Twisted Tuesday – Foreknowledge

Hello all, I hope this post has found you doing well. As I mentioned in my last Twisted post, when I study and read Gods Word I’m often reminded of errant theology taught to me during my decade-plus time as a goat amongst the sheep. When I was first saved by Gods grace I had a deep desire to understand as much as I possibly could about this God that would rescue a wretch like myself. I wanted to know His attributes, to hear His word, to rid myself of all the misconceptions I had of Christianity. I never let go of the first verse I read as a new creation, 1 Corinthians 8:2.

We have a tendency, as sons and daughters of Adam, to sinfully let knowledge puff us up. I certainly was full of pride, and ego, before God rescued me from the chains of sin and death. I had no idea of the tremendous amount of knowledge that I didn’t know. Who God is, what He has done, why He has done it, how can we know, all these subjects to study and only one little me! I lost sleep, in my deep desire to understand, I let my daily ministry of serving my family slip. I skipped meals, prayer, devotion, I forgot to grocery shop, pay bills, and organize homeschooling lessons. I dug and dug, and frustratingly came back with opinions ranging from what I know today is rank heresy, to the actual truth. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I needed structure, discipline, and patience, but instead ended up falling into legalism. God is kind to His children, He prunes us, His rod and His staff comfort us, He patiently sanctifies us.

I had to throw it all out, friends, and start from the foundations of my faith, slowly building on the Rock. Everything I knew, or thought I knew, had to be checked against Gods Word. So, with that being said, you can imagine how overjoyed I am when I hear solid preachers teaching on the attributes of God! The Father’s foreknowledge isn’t discussed much in the groups I learned from before being born again. However, it was described exactly how Dr. Lawson says it is in the clip below. As if God had looked through time, learned what man would do, and went from there. Now, knowing that God does not learn, His attributes show that He is all knowing, I can see how wrong that perspective is. Twisting Gods Word often leads to a twisted view of God Himself.

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2019/02/13/the-foreknowledge-of-god/

You see, dear ones, that God has not seen into the future, but that there is a much more beautiful exegesis for the verses referring to Gods foreknowledge. To know, in an intimate, or unique, way, those whom He has called. What is this love? What is this that God has done for those He calls? To save us, wretched, rebellious, God-hating sinners, by sending His only begotten Son to die in our place? To adopt us? To sanctify us? To justify us? Not a single sinner on Earth has ever deserved this love. And yet, as if to further shine a light on the darkness of man’s wicked heart, He reveals in His Word that He knows us? Intimately, deeply, uniquely, knows us? We’re talking about the one true God, creator of the universe, whose ways are always righteous and just, who’s loving kindness knows no bounds, whose power is beyond comprehension. That God, has known us? How can anyone twist such a beautiful doctrine into such a sinful one? Well, beloved, I did. Before I was saved I would have touted this exact heresy.

To make man more, and God less seems to be the purpose of every verse taken out of context. Brothers and sisters, God can not, and does not, learn anything. Everything that ever was or will be was already known to Him before the Earth was made. If you have repented of your sins, put your faith in Christ, and been born again by Gods grace, then you too were forknown. If you have not been born again, if there’s never been a time when you were made into a new creation that now loves what God loves and hates what God hates, then your sins of lying, lusting, coveting, and idolatry are a direct offense against this great God. That’s the bad news. The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ, fully man and fully God, came and lived a sinless life, dying in our place, to save whosoever would believe. Repent, turn away, from your sins, and cry out to God for salvation. Only by one name, Christ and Christ alone, can man be saved. There is no other hope for sinners to be saved. As always, beloved brethren, be good Bereans, and study to show yourselves approved.

Advertisements

Twisted Tuesday – Remind God of our Good Works?

Dear ones, this is going to be a quick and short refutation. Recently I heard, in a couple different circumstances, that when we face trials or our prayers have gone unanswered, we ought to remind God of all the good things we’ve done. Joel Osteen recommended this particular tactic for manipulating God into doing what you want. I doubt that he’s the first to suggest this, but seems to be the one popularizing it today. Others, such as Kenneth Copeland, have boldly proclaimed our ability to command God, and even said that he doesn’t ask but tells God what he wants. Both Copeland and Osteen come from the Word of Faith movement, though they take a different approach, it’s no surprise to see them aligned in a theological matter. This particular one just happens to be the ultimate height of pride and arrogance.

