Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In Adam (Identity Part 2)

"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned"... -Romans 5:12

Before a person can truly appreciate the wonderful truths of being "In Christ", there must be an understanding of what it means to be "In Adam". Romans 5:12-21 explains the predicament of every human being that will ever be born on this earth.

The Bible makes clear, the fact that everyone is born a sinner (Ps. 51:5). The problem is not that people become sinful when growing up, nor do they become a sinner when their first sin is committed. Everyone sinned when Adam sinned (Rom. 5:12). Therefore, we were born in Adam and our identity lies in the nature that he brought forth because of his choice to sin. All sins that are committed are the direct result of the Adamic Nature that mankind inherited at conception.

So, because our identity is in Adam the devastating results naturally flow from this source. We are self-centered, prideful, arrogant, untruthful, unloving, and rebel against God. Another thing also happens. We have the tendency to look at these outward sins and cut off the branches when the problem lies at the roots. To use the words of Dennis McCallum, "our doing arises out of our being" meaning our problem does not lie within the branches. The source must be taken care of! We must have a new identity or the patterns of sin will continue to dominate and control us.

This is the bad news of the Biblical teaching on identity. Adam is our spiritual father and we inherited a nature that produces sinful actions. This nature is never taken away from the believer this side of heaven, but our identity can change. The remedy for this change involves death and a connection to a new Root.

There is no longer a need to fix and cut off the outward sins that our nature produces. This will never bring long term change. Change that Paul longed for in his Romans 7 cry "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death". The Bible deals with the root issue and goes straight to the source for a solution.

How long have you been trying to clean up the "branches" while never taking a look at your roots?

To be continued...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

FGA Conference and An Intro to Bibliology

If you couldn't make it to the Free Grace Alliance conference this year, you were really missing out! It was the first time I went, and I must say, the lineup of speakers was incredible, the fellowship and the cool people I met there was incomparable, and I'll definitely be back again next year! FGA's own blog summarized it nicely (thanks Dr. Chay!) ...:
"Dr. Dave Anderson taught from the book of Hebrews and lifted our souls to heaven to worship the Cosmic Christ. Dr. Jody Dillow explored the problematic sections of the Sermon on the Mount and its impact on rewards. Our special guest, Dr. Michael Eaton, reminded us of the historical and theological realities of the doctrine of the assurance of salvation. Dr. Larry Moyer and Dr. Charlie Bing challenged us all to do the work of an evangelist and “get the gospel out” both in our “Jerusalem” and to the “uttermost parts of the earth”. Additionally the fifteen workshops that included topics on Evangelism, Ecclesiology, and Grace Theology provided valuable teaching.

At the banquet a presentation of the FGA Trophy of Grace Award was made to author and theologian Dr. Renald Showers, for his service with the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry.

Finally, the biggest delight of the conference was hearing from Dr. Charles Ryrie as our banquet keynote speaker. What a delight to see grace personified both in word and deed in the life of one of the Lord’s choice servants. (http://thefreegracealliance.blogspot.com/)"
Dr. Dave Anderson's message on Hebrews 1 made me want to be able to read the original languages that the Bible was written in (Hebrew and Greek) and to teach and understand the text as he did because he sure tore it up! I also want to check out Grace School of Theology now too. lol. He's the president there (http://gsot.org/). I can definitely say that this conference equipped and inspired me and it called me to continue to rely on the Word of the LORD in teaching, life, evangelism, and discipleship (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It is for that reason and for many others that I want to explore Bibliology (the study of the Bible). A few other reasons are:

- When I heard Geisler speak just a couple of weeks ago he reminded us that our country's deviation from the Word of God (which, when you do the history research, is really what our country's based on as found in the Mayflower Compact and Declaration of Independence and documents like it) has led to it's quick and sudden demise throughout the past only perhaps half century when the Scriptures were taken out of schools and have been continually trampled in the name of "political correctness".

