Hi my name is Bill and my hope is that something here will change your life. This blog is meant to be helpful for people who struggle with the status quo, and politically correct narratives that seem to plague our society. I will discuss difficult subjects of human behavior, and strategies for winning in life. I am a Christian, but I do understand the skepticism that keeps unbelievers from taking that step of faith. Come on a journey with me over the next few years and enjoy the great blessings available to us! PLEASE CHECK OUT MY MOST RECENT BIBLE STUDY AT THE BOOKSTORE LINK BELOW: http://thebp.site/221771
What is biblical faith?
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Faith makes what you know to be a possibility clear as reality/substance. You cannot truly hope for something that you do not know to be a possibility. No one can truly hope to see a purple unicorn standing in front of their house. It isn’t a possibility, therefore you cannot believe you will see a purple unicorn. Faith is the evidence for what you have reasoned or hoped for (I am not using reason and hope as synonymous). Faith settles the argument. This is why new believers talk about the change in their mindset when they receive faith–things become clearer to them as a believer. Faith settles the argument they had been having within themselves about what is true or simply a possibility.
Biblical faith is a gift and should not be confused with the idea of mustering up trust in something (Ephesians 2:8). It is what makes spiritually blind people see (And has made physically blind people see). Biblical faith is received, not found within the natural man according to 2 Peter 1:1. Faith is a new set of eyes/lenses to see with. It is proof positive vision of what has been reasoned to be a possibility. There is no one who does not reason that the Christian worldview is a possibility because of general revelation (Romans 1, Psalm 19). In other words faith, as a gift from God, is a means provided by God to perceive the proof.
Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6
How does this verse distinguish secular faith from biblical faith? What kinds of things please God? We could make a long list of which many things on the list can be performed by unbelievers. Whether they choose to perform these acts because of cultural norms or the position of utilitarianism–they nonetheless do things that God considers good. However, he is not pleased with these actions unless the individuals “believe” that he exists and they draw near to him because of biblical faith. He doesn’t reward mere good acts. He rewards those who do it for his glory. He rewards those who diligently seek him in other words. This is a good place to make the biblical distinction between the concept of receiving faith from God as a gift, and trusting in him as the one who declares what is right and wrong, true or false. When one receives faith, based on that faith alone, they can then trust God, his Word, and his Spirit that teaches us things we do not know.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, [a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 [a] Some manuscripts say on account of you.
How can we figure out what this verse means?
- The most important thing is to keep it in context. In the verse itself “you” refers to those belonging to the Lord. The letter is addressed, “To those who have received a faith equal to ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:1. God does not will that “any” of the “you” who have “received a faith equal to ours” perish. Nor will those perish, who will receive this faith as God has decreed according to the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:5). This will come to pass because God will bring to completion what he started in them. And what he will start in those future generations like ours. His work of grace and timing are always in perfect harmony as you will see below in the life of Saul who became Paul.
- The greek word pantas used for “all” does not mean every single person in the world. A quick word study throughout the New Testament will prove this to be true. Such as in Matthew 10:22 when Jesus uses the same word saying, “everyone will hate you.” Not one follower of Christ is hated by every single person in the world.
- Even if not a Calvinist, most theologians agree that God is all knowing. Therefore he knows who will and will not reach repentance. Whether that repentance is the initial response for salvation, or repentance in the sanctification process caused by God. Caused by his loving discipline that produces holiness in those who belong to him (See Hebrews 12).
- Those who reject absolute monergism, as the means by which a person is born again, claim that God does not force his will on anyone. Monergism teaches that without man’s cooperation ONLY God saves, regenerates, and gets all the glory. Man then responds with repentance from the state of their new life which has been received from him. Just as the “received faith” in 2 Peter 1:1 comes from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). There are plenty of Scripture references that refute the idea that God does not force his will on anyone.
“declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” Isaiah 46:10
“So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” Romans 9:16 (This entire chapter says God forces his will on people, even before they are born or have done any good or evil)
“But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me,…” Galatians 1:15-16
- Based on the fact that God is all knowing, he is not fraudulently being patient (long suffering), refraining from judgement, for people that he knows for a fact will not be saved. This should be understood even by those who hold the false perception that he will not force his will on anyone. If he knows they will not be saved, and he isn’t going to force his will on anyone, he cannot be patiently waiting for something that is never going to happen. He is God!
- One might rightly make the application that the text infers repentance is not automatic. The reason it is not automatic is because everyone is born in sin as enemies of God, until he decides to reveal the Son to those he atoned for by his grace. It is not automatic because they cannot repent until he replaces their wicked heart with a new heart at their spiritual birth (regeneration). Man cannot “see” the kingdom of God until the new birth takes place. God is not waiting on man, man must wait on God.
“was pleased to reveal his Son to me…” Galatians 1:16
“Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 16:16-17
“he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,…” Titus 3:5
“Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:7
- God is being patient and withholding judgement on earth because he is working in the lives of those who belong to him to complete what he started, those who have “received a faith equal to ours.” And he is being long suffering for all kinds of people (pantas), Jews and Gentiles, that he specifically atoned for and provided sanctification for. Even those who have yet to be born–because he is not willing that they perish. God doesn’t hope for things he knows will not come to pass, he wills the things he has decreed in Eternity as stated above in Isaiah. When Jesus died on the cross, he no more atoned for the sins of those already in hell, than for the ones who would later be there. It is important to understand that Jesus did not merely provide an opportunity for people to be forgiven, he actually atoned for them. He did not only pay the price for their forgiveness, his body was offered for their sanctification:
“And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:10
All Scripture must be understood in light of the specific and overall context of the Bible itself.
Read Hebrews 12:14-17
In my last blog post we discussed God’s loving discipline for those who belong to him. He only disciplines sons and daughters. It is for our benefit in order that we share in his holiness. In the next section of Scripture after speaking of sons the writer mentions an example that we should NOT follow. That person is Esau.
It is important to remember the context of Hebrews which is to hold your confidence until the end without wavering. Confidence in Christ as opposed to self righteousness in keeping the law of Moses. Those professing Christ were being tempted to give up. They are admonished not to give up because of persecution or any persuasion by false teachers. The great sin mentioned in Hebrews is to trample the blood of Christ under one’s feet as if it wasn’t sufficient to save and sanctify (make holy) those who are called. As verse 14 states without this holiness that the Lord works in the life of the believer—no one will see the Lord.
There could be tares mixed in with the wheat as Jesus’ parable explains. Those professing Christ in congregations might “fail” of the present tense “grace” mentioned in the text. That grace which is God supplying loving discipline and power to share in his holiness for those who belong to him. Some of them could be like Esau. You will not find a passage that speaks of Esau encountering the Lord like his brother Jacob at Bethel. The God of the Tanakh (Old Testament Hebrew Bible) is never called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Quoting from the Old Testament, in the context of election, spoken by the LORD in Romans 9:13 we read, “As it is written: I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.”
Esau easily traded his birthright for a bowl of stew. He didn’t care about the importance of the birthright and the blessing of God. The temporary fulfillment of his flesh was most important to him. When Jacob later received the blessing Esau became angry and bitter. He could not find the desire to repent because he believed he deserved the blessing. The example of Esau is one that portrays someone who gives up easily in the midst of pressure.
Are you a son or daughter who experiences the loving discipline of your heavenly Father? Or are you an Esau?
“And make sure that there isn’t any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for a single meal. 17 For you know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, even though he sought it with tears, because he didn’t find any opportunity for repentance.” Hebrews 12:16-17
Here is a link to the Bible study I wrote about the only way to have victory and hold your confidence until the end: http://thebp.site/221771
Why does God discipline?
