Tag Archive: 2 Corinthians 5


Plenty has recently been said about The Shack, however for those still desirous of defending its message and meaning, please carefully and biblically consider what the author actually believes about the Bible, humanity, repentance, and God’s forgiveness found in Jesus Christ alone.

A Reminder- As Christians, we must never be ignorant of deception and its destructive devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11) Very few lies, especially when designed to infiltrate the truth, immediately expose their true desires. Instead, much like a Trojan horse, they often mask their actual intentions by wrapping themselves in fragments of the truth. Once being brought in, they quickly plant seeds of doubt, deception, and distrust all designed to direct people outside the safe and stalwart walls of the truth, leading them, ultimately to destruction.

Lest we forget, Satan infiltrated the perfect, original garden, subtly planting deceptive seeds in the heart and mind of Eve. (2 Corinthians 11:3) He had (and continues to have) one clear outcome broken into three basic steps- Doubt, Deception, and finally, Destruction. 

Arguably, Young has accomplished Step 1, successfully entering the Christian world by means of The Shack. His newest book, Lies We Believe About God, clearly launches readers headlong into Step 2.

(Excerpts below are directly from Lies We Believe About God)

W. Paul Young on the condition of man-

“Many of us believe that God sees us all as failures, wretches who are utterly depraved.”

“Yes, we have crippled eyes, but not a core of un-goodness. We are true and right, but often ignorant and stupid, acting out of the pain of our wrongheadedness, hurting ourselves, others, and even all creation. Blind, not depraved is our condition.” (Chapter 2)

God’s Word on the condition of man- 

Romans 7:18– “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”

Romans 7:24– “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

W. Paul Young on Salvation and The Gospel-

“So what is the Good News? What is the Gospel?”

“The Good News is not that Jesus has opened up the possibility of salvation and you have been invited to receive Jesus into your life. The Gospel is that Jesus has already included you into His life, into His relationship with God the Father, and into His anointing in the Holy Spirit. The Good News is that Jesus did this without your vote, and whether you believe it or not won’t make it any less or more true.”

“God does not wait for my choice and then “save me.” God has acted decisively and universally for all humankind. Now our daily choice is to either grow and participate in that reality or continue to live in the blindness of our own independence.”

“Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying!”

“Here’s the truth: every person who has ever been conceived was included in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. When Jesus was lifted up, God “dragged” all human beings to Himself (John 12: 32). Jesus is the Savior of all humankind, especially believers (1 Timothy 4: 10). Further, every single human being is in Christ (John 1: 3), and Christ is in them, and Christ is in the Father (John 14: 20). When Christ—the Creator in whom the cosmos was created—died, we all died. When Christ rose, we rose (2 Corinthians 5).” (Chapter 13)

God’s Word on Salvation and The Gospel-

Jesus Christ- “I am the light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

Jesus Christ- “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Jesus Christ-  “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.” John 14:6

Revelation 20:15– “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

May we always carefully and biblically consider what lies beneath the surface of everything we read, watch, and listen to, especially as they relate to the Only True and Living God, His holy and sanctifying Word, and His salvation found solely in Jesus Christ.

“Then said Jesus to those… which believed on Him, If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

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Calvinism would say being spiritually dead means we are completely unable, like a dead body, to respond, even to the Gospel of God (Colossians 2:13), but is this conclusion actually found in the Bible?

Unfortunately, this line of reasoning is often used on biblically novice, non-Calvinists as a stepping stone into “reformed” theology. They will typically point to Jesus raising Lazarus as the prime example. (John 11:43) The argument goes something like this- Lazarus couldn’t hear Jesus because He was dead, rotting in a tomb, just like we are dead in our sins, therefore we cannot even hear God calling. And if we cannot hear God at any level, because of our deadness, then the conclusion is that God must need to first raise us from the dead for us to respond to His voice. This is the T for Total Depravity in the Calvinist acronym T.U.L.I.P. This then opens the door to the U-Unconditional Election, the L-Limited Atonement, and the I-Irresistible Grace.

