Did the Law nullify the promise?

Hopefully I can better explain my position on the dispensation of the two covenants by addressing the comments that you have laid out. 

To begin with, I think Christianity as a whole, not every believer, looks at the Law with the wrong pair of glasses on.  When most consider the Law they think of the ordinances given at Mt. Sinai.  When I think of the Law, I see two divisions of the Law.  Not two divisions of what was given at Mt. Sinai.  But two divisions of what is written in the books of Moses.  I think this is where a lot of confusion comes from for those who wrestle to understand my position. 

I assume, when believers consider the Law as only those things spoken of at Mt. Sinai, they make incomplete connections of the doctrinal significance that our New Testament emphasizes concerning the covenant God gave Abraham. Continue reading

Free will or Free nil

In Yesterdays post “Be good, be good Johnny” I discussed the nature of man.  I asked if a sinful man who is so totally depraved if he can do any act of good?  The conclusion was that a sinful man can do good even though he is evil.  Keeping in mind of course, that all of the righteous man’s good deeds are as filthy rags. 

So an evil man doing good is not to his credit, rather to show that an evil man on his own can make the good choice to see and respond to God.  That he is not so totally depraved as some would want us to think.  These men advocate man has no free will and God forces on His elect an irresistible grace, because man can not make that choice for himself.

Let’s look at a phrase I have had the privilege to study from Irishanglican who is helpful in my understanding of what some others have concluded. 

“Therefore we reject everything taught to the contrary concerning man’s free will, since man is nothing but the slave of sin and cannot do a thing unless it is “given him from heaven.”[1]

These men reject that man has any free will to choose or reject God.  They reject that a man can make the good decision (Be good, be good Johnny) on their own.  Now since they teach that man can not choose or reject God, they have come up with other notions as well.  These being, God predestines some men to hell and others to grace.  Consequently they assume God is more abusive to men than the cast system found in India.  Where a man is born into a status and can never have any upward mobility to better himself. 

They also say the elect can not reject God because His grace is irresistible.  Consequently it would have to follow, since His grace is irresistible, that those predestined for hell never get the opportunity to say yea or nay to this grace.  But this is not what we see in scripture.

There is a lot of rejecting of God in scripture and scripture says so.  Don’t we all know this verse, even those of us who reject man’s free will to choose or reject God?

(Mark 12:10 NIV)  Haven’t you read this scripture: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone ;[2]

Or how about the testimony of men who rejected God’s purpose for themselves?

But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.[3]

Would God be just if He held accountable the generation that asked for His Son’s death and for their rejection of the Messiah if they never had Him offered? 

And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.[4]

If they never had the opportunity to reject God (free will) how can they be guilty of rejecting him?  Yet we see in scripture Jesus saying this generation in their choice (free will) will reject Him.  There is a reason that they will be accountable, its called their choice.

But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.[5]

If you still struggle with man having a free will to choose God or reject Him, would it prove the point if scripture simple came out and said, “refused to obey?”  Why look, it does.

“But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.[6]

Who refuses what has never been offered.  If these men were condemned to hell since they were not of the elect who have irresistible grace, how can they resist a grace that was not ever offered to them?  How can they refuse to obey if they never could do good outside of Christ?  But these men refused God in their hearts!

Somebody somewhere has been doing a lot of rejecting of God’s purpose for themselves.  Somebody in scripture has been doing a lot of refusing to obey as well.  Somebody somewhere had as lot of free will and in their hearts refuse or accept God, not the Free nil that some men advocate.

[1] Beltic Confessions Article 14

[2] Mark 12:10

[3] Luke 7:30

[4] Matthew 23:35

[5] Luke 17:25

[6] Acts 7:39

Be good, be good Johnny

Can Johnny ever be good?  If Johnny is born again everyone would say, yes Johnny can be good.  But what if Johnny was still lost in his sin?  Can Johnny be good then?

What is it in theologians heads that make them say Johnny can never be good if he is not born again? 

Can Jesus ever be good?  All of us would say yes, but for some theologians Jesus is not very well behaved.  In fact He is hard to control.

Jesus seems to forget to teach in accordance with some theologians teachings.  For instance Jesus isn’t very good when he disagrees with those who have theology degrees. 

Theologians teach Johnny can never be good if he is lost in his sin.  Jesus says the theologians are not very good at theology when they teach this.

