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Thank you for stopping by our site A-Typical Christianity. On this site we have a bunch of resources for Christians and those who are interested in finding out more about true Christianity. If you like our blog, subscribe on the right side of the page so you get automatic updates via email.

Andy and Melissa Beshore

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Shocking Account on Abortion

Heading into this election, we should be as informed as possible. Please watch this and see if you can in good conscience still support this man. Remember the image at the end of the video and think, "That could have been me." This man wants to let anyone do this. Does anyone see a problem with this?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Defining and Defending Authentic Christianity

"For the Christian, defending the faith isn't an option. It's a solemn responsibility."

"It should be obvious if you think about it. Claiming to be a Christian doesn't make you a true follower of Christ anymore than calling yourself a vegetarian makes you one regardless of what you believe or do. In order to be a Christian, you must submit yourself completely to Christ and believe the Bible and its teachings."

- Eric Holmberg

This is a short clip from The Marks of a Cult by Eric Holmberg and The Apologetics Group. You can get their DVD's at http://www.theapologeticsgroup.com/ .


This video is called, "Defining and Defending Authentic Christianity" and you can click here to get it yourself.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Response To A Comment Posted About Calvinism

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Since posting this blog entry, some confusion has aroused about the intent of the person we responded to. The original title was, "Are Calvinists Unloving? - Response to A Comment Posted." We titled it this because of the response that was given to us by this person that included statements such as, "Calvinism does not regard Love for One another", "One problem I have with Calvinism, is there is no understanding given as to the importance of having love for one another. Love for one another is what would be required to be considered holy, or sanctified.", "The Calvinistic view sees it as something that is suggested.", and "Second, Calvinism does not regard Love for One another, the law of the New Testament as something we must do." We came to the conclusion he was saying Calvinists were unloving because of the comments he kept making. We're sorry if we misreprented him. You can read the entire discourse yourself and make up your own mind. We have now changed it to the above title, to hopefully clear up the misunderstanding.
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This is a comment that was posted about the Election Pure And Simple sermon we posted by Jeff Noblit. Andy made a lengthy response and we figured others might benefit from this response, so we posted it for everyone to read. We left the user's name anonymous.

Here is the original comment written:

Hi thanks for the reply. I'm not hostile toward Calvinism. I'm also not Arminean. I developed my Faith from the understanding of the Greek words for Righteousness and Holiness. In Romans Six, Paul finishes a run on a pattern that ends in 'everlasting life' following holiness, which follows 'righteousness'. In the verse I am refering to, 19, I believe, Paul says, "The benefit we reap". This is "Righteousness". However, if there is any doubt, it is identified earlier in the chapter.I did not need to listen to the entire audio to understand what the minister was saying. In fact, you clarified this for me when you stated what Armenians believe.One problem I have with Calvinism, is there is no understanding given as to the importance of having love for one another. Love for one another is what would be required to be considered holy, or sanctified. This is an act and it is involved in the last part of the formulat Paul lays out for us in Romans six. The Calvinistic view sees it as something that is suggested. Because, 'I'm chosen and God is taking me to Heaven even if I will not to go' type theology.Anyway, I can understand why you don't understand what I am saying. First, I did not care to write very much. Second, Calvinism does not regard Love for One another, the law of the New Testament as something we must do. And third, getting saved does not mean a person will go to Heaven.I do not have a harsh tone in writing this. I am just running through it.I wrote a manuscript at link Love One Another .It may take some time for us to understand what each of us believes. However, if the two of you (I'm not sure who I am writing to) would like to discuss it, I will take the time to correspond with you. J-

This is Andy's response:

Hello, J-. This is Andy, Melissa’s husband. From your comment, “there is no understanding given as to the importance of having love for one another,” I must disagree with your opinion. In your opinion, what is it that makes Calvinists unloving? If you would ever hang around with a group of Calvinists like we do Sunday after Sunday, I feel as if your opinion would change. When Melissa and I began attending our current church, we were both amazed at just how loving and welcoming each member of the congregation was toward us and each other. By comparison, our prior church, an Assemblies of God church, people were in their own cliques and did not talk to us much. We kept to ourselves. At this current Calvinist/Reformed church, strangers approach us and welcome us all the time. As far as they are concerned, we might not even be saved, yet they continue to welcome us, invite us over to get to know us better, and go out of their way to make us feel welcome.

