Category Archives: #TRUTH
I’ve seen the following reading floating around the Internet in various forms. My friend David Langerfeld sent it out via his Daily Encourager. Here’s my version of what David sent out:
You think you’re not good enough?
You think your past disqualifies you to serve God?
Look at some of the people God used in the Bible:
David’s armor didn’t fit.
John Mark was rejected by Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a murderer.
So was Moses.
Jonah ran from God.
Sarah laughed at God.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Mary was lazy.
Samson slept with a prostitute.
Noah got drunk.
Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul – well, lots of folks did.
From the book “Rightly Dividing the Word”, by Clarence Larkin, 1920
The Scriptures make a clear distinction between “Law” and “Grace,” putting “Law” in one Dispensation and “Grace” in another. “The `Law’ was given by (through) Moses, but `Grace’ and `Truth’ came by (through) Jesus Christ.” Joh 1:17. By the “Law” we are to understand the “MOSAIC LAW,” the “Law” given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai. It was threefold.
1. THE MORAL LAW. Ex 20:1-17. (The Ten Commandments.)
2. THE CIVIL LAW. Ex 21:1-24:18.
3. THE CEREMONIAL LAW. Ex 25:1-40:38.
We are not to understand that there was no “Law” before Moses, or no “Grace” before Jesus Christ, for “sin” is the “transgression of the law,” (1Jo 3:4), and Adam’s sin was the transgression of the law that God laid down as to the eating of the fruit of the Garden, and “Grace” was revealed and exercised when Adam and Eve were spared the penalty of their sin. In Ro 2:12 the Apostle Paul speaks of those who were “without law” from Eden until Moses. He does not mean that they were not accountable for their conduct, for by their actions they showed that there was an “unwritten law” in their hearts that their conscience bore witness to. Ro 2:14-15. What Paul meant was that there was no “Written Law,” that is, no “MOSAIC LAW,” before the days of Moses. Let it be understood then in this discussion that by “Law” is meant the “Mosaic Law,” and that there can be no mixing or blending of “Law” and “Grace” in this or any other Dispensation.
I. THE LAW
1. THE “LAW” WAS NOT GIVEN TO THE GENTILES.
“When the Gentiles, WHICH HAVE NOT THE LAW do by nature the things contained in the Law, these, having NOT THE LAW, are a law unto themselves.” Ro 2:14.
The “Law” was given to Israel exclusively. For illustration take the “Law of the Sabbath.” It was not given to the Gentiles. It was given as the “SIGN” of the “Mosaic Covenant.” Ex 31:13; Eze 20:12,19-21. The “Sabbath Day” belongs to the Jews alone and is not binding on the Gentiles (the World), or on the Church (Christians), though Christians are expected to observe the “First Day of the Week” for rest and worship. Nowhere in the Bible do we find God finding fault with any nation or people, except the Jews, for not observing the Sabbath. As a Jewish ordinance it has never been abrogated, changed, or transferred to any other day of the week, or to any other people. It is now in abeyance as foretold in Ho 2:11; 3:4-5, it would be. It is to be resumed when the Jews are nationally restored to their own land. Isa 66:23; Eze 44:24; 46:1-3.
2. THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW.
The “Law” was not given to JUSTIFY men, for by the “deeds of the Law” shall no flesh be justified in God’s sight. Ro 3:20; Ga 2:16. The “Law” was given that men might know what sin is, “for by the `Law’ is the knowledge of sin,” (Ro 3:20), for men would have not known that “covetousness” was sin, if the “Law” had not said– “Thou shall not COVET.” Ro 7:7. The “Law” was given to “stop men’s mouths,” and keep men from boasting of their own righteousness, and see themselves guilty before God. Ro 3:19. The “Law” was given to be a “Schoolmaster” to lead men to Christ. Ga 3:24-25. All the rites and ceremonies of the “Ceremonial Law” pointed to Christ, such as the Feasts and Offerings. Now that Christ has come neither Jew nor Gentile is under the “Mosaic Law.” for He fulfilled the “Law,” that is, all the rites and ceremonies of the “Law” found their fulfilment in Him. Christ then “is the `END OF THE LAW’ for Righteousness to every one that BELIEVETH.” Ro 10:4. Therefore Believers are “DEAD TO THE LAW,” (Ro 7:4; Ga 2:19), that is, they are no longer under the bondage of “Legalism,” but under GRACE.
