Showing posts with label Works. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Works. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2024

The Mercy of Fire

“Some bells cannot be unrung.”

So goes the saying when something has been done that cannot be undone. The ink has been spilled, the glass has been shattered, the clock cannot be rewound, the world has moved on. The arrow has flown, the words said cannot be recalled to the mouth, and “send” has been pressed. There is no going back, no fixing things “as they were”, or maybe “as they should have been”.

From now on, for good or for ill, things can never be the same.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

What Does Your Proof Text Prove? (29)

Grant Richison inquires what Paul meant when he ends a long statement in Philippians 3 with the words “… that by any means possible I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

In English, Richison says, the wording seems to express doubt about the certainty of Paul’s resurrection (and by implication the resurrection of others as well).

Does he question the assurance of his salvation?” Richison asks. He goes on to examine the passage for clues.

Friday, February 09, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: What’s the Point?

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Some people market Christianity like fire insurance, and others buy into it in fear of judgment. Then there are the folks like Joel Osteen who tell us being a believer will make us powerful and successful. Others who claim to represent Christ tell us that knowing Jesus will make us better human beings, improve our relationships or help us cope in bad times. Intellectual believers may say that in their search for truth, the Christian worldview best explains things about which they have always wondered.

Tom: Immanuel Can, there is a certain amount of rationality in most of these motives, but do they really get to the core of the Christian message?

Friday, August 12, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: Eternal Insecurity

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Todd Strandberg would prefer that we remain insecure about eternity. Let’s allow him to make his case:

“The all-pervasive eternal security teaching has to rank as one of the devil’s favorite tools for deceiving man into neglecting or turning away from God’s plan of salvation.

Alarm bells should have sounded immediately the first time it was made known that eternal security allows its adherents to sin as they please.

I’m amazed that a doctrine so contrary to the Word of God could have so many people relying upon it as their means of salvation. Jesus said, ‘he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved’ (Matthew 24:13). For someone to think they can just claim Jesus as their Savior and go on living a life of iniquity is ridiculous. Jesus told us in Matthew 7:23 that when Judgment Day comes, he’ll be saying to many, ‘... I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity’.”

Thursday, July 02, 2020

The Mercy of Fire

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Anonymous Asks (74)

“Does God only help those who help themselves?”

I hope you will not think I am equivocating if I answer, “It depends.” Because it does. Sometimes believers have to do a great deal of the heavy lifting while carrying out the plans and purposes of God. To shirk our obligations would be to defy God himself. Other times, getting involved in accomplishing God’s purposes is not only unnecessary, but can cause all kinds of complications and regret.

Abraham’s wife Sarah could tell you how badly that can go.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: What’s the Point?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Anonymous Asks (6)

“How do you reconcile Ephesians 2:8-9 with James 2:24?”

Well, let’s take a crack at that. First, the apostle Paul in Ephesians:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Then James:

“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

I’m going to assume the bone of contention here is the two phrases “saved through FAITH” (i.e., not as a result of works) and “justified by WORKS”. These statements appear to be contradictory.

But are they?

Sunday, December 17, 2017

On the Mount (9)

The website Judaism 101 lists every one of the 613 Mitzvot, or commandments of the Law traditionally recognized by the rabbis from Genesis through Deuteronomy. If you’re planning on trying to keep them all (an undertaking I don’t recommend), it’s quite a daunting read.

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is first baptized by John, then tempted in the wilderness by the devil. On the heels of successfully frustrating Satan, the Lord begins his ministry formally with the declaration “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and follows it with the “good news of the kingdom” preached in the synagogues and streets of Galilean towns and villages and accompanied everywhere by miraculous works that authenticate his message.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Eternal Insecurity

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Making Sure

People who don’t think a genuine believer in Jesus Christ belongs irrevocably to him use a variety of verses to support their claim that it is possible to be saved and then lose your salvation.

This isn’t a verse I’m used to seeing used that way:

“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”

The usual suspects are full of catchy expressions like “eternal sin”, “sin that leads to death” or even “impossible to restore them again to repentance”. Separate such phrases from their contexts and it is possible to become quite confused and concerned about the permanence of salvation.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Too Hot to Handle: What’s the Point?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Too Hot to Handle: Eternal Insecurity

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Judgment and Discernment

“This is a Christian country. I go to a Christian church. I believe in God and the Bible, so what right have you to judge me and tell me I’m not a Christian?” 
A question like this must be handled with care. It is certainly possible to conclude from a person’s life and actions that they are not living in a Christlike way; it may be discerned and pointed out that their beliefs about salvation and the Christian life are not in harmony with what the Bible teaches. But ultimately the question of whether a person is a ‘real’ Christian or not can be answered only by God, or in the case of a genuine child of God, by the individual believer.

Those who lack saving faith may not even be fully aware of it themselves.