- Alex Kennedy's (pastor of Kingsland Baptist, where I'm a member) message on Amos today reminded me of the reason (well, one of many) that Israel (the Northern Kingdom) fell to Assyria in 722 (the passage actually refers to Judah, the Southern Kingdom, but you can rest assured that these two accusations by God (Amos 2:6 for Israel) are somewhat interchangeable and build off of one another, aka not knowing and living the Word will lead to injustice as you see in the passage to Israel):
"Thus says the LORD, "For three transgressions and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because they rejected the law of the LORD and have not kept His statutes; Their lies have led them astray, those after which their fathers walked. So I will send fire upon Judah and it will consume the citadels of Jerusalem (Amos 2:4-6 NASB)."
- Anyway, much more can be said about this, but I've been wanting to do my own research on Bibliology recently anyway, so this will be the perfect avenue to do so. While I think Free Grace Soteriology (understanding that we're saved by grace through faith alone in Christ's death for our sin and resurrection; Eph 2, 1 Cor 15, etc) and Dispensationalism (Correctly understanding that God's dealing with people have not been the same throughout history and that, most importantly, we are to read his word literally which proceeds forth the truth's that Israel is separate from the Church and that everything that God does is for His Glory) are extremely important, they are both theologies and concepts built on from the Bible: The Word of the LORD. Without a correct understanding of the Word of God, there will not be a correct outworking in these other important areas of theology.

So, it would be of incredible value for us to venture in that direction for the next few posts on this blog.

In the Sovereign name of the LORD, be blessed. Seek His face often, let Him control you day to day (Gal 5) that you may please Him in all that you do. May His richness bless you this week.



Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Tale of Two Houses (Wisdom and Folly)

I ran across this article today and I just wanted to share it and update y'all a little bit since we haven't been around much.

(1) A dude named Mike Halsey wrote a five page article in pdf format titled "The Salmonella Supper" on Proverbs 9:13-18 which does a great job of exposing the lies and fluffy blankets people like to comfort themselves with; And really, always have.

You can read it here:


He exposes the lie that this culture is more difficult to live in than yesterday's culture (be it, literally yesterday or many hundreds or thousands of years ago).

He exposes the lies that woman named Folly (literally "Stupidity") proclaims for all to hear:
“There is no absolute truth.” “Man is an accident.” “There is no right and wrong.” “What’s right and what’s wrong change.” “The Bible is filled with errors.” “You can’t know anything for sure.” These statements are enshrined as authoritative and the studied conclusion of scholars. They sit high up in positions of authority. They are to be accepted; not questioned. That’s what Stupidity does; she elevates herself, sitting at a high point in the city. (vs. 14)
Anyway, I could go on but you should just go read it yourself and the passage too (Proverbs 9)!

(2) Brandon and I will be at the Free Grace Alliance conference! I'm stoked! It'll be great to meet all sorts of Dispie and free grace people, to see people from Dallas Theological Seminary, Tyndale Theological Seminary, Grace School of Theology, Friends of Israel, and others, and to enjoy fellowship and great Bible teaching by many including the basically world renowned Dr. Charles Ryrie!

(3) Personally, I've been busy with work, finishing up an awesome class at CBS to start the counseling stuff, teaching a junior high boys bible study, and growling/playing metal with some friends. So, that's why I haven't been around these parts, but I'm hoping to be on more regularly.

So anyway, I pray y'all have been well, that Christ is being magnified, glorified, and known through you, conforming you to His image! Battle on brothers and sisters!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Just Like the Days of Noah

There's this passage in the Gospel of Matthew that's been on my mind lately. The way Christ phrases this sucks me in every time I think about it because it's pretty dark, straightforward, and it's an interesting way of saying do all that you do for His glory, essentially:
"...For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be... (Matt. 24:37-39 NASB)"
This is said in the context of Christ's last major spoken message before His death about what to expect when He returns to the earth. In view of that, is he saying eating, drinking, and marrying are terrible things?

