Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

If someone believes that they got themselves into Christ, then it is only natural to believe they can get themselves out of Christ. But Hebrews 12:2 clearly states that God is both the Author and Finisher or Perfecter of our faith. He began it and He finishes it perfectly. To say you can lose your salvation is saying Christ can only save me if I keep up my salvation. The truth is, you will keep up your salvation perfectly because of the new willing heart that God has given you and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which you received when you were Born Again by the power and will of God and God alone (John 1:13). God has guaranteed your perseverance and your perfect “keeping up of your salvation” (if you want to say that, which I don’t). But when you do persevere you can also say what Paul did in 1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

There is a wealth of Bible passages that guarantee that our salvation is perfectly secure in Christ. There are some passages that people like to look to to try to say that you can lose your salvation, and the most popular one that people use is actually rarely read in context, which is the key to understanding anything in the Bible. This is Hebrews 6:4-6. Let’s look at these verses real quickly and then make some final thoughts.

4For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

People will say that these verses guarantee that people can lose their salvation. We have two problems with that;

  1. Language like enlightened, tasting the heavenly gift, sharing in the Holy Spirit, tasting the Word of God and  the powers of the age to come, do not, I repeat, DO NOT mean that the person was saved. Remember the audience of Hebrews that were being written to here. The Jews were enlightened with the knowledge of who God was because they were given the law and were His chosen people. They tasted of many heavenly gifts such as the manna in the desert in Moses‘ time and Christ’s bread and fish in John 6. They shared in the Holy Spirit in the sense that they experienced the Holy Spirit empowered ministry of Jesus and tasted of Christ’s Word. They also tasted of the powers of the age to come in the many interactions with God through Moses and Christ, as well as every other prophet in scripture. That didn’t mean that everyone who did those things were saved, in fact the reality is that in spite of all those interactions, most still did not believe. A whole generation was left in the wilderness before entering the promise land after the great “experiences” or instances of “enlightenment.” After they all “taste of the heavenly gifts” of Jesus Christ in John 6, the thousands that were well fed just a few verses earlier left Jesus in the dust when he said that God is sovereign over who comes and does not come to Jesus and has eternal life, thus proving that they were never truly born again, they just desired to have their bellies filled for free. What this verse is really saying is that when a person has the fullest experience of who God really is in Christ, and then they reject Him, they are never capable of getting more information and are saying they understand it all, and they still don’t want Him. You can try to tell them, but they have all the knowledge you can give them, it is hopeless.
  2. If you are going to say these verses prove you can lose your salvation, you have to also at least be consistent with the rest of verse 6 which clearly says that this person can never again be restored to repentance because they would be re-crucifying Christ. The crazy thing is that everyone who believes that you can lose your salvation also believes that you can get it back again. This verse clearly says you can’t restore them again to repentance, it’s impossible (Verse 4 and 6).

Telling people they can lose their salvation is more fear-mongering than it is equipping people for the battle that we all face everyday. That’s like a King saying to his people about to go into battle, “gear up, but you will probably lose cause I ain’t fighting with you. I will be back in the castle living it up. Good luck.”

My King says, “I guarantee your victory in this battle because I am the one leading the charge and doing all the fighting. When you succeed it is only because I’ve given you power to defeat your enemy. Also, I have determined the end from the beginning so I know infallibly that you will win this and all battles because I Am the Alpha and Omega and I will do all that I set out to do.”

Haven’t you heard or thought this when the subject of eternal security, perseverance of the saints, or “once saved always saved,” comes up: “That’s going to make people think that once they are saved then they can just go do whatever they want and they’ll still go to heaven. That is horrible!”

I have heard people say this a lot. My question though is, is it true? Once people are TRULY saved, can they do whatever they want and be okay?

Although I need you to hear me out in order to be understood properly, I shout a resounding…

“YES THEY CAN!!!”

