Posts tagged ‘Scriptures’

September 29, 2014

The Last from the Past

Adjective: last [last, lahst]
occurring at or forming an end or termination
 
Adjective: past [past, pahst]
gone by or elapsed in time
 
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…” (Hebrews 1:1)
 
A video presentation by a prominent creationist ministry, which promotes a biblical view of the earth’s age over and against the uniformitarian “millions of years” view, takes in to account the catastrophic effects of the global flood as recorded in the book of Genesis. However, the impact of the otherwise excellent production is weakened as the presenter states that today’s secular scientists whom disregard Scripture’s record of the Genesis flood are examples of the “scoffers” which the apostle Peter wrote would come in “the last days” (cf 2 Peter 3:3-6). The devastating problem with this statement is that the inspired apostle wrote those words in the 1st century when the last days of the old covenant were at hand; so that the last days referred to were then, not now.
 
This is a major interpretive error made by modern-day Christians, which has become well ensconsed in many hearts and minds, especially with the high volume of book sales along with seminary teachings by authors and professors based on the misapplication of the past to our present and near future. It is as if someone was to write in broad, non-specific terms about the last days of the current U.S. federal administration which (thankfully!) are nearing, and someone were to read it two thousand years or so from now assuming the dynamics of the situation described to be directly applicable to them there and then, when in actuality the relevance is to us here and now.
 
When it comes to the Holy Bible which is the word of God, surely there is far-reaching application as well as eternal truth to be gleaned, but the correct interpretation must be gathered based upon the historical context and the understanding of the original audience. The last days from two thousand years ago cannot be the same last days today, or they would not have been the last days then. The realization that the “last days” were in the past, and that much of Bible prophecy (not all!) was fulfilled in the 1st century is key to sound discernment of the Scriptures.
 
Holy writ indeed informs us that the Lord Jesus Christ is reigning now. Peter also quoted Psalm 110:1 and said Jesus is exalted at God’s right hand (position of authority), to rule from the Majesty on High (cf Acts 2:34-36; Hebrews 1:3). Jesus Himself said, just prior to His ascension, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18)Hence, He is now King at God’s right hand, just as the Psalm prophesied. The apostle Paul further expounded that He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). This has not happened yet, and of course we cling to the blessed hope of the resurrection of the body when the end comes and Jesus returns in final judgment and to usher in the eternal state. Until then, the almighty, Triune God we serve is certainly to be victorious in time and history. 
 
So the Messianic kingdom has already been established, i.e. we are in the “millennium” now. The last days of the old covenant, including the great tribulation prophesied in Matthew chapter 24, were the days leading up to and including the destruction of the temple, the city of Jerusalem and apostate Israel when the Son of Man “came” with judgment in A.D. 70. “The last days” are now in the past, and followed from the work that He “finished” in A.D. 30 (cf John 19:30). The once for all sacrifice of the Lamb of God has superceded the old system of animal sacrifices, and now its up to the church, with steadfast faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, to look forward to and work towards the building of the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven… for, also as it is written, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).
 
The effectiveness of biblical apologetics as well as the fruitfulness of Christian reconstruction efforts will be greatly increased by our faithful witness to the truth that the last days are in the past. The long haul to triumph will likely extend beyond the relatively short lifetimes of those of us alive today; there’s no time to waste. Let’s get busy using our talents in good and faithful service to our King (cf Matthew 25:23), leaving an example for future generations to follow. Keep the faith. Stand strong in the Truth. The worst is past and the best is yet to come.
 
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
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April 3, 2013

Dead or Alive

The proverbial “Wanted…” poster from the American “wild west” aptly describes the spiritual state of each and every human being created by God. That is, you are either dead to the Triune God and therefore self-centered; or you have been made alive by the power of the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus to the glory of the Father. Let me explain. We don’t start out with a “clean slate”. Since Adam & Eve, humanity is fallen. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Borrowing a term from information technology, it can be said that spiritual death is our “default” state of being. The standard theological terminology for this includes unregenerate; unconverted; dead in trespasses and sins. Conversely when one is made alive by the grace of God (cf Ephesians 2:1), that person is given new Spiritual life, and then said to be regenerate; converted; born again. This is the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5). Everyone will be raised from physical death on the last day, but only those who have had a part in the first resurrection will enter into the heavenly rest of eternal life. Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).

