Mar 22, 2010

Essential Doctrine pt7; Salvation is a gift of God.

Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

There is one mediator between God and man, and that is Christ Jesus. (1 Tim 2:5). Jesus Christ was the only one in all of history to make atonement and reconciliation between God and man. He did this, by suffering and dying upon a cross, in such a way that no one on earth could understand. There is nothing that can match the value of Christ's offering.

Someone who believes that they must be a good person or perform some right, or observe rituals in order to receive or maintain their salvation in Jesus Christ effectively renders the gift of God as not free, as they attempting to buy it by some form of work.

For what does the Scripture say?
“Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (Rom 4:3-8)

For by works of the law (observing the 10 commandments, or 'being good') no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (because we've all broken the law, and no one has perfectly kept the law, therefore, Rom 3:10,12).

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:20-26)

Now I know that this may cause some to think that one may go on sinning as they please since salvation is given for free, and especially when I say that being a good person does not maintain salvation. This is a misunderstanding. My 7th point of essential Christian doctrine is this; True faith must always be preceded and followed by repentance.

Repentance defined, means to apologize and turn from doing evil works. Evil as it is in the eyes of God. Such lying, stealing, idolatry, blasphemy, and the other 10 Commandments. So if one is repentant, they won't want to continue sinning. Especially against the very One who died to save them from their sins.

So is repentance a work for salvation? No, but rather it the right response to the One who offers the free gift. Faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin. One without the other results in a false conversion.

Mar 8, 2010

Hey Why Don't You Throw one at Me, Eh!

Hello, anyone. I was just curious to know if there were any readers that would like to throw a questions at me. I'd love to get some conversation going, so if anyone has a question that they have been pondering for a while, let me know, and we can together see what the Bible has to say about it.

It can be about absolutely anything (almost anything, we'll keep it civil right?). Social, political, religious, philosophical, etc.

Come on, don't be bashful. Just leave me a question under this post and I shall try my best to answer it. (I enjoy the REALLY hard ones that many others might try to avoid).

Mar 5, 2010

I'm for Changing O Canada

Canada has had several different versions of the national anthem. My favourite version is that hymn written by a Toronto doctor, Dr. Thomas Bedford Richardson, in 1906.

" O Canada! Our fathers' land of old
Thy brow is crown'd with leaves of red and gold.
Beneath the shade of the Holy Cross
Thy children own their birth
No stains thy glorious annals gloss
Since valour shield thy hearth.
Almighty God! On thee we call
Defend our rights, forfend this nation's thrall,
Defend our rights, forfend this nation's thrall."

If we're going to change the anthem, I vote for this one.

Mar 1, 2010

Essential Doctrine pt6; The Resurrection from the Dead

Three days after Jesus was crucified, He rose to life from the dead in a physical body. This is and must be true. Why? Because as Paul put it, " If He did not rise our faith is in vain and we are still in our sins. (1 Cor 15:10)

If you reject the resurrection, than what is the point of calling yourself a Christian. Jesus said on several different occasions that He would be in the grave 3 days, and on that third day He would rise again (Mk 8:31, Mk 9:31, Mk 10:34)

Jesus was clear that this was a literal bodily resurrection. He spoke with the Sadducees (A certain party of the religious leaders. They did not believe in the resurrection; Mk 12:18) that the resurrection was a true fact.

Jesus said, "But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, and the God of Jacob'? "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken." Mark 12:26-27

Paul explains the importance of the resurrection of Christ concerning our salvation. "Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.

Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.

For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied." 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

Some people like to alogorize or moralize the truth of the resurrection. They might say something like the resurrection symbolizes a new life for the believer. This is not exactly what meant in the Scriptures.

The resurrection of Christ does provide a new life for us, meaning that we now receive eternal life in Christ. Whenever, the Bible talks about the resurrection or our eternal life in Christ or the life that we ultimately hope for, it is always future tense, after we pass from this plane. "If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied... If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE. (1Co 15:19,32)

The truth of the resurrection can not be seperated from the cross, nor from the forgiveness of our sins. It is the very fact that Jesus was raised from the dead that it proves that His sacrifice was pleasing and acceptable to appease the wrath of God and thereby purchase the forgiveness for our sins. All of what Christ did hinged on the resurrection.
"Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)

If you deny the resurrection, then again I ask, who is the Jesus Christ that you are following? Because he is not the Christ if you do not believe that He was physically raised from the dead.

Now does that mean that you can't have 'doubts' or questions, because someone raising from the dead! That's not something that happens every day. It is a stumbling block for many. It was in Peter and Paul's day, it is now. It was also for all of the disciples of Jesus.
But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." (Luke 24:37-39)

Jesus does not send you away for having troubles believing something, but rather He will gently tell you to be not unbelieving but believing.
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

So the other disciples were saying to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."

Then He *said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus *said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
(John 20:24-29)

Jesus will give you the gift of belief if you repent and put your faith in Him. There is a part for us to participate in growing in the Lord, but it is really the Holy Spirit who leads us in our faith.
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.
(John 16:13-14)

"O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:55-58