Before service, we hear stories in our evangelism class, how members befriend coworkers or total strangers, build relationships over extensive amounts of time, and eventually share the Gospel with them. When Calvinists are the ones who take the time to do this, how is it they can still be unloving? The only possible explanation I can see for your rationale is that you have had some bad experiences with people you think are Calvinists. That is a shame. I am sorry that has happened to you.

In reality, there are people who are like you describe as Calvinists. People who you call “Calvinists” are actually more like “Hyper-Calvinists” or “Fundamentalists.” I can totally see where someone would say that a hyper-Calvinist would be unloving. But I assure you that true Calvinists are among the most loving people you will meet. If you come away with an encounter with a professing Calvinist thinking the way you currently do, you probably did not meet with a true Calvinist.

Maybe people think Calvinists are unloving because they talk about sin. Most people in this country do not understand sin’s relationship to the Gospel. Calvinists understand that we need to have a proper understanding of our sin and how it offends a holy God in order to be convicted of sin and brought to repentance from sin. How can we repent of sin and be saved from sin’s penalty, eternal hell, if we remove references to it from the gospel?

As far as Jeff Noblit (the one who you listened to briefly) is concerned, I can tell you that we have met him personally and he is a very nice man. The last thing you would ever think about him is that he is unloving. Same for Paul Washer. We have met him personally as well and came away from meeting Paul that he was one of the nicest guys we have ever met. We can say that about both Paul and Jeff. Keep in mind, in these meetings we met these men for the first time. They had no idea we were truly saved. They could have thought we were unsaved, professing Christians because they were meeting us for the first time and most people in this country have a incorrect understanding of the Gospel because we have removed references to sin and hell from it largely. They were so nice to us. In fact, Jeff invited us to lunch with him when we take our trip to visit his church. Isn’t that a loving thing to do?

Again, for anyone to think a Calvinist is unloving, they would have to do exactly what you did: only listen to them for a few minutes, form an opinion based on those few minutes and stick to it. In fact, it sounds to me like you may have formed a quick, uninformed opinion based on a brief experience with one Calvinist, from which you made blanket statements about all Calvinists. That sounds to me like what many people today call being “judgmental,” something which the Bible condemns. If you would give them a chance, you would see your assessment is not accurate. I hope this will encourage you to give us Calvinists more of a chance in the future.

Another point, if we get upset at religious hypocrisy, is that unloving? Many times hypocrisy upsets Calvinists. Hypocrites hear upset Calvinists and call Calvinists unloving. Washer talks frequently about the differences between hypocritical professing Christians and Biblical Christians. I ask you to refer to Matthew 21 when Jesus cleared the temple of the religious hypocrites who were running businesses from inside God’s house. Was that an unloving thing Jesus did? When Jesus repeatedly got frustrated with the Pharisees because of their attempts to try to trap him with their hypocrisy, was he unloving as He revealed their error to them. When Jesus shared the Gospel with the woman at the well, he told her she was an adulterer. Was that an unloving thing to do? When Jesus called the Pharisees “Hypocrites” at least seven times in Matthew 23, was that an unloving thing to do? He pointed out the hypocrisy in their lives.

Calvinists do the same thing to the professing Christians who have the incorrect understanding of man and God (I refer here to the Arminian versus Calvinist view of man’s inherent nature and God’s view of that same nature). Are Calvinists any different when they try to lovingly correct people’s misunderstandings about themselves and God? When people tell you signs that accompany genuine conversion and encourage people to examine themselves (2 Corinthians 13:5) to see if their faith is genuine, don’t they do that because they want to see them genuinely converted? Isn’t that a loving thing to do? Would it be unloving for them to let people with incorrect understandings of the Gospel to continue in those incorrect understandings and ultimately perish in eternal hell as a result?

Calvinists instill fear in people sometimes because that contributes to saving faith (Proverbs 16:6). In the book of Romans, Paul repeatedly alludes to the Law’s role in salvation. Is sharing Commandments with people unloving? Paul says it is necessary to bring knowledge of sin (Romans 7). Jesus did it personally (Matthew 5, Matthew 15, Matthew 19). Jesus brought the knowledge of sin. Is it okay for Him to do, but unloving for us to do? Aren’t Christians supposed to imitate Christ? These are all things Calvinists do? Are Calvinists unloving because they interpret the Bible more strictly than other groups who justify how so many things the Bible clearly says “do not apply today”?

