Turn Around

There is a much needed emphasis today that seems, for the most part, to be absent. I speak of repentance! Some tell us that this is a "work" so cannot be required, as salvation is strictly by grace. Keep in mind that repentance is granted to us. See Acts 11:18b. Repentance was preached by John the Baptist, and "Repent" was the first recorded word of Jesus’ public ministry. It was preached by Peter, Paul and a number of others. It played a prominent role in the early church and down through the centuries. A definition that I have found to be helpful is: A change of mind, leading to a change of heart, leading to a change in behavior.  It is a complete turn around and a whole new direction away from sin and toward God. See II Corinthians 5:17. There may be "falls" and "sidetracks" but the true believer gets up (with God’s help) and back on track and resumes his or her walk in the new direction. ( Note: It will sometimes require God’s chastising and correction, which may be painful). Don’t shortchange the significance of this word!   Selah!  Think where the church might be today in purity if this work of God were better understood. Acts 20:21: "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."          Ron

Can We Divide Jesus?

What a ridiculous question! Is this what some well-meaning people are promoting without, perhaps, intending to do so? We are told that we can accept Jesus as Savior but not necessarily as Lord. We should open ourselves to His Lordship but we might not. By the way, we do not accept Him. We receive Him, then we find that He has accepted us! We are even informed that repentance is a "work," therefore it is not a "must" for receiving God’s salvation. See Acts 20:21 where repentance and faith are viewed as two sides of one coin. Of course, we don’t come to grips all at once with the implications of His Lordship but when we come to Him we do not say, in effect, I will take your gift but not You as Lord. He is Lord! We are told that we need to receive Jesus as Savior, but commitment is also vital to our relationship with The Lord.  Commitment implies surrender to Him. Could failure to surrender account for so much of the shallowness all too common among professing believers today?  When we are saved, it is both being saved "from" and  "to" certain things. We are saved "from" the penalty of sin! We are saved "to" grow in holiness of life. More on repentance tomorrow, Lord willing. Selah!  For now, do some "in depth" thinking on this Truth, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus" (literally Jesus as Lord) etc.  Romans 10:9a. Please study carefully all of verses nine and ten.         Ron

Balance-Eternal Security Vs. Conditional Security

Can a saved person lose his or her salvation? Some say never, under any conditions. Others say yes, under certain conditions. Is there a balance? One accusation is that eternal security, no matter how one lives, is a license to sin. An accusation brought against conditional security is that salvation is based on works. A truly saved person doesn’t want to get away with sin. (When he sins, God goes to work on him). A truly saved person will manifest good works out of love for the Lord, as God produces them through him. Conditional security does indeed make salvation, to some degree, depend on our doing or not doing certain things. The balance: Is the person truly saved?  If there is the root, there will be the fruit!  God is the Author and Finisher of our faith! Hebrews 12:2a.   Selah! Carefully study and consider the following: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life: and they shall never perish,"……..!    (Note: It does not say,"if my sheep follow me" but it tells us that they do follow Him)!        John 10:27-28a.     Ron

Balance-Calvinism Vs. Arminianism

This article is not a debate as to which system is right. This is to give us insight to achieve a balanced response to both systems. I believe it was J. Edwin Orr who once said, "After reading the Bible for many years, I am convinced that it is a Calvinistic……….Arminian book."  His point?: The Bible does not submit to the cookie-cutter of either system. The Bible relates to the truths in each system while rejecting any errors in either one. These systems are, at best, a sincere attempt to discern what the Bible really teaches. These are men’s attempts and both have flaws. Should we scrap the systems? No! They stimulate (hopefully) healthy debate and study, to see what God’s Truth actually is. They exercise the mind to study carefully and thoroughly God’s Word. To that extent, they are useful. An example of what I am talking about is that the free will of man is allowed, albeit limited, "within" the Sovereignty of God. This exalts the Sovereignty of God without making man a robot. Draw from both systems that which is true! Remember the Bible is the final authority!  Selah! Think about and act on this verse: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."   II Timothy 2:15      Ron

Balance-Separation Vs. Legalism

This is a spin-off of a previous article. It is, however, from the angle of "balance". Holiness of life is non-optional! Consistent ungodliness suggests that one is not even saved. Holy living is characteristic of the child of God. This doesn’t mean that we never blow it. If we stumble, He is there to help us get back on our (spiritual) feet. (See 1 John 1:9). Separation is from anything that would grieve or offend or dishonor the Lord. We willingly let go of those things because we love Him and earnestly desire to please Him. Legalism insists that we avoid certain things because someone or some group has said we must or else.  Suppose, as an example, I don’t smoke (and I don’t) because some church says I must not or I will be out of their fellowship and/or disciplined. On the other hand, suppose I don’t smoke because the Lord doesn’t want me to damage my body which is His temple and I refrain because I love Him. The first example would likely be "legalism", as we define it today. The second would be "separation". But note: same habit, different motivation. The lifestyle He wants for us is wholesome. The world’s lifestyle is destructive!  Selah!   Seriously consider that what He desires in our behavior is for our good. It also demonstrates how He can make life rich and meaningful.  Let us be like Jesus Who said, "I do always those things that please Him"  John 8:29b. Strive, motivated by your love for God, to do the same!     Ron

Balance-Liberty And License

I don’t admire the enemy but I am fascinated with his cleverness (and stupidity, but that’s another subject). He suggests that since we are under grace and not law that now most anything is O.K. unless (maybe) it is just too gross. The thought is, "You have Christian liberty!" "You are not bound by rigid rules." This is very dangerous because it is partly true and, at the same time, it is completely twisted to mislead us. What is liberty and what is license? I heard, somewhere, that liberty is "the freedom to be what we ought to be". That’s a good definition. License is behaving in an unGodly way. However, we are not bound by rigid rules. Holy living is not something we strive for out of fear of punishment or because of some group pressuring us to conform to its’ rules. Our behavior must be motivated by our love of our wonderful Lord and our desire and determination not to injure His reputation in any way. Amazingly, this produces internal freedom! We are free of guilt. We are freed from harmful lifestyles. We probably will experience freedom from certain illnesses, injuries, stress, and who knows what else. Pretty good liberty, isn’t it?!   Selah! When temptation visits you, think: What motivates me, my love for and gratitude to God or my counterfeit freedom to gratify my own Adamic desires? Guess which one Satan votes for! Please read carefully: Romans 6:11-13.     Ron

Balance-Law And Grace (Amplification)

How is the righteousness of the Law fulfilled in us? (Romans 8:4) This verse tells us that it happens to those,"who walk….after the Spirit".   What does that mean? As I pointed out in an earlier article, if you walk after someone, you follow them. Follow The Holy Spirit  where? "Howbeit, when He, The Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you (i.e. the genuine believer) into all truth:…" John 16:13a.  Follow Him into all truth! What truth? John 17:17 gives us the answer. "Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy Word (i.e. the Bible) is truth."  As we learn of Him and spend time with Him in the Bible, we will come to know Him in a deep and personal way. We will learn that He is absolutely trustworthy and our faith in Him will grow and intensify. Out of love for Him and gratitude, we will be motivated to obey Him. The more that we obey Him because of love and gratitude, the more our lives will reflect the "righteousness of the Law".    Selah!  Keep in mind that this is a lifelong process. But what an abundant life it is!  It is a thrilling experience of the power, purity, and presence of the Son of God. It grows slowly in the beginning, accelerates over time and comes to full bloom in Heaven! To borrow a phrase from an old hymn, " I’m rejoicing night and day, as I walk the narrow way." (Herbert Buffum) Are you? I urge you to get started!   Ron