Month: August 2014

GOD's Goal

GOD's Goal

divide-truthHe intends to become All in all His creatures (1 Cor.15:28). He will accomplish this by way of reconciling all His enemies by the blood of Christ’s cross, by justifying, vivifying, and saving all mankind at the consummation (Col.1:20; Rom.5:18; 1 Cor.15:22; 1 Tim 2:4; 4:10). But before this there is a long and painful preparatory process, a weary way which leads His creatures to this consummation, much of which is as dark and distressing as the goal is bright and filled with blessing.

Almost all of us are short-sighted. We see a part of the way but we do not see the end. We confuse the going with the goal. Our translations are partly to blame, for they fail to clearly mark the fleeting nature of the process, as it is in the original. And if an honest attempt is made to carry this across in a concordant version, it clashes with our conventions and our hard hearts. God grant that we may faithfully witness, in our renderings, when God reveals a fact, and when it is only a temporary process, for this He has clearly indicated in the Original.

Judgment is God’s strange work. He uses it on the way. Men make it the end. No matter how an unbeliever is dealt with, whether he dies as a result of sin, or by the direct intervention of God, whether he be cast into outer darkness or into Gehenna, this is not his end. All who do not belong to Christ will be roused from the dead and judged before the great white throne. There they are not forgiven, or saved, but judged. But this is not their end. All these will be cast into the lake of fire, to suffer the second death. Even this is not their end. God does not reach His goal in any of His disciplinary measures. These only prepare His creatures for it. Let us not confuse the going with the goal.

 

A. E. Knoch

Love Unlimited

Love Unlimited

Yet God is commending this love of His to us, seeing that, while we are still sinners, Christ died for our sakes. (Romans 5:8)

Yet God, being rich in mercy, because of His vast love with which He loves us… (Ephesians 2:4)

love-heartThe powers of darkness want people ignorant of God, and they accomplish this by engaging men and women in the needless exercise of working to win God’s affection. Religion demands that people “walk the line” to win the affection of a God Who already could not possibly love them more.

Martin Zender
How to Be Free From Sin While Smoking a Cigarette
(2007), Page 25

 

False Traditions

False Traditions

freedomPersons imbued with false traditions come to Scripture with minds filled with the inventions, fabrications and imaginations of man; and can, of course, see nothing but their own traditions apparently sanctioned by our Lord. But when we read passages in the light of the whole Word of God, and especially in the light of the context, we see in it false doctrine the traditions of the Pharisees, which were “highly esteemed among men,” but were “abomination in the sight of God.”

E.W. Bullinger(1837-1913)
The Rich Man and Lazarus

A Great Ministry

A Great Ministry

“For it is God Who works in you…” (Philippians 2:13).

While the world of “Christian Service” goes on with its endless activities of “ministry for the Lord,” God is quietly, steadily, faithfully at work in your life.

book1imagesAs impressive as all of the religious activities may appear to be, it is often little more than religious fluff. True ministry is intensely personal, borne out of self-sacrifice for another. It is freely being spent (used up) in the situation of life where Father has placed us, and regardless of how you may “see” things or “feel” about the value of your personal sacrifice, it is in the silent, unrecognized giving of yourself and your daily life in the seemingly routine details of the day that you are used in HIS real ministry. It is in your regular avenue of living that your role as a “Son of God” is manifest in the real “work of God”!

I am not talking here of an occasional “act of service,” but of your daily LIVING SACRIFICE for Him in every detail and circumstance of life, being His available vessel – His channel of care and love – in EVERY SINGLE SITUATION, EVERY SINGLE DAY, day in and day out.

Your life is what true ministry is all about. It is not something that you “go and do.” It is who you are as our Father lives His life in and through you. Your daily sacrifice is what true ministry is all about. To give your life as a living sacrifice to God is a tremendous amount of hardship, care, burden, heartache, difficulty, trial and inconvenience.