Now before I get everyone all worked up, let me explain. The question again was, “doesn’t ‘Once Saved Always Saved’ imply that people can do whatever they want after they are saved and they will still go to heaven?” Sometime it is worded, “isn’t that a license to sin?” This last question I would firmly oppose. It is firmly not a license to sin and this is why:

If the person has truly been taken from the kingdom of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of light, that means that they received what Ezekiel calls a new heart, a new spirit, the Holy Spirit, and God’s forceful causing them to obey His commands. Let’s look at the passage in Ezekiel 36:

“26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”

A heart of stone that is void of a willing spirit and the Holy Spirit cannot please God. It has to have a radical change enacted upon itself by God. This is what Jeremiah 31 talks about as well with the New Covenant. So if you truly have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, you have a new spirit (you are now wanting to be holy as God is Holy), you now have the Holy Spirit (which Ephesians 1:13-14 calls the seal or down payment of God which, by giving it, guarantees He will pay in full by bringing you all the way to full Salvation), and finally it says explicitly in the text, God will CAUSE you to walk in His ways and be careful to OBEY His rules. This text should make people who hold to free will go insane.

Now briefly, I want to touch on this “new heart” concept. The Bible has a lot to say about the heart.

Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 27:19
As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.

Matthew 12:34
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart
the mouth speaks.

Matthew 15:18-19
But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony,
slander.

Mark 7:21-22
For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22
greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.

The heart of the unbeliever is a factory that continually makes idols and because of the natural condition of the heart, it proves our guilt of sin. The heart is where our desires live. If we have an unconverted heart, we have evil desires, and then, because our will is in bondage to our heart’s desires, we will evil things all the time, proving that we have no free will, but are slaves to sin (Romans 6:5, 20). But, and I repeat, but if/when God gives us a new heart, we have new wants and new desires!

So go and do whatever you want to do because if you are truly a blood-bought child of God, you want to worship God, you want to read His Word, you want to obey all of His commands. You don’t want to sin against Him anymore. Even the Apostle Paul said that the things he did not want to do, he did, and the things he did want to do, he still struggled to do (Romans 7). This means that yes, if we are Christians we are still affected by sin’s presence in our lives and we still stumble and fall, but we don’t want to do that anymore. We want to please God.

How do we know if we are saved though? We don’t want to believe in vain. And also, we have to test ourselves to see if we are of the faith. But listen to this:

Romans 10:9-10
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

So if you are truly saved, and you have had the Holy Spirit testify with your spirit that you are a child of God, Go and do what you want to do, which is worship and glorify Jesus Christ all your days. And when we do we know that it is God who, “works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose (Philippians 2:13).”

I’m all for social justice, as long as it does not become anyone’s works that they feel merit salvation and as long as it does not get so intertwined with the gospel that there is confusion as to what the gospel is. The truth of the gospel is told in many verses, but let’s look at Matthew 1:21,

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Jesus came to save people from their sins, not ultimately from a bad physical situation here on a sinful planet. The main problem that He saves us from is the disease, SIN, not ultimately from all the symptoms or affects of that disease. Yes, the word “salvation” is used in the Old Testament for God delivering His people from slavery in the physical sense, but this was a foreshadowing of the fact that we are all slaves to sin and that we need an all-satisfying Savior.

I am all for feeding the homeless, drilling wells for clean water, adoption and foster care, battling sex trafficking, and all the other things involved in the social gospel, but I want to draw attention to the fact that Christians are not the only people that are concerned with these things. Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, and a whole list of other humans are concerned about these things. Christians stand out, or at least need to stand out, because of what our Lord Jesus has taught us. Jesus has taught us that He is the only Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one gets eternal life except by and through Him.

How should we stand out?

So I am all for loving my neighbor as myself, but is it true love if the gospel is never given to these hurting people? Let’s say that the homeless person is fed, the poor people get clean water, the orphan gets adopted, the woman is freed from sexual slavery, and not one of those people are given the gospel (the truth that Jesus came to save sinners from their sins and that whoever repents and believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life)- then the day after all this happens, they all die and are in ETERNAL (not just the here and now) punishment  and torment forever. Is that loving of us? When we are doing good deeds, they must always be accompanied by the whole of the gospel being PROCLAIMED to the people we are serving. Notice this play on words; we think that we are filling the “hole” in the gospel by doing social justice, and yet we are in most cases not delivering the “whole” gospel because we leave out the details of Jesus’ message. Actions should accompany truth statements, but actions alone cannot trump truth statements. In fact, the bible goes as far as to say, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). You cannot just serve people and not tell them the hard but amazing truth of the gospel, and think that God is satisfied with you. You must speak Jesus’ very exclusive message to all who will hear it and even to those that will not.