No, of course not! But the people in Noah's day lacked something that will also be scarce when He returns. Their theology is non existent. Though they knew what was right they didn't do it (Romans 1-2), but instead made gods of themselves, food, drink, and marriage. God was out of the picture. His Word was no longer on people's lips.

Examine your life. Inspect your priorities. Ask yourself what you look forward to, what you fill your time with, and what you talk about.

As I came to realize today I was making an idol out of marriage and am allowing the Spirit to destroy that in my life. It's a means to an end, not an end in itself. So, sure we should seek wives and husbands, to raise our kids in the Word and Christ's love, but never should that become more important than glorifying God. You can glorify Him as a single person, divorced person, widow, or wherever you are at in life. Marriage and the 2.5 kids mold is propagated by suburbia and is what we're told is right, but we should always keep Christ first, keeping in mind that we're here for his purposes over and above ours. The world is coming to an end and judgment is coming. This is not a time to indulge ourselves and do whatever we want. God's kingdom is the only one that lasts (Daniel 2:44-45) and the choices we make now resound throughout all eternity.

It's interesting that Christ chose those three things. They're basic. I feel like dozens of other things would do as well, but the ones Christ chose are simple, everyday functions every human being in existence seeks out- just for survival. The only thing not listed that I can think of that's common to every man is sleep- I guess people often don't make a god of that. lol.

So, my question to you is this: Which is your god? At the center of all of these are self. They aren't bad things to pursue, but when you become more important than God, you're turning God's order upside down and inverting His design- and things don't work out well when we're the designers...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Who Are the Overcomers?

If you've ever even just casually read through the first few chapters of Revelation, the term "he who overcomes" is repeated to each of the 7 churches in Revelation 2-3. Btw, a basic breakdown of the book is given to us in the 1st chapter. As Christ is talking with John, He says,
"Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things (Rev. 1:19 NASB)."
Here's another way of looking at it in outline form:

A Basic Outline of the Book of Revelation
I. "Things you have seen (1, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ")"
II. "Things which are (2-3, the letters to the seven churches)"
III. "Things which will take place after these things (4-22)"

A Few Introductory Thoughts
Before I even get started, I have to clarify a few things. Because I'm reading the Scripture asking first what the author's intended meaning is (AIM), not my own, I have to look at these things as having yet to happen (4-22). There are dozens of ways to understand this often misunderstood and confusing book, but the easiest and most normal is to just read it as is: Literally. Usually you're told when something should be read otherwise (the use of "like" or "as", for example, but often Revelation will tell you what a symbol is as well).

That being said, I'm just going to look at the letters to the seven churches and specifically, what is promised to "those who overcome". I think this is an often forgotten and spiritualized piece of doctrine that needs to be reemphasized because of what it tells us about our identity in Christ. My thesis is that these overcomers are all believers in Christ from when the Church started. I don't want to write y'all a research paper on this, but know that I've done the work behind it and wouldn't mind showing y'all how I came to that conclusion, though I pray this post will suffice. I think it simply comes about if you're reading what John's being shown literally and especially if you're looking at the other things he makes clear in his other letter, 1 John.

Setting the Context
But first, what's this in context of? The promise of the overcomers are given in the letters Christ writes to the 7 churches. While I have no doubt that John is writing to literal churches that are actually around at his time, it seems best to view all of these churches as representing the body of Christ as a whole. What Christ says about each of them applies to the churches He's writing to, but it also overlaps and looks forward to those who will one day live with God the Father and Christ, God the Son, in perfection and in their glorified bodies:
"He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be His God and he will be My son (Rev. 21:7 NASB)."
Now, look at what's said next. There is being a contrast made between those who overcome and those who don't- And it's stark. Black and white. There are no inbetweens.
"But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Rev. 21:8 NASB)."
It doesn't get much clearer than that! Overcomers recieve life, while those who aren't overcomers receive only death. You are either an overcomer or you are not. So, lets ask the question again:

