Monday, December 6, 2010

Good Parenthood

Once again as Christmas is here, I enjoy listening to all the old Christmas songs to which I grew up listening.  As I get older, it brings back memories.  It seems each year, even after hearing a song hundreds of times, a phrase in a song will catch my attention.  This year, such is the song, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" which the Internet tells me was written by a Meredith Wilson in 1951.  One phrase in this song is this: "And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again."  What a pitiful commentary about parenthood.  Are the children really so much trouble that these parents can't wait to send their kids back to strangers so that they won't have to spend time with them.  And this desire takes place at Christmas which American tells us is all about the family.

While this lyric seems to demonstrate a warped view of parenthood, I fear that it may be true for many families today.  They can't wait for the holidays to be over so that they can ship their children to schools who teach them a worldview which denies Christmas in favor of a winter holiday.  While I confess that I have failed miserably over the years, I hope I have at least taught my children about the the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, come down to accomplish the salvation of His people.  We have enjoyed many of the  traditional aspects of Christmas, but I hope we have not lost sight of this.  Will any child get this at a school that teaches from a naturalistic worldview?  No - they must get this first from their parents.  So during this Christmas season, let us not long for sending our kids back to school, but take advantage of the time with them and teaching them of a Savior born who is Christ the Lord, good news for all types of people for He has come to save His people from their sin.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I Am He

I have been reading through James White's book, The Forgotten Trinity. In one chapter, titled "I Am He, White points out the obvious parallelism of the "I am He" statements found in the Gospel of John related to similar statements found in Isaiah. After pointing out the obvious intention of John to connect theses words of Jesus with those of the prophet Isaiah and that one would be hard-pressed not to see these connections, he makes the following statement:
Lest one should find it hard to believe that John would identify the carpenter from Galilee as Yahweh himself, it might be pointed out that he did just that in John 12:39-41 by quoting from Isaiah's temple vision of Yahweh in Isaiah 6 and then concluding by saying, "These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory and he spoke about Him." The only "Him" in the context is Jesus; hence, for John, Isaiah, when he saw Yahweh on His throne was in reality seeing the Lord Jesus

I have always been amazed at John 1:11, "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." referring to the Jews rejecting Jesus as their Messiah and, in light of John's clear intention of presenting Jesus as Yahweh, their God. What is even more amazing is that when Isaiah 6 is read in Jewish synagogues today, those confessing Jews are still rejecting the very one they are reading about in the text.

It is clear to see why John's very next statement following this one in John 1:11, is that those who receive and believe Him are only able to do this because they are born of God. Without the new birth, no one could believe.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even 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)
White goes on to point out Jesus statement in John 8:24: “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He , you will die in your sins.” He makes the following remarks on this verse:

Jesus here gives us the context and object of saving faith - real faith is that which focuses on the real Jesus. A faith that demands a change in Jesus before a commitment is made is not real faith at all. The Jews standing around Him during this conversation most assuredly would not have denied that He is a man - but that was not sufficient for faith. Some had only recently proclaimed Him as Messiah - but that was not sufficient for faith. Some might hail Him as a prophet or a miracle worker, blessed by God - but that was not sufficient for faith. Some today say He was a great moral teacher and philosopher - but that is not sufficient for faith. Some call Him "a god" or a great angel - but that is not sufficient for faith. No, Jesus himself laid down the line. Unless one believes Him for who He says He is - the ego eimi - one will die in one's sins. There is no salvation in a false Christ. If we are to be united with Christ to have eternal life, then we must be united with the true Christ, not a false representation. It is out of love that Christ uttered John 8:24. We would do well to heed His words.

Indeed, salvation is only found in the true Christ that John presents as Yahweh of the Old Testament. This only goes to show the importance of all believers understanding the biblical doctrines of the deity of Christ and the Trinity. For many, calling themselves "Christians" today, deny these foundational doctrines, teaching and believing in a false Christ that will not save them from their sins.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Take Heed of the Examples But Remember the Promises

Recently, I have been meditating on 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. Paul begins this passage (verses 2-3) pointing out the great advantages and grace that God had shed on the people of Israel as they were brought out of Egypt. He says they "were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" or in other words they were partakers of the miracles of God's continuing presence in the guiding them with the cloud as well as seeing the great miracle of the Red Sea parting. He goes on to show how they partook of the same spiritual food and drink probably alluding to the manna and water that God provided for them again in miraculous fashion. Finally, Paul says that these people drank for the Spiritual Rock of Christ once again referring to how God provided water to them from a Rock. All these physical miracles during the Exodus were Spiritual types pointing to Christ.