At that point, many believers simply throw in the towel and begin to at least remain open, soft, and silent to Calvinism. Sadly, many have even been won over through the deadness of sin argument. But, in truth, the Lazarus argument is one developed through walking by sight, not by faith.(2 Corinthians 5:7) Deadness does not mean complete deafness.

By sight, it may appear correct to say Lazarus was dead and unable to hear the Lord, however Lazarus wasn’t dead, he was simply separated from his body. Lazarus wasn’t rotting in that tomb. His visible, physical body was. It wasn’t Lazarus who couldn’t hear and respond to Jesus, it was his body that was unable to receive soundwaves. 

Biblically speaking, death is not simply an animated, physical creature becoming permanently inanimate. Death is separation. Adam and Eve died the day they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, yet they lived for many centuries beyond that day. But the day they sinned they surely died. That is to say, they were separated from God in the spiritual sense. (Genesis 2:16-17)

When Lazarus died, he was separated from his body. When Jesus called to him, it wasn’t his physical, visible rotting corpse He was calling to. It was the Lazarus who was separated from his body four days prior and was arguably in “Abraham’s Bosom” with the other Old Testament saints.  Lazarus had bodily listened to Jesus speak many times before and most likely, like Mary and Martha, had already believed Jesus was the salvation of sinners. So the attempt to use Lazarus being called from the tomb as a biblical reason to believe in the Calvinist misinterpretation of deadness is frankly out of place.

Equating spiritual death with inability to respond to the Lord’s Gospel is specious at best and deceptively destructive at worst. Apart from the Spirit we most certainly cannot know the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-14), however, there are no Scriptures that teach man’s inability to at least hear and respond to the glorious Gospel.

After all, the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). God does not save us so that we can then hear and respond to the Gospel. We all must first hear and respond (believe by faith) to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be saved. 

“If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. 

For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, Whosoever believes on Him shall not be ashamed. 

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. 

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? 

And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? 

As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:9-15

Robber or Redeemer

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“Now at that feast the governor was accustomed to releasing unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will you that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?” Matthew 27:15-17

Pilate said, “But you have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the Passover: will you therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.” John 18:39-40

From the cereal isle at the grocery store to the food court at the mall, there’s no doubt this world is inundated with an almost endless amount of choices. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements featuring the “latest and greatest” of everything. It’s no wonder we’ve almost become completely desensitized to the daunting amount of decisions staring at us day after day. Yet, in spite of this mountainous menagerie, our choices really don’t have to be that complicated. You see, when it’s all said and done, we are left with only two simple, but absolutely crucial decisions in all that we believe, do, say, and think – the robber or the Redeemer.

When Christ was led before the people, Pilate gave them a choice, Barabbas or Jesus.  The people had arguably made hundreds of thousands of choices in their life times, yet all those decisions could all be boiled down into one of these two categories, the robber or the Redeemer.  The same can be said for all of mankind throughout time. Although material is not necessarily good or bad, our hearts, being stubbornly self-willed, tend to allow us to become completely distracted by the lusts, pleasures, and pain of this planet. In a very real sense, we are often more than willing to be robbed of the joy and peace and wonderful knowledge of Christ for what is, at best, a measly bowl of stew. (Genesis 25:29-34). When examining the presence and power of the robber and the glorious reality of the Redeemer, there are definitely some things worth carefully considering. Here are just a few.

The Robber: Destroying the Foundation
This sin-soaked world, comprised of the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, only has one goal, one aim… to steal all the glory from God!  Jesus called Satan a thief and a murderer and reminds us that he comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.  Even though he is the thief of all thieves, the devil obviously cannot actually steal the Lord. Nor can he kill the truth. And he most certainly cannot destroy the Word of God.  Some might wonder about Psalm 11:3… If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? Doesn’t this verse teach that the foundations can be destroyed?

There are two vantage points to consider when examining this verse, man’s and the Lord’s. Considering the Lord, we know there is nothing that can stand against Him, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Since this is the case, we can logically and biblically conclude that this verse is not saying that God’s Word can actually be destroyed. However, mankind’s love for and access to God’s Word can most definitely be rotted, replaced, and ruined.  I have absolutely no power to actually destroy God, but I most certainly have the capacity to infect and influence the hearts and minds of myself and others, causing a lost desire and direction for the truth, in essence, stealing away the one true foundation. So although the foundation, that is to say, God’s Word, endures forever, we do know that our appropriation, understanding, and application of that foundation can assuredly be robbed from us.

