It disturbs me that some of my brothers and sisters in Christ actually believe that Jesus could have sinned. To me this is an outrage! Some Christians will even go as far as to say that they are "sinless" because they've been cleansed of ALL sin. There seems to be only one definition of sinless according to what I've gleaned from Scripture, and that it means NOT CAPABLE of sinning. I also understand that the sin nature is passed down from the Father, and Jesus' Father was God, so He could NOT have sinned. Not to mention all the passages in the Old Testament and the Lamb being slain "BEFORE" the foundation of the world. This flies in the face of God's absolute Holiness and divine attributes such as not being capable of sinning. It also goes against God's Omniscience of already knowing that the PERFECT sacrifice of Jesus would surely be accomplished. I had mentioned this to them and what I said seemed to go in one ear and out the other as if they had NO understanding at all of what I said. I was startled! This troubles my spirit because a survey was taken among "Christians", and over 80% had stated that they believed that Jesus could have sinned. And Jesus having NOT sinned (although He was capable of sinning according to these "Christians") is an example of how we should live our lives, that is not sinning. I don't understand why anyone who is a genuine believer would ever have that sort of assumption about Christ?
You are correct that Christians do not get through life without sinning; it's
just that some of them have an incorrect impression of what sin is (as if it did
not encompass all we think and everything we say as well as what we do, e.g.).
Since this question deals with hypotheticals, I wouldn't worry about it. The plan of God is the plan of God. What has happened, is happening, and is ordained to happen is all there is. There is no "woulda/coulda/shoulda" in the plan of God.
If you are interested to know, the classic formulation on this question is in Latin where our Lord in His humanity is usually described as posse non peccare et non posse peccare: "able not to sin and not able to sin". But I like to stay away from theoretical theology, as in "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" – as if angels would or could or should do such a thing (the question is a classic example of medieval theoretical theology). We have enough to learn and rejoice in that IS in the Bible without worrying about things that never happened.
So please don't get upset about such things or engage with them. It only leads to rancor and "fighting about words" which is profitable for no one.
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
NIV SB quote: The proverbs contained in this book are not to be interpreted as prophecies or their statements about effects and results as promises. For instance, 10:27 says that the years of the wicked are cut short, while the righteous live long and prosperous lives (see 3:2 and note). The righteous have abundant food (10:3), but the wicked will go hungry (13:25). While such statements are generally true, there are enough exceptions to indicate that sometimes the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper (see note on 3:2). Normally the righteous and wicked "receive their due on earth" (11:31), but at other times reward and punishment lie beyond the grave.
What is your take on this issue? Proverbs, in general, present quite a
clearcut distinction, which, although true in general, often is not
fulfilled in this life. I’m not sure how we should take that.
I would interpret this in the same way as other similar teachings of the Old Testament – there was more emphasis on temporal rewards and punishments in the Old Testament than there is in the New and in my view it could be explained by the fact that God wanted to prove His faithfulness to His people in a tangible way so as to establish Himself as a God of truth who always keeps His promises. We know that whatever temporal reward there is, it is only a mere foreshadowing of the eternal reward, but it is enough to send a clear message to the heart of everyone willing to receive it. However, as the revelation of God from its very beginning has been established as trustworthy and as there was no longer as much need for God to act in a certain way to prove Himself as the One true God, things began to change. I may be wrong on this, but this is my general impression.
There is no inconsistency whatsoever, rightly understood and
interpreted. The proverbs in Proverbs are true. If secular minded
individuals choose to see "exceptions", all they are doing is
substituting their very limited knowledge of things for God's perfect
omniscience. In other words, they don't know much about God. In the end,
at the last judgment, it will be made clear that everything was done
perfectly in the perfect plan of God. At that time, all lies will be
refuted. When we see things in this world which SEEM to contradict what
God has told us is true, we need to have some faith and trust Him,
because there are a few things we don't know (just ask Job).
To me this is just like people who say that some people never heard the gospel so they have an argument before God at the last judgment. But we know, or should know, that God has never let a single person perish for want of the gospel – not a single person who wanted to be with Him and was willing to respond to the truth. So that argument won't fly at the last judgment. Only now, in time, can doubters and cynics and mockers get away with their drivel. But it's short-lived. Soon enough, everything will be bathed in the brilliant light of the glory of God.
I want to try for a simpler approach to providing a livelihood for myself and my family still. So, I don't want to try again. After all, I do need all the time and energy I can get for preparing for ministry so now I will focus on the other. If in time it pleases the Lord for me to take another path I think I will be better prepared then. Right now, it really seems like too much trouble for me.
Yours in our dear Lord
Thank you for your prayers and emails, my friend. I'll let you know when
I find out anything. But it is very good of you to keep our brothers and
sisters in your thoughts and prayers!
Your thought process on internship, job, business, etc. seems reasonable to me. One thing is certain: God has this all in hand so we do NOT need to panic. I find your confidence in Him and lack of frantic reaction very refreshing as this is a hard sort of thing for any Christian to go through.