It’s funny to me how whenever someone actually tries to do what the Bible actually says and point it out to other people they are legalistic or unloving. I hope you do not think I am being unloving here. I am not trying to be unloving at all. Rather I am trying to illustrate how the Bible supports my stance, that we need to talk about sin in order to see people genuinely saved. However, there are other people I know who would probably say I was being unloving or intolerant by supporting my opinions with the Bible. I am sure my tone sounds unloving or preachy, but I am really trying to be as nice as possible. All you see is words. You could not get a gauge on my calm tone from reading this. Hope this helps, and God bless!

Andy

Click on the comment section on this post and the post called, "Election Pure and Simple" for the rest of the dialogue between us and J-.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Election Pure And Simple - Jeff Noblit

Has the doctrine of election always been something that was very confusing or hard to understand? Have you never gotten a good, simple explanation of election? If not, this will be of great benefit to you, even if you think you may understand it already. Also, on the Amazing Grace DVD by The Apologetics Group, it speaks about this subject as well among other things, and we HIGHLY recommend it. Click here for more info. He also discusses the common objections against election and he refutes them.

What is election pure and simple? -

"We come to the third view of election and that is what I call election pure and simple. Election pure and simple, and I want you to hear very clearly this very simple definition.... God chose those whom He would save, and He secured their salvation. God chose those whom He would save AND He secured their salvation. From before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 4 and other texts, God elected, chose, selected those He would save. And then in time and space history, He sent His Son to die. His Son paid for the sins of His people on the cross. And then also in time and space history, He called those whom He had chosen, whom His Son paid their sin debt to come to Himself and believe in Him and be everlastingly saved. That's election. Pure and simple." ~ Jeff Noblit

"This little ol' pitiful god of the Arminian, this little ol' anemic, impotent little God that sits in heaven and wrings his hands and hopes somebody might receive him and accept him somehow and make poor little ol' Jesus feel better about dying on the cross. Hogwash! That's not what God teaches! God teaches that all of those whom Jesus Christ paid for on the cross who are foreknown and predestined will be called, will be saved, will be glorified and Christ's holy bride will be complete in heaven for all eternity, just as God designed from the foundation of the world!" ~ Jeff Noblit



You can find it by clicking here.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Can You Really Rededicate Your Life To God?



“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.” (Hebrews 6:4-8)

Have you ever professed faith in Christ after being convicted of your sin, and having a correct understanding of the Gospel, only to turn away, reverting back to your previous life of blatant disregard for your sin and God’s other commands? Have you ever confessed your sins to God, and walked the Christian walk for a time, (it seems that feeling the weight of your sin and how it creates this insurmountable gulf between you and your Creator is the feeling one needs to get before God can genuinely convert someone. This feeling would be that to which the writer of Hebrews refers when he alludes to the “once enlightened”) only to turn back to your fleshly lusts rather than a life lived for God?

Some people feel like they have God’s Spirit living in them and may even exhibit some of the signs of conversion. They may have turned one time from sin in apparent repentance. The Word may have at one time come alive to them. They may have had a passion for the things of God. The difference between these and the genuinely converted, however, is that the genuine converts continue to exhibit these signs, albeit not perfectly, as a pattern of life. There is a growing in the things of God over time in the true converts. In the false converts, there is stagnation over the long haul, perhaps even an abandonment of God. They neglect to feel the sting of their sin as God’s word reveals it to them. They try to hide references to sin in themselves or in others out of fear of offending them. They continue to compare themselves to other people, rather than to God’s perfect standard. When they compare themselves to other people, they think themselves to be clean and others unclean. They justify themselves.

