The Dependability of the Bible

By S.C. Shaw

I have been teaching the Gospel to people in every belief system and stage of life for a long time. One of the most regularly asked questions is “How can you trust the Bible?”, or some variation of that. And it is a valid concern. I approach every group I lead with the disclaimer, “I am going to tell what the Bible says about whatever your questions are. I want you to understand what this book is saying and not simply the opinions of others.” I figured with that kind of starting off point I should have something like this written up as to defend why I am giving this book for much clout. 

I am going to write this in cliff note or summary form. If anything, I write here sounds curious then do the research. I want to make this short and to the point the best I can. Plus, if you are like me, as soon as too many big words get thrown around, I’m lost. 

What the Bible says about itself?

The Bible tells us it is the Word of God, living and powerful, written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit, perfect and holds all the power of eternal salvation. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Psalms. 12:6; 19:7–9; 119:160Proverbs 30:5–6John 10:35; 17:17Isaiah. 40:8Matt. 24:35John 10:35), 1 Peter 1:19 & 23, Matt. 22:45Gal. 3:16Matthew 22:32, Ephesians 6:1-2, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:5, Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-14, James 1:22, 2 Peter 2:1-3, Deuteronomy 29:29, Proverbs 25:2, James 1:18 & 21, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

These are just a few Bible references that points to what it says about itself. We need to start with this because we don’t want to state our beliefs on this book on things that it doesn’t even say about itself. 

How was the Bible written? by John F. Walvoord

Unlike other books, the Bible was written by about forty human authors who lived during a 1,500-year period beginning with Moses in the fifteenth century B.C. The Bible was written in two major languages—Hebrew and Greek, with a few portions of the Old Testament written in Aramaic. No other book has ever been composed in quite the same way as the Bible. The human authors came from various walks of life. Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, was probably the best educated man of his day, having studied under tutors in the royal palace of Egypt. The human authors also included those who were great leaders, such as Joshua, and those who were chosen of God to be prophets, such as Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Some of the authors were like David, who began as a shepherd but became king of Israel. From the position of one occupying the throne, he wrote many of the Psalms, forming a rich poetic background for much biblical truth. Some of the writers were farmers; some were warriors; some were fishermen. There was little that tied them together except that they all wrote a portion of the biblical truth as contained in the Bible. 

The Bible is an unusual book. Despite its diversity, it has continuity, beginning in Genesis and ending in the book of Revelation. In its contents are included moral and political law, history, poetry, prophecy, and letters. 

In Christian faith the unity of the Bible, despite its diversity of subject matter and authorship, is traced to the work of the Holy Spirit rather than to a human penman. The difficulty of producing a book like the Bible can be seen in the fact that if one could choose from all the literature in the world and could select from forty different authors ranging in time for 1,500 years, it would be impossible to create a second Bible equal to what the Bible is itself. Though some have attempted to explain the Bible on naturalistic grounds as simply revision of other current books on religion, the Bible stands as a supernatural production, uniquely different, self-consistent, and presenting a united picture of God and the world. 

In the actual writing of the Bible, sometimes the writers had other manuscripts before them that contained facts about the past. The Bible, however, was not a copy of these books. Rather, the authors selected what was true, and the result was a fresh, unique, authoritative word about God’s truth. 

The Bible Is a Supernatural Book 

It would be impossible to explain the origin of the Bible by any other means than to note that it claims to be a supernatural book guided by the Holy Spirit and supports its claim by the facts presented. Though human authors were used, and the Bible has clear evidence of their human involvement in writing the Bible, they were so guided by the Holy Spirit that what they wrote was the truth as God wanted it to be said, and they were kept from the error of including anything that was extraneous or unnecessary. 

The contents of the Bible make clear that it must be supernatural in its origin because the Bible includes revelation beyond the scope of people’s knowledge. The Bible also presents God’s point of view of human activity and history, which would be impossible to learn unless God Himself revealed it. 

The Bible is not only supernatural in its origin but also supernatural in its truth, dealing with subjects such as salvation, forgiveness, righteousness, spiritual restoration, and hope for eternity. The scope of the revelation extending from eternity past to eternity future obviously requires divine revelation.

Prophecies fulfilled from Old to New Testament: 

The Bible prophecies are a 100% accurate. That’s right, everything the bible “predicts” is from God and therefore has come to pass and is still coming to pass as we read through the Old and New Testament. Historical documentation proves that every single prophecy was fulfilled in its time. 

One, Ezekiel predicted what was going to happen 250 years later to a city called Tyre. He uses detail, and it all happens the way he says. 

Two, the fall of Babylon. It was a wealthy city. Jeremiah and Isiah prophesied the destruction of that city in detail. Secular history secures these prophecies. 

Three, Messianic prophecies. The coming of Christ and many details from small to big were written up to 1000 years before Christ and fulfilled identical to how they were prophesied. 

Four, the fall of Jerusalem. Jesus prophesied about the fall. About 40 years later it all came true. This is all documented in secular historical books. 

Five, the reign of Cyrus. Isiah the destruction of a city and even named Cyrus as the conquering King. This was 150 years before Cyrus was born. 

And these are just a few of hundreds of examples. 

Eyewitnesses to Christ Resurrection:

Every religion or belief system has a foundation, even if that’s simply a single person believing what they believe do to their life experience alone. All the way up to the major world religions. All of them except Christianity was founded upon a single revelation to a single person. The Bible sets itself apart by being written over 1000’s of years by multiple authors and completely working together in harmony and meaning. 

The main point of the Christian faith is Jesus’ resurrection. If that didn’t happen then our faith is worthless. Christ revealed Himself to about 500 people when He was raised in His new body. Many wrote about it including secular writers that may or may not have been there but affirm people’s eyewitness accounts. 

One of the most powerful evidence’s is how dramatically changed the disciples were after Christ’s resurrection. Historical documents about what happened to these men after Christ’s ascended to heaven was death or exiling all for the sake of Christ. The same man that they ran from and denied just days prior. You don’t lose your life over something you don’t believe to be real.

The Historical Reliability:

The manuscripts we have are the closest ones to the time of each event, closer than any other historical document. A few generations away as opposed to a half a millennium. As well as the number of manuscripts we have compared to other ancient manuscripts. All other ancient writing, if stacked on top of each other is the difference between 4 feet high compared to the Bible’s manuscripts would be over a mile high. 

On top of all that we have many secular manuscripts affirming many main doctrines and even Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. 

We have many secular writings of powerful leaders concerned about this man called Jesus and His followers. How He has great influence, and something should be done. 

Textual Critique:

Textual critique is how any document in a different language gets translated to another language. There is much concern about the translations being corrupt because of the many variances found. 

Over the 500,000 variances we have in the text about 99% of them make no change to the meaning of the text. If a word is spelled wrong, spelt differently or just in a different order would count as a variance. And the 1% of variances that change meaning are things that can change implications on Christian practice but not on doctrine. Refer to Mark 9, Jesus’ disciples are trying to cast out a demon but can’t. Jesus says, “This kind can only be cast out by prayer.” Other manuscripts found say, “By prayer and fasting.” It’s important but it’s not that important. Even manuscripts found that don’t affirm traditional Christian doctrines don’t deny them, they are simply just not written about or aren’t written about as much as other manuscripts. The Bible we have today may not be exactly what was written in the original manuscripts but the one we have today, in all the essentials, is the Word of God. No Christian belief from the Bible is jeopardized by any viable variant. 

Wisdom:

The wisdom the Bible contains is outstanding. Even from a secular point of view, the moral and logistical life info is incomparable. In fact, most of our world has been affected by what the Bible says. Believe in Jesus or not, you follow its rules and moral standard every day. Your heart manifests the truth God has written on your heart. For there is no moral standard on anything if there is no ultimate higher power telling you what’s wrong or right. Every argument against this truth falls heavily short and flat.

This cannot be a man-based religion:

I believe one of the biggest proofs of the Bible’s authentication is its very existence. If you truly understand what the Bible teaches, you begin to realize how unhuman it is. What I mean is, no man would make up such self-denying and countercultural ideas. And even if they did it would be highly denied, and that man would put to death or exiled. That’s not far off from what happened except persecution didn’t stop the church, it only strengthened it. And the teaching wasn’t from man but from God. To deny yourself and take up your cross, love your enemies as well as treat everyone equal. That’s not a good way to get the things most people want out of this life. Everything the Bible teaches is against our natural tendencies. There’s no money, power or clout when following Christ. Yes, people have perverted the message to get those earthly things, but that just shows how powerful God’s Word is. Even when used wrongly, it still holds power. Therefore, we must be good stewards of it and faithful to its true meaning. Scripture in context is most important. 

Second, I find it fascinating when I read about the false religions in the Old Testament and most of them sexualized. Meaning, the way they worshiped was having text with the temple prostitute. If the God of the Bible wasn’t real, I do think that would be the world religion of today, right? But our hearts know that isn’t right. Today we find the same thing going on but it’s simply sleeping around in the name of doing whatever you want. That’s the new pagan religion. Enslaved to sin is the world religion. But sin has its own consequences without God lifting a finger. The way He lays out the standard for living has no natural consequences.

I have only scratched the surface here with these answers as well as the questions. Do your own research but always ask questions. People have been trying to disprove the Bible and destroy Christianity since it was revealed to the world through Christ and His teachings. Why do you think that is? I don’t see anyone trying to abolish Buddhism or worshiping the earth. It’s because our natural mind holds us accountable when we hear the truth. And those who suppress the truth in themselves, hate the truth in and from everyone who lives and speaks it. 

Closing:

Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s and Louis Berkhof’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

MisfitMinistry.com

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Instagram @themisfitministry 

Facebook.com 

Christian Coddling 

By S.C. Shaw

This is a three-part thought. 

Part One: Sunday school shouldn’t last forever

Sunday school shouldn’t last forever. What do I mean? Our churches have settled in a realm of weak and shallow teaching/worship that is leaving our congregations in the infant stage of doctrine their entire life. At some point the Christian needs to eat solid food. But that will never happen if the church’s main objective is to make the non-believer feel as comfortable as possible. I’m not saying the church needs to be more exclusive, on the contrary, I believe we have done a terrible job at welcoming people that don’t look, live or believe like we do. But to try and make the church look like the world is the opposite of what we are to look like. We are to preach the Gospel without shame and without borders. A deep, rich and full Gospel. Helping the believer grow in the deep inexhaustible truths of the Bible and helping the non-believer see just how different the church is from the world. To help them see the difference of God and how He calls us to live. 

I know that every Christian should be seeking God on their own, but that won’t happen because the Sunday morning service isn’t giving them reason to. Sure, you’ve got small groups and bible studies mid-week, but none of that helps when everybody in swimming in the kitty pool of faith. Before the naysayers come out and say that I am making a big deal for no reason, we must understand the importance of both big and little ideas and doctrines of the Bible. When you get foundational truth wrong, or just plain weak, then you have no footing or answers for people who are seeking them. Non-believers ask great questions, and I rarely hear sufficient answers given. Not that I have all the answers but know weak or wrong ones when I hear them. They are either incomplete, or aggressively given and false. Why? Because we learn just enough about God and the Bible and then stop learning. It’s as if we think we’ve heard it all and now no one can challenge us because “I already know”. And if anyone makes you think, it’s time to argue. I am speaking from experience here. I lived this “Christian” life for most of my life and I am sick of seeing it. When I started asking questions, listening to people with different thoughts, beliefs and doctrines than I, I began to understand and fill in the gaps of my Sunday morning teachings. Because the church isn’t teaching more than, “God loves you and try not to sin as much because God loves you.” Read more about God’s love here.

I teach the Gospel to people in all walks of life. Some who come to my groups completely opposed to the Bible and I am able to get through to them. This isn’t me patting myself on the back. This is me saying “Hallelujah, for giving me the desire to learn and the platform to talk to unbelievers in a way that they listen.” I used to get aggressive when I spoke about God. It’s now that I realize why. I knew a lot, but not enough to feel confident. I thought I was confident until challenged. It’s the common tale. The arrogant are usually the most insecure. As if speaking loudly or aggressively means you know what you’re talking about. 

Now as I continue to learn, I can hear every side of people’s story and beliefs and know what the whole Bible actually says, as to not be wavered from my faith but able to give answers to those believing in lesser gods. Pointing them to Christ. 

Part Two: There’s no safety for the unbeliever

So, we have infant believers allowing an unrepentant heart to feel secure in God’s love when they are far from it. To cater our church gathering to the non-believer is dangerous and unbiblical. The gathered body of believers is called the church. We gather to sing, pray, serve and learn the deeper truths and be encouraged and corrected by them. Encouraged to live more like Christ and die to ourselves is a goal the unrepentant heart can’t fathom. But it’s not our job to change hearts. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. But we are still failing at our job. We are trying to reach the world when our own sanctification is failing. Sharing a Gospel that goes deeper than “Try to not sin as much so that you and God can feel happier with your effort” is not appropriate. In fact, it is detestable considering the true Gospel message. But when left to a preacher and a people that only go as deep as this message, how can we demand more? However, we are in control of our actions. 

With both parts in mind, we can see how it is a constant circle or problems. How can it ever change in this light? It takes you and me to get behind our church and strengthen it from within. Like it or not, we are called to be part of a local church. Yelling from the outside only stands to be a stumbling block to every onlooker. However, a beloved church servant has the potential to make changes. And if not, we are an influence on more people than we know. We do this for God anyways and He’s always watching. He knows your heart and will bless you for pursuing Him. He will give you a platform to point people to Christ. You just need to build the platform.

Part Three: Only growing in your warm fuzzy feelings

For those who are reading this and thinking, “But I’m in my Bible every day, reading devotionals and praying.” I say, great! But what’s your motive? Are you trying to learn or simply be encouraged in your faith? Are you approaching the Bible ready for the Holy spirit to speak to you, or do you have your “me” glasses on? Hear me correctly, we need to be growing in our own personal relationship with Christ. But who do you think that is for? Is it for you to feel good about yourself? Once you are a child of God, nothing’s going to change that. We grow in our faith to then share our faith. And not just your personal testimony, even though that is very important. We are called to have answers for those seeking. Both believers and unbelievers are seeking answers. The people put in your life by God are going to be wondering why you have a light and joy about you they can’t understand. The richness of Christ will be a forever journey. Let’s start it now in hopes to bless others and reap the rewards here as well as in the life to come. God has given us a good work to do, let’s get busy. 

