ALL OR NOTHING

May 21, 2017

All or Nothing

  “Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” (2 Thess. 2:16).

  It has been well said that “it takes a lifetime to learn real dependence upon God, and to accept practically our own inadequacy.” We are going to learn this only through experience, and now is the time to settle down to this schooling—a day at a time.

We are to understand that God loves us, and that He justifies us by the work of His Son. We have no longer conscience of sins before God, because He Himself has taken them away before His eyes; we know that being united to the Lord Jesus Christ, who has fully glorified God in that which concerns our sins, we have been made the righteousness of God in Him. So the heart is free to enjoy His love in the presence of the Father.

I no longer attempt to produce that which will satisfy God from myself as originator. I know that even if I try I shall only fail. But I do seek to please God by faith in the activity of Another. The Son of God who indwells me by His Spirit is able and willing to carry out in me ‘those things that please Him’; and I count upon Him to do so. Consciously, day by day, I take the attitude that I trust Him to work the will of God in me, and in that attitude I go forward and serve Him. I do not trust myself. ‘I live by faith in the Son of God.’

  “Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work” (2 Thess. 2:17).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

DO THE HARD PART

May 16, 2017

There are no secrets and there is no easy path.

Do the work, get the reward, that’s the only answer.

When we read or hear the words of Scripture, do we “pay the most careful attention” (Heb 2:1)? How often have you noticed that by the end of the week, you’ve forgotten the Bible reading you did only a few days earlier?

 Too often we attempt to build a framework for scriptural knowledge without first gathering the lumber and cement needed to create a solid foundation. To lay that groundwork check out this simple four-step process that could transform your life by, quite literally, changing your mind:

  1. Choose a book of the Bible.

  2. Read it in its entirety.

  3. Repeat step #2, 20 times.

  4. Repeat this process for all books of the Bible.

  The benefits of following this process will become obvious. By fully immersing yourself in the text, you’ll come to truly know the text. You’ll deepen your understanding of each book, as well as your knowledge of the Bible as a whole.

 This method is adapted from the book How to Master the English Bible by James M. Gray, so we’ll let him explain the benefits in his own words:

  The first practical help I ever received in the mastery of the English Bible was from a layman . . . One day I ventured to ask him how he had become possessed of the experience, when he replied, “By reading the epistle to the Ephesians.” . . . He had gone into the country to spend the Sabbath with his family on one occasion, taking with him a pocket copy of Ephesians, and in the afternoon, going out into the woods and lying down under a tree, he began to read it; he read it through at a single reading, and finding his interest aroused, read it through again in the same way, and, his interest increasing, again and again. I think he added that he read it some twelve or fifteen times, “and when I arose to go into the house,” said he, “I was in possession of Ephesians, or better yet, it was in possession of me, and I had been ‘lifted up to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,’ in an experimental sense in which that had not been true in me before, and will never cease to be true in me again.”

  Here are three suggestions for putting this reading plan into practice:

  1. Choose shorter books—Because you’ll be reading an entire book of the Bible and not just a chapter or two, you’ll want to choose books you feel are manageable. You might want to start with a short book that has only a few chapters that can be read several times in one sitting. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and help develop the reading habit. For example, a short book like John or Jude can be read four or five times in one sitting, allowing you to finish the entire 20 readings in less than a week. And then you always have the option to work your way up to more extensive readings.

  2. Read at your normal pace—Treating the material reverently does not require reading at a slower than normal speed. Read for comprehension, ignoring the division of chapters and verses and considering each book as one coherent unit.

  3. Stick with the process—After the eighth or ninth reading you’ll hit a wall similar to what runners face in marathons. The text will become dry and lose its flavor. You’ll want to move on to the next book or abandon the program altogether. Stick with it. Persevere and you’ll discover the treasures that repeated readings can provide.

  Keep in mind that not every book will be equally rewarding. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you if during one of your readings you find 2 John a bit redundant or Jude just plain boring. The Bible tells us “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching” (2Ti 3:16–17). Keep reading, and you’ll fully understand the truth of those verses.