Who Are the Overcomers?
John defines this in one of his previous books, 1 John. But, it's well defined there in Revelation 21 too, that's for sure!
"Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5 NASB)"
So, it seems clear that all believers are overcomers from these two verses (and from what's said about them in Rev 2-3). I want to paint what that looks like aside from the obvious implications of being saved from eternal death and damnation, and living with Him in eternity. But first, we are overcomers not because of anything we've done, but all because of what Christ has done (Eph. 2:8-9). He is the overcomer! I think this discussion plays into our earlier post on the Believer's identity in Christ, because we are in Him and being in Him means that we have died with Him and been raised to walk in Truth and Life (Gal. 2:20, 2 Peter 1:3, etc...).

Basically, He's given us life, and we are forever indebted to Him. We receive a lot of really awesome things by just believing in Him though. This doesn't mean we stop at what we receive however, or that we continue in sin, rather, "we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we could walk in them (Eph. 2:10 NASB)." Our responsibility is to live "a thank you life" for all that He's done, doing all that we do for His Glory (1 Cor. 10:31).

To reemphasize, the overcomer is the believer in Christ. He didn't do anything to receive that, but instead, because Christ is the True Overcomer, the follower of Christ is considered "righteous", having Christ's "righteousness".

Overcomers in Revelation 2-3 And Their Promises
  1. We will eat from the tree of life in the Paradise of God (2:7)
  2. We will not be hurt by the second death (2:11)
  3. We will receive hidden manna and a new name on a white stone that Christ will give to the overcomer (2:17)
  4. We will co-reign with Christ (2:26-28)
  5. We will be clothed in white garments, never have our name erased from the book of life, and Christ will confess our name before His and our Father and the angels (3:5)
  6. We will be a pillar in the temple of God. We will have the Father's name on us, the New Jerusalem's name on us, and Christ's new name on us (Godly tattoos much?) (3:12)
  7. We will sit down with Christ on His Throne (3:21)
Why Am I posting this?... And Closing Considerations...
  1. I'm not a part of the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel movement. God is not promising you a wife or husband. He's not promising you great wealth, a nice house, 2.5 kids, and a great local church. He's promised you everything that you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and a whole slew of other things in His Son, but we are never guaranteed great physical prosperity or the ingredients to the American Dream. Paul was promised suffering (Acts 9:16). That's something we can expect as believers standing for absolute truth (James 1:2-4). We are not politically correct. We are not Jewish either: Under the Mosaic Law, Israelites were promised blessing for obedience, and curses for disobedience (DT 28, etc). We are not under that covenant or any covenant.
  2. So, I'm not posting this to make you happy or for you to think God will provide for your material happiness. That's not reality.
  3. I do want to encourage every Beleiver reading this of our great identity in Christ and the promises that come with that which absolutely do not change based on our faithfulness or unfaithfulness! God isn't angry at you anymore. His wrath was dealt with on the cross!
  4. In view of that, we need to live out the Gospel and live in such a way as to communicate this great message! Christ is man's only hope. We are living amongst damned people who need to be delivered from God's wrath for sin and enter His presence as children. If we aren't demonstrating this and communicating this to people, we aren't living as we should and are only ensuring their destruction. It's not our power that makes them believe but living in this way (in the Truth, even in suffering) will bring many people asking (1 Peter 3:15) how we can live with such hope and it is our responsibility to share this with people.
  5. Make good friends. Listen to those around you. Speak truth in love. Live the Gospel!
  6. Also, I realize I'm touching on quite a few issues in this post which thousands of believers do not reach agreement on. Even at my school (the College of Biblical Studies), there are mixed thoughts on who these overcomers are, if we are under a covenant or not (New or otherwise), and how to read the book of Revelation. That being said, take Rev 21 and the other passages I posted seriously because they are extremely black and white. If we don't receive the promises in Rev 2-3 for overcomers we will be naked, not eating from the tree of life, and hurt by the second death. If we don't receive the promise for the one who overcomes in Revelation 21, we will not dwell with our God and Savior forever, but enter into complete separation and alienation from Him.
  7. I want feedback on this post. I know it's somewhat extensive and it is because I found it hard to talk about without going into a ton of introductory issues, but I would like to know if you agree with what I've said and if you do, why? And if you don't, why not?
  8. In conclusion, I'm posting this to remind every believer of their great God and savior and His amazing grace which cannot be achieved, only tapped into by believing Christ's death for man's sin and His resurrection as Truth. I'm also posting this that we would realize the seriousness of the Christian life, our role in that, and how sure it is that there is an eternity with God in New Jerusalem or alone in the lake of fire. This isn't a game or a religion. This is ultimate truth and reality.
Father, may we live in light of your presence and your promises. May we never forget that we are built for eternity and your Glory- not our own. You alone are worthy, and it's to you that we owe everything you've placed before us, including what you've saved us from and what you've saved us for.

