It is the goal of this web site to edify both my brethren in Christ as well as to edify my neighbor who still sleeps in a spiritual slumber. Therefore, it is my goal to edify and exhort you to sound doctrine. But, more than that, I hope to cause you to wonder, to seek, and to find the answers of your questions yourself. I want you to know exactly what and why you believe that you hold to be trueso that when the enemy comes, you shall not be shaken from the firm foundation of your faith in the Lord Christ Jesus who walked among us in the flesh and died for our sins, rising bodily three days later in glorious triumph over the enemy and death!
To accomplish this goal I have provided you, the reader, this web site and stocked it with a variety of material assembled across timebut mostly written by contemporary pastors, theologians, and evangelists to aid in your own discovery of the truths contained in the Scriptures. Yet at the same time I want you to recognize that not one of these men, or myself, claim to have a perfect understanding or a perfect comprehension of biblical truth. Therefore, in this regard, it is up to you dear reader to use your discernment of the truth and test the commentaries against Scripture to see if they are indeed true. Further, it is to heed wise council and note that because commentators are decidedly uninspired, that commentary in and of itself is only useful in the light that it draws our attention to teachings and doctrines that either are or are not presented in Scripture. Thus, it is the challenge to you, the reader, to test what is the truth by the facts, and not to argue against the evidence by what "feels" right, or what "seems" true, or that you "wish" to be true. For if you do that, you run the risk of falling into error.
Therefore, the fulfillment of my goal, should you agree with the commentators presented on this web site, is that you know what and why you agree with them rather than merely agreeing because you like the way it sounds. And like onto that, should you disagree with the commentary presented on this web site, then you should also know exactly why you do so without the need to spurn rational arguments or factual evidence in favor of what you may believe is a self-verifying experience. In this regard I pray that you trust only in the Lord and lean not upon your understanding, for if you fail to trust in the Lord, then your faith is misplaced and you are already in error.
Indeed, the whole world would be saved if salvation were only forgiveness, or even justification (Romans 5:18, 19). But salvation is life; and the world is lost because it will not come to Him who offers life (John 5:39, 40; Romans 5:21; 6:23). The Bible does not teach universal salvation, but it does teach universal redemption. The blood was shed for all men (1 John 2:1, 2; Hebrews 2:9; 1 Timothy 4:10). Therefore, let us look at 2 Peter 2:20, 22:
"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
These verses show us a warning to those who know the way of salvation and still reject it. There is no conceivable way for a dog or a sow to become a sheep except to be born again. And so there is no conceivable way for a sinner to become a child of God except to be born again. It is not enough to know the Gospel. The Gospel must be believed.
The question that I have asked of people in the past is if God would be seen as a failure if all the people the Lord desired to be saved were not saved. To those of you who would respond, that yes, God would be a failure if He failed to save all those who He wished to saveyou are in error. It is an error because the great triumph of the Gospel isn't mans salvation, but that God Himself is justified by succeeding in justifying sinful men! Therefore, if God only succeeding in the salvation of but one disgraceful sinner, then His glory would be sung through the heavens for all eternity!
As an illustration of this I have, in the past, been asked to differentiate between "called and chosen," I can go in a number of different directions to answer: Those who are called include people who reject the invitation, and thus prove that they are not chosen (saved). That is Spurgeon's argument, a man who taught that Calvinism should be taught as the Gospel. An Arminian may respond that many are called to work in God's vineyard, but few retain the humility and submission onto God and begin to believe their righteousness is not of God, but of themselvesthus the falling away from the truth. But the Bible reveals that called or chosen is a type because God does not adapt those whom are not his children already. In biblical times a boy was not called a son until he came of age; and then he was proclaimed as his father's son and heir in a ceremony called huiothesia. Therefore, a man may have many boys, but only the sons are chosen as his heirs. Therefore "chosen" is a word of position rather than of relationship. When a person is born again from above they move from being a potential heir to the household of God to being a heir to the household of God. While Jesus Christ is the only begotten, or natural, Son of God, those who believe, the choosen, are the adopted sons of God. This gift is incomprehensible and the saints shall praise and glorify the Giver of this gift throughout all eternity!
There is a great and often overlooked lesson in 1 John 5:11-13, that we may know that we have eternal life: "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (emphasis mine). To quote Jesus Christ Himself, "And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"
The solemn fact remains that it is possible for a doubting man to come to a place where he is unable to believe. In John 12:39 it is declared of certain people that "they could not believe." And in the next verse quoting from several verses from Isaiah, we read, "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them." Therefore it is tragically possible for people to trifle with the word of God so long that their hearts become hardened and they are unable to believe. Unfortunately, the world is overflowing of living examples of this.