Closing:

Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s and Louis Berkhof’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

MisfitMinistry.com

TikTok @misfitministry 

Instagram @themisfitministry 

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The Glory of God Pt. 1

By S.C. Shaw

Introduction

I feel the need to start this blog with a confession. I don’t feel worthy to write something of such grandeur. There are people more educated and multiple books written that will be a better resource on this subject. However, I am a firm believer in spreading truth with whatever platform we’ve been given. Someone may read this blog that’ll never pick up other resources on the subject, or after reading this, will want to research such an important topic further. Whatever the scenario, we can’t talk about these things too much. We must never stop growing in beholding God more and more. To get more of, and different insights to the things of God will help us all to have better understanding and hopeful grasping of God a little more each day. Here’s my attempt.

I view the glory of God as the most important subject there is. Any argument or debate can and should end up at the glory of God. In fact, I usually start there. It is the most important thing to God, so it should be to the most important thing to us as well. I believe that all of God’s attributes derive from His glory for the main purpose to glorify Himself, which is why He does everything. God’s love for His children derives from His love for Himself & His own glory. I believe that every issue and false belief stems from a lack of understanding or distortion of the glory of God. What better place for the enemy to attack then where it is most important and foundational. I believe there is only one response to catching glimpses of Gods glory, and that is complete humility and life change in the life of a believer. When we begin to see God for who He is more and more each day, and when we begin to understand the bigness and awesomeness of our infinite God, that is when the believer’s life is confident, joyful, wise and sanctified in Jesus Christ. God’s glory is how we can fight lies in our mind, lies from others and lies from the enemy. 

The more I ponder the big themes of God, the more awe inspiring they become as well as simple to gain a sense in a nonsense world. The logic of a lot of people in this world have no foundation or backbone when probed with questions. When we, as believers in Christ talk or attempt to make sense out of our own struggles or the contradictions in the lies of men, we must know where to start.  And we have the foundation. We know the reasons why. We start with the biggest and most important things; Gods glory is the main one. From the start, the believer has a foundation rooted in the truths of scripture. Let us not fight to understand or defend our faith with our mere reasoning or assumed intelligence. We have the powerful weight of Gods eternal glory to rest in, rest on and rest with as we walk in light and truth revealed to us in God’s Word. 

What is God’s Glory?

If you were like me, I would be asking at this point, “So what is Gods glory?” I think most of us grasp a concept of what it is, but if it is as important as I believe the Bible is telling us it is, then we should know nothing more than what it is. We need to be well versed in it and ready to clearly proclaim from it. So, God’s glory is the very essence of who He is. It is His presence and power. His sovereignty revealed and all His attributes combined. You could say it is an attribute of His attributes. God created out of, for and through His glory. Everything He has created gives glimpses of His glory. God does all things for His own glory. He is God in heaven and He does whatever He pleases for His own glory and everything He does is good, perfect and true. Right about now most of us may be starting to feel a little turned off to this idea? And that is actually ok. You see, when we see this in the world it is always ugly. When a person tries to acquire this kind of glory in their own life, it is an unattractive character trait. So, why is it good with God? First let me tell you why it is ugly outside of God. Because glory is all do to God. No one can live up to that glory. There is nothing that compares or can come close to the gloriousness of Him who created and is sustaining everything. When we try to steal any of His glory there is a deep rootedness that tells our souls, this isn’t right! This doesn’t feel correct! I don’t deserve this. Even the ones attempting to glorify themselves will never find peace or joy. They are living for the wrong person. All their effort and self-seeking is detestable and they know it. Therefore, the most arrogant people are usually the most insecure. We are created to worship and to glorify God. I don’t think we meditate on that enough. He read it, hear it and yet we aren’t getting it. You know how I know that? Because myself and everyone else I see is in a constant struggle with self or Christ. Some of us aren’t struggling at all because we are completely happy with our self glorifying life. But we are a created being, God made us to glorify Him. Not cause He needed it. Not because He was lacking in friendship, bored or wanting. The Trinity is self sufficient in and of themselves. God needed nothing but wanted to create and share His overflowing love, power, holiness and glory. We were created to know Him and enjoy Him forever. He delights in His creation when we delight in Him. This life is about Christ and so is the life to come. If you have no desire to know Christ more here, then you’ll have no desire to be in heaven. This is where God’s glory is seen in its fullness, and I am convinced that even in our perfect state in heaven, we still won’t be able to grasp God’s awesomeness. We will continue to worship Him forever because each moment for eternity will be learning something new and glorious about Him! In heaven His children will worship and glory in His glory forever! Amen!

Why is God’s Glory So Important?

I hope you are beginning to see the bigness and seriousness of God’s glory and what it should mean to us and out lives. I hope the question, “Why is God’s glory so important?” was just answered. But if you’re a slow learner like me, I will focus on that question now. 

We Don’t Bring Anything to God

I am a firm believer in being very careful with the words we choose to use in talking about God and the Bible. God’s Word is very careful and perfect in all it proclaims. We should attempt perfection as well. Not for the purpose of being perfect or to bring attention to our greatness. No, we should strive for the best because our blessed Savior is the best. I am saying all this because we often say things that aren’t technically true but sound true. I am choosing these words as an example, “bring or giving” God glory. I know I have used this, many great pastors and even great books that have formed and grown me in my theology have used these terms. But I have felt the convictions to help change up my verbiage and feel the want to share. It might seem like a small thing but it is far from. In our day and culture, we need to be as clear as possible. There is so much confusion over who God truly is or what the Bible is actually saying, and every little phrase would be much more helpful if it was clearer. We don’t need help to be bad theologians. And we are all theologians. But are we good ones or bad ones? As children of the most High, we should strive to be very good theologians, and be as intentional as we can. 

One reason to perfect the words we use is because the Bible never speaks of God’s glory in a way of “bringing” or “giving” God glory. It only speaks of it as “glorifying God” or “To God be the glory” and “For His glory”. These are the kinds of ways in which Gods glory is talked about. Notice how the terms “Bring” or “Give” seem to assume we little wretched creations are adding to the awesomeness of God. What’s the difference? What’s the distinction? We should glorify God in all we do, yes, that’s the most important call in the Christians life. But for our already consumed minds of importance and center of the universe kind of mentality, we need to clarify for our own good as well as for those who are learning about our God. To “bring” or “give” assumes that we are making Gods glory bigger or adding to it. This is false. I make music. I produce, write and record lots of music. When I release an album it is complete. It might not be perfect and some won’t even like it. But I put my finished stamp on it, I am stoked on it and am done with it. I am satisfied to share with the world. If someone listens to it and then runs around and tells everyone about how great it is. They aren’t adding anything to my album, they are simply getting more people to listen to it. They are bringing attention to what they heard and must share. Their praise isn’t making my album louder, or adding guitar solos as to attempt to make it better. They are sharing what they think is great about it. Or better yet. If you go outside and hold a mirror up towards the sun, are you making the sun brighter? Are you adding to it in any way? Not at all. In a much bigger way this is like what we do with God’s glory. We tell of it, live it out, live through and by it, grow in and adore God’s glory. We are attempting to help people see Christ for who He is in everything we do. We need to help ourself and the world see God as bigger and bigger because He is. This encourages the believers as they see other believers living out what they were created for. And it helps the world see God through His believers. God’s glory is revealed through all His creation but the human family was made in a unique and special way. We were created in His image and likeness. That means we don’t glorify Him on accident or by default. The unbeliever glorifies God without knowing it through their talents and passions. The believer lives their life to glorify God more and grow to be better at it. We don’t do it on accident. 

How Do I Apply This to My Life?

As we grow in seeing God bigger each day, then we are ultimately seeing ourselves in a truer light. We are created by God, through God, and for God. Our life isn’t our own. Like the Jewel song says, “You were meant for me, and I was meant for you”. Luckily, we aren’t saying that to a broken finite creation, we get to say that to a real and living God. I have only scratched the surface on this subject. God’s glory can be talked about forever and still only scratched the surface. But we need to start somewhere and need to be intentional about our growing knowledge of God. We can start by not only reading our Bible but studying it. It is easy to sit and read, and that’s important. But to slow down to understand every verse a little more is life-giving. The more we see the glory of God the more our life will be changed. Next, we need to make sure we are surrounding ourselves with like-minded believers. It’s called the church. Or, the gathered people of God, the bride of Christ. And then we need to share what we have learned. I feel closest to God when I am sharing His love and what Christ has done on the cross with others. Therefore, I am continually doing it. You might even call it selfish. I love feeling close to God and believe He is doing great things in and through my life because of it. Lastly, we need to find a younger person in the faith to pour into and an older person in the faith to grow us. A younger person in the faith doesn’t need to be an actual younger person, but someone not as mature as you are in your faith. Regardless of what you don’t know, you still know more than someone else searching for truth. And this is on top of general sharing that I mentioned earlier. These relationships are closer to your heart and needed in every Christian life. And we need a more mature person in the faith to encourage us, correct us, and keep us accountable. If every Christian had these two relationships, then the Church would look more like the church should look. The church today is a bit of a mess, but we are still called to be part of one. To help grow its foundation and make disciples. So let us stop looking for what God can do for us, or how the church makes us feel or what can I get from the next worship service. And let us start seeing how we all have a part to play, a sacrifice to be made, and lives that need Christ. Don’t keep this wonderful news to yourself. Help the world see God’s glory more each day by teaching it and living through it! Love you all!

Closing:

Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s and Louis Berkhof’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

MisfitMinistry.com

TikTok @misfitministry

Instagram @themisfitministry

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The Sovereignty of God Chapter 11

Simply an important chapter from a great book.

A.W. PINK’S

DIFFICULTIES AND OBJECTIONS


“Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not My way equal? are not your ways unequal?” (Ezek. 18:25).

A convenient point has been reached when we may now examine, more definitely, some of the difficulties encountered and the objections which might be advanced against what we have written in previous pages. The author deemed it better to reserve these for a separate consideration rather than deal with them as he went along, requiring as that would have done the breaking of the course of thought and destroying the strict unity of each chapter, or else cumbering our pages with numerous and lengthy footnotes.

That there are difficulties involved in an attempt to set forth the truth of God’s Sovereignty is readily acknowledged. The hardest thing of all, perhaps, is to maintain the balance of truth. It is largely a matter of perspective. That God is Sovereign is explicitly declared in Scripture: that man is a responsible creature is also expressly affirmed in Holy Writ. To define the relationship of these two truths, to fix the dividing line betwixt them, to show exactly where they meet, to exhibit the perfect consistency of the one with the other, is the weightiest task of all. Many have openly declared that it is impossible for the finite mind to harmonize them. Others tell us it is not necessary or even wise to attempt it. But, as we have remarked in an earlier chapter, it seems to us more honoring to God to seek in His Word the solution to every problem. What is impossible to man is possible with God, and while we grant that the finite mind is limited in its reach, yet, we remember that the Scriptures are given to us that the man of God may be “thoroughly furnished,” and if we approach their study in the spirit of humility and of expectancy, then, according unto our faith will it be unto us.

As remarked above, the hardest task in this connection is to preserve the balance of truth while insisting on both the Sovereignty of God and the responsibility of the creature. To some of our readers it may appear that in pressing the Sovereignty of God to the lengths we have man is reduced to a mere puppet. Hence, to guard against this, they would modify their definitions and statements relating to God’s Sovereignty, and thus seek to blunt the keen edge of what is so offensive to the carnal mind. Others, while refusing to weigh the evidence that we have adduced in support of our assertions, may raise objections which to their minds are sufficient to dispose of the whole subject. We would not waste time in the effort to refute objections made in a carping and contentious spirit but we are desirous of meeting fairly the difficulties experienced by those who are anxious to obtain a fuller knowledge of the truth. Not that we deem ourselves able to give a satisfactory and final answer to every question that might be asked. Like the reader, the writer knows but in part and sees through a glass “darkly.” All that we can do is to examine these difficulties in the light we now have, in dependence upon the Spirit of God that we may follow on to know the Lord better.

We propose now to retrace our steps and pursue the same order of thought as that followed up to this point. As a part of our “definition” of God’s Sovereignty we affirmed: “To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will… The Sovereignty of the God of Scripture is absolute, irresistible, infinite.” To put it now in its strongest form, we insist that God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases; that whatever takes place in time is but the outworking of that which He decreed in eternity. In proof of this assertion we appeal to the following Scripture: “But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psa. 115:3). “For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” (Isa. 14:27). “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest thou?” (Dan. 4:35). “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things:to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).

The above declarations are so plain and positive that any comments of ours upon them would simply be darkening counsel by words without knowledge. Such express statements as those just quoted are so sweeping and so dogmatic that all controversy concerning the subject of which they treat ought for ever to be at an end. Yet, rather than receive them at their face value, every device of carnal ingenuity is resorted to so as to neutralize their force. For example, it has been asked, If what we see in the world today is but the outworking of God’s eternal purpose, if God’s counsel is NOW being accomplished, then why did our Lord teach His disciples to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”? Is it not a clear implication from these words that God’s will is not now being done on earth? The answer is very simple. The emphatic word in the above clause is “as.” God’s will is being done on earth today, if it is not, then our earth is not subject to God’s rule, and if it is not subject to His rule then He is not, as Scripture proclaims Him to be, “The Lord of all the earth” (Josh. 3:13). But God’s will is not being done on earth as it is in Heaven. How is God’s will “done in Heaven”?-consciously and joyfully. How is it “done on earth”? for the most part, unconsciously and sullenly. In Heaven the angels perform the bidding of their Creator intelligently and gladly, but on earth the unsaved among men accomplish His will blindly and in ignorance. As we have said in earlier pages, when Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus and when Pilate sentenced Him to be crucified they had no conscious intentions of fulfilling God’s decrees yet, nevertheless, unknown to themselves they did do so!

