Monday, March 12, 2007

Encountering God's Grace

A guy at my message board took offense at some of what I said in one of my former blogposts. He labeled his post, On Warnings of doom, and the "word."

Here are his comments and my response:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Human American:

Quoting Christine:
“But they were so proud, arrogant, and vile (sounds like today...doesn't it??) that they completely ignored the warnings of Noah and his family. (Sounds like today! Sounds like you! Continually ignoring my warnings and those of other Christians on the internet!)”


There have been many times in history and in folklore that talk about a time like this. Where a few blessed or chosen heed divine warnings, and are saved while everyone else (usually the non believers) die a horrible death.

We are ignoring every Christian on the internet? I remember this stuff going on well before the internet, and if you do research, this kind of talk about the Lord returning has been going on since after Christ died. And I am sure you realize the Internet isn’t quite the center of credible information either!

The purpose of the Bible being mass produced, and given out freely was to make the “word” of God Accessible to all, instead of being accessible to a limited few. But now we have come full circle: one gets told it is not just enough to read the Bible, but you have to have “a special relationship” with Christ to fully understand the Bible, once again putting the “word” into the hands of a few, to interpet it to the unenlightened.

“revealed to me through the Person of Jesus Christ and the Bible.”

“revealed to me” sounds like “[b]you cannot possibly understand, because I know something you don't and it also sounds more than a bit arrogant.

Many of us who are believers are very put off by the belief that somehow, the grace and blessings of the Lord that were given to all, are now the blessings of a few.


My response:

Hi Human American,

It helps to keep in mind just whom I was addressing in that post. GMpilot has told me (many times!) that he doesn't believe in the God of the Bible.

Jesus said, "You must be born again." (emphasis mine) The Holy Spirit of God indwells born again believers, not someone who merely puts the "label" of "Christian" upon themselves.

Going to church does not make one a Christian.

Doing good things does not make one a Christian.

The list could go on and on.

If you haven't read my website page at Angels Helper on "How to become a Christian" yet, then reading it will explain it for you.

Becoming a Christian

You are correct about "not believing everything you read on the internet." This would include everything that I write, too!! That is why I urge people to read the Scriptures for themselves. It is the only way to guarantee that you will not be misled.

I take what I do very seriously. If someone finds something unbiblical in my writings, they often call me on it. If they are right and I am wrong, then I make the corrections.

However, I have often found that when I am right and they are wrong, they either won't acknowledge it, can't accept it, refuse to face it and change the subject. Such is the pride and arrogance of those who do not want to know God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus himself tells us why the world hates Him:

Jhn 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.


1Jo 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.


Quote:
Human American: Many of us who are believers are very put off by the belief that somehow, the grace and blessings of the Lord that were given to all, are now the blessings of a few.


Every born again Christian that I have met does not feel that way.

Why?

Because they know what is necessary for genuine salvation.

Even though we may have denominational differences and/or end times opinions and differences, each of us knows that the gospel and the cross of Christ is what we all have in common.

Unfortunately, in this day and age more than ever before -

There is such a thing as a "nominal Christian".
There is such a thing as a "carnal Christian".
There is such a thing as a "false convert Christian".

We are warned against being, or becoming such a person in Scripture. It's called "having the appearance of being a believer on the outside, but not actually being transformed on the inside" by the power of the Holy Spirit.

You may ask how do I know of these three types of "Christians?" Because at certain times in my life I was both the first and second one!! And, what's more...the third one by default!!

What you perceive as "arrogance" is actually the earnest sharing of the genuine gospel message!

1Cr 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (emphasis mine)

The Cross is the "bad news" of our suffering Savior, for us, because of sin; before it becomes the Good News for our salvation through forgiveness, mercy and grace! Our repentance for our sins and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is what bestows salvation upon us!

On the book jacket of "Captured by Grace" (a book that I highly recommend everyone to read!!) it says this:

Quote:
Grace - it's a stained-glass impersonal word until it happens to you...

Until you have been broken beyond belief and need a miracle for your soul. Until you have betrayed a loved on and cannot bring them back. Until you have befriended every darkness and are desperate for the light.

That's when God's relentless, amazing, very personalized grace finds you.

It reached a slave trader onboard a ship raiding Africa's coast in March 1748. He later gave the world its most beloved hymn.

It struck the Christian church's most treacherous enemy on a Damascus road in A.D. 45...and he became the gospel's greatest messenger.

And it can free you too...of any shameful memory, open wound, unthinking mistake or willful choice.

Encountering God's grace changes lives forever.


If that sounds "arrogant" to you, then perhaps you don't already know the transforming mercy that captures us at the moment of salvation??

What I attempt to share, (in my own imperfect way, of course) is the perfect knowledge of Christ in the Bible. However, each individual person must be born again so that they are awakened to a fresh experience of God.

Our God, as such, loves you, and I, and all so much that He continues to pursue us all with abandon!

And, what's even more miraculous is that He chooses to use finite, fallible, imperfect human beings whom He has saved to point towards Christ for salvation of others. That is all that we are supposed to do. God does the rest. He does the saving. We just point towards Christ as the way, the truth and the life.

How do I know this?

Because He used Christian believers throughout my lifetime to bring me to repentance at the foot of the Cross; leading me to be born again of the Spirit in order to better understand the Scriptures in ways that prior to my salvation, were not possible. It's not anything that I did...it is what He did...lest any man/woman boast.

Eph 2:1 Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins.

Eph 2:2 You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.

Eph 2:3 All of us used to live that way, following the passions and desires of our evil nature. We were born with an evil nature, and we were under God's anger just like everyone else.

Eph 2:4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much,

Eph 2:5 that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's special favor that you have been saved!)

Eph 2:6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms-all because we are one with Christ Jesus.

Eph 2:7 And so God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us through Christ Jesus.

Eph 2:8 God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

Eph 2:9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

(all above, NLT version)

8 comments:

ebsfwan said...

Of course the problem is that the Bible is not perfect. It's a political document that has been altered many times.

Christinewjc said...

You said, "Of course the problem is that the Bible is not perfect. It's a political document that has been altered many times."

You are guilty of having an esogesis mindset, thus you have given your "private interpretation":

2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

The Bible even proclaims just why you said and believe that:

Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Why you are wrong in your opinion about the Bible:

2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works

Jam 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Jam 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

What you are missing because of your hardened heart and attitude?

2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

grace said...

Christine: Just curious...oh...and hello! :) The three types of Christians you warn against...of which you were one....

Are they still saved by grace? Or, have they lost their salvation? I was going to assume you mean they are "saved" since you still call them Christian...but I thought I'd ask to be sure.

thanks!
pam

Christinewjc said...

Hi Pam,

I know you like short answers so here goes.

You asked, "The three types of Christians you warn against...of which you were one....

Are they still saved by grace?"

I would say that only if they have been born again. Of course, that is between each individual person and God. However, Jesus told us, "by their fruits you shall know them." So, we get a hint that way.

In my case, the answer was no. I was not born again during those years.

You stated, "I was going to assume you mean they are "saved" since you still call them Christian...but I thought I'd ask to be sure."

I do believe in the "once saved, always saved doctrine." The Bible tells us that one cannot lose their salvation. However, rewards (at the Judgment Seat of Christ) can be lost through not living your life in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.

I know it's a cliche' but the "getting into heaven by the skin of your teeth" might be a way of pointing out the difference between a person who is saved and also worked, pointing people to Christ, vs. someone who just sat on the couch and watched T.V., waiting for the Rapture!

On a more serious note, the sins that we committed over the course of our lifetimes will be shown in full view of heaven. But, unlike the Great White Throne Judgment where non-believers go, our sins will not be held against us and we are "accounted to righteousness" because we believe in what Christ did at the Cross for us.

I have been wanting to share a more detailed post about this and hope to get to it this week.

Christinewjc said...

I just went to the church website and there is quite a detailed outline there! You can also listen to the sermon via MP3.

It was presented in two parts:

1. The Bema Seat - Part 1 Fingerprint Evidence

2. The Bema Seat - Part 2 The Bling

You can also listen and watch the sermon on Realplayer at the site. Pastor Miles is a great speaker and genuinely funny while sharing Biblical truth!

There are also small group study questions here.

ebsfwan said...

I'm curious. What are the 3 types of Christians?

Christinewjc said...

Andrew,

From the original post:

Unfortunately, in this day and age more than ever before -

There is such a thing as a "nominal Christian".
There is such a thing as a "carnal Christian".
There is such a thing as a "false convert Christian".

We are warned against being, or becoming such a person in Scripture. It's called "having the appearance of being a believer on the outside, but not actually being transformed on the inside" by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Christinewjc said...

Pastor Miles touched upon the subject of different "types" of Christians in this portion of the sermon recap:

"7. Judgment calls for preparation. Surrender your whole self to Christ.

For many Christians, the idea of a Bema Judgment [a.k.a. The Judgment Seat of Christ] brings forth feelings of fear, dread and "what's the point in trying" thinking. This is nothing but a lie of Satan. A good God can only give good gifts to His children. Good children only need to trust in their good God.

However, there are those Christians whom God is convicting and they are not responding to His conviction. These people still want to live life their way, with their own ideas about God, obedience and Kingdom living.

Total surrender is a way of life. A daily response to God's call on our lives. What is God calling you to today? What are you saying to Him in response?"