Friday, December 19, 2014

Marsha's Musings: What Is Meant by "the whole world"? (I John 2:1-2 NKJV)



My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (I John 2:1-2 NKJV)

How do I reconcile this last phrase with the doctrine of election found in Romans 9, John 6:44, 65, John 12:37-40, and others?  I know God does not contradict Himself. And I know that if this is to be taken that He is the propitiation for every person in the whole world, then He failed because some still die in their sins and go to Hell. Here is something from the Geneva Study Bible that sheds some light:

Verse 2
And he is the b propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the c whole world. 

(b) Reconciliation and intercession go together, to give us to understand that he is both advocate and high priest. 

(c) For men of all sorts, of all ages, and all places, so that this benefit being not to the Jews only, of whom he speaks as appears in (1 John 2:7) but also to other nations.


So if we take what John is saying in light of the physical context in which he is in, he is telling his audience of that day, that salvation is for more than the Jews. It's for people of all nations....all over the world.  This interpretation is in keeping with the references mentioned above that indicate no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him, or the place in John 12 and Romans 9 where it says God hardens and blinds some.  

But the main point John is driving at in this book is that he wants us to walk in the light as He is in the light so that we will not sin. However, when we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father.  Jesus Christ's sacrifice for our sin has satisfied the Father's justice and wrath against sin for those He has given to Him. What a comfort to know that!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Marsha's Musings: What is Sin? (I John 1:10 NKJV)

      
    


If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (I John 1:10 NKJV)

If a person thinks God should save them because of how good and moral they are, then they in effect are saying they have not sinned.  

Sin defined is missing the mark and the mark is being holy as God is holy.  There is not a man alive or who has ever lived except Christ who has not missed the mark. We have all sinned and to say we have not is to tell God Almighty that He is a liar.  

This is a litmus test.  If a person thinks they can get into God's good graces because they have been good enough themselves whether by living a good moral life or doing religious ritual or both, then they are saying they have not missed the mark, in effect saying they have not sinned...His word is not in that person. They are not a true Christian.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Why do we need to confess our sins if they have already been forgiven (I John 1:9 NKJV)


                                               
 

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9 NKJV)

I was told a long time ago that this verse is the Christian's bar of soap.  As I came to this verse though, I had a question and that question was answered for me on the website  gotquestions.org.  The link is at the bottom of this page.

Question: "Why do we need to confess our sins if they have already been forgiven (1 John 1:9)?"


Answer: 
The apostle Paul wrote, “To the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:6-8). This forgiveness is referring to salvation, in which God has taken our sins and removed them from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). This is the judicial forgiveness that God gives us upon receiving Jesus Christ as Savior. All our past, present, and future sins are forgiven on a judicial basis, meaning that we will not suffer eternal judgment for our sins. We still often suffer consequences of sin while we are here on earth, however, which brings us to the question at hand.

The difference between Ephesians 1:6-8and 1 John 1:9is that John is dealing with what we call “relational,” or “familial,” forgiveness—like that of a father and a son. For example, if a son does something wrong to his father—falling short of his expectations or rules—the son has hindered his fellowship with his father. He remains the son of his father, but the relationship suffers. Their fellowship will be hindered until the son admits to his father that he has done wrong. It works the same way with God; our fellowship with Him is hindered until we confess our sin. When we confess our sin to God, the fellowship is restored. This is relational forgiveness.

“Positional” forgiveness, or judicial forgiveness, is that which is obtained by every believer in Christ. In our position as members of the body of Christ, we have been forgiven of every sin we have ever committed or ever will commit. The price paid by Christ on the cross has satisfied God’s wrath against sin, and no further sacrifice or payment is necessary. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant it. Our positional forgiveness was obtained then and there. 

Confession of sin will help to keep us from the discipline of the Lord. If we fail to confess sin, the discipline of the Lord is sure to come until we do confess it. As stated previously, our sins are forgiven at salvation (positional forgiveness), but our daily fellowship with God needs to stay in good standing (relational forgiveness). Proper fellowship with God cannot happen with unconfessed sin in our lives. Therefore, we need to confess our sins to God as soon as we are aware that we have sinned, in order to maintain close fellowship with God.



Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/confession-forgiveness.html#ixzz3MAnZdsKX

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Marsha's Musings: No Sin? (I John 1:8 NKJV)




If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (I John 1:8 NKJV)

Here is a verse that refutes the idea of Christians being able to obtain a state of sinless perfection in this life. If any body tries to tell you it is possible or that they have obtained it, they are a liar!  Plain and simple. The truth is not in them.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Walking in the Light (I John 1:6-7 NKJV)




If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1:6-7 NKJV)

This couldn't be any more blunt then what it is.  The problem is that many Christians have compartmentalized their lives.  Church is where they are spiritual.  In the privacy of their home when no one is looking they look at things on the internet they shouldn't and maybe do other things they wouldn't think of doing in front of their Christian friends. At work and out in the world they are worldly.  They talk like the world, look like the world and act worldly.  

I'm not saying Christians should be legalistic, just different than the unsaved, ungodly person.  Their lives should be consistent across the board...walking in the light of God's Word all the time.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Marsha's Musings: God is Light (1 John 1:5 KJV)



This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5 KJV)

Do you ever wonder why some people get so angry over the mere mention of God's name?  It's because God is light and He exposes the darkness of men's hearts. They want nothing to do with the Light of God's truth. Light always exposes darkness (sin). That makes some people angry. They don't want to be found guilty of sin.

We as Christians, sometimes have pet sins and we get very uncomfortable when the Light of God's Word exposes it.  I have seen church members get angry when the pastor touches on a sensitive point in their life.  I've seen these people gather others around them who are also unhappy about their sin being exposed by the Word and actually drive a pastor out of the church and replace him with one who will tickle their itching ears.  

A thought to ponder is this: Do I have sin in my life that I would prefer to remain unexposed by the Light of God's Word? What am I willing to do about it?

Monday, December 08, 2014

Marsha's Musings: That Our Joy Might be Full (I John 1:1-4 NKJV)

     
   

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. (I John 1:1-4 NKJV)

John was an eyewitness of the Jesus Christ and His ministry.  Notice the following words in these verses and phrases:

Heard
Seen
Looked upon
Handled
Bear Witness
Manifested to us

This is no hear-say religion.  There were eyewitnesses to the life of Christ and all that He did.  John has credibility because he was an eye-witness.  We can  believe what he says because he was there and saw it.

What does John say about Christ?

1. He is from the beginning
2. He is the Word of life
3. He is eternal life
4. He was with the Father
5. He was manifested to men
6. He is the Son of God the Father

What does John say about fellowship?

We can have fellowship with one another when our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.  

What is the purpose of John's writing?

That our joy may be full.

Can't Stay Away from Blogging

Originally, I had thought to take a long break from blogging, but I found that I felt like a fish out of water and didn't know what to do about my devotions/Bible study.  So I'm back.  

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Growing in Grace and Knowledge 2 Peter 3:17-18



You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. (II Peter 3:17-18 NKJV)

What do we know beforehand?

knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, (II Peter 3:3 NKJV)

as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. (II Peter 3:16 NKJV)

How do we keep from being led astray?

1. Grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ 

To grow in His grace we have to have a knowledge of Him

2. Grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ 

When we learn about Jesus through His Word, and apply what we learn to our lives then we grow in grace and knowledge of Him. Pretty simple, but we must put in the time and effort. 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Well Said, Ben Carson!

The Handiwork of Agitators and Manipulators | National Review Online

As a pediatric neurosurgeon, I became more than familiar with situations in which parents experience the loss of a child. There are few things that can compare to the emotional devastation that accompanies such an event. This makes the varied emotional responses of Michael Brown’s family more understandable as the tragic events unfolded in Ferguson, Mo.

What is difficult to understand, though, is the benefit that the Ferguson community derives from burning and looting business establishments in their own neighborhoods, especially when unemployment is already a problem. In the meantime, the outside agitators in many cases are sitting in their hotel rooms sipping wine and watching the carnage on television.

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Hopefully, people in communities such as Ferguson, like people all over America, are beginning to awaken and realize that they should be more than pawns in the hands of manipulators who, in reality, could not care less about them.

If the outside agitators and manipulators truly cared about Brown and his family, they would have initiated manifestations of concern long before the political spotlight brought attention and prestige to their cause. They would be outraged about the dozens of young men like Brown who die violent non-police-related deaths in cities throughout America every day. They would be emphasizing education, which is the great divide between the haves and the have-nots in America. A well-educated individual in America today can usually write his or her own ticket, regardless of ethnicity or financial status at birth.

