Archive for the ‘Born Again’ Category

How Biblically Illiterate America is Being Deceived

September 24, 2018

Back in September of 2016, someone recommended that I should read a book entitled, “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle.  In a previous post, I asked the question what do you think about Eckhart Tolle?   One of Talk Wisdom’s long time readers wrote that the book helped her and in her opinion, perhaps I was being too judgmental against the young man who had encouraged me to read it.

She wrote:

I decided to comment because I have read the power of now and I love it! I think it is a beautiful ode to Jesus’ teachings. I did not get anything but messages of love from it and I too felt compelled to share it as I share bible verses. I guess your post made me feel bad about that, as if I was somehow not as good of a Christian when this book has brought me nothing but joy and strength in my Christianity.

Of course, it isn’t my intention to harm anyone’s “joy and strength in [their] Christianity.”  However, we are warned in the book of Jude* that there will be “certain men [who] have crept in unnoticed” who are “ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[fn] and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Readers can to go that previous link (above) to read the rest of the conversation.

Today, I read a very comprehensive post about Tolle and his book at CIC Ministry.org.

I need to acknowledge Truth 2 Freedom’s blog for sharing an excerpt from that commentary which led me to the CIC Ministry website.

First, I want to say that I understand that many people are on their own life’s journey and along the way, they may find themselves taking a “detour” while searching for truth.  Been there, done that!  I was raised in the Catholic church, and when I read and studied the Bible, the encounter of Nicodemus and Jesus Christ led me towards the need to be born again.

[Please see John 3 and this excellent commentary.]

When individuals find something that works for them (in the here and now) as did Tolle’s book for both the young man in my previous post and commenter Jennifer, my goal is not to disparage them in any way. My goal is to hopefully steer them toward God’s truth – which is found only in the Bible.

Here is an excerpt from the CIC Ministry essay:

The “Pain-body” and Interconnectedness

 

A common theme in neo-paganism is the transpersonal soul and interconnectedness of all things.6 Tolle’s pantheism has the same theme. In his case he posits the existence of a “pain-body” which is something like karma. He says:

 

Strictly speaking, you don’t think: Thinking happens to you . . . The voice in the head has a life of its own. Most people are at the mercy of that voice; they are possessed by thought, by the mind. And since the mind is conditioned by the past, you are forced to reenact the past again and again. The Eastern term for this is karma. (Tolle: 129)

Tolle explains that we have been “mind-possessed” and a false self (ego) has developed that is identified with the mind and thinking (which is a bad thing). The emotions are also a dimension of the ego and they are problematic as well. Then there is the “pain-body” that connects us to all the negative vibrations of the human race. Our problems are not just ours, but those of the unconscious human race who went before us. Tolle describes the “pain-body” in its individual manifestation:

 

The remnants of pain left behind by every strong negative emotion that is not fully faced, accepted, and then let go of join together to form an energy field that lives in the very cells of your body. It consists not just of childhood pain, but also painful emotions that were added to it later in adolescence and during your adult life, much of it created by the voice of the ego [i.e. thinking]. It is the emotional pain that is your unavoidable companion when a false sense of self is the basis of your life. (Tolle: 142)

Keep in mind that the “false sense of self” is the belief that we have a unique, independent existence, that our personal identities are meaningful, and that our unique identities can be defined objectively. The true self is consciousness of Presence, I Am, Now, and other ways of describing deity. It appears to me that Tolle’s pain-body idea is a replacement for the biblical idea of sin. Our problem is not that we have rebelled against the unique creator God who has given us His moral law, but that we have allowed our thoughts, emotions, and addiction to forms to define us and keep us from becoming conscious (i.e., aware of our deity).

In this scheme of things, there is also interconnectivity or collective karma:

 

The pain-body, however, is not just individual in nature. It also partakes of the pain suffered by countless humans throughout the history of humanity, which is a history of continuous tribal warfare, of enslavement, pillage, rape, torture, and other forms of violence. This pain still lives in the collective psyche of humanity and is being added to on a daily basis. (Tolle: 142, 143)

So this “pain-body” is a huge problem, endemic to the human race, and the cause of the many problems we encounter. The solution for Tolle, of course, is to realize that it is illusion, escape from thought that attaches us to ego, and awaken to our real identity as I Am.