I couldn’t find a direct verse used to back this belief up, but it appears to be loosely based on James 2:18-22. This is one of those verses that frequently finds itself twisted to suit works based religions. It’s clear from the context, and a plain reading of the text, that James is simply explaining that there will be evidence of salvation in the heart of the believer. Those of us who have been given the gift of faith will have works, we will hate sin and love God, His commands, and His people. We don’t do good deeds as collateral for negotiations with our Lord and Savior. The very ability to do good deeds comes from God, as He graciously sanctifies us. He gives us love for one another, that is not something we are able to work in our own hearts.

Something that’s very important to understand in the WoF movement that makes these teachers so dangerous is their man centered theology. Faith is not a gift from God, it’s a force we wield at God. Good works are not an evidence of change within us, they’re points accumulated in a heavenly account to get money and health on earth. It’s not all of grace, it’s all of man. This teaching, that we should remind God of our good works, is the clearest example of this I’ve heard to date. Our righteousness, dear ones, is like rags, filthy rags. If you know the literal meaning of the word used in that verse you’ll know just how filthy without me having to write it. If we go before God to bring anyone’s good deeds to Him it ought only to be Christ’s. His righteousness is imputed unto us, that is why we are able to stand on the day of Judgement. If you’re going through a difficult time, consider that tremendous truth. Reject any idea of pointing to your own goodness. And as always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Christ the Messiah: God or Man?

Dear ones, a few days ago I heard a grievous statistic that 78% of ‘Christians’ believe Christ was created by God. 78? That means the mass majority of professing Christians have an errant view of Christ, the trinity, and the Gospel. The verse twisted to come up with this false doctrine is Revelation 3:14 which does seem to justify this belief. Here’s the problem, Scripture clearly states that Christ has always been, He is eternal, so either Scripture is contradicting itself or our understanding is flawed. Always, always, beloved, assume the issue is with our interpretation. Gods Word is inerrant, we are not.

What’s happened in Revelation 3:14 is simply a misunderstanding of the Greek term arche. Arche is translated in most versions as beginning, which in modern speech would suggest the first created. In Greek, however, this is referencing the source, or origin, of created things. All things were made by Him, Christ is the source. A little Greek can go a long way, thankfully we have access to a tremendous amount of information online. But why is this so dangerous? And how did it come about that so many believe it?

Friends, Gods Word is very clear, only a perfect sacrifice could remove the sins of believers. Only God is perfect. If Christ is created by God, He is not God, and can not save through His sacrifice. You can see then that multitudes of professing believers do not even understand this most basic doctrine of Christianity. If you put your faith in a false god, even if you name that false god Jesus, you are still lost. I liken it to this, suppose a new employee comes to you and processes to worship Christ. You’re overjoyed, another believer to fellowship! That employee invites you over to worship Jesus together, and you accept the invite. Unfortunately, when you arrive, you find that ‘Jesus’ is this new friends pet chicken to which he sacrifices to, adores, and worships. You see the different, beloved?

I was an idolater before God saved me in July of 2015. I had created an image of a god, he resembled Santa Clause. I called him Jesus, but he was a figment of my imagination. He was not the Biblical Messiah, who bore my sin and death on a Roman cross. I had no idea about the mystery of the Godhead, or the eternality of Christ. When I became a new creation understanding didn’t magically appear in my mind, I had to search the Scriptures. The very thing my new heart desired to do more than anything else. I wanted to know more about this Savior that had freed me from the chains of sin! In digging into God’s Word I could clearly see the difference between the true Christ, and the false god I had been worshipping.

How is it then, with this being such obvious error, that the majority polled answered incorrectly? I believe the answer is twofold. Firstly, the foxes are watching the hen house. Over the past hundred years the Gospel has been slowly watered down, and churches have become so ‘inclusive’ and inoffensive, that they don’t dare give the Law to the proud and grace to the humble. Without Biblical preaching churches are filled with unsaved members that then go on to become unsaved pastors, leaders, and elders. Secondly, and owing to the first point, doctrine is despised in today’s churches. The very idea of tediously working through the Scriptures is laughable to the modern ‘Christian’. As proverbs say, to the starving every bitter thing tastes sweet. Those who have so very little teaching in the Word are more apt to accept whatever sounds best to their itching ears.

