Etikettarkiv | grace

Looking at a woman to lust after her means adultery and sin? Matt. 5:28

lustIt is not possible to commit adultery unless you’re married

If a man looks at a woman with the precise aim ”to lust after her”, it is a sin according to the teaching of Jesus Christ. However, Jesus does not say that it is a sin to simply look at a woman and find her attractive. The sin in question is adultery, and it is not possible to commit adultery unless you are married.

Matt. 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman TO LUST AFTER HER hath committed ADULTERY with her already in his heart. (KJV)

The sixth commandment: ”Thou shalt not commit adultery”

Based on the verse Matt. 5:28, a man commits adultery (is unfaithful to his wife) if he looks at a woman to lust after her. This means that this verse is in reference to those who are married and who still choose to look at a women with the aim to lust after her. This statement was a surprise to many of the pharisees since they likely were of the view that you could only be an adulterer unless you actually committed the physical act of adultery and/or broke up a marriage.

What about those who are not married? Are they free to look at women with the aim to lust after them, and particularly if the women are unmarried, in order to not break the 10th commandment which says ”Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s”? No, even though Matt. 5:28 is in reference to married men, the fact is still that our thoughts and intentions reveal our inner thoughts and our true intentions. Do we stay away from temptations as much as we can, or do we seek to be tempted? This is how we will be judged:

Rom. 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

We can read in the Bible that one man and one woman are meant to be one flesh (Mark 10:8), and that a marriage is supposed to be for life. (At least this is the ideal situation.) In order to achieve this goal, we are created to be attracted to the opposite sex, but also with the possibility to be in power over our own bodies. Since 1+1=2, it is not good for a man to purposely look for tempting situations with other women which could easily lead to sin.

God knows if we happen to end up in a tempting situation with no fault of our own, and he knows what we do to get out of the situation (if anything). He knows our possibilities and our limitations and he does not demand the impossible from us but what is possible. We are human beings with free will, and no robots:

1 Cor. 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God created man to be attracted to the female body and this means that women would do well to not tempt men by dressing too revealing. When it comes to such female temptations, the attacks from the devil can perhaps be viewed as more severe today compared with Biblical times, because many women unfortunately dress themselves as though they were prostitutes (encouraged and normalized by the current world view) and there are loads of pornographic material available. Many men have confessed to be addicted to pornography, so the best way is to not even start watching such material in the first place. Watching pornography is usually optional (if we do not count the times when they are forced upon someone, such as in a liberal class room) and can therefore be avoided. It is harder to get away from other types of temptations – for example if your class mates or colleagues at work do not dress modestly. Each individual can still do his best to skip as many spiritual attacks as possible, even if he cannot avoid all tempting and awkward situations. During the time of Paul, people married at an early age so they did not have to wait that long to be husband and wife, and they were generally not affected by the same pressure and sex propaganda as today’s school children.

It is important to remember that temptations are not sins in themselves. Also Jesus was tempted just like us, and he never sinned. It is giving in for temptations which is a sin. To involve even more people in one’s sinful behavior is of course even worse. If someone is guilty of sin, he must confess his sins, ask for forgiveness and start walking in the light. There is hope for everyone!:

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. —-9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Bible does not say that it is a sin for an unmarried man to fall in love with another unmarried woman, and to feel mutual love and attraction for each other. It is enough to read in the song of Solomon to realize this much. This Biblical book also concerns God’s love for Israel, but it still involves a romantic communication between two unmarried individuals who feel an attraction for each other. We are created to be two in one union. Adam initially lacked something in his life when he was alone on earth, and Eve was created for him to make their union perfect. It is natural for a young person to seek a soul mate in his/her life and to long for a life long companionship where even the bed is shared. We generally do not feel complete without the other half, just like in Adam’s case, and that means that it is natural to look for our other half. This is not a sin!

A life long relationship is of course not only about a physical attraction but about being attracted to a special person who shares the same moral values and outlook on life. If we do find this someone and there is mutual attraction, it is not a sin to also feel a physical attraction. Paul says The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife”.  

1 Cor. 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

Paul’s advice for singles is not ”Simply avoid having an attraction for each other, because it is a sin. Just stop having such feelings!”. Instead his advice is actually to get married, for it is better to marry than to burn … With other words, such normal feelings are hard to just shut off based on a decision because we are created into sexual beings and even to replenish the earth. This does not mean that we are unable to control our bodies.

1 Cor. 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

It would rather be unnatural for a young engaged couple to not have any physical/sexual attraction for each other. Both still have the responsibility to not tempt the other person, but to save the gift of a physical union until the wedding. I believe that a young couple will be very blessed if they decide to wait until the marriage with their intimate relations. This is also a sign of true love for each other, and that each person places God first in his life.  Eccl. 4:12 ”—  a threefold cord is not quickly broken”.

More from the same chapter lust 2

Understanding Matt. 5:28 is important since loads of men (particularly young, single men) erroneously believe that they are sinners just because they happen to meet a woman on the street who they find extremely sexy and attractive. They might also believe that they are sinners because they happen to see a billboard with an attractive woman that they would like to take a second look at. Still, this does not mean that it is a good idea to make room for further fantasies about these women without making any attempts whatsoever to halt the thoughts.

God is always willing to forgive a humble heart.

Unfortunately many Christians view Matt. 5:28 as support for man’s inability to be faithful to God and to obey his commandments. Maybe their erroneous thoughts go something like this:

”Since Matt. 5:28 tells me that I am failed human being no matter what I do, I can just as well give into other sins once in a while, as long as I don’t overdo it – like watching pornographic films, like going to the beach and look at half dressed women to lust for them in my mind, and even go to bed with a woman. I’m saved anyway, and even my pastor at church tells us that God doesn’t see our sins but only the blood of Jesus, and that no one can stop sinning and that this is precisely why Jesus died for us, that faith + nothing saves us, that it’s man’s sinful nature that makes him sin, that God accepts us if we only confess our sins every day and do our best, once saved always saved, Jesus is our righteousness and that means that we don’t have to be righteous too, etc. In fact, there is only one detestable sin that could jeopardize your salvation and that is if you start teaching that there is something you must DO to stay saved and that it is possible to obey God’s commandments. God gets very upset with that type of legalistic pharisaical attitude, but other than that you’re good to go. Sinning is natural, and not sinning is unnatural. We will not die because we’re Christians!”

In reality, it was the Serpent (Satan) who persuaded Eve that she could be saved despite sinning and he said ”Ye shall not surely die”. God does not give us commandments he knows we cannot obey. The problem is if we add to the commandments and make them impossible to follow, like the pharisees did. Read this passage from the same chapter (Matt. 5), and try to think which category fit you the best? The description in blue, or the the description in green? Which one are you? Do you break the commandments and teach others that it is impossible to obey God, or do you obey the commandments and teach others that it is possible to obey them?

Matt. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus does not teach us to give up, but that we can be perfect the way our Father in heaven is perfect. This mean that we can. In the same chapter we are told to love and pray for those who persecute us. Are we to believe that this is also impossible for us to follow, and that Jesus can obey this commandment for us and instead of us?

 Matt. 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 

The question should not be if we can be perfect (we can indeed according to Jesus) but what it means to be perfect. We know that it does not mean ”to never ever having sinned”, because Jesus said this to his disciples and they already had sin on their accounts. We can choose to repent and start walking in the light, and we do not get only one single chance to do it right.