Christ has a role in helping us with this problem of pain-body suffering:

 

Why is the suffering body of Christ, his face distorted in agony and his body bleeding from countless wounds, such a significant image in the collective consciousness of humanity? Millions of people, particularly in medieval times, would not have related to it as deeply as they did if something within themselves had not resonated with it, if they had not unconsciously recognized it as an outer representation of their own inner reality—the pain-body. . . . Christ can be seen as the archetypal human, embodying both the pain and the possibility of transcendence. (Tolle: 144)

Tolle introduces the idea of Christ, and cites Jesus often as a teacher of the new consciousness. But he makes no effort to actually understand what the Bible tells us about the person and work of Christ. Christ came to die for sins, not to embody pain and possible transcendence. God’s wrath is directed against sin. That wrath is satisfied for believers by the once-for-all shed blood that Christ offered. The new consciousness “Christ” that Tolle describes is not the Christ of the Bible. We do not need to merely identify with Christ as the one suffering pain, but to repent and believe the gospel. But that idea will not be presented by Oprah through her huge media network. Instead, Tolle and his ilk get massive promotion. People are attracted to such a “Christ,” but this attraction does them no good; rather it leads them to further deception.

Take note that the ideas presented by Tolle are offered as the wisdom of the spiritual masters that he has gleaned, modified, and presented as the means of obtaining the “new earth.” He sees no need to present evidence or proof that the universe is as he says it is. It would be counterproductive, in his way of thinking, to do so. Why? Because evidence causes our minds to spring into action and analyze things, and thoughts are the problem—the awakened consciousness is the solution.

Thus we see odd claims tossed our way with no evidence reinforce them. Consider these statements:

 

Thoughts consist of the same energy vibrating at a higher frequency than matter, which is why they cannot be seen or touched. Thoughts have their own range of frequencies, with negative thoughts at the lower end of the scale and positive thoughts at the higher. The vibrational frequency of the pain-body resonates with that of negative thoughts. (Tolle: 147)Thus our collective pain-body is attracted to negative thoughts, which causes addiction to unhappiness. Here is why: “This is because the pain-body at that time [when you have negative thoughts] is living through you, pretending to be you. And to the pain-body, pain is pleasure” (Tolle: 147).

I think this sort of idea is what attracts many people to the Oprah/Tolle understanding of spirituality. If the negative thoughts their listeners and readers wish to be rid of are merely a pain-body (that is, not them) resonating at a lower frequency, then perhaps finding a different state of consciousness would solve the problem. The problem is not our own sin and guilt, but an unfortunate equating the interconnected pain and guilt of unconscious humanity with who we really are. If we find a way to awaken to the reality of our own divinity, all that pain will instantly disappear. It will be seen for the unreality it is.

But is there any reason to believe this material which has no evidence for its veracity? What if it is all a lie and our guilt really is our guilt and it needs expiation not relegation to the category of “illusion”?

Good question, isn’t it?

There is much, much more to read, so I suggest going over to CIC Ministry.org to read the entire commentary.

Today, there are so many different viewpoints being expressed by various Christian denominations, it can be difficult to ascertain what is truth via the Bible vs. human errors that can be taught due to social and politically “correct” ideology.

With that said, I also suggest reading about the Berean Bible Society.  People may ask, what does Berean mean?

Answer:

What is a “berean” anyway?

Thanks for asking. We get asked that a lot. Being called a Berean comes from Acts 17:10-11. In verse 11 it says that those from Berea (hence, the Bereans) were nobler than the people in Thessalonica because they “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”So, when we say that someone is a “Berean” we mean that they do two things: (1) They have an open mind and willingly receive the Word of God when it is taught to them and (2) But then, they check out what they were taught by comparing it with the Scriptures.Both aspects are important. Some people are so closed-minded that they will not even listen to anything new or that might threaten what they already know. Others are so gullible that they accept whatever is told them without ever checking it against what the Bible says. Both extremes are to be avoided.