I doubt that I have to mention just how deeply troubling this statistic is. We must continue, dear brethren, to study and share the truth as many of your wonderful blogs to daily. Teach your children, and grandchildren, and encourage your pastors, elders, and leaders to teach meaty matters. Speak the truth in love, always bringing to remembrance that, if not for Gods grace, we would also be mislead. As always, beloved ones, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Switch-A-Roo – Snatch Them From the Flames

Usually on Thursdays I do a book review, today I want to switch things up beloved. There is a resource available at Wretched.Org right now that is totally free, and very instructive. It’s called Snatch Them From the Flames, it’s a conversation between Todd Freakishly Tall Friel and the Doctor of Discernment himself, Justin Peters. In this discussion they cover everything from the attraction of the NAR, false doctrines taught in it, to lovingly snatching friends and family out of the movement. The conversation itself was filmed during a break in the Shepherds Conference, so it’s very impromptu.

As I mentioned before, it’s free, however you do need to give an email address so the link can be sent to you. You’ll be given an option to be sent a free DVD if that’s preferred, to download it, or to watch it in sections online. Many of you know I came out of the Charismatic Movement, God graciously saved me and snatched me out of the flames. I still have many friends and family members involved, so this was very helpful. As we see the movements toxic doctrines seep into solid churches, we’re more likely than ever to need this instruction. I hope you’ll all be as blessed by this as I was! As always, dear ones, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

https://www.wretched.org/flames/

Twisted Tuesday – Then Who Spoke to Me?

Hello dear friends, I hope you are all doing well today! Recently I saw a post with a sentence which was quoted as written by – God. It wasn’t a Bible verse, so it was most certainly not God speaking to us. It was, instead, an inspirational statement either from her mind, or someone else’s. It reminded me of a Twisted Tuesday I had begun writing a while back, this one here, of course! The cannon is closed, God has spoken to us through His prophets and eventually His Son, no new revelation will be given. No new revelation is needed. We know this Scripturally, as my media between paragraphs will show, but if you want a helpful article here is one from GTY. It still begs the question, with so many professing Christians today claiming to hear from God, just who is speaking to them?

I couldn’t find a verse that folks use to give Scriptural credence to what they’re receiving actually coming from God. It seems perhaps they are either misunderstanding Scripture, or ignoring it. I think for many they’re actually referring to the Holy Spirit placing something on their hearts, guiding or leading them one way or another. That’s totally different than claiming to speak for God, or that God speaks through you. It’s also highly likely that, since it’s not being taught from our pulpits today, many believers do not understand that the Bible is God speaking through men by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This means if God is still speaking in that way, we need to open the cannon and start adding to it. That’s a dangerous, and sinful, idea which we need to stand against strongly. So many of the cults we see today began with someone adding to Gods Word, whether through traditions or ‘revelations’ given to one person. It always accompanies an abandonment of salvation through grace alone, and faith in Christ alone. This is why it’s important we make clear that God is not giving new revelation today.

Before I was saved I thought God was always speaking to me. I constantly had a word, had a feeling, had a revelation, none of which were Biblical. I didn’t even understand the Bible, honestly, I read it and it went in one ear and out the other. So what was I hearing? Most of the time it was my conscious, which has even graciously been given to the lost to keep them from the wickedness our hearts are truly capable of. We see many so callous that they’ve shut down that conscious, and are thus able to commit horrible atrocities. Many other things influence our minds, like the entertainment we watch or listen to. Our friends and family can suggest things which lead to thoughts later on down the road. All this leads up to the need to test every thought against Scripture before acting on it. Somethings aren’t covered in the Word, like jobs and the like. It’s a great idea to take your thoughts to prayer, and to other believers that have been in the faith longer.

The most important thing to remember, beloved ones, is that God is not going to audibly speak today. As brother Justin Peters says “If you want to hear from God read your Bible. If you want to hear from Him audibly, read it out loud.” We should never put words in Gods mouth, not even to be inspiring or encouraging. Gods Word is the Bible, adding to it is as dangerous as taking away from it. If you’re hearing audible voices claiming to be God you need to go to your Pastor and Elders. Ask for prayer, and stay in prayer yourself. Study doctrine, friends, doctrine is a weapon against heretical and nonBiblical beliefs and attitudes. As always, dear brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Liberty or Sin? Christians Cursing

A couple months ago, dear friends, I began noticing a few different things that were bothersome to me. I saw professing believers posting foul language, alcohol, and photos of themselves smoking cigars. If that’s you, before you scream legalist, or tell me all about how you have liberty in Christ, please read the entirety of my posts. Maybe we can help one another understand the other side a little better. First, I have to tell you that when this issue became too frequently placed before me I did what the Bible tells wives to do, I asked my husband. If you have a believing spouse I would encourage you to go to them in these matters, and search the Scriptures together. It’s such a blessing to have a spouse who can help in these areas! He showed me there’s really two categories here, Sin and Christian Liberty.

