Thursday, October 04, 2007

How big is your tent? We’ve been bouncing this idea around and last time we saw the Bible is very clear about how narrow His tent is. If you have not reviewed the last post then make sure you do before reading this one…because it must first be shown that the Bible can not be clearer regarding the fate of the unsaved, non-Christian.

There was a day when it was commonly understood within Biblical Christianity that man was very, very bad and God was very, very mad. Let me ask you…is that the gist you get from your pastor while he preaches? Is that the gist you get while singing contemporary “Jesus love song” after “Jesus love song” on Sunday? Is that the gist you get when reading the hottest selling Christian book? Is that the gist you get while watching TBN? While you sit in your home Bible study has anybody ever taught you that all people…everyone…is very, very bad and that God is very, very mad? No, of course that is not the gist most of us are given! No…in today’s sexy Churchianity man isn’t so bad after all and God isn’t so mad either. No…God is up in heaven with His fingers crossed hoping that these little darlings…these little cutie pies called humans…will choose to accept Him.

Beyond a simple mistrust of the Bible lies a very old doctrine which has re-emerged within some (large) circles of evangelicalism. It is the oldest doctrine of all and the one most adhered to by all cultures and all world religions. It is the doctrine of the scales…if your good desires outweigh your bad desires you should be just fine on judgment day. Bottom line. After all, it is said, God judges our heart and knows if we are a good person.

Surely God would not send an innocent, good yet ignorant pagan to hell simply because he or she never heard the details of the gospel!

Right?

Hear me as clearly as you have ever heard me before…that IS EXACTLY right! How could a just and Holy God send an innocent and good person to hell simply because nobody came shared with them “the Romans Road”, John 3:16 or anything about Christ? What kind of “God” would be so picky, so intolerant and so fickle as to toss decent people into hell simply because they never called on a name (Jesus) that they never heard? The God of Islam would do something like that…but not the God of the Bible! The God of the Bible is righteous, fair, just and will judge with equity…not inequity!

Here is the problem…there are no innocent and good people walking the earth (pagan or otherwise). Since the fall of Adam and excluding Christ…there never has been and there will never be good people running around here till He returns.

“Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” Genesis 8:21 niv

“What is man, that he could be pure, or one born of woman, that he could be righteous? If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, how much less man, who is vile and corrupt, who drinks up evil like water!” Job 15:14-16 niv

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:5 niv

"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14 niv

With all the talk about the dangers of “hyper” Calvinism (btw…five point Calvinism is not hyper Calvinism) I’d like to suggest that the real cancer within evangelicalism is hyper Arminianism. You see, most people in our churches walk around having been taught that they are saved because they “accepted” Jesus. Is that what you think? Do you think that you are a Christian by your choice? Do you actually think you made a choice to believe the gospel? Let me ask you to explain how you choose to believe something? You either believe it or you do not…there seems little room for choosing in the equation.

When two and three generations of evangelicals have been inundated with this notion that people “accept” Jesus and that is why they are saved it is no wonder that today’s generation is grappling with the obvious problem regarding those who have never even heard of Jesus! If people are sent to hell for not “accepting” Jesus then how can someone be cast away who has never had the chance to “accept” Him?

Do not get me wrong…faith in Christ, repentance towards Christ and the acknowledgement of the Lordship of Christ is never, EVER, absent from salvation…something both Joel Osteen and our friend Tony have recklessly suggested as actually possible.

Yes, as a "five point Calvinist" I do believe that people…all people actually…are forgiven prior to repentance…BUT…there is never a person who has ever been forgiven and not born again! There has never been a forgiven person that did not repent and follow Jesus Christ the rest of their life! THAT is the gulf that stands between myself and my friend Tony.

CORRECTION: I DID NOT STATE THIS PROPERLY. I DO NOT BELIEVE "ALL PEOPLE" ARE FORGIVEN...WHAT I MEANT TO SAY WAS THAT ALL FORGIVEN OR SAVED PEOPLE ARE FORGIVEN PRIOR TO THEIR REPENTANCE. NOBODY QUESTIONED ME ABOUT THE WAY I WORDED THIS...BUT...I JUST CAUGHT IT AND NEEDED TO CLARIFY WHAT I WAS SAYING.

The Bible can not be clearer. There is no need to question it…people who are not born again, people without personal faith in Jesus Christ are doomed and rightly so! But for the grace of God I’d be as justly doomed as they! Apart from the preaching of the gospel and God quickening their depraved souls, mankind is hopelessly lost! There is no person walking around who is innocent and good! There is no seeker of God! There is no one with a natural desire for God! No one who stands a chance on judgment day unless they are a born again Christian! Only born again Christians enter heaven! Not because I have it all figured out…but because God has already told us in advance what His judgment is! I am not surprised that the world recoils at this statement…but people within evangelical churches who recoil and hiss does surprise me…but then again…on second thought…I go back to my first statement…I’m not surprised that the world recoils…

Born again Christians are "in". Everybody else is "out". That is what the Bible teaches...believe it or not.