A Berean is one who has a balanced viewpoint. We listen to what someone has to say because we are eager to learn the word of God more perfectly. We realize that we have not learned it all. But then, we take what we have heard and compare it with the Bible. Then, if both match, we have learned something and increased our knowledge of God’s Word, rightly divided.

*******

*Jude 1:4
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[fn] and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I truly believe that it is more compassionate to share the truth of the Bible with people who may get trapped in deception!

And yes!  It can be painful for both the person currently “in the fire” as well as the Christian who is trying to “pull them out of the fire,” right?

Isn’t the reward of eternal life worth it?

Jude 1:20
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

Jude 1:21
keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Jude 1:22
And on some have compassion, making a distinction;[fn]

Jude 1:23
but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,[fn] hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Jude 1:24
Now to Him who is able to keep you[fn] from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

Jude 1:25
To God our Savior,[fn]
Who alone is wise,[fn]
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,[fn]
Both now and forever.
Amen.

Hat tips to all links.

For I am persuaded…

February 27, 2016

A blogging friend of mine on his private blog recently wrote about the fact that it seems as though politicians need to put on a disguise in order to appeal to the ideology of the voters that they want to attract to their campaign.

In a recent discussion with my 28 yr. old daughter, she told me that she doesn’t like any of the presidential candidates on either side!  However, she hasn’t studied their ideologies or campaigns yet.  I encouraged her to do that.  Sometimes it comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils.

When another celebrity (Arnold S.) ran for governor of California I could not vote for him.  Instead, I voted for Tom McClintock.  Tom didn’t win the election but I have never regretted that particular vote; especially with how horrible Arnold was as governor and the scandals he was involved in.

I have observed over the years that the same need for disguising oneself is often true of judges. We have found that the Supreme Court judges that were nominated and confirmed by Republican presidents in the past have often turned out not to be as conservative as they previously claimed!

Recently I read about a secret meeting between 0zero and Justice Scalia just hours before his death. In another blog thread (need to find it) there was evidence of a “cease and desist” order which threatened against people reporting this or blogging about it!

79% of Americans believe with great certainty that there absolutely was foul play involved! The criminality of this BADministration is so blatantly evil it hurts my heart, mind, and soul to even think about it anymore! What’s more, they don’t even hide their pact with Satan!

WND:
Obama picks side in ‘hail Satan’ abortion fight

Administration to argue on behalf of industry against safety regulations for women

We are certainly in the throes of the end times! The evidence is so clear and all around us! Thank God for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior for we know Who wins in the end!

God’s written Word, the Bible, and God’s Living Word, Jesus Christ comfort us through all the pain and suffering in this fallen world!  Nothing can touch my spirit because Jesus Christ has promised me (as well as all those born-again in Christ) that He will never leave me or forsake me!


Rom 8:38

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

Rom 8:39

nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Hat tip:  My friend Steve!

Hat tips to all links.

Headlines Cause Us to Eagerly Await Christ’s Return for His Own

July 29, 2015

My blogging friend Black3Actual has two posts up that every person who happens to come to this blog should read today!

Oil For Your Lamp: UNDERSTANDING SCRIPTURE: God’s Love Will NOT Save You From Hell!

Within the post, Rob Bell is described as an “ex-pastor” who now falls more in line with those teaching heresy because this ex-pastor does not adhere to the full Gospel of Jesus Christ. As our author at the link excellently points out, Bell is more of an “itching ears” type of preacher. [See 2 Timothy 4:3-4]

Myths like Bell’s views do not save ANYONE. In fact, he is guilty of turning people to the wayside where they will miss the true totality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and thus end up lost for all eternity. It REALLY MATTERS who you listen to in this day and age of deception!

Next, Black3Actual wrote a post entitled News Headlines Affirm OYL Posts: Islam Working Toward End Of Days!.