Almighty God, our Creator Who is blessed forever, has decreed these and all things according to the pleasure of His will and for His glory; He has revealed them to us in His word, the Holy Bible. Do you believe this? Well that depends on whether you are dead or alive. In fact, that is how you can know your spiritual state, if you embrace God’s word or not. But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). True Christians are those who have been made alive to the living God, those who bear the name of Jesus Christ… as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13). Indeed, the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16).

All of God’s creation and creatures, made for His glory, are under His sovereign control since before the foundation of the world. Those who would be quickened from the fallen state of spiritual death to new life in Christ Jesus was divinely predetermined in eternity past. This is a great act of mercy because no one deserves to be so saved. Without God acting first, salvation cannot be simply chosen by us, nor can it even be earned. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8). It should be obvious that no one who is spiritually dead is able to make a decision to be spiritually alive, just as that is confirmed by the obvious fact that not everybody is saved. This is known as the doctrine of election. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy (Romans 9:16). Throughout history and continuing to the end of time God calls to Himself His people to pass from death into life.

The bounty hunters of the American pioneer towns were the agents for bringing in those wanted by the law. Analogously, God uses the preaching of His word by His people to lost (dead) souls as the means ordained to be instrumental in the Holy Spirit’s work of bringing many to be saved (alive). This miraculously transformational work which the LORD brings to pass in His own good time according to the purpose of His will is irresistible and undeniable to those so called. All people everywhere are in fact commanded to repent and believe this gospel, and everyone is likewise responsible to throw themselves upon God’s mercy and be saved, but some remain in proud rebellion against God’s word. These whom are passed over for salvation are vessels of God’s wrath, and most importantly, only salvation wrought by the Spirit of God delivers souls from an eternity of misery in Hell which is called the second death, when — after we die physically — it is too late to be saved. Therefore behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2)!

Our God and our Father, we pray that You will continue to let Your glory unfold mightily in the advancement of Your kingdom here on earth, by the individual conversion of many lost souls whom are dead in trespasses and sins, to be made alive by Your grace through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in Your word, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let Your word go forth in power as Your people are made zealous for sharing these truths with the lost, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:27), that they would search the Scriptures to see if these things are so, that they may be spared from Your just wrath and given the gift of faith that they may inherit eternal life. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3). Amen.


But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

July 3, 2012

Government, Gospel and God’s Glory

A famous quip made by the 40th President of these United States which hit home and rings true today is “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” [listen] Previously having served as the 33rd Governor of California, it was Ronald Reagan who also astutely observed that “As government expands, liberty contracts.”

Indeed an out of control government, having undergone unprecedented expansion, now presents a practically insurmountable fiscal problem for this once prosperous nation, while personal freedom gives way to statist control. The highlight of the Obama economic record is a 43% increase in the Federal Debt which stands at an unspeakable $15.2 TRILLION, and all the so-called “stimulus” government spending has completely failed. Regardless as to whether this is a case of good intentions combined with pathetic incompetence; misguided ideology mixed with power-hungry narcissism; all Bush’s fault; or worst case – deliberate “Cloward-Piven Strategy”, it is undeniable that individual rights, which come from God, have correspondingly suffered and necessarily erode under bigger and more intrusive government.

So what is the solution? Even the limited government model established for our nation by its founders was and is dependent on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Everything is dependent upon, contingent to, defined by, and judged according to the gospel. The word gospel literally means “good news”. The gospel is really good news because it is the solution to a much bigger problem that all of mankind faces: the problem of sin. Why is sin such a big problem? Because it cannot be tolerated by our creator God, Who is infinitely holy and the sovereign judge of all. So why did God permit sin to come into the world? I’ll tell you exactly why: for His glory. Life is not about the ordinances of men. No matter what political philosophy is en vogue, all is meaningless outside of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Its just so, you must know.

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15)
By this gospel you are saved…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…(1 Corinthians 15:2-6).

Glory, glory and hallelujah for the Holy Bible which is the word of God. It affirms that Jesus Christ is God. The Holy Spirit inspired Scriptures are to be believed, as His word carries both instruction and authority for every area of our lives. We stand uncompromisingly on the authority of the Word of God! Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Pontius Pilate, when staring right into the face of Truth personified, pondered, “What is truth?”. We know Who the Truth is and we stand for Him even unto death. Jesus prayed to the Father for His disciples (and us), “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17), which confirms that the Word of God – both the eternal Word Himself as well as the canon of Scripture (the Holy Bible) – is Truth. Amen!

If you don’t have the Bible, GET IT.

If you have the Bible, READ IT.

If you read the Bible, BELIEVE IT.

If you believe the Bible, LIVE IT.


But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)