Keeping a good spiritual attitude and continuing growth and preparation are the most important things. Other things need to be done, for sure, and finding the right balance is not the easiest thing to do, but most people over-focus on the things that look important rather than the things we know by faith really are important, so I'm very proud of you, and I know that God honors a heart that puts Him first.
I promise to keep you in prayer about this. And thanks so much for yours too, my friend!
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Thank you so very much, sir, for all the encouragement and wisdom in your email. Thank you.
I have seen the emails you exchanged with your friend, sir. Thank you very much for doing that. And I am humbled that you see me the way you do. I pray that I will live up to it and be a joy to you before the Lord.
Yours in our loving Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
I'm delighted to hear it, my friend! I'm hoping that you will be getting
all the guidance you need to figure this out. Getting the tent-making
part of ministry right is not easy. I probably told you that I spent the
summer between my first and second years in seminary walking around
Buena Park, CA, trying to figure out the next step. It was a hard
decision. But it became clear to me after a year in seminary that I
could not in good conscience go the traditional route of becoming an
ordained minister in a denomination, and that the best way forward was
to go back into Classics instead and do ministry after work. That is how
it turned out, but it was an agonizing, multi-part decision process.
Once the choice was made, the Lord worked it out marvelously well. I
only applied to one graduate program (looking back, that was probably
ill-advised) . . . and was awarded a generous fellowship I never even
applied for. That was all the Lord. I have no doubt that He has the
perfect plan for you too – of course. He is perfect and everything He
does is perfect, already having been perfectly planned. We are the ones
being tested and tried in the process of having to decide and
demonstrate our discernment and our faith and our level of commitment to
Him. So stay true to your conscience in a discerning and prudent way (by
which I mean stick to your principles but do not let false scruples keep
you from doing what it is best to do to benefit the Church of Jesus
Christ with your life and your labor).
Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you very much for this email.
I am encouraged that the Lord will help me work this out. Your testimony is a very big help to me, Sir. I was very sorry to be so turned about in this matter and to have slipped in the lesson I learned earlier about work. I understand now that it is all part of the journey.
At this point, it seems to me that the only question that is giving me pause is just what the cost of any given choice in time and energy will be. I may be inching closer in figuring it out. Did you know what it was going to be like teaching at a university before you chose to go back into Classics, Sir?
Yours in our dear Lord
I'm happy to hear that this avenue of information is developing for you,
As to your question, of course we never can precisely anticipate how things will work out. I think I may have shared with you that the phrase my classmates chose to characterize me in my grade school yearbook was "it didn't turn out the way I expected", and that has been a theme in my life about most things, sometimes for ill, sometimes for good, sometimes just "different". So prognostication is not one of my gifts. I will say that I had the impression in my exhaustive cost-benefit, advantages-disadvantages analysis of "what next" half way through seminary that I would have much more time for ministry as a professor than working a full-time job. It did turn out that MUCH later (after I got tenure which was fourteen years down the road from when I did this analysis), I did have SOME more time as a professor – or really what was most beneficial much more flexibility with the time I had to do what I was called to do. In any case, I'm very happy with the way things have worked out even though of course there have been many challenges and battles to fight (and it's not as if these ever end here on earth; they change in their appearance only). The Lord has given me what I have needed to do what He wanted me to do and I have been trying to do it (though I no doubt could and should have tried a bit harder at time). We all find out about that at the judgment seat of Christ.
Your friend in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
What could be the meaning or message, when a person has dreamt about participating in a Holly communion?
I have no special insight into dream-interpretation. I do have some things posted which might be of help:
Dreams, Visions, Miracles, Exorcism, Tongues, and False Prophets
Dreams and Visions
Dreams and Visions II
Healing, Miracles, and Dreams: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff by biblical Means
Interpreting Dreams and Analyzing Prophetic Claims
Third Party Testimony II: Charismatic Claims of Visions, Dreams and Prophecy
Links for communion:
Communion and the Spiritual Death of Christ
I thought about the Quran and how their god is only one person instead of three, and to me it didn't make any sense at all. I know that the Godhead consists of three Eternal persons who share the same essence. The god of the Quran is regarded as ONLY one person being mentioned in their book. Love is something that is directed towards someone else other than ourself. In order for God to be God, He would have to be PERFECT in love; and since God is an Eternal Being, His love would have had to be directed toward someone other than Himself from Eternity past. The god of the Quran is a singular entity, and therefore cannot possess perfect love because it was never directed toward another person other than himself; and if their book was true, would tell us that he is self-centered, prideful, and ultra-arrogant.
"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me BEFORE the foundation of the world."
"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
(1st John 4:7-8)
I'm not sure if this makes sense. Sometimes when I read the bible these
things enter my thoughts. I don't want to get the wrong idea or
accidentally make God into something He is not.
Good job indeed.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Thanks for the response, I'm not as good as you are at responding as quickly.
I prayed for a job now I'm praying for time. Can't seem to win. Its all good though.