“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.” Eph 2:8-9.
From this scripture we see that “Grace” is a GIFT. If a man receive salvation in exchange for his works, then salvation is but another word for “wages.” Or if Salvation is given in exchange for benefits bestowed, then it is simply a “reward.” Now if a man receive Salvation as wages, or as a reward, then Salvation is not a GIFT but something that he was entitled to, and therefore is not of GRACE. Grace is not something given us to help us keep the Law, Grace is UNDESERVED MERCY.
The “Source” of Grace is GOD’S LOVE. “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.” Joh 3:16.
The “Channel” of Grace is CHRIST. “Grace and Truth came BY JESUS CHRIST.” Joh 1:17; Tit 2:11.
The “Instrument” of Grace is FAITH. “By Grace are ye saved THROUGH FAITH.” Eph 2:8. Not faith in a thing, as some good deed we have done, but faith in a PERSON, and that person JESUS CHRIST.
That we may the better see the difference between “Law” and “Grace” let us contrast them.
1. “BLOOD” AND “WINE.”
The first miracle that Moses performed as the representative of the “Law” was to turn water into BLOOD, typical of DEATH. Ex 7:19-21. The first miracle that Jesus performed as the representative of “Grace” was to turn water into WINE, typical of LIFE. Joh 2:7-11.
2. “DARKNESS” AND “LIGHT.”
All the “Law” can do is to produce DARKNESS, as when Moses caused a “thick darkness” to cover the land of Egypt. Ex 10:22-23. But “Grace” gives LIGHT. Jesus said– “I am the LIGHT of the World.” Joh 9:5. Jesus came to give not only sight to the physically blind but to the spiritually blind as well.
3. “DEATH” AND “LIFE.”
The last scene in Egypt was DEATH. The death of the first-born. Ex 12:29-30. The “End of the Law” is DEATH. Ro 6:23. One of the last miracles of Christ was to give LIFE, the resurrection of Lazarus. Joh 11:41-44. Jesus came to bring LIFE and IMMORTALITY to light, through the “Gospel of Grace.” The first time the “Law” was proclaimed 3000 were KILLED. Ex 32:26-28. The first time that “Grace” was preached 3000 were SAVED. Ac 2:41.
4. “STRIPPED” AND “CLOTHED.”
We are by nature like the man in the Parable of the Good Samaritan robbed and stripped and left by the wayside to die. Lu 10:30-37. The “Law,” like the “Priest” and the “Levite,” passes by and gives no help, while “Grace” comes where we are, and like the “Good Samaritan” pours in oil and wine, and puts us in his place on his beast, and provides for our future.
5. “SEEK” AND “SAVE.”
The “Law” says– “SEEK the Lord while He may be found.” “Grace” says– “The Son of Man is come to `SEEK AND TO SAVE’ that which was lost.” Lu 19:10. What a vista the Parable of the “Lost Sheep” opens up. It was not so much the sheep that was lost, as that a man had LOST A SHEEP. When Adam sinned and wandered away, God said– “Adam, if you can do without me, I cannot do without you.” Then it was that “Grace” began its work.
6. “DO AND LIVE,” AND “LIVE AND DO.”
The “Law” says– “DO and thou shalt Live.” Le 18:5. “Grace” says– “IT IS FINISHED.” No man is justified by his works, but as a Believer he will be rewarded for his works. We are not to work to the Cross, but from the Cross.
7. “SERVANTS” AND “SONS.”
The “Law” said to Moses at the “Burning Bush”– “Put OFF thy shoes.” Ex 3:3-5. Why? Thou art a SERVANT. Heb 3:5. “Grace” said to the “Prodigal” when he returned home– “Put ON thy shoes.” Lu 15:22. Why? Because he was a SON. Lu 15:24.