We are seeing some element of the falling apart of mainline evangelicalism and I would argue it is because we got so angry at the preachers of old who would correct us, tell us to repent of our sins, exalt God and His will above man and his will, and speak of such things as hell, fire, and brimstone.

Imagine this situation; A man comes up to a village of starving Africans, he feeds them and digs a well for them so that they have clean water for sanitation purposes and to drink. He then says, “Jesus has given this to you. Accept Jesus and believe!” There is no reason to think this whole village would not start to profess their love for Jesus and call themselves Christians. Now imagine the same situation, but this time we know a little more about the village. They worship all kinds of false gods (not that I am claiming that this is any way different from our “gods” that America worship; it is all idolatry if you’re not worshiping Jesus). The man gives them the same food and digs the same well. Then he tells them about the gospel. He informs them that they are indeed sinners and deserve the just punishment of their unrighteous deeds that belittle our perfect, holy, and righteous God. Then he explains that they need to no longer worship their idols and instead worship Jesus. He then quotes John 3:36,

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

I would hope and pray that they would still love, believe, and follow the same Jesus after this kind of gospel presentation. Peter Cha explains exactly how I feel in this short video clip.

So let us go out into the world and love our neighbors as ourselves, knowing that this love is incomplete if we do not share the truth of Jesus’ timeless message. Whether we say it to them or not, Jesus still demands things from people. He demands faith, repentance, and loyalty. As a reformed person I can rest in the fact that He grants exactly what He commands to whomever He wills, but this still does not negate His commands and expectations for the entire human race. You can only truly love someone by preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. Think about that….

Check this link out too. Very helpful. Click HERE


All throughout the New Testament you have multiple authors quoting the Old Testament, referencing stories from the Old Testament, and explaining key themes that might have been hidden or confusing from the Old Testament. Even whole books of the New Testament, as Pastor Doug Rehberg explains in his book Leadership Jesus Style, are written to highlight events in the Old Testament to help the reader better understand New Covenant realities. Rehberg questions, “Have you ever noticed how Paul’s letter to the Galatians in large measure is a commentary on the Book of Genesis? Have you ever noticed how the letter of Hebrews uses the Book of Exodus and its description of the person and work of Moses as a backdrop for showing Jesus’ superiority? Have you seen how Jesus begins His teaching ministry by expositing the the words of Isaiah 61? Have you understood that the Book of Revelation is a reiteration and recasting of the major themes of the first 65 books of the Bible?”

This is part two in an eleven part series, of which I pray has the same objective that the Apostles and Jesus our Savior Himself had; to create a deeper understanding of God, which stirs our hearts with deep affections toward Christ. Part two continues with examining another correlation between Jesus Christ and the tabernacle that was used in the wilderness after being led by Moses out of Egypt. These correlations are found in A.W. Pink’s Exposition of the Gospel of John. For part one, which also serves as an introduction, click HERE.

John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us…”

“[Jesus] pitched His tent on earth for thirty-three years. There is here a latent reference to the tabernacle of Israel in the wilderness. That tabernacle had a typical significance: it foreshadowed God the Son incarnate. Almost everything about the tabernacle adumbrated the Word made flesh. Many and varied are the correspondences between the type (in this case the tabernacle) and the Anti-type (Jesus). We notice a few of the more conspicuous.

2. The “tabernacle” was for use in the wilderness. After Israel settled in Canaan, the tabernacle was superseded by the temple. But during the time of their pilgrimage from Egypt to the promise land, the tabernacle was God’s appointed provision for them. The wilderness strikingly foreshadowed the conditions amid which the eternal Word (Jesus) tabernacled among men at His first advent. The wilderness home of the tabernacle unmistakably foreshadowed the manger-cradle, the Nazerite-carpenter’s bench, the “nowhere” for the Son of man to lay His head, the borrowed tomb for His sepulcher. A careful study of the chronology of the Pentateuch seems to indicate that Israel used the tabernacle in the wilderness rather less than thirty-five years!”