On the nearness of the return of our Lord, yes, if the calculations are correct...but one way or another it can't come soon enough! I do feel it's going to be soon though. I also feel like the calculations are within the time frame. Without going off a timeline, if you just watch the day by day life and how so much suffering is going on and all the lies that Satin is throwing out there. It just a matter of a little time before our savior is back.
One of the big things I see is how Satin is deceiving so many people and he seems to be accumulating people very quickly away from God. Big or small he is doing it quickly! It makes my heart break but I feel comfort knowing God has it together and he knows best.
I don't know how to say this without sounding like I'm above it all because it's not the case but Im beginning to learn Satan's tactics, how he works on you and others to go his way or away from God. I can't believe how cleaver he is. Words can't even explain. I can almost see in every person in some way or another how he has a grasp or strong hold on them. I just want to jump in there and pull them out. But I know that we all have our own free will and its up to us to make that choice.
Thanks for the contact, We will try to connect with them in the near future.
Great to hear from you, my friend, and I'm thrilled about your job (a
true answer to prayer) . . . even though I hear what you are saying
about time. That is always the fight for those of us who are dedicated
to following the Lord the right way. Life is all about choices and the
most valuable currency with which we make them is time. How we use it
says a lot about who we are – and how much we love the Lord. There are
plenty of necessities which fight and claw for our time and energy;
reserving a sufficient amount for "the better part" (Lk.10:38-42) is one
of the main struggles of the modern day Christian who is actually
following Christ (a bit of a rara avis – a rare bird – nowadays
Yes, things do seem to be accelerating their downhill rush. The devil is pulling out the stops – but he is finding so many more-than-willing adherents. With where most people are these days, Satan doesn't seem to have to be working too hard to move things into the pre-Tribulation position he's planning. All the more reason for those of us who know the truth and are willing to follow the Lamb wherever He leads to be "stand up" for the Lord as the time draws ever nearer.
Just heard from our friend. He really has enlightened me about the problems with that group. I'm sure you all would have a lot to talk about.
Keeping you and your family in my prayers, my friend!
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Quick question. How would you define meditation? Like what exactly is
it? I'm trying to unclog my mind over this because I'm not sure if I
have been doing it or not. I most certainly could use more of it in my
life after all and am really trying to get going right now. I have been
confused over the years of what exactly it means because of different
peoples opinions conflicting with each other. One side would say that
meditation is quietly murmuring the word to yourself, while another say
no murmuring or speaking period, and thus arguments about this ensued. I
don't know, personally I don't see any difference, whether I'm speaking
the word aloud to myself, or thinking/speaking it quietly in my head, or
murmuring it, to me meditation is dwelling or thinking on the word
(Philippians 4:8) regardless of HOW its done as they would argue. As
long as I'm contemplating it in a meaningful way for application what
does it matter? Correct me if I'm wrong. I know in the Hebrew definition
it may mean something like, "to murmur or sigh" but I don't see why that
should be the limit of how its done. I think of it like prayer. Doesn't
matter whether you pray in your head or out loud, prayer is prayer as
long as you do it with a pure heart.
Also, is it possible to pray and meditate at the same time? I would like to think that I am doing this going over various scripture during prayer but I'm not sure. I know they are usually considered separate but can they be mixed?
Prayer is a direct conversation with the Lord. To the extent that we
think about anyone we are conversing with, to that extent thinking about
Him as we speak with Him is fine. To the extent that we are drifting
when we pray, that is to be avoided.
I do use the word "meditate" occasionally, but reservedly and NEVER as some sort of a technical term. I think your description, i.e., that this is just a synonym for "thinking things over" is a correct appraisal of the extent to which Christians should do anything like "meditate". The key is not the action but the object, that is, what and who are we thinking about / thinking over / meditating on? If it is the truth, if it is the Lord, that is what the Lord wants us to do. Imagining some guru on a mountain chanting weird sounds is the opposite of what the Bible means when it uses this word (occasionally in some English versions).
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (i.e., "meditate" on them).
Philippians 4:8 NIV
See also the link in
BB 6A: "Virtue
Your in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Likewise it is so good to hear from you.
Thank you as always for your generosity of teaching and for your prayers. I do remember you and your ministry daily in mine. I plan to catch up a bit with my daughter on the weekend. As a parent, as you know, you only want the Truth for your children.
Just another update, my friend with cancer seems close to the end, saw him today. My other friend is improving, though I would prefer him even better still. And he still has the 2nd half of “the Tent of Meeting” to present. That is a bit from a selfish angle, but it would mean he would really be doing great!
Could you explain this statement at your link: “Whether they are good or bad or ethical or not or sinful or immoral or upright, believers in Jesus Christ are saved; those who spurn Him do so of their free will and are not.”
In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Regarding "Whether they are good or bad or ethical or not or sinful or immoral or upright, believers in Jesus Christ are saved; those who spurn Him do so of their free will and are not", I certainly stand by this statement:
"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:18 NKJV
Sin – of any kind – is serious business. Sin is "lawlessness" (1Jn.3:4) and a
direct violation of the will of God; but believers have been forgiven and are
restored to fellowship upon repentance and confession (Ps.32:5; 1Jn.1:9).