But again. It has been objected: If everything that happens on earth is the fulfilling of the Almighty’s pleasure, if God has foreordained-before the foundation of the world-everything which comes to pass in human history, then why do we read in Genesis 6:6 “It repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart”? Does not this language intimate that the antediluvians had followed a course which their Maker had not marked out for them, and that in view of the fact they had “corrupted” their way upon the earth the Lord regretted that He had ever brought such a creature into existence? Ere drawing such a conclusion let us note what is involved in such an inference. If the words “It repented the Lord that He had made man” are regarded in an absolute sense, then God’s omniscience would be denied, for in such a case the course followed by man must have been un-foreseen by God in the day that He created him. Therefore it must be evident to every reverent soul that this language bears some other meaning. We submit that the words “It repented the Lord” is an accommodation to our finite intelligence, and in saying this we are not seeking to escape a difficulty or cut a knot, but are advancing an interpretation which we shall seek to show is in perfect accord with the general trend of Scripture.

The Word of God is addressed to men, and therefore it speaks the language of men. Because we cannot rise to God’s level He, in grace, comes down to ours and converses with us in our own speech. The Apostle Paul tells us of how he was “caught up into Paradise and heard unspeakable words which it is not possible (margin) to utter” (2 Cor. 12:4). Those on earth could not understand the vernacular of Heaven. The finite cannot comprehend the Infinite, hence the Almighty deigns to couch His revelation in terms we may understand. It is for this reason the Bible contains many anthropomorphisms-i.e, representations of God in the form of man. God is Spirit, yet the Scriptures speak of Him as having eyes, ears, nostrils, breath, hands, etc., which is surely an accommodation of terms brought down to the level of human comprehension.

Again; we read in Genesis 18:2021 “And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come up unto Me; and if not, I will know.” Now, manifestly, this is an anthropologism-God speaking in human language. God knew the conditions which prevailed in Sodom, and His eyes had witnessed its fearful sins, yet He is pleased to use terms here that are taken from our own vocabulary.

Again; in Genesis 22:12 we read “And He (God) said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from Me.” Here again, God is speaking in the language of men for He “knew” before He tested Abram exactly how the patriarch would act. So too the expression of God so often in Jeremiah (7:13 etc.) of Him “rising up early” is manifestly an accommodation of terms.

Once more: in the parable of the vineyard Christ Himself represents its Owner as saying, “Then said the Lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send My beloved Son: it may be they will reverence Him when they see Him” (Luke 20:13); and yet, it is certain that God knew perfectly well that the “husbandman” of the vineyard (the Jews) would not “reverence His Son” but, instead, would “despise and reject” Him as His own Word had declared!

In the same way we understand the words of Genesis 6:6-“It repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth”-as an accommodation of terms to human comprehension. This verse does not teach that God was confronted with an unforeseen contingency and therefore regretted that He had made man, but it expresses the abhorrence of a holy God at the awful wickedness and corruption into which man had fallen. Should there be any doubt remaining in the minds of our readers as to the legitimacy and soundness of our interpretation, a direct appeal to Scripture should instantly and entirely remove it-“The Strength of Israel (a Divine title) will not He nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent” (1 Sam. 15:29)! “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17)!

Careful attention to what we have said above will throw light on numerous other passages which, if we ignore their figurative character and fail to note that God applies to Himself human modes of expression, will be obscure and perplexing. Having commented at such length upon Genesis 6:6 there will be no need to give such a detailed exposition of other passages which belong to the same class, yet, for the benefit of those of our readers who may be anxious for us to examine several other Scriptures, we turn to one or two more.

One Scripture which we often find cited in order to overthrow the teaching advanced in this book is our Lord’s lament over Jerusalem: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matt. 23:37). The question is asked, Do not these words show that the Saviour acknowledged the defeat of His mission, that as a people the Jews resisted all His gracious overtures toward them? In replying to this question, it should first be pointed out that our Lord is here referring not so much to His own mission as He is upbraiding the Jews for having in all ages rejected His grace-this is clear from His reference to the “prophets.” The Old Testament bears full witness of how graciously and patiently Jehovah dealt with His people, and with what extreme obstinancy, from first to last, they refused to be “gathered” unto Him, and how in the end He abandoned them to follow their own devices, yet, as the same Scriptures declare, the counsel of God was not frustrated bytheir wickedness, for it had been foretold (and therefore, decreed) by Him: see, for example, 1 Kings 8:33.

Matthew 23:37 may well be compared with Isaiah 65:2 where the Lord says, “I have spread out My hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts.” But, it may be asked, Did God seek to do that which was in opposition to His own eternal purpose? In words borrowed from Calvin we reply, “Though to our apprehension the will of God is manifold and various, yet He does not in Himself will things at variance with each other, but astonishes our faculties with His various and ‘manifold’ wisdom, according to the expression of Paul, till we shall be enabled to understand that He mysteriously wills what now seems contrary to His will.” As a further illustration of the same principle we would refer the reader to Isaiah 5:1-4: “Now will I sing to my wellBeloved a song of my Beloved touching His vineyard. My wellBeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And He fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and He looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt Me and My vineyard. What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, it brought forth wild grapes?” Is it not plain from this language that God reckoned Himself to have done enough for Israel to warrant an expectation-speaking after the manner of men-of better returns? Yet, is it not equally evident when Jehovah says here “He looked that it should bring forth grapes” that He is accommodating Himself to a form of finite expression? And, so also when He says “What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it?” we need to take note that in the previous enumeration of what He had done-the “fencing” etc.-He refers only to external privileges, means, and opportunities, which had been bestowed upon Israel, for, of course, He could even then have taken away from them their stony heart and given them a new heart, even a heart of flesh, had He so pleased.

Perhaps we should link up with Christ’s lament over Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37, His tears over the City, recorded in Luke 19:41: “He beheld the city, and wept over it.” In the verses which immediately follow we learn what it was that occasioned His tears: “Saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side.” It was the prospect of the fearful judgment which Christ knew was impending. But did those tears make manifest a disappointed God? Nay, verily. Instead, they displayed aperfect Man. The Man Christ Jesus was no emotionless stoic, but One “filled with compassion.” Those tears expressed the sinless sympathies of His real and pure humanity. Had He not “wept” He had been less than human. Those “tears” were one of many proofs that “in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren” (Heb. 2:17).

In Chapter One we have affirmed that God is Sovereign in the exercise of His love, and in saying this we are fully aware that many will strongly resent the statement and that, furthermore, what we have now to say will probably meet with more criticism than anything else advanced in this book. Nevertheless, we must be true to our convictions of what we believe to be the teaching of Holy Scripture, and we can only ask our readers to examine diligently in the light of God’s Word what we here submit to their attention.

One of the most popular beliefs of the day is that God loves everybody, and the very fact that it is so popular with all classes ought to be enough to arouse the suspicions of those who are subject to the Word of Truth. God’s Love toward all His creatures is the fundamental and favorite tenet of Universalists, Unitarians, Theosophists, Christian Scientists, Spiritualists, Russellites, etc. No matter how a man may live-in open defiance of Heaven, with no concern whatever for his soul’s eternal interests, still less for God’s glory, dying, perhaps with an oath on his lips-notwithstanding, God loves him, we are told. So widely has this dogma been proclaimed, and so comforting is it to the heart which is at enmity with God we have little hope of convincing many of their error. That God loves everybody, is, we may say, quite a modern belief. The writings of the church fathers, the Reformers or the Puritans will (we believe) be searched in vain for any such concept. Perhaps the late D. L. Moody-captivated by Drummond’s “The Greatest Thing in the World”-did more than anyone else in the last century to popularize this concept.

It has been customary to say God loves the sinner though He hates his sin.* But that is a meaningless distinction. What is there in a sinner but sin? Is it not true that his “whole head is sick” and his “whole heart faint,” and that “from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness” in him? (Isa. 1:56). Is it true that God loves the one who is despising and rejecting His blessed Son? God is Light as well as Love, and therefore His love must be a holy love. To tell the Christ-rejecter that God loves him is to cauterize his conscience as well as to afford him a sense of security in his sins. The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs. With the exception of John 3:16, not once in the four Gospels do we read of the Lord Jesus, the perfect Teacher, telling sinners that God loved them! In the book of Acts, which records the evangelistic labors and messages of the Apostles, God’s love is never referred to at all! But when we come to the Epistles, which are addressed to the saints, we have a full presentation of this precious truth-God’s love for His own. Let us seek to rightly divide the Word of God and then we shall not be found taking truths which are addressed to believers and mis-applying them to unbelievers. That which sinners need to have brought before them is the ineffable holiness, the exacting righteousness, the inflexible justice and the terrible wrath of God. Risking the danger of being misunderstood let us say-and we wish we could say it to every evangelist and preacher in the country-there is far too much presenting of Christ to sinners today (by those sound in the faith), and far too little showing sinners their need of Christ, i.e., their absolutely ruined and lost condition, their imminent and awful danger of suffering the wrath to come, the fearful guilt resting upon them in the sight of God: to present Christ to those who have never been shown their need of Him, seems to us to be guilty of casting pearls before swine.*

*Romans 5:8 is addressed to saints, and the “we” are the same ones as those spoken of in 8:29, 30.

*Concerning the rich young ruler of whom it is said Christ “loved him” (Mark 10:21), we fully believe that he was one of God’s elect, and was “saved” sometime after his interview with our Lord. Should it be said this is an arbitrary assumption and assertion which lacks anything in the Gospel record to substantiate it, we reply, It is written, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out,” and this man certainly did “come” to Him. Compare the case of Nicodemus. He, too, came to Christ, yet there is nothing in John 3 which intimates he was a saved man when the interview closed; nevertheless, we know from his later life that he was not “cast out.”

If it be true that God loves every member of the human family then why did our Lord tell His disciples “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father… If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him” (John 14:2123)? Why say “he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father” if the Father loves everybody?The same limitation is found in Proverbs 8:17: “I love them that love Me.” Again; we read, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity”-not merely the works of iniquity. Here then is a flat repudiation of present teaching that, God hates sin but loves the sinner; Scripture says, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psa. 5:5)! “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psa. 7:11). “He that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him“-not “shall abide,” but even now-“abideth on him” (John 3:36). Can God “love” the one on whom His “wrath” abides? Again; is it not evident that the words “The love of God which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:39) marks a limitation, both in the sphere and objects of His love? Again; is it not plain from the words “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:13) that God does not love everybody? Again; it is written, “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth” (Heb. 12:6). Does not this verse teach that God’s love is restricted to the members of His own family? If He loves all men without exception then the distinction and limitation here mentioned is quite meaningless. Finally, we would ask, Is it conceivable that God will love the damned in the Lake of Fire? Yet, if He loves them now He will do so then, seeing that His love knows no change-He is “without variableness or shadow of turning”!

Turning now to John 3:16, it should be evident from the passages just quoted that this verse will not bear the construction usually put upon it. “God so loved the world.” Many suppose that this means, The entire human race. But “the entire human race” includes all mankind from Adam till the close of earth’s history: it reaches backward as well as forward! Consider, then, the history of mankind before Christ was born. Unnumbered millions lived and died before the Saviour came to the earth, lived here “having no hope and without God in the world,” and therefore passed out into an eternity of woe. If God “loved” them, where is the slightest proof thereof? Scripture declares “Who (God) in times past (from the tower of Babel till after Pentecost) suffered all nations to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16). Scripture declares that “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Rom. 1:28). To Israel God said, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2). In view of these plain passages who will be so foolish as to insist that God in the past loved all mankind! The same applies with equal force to the future. Read through the book of Revelation, noting especially chapters 8 to 19, where we have described the judgments which will be poured out from Heaven on this earth. Read of the fearful woes, the frightful plagues, the vials of God’s wrath, which shall be emptied on the wicked. Finally, read the twentieth chapter of the Revelation, the great white throne judgment, and see if you can discover there the slightest trace of love.

But the objector comes back to John 3:16 and says, “World means world.” True, but we have shown that “the world” does not mean the whole human family. The fact is that “the world” is used in a general way. When the brethren of Christ said “Show Thyself to the world” (John 7:4), did they mean “shew Thyself to all mankind”? When the Pharisees said “Behold, the world is gone after Him” (John 12:19) did they mean that “all the human family” were flocking after Him? When the Apostle wrote “Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Rom. 1:8), did he mean that the faith of the saints at Rome was the subject of conversation by every man, woman, and child on earth? When Revelation 13:3 informs us that “all the world wondered after the beast,” are we to understand that there will be no exceptions? These, and other passages which might be quoted, show that the term “the world” often has a relative rather than an absolute force.

Now the first thing to note in connection with John 3:16 is that our Lord was there speaking to Nicodemus, a man who believed that God’s mercies were confined to his own nation. Christ there announced that God’s love ingiving His Son had a larger object in view, that it flowed beyond the boundary of Palestine, reaching out to “regions beyond.” In other words, this was Christ’s announcement that God had a purpose of grace toward Gentiles as well as Jews. “God so loved the world,” then, signifies, God’s love is international in its scope. But does this mean that God loves every individual among the Gentiles? Not necessarily, for as we have seen, the term “world” is general rather than specific, relative rather than absolute. The term “world” in itself is not conclusive. To ascertain who are the objects of God’s love other passages where His love is mentioned must be consulted.

In 2 Peter 2:5 we read of “the world of the ungodly.” If then, there is a world of the ungodly there must also be a world of the godly. It is the latter who are in view in the passages we shall now briefly consider. “For the bread of God is He which cometh down from Heaven, and giveth life unto the world” (John 6:33). Now mark it well, Christ did not say, “offereth life unto the world,” but “giveth.” What is the difference between the two terms? This: a thing which is “offered” may be refused, but a thing “given,” necessarily implies its acceptance. If it is not accepted it is not “given,” it is simply proffered. Here, then, is a Scripture that positively states Christ giveth life (spiritual, eternal life) “unto the world.” Now He does not give eternal life to the “world of the ungodly” for they will not have it, they do not want it. Hence, we are obliged to understand the reference in John 6:33 as being to “the world of the godly,” i.e., God’s own people.

