For your consideration…a fresh new video from Soteriology101.com.
As more people come to this blog/website, it is possible for some to read and interpret my words in the wrong way. Therefore, I feel I need to clarify some things, especially if you are new.
By the way, thank you so much for visiting!
First, I am a Christian. “Salvation is found in no one else [besides Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). I could go into a list of other Scripture, but I believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
Secondly, my eternal salvation is not dependent on my righteousness, but the the grace of a merciful God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8).
Thirdly, my salvation is not is not based on anything I have done, or can do. “Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9).
In the simplest terms, I am a “recovering legalist” because I sometimes struggle with the scars of a theology that led me to believe God’s love was predicated on my obedience to a list of man-made requirements.
This is more of a rambling post (off the cuff), but what I am typing is what is on my mind at this moment. I don’t want anyone to think that I think that I am better than anyone else, for I know that I am nothing without Christ.
I do not write in order to condemn others. I write about the things with which I sometimes struggle. I write because I care. Sometimes I may get on a soap box, but I can’t totally help it – I am a preacher, you know. It is in my nature to call it as I see it, especially when the dangers of sin are obvious. “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men]” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
The ultimate goal of this blog is to help others to see that even though God is Holy, His judgment was poured out on Jesus, His only begotten Son, who willingly sought to reconcile those who believe with His Father (Eph. 2:13-17; Col. 1:20-22). No self-imposed requirement, kept to the most minute degree, can save a man, nor make him any more loved. It was while we were yet sinners, that Christ died for us (Romans 5:8); not after we cleaned ourselves up and scored 100 on a list.
I do not want to argue with anyone. I don’t want to offend anyone, either. However, if you get offended by God’s written Word, then that’s between you and Him – don’t blame the messenger.
You may disagree with me at times. You may even disagree with me all the time. Just know that my prayers are that you will grow to love Jesus, God’s Son, the Savior of the world, because He first loved you (1 John 4:19). God sent Jesus into the world so that we might be saved from our sins. He didn’t have to, you know. It was because He loved us that Jesus did what He did. The proof of His love was shown on the cross. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).
Note: If you don’t have a place where you participate in corporate worship (church), then I hope you would feel welcome at the place I pastor. As an under shepherd of God’s flock, I seek to lead and guide the best way I know how, understanding that I am totally dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about any good.
Please pray for me. Put me on your prayer list. As I take a public stand, both on the internet and behind the pulpit, the powers of hell don’t like it, nor me. Pray that I will be able to show grace and love in the words that I write and preach, but also to be increasingly bold as this world continues to spiral downward into wickedness. Pray that God will be glorified in everything I say, write, and do.
“Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.” – Psalm 3:8
Selah. A word at the end of a verse that calls us to think… to ponder… to meditate on what has just been said. Let’s meditate for just a moment on our salvation.
They said there is no hope in God. In their arrogance they belittled David’s faith and tried to scare him. By the thousands they surrounded David, seeking his demise.
But David was not afraid. His confidence in God was such that he could sleep like a baby, cradled in the arms of his Deliverer.
They said God could not – that He would not – help David. But that’s what they said … and they had no clue what they were talking about.
David’s hope was not in man; it was in God. Who were these people to say God wouldn’t help? Did they have control over the Creator of the universe? Were they to tell God to whom mercy would be given?
David didn’t listen to the lies of his enemies, and neither should we. Salvation is not something we can get by bowing down and submitting to men. Salvation is of God! And if He choses to save us from danger, nothing can stop Him.
But if you don’t mind, there’s one more little thing to think about as we pause and reflect on God’s salvation. Think about the original Hebrew word for “salvation,” and then start putting two and two together.
יְהוֹשׁוּעַ (H3091) is the Hebrew name “Joshua,” pronounced yeh·hō·shü’·ah. It means “Jehovah (Yahweh) is salvation.”
“But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:57
“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:” – Ephesians 1:3
When the Enemy comes against you, find rest in the assurance that your Salvation is in Jesus Christ. He saved David, and He can save you!
In Acts 16:30 the Philippian jailer asked, “What must I do to be saved?”