Yet there is "sin unto death" and there is "apostasy" (see the link for the distinction). A believer who flaunts God's authority while remaining a believer will risk receiving the former (cf. 1Cor.5:1ff.); a believer who turns to a life of sin may find that the discipline and the alienation from God it produces sours him/her on the relationship and may lead to the loss of faith, that is, reverting to the status of an unbeliever. Many things can lead to this result (such as blaming God for things that go wrong in life), but sin has a tendency to weaken and undermine faith, and sometimes terminally so.
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:12-13 NKJV
The "deceitfulness of sin" above is what leads to hardening, unbelief, and
"departing from the living God", aka apostasy, loss of faith, reversion to
unsaved unbelieving status.
Prayers here for your daughter and your time with her, and also for your friends – and for you and your whole family.
Thanks much for your prayers and encouraging words, my friend!
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
How are you doing today, Sir? Has there been any change at all with the joint?
I haven't spoken with them yet. But it does seem to me like the decision is obvious. I suppose all my hesitation now is because I fear not getting what I want or hope for. But God is faithful and wise beyond imagination. I know that He has a plan that far out-classes anything I could conceive.
I know that I have a feel, a pretty strong one by my reckoning, for the way business works today especially with technology. And if I can move to the West, preferably to the States, I would love to do it there. Like I said, I have a fear for hoping for stuff like these to work out. If I get what I want, I tend to fear how it might change me. If I don't, I fear how it might demoralize me. But I am working to shift my attention from my desires and imagination to the Lord's affairs and leave Him to work things out in any way that pleases Him. Or is there a better way to handle this, Sir?
The following is something I said on Facebook tonight to answer a question about how sin exists. I hoped that it might help any seeker to find something about the Truth.
For what it is worth, sin is disobedience to or rebellion against God. Can you tell how such a thing would originate from God?
Sin is only possible to creatures that possess a god-like ability to determine their own fate, that is, the free will to choose whether to obey an infinitely powerful God or to ignore the incredible power of such a God and "do your own thing".
Why did God give creatures free will if He knew that they would just use it to sin? Because God had determined before creating anything to have a family of creatures that would willingly choose to be with Him forever in perfect bliss. In other words, He was not going to have creatures who felt forced to be with Him when they really didn't want to be. That was why He created the Universe.
The angels were the first creatures He made with free will. The most preeminent among them chose to rebel against God, to become God in his own right. Never mind that such a thing was impossible because obviously he was a creature whose existence entirely depended on God. But he went further and seduced a significant proportion of the other angels to join him in his own rebellion. That was how sin entered creation. It had nothing to do with God except in so far as it can be said that sin came out of Satan's use of the god-like ability that he had been given to choose his eternal destiny to choose rebellion against his Maker and rightful Master in spite of all the amazing and extremely generous gifts that said Master had given to him, not least in making him the greatest of all of God's creatures. Still, he had as much ability to choose to remain faithful and loyal to that Master as he had to rebel against Him, so if God is to be blamed for his sin just because He gave him a free will, then He should also be praised and glorified and exonerated because the same free will made sin only an equal possibility as eternal righteousness and bliss.
When Satan sinned and went on to seduce his fellow angels, God's Answer was to destroy the universe of that time and make another one out of its ruins to create a new creature that would not only replace the rebellious angels but which would also be God's means of demonstrating His Perfect Goodness and Love, His Awesome Perfection in Character so that all of Satan's false accusations and malicious lies against Him would be exposed for what they are.
That is happening right now. Man who is considerably weaker than the angels and who is born with sin already as a part of his nature - as opposed to the angels who were created holy - is choosing everyday to submit to God even though he does not see or appreciate at all the exceptional wonders of God in His Glory as the angels did at the beginning and still do today. We do not see God today. We know almost nothing about the spiritual realm. We have very little in our day-to-day experiences that compares in any way to the third Heaven. Yet, many of us choose everyday to submit to God and commit to maintaining a running battle against their own nature which desires so greatly to rebel against God at every turn. Not only are we at war with our own bodies, we are constantly having to fight through Satan's very powerful temptations, both subtle and obvious, to turn around and return to rebellion against God. In spite of all the difficulty and the very limited incentive compared to what the angels had at the beginning when they had to make their own eternal choices, we still fight through and many of us have been choosing for God from the beginning until now. Unfortunately, this "many" is the minority, probably by far. But that minority still chooses in a direction that Satan with all his advantages despised.
God is being vindicated even if you do not think He is. You have the choice to praise Him and glorify Him and honor Him with your words but you choose instead to malign His Character perhaps because of some misfortunes that you have suffered in your life. But you do have the choice. That is proved by the fact by other people with similar and sometimes worse misfortunes are honoring God and glorifying Him instead of doing as you do here.
