Monday, June 21, 2010

Luther on the gospel and those who seek their own sacrifice...

Martin Luther relates the gospel as he prepares to point out ways that the “silent mass” of those days departed from that gospel. …

First, I want to remind each one of the ground on which our faith and all our preaching rests. I shall repeat it briefly. But I preach now only to those who accept the gospel as the Word of God and nothing else, for those who still do not know that or are in doubt about it will not accept this ground of our faith. Well, you have heard in the gospel and learned from it that the problem of our salvation from sin, death, the devil and an evil conscience, the problem of attaining true righteousness before God and eternal life, is by no means solved or helped with works or laws, no matter what they may be or may be called. For God will accept no other mediation and no other mediator than his only Son, whom the Father sent into the world and whom he caused to shed his blood for the sole purpose that he might thereby obtain for us the treasure of faith.

That, briefly, is the sum total of the gospel that we preach. And if anyone seeks another way to be freed from his sins and stand before God, he blasphemes and insults God and accuses him of lying, as if he had let his Son shed his blood in vain and his death had accomplished nothing and was of no importance. For this is what God insists on and nothing else, that on one shall stand before him except by that innocent blood alone. And if anyone undertakes some other method, such as his works or order or station in life, he shall belong to the devil much more than anyone else. For it is a very serious matter with God and he will have no jest made of it, because for this purpose he gave his Son to die. For that reason we know and have no other sacrifice that that which he made on the cross, on which he died once for all as the Epistle to the Hebrews (9:12, 20) says, and thereby put away the sins of all men and also made us holy for eternity.

That, I say, is our gospel, that Christ has made us righteous and holy through that sacrifice and has redeemed us from sin, death and the devil and has brought us into his heavenly kingdom. We have to grasp this and hold it fast through faith alone. We have preached this and reiterated it so often that everyone can know it well and can conclude from it that all our own works undertaken to expiate sin and escape from death are necessarily blasphemous. They deny God and insult the sacrifice that Christ has made and disgrace his blood, because they try thereby to do what only Christ’s blood can do.

–Luther, April 1525 as found in “The Abomination of the Secret (or Silent) Mass”

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jesus' body and blood

When this Jesus, who has won heaven for those who believe in him, tells us that he gives us his body and blood—we should indeed believe it.

Do we need to believe in the Roman Catholic teaching of transubstantiation? No. We need to believe Jesus. We need to believe that he gives us what he promises us.

He has promised all who believe in him receive his body and blood at his Supper in this life, and they receive everlasting life with him in the next life.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Is God the author of sin? No, no no.

For he (God) saith to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." So it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. Romans 9:15-16

Most Christians say that they believe that their God is indeed "God almighty." He is over all, in control of all. If He were somehow unable to control this or that, He would not be an almighty God, would he? Almighty is in control of all. Isn't it? Isn't He?

When anyone mentions predestination, one of the first charges that goes up is the charge that in order to believe in predestination, you have to believe that God is the "author of sin."

That's ridiculous.

The Bible makes it clear. God does not force people to sin, they do so naturally. All people are born in sin. God simply leaves some people in their sinful state while rescuing others by giving them the faith to believe in His only Son, Jesus, and his saving work on the cross. (read Romans 9)

In other words, since the fall of Adam and Eve, all people choose to sin (Romans 3:32) "...and were by nature, children of (God's) wrath." (Ephesians 2:3). God simply allows some to pursue their natural choice (reprobates) while saving others by sending his son to die in their place and giving them the faith to believe in Jesus and what he did on the cross.

For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

And you hath he quickened (made alive) who were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. (Ephesians 1:4) We are covered in Christ's righteousness (Romans 4:7-8).

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. (Ephesians 1:11)

This is a biblical description of predestination. Therefore to believe in predestination is to believe God's word. It is not to believe that God is the author of sin—instead, it is to believe that He is the Savior of many (Matthew 25)--the true Gospel.

If God did not intervene to give us faith, all of us would be lost to the fires of hell. A good example is that several people are caught in a burning building and all are condemned to die in the fire, but God, by his grace, his undeserved favor, chooses to save a few of them. How grateful would those few be? Those few are believers--you and me.

So how should we, who have been saved from the firey house of hell we deserve, then live?

If we have been so blessed to be rescued from sin, death and the devil and promised an eternity with Christ in heaven, we live in grateful thanksgiving, humbly confessing our sins and always anticipating a glorious future with Christ.

As the reformed theologian R.C. Sproul puts it: If God, when He is decreeing reprobation, does so in consideration of the reprobate's being already fallen, then He does not coerce (force) him to sin. To be reprobate is to be left in sin, not pushed or forced to sin. If the decree of reprobation were made without a view to the fall, then the objection to double predestination would be valid and God would be properly charged with being the author of sin. But Reformed theologians have been careful to avoid such a blasphemous notion.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bush to Hasselbeck--a sad Mother's Day

This is a bit late I know, but I had to express my disappointment.

Laura Bush proved it again just a few days after Mother’s Day—sadly, there is very little worth celebrating about so many mothers in this day and age. Many have gone the way of the world and have turned or spurned any attempt at convincing them that God’s word should come before their “feelings” about so-called gay marriage or abortion--even divorce.

There she is the former “first mother,” on the Larry King show, essentially telling everyone that she rejects the key moral imperatives of the Bible and therefore “disagrees” with God as well as her husband’s moral stand against gay marriage and abortion.

A day or two later, Elizabeth Hasselbeck (of "The View") tells everyone she supports gay marriage now that she’s had a sit-down conversation with twice divorced singer Melissa Etheridge who recently separated from her “partner” of eight years, Tammy Lynn Michaels.

Elizabeth even goes so far to recommend everyone sit down with someone gay who is in love and wants to marry another gay person. I'm sure Elizabeth let her "feelings" be the guide too. God's word just has nothing to do with how most folks make decisions these days--it's all about their personal feelings. So many churches have turned from biblical doctrine to their feelings that they are no longer legitimate churches.

Wonder if singer Melissa told Elizabeth how she first convinced Julie Cypher to leave her husband Lou Diamond Phillips back in 1986? Cypher eventually left Etheridge herself after giving her two children with donated sperm from rock singer David Crosby--it gets more and more bizarre. After reconsidering her own sexuality, Cypher left Etheridge in 2000 and married Matthew Hale in 2004.

Can you disagree with God on such central teachings of his word and still call yourself a Christian? I wouldn't want to be believing these errors when Christ returns in glory. Would you? Surely these people will answer to the King of kings and Lord of lords. A true church would have to do the hard thing and excommunicate them until they repented.

Let's remember these gals in our prayers.