Jesus says even evil Johnny does good by giving good things to his children.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him![1]

Oh how bad has this Jesus been?  Now be good Jesus, be good.  But Jesus does not pay attention to theologians, for he only does bad again.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?[2]

Can Johnny be good if he is lost in his sin?  Is a man lost in his sin if he observes the Law to obtain his own righteousness?  Why yes he is.  But can Johnny be good by observing the Law, or is the Law to the lost a sin too?

What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”[3]

Certainly the observance of the Law does not do evil but good.  Even to those who transgress the Law, the Law is not sin.  So then the law is good and the commandment is good and righteous things are done even by the lost who try to obtain their own righteousness from the Law.

It is good, not a sin to observe do not murder?  It is good, not a sin to observe do not covet?  It is a good, not a sin to observe do not steal?  Even if done for the wrong reasons it is good, not a sin?

So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.[4]

So can Johnny be good?  Can a lost Johnny do good?  Yes our Lord Jesus says he can, who is not so good for some theologians and Paul, Christ’s Apostle, is not so good to these same theologians.  For they teach a lost Johnny can do good apart from the saving knowledge of Christ.

It is bad theologians who teach Johnny can never be good if he is not a Christian.  Yet scripture teaches that many a good Johnny needs a savior too.

What do you think?  Do you think Johnny can be good?  Or do you believe in the total depravity of man?  Do you think a lost man has no good in him or do you think in your own experiences and the words of Jesus and Paul, that a good man who is lost still can die in his sins?  Or is it only the lost man who is evil in all things that he does that can die in his sins?

[1] Matthew 7:11

[2] Matthew 5:46

[3] Romans 7:7

[4] Romans 7:12

Hot off the presses!

Nothing new here

The Word of God became flesh and dwelt amongst men.  He was obedient to the Father even unto death.  Now raised to life and ascended into heaven, sitting at the right hand of God the Father.  With such a great testimony of how God redeemed mankind from their sins, what was the message that was being spread as fast as they could?  What message was so hot off the presses, they made haste to spread this good news?

Concerning us gentiles, did the delivery boys look for new sources to proclaim the gospel?  Did they sit down with eye witnesses to give an account of all they knew and could gather concerning what took place?  Or was that done latter so the believers in the message, hot off the presses, could have a better account of the events they believed.  Don’t we call these the four gospels?

So if the delivery boys with the greatest news to come to mankind didn’t travel with the four gospels hot off the presses as a testimony to what had taken place, what did these men deliver to those who heard their message.  It was old articles and from dusty old news that these boys were peddling.  Nothing new and pristine was commended to the people to put their trust in, but the old and stuffy.

Peter after speaking to the gentiles by giving a short paragraph of an eye witness account, whips out the old news print at the household of Cornelius.  He doesn’t quote anything from Mathew, Mark, Luke, John or even Jesus Himself.  Instead he invokes all the old news about what we consider a New Testament exclusive teaching.  He said all the old news already testified that everyone who believes in the messiah would receive forgiveness of sins.

All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”[1]

In fact the news these delivery boys were tasked to spread was so old and common, this old news print lying around concerning what they had to say was read every weekend.  It was as if they didn’t have a fresh Sabbath morning paper, so they read the old stuff lying around instead.

The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.[2]

Now we today who have fresh news at our fingertips at any moment of the day toss aside this old news as Old Testament.  Who wants that?  We reject it because who wants to get our hands dirty from the ink of the Law from this old print.  But it was not rejected by the delivery boys.  Instead when standing before kings we learn the old printed stuff even the Law agrees with the gospel.

However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,[3]

Who was prompting these delivery boys to carry around old news print to proclaim what is hot off the presses?  What newspaper editor would want that kind of news circulation?

Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him–[4]

It was our eternal God who had commanded the revelation of Jesus Christ to come through the writings of the old news.  Not through something new hot off the presses.

Here at The Gospel According to the Gospel I advocate that we have a gospel that was first preached at Mt. Sinai as testified by our New Testament.  It further testifies that the message and hope of Jesus was found not only in the prophets but the Law of Moses.  I like to say, we put our hope in the faith of the Law not the Law of the faith.  Law of the faith is works and faith of the Law is our gospel of grace that all the prophets testify to. 