Does God give us GRACE and mercy upon certain conditions?

rom-8

God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble

The Bible says that God does not want anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9), that Jesus has given light to all men (John 1:9) and that we have no excuse for rejecting him (Rom. 1:20-21) since we are created for the precise purpose to seek him and find him (Acts 17:26-27). In this way God shows mercy to all, and Jesus also died for ALL (or else people would definitely perish, which God does not want).

Grace, favor, kindness, thanks, pleasure and benefit are some possible translations of the Greek feminine noun χάρις (charis, Strong’s 5485) used 157 times in the KJV, and we also have the Greek neuter noun χάρισμα (charisma, Strong’s 5486) meaning something like a divine favor, used 17 times in the KJV.

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL MEN unto me.

Jesus Christ died for the whole world (John 3:15-17), so all are offered mercy/grace and must therefore not necessarily perish. We also know that not all people will choose to take the chance to be saved and rather prefer to live in darkness. The grace of God that brings salvation has been offered to ALL people, and the grace of God teaches us to stay away from sin here and now. We must not wait until death before we can stay faithful to God:

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL MEN,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world

Both in the Old and the New Testament the teaching is that we must forsake our old way of living and start living a holy live, in order to be given mercy.:

Isaiah 55:7 says ”Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

So even if all people have been provided a way to God’s kingdom, God still chooses to resist the proud (those who refuse to believe, and/or those who refuse to follow him and serve him only). In this sense God gives grace only to the humble, because only the humble will benefit from the grace that God has offered to all:

Ja. 4:6 But he giveth more grace (χάρις). Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace (χάρις) unto the humble.

1 Pet. 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Matt. 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The Bible does not teach ”once declared righteous, always righteous”. We will never be considered righteous unless we live righteous lives, and that goes for believers as well (see also Ez. 33). We are not ”free” to disobey God either in the old or the new testament:

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, 9 Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God. 20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

1 Pet. 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

In Romans 9 (the Calvinists’ favorite) we can read about God’s mercy, which is a translation from the Greek verb ἐλεέω (eleeō, Strong’s 1653), and the term to have compassion which is a translation from the Greek verb οἰκτίρω (oiktirō, Strong’s 3627). Naturally God can choose to have mercy and compassion to whoever he wants, like those who have repented for their sins and who continue to follow him. You can read more about Rom. 9 in this article and this.

Rom. 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.—15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

We can also fall from grace, as you can read more about here. Examples:

Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel

Gal. 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace

Hebr. 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled

Calvinism is man-centered, and elect individuals have reasons to be proud

proudDue to my concern for christians trapped in Calvinism (and others who are at risk), I include the below text parts from Jesse Morell. I believe that the doctrines within Calvinism unfortunately and inevitably encourage christians to remain in their sins, but that doesn’t mean that I believe that all who call themselves calvinists must be major sinners. Still, the doctrines are dangerous (which all gnostic teachings are) and must be exposed in order to save souls. If we love each other, we would like to help each other on the right track. 

Calvinism is totally man centered. ”I am saved by nothing I do,” ”I cannot be lost by anything I do,” etc. It is all centered on man being saved no matter what. It gives religious sinners eternal security. It itches their ears. There is no choice of total repentance from all sin required, just believing. There is no necessity to labor and run and persevere unto the end. There is no threat of going to hell through sinning. It itches the ears of those who want this man-centered gospel. You don’t have to love God supremely. You don’t have to totally commit yourself to God. You can live in compromise and sin every day in word, thought, and deed, and still be saved. Calvinism doesn’t glorify God, it comforts religious sinners and in doing so it dishonors God. 

Which system really glorifies God? The one which says God is the ultimate cause of sin and that men do not need to stop all their sinning, or the one that says each individual is the cause of their own sin and we must all repent of our sins and live holy lives glorifiying to God? Which doctrine of grace really glorifies God? The one that says grace means being saved while we continue to sin, or grace is the means of being saved from our sin? One of these systems glorifies God while the other system greatly dishonors Him. What of the Westminster Catechism that says no man is able, either of his own power or by any grace received in this life, to perfectly keep the commandments, but does daily break them in word, thought, and deed…? Well, that covers all the bases. I mean, the devil couldn’t do any worse than that. That excuses all sin, of any kind. Calvinism certainly does make ”a broad stroke that intentionally misunderstands and maligns Christ.” How man-centered is this theology! Now, the power of man’s sin is even greater than the power of God’s grace! God’s grace cannot overcome man’s sin! Wow, talk about a man-centered sin-excusing theology.

Glorification is the perfection of the body. Sanctification is the perfection of the heart. We are not commanded to be glorified in this life. This is not an obligation. We are not sinful for failing to have glorified bodies. Even Jesus did not have a glorified body until after the resurrection. But we can sanctify ourselves to God. We can set ourselves apart from the service of sin to the service of God.

We are not born with a sinful nature

We are born into a sinful world, but sin itself is a choice of our own will. You are not born a homosexual, drunkard, etc. That is choice. Paul said sinners will be ”without excuse” on Judgment Day. They cannot say, like Lady GaGa, ”I was born this way.” God forms our nature in the womb and He does not form us as little sinners. We become sinners at the age of accountability, by our own free will. As the Bible says men are sinners ”from their youth” which means ”juvenile” not infant.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Ps. 139:14. We are not guilty of the sin of Adam: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Eze. 18:20 We are commanded to sanctify ourselves: “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.” Lev. 20:7. This verse is quoted in the New Testament as well. Jesus can forgive us and cleanse us, not from some sin, but from all sin: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I Jn. 1:9. Just read the rest of 1 John. He that sins is of the devil. Whosoever has been born of God does not commit sin. Etc. The Word says that the grace of God that brings salvation teaches us to live free from sin in this life. Our fallen bodies do not make us sin, so we don’t need a new body to be free from sin. Romans 6 says Jesus sets us free from sin in this life. Hebrews says Jesus was made in all things liken unto his brethren.

Jesus did not have a sinful nature, so neither did we. Jesus lived a holy and sinless life and Jesus said come and follow me and He is our example to follow. If we sin after our initial conversion, we must repent or perish as Jesus taught his disciples. We never have to sin, as God never allows us to be tempted above our ability (1 Cor. 10:13). To say that we can never life free from all sin in this life is to make the power of sin greater than the power of the cross and greater than the power of God’s grace. Certainly, we still have a free will after conversion so we are still capable of sinning. But with the help of God’s grace, we can choose to overcome and persevere. Men are sinners by choice, as the Bible says all we like sheep have gone astray and turned to our own way. And therefore, we can cease to be sinners by choice. Hence, God’s command for us to repent and His appeals of grace. We cannot have glorified bodies in this life, and so we have not attained physical perfection. That comes after our race is done. But we can have sanctified bodies in this life, as Paul said we can yield our members as instruments of righteousness, present our bodies a living sacrifice, that God can sanctify us wholly spirit soul and body, etc.

Certainly we are not forgiven before we repent, and if we sin God clearly sees it. But when we think upon what Jesus Christ has done to make forgiveness available for us and for everyone, we should love Him and turn from all our sins as a consequence. Once we do that, God forgives us through Christ. Calvary makes us willing to do what creation made us capable of doing. And what the law could not do, the gospel was able to accomplish. Legal motives of self-interest were insufficient to perfect the heart, but the motives presented to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ can cleanse us from all sin. Every day we make the choice to sin or not, and certainly our salvation depends upon our perseverance in holiness, but when we look upon the cross and see how much God has loved this world, we see how worthy He is of our worship and service and we love Him in return with our obedience.

