Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Deep thoughts about My Christian Faith

God constantly intervenes in our lives through His Providence. This also include the election of salvation. Before, a person was spiritually DEAD until the Holy Spirit prick's a person's heart, made that person aware of his/her sins and convicted them to repent. This conviction caused a person to understand and aware of their sins that he/she had NO CHOICE but to respond. God’s love extends to all in the gospel offer and Scripture says simply, “they were unwilling to come” (Matthew 22:3). Jesus told his servants, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast” (v. 9). Here, Jesus opened the invitation to all comers but at the end, Jesus closes with this: “Many are called, but few are chosen” (v. 14). The gospel invites many to come who are unwilling to come. Many are called who are not chosen. The invitation to come is given indiscriminately to all. Whosoever will may come, the invitation is not issued to the just the elect alone. Its clear that the gospel is a free offer of Christ and His salvation to all whoever hear Holy Spirit's conviction. Ephesians 1:13 "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit."

1 Thessalonians 1:5 "because our gospel came to you not simply with words (hearing the gospel), but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake." God’s love extends to the whole world. It covers all humanity but the actual atonement is for the elect (whoever heard the Holy Spirit's conviction and repented).

Jesus in John 6:29 "The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent."

Jesus said again in John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

People have learned that they "took credit" for almost everything they achieved, even their own salvation (by making "the choice). That is why the Apostle Paul wrote, “Your salvation is nothing you have achieved by your good works. It is a gift of God. You receive it by faith. That way no one can boast of his own accomplishments.”

Its not about choice but about conviction. God's divine intervention BOTH WAYS because all circumstances can turn or don't turn people to God. People may despise it instead of embracing it. Romans 9:18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. The Word of God stresses the importance of conviction and concern and repentance when being born from above by the Spirit of God, not from man's within. This is the same word Jesus used in John 3:3 when He told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again (anothen, lit. "from above"). God came from above and regenerates me, gave me life. And in the process cleanses my old dead life so that regeneration which is called a washing that I became a new creature from above. I didn't save myself from within but God saved me from above.

There are only two possible ways to God. One involved your work, your effort, your righteousness, your goodness. The other acknowledges that you have none of that which pleases God. It either involves something you do to please God or nothing you do to please God and there can’t be any other way. God reveals Himself to us as a "birth," bringing forth a new creation by the regenerating act of the Holy Spirit inside our sinful nature that we live in. In regenerating act, 'we' are that whosoever will may come to Christ while the other is that before anyone can come there must have been a previous work done our hearts by the sovereign operation of God through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Its not about choice because, without the Spirit's help, and believe saving on Christ by a sudden decision of the will, is wholly contrary to the teachings of the Bible. According to the teachings of Christ, none of us will or can come and believe unless there has been done within a us a prevenient work of God enabling our heart to respond. The spiritual birth, like the natural one, is unique, separate experience shared in by no one. Biblical truth is a spiritual experience and can be grasped in its inner essence only as the Spirit of truth enlightens our hearts and teaches us in the deep into our souls. Salvation is something that takes place and becomes known inside of us and salvation is redemption appropriated by faith that only the Holy Spirit can provide.

The truth of Scripture is something precious that must be carefully handled and closely guarded (1 Timothy 6:20). There are some truths revealed in the Scriptures that place a great strain upon our minds and Divine revelation assures us that certain things are true which imagination will simply not grasp. We Christians living in a sinful body, being imperfect, can never quite know perfection in anything, least of all in our relation to the incomprehensible God. Not one of us has authority to divide the truth and teach only a part of it because if we do, we weaken the truth to self-centered knowledge. We cannot know God by thinking the way we want to believe, and we can never know Him very well without accepting all aspects of God's Character. We are not to have a mind of a child that thrives on half-truths and error. There has to be a personal application of biblical truths because redemption has flowed down to us from the heart of God through His Son by the Spirit. Truth occurs both in the singular and in the plural. There are within the Holy Scriptures truth and truths, all inspired and all profitable, but certainly not always equally clear. To know Christ is to know the Truth in living experience, but it is not to know all truths in intellectual apprehension. We are to be careful because we see a truth in the Word and mistake it for the Truth. There is a mighty difference. Biblical Christianity is all about truth. God’s objective revelation (the Bible) interpreted rationally yields divine truth in perfectly sufficient measure. Everything we need to know for life and godliness is there for us in Scripture (2 Peter 1:3). We need to adapt our understanding to the truth of God’s Word and not try to manipulate Scripture in a vain effort to harmonize it with the changing opinions of some people's views. Today, gross error is now tolerable in some areas for the sake of peace. Rather than rightly dividing the word and proclaiming it as truth, many are focusing on certain truths and avoiding other truths which means ignoring the great doctrines of the faith.

We need to proclaim truth from our hearts without being arrogant if we claim to know anything for certain (we certainly don't). We do have the truth, not because we are smarter or better than anyone else, but because God has revealed it in the Scriptures and has been gracious to open our personal eyes to see it. God reveals to each of us differently according to His will.

It is important to understand that our hearts are the state of our "flesh". There are Christians who are zealous for their "doctrines" and forget the sensitivity of others regarding certain topics. God gave us conscience. If the truth of God's Word opposes the world's wisdom on a certain issue, you must align yourself with God's Word. When a Christian who is saved by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, this Christian is living in a new Creature with holy conscience rather than sinful conscience. A Christian may be theologically knowing and spiritually ignorant.

1 comment:

Banan said...

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