The good news, it’s get easier and more exciting and more rewarding.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

overlooked?

May 14, 2017

Our new birth means that each one of us is a new creation in Christ, at which time the Comforter (The Holy Spirit) enters our spirit to abide forever (John 14:16). Spirit to spirit joined, we are “partakers of the divine nature.” At birth we are “babes in Christ,” but as we grow in Him we develop in likeness of life—thus glorifying the Son.

Thank God that we are new creatures, our legal identity has changed. Every single wrong that we’ve ever done is gone, forgiven, wiped away, and buried. When God looks at us He sees His Son, not the sinner.

The Apostle Paul called himself the chief of sinners. For some much is forgiven, some lives were more wrecked by sin than others. There should be a higher sense of the gift to those who were forgiven so much.

It seems as the devil spends more time harassing this type of believer. The memories are more painful, the nightmares worse.  Because of the damage we’ve done to others and ourselves we often believe his lies, that we are less than other believers.

We may struggle more than those who didn’t stain their souls to almost black. But the cure is the same for all. Simple trust in the love of God.

There are no second-class Christians.

Prayer requests at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com as well as comments to the email address please.

God bless

 

SHOCKER???

January 5, 2017

Image result for picture of bob dylan

SHOCKER??? (how many people don’t know whose picture this is???) (no it’s not Adam Sandler, although they’re both Jews)

            If I could pick one Christian album to recommend, not a worship album but a record for new believers to listen to and more mature Christians as well, you may be shocked.

But wait, before I tell you, I’m a hard-core rock and roller, my parents took me with them to Woodstock, (by accident we weren’t planning on going), I was at the Watkins Glen concert the largest outdoor rock concert in America. Then name any rock group but the Beatles, (don’t consider them a rock group). I’ve probably been at their concert, from Janis Joplin to Jethro Tull, Atomic Rooster to Moby Grape, Billy Idol to Led Zeppelin.

So the number Christian album……Bob Dylan, Slow train. Now I know his voice will peel glass, but listen to the message, the theology and I don’t believe there is a better album of theology out there.

So moral of the story, God uses the strangest messengers to carry the gospel, hey why do you think we are called scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Peace Out.

Blessings

 

INJUSTICE

January 3, 2017

THIS IS 10 PAGES LONG, YOU MAY WANT TO PRINT IT OUT. DECIDED TO GIVE YOU THE WHOLE ENCHILADA AND NOT DO IT IN PARTS.

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The pledge of allegiance to the flag claims that ours is a nation where every human being, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, or social standing, receives fair and equal treatment. One of the purposes for the United States Constitution, as stated in its preamble is to “establish justice”; that is, to provide every individual with equal rights before the law, without partiality or favoritism.

 

Some people in this country feel that we have failed to achieve that goal. They point to blatant instances of inequity, such as people with money, power, or position securing more favored treatment under the law than the poor, the friendless, or the obscure. They enumerate examples of discrimination against minorities or against women which demonstrate to their satisfaction that injustice persists in our society.

 

Most of us believe that we have been treated unfairly at some time or other. We have been blamed for things we have not done, denied things we feel we deserve, overlooked when we should have been recognized, treated in an inferior manner, or have otherwise suffered without just cause. Some have lost their jobs, their savings, their homes, their friends, their spouses, and even their lives unjustly. Some have languished in prisons for crimes they never committed. Others have endured the poverty, squalor, and disease of slums through no fault of their own. Where is the justice in all of that?

 

We believe in a sovereign God who controls all things. On one occasion He said, “There is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour” (Isaiah 45:21 KJV). How can a just God allow injustices to exist? We learn from the Bible that people who have not trusted Christ as Saviour from sin are condemned to eternal separation from God, even if they have never heard the message of salvation. Some may protest rather indignantly, “How can a just God allow that?” Maybe we need to find out what God’s justice involves.