About the only thing that differentiates the false converts from the non-churched world is the fact that false converts keep a few religious observances throughout the week. The stagnant false converts continue to read their Bibles, go to church, pray, and look spiritual, but they neglect to obtain the deeper understanding of God’s word. The false converts eventually revert back to their old ways, almost completely turning their back on God, continuing to live in fornication, adultery, covetousness, lying, blaspheming, and hating, with little to no regard for God’s vehement distaste with such actions. Whenever they hear the truth about sin and God’s holiness and righteousness, they try to change the subject. They say things like, “My god is a god of love, peace, joy and gentleness.” They completely neglect God’s holiness, wrath, and justice. Some may not explicitly commit these violations, but condone those who do. They might continue to go to a church that speaks only about the cushy attributes of God, or do seemingly religious activities to put up the Christian façade that the aforementioned sins unmask as rank hypocrisy.

These groups who might have briefly “tasted the heavenly gift,” partook of the Holy Spirit, looked like they had been converted, and possibly experienced what looked like God’s power. If they do fall away in such a catastrophic manner, or continue to live with the wrong understanding of God and the Gospel and remain unwilling to change, it must be said that they were never genuinely converted in the first place. God never did a true work in these people. They would be the stony ground hearer Jesus spoke of in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13). If they had been genuinely converted, the signs that accompany conversion (1 John) would have remained over the long haul. Remember, these people continue to blatantly disregard God’s word and do not obey it. They may continue to look Christian on the outside, but there is no evidence of a transformed life within them. They do not exhibit the reality that God has separated them from sin unto Himself. This will be evident by their lifestyle. They will continue to do everything just like the rest of the world does, except they will spend Sunday morning in a pew. They feel no Godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10) over sin. Rather, they feel worldly sorrow, which leads to death, as in the case of Judas after Jesus’ death. They live in sin and condone the behaviors of those who do.

It is these people that the writer of Hebrews says, upon rededication, “crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” They might repent. After time, however, they will fall away again and the vicious cycle of repent, fall away, repent fall away, repeats. By continually disregarding His commands, refusing to change when the Word shows them their lifestyle is wrong, they put Him to an open shame. If they loved Him like they profess, they would keep His commands (John 14:21). The writer of Hebrews says it is impossible for these to be renewed to genuine repentance. They can dedicate and rededicate all they want when they feel “empty,” but the writer of Hebrews seems to say that it will not matter. Their professed faith was meaningless, otherwise they would have stayed the course. They have avoided the true God for such a long time that it might now be impossible for them to be renewed to genuine repentance.

True and false converts, wheat and tares, sheep and goats can be separated by the fruit they bear (Matthew 7:16-20; Matthew 25:14-30). If there is no fruit from holy living, no separation from sin unto God, no separation from the world unto God, there never was conversion. The longer false converts continue lacking fruit, suppressing God’s truth (Romans 1:18), the more likely it is that they will never truly understand what true conversion looks like and God will hide Himself from them (Isaiah 59:1-2) so He will never save them.

So please, if you doubt whether your conversion is genuine, “examine yourself” (2 Corinthians 13:5). 1 John has a number of tests of conversion. Do like Peter says and “make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). If you justify yourself, thinking you are fine that “this does not apply to you,” you might be one of those the Hebrews writer refers to. Repent and trust in Christ to save you once and for all. You might not have tomorrow. Thank you!

Andy

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Jehovah's Witness Doctrine Radically Opposes Biblical Doctrine

This is an excellent video explaining how JW doctrine radically opposes Bible doctrine. My source of truth is the Bible, God's word - Not a society created by mere men. I would recommend that you pause the video periodically to read the pages as the text is long and small. The hope here is that Christians can better defend their faith by these videos.

This video is called, "Corrections For Jehovah's Witnesses (Part 1)." Click here to get the video yourself.

The Jehovah's Witnesses Beliefs About Jesus

This is a link for a great video that shows how JW doctrine differs drastically in parts from what the Bible actually teaches. Unfortunately, the You Tube user will not permit people to embed his videos, so we have to use his page to see them, which is fine. The hope here is that Christians will better be able to defend their faith against false teachings. To hetgow: I appreciate your work. Thank you.

Click here to watch the video.

Jehovah's Witnesses Discourage Independent Thinking

This video is called, "Jehovah's Witnesses and Independent Thinking." I thought this was astonishing. How can you learn whether or not your faith is valid if you are not allowed to educate yourself about your faith? This might just be yet another sign of the times, as described in 2 Thessalonians 2, where people fall away and pursue false teachings. If you are saved, you have nothing to fear beacuse God will not let you fall away. If you are not, use your BIBLE to examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5). The hope here is that JWs would examine themselves and that Christians would learn to defend their faith.