THE LAW SAYS “Keep Off,” GRACE SAYS “Embrace Him.” THE LAW SAYS “Bow the Knee,” GRACE SAYS “Kiss Him.” THE LAW SAYS “Punish,” GRACE SAYS “Forgive.” THE LAW SAYS “Strip Him,” GRACE SAYS “Best Robe.” THE LAW “Kills,” GRACE “Makes Alive.”
Under the “Law” the “SHEEP” died for the “Shepherd.” Under “Grace” the “SHEPHERD” died for the “Sheep.” Joh 10:14-15.
THE LAW demands holiness.
GRACE gives holiness.
THE LAW says– Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
GRACE says– Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sin is covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute iniquity.
THE LAW says– Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.
GRACE says– Herein is love: not that we love God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
THE LAW speaks of priestly sacrifices offered year by year continually, which could never make the comers thereunto perfect.
GRACE says– But this Man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever . . . by one offering hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
THE LAW declares– That as many as have sinned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law.
GRACE declares– That there is no condemnation (Judgment for Sin) for those who are in Christ Jesus for they HAVE PASSED from Death unto Life. Joh 5:24.
THE PURPOSE OF GRACE
The “Purpose” of God’s Grace is revealed in Eph 2:7, as being– “That in the `Ages to Come’ He might show the EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE.” In the British Museum there are gathered from every nation and land under the sun specimens of all kinds of animal, vegetable, and mineral life. No expense has been spared to make the collection complete. So God is gathering from every tribe, people, and nation specimens of His “Grace,” so that in the “Ages to Come” He may exhibit these trophies of “Grace” as samples of what the Gospel can do, and the sweet thought of it is, that there are no duplicates. You may think that you are too bad, too vile, too cranky, too odd and peculiar to be saved, but that is why God wants you, for there will only be SPECIMEN SINNERS up there, and God wants to show the Universe that the Gospel is the “POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH.” Ro 1:16.
QUESTION: "WAS IT UNFAIR FOR GOD TO ALLOW JOB TO SUFFER OVER WHAT WAS BASICALLY AN ARGUMENT BETWEEN GOD AND SATAN?"
Answer:A surface reading of thebook of Jobusually evokes a reaction such as “Why is God making a ‘bet’ with the devil? God is being unfair to Job!” If we are honest and not just trying to defend God, He seems at first like some kind of cosmic ogre. God not only wagered Satan over the outcome of Job’s trials, but He actually provoked the bet (Job 1–2). To make matters worse,Jobnever finds out why he was afflicted in the first place. This is very disturbing for those who hope to see God as just, gracious and loving and not just “playing” with us as if we were pawns on a chessboard. So, in a way, the story of Job puts God on trial. To really understand what is going on in Job, we need to evaluate how this “trial” is litigated in the book’s argument.
On the surface, when God finally “testifies” in Job 38–42, the way He “grills” Job may seem to suggest that God is “against” Job rather than “for” him. The God-speeches are notable for their deep sarcasm, as if God were simply highlighting Job’s cluelessness (Job 38–39). However, a deeper look reveals a more redemptive dynamic in this trial: first, Job’s friend Elihu actually serves under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, both as Job’s advocate before God and God’s advocate before Job (Job 32–37); second, we find that God indeeddidexpress His love to Job, both in His speeches (Job 38–41) and in finally vindicating Job. God confirms that Job had spoken “what was right” about Him, whereas his first three friends had not (42:7).