One example of this is found in the parable of the soils (Luke 8). The “birds” (the devil) snatched the Word from the hardened heart, therefore removing the only foundation that will endure forever. Did the Word actually get destroy? No. But the Word was robbed from taking root in the hardened heart.  So, it might be better to say the robber’s strategy is an attack of the heart, an attack designed to prevent us from seeking and being satisfied in the Lord and the truth of His everlasting Word. This attack often involves offering us deceptive distractions and distorted doctrines in an effort to keep our hearts calloused and “dull of hearing”. (Matthew 13:15-16, Hebrews 5:11)

The Redeemer: All Things New
So many have said that we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only Jesus can fill, and while this is true, it is not completely the case. Jesus does not come to simply fill the hole in our old, selfish hearts. No, He comes to remove the stony heart and transplant a new and living heart, His love and life, in its place.  God’s Word calls this the new birth. (John 3) Jesus does not simply fill our old, prideful, flesh-driven and glory-gleaning hearts. He does something much more amazing! He gives a total and spiritual heart transplant. God’s promise to Israel through Ezekiel is also a promise to all who desire to receive His full and free forgiveness in Jesus –  “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh” Ezekiel 36:26.

Not only do we receive a new heart, we also receive a renewed mind. The Bible calls this the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Jesus does not desire to fill a portion of our self-centered, “me, myself, and I” preoccupied mind. No, He instead gives us a renewed mind. Being born again means we receive a new heart and a new mind.  This is the truth of the new birth only made possible by the righteous Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

The Reality: Being Born Again is Just the Beginning
Jesus represented all of humanity and as that perfect representation, the Last Adam walked the walk mankind (the first Adam’s race) was always supposed to walk. Just as Jesus fully and freely laid down His life to the will of His Heavenly Father, so too are we to do the same. Jesus does not steal our old nature. He is no robber! He truly is the remarkable Redeemer! He paid our sinful price in full, offering all who are willing to come to Him. He purchased us from the slave market of sin, self, and Satan and in its place, He offers us new life in Him. Jesus freely offers His Spirit, His nature, as the great exchange for all who are willing to turn to Him, all who choose to be redeemed. But this exchange is not the end. Actually, it’s just the beginning. Just as in all births, being born again means there’s a lot of growth to come.

Even though those who have been born again have passed from death to life, having received a new heart and new mind, there is still the presence of the old man and of this broken, sinful world. That is why, for our good and His glory, the Lord requires us to bury the old man by daily turning from ourselves and this rebellious world to the True and Living God, Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever and ever, amen!

My Reasonable Responsibility: Wearing the Redeemer’s Clothes
Although the old, selfish, and rebellious man has been dethroned, he will not be completely eradicated until the rapture or in death. Oh, what a day that will be, to see without the fleshly veil, my great and glorious King! Oh, what a day that will be!!! So, in order to keep myself from being robbed by the riches and cares of this world; if I am to prevent myself from having my love of Jesus and His Word stolen through subtlety, then burying the old man daily is a must! (1 Corinthians 15:31, Colossians 3:4-11)

Great, but what are practical means necessary to keep from being robbed of the depth and beauty and glory of the Lord? “Just give me a list,” says the baby Christian. “Tell me the things of this world that Satan will use to rob me of the knowledge of Christ. Then I will be prepared.” The Bible definitely gives us some broad and sometimes even detailed lists of what we should “take off/mortify”, however it is interesting to note that God’s Word does not account for every single, specific danger we will face in the world. I’m sure there are many reasons for this, but arguably one of the main reasons has to do with our hearts.

I’m sure we’d all agree that even good, godly things have the potential of robbing the throne of the new heart, the throne only Jesus deserves to sit upon.  So, it’s not necessarily just about following a list of do’s and don’ts. It’s more about diligently guarding our hearts daily. (Proverbs 4:23) It’s about putting on the full armor of God so we can daily stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11-24) Mortify the old man, yes!  Make no provision to the flesh, yes! But we have the privilege and responsibility of putting on the new man by clothing ourselves everyday with Christ. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” Romans 13:14.