One more: in 2 Corinthians 5:19 we read “To wit that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” What is meant by this is clearly defined in the words immediately following, “not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Here again “the world” cannot mean “the world of the ungodly,” for their “trespasses are imputed” to them, as the judgment of the Great White Throne will yet show. But 2Corinthians 5:19 plainly teaches there is a “world” which are “reconciled,” reconciled unto God because their trespasses are not reckoned to their account, having been borne by their Substitute. Who then are they? Only one answer is fairly possible-the world of God’s people!

In like manner, the “world” in John 3:16 must, in the final analysis, refer to the world of God’s people. Must we say, for there is no other alternative solution. It cannot mean the whole human race, for one half of the race was already in hell when Christ came to earth. It is unfair to insist that it means every human being now living, for every other passage in the New Testament where God’s love is mentioned limits it to His own people-searchand see! The objects of God’s love in John 3:16 are precisely the same as the objects of Christ’s love in John 13:1: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come, that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” We may admit that our interpretation of John 3:16 is no novel one invented by us, but one almost uniformly given by the Reformers and Puritans, and many others since then.

Coming now to Chapter Three, The Sovereignty of God in Salvation, innumerable are the questions which might be raised here. It is strange, yet it is true, that many who acknowledge the Sovereign rule of God over material things will cavil and quibble when we insist that God is also Sovereign in the spiritual realm. But their quarrel is with God and not with us. We have given Scripture in support of everything advanced in these pages, and if that will not satisfy our readers it is idle for us to seek to convince them. What we write now is designed for those who do bow to the authority of Holy Writ, and for their benefit we propose to examine several other Scriptures which have purposely been held for this chapter.

Perhaps the one passage which has presented the greatest difficulty to those who have seen that passage after passage in Holy Writ plainly teaches the election of a limited number unto salvation is 2 Peter 3:9: “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

The first thing to be said upon the above passage is that, like all other Scripture, it must be understood and interpreted in the light of its context. What we have quoted in the preceding paragraph is only part of the verse, and the last part if it at that! Surely it must be allowed by all that the first half of the verse needs to be taken into consideration. In order to establish what these words are supposed by many to mean, viz., that the words “any” and “all” are to be received without any qualification, it must be shown that the context is referring to the whole human race! If this cannot be shown, if there is no premise to justify this, then the conclusion also must be unwarranted. Let us then ponder the first part of the verse.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise.” Note “promise” in the singular number, not “promises.” What promise is in view? The promise of salvation? Where, in all Scripture, has God ever promised to save the whole human race! Where indeed? No, the “promise” here referred to is not about salvation. What then is it? The context tells us.

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming?” (vv. 3, 4). The context then refers to God’s promise to send back His beloved Son. But many long centuries have passed and this promise has not yet been fulfilled. True, but long as the delay may seem to us, the interval is short in the reckoning of God. As the proof of this we are reminded “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (v. 8). In God’s reckoning of time less than two days have yet passed since He promised to send back Christ.

But more, the delay in the Father sending back His beloved Son is not only due to no “slackness” on His part, but it is also occasioned by His “longsuffering.” His longsuffering to whom? The verse we are now considering tells us: “but His longsuffering to us-ward.” And whom are the “us-ward”?-the human race, or God’s own people? In the light of the context this is not an open question upon which each of us is free to form an opinion. The Holy Spirit has defined it. The opening verse of the chapter says, “This second Epistle, beloved, I now write unto you.” And again, the verse immediately preceding declares, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing etc.,” (v. 8). The “us-ward” then are the “beloved” of God. They to whom this Epistle is addressed are “them that have obtained (not “exercised,” but “obtained” as God’s Sovereign gift)like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). Therefore we say there is no room for a doubt, a quibble or an argument-the “us-ward” are the elect of God.

Let us now quote the verse as a whole: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Could anything be clearer? The “any” that God is not willing should perish are the “us-ward” to whom God is “longsuffering,” the “beloved” of the previous verses. 2 Peter 3:9 means, then, that God will not send back His Son until “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). God will not send hack Christ till that “people” whom He is now “taking out of the Gentiles” (Acts 15:14) are gathered in. God will not send back His Son till the Body of Christ is complete, and that will not be till the ones whom He has elected to be saved in this dispensation shall have been brought to Him. Thank God for His “longsuffering to us-ward.” Had Christ come back twenty years ago the writer had been left behind to perish in His sins. But that could not be so God graciously delayed the Second Coming. For the same reason He is still delaying His Advent. His decreed purpose is that all His elect will come to repentance, and repent they shall. The present interval of grace will not end until the last of the “other sheep” of John 10:16 are safely folded-then will Christ return.

In expounding the Sovereignty of God the Spirit in Salvation we have shown that His power is irresistible, that, by His gracious operations upon and within them He “compels” God’s elect to come to Christ. The Sovereignty of the Holy Spirit is set forth not only in John 3:8 where we are told “The wind bloweth where it pleaseth… so is every one that is born of the Spirit,” but is affirmed in other passages as well. In 1 Corinthians 12:11 we read “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.” And again; we read in Acts 16:67 “Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Spirit to preach the Word in Asia. After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.”Thus we see how the Holy Spirit interposed His imperial will in opposition to the determination of the Apostles.

But, it is objected against the assertion that the will and power of the Holy Spirit are irresistible that here are two passages, one in the Old Testament and the other in the New, which appear to militate against such a conclusion. God said of old “My Spirit shall not always strive with man” (Gen. 6:3), and to the Jews Stephen declared “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit:as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?” (Acts 7:5152). If then the Jews “resisted” the Holy Spirit how can we say His power is irresistible? The answer is found in Nehemiah 9:30 “Many years didst Thou forbear them, and testifiedest against them by Thy Spirit in Thy prophets:yetwould they not give ear.” It was the external operations of the Spirit which Israel “resisted.” It was the Spirit speaking by and through the prophets to which they “would not give ear.” It was not anything which the Holy Spirit wrought in them that they “resisted” but the motives presented to them by the inspired messages of the prophets. Perhaps it will help the reader to catch our thought better if we compare Matthew 11:20-24 “Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not. Woe unto thee Chorazin,” etc. Our Lord here pronounces woe upon these cities for their failure to repent because of the “mighty works” (miracles) which He had done in their sight, and not because of any internal operations of His grace! The same is true of Genesis 6:3. By comparing 1 Peter 3:18-20 it will be seen that it was by and through Noah that God’s Spirit “strove” with the antediluvians. The distinction noted above was ably summarized by Andrew Fuller (another writer long deceased from whom our moderns might learn much) thus: “There are two kinds of influences by which God works on the minds of men. First, That which is common, and which is effected by the ordinary use of motives presented to the mind for consideration: Secondly, That which is special and supernatural. The one contains nothing mysterious, anymore than the influence of our words and actions on each other; the other is such a mystery that we know nothing of it but by its effects-The former ought to be effectual; the latter is so.” The work of the Holy Spirit upon or towards men is always “resisted” by them; His work within is always successful. What saith the Scriptures? This: “He which hath begun a good work IN you,” will finish it (Phil. 1:6).

The next question to be considered is: Why preach the Gospel to every creature? If God the Father has predestined only a limited number to be saved, if God the Son died to effect the salvation of only those given to Him by the Father, and if God the Spirit is seeking to quicken none save God’s elect, then what is the use of giving the Gospel to the world at large, and where is the propriety of telling sinners that “Whosoever believeth in Christ shall not perish but have everlasting life”?

First; it is of great importance that we should be clear upon the nature of the Gospel itself. The Gospel is God’s good news concerning Christ and not concerning sinners: “Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God… concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 1:13).

God would have proclaimed far and wide the amazing fact that His own blessed Son “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8). A universal testimony must be borne to the matchless worth of the Person and work of Christ. Note the word witness in Matthew 24:14. The Gospel is God’s “witness” unto the perfections of His Son. Mark the words of the Apostle: “For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (2 Cor. 2:15)!

Concerning the character and contents of the Gospel the utmost confusion prevails today. The Gospel is not an “offer” to be bandied around by evangelical peddlers. The Gospel is no mere invitation but a proclamation, a proclamation concerning Christ; true whether men believe it or not. No man is asked to believe that Christ died for him in particular. The Gospel, in brief, is this: Christ died for sinners, you are a sinner, believe in Christ, and you shall be saved. In the Gospel God simply announces the terms upon which men may be saved (namely, repentance and faith) and, indiscriminately, all are commanded to fulfill them.

Second, repentance and remission of sins are to be preached in the name of the Lord Jesus “among all the nations” (Luke 24:47), because God’s elect are “scattered abroad” (John 11:52among all nations, and it is by the preaching and hearing of the Gospel that they are called out of the world. The Gospel is the means which God uses in the saving of His own chosen ones. By nature God’s elect are children of wrath “even as others”; they are lost sinners needing a Saviour, and apart from Christ there is no salvation for them. Hence, the Gospel must be believed by them before they can rejoice in the knowledge of sins forgiven. The Gospel is God’s winnowing fan: it separates the chaff from the wheat, and gathers the latter into His garner.

Third; it is to be noted that God has other purposes in the preaching of the Gospel than the salvation of His own elect. The world exists for the elect’s sake yet others have the benefit of it. So the Word is preached for the elect’s sake yet others have the benefit of an external call. The sun shines though blind men see it not. The rain falls upon rocky mountains and waste deserts as well as on the fruitful valleys; so also, God suffers the Gospel to fall on the ears of the non-elect. The power of the Gospel is one of God’s agencies for holding in check the wickedness of the world. Many who are never saved by it are reformed, their lusts are bridled, and they are restrained from becoming worse. Moreover, the preaching of the Gospel to the non-elect is made an admirable test of their characters. It exhibits the inveteracy of their sin: it demonstrates that their hearts are at enmity against God: it justifies the declaration of Christ that “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

Finally; it is sufficient for us to know that we are bidden to preach the Gospel to every creature. It is not for us to reason about the consistency between this and the fact that “few are chosen.” It is for us to obey. It is a simple matter to ask questions relating to the ways of God which no finite mind can fully fathom. We, too, might turn and remind the objector that our Lord declared “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme. But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness” (Mark 3:2829), and there can be no doubt whatever but that certain of the Jews were guilty of this very sin (see Matt. 12:24, etc.) and hence their destruction was inevitable. Yet, notwithstanding, scarcely two months later, He commanded His disciples to preach the Gospel to every creature. When the objector can show us the consistency of these two things-the fact that certain of the Jews had committed the sin for which there is never forgiveness, and the fact that to them the Gospel was to be preached-we will undertake to furnish a more satisfactory solution than the one given above to the harmony between an universal proclamation of the Gospel and a limitation of its saving power to those only that God has predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.

Once more, we say, it is not for us to reason about the Gospel; it is our business to preach it. When God ordered Abraham to offer up his son as a burnt-offering he might have objected that this command was inconsistent with His promise “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” But instead of arguing he obeyed, and left God to harmonize His promise and His precept. Jeremiah might have argued that God had bade him to do that which was altogether unreasonable when He said “Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee;thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee” (Jer. 7:27), but instead, the prophet obeyed. Ezekiel, too, might have complained that the Lord was asking of him a hard thing when He said “Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with My words unto them. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; Not to many people of a strange speech and of a hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee;for they will not hearken unto Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard hearted” (Ezek. 3:4-7).

“But, O my soul, if truth so bright

Should dazzle and confound thy sight,
Yet still His written Word obey,
And wait the great decisive day.”-Watts.

It has been well said, “The Gospel has lost none of its ancient power. It is, as much today as when it was first preached, ‘the power of God unto salvation.’ It needs no pity, no help, and no handmaid. It can overcome all obstacles, and break down all barriers. No human device need be tried to prepare the sinner to receive it, for if God has sent it no power can hinder it; and if He has not sent it, no power can make it effectual” (Dr. Bullinger).

This chapter might be extended indefinitely, but it is already too long so a word or two more must suffice. A number of other questions will be dealt with in the pages yet to follow, and those that we fail to touch upon the reader must take to the Lord Himself who has said “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not” (James 1:5).

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Does God Love Everyone?

By S.C. Shaw

Does God Love Everyone? Yes and no. Most anyone will answer this question with “of course God loves everyone!” That’s what we’ve all been taught since we were children and or told since any of us can remember. Even most the unbelieving world would say “Yes” to that question. But I would love to offer some thoughts. I feel like we answer this question in such a way because we feel like we have no place to go in our evangelism if we answer this question in any other way. We have nowhere to go if we make anyone feel uncomfortable. But I believe we are doing a huge disservice to the Gospel and to the unbeliever when we give this perspective. If the Bible is truly our foundation of truth and authority, then we must look within to help and not shy away from wait it is plainly telling us. Nowhere in scripture do we find a single verse that says “God loves everyone”. In fact, we get the opposite of verses throughout the Bible in abundance of God hating the wicked and how the world is storing up wrath for itself and are by nature children of wrath. Why does this matter? Why can’t we just help people feel loved in such an evil and corrupt world? The answer is in the culture that we see. Most people have a dangerous false view of God because of this teaching. Right about now you’re angry at what I’m saying and are gritting your teeth to give me verses like “God so loved the world”, and “God is love”, etc. But be careful, that’s how false religions and false doctrines get created. Reading out of context and not understanding what the scriptures are saying is the bulk of the issue. We need to be full Bible Christians. Systematic theology is lacking in our understanding. Reading the Bible in light of the original readers understanding is the only proper way to come to the Bible.

Here’s what A.W. Pink had to say about this in his book “The Sovereignty of God”. “One of the most popular beliefs of the day is that God loves everybody, and the very fact that it is so popular with all classes ought to be enough to arouse the suspicions of those who are subject to the Word of Truth. God’s Love toward all His creatures is the fundamental and favorite tenet of Universalists, Unitarians, Theosophists, Christian Scientists, Spiritualists, Russellites, etc. No matter how a man may live-in open defiance of Heaven, with no concern whatever for his soul’s eternal interests, still less for God’s glory, dying, perhaps with an oath on his lips-notwithstanding, God loves him, we are told. So widely has this dogma been proclaimed, and so comforting is it to the heart which is at enmity with God we have little hope of convincing many of their error. That God loves everybody, is, we may say, quite a modern belief. The writings of the church fathers, the Reformers or the Puritans will (we believe) be searched in vain for any such concept. Perhaps the late D. L. Moody-captivated by Drummond’s “The Greatest Thing in the World”-did more than anyone else in the last century to popularize this concept.”