Romans chapter seven

Rom. 7 gives us a description of what occurs when the mind of an unconverted sinner is convicted by the law. Using a literary technique, Paul uses the present tense to tell the narrative. As many stories begin with “once upon a time,” Paul said, “For I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died” (Rom. 7:9). He then proceeded in his narrative to discuss what happens when an unconverted sinner encounters the law of God. Some suppose Romans chapter seven to be a description of the Christian life, as opposed to a description of an unconverted state. But we know Paul is not referring to his own converted state because he already said that Christians have been made “free from sin” (Rom. 6:18, 22). The man in Romans seven was not ”free from sin” and, therefore, he was not a Christian. Paul also said that, “There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). Yet the man in Romans chapter seven was under condemnation and therefore needed to be saved by Jesus (Rom. 7:24-25).

And Paul said that, “to be carnally minded is death” (Rom. 8:6). But the man in Romans chapter seven said, “I am carnal, sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14). Therefore, the man in Romans chapter seven did not have eternal life. And finally, Paul said that as a converted man he lived with a good and pure conscience that was void of offense (Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16; 2 Tim. 1:3). The man described in Romans chapter seven is deeply disturbed by his conscience (Rom. 7:16). Therefore, the description given in Romans chapter seven was not of the converted life of the Apostle Paul. It is a narration describing what happens when an unconverted sinner’s mind encounters the law of God and is convicted by it.

So it is a sin to inherit a weakness to commit sin? How is that a sin? chosen

  • Jesus died for everyone, but only those who repent and believe are forgiven through it. So if a believer sins, they must repent and ask God for forgiveness.
  •  Forgiveness of future sins is nothing more than a license to sin. God only forgives us of our sins after we have repented of them. And since we are not yet guilty of future sins, we have nothing to be forgiven us. Not only would forgiveness of future sins be unwise, it is also impossible. Sins must be dealt with as they occur. Hence what we read in 1 John 1:8-9. If a believer sins, we must repent or perish.
1. How can David say he was wonderfully made and God’s works are marvelous if God formed him in the womb with a sinful nature?
2. How can it be said that Jesus was made ”in all things liken unto his brethren” if we are born with a sinful nature and he wasn’t?
3. How come our sanctification is spoken of in the same tense as our justification?
4. How can inheriting a weakeness to commit sin be a sin itself?
5. If we are forgiven of all future sins at conversion, have you ever asked God to forgive you since your conversion? If you were already forgiven, why do you insult his grace by asking for forgiveness?
6. What would a license to sin consist of, if not forgiveness of unrepented future sins? What is a license but permission to do an action without fear of legal prosecution?
7. If Romans 7 was Paul’s Christian life, how can he say that he lived with a conscience void of offense?

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We were not capable of sinning before the age of accountability, as Jesus said if you were blind you would have no sin. Infants are not under the wrath of God, as the wrath of God comes upon those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Those with knowledge are without excuse, but as infants have no moral knowledge, they are with excuse for their behavior. As they grow, they make free will choices. Hence we are told to teach them, disciple them, etc. If their nature caused their actions, teaching them would be useless and discipline would be cruelty and pointless. Only if their free will makes their choices can teaching and disciple change their behavior.

The perfection that God requires is a perfection that we are capable of. It is purity of motive – a perfection of heart. The Bible commands us to love God and love our neighbor. The Bible speaks of men who were ”perfect in heart” which shows it is possible for man in this life. The commandment is directly proportationate to our ability, as we are command to love God ”with all” thy ability and love your neighbor ”as yourself.” We are not commanded to love with more ability than we have, but with all the ability that we have. So it is not impossible. If it were impossible, God’s law would be unreasonable and unjust. Damnation would be infinite cruelty. But as God is just and as He does punish sinners, this shows that they were capable of avoiding their sin

Which is greater, the power of sin or the power of the cross and the grace of God?

If the power of the cross is greater than the power of sin, why can’t you stop sinning? Does not the cross make you love God? And if you love Him, you will obey Him. When you are tempted, just look at the cross. Put your faith in God and you will overcome sin.  As love is the fulfillment of the law – a complete satisfaction to our moral obligation. Love is perfection. God does not want us to have an imaginary holiness but an actual holiness. The Bible never says that Christ’s works of the law are imputed to us. That is not necessary as we are not justified by works of the law. The ”imputed righteousness of Christ” is a cliche and a myth. If you sin, God see’s it. Nothing is hide from His eyes the Bible says. He says, ”I know your works, be zealous therefore and repent.” Don’t dream that you are covered by the imputed righteousness of Christ while you continue to sin, thus making his work a license to sin. Rather, repent of your sins and then you will be pardoned by His grace and mercy.

Paul taught that we were not under the law, as in the Torah, but not that we were free from all moral obligation. As Paul said we are obligated to love God and love our neighbor. God is not an anarchist or an antinomian. He does not promote lawlessness. As Paul said, not without law to God but under the law of Christ.

God does not impute our trespasses to us when He forgives us and pardons us. This is conditional upon our repentance and faith. Holiness, in terms of the Christian, is an internal attitude of submission and obedience whereby we are set apart from sin and to the service of God. And Jesus not only saves our souls, He changes our lives. He is not only our justification, He is also our sanctification.  Justification by works of the law is impossible. Obedience cannot atone for past disobedience. Hence, we need gracious justification. God can declare us pardoned. He commands us to repent and believe and when we are converted He pardons all our past trespasses through the atonement of Christ.

”By nature children of wrath” in context is about how we previously lived a sinful lifestyle. The Greek word for nature in that passage can mean that which by long habit has become nature, according to Thayer which is one of the best Greek-English Lexicon available. The Bible also says that the Gentiles which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, which show the work of the law written on their hearts, their conscience bearing witness. Doesn’t sound like they were born totally depraved with a sinful nature. Conscience is part of our nature, and it tells us to obey God.

The Bible is clear that Jesus died for everyone but not everyone is saved because not everyone repents and believes. It is possible for those for whom Christ died to perish. As Paul said you can cause a brother to perish for whom Christ died. And you can deny the Lord who bought you and bring upon yourself swift destruction.

The atonement does not give us a license to sin or make salvation automatic for anyone. Pardon through the atonement is conditional. The Bible says repent, believe, and persevere unto the end. If we fail any of those points, we cannot expect God’s mercy but His wrath. Jesus said He that perseveres unto the end shall be saved. That speaks of salvation in the future tense. There are others passages that speak of it as past and present. I am saved. I am being saved. And I will be saved. The Bible says eternal life is to know God. And it says by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that says I know Him and keeps not His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in Him. So those who are obedient to God have eternal life and those who are disobedient do not. As it is written, He is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.

He tasted death for EVERY man it says. He is the propitiation, not only for our sins, but for the sins of the WHOLE world. Just as the serpent was lifted up for WHOSOEVER to be saved through it, so God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him would be saved, etc. There is no limited atonement in the foreshadow sacrifices.

People attack biblical holiness and the born again experience as self-righteousness and confuse biblical repentance with justification by works of the law. If a person is living in sin, aka sinning every day in word, thought, and deed, than it should be obviously that they haven’t put their faith in Christ. If they had confidence in His character and trusted Him they would do whatever He asks. As Hebrews 11 says by faith Abraham obeyed. Abraham was justified by an obedient faith, or a faith that resulted in obedience. What sins do you have in your life that you cannot stop? What sins do you have in your life that Christ cannot set you free from? Or really, what sin do you have in your life that you are unwilling to repent of?