Excerpt:

I have written about the importance of the black flags of Islam and how the Obama/Iran deal is setting the stage for Christ’s return.  I am fully aware that those who do not believe the Bible do not believe what I have been trying to explain, but I cannot help them.  They have chosen to remain willfully ignorant.  For those who wish to see and understand, the signs are coming more often and more clearly every day.  Just this week the news has started to affirm and support everything I have been trying to explain.  This story is just one such example:

Islamic State recruitment document seeks to provoke ‘end of the world’

Whether you believe in Bible or Islamic prophecy or not, ISIS does and it is working to bring about the fulfillment of their prophecies.  Ignoring them is no different from the Allies ignoring the clear declarations by Hitler of what he intended to do.

Read the rest: News Headlines Affirm OYL Posts: Islam Working Toward End Of Days!.

Oil For Your Lamp is a blog that I highly recommend as a daily read! Add the link to your favorites so that visitors to your own blogs will find this Holy Spirit led writer’s posts!

The Gospel of Christ can be revealed and understood by a child!

Mat 11:25

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

Mat 19:14

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Mat 18:3

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

However, once a person trusts in Christ and is saved, the next step is the study of Scripture (including knowing about end times prophecy) for it is a life-long endeavor!  We have “never arrived” while here on this earth regarding the Wisdom, Knowledge, Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness and the All Encompassing Love of God!  However, the Bible tells us that one day we will know!

1Jo 3:2

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

There are certain individuals who will not heed the warnings that Christians are sharing. However, we know that there will be (and are, right now!) a remnant who are born-again in Christ.  We also can celebrate the fact that there are Christians who are well-informed regarding Bible prophecy. We are heeding what Jesus told us regarding “the signs of the times” and sharing this information with the lost.

My hope is that there will be many more who are quickened by the Holy Spirit of God, knocking on the door of their hearts,  to come to repentance at the cross of Christ. Only His shed blood can… not just “cover” sins temporarily as was the purpose of the shed blood of unblemished animals in the Old Testament… but permanently take away our sins!  Belief in Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life;  for only He provides the mercy and grace in order to be reconciled back unto God.

Jesus Christ was the final sacrifice for sins, and His resurrection back unto life proves His claim that He is the Son of God, the Messiah who was long awaited throughout biblical history. Jesus Christ brings us back unto God for the “it is finished” forgiveness that we all so desperately need!

As we eagerly await Christ’s return for His own (the Rapture), we need to preach the true Gospel, watch for the signs of the times, work for His kingdom, and evangelize those who do not know Him. All that we can do is share the Gospel, as Jesus instructed us to do just before His ascension into heaven.

It is God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, who ultimately does the saving!  He will be with us ALWAYS – even unto the end of the world!

Hat tip:
Oil For Your Lamp

Please see:

How To Know God Personally.

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.” – Gandhi

July 7, 2015

Years ago, I ran across a post that contained a statement attributed to Gandhi at another blog:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Ouch!

At first glance it is a most sobering condemnation against those of the Christian faith. Granted, Christians make mistakes while trying to witness to others. Jesus chose his followers, imperfect human beings that we are, to be his representatives here on earth. We are to spread the Gospel message throughout the world.

We have a whole range of evangelists. A preacher like Billy Graham who has been an awesome representative for Christ and we have other preachers who may be hurting our cause. But God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The reason Billy Graham is loved by millions and rarely, if ever, condemned for his preaching is because he focuses on Jesus Christ and the Gospel message.

This, then, makes me wonder. Should Gandhi have been judging his personal decision regarding Jesus Christ only upon Christs’ followers (whom he disliked and condemned) or should he have made the judgment strictly upon Jesus Christ and who He is as revealed in the Scriptures?  Tim Challies has a great answer to that question.

Another popular argument of non-Christians is their claim that because there are so many denominations that conflict with each other, how is one to find the truth?

There are certain facts that tie and bind all true Christians.

1.  The first one is the fact that we have been born again in Christ. In order to be born again in Christ, we confess and repent of our sins and invite Jesus into our lives to guide us into all truth. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit reminds us of what Jesus taught and refers us to the Scriptures.