When we come to the Bible with our culture glasses on, we will tend to get most of the Bible wrong or at the best, a very weak Gospel.

“God so loved the world”, the most famous verse ever. And it’s a great one for it is the very Word of God. Some are simply more impactful than others. To start with, God is unchanging. No new information, thought, or emotion will change God in any way. He is unchanging and all knowing. When we look at John 3:16 and 17 we get a clearer picture. Here it is, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” The Bible uses the term “World” or “All people” many times and in many ways. In most cases it is to talk about a section or type of people. Rarely do these words mean the entirety of the human family as a whole.

I first 1 John 4:16 we read “God is love”. “So, we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” So far, it looks like I am not proving my point. And that is my point. Without further study and understanding we come to these kinds of conclusions. In 1 John 1:5 we read that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. That means His love looks much different than our understanding of it. God loves perfectly, justly, righteously and His judgment and wrath are close at hand. God is everything perfectly balanced at all times for all time.

Let us get foundational. Why did Jesus need to come? Why did He need to die on a cross and experience the evilest thing that ever happened in the history of the world? He came because God needs to punish sin. God hates sin and will pour out a very scary and eternal wrath on sin. But instead of destroying us like He would have been just in doing, He made a way to save those whom He chose since before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4 “even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love” God knew who His children would be because He hand-picked those who are not yet created. He more accurately thought about His future family and planned our lives long before He created any of us. Does that mean we are robots and have no choice? Well, have you ever felt like a robot? The answer to this question really doesn’t even matter. I don’t think it’s a clear-cut answer and think it’s a silly question. We have a choice, and nothing is outside of God’s plan. And you know as well as I do that you can go and do anything you want right now. Let us get back to the main point.

This matters because we must see that the entire New Testament was written to the Church. Not the individual, not the world, but the people of God, or the “world of God’s people”. The ones whom God chose. Nowhere in the Bible do we get a Word for the world living in their sin. What about all the verses telling people to turn and repent? Even those whom God has chosen still need to realize they need Jesus, repent and follow Him, then we are saved. God knows the unrepentant world won’t chose Him and therefore has nothing to say to them. However, He gives us a clear view of His eventual wrath on them. For those who believe, He allows you to believe at the time He has set. Is this gift open to anyone who receives it? Absolutely. But it is still all in God’s control. 

Again, let’s look at A.W. Pink. “It has been customary to say God loves the sinner though He hates his sin. But that is a meaningless distinction. What is there in a sinner but sin? Is it not true that his “wholehead is sick” and his “wholeheart faint,” and that “from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness”in him? (Isa. 1:56). Is it true that God loves the one who is despisingand rejecting His blessed Son? God is Light as well as Love, and therefore His love must be a holylove. To tell the Christ-rejecter that God loves him is to cauterize his conscience as well as to afford him a sense of security in his sins. The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs. With the exception of John 3:16, not once in the four Gospels do we read of the Lord Jesus, the perfect Teacher, telling sinners that Godloved them! In the book of Acts, which records the evangelistic labors and messages of the Apostles, God’s love is never referred to at all! But when we come to the Epistles, which are addressed to the saints,we have a full presentation of this precious truth-God’s love for His own.Let us seek to rightlydivide the Word of God and then we shall not be found taking truths which are addressed to believers and mis-applying them to unbelievers. That which sinners need to have brought before them is the ineffable holiness, the exacting righteousness, the inflexible justice and the terrible wrath of God. Risking the danger of being misunderstood let us say-and we wish we could say it to every evangelist and preacher in the country-there is far too much presenting of Christ to sinners today (by those sound in the faith), and far too little showing sinners their needof Christ, i.e., their absolutely ruined and lost condition, their imminent and awful danger of suffering the wrath to come, the fearful guilt resting upon them in the sight of God: to present Christ to those who have never been shown their needof Him, seems to us to be guilty of casting pearls before swine. Romans 5:8 is addressed to saints,and the “we” are the same ones as those spoken of in 8:29, 30.”

God needs to pour out His wrath on sin because He hates sin. “Hate” in a more biblical understanding of it means to have nothing to do with. To turn from and reject. Not this overly dramatic feeling we think of. Sin isn’t just something we do; it is who we are outside of Christ. Born under the curse of Adam. Born into sin and under the wrath of God. Born into a life that God can have no relationship with. God didn’t create sin. Sin came into the world by disobedience. Sin is anything against God. But God so loved the “world”, the world of His chosen people because He chose to love some. We can’t see a word like that and apply it to everyone because the Bible doesn’t. But here’s where I think there’s some truth to both beliefs. Jesus’ blood was powerful enough to cover every sin from every person who ever lived. But Christ knew who He was dying for. Not one drop of Christ blood was shed in vain as if God is weak, unknowing and helpless. 

God chose some and not others? Sound unfair? Remember, it would be right and just of Him to condemn all of us to eternal punishment. But He doesn’t. How do you know if you are chosen? If you repent and believe then you were always meant to be a child of God. And we know that we are truly in Him when our life shows the fruits of the Spirit. When your life is drastically changed from before and after Christ.

What about the thief on the cross? He believed and then died. No chance for good works, to see the fruits, nothing. Ah, but think about that event. First, at some point when he was on the cross next to Christ, He believed that He was God. Then he defended Jesus from the other thief hurling insults at Christ. Then He acknowledges who Jesus is and asks for salvation. Jesus assures Him of His salvation. And now his story is an amazing example of people coming to Christ even until the last minutes of life. I think he hits all the important points of a follower of Christ. Since then, there are countless other deathbed coming to Christ stories. But we don’t want to wait till then. When these people who have received Jesus like that, they are missing out on the blessings we get in this life. Storing up treasures for ourselves in heaven. Sharing the Gospel with others and being a part of His story. Seeing lives change the watching the work only our powerful and good Father can do. And it shouldn’t need to be said, but we don’t know when our time is.

I know, I seem to be off topic and on a rant. But this is the process in explaining a hard topic like this. We must see the full story as the whole Bible reveals it and not just a verse here and there. If God is never changing, He has chosen who will believe since before the foundations of the world, that means He has chosen some for destruction. You heard me right. And yes, there are verses to back that up as well. Here’s one, 2 Timothy 2:20Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” God has created all things and can do what He wants with His creation. And before you puff up your chest in anger, remember we are finite creations that have no opinions on what our creator can do. As if we thinking His actions are wrong or immoral somehow. Have you ever cared what an ant thinks? Or pondered if the underwear you put on to workout in is ever offended? I doubt it. The span between our understanding and God is much greater than both of those examples. But we know God is perfect, holy, just and loving. We know that has only good planed for those who love Him. Now we bend our knowledge to become more like His, not the other way around. 

Back to A.W. Pink. “Concerning the rich young ruler of whom it is said Christ “loved him” (Mark 10:21), we fully believe that he was one of God’s elect, and was “saved” sometime after his interview with our Lord. Should it be said this is an arbitrary assumption and assertion which lacks anything in the Gospel record to substantiate it, we reply, it is written, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out,” and this man certainly did “come” to Him. Compare the case of Nicodemus. He, too, came to Christ, yet there is nothing in John 3 which intimates he was a saved man when the interview closed; nevertheless, we know from his later life that he was not “cast out.”

But when it comes to salvation, we have a choice. Sure, if He didn’t choose you then you are unable to believe. That shouldn’t be discouraging but eye opening. If you are concerned about that then I’d say you’re at least in the right mindset to believe. The ones who can’t believe are the ones who don’t want to believe. They will still deny following God even as they look Him in the eyes in the last day. Yes, this is one of many great tensions in the Bible. But never forget, we are a finite creation dealing with infinite truths from thee eternal Creator. There is some mystery how our choice and God’s providence and sovereignty work together. But we maintain that He knows best and struggle to understand Him not push back because we don’t get it. 

Let’s get back to the main point. “God loves you so much and He just wants to be your good Father in your life. If you would just come to Him and let Him come into your heart” …blah blah blah. Do you hear how that sounds? We are making God a little winy god who just can’t live without you and will do whatever it takes if you would only give him a little attention and would just believe, “pretty please!”. That is a pathetic and evil view of the God we see in the Bible. My God, the One from Scripture is a conquering King. He is the creator and sustainer of all things. He holds all the power and control over everything and everyone. He isn’t reacting to our actions. He is using everything even the works of His enemies to accomplish His tasks. And He will by no means clear the guilty, Exodus 34:7. 

A.W. Pink says it this way. “If it be true that God loves every member of the human family then why did our Lord tell His disciples “He that has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me: and he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father… If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him” (John 14:2123)? Why say “he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father” if the Father loves everybody?The same limitation is found in Proverbs 8:17: “I love them that love Me.” Again; we read, “You hates all workersof iniquity”-not merely the works of iniquity. Here then is a flat repudiation of present teaching that, God hates sin but loves the sinner; Scripture says, “You hateall workers of iniquity” (Psa. 5:5)! “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psa. 7:11). “He that believes not on the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him“-not“shallabide,” but even now-“abides on him” (John 3:36). Can God “love” the one on whom His “wrath” abides? Again; is it not evident that the words “The love of God which is in Christ Jesus”(Rom. 8:39) marks a limitation, both in the sphere and objects of His love? Again; is it not plain from the words “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”(Rom. 9:13) that God does notlove everybody? Again; it is written, “For whomthe Lord loveth He chastened, and scourged every sonwhom He receives” (Heb. 12:6). Does not this verse teach that God’s love is restrictedto the members of His own family? If He loves all men without exception then the distinction and limitation here mentioned is quite meaningless. Finally, we would ask, Is it conceivable that God will love the damned in the Lake of Fire? Yet, if He loves them now He will do so then, seeing that His love knows no change-He is “without variablenessor shadow of turning”!”

When we give people, this view of God we are letting people feel comfortable and assured in their life of sin. Essentially saying, “Coming to God is great but if not, He still loves you and you just need to make a choice, but don’t worry He will always love you, He even died for you.” We are not giving the Gospel the roots with these kinds of statements. The sting of the truth is missing. We will never choose a Savior if we don’t feel like we need one. There is a sting before we can sing. There must be a cross before the crown. We need to see how wretched we are before we get to see ourselves as a son or daughter of thee King. I have heard the non-believer say various forms of this, “Well, if God is love and I just try my best in this life then he has to let me in heaven.” What a horrific statement. What a patient God to not blast people down where they stand. But you see what is happening right? Giving the unrepentant no reason to repent and turn from their life because this “loving god” is just a sucker for some good deeds and a little kindness. “Doing the best I can”, suddenly becomes the standard for an eternity in Heaven. It is making nothing of sin and therefore spitting at Christ sacrifice because if all that is true, God is a worthless god who’s sacrifice meant nothing. Ultimately leading people to believe they have salvation when there is none, damning them to hell in the process. I know I’m sounding dramatic here, but this is a serious truth that isn’t talked about, almost ever. The real and true Gospel is offensive to the unrepentant. But to those who are being called, it is the message of salvation, 2 Chronicles 7:14, John 10:27-28. 

And just in case I haven’t made my point. Here are just a few verses that speak of God’s hatred, wrath and coming judgment on the unrepentant. But before I do this, I am not a fire and brimstone preacher. I believe in the everlasting love of God for His children that has been poured out on us in abundance. And that offer is open to any who receive it.

Romans 1:18-32

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 

Romans 2:5

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

Romans 5:9

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

John 3:36

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Ezekiel 25:17

I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon them.”

2 Peter 2:9

Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,

Isaiah 26:1

For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain.

Nahum 1:2-6

The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers. The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it. Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him

Psalm 7:11

God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.

Hebrews 10:26-31

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”

Revelation 19:11-21

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

John 15:6

If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

Galatians 5:19-21

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Psalm 75:8

For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.

Luke 12:5

But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

Colossians 3:6

On account of these the wrath of God is coming.

1 John 4:10

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Proverbs 6:16-19

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Psalm 11:5

The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

Psalm 5:4-6

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

Let me add this before we continue. Any good theologian would agree that God is unchanging. He is everything good all at once. He doesn’t’ have wavering emotions like us. Nor does He ever react to our choices. He is perfect and powerful, sovereign and holy in all He is and does. With that in mind, what part of this leaves any room for one to believe everything I just stated and the next second believe that God is allowing those who He once loved to now be far from Him in hell? God isn’t sending anyone to hell, like so many people like to phrase it. But He did create it and it is punishment for all evil, sin and wickedness at the end of this age. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is to admit that God loves some and not others. He is perfectly allowed to do that as He is the creator of all and is able to do what He pleases.

Haven’t even scratched the surface. I know you didn’t read more than three of them, but they are all Scripture, from God and need to be handled accordingly. The world doesn’t need a watered-down gospel anymore. One that sparks no cause for action. People need to truth that there is death and destruction coming, from the very Hand that provides a way out. And no that’s not contradictory. God must punish sin. Sin is why He killed His Son. And when He decides to end this world, we must spend eternity somewhere. We choose to be with Him now or we choose to be without Him. That’s our eternity. God doesn’t force Himself on you. You choose. But a choice must be made. And doing nothing is a choice against Him. 

So, does God love everybody? I think there must be some kind of love for all His creation. But He loves His children very different than He loves anything else of His creation. 

Every quote from A.W. Pink about this topic from his book “The Sovereignty of God”. I’ve updated the language when He quotes the KJV of his references. Read the full chapter here.

But before you try and debate what you’ve just read I would like you to be aware of something. Anything less than this is an argument for pride of man and less of God’s Word. I am simply fighting for a more faithful God centered mindset and teaching. Are you going to fight for more man centered theology or God centered theology? Our duty isn’t for favor of man but to present the Gospel as is shown in God’s Word. 

