Monday, June 18, 2018

The Emancipation Crucifixion

Abolitionist such as Fredrick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, Presbyterian Minister John Rankin and Levi Coffin, worked tirelessly, in many cases even in defiance of the law to free black from bondage in the United States. Then on January 1st, 1863   when President Abraham Lincoln ratified the Emancipation Proclamation declaring that all enslaved person in the Confederate States of America in rebellion and not in Union Hands were to be freed.  It appeared that the institution known as slavery had been defeated.

Shockingly, some enslaved African Americans had no idea that President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which mandated that they be set free. In Texas, more than two-and-a-half years passed before they attained the knowledge of their freedom.

For 30 months the African American Slaves in Texas were free but did not know it. They were no longer under the law of slavery, yet they were stuck in the system of slavery. They had no ability to live an abundant life that their slaver owners could enjoy. However, on June 19th, 1865 all that changed and the celebration of freedom began.

Today all fifty states except Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota celebrate this most joyous occasion with events like the re-reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Singing of traditional Negro Spiritual such as “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”,  the reading of noted black authors and poets, family cook outs, community rodeos, street fairs, , historic reenactments  and even a Miss Juneteenth Contest.

On this most celebratory day (also my wedding anniversary) I think of the many Christians that have  to keep the letter of the law so that we might not be seen as  sinful. There are churches where they will actually measure the length of w women’s dress, or the cut of a man’s hair. They will return to the six hundred and thirteen precepts of the old testament to hold us prisoner.  To a pious a boastful righteousness. (Hebrews 6:5-6)
not come to understand the freedom that they have in Jesus Christ. Many of us work like slaves trying to appease a holy God with our works. We struggle with everything from our sin, to trying

But God has emancipated us from the law of work, and given us grace, through His Son Jesus Christ.(Galatians 5:1) We no longer strive to appease and unforgiving law of works. (Romans 6:14) But now we are set free to live a more abundant life which is only found in Jesus Christ. The scripture teaches that where sin abound Grace much more abounds. But this is not a right to sin, it is a right to be forgive.

So this Juneteeth as you celebrate the freeing of the slaves, by President Abraham Lincoln 155 years ago. Let the Holy Spirit also led you to celebrate the freeing to the slaves more than 2000 years ago by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

For whom the son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:36)

and leave a comment


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Must we believe that Jesus is God to be saved?

Must we believe that Jesus is God to be saved?