2.  The second fact is that we teach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

When the movie “The Passion of the Christ” came out, there were many different denominations in agreement on most aspects of that movie. You could name any Protestant, Evangelical, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, (can include many others too) branch of Christianity here and it is the one thing that they all agree upon.

Why is that?

Because at Pentecost, Jesus sent the Helper, that is, the Holy Spirit. He guides Christians into all truth. The side issues and traditions that may divide the denominations fall away.

It all comes down to this: the Gospel message is the uniter of all true Christians.

We must “beware the ‘cross-less’ Gospel.”* [See explanation at end of post.]

Those “churches” who do not teach the need for repentance for sin are guilty of heresy. Yes. There are some sects/cults that are “severed branches,” if you will. We are told in the book of Jude to avoid them because they lead people into heresy and apostasy. This is why you must be diligent and read the Scriptures so you can “rightly divide the Word of Truth!” If you are attending a church that teaches “the cross-less Gospel,” run! Find another church immediately!

I have met many born-again, Bible believing Christians via message boards and blogs. Genuine Christians whom I have never met personally, are in full agreement with the main message of the Scriptures. You see, there is a difference between those who would use exegesis, hermeneutics and Sola Scripture (which are tools to extract the original meaning of the writers in the Bible) vs. those who use “eisegesis,” (which means determining their own interpretations) of what Scripture is saying.

We see “eisegesis” being utilized very vividly in the homosexual behavior affirming churches. The only people who have been caught up in the sin of homosexuality (or any other sin, for that matter) and will make it into heaven with God are the repentant ones.

Even repentant murderers who confess and are born again after their crimes and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior avoid hell and will live for eternity in heaven with God.

In eyes of men, that may not seem “fair.” But the thoughts of God are infinitely higher and are certainly not limited to the thoughts of man.

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

God affords grace and mercy to those who look upon Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death as the only substitutionary propitiation which is acceptable to God the Father for the forgiveness of their sins.

People who know Jesus and become children of God will avoid the penalty of death (the second death…an eternity away from God in hell).

The unsaved who refuse the quickening of the Holy Spirit, (who is urging them from outside their souls to make that decision for Christ) will die with their own sins on their souls. That is the choice for all of mankind. We either agree with God that we are sinners who are desperately in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ, or we die in our sins and remain reprobate and separated from the God who is trying to save us…forever.

Eternity is a long, long….time!

Dear reader, what is your decision?

I pray that you change your heart towards God!  If you are currently of the mindset that leads you to “hate Christians,” I plead with you not to let Satan use your obvious dislike and hatred for many Christian believers as an excuse to reject Jesus. Knowingly or unknowingly, Satan is influencing you to focus on the behavior of other Christians and not on Whom you should be focusing on…Jesus Christ. Jesus was the only Perfect Man who ever lived. You won’t find perfection in anyone else…including Christian believers.

Once born again, a Christian does not have his/her free will taken away. We still live in a fallen world and have that fallen nature. The huge difference is, he/she has the added influence of the Holy Spirit indwelling within the soul to guide us into all truth. Our love for Jesus compels us to live righteously for Him because He alone is Holy. If you would focus on what is being shared about Christ, and not judge the person who is sharing it, then you will not let a Christian’s imperfect nature affect you so negatively.

My daughter once gave me a license plate frame for my car which poignantly reads: “Christians are not perfect;  just forgiven by a God who is.

*******

*Beware the Cross-less Gospel

by Roger Chilvers

I watched a television program that featured interviews with a number of people at a well-known evangelical church. One person after the another gave testimony about how their lives had been changed: “I came to this church and was thrilled about what I saw. God changed my life.” Someone else said, “I was a drug addict, and God dealt with that.” Every testimony mentioned God, but in that whole program Jesus was mentioned only once. What Christ did on the cross was not mentioned at all.

In preaching today, generally speaking, the cross hardly features – sometimes Jesus doesn’t even feature. We have a duty to make the cross of Christ central in our evangelism. The Bible says that the cross is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23). The Jews thought, “How could anyone preach about the Messiah DYING ON A CROSS? Don’t the Scriptures say that anyone who dies on a cross is cursed by God?” As for Gentiles – who didn’t have or care about the Old Testament Scriptures – the whole idea was complete foolishness. The verse uses the Greek word moros, from which we get “moron.” You have to be a moron to preach and believe in a dying Savior. Can you see the temptation to put the cross off to the side?