Obedience can never atone for disobedience

We could never make up for our sins by obedience and we could never earn or merit salvation. It must come by grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. But it is conditional. We must repent and believe to receive it. I say that we must repent and believe (obedience to the gospel) but that our obedience to the gospel does not merit or earn salvation. ”By faith Abraham…obeyed” Hebrews 11:8. Abraham was justified by an obedient faith. There is a difference between conditions and grounds. Our obedience to the gospel is not the grounds of our salvation. It does not merit or earn salvation. Peter said, ”repent of this thy wickedness that the thought of your heart might be forgiven thee” and ”save yourselves from this untoward generation. Was Peter teaching heresy by telling them to save themselves? Certainly not. Repentance is a condition of forgiveness. We can only save ourselves, through the atonement of Christ, by repenting and believing.

Justification by works of the law is regarding the Torah and merit. It is not about repenting of your sins to be pardoned by grace and mercy. We do not need to obey the law (Torah) to be saved. But we must obey the gospel, which demands that we repent of our sins and trust in Christ. If good works are the evidence of faith, then bad works are the evidence of unbelief. There is no condemnation for those who walk after the spirit and not after the flesh. If you are living in sin, aka walking after the flesh, there is condemnation.  By faith you can live a pure and holy life. By faith you can overcome all sin and be perfect in heart. The same faith that justifies also sanctifies. Under the New Covenant we are not under obligation to the Torah, but only to the moral law of God. The New Testament does not command us to be circumcised, but to love God and love our neighbor.

“But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” Gal. 2:14

“To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.” 1 Cor. 9:21.

We are not under the law of Moses, but under the law of Christ.

“For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” Heb. 7:12.

“For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things” Heb. 10:1.

The external and physical laws of the Old Covenant, like the clean and unclean food, circumcision, etc, were figurative of the internal and moral change that occurs under the New Covenant. Thus, the New Covenant fulfills the Old Covenant. These Old Covenant laws were figurative, but in the New Covenant that which is better has come. Hence,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;” Heb. 10:16.

You can read more from Jesse Morell on his website.

”Any theology that gives man a legitimate excuse for sin and maligns God’s holy character CANNOT, by definition be ‘God centered'”  (Kerrigan Skelly)

Interesting calvinistic contradictions and paradoxes

CALVINISM and its contradictions and paradoxes

If you engage yourself in discussions with calvinists you must be prepared for that they will contradict themselves and express themselves with lots of ”theological fog” and paradoxes. It’s like they believe many fancy words will cover up for their contradictory claims and poor doctrines, and there are sadly listeners out there who are not able to look through their smoke screens but instead swallow what they have to say. But there is no way that they can ever solve the many problems that are hidden in the TULIP, and they are not able to clear the name of their God who they make to be the author of sin – which is the only logical conclusion of their doctrines. Here they might protest and tell you they do NOT make God the author of sin! But don’t they believe that nothing happens against the will of God? Don’t they believe that man must act according to whatever nature he was created with? Don’t they believe man certainly cannot be totally depraved against God’s will? They must respond in the affirmative to all those questions in order to be consistent with their own doctrines, and that means their God IS the author of sin after all. They believe God predestines man to sin, at the same time as man is responsible for his own sins and for some reason should have acted otherwise – despite that he was forced by God to act the way he did. The same man will also be punished and sent to hell – for committing the sin that God caused him to do. (With other words – people who do the will of God will be sent to hell for doing the will of God). Anyway, below is a list of some contradictions that I stole from my friend William Hughes. I saved the best ones to make the list shorter 🙂

Reformed contradiction #3

From an email on facebook I received:

Calvinist: ”any time you say Calvinism is not true I will rebuke you extremely severely in the name of Jesus Christ! Calvinism is the gospel, you heretic! I read your stupid post even though you are not on my friends list.”

Me: ”I am unable to believe in Calvinism because God has decided I don’t believe it. Why are you getting mad at me? I cannot help it.”

Calvinist: ”you are blinded by the devil. Do not blame God for your inability to believe the gospel.”

Me: ”Are the unelect ‘unable’ to believe the truth?”

Calvinist: ”No one is able to believe the truth unless God opens their eyes…”

Blaming me for not believing in Calvinism is like blaming a mentally handicapped person for not thinking.

Reformed contradiction #4

Tony Miano is witnessing to someone on video. During the conversation a Christian named Marco walked up to Tony and said he was being too hard and needed to teach more on God’s love. Tony then berated him and said, “So if me in my flesh can push people away from God then you believe in a weak God.” Tony then accused this Christian of “blaspheming God” because “Marcos, you think the gospel needs our help…You don’t believe the gospel is sufficient, Marco.”

Later in the video Tony explained the “correct” gospel to Marco by witnessing to Marco!

Why is Tony showing Marco the “correct” way when he just finshed telling Marco “you think the gospel needs our help?”

Apparently Tony’s god is “weak” too since he needs Tony to correct Marco.

Reformed Contradiction #5

Tony Miano is preaching to a crowd and tells them to repent and believe. A few minutes later Tony says ”God is a God of love and if He CAUSES you to be born again, THEN you can repent and THEN you can believe.”

I thought he told the crowd ”they” must repent and believe and now he is saying GOD MUST DO IT…very confusing to unbelievers….and everyone else.

Reformed contradiction #6

”God is sovereign in all things. If you don’t believe God gave you the faith to believe you are going against Gods sovereignty!”

But if I can go against Gods sovereignty than God isn’t sovereign in all things.

Reformed contradiction #7

”God does not predestine people for heaven and hell. He simply passes over those people not saving them”

”Don’t Calvinists believe God hated Esau before he did anything good or bad?”

”Yes.”

Sounds like God predestines people for heaven or hell.

Calvinist contradiction #8

”God isn’t obligated to respond to a person’s faith. God is completely sovereign and isn’t controlled by what people do.”

”Does God get angry at a sinners sin?”

”Yes.”

Then I guess God is controlled by what men do.

Calvinist contradiction #9

I decided to take a systematic theology class at my old church which was taught by a 5 point Calvinist named — this time in my life I believed what Calvinists told me, that Calvinism is not an essential issue. In the very first class we listened to a sermon on God’s sovereignty and in that sermon the speaker said If I didn’t believe in God’s sovereignty (as he was defining it by Calvinism) I’m an idolater.

But I thought Calvinism is not an essential issue?—, who is leading the class told me Calvinism is not an essential issue, then why is he showing the class a sermon that says the opposite?Answer: Because he really believes Calvinism is essential.

Calvinist contradiction #10

”Calvinism is not an essential issue. The essentials are the Trinity, the deity of Christ, Christ’s physical resurrection, salvation by grace through faith.”

Later in the conversation…”If you believe people can respond to the gospel using their free will you are a heretic.”

Calvinist contradiction #11

”Unbelievers are blinded by total depravity, they are unable to believe.”

Then why did God blind some of the Jews from believing if they are already blinded?

Calvinist contradiction #12

”Christ saved His own at the cross.”

But wouldn’t that mean when you were born you were saved?

Calvinist contradiction #13

”What do you think God does with mentally handicapped people who might be unable to believe in Christ?”

Calvinist: ”God is merciful and would choose them for salvation”

”What do you think God does with other people who are unable to believe in Christ because they are totally depraved?”

Calvinist: ”God sends them to hell.”

Calvinist contradiction #14

”The word ‘chosen’ means chosen for salvation”

”You mean like this?”

John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

Calvinist contradiction #15

Calvinist: ”The bible says to rightly divide the word of truth so any contradictions should be studied until they are no longer contradictions.”

”What about the contradiction between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility?”

Calvinist: ”Thats ok if we don’t understand that…that’s a mystery.”