Get to know the Good Shepherd’s voice by reading His Word often, praying fervently, knowing our righteousness is in Christ, and obeying our Heavenly Father willingly and wholeheartedly.  Then, and only then, will we be able to prevent our hearts from being robbed of the amazing beauty and joy found solely in Jesus Christ, our great and glorious Redeemer!

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth.” Job 19:25

Jesus said, “All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:8-11

Bible Light Bulb ImageThere are many questions and even more supposed answers about eternity. Lots of people have said there are many ways to get to Heaven.  After all, don’t all spiritual roads lead to the same place? Does it really matter what religion we follow?  If we’re simply sincere, devoted, and passionate about whatever we believe, won’t it all work out in the end?  Can’t my good works outweigh the bad things I’ve done in the past?  How can we really know for sure?

What’s the Answer?

Maybe you’re wondering some of the same things.     If not, you should be. After all, eternity is a lot longer than the few short years we’ll spend on this planet.  Asking good questions is important, but finding the right answers is even more crucial! If you’re lost and stop to ask someone for directions, it really does matter whether the directions he/she gives you are right or wrong. So in hopes of preventing anyone from getting even more lost, let’s examine several of today’s most popular myths.

We’ll examine seven basic misunderstandings/ myths in pursuit of discovering the true answer to how we can know for sure we are going to Heaven.

MYTH 1: The majority must be right. Just because people have answers doesn’t mean those answers are true, even if a majority agrees. A survey of 35,000 American adults shows that 70 percent believe there are many paths to God, but just because a majority believes the same thing doesn’t necessarily make it true.  Consider Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Just because many were in agreement with Hitler doesn’t make what he believed and did correct. Following the majority isn’t the answer!

MYTH 2- Sincerity is what matters.  Just because someone is sincere in a belief doesn’t make it right.

  • Does it matterif a sincere pharmacist puts the wrong pills in a bottle?
  • Does it matterif a surgeon sincerely believed he removed a kidney when in fact he removed the liver?
  • Does it matterif a woman ate a poisonous mushroom, even though she sincerely thought it would be good for her?

It is possible to be very sincere, but be sincerely wrong. The critical question is not whether someone is sincere, rather what is the truth?  Sincerity is not the answer.

MYTH 3: Pretty good is good enough. One of the greatest lies ever believed is that human beings can be good enough to get to Heaven!  I’ve heard this so many times and at one point even believed it myself.  I’ve even had professing atheists tell me if there is a ‘God’, then when they die they’ll be okay because they’ve been pretty good. Here’s the thing, being pretty good isn’t the real issue. God’s standard isn’t pretty good, it’s perfection. After all, God isn’t simply pretty good. He’s perfect.

Being pretty good isn’t the answer.

MYTH 4: Religion is good enough.  At some level, all religions say we must do good works in order to be right. Biblical Christianity is totally unique.  In religion, man has to reach up to God by his good works. In Christianity, God reached down with the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. He was crucified for the sins of the world. If religion, rituals, and traditions worked, Jesus would’ve never had to come and die.  Religion is not the answer!

MYTH 5: My future good deeds will make up for my past bad deeds. Here’s the problem. Let’s say you get a speeding ticket for driving 55 in a15 mph school zone, then stand before the judge and tell him you’ll never speed again. Will that make up for the crime you’ve already committed?  No. What if you tell the judge you’ve driven through that area many times before, always following the law? Will that make up for your crime?  No. We don’t get extra credit for following the law. The law requires that we follow it completely. That’s the whole point. Following the law tomorrow will never make up for the fact that we broke it today.  Simply said, the price has to be paid!  Future good deeds are not the answer.

Myth 6: I’m a good person.  We all tend to compare ourselves with one another; forgetting people are not the standard.  We did not make this universe, and we did not make the moral laws any more than the physical laws of this universe. God is the Creator, and He is the standard, not us. All one has to do is look at God’s law, which can be boiled down to the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20)  to see if we really are good people, if we measure up to the holiness of God.  Here are a few of God’s moral laws:

  • “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”  Telling the truth is the backbone of any society and the Bible. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie…” God is truth.  Have you ever told a lie; even a “little” one?
  • “You shall not steal.” Have you ever taken something that is not yours?
  • “You shall not commit adultery.”  Jesus took this commandment to a deeper level when He said, “If you have even looked upon someone with lust, it means you have already committed adultery in your heart with that person.” Matthew 5:27-28. Have you ever looked at someone with lust?

