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.

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.

Twisted Tuesday – The Pearl of Great Price

If you, my friends, have ever sat under man-centered preaching you’ve no doubt heard repeatedly how great you are in God’s eyes. Although this is the exact opposite of what Christ preached during His Earthly ministry, and all of Scripture agrees, it doesn’t seem to sell as well. As many of you know, I spent a fair amount of time in the Word of Faith movement, more than a decade. God saved me out of that by His grace, and while I’ll never understand that as a wretch completely deserving of Hell, I will be eternally grateful to my Lord! It still catches me off guard when in my studies, or devotional time, I find a verse that was often taken out of context. This is what has happened with Matthew 13:44-46.

First I want to clear something up that’s very important. The reason Jesus gives for teaching in parables is completely different than the reason often given today. While I researched this I found several groups, including LDS, teaching that Christ was speaking in parables to reach His listeners. This is the exact opposite of what Jesus was doing. Having been rejected by the Jewish leaders and accused of casting out demons by the power of Satan, He spoke in parables so that they would not understand. He then explained them to His disciples privately. He tells us this prior to the parable in question, back in verse 13 of the same chapter. It’s also written in Luke 8:10 and Mark 4:12, and is a fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures.

Back to the parable itself, I can clearly remember being told that the man in this parable is Jesus, and of course, we’re the treasure He bought at a great price. While it’s true that our salvation came at a great price, that’s not what these verses are referring to. Over and over again, while I researched the different views of these parables attempting to find where the disconnect started, I found this same error. We’re the treasure in the field, Christ left heaven to purchase us. We’re the pearl of great price, Christ paid it all to redeem us. But a clear reading of the parables shows a very obvious picture. The kingdom of heaven is the treasure, we’re the ones that must count the cost. Ligioneer Ministries does an excellent job of fleshing this one out in this devotional here.

Mankind seems obsessed with bringing God lower and elevating man’s position higher. We love to hear how important we are, we feed on the twisting of Scripture with itching ears, so long as it builds up our inflated egos. Scripture is clear throughout, God is the only one who deserves glory, honor, and praise. Christ did not come to die for us because we are so great, but because our sins are so great. He is loving, kind, and merciful. He is also just, righteous, and holy. It would be entirely just for God to save none of the rebellious, God-hating, sinners on this Earth. It is an extreme example of His endless kindness that He saves some. The kingdom of God is of inestimable value, and when we consider this we willingly sell all that we have and follow Christ.

Please understand, dear ones, this does not mean that we need to be homeless and give everything away. It means the kingdom is worth turning our back on the worldly sins we once loved, like speaking wealth and fame. It’s worth humbling ourselves, casting aside pride, destroying the ego, and bowing our knee to the one true Savior. We must love Christ more than husband or wife, mother or father, son or daughter, because His kingdom is of endless value, and He is worthy! If you have repented and put your faith in Christ, then you have been saved, and adopted into His kingdom. That is a true treasure, that is what is of great price! It also does not mean that you are not loved. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him may not die but have everlasting life. But this text is not about us, it doesn’t give us any glory, there is nothing here for us to boast in.

We couldn’t even make our own heartbeat without Gods sovereign will continuing the electrical pulse pushing and pulling inside you. If you think that’s not true, go and search for the men and women who’s heart stops with no warning. We don’t even own the air we breathe, it’s borrowed from the One who created it. You, oh man, you think you are high and lifted up? Do you think you are of an inestimable price? What could we possibly offer God? Nothing. Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling. God has saved us, not because of our worth, but because He is merciful. This man-centered preaching is designed to draw men in, make them feel good about themselves, and give them the impression that the man standing on the stage is such a good and kind man. For love of self, men preach falsehood! They want to be liked, they want to be adored, to hear their name spoken well of. Who is deserving of all honor, praise, and glory? The thrice holy God, or a hireling that calls himself an undershepherd? When the wolves come, and they will come, these men flee!