Sometimes you hear people say, quite rightly, “Jesus will give you a purpose for living.” Without a doubt he does, but that is not why He came. Others say that He came as a good example to follow. He is the greatest example to follow, but again, that is not at the heart of why He came, “Jesus came to give us joy in a world of unhappiness and misery,” some say. But that was not why He came either. And great though His peace is, He didn’t come to give us peace.

John tells us why Jesus came: “He appeared so that he might take away our sins” (1 John 3:5, NIV). We need reminding of this. Otherwise, in our evangelism we may say, “Have some peace, have some joy, have some happiness, have a purpose for living, have an example to follow.” Although Jesus does give these things, they are not the central point. We may find these things apart from Jesus, but apart from Him we will never find forgiveness of sins.

We can understand the centrality of the cross from three different perspectives: What does it mean to God? to us? to Satan?

THE CROSS FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE

The Bible says, “We have an advocate with the Father; Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:1-2, KJV). Propitiation is the means by which God’s anger is assuaged; His anger is dealt with, and God is made favorable toward us.

Some have said it is barbaric to think that God’s anger needs to be assuaged by blood. They say, “How can a sacrifice that makes an angry God favorable be given by the God who is angry in the first place? And what about God’s love?”

But it is precisely because God loves us that He had to deal with our sin – and it is on the basis of this that we are accepted. Jesus could die a thousand deaths and yet not achieve salvation for us unless God were satisfied with the sacrifice. Yet the question remains: How can God be both the One who provides the sacrifice that makes Him propitious and be the One who receives the sacrifice?

The simple answer is that God’s holiness demands propitiation.

God is blisteringly angry about our every single sin. You can see the awfulness of sin only by seeing what it did to His one and only lovely Son. If God looked at a sin and said, “Well, I’m not too bothered about that one,” there would be injustice in His character. God retains His honor by giving His Son.

God unfolded a plan that both showed His unbelievably strong anger at sin and His infinitely strong love for us. He sent His Son and punished Him on our behalf. “The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14, NIV). No other message beside the cross is able to deal with the root problem of man’s sin in relation to the justice and holiness of God.

 

THE CROSS FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE

The heart of the Gospel is that through Jesus – and His work as our Substitute – God did for us what we could never do for ourselves. The punishment for our sin was dealt with by a substitute: Namely, Jesus. The Bible says, “When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6, NIV). The Greek word translated “for” means “on behalf of.” The word is used repeatedly concerning Jesus: “While we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV).

In our evangelism it is so important that we grasp this because it tells us that when Jesus died on the cross He died on behalf of someone. There is no greater news than the glorious news that Jesus took our place on the cross. We are sinners by nature, but “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV). What a breathtaking verse!

THE CROSS FROM SATAN’S PERSPECTIVE

The Bible calls Satan “the accuser” in Revelation 12:10. He whispers, “You cannot possibly expect God to accept you. You have a disgusting imagination. Look at those things you’ve done – your deceitfulness, your hatred and bitterness. You call yourself a child of God? ” And to God, Satan says, in effect, “If You are just at all, You cannot possibly forgive his/her sins and accept him/her. Your justice demands that he/she be punished.”

But John tells us how such accusations are dealt with: “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1, KJV). Generally, an advocate will stand up before a judge and plead on behalf of the accused something like this, “My lord, yes, he is not perfect – he has failed- but he is now a kind and helpful citizen, and I am bringing witnesses to testify to his good character.” In so doing, the advocate pleads for the judge to be lenient.

Jesus, as our Advocate, doesn’t work that way. When Satan accuses, Jesus says to His Father, “Everything You said about him is true. He is wicked; he is sinful. There is not one good thing about him. But, Father, You cannot punish him because the punishment already has been paid – by Me.”