For His Glory,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Theology Isn't Just For Theologians

So, I don't actually have too much to say this post other than explaining that title.

By the way, Brandon's been away visiting his folks for the past month or so, and I haven't had too many ideas lately of what to post on (though I'm hoping we can pick up on our "Identity" series again soon), so that's why it seems like we've been dead or something.

I've mostly been busy with school and work- My cohort is finishing up Hebrews through Revelation for the Summer and will then be taking a break to start a class in the Fall called "Contemporary Issues in Theology"... So I'm stoked about all of that and very much ready to have a few weeks break! (I'm planning on getting Starcraft 2 and jamming thru the campaign and whatnot! =D)

Anyway, introductory comments aside, back to the title:

"Theology Isn't Just For Theologians"

I think most of y'all know that Brandon and I are Bible College students. But we're not super Christians and never will be. We're there to know the Word of God. Knowing the Bible is very important and will be one of our main goals, as Believers, throughout this life on earth as it not only expands our knowledge, but brings us into the very presence of God by knowing His thoughts, and calls us to love others as He has loved us.

Joshua Harris recently wrote a book called "Dug Down Deep" about this very topic: Theology and why it matters. I haven't read it yet, but the best line of thought I've heard from it is this:
"We're all theologians. The question is whether what we know about God is true"
A.W. Tozer put it this way in his "Knowledge of the Holy":
"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man's spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. (1)"
So, why is theology important? How can Tozer say this is the most important thing about man?

For starters, theology just means "the study of God". "Theo" means God, while "ology" means the study of. So, that's what I mean when I say that. While I'm addressing the Christian God of the Bible, everyone has a theology. But obviously, the best way to understand life and God and the only valid one that conforms to reality is through the mind of the God: The Scriptures.

That being said, lets take one more step backward: Foundationally, theology is important because what one believes about Christ (the God-man) will determine his eternal future: Eternal Life or eternal damnation. I covered that in my post on the Gospel, but this post goes one step further for us as Christ Followers:

What you believe about God will affect the way you live too post salvation (sanctification).
If you believe God is a personal God as the Scriptures teach, you will probably live that way as well- loving people as God has loved you- sending His Son to die for you.

If you believe God is about as big as an action figure, you probably won't conduct your life in view of His omnipresence, divine nature, or sovereignty.

If you believe God isn't truly good, you will probably view God's Word differently, look at the people around you through that idea, and have so much less of a reason, and power too, to live in a way that has an eternal perspective.

Anyway, I could go on, but what I'm combating in this post is the idea that laymen are just to attend church and let what the pastor has to say flood their mind. No; God has given each of us a mind to understand Him and has written in such a way that allows us to understand what he has written (in a literal, normal reading of the text) and each of us as believers should be reading and meditating on His Word daily to know Him, continue to know Him, and live in light of that knowledge.