Anyone can participate in a religious activity (so-called “Christian service”) for an hour or two here and there and go home and relax; but true ministry is about LIFE, it is sacrificially lived in real life – in our homes, at work, at play, anywhere we are – every day.

Sacrificial living is about your Father doing His work in you. It is not about recognition, display, grandeur or applause. It is about responsibility, devotedness and faithfulness “in a few things” and with those who have the appearance of being “least of these.” There are many places of pretense of ministry; but your daily life is EXACTLY where Dad is doing His work – in those circumstances and activities that might appear to you to be just the daily duties of routine.

Many Christians are busy with their convenient “churches,” “ministries,” “fellowships,” “Bible studies” and “serving the Lord.” Sadly, though, things are NOT what they always appear to be. The life of our Father is about real life – everyday life – about God’s humble work in you.

What we are talking about here is the real work of God in our lives – Everyday real. Painfully real. Routinely real. Monotonously real – but nonetheless the REAL work of God!

For the most part, in this life you will go overlooked, unrecognized, unappreciated and un-thanked. This is par for the carnal course, but do not let this discourage you from your GREAT ministry. One day all the things of this life will be brought into the light. So,

“… Don’t be weary in well doing: for in due season you will reap, if you faint not” (Galatians 6:9).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

SALVATION AND CHOICE

SALVATION AND CHOICE

SALVATION is “according to the choice of grace” (Rom.11:5). We “are called according to the purpose that, whom [God] foreknew, He designates beforehand, also, to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom.8:29). This is so, “that the purpose of God may be…a choice…of Him Who is calling” (Rom.9:11). “Consequently, then, it is not of him who is willing [or choosing], nor of him who is racing, but of God, the Merciful” (Rom.9:16).

The choice belongs to God, and we should profoundly thank Him that this is so, and not reject this truth because it is unpopular (or because it may make us unpopular). For only God has the wisdom to choose always for good. Only God has the righteousness and power to choose for the eventual good of all, and to bring His choices to the end in view.

I once talked with a minister who believed that there was a long list of requirements which man must meet in order to be saved. He was very critical of another minister who only believed in a short list of requirements. He considered the other man’s position to be “disgraceful” since its list of requirements was only a short one, and said that the other man was making salvation “cheap.” I told him that I agreed with him in this, but I added that I believed that He was mistaken also, for God’s gracious gift of salvation is neither cheap nor expensive, but instead is free! It is pathetic that most conceive of this truth, which alone is full of grace, as disgraceful. For quite the reverse is true, and in more ways than one. For the instant we place any requirements at all upon God’s gracious gift, we destroy its gracious character; then, “it is no longer grace” (Rom.11:6). Even believing, though not a work in itself (cf Rom.4:5), is nonetheless something that we do. Anything that we do depends upon some sort of human activity, or work. Mental work is still work; it is often the hardest kind of all. And grace is not out of works. May God grace us to cease from our pride, and to be seeking His glory alone, “being true” to His Word, not falsely speaking “from ourselves” due to a desire to seek our own glory (cf John 7:18; Eph.4:15).

There can be no “conditions” which we supply. If there were, our glorious salvation would be a reward, instead of the “indescribable gratuity” that it is (2 Cor.9:15). The obedience which, indeed, is essential to our salvation is the work of God in us, not of God and us. It simply cannot be that God’s choice of us was based on a mere foreseeing of who would “meet the conditions of salvation.” For He did not merely foreknow something about us (such as, that we would believe). Instead, “because of His vast love with which He loves us” (Eph.2:4), He “foreknew” us (cp Rom.8:29; 2 Tim.2:19; Jer.1:5)! That is, “lest anyone should be boasting” (Eph.2:9), He chose us, “before the disruption of the world” (Eph.1:4), “for the laud of the glory of His grace” (Eph.1:6). “For His achievement are we” (Eph.2:10).