 

The Meaning of God’s Justice

 

While the most common Old Testament word for just means “straight,” and the New Testament word means “equal,” in a moral sense they both mean “right.” When we say that God is just, we are saying that He always does what is right, what should be done, and that He does it consistently, without partiality or prejudice. The word just and the word righteous are identical in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Sometimes the translators render the original word “just” and other times “righteous” with no apparent reason (cf. Nehemiah 9:8 and 9:33 where the same word is used). But whichever word they use, it means essentially the same thing. It has to do with God’s actions. They are always right and fair.

 

God’s righteousness (or justice) is the natural expression of His holiness. If He is infinitely pure, then He must be opposed to all sin, and that opposition to sin must be demonstrated in His treatment of His creatures. When we read that God is righteous or just, we are being assured that His actions toward us are in perfect agreement with His holy nature.

 

Because God is righteous and just, He has established moral government in the world, laid down principles which are holy and good, then added consequences which are just and fair for violating those principles. Furthermore, He is totally impartial in administering His government. He does not condemn innocent people or let guilty people go free. Peter says He is a God “who impartially judges according to each man’s work” (1 Peter 1:17). His treatment is never harsher than the crime demands.

 

For example, when Ezra the scribe returned to Israel after the Babylonian captivity, he was distressed to find that the people had intermarried with the unbelieving inhabitants of the land. He was appalled at their sin and proceeded to lead them in a prayer of confession in which he enumerated the discipline they had experienced. He concluded his prayer with these words: “O LORD God of Israel, Thou art righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before Thee in our guilt, for no one can stand before Thee because of this” (Ezra 9:15). God is fair. His discipline is never more severe than our sin deserves. He allowed those disobedient Jews to remain as an escaped remnant in spite of their sin and guilt.

 

Daniel ministered during Israel’s exile in Babylon. He knew from Jeremiah’s prophecy (25:11) that the captivity was to last seventy years, but he was concerned lest the nation’s disobedience prolong it. He, like Ezra, offered a great prayer of confession to God, and in it he made this statement: “Therefore, the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice” (Daniel 9:14). Their captivity was the perfectly just discipline for their sin. All calamity is not necessarily discipline for sin, but we can be sure that if it is, it will be uniquely tailored to our particular situation by an infinitely wise God to teach us the lessons we need to learn. It will be perfectly fair. What God does is always right. As the psalmist put it,

 

The LORD is righteous in all His ways And kind in all His deeds (Psalm 145:17).

 

We can never accuse Him of injustice. Everything He does is fair.

 

The Requirements of God’s Justice

 

If God is truly just and always acts in harmony with His holy nature, then He must show His displeasure with sin by opposing it and punishing it wherever it exists. He cannot enact a holy law, threaten a penalty, then take no action when His law is broken. Scripture makes that quite clear. God “will by no means leave the guilty unpunished” (Exodus 34:7). “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). “There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil” (Romans 2:9). Since the violation of God’s infinitely holy nature demands an infinite punishment, eternal condemnation can be the only just penalty for sin. Jesus said, “And these will go away into eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46).

 

God takes no pleasure in punishing the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). But it is the only response which is consistent with His holy nature. However, God loves sinners and since He finds no delight in punishing them, He has devised a plan by which they can be delivered from the just penalty of their sin.

 

Justice allows for one person to substitute for another, so long as no injustice is done to the rights of any person involved. So God provided a substitute. When His Son voluntarily offered Himself to die in our place, our sin was punished and God’s justice was forever satisfied. The Apostle Paul explained how God publicly displayed Jesus Christ as a propitiation and thus demonstrated His righteousness (Romans 3:25). A propitiation is a sacrifice that satisfies a justly pronounced sentence. Christ’s death on the cross completely satisfied God’s just judgment against our sin. The penalty has been paid. Now God can forgive the sins of those who will accept His payment, and still maintain His own justice. He can at the same time be both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

 

Justice also demands that when the penalty has been paid by one, it never needs to be paid by another who has accepted that payment. There can never be any condemnation for the person who has trusted Jesus Christ as Saviour from sin (Romans 8:1).