Why are contradictions in other ministries exposed by Calvinists but not the ones in their own doctrine which are accepted as ”mysteries?”

Calvinist contradiction #16

Calvinist: ”Do not add or take away from God’s Word.”

”The bible says Christ died for the world, for whosoever, for any, for all of mankind.”

Calvinist: ”No it doesn’t! ‘World’ doesn’t mean all and ‘all’ doesn’t mean ‘all.’

Calvinist contradiction #17

Calvinist: ”God showed me the truth of Calvinism through the bible.”

”What did God show you?”

Calvinist: ”If you read <insert reformed teachers name here> book that sums up my beliefs.”

Are you sure you got this new doctrine from God?

Calvinist contradiction #20

Calvinist: ”People go to hell because they reject the gospel.”

”I thought you said the unsaved were people whom Christ never died for?”

Calvinist: ”Yes thats true.”

”So the unsaved are going to hell for rejecting a salvation that isn’t mean’t for them? Isn’t that like saying I’ll get mad at you for not coming to my party when I never invited you and don’t want you at my party?”

Calvinist contradiction #21

Calvinist preaching to a crowd: ”God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. God wants all to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Wait, you don’t believe that, you believe God is not willing that the elect should perish and God only wants some people to come to a knowledge of the truth, so why are you lying to the crowd?

Calvinist contradiction #22

”If a body builder grabbed your arm, put a gun in your hand, and forced you to shoot someone are you responsible for it?”

Calvinist: ”No, because the body builder forced me to do it.”

”Was Judas forced by God to betray Christ?”

Calvinist: ”Yes.”

”Then how is Judas responsible for betraying Christ if God forced him to do it?”Answer: God didn’t force Judas to betray Christ.

Calvinist contradiction #23

Calvinist: ”While witnessing I would never tell a sinner God loves them because I wouldn’t want to give them a false hope.”

”What happens when the sinner is concerned about going to hell?”

Calvinist: ”I would share with them the good news that Christ died for their sins on the cross.”

”Why would Christ die for their sins?”

Calvinist: ”Because…um…He…loves them.”

Calvinist contradiction #24

Calvinist: ”In John 17:9 Christ prays only for believers in the Gospel of John which proves He doesn’t love unbelievers.”

”Have you ever prayed for your children?”

Calvinist: ”Yes.”

”Does this imply you love them and no one else in the world?”

Calvinist: <Silence>”Christ prayed ‘Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.’ Sounds like Christ is praying for unbelievers.”

Calvinist contradiction #25

Calvinist 1: ”I believe <insert doctrine here>”

Later that day talking to another Calvinist…

Calvinist 2: ”Your misrepresenting Calvinism! We don’t believe <insert doctrine from Calvinist 1 here>.”

Calvinist contradiction #26

Calvinist: ”I like Calvinism because I don’t have to worry about whether I spoke incorrectly to a sinner while witnessing. God does it all.”

”Is there a wrong way and a right way to preaching the gospel?”

Calvinist: ”Oh yes! The gospel must be presented accurately.”

Then I guess you better be careful how you speak.

Calvinist contradiction #27

Calvinist: ”<insert false teacher here> is teaching <insert false doctrine here>!”

”You sound concerned. Can someone predestined for heaven go to hell?”

Calvinist: ”No.”

”Can someone predestined for hell go to heaven?”

Calvinist: ”No.””Then why are you concerned?”Calvinist: ”Because God uses the gospel to save people and false teachers are preventing that.”False teachers are more sovereign than God

Calvinist contradiction #28

Calvinist: ”Sinners cannot respond to the gospel without the Spirit in them (1 Corinthians 2:14).”

”The Apostle Paul believed without the Spirit in Him until days later.”

Calvinist contradiction #30

Calvinist: ”The bible says unbelievers cannot do anything good. Romans 8:7 says unbelievers cannot obey God’s law.”

”Does the bible say the conscience is God’s law written on the hearts of everyone?”

Calvinist: ”Yes.”

”When you were an unbeliever did you ever obey your conscience, even once?”

Calvinist: ”um…well…yes.”

Apparently Romans 8:7 is not teaching unbelievers are not able to do ”anything good”.

Calvinist contradiction #31

Calvinist: ”Calvinists are the most humble of Christians since we believe God does everything and we can do nothing.”

”You sound proud of your humility.”

Calvinist contradiction #34

Calvinist: ”Jesus said anyone who does the will of the Father goes to heaven. The unelect do not do God’s will.”

”Did God predestine the unelect for damnation?”

Calvinist: ”Yes.”

”Then they are doing God’s will.”

Calvinist contradiction #38

”Take a classroom of say 20 people and put earplugs in their ears. Now give them some instructions. Then take their earplugs out. Will they obey your instructions?”

Calvinist: ”No, they couldn’t hear me.”

”Are you angry at them for disobeying your instructions??”

Calvinist: ”Why would I be angry, they can’t hear me! It wouldn’t be right for me to get angry.”

”Then why is God angry with sinners in the same condition?”

Calvinist: ”Because the bible says so!”

”You might want to reinterpret the verses you hold to, your ideas don’t make sense and you are confusing people about who God is and what He wants.”

Here is another good analogy by William

Lets say I have a time travel DVR and I record a football game before it happens. I can fast forward the game, play it slow motion, reverse it, fly around the stadium in 3D (that would be cool!). No matter how many times I do this the outcome is the same.  Now lets say that you can also see yourself in this video and the choices you make that affect others. You can see how your actions affect others. Are the players using their free will in response to you? Yes. Are events in the game predetermined? Yes, because you know the outcome. Events are both predetermined (because God knows how humans will use their freedom to respond to Him) and freely chosen. What about Judas?

1) God knows all things.
2) Whatever God foreknows must come to pass (i.e., is determined). If it did not come to pass, then God would have been wrong in what He foreknew. But an all-knowing [omniscient] God cannot be wrong in what He knows.)
3) God knew Judas would betray Christ.
4) Therefore, it HAD TO COME TO PASS (i.e, was determined) that Judas would betray Christ.
5) These events are predetermined and freely chosen at the same time.

Shipwreck example Acts 27

Paul assured his fellow travelers in advance that ”not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed” (v 22). Yet a few verses later he warned them, ”Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved” (v. 31). Both are true. God knew in advance and had revealed to Paul that none would drown (v.23), But He also knew it would be through their free choice to stay on the ship that this would be accomplished.

Response to Tony Miano’s Article at Carm.org about Mark Cahill

Response to Tony Miano’s Article at Carm.org on Mark Cahill (CALVINISM) – Kerrigan Skelly

The unchristian attack by Tony Miano against some innocent christian brothers was so nasty and hypocritical, so I’d like to take the opportunity to display the rebuttal/defense also here on my Blog. Also check the article here by Jesse Morell in the same matter.

I’d also like to warn others from the website http://www.carm.org where the article was found. The website contains lots of truths, but sadly mixed with heresy since the founder Matt Slick promotes calvinism here and there. Calvinism is based on TULIP and you can read more about what TULIP stands for here. TULIP maligns the character of God by directly or indirectly making him the author of sin. I write this warning because I love calvinists and I hope they will turn away from their gnostic teachings and find the one true God whose son died for ALL. We will never know how many people have been absorbed by carm.org and and lost their ways into the false doctrine of calvinism.