William MacDonald wrote the following comment in his commentary:
“This question must precede every genuine case of conversion. A man must know he is lost before he can be saved. It is premature to tell a man how to be saved until first he can say from his heart, I truly deserve to go to hell…Many people today seem to have difficulty knowing what it means to believe. However, when a sinner realizes he is lost, helpless, hopeless, hell-bound, and when he is told to believe on Christ as Lord and Savior, he knows exactly what it means. It is the only thing left that he can do!” (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer’s Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or Logos)
Do you have hope without Jesus? Then you’re without hope. Simply hopeless.
And that breaks my heart.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” – Acts 16:31
If you would like to talk with someone, there is a phone line open 24 hours a day. Call 1-800-NEED-HIM (1-800-633-3446). Someone will be happy to show you how to be sure you have eternal life. Don’t wait.
Right now I am sitting in the office of the Ringgold Wedding Chapel, just hanging out, so to speak.
I’m here, today, to officiate 3 weddings, but in one wedding that is about to take place the family brought their own minister.
I don’t feel like going and watching a wedding just for the fun of it, and I don’t want to sneak over and steal any food from the reception hall while the bride and groom are otherwise distracted. So, like I said, I’m just hanging out for a little while.
What a perfect time to stir up a theological stink, right?
We should be thanking God for the surging tide of pro-life sentiment sweeping much of our nation right now! I firmly believe that the killing of infants in the womb is murder, for I believe that each and every fetus is an actual human being, regardless whether or not they vote for Republicans or Democrats.
But all this talk about abortion, the right to life, and millions of babies has brought back to mind a conversation I read years ago on a Calvinistic website (Monergism.com). It was just one of several “conversations” that eventually pushed me from Calvinism and helped define my theological stance as that of “provisionist”
The conversation was between two pastors and the subject was the funeral for an infant.
The first pastor discussed how challenging it had been to preach the funeral for a child, just a baby of less than a year old. He went on to say that the only thing he could do to help the grieving parents cope with the loss was to reassure them that one day, some day, they would be reunited with their child in heaven (since both parents were believers).
The second pastor, however, brutally chastised the first pastor for giving the parents of the dead child a false hope! Yes, he rebuked the first pastor for telling the parents they would one day see their child again because – now get this – he had no way of knowing if the deceased baby was “one of the elect.”
The second pastor said a better thing to have told the parents would have been the truth…that if the baby had been one of the “elect” they would see him again, but there’s no way to know till we get to heaven.
I still remember the burning indignation that welled up within me as I read that. With my face flush, I hammered out on the keyboard something akin to the following: “If I had been one of those parents, and you had told me that about my child, I would have given you the opportunity to go see where my baby went.”
But, let’s be honest, what else is the reasonable conclusion to the Calvinist position on this subject? Are all babies who die too early to have accepted Christ (including those murdered in the womb) members of the “elect,” or is there the possibility that some were predestined to salvation and others were predestined to damnation? Even though some of you Calvinist friends of mine might not believe in “double predestination,” what is your answer to this?
Are we going to accept the proposition that God, the one who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” is the same God who would, for His own pleasure, doom any number of consciousless infants to an eternity in hell? Is that EVEN a possibility within your theological systematic?
You may use the comment section to calmly and kindly discuss.
I was behind the wheel of our Toyota sienna when my wife looked over at me and asked, “Are you OK?”
We were in a little town called Sandersville, GA, and we had just finished walking through a small grocery store just to see what it was like. But when I got in the van and sat behind the steering well, my chest was burning. I was a little short of breath and I was staring straight ahead. My wife had good reason to ask if I was OK, because I wasn’t:
I was having a mild heart attack.
Over four hours away from home, not counting Atlanta traffic, the last thing I wanted to do was go to the emergency room in a little town where the hospital wasn’t much bigger than a Walmart. But knowing that chest pain isn’t something to trifle with, and especially since my wife looked worried (Who’s kidding who? I was worried, too!), I agreed to go get checked out.
The little hospital was the best it could be, I suppose, for a little town like Sandersville. They couldn’t do much for me other than do an EKG, a chest X-ray, and a blood test. All of the tests that they did came back negative, as in nothing was wrong. So, we got ready to leave as we awaited the results of a second blood test that needed to be done, one which was supposedly only a formality. The only problem is that the final blood test showed that my troponin levels doubled in the three hours that I had been there…evidence something was wrong.
The emergency room doctor came back with the results and said that I needed to go see a cardiologist. My wife asked, “Just schedule an appointment with one when we get back home?” “No,” replied the doctor, “he needs to be transported by ambulance to another hospital right now.” Unfortunately, the nearest ambulance to the hospital was still two hours away! So, the waiting began.