 

My children used to listen to a recorded story about a wise and just king who ruled over a nation of wicked people. In order to curtail their wickedness, the king decided that anyone breaking the law of the land would have his eyes put out. A young man was apprehended for violating the law, and when he was brought in the king was dismayed to discover that the lawbreaker was his own son. What could he do? If he were merely a just king, he could exact the punishment and forget about the incident. If he were merely a loving father, he could overlook the crime and let his son go free. But he was both a just king and a loving father. So he said, “You have broken the law, and the punishment is the forfeiture of two eyes. That is what it shall be—one of yours and one of mine.” From that day on, the appearance of both the king and his son reminded the people of the king’s justice and his love.

 

That is essentially what God did. However, instead of making us pay part of the penalty, He paid it all. The death of His sinless Son was sufficient to pay for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Now those who accept His payment can go free. Who then can accuse God of injustice for condemning people to hell? He would be just if He assigned everyone to hell. Yet He satisfied His own justice and provided forgiveness for all. Those who refuse His forgiveness choose His wrath of their own volition. They have expressed their desire to live apart from God and He simply confirms them in their choice. That hardly can be labeled injustice.

 

What about those who have never heard? The Apostle Paul assured us that God has not left Himself without a witness in the world (Acts 14:17), and that lost men have willfully rejected His witness (Romans 1:18, 32). But whether or not we can explain every problem and answer every objection, we accept God’s revelation of Himself as a just God, and we believe Him when He says He will not act wickedly or pervert justice (Job 34:12).

 

The Expression of God’s Justice

 

It should be obvious by now that God’s justice has little relationship to the suffering we observe in the world around us. That suffering is the natural consequence of the sin which Satan introduced into God’s creation. In a sinful world, where sinful men have the will to choose their own sinful ways, injustices are going to exist.

 

There is coming a day when the infinitely just Son of God will physically return to the earth and will rule it with a rod of iron. No sin will be tolerated in that day. Zechariah predicted that the King will be just (Zechariah 9:9). Jeremiah assured us that He will execute justice on the earth (Jeremiah 23:5). We can expect no injustices to exist in that day (cf. Isaiah 11:3-5). But for now we can count on many inequities to exist. However, God wants us to do what we can to reduce them. He shows a concern for social justice throughout Scripture—fair treatment of the poor, the orphans, the widows, the hungry, the needy, foreigners, and underprivileged of all kinds. He encourages us to share His concern. The needs of other people should move our hearts to compassion and motivate us to make some personal sacrifices for their good. That is a major evidence of true faith in Christ (cf. 1 John 3:17-19). But try as we will, we are not going to eliminate all injustice from the earth. It is the natural by-product of living in a sinful world.

 

God’s justice relates not so much to the suffering in the world as to His attitude toward and treatment of the sin that causes suffering. He will deal with all sin with perfect justice, without a trace of partiality or favoritism. He says that He “will render to every man according to his deeds” (Romans 2:6). That almost sounds like salvation by works, although actually it has nothing to do with salvation. It establishes again the principle of God’s justice. Entrance into Heaven is dependent solely upon faith in Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary. But God is going to treat every person in accord with the quality of his life—believers and unbelievers alike. Unbelievers will be punished in hell on the basis of their works and believers will be rewarded in Heaven on the basis of their works.

 

Scripture clearly teaches degrees of punishment for unbelievers: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you” (Matthew 11:21-24). If it will be more tolerable, more bearable, or more endurable for some than for others, then there are obviously degrees of suffering. The issue on which they are judged seems to be the light they received. Those who saw the greater demonstration of God’s power and rejected it will experience greater punishment than those who saw less of God’s power and rejected it.