Read Hebrews 12:1-13
Let’s begin with the hard truth. In the text we learn that God does not treat everyone the same. He ONLY disciplines those who belong to him. The text states the reason for his discipline is his love. Which also infers he does not love everyone the same. Discipline is different than judgment. The purpose of God’s loving discipline is to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness in his children. It is to cause those who belong to him to “share in his holiness,” as the text states.
God does not approve of his children living according to fleshly desires. Those who have been born of God have absolutely no obligation to the flesh according to Romans 8. In the beginning of Hebrews 12 the people of God are commanded to, “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” If indeed a person has a relationship with God, initiated by God, and made possible only through the power of regeneration, it is impossible to live in sin without God’s loving discipline.
The text goes on to state that God, as our Father, does it for our benefit. He is healing us of the corruption that is hindering us. Pay attention to verses 12-13, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. (my emphasis)”
There are only two kinds of people living in sin.
- Those who are not children of God and are condemned already according to Jesus in John 3:18.
- Those who belong to God and are deceived.
There is no third option. Christians can be deceived for a season. Therefore, if you are deceived you must face and deal with the lies you have believed. You must repent, and daily begin to mortify the deeds of the body. No child of God can comfortably say, “I am deceived, I love sin, I know it, and I am OK with that.”
In addition, no child of God can live in sin without the pain and suffering that comes from God’s loving discipline. Especially in the context of God’s discipline, pain is a good thing. Pain tells us that something is wrong. For example, concerning the nervous system of the body, if we did not have pain sensors, we would break off limbs and fingers. Pain can be a very good thing. In the case of God teaching his children to live in holiness, pain is ALWAYS a good thing. When pain comes, our first priority should be to ask questions. What is God healing me from? What sin has ensnared me? What fleshly desire is controlling my life? What habit of sin is God teaching me to get victory over? The aim is not to destroy us in punishment, but to grow us into holiness. There are obviously exceptions to this rule about the why of pain, but the text absolutely speaks of pain and suffering as a result of God’s working in our lives to heal us from sin.
Think about what it means to be healed. Is it good or bad? I think about the examples we have in the New Testament of Jesus healing the deaf, blind, and lame. Not one time does Jesus heal someone and receive the response of, “WHY DID YOU DO THAT? PUT ME BACK LIKE I WAS!” No, they responded with great joy and thanksgiving. In the same way, we should respond with gratitude and thankfulness for a loving Father who refuses to leave us in our sins. Desire healing. For those who are healed by his strips live forever with him!
According to the Bible, by “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” we will run the race with endurance. The term keeping is continual action. Not one time, or some times, but all the time keeping our eyes on Jesus. Run the race to win!
Today is Monday. It is no different than any other day except in how you perceive it. The Lord is on his throne and is working out his plan today. What is his plan? All that he has decreed, including his sons and daughters sharing in his holiness. “Be holy, as I am holy” 1 Peter 1:15-16
Please check out my book/bible study at the following link to understand how it is possible to meet this expectation God has for his people: http://thebp.site/221771
I give out several free copies each month. Send me an email if you would like a free copy. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
When a lie is repeated over and over it eventually becomes truth to the easily deceived. This is troubling because all humans have the ability to be deceived. As a Christian you will admit that the Bible is your rule of faith and practice, but that does not mean you are operating by biblical principles in your every day life. There is a great deception plaguing Christians today. It is the lie that we have believed from Satan. The lie says, you are just a sinner, and there is nothing you can do about it.
I was once deceived by this same lie. It ends up becoming the excuse for repeating the same sins over and over. I wrote the following Book/Bible Study to help Christians deny the lie and live the life God expects of everyone who belongs to him, “Be holy, as I am holy.” I pray it helps you, your children, and many others in your life find true meaning and satisfaction with a Holy God. We are overcomers! Please click the following link for the bookstore.
Please go check out the most exciting and helpful thing I have ever written at the following link.
May the Lord bless you as you seek him with your whole heart!
10 point Arkansas buck
“Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me.” Genesis 27:3
Checkout the following link for great material on the historic Christian position of free-will, especially in regards to the doctrine of salvation, by Matthew Barrett.