When the ambulance finally got there, we decided to go to the nearest hospital that was in the direction of home. So, we decided on a hospital in Macon, GA. An hour later I arrived at Coliseum Medical Centers. #coliseumhealthsystem.com
All I can say is that I praise God this happened down here when it did, because this place is so much better than Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Everyone down here, from housekeeping to the nurses to the cardiologist, has been absolutely wonderful! They have treated me like I was their only patient. If I had been at Erlanger, it would’ve taken me four hours to get a bedpan. But I digress.
Anyway, long story short, more tests were run on me here which led to the discovery that I had blockages in all four main arteries in my heart, two of which were blocked 90%. A few hours later I was in surgery receiving 2 to 3 stents, depending on how you measure them (one was as long as two). Other than when they numbed my wrist, I felt everything. No kidding, it hurt.
But I’m alive.
Come to find out, I’ve had heart problems for a while. When I have had pain in the past, all that was done were EKGs and stress tests. But nothing ever showed that I had blockages of any kind. None of the places in Chattanooga ever did a heart catheterization.
My dad died at 46 with a heart attack. My grandfather died at 53. I’m 51. Am I blessed, or what?
But here’s the thing: I’m going to die one day, and so are you. Unless the rapture takes place, everyone of us have an appointment with death. It doesn’t matter how many times we go to the hospital and get fixed, these old bodies will eventually break down the last time and we will enter into eternity.
My only hope for you, dear reader, is that you have the same hope and peace that I have. That hope and peace is found in my Savior, Jesus Christ. Because of Him, when I take my last breath, I know where I will spend eternity.
I’m not dead…yet. But because of the blood Jesus Christ shed for my sins, I’ll be more alive that day than I am right now.
I’m ready to go. Are you?
I hate it when I sin.
Some people hate to get caught, but I wasn’t caught. No one saw or heard or anything – only God.
I hate it when I sin because of the feeling it leaves, the drain on emotions, and the sense of powerlessness that leads to feelings of failure, defeat.
I hate it when I sin because I knew better! I knew better! It’s not like I didn’t know the consequences. It wasn’t like this was something I’d never before encountered. I just walked right into the sin and just committed it, just like it was the natural thing to do.
Oh, but that’s the issue, isn’t it? Nature. That battle between the redeemed and the unredeemed, the spirit and the flesh. How I look forward to the day when this tent in which I dwell is redeemed, also!
I hate it when I sin!
But you may be asking, “Aren’t you a pastor? Aren’t you supposed to be a spiritual and religious leader? How can you be talking about ‘sin’ like this? Won’t it hurt your reputation?”
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. – 1 John 1:8
The Truth is in me. I’m not perfect, just forgiven.
And that’s really why I hate it when I sin; it’s because I know I’m forgiven! Yes, I’m already forgiven! I’ve been saved, justified, reborn, adopted, and have received the righteousness of Christ…and I know a little about what it took for that to happen…
It took the Cross! It took Calvary! It took Jesus bearing my griefs…carrying my sorrows…being stricken and smitten of God…being afflicted…being wounded for MY transgressions…being bruised for MY iniquities…accepting MY chastisement…and taking MY stripes so that I could walk away free (see Isaiah 53:4-5).
He – Jesus – did all that for me…all because of my sin…because He loves me (Romans 5:8).
But you may ask: “If you know you are already forgiven, then what keeps you from going out and sinning all you want?”
Two reasons. First, my “want to” has been changed. Second, it’s like the Apostle Paul said it: the love of Christ constraineth me (2 Corinthians 5:14). The thought of His love for me…what it took to redeem me from sin…to purchase my salvation…what He endured on that cross…the scourging He willingly accepted…it’s like ropes wrapped around me, binding me, “constraining” me.
Nevertheless, there are times when I sin. And I hate it. Romans 7:15-25 just about sums it up.
I thank God that where my sin did abound, grace…OH! What a word!…did much more abound (Romans 5:20)!
Then you may ask: “Well, if there’s more grace than there is sin to forgive, why not just keep sinning so that grace may ‘abound’ even more?”
Read Romans 6, is all I can say.
If you sin just because you can…there’s probably something major you’ve missed along the way. Maybe there’s nothing “constraining” you.
I hate it when I sin.
God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to you. – Psalm 51:10-13 CSB