In closing, here's a really cool video that I got that Joshua Harris quote from:


"We're all theologians. The question is whether what we know about God is true"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Unlimited Atonement: Chirst Died For All Mankind

I was looking at 1 Timothy 2:1-6 yesterday and came to the conclusion that there's no way to see Christ's death as only for the elect, if you're reading the passage in context. I'm only covering this particular passage at this time and the exegesis will be simple, but it's an important Truth that requires illustrating.

What is Unlimited Atonement?

But before I go there, what is it? Unlimited atonement is the belief based on Biblical Truth that Christ died for the sins of the whole world. The opposite of that is the "L" in Calvinism's TULIP, which stands for Limited Atonement. Limited Atonement teaches that Christ only died for the elect. Those who agree with unlimited atonement would say that Christ died for the sins of the whole world (John 3:16, etc), but that this is only truly applicable to those who believe in Christ God's death and resurrection because sins can only be forgiven as a person believes. In other words, proponents of unlimited atonement do not teach universalism: that all men are saved regardless of whether they believe or not. Rather, they teach that Christ's death was for all of the sins of mankind, but truly only effective to those who believe, receiving that forgiveness.

Btw, check out http://www.gotquestions.org/calvinism.html if you're still unsure of what all this means. Or you can just google it... =P

"...I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may live a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NASB)"

Firstly, Paul urges, commands, and exhorts believers to pray for ALL men (1), including those in places of authority (2), so that we can live Godly lives, resting on God for our hope and peace. This seems to denote a two part peace: External and internal. External because praying for those in power to know Him is something that can potentially affect our external circumstances (cultural, political, and otherwise) for more exposure to others for the Gospel. Internal because praying changes our attitudes, thoughts, and ideas and conforms them to God's standard so that we can love God and others in an increasingly excellent way for the glory of God to the conformity of His Son.

Secondly, praying for all people "is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior (3)".

Thirdly, God "desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (4)"

These last two verses answer the "what is this truth" question (the Gospel) and further demonstrate God's unconditional love for all of mankind by sending His Son to die for them:

"...For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimonygiven at the proper time... (5-6)"
While there's so much more to say, I want to bring light to the fact that every single use of the word "all", in this passage, covers all people including political leaders. Everyone. This isn't all the people at the church where Timothy's at or even just the people alive all over the world at that time. This "all" speaks of every person who has ever lived. And this isn't the only passage in the Scriptures that speaks about this, but this one's pretty clear. The basis for Christ's death for all people is that all would come to know Him! This is rooted in God's desire for the world and for people to love Him: The One True God, in whom men should find fullness of joy and satisfaction.

A few closing thoughts:

  1. If I'm adding anything to the Biblical text, please call me out on it. I want to be dogmatic and sure about things that the Bible teaches and to attack those doctrines (Eph 6:12) which are not in conformity to the Word of God. Why? Because if I can only be sure about certain parts of the Scripture, it should bring doubt to all of the Word of God. It is a unit, inspired by God, and if the salvation parts are reliable (the Gospel, etc), so are these other parts which can get messy and which I may not even completely understand (election, the Trinity, etc).

  2. I post this because the Bible says it and because I know it's a fairly controversial topic that 1 Tim 2 speaks of directly.

  3. I do not post this because I want division and argument, but I want Biblical Truth- which, will probably bring on these former things. If God's Word really is inerrant we shouldn't be afraid to trust in what it says regarding these issues and more. I think God is big enough that He can put comprehensive text in front of the people He made.

  4. Are your thoughts about God (theology) informed ONLY by the Word of God or also by your theological system, upbringing, and personal preference or opinion? I can be asked the same question, of course, but I've convinced myself already on most of the things I consider "Truth" to be so because that's what you get when you read the Bible just trying to understand what the author's saying (with a literal, normal hermeneutic). You shouldn't expect anything else.