As Job and his friends debate God’s fairness, it becomes apparent that all of them basically believe in the doctrine of “retribution theology”—every act receives just punishment or reward in this present life, so we should be able to tell who is righteous or wicked by whether they are visiblyblessedorcursedon earth. This is a false doctrine, but Job thought itshouldbe true and went on the offensive, charging God with injustice and calling for a trial (Job 29–31). Surprisingly, God condescends and agrees to be put on trial. The speeches in Job 38–41 actually consist of God’s testimony in His own defense. In the “trial” we see that Job has no legal standing to convict God. Job cannot demonstrate how God runs the universe, so he cannot present any evidence of injustice (chapters 38–39). Also, God establishes His absolute right to act as He sees fit. As proof, He points to two creatures—behemoth andleviathan—that mankind has no control over whatsoever and that answer only to God.
Even before God shows up, Elihu makes the same points and argues that God is deeply redemptive in His dealings with man in spite of man’s notorious tendency toward self-destruction (32–37). Since God validates Elihu’s points (38–41), the adversarial tone in God’s answer to Job makes even more sense: throughout Job’s dialogue with his friends (4–27) and in his formal complaint to God (29–31), Job had assumed that God wasunawareof what happened to him or that He wasdeliberately persecutinghim or that Job had inadvertently sinned and God wasnot willing to tell himwhat the problem was. Job thought he was being punished entirely out of proportion to any conceivable offense he may have committed. In fact, Job questions God incessantly throughout the dialogue. His protest climaxes in a direct indictment of God on the charge of injustice (29–31).
So what did Job “get right” (42:7)? The upshot of the trial is that Job finally sees that God’s governance of the universe is much more wonderful than he could have imagined, and he openly concedes this (42:2-5); sothisis what Job spoke about God that was “right” (42:7). Now, it is absolutely crucial to note the sequence of events at this point: it is only when Job obeys God and intercedes on behalf of his three friends—who had now become his enemies—that God actually blesses Job with a twofold inheritance (42:8-17). This “reward” was not at all some kind of “consolation prize” for Job’s unfair treatment; rather, it was the inheritance God promises to all who serve faithfully as redemptive agents of the Creator (cf.Daniel 12:3). Job obeyed God and was rewarded for his obedience.
In the end, God’s wager with Satan actually achieved an incredible coup: He harnessed evil and turned it to good (cf.Genesis 50:20), and He transformed Job into the most effective servant of all, one who took on God’s own redemptive character andloved his enemies. And this, in fact, is our take-home lesson from Job.
There are some things, some ideas, that one simply prays are satire. There are those creations of men that cause the Christian who loves God’s Word to cry out, “Please, let this be a joke!” The Personal Promise Bible is one of those things.
True Christians who have been saved by God’s grace, however, know that the Bible is not about them. The Bible is about God, His work in human history and, most importantly, it is about Jesus Christ. From Genesis to Revelation, our Lord and Savior is present as God shares with His children the story of redemption.
The Bible is not about you. Stop making it about you. And if you have to insert your name into the biblical text before you can find Bible study edifying, then you best step back and examine yourself to determine whether you truly are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5).
The Bible is about Jesus. If that’s not good enough for you, if that doesn’t delight and rejoice you, if that doesn’t stir you to read the Word in order to learn more about Him, then stop calling yourself a Christian.
HT: Stand Up for the Truth
Discernment and Revelation
John Calvin on the Spirit and the Word
The Christian and Non-Christian Contrasted
One might think that a man’s dinner menu isn’t exactly newsworthy. That is, unless you’re the pope. Apparently if you wear a big, sparkly hat and allow millions of people to call you Holy Father, then what you put into your mouth is worthy of a news write-up by Religion News Service:
Baked skinless chicken, salad, fruit and a glass of simple wine hardly seems like food fit for a king. But it does seem to be a meal fit for a pope.
Pope Francis is becoming well known for his simple tastes: As Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, he carried his own bags when traveling, preferred public transportation to chauffeur-driven limousines, and, the stories go, cooks meals for himself.
His humble lifestyle extends to the kitchen, a stark contrast with his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who before becoming pope relished feasting on fettuccine with shrimp, zucchini and saffron.
|photo credit: amanky via photopin cc|
Look, we get it. We’re supposed to revere Pope Francis not just because he’s miraculously been granted powers of infallibility, but because he’s ‘humble.’ Never mind the fact that the very office of pope is an ostentatious one. Let’s face it, humble popes don’t exist.