If you’ve followed me long enough you know already, I love a good series of posts! So I’m going to dig into each category, focusing on the three issues listed above. Today I’d like to tackle the language I’ve heard and seen posted on social media. I have heard, or read foul language from pastors, “worship bands”, Christian sites, and professing Christians on social media. How can this be when the Bible clearly tells us not to let any unwholesome words come out of our mouth? The only argument I’ve heard for this type of behavior is Christian liberty. We need to be clear, brethren, our liberty does not cover sin. Furthermore, this type of language spoken publicly, on social media, causes men to blaspheme the name of God. I have family members who will not hear the Gospel because their hearts have been hardened by Christians acting like pagans. At the least we ought to love the lost enough to show self control.

I’m not referring to the off chance you stub your toe and let out a bad word by mistake, beloved. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m speaking directly to the preplanned action of writing out, and posting or speaking publicly, this type of language. Does that fall under Christian liberty, friends? Even if Paul was referencing swear words in Romans, which he clearly was not because that would be contradicting other verses, you’re Christian liberty begins and ends in love for the brethren. If you boasting, or proudly posting on social media, about your liberty offends a brother is sister, then you’ve officially crossed beyond your freedom in Christ. Even to that point, why would we ever feel it scriptural to boast of our freedom in Christ?

I found this article by CARM very helpful in understanding whether or not cursing is sinful. As we go out into the world and share the Gospel we’re often met by foul mouthed pagans, and most times their language, though not surprising, is difficult to listen to. We ought to be about the business of edifying and encouraging one another, but hearing so many using the same language as the lost was anything but. If you’ve read this and recognized you’re guilty as charged I ask that you would search the Scriptures. Don’t take my word for it, take His Word, and when you see these verses have been used in proper context, repent. God is gracious and forgiving, He will not allow His children to remain in sin. Stay tuned for next Tuesday, we’ll address Christians drinking. Spoiler alert, my concern is the boasting, bragging, picture taking attitude behind the glass. As always, dear ones, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved. (This was a serious topic, so here’s a little something to make you smile)

Twisted Tuesday – Have Faith in…Faith?

Do we wield faith as a force to get what we want from God, or have faith in God for salvation? Let’s discuss the Scripture twisted to give man more authority than he actually has.

Hello dear friends, I hope this post has found you all doing well. Today I want to talk about a verse misuses in such a way that it binds heavy burdens on many. I’ve seen first hand the hurt this twist in Scripture causes those who genuinely desire to be obedient, yet have been led astray by false teachers. The verse, or I suppose I should say verses, are those in reference to Jesus Christ healing someone and saying their faith had made them well. While there are several verses with similar phrasing I had to pick just one, so let’s go with Matthew 9:22.

In the original Greek text the word faith here is not a verb, it’s a noun. Unfortunately those in the WoF movement have turned it into a verb, suggesting that we need enough of it to become healed. This is another case where the full counsel of Gods Word clears the misunderstanding up. It’s also a point where Church History can be helpful, as faith was never considered a force to be wielded at God before the 20th century. When the Scriptures are taken as a whole we see that there are times when Christ healed those who had no faith in Him, or had no clue who He was. He did this out of mercy, and in the end we see clearly in the Bible that Christ healed everyone He intended on healing.

Suggesting that faith is something we most have, and use, to convince God to do what we want Him to do is a challenge to His sovereignty. It also teaches those who are zealous without knowledge that it’s their fault their children are sick, or that they can’t get well themselves. In this way these false teachers bind heavy burdens upon people, while attempting to placing man in a seat of authority over God’s will. Does God always will for everyone to be healed? If that we’re the case Jesus was disobedient in His earthly ministry. At the pool of Bethesda He only healed one person, though we’re told in the Text that there were many there. Let God be counted true and every man a liar, Christ lived a sinless life in full obedience to the will of the Father. Still to this day God heals those He decides to heal in His sovereignty.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t pray for healing, or for others who are ill. It does mean that we are in no way, shape, or form, responsible for the sickness not being removed. Those who were written about in the Bible having faith had faith in Christ Jesus, not their own ability to believe. In ourselves there is nothing we can boast of, no power, no ability, no magical healing faith. Salvation, sanctification, justification, and yes even the miraculous, are all of Gods grace. This is why I constantly exhort you, beloved brethren, to take the full counsel of Gods Word. Read in context, and recall that chapter and verse breaks are not sovereign, you may have to go back a chapter or two to get the full picture. As always, dear ones, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.