From pinpointevangelism:

Descent into error (about division among christians due to doctrines)

Thanks to blog.savetheperishing.com

This is the true story of a witnessing team’s birth and its subsequent fall into the errors of Calvinism by some of its members. I decided to write this as a warning to others who may be involved with Calvinists who evangelize or who may be on the verge of embracing the doctrine.  Looking back on my experience I am amazed at the subtle shift in behavior, doctrine, interpretation, attitude and mindset of the group due to Calvinism.  Its interesting to see how a doctrine like this can change humble, smart, loving people into prideful, contradictory, unthinking, unloving people.  It wasn’t one thing per se that caused problems nor was it one person but an accumulation of events with many people over a few years.  It took me a several years of prayer and bible study to come to the conclusions I am writing about in these posts.

Way of the Master Radio

One day in 2006 I heard on the radio that Kirk Cameron, the actor, had his own Christian ministry.  I decided to do a google search on him.  The Way of the Master website popped up and I started reading its material and watching the witnessing videos.  They also had a radio show where they record themselves witnessing to others.  I decided to share this with my friends.

What started out as a mere curiosity turned into a full-blown ministry.  Some of my friends and I took Way of the Master classes, read their books, and studied the bible to see if this method of evangelism were true.  It seemed to be so we started witnessing to the lost using this method.

For the first two years it was great.  We would go to the bus stops or the Sprint Center downtown, perhaps to a festival, we had the ministry listed in our church’s bulletin so we could have others join us if they wanted to, we could see God moving in the conversations we had with the lost.

Along the way we had others join our group and 4 of them were Calvinists.  We didn’t have Calvinists in our group before and at the time I was undecided on the doctrine but was leaning away from it.  Months later I started to notice some disturbing trends emerging in the witnessing group.

Shift of Interpretations

I was at my friends house before a bible study and there were four us standing in the kitchen.  We were talking about the lost and then the verse from  1 Corinthians 1:18 came up, “the preaching of the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing.”   Up to this point we had understood this mean’t the gospel is foolishness to those who have pride and think they are good.  This is the context of Corinthians and was in fact taught this way by Ray Comfort on the Way of the Master Training Course.  In other words, “Why would you preach the gospel to me?  I’m not a sinner!  I’m a good person!  Go preach to a sinner.”  The preaching of the cross is foolishness to someone with… pride.

While I was standing in the kitchen I was amazed to hear the reason why the “preaching of the cross is foolishness” is because sinners are “totally depraved” and unable to believe.  When I objected to that interpretation another verse was used, taken out of context, to further demonstrate how total depravity is true.  While it is true “totally depraved” sinners have pride it is also true Christians have pride, so I can’t say the reason why people have pride is because they are totally depraved.  Besides, the chapter in Corinthians we were discussing has nothing to do with total depravity.  It has to do with the pride of man and how God uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise.

What in the world was going on?

The Gospel Tract Enigma

When we witnessed we mainly gave out million dollar bill tracks.  They look like a real million dollar bill even though there is no such thing as a million dollar bill.  Several times after an evening of witnessing we would either have dinner or meet afterwards for fellowship.  Some questions would arise in the minds of my friends who later became Calvinists.  “Why do certain people take the tracks we give out and others don’t?  Its a mystery they say.  Twenty people don’t take a tract and then a bunch of people do.”  Some concluded this MUST MEAN God is drawing only those people who took the tract.

There are many reasons people don’t take tracts:

1) They think its a political ad because there is a president on it.

2) They think we are selling something and aren’t interested in buying.  This is a normal reaction.  People rarely give away material to people without selling something.

4) People in the back who see people in the front reject the tract also reject it.  “If the person ahead of me didn’t take it than I probably don’t want it either.”

5) Maybe they are upset, or tired, or who knows how many other reasons for avoiding taking a leaflet from a stranger.

There are many reasons for people taking tracts as well:

1) They are curious about what it is.

2) They like political ads.

3) They don’t want to be in an awkward situation where they must reject what someone is freely giving them so they take it.

4) People in front of them grab one so they grab one.

5) God is drawing them.

Calvinists attribute everything that happens to God.  While Calvinists vary in their opinion as to the amount of control God has on His creation many believe natural disasters, and even sin as something God has ordained, so its not a surprise the people in the witnessing group are focusing on why certain people take a gospel tract.

When I mentioned to them the different reasons why people may grab or not grab a tract it went in one ear and out the other.  Suggesting these ideas makes their exciting discovery that God controls everything not so exciting.

Popular Preachers and Popery

My friends in the group spent a great deal of time listening to Calvinist preachers such as Paul Washer, Alestair Begg, John MacArthur, James White, RC Sproul, and John Piper to name a few.  If you spend all your time listening to Calvinists preachers you will eventually be… a Calvinist.  Particularly if you spend more time listening to them than reading the bible for yourself allowing the Holy Spirit to interpret the Word.  Every Calvinist I have known or debated with spend far more time reading reformed titles, or listening to popular reformed preachers than they do reading the bible.

After they do this they believe Calvinism and then later tell me how “God opened my eyes to this truth.”  How deceived they must be to think “God opened my eyes” when in reality they spent more time reading theinterpretations of men rather than the words of God.  They have not learned the “deeper things” of God but rather what someone else thinks the bible says.  How can they possibly say “God opened my eyes” when in fact they are being told what to believe by human fallible preachers?  Are they confusing a preacher as God Himself?  Is this the Catholic church with a magisterium who speaks infallibly for God?  It seems so.

This is called indoctrination and thats what happened to the witnessing group over time.  They were becoming indoctrinated right before my eyes.

I used to be a Catholic and after that I was in the occult for several years.  Its not difficult to be indoctrinated, all you have to do is keep on listening, and believing it little by little until eventually it will take hold.  Before I was a Christian I was on the brink of worshiping the Earth due the shamanistic teachings I was studying.  I had the sudden realization that the next step in my learning was to worship the earth.  It made sense because of what I learned and knew.  Once I realized I was about to do this I stopped myself because deep down I knew it was wrong.  As a side note how would I know it was wrong?  I was “totally” depraved!  Perhaps the concept of total depravity is wrong, but thats another topic for another post.

Listening to the same preachers over and over again amounts to a type of popery similiar to the Catholic church.  Instead of one person as a pope there are several that teach the same things.  These people cannot be questioned because they are “Godly” men who preach hard on sin.  They couldn’t possibly be wrong about this doctrine!  They spend all their time studying this and are smarter than us, they know Greek and use fancy theological terms such as “doctrines of grace.”  Who am I to question them?

Oh what an insult to Christ!  The Holy Spirit, through His Word, is “unable” to teach believers better than men!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to forsake all preachers…I’m saying their interpretations are not the final word.  If you spend more time listening to other human beings than reading God’s Word you do indeed have a Pope, whether its in the form of one preacher or many.  If someone asks you “What do you believe about election” and your answer is “Read this book by James White” or “Here is an article on this by John Piper” or “Here is a sermon from RC Sproul” or “Here are some commentaries on this” you may possibly have a “pope” in your life telling you what to believe.

An objection to what I just wrote might be “I don’t have time to write a full answer to your questions, its easier to show you what <insert preachers name> believes.”  Yes I know.  You have spent so much time studying the interpretations of others you know what these other preachers believe.  Thats my point!  Do you honestly think you can listen to preachers everyday in podcasts or on the radio and not be influenced by them?  The reason you are listening to them is because you WANT to be influenced by them.  Perhaps its true you don’t have enough time to study.  Maybe your job forces you to drive frequently or you have many family responsibilities.  If thats true, why not listen to the bible on CD instead of a preacher most of the time?  Are you confident enough in the abilities of the Holy Spirit to teach you directly through His Word?