Did you catch it? The last sentence floored me. “A careful study of the chronology of the Pentateuch seems to indicate that Israel used the tabernacle in the wilderness rather less than thirty-five years!” Jesus is clearly seen here. Jesus’ first advent (the first time Jesus appeared on earth in the flesh) lasted roughly 33 years. They used the tabernacle in the wilderness for less than 35 years! That’s amazing to see how God intricately planned for us to partake in God’s presence in such a “rough provision.” The tabernacle was just a rough provision of  God in order for his Holiness to dwell among such unholy people. This speaks of God’s love and His holiness. He loved the people of the Exodus generation enough to create such a place in which He is glorified and people are set free from the guilt of their sins, by way of a high priest making atonement for them through animal sacrifice. Look where the tabernacle was located; the wilderness. It wasn’t located anywhere beautiful or spectacular and notice who was there; angry, complaining sinners. Notice the correlation to Jesus. He comes to a place corroded and corrupted by sin. Creation was once such a beautiful place from God’s point of view, but because of the fall and man’s sin, it was all subjected to futility. As Romans 8:20-23 explains,

[20] For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope [21] that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. [23] And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
(Romans 8:20-23 ESV)

Jesus came to a gross place (in comparison to the fellowship of the Trinity in heaven) where evil sinners like you and I dwell. The amazing thing is though that even the evil of mankind does not thwart the plans of the great God and King we serve. He came to seek and save us evil ones by becoming the meeting place between His Holiness and our depravity. Jesus came and purchased everything for His chosen people: our faith, our repentance, our new hearts, new eyes to see, new ears to hear, etc. He completed the work our Father gave Him to do; redeem the ones in which He has given to the Son of man.

[37] All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. [38] For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. [39] And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. [40] For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
(John 6:37-40 ESV)

And,

[14] I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, [15] just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. [16] And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. [17] For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. [18] No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
(John 10:14-18 ESV)

So as God dwelt with man in the wilderness by means of the tabernacle, God the Son dwelt with sinful man in the flesh as a man. He accomplished our Salvation. Are you experiencing this Eternal Life and Salvation? John 6:40 says that, “everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him [has] eternal life.” Look to Jesus as your savior! Trust in what He has accomplished, which you and I could never have accomplished. Believe that His work was done to redeem you, as an individual. You will stand before Him someday in judgment as an individual based on whether or not you believed on Him to be your substitution or not. You will be alone on that day just as you are probably alone right now as you read this. I pray He redeems you as I know in my heart that He has redeemed me.

Jesus came to a gross place. Here are two questions for you:

  1. In what manner did Jesus come?
  2. What kind of glory did the external tabernacle have?
Photograph of medieval canvas "Abraham an...
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Last night we had another awesome bible study. Jamie and I have been attending a new bible study on Monday nights in the city of Sharpsburg with other youth leaders and young adults. We are going through the book of Hebrews. Last night we went through most of chapters 4 and 5. During our reading we came across this verse: Hebrews 5:9-10 “9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” Who is Melchizedek?

Melchizedek is first mentioned in the bible in Genesis 14:17-24. Instead of explain everything about him, I think it would be much more beneficial if you would listen to this 30 minute sermon from Pastor Doug Rehberg, senior pastor of Hebron Church of Penn Hills. Click HERE for the link to download this message. When I first heard Pastor Doug preach this sermon, I was blown away. It is apart of a series that Hebron was going through when Jamie and I first came there after leaving our old church. What an amazing series to come into! That series changed the way I look at the Old Testament and I am forever greatful to God for using Pastor Doug in order to start a passion in my soul for finding Jesus in the Old Testament. Jesus, himself, taught that all of the scriptures are about him! Listen to this message and may it start a passion in your sould for Jesus Christ and his Word!