The Father looks to the sacrifice of the Son to see that the punishment was paid in full. Atonement made, acceptance guaranteed – and we are free. This is what is meant by Jesus being our Substitute.

“Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free,
For God, the Just, is satisfied,
To look on Him and pardon me.” **

Jesus provided for our greatest need – the forgiveness of sin. Apart from Him it could never happen. That is why the cross must be at the heart of our evangelism.

** From “Before the Throne of God Above,” by Charitie Lee Bancroft

Hat tips to all links.

Natural Man is Blinded to Spiritual Things

June 28, 2015

 

I found an enlightening article that goes into more detail regarding what Jesus meant, (as well as what the terms commonly meant to first century Jews) when He told Nicodemus in John 3:3 that he must be “born again” in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Christine

*******

 

“Born Again”

Though some people regard the phrase, “born again,” as modern lingo denoting enthusiastic Christians, Jesus Himself used the expression to describe those who have experienced genuine salvation. However, the idiom didn’t originate at His encounter with Nicodemus in John 3.

To the first century Jew, “born again” was a commonly understood term for certain rites of passage in a man’s life. Six different events were so labeled in Rabbinic Judaism. The first was the bar mitzvah (literally, “son of the commandment”), a confirmation ritual whereby 13-year-old boys entered manhood and shared the moral and religious responsibilities of the adult community. A man was said to be “born again” a second time when he married, and the expression was also used if he was ordained as a rabbi. Becoming the head of a rabbinic academy—a position open only to rabbis who were married—was a fourth time the term applied. The final two usages of “born again” were a Gentile’s conversion to Judaism and a man being crowned king.

In light of this, the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3:1-21 becomes more understandable. Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council known as the Sanhedrin, is identified as a “ruler of the Jews” and “the teacher of Israel” (vv. 1,10). As such, he was obviously considered “born again” in the first four ways listed, namely, he was bar mitzvahed, married, ordained, and a rabbi in leadership.

So when Jesus said to him, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 3), Nicodemus was naturally confused—he had already been “born again” in all of the four ways available to him. Notice his response: “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (v. 4) He was thinking that the only way to go through any of those rites of passage would be to start physical life over as a baby.

The Lord met Nicodemus where he was and then broadened his understanding to include the spiritual: “…Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (vv. 5-6). Though his comprehension was incomplete that night, Nicodemus later showed evidence he understood another way to be born again. (John 7:50; 19:39)

This article is based on the manuscript Nicodemus—A Rabbi’s Quest by Arnold Fruchtenbaum. For more information, visit http://www.ariel.org/.

With that in mind, let’s look at reasons why people who do not understand Christian faith often ridicule, denigrate, and even hate Jesus Christ, hate the Word of God – the Bible,  as well as hate those of us who wholeheartedly believe in God’s Living Word – Jesus Christ, and God’s written Word – the Bible.

First of all, it is a fact that natural man is blinded to spiritual things.  How do I know this?  Because I have been there.

Non-believers, skeptics, agnostics and atheists often attempt to use logical reasoning to explain away humanity’s need for redemption. In their prideful hearts and minds, Jesus Christ dying on the cross for man’s sins is a ridiculous notion.

In my discussions with several people who reject Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and subsequent resurrection to life, I have often found similarity in the reasons they hold for such rejection. When I share, explain and exhort the Gospel message they not only out rightly reject that message, they also cannot comprehend God’s truths as revealed in the Bible.

Why?

The Bible calls such incomprehension as beingspiritually discerned.”

1 Corinthians 2:14 – But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

In Pastor Chuck Smith’s commentary, he simply states:

v. 14 The natural man is blinded to spiritual things.

In Pastor Chuck Smith’s sermon notes, he goes into great detail about what is the natural man? He also shares many Scripture links which describe why natural man is indeed “blinded” to spiritual things.

In this post, I’d like to particularly focus on the following sermon notes:

B. What does Paul have to say about the natural man?

1 “He receives not the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness unto him.”

a. You try to talk to him about spiritual things and you may as well be talking to a Barbie Doll.

b. There is absolutely no comprehension.

c. Sometimes they will listen patiently if they are cultured, and others will just get angry and scream at you.