Paul then changes gears from the activities of grace that God provided for them to their actions in response. He says that although God granted these great blessings to them, He was not pleased with most of them (verse 5). Paul specifically says that these actions are examples for us "so that we will not desire evil as they did." What were the actions of some of these people which we are to take heed:
  1. They were idolaters (1 Corinthians 10:7 quoting Exodus 32:6 which deals with the events of the golden calf)
  2. They were immoral (1 Corinthians 10:8 pointing to the events of Numbers 25:1-9)
  3. They put Christ to the test (1 Corinthians 10:9 pointing to the events of Numbers 21:5-9 when the people complained about God's provision and God sent poisonous snakes)
  4. They complained against God (1 Corinthians 10:10 pointing to the events of Numbers 16:41-50 when the people again complained against God's dealing through Moses and Aaron and God send a plague)
Paul shows that many were cut down in the wilderness because of these sinful action. These things should serve as examples to us to keep us from evil. In 1 Corinthians 10:12, Paul writes, " So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall" Why would he says this? Well, he has just shown that many people who had experienced many of God's miraculous wonders still turned to sin. If they, who beheld these wonders, could so easily turn to sin, then we too, who have not seen the Red Sea part, manna falling from heaven, or water suddenly coming from a rock, can also easily turn to sin.

The questions comes - will remembering these examples keep us from sin? Well, they certainly will help - but the glorious promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13 will aid us in our battle to put evil to death in our lives.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

God has promised:
  1. That we will never face a temptation that is extraordinary.
  2. The He (God ) is faithful to His promises.
  3. That we will never face a temptation that is beyond our ability to overcome.
  4. That God will provide an escape with every temptation we face.
  5. Because of the above truths, we can endure.
How often do we drift into self pity over temptations thinking no one has ever faced the temptations like we have. We don't have the strength to fight and we can't win. To think this way flies in the face of these promises from God. As regenerate believers, we can overcome sin. God is Faithful - He will always keep His word. He tells us we can endure, we can overcome, He will always give us an escape.

The questions comes then why do we continue to choose sin when these fearful examples and glorious promises of a Faithful God are ours? Well, it still comes down to the same problem those many Israelites had - Unbelief. They did not believe God was really faithful to His promises. They did not believe God was interested in their absolute best. They did not believe obedience to God and faith in His promises was better for them than the false promises of the temptations they to which they yielded.

When we sin we have no excuse - God has provided a way of escape in every temptation. We still live in this flesh and will battle sin all the days of our physical life. And we still will sin. But what do we do when we fail as those Israelites in the wilderness. The only thing we can - flee to the cross of Christ, repent of the sin and find forgiveness in His perfect work. Find your peace of forgiveness and right standing with God through the work of Christ alone - for that is your only hope. But - go on to fight sin by believing the promises of a faithful God that will never leave or forsake you. You can overcome - you can endure. Fight with God's precious promises - especially remembering that one day He has promised that all sin will be destroyed and we as His people will no longer be even capable of sinning against Him. Take heed of these fearful examples, remember your are weak in your own self - but also remember the great promises of God to aid you in your fight by working in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure (Phillipians 2:13)
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Work of Christ for Sinners

We sinned, and were exposed to the curse. The Word that was with God, and was God, then was made flesh. The eternal Son became:
  • our brother;
  • took upon Himself our sin, in the way of a mysterious imputation;
  • paid our debt to the majesty of the inviolable law;
  • covered our nakedness with His righteousness;
  • presented us, as those in whose stead He appeared, blameless and acceptable to the Father;
  • excited the hallelujahs of angels at our exaltation;
  • elevated us to a participation of His own riches, blessedness, and privileges;
  • pitched tents of peace for us around the throne of God;
  • and connected us with Himself by the bonds of eternal gratitude and affection.
Such is the edifice which the Almighty reared upon the ruins of sin; and of which the disciples, at that time, had not the remotest idea.

------- From The Suffering Saviour by F. W. Krummacher

God forgive me when I take these eternal blessings for granted by sinning against You.