The word of God itself, unless it is believed, becomes a snare in this case, and through it the heart becomes hard and callous. It is vital to remember that God never reveals any truth to a man except to have that man obey the truth. If a man goes on believing, God goes on revealing, but if a man disbelieves and keeps disbelieving truths when they are presented to him, then the time comes when God no longer reveals truth to him and the eyes of the man are blinded to the truth and his heart is hardened. In 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 we read of "them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." This is solemn language and we all would do well to heed it.
On the Road to Maturity
To aid you in your investigation for the benefit of both your own growth and the growth of others that the Lord in heaven may have you touch, I believe it would be wise to heed advice put forth by Charles Finney that I have advanced upon:
Why stereotype your theological views? Why place God in a box? I have ceased to try and expect never to do so. The idea is preposterous. None but an omniscient mind can continue to maintain a precise identity of views and opinions. Finite minds, unless they are asleep or stultified by prejudice, must advance in knowledge. The discovery of new truth will modify old views and opinions enriching truths held fast to. There is perhaps no end to this process with finite minds in any world. True Christian consistency and maturity does not consist in stereotyping our opinions and views. We should not refuse to make any improvements to our faith fearful we should be guilty of change. Instead, we should hold our minds open to receive the rays of truth from every quarter and change our views, language and practice as often and as fast as we can obtain further information. This course alone accords with a Christian profession—the growing maturity one gains in their life-long walk in and with Christ. A Christian profession implies the profession of candor and of a disposition to know and obey all truth. It must follow that the road to Christian maturity implies continued investigation and change of views and practices corresponding with increasing knowledge. No Christian or theologian should be afraid to change his views, his language, or his practices in conformity with increasing light. The prevalence of such a fear would keep the world, at best, at a perpetual stand-still, on all subjects of science, and consequently all improvements would be precluded. We should be as the Boreans of Acts 17:11readily accepting all good news, but checking by the Scriptures as our only authority to see if it is true and trust not in ourselves, but in the righteous Spirit of the Almighty in heaven to morally convict us of His truth.
Adopting this attitude towards Scripture demands that you be both open-minded and fixed on a goal at the same time. Open to new light as it shines upon your conscious thought, and fixed in consideration not in your own knowledge, but upon the knowledge of the Lord with all consideration given to Him by the Holy Spirit. We are to approach the Scriptures with a childlike manor, absorbing all the details and wisdom it contains. We are not to approach the Bible as a pure rationalist would through the proposal of an idea and then trying to shove as much Scripture into that idea or pattern of thought as possible—hammering passages into submission that seek not to oblige us. Likewise, when we read Scripture we are not to argue against it; or seek to force points of a desirable theology we've become accustomed to. Rather, we are to encompass our beliefs by what the Scriptures teach us and modify our views as necessary to harmonize with the consistency of Scripture. For it is true that Scripture is internally consistent with itself, and it is also true that it is we, and our theology, that are at odds with Scripture.
Because men, upon discovery of a truth, are given to excess, it is wise to understand that it is at the extremes of beliefs, out in the margins of thought and idea's, where the enemy, called Satan, does his best work. For example: the hard determinist undermines the righteousness of our Lord in heavenfor by him it can be shown that he makes the Almighty Creator the author of sin (God Forbid!). Likewise, the hard self-determinist undermines the sovereignty of the Almighty and his own depravity by claiming he alone determines his destiny. It is in these and other realms of thought that the great battle for the souls of men take place. Therefore, it is not the flesh that we contend against, for we are all sinners, but against the dark principalities of thought that we take up the good fight.
My prayer for you dear brethren, is that your righteous prayers are magnified and that your lives bring glory not to yourselves, but to honor the Spirit in which you keep. Like onto that, dear skeptic, I pray that you deal honestly with the factsfor literally, God will bring an army of witnesses to you throughout your lifetime. This fact was the basis of Pascal's wager; that one cannot loose by wagering that God and immortality exist. Even if one is unable prove God or an afterlife, it is a good bet to believe in Him. We have nothing to loose, for if God does not exist, the life of a believer is a great life anyway. But if God does exist, then so much the more! It is a wager that we cannot avoid making. We must either believe in God or not. Since we cannot avoid betting, the odds overwhelmingly favor betting on God, therefore trust in Him.
God bless to one and all.
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