Tag Archives: God

Coming out of the Darkness

I haven’t posted anything for a while. I have been in the midst of a fight for my life. And now that I am coming out of the darkness of the cloud I have a new lease on life. As I found myself fearing that God may have some impending punishment waiting on me I had a moment alone with our Lord. And I felt the need to grant you all a very intimate look int my life so that you may be blessed.

While sitting in worship this morning, I was touched by what must be reverently described as the presence of God. And in that touch He spoke to me. And the words he said to me moved me to tears as I was overwhelmed with the reality of who He is in my life. As I remember all that He has done for me. He said to me, “Do you think that I have come all this way with you, to leave you now? I am always with you, I will never leave you. Even in the darkest hour I am with you. Don’t fear what you are going through, but trust me.”

So here I am, with a renewed knowledge that He is faithful. Even when I am unfaithful, He remains yet faithful. Yes, sometimes I feel alone, but He is there. Yes, Sometimes I feel like no one understands, but He does. He experienced my pain and more in His time on earth. He is not so far removed from my infirmities that he doesn’t know what I am going through internally.

Rather, He knows full well what it is to be rejected, despised, hated, and cast aside. And He experienced that while giving Himself in love to the world. I have not yet given myself to that level of sacrifice. As a matter of fact, I haven’t even come close.  So here I am again, learning the faithfulness of God. Learning that He is ever present and always helping. He is always teaching and correcting. He is always loving us into His arms and His ways.

I hope that this short read will add something to you, in some way. God Bless you.

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Baptizo

Baptism has been the root of quite a bit of contention in the Body of Christ. It is a transliteration of the word Baptizo, which bears a manifold definition.

  1. to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)
  2. to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe
  3. to overwhelm

Not to be confused with 911, bapto. The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change. When used in the New Testament, this word more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism. e.g. Mark 16:16. ‘He that believes and is baptised shall be saved’. Christ is saying that mere intellectual assent is not enough. There must be a union with him, a real change, like the vegetable to the pickle! Bible Study Magazine, James Montgomery Boice, May 1989.

Is baptism necessary for salvation and if so, which definition best illustrates the method?

 

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Sola Scriptura

SOLA SCRIPTURA   

(Psalm 119:18; Psalm 138:2; II Tim. 3:14-17)

     This sola is the foundation of all the other solas, for from it can all the other solas be excavated.. Literally it means ‘Scripture Alone’, but is more often stated as “By the Scripture only”. It is not to be taken as, “me and my bible alone” as some have taken to a practice of living outside of the community of the church. But these have erred from the truth. Neither is it to be taken as, the scripture is all that there is to our faith. But rather Sola Scriptura means that the scriptures are the ultimate authority which we consult on matters pertaining to true life in God. The scriptures are the Word of God pertaining to this New Life in Christ. All Christian scripture is to be applied as a unit, not to be divided. The entirety of the cannon is the whole picture, take a piece away and we have distorted the truth. And if we have distorted the truth, it is no more truth, but it is altogether false.

     The scriptures can be described as the Supreme Court of the Kingdom of God, where God Almighty is the only Judge. There are lower sources of information to be certain, but these are subject to the judgment of God and His scriptures. Many authors have undertaken the task of applying the scriptures in a way more easily understood, and while these are great resources we must always defer to the scriptures as a filter and for proof of sound doctrine.  Just as in America, we see the courts in every city, but these courts can be appealed. If you don’t like the decision reached by the judge in a state court you can appeal their decision to a higher court. But once you reach the Supreme Court, whatever decision they reach will be final. You cannot appeal the ruling of the Supreme Court. The scriptures are the same, and must be respected as such.

     Interpretation of the scripture is of the utmost importance, and it is interpretation that has led the Body of Christ to the place it is on as of now. Many denominations and sects, cults and heresies of all sorts rule over the mind of many believers due to false interpretation. I will not attempt to ascribe a set of rules to the interpretation of the scripture as such things are outside of my reach, and must be reserved for the Holy Spirit to guide as He chooses. But I will apply a scriptural base for understanding and studying the scriptures.

  1. 1.       The Scriptures can and must Judge themselves. (1 Cor. 2:13)
  2. 2.       Understanding of the Scriptures is limited to those who are spiritually minded. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
  3. 3.       No one can decide what scripture means by their self. They must be in agreement with the body and communal mind of Christ. (2 Peter 1:20, 1 Corinthians 2:16)

     To be sure there are more scriptural proofs, but as I stated I will only be applying a scriptural base to this topic. Build on it as the Spirit leads you.

     The catholic aversion to the entirety of the 5 solas is understandable, but erroneous nevertheless.  In the case of Sola Scriptura they have interrupted the Creator’s design with tradition. They assert that tradition has a place next to the scriptures. They further assert that without tradition scripture cannot be properly interpreted. I make this one concession that some tradition does indeed have a place at times, but never next to the scriptures. If ever any tradition has a place in the body it is behind the scriptures and the Holy Spirits scriptural leadership. Even God has chosen to honor His word by never operating outside of its confines, as broad and wide as those confines may be.

     The protestant world has an unspoken dislike for Sola Scriptura, as many of us are consuming every doctrine that we can stomach.  We have no desire for pure doctrine that resists the pull of the flesh and cares not whether people are fond of it or not. We must be sure to examine the scriptures and utilize them as a guide for our lives. We should be challenged by the things we read, instead of challenging the very Word of God.