This video is called, "Jehovah's Witnesses and Independent Thinking." Click here to get it for yourself.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

How Do I Get Saved? / How Do I Know If I Am Truly Saved?



Are You Sure You Have Heard This Before?

Please lend me your imagination for a moment as I try to use a story to illustrate a point. You are on your way home from work after a long, difficult day. You pull up to your home, park, and proceed toward your front door. As you retrieve your keys, you are surprised to see that your front door is already open. You open the door and are overcome with a foreign mixture of shock and grief. As you look around, you see that your entire house has been ransacked. Personal belongings are damaged beyond recognition and repair. Your entire family is lying on the ground in pools of blood. They are dead or are about to breathe their last.

You hear a noise coming from the back of the house. A masked intruder is attempting to escape out the back of your house undetected. You drop everything you have in your hands, still not fully comprehending the magnitude of what has just transpired, and run. You are not sure from where you obtain the strength to pursue the perpetrator, but you summon the fortitude to defend the honor of your loved ones. You follow him through your back yard and through several adjoining yards, down a few side streets, until you catch up. Thank God for long legs! You corral him much like a rodeo cowboy hogties a steed and subdue him long enough to get him to the police.

In the morning, the police deliver the perpetrator over to the judge. The judge interrogates the man. The man confesses to the crime. The judge says to the criminal, “You know, I am a good man. I feel really forgiving today. I think I will not allow your case to proceed because I am in a forgiving mood.”