I advocate that we the church have wandered into many an error in our understanding of our gospel since we have made the assumption that grace started at the cross and not in the books of Moses.  See what the New Testament teaches about our gospel, that the church refuses to believe.  Please check out Uncommon Belief to see what our gospel really says.  After going there and reading you will conclude that I have not said anything beyond what the prophets and Moses said.

But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen–[5]

[1] Acts10:43

[2] Acts 13:27

[3] Acts 24:14

[4] Romans 16:25-26

[5] Acts 26:22

Throwing out the baby with the bath water

Many believers in the Christian world have been sold a bill of goods that gives unsuspecting believers an unfounded confidence of eternal security, when the whole of scripture does not teach this.

One of the cornerstone texts of scripture that the “once saved always saved” crowd uses to prove their positions is found in Ephesians chapter two.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,[1]

It is taught and believed by many a believer that since we are now in the present tense raised with Christ Jesus and seated with Him in the heavenly realms, we are there positionally and can not be removed.  We assume that our sitting in heavenly realms with Christ guarantees this continuing position.

We toss out as irrelevant that scripture which talks of this same privilege as we abuse what it teaches.  Although we would never say of the unbeliever they share in the heavenly in Ephesians chapter two we do of this abused portion of scripture.  We toss aside this warning in scripture as for the unbeliever only or as some have said, to show as the impossible contrast of what a believer could never do.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.[2]

Can anyone tell me of any unbeliever who after having been enlightened and rejecting Christ tasted of the heavenly gift?  Are we to assume this same unbeliever shared in the Holy Spirit too?  Not withstanding they tasted also of the goodness of God’s word and the power of the coming age.  This is a tall order to fill for real believers who are diligently seeking God and yet some of us “once saved always saved” crowd ignore this text as pertaining for the fake Christian who leaves the faith and is exposed as an unbeliever.

It is ridiculous to the faith and sensibilities of common sense to what the text is speaking of to say this text is speaking of the unbeliever.  It is speaking of some who has tasted of the heavenly gift, the same heavenly position spoken of in Ephesians.  In fact the verses in Hebrews go beyond what is hoped in by the “once saved always saved crowd” by talking of sharing in the Holy Spirit and the power of the age to come.  The Holy Spirit is clearly teaching through faith we hae a conditional position in Christ based on our obedience.

The key word is IF.  The same IF that Jesus spoke of and the same IF Paul spoke of.  The same remaining is need that Jesus spoke of and the same remaining is needed that Paul spoke of.  Yet we toss out the baby with the bath water because it doesn’t fit our doctrine and we think we are obeying the word of God.  With such notions that ignores the word of God how does one know they are not the ones who haven’t already fallen away?

Scripture takes away all of our excuses for apathy when it teaches that only IF we remain in Christ to the end do we actually share in Christ.  Until then we have a hope of salvation. 

We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.[3]

To learn more about what scripture teaches about our hope of salvation held out in the gospel and other teachings defended by The Gospel According to the Gospel please go to “Uncommon Belief” to learn more.

[1] Ephesians 2:6

[2] Hebrews 6:4-6

[3] Hebrews 3:14

Are you ready to cry Uncle?

Here at The Gospel According to the Gospel I spend much time trying to persuade believers that their gospel didn’t start in the book of Matthew.  Instead it started with Abraham and was preached at Mt. Sinai as Hebrews teaches.  It is my hope that all will come to the understanding that those from Abraham on had the hope of salvation just as we find preached in our New Testament gospel.  So here is more proof from the New Testament to prove this.

Mary, when she went to see Elisabeth praised God for what He was doing.  She praised Him because God was acting in the remembrance of His mercy that He had spoken to Abraham.  Mary saw the birth of the savior as a fulfillment of the promise of mercy God made with our father Abraham.  Wonderfully this promise was for Abraham and all his seed forever!  Praise God!

For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.  He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.  He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.[1]

We also have Zacharias who prophesied of what God was doing with the coming of the savior.  Is it irony only that he saw this event the same as Mary, or did God actually announce the gospel in advance to Abraham as scripture teaches?  I am going with scripture on this one.  I say not only did God announce to Abraham our gospel He swore to Abraham He would perform this mercy.  Now Zacharias speaking by the Holy Spirit makes a testimony of this fact again, for us to gain understanding of this truth in our gospel.