This is a very difficult question because the answer is both yes and no.  I don’t mean to be wishy-washy in that response. It just that the answer to this question condemns some very good religious people to an infinite eternity of burning in hell; and release some not so good people to be in the presence of God for eternity.
The paradox of good and bad people should not come as a surprise to the Christian, we know that we are saved not by works but by faith so, therefore, where we put our faith makes a whole lot of difference. Scripture clearly teaches that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6 and this truth is the foundation of all that we can know, it is not faith that saves but in the right thing faith that saves!
It sadden me to see so many devout religious Christian-ish sects and persons that pray and read their bibles yet cannot see the clarity of the scripture concerning the deity  of Jesus Christ in whom they should have their faith.  (See list below) the clarity of His dual nature screams out so prominently that is it almost deafening to one that believes. However this question is not about those that believe Jesus is God, but to those that do not believe, more directly, the question is can they not believe Jesus is God and be saved? In the opening paragraph, I answered both yes and no. I did this because circumstance and situations dictates the truth of this question. With that said let us look at those circumstances when the answer is yes.
When we consider the circumstances when the answer is yes, the first thing we have to do is delve into the possibility that someone can be saved with every knowing Jesus. All of the Old Testament saints were saved without ever knowing Jesus. They put their faith not in the person Jesus Christ but in the promise of a coming messiah of Genesis 3:15. Looking forward to a messiah that would reconcile us back to the Father. So that those that had put their faith in a coming messiah sinned on credit so to speak. In that God had put their sin in forbearance until Jesus had come.
The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Romans 3:22-26 ESV
Then Jesus died for the sake of the world, not just the elect as the reformed say. Rather the blood of Jesus Christ is able to wash away the sins of the world, but to have the salvific power of the blood of Christ applied to us we must reach for it. This is because salvation requires us to come into a love relationship with our God. Since love is a free act, it is impossible to force someone to love you, God has to open the opportunity for the unregenerate (non-believer) to either accept or reject the offer of love.
The Old Testament saints had the law, which along with the prophets and the gospel are called special revelation. The scripture teaches that special revelation (the law, the prophets, and the gospel) is perfect in converting the soul. (Psalm 19:7) so then those which did not accept the special revelation denied God, or Jesus Christ (having no faith or not the correct faith) and were not saved. Now that answers the question about the saint of the Old Testament, but what about those that have never heard of Jesus? What about those that lived and died before the preaching of the gospel, or those who live in remote areas of the world where they never heard of Christ, or even Yahweh, those in some far of jungle or desert where there was no knowledge of the God of Abraham whatsoever? Does God regulate them to an infinite hell in eternity because of where they were born? Or when they were born?
Genesis 18:25 says that God judgment is right and just, that the wicked and the righteous will not be treated the same. This statement comes on the heel of God’s conversation with Abraham as he pleads with God for the life of his nephew Lot in the city of Sodom. As we know from the story, God removes Lot and his family before =destroying the city so that not even one righteous is punished with the wicked. So the scripture (special revelation) give us an understanding of God’s justice, he does not punish the righteous. But only the wicked. Now that we understand that let's move on.
Romans 1:20-23 says For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
This passage carries with it a whole lot of weight, in that it implies that through general revelation everyone knows God, and how general revelation by itself is enough to know God.  So that they who have never heard the Gospel, in particular, are without excuse. 
99.9% of the time this is where most people end this conversation, you are guilty of sin, and just because you have never heard the gospel, or you were born at a time, or a place where the gospel was not available, it your problem not God’s failure.  Go to hell and get over it!
My only problem with this type of thinking is;
1.       It is not in line with what the Bible tells us about God’s will.
(Matthew 18:16, and 2 Peter 3:9) both teach that it is not God desire (will) that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. The whole Old Testament is about the Jews failing and God renewing them again. They not only had second changes but many chances and God never turned his back on them.  In fact, we see a God that chased after a failing nation time and time again even in spite of their weakness.  Yet today’s exclusivist would have you believed that this same loving God just neglected a world of people with whom the gospel never reached because of time or location then condemns them for not accepting the Gospel of which they have never heard. Let me repeat Genesis 18:25 again Shall not the Judge of all the earth do (what is) right?”
2.       It does not match up with the attribute of God.
Romans 5:8 shows us that the love of God is sacrificial, this is again expressed in John 3:16, and I John 4:9-10. So we have a God that desire that all will be save but only seeks the salvation of a select few. This does not come into conflict with the attribute of God’s love, as much as it is a problem with God being a respecter of persons.
Moreover, the attribute of God’s love is unconditional, in that God does not say “if you do this I will love you, or if you don’t do this I will love you” rather God’s love affords even the most horrific murderer the opportunity to be loved and saved through faith in Christ.
3.     The only people that advocate this absolute exclusivity of the Gospel are those that have already heard the gospel and believe they are saved through the accepting of the gospel. It seems to assert a level of piety whereby they say “I’m better than you solely on the grounds that they were predisposed to the hearing of the gospel.”
Romans 1:20-24 speaks not just to those that are without excuse, but more directly to those that are without excuse but seeks to replace the glory that belongs to God to earthy idolatry. This is a conscious denying of God and His existence. Which is the real problem for those that were not saved before there was a gospel, not the failure to hear the Gospel? Though many exclusivist argue that it is the hearing of the gospel that saves, they fail to recognize the multitude of resources God has available to bring us to the saving grace of Christ. Moreover, scripture clearly teaches that God judges men according to the light which they have, those which had only general revelation will be judged according to that light. If by the light of general revelation a man denies God he will not be save by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Now we have something called special revelation which is the Bible, Old and New Testament, the Bible teaches that special revelation (the law, the prophets, and the gospel) is perfect in converting the soul. (Psalm 19:7) This is not so of general revelation, this is because the bible teaches that the gospel (the highest level of special revelation is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) So then those that have herd the gospel (special revelation) are without excuse, (atheist) that because they know there is God (as reveled in the gospel) they do not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened, claiming to be wise the bible says they are fools.
So then this denial of the existence of God makes it impossible for those that have heard the Gospel to be saved. Since they deny the existence of God they, of course, deny the Jesus is God.
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15-16
What about those that claim that they are believers, yet say that Jesus is not God? This is the crux of the problem and the root of the initial question. So let's address those that deny the Trinity. It is interesting to note that all of the major heretical religious versions of Christianity agree on one thing: they all reject the doctrine of the Trinity. And it think it is important to understand that this rejection is like pivot foot in basketball, it determines if we are inline with right understanding of the scripture or not.Yet it is not the doctrine of the Trinity as much as it is the person of Jesus Christ.  I’ve said this a million times how a person or group see Jesus Christ determines there salvation.
Those that do not accept the doctrine of the Trinty deny the deity of Jesus Christ. For the Trinity says the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. So denying any of the three set you in alignment with those of Romans 1:20-24. But more specifically, the scriptures say when we deny the Son we deny the Father, and when we confess the son we have the Father
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also” 1 John 2:23
John 8:24 warns us that unless we believe we will die in our sins
I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” John 8:24
Therefore the scriptures are clear that Jesus is God, So then denying He is God will result in death without forgiveness. This may sound like the mindset of the exclusivist but this is much different in that it allows everyone especially those that have special revelation to accept or deny. So then they are saved by faith in Jesus Christ (believing He is God) Or they do not receive the salvific power of the gospel because they deny God in the man Christ Jesus.