The only wise course for us is truly to believe that God is “operating all,” and is doing so “in accord with the counsel of His will” (Eph.1:11), and that His counsel shall stand (Prov.19:21), for He will do it (Isa.46:10,11). May God cause us to rejoice in this with thanksgiving and praise.

– James Coram

UNSEARCHABLE RICHES, JULY 1982 Volume 73, Number 4

Truths that Satisfy

Truths that Satisfy

GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE

images2“…God’s foreknowledge is an essential attribute of the Deity and means what it says; it must not be interpreted as denoting an arbitrary exercise of power, indeed, God is depicted as desiring the salvation of all men (1 Tim.2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) and actually being hindered in His designs of blessing by human unbelief (Matt.13:58; 1 Tim.4:10); those who reject do so of their own free-will and thereby prove themselves unworthy of everlasting life” (Acts 13:46).

It seems to me that we will all agree with the refreshing statement that foreknowledge “means what it says.” I would only widen it to include every word in the Scriptures. Why should this be an exception? Foreknowledge is not the exercise of power at all. It is mentioned only twice in Holy Writ (Acts 2:23; 1 Peter 1:2). The former passage reads, “this One, given up by the specific counsel and foreknowledge of God, you, gibbeting with lawless hands, assassinate…” (Acts 2:23). The perplexing point seems to be, how did God know this before? Even the perpetrators themselves did not know. Is it not solved for us in another passage to the same intent, spoken a few days later? “And now, brethren, I am aware that you commit it in ignorance, even as your chiefs also. Yet what God announces before through the mouth of all the prophets—the sufferings of His Christ—He thus fulfills.” Who fulfills it? The Jews? No! God. He knows before what He is going to do, and what He will make others do.

“Who will have all men to be saved,” says the Authorized Version (1 Tim.2:4). Let me call your attention to a remarkable phenomenon. Those who usually resent any change of the venerable version to which they are accustomed, almost invariably change the word will in this passage to desire. Keep watching and you will see this done frequently. I also am eager to correct anything that is wrong in any version. But, in this case, why change the Authorized Version when it is right? It is the regular word for will, and not the word for desire. Perhaps the answer lies in a similar statement, that men do not desire all men to be saved! The very thought that all men may be saved is far more disturbing to many than the idea of eternal torment. How terrible! Just imagine, everyone made alive (1 Cor.15:22), justified (Rom.5:18), reconciled (Col.1:20), saved! How could you bear it? Isn’t it awful? I know of nothing which more vividly brings out the evil of the human heart than this fiendish desire to see one’s fellowmen in endless misery and woe.

Since God created all in the Son of His love (Col.1:16), of course He “desires the salvation of all men.” And so does everyone else who has a measure of His spirit which is not quenched by the false spirits which have taken control of Christendom, and even of those who profess an ardent love for the Bible. I am not ashamed to confess that, since I have tasted the deliciousness of God’s grace, I wish to share it with everyone—even my worst enemies and those who have treated me most shamefully. While I am confessing I may as well add that I would probably be foolish enough to wish that unbelievers could escape the severe judgment that awaits them, though, the more I learn of God, the more I acquiesce in His just judgments, and see in them evidences of His underlying love, for they are for the welfare of His creatures, and, in the end, will bring them blessing.

A straw shows which way the wind blows. Whenever anyone unconsciously alters the word will to desire in this passage we may be sure that he wishes to help God out of a dilemma, for a God Who wills the salvation of all and is unable to carry out His will, is not really worthy of respect. Just think! They would tell us that man’s will is “free,” and, in the matter of salvation, he can carry it out if he won’t have it. But God’s will is only a desire, and He can’t carry it out! Suppose we grant it for a few minutes. Is the case any better? What kind of a deity is it who desires something and is forced to forgo it? And this by the creatures of his own hand! We cannot force ourselves to honor such a deity, much less worship him. Those who change will to desire are well meaning, but, without desiring it, they are sapping the foundations of all true reverence for the Deity, and are putting a lighted match to the pages of the Bible which may flare up and turn the whole to ashes.