My point is, God's gift to angels and men of a free will does not make Him culpable for how each of us decided or decides to use that gift. He is not responsible for our choices, only for giving us a choice at all. And it is gracious of Him to grant us a choice in the first instance. We are not forced to love God or to be with Him eternally. We can choose.
As for eternal torture, there is no other alternative. We were all created to exist forever. That is just the nature of God's creation. If we choose not to be with God, where else can we be? There is nowhere else to be eternally. Either we abide eternally in His Love or else we abide eternally in His Anger. It is only just that things should be so. What has God not done to make sure that none of His creatures will perish eternally? What has He not given? For man who sinned, He gave us His Son, His One and Only Son, to die a dreadful, terrifying spiritual death for us. There is nothing in existence like the Lord Jesus Christ. The Father could never have replaced Him if anything went wrong. And all it would have taken for anything to go wrong was for the Lord Jesus to use His human will to do just one thing that the Father disapproved of, only one thing. But our Lord walked a straight path, submitted Himself in every detail of His Life to the Will of the Father without making even one small shift to satisfy His Own weak Body. And He did that against the opposition of all the power of the devil. Satan himself made a point of crafting temptations to try to trip Him up personally. Our Lord suffered the opposition of the Kingdom of Darkness worse than any human being ever did, has or ever will. And on top of that He suffered all of the pain and anguish of the Lake of Fire and separation from the Father for sins that were not even His in any way. If the suffering of the Son is not enough for you, what about what the Father had to endure putting the One He loved before time began through just so that He could save you or me? What are we worth that He should subject the Trinity to such anguish without equal? Who are we?
We claim to be something, but what are we? Have you stopped to really think about how much of life you truly control? Man is nothing. Less than nothing. God does not even need to think about it to wipe every single human being out of existence. He does not get or need anything from us. You have absolutely nothing of value that God could use or that He needs. The very breath in your nostrils comes from God.
And yet, God the One, Father, Son and Spirit paid such a terrible Sacrifice to save us from the consequences of our own rebellion against Him.
If He has done everything that could possibly be done to save even the most wicked, sinful sinner possible, why is it not just to condemn anyone who refuses to take advantage of such an awesome Gift to an eternity of pain and anguish? What is their anguish compared to what God suffered to save us? It is very right and very just and completely desirable that everyone who rejects the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ should spend eternity in darkness, pain and anguish. They chose it refusing all of the amazing and perfect gifts that God has offered to all of His creatures.
Finally, the only thing you can really do is dismiss all of the above and laugh at the "fairy tale" as many unbelievers prefer to call it. That is or would be unfortunate. I hope that you do not do it. But even so, you possess a god-like ability to choose to do so or to stop and think and see if maybe you should risk living like none of it is true.
Whatever you decide, God is True and Faithful and will reward everyone justly.
Also, I started a WhatsApp group with some acquaintances I recently reconnected with. I asked if they would like to join me in a Bible class and they said they would. We started on Sunday. I plan to post material and links from the website there that I will study with them and possibly answer questions on and discuss their observations about interspersed perhaps with stuff I may write to link the different studies up in their minds. I'll send another email after this with a copy of the chats so far. I was conflicted about starting the group because I didn't want to teach anybody just yet but I want to help them to learn if they want and I figured that mediating Ichthys to them might help them along. Hopefully, they will pick it up and carry on studying Ichthys directly without my help.
Your student in the Lord Jesus Christ
I'm walking well (thanks for asking) [jogging again now – thanks all for
Well I do hope that our friends can be of service to you. They seemed very eager to me.
I'm happy to hear that you have come to a decision, and even more delighted to see that it is one made in confidence in the Lord. That is what we need in order to do our job (whatever it is) as unto Him.
I very much like your "stop #1", but yes I agree with your consideration here that of course God cannot be affected negatively in any way. So Christ had to do what He did and do it perfectly, and that is amazing to us in the extreme (if we think about it in any depth at all), but of course He was going to be completely successful. The fact of His inevitable success does not in any way diminish the immense level of difficultly in doing what He did – and all that He did prior to the cross is minuscule in comparison to dying for the least sin of the least guilty human being (and of course He paid for every sin).
I also very much like your posting, my friend! It is not too much to say that any believer seeking to grow spiritual could / would be well fed by accessing material / listening to teaching such as this! Whether or not you are ready to tackle a full-scale ministry just yet or have the time and resources to do so is not for me to say. But this is the way these things start. Most churches in the US which are not spin offs of others started with a small Bible study.
You have a lot on your plate, but you are handling it well. Keep running a good race, my friend, and make the most of the opportunities the Lord gives you day by day, doing a good job for Him in all things secular, but never neglecting the "better part" (Lk.10:38-42). It is a challenging balancing act, it is true – especially when one is closer to the beginning of things (in both work and ministry); I can certainly validate that from my own past experience. But if you fight the fight right, the Lord will help you – and He will give you the victory.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you very very much, Sir. Your responses delighted and excited me greatly.