Now things get a little more interesting.  James 2:10 says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

So if we’ve even broken one of God’s commandments, we’ve broken them all.

 I ask you again, “Have you broken any of the Ten Commandments?” If you’re honest, you’ll have to say yes. Since we’ve all broken God’s law, it’s clear no one is really a good person.

Here’s the truth:  The reason sincerity, religion, and good works just don’t cut it is because they all originate from men and according to God, we’ve all willfully sinned. That is to say, we’ve all come short of God’s standard of perfection. Period!  We’re not the solution, frankly we’re the problem.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

God knows we’ve sinned.  We know we need His forgiveness. “For I will declare my iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.” Psalm 38:18  

The shedding of an animal’s blood reminded the Israelites that death was a result of man’s choice to rebel against his Creator. It was also a clue of God’s faithfulness to one day send One who would pay the ultimate price by dying for all of humanity, One who would not only die, but take the spiritual and eternal punishment we deserve so our penalty against God would be fully paid. A male lamb without spot was used in the Old Testament for a yearly sacrifice to God. This was a clue that One would come, not as a spotless lamb, but as a sinless man and God to die for the sins of the world.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29  

Jesus is the Lamb of God that the Old Testament pointed to, the One that would be the final, complete, and eternal sacrifice to God the Father by dying on the cross for our sins. God the Father literally poured out the anger and wrath we deserve upon His Son!

“He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Are you ready to repent (turn) and put your    belief in Jesus and His finished work on the cross for you?

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for your sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:3-6  

Myth 7: Christianity is just too narrow-minded.  With so many religions around the world, this might seem reasonable. Jesus claimed to be the only way to Heaven, yet many believe this is too narrow-minded. But is this bad? When I walk through the front door, does it ever bother me that there’s only one door? When I enter a gas station or a store, do I ever stop to complain when there’s only one door?  No. One door doesn’t mean anything other than there’s only one way in.  One way, in reality, makes it simple. There’s one way, making it very easy to identify both the true and the false doors.  Yes, one way to Heaven is narrow, but narrow doesn’t mean it’s bad. The God of the Bible says He’s one God (Deut. 6:4), so why not only have one way? God doesn’t want us to follow a lie. All may enter, but we must enter His way, not our own. Being too narrow just isn’t an excuse. Believing there are many ways to Heaven isn’t the answer.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14

 THE TRUE and ETERNAL ANSWER

The answer of eternity is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!  You have two choices. Sadly, most choose the wide road to exit planet Earth. The other way is the narrow road which is covered with the blood of Jesus Christ.

WHICH ONE WILL YOU CHOOSE?

“If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.  For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture says, “Whosoever believes on [Jesus] shall not be ashamed.”  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:9-13  

“For [God] says, “I have heard you in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I helped you: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  2 Corinthians 6:2  

There is only one way to get to Heaven. The true path is through Jesus Christ and Him alone. You must make this decision before you die. There’s no second chance after death.

Repent and believe on Him for the forgiveness of your sins before it’s too late.

(Originally produced and distributed by Once Lost Ministries)

JESUS REALLY IS THE REASON!

bigstock-Christmas-Cross-bright-Christ-25582868 JESUS REALLY IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!

He is also the reason we can rejoice in every season! To think that God, the Father would be pleased to send His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world is truly unfathomable. But then to think that God the Son willingly and joyfully offered not only to come, but make His soul THE sacrifice for sin is gloriously amazing and humbling indeed! Isaiah 53:10.

The reality is that Jesus, willing to lovingly obey His Father’s will and wanting to rescue men from a horrible, Christless eternity, chose to not only allow the wrath of God to be poured down from Heaven upon Himself, but also to be separated from the Father He had been one with for eternity. Psalm 22:1. He also chose to literally change His appearance, now bearing the scars of Calvary for eternity! John 20:27-28. (I’m not sure I’d be willing to even change what I’m wearing for someone else, let alone my very appearance.)