For the love of God...we must go out and warn these people and ask God to take their hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh! It is this conviction that will get us off our lazy and fat asses to live right and love right, to speak the truth respectfully and in love...and to pull our checkbooks out and support missions around the world! Most of you are more shocked that I used such uncooth langauge than you are shocked by the coming judgment of God!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gary,
You have written something I can agree with 100 percent. Salvation is not "saying a prayer", it is not "getting baptised", it is not saying "christianese things". It is about a relationship with the Author of Christianity; Jesus Christ. It is about believeing and trusting in Him to the point where a change is made in our lives (repentance). Does this mean we will never sin again? No, Paul addresses that issue in Romans 7; and John addresses it in I John 1. The difference between a believer and a non believer is the non-believer does not care that he is sinning against the Holy and Righteous God, and the believer is convicted by the Holy and Righteous God.
Hebrews 12:5 (KJV)
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
Hebrews 12:5-8 (KJV)
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Now, we obviously do not all grow physically at the same rate, and I do not believe that we grow spiritually at the same rate. For some unknown reason to us, God chooses to reveal Himself to some very quickly and others He seems to bring along more slowly. I look at my own life. I wonder why it took 30 years for me to grasp the love and forgiveness that God has so graciously afforded to us. Why did it take 30 years for me to grasp Romans 8:1?
Romans 8:1 (KJV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
I do not need the answer to these questions however as I know that God is ultimately in control of absolutely everything. Satan himself is under the power and control of God.
Job 1:12 (KJV)
12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
If God is not in control of everything, everywhere, all the time, then He cannot be God.
I know that I have strayed somewhat from the blog, but I think that this is relevant to know. We need to know what we believe and why. The Joel Osteen's and those who are preaching a social mamby pamby gospel of do the best you can and you will be ok are going to one day stand before the Holy, Righteous, Judging God, and give an account for every single word they have spoken. We as believers need to pray for these people and not to demean or put them down. Yes, they are wolves in sheeps clothing, however, we are commanded to pray for our enemies, and to love those who despise and abuse us. I will give this a rest and let someone else get a word in.
Love and peace in Christ,
ron

irreverend fox said...

thanks ron...we do need to understand that there is no salvation apart from the born again experience.

and that must continue to be our "preaching".

Scott said...

Irreverand,

You stated: "Do not get me wrong…faith in Christ, repentance towards Christ and the acknowledgement of the Lordship of Christ is never, EVER, absent from salvation…something both Joel Osteen and our friend Tony have recklessly suggested as actually possible."

With that pretext in mind my question is, of all the people that died in the old testement, how can we tell which ones are saved and which ones are not, and on what basis can we know how God might judge them in this?

Thanks

irreverend fox said...

hey scott! great question!

all people are saved by the same means...by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.

the folks in the OT were saved by God's grace through their faith in the coming Messiah (the Christ in greek).

there is no difference.

am I getting to your point or am I missing it?

irreverend fox said...

scott...

also…

obviously they didn't have the name "Jesus"...but they did know that God was sending the Messiah to save them and set them free...

those who by faith believed “that” were saved by the grace of God alone...

by the way...Jesus’ name wasn't "Jesus" anyway...

it was likely "Yeshua"...

it's not the spelling or pronunciation of the name...but faith in the person (that is what the word “name” Biblically connotes)...the Messiah...the Christ...of God...who came to "save His people from their sins..."

obviously one does not need to be a skilled theologian to be saved…God help us all if that were the case! We approach him with childlike faith…we approach by His grace by means of relationship…not simply by precise doctrinal Orthodoxy (yet once saved that must be our lifetime desire…to know Him more!)

scott said...

So what about the Jews today that are still trusting in God and looking for the messiah? I mean, the ones still practicing the faith that their forefathers had. Although they have missed Yeshua but are still trusting in the same God for repentance and his messiah that they missed... can they still be saved on this faith alone from God?

And thanks for responding so quickly :)

irreverend fox said...

hey scott!

another great question!

no...they are not saved. obviously the Bible flat out says they are not.

“Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:7-18 niv

but even beyond that...we are saved by grace through faith in Christ...the Christ of REALITY...not the Christ of our fashioning. it's not like they or anybody can say “no” to the Christ sent to them and have faith in another…and still be saved.

again...it's not the spelling or pronunciation that matters...it's the person...THE Christ...that we must have faith in...not any "christ" we fancy...that is why we know Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are doomed (they are not "in"...they are all "out")

Zac said...

Without expounding any further (forgive me!) I will simply say that some things you believe to be obvious in the Bible were not apparent to those who read the Scriptures in their original languages for the last 20 centuries.

That having been said, let me affirm to you that Orthodoxy is unequivocal in its belief that no one is saved apart from faith in Jesus Christ, the God-Man. Further no one can be saved without the efficacious washing of His Blood, and the indwelling of Him through the Holy Spirit. Without this, the kingdom of Hell is in us and we will reject and hate God on the day of His Second Coming.

It is because of this belief that our work of evangelism is first and foremost toward ourselves, lest "having preached to others" we find that we ourselves had "run in vain." This we do through the ancient way preserved by Orthodox from the foundation of the Church until now.

More on this on my blog later.

You ever want to come to an Orthodox service, let me know.