 

Some of our Lord’s most scathing denunciations were reserved for the scribes and Pharisees, men who enjoyed some of the greatest spiritual privileges yet exhibited some of the least of God’s love. They “devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation” (Mark 12:40). Greater condemnation can mean nothing less than degrees of punishment.

 

To illustrate this truth, Jesus told a story in which he contrasted two servants—one who knew his master’s will and did not do it, and one who did not know it. “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of flogging, will receive but few. And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more” (Luke 12:47-48).

 

Again, we have a clear reference to degrees of punishment—many stripes and few stripes. And again, the issue is their response to the knowledge they had.

 

A native in the jungle who has never heard the gospel does not have the same degree of responsibility as an American who can hear the gospel any day of the week. Therefore that native will not receive the same degree of punishment. A person who was raised in a secular home and taught to be nonreligious may not have the same degree of responsibility as a person who was raised in a Christian home and taught the truth of God’s Word yet rejected it. That less privileged person will not receive the same degree of punishment (cf. also 2 Peter 2:20-21).

 

When unbelievers stand before the great white throne, they will be consigned to the lake of fire because their names are missing from the book of life. But at the same time they will be judged “according to their deeds” (Revelation 20:12-13). That makes very little sense unless those works make some difference in the degree of their punishment. We do not know what the difference will be, but the justice of God will be expressed by different levels of punishment. There finally will be justice for all.

 

On the other hand, believers will be rewarded in Heaven on the basis of their works. Works will have nothing to do with their entrance into Heaven. That is based solely on their acceptance of the merits of Jesus Christ and His provision of eternal life. But believers’ works will be tested by fire at the judgment seat of Christ to determine their quality. “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

 

Everybody knows the difference externally between gold and hay, but the fire reveals something the eye cannot see—motivation and enablement. Were the works performed for the glory of God or to fulfill some personal ambition? Were they performed by the power of the Holy Spirit or in the energy of the flesh? Those done for the glory of the Lord and by the power of the Holy Spirit will become the basis for reward. So it seems likely that everyone’s reward will be different.

 

We are not told here what the rewards will be, but several things are mentioned in other passages. The New Testament speaks of crowns that are cast before the throne of God (Revelation 4:10), a probable reference to our capacity to glorify Him (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10). Nothing will bring us greater satisfaction in eternity than our ability to exalt the Lord Jesus.

 

In addition to crowns, Biblical writers refer to the ability to shine (cf. Matthew 13:43; Daniel 12:3), a probable reference to our capacity to reflect the glory and radiance of our Lord, another source of great pleasure in eternity. Some have likened it to a great chandelier containing some twenty-five-watt bulbs, some fifty, some seventy five, and some one hundred, each shining to the peak of his ability, but all magnifying the Lord.

 

Jesus told a parable that implied different levels of governmental authority in God’s kingdom. A nobleman leaving for a far country entrusted the same amount of money to each of ten servants, and they were to invest it for his benefit. When he returned he called them into account. The first gained ten times the original amount and was commended by his master: “because you have been faithful in a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities” (Luke 19:17). The second gained five times the original amount and was likewise commended by his master: “And you are to be over five cities” (Luke 19:19). Our rewards will not be trophies to put on a shelf, but greater responsibilities and greater authority.

 

There will be no jealousy between us, but clearly there will be differences—a different number of crowns, a different capacity to shine, a different level of authority. God’s justice does not require Him to reward us. Everything worthwhile we ever accomplish is by His power and through His grace, so at best we deserve nothing, and He does not owe us anything. The rewards He gives us will be out of His store house of grace. But since He has decided to reward us, He will do it with perfect justice in accord with our works—not just what shows on the outside, but what is in our hearts! Not just what we did, but how and why we did it! There will be justice for all.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

BAH HUMBUG STRIKES

December 19, 2016

bad santa

I thought this was the year I wouldn’t write this, but today it hit me, my wife saw it on my face like I had wrote it on my forehead, she started making up Christmas songs with nonsense verses to make me laugh, a few minutes and it passed. Whew!