Lastly, this truth has nothing to do with our duty to all of God’s creation. We are commanded to love everyone and treat every person with respect as an image barrier of God. We let God do what He does and we do as we are commanded.

Closing:

Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s and Louis Berkhof’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

MisfitMinistry.com

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Instagram @themisfitministry

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Why Did God Have to Come as a Baby?

By S.C. Shaw

I speak with many people asking lots of questions about God and the Bible. I love it. One question I’ve heard a lot is “Why Did God Have to Come as a Baby?” Have you ever thought about that? Maybe you have always struggled with this truth. Maybe you don’t believe it to be true at all? God has always been very intentional about how He works. He never just acts or speaks without great wisdom and intentionality. Obviously, He’s God. Maybe you’re asking, why couldn’t God just have spoken forgiveness over our sin and not have to deal with all the Old Testament sacrifices and then sending Jesus (Himself) to die for us? I’ve thought about a lot. All good questions. 

Let’s go back to the beginning. That’s right “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. The first verse of the Bible says a lot. One of the things we get from it is that God, is the creator, He was before the beginning, He works outside of His creation and He is the only God. Why does this matter? Because, in order to break down truths we need to understand who we are talking about. Right away we see that God is big, powerful, trustworthy and knows what He’s doing. He created everything good and then man with his ability to choose (which God gave as a gift to man), broke the relationship with Him. Now God is unable to be with His loved creation, ever. God cannot be with darkness because He is light. God is pure holiness and purity. Light and dark cannot dwell in the same room. But God being rich in love and mercy wanted to be with His children. So, God made a plan to be able to redeem His people in this life as well as for the life to come.

We often lose the point of sin and how big it is. Sin broke our fellowship with our creator. The only thing bigger and more powerful than that is God Himself. And sin is such a big deal it can only be dealt with by the shedding of blood. Why? Because sin brings death. Sin broke our connection with God which would have to ultimately lead us to an eternity without Him, which by definition is hell. A life separate from God is no life at all. God has no plan for His children to be separated from Him for eternity. In fact, He has planned the exact opposite of that. Since sin brings death, death is the only way to atone for sin. Therefore, we get multitude of sin offerings in the Old Testament. God commands and tells His people how to make temporal atonement for their sins. But all this is to foreshadow the coming of Christ. The perfect and final sacrifice which is God Himself. Why did it have to be God? Because no one could take on the sin of the world nor is able to live a life as a man and yet sinless. Only God can pull all that off. 

In Gods perfect timing, He comes in the form of a man called “Yeshua”. Born of a virgin, undefiled in anyway. This man is 100% man and 100% God. Then again in Gods perfect timing, Yeshua starts His ministry at the age of 30. He proves Himself to be worthy to take our sin and death. He is crucified 3 years later, is raised by God 3 days later, reveals Himself to 100’s of people and then ascends to the Father in heaven. Now Yeshua (Jesus) sits at the right hand of the Father because the work of paying for sin is done. Now He is praying for His children. Christ being man knows all the temptation we know as weak sinful flesh and yet He is and was without sin. He is the only One worthy to take on our sin.

To sum up. We needed the full revelation of God and fulfilled promises from the Old Testament to take the fullness of sin away for good. Here are some other options that would not have worked. God coming and displaying His power in another way to forgive sin wouldn’t have worked because there needs to be bloodshed and death to cover sin. God would be unjust to just take sin away. Sin by definition is anything that is against God. That’s a big deal. So, that wouldn’t work because God can’t die nor does He have a body to shed blood. Another option, God comes as a grown man and still lives a perfect life and still is able to die and shed His blood for sin. Because God wouldn’t have been able to lead a perfect life, He would’ve only lived a perfect few year. Instead, He had a foundation and family on earth from birth. An earthy background that helped in His ministry and to make much of the power of God in His life. Plus, one of the greatest mysteries is how Jesus was 100% man and 100% God while on earth. That would be untrue if He came as a grown man. For Christ to represent and die for sinners, He needed to possess that 100%-man part of His life on earth. He did this without subtracting any of His deity. He did lay aside much of His power voluntarily, but He never ceased to be God. So, God coming as a baby was mandatory not only to fulfill Scripture but to be able to conquer sin and death without God going against Himself. 

God in all His wisdom and perfection had a plan that He perfectly executed in His perfect timing and now all are welcome to repent, believe, follow and live for Christ. I pray this helped you understand this question and I pray you continue to search the Bible and grow in your faith. 

Closing:

Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

MisfitMinistry.com

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Christian Conviction is Not Scripture

By S.C. Shaw

What do I mean by “Christian conviction is not scripture”? This is a topic that has been on my heart and mind for years. This is a topic not talked about in most churches, bible studies or even amongst friends. Why? Because most Christians don’t even know this is something to consider. Why is it important? Because I see more Christians wasting their time and energy trying to push their convictions on others and it needs to stop because it is unbiblical and is pushing people away from the love of Christ. We can and should share our convictions and opinions with other believers, but everything you think is wrong is not always what the Bible says is wrong. You feel guilty about something and insist that it is a sin for everyone, and that is simply not true. There are tiers to these issues.

Tier one: Salvation based truths

These are the essential Christian faith doctrinal truths that are necessary for salvation as seen in Scripture. 

Simple example: God is three in One (the Trinity). Jesus lived a perfect life as 100% man and 100% God, died for sinners on a cross, rose from the grave and ascended to heaven, 1 Corinthians 15:3–5. One day He will return for a final judgment on evil and His children will be with God for eternity. Others include authority of Scripture alone, Glory to God alone, and salvation in Christ alone.

Tier two: Conviction based ideas

These are the things that brothers and sisters in Christ can have differing opinions on and still be in Gods family for eternity. This is one of the areas many Christians try and enforce as a first-tier Gospel truth. 

Simple example: Modes of baptism, drinking alcohol, tithing, church membership, church government etc. 

These are the issues that create denominations. These are things that are important to think through and know where you stand but are not a matter of salvation. 

Tier three: Opinion based things

These are the things that one can have an idea about that is not explicit right, wrong or doctrinal truth in the Bible. These opinions can also be talked about as if they are Gospel truths but are not.  

Simple example: How long was creation, new earth, old earth, end times etc. 

Why is this important to talk about? Because we want to be confessional Christians and want to know who we are in our convictions and opinions. But we need to know where to stop. Your convictions and opinions are not inspired truths of God. In fact, nothing is if it is not systematically talked about in the Scriptures. What the whole Bible agrees on any given topic is the only thing that is salvation based. These are the issues in which why so many on lookers hate, the church, the Bible and God. This is where legalism stems from and is ungodly and wicked. Let’s read what the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith says.

1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 21 

Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience 

The liberty Christ has purchased for believers under the gospel is found in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, and the severity and curse of the law. It also includes their deliverance from this present evil age, bondage to Satan, the dominion of sin, the suffering of afflictions, the fear and sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation. In addition, it includes their free access to God and their obedience to him, not from slavish fear but from a childlike love and willing mind.

All these liberties were also enjoyed in their essence by believers under the law. But under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further expanded. They are free from the yoke of the ceremonial law to which the Jewish congregation was subjected; they have greater confidence of access to the throne of grace; and they have a fuller supply of God’s free Spirit than believers under the law usually experienced.

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and he has left it free from human doctrines and commandments that are in any way contrary to his word or not contained in it. So, believing such doctrines, or obeying such commands out of conscience, is a betrayal of true liberty of conscience. Requiring implicit faith or absolute and blind obedience destroys liberty of conscience and reason as well.

Those who use Christian liberty as an excuse to practice any sin or nurture any sinful desire pervert the main objective of the grace of the gospel to their own destruction, and they completely destroy the purpose of Christian liberty. This purpose is that we, having been delivered from the hands of all our enemies, may serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our lives.

You see the measure in which this is a big deal? 

There is a balance, however. We must not be a stumbling block to other believers. We need to put every other believer’s wellbeing in front of our own. Example: If you believe you can drink to the glory of God and are able to control yourself, then it is ok for you. But if you feel guilty when you drink then don’t drink. Another side of this is; if your brother struggles with addiction then not drinking when he’s around would be a God honoring thing. And that’s the main point to everything, honoring and glorifying God, 1 Corinthians 10:31. 

I am writing this blog, so I have a place to send people who struggle with this understanding or maybe have never thought about it. When I hear Christians argue or voice their opinion on various matters, it always stems from an ignorant view of this topic. But just as importantly, the way Christians will impose their convictions and opinions on the non-believer. First, never expect the unrepentant heart to think about right and wrong as you do. They are dead in their sin just as you were once. We stick to the Gospel and our testimony. Only the Holy Spirit can change a heart and make the dead to life. Second, our legalism is what has been the biggest problem in the church since the start. Not only should we not be imposing our second and third tier ideas on believers, but we should keep those to yourself amongst non-believers. The Christian looking down on the non-Christian for not living a life for God is unrealistic and dangerous. We are to love them, teach the truth (the first tier mainly) and live a life worthy of the Gospel. That’s it! Everything else is self-righteous, prideful and hurtful to the Kingdom. We are sinning when trying raise our opinions to the level of God’s Word. Keep the main thing the main thing. 

Lastly, sometimes we need to mature in our faith and wisdom of Scripture before we can know what our true convictions and opinions are. They will change as you grow. Like the way a child understanding of things change as they grow up. No one thinks the same at 8 years old as they do when they are 18. In fact, it might be the opposite on most matters of life. Let us all start there and most of this will handle itself. 

Closing:

Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

MisfitMinistry.com

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Honest Questions from the Youth

By S.C. Shaw

I lead musical worship for my church. Right now I am mainly leading for our youth group. Last week we handed out some paper for them to write any questions they had concerning God and the Bible. After reading through these questions and giving answers to the best of my ability and I thought it would be good for all to see. These questions are the same ones I hear from all ages. So here we go.

How can Jesus know what we are all doing at the same time?

What an amazing God right?! God is the Creator of all good things. That means He even created time and space. Which also means He operates outside of that because He is not bound by His own creation. Of-course this is all a mystery because we don’t know exactly how that works because we are not only bound by the time and space God has given to us, but we are limited in our finite minds compared to the wisdom and power of God. And you know what? It’s ok to not understand everything about God. In fact, if we could understand God completely then God wouldn’t be God.

When will Jesus bring peace to earth?

There will never be peace on earth until He comes back, judges the world justly, destroys it and then creates the new heaven and new earth. When will that be? We don’t know. But what we do know is we all have the same calling in Christ. We are to grow in our faith and share it with others. This world has been corrupted by sin and cannot be reconciled until it is made anew. But we are given the choice to have peace in this world because of what Jesus did on the cross. By dying for sinners and being raised, He gives us a peace that the world cannot understand. We have the hope of eternity with Christ and the joy that the Holy Spirit brings to us because He is living inside us. That means we can have a certain peace on this earth right now. 

How were the circumstances in Genesis so bad that He wiped out all people? 

How are the circumstances now not worse with everything happening because there are drugs and drinking still here… will He wipe out everyone else again in a different way? God said He would never flood the earth again.

There were some very different things going on in Genesis. And some things that are going on now seem just as bad if not worse. But there was a corruption of mankind with fallen angels and women making babies. I know that sounds weird and it is. It was a perversion of what God had intended. God made man in His image and now that image is being corrupted. There are many differing theories on this and what exactly was going on or to what level was the world corrupted with this problem. But we know it was bad enough for God to wipe them out. That’s a big deal. 

Plus remember, God would be just to wipe us all out all the time. The fact that He doesn’t is a major grace in our life. He gives us the opportunity to repent and follow Christ but it’s our choice. 

The world today is lost and corrupted as well. But wrath is coming for all the evil in the world. We must trust that Gods timing is better than ours. The book of Revelation says that when Christ returns, He is coming to destroy the wicked and bring His children home (plus lots of other stuff). 

So, there is judgment coming again but not in the form of a flood. He is going to destroy the whole world and make a new and perfect, never to be defiled again. A world for His children to live with Him for eternity. 

If God loves us so much, how come He allows suffering and heartbreak?

God is so loving that when He created people, He gave us the ability to make choices. When our first representatives “Adam and Eve” sinned, they cursed the whole of humanity. No one would have made a better choice for they walked with God in an undefiled relationship like no one has ever done in all of creation. To think that their choices cursing us in unfair, remember the point is that no one would have done any better. 

With that curse came a curse on all of creation. From then on God’s creation was thrown into chaos. But God is so good and loving that He didn’t destroy us like He could have justly done, He makes a way for us to know Him and ultimately be forgiven of this curse. 

This life feels all-consuming and long to us, but to God it is like a flash of light. At least in the way that time works. God is working His plan through all of this evil. That’s how good and loving He is. He is able to take our sin and suffering and turn it into beauty for His children and glory for Himself. We don’t always get to see the good that comes from bad things, but we can trust that God is working good because He can only do good. He has a purpose and point to all He does and it’s all good, holy and perfect. 

It is not that lack of love from God that we see bad things happen. It is the amount of evil people have chosen instead of turning to God for all things. It is always important for us to remember that God would have been just to kill us all. We deserve nothing from God but wrath. But He chose to offer forgiveness to those who would follow Him. Now His children have a future hope regardless of what is happening here and now. Our hope, peace, joy and life are in Christ and our eternity with Him. 

How come God allows all of humanity to suffer because of a mistake that two people made?

Adam and Eve weren’t just “two people”. They were the first man and women. They had a relationship like no other people have ever had. They represented us as our first parents. Because they were the first of creation, and had such an intimate relationship with God, they now represent all of mankind. No one would have done better and therefore we are under the curse of their sin. Thank God for Jesus right?

Why would God even create the tree that caused Adam and Eve to sin knowing that they would be tempted?

God made man very unique from the rest of His creation. Not only are man and woman made in His image. But they are also free agents, meaning they are able to make choices. Some call this “free will” but that’s another topic. God giving man a choice means they need a choice. They have to choose good or evil. If a temptation was never introduced, then having “free will” will mean nothing. God wants His children to choose Him freely. Not mindless robots or people that are forced to love Him. 