I beg of you, and I plead with you, do not alter a word in God’s book unless it is to conform it to the inspired original. It may seem ever so harmless (such as changing will to desire), nevertheless it has in it the seed of the apostasy. It is treason against the Highest to tamper with His words. As a translator, the thought that, in my ignorance and weakness, I may unconsciously be guilty of such a sin would be an unbearable burden if I were not aware that God looks on the heart, not the hand, and His grace superabounds. God is operating the universe in accord with the counsel of His will (Eph.1:11), and it is His will that all men be saved. In both cases the word is will in the Greek. Whatever it means, it is the same. And no real reasoning will ever be able to destroy the fact that it is God’s will to save all and that He will carry out His will. God is not a man, that His will can be thwarted.

A. E. Knoch –

UNSEARCHABLE RICHES FOR JULY 1936
BEING THE FOURTH NUMBER OF VOLUME TWENTY-SEVEN

 

Protesting God

Protesting God

protest-150x150“IF GOD purposed that sin should enter the world, why does He cast Satan into the lake of fire for doing what it was planned he should do?” On the surface this question seems reasonable and right, but beneath its demand for fairness lies the most malignant of all sins. God is put in the same category with man. He is placed on trial by a jury of His peers. He is called to account as though He were a criminal and we were gods, high and mighty, and far more just than He. It denies His deity; it undermines His sovereignty. Man takes His empty throne and is seated in the place supreme.

When the great apostle of the nations was confronted with the equivalent of this question he did not even deign to answer it (Rom.9:19). None who ask it can be enlightened unless first of all they take the place which becomes them in His august Presence. So we echo the apostle’s reply. Of those who seek to overthrow the truth by questioning God’s right to do what He does, we simply ask, Who are you? We have no controversy with them. Their quarrel is with God. Until they bow to the Creator and acknowledge that they are merely creatures, His ways will be hidden and His doings devious and dark.

This question is but an echo of man’s objections to God’s dealings with Pharaoh. “You will be protesting to me, then, `Why, then, is He still blaming? For has anyone withstood His intention?'” What is the spirit’s answer to such insolence? “O man, who are you, to be sure, who are rejoining to God? That which is moulded does not protest to the moulder, `Why do you make me thus?’ Or has not the potter the right over the clay, out of the same kneading to make one vessel, indeed, for honor, and one for dishonor” (Rom.9:19)?”

 

~ A. E. Knock

An Unencumbered Life

An Unencumbered Life

sunrise RxRLaws of religion are intended to hedge us in and distinguish between those who belong and those who don’t. These rules include a vast array of expectations about how one should pray, vote, serve, dance (or not), drink, eat, spend time on Sunday, spend money, educate children, and worship. The laws of one’s doctrine may even give particulars about how to spend “quiet time” with God each day. These expectations become “law” when we feel we must live up to them in order to feel adequate or acceptable to our communities, our church, other Christians, ourselves, and maybe even God.

Religion uses laws in an attempt to make us all look the same. But the grace of God enables us to live daring, free lives outside of man-made lines as unique individuals. Remember the troubles the Pharisees had with Jesus? He was never where they anticipated Him to be; they would look for Him in the temple and He would be eating and hanging out “on the wrong side of the tracks.” When He was supposed to be fasting, He was eating with tax collectors and prostitutes. He healed on the Sabbath when He was expected to rest. And all the while He was only doing what He had heard His Father say and seen His Father do (John 5:19, 26, 30; 14:10). Likewise, when we live in a grace relationship with God, we will be in line with His will, even though we can count on being out of line with the will of some religious leaders. For those exhausted by a heavy yoke of Christian traditions and self-standards, this is truly good news!

~ Bill Ewing, Rest Assured (2003), pages 110 & 192

 

God, Not Man

God, Not Man

NoFreeWillThe teaching of “free will” is meant to shield God from the shocking teaching of eternal torment.  “Free will” is the mechanism that theologians employ in order to transfer responsibility from our Loving Father, to man himself, for an outcome so hideous that nobody could possibly justify.