Oh, man, whose family has just been lost, whose murderer has just received a full pardon for no apparent reason, how would you feel? Would you let it slide off your back? What would you think of the judge? I hope in reading this that you would be outraged! You should be incensed! You should want the judge removed from the bench for being so unjust! You just lost your entire family and the murderer did not receive the justice he deserved.
If you are a sensible person, you are outraged by the story because you want to see justice done. That judge did not do his job. It is a judge’s job to punish the guilty criminals and the one in this fictitious account failed in performing that vital duty. Isn’t it reasonable that a just judge should appropriately punish all who do evil in the world? Of course it is! The God of the Bible is no different. The Bible says God is just and it is because of His justice he sends punishment on those who are not His children and discipline on those who are His children (Isaiah 45:19; Zephaniah 3:5; Hebrews 10:30; 2 Peter 2:6; Ezekiel 16:48-50; 1 Corinthians 11:31; Romans 1:18-32;), which means that He will see too it that He punishes all the evil in the world. The problem for you and I is that we are the evil in the world that are deserving of His wrath and punishment.
God’s creation in the Genesis account was perfect (Genesis 1:31). There was no disease or death because there was no sin initially. Then one day the serpent (Satan) intervened and tempted Eve. Adam and Eve ate the fruit (Genesis 3). Sin had entered the world. Now, there was disease and death. From that point forward, each human born on this planet was conceived in sin. That means you and I are both conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5). Reformers call this “Total Depravity.” Every human being is born, in effect, with Adam’s first sin already credited on their account. This means that we do not have the ability to know good or do good or to recognize God’s influence, because we are dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1, 5). If I were going to the cemetery to sell products to the dead, when I left, would you expect me to sell anything? Absolutely not! The dead cannot respond to my offer. Likewise, since Adam’s first sin was credited to us (Psalm 51:5), our natures became corrupt (Genesis 6:5, Genesis 8:21, Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 12:34, Ephesians 2:1, 5). This has affected our thoughts and our deeds. In this state, we do not possess the ability to respond to or to please God. The previous depravity verses substantiate this point. All we know how to do is sin against God. How do I know this? Here are a few short questions to see it this is true about you. Have you ever lied? Stolen? Lusted? Hated? Had sex out of marriage? Dishonored your parents? Not always been content with what you already have? Have you always put God first? Or have you made a God in your mind you feel comfortable with? If you have said yes to these, then in order you have broken the Ninth, Eighth, Seventh, Sixth, Seventh, Fifth, Tenth, First, and Second Commandments. The Bible warns that all who break these Commandments will end up in hell for eternity (Revelation 21:8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Romans 1:18-32; Matthew 5:20-32; Matthew 15:19). The depraved soul does these things repeatedly without much thought.
If we are all born this way, how can anyone get saved? Well, a common theme in Scripture is election. This doctrine teaches that before the foundation of the world, God has set aside a people to save for His own glory (Matthew 20:16; Matthew 22:14; Matthew 24:22, 24, 31; Mark 13:20, 27; Luke 18:7; John 15:16; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:33, 11:17; Ephesians 1:4-5, 11; Colossians 3:12; 1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2;10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:2, 5:13; 2 John 1:1; 2 John 1:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; John 10:26. These people are God’s elect. It is not that God knew who would respond to Him and who would not and therefore those are the ones He chose to elect. He has mercy on whom He has mercy and hardens whom He hardens (Romans 9:15-16). It is totally up to God’s good pleasure and it has absolutely nothing to do with any goodness He saw in us, because none are good (Romans 3:10-23). We do not make the decision to respond to God. Remember, we are DEAD (not sick) in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1, 5). Our carnal minds are at enmity with God (Romans 8:7). Rather, God decides for us and causes us to respond to Him. He quickens us, in the process that is known as being “born again.” Remember, if you are dead, how can you respond? You need life! When God makes a sinner born again, He infuses the sinner with the life that was lacking. This life enables the sinner to experience sensitivity to divine stimuli that he could not feel before being born again. Once born again, the sinner is confronted with their sin, experiences Godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10), and responds in God-driven repentance. The whole work is entirely wrought by God. God even supplies believers with the faith required to believe the Gospel. Since we were dead before we were born again, we need the life to exercise the response (repentance and faith). The faith entails the ability to believe God’s promises. Without the faith that God supplies, we would not believe the Bible. Only God can supply this faith. Not sure if you are one of God’s elect? Do like Peter says and make your call and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).
If you understand election, the doctrine of limited atonement should make sense. Since not all people are God’s elect, that means that Christ’s death on the cross only forgave the sins of the elect. Christ’s atonement, in other words, is efficacious only for the elect. Only the elect will benefit from Christ’s death.
In case you are wondering, I am taking you through the Calvinistic “TULIP.” I have already addressed the “T” (Total Depravity), the “U” (Unconditional Election), and the “L” (Limited Atonement). Next is the “I” (Irresistible Grace). Simply put, when God calls one of His elect by lavishing them with His grace, convicting them of their sin, and working repentance in them, there is no stopping God’s perfect work. When He begins the process of conviction and salvation, since it is entirely His work, there is no stopping the process. If there was, God would not be God. God’s grace, which allows the elect to be saved, is irresistible to the elect, because the elect will respond to it, otherwise they would not be elect. They cannot resist it if God makes them respond to it. Hence, you have “irresistible grace.”