Coming to grips with who Jesus really is and what He has done should cause us to respond to Him with such resounding thanks and heartfelt praise! This knowledge is too wonderful for us, yet the glimmers we receive this side of eternity ought to produce rejoicing which cannot be contained in these temporal bodies, neither constrained by the god of this world!

God’s ways and thoughts are so far above our own, yet He desires to reveal Himself to all who would come to Him by faith (Hebrews 11:6), teaching us of His heart and mind through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 55:6-9. He demonstrated and continues to demonstrate His love day in and day out, showing Himself faithful and true from generation to generation (Psalm 100:5) and nothing this world throws at Jesus will ever change Him! Hebrews 13:8.

May this day in which we remember the ultimate gift- the One who is the Living Word, yet became flesh and dwelt among us; the One full of grace and truth (John 1:14); the One who became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21); may this day in which we remember the wonders of His love propel our hearts and minds to rejoice unto Him with joy unspeakable and full of glory, declaring His truth and His love to all those we meet now and for eternity!

TRULY, JESUS IS THE REASON!  

“For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:5

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

God’s Love

1 John 3_16 Heart WatercolorJesus Came From Heaven To Earth,

To Pay the Price that I Deserve.

He Died and Rose on the Third Day. 

His Love is Great and His Truth the Way.

 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

 

 

 

Recently there was a biblical discussion between several men from two totally opposite camps of belief.  Both claim to hold to God’s Word and both claim to desire the truth above all else, however both cannot be correct.  When dealing with the subject of whether or not God created the universe, there is really no division among  professing Christians.  All those claiming to be followers of Jesus Christ would join arms here, yet the separation occurs as soon as the discussion moves beyond this point.  This recent panel conversation was no exception.

Some in the group expressed their belief in a literal six-day creation around six thousand years ago.  The others clung tightly to a long-earth view, stating that the Bible leaves plenty of room for the common evolutionary belief of billions of years along with death and suffering as the major agent used by God.  What was most interesting was not how quickly some abandoned the Word of God to make their points, nor how much the long-age spokesmen thought they were honoring God.  What was most amazing was how blindly those who purported the old universe doctrine claimed to be neither evolutionary, nor hold to any teachings majorly different than those who aligned themselves with a literal reading of Genesis 1-11.

It Does Matter: Hugh Ross, an astrophysicist and self-proclaimed day-age Christian, was one such guest. He is either ignorant in his assertions or disingenuous when stating that he is not an evolutionist at any level.  He also said he really believes no differently than Ken Ham, who was also on the panel and unashamedly holds to a literal interpretation of Genesis 1.  If it weren’t so sad, it would almost be funny. Although Hugh Ross claimed no major differences in belief, there are actually about 10 billion of them. After Dr. Ross’ proclamations, two others from the panel joined  in, making similar statements.  After pitching his tent on the same side as Hugh Ross, Sean McDowell, son of Josh McDowell, smiled and boldly proclaimed that it really doesn’t matter how God made the universe as long as we believe that He did.  Sean said he chooses instead to focus on how much God loves us and has a purpose and plan for our lives.  Even though Sean and others say it doesn’t matter, there could be nothing further from the truth.  It really does matter when and how God created the universe.

Sean McDowell’s Log Cabin: As an intro after a commercial break, TBN (the host channel of the creation discussion) played a clip of Sean McDowell talking to the camera as he stands inside a beautifully decorated log cabin.  The point of the video is to reveal how obvious it is that the universe has a designer, but Sean makes an unfortunate mistake.  Paraphrasing his video monologue, Sean asks the viewer to pretend he stumbles upon a cabin after walking through the woods.  The door is unlocked and the viewer chooses to enter.  Looking around, the hiker notices his favorite foods are on the dinner table and everything inside is perfectly prepared for his tastes.  Sean then moves to strike, pulling the analogy together by asking,  “What can we deduce from the cabin being filled with everything that suits us?”  He then explains that we should conclude that the cabin must be designed for the hiker.  And just as the cabin is intentionally built  for him, so it is with the universe. Everything in this world and universe fit perfectly to provide all that we need in a way that reveals a master designer. While this might be an adequate intelligent design argument, there are a few things Sean has left out. More will be said about this in a little bit.