The only good thing about teachings such as Eternal Torment and ‘free will’ is that there is absolutely no basis in scripture for them.  God makes some as vessels of honor, and others a vessels of dishonor.  Judas was one of the latter, his lot was determined long before he was born.  Christ had to be betrayed in order to become the Savior of the World, Judas was the vessel chosen to betray Christ.  Judas had to be influenced from without in order to be made to do such a vile thing and afterward he was so disgusted with what he was made to do that he took his own life.  Judas had no freedom to choose his fate, and he will be reconciled back to God, through the blood of the cross.  The very cross that his own act played a crucial part in leading Christ to.

A. E Knoch examines this fact with respect to Judas Iscariot:

“The Scriptures show the utter helplessness of Judas. How could he flee from his fate? Not only were the powers of evil against him, but the powers of good were just as determined to make him play his part. God Himself had determined the role he should have, and Christ, the only Savior, must act in accord with the divine decree. I beg my readers not to evade the issue. Let them put themselves in Judas’ place. What can a mortal do when Satan and Christ and God all force him to commit a deed so awful in his own eyes that it drives him to desperation and death?

It may help if I confess that I once feared to face this issue. I tried to find a way for God to get out of this dilemma. The idea that He could make vessels for dishonor (Rom. 9:21), and then punish them eternally was incredible. And I was right. God could not do such a thing. My mistake was to disbelieve God’s plain statement and all the evidence which sustains it in the Scriptures, because I had accepted a false theology in regard to His future dealings with these vessels which He fits for destruction. Since I now know that God will not only deal justly with them, but lovingly, I am able to believe God, and glorify God, and exult in the God Who remains Love, even when He hardens and hates.”

~ A. E. Knoch

Eternal torment is a doctrine of demons and can hardly be made bearable by the foolish teaching of man’s “free will”.  Especially when scripture makes it so clear that man does not have a “free will”.  Let’s believe God, and trust that He is working all things in accord with the council of His will.

 

~ DH

 

The Missing Link

The Missing Link

love-heartLove. It’s a prevalent theme coursing through the vein of our society. It’s the underlying motif of many a conversation and too much or not enough of it is the cause of broken hearts globally. And most especially, it is the very reason you and everything else was created—because God so loves the world. Yet in the arena of proclaiming scriptural truths, there is something in the love department that often gets overlooked. A sort of taboo topic—loving yourself. I think it’s the missing link in the love chain, sandwiched in between the reality of God’s inescapable love lavished on you, individually and intimately, and the outflowing of this superior love from your true source onto others. Of course, first and foremost, you must understand the wholly inexhaustible nature of Father’s love. And not only understand it, but capture it within your heart. Until this event erupts upon your own personal landscape you have no authentic love to decant to anybody, yourself included. But once you finally grasp hold of the love that God commends to you (Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4-7), then you can begin to see yourself in the light of this wildly infectious love.

Now I know the apostle Paul teaches us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, but to me this suggests something radical. It suggests that we CAN think highly of ourselves. (Notice I said highly, not haughtily). So the revolutionary thought I am introducing here is simply this—you are free to love yourself. What I’m talking about is being comfortable in your own skin. Being able to look in the mirror and say, “You’re the bomb!” Even on a bad hair day. More than just giving yourself permission, when you view yourself as your Creator does, the One Who knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), then and only then can you embrace the beautiful mystery of you—quirks, flaws and all.

Does this idea make you bristle or flinch? If loving ourselves were unscriptural, then our apostle wouldn’t have entreated men to love their wives as their own bodies, now would he? (Ephesians 5:28) So go ahead, I dare you. I dare you to look upon yourself through the eyes of the Happy God. Happy, because He’s happy with you because of all His Son accomplished on the cross for your sake. I guarantee you’ll like what you see—outside and in.

~ Sheryl Crow