God gave them the garden of Eden full of wonderful food and a perfect relationship with their Creator. He simply asked them to not eat of one tree. But you know the rest. No matter the test for man, man would have failed. But this is good because we get to see God’s grace and mercy in our life. Plus we wouldn’t be able to see how good God is if we have never seen evil. I think that’s probably why the sinned. They really had no idea what they were doing but they knew they were disobeying. But God shows His grace and mercy right away. Sure, they cursed themselves and the rest of creation. But instead of just killing them as God had the right to do, He starts a covenant (promise) with them. He makes a way over and over again for God who is perfect able to dwell with man even though now we are corrupted with sin. Remember God can have no part of darkness and that’s all sin is. Sin causes death. 

How do I know if God is talking to me?

Short simple answer, If God speaks to you, you’ll know. But this is why it’s so important to know Gods Word because if the voice you are hearing is contradicting the Bible, then you aren’t hearing from God. God will also speak to us through our time in His Word. God has spoken to all of us very clearly. He has given us His Word. Too many Christians complain about not hearing from God while their Bible remains closed. What God wants from us or our lives is no mystery. 

Why do we fail?

We fail because we are weak. We are cursed from birth and have no hope. Too negative? It’s the truth but a more powerful truth is what Christ did for us on the cross. Us, this bunch of weak failures have the gift of eternal life and the Creator of all things as our King, Father and friend. You know that the Bible says about our weakness? When we are weak then we are strong because God uses us in and through our weakness, 2 Corinthians 12:10. That’s how powerful He is. 

Why am I not born smart?

First you would have to define “smart”. Smart in school? Smart because other people think you’re smart? All that doesn’t matter because God made you the way He wanted you. He will use you in all your strengths and weaknesses. I was terrible at school, still am. My brain doesn’t work academically (I had to look up how to spell “academically” so I could use it in this sentence). I cheated to make it through high school. I don’t recommend that, just telling you of my despicable past. But I run a successful business for almost 15 years now that I started with no help or college degree. I have a wonderful life and I don’t consider myself smart. At least not by the worlds standards. God will use you and strengthen you in ways you never even knew you had. Just trust and follow Him. Grow in the wisdom of the Gospel. Everything the world thinks is smart is foolish. 

What happens if God calls you to do something and you do not do it?

I’m pretty sure you’re talking about every day for every Christian who has ever lived. God calls us and we should listen. Are we perfect? No! But we are growing every day to be more like Christ and the more we become like Him the better we will heed (listen and obey) His call. And if God really wants you to do something, there’s nothing that will stop Him. See Jonah and the whale. 

Why did God give us the gift of worship music?

Tugging at my heart strings here. I love music in general but music that glories God is my favorite. I believe God made music very special. It is powerful. I think God created music because He is musical. He is creative and loves beauty. We sing because He sings. We worship Him because He deserves our worship. God loves giving good gifts to His children. And even though some people pervert that gift, that means nothing to our gift of music. 

What does God look like?

No one knows because no one has seen God the Father. God the Father is Spirit and does not have a body. But we have Jesus and Jesus is God. Jesus is the body of God. The bible tells us that Jesus will still have a body in heaven. In fact, Jesus will still bare His scares in His hands and feet in heaven. We don’t really know what Jesus looked like while on earth, but we know in heaven He will be glorious!

Why is it so hard to share the gospel?

I found it really hard to share the Gospel when I was still immature in my faith. Not that that is an excuse but it’s the truth. When we fill like we won’t have the answers that someone will ask then we would rather not talk at all. But no one has all the answers. What we do have is our testimony and we should at least know the basics of the Gospel as to fill in our testimony. God came, died and rose again for all who would believe. However, your life has changed because of that information, that is the Gospel you should share. But continue to grow in your faith and knowledge of the Bible because it will only do you well and serve others to be able to defend the truth and your faith.  

Why does God love us so much even though we are sinners?

That’s great news right!? Ephesians 2 tells us that even when we were dead in our sin, God loved us. Before you knew and loved God, He already loved you. Now that you know Him and are hopefully striving to know Him more, He not only loves you but delights in you. 

But if you’re asking how He could love us at all? It is because He created us. Even though we turned our backs, He still pursued us. Even when we fail, He still loved us. When we were helpless and hopeless, He gave us eternal hope. We don’t really know why, but we know He does. 

Will God forgive my recent sins that I have done in the past days?

We were born under the wrath of God. Dead in our sins. We are actually enemies of God. And yet He still saved us. Why? Because those He loves He loved since before the foundations of the world. So, before you could do anything to make Him angry or before you could do anything to make Him happy, He loved you. But as we see in Ephesians 2, there was no hope in our natural state. And yet God still chose to save us by His grace. We have done nothing to be loved by God and therefore we can do nothing to be turned away from Him. If you are in Christ, then nothing can take that away. Jesus on the cross died for every sin past present and future of those who would love and follow Him. 

But if we truly are following Him then we do still ask forgiveness because we feel the pain of our sin. Remember, Christ already paid for it. He took the wrath we deserve for each sin. So how do we respond? Hopefully with a life dedicated to Him. Yes, we are still sinning sinners. We won’t be perfect in this life. But Christ is making us more like Him each day. Even the days we can’t see it. Even the days we don’t even like ourselves because of what we’ve done. God is much more patient and loving than us. 

Will things be better in the future?

First, I would want to know what you think “better” is? The world is going to get worse; we see that in the Bible. We know that God uses our suffering in this life for our own good. As we draw nearer to Christ then we experience more peace and joy and His love. In that way everything is always better. If you are going through hard times in your family, work, whatever then yes, things will get better in the same sense if you find your peace with Him. I know we can feel like our whole world is falling apart when our home life is chaos. But remember, our real family is with God. We just need to draw nearer to Chirst. 

Does the Lord know what’s happening to my self-esteem?

God knows what’s happening at all times everywhere. In fact, He is in control of it all. But I would first want to know what you believe to be low self-esteem and why? To be honest I think we all have a big pride issue. Even our self-loathing in an example of pride. Think about what is happening when you’re feeling bad about yourself. We are self-absorbed in those moments. All we are thinking about is us. It feels like we are struggling with our self-esteem, but we are really just thinking of ourselves only. If we are truly feeling like we are struggling in ourselves then we need to strengthen our identity in Christ. That is who we were made for. When Jesus looks at His children He delights in them. So the God of the universe knows you and loves you. When we aren’t living for Him, that is when we begin to suffer through all these issues. But it’s never too late to make some changes.  

Eternity with God seems like too much. It’s scary. I question what life is going to be like in Heaven…. I can’t wrap my mind around the process of having no time stamp in Heaven.

Eternity does seem scary because we only know time. But God operates outside of time. Eternity is never ending but we can’t even really comprehend what that looks like. Our souls were created for eternity, so the only other option is actually scary and terrible. What this really comes down to is you haven’t seen God for who He is yet. The more you grow in your faith and relationship in Him the more you see His beauty and love. Then it turns from a scary unfathomable eternity to, I can’t wait to see my Savior face to face and praise Him for forever!

How do I talk with someone about God who doesn’t think they’ve done anything wrong therefore isn’t interested in God?

This is a common problem in our culture today. Just because someone feels safe doesn’t mean they are. I would first break apart their false idea that they haven’t done anything wrong. I’d ask, “so you’re perfect?” Most logical people will answer “Of-course not.” Then you could simply ask them if they have ever lied before, lusted, hated someone, etc. Then point them to the Bible which is reliable in its writings (which is another whole conversation) but showing them that God of the Bible demands perfection, and we fail to meet that perfection. That means we are under His terrifying wrath. But, that’s ok because He made a way for us to be perfect in His eyes. Not that we are perfect but those who believe in Jesus and put their trust and faith in Him have eternal life and are safe from the coming wrath on all sin. 

Do some sins weigh more than others?

Some sins are obviously worse than others. Every sin is the same as it demands punishment from God. But there are three ways the bible talks about this, sins, trespasses and abominations. Each worse in their degree of sin. Of-course there are sin’s that are worse than others. 

Did God create himself?

“Nothing” is unable to create. God is the only uncreated being. That is what makes Him God. He would cease to be God if He was created. 

Is it true that God won’t give us more than we can handle?

God will always give you more than you can handle. We are weak and can’t handle anything. We see all throughout the Bible of people crying out to God and how what they’re going through is more than they can handle. Read the Psalms. This idea comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13. But the context is talking about temptation. God won’t allow us to be tempted to the point of breaking. He will always provide a way out as to not fall into sin. But as far as being able to endure suffering a trial, we have Christ to fall to for our strength and peace. It isn’t our mightiness that gets us through stuff, it’s Christ’s work in us. When Paul says “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me” doesn’t mean you have the power to kick the brick wall down and conquer all. Paul is writing that from prison, and he is saying “No matter the abundance, lacking, joy or sorrow and suffering, because I have Christ, I can endure it all. My hope is not in this world but in the life with Christ.”

Does scripture say anything about self-harm?

You’d need to define self-harm because everything we do outside of glorifying God is self-harm and it’s a sin. But I can assume you’re talking about cutting and things like that. Cutting isn’t anything new. In fact, you can see in the Old Testament where people would cut themselves to worship their false Gods. They would also do all kinds of wicked acts in the name of their false dead gods and idols. The Bible also tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that we are not our own but a temple of the Holy Spirit and have been bought with a price. We belong to the God who created us. So, when we harm ourselves, we are not in line with Gods plan for us and our lives. 

Why does God allow humans to go to hell for eternity?

God has created our spirit to live forever. He has also made us free agents meaning we are able to make choices. If we live our life wanting nothing to do with the One true God, then He is not going to force you to be with Him. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but they lack understanding of what heaven is. Heaven is a place where those who chose to follow and love Christ with their entire life are now able to worship and praise Him for all eternity. That’s what makes it heaven, being face to face with our Savior forever. That sounds like hell to everyone else. But since our spirit lives forever, there has to be a place for them to go. And unfortunately living a life with an unrepentant heart leads you to eternal judgment. Which is what we all deserve. But God gave away out of that through Jesus work on the cross. But you must accept the gift and live for Him.

Why does God let some people starve and some be wealthy? What does God allow car crashes and hurricanes? Why does God allow pain and suffering?

Ever since the fall (Genesis 3 where Adam and Eve cursed us with sin), the world has been broken. Not Gods fault but ours. God has been working His plan since the fall to bring His children back to Him and the evil of the world is storing up wrath for itself. God will punish all evil and finally do away with it forever. But it is in His timing not ours. We can have hope because no matter what evil’s we face here we know we have such a powerful God that loves His children and is able to turn all the bad of the world and make it something good for us. That evil will be dealt with, but you are safe in your Fathers hands. The evilest thing ever done in all of history was Jesus dying on the cross. The only actual good person (God) coming and being killed for those who killed Him. In this He made the only way to be with God forever in eternity. This isn’t to dimmish all the suffering and sadness that comes from this broken world. But our hope isn’t found on this earth. It is found in Christ and the life to come. 

Why does God not make Himself known to everyone if the whole point of putting us on this earth is to worship Him?

First, God has made Himself known plainly in His creation. The Bible says creation declares the glory of God (Psalm 19:1) and the fool says in his heart “there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). God revealed Himself in mighty ways throughout the Bible and people still denied following Him. See, it’s not that people don’t have enough evidence, it’s that they are much happier and comfortable to deny Him and live the way they want. 

Second, God wants people to worship Him because they trust in Him for who He is and what He’s doing. Before Adam and Eve sinned and cursed us all, God was able to walk with man. But now God is unable to reveal Himself in that way because He is too glorious. We would actually die if we saw Him. He has given us His Word and He says that is everything we need to know to know Him and for saving faith. We don’t agree with that usually because we don’t read it enough. We haven’t experienced the power of it and so we deny it. The way God reveals Himself to His children that seek Him is so powerful they ask for nothing more. 

This is also the importance of Christians sharing their testimonies. The way God changes hearts should be enough evidence by itself. No one changes the way they change when they meet the real and living God. 

Why are we supposed to put God over everything else when we cannot even see or feel Him?

The follower of Christ does see and feel Him every day. That’s not to deny your faith but as we grow in our faith, we see Him acting in our lives all the time and feel closer each day. We put Him first because He puts Himself first. He does that because there is nothing greater than Him. To put anything before Him would be ridiculous. But we do it all the time. But it is hard because we can’t physically see Him or touch Him. But we turn back to Him and continue to fight for more of Him because we know there is nothing better. We are simply distracted by the physical world.

Do all LGBTQ people accepted by God and go to heaven?

We are all born into sin. Sexual sin is one of those sins. God created us for His purpose and glory. We were made by Him, for Him and through Him. We are to our own. Living in anyway outside of His design is sin. It doesn’t matter what the sin is, it is sin and needs to be denied so we can live for Christ. The sin doesn’t matter as much as if we are living in it, or accepting it in our life. The important thing is are we denying ourselves and living for Christ? In heaven we will see homosexuals, murderers, adulterers, fornicaters, addicts, and every other kinds of sinners. But those in heaven have denied their desires to be able to live for Christ. No one living in any unrepentant sin will make it to heaven. If we chose our sin over Christ then the wages of our sin is death. 

With that being said, too many Christians treat homosexuality as some kind of special or bad sin. When, in actuality, their pride and arrogant ignorance is just as bad if not a worse sin. We are called to love people and share the Gospel. You are not going to change anyone. Christ will take care of matters of the heart, you just share the good new of what Christ has done for sinners and let Him do the rest.

Closing:

Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

MisfitMinistry.com

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“God is Love” Means What?

By S.C. Shaw

One of the most common things “known” about God is that He is love. “God is love” is uttered amongst everyone including people who don’t have any interest in following Jesus. Unfortunately, many don’t know what “God is love” means, let alone know where to begin with living in accordance with Him. If we get this wrong, it is a matter of life and death. The most dangerous thing is people having full assurance of faith when it is not secure at all. 