I am trying to be careful to pace myself on the Bible class idea. I want to help anyone I can to learn the Truth but until I learn the original languages and start studying the originals, I don't know that I should take that much responsibility for others just yet. So, my plan is just to keep mediating Ichthys. I enjoy discussing the material whenever and wherever I can and getting new insights into them. That is what I hope will happen with the class.
Thank you, Sir, for the vote of confidence. I will keep trying to reach and maintain a good balance.
Your student in the Lord Jesus Christ
You are so very welcome, my friend!
Keep at it, "in season and out of season" (2Tim.4:2), and in God's good time He will lead you into the perfect ministry – the one He has had for since eternity past.
Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you, Dr. Luginbill, for your kind email. I hope you and yours are
Actually, I could use some help as I study about God being in control. I believe that He is in control. Recently, though, I heard a sermon stating that He is not in control – that when Adam and Eve sinned, the enemy gained control over this world.
One of the verses used to substantiate this claim was 1John 5:19: "We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under control of the evil one."
At one point, you spoke about this issue in your email answers, but I cannot find it right now.
Your enlightenment on this will be most appreciated!
Thanks so much!
"Control" is an English word and has connotations which are not present
in this passage you quote.
Here is my translation of that verse:
We know that we are from God, but that this entire world lies in [the power of] the evil one.
1st John 5:19
Whether one uses "control" or "power" or "sway" (KJV), that word is in
fact not present in the Greek. Also, it's clear that John in the Spirit
is contrasting the world's dominance by the devil with our possession by
God: we are in the world but we are not of it, and we are not subject to
the fear of death or any other of the means by which Satan dominants
much of what goes on in the world. In short there is a conflict going
on, but God has already won it through the cross of Jesus Christ – just
as He planned it in every single detail in eternity past before the
Father ever created the world through the Son. So to say that God is not
in control of things is ridiculous (if that really was what was meant).
Clearly, God is control of everything down to the most minute detail.
Even the hairs of our heads are numbered, after all, and His plan is all
inclusive. He is working "everything out for good for those who love
Him" – everything (Rom.8:28). In fact, everything has already been
planned, and the plan is absolutely perfect.
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
I've lost my ability to separate truth from fiction. I am losing touch with reality, and as my birthday approaches it is becoming worse not better. I either have some kind of dementia or a very severe mental illness. I am scared that God is going to ask me to give account of my actions but I no longer have the ability to make rational choices.
You are blessed by God because you can still provide for your ministry. I don't know what to do with my life. I cannot even seek God because I cannot properly interpret the Bible. I can only pray.
First, my friend, let me assure you that you have been saved by God's
grace through the faith you have placed in Jesus Christ (Eph.2:8-9), and
that your salvation is safe and secure as long as you guard it by this
same faith (1Pet.1:5). All other choices in life are next to meaningless
compared to the choice to belong to Jesus Christ, and the continuing
choice to remain His lifelong.
I am sorry to hear of your troubles, my friend, and believe me I am praying for you.
Best advice: I would imagine that you can still read. So I would advise you to spend as much time as you can spare reading this ministry. Start with the Peter series and branch out into Basics, SR, CT and then the other materials at the site, email postings included. If you have already done this, please consider doing it again. Reading the Bible is wonderful and important but that alone cannot lift you up out of troubles of the like you recount here. For that you need an aggressive program of spiritual growth.
On a practical note, I will also say that not one human being in ten thousand does well when there is no "stress on the machine". If you are no longer in school, and if you do not have a job, then you are in an unenviable situation (even though this is precisely the situation people who are not in it imagine would be wonderful). Getting into an academic or professional program takes time and effort, and finding an acceptable job is never easy. Before one of these things develops for you, I would recommend putting yourself under some serious self-discipline. A program of daily exercise, long walks or jogging or swimming or working out with weight or calisthenics or biking or hiking or a combination of the above pays wonderful psychological benefits – and in some ways these even outweigh the physical ones.
Daily layer one: Bible study (read Ichthys at least an hour or more)
Daily layer two: Exercise (at least an hour or more)
Daily layer three: Plan and begin to implement strategy for what God has for you next in terms of earning your bread and coming into the ministry He has in mind for you.
Daily layer four: NOW you can relax.
A further note: The sequence above is also good in terms of priority and timing. I.e., first thing, Bible study; then get out of the house and walk/run/bike; then spend an hour or so plotting/planning/preparing for job/education/career/ministry. If you get up early enough, you can do 1-3 before it's even time for lunch and thus have plenty of free time to do whatever else needs to be done or you want to do – and you'll find you enjoy MUCH more.
Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I have been taking your advice and reading the Peter series. I love all of your series. They are so sweet to read. But the problem is that a strong feeling of damnation comes on me because of... Westboro. Every time they speak, their words are so powerful and fearful and I cannot rebut them. The only thing keeping me from swallowing up everything they say is that my conscience cannot affirm that "God hates X." My conscience more strongly tells me that God is all-loving and does not hate from the bottom of his heart...but sometimes his creatures do not want anything to do with him. What God feels is anger because he is betrayed horribly by someone he loves so much, as anger can sometimes caused by trauma. Jesus was traumatically betrayed by a friend (not his best friend--that was Lazarus) and he felt anger mixed with tears and sadness.