Perhaps it would be useful to highlight the fact that the average American lives to be about 80 years of age. The first 20 to 25 years are spent either preparing oneself through education or not preparing. If you prepare appropriately, you have 55 to 60 years to reap the benefits. If you fail to prepare, you have 55 to 60 years to suffer the consequences.

This is not to say that every component of our society should not be involved in trying to produce good outcomes for all of our young people. But we need to emphasize that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you in life is you. We must resist the victim mentality that is peddled by so many agitators and manipulators. If you believe you are a victim, you become one, and you begin to act like one. This renders you an easy target for manipulation — even the kind that produces completely irrational and self-injurious behavior.

Is there racism and unfairness in our society? Of course there is, and it will persist as long as there are people with small, selfish minds. I believe it would be wise to encourage our people to focus on the numerous opportunities available to them rather than on the bigotry that exists. As a youngster, I grew up with a mother who said, “If you walk into an auditorium full of racist, bigoted people, you don’t have a problem; they have a problem. Because they will all cringe and wonder if you’re going to sit next to them, whereas you can sit anywhere you want.” In other words: Don’t let your life be ruined by being sucked into the pathological state of someone else.

We have too many important problems to solve in America today to allow ourselves to be consumed by actual or perceived injustices perpetrated by others. We can solve many of those problems by keeping an open mind and considering things from the viewpoints of others. This can lead to constructive conversations about ways to heal the many rifts in our society.

One would have to be blind not to be able to see that we have become more divided on issues of race, gender, age, economic status, and religion. What happened in Ferguson is a manifestation of that division. It is not a declaration of what our society has become or a harbinger of our future.

— Ben Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University and author of the new book One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future. © 2014 The Washington Times. Distributed by Creators.com

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Twisting Hard to Understand Things in the Bible. (II Peter 3:13-16 NKJV)


                           



Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. (II Peter 3:13-16 NKJV)

If we are looking forward to a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells, shouldn't we be diligent to be found by God in peace, without spot or wrinkle?  In other words we should be living righteous and holy lives in preparation for our new dwelling place. Somehow this escapes many who claim the name of Christ.

Peter mentions Paul's epistles and the fact that some things he wrote are hard to understand and that many twist those hard to understand things up to their own destruction.  I can't help but wonder if he might have had Romans 9 among others in mind. I would have imagined that even Paul might have had some hesitation over Romans 9, but he was writing under the direction of the Holy Spirit and who was he to argue with God?  

Peter says that people who twist the hard to understand writings of Paul do the same to the rest of the Scriptures. This is very true.  If you change one thing to make the Bible more palatable then it creates a domino effect and you have to twist or leave out other parts of Scripture in order to keep your straw man together. Actually, it's a molding and shaping of a god of man's imagination when people do this.

  I, as we all should, need to be very careful of how we treat God's Word. Am I making it mean something it does not because the God it protrays isn't in line with how I would think God should be?This is dangerous ground to be on. If I shape a false image of God in my mind, then necessarily, I have also shaped a false Christ that can not save.

Let's be very careful!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Be Holy in Conduct and Godliness. (II Peter 3:11-12 NKJV)

                
   

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? (II Peter 3:11-12 NKJV)

Peter gets right down to brass tacs here.  In light of the coming judgment of God and destruction of the world, we should be conducting our lives in holiness and godliness while looking for the coming day of God.  

How many professed Christians fill the church pews each Sunday and live like the Devil the rest of the week!?  I recieved an email from a woman recently who had been sexually harrassed by another church member. Her friend, also a member of that church had been date raped by another church member. I understand that pornography is a vice used by many men who profess to be Christians also.  Many still time from their boss. Others lie and cheat on their spouses.  All these things and more go on in Christian churches.

It seems the church of God has lost sight of why we exist....to glorify God.  Entertainment is the order of the day and the preaching of God's word is no longer front and center. It's a mere 15 to 20 minute devotional tacked on to a long rousing song and entertainment service. People are not taught about sin and holy living. That is not "seeker friendly" and neither is doctrine.