My heart behind this blog isn’t to crush your happiness in this ambiguous statement that “God is Love”, but it is to enlighten you to the Biblical truth behind this verse in hopes it helps you respond correctly to God in a way that does give you a life secure in His love and eternal life with Him in heaven. 

We see this famous verse in 1 John 4:7

Here’s 7-12 because context is key.

 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.”

Right off that bat people fail to see that every letter/the entire New Testament was written to the church, not the individual or to the unrepentant (non-believer). The gathered body of believers is who this letter is written to and we must understand it in that context. 

With that in mind, we see that this is a letter from John encouraging believers to love one another because God is love. But still, we must ask more questions. The way God loves is much different than the way we love or even think of love. Then we must begin to know the way God loves so that we can begin to know how to understand it. We must fight the urge to simply slap our own understanding of God, love, or anything we find in the Bible with the way we choose to understand it. 

Let us begin here. We see in 1 John 4 that God is love but 4 chapters earlier we see this passage in 1 John 1. 

1 John 1:5-10

“This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. This can help us begin to ask the right questions and start knowing God better in hopes to understand these things. 

– “God is light” means what? 

In the Bible, “Light” represents purity, holiness, godliness etc. God is love just as much as He is light. So, His love in the light of holiness and perfection is our starting point in understanding what love is supposed to mean.

-What is darkness?

In the Bible “darkness” represents everything ungodly, sin, evil, etc. There is no evil in God whatsoever. In fact, evil is only around because it is the opposite of God. We wouldn’t know “good” unless there was bad. We know how good God is because of the evil we see. Evil is the contrast of God. To put how good God is into perspective, God is so good that He is able to use the evil man choses for good. That means that all the evil man does, God is working for His ultimate plan and ultimate goodness. That’s amazing! He is so far removed from evil that when He uses evil situations, He is able to make the ultimate ending to that situation good. And don’t ever forget that the evil doer is not simply overlooked. Evil is storing up wrath for itself and all who practice it. I am simple pointing out the powerful goodness of God. 

-Do you feel like a liar when you read verse 6? 

If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth”

We need to examine our hearts always and make sure we are walking in step with God. How do we know we are walking in step? By reading His Word, fellowshipping with other believers and growing in our faith. We must see the fruits of the Spirit in our lives (Romans 2:5). Those are “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23). It’s not bad to question if we are right with God. But it can be bad to assume we are. Notice how it says “practice the truth”. We will never be perfect until we see Christ face to face. Until then it’s a practice. 

-How do we practice the truth?

“Practice” is an action word. If we aren’t able to see our faith tangibly, then I would ask if there is a true faith there at all? God doesn’t just speak, He acts. His Word demands action. His Words create and are action. Action is the most important thing in the world. Anyone can say anything. But to prove, change or respond, is to act. We can’t accurately practice the truth without knowing the Word of God. 

-How do we walk in the light?

Again, “walk” is an action word. We can only “walk in” light if we are living as Christ would have us live. What does that mean? Read your Bible. I know that can be simply a buzz word kind of statement, but it is true. If we care enough and seek to grow/mature in our faith, then we must be grounded and well versed in His Word. If we aren’t then we run the risk of falling for every wave of passion and doctrine around.  I know the Bible can be intimidating and hard to understand but this is why there are many ways to approach the Bible. Checkout this blog where I teach you how to slow down and grow in understanding intentionally. 

-Why is fellowship with one another so important?

God did not just save us out of sin, death and eternal punishment. He saved us to one another. We are the body of Christ and as such, should desire fellowship with other like-minded people. Jesus did not come to simply save YOU, He came to save the church, which is all of us who proclaim the faith. That’s not to dimmish the very real personal relationship we have with Him, but too many of us only have that individual aspect in our minds. 

-If we are cleansed from all sin, does that mean we don’t sin anymore?

We are still sinners because we are still in this world. We are still wrapped in this sinful flesh. However, we are under the blood of Christ if we are living in a life sacrificed to Him. As we mature in our faith we mature in our knowledge of sin in our lives. With that maturity comes a desire to be more like Christ. Checkout this song I wrote which is a prayer to illuminate the sin in our minds and help us run from even the temptation of it. 

-Who claims they have no sin?

The people of the world today don’t even use the word “sin” anymore. I would suggest that most people don’t even know what sin means. I would, however, claim that most of the world lives by a set of standards that they have made up in their own minds and attempt to live by. But if most people answer honestly, they will say they can’t even live up to their own moral standard. Their only goal is that their good deeds outweigh their bad ones. I love what the 1689n London Baptist confession of faith says about the worlds “Good Works”.

-If we simply confess that we are sinners, is that enough to be a Christian?

Short answer, “Yes”. But that is the first step. The demons know they are sinners too. Even the demons believe and tremble at the name of God (James 2:19). But they forever live with unrepentant hearts. We need to confess our sins, repent and live a life worthy of the Gospel. This is not done in our own power for we have none, but done with the gift of the Holy Spirit who is given to us by God when we follow Christ.  

-“If we confess and God forgives us, is that all? I’m good to go to heaven?”

This is the great dynamic of the Christian faith. Many will confess their sin, repent and attempt to live a life for Christ but will have little to know success. This is because there was no true conversion. We don’t just put on a face of godliness and attempt, out of our own power, to live for Christ. To be a “good person” is something that has never been. To be dead, and then to be alive, are two very different places to be in life. If your walk with God isn’t as dramatic as that then I would want to ask some questions. A great question to ask ourselves is “How has our life changed since following Jesus?” If there is not a real answer to that, there’s a problem. 

-Again, claiming “no sin”, what’s the big deal?

Sin is the reason why Jesus came. Sin is what has separated us from God. Sin is why Jesus (God) needed to come, die, and rise, so that He could be with His people forever. God’s desire has always been to be with His creation. He doesn’t need us, nor did He create out of any unmet needs. But He desires to share His goodness with His creation. He delights in what He has made. He is unable to have any part with us if we are covered by sin. But since Christ work on the cross, we are able to be covered by His blood and in fact we are the righteousness of Christ if indeed we follow Him. This isn’t by anything that we have done, but by His working alone. 

-How do we make God a liar? 

God is perfect and does not have the ability to sin. Lying is a sin. How do we make sense of this verse? If we claim to believe and walk with Jesus but live in a way contrary to what He commands in His Word, then His truth is made a joke to the on looking world and within us. God only speaks truth in fact He is truth. But to claim Christ and walk contrary to His teachings and commandments is to make it seem as if God is false or a liar. This is why there is so much confusion in the world today about God, the Bible, Christianity and the church.  

-We are to read His Word, but now His Word is in us?

In John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.” That verse is talking about Jesus. When we live in the completed work of Christ then we have the Holy Spirit alive inside us. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. He is the third Person of the Trinity. That means we have the very Spirit of God inside us, if you truly believe and follow Christ. 

The best response to understanding a passage like this is “Am I saved? Or “what must I do to be saved?” If those questions aren’t on your radar, then ask more questions. Sometimes we need to plant the seed and let it grow. That is fine. But there is no way to make it to heaven without the repentance and following of Christ. If you’d like to read some thoughts about that question then read here.

Closing:

Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

MisfitMinistry.com

Music StevenShaw.co

www.TheShawsMusic.com

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How to Study the Bible

By S.C. Shaw

I have been preaching, teaching and coaching people in the area of God’s Word (the Bible) for many years. One of the most consistent questions or problems people have with coming to the Bible is the complexity or difficulty of understanding it. Which of course results in not reading it at all. I know this to be true because I struggled for most of my life to read through the whole Bible or even read it on a consistent basis which lead to a very shallow and weak spiritual walk for many years in my life. But when I did read the whole Bible and now read it regularly, it changed me from the inside out. 

However, this blog isn’t about reading through the entire Bible. I think most of us need to start way slower. Why? Because the Word of God is inexhaustible and only gets deeper the more you study and understand it. I am not contradicting myself here. I want to encourage you to slow down when coming to the Bible because I want every person who wants to read the Bible to be excited and encouraged to read. This is the only Word from the very real and living God. The only God. There will be no greater life changing gift than coming to Gods Word and leaving with glimpses of Gods glory more each time. Understanding our Creator more will only help with every other aspect of our life. What am I talking about? I am simply saying, read less and understand more. At least at the beginning. I am going to show you an example on how to do this. Namely, ask more questions, research the answers and grow in wisdom and not just information. This will inevitably lead to the desire and excitement for reading through the whole Bible and actually understating more of it. 

Example. 2 Corinthians 7:1 is a very powerful verse that can be studied to understand the entire Gospel story and knowing God better. Let’s get started.

Always start with context of what you are reading. Even just a verse needs to be unpacked in this way. Without context we will wrongfully take verses and start with applying them to our lives, believing it to mean whatever we want it to mean. This is the most dangerous thing you can do. We don’t change the Gospel to fit us we change ourselves (God does this work in us when we are obedient) to fit the Gospel. We need to first understand who it was written to and how they would have understood it before we can draw any life application from it. 

Therefore, 2 Corinthians is the second letter from Paul the apostle written to the church in Corinth. This church was having some big struggles. There was divisions and quarrels among them. Paul is also defending himself as there were false rumors going around about his moral character and apostleship. Paul is calling this church back to Christ. Explaining their need to repent and get back to spreading the good news of Christ. That is a quick sum up.

That leads us to,

Corinthians 7:1

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

This might sound confusing already, but that’s the point. Read a verse like this and then stop and start asking questions. 

Some translations start this verse with “Therefore, since”. But either way when we come to a passage that starts like this, we need to ask ourselves, “What’s that therefore there for?” Or “Since what?” You know something was just said in the previous passage. Back up and get some context. 

In chapter 6 we read in verses 17 & 18, the end of chapter 6. 

2 Corinthians 6:17-18

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people. Therefore, go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

Paul here is reminding the church (from the Old Testament) to not be in wrongful fellowship with non-believers. We aren’t to avoid the non-believer, but the relationship we have with them should be very different than the relationships we have with our local church. The church was allowing sin into their church and false doctrines to be preached. We are to minister and tell the world the truth, but we are not to allow anything aside from Christ crucified to be preached in our churches. Paul is reminding them of this. 

Now we can ask the questions from 2 Corinthians 7:1

-Since we have these promises, beloved, 

1. What promises? And why is Paul calling them beloved?

Now we can answer the first question in light of what was just explained in chapter 6. Paul’s commission to turn back to Christ because of what God has promised us since the Old Testament that was written about 1000 years before this letter. God is foreshadowing Christ in this text from Ezekiel. God promised a Savior that would take away the sins of the world. Yeshua (Jesus), God, coming in human flesh to live the perfect life, die the only substitutionary death that He could die, be raised again and now is praying for His children in heaven until He returns for us. With these promises we get an eternity of heaven and everlasting life. And Paul usually addresses the church in this way because he loves them! He planted these churches and he knows these people they are fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The very same people we will be with for eternity in heaven. This is the affection we should have for our church. So then, 

let us cleanse ourselves 

2. What is it to be clean?

In its most simple forms, to be clean is to not be dirty. What is dirty? Anything that is unclean. If we wash our hands and then rub them in the mud, they become dirty. I know, I know, this is too simple. But, 

from every defilement 

3. What is defilement?

Defilement is extreme dirty. It’s like I didn’t just rub my hands in mud, I picked up sewage. Defilement is harmful. It is deadly. And even though God is the One who ultimately cleanses us, we still have action to take. We have a part in responding to Him. Example, the Bible is not going to read itself. We need to pick it up and grow in our faith and maturity through His Word. 

-of body and spirit,

4. Why body and spirit?

So, we understand cleansing ourselves and the depth of defilement but now we must be clean in both body and spirit? Why does our physical cleanliness matter? It’s more than just being clean, again, cleansed from defilement. What does the Word of God say is defiling? Sexual immorality. Our bodies were made to glorify God in everything. Mainly because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The very Spirit of God is in each believer.

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18

We aren’t to just be holy and pure in our minds or hearts but with our entire being. 

bringing holiness to completion

5. Completion? We can be perfect in this life?

How can we be made perfect in this life? We can’t. But God is continually making us more like Christ. It’s called sanctification. Our holiness will be made complete when Christ comes back and gives us new bodies. You see what Paul is saying here? He’s simply reminding us of Christ’s promise that nothing can or will snatch His children out of His hand (John 10:28-30). It is God who gives the gift of belief and it is God who sustains our belief until the end. This is how and why we will be “bringing holiness to completion”. By the power of Him who has called us. 

in the fear of God.

6. We are to fear God? Why? How?

The last part of this verse almost seems random. We just had all these sweet and loving reminders and now we must fear God? The Bible tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, (Proverbs 9:10). If we don’t have a healthy fear of God, then we do not understand Him enough. He is a big, awesome and powerful God. To stand in His presence is death unless you are a heavenly being. Just the sight of Him causes angels to praise and bow in adoration. Any time we see God reveal Himself in smaller ways in Scripture, it always results in people falling to their face in fear for their lives. His presence is too much for us. But this is the same God that makes a way for us to be reconciled back to Him. He has made us and loves us. But with a healthy fear is when we begin to see ourselves in proper context of who He is and who we are under Him. That is when we know He is the One we should follow and obey. 

You see how this is starting to work? This was a quick and simple breakdown of this verse. I could preach a sermon or write a book from the truths found here. But now that we understand this verse a little better, lets read it again and feel what you gain from slowing down to understand it more. 

Corinthians 7:1

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

Every time we come to a verse or passage that we have done this kind of breakdown with, we can stop and remember all that we have learned and be able to teach ourselves/remind ourselves of the goodness of God and find comfort in His promises. As well as be able to explain in a deeper way, the truths of God. 

The other side of this is simply reading even when we don’t feel like it or understand it. Why? Because Christians have the Spirit of God living within them. That means we are reading what He wrote. And it is food for Him. Even when we don’t understand we are being blessed and strengthened. Plus, God is looking on with delight that we are being obedient to His command to grow in wisdom and maturing in the faith. 

This kind of practice will inevitably lead to a desire to read the whole Bible. Approaching Gods Word with the proper excitement and reverence. Then we will get much more from our devotion time with our Lord. 

Closing:

Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

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