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The 5 Sola’s Introduction

     Never forget your history, for it is your history which will inform your future.  That is my view of church history and the doctrines that accompany it. In this era we have seen many modes of the church, and for all of my study I find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the theology of the laity with the doctrines of our spiritual forefathers. Do not mistake my statement to mean that there is no more to be learned, that is not my position.  Neither is my position that the theology and doctrines of old are immovable and totally authoritative, even over the Word of God.  But rather my position is that we cannot throw out the baby with the bath water. We must examine carefully what our history as a community has taught us and we must apply it in our progress.  Eat the meat, and discard the bones.  This is not an attempt to give an in depth dissertation of this topic. I simply wish to rehash a forgotten conversation among the called out of God.

    

       The 5 Solas are 5 Latin slogans that summarize 5 key elements of our faith. New to many modern day Christians, but in reality they were ancient truths lost in the dark ages.

  1. 1.       SOLA SCRIPTURA – By Scripture alone
  2. 2.       SOLA GRATIA – By Grace alone
  3. 3.       SOLA FIDE- By Faith Alone
  4. 4.       SOLA CHRISTUS/CHRISTO – By Christ Alone
  5. 5.       SOLI DEO GLORIA – To God Alone be the Glory

 I was originally going to post these all as one article, but for the sake of being reader friendly I have opted to go with one article at a time. I have attempted to summarize the 5 solas in a manner that is easily understood.  I hope that they have been laid out in a way that makes it easy for you to read and comprehend.

 

Know that no one can have indulged in the Holy Writers sufficiently, unless he has governed churches for a hundred years with the prophets, such as Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles. Do not assail this divine Aeneid; nay, rather prostrate revere the ground that it treads. We are beggars: this is true-Martin Luther (from his last statement)

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Fallen From Grace

The Grace of God commands men everywhere to repent.

But repent from what?  In all the writings of the apostle Paul to a group, except one, he gave thanks for the readers and the audience that he is writing to.  Who is the one group that he does not write a thank you for? Is it the unholy rebellious group of idol worshipping, pagan practicing, sexually sinning so called Christians? Or, does he overlook that slight mishap and get serious with the altogether holiest group of them all, The most law abiding Christians in the book? What are the odds that you are leaning towards the latter right now?

The Backslider is a person who is often assumed to be someone who is or seems to be caught, sinking, living, or dying in sin.  This sin is defined by the culture of the region that the “backslider” lives in. It could range from smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, to drinking coffee and eating too much, maybe even some heavyweights like fornication and lust. Of course the less frequently mentioned problems are there as well. Sins like Idolatry, and failing to remember the Sabbath. But if we’re honest with ourselves, Come on I mean really honest, we can all confess that we are or have at one time or another been living in, got caught by, or “slipped” into some sin on a regular basis of some sort. Maybe you don’t lie, steal, murder, or practice infidelity. But maybe, just maybe, you’ve seen that one person with that purse or car you want so bad it ate you up inside. Or maybe you’re not that person, maybe you just practice work. All day every day, your mind is running and you’re not even considering that you’re breaking the Sabbath, and practicing idolatry. Oh yeah, forgot about that one huh?  No worries I wouldn’t leave you out there.

When we put it into that perspective we all look like mini backsliders right. I mean, it stands to reason that if the “heavier” sins dictate a backslider then all sins commited after repentance qualify you for the title of  backslider.  Well, that’s not exactly true. The qualifications for being a backslider are skewed on a lot of levels. As we allow God to show us the right way, the way of grace, we begin to see that the body of Christ is filled with backsliders and they seem to be holding their holy rolling sanctification together fairly well. So, by now you’re probably wondering what I’m getting at. Just what do I mean by all of this? Am I implying that you are a backslider? NO. I don’t know you to make that call. But hopefully by the end of this you will see that we can very easily become backsliders in God’s eyes, never mind the eyes of man.

I believe that we must use the bible to define the backslider. We need to search the scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit of God to lead us into revelation concerning these things. Most of us fall into the category of Gentile where our natural heritage is concerned. That places us outside of the old covenant as natural things go. But God gave a new covenant to bring the outsider into the fold. The way into the new covenant is through Jesus Christ. But many of us are trying to accomplish through the law what God already accomplished through the messiah. The bible gives us an example of what happens when we make that mistake.

The churches of Galatia receive a rather harsh “talking to” from Paul the apostle. Not an apostle sent by men, nor man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the father who raised him from the dead (see gal. 1:1). Paul has taken apparent issue with the Galatians saying that they have been removed from “him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.” This gospel turns out not to be a gospel at all, but a perversion of the truth. A close look at Paul’s letter to the Galatians reveals the reason for his disappointment in the Galatians who he himself labored for in the Lord. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace” (gal. 5:4).

Fallen from grace? Here we have found the true definition of the backslider. It is shown to us clearly in the Galatian’s actions. They received Jesus Christ as the way, truth, and the life. They trusted his sacrifice to be a replacement for their own lives before God. They relied on his righteousness to be their own. Then, they turned to the very law which Jesus had come and fulfilled on their behalf. They had been dissuaded into trusting in their works. They would rather have a serving of old fashioned law with a side of Christ, than a heaping scoop of fresh Christ all by himself. This was the problem; they had failed to obey the truth.

The Grace of God is what has always been and will always be the method through which God reconciles man unto himself. It is his unwavering love shown in its highest fashion. The law has been in place since the beginning of time. It has never nor will it ever be able to remove the stain of sin from our lives. But the grace of God through the Blood of His lamb cleanses us from all unrighteousness. The grace of God is what commands men everywhere to repent. Grace is the very goodness of God which leads to repentance. Where Men will remember your shortfalls, Grace blinds God’s eye to your sin. Men judge men day in and day out, but the greatest judge of all declares the recipient of grace not guilty. It is God who has bestowed upon His people His love long before we were even considering loving him or worshipping him. God loved us so much that he sent his own son to die for us that we might live and love for him. Ask yourself , “Am I a Backslider? Have I fallen from grace?” If the answer is yes, repent and be renewed in the grace of God.

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