Let us avoid man-centered preaching and teaching, and rather take God’s Word seriously enough to read it in its context. If you have been saved you have no need of bolstering, you’ve already received enough kindness and mercy to carry you through eternity. We must spend our days here glorifying God and making Him known to the lost. We will give an account to God for every idle word spoken, every word my beloved friends! God is great, He is kind, He is worthy, but even our righteousness is as filthy rags! How can we ever consider ourselves to be pearls of great price? No, dear ones, humble yourselves before such a great God, and give Him all the glory! As always, beloved brethren, be good Bereans and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – In Jesus Name

Hello everyone! It’s Tuesday, which means I’ve got the misfortune of discussing what is, for believers, a grievous topic. The twisting, misuse, misquoting, or taking of Scripture out of context. Today I want to talk about praying in Jesus name, what it means and what it most certainly doesn’t mean. For a little background into my perspective here, as you all might remember from my testimony, I was raised in a Wiccan household. There were books of spells, crystals, and incense often burning in varies rooms. We had a Bible, and my mother was mixing the two, although mostly it was goddess worship. She has thankfully been saved by grace, or so I hope, I don’t know her heart but can see some fruit. This childhood has given me a unique concern for the ever growing presence of New Agism mixing into the church. It seems to be affecting the way we view John 14:13-15.

Oprah’s Secret, the Word of Faith, and New Age beliefs all teach that you speak things positive to get positive in return. Each group phrases this differently, and many add Christian words to give authority to what they’re saying. This is, at the core, just repackaged Wiccanism. As a witch your words are the power, you speak it and believe it, then it’s supposed to change something within the universe. Nothing is new under the sun. This is how many treat prayer, as if it were an incantation, which has its final deal in the phrase ‘In Jesus Name’. For the Word of Faith in particular, this is how they command things to happen how they want them to happen. When things don’t go as they commanded, somewhere someone didn’t have enough faith. This is obviously not how our Savior intended this text to be interpreted. Anytime we attempt to use prayer, or the ending words to our prayer, as a formula to gain what it is we want, we’ve gotten it wrong.

So, now we know what it’s not, what does it mean? When we pray we are not coming before a genie who is waiting anxiously to hear what our next demand is. We are praying to a God so great that without Christ we could never stand before Him. This God is holy, perfect, just, righteous, and blameless in all His ways. We, as born again believers, come before Him as adopted children, who have been rescued and ransomed from the slavery to sin and death. As new creatures in Christ we should desire the will of God on earth as it is in heaven. As 1 John 5:14 explains, when we ask in His name according to His will He hears us. Scripture makes clear that God is not handing us a blank check needing only to signed In Jesus Name. This is yet another reason why it’s so imperative to take the full counsel of Gods Word, and not pull a verse we like out of context.

Throughout John 14 Jesus is comforting His disciples, who are distressed to hear that they will be without their Lord. He repeats two points more than twice in the chapter. The first is that if we love Him we will obey Him. The second is that the power the disciples would have would come from Christ, and not from them. This was an important point to humble these men who would be used by God to complete the Scripture. We see later in Acts chapter 4 Peter telling the Jewish leaders the very same thing, that they are teaching in the name of Jesus, that is where they receive their authority. In this way we see that ‘In Jesus Name’ is asking for things that are within the will of God, as the name of Christ stands for all that He is in Scripture, and to give God the glory for every answered prayer.

As a side note, to expound upon this a little further, I have many family members still in the WoF movement. They frequently tell of how their prayers healed someone, or how they were given material blessings, after they had prayed for it. This is a really good example of the misunderstandings that revolve around the purpose of prayer. These are people who, though they say the words, are doing anything but praying in the name of Jesus Christ. They’re not asking in His will, but in their own desires. They do not give God the glory, but brag about their own righteousness. Let us be careful not to abuse Scripture, or prayer, but rather to be humbled by Gods provisions. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – The Hurt of Healing

Today, dear ones, my heart is heavy with the toll these false teachers take on our loved ones. It’s been a rough couple weeks in our home, as an upper respiratory infection took over. At the same time, we all had to bundle up in the negatives for multiple doctor appointments. I am happy to say I’m receiving excellent treatment now for my neurological disorder, you’ll hopefully notice a more organized BiblicalBeginnings writer! I have a phobia of hospitals, ironic that my husband works in them huh? It’s the lights, smells, sounds, all mixed together with telling a perfect stranger about my personal health. We got through it, and I’m very thankful to have a knowledgeable doctor that was so kind and understanding! God has richly blessed me, in the middle of the confusion and frustration, and used the experience to teach, rebuke, and grow me.

That being said, as I’ve mentioned many times before, I have family members who hold to WoF theology. This has caused medicinal issues to go unaddressed, and imperative medication to be neglected. Now, facing yet another life altering decision, this false teaching is causing doubt. The idea that getting treatment shows a lack of faith is one of the most disgusting twists of Scripture today. In light of this, I ask that you would all join me in praying for my family members, that discernment would win the day. I also leave you with Justin Peters Clouds Without Water: The Hurt of Healing. Please pray, beloved, and if you have need of prayer yourself please leave me a note in the comments. Dear ones, you’re a greater blessing to me than words can explain. As always, my brothers and sisters, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

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 – Addressing The Heretic

Hello again, dear ones, I hope this post has found you all doing well! Every Scripture we discuss is important, and I always feel an urgency when I right a Twisted Tuesday posts. I usually fight the urge to suggest this one is the most important, or most abused, especially after researching the issue, but anytime Gods Word is taken out of context we need to correct it. This one is one of those verses that is actually ignored, for the most part, until it’s yanked kicking and screaming out of context to prove a point. I’m referring to Matthew 18:15-17.

These verses are referring to Church discipline, which is essential to the health of any church. It has, unfortunately, not been put into place in most churches today. I say most churches, as it seems to be one thing that’s agreed upon throughout denominations and even by many cults. No one wants to be rebuked publicly, so no one wants to rebuke others. This is very sad, not only as it’s been given here by Christ as a command to His church, but also because it hurts believers not to be held accountable. Goats and wolves are much more comfortable in churches where they’ll see zero accountability for sin. As such, predators can make their ways into our pews, youth groups, and children’s church without fearing public rebuke. I may have mentioned before that when I was a youth in church, long before ever being saved, I witnessed multiple explicit relationships between adults and young teenagers. It was undeniably obvious, yet no one, not a single elder, leader, or pastor, did anything to stop it.

That’s not the only way a lack of Church discipline harms members. Besides allowing the wolves to devour the flock, it allows the ‘goats’ to continue pretending to be sheep. This is why I was able to stay in church for over a decade without ever having my salvation addressed, or questioned. How many millions are lost, and deceived, like I was, because they’ve never had their sinful behavior addressed? Obviously, as a redeemed saint I still sin, and when I do it is very grievous. How blessed it is to know that, if I am sinning, my brothers and sisters would come up beside me and help me. This makes Church discipline a win win, if your lost and rebuked you can work through your salvation with fear and trembling. If your saved, fall into sin, and are rebuked like King David was by Samual, you can repent and find accountability and safety within your Church family.

It’s a shame, then, that this verse is saved for something completely different. If you’ve ever discussed the heretics of TBN you’ve likely had this verse thrown at you. “Have you taken this brother or sister aside before you rebuked them openly?” Can you imagine Paul being asked this, after his letters were sent far and wide? He warned brethren of many, in several different situations. Christ Himself, as well as John the Baptist, also called out religious leaders publicly, referring to them as ‘serpents’ and ‘hypocrites’. We know, as we’ve discussed so many times before, that if we see an issue with Scripture the problem is with our understanding. Gods Word is inerrant. Is this a contradiction? No, not at all.

Christ is telling leaders how to lead brothers and sisters in Christ out of sin. He is not telling believers to wait to warn one another of false teachers, or heretics, wolves in sheep’s clothing, until that person has been taken aside. First, we’re addressing a teaching that is unBiblical, and warning the body of Christ to avoid those teaching it. This is different than addressing a brother or sister that has fallen into sin, such as gossip. Second, it’s not possible for us to take these teachers aside. You and I are (hopefully) not members of their churches, and most of them have body guards and security that would stop us from coming within a foot from them. Lastly, it is not needed to bring these people aside with two or three, or to even publicly rebuke them. Their false teaching is public, they’ve already shown the world their sinful, blasphemous, or heretical teaching.

What we can do is use discernment, when someone is a leader, or ‘pastor’, that is teaching falsehoods. We can rebuke their teaching so that we help others see true doctrine. It’s possible those teachers will hear such rebuke and respond, as Beth Moore has. When a sister in Christ warned others that what Moore was teaching was unBiblical, Moore emailed back and forth with her asking why what she was saying was wrong. Even Benny Hinn has apologized after being rebuked, although he has since continued his false teaching, as has Moore. Whether the teachers repent or not, we must correct falsehoods. Gods Word is clear, coherent, and accurate. Only when it is taken out of context does it become muddied.

Have you heard this verse taken out of context, beloved? I’d love to hear how you handled it. I pray this post has helped edify you all. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Repentance: Gift or Work?

Hello again, dear ones! Today the twisted scripture we’re going to be working with is Ephesians 2:8-9. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. That’s a beautiful truth, is it not dear ones? This is one of those verses that we could read and reread for all eternity without ever tiring of it. Unfortunately some have used this verse to negate other verses. Namely, as we’ll be discussing today, all verses referencing repentance.

A while back Tom, our brother in the faith over at excatholicforChrist, shared a link with me about repentance here, it’s well worth the read! It was his observation that some who hold to King James Onlyism tend to have a negative view of repentance. Their claim is that repentance is a work and is therefor not needed for salvation. As you’ll see in my graphics, Scripture says otherwise. Here’s where almost every Twisted Tuesday leads, rather than allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, we tend to impose our views on it. This is called eisegesis and has caused more heresies than can be numbered. There’s going to be times when we don’t understand God’s Word, or when a verse stands out as one that needs clarity. When this happens we need to be very careful not to add our own opinions to the text. Good hermeneutics is key! If we seem to be contradicting Scripture with our interpretation than there is something seriously wrong with our interpretation.

This is what has happened with the view that repentance is a work. Scripture clearly states that salvation is of God, we have nothing to boast in. We can only sit at the feet of the cross amazed that we have been saved from the wrath to come. Scripture also tells us to repent, and put our faith in Christ alone. How does Gods Word reconcile this? Simply, by stating and repeating an important truth, repentance is a gift from God. It’s imperative at this point to discuss a distinction the Bible makes clear, there is a worldly sorrow not leading to repentance, and a Godly sorrow that does lead to repentance. The worldly sorrow is one where the sinner feels the sting of consequence, where as the Godly sorrow feels the sting of offending ones Creator.

To use myself as an example, without any understanding of God’s Law, and a wicked heart full of pride and lust, I took to the alter at every call, repeating the same prayer, hopeful that my sins would not be found out. Washing the outside of the cup. I did this for over a decade, dear ones. It’s been noted before that some have genuinely repented when repeating the Sinners Prayer. Those brothers and sisters felt the weight of their sin in Godly sorrow. Others, like myself, had no idea what the need for repentance even was. We used the Sinners Prayer as a get out of hell free card, a way to have our cake and eat it too, to sin freely without considering the one against whom we sinned. This is the true heart of man, when left unchanged by Gods grace, able to deceive itself right into Hell.

When I heard Gods Word rightly divided, His Law explained, His grace expounded upon, I felt Godly sorrow for my sins. How could I, wickedly full of hatred for the one true God, now humbled by His sovereignty, fall at His feet and ask for forgiveness? I could have more readily walked the surface of the sun that night than walk to the throne of God, if I had been left to my own works all would have been lost. However, in my lostness, in my brokenness, in my utter helplessness, God gave me the gift of repentance and faith. God gave me the confidence to approach His throne. It was all Him, and He alone is owed the glory!

The very air we breathe when speaking a prayer of repentance is a gift from God. A new heart is given at the point of salvation, the old man filled with worldly desires dies, and a new creation replaces it. That new creation desires to do the will of God, though imperfectly, with a new heart that loves Him, and this is a gift of God. In short, God gives repentance and faith, salvation, sanctification, adoption, and justification. To Him be the glory, and the honor, and the praise, forever and ever amen. We must share the Gospel, giving the law to the proud, showing grace to the humble, calling all men to repent. Poke holes in a life boat and it will sink before any can jump inside it and be saved. Give the entirety of the life boat, the Good News of the Gospel, to the lost. We can not save anyone, but we can plant seeds, or water where others have sown, while trusting in God to bring the increase. Gods Word is perfect, we need not discount one verse to bolster another.

As a reminder, brethren, let’s continue to uphold our brother Jim in prayer as he is overseas on missions. 2018 has seen many countries harden against the church planting, evangelizing, and related mission trips. Thank you Pastor Jim for your faithfulness! We look forward to your safe return, and the updates that come with it. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

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 – To Fear of Not to Fear?

Hello, beloved brethren, and welcome back to yet another Twisted Tuesday. The verse I’d like to address today is 1 John 4:18. I grew up being told that we don’t have to be afraid of God, He’s our buddy, He loves us, nothing to fear there. This verse in 1 John is often quoted as the Biblical backup for this position. This is what I believed for over a decade, while still in my sin. However, when I became a believer July 4th, 2015, and began to read His Word, I saw something completely different commanded of us. Rather than being told, Biblically, that we should see God as a cool Dad, I saw it repeated that fearing God was wise, even the beginning of wisdom. Christ Himself said that we ought not to fear the one who can kill the body, but the one that can kill the body and cast the soul into Hell. So there are two options here, one is that the Bible contradicts itself, the second is that we’re twisting it. Remember, friends, when we see supposed contradictions in Gods Word the fault lies in us, as is often seen by sifting through the entirety of the full counsel of Gods Word.

Scripture Verse from 1 John 4

Another thing I’ve been told is that our fear of God is actually just respect. So we fear God like we fear our Earthly fathers. I didn’t have a dad growing up, so I can’t really be 100% sure about this statement. However, while it’s clear we ought to love, adore, worship, and respect God, it seems the fear of the Lord is another thing altogether. God is Christ’s Father, and it is true that as born again believers we’re adopted into the family, the question is, is this the fear we ought to feel? Is that a Biblical understanding? My Earthly father might have been able to kill my body, but only God can cast the soul into Hell. This means the fear Scripture refers to is a fear He alone can and should hold. That being said, I see this as a disagreement rather than a twist in scripture. I mention it as an aside, to seek correction from wiser more mature brothers and sisters. It’s very possible that I’m misunderstanding the relationship between a child and a father.

Charles Spurgeon Quote

That point aside, let’s focus on the push to ignore Scripture and claim fear of God is out of place in our day. The Bible clearly tells us otherwise, namely that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. What then? Have I lost my assurance in place of fear? No, I’ve been saved through faith alone, in Christ alone, by the grace of and for the glory of God alone. What it does mean is that when I see the lost shaking their fist at God, the Father, I tremble. When I consider all my friends and family aimlessly wondering from sin to sin, seeking the pleasures it brings for a season, I tremble. When I consider what would have been the just punishment for my own sins had I died July 3rd, 2015, I tremble. The fear of the Lord justly, rightly, judging the lost, moves me to prayer, and it moves me to share the Gospel. The Lord gets no pleasure from the death of the wicked, however He is a just God, and like any judge He must hold law breakers accountable.

The real issue is telling a room full of idolatrous tares amongst the wheat that they need not fear God. Clearly seen in context, our fear of God is not in regards to assurance of salvation, but in His righteousness. Like Luther, who grew to hate God’s righteousness before being saved, we should be in a state of fear that God is good, and we are wicked. If we are unsaved that knowledge should, as in the case of men like Luther, Bunyan, and Brainard, send us weak knee’d before God in humble repentance. If we are born again, that fear ought to send us out to the highways and byways, to call men to repent and flee the wrath to come. I hope this post is helpful, and appreciate your opinions on the Earthly father and Heavenly Father comparisons. As always, my dear beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Redemption

Hello again, my friends, I pray this post has found you all doing well. Today’s Twisted Tuesday came to me in an odd way. As I clean during the day I like to keep my little one ear’d bluetooth thingy, which I like to call my earbob, tuned to preaching, teaching, or Wretched Radio. This is especially necessary as I have Cleaning ADD, where I move from room to room picking up here and there and nothing gets clean. For whatever reason, listening to something helps me focus. Anyway, yesterday I heard the strangest twisting of Scripture that I’ve heard yet! And that’s saying something, if you remember this one from Creflo Dollar. A woman twisted the whole earth groaning under the curse with verses on redemption to prove that we, as believers, must redeem Gods creation by, you guessed it, going green.

I genuinely believe some of these false teachers simply missed their calling as used car salesmen. The truth is the ‘going green’ movement is a multi billion dollar used car lot, not to mention a real crowd pleaser. People love to feel like they’re making a difference, like they’re helping change the world, in every way but the way we’re actually commanded to. So it comes as no surprise to see a leader in the ‘church’ calling for believers to redeem the creation. What was odd was her insistence that God had commanded it in His Word. Don’t get me wrong, we shouldn’t litter, and there’s nothing wrong with caring about clean air and the likes. However, we should never twist Gods Word, or claim the ability to redeem well…anything. We weren’t able to redeem ourselves, why would we be able to redeem this fallen world?

The last point I want to make, as I feel like this twisted Tuesday is really pretty obvious, is that we have a way as believers to change the world. It’s not recycling, it’s sharing the Gospel with the lost. Yes, we need to live lives that honor God and bring Him glory, but the only way to see change in a community is to see souls saved from the wrath to come. Otherwise we’re treating the symptoms and not the underlining disease. The earth does groan under the curse, and one day this fallen world will be redeemed, but not my man. That’s like the tiniest flea crafting plans to get rain to stop falling. We’re not all powerful, our words have no ability, and we most certainly are not gods on earth. God is all powerful, all knowing, and sovereign. He will redeem. Put your faith on the finished works of Christ on the cross, repent of your many sins for which He died, then go spread the Good News! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.