Tuesday, 21 March 2017 14:22

Romans 11:28-12:2 Irrevocable Things

Ralph Shallis – From Now On… - “God never does violence to a person’s intellect”

Reason, faith, and the call to produce, are three peas in the same pod of following Jesus - in that order.  In Christianity, reason comes first (information), followed by faith (trust), followed by production (fruit-bearing),... followed by more reason, more faith, and greater production.

My son just had a debate with another Christian online over the Christian concept of substitutionary atonement. Hans was arguing that we need to know why this has been central to God’s provision of salvation.  His online acquaintance was arguing that we don’t need to know why – it’s not important!  We just need to know that it’s there in the Bible and just accept it. 

Then there was some nonsense said about “limited atonement” that verified to Hans that his conviction of the need to know the “whys” of God is vitally important! What we don’t know CAN harm us, opening us up to wrong and dangerous beliefs!  False teachers prey on those that do not know enough to defend themselves against false teachings – the young, the untaught, those who know just enough to be dangerous!  These that do not know the “why” of the things of God are left open and vulnerable to having the holes in their understanding filled with error and nonsense.

Wrong information, or even wrong interpretation, leads to wrong conclusion that draws a completely distorted picture of God or of the nature of salvation itself! It is a “connect the theological dots game” gone horribly wrong!  God is not the author of nonsense – and most certainly is no-nonsense about Himself.  God does things that make sense!  We can most often logically explain Him.  Only sometimes it is beyond the information available.  There are obviously still many mysteries, but those do not conflict with what we already know about Him. The essential things are revealed to us in His self-revelation. Mankind, on the other hand is an expert at contorting God and the nature of His salvation!

Eph. 2:8,9

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works so that no one can boast”

One view’s assertion: to say that faith is our decision is to say that we are in some way responsible for our own salvation.  But this view equates faith with works, in effect trying to undo what Paul has tried so hard to do in his writings to differentiate between the two. It is an interpretation outside of the context of everything that the Pauline writings are demonstrably known for.  It is a case of theology/philosophy trumps scripture. To Paul, faith IS NOT works!  Faith stands apart!  It is only believing/receiving what our mind have settled upon as truth!

Eph. 2:1 – “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sin, in which you used to live” – interpreted by some to mean that we are incapable of a decision of faith.  Can a dead man respond to anything, they ask?  This is taking a comparison too far, resulting in a doctrine that asserts that humans have no capacity whatsoever, after examining the evidence, to respond by placing their faith in Christ.  Really?  The unsaved can’t assess the merits of the gospel?  It’s really not that hard!  And if this is true, why bother with telling it to them?  What could 10:17 possibly mean then?  Nonsense!  In a typical human attempt to magnify and embellish God, He is diminished and made to look monstrous!

We do not have the right to take a verse or passage, and turn it on its head – setting up God on a throne of non-sense and conflicting truths (things that do not make sense).  We may like that, but I assure you that He does not!                         

We may think that the creation of a weird spiritual mystery glorifies God, but nonsense, contradictions, and what amounts to blasphemies, NEVER glorify Him! Can God make a stone so big that He can’t move it?  Can God make white be black and black be white, or right be wrong and wrong be right?  Likewise, can God grant free will to people to whom he never has and never will give free will to?  Can He make it so that they are really free to choose, yet not free to choose, both at the same time?  Can God be both not willing that any should perish and yet have appointed (from before creation) that most would perish?

The free-will/sovereignty paradox is an exercise in theological/philosophical futility and nonsense! I assert that God does not deal in nonsense and illogic – only humans do! 

*The Antinomy – The God-paradox which asserts that the free will of man and the absolute control (sovereignty) of God over man’s every decision are both true, is nothing more that bad theology at work and laughable in the eyes of any objective person.  Not even God can make two opposites compatible! For instance, is there middle ground in the abortion question, or on the gay marriage issue, or on the genderless society question, or on the Palestinian issue?  (Unfortunately for all those well-meaning Christians that are seeking to ride the fence on these issues, it is a painful ride on a picket fence)!     No – again, it cannot be anything but one or the other!!  Even if He wanted to, and as powerful as He is, not even GOD can be on both sides of an issue! 

When you hear someone assert that God is “infinite” (as is commonly held among Christians)may your internal “‘that’s stupid’ alarm” go off!  God is NOT infinite! He is timeless, but He is not unlimited!  There are many things that He cannot do! Most of them are numbered among those things that He simply WILL NOT do because His uncompromising character would never, EVER, allow it! 

This makes it an impossibility for Him – and that in itself knocks Him out of the running for being “infinite” in the sense of being unlimited. There are lots of ideas about God that are unrelated to reality and which serve only to confuse and endanger.  A more accurate and provable portrayal that stays within the scriptural evidence, is that God can do anything that is do-able within the limitations of His nature and character!

*Remember, Jesus wouldn’t even make bread from stones, neither to relieve His 40-day old hunger pangs nor to obliterate the taunts of Satan! He undoubtedly could have done it, but He just never would have!

Whole-life Worship!

12:1 - Staying Focused on the Important Things!

1] ~To love the Lord with everything (all your heart) [Matt. 22:37]

2] ~To let the Spirit produce His fruit in us, especially in conducting ourselves humbly and in loving people. [John 15:5, 8]

3] ~To join ourselves to the church of Jesus Christ – becoming a team player, encouraging the other Christians there to follow Jesus more faithfully, and receiving encouragement, in turn, to the same end. [Ph’p. 2:4; 20, 21]

4] ~To join ourselves to the purposes of God, becoming fully a part of the “elect/chosen” in the sense of being completely engaged in the Divine effort to win humanity to Himself! [Ph’p. 2:15]

Vs 2 – Act like someone who has received a second chance they did not deserve!   Let God do the things He wants to do in and through you

*Shortly after being released from 19 years of hard labor prison, (for stealing bread and repeated attempts to escape) Jean Valjean, the ex-con protagonist in Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables”, is caught by the police after stealing the silver “holy” articles of a Catholic church. 

The priest there, Bishop Myriel, had taken Jean Valjean in, and had fed, clothed, sheltered, and treated him with great kindness.  Still, Jean Valjean had betrayed that kindness and taken the church’s silver.  When the police bring Jean Valjean back to the church to be identified, Bishop Myriel lies to the police and tells them that the articles of silver were a gift.  Jean Valjean leaves with his stolen silver, a bewildered and changed man.  He uses his “second chance” to become a virtuous man of honor and integrity, benefactor to the poor and the unprotected.

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Bethany Evangelical Free Church
264 North Main Street
Clintonville, WI 54929

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Phone: (715) 823-2770
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