To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,[2]

The first sermon after the Holy Ghost came upon the church brought up again this same fact.  So again we have scripture saying this promise of Christ was given as a covenant to Abraham.

Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.  Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.[3]

No wonder Jesus said Abraham rejoiced at he thought of seeing His day.  Abraham knew what mercies God would give through His covenant that He swore to Abraham.

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.[4]

So are we going to change our profession of faith and our understanding of our gospel?  Are we finally going to admit our gospel was preached and hoped in and believed in long before the book of Matthew?  Are your now ready to cry uncle, and confess that we do not believe in a New Testament gospel, but one promised to Abraham?  Let’s not resist the Holy Spirit who made it abundantly clear our gospel starts with the oath God swore to our father Abraham.  Cry Uncle!

[1] Luke 1:49-55

[2] Luke 1:72-73

[3] Acts 3:25-26

[4] John 8:56

Christ redeemed me, He redeemed me not

There is a teaching in part of Christendom that teaches that some men are predestined for God’s grace and the rest of men are predestined for God’s wrath.  This is a nice thought if you are one of those men who are predestined for grace. 

But does it really mean that Jesus came and died for some men and not others?  Did Jesus die only for those who were predestined for His grace?  Why would He die for those of whom He knows He has predestined for wrath?  What would the point be?  They would never be eligible for His grace anyway if He died for them, since they were predestined for damnation and destruction.

It is a shame so many “believers” use this doctrine to comfort themselves in their “eternal security” when our gospel puts out a hope for all mankind.  Not just those of us who think we are part of the predestined group of God’s elect.

So who is called?  Of those called, do they all respond?  If they are called would not the irresistible grace doctrine of predestination kick in and force all men who are called to respond positively to Christ?  Scripture teaches many are called but few are chosen.

For many are called, but few are chosen.[1]

Did Jesus also die for the many that were called and never chosen?  Does scripture teaches that Christ takes away the sin of only those predestined for grace?  Why would God take away the sin of those predestined for His wrath?  If He took away their sins wouldn’t they too have God’s grace?

Scripture testifies that Jesus takes away not only the sins of the saints, but of the whole world.  The work of Christ is so complete, He took away the sins of every man, woman and child.  He was the atoning sacrifice for all sin.  He is the savior of the world.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.[2]

We in Christendom think Jesus only takes away the sins of those who accept Christ.  That is only after you accept Jesus as your savior.  So is it that He died for you but His sacrifice is not sufficient to forgive your sins unless you become a believer?  Or is it that His sacrifice is sufficient to take away your sins even before you believed?  Is He the savior that takes away the sins of the world or is He not?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.[3]

Scripture testifies that it was the purpose of God to send His Son to die for the sins of the world that He might be the savior of the world, by taking away the sins of the world.  Isn’t this the truth we find in our gospel?  Now that the sins of the whole world have been taken away, we now can doubt Christ and His sacrifice or believe it.  Then believing, we walk in the light of His truth, that our sins were forgiven, that God has given His grace to all mankind.

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.[4]

The truth sadly is that even as the savior of the world who takes away the sins of the world, the world still rejects His redeeming grace that He has lavished on us all.

The lost reject Him by their unbelief and disobedience to His word.  Christ is their savior taking away their sins, because He died for them, yet rejected by them through their disobedience and faithlessness. 

If the lost who had all the grace given to them as we do to us will die in their sins for disobedience and faithlessness, how much more a believer who now has nothing over the lost concerning God’s redeeming grace, who walks in disobedience and faithlessness?  Kinda gives a new urgency to what James said, doesn’t it?

But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?[5]

It takes more than just saying you believe in Jesus.  It takes your life.  There is no distinction between what the lost have received from their savior who took away their sins than that of the believer who has the same grace.  That is until we are no longer faithless believers and disobedient disciples.   That is until we truly become transformed by being born again of the Spirit.

Now as born again believers who have had our sins taken away, even while we were yet enemies of God, through the work of the cross by our Savior, let us as redeemed men now look to His salvation to come to us at His return.

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.[6]

[1] Matthew 22:14

[2] John 1:29

[3] John 3:16-17

[4] John 12:46

[5] James 2:20

[6] Hebrews 9:28