Furthermore if you know words like “monogerism” or  “synergism” or if you automatically think since I am not a Calvinist that makes me an “Arminian” or I’m a “free-willer” you spend way too much time studying the writings of men rather than the word of God.

The extent to which this idea of popery was entrenched in the witnessing group was made evident one day.  Tony Miano, a well known Calvinist who evangelizes, was saying some things to sinners on video which were questionable and confusing.  When someone in the witnessing group was asked to reexamine what Tony said he refused to do it.  He felt examining Tony would make him “sick” because he is after all a “Godly” man who apparently cannot be questioned.  Accusing Tony of teaching questionable doctrines would definitely disrupt the peace among the group and we can’t have that!

This is a far cry from the Bereans who examined what the Apostle Paul had to say to see if what he said was true.

It seems the witnessing group is not so interested in truth after all.

Cont.:

Descent Into Error Part 2 – Mottos to live by?
“Descent Into Error” Part 3 – Judgement Without Discernment
“Descent Into Error” Part 4 – Love waxes cold to the unsaved
“Descent Into Error” Part 5 – The Bible as a spell-casting device

God does not have a secret will

Is God the author of sin? (Thanks to Britt Williams)

Some may be surprised to learn that Calvinism, by implication, actually makes God the Author of sin. Calvinism (also known as Reformed theology) advocates, among other things, an unscriptural and perverted view of the sovereignty of God, election, and the atonement. It asserts God, as sovereign Ruler of the Universe, either directly or indirectly causes all events, including sin?

”Creatures are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly DECREED.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, XVI)

”the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has DESTINED.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, XVI)

”God is the only proper author and fountain; we only are the proper actors”
Jonathan Edwards

”God controls not only natural events, but he also controls all human affairs and decisions”
Vincent Cheung (The Problem of Evil)

Calvinists also attribute the fall of Adam to God’s decree, teaching that God not only foreknew Adam would sin, but orchestrated it as well. John Calvin affirms this belief in the Institutes of Christian Religion

”God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure ARRANGED it.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, XXIII)

Some Calvinists teach that God is the originating cause of sin but not the proximate cause of sin. However, if Calvinists consistently follow their theology to its logical end, especially the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and predestination, they must attribute to God every act of sin, including murder, rape, sodomy, incest, child molestation, etc. Calvinists affirm the exhaustive foreknowledge of God, but hold to a determinist view of the future. They believe if the future is known then the future must be determined, thereby denying the possibility of libertarian free will and causing all moral choices, including sin.

”Thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute judgments which he has resolved to inflict.” 
John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, XVII)

”Whatever things are done wrongly and unjustly by man, these very things are the right and just works of God” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.169)

”But where it is a matter of men’s counsels, wills, endeavours, and exertions, there is greater difficulty in seeing how the providence of God rules here too, so that nothing happens but by His assent and that men can deliberately do nothing unless He inspire it” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp.171-172)

”Does God work in the hearts of men, directing their plans and moving their wills this way and that, so that they do nothing but what He has ordained?” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.174)

”For the man who honestly and soberly reflects on these things, there can be no doubt that the will of God is the chief and principal cause of ALL THINGS” 
John Calvin (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.177)

”Everything is controlled by God?s secret purpose, and nothing can happen except by his knowledge and will” 
John Calvin (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Bk. 1, Ch. 16, Sect. 3)

”Since, therefore, God moves and does all in all, He necessarily moves and does all in Satan and the wicked man” 
Martin Luther (The Bondage of the Will, Sovereign Grace Publishers, p. 87)

Calvinist theologian James White, in a debate with Hank Hannegraaf and George Bryson, was asked,”When a child is raped, is God responsible and did He decree that rape?” To which Mr. White replied…

”Yes, because if not then it’s meaningless and purposeless and though God knew it was going to happen he created without a purpose and God is responsible for the creation of despair. If [God] didn’t [decree child rape] then that rape is an (sic) element of meaningless evil that has no purpose”
James White.

Hence, since ultimately, all moral choices, past, present, and future, are subject to God’s sovereign dictate, all sin can be traced to God Himself. Some Calvinists, usually referred to as ”hard determinists” or ”hyper-Calvinists”, will readily admit this, while others often deny it or use theological and philosophical gymnastics (i.e., compatibilism) in an attempt to cloak the implications of their theology. As Vincent Cheung, a popular Calvinist apologist boldly declares?

”God controls everything that is and everything that happens. There is not one thing that happens that he has not actively decreed – not even a single thought in the mind of man. Since this is true, it follows that God has decreed the existence of evil, he has not merely permitted it, as if anything can originate and happen apart from his will and power”
Vincent Cheung (The Problem of Evil)

Ironically, Calvinists tend to theoretically believe concepts they deny in practice. If a child molester boldly proclaimed God caused him to molest little children, Calvinists would rightfully conclude he was a deluded liar and demon possessed. However, when the theologian essentially declares the same concept, they applaud him as orthodox. Such reasoning is not only inconsistent but absurd. According to Calvinists, God commands men to abstain from what He has decreed that they do, causes them to do, yea, in what they have absolutely no choice but to do, and then He utterly condemns them for doing it. This is not the God of the Scriptures.

Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers Job 8:20

James 1:13-17 clearly challenges the Calvinist concept of God as the Author of sin

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:13-17

If God, being holy, is above tempting men to do evil, who can dare believe He would cause them to do evil? And yet some Calvinists insist James 1:13 is misapplied when used metaphysically.

”James is pointing out what the Christian should consider and address in his struggles as a Christian; he is not dealing with metaphysics”
Vincent Cheung (The Author Of Sin)

Mr. Cheung, of course, is merely offering his biased opinion. We must realize that metaphysics can be very subjective, especially when applied through the presuppositions of our theological bents. In my estimation, James 1:13-17 holds significant and profound metaphysical relevance: ”God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man”, offers me two ethical absolutes that undermine the doctrine of determinism as taught by Calvinists.

Indeed, God can, through His providence, turn what men meant for evil for good (Gen 50:20). Likewise, He can use the worst of situations to sovereignly chastise, teach, and conform His people to His Son, Jesus Christ (Rom 8:28), but God never initiates, causes, or otherwise induces sin or evil. God is not the Author of sin. Yet, Calvinists teach that God, in His sovereign plan, introduced evil for His glory and did so ultimately to bring about ”good”. However, the Scriptures teach such a concept, for God or man, has never been part of true, Apostolic theology. In fact, such carnal reasoning is condemned as dangerous indeed. The Apostle Paul, inspired by God’s Spirit, declared…

And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. Romans 3:8

DID GOD CREATE EVIL?

Some Calvinists even assert God created evil. Calvinists often cite Isaiah 45:7 as a proof text for this false and blasphemous doctrine. Notice how the verse reads?

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:7

The evil spoken of in this verse is obviously not moral evil, but natural evil. The Hebrew word literally means ”calamity”, which is physical evil. Notice, the text in Isaiah 45:7 does not read, ”I make righteousness and create evil”. No, the evil spoken of here is contrasted with peace because the evil referred to is calamity. Likewise, there are other Scriptural references pointing to God bringing natural evil or calamity on a nation, city, or people as judgment for sin (Neh. 13:18; Jer. 21:10; 25:29; Amos 3:6). God hates evil (Prov 6:16-19; Isa 61:8; Jer 44:4; Am 5:21; 6:8; Heb 1:9; Rev 2:6, 15), therefore, it is illogical to suggest God is the Author of sin.