Westboro is causing more verbal anguish than Vincent Cheung, which is quite an accomplishment. At least Mr. Cheung isn't so insane so as to think that they are the only people saved on all of Planet Earth in 2018. I really hope the reason God isn't disciplining these two gentlemen/people isn't because he approves of them.
In theology it is difficult to distinguish between kind patience and being rewarded for merit. In Croatian there is a proverb: "God doesn't write paychecks every Friday," and I am certainly thankful for that!
I recently thought to myself "Paul says that the false apostles often slander, put others down, and treat others in a nasty way. Doesn't this make them servants of Satan?" And I felt like I was going to be thrown into Hell, as if I were like the Pharisees who said that Jesus was Satan. I would cry to Jesus for salvation and he would ignore my plea as I descended down into torments. What could one do in such a situation? You can't escape from God, and if he decides not to have mercy...that's it. Game over.
Strangely, when I say to myself "maybe I should just stop thinking about God for a while" the fears stop...but a new sadness comes because I don't want my relationship with God to die. I don't want to become one of those people who throws the Gift of gifts right back into his face. I do love God, and God alone can provide peace...except now he threatens me with unspeakably horrific visions of damnation. I had a nightmare about them when they would come to me and I would kill myself to escape the terror.
"When I think my bed will comfort me, and my couch will ease my complaint, then you frighten me with dreams, and terrify me with visions."
And I can no longer do apologetics. Before I used to make up strong
arguments for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity and I
feel as if that is gone. I can't even do mathematics anymore without
great struggle and not even getting the correct answer anymore.
You need to keep praying for me either when I die or you die: whichever happens first.
All of us have "ticks", that is, specific behaviors or tendencies or
behavior patterns or other such things that make us vulnerable to
certain attacks. We have to learn to recognize these and consign them to
oblivion whenever they pop up. Avoiding any contact with this group and
this person you mention would be salutary.
God loves you. Jesus loves you. He wants your spiritual success. That is the main thing. And Job was wrong about who was responsible, please remember.
I have learned in life that a person cannot solve big problems overnight. It takes time to earn degrees, to find jobs, to develop relationships, to implement ministries. And when a number of these problems are on our plate at the same time, it can seem overwhelming. Blessedly, the Christian life is lived one day at a time. My advice: keeping spiritual matters first, work away day by day at a plan for each of these problems, and if you make some progress "today", that is all to the good. And please remember that the Lord is working out His plan for you and for our life. Sometimes we have to watch things explode before they are rebuilt (as in clearing the land for a new, better structure). Trust in Him, and He will bring it to pass.
Yes, I will be keeping you in my prayers, my friend.
In Jesus whose death for the least of our sins is worth more than this entire world – and He died for every single one of them.
What does the bible say about Luck? I believe that God is sovereign over all things and all things happen for a reason. I don't think that wishing someone good luck will increase their chances of it happening. I think it does nothing at all. I heard people say the "luck of the devil" which to me seems that it is indeed from the devil.
"The LOT is CAST into the lap, but its EVERY DECISION IS FROM THE LORD."
This verse is telling me that even "luck" is not actually luck, but God
is the one allowing this to happen. Is this true? What does the bible
say about luck?
You are correct. The Bible says nothing about "luck", nothing positive that is.
"But you who forsake the LORD,
who forget my holy mountain,
who set a table for Fortune
and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny,
I will destine you to the sword,
and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter,
because, when I called, you did not answer;
when I spoke, you did not listen,
but you did what was evil in my eyes
and chose what I did not delight in."
Isaiah 65:11-12 ESV
We believers know that the Lord has not left one single thing to "chance". The plan of God encompasses every single event that has or ever will take place, down to the sub-atomic level from one end of the universe to the other – and so how much more when it comes to those He loves?
"Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."
Matthew 10:29-31 NKJV
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
I believe you stated before that the word heresy has lost a lot of its original meaning. This happens a lot across the whole sphere of social language today. But I would also contend in the defense of the word "heretical", that when true Baptists use the word in describing the teaching and doctrine of Protestants and the RCC it is an apt and true description.
I would, as a proof text offer this Scripture as an example of why I believe this way:
1Tim 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
My reasoning is thus: The Apostle here states in no uncertain terms that
the "truth" resides exclusively in the New Testament institution of "the
church". I do not consider anything that has its roots in Protestant
institutions as "the church". Following this line of thought,
institutions originating with man are devoid of "the truth" and
I'm not trying to be contentious here, simply trying to show that there is much that is truly heretical in so called Christendom and Protestants in particular.
Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you.
In reality every man made organization that calls itself a church is in
direct contradiction of these three verses, and therefore heretical.
What are your thoughts on this?
I don't see any great problems here, but since you ask . . .