1.     Scripture teaches that he is God
a.     John 1:1, 14
b.     Colossians 1:19 “For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell”
c.     Philippians 2:5-6 “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to”
d.     2 Peter 1:1 “ …by the righteous ness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ”
2.       He is worshiped as God
a.     John 20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
b.     1 Peter 1:1 … by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ”
c.     Hebrews 1:6 And let all the angels of God worship Him”
d.     Matthew 14:33  And those who were in the boat worshiped Him
e.     Matthew 28:9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
f.      Matthew 2:1-2 “For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
g.     And even prayed to as God “Acts 7:59 They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”
3.       He forgives Sin which is only ascribed to God
a.     Luke 5:20-21; “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
b.     Matthew 9:2 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”
c.     Mark 2:5-7 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
4.     Jesus says He is God, makes Himself equal with God.
a.     John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”
b.     John 5:23  so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him”
c.     John 10:30  The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”
d.     John 5:18 For this reason, therefore, the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.”
e.     James 8:57-58 So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”  Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
f.      John 13:19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He”
5.      God the Father calls the Son God!
a.       Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son he says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever,”
b.      Psalm 45:6 “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever,”
6.     He possess the Attributes of God.
a.     He is Omnipotent
                                               i.     Philippians 3:20-21
b.     He is Omniscience
                                               i.     Colossians 2:2-3
                                             ii.     John 13:18-19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.
c.     He is Omnipresence
                                               i.     Ephesians 1:22-23
7.     Many of the events ascribe to the Father, He applies to Himself
a.     Matthew 23: 34, 37 (Sending the prophets)
b.     God the Father stated, “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (Is 45:23). The same exact description is also applied to Jesus (Phil 2:10-11).
c.     The Bible teaches that “God” is judge (1 Sam 2:10; Ps 50:6; Ecc 12:14; many others). But so is Jesus (Jn 5:22, 27; 9:39; Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1, 2 Corinthians 5:10).

Tcharves "FireSepaks"