Analogies: Just as it is with other analogies, Sean has a starting point or belief system and his starting point is what dictates the analogy.  Although analogies are good tools for making points, they often times also reveal the speaker’s own presupposed philosophies.  It’s also worth noting that no analogy can completely cover all tenants of a person’s belief system.

Ray Comfort’s Airplane and Parachute: Another analogy given by Ray Comfort unfortunately also missed the mark even though he is someone who has consistently held to a literal reading of Genesis 1 and believes the earth to be around six thousand years old.  Ray routinely uses an airplane flight to show the importance of  the Gospel of God. Although a good analogy in demonstrating the necessity of putting on Christ (like a parachute) for the right reasons, the story falls short when used in conjunction with the importance of whether or not creation happened just as Genesis 1 plainly spells it out.

An Unnecessary Contrast: Ray began his wrap-up of the two hour panel discussion by saying that although the conversation of how God created is an important one, if you were on a plane that was broken and ready to crash, you would not turn to the stewardess handing you a parachute to ask her the age of the plane.  Instead you would gladly put on the parachute to save your life. Again, while on the surface this might sound reasonable, the decision to contrast creation and the Gospel actually does more harm than good.

Here’s why: Ray’s comments separate the method of creation and the method of salvation, yet fail to consider that both reveal the character of the same God.  In actuality, neither the Gospel nor creation are the center of the Christian life. Granted, the Gospel is the good, rather the great news of God’s amazing act to buy back all who will come to Him, and without it we would have no hope of eternal life. But in reality, God Himself is the center; God Himself, revealed in Jesus Christ, is our life.  His character is what matters most, and His character is demonstrated and revealed in all He says and does.

An Old Plane and an Old Parachute:  Since much of this post is filled with other people’s analogies, I’d like to use a couple of my own. Let’s say the stewardess tells the passenger the plane is old, really old and that’s why it’s going down.  What if the parachute and the plane are the same age?  What if, as you’re free falling with your chute carefully strapped to your body, then pull the rip cord only to see moths fly out along with dust and only scraps of silk cloth remaining?  In your mind you’re thinking, “I guess the age of the plane really does matter.”

The Incompetent Maker: What  if the plane isn’t in disrepair due to its age?  Perhaps the maker and maintainer of the plane are at fault. Maybe this person, although very intelligent, wasn’t quite smart enough to make and maintain the vehicle to last very long in the sky. What if the person was basically incompetent? Then what if the one who made and maintained the plane was also the one who supplied the parachute?  (This is probably the most closely related analogy to the God who created the universe and also is the Savior of mankind.)  If the plane is going down, then one who made and maintained it did not do as good of a job as he could have.  If this is the case, then if he also packed and supplied the parachute, would there perhaps be a little trepidation in putting it on?  Let’s say you’re tumbling through the sky, pull the cord, and the cord breaks off.  You then reach for the backup cord and there is none.  Finally, with only seconds before impact, you try to manually open the chute only to discover it is not packed correctly by the maker of the plane.

You see, there are serious implications connecting the plane’s age, the method and competence of the plane’s construction and maintenance, and the parachute inside.  The Maker’s character is the heart of matter.  If the plane goes down, then one must ask why did it fall in the first place.  The answer will inevitably lead back to the maker of the aircraft. There is perhaps one more basic answer to the failure of the plane.

The Disturbed Designer: There is also one more thing to consider.  Perhaps the designer of the plane is not incompetent at all.  Maybe he is simply disturbed.  Maybe he purposely designed the plane to crash.  This has definite implications when strapping on the parachute.  If this is true, then most likely the chute itself would be sabotaged for all unsuspecting passengers.