But for those who suffer in the holidays, know it can get better, but don’t suffer in silence, share with someone.

It time for my annual Christmas story, the reason it’s an annual story is from Thanksgiving until about March, I suffer from seasonal affect disorder (SAD) winter depression. The worst part about it is the feeling of not being connected to anyone or anything. I have one word in my vocabulary, actually it’s two, “I quit”, but I get through it and some years are worse than others. Its Christmas time, and I hate the songs, and I hate the sentiments, and the best thing for me is to keep my mouth shut. Here is my version of a Christmas Carol.

Our trip to cut down a Christmas tree starts out as a normal family time. Everyone in the car, my sister and I hoping and praying for a pleasant day. “One stop at MacDonald’s Bar and Grill for a quick one. You guys sit tight,” Dad says.

And a few hours later a neighbor or a state cops comes by and takes you home.

Its three days before Christmas and there’s a knock on the door. In come three giants in police uniform. They set up the tree that you never got and decorate it, and they put down the toys and candies and bring in bags of groceries because somehow they know you have been eating nothing but cheerios and spam. You can’t believe someone cares, and as they leave, they tousle your hair, saying “Be the man, hold it together.”

It’s Christmas Eve, and you and your sister huddle in bed without any visions of sugarplums in your head. All you can hear are the sound of your drunken father, shooting his gun in the air, laughing and saying, “That fat SOB isn’t stopping here tonight so get your asses to bed.”

Christmas morning dawns, and you race down the stairs. But there’s no Christmas tree, no toys, no decorations. Nothing is said, but you and your sister are packed up to grandma’s house, where you can get a semblance of Christmas, where you can feel safe and can be a child again.

The Christmas tree is sold with all the toys and decorations right there in your home. Maybe it’s because your father owes someone money, or maybe it’s just because he thinks it’s funny.

Oh, but everyone has to love Christmas.   Not me!

I never shot the gun into the air. I never sold the goods out from under your nose. I never got drunk and laid in a stupor for the holidays.

I just bitch about everything.   Why do I have to do it? Why ask me to participate? Oh, well, the martyr syndrome kicks in, and I say just get it over with. I create the tension, I crate the threats, and it’s me who hates Christmas.

I am fully saved. I am fully justified and sanctified. But I can’t get through the depression that falls upon me. It hovers all year and descends in full force at Thanksgiving time.

Ho, Ho, Ho. I can’t do it. My first full time position as an associate pastor, I try to play the Christmas Pastor.   I reach the point of thinking if I hear another Christmas carol or poem or get invited to another church Christmas party I’m going to puke.

It can’t be hidden. Finally I get called into the office two days before New Year’s Eve and asked what’s wrong with me. Must be a “seasonal effect disorder.”

And so in a wind blown field, all is lost, all is gone; the holidays have robbed me of everything. No one can love me, no one comes near, they are afraid of the anger, the tempest. The depression is black, the Gallic curse is full blown, and a berserker mentality is taking root. A siege engine is gripping my thoughts.   Why surrender? Why strive? Give up, give in, stop fighting.  Give it up!

The lies and seduction call you to rest. The serpent is whispering, “Pull the trigger, stop fighting, you’ve lost. There is no shame, it’s the family curse.”

And the hammer starts to fall, and the laughter gets louder. Everything slows to a crawl.

“Does He matter more than this, a voice whispers, God still speaks

You fall to your knees, and weep, tears freeze on your face.   You think all is lost, all is gone, never to regain.

I live through Christmas. The trigger is not pulled. I know by March all will be well, and winter will be gone. Easter will come and the depression that has been with me most of the year, the weight like going down the mine, crushing, suffocating, the blackness, rage, and desperation will disappear for awhile.

And the epiphany always comes. Christ Precious. “Is Christ precious to you?” It’s more than saying you love Him. It’s more than calling him Lord. It’s a fact that you must lose all, watch everything crumble, but there is no companion, no possession worth anything more than Christ.

