If you want to know the Biblical truth about confessing sins – as opposed to popular teaching in too many churches – check out the excellent post Completely Forgiven? When Confession is Bad for You at the Escape to Reality blog. It is a must read on this subject.
Archive for October, 2010
I received this note from a trusted friend:
“The Markham Stouffville Urgent Care Centre placed ads in the local newspaper saying that flu shots are available there. In the ad, they told the public that vaccines are available during regular clinic hours, in addition to special flu shot sessions. However, when I went there with my mother (she is a senior in her late sixties) last Thursday afternoon during regular clinic hours, they refused to vaccinate us. We were the only patients there at the time, and staff members were just sitting around. I asked if they could at least make an exception for my mother, but they still refused. As a result, the drive there, plus the time spent, was for nothing.
“Please tell everyone that no, the flu vaccine is NOT available at the Markham Stouffville Urgent Care Centre during regular clinic hours. Thank you!”
I received this advance-fee fraud email recently:
[Begin scam email]
Dearest in Christ,
PLEASE ENDEAVOUR TO USE IT FOR THE CHILDREN OF GOD.
I am Mrs. [deleted] from Kuwait. I am married to Dr. [deleted] who worked with Kuwait embassy in Cote d’Ivoire for nine years before he died in the year 2006. We were married for eleven years without a child.
He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days. Before his death we were both born again Christians. Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of 15.2Million U.S.Dollars).with one BANK in cote d’ivoire.
Presently, this money is still with the Bank. Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next three months due to cancer problem. Though what disturbs me most is my stroke having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to Organisations, church or better still a Christian individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct here in.
I want a church that will use this fund for churches, orphanages, widows, less privileged for propagating the word of God and to ensure that the house of God is maintained. The Bible made us to understand that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I don’t have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not Christians and I don’t want my husband’s hard earned money to be misused by unbelievers.
I don’t want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner, which is the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace. I don’t need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health, because of the presence of my husband’s relatives around me always. I don’t want them to know about this development.
With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the BANK in Ivory Coast. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will empower you as the beneficiary of this fund. I want you and the church to always pray for me because the lord is my shepherd. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian.
Whoever that wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and truth. Please always be prayerful all through your life, and any delay in your reply will give me room in searching for a church or Christian individual for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
Hoping to hearing from you. Remain blessed in the name of the Lord.
Yours in Christ,
[End scam email]
Let one thing be crystal clear: there is no money in an Ivory Coast bank that is waiting to do Christian work. If the sender is contacted, there will be endless demands for advance payments, while no money will ever be received by the victim.
Of note, the Bible does not prohibit widows from re-marrying. Consider the following passages:
For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.
But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
(1 Corinthians 7:8-9)
Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
(1 Timothy 5:14)
The bottom line is to remember Jesus’ teaching. God gave you a brain for a reason, use it:
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
Upon hearing the news that the Ontario government is scrapping point-of-sale eco fees, the Pharisee church pastor made the following proclamation:
“Today is a great day for all Christian saints and angels of God. After many prayer sessions by me and my Christian accountability groups, the army of angels from God has struck a devastating wound against the Antichrist Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, using the flames of holy judgement. The Antichrist has no choice but to eliminate the satanic eco tax.
“I rejoice that God has answered my prayers for Dalton McGuinty’s spiritual defeat. However, the removal of the eco tax alone is not enough for Dalton McGunity to escape the holy wrath of an angry God. The Premier needs to immediately resign his position as the Devil’s representative, join my church, and attend one of my Christian accountability groups. It is only by being spiritually accountable to me that he can obtain salvation.”
There is no further sanctification required after justification. Everyone who is justified through Jesus Christ is fully and completely sanctified.2010/10/05
There is no further sanctification required after justification. Everyone who is justified through Jesus Christ is fully and completely sanctified.
I developed this notion while researching what is wrong with the idea of “Christian accountability”, the teaching that Christians need to have “accountability partners”. Noticing that Bible teachings against “Christian accountability” are the same as that against the Judaizers from the days of the apostles Peter and Paul, I realized that legalism in any form can be identified by the teaching of “after accepting the grace of Jesus Christ, you must now start to do this”. To wit:
Judaizers circa 1st century AD: “Christians, now that you have accepted the grace of Jesus Christ, you must now be circumcised and obey the Laws of Moses”.
Catholic legalism: “Christians, now that you have accepted the grace of Jesus Christ, you must now go to church every Sunday, confess your sins to a priest every week, pray the rosary every morning, and receive the sacraments.”
Charismatic legalism: “Christians, now that you have accepted the grace of Jesus Christ, you must now also be baptized in the Holy Spirit and start speaking in tongues.”
Latter-day Saints: “Christians, now that you have accepted the grace of Jesus Christ, you must now also become a missionary, be sealed with your spouse(s) in celestial marriage, and never again consume alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco.”*
Christian accountability proponents: “Christians, now that you have accepted the grace of Jesus Christ, you must now also be held accountable by accountability partners in Christian accountability.”
In other words, “Grace is not enough. After grace, this:”
I noticed that the “this” is always presented as a form of sanctification, some means to make a believer “more holy”. Christians who practise the “works of sanctification” are held to be better than those who do not. Legalists may admit that the grace of Jesus Christ is enough, but they will say that it is only enough for you to be a “minimal Christian”. In order to be a “good Christian”, you need to practise the works of sanctification, as per the legalist’s prescription.
In contrast, the Bible describes all Christians this way:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27)
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24)
For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
Notice the absence of any distinction between “minimal” versus “good” Christians in these passages. All followers of Jesus Christ are the same in nature.
This is not to suggest that Christians cannot grow closer to Christ through time and willingness to cultivate intimacy with God. Being a relationship, however, we grow close to God by a desire in the heart, and not by following rules. To take marriage as an example, no matter how close the spouses are as newlyweds, they would want to be even closer to each other on their 50th wedding anniversary. And if that’s the desire in their hearts, they will! But can anyone say, because of that, they are now only a “minimal husband” or “minimal wife”, and will not become a “good husband” or “good wife” until their 50th wedding anniversary? Or can anyone say that, in order to be a “good husband” or “good wife”, they need to follow a bunch of rules such as obligatory kissing routines, mandatory greetings, and prescribed activities? I don’t think that anyone would enjoy getting “obligatory kisses” from their spouse anyway, since those are false, and feel that way. If one desires to become closer to one’s spouse and to express one’s love, one will automatically and authentically do those things that would accomplish that goal, and the proficiency in which one does those things will be better and better. Likewise, if we desire to become closer to God and to express our love for Him, we will automatically (through the guidance of the Holy Spirit in us) and authentically do those things that would make us more like Christ and would achieve God’s will of us. And we will do those things better over time as well.
So, just as someone becomes a husband or wife fully and completely on the wedding day, anyone who is justified through faith in Christ was also fully and completely sanctified at that same time. To say that there is some mandatory process of sanctification that needs to happen after justification, is just legalism.
This video message is also worth pondering:
*Note: That being said, the Book of Mormon declares in Moroni 10:33, “And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.” It seems that, had the LDS stopped there, many Mormons today just might be fans of Starbucks lattés.