True, God created everything in the physical or material world. However, God did not create moral evil. Evil is not material, but volitional. It is a moral disposition of free moral agents and involves, by nature, choice. Thus, evil is merely the absence of conformity to God’s law in moral agents.

”…(even) Augustine maintained that evil was only ‘privatio boni’, or an absence of good, much like darkness is an absence of light. An evil thing can only be referred to as a negative form of a good thing, such as discord, injustice, and loss of life or of liberty.”
Wikipedia (Theodicy)

We cannot deny that God created the potential for evil by creating free-moral agents endowed with a free-will who have the ability to resist God and violate His law. Nevertheless, God did not create moral evil or disobedience. Thus, man, as a free moral agent choosing to reject God and disobey His law, is the source of moral evil (Mark 7:21-23).

CAN THE AUTHOR OF SIN BE EXEMPT FROM MORAL RESPONSIBILITY?

Calvinism, with its skewed view of the sovereignty of God, philosophically funnels everything back to God, even sin itself. Hence, ”God is the Author of sin” is an inescapable deduction of Reformed theology. However, the next logical step creates increased philosophical and moral tension: if God causes men to sin is He not then responsible and morally culpable? Not surprisingly, with conscience and reason raging, most Calvinists are uncomfortable making God a ”sinner”. Waxing irrational, some Calvinists cling to God as Author of sin while unashamedly attempting to blame man?

”Man is a responsible moral agent, though he is also divinely controlled; man is divinely controlled, though he is also a responsible moral agent.”
J.I. Packer

Mr. Packer’s statement is a glaring theological contradiction. How can God justly hold men accountable for sin He has, either directly or indirectly, decreed they commit?

Others employ theological and philosophical smoke and mirrors seeking to obscure, cloak, and explain away the obvious ethical problems such a hypothesis presents. Mr. Cheung, in his article ”The Author of Sin”, bluntly states?

”…if God directly causes you to sin, it does make him the ”author”of sin (at least in the sense that people usually use the expression), but the ”sinner” or ”wrong-doer” is still you. Since sin is the transgression of divine law, for God to be a sinner or wrong-doer in this case, he must decree a moral law that forbids himself to be the Author of sin, and then when he acts as the author of sin anyway, he becomes a sinner or wrong-doer.”
Vincent Cheung (The Author Of Sin)

It is absurd to suggest that God can be cosmically behind all sin and yet be expunged from all moral responsibility for sin. Can the turn-coat FBI agent who masterminds a spy ring actually expose, apprehend, indict, testify against, and help convict spies he facilitated without implicating himself? I think not. Neither can the Calvinist God, who unquestionably governs all the affairs of men, hold men who are predestined to reprobation accountable for their sins without making Himself culpable.

That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Genesis 18:25

Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice? Job 8:3

Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. Job 34:12

And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.Psalms 9:8

God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? Romans 3:6

Moreover, how can men be responsible for actions they do not have the will to perform or ultimately the freedom to resist? If the Scriptures teach that law and the knowledge of the law are both prerequisites for culpability, which it does (Lev 4:13-14; Deut 1:39; Rom 3:20, 4:15), how much more the will and ability to obey the command? Granted, though the Bible teaches men can resist specific acts of sin, no man can fully obey God apart from divine grace (Rom 7:18; Phil 2:13; Heb 13:21). However, from a Calvinistic perspective, men have no real choice in the matter. God governs and controls all. Can we, based on Scripture, logically establish moral ”responsibility” apart from ”respond-ability”? The answer is a resounding ”no”. This is a Scriptural and philosophical absolute. Hence, if God is the author of sin, God is accountable for sin.

Calvinists say those who question God do so because His ways violate their carnal concept of justice. All agree that fallen humanity can have unusual ideas about justice, but God reveals Himself as just and defines His justice via the Scriptures. Calvinists often say that if we understood divine justice, it would no longer be divine, or some similar tautology. What strange reasoning. If we can understand God’s Word will it cease to be God’s Word? Surely, God’s people, filled, led, and taught by God’s Spirit, can comprehend, at least to some degree, God’s justice? Without the revelation of true justice, (which is displayed by God and His Word) men could not walk righteously or fulfill God’s plan in the earth.

Furthermore, for the Calvinist, a theological contradiction arises when God shows indignation toward those who, by living in sin, are only fulfilling their divine destiny inaccordance with God’s predetermined decree?

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Ephesians 5:6

It is amazing that Calvinists vehemently deny that God works at cross purposes with Himself. If reprobates disobey God, harden themselves in sin, and ultimately shun the gospel because God sovereignly predetermined they do so in His secret will, why then does God not agree with what He decreed?

IS GOD CONSISTENT WITH HIS OWN LAW?

for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Psalms 138:2

Amazingly, many Calvinists believe God, as Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, cannot be expected to honor the standard of His own law. Is this true? Calvinist apologist, Vincent Cheung, in his blog article entitled ”The Author of Sin”, boldly stated?

”Whether or not God is the author of sin, there is no Biblical or rational problem with Him being the author of sin”

Really, Mr. Cheung? If God is responsible for every act of evil then He has broken His own law. Such an assertion, according to the Word of God, is impossible, not because God is above His own law, but because such behavior is contrary to His holy nature.

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant? Deuteronomy 7:9

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deuteronomy 32:4

Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever? Psalms 146:6

I propose that God could never violate His own law nor compel others to do so. I base this absolute on several Biblical principles, namely:

1. God is holy. Holiness, as defined by Scripture, is to be conformed to God’s moral law. Granted, there are some areas where God’s moral law applies only to man, nevertheless, to cause men, in any way, to violate His law is against God’s nature (James 1:13).

2. God and His Word are synonymous. If God cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13) how could He breach His own character by violating His Word or causing men to do so?

3. God the Father and Jesus Christ, both being part of the triune Godhead, are the same in essence (Col 2:9). Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, never broke the law of God but fulfilled the law. This being true, it is reasonable to assume God cannot break His own law.

4. God’s Spirit inspires holiness and conformity to moral law (Rom 8:4; Gal 5:16, 22-23). Would the same Spirit who effectually restrains sin in redeemed man in time inspire sin in our holy God in eternity? Again, I think not.

5. God is love (1 Jn 4:8). Love is conformity to moral law (Rom 13:10). Moreover, God’s character is immutable; He cannot change. Therefore, how could God violate His law and be consistent with His revealed nature?

6. God is not the Author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33). Nothing is more disorderly and confusing than sin. Thus, God cannot be the cause of sin.

Therefore, we conclude that God cannot be the Author of sin and remain true to His revealed nature throughout the Scriptures.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

Foreknowledge does not constitute predestination. Case in point:

FIRST: David was being pursued by Saul. So, David asked the Lord that, if he goes down to Keilah, will Saul also come down there, and will they deliver David into Saul’s hand? The Lord answered yes.

So, what did David do? ”Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go..” (1 Sam. 23:13).

So what we find here is that God knew WHAT WOULD happen IF David went to Keilah – he would meet Saul there, for God foreknew that Saul would be there, and that those in Keilah would hand him over to Saul. BUT THIS DID NOT HAPPEN. David left the area of Keilah. God knew WHAT WOULD happen, even that which DID NOT happen. God foreknows future contingencies, and is not directing every event by a strict necessity or predetermined decree.

SECOND: God left a matter in David’s own hands. ”And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, ‘Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee….'” (1 Sam. 24:4).

So, what did David do? He spared Paul’s life. But God PERMITTED David to do whatever he wanted to do. David had more than one option before him. God did not tell David what to do, as though it was already predetermined by decree, but allowed David to choose.