And if we’re going to judge a man’s humility by his menu, well, then us bloggers ought to be some of the most humble men and women of them all. Sure, Pope Francis used to live in a little apartment, take the bus, and eats skinless chicken and salad. But us bloggers live in our mother’s basements, spend our days in a beanbag chair, and maintain a steady diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew. I mean, if we want to have a humility contest, who do you really think is going to win? The guy in the robes with a massive silver cross around his neck, or the sweatpants-wearing blogger?
Well, it’s about time for me to go prepare a humble lunch, so while I do that, please go ahead and enjoy your week in review (kind of):
- Heads up: the Holy Spirit and the Shekinah glory are scheduled to be in Houston from 28–31 March. Plan your calendar and your prayers accordingly.
- Interesting questions on this Texas fifth-grader’s exam about 9/11.
- The Cripplegate has had a few really good articles about Roman Catholicism, the papacy, etc. In this one, Steve Meister talks about alleviating the protestant inferiority complex. He also rightly observes, “Since the Pope misrepresents the evangel, the gospel, I fail to grasp how he could ever excite evangelicals.”
- Up to 20 churches are leaving C.J. Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries “because of disputes over the leadership capabilities of the group’s president, Pastor C.J. Mahaney, and its executive board.”
- Steve Lawson on Proverbs 31.
- Hm. I thought everyone who has been praising ‘The Bible’ miniseries said it would lead people to read the actual Bible, not a chintzy novel written by a New Age Roman Catholic.
- Jim Wallis likes ‘The Bible’ miniseries and has produced commentary video clips that appear on the production’s website. Think about that.
- The Internet probably knows more about you than does your family. Something to think about.
- You can’t deny that this is mildly amusing.
- Brian McLaren supports Rob Bell’s stance on gay marriage. Well, color me not-shocked-at-all.
- I’ve heard a lot of Christians praising the television show Duck Dynasty. I’ve never watched it myself, but those who do may want to examine just what kind of a gospel the Duck Dynasty family proclaims.
- Michael Kruger reviews A New New Testament.
- And this week’s Eisegetical Nonsense award goes to . . . Saddleback Church!
- An interesting article asking, “Where are the honest atheists?“
- The Mormons have once again changed their scriptures, specifically updating references to blacks and to polygamy. Kinda makes you extra thankful to know that the true and living Word of God never changes, doesn’t it?
- Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
- I’ve always said ‘Earth Hour’ — those 60 minutes every year where everyone is supposed to sit in the dark and not use any electricity — was utterly ridiculous. (In fact, I usually celebrate by turning on as many lights and electrical appliances as possible). Turns out it’s not just ridiculous,it’s downright backwards.
- Here’s some interesting photographs of children from across the globe each posing with their toys.
- Only Carl Trueman could write a blog post entitled, “The Yuck Factor” and still have it be taken seriously (as it should be).
- Tim Challies shares the background of a favorite hymn, How Firm a Foundation.
- Are you a pastor who has spent so much time preparing for your church’s Easter Egg Drop that you haven’t had time yet to prepare an Easter sermon? Well, look no further. Here’s a full Easter sermon all prepped and ready to go.
- The Alpha Course’s Nicky Gumbel is excited about Pope Francis I.
- Former ‘pastor’ Jack Schaap has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for his relationship with a minor.
- The TSA managed to utterly humiliate an injured marine.
- The University of Tennessee has withdrawn some of the funds from its upcoming ‘Sex Week’ event. Organizers only have a few days to find over $11,000. Good, I hope it gets canceled.
- First comes gay marriage, then comes polygamy.
- Speaking of gay marriage, this North Carolina church has promised to stop performing marriages until gay marriage is permitted.
- Back to ‘The Bible’ miniseries: there’s a little—no, a huge—something missing in the scene of the Last Supper.
- Blasphemous. There are no other words.
- Never make a Gospel appeal to people’s emotions: