Gospel. Culture. Technology. Music.

Month: July 2006

Quote by J. Gresham Machen in 1923

If Christ provides only a part of our salvation, leaving us to provide the rest, then we are still hopeless under the load of sin. For no matter how small the gap which must be bridged before salvation can be attained, the awakened conscience sees clearly that our wretched attempt at goodness is insufficient even to bridge that gap. The guilty soul enters again into the hopeless reckoning with God, to determine whether we have really done our part. And thus we groan again under the old bondage of the law. Such an attempt to piece out the work of Christ by our own merit, Paul saw clearly, is the very essence of unbelief; Christ will do everything or nothing, and the only hope is to throw ourselves unreservedly on His mercy and trust Him for all.

J. Gresham Machen in Christianity and Liberalism, Chapter 2, p.24-25 (1923)

Stirring Each Other Up By Way of Reminder

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
>2 Peter 1:12-15

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder.
> 2 Peter 3:1

Man naturally has no inclination or will to have anything to do with God. Man is a rebel against God by nature. Once a natural, sinful, wicked man is converted by God’s grace through the cross of Christ, there are then within the man two competing wills, one that wills to sin still, and the other which wills to have Christ as his all. Living in a day to day reality where the winds of the world, the grind of our daily lives, or sin, wickedness, and all forms of unrighteousness (some our own, some the sin of others) all comes over us like constant waves in an ocean. Nothing can stop the movement of the water that overwhelms us, almost to the point of drowning. If you do not make an effort to stay above the waves, you will indeed be carried away by them and covered up.

As believers, we have been called out of the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. Because the waves of life come over us constantly, if we neglect time in His word (actually studying them and ever learning them), in prayer, and fellowship with other believers, we will surely forget all of God’s grace’s to us in Christ and inevitably fall back into the sin which so easily entangles us, and we thus become miserable. What I love about the verse above is that it’s such a great illustration of genuine fellowship. “I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder.” Peter’s intent was to not tell them anything they did not already know, but to give them a reiteration of those Gospel-truths that are the source of their life in Christ. Peter knew that the minds of his readers were inclined naturally toward evil, that worldliness and loathsome sin is constantly washing over their souls, like all men. And so, in love, he reminds them of those truths that are so precious to all of God’s people, that Christ, the King, has purchased their souls with His own blood and is now alive in heaven reigning over all things. Peter’s intent was to prod them on in their faith so as to give them encouragement that whatever evil befalls them, they are rich in Christ.

The only reason I bring this up is because there are many times I have personally had this thought in dealing with a fellow brother in Christ (attempting to stir them up “by way of reminder”), and when I attempt to remind them of core truths they may be forgetting in the midst of their despairing, they are offended and think I think they don’t know those things at all. That’s not the point. I need reminders of these truths on a constant basis, and the only reason I reiterate them to them is for encouragement. We all need to remind ourselves and our brothers and sisters in Christ of Gospel-truths over and over again, on a moment by moment basis because we are all so prone to falling into sin and forgetting the grace given us in Christ. I believe Peter has left a great example for us here, in that his main goal was to prod his fellow brothers on to Christ, that they may be full in Him, treasuring Him, and that they may not fall by the way side in sin.

Ah, So Some Far-Left Liberals are Communist Sympathizers

Cindy Sheehan admits she would rather live under Hugo Chavez’s rule than Bush’s – (MSN Video)

I’m not one to label all liberals communists. That’s absurd. But this sure did catch my attention today, and proves that at least some liberals are indeed communist sympathizers and would rather live under that system than our democratic one. Yeah okay, Cindy, why don’t you walk what you’re talking, go and live down in Venezuela under that communist regime and tell me exactly what things are like. Why don’t you tell of the oppression, violence, guerilla war-fare, drug-related violence along the Colombian border, the disease, poverty, and the unstable economy where the leaders irresponsibly have their economic stake primarily in oil (the price of which fluctuates so violently). Yeah let’s see how much you like the conditions there vs. the conditions within the U.S. under the Presidency of Bush, where you have the freedom to think and speak what you please, as well as the economic support that gives your whole agenda life. A lot of hot air coming our of this lady … I mean if people don’t like it here, why don’t they just leave? I don’t get it. Why stay here if you feel so persecuted? Why not just move on to what you deem to be the ideal, perfect government, in this case a communist country?

The Point of Christian Existence

As believers in the Son of God, who purchased us with His own precious blood on the cross, who are we to become proud or boastful in anything we ever do? “All things are from Him and to Him and for Him,” to His glory. “What have you that you did not receive?” The point of the Christian life is not so much that we merely get blessed by God and then move on with our lives, that we just store up and receive blessings. No, the point of the Christian life is that we are so caught up in God, who He is, what He’s done in Christ, and giving glory to Him for all of it, that our lives are radically changed to love Him more, in word and deed, to the point of selflessly pouring ourselves out for others to bring them into the kingdom of God.

The Christian life is forgetting about yourself, being so caught up in and awestruck by the power, might, love, justice, and mercy of God toward you and I, wicked sinners, and by the power of the Spirit in the regeneration of our souls, living a life that reflects the work He’s done in us to give us the knowledge of Himself and His worth. The Christian life is about finding your ultimate joy, ultimate satisfaction, finding your reason for being, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, every single day. And in finding all of these things in Christ, we can’t help but want others to know of His value, telling them about what we’ve “seen and heard,” so much to the point that we should be willing to give our lives to that end!

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” This is the Christian life. It is by God’s power through the cross that we come to Him, are changed by Him; then we see that we are nothing, that even the best of us (like Isaiah 6) are morally bankrupt compared to Him; and that He is everything, gave up everything on our behalf in order that He should be our portion forever. It is about getting out of the way of God’s glory, participating in giving it to Him, and spreading the knowledge of His glory to all people, by preaching the Gospel loud and clear, without fear. The Christian life is about loving God, not just in theory, but in reality, because we’ve been so radically changed by the work of Christ.

How can we not love Him with our lives, self-sacrificially, and fall on our faces with tears of joy at the work Christ did on our behalf on the cross? What kind of mercy is this, that God Himself would take upon flesh and purchase people for Himself from every tribe, tongue, and nation? It’s simply astonishing. The Christians’ delight is not in the blessings He gives to His people, or merely the fact that He’s rescued from His fury against sinners, but our delight is in God Himself, the ultimate blessing. There is no joy or blessing greater, because He’s the highest of all, the one from which all joys and satisfactions were thought up!

Praise God for the Freedom of this Nation

It’s purely the grace of God that we have sustained the freedom we have for 230 years. Praise God for His grace that moved the founders of this nation to formulate the doctrines they did, that have proved to be a great blessing to all of us. And praise God for giving soldiers the will to fight to the death for that freedom. And praise God for the fact that at the moment we aren’t persecuted and can preach the Gospel without fear of being beaten or tortured. Praise God for His grace in Christ that He purchased the freedom of souls from the reign and bondage of sin. Praise God for His grace through the blood of Christ!

West sets new deadline for Iran: July 12

West sets new deadline for Iran: July 12

My question is: what does it matter? What is the Western world going to do? I never have understood Western “deadlines” or UN deadlines. (Understand I’m talking about the West as a whole, not necessarily just the U.S.) We have turned into a passive, reactive people. Okay, you set a deadline, they don’t come through, the deadline passes, so what are you going to do now? Nothing. What, set another deadline that again proves you will do nothing? Many oppose military force, so what else can you do? Impose economic restrictions? You think the Iranian leader cares? Surely not. This is why the U.S. winds up doing something about problems like this eventually because everyone else is just wringing their hands and passively sitting around in hopes the offending country comes around. But they never do. Dictators do not negotiate, unless you put military pressure on them. Even economic pressure doens’t work a lot of times. Have we not learned this lesson from history? (i.e. North Korea being a modern example, those people are starving and their leader could care less).

One thing the West doesn’t get is that the Islamic world-view is totally different than the Western world-view. I’m not at all saying we should not have gone to Iraq, but I do think that trying to push a Western world-view on an Islamic society is like trying to mix oil and vinegar into one substance. Muslims want Sharia law to rule the land, they want a theocracy. A Western world-view does not work well with a theocracy. In the context of negotiating though with leaders we are opposed to, the same concept applies. They do not negotiate as we do. When they set their mind to something, they want to carry it through to the end. Our policy-makers seem to not understand that the Islamic mindset will not compromise on their values the way the West does. They know we are a shifty people, saying one thing and doing another. We’ve proved that to be the case. (Again, understand I’m talking about the West as a whole, not necessarily just the U.S., Iraq proves the U.S. is still willing to take action). They stand their ground and they know we don’t. What they have learned from the West is that our “deadlines” mean absolutely nothing. They know we are simply trying to get them to the “table” and talk about the issues. But the Iranians have already made up their minds. Negotiating with these people is highly foolish on our part. Even if an agreement is made with them, they are so deceitful they will carry through with their plans anyway while we are deceived that we’re actually making progress.

So what’s the answer? Very simply, in order to take care of the problem quickly, military force is needed. I don’t think we have any other option. Negotiations don’t work with this world-view. I don’t like military action, we’re already in a war in Iraq, but has not history been a proving ground for people like Ahmadinejad, what eventually becomes of their dictatorial power? If we could have taken Hitler out before he gained the power he did in Europe, do you not think we would have done it before millions of people died? What’s to say we aren’t a decade away from an Islamic-initiated world war? Think it couldn’t happen? Who would have thought in 1933 that Hitler would have been expanding Nazi rule throughout Europe and North Africa less than a decade later? In order to gain long-term peace, sometimes it is necessary to go through short-term conflict. Iran is no exception. We do not want them to become North Korea (possessing nuclear weapons), but if we sit around wringing our hands, it is inevitable this will be the outcome. They want Israel to disappeaer and if they gain the military might to make it so, I have no doubt they will attempt to make it happen and surely the West will be a target after that (As if it already isn’t a target by extremists).

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