Seems to me that you are defining "heretical" in a certain way. That's fine, but what are your scriptures? If by "heretical" you mean "not in accordance with the truth", the latter is to me a better way of saying it, because the English word "heretical" has picked up a lot of baggage; and since it's not a key NT word, there is no need for us to reintroduce the word, then have to redefine the concept, before we ever get around to our point: "What you [whoever "you" is in any case] are teaching is NOT BIBLICAL!"
Here's my translation of the verse:
(14) I am writing these things to you, expecting to come to you very shortly. (15) But [I am giving you these instructions] so that in case I am delayed you may know how a person must comport himself in A "house of God" – which is AN assembly of the living God, A pillar and A support of THE truth.
1st Timothy 3:14-15
So Paul is NOT talking about THE Church here but about local churches.
The RC church is the main disputant that wants to take this passage the
other way. See the
link for the context.
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
New blog post on the hiddenness of God:
Nice. It's about preserving our free will indeed – if the Lord appeared in His full glory to anyone (and shielded them from destruction) it would be impossible not to "believe" in Him (cf. Jas.2:19).
My goal everyday is to grow closer to God by studying His word and through prayers. The only time I watch the TV is in the morning and evening for the news. However, I have to mute the TV and turn away from looking at the screen because there is always worldly language or obscene or impure things on the screen (i.e., women dressed inappropriately, worldly music, etc.). The bible says that we are "in the world but not of it" (John 12:31), and that Jesus prayed that we should be kept from the evil one. What does it mean to be kept from the evil one? Because I know that every believer is faced with temptation in some way, and that the enemy gets involved in their lives in one way or another. I am struggling with this, and I am afraid to even step outside my home even to go to the grocery store because there is always cursing, people who give dirty looks, wanting to start trouble with me, etc. This has been going on for years now and it's is agonizing in a way to me. What can I do to remain in this world but not be a part of it, but at the same time do the mundane things that need to be done? Need help!
God Bless you and your ministry,
We are "not of the world" in principle, but Paul also tells us that we
"cannot go out of the world" (1Cor.5:10). So we have to find a way to
live here while not allowing "here" to dictate the way we think, the way
we speak, and the way we act in the world.
It sounds to me as if you are "fighting a good fight". Good for you! If you haven't already done so, please have a look at BB 6A: Peripateology, since it's all about these very issues. Happy to answer any specific questions also.
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
I feel far from the Lord and in danger of being replaced by someone more obedient. I do not know how to draw closer to the Lord except by prayer.
I am confident that your name is written in heaven.
Prayer is an excellent way of reminding ourselves of our relationship with the Lord.
Let me remind you that He is in you, that His Spirit is in you, and that you belong to Him as part of His Bride. He gave up His life for you, so great is His love. He isn't looking to "replace you".
This problem of "feeling" is a problem on our side, not the Lord's side. We need to remember that how we feel is almost always a poor indicator of the situation. If we "feel bad" or "dry" or "far from Him", that is a warning light to begin doing the things we know we need to do. Prayer, certainly, Bible study absolutely, but also to become more aggressive in our applying of the truth to ourselves and our situation. We need to make a habit of concentrating on "the things above" (Col.3:1-2). When we do, we find we are able to "break through" that crust of "bad feeling" and back into the peace and the joy that is our heritage as those who have a confident hope of eternal life.
There is a great deal about all this in BB 6A (see also: "Who controls our thoughts and emotions", "The Battlefield Within II" and "The Battlefield Within I").
In Jesus our dear Lord,
Maybe it's just me, but it seems to me almost 100% of the time that when someone holds to a false doctrine, then they usually have a really bad attitude. For example: I tried to have a friendly conversation with Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, and they behave like they're better than others, and eve refer to everyone else who ISN'T part of the IFB as heretics. They almost never say Hi to me when I say hi to them, and they only refer to others as susters and brothers in Christ, and never address anyone else as that. Then there are those who teach that you can sin all you want once you're saved, and when I try to dialogue with them, they have attitudes even worse than unbelievers. There's name calling and arrogant and proud behavior. It seems like bad doctrine and bad behavior goes hand in hand. Does the bible prove this?
It is biblical principle that rejecting the truth always results in accepting
some substitute which is not the truth (Eph.4:17-20). Only by responding to the
truth does the Spirit lead us. But if we are not responding to the Spirit we are
following the flesh instead (Gal.5:16-17).
It is a common failing in the church-visible today to assume that membership in an organization "checks the box with God". The RC's believe this as a tenet. But non-RC's, even "churches" which were at least at one time composed of believers and probably still have believers today, have essentially jumped on that "nod to God" bandwagon. Going to church means nothing – if nothing of the truth is taught. Joining a church or being a member of a church means nothing to God. He is concerned with what we are learning of the truth, what we are believing, and what we are doing with that truth was have learned. Being divisive on the basis of a denominational membership is a sign of complete spiritual immaturity – at best.
Here is a link on this: Aspects of the False Doctrine of Institutional Security
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,