On bended knee the cry escapes my lips, “Take it all, you’ve taken it all, and you are precious. With this and no more I crave, not one thing can be added, and I will say you are most precious to me.

You shout, “Yes, He is more precious, nothing else matters, if all I have is this moment, it is enough, because He is most precious.”

He is most precious, and with His arms of grace about you, you fall asleep. It is lifted.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

And Merry Freak’n Christmas

A Call To Arms

October 31, 2015

boxing

The Vatican II documents as well as the new Catechism of the Catholic Church reinvoke the theological position of the Council of Trent, condemning the gospel of justification by an imputed righteousness.

 

Evangelicalism is redefining itself doctrinally. From its views of the self (77% of Evangelicals say that man is basically good by nature) to its views of salvation (87% insist that, in salvation, God helps those who help themselves).

 

The gospel defines the church, not vice versa. sola Scriptura, (only the scriptures)and the material principle of sola fide. (only faith).

 

Luther called justification by faith alone “the article upon which the church stands or falls” (articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae). This strong assertion of the central importance of justification was linked to Luther’s identification of justification by faith alone (sola fide) with the gospel. The “good news” of the New Testament includes not only an announcement of the person of Christ and his work in our behalf, but a declaration of how the benefits of Christ’s work are appropriated by, in, and for the believer.

 

The issue of how justification and salvation are received became the paramount point of debate. Luther’s insistence on sola fide was based on the conviction that the “how” of justification is integral and essential to the gospel itself. He viewed justification by faith alone as necessary and essential to the gospel and to salvation. Since the gospel stands at the heart of Christian faith, Luther and other Reformers regarded the debate concerning justification as one involving an essential truth of Christianity, a doctrine no less essential than the Trinity or the dual natures of Christ. Without the gospel the church falls. Without the gospel the church is no longer the church.

 

Justification by faith alone is essential to the gospel. The gospel is essential to Christianity and to salvation. The gospel is essential to a church’s being a true church.

 

To reject justification by faith alone is to reject the gospel and to fall as a church. The Reformers concluded that when Rome rejected and condemned sola fide, it condemned itself, in effect, and ceased to be a true church.

 

Men are justified by faith alone,” wrote an old Puritan divine, “but the faith that justifies is never alone.” This is a succinct statement of the truth articulated by Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit, in Ephesians 2:8–10: “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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Men are saved by God’s grace alone apart from any meritorious work. Salvation is “not of works.” Yet, at the same time, men are saved with a view to a transformed life. Salvation is “unto good works.” A true, saving experience of Jesus Christ carries within it the germ of a transformed life … and the transformed life is the chief evidence of the genuineness of a man’s profession

 

It is upon this premise that we must once again have not a revival but another reformation in the basic tenets of Christianity. It is no longer acceptable if we are going to see the Evangelical church survive, to be tolerant and sit at the table of the ecumenical and placate everyone by saying all roads lead to heaven, when Jesus said he was the only way and the only truth.

 

If someone presents themselves as Christians and confess anything other than by faith alone then they are not Christians, plain and simple.

 

The problem today is the message, everyone is to play nice and there is to be no conflict, no disagreements. As we see the landscape of religion change in America, along with everything else, it is fear that makes us drop what makes us different and unique and we seek a larger tribe with similar values just to makes us feel like the world hasn’t changed that much.

 

We are asked to give up our theological tenets and make social needs greater than gospel needs; let’s homogenize the Christian Church and blend it with everything and everyone else yet still call it Christian. And there’s the rub; it cannot be done.

 

Dr. Walter Martin, author of “The Kingdom of the Cults” writes early in his book that the principle means of success in determining who is like us in our theology and justified by faith, we must agree that our words all mean the same thing. And that’s the trick, people are using the same phrases but it doesn’t mean the same thing, and we can only be sure if we know the difference if we know our own faith and doctrine.

 

Hopefully this sounds like a call to arms, it is, the Christian faith needs new hero’s.

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com