Been there; experienced that!

Pastor Smith goes on to explain:

a. They are spiritually discerned.

b. So he lacks the faculties by which they are known and understood, (i.e. the spiritual nature).

c. You might say with equal logic, the blind man cannot appreciate the beauty of a sunset.

d. The deaf man cannot know the glories of the symphony.

e. They lack the faculties by which these things are known.

Many of the people who reject the Gospel of Christ are intelligent; often extremely intelligent.

So what is the problem?

Why can’t they grasp what born-again believers in Christ are sharing?

Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that logical reasoning is not an absolute law that governs the universe, nor is it a set of rules that govern behavior.

One must decide whether logic is the right “tool” for the job. There are other ways to communicate, discuss and debate.

Jesus tells us in John 3:3 – Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Just two verses down in John 3:5, Jesus says it again – Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

And then again in John 3:7 – Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Must be extremely important because Jesus mentions it three times within 5 sentences (verses)!!

What must happen before being born again? One must have faith in who Jesus is!!

Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

Faith is daring the soul to believe what the eyes cannot see.

Logical irreverence dictates, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” whereas faithful devotion enables one to “believe it, then I’ll see it.”

Intellectual pride, rationalizations and excuses all keep people from God. The Gospel seems foolish to those who forsake faith and rely on their own understanding.

What happens to those who are not born again in the Spirit through Jesus Christ?

Romans 8:9 – But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

We don’t belong to Christ until we are born again of the Spirit!! All the church going, tithing, chorus singing, good deed doing, works of the flesh etc. will not make you one of His!

When Jesus ask us, “Who do you say that I am?” what is your response??

Matthew 16:16 – And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

John 6:69 – And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus emphasizes the importance of faith:

“Because you have seen me, you have believed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)


The Last Refuge

Rag Tag Bunch of Conservative Misfits - Contact Info: TheLastRefuge@reagan.com

Standing in Grace

...this grace in which we now stand. — Rom 5:2

The End Time

Exalting the name of Jesus through Christian essays

Michelle Lesley

Discipleship for Christian Women

The Acceptable Digest

"Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it ..." Song of Solomon 8:7

On the Edge Again

Life happens. I hope to encourage everyone in bad times!

Cooking with Kathy Man

Celebrating delicious and healthy food

Talk Wisdom

Talk Wisdom's goal is to defend the tenets and values of Biblical Christian faith. We defend our Constitutional Republic and Charters of Freedom, especially when speaking out against destructive social and political issues. As followers of our Savior and Lord, we should boldly stand up for Jesus Christ in our present circumstances. He is our Savior, Lord, and King, and His love needs to be shed abroad in our hearts and in our world - now.

WINTERY KNIGHT

...integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Cry and Howl

Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off. I Kings 20:11

pastorwardclinton

Pastor Ward Clinton is a pastor in the Church of The Nazarene and author of a handful of books.

GraceLife Blog

Thoughts About God's Amazing Grace

True Discernment

2 Timothy 4:3-4

Eternity Matters

We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Centinel2012

De Oppresso Liber

The Oil for Your Lamp

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6)

Walter Bright

Refining theological understanding. Sharpening ethical rigor. Heightening devotional intensity.

Kingsjester's Blog

Opinions from a Christian American Conservative

As Seen Through the Eyes of Faith

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17) KJV

Daniel B. Wallace

Executive Director of CSNTM & Senior Research Professor of NT Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary

The Master's Table

God honoring, Christ Centered

Truth2Freedom's Blog

"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" - George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their tabloid news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting - this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

Citizen WElls

Obama eligibility, Obama news

drkatesview

Thoughts on Our Constitutional Republic

We the People of the United States

Fighting the Culture War, One Skirmish at a Time

partneringwitheagles

WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT...

Be Sure You're RIGHT, Then Go Ahead

"Our threat is from the insidious forces working from within which have already so drastically altered the character of our free institutions — those institutions we proudly called the American way of life. " -- Gen. Douglas MacArthur

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.