this.

John 5:24 (NASB) 24  "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

The word translated eternal is forty seven times translated "forever" or "forever and ever."
Now this word eternal is joined with different words,especially concerning God's Kingdom. But, by far the most common usage of the word eternal is with the word "life." The phrase "eternal life" appears forty three times in the New Testament according to Strong's. Eternal redemption, eternal salvation, eternal inheritance, eternal kingdom, eternal damnation, these are all New Testament uses of the word eternal. Can you see the flow of the use of eternal? Mounce's Dictionary of New Testament Words says this about the word eternal. Having no beginning or end in two senses. One being that of going forward and backward and the other going forward only. At any rate the meaning being advanced is one of foreverness. The flow conveys everlasting, having no beginning or end.

John 3:36 (NASB) 36  "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

John 6:47 (NASB) 47  "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

John 10:28 (NASB) 28  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

When scripture speaks of the believers life it always references eternal life. If God wanted to convey the idea that we could lose our salvation He would not have spoken of eternal life being the present possession of the believer. Look at a couple more verses.

Ephesians 1:11 (NASB) 11  also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

1 John 5:11-13 (NASB) 11  And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
12  He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
13  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Do you notice anything that all these verses have in common? This is no grammar primer here but these verses are all in the present tense. They are speaking of a present possession. The point being that we are given life at the point when we believe, not at some future point in time such as death. If we have eternal life at the instant we believe and if this life is truly eternal, then we cannot lose it during our stay here on earth.

The Scriptures, in any number of places, teach that salvation is a free gift. But, infinitely more important is that they teach that the BELIEVER is a gift. We are a gift from the Father to the Son.

 John 6:37 (NASB) 37  "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
John 17:2 (NASB) 2  even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.

If salvation is conditional and can be lost, this would make the Father out to be a liar. To support this the Bible teaches that all the gifts, salvation, the charismatic gifts,the gifts in Romans, ALL the gifts are irrevocable. He will not repent or change His mind. This only scrapes the surface on this teaching on the word eternal. If you want to look further it's out there.

All this being said, there is another facet to the argument over security. Most that disagree with this doctrine don't have a problem with eternal. They have a problem with what is required to maintain and keep this salvation, unwittingly making salvation conditional. This doctrine says NOTHING. As a matter of fact God requires nothing to obtain or KEEP your salvation. Further, if there WERE a requirement it would be IMPOSSIBLE for you or any flesh to keep it.You are powerless to gain your salvation, and you are just as powerless to keep it! It's ALL God.
We will take a look at just what happened at and on Calvary some 2000 years ago.

Psalm 119:58 (NASB) 58  I sought Your favor with all my heart; Be gracious to me according to Your word.

God Bless

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Why Do I Believe What I Believe ?                                                     12-04-14

Psalm 119:105 (NASB)  Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Have you ever asked yourself that question? I have..but first, the rest of the story. When I first got saved I had a voracious appetite for God's written Word. I couldn't get enough of it. I studied and read the Bible endlessly. As a good friend about his salvation experience," When I got saved, I got saved!" That describes my experience also. Once what had happened to me took hold, nothing else mattered. I was totally absorbed and I saturated myself with the things of God. Now as all of you seasoned Christians out there already know, that feeling goes away after a while; and "walking the walk" takes it place. After a few years of walking I found that I had some questions about what the Word of God was saying. Now don't get me wrong..I didn't lose my faith in God Or Jesus. Neither did I lose my faith in the men of God whose ministry and teaching I was sitting under; but I had questions mostly about the consistency of the Scripture. Here's an example. If we have eternal life
when we believe:

Romans 10:9 (NASB) 9  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
John 3:16 (NASB) 16  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Then why do we preach that it can be lost?
Matthew 10:22 (NASB) 22  "You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.
Hebrews 3:6 (NASB) 6  but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.


Consider this. If the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, with the subsequent gifts, is a blessing that is given after salvation, a "second blessing" if you will.
Acts 19:2 (NASB) 2  He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit."

Then why does the Bible say this?
1 Corinthians 12:13 (NASB) 13  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Are spiritual gifts(especially speaking in tongues) given to us for the asking?)  If we ask and are willing to receive, does God oblige? If so then why this.
1 Corinthians 12:11 (NASB) 11  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

For most of my Christian life, I entertained these and other questions, but in my mind only.I never discussed them, thinking that they really weren't essential. I knew what I had been taught and believed.
Then a few years back during a very critical period something happened. Not going into detail, I will give a brief summary. I spoke a prophecy over a person and a situation I believed was from God. "Thus saith the Lord" I began..... That prophecy was not fulfilled and remains unfilled as I speak. That day was the starting point for me and my search for truth for my life. It has haunted me many times since I "spoke it." I have asked for and received forgiveness from God and have been delivered from condemnation(the self kind) and have moved on. However, my question to myself(the title to this message) remains a work in progress. My personal Bible study from that day to this is a quest to answer that question to my self satisfaction.

A few weeks back I decided to write about doctrine. Now doctrine can be divisive if you approach it with the perspective of I'm right and everybody else is wrong. There are many different interpretations out there and I believe everyone has a little bit of truth. However, if doctrine wasn't important, God would not have included it in His Word would He? Jesus and the Cross is the Divining Rod of doctrine. Once we start looking beyond Calvary,EVERYTHING IS DOCTRINE! That being said there is some destructive doctrine being preached these days that is bewildering and harmful to the faith of  many good Christians, both young and old. I hope you will enjoy and become interested in what I have to say. I plan to take four or five basic doctrines that I believe are important to our daily lives and discuss what I have come to believe. Agree or disagree, you are free to do both. I hope you somehow are blessed by these messages.

 Psalm 119:11 (NASB) 11  Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. 

God Bless