The last part of the “TULIP” is the “P,” which stands for “Perseverance of the Saints.” When God takes the initiative to start the salvation process in one of His elect, he sees it through to completion, or death and glorification. He Who began a good work in you will finish it (Philippians 1:6). Nothing can separate the Christian from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39). Since His Spirit lives in believers and guides them (Romans 8:14), they will persevere. Yes they will still sin frequently due to the sinful flesh (Romans 7:13-25), but all their sins past, present, and future are forgiven, so nothing can separate them from the love of God in eternity. In other words, once truly saved, always saved. If people claim to know Christ, but live in blatant disregard for His commands and statutes, you can make the case that they were never truly saved (1 John 1:6).
What did God do so that men might be saved? God, Who is like no other (Deut. 6:4), took on human flesh (John 1:14) and lived a human life. Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man (John 14:7, 9, Colossians 1:15-20). He was totally perfect (2 Corinthians 5:21). Where you and I in our sinful states could only store up wrath for ourselves even in our good deeds (Isaiah 64:6), Jesus could do no wrong. He was fully obedient to every aspect of God the Father’s will (2 Corinthians 5:21). You and I could never claim that. This perfect Man gave His perfect life as a perfect sacrifice for the sin of the world. All the wrath that you and I deserve, God inflicted upon His only begotten Son. He was bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5, 10, 11, Luke 22:63, Mark 15:15, Matthew 26:67, Matthew 27:29-30, John 19:1). “God commends His love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We deserve God’s wrath, judgment, and punishment. Jesus took our punishment upon Himself (Isaiah 53) and paid our fine in His sinless life and brutal murder on the cross (Matthew 27:35-50, Mark 15:24-37, Luke 23:26-46, John 19:1-30).
Three days later He rose from the dead, defeating death (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20)! What now? God will convict His elect of their sin, making it “exceedingly sinful” (Romans 7:13). He will draw sinners unto Christ (Matthew 11:27, John 6:37, 44), producing sorrow over sin (Ezekiel 36:31; 2 Corinthians 7:10). This broken sorrow over sin will lead the sinner in God-led repentance (Matthew 4:17, Luke 13:3, Acts 17:30, 31), a humbling of themselves, confessing and forsaking of their sins, and placing God-given faith in Christ alone to save them. God, according to Ezekiel 36, will metaphorically separate us from the sinful world (36:24), cleanse us from all our sins past, present, and future (36:25) put a new heart and spirit in the person (36:26) causing them to walk in God’s statutes and to keep his judgments and do them (36:27).
After this important step, it is important to observe the person over time to see if some evidences of true salvation have occurred. As salt contains certain properties that make it salt, the Christian should have some characteristics that blatantly identify them as Christian. You cannot call salt “salt” even if it looks like salt unless it has the imperative compound in it that makes it salt. You cannot call yourself a Christian just because you go to church or Bible study, or read your Bible, or pray, or look religious, or moral. There has to be Biblical evidence that true conversion on the inside of the person has actually occurred, producing the outward fruit (Matthew 7:16-20). Jesus said that many would claim to be his disciples, but were actually false converts masquerading as Christians (See Matthew 7:21-23). It is not important that you have a relationship with Jesus. Rather, it is important that Jesus has a relationship with you. You might think you know Him, but you need to find out if He knows you. That is all that will matter on Judgment Day. There are plenty who go to church, read their Bibles, pray and do other religious things, but the proof of their Christianity will be the inward reality and the transformed nature. They will love the things of God, which they formerly hated and hate the things of the world, which they formerly loved (1 John 2:15-17).
The New Testament is rich in evidences of salvation, but 1 John in particular was written to show believers what these evidences should look like. The other epistles are all rich in evidences of things that accompany true conversion. The Beatitudes, Matthew 5-7, also known as the Sermon on the Mount contain some characteristics that should be evident over the course of the Christian’s life. The Bible should come alive. Things that used to not make sense should now make sense. They should be able to see sin revealed in the Scriptures and repent of it. The Christian should be sensitive to sin in their lives. They should feel the Holy Spirit convict them and live in a continuous state of repentance (1 John 1:9). Repentance is not a one-time thing. The Christian continues to repent all throughout their life. The Christian should separate themselves from the things that the world follows (1 John 2:15-17). They should not dress like the rest of the world. They should not talk like the rest of the world (Ephesians 4:31, 32). They should not watch or listen to or do the things that the world loves to do (Philippians 4:8). The Christian should love to hang out with fellow Christians talking about Christian things and doing Christian things (1 John 2:9, 4:7, 4:11, 4:12). The Christian should see hypocrisy and be upset as Jesus modeled in Matthew 21:12-13. The true disciple will experience persecution in some form. Read the book of Acts. Many of the Pauline epistles were written by Paul from jail. Your transformed nature will make you open your mouth and say things that will make the world scoff at you. See the fates of the apostles. See Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Research the fates of the apostles. You will find that most of them were either imprisoned or martyred. Did they have the cushy life that the modern Gospel promises? Undoubtedly, there are other references that cite evidences of true conversion in other New Testament books.
Hopefully this has been a help to you. I would love to hear your feedback. If you read this and feel secure in your salvation, praise God! If, however, you read this and feel insecure in your salvation, I ask you to do what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourself to see that you are in the faith.” Use Scripture and not yourself or other fallible people as your gauge. Thank you for reading this. May God save you and keep you!

Thank you for reading this and I would love your comments.

Andy

The Best Video On The Subject of Catholic Doctrine Yet

Unfortunately, this YouTube user does not permit embedding this video, so I will include the link. Please click on the link to view this terrific video exposing many of the false teachings on the subject of Catholic doctrine.

Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Did Jesus Die To Give You A Better Life?

Here, Andy contrasts the modern gospel so often preached with the true gospel of the Bible. Did Jesus really die a horrible death just to give us a better life? Click here to get this video.