The Cabin’s Creator: Analogies can also be used to reveal the errors in Sean McDowell’s cabin.  If, as Sean says, it doesn’t matter how God made the universe and if God is the builder in his cabin story, then it actually does matter.  Although this planet is amazing, there are all kinds of dangerous things that seem to raise questions.  We have natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc. as well as poisonous creatures and plants, and the list goes on.  So saying that there is a wonderful cabin filled with all your favorite foods is less than an accurate view of the world around us.  To make it more fair, let’s say the hiker walks into the cabin and begins eating the food only to get food poisoning.  He then goes into the bathroom and trips on a broken tile.  Then washing up, the traveler discovers there is only ice cold water and the towels are inundated with lice.  If this were the case, the person might begin wondering about the competence and intentions of the one who made and prepared the cabin.

IT  REALLY  DOES  MATTER  HOW  THE  CABIN  WAS  MADE.

The Creation/ Salvation Connection: Interestingly, regardless of an old earth or young earth, many from both camps would agree that Jesus died and raised in three literal days and is the only way to Heaven. Yet those that cling to billions of years fail to see that the character of God is inextricably entwined with both creation and salvation. They are eternally linked.  Why? Because God is responsible for both.  To say it doesn’t matter how God created is like saying it doesn’t matter how God provided salvation.  It matters.  His character is revealed in both.  The Living God created life by His Word, not through death, and the God of love chose to die for sinners because sin, not God, brought death. God brings life.  If a business builds its success by murdering people, does it really matter whether or not it gives money to orphans and widows?  No matter how you spin it, if God’s character is directly connected with death as the ultimate agent of life, He is the author of death.  Yet according to His own Word, death is said to be the last enemy of God.  1 Corinthians 15:26.

But death brought life in Christ, didn’t it?  Yes and no. Yes, Jesus chose to die for the sins of the world.  “For He has made [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.  But if Jesus would have stayed dead, we would have no hope at all, so it’s not merely His death, but His resurrection that brings men life.  In the same chapter of 1 Corinthians, the Holy Spirit, through Paul, writes, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:14. Yes, Jesus laid down His life and this led to eternal life to all those who turn to Him, but His death would not have been necessary if sin had never been allowed to intrude into God’s perfect creation.

If death would have been God’s original “thumb print” on creation, then why use death as Adam and Eve’s judgment?  After all, creatures would have been dying and evolving for millions of years before Adam and Eve sinned.  So Adam and Eve were seeing creatures killing each other and dying of cancer, etc.  Then God tells them if they eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that they’ll die just like everything else is already dying???  Then later Jesus comes to die for the sins of the world, the sins that brought death upon mankind; the same death that God had already used for millions of years in all other creatures to help them evolve.  This makes no sense!  Sadly, confusion, at best, is all we are left with when man’s ideas are mingled with the Word of God.  

The Whole Counsel of God:  It’s clear the Lord has given the saints different giftings and areas of ministry that serve the whole Body of Christ, but one thing is certain.  We are all to grow in the complete understanding of the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13). This growth takes the power of the Holy Spirit, the love of the truth, and the humble, wholehearted study of God’s Word.  We all must be careful not to let the focus of any ministry overshadow the whole of Scripture. We must proclaim more than a message.  May we never forget to declare the whole counsel of God!  

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:23,27 and 28

For many it sounds narrow-minded to say that there is only one way to Heaven. After all there are many roads that take a person into the same city, so why wouldn’t there be many roads that lead to the same Heaven? The simple answer is that men have not sinned against a city. We’ve sinned against the One and Only, True and Living God. (Romans 3:23)

This is His creation, so it only stands to reason that we should go His Way. (Interestingly, no one argues when there’s only one door to a restaurant or one way into their garage at home.) One God, One Way- through His Son, Jesus Christ! (John 14:6) Yes, narrow, but also loving. He lovingly provided a single way to help prevent us from getting lost! Jesus is truly the only way that leads to eternal life! (John 3:15-17)

Sadly, all other roads will lead to the same place…the Lake of Fire. (Matthew 7:13-14; Revelation 20:15) It’s our choice. God has already chosen to pave the perfect way by sending His Son to die for our sins, fully paying the price we deserve; raising from the grave- eternally conquering sin and death. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Now it’s up to us whether we will choose to turn to Him or continue on our own self-seeking, pride paving road. May we choose wisely, carefully keeping eternity in mind.

Jesus says, “And him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37b

 

 

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