My friends, these things ought not to be!  How can a person do these things with impunity and claim the name of Christ?  If you are living in sin and are not repentant, then something is terribly wrong.  Please get on your knees before the throne of grace in true repentance and live with eternity in view.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Like A Thief in the Night/Global Warming (II Peter 3:10 NKJV)

                    


But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (II Peter 3:10 NKJV)

Don't let anyone tell you they know when the return of Christ will happen. According to this verse no one will know when it will happen.  So if someone says they know, you can mark them as a false prophet and not listen to them anymore.

Global warming is a hot topic these days.  This verse describes a global warming that no one can fight or stop!  Those who have rejected Christ will find themselves in the midst of a global warming episode that they will not be able to escape from.  The photo above looks like one I saw from the terrible wildfires that burned through my state, displacing hundreds of people from their homes. It's a good illustration what will happen when God destroys the earth.

So the take home message is this: Are you one of God's chosen people?  Repent and turn to Him today!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Marsha's Musings: God's Timing/Did God Choose Us or Did We Choose Him? (II Peter 3:8-9 NKJV)

B


But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:8-9 NKJV)

This statement that a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day with the Lord, should not be taken literal in my opinion. Many have tried to take this verse in the literal sense of time and come up with all sorts of crazy ideas about creation and prophecy.

I think Peter is just trying to convey the fact that God is not confined to time as we are. He is also trying to convey that God's timing is not always our timing.  This means that we might think something should happen a certain way at a certain time but God may have a different time table.

Verse 9 has been misused and misunderstood a lot. Many try to use this verse to say that God wants to save everyone. If this is true, and all are not saved, then this verse can not be true and God is a liar.  

Others say that God wants all to be saved, and He is longsuffering, waiting for them to come to Him, but when you press these people and ask them if ALL are saved that have died so far, they have to say, "No, not all are saved."  So then this would imply that God failed in His mission and Jesus died in vain.

Others would say that this verse means everyone will be saved regardless of what they believe.  This is universalism.  The Bible teaches that only those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved.  So this can't be the meaning of this verse either.

The only logical conclusion then is that God has a people in mind that He has elected to bestow mercy on and He is longsuffering, not willing that any of them should perish, but that all of them should come to repentance. This is the only interpretation that fits with the whole of Scripture teaching.  Read the following verses and see what you think.

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” (John 10:14-16, 26-30 NKJV)

And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (Romans 9:10-16, 19-24 NKJV). Read the whole chapter of Romans 9.  It's very surprising.

What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (Romans 11:7 NKJV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6 NKJV)

These are just a few passages that show God has a chosen people that He has elected to show mercy on.  If you go on any Bible website and do a search on the following words, elect, election, predestination, and chosen, you will find many passages that point to the fact that God has a chosen people, elected before the foundation of the world, that He is going to or has shown mercy on.  He will be longsuffering until each and everyone of them have come to a saving knowledge of Him.  

My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” (John 10:29, 31-33 NKJV)

If we take the verse in 2 Peter 3 to mean that ALL will be saved, then we must also say that this verse means that God has given ALL men to Jesus and ALL will be saved.  How does this square with the fact that Jesus teaches about Hell? There would be no need for Hell if ALL are going to be saved.

In the same vein, if our verse in 2 Peter teaches that God intended to save ALL people, but we know from Scripture that not ALL are saved, then it makes God out to be a weak God Who can't accomplish what He set out to do and Jesus died in vain for most people.  

I can hear someone saying, "Ah, but God  gave man free will so that he can choose whether he wants to follow God or not."

Yes, man has a free will to act within his nature.  

There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. (Romans 3:11 NKJV)

Scripture says that there is none who seeks after God.  Seeking after God is not in man's nature.  But man is free to act within his nature.  He will only seek God if God has mercy on him and causes him to seek Him. Note in the verse below that it's not by the will of man but by the will of God that people are saved.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, 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 NKJV)  

Notice again, in the Ephesians passage above, "having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will", that it is according to the pleasure of His will, not man's will that we are saved.

I am really on a roll here, but I need to get other things done around the house, so I need to end this post.  It's just really exciting to me to see how Scripture fits together and how this all makes so much sense!  


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Atheists and Evolutionists (II Peter 3:1-7 NKJV)




Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (II Peter 3:1-7 NKJV)

It seems to me that evolutionists and atheists must have existed when Peter wrote this.  His first statement, "...scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”", applies to the athiests.   

The second statement,  ".....For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water", applies to the evolutionists.

The last statement applies to both the atheist and the evolutionist.  "But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."