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The Cutting Edge Gospel: Repentance March 13, 2013

Posted by Henry in The Cutting Edge Gospel.
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38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The gospel of repentance requires us to be remorseful or penitent of our past sins, turning to God and ask for His forgiveness and to seek to live a life of faith in Jesus Christ, recognizing that only His saving Grace can cleanse us from all our sins.

However, we can sometimes deceive ourselves that we do not need to repent of certain sins – these could be our “secret sins”. Sometimes we seek to justify the sins in our lives instead of repenting fully. Just to give a few examples: we want to follow Christ but at the same time we want to yield or succumb to the flesh to commit fornication and seek to justify it. We lust after the things of the flesh and of the eyes; covet our neighbors wife, husband, property secretly; tell little white lies and think it is ok; or refuse to forgive someone who did something to us in the past yet expecting God to forgive us our sins.

A call to repentance means that we must repent of ALL sins and stop deceiving ourselves.

The scriptures says:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. (Gal 6:7)

Sin cannot enter heaven.

9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6)

The Law of Christ March 16, 2012

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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One of the things I have come to realise when engaging with other Christians is that they sometimes do not know with absolute certainty whether we are to follow or observe everything that the Bible teaches or not. If you are unsure about this matter then chances are you are also unsure about the Gospel.

All scriptures are profitable for doctrine and for reproof but likewise all scriptures should be read and taken in context. The truth is that one can take the very words of the Bible and deceive you with it and this is because not everything in it is required of the Christian to observe. For example, under the Mosaic Law an eye for an eye was endorsed. Should we as Christians today practice recompensing evil for evil? Absolutely not! But we look instead at what Christ says – He says for example, “love your enemies”; “do good to them that hate you”; bless them that persecute you and despitefully use you”; and so forth. So it is clear that we are not required to follow all that the Bible teaches otherwise we would be in confusion. Some teachers however, when they are teaching on a particular subject, like to place their words under the banner of, “The Bible Teaches” to give weight to their claims. As a result they are able to weave together teachings from both the Old and New Testaments (Covenants) under the same heading but this can result in deception if one is not careful. So then if we are not required to follow everything the Bible taught does this mean that God has changed, though scripture declares He changes not? No, but rather God purposed to change the law which He first instituted in Israel (Jer 31:31-33, Heb 8:8-11). The law was merely a shadow of what God had before ordained even from the beginning of time.

Today, and since the days of the early church, God’s law is no longer written upon tablets of stones but rather it is now written upon a believer’s heart. We must understand the point that the previous covenant was made with Israel alone and therefore those who were outside of the commonwealth of Israel could not benefit from it. God changed the law however so that we who were outside, cut off without a hope, can now be engrafted with Israel to inherit salvation (Rom 11:17). This is the reason why the law has changed and the Levitical priesthood made defunct. Christ’s priesthood now replaces the old priesthood and consequently the change in the priesthood necessitated a change in the law (Heb 7:12). So what is this new law in Christ? Here it is in black and white:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (Joh 13:34) KJV

Can it really be that simple? If you are still not convinced have a look at the following verses:

The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. (Gal 5:14, also Matt 7:12) NIV

Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom 13:10, also Jam 2:8) NIV

By the grace of God we have been set free through faith in Christ Jesus (Rom 3:20-24). We do not need to attempt to observe a single work of the law – not tithing, not first fruit giving, no sacrifices, offerings, circumcision, feast days, holy days – none of them. To attempt to do so is to fall from grace (Gal 5:4). Friends, know the truth and the truth shall set you free (Joh 8:32).

God’s will for your life September 14, 2011

Posted by Henry in Teaching Things They Ought Not.
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I have always struggled when I read about or hear teachers saying that one needs to find out what God’s will for their life is and then seek to pursue it. Underpinning this message is the notion that “God’s will for your life” encompasses all aspects including, career options, who to marry etc and that “God’s will for your life” is something unique to each individual. In other words advocates of this “notion” believes that God has already selected a career path, a wife or husband or a range of blessings that will allow one to live a relatively comfortable and successful life. It is therefore believed that unless we know what God’s will for our life is we can actually miss it. Have you missed God’s will for your life? We shall come to that question later. The more pertinent question here though is whether this view is Biblically sound.

Since God is sovereign then the common denominator that everyone’s life is predicated upon is “God’s Will.” This applies to the believer and the unbeliever alike. The scriptures truly say that “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Ps 24:1). Jesus also made it clear that the Father sendeth rain upon both the just and the unjust (Matt 5:45). One question that could be asked here then is whether it is in God’s will for man to commit evil? The answer clearly is no but it is God’s will to allow man his free will. Back at the beginning of time God forbade Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit but at the same time God equipped Adam with free will. It should be said here though that it is not God’s will for man to exercise his free will the way he chooses. There is therefore a conflict here between God’s will and man’s will or desires as demonstrated by Adam disobeying God. So what then is God’s will?

In the simplest terms, God’s will for us is that we should serve Him by obeying His commands, not merely the Ten Commandments but rather the commandments of Christ as outlined in the New Testament. God’s will is for us to “Seek ye first the Kingdomof Godand His righteousness”(Matt 6:33). The interesting thing about this verse is that Jesus continues by saying that “……. and all these things shall be added unto you.” The “all these things” pertained to daily living as demonstrated by the previous scriptures:

31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

The concept of seeking “God’s will for your life” therefore seems to be at cross purposes with what Jesus has said here in these verses. Jesus did not say that we should seek theKingdomofGodand His righteousness and then do something more but rather that once we make theKingdomofGodour priority “all these things” SHALL be added unto us. Why do these ministers and teachers therefore give believers the impression that they need to do something more than simply seeking theKingdomofGod? The concept of seeking God’s will for one’s life seems to me to be the direct opposite of what Christ said about not taking any thought for what we shall eat, drink or wear. Not only is it at odds with what Jesus said here but also with other scriptures as well as will be demonstrated below.

The Preacher for example says:

6Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. 7For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be? (Ecc 8:6-7)

12For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. (Ecc 9:12)

Against the backdrop of these scriptures how can one know “God’s will for their life”? As the preacher has demonstrated here you do not even know when your time (death) shall come let alone to know what will happen in the future. Does this not resolve back to what Jesus said about not taking thought for tomorrow and “sufficient unto the day the evil thereof? (Matt 6:34)”

We can learn even more from the Preacher in Ecc 9:

10Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

11I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

These particular verses are quite important to consider against what some pastors and teachers have been saying about seeking God’s will for one’s life. Firstly, it says in verse 10 “whatsoever thy hand findeth to do” as opposed to whatsoever we sought God’s will for our hands to do. In conjunction verse 11 made it clear that what our hands find to do is all down to time and chance rather than as a result of seeking God’s will for one’s life. Of course this is not meant to deny “God’s sovereign will” underpinning all this. For example, James demonstrated that if we desire to pursue a future endeavor we ought to prevail on ‘God’s will’ in allowing us to complete it:

13Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. James 4:13-15

The key verse here is “ye know not what shall be on the morrow”. To say that we can seek and know God’s will for what we shall do for tomorrow however seems to me to be somewhat presumptuous. The question here then is this: Do we reflect God’s will through our own desires and ambitions? Again, how can we say we have missed God’s will considering we know not what shall be for tomorrow? Of course with the benefit of hindsight we can have regrets about things we could have done or wished we had done in the past, but how do we know that it was even God’s will in the first place?

I believe God’s will for our lives is to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness if we do we have not missed His will. The “in betweens” of what pertains to daily life does not matter and consequently I believe that teachers who teach the “God’s will for your life” doctrine are teaching a different gospel.

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