The Argument of Sufficiency of Scripture

Sufficiency of Scripture

See chapter 8 Systematic Theology

God has granted us sufficiency of His word throughout history. Man has enough in God’s word in order to learn and understand what God desires of us and we have enough information how to live the Christ following life we need. Furthermore, there is sufficient information for each of us to hear the word of God, understand we are sinners, to confess our sins before God, and be saved unto Christ! What is the legitimate definition of  “The Sufficiency of Scripture”?

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What is the purpose of scripture? Well, in the second letter to the Apostle Timothy by the Apostle Paul it was stated:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.~2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

Hence the purpose of scripture is to teach those who already believe and have accepted Jesus as the Son of God, who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Now, can it be used by those who do not believe? Yes, yet we do not even need the bible, or scripture, to prove the existence of God.

We can find everything that God has spoken on, ultimately, any given topic; either directly or indirectly or inferred. For example, in the sixth commandment “You shall not murder.” (Deuteronomy 5:17 NIV) Blatantly states that we are not to murder anyone. But what is murder?

There are many definitions of murder include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation. However, the nuts and bolts of murder is unlawful killing of another, whereas killing is an act by which someone dies due to an accident without forethought or malice as part of the equation.

But by way of inference we can deduce that we are not to harm another in any physical way. Jesus spoke on this, in fact, Jesus stated emphatically that we are subject to judgement if we are angry with our brother. Furthermore, we are subject to the fire of hell if we even say, “You fool!” to our brother. (ref: Matthew 5:20-22 NIV) This is but one example of inferring from scripture and all we can learn from the same.

The sufficiency of scripture also promises us that the amount of scripture given to us at each stage in our history is and was sufficient for us to learn what was being taught to us and that it is proper and sufficient for our redemption through Christ. We learned in the Mosaic teachings this basic understanding:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. ~Deuteronomy 29:29 NIV

God has this tendency to reveal to some people more than the rest of us. Just look throughout history and this will be an understood fact. You may be one of those who believe that the bible, while being canonized was a severe censure of the word of God, but in reality, if you believe God is all powerful, all knowing and all present…then He has the ability to protect His message to all the world from the likes of those who believe they must control the thoughts of men. And in so doing, those same men will change the contents of the books of sacred scripture, but God will get His message through to all His children.

sinful1God gave each of us the same brain, but it is up to each of us to love God with all of our minds. And how do we do such? Great question…and here is an answer! We must take charge of our mind and subject our thoughts to godly things, subject our eyes to godly things, and subject our bodies to godly things. We must bask in God’s word by learning all we can, we must also subject our minds to understand the godly words and understanding all that is good. Reading good books, wholesome and truthful. We must subject ourselves to those who have studied God’s word before us and learn what they have had to say in order to understand. Of course, that does not mean that we must agree with their assessments but it will help us to be of one mind and heart!

There is the problem of those who are health and wealth preachers who tend to preach heretical teachings. They tend to obfuscate the true word of God through smoke and mirrors allowing you to misunderstand the true nature of God through the all deceptive pattern of wealth…that always catches a person’s attention. Because if they believe that God truly wants us to be rich and wealthy…they are hooked and are in for the long haul.

Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.~Deuteronomy 4:2 NIV

See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.~Deuteronomy 12:32 NIV

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. ~Proverbs 30:5-6 NIV

Does God desire us to be rich? Yes, but He wants our wealth to be in His kingdom. We temptation-gardenwere warned by Jesus not to be so attached to wealth and riches on this earthly plane. Jesus was very clear on this. God does want us to be rich and many who do great things are rewarded in earthly riches. But we all need to remember that:

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.~Matthew 5:44-45 NIV

We are equal in God’s eyes, in that, not one of us is righteous.  But getting back to the point is we are not to add to scripture, nor take anything away from it. By doing so you clearly intend to mislead those you are teaching and you will be held accountable for such teachings. The prophet Ezekiel warned us:

When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.~Ezekiel 3:18-19 NIV

We are reminded throughout, that we are not commanded to believe in anything outside of the scriptures about God Himself or His redemptive works. Everything is within the confines of the 66 books of the bible. We are also taught that there is nothing sinful that is not forbidden by the scriptures. As written by the Apostle Paul, on the Believer’s Freedoms:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. ~1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV

We can do all things, but is it wise to do all that we desire to do? As children of God we should be desires and have a passion for those around us. Helping and aiding all those near us…our neighbors! Our brothers and sisters in Christ!

We are also reminded that God does not command any of us to do anything that is not explicitly in the biblical text, or implied by the same! Because God is all good, He will not command us to do what is evil. He will not guide us to lie. Because the seed of God is truly righteous.

Do-what-God-has-told-you-4We are taught, implored to do really, that we should emphasize what the scriptures tell us and to be content with what God has told and taught us within the scriptures. We are to touch the lives of those around us with God’s word, because God desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. And more often than not, we are the only connection that others will have to God. Trust me, God will open those opportunities to you to touch the life of another.

Until We Meet Again, Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

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Are our bodies really our own to do with as we please?

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Are our bodies really our own to do with as we please? This is a great question to be asked of all people, men and women alike! You have people saying their bodies are their own property to do with as they please. Whether it be augmentation, gender reassignment, abortion, to choose the lifestyle of same sex relations, pedophilia, and the list can go on and on. Those of us who are followers of Jesus and the ways of the Christian beliefs hold the following to be true:

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. ~Psalm 24:1 NKJV

IF this is truly the case, then, our bodies are, in fact, not our own, but God’s purposeproperty! If that is the case, then we cannot do as we please but are obligated to do what glorifies God, Himself! Having the above procedures done only seems to indicate that God made a mistake with us and therefore we can do what we must in order to correct that mistake. Now, I am not talking about the correction of a deviated septum, repairing a broken finger, aiding a person who has problems breathing due to allergies. I am speaking on the absoluteness of changing oneself to another gender, changing oneself to where they are no longer pregnant, etc. We must also keep in mind the following from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthian Church where he stated:

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. ~1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV

body templePaul stated emphatically, that our bodies are not our own, but temples in which the Holy Spirit of God dwells within each of us. If this be the case, how can we truly glorify God by taking such actions as removing our ability to have children, give birth, or produce what it takes to create a pregnancy? How do we glorify God, our Creator, to terminate that embryo growing (a child in the long term) inside  the womb? This was the great task of the liberal mind in order to make it seem alright to terminate a pregnancy by reclassifying a child to be an embryo or a fetus…that makes it so much more impersonal so it will be fine to kill it off.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. ~Psalm 139:15-16 NKJV

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Before I formed you in the womb I knew you… ~Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV

From the beginning of time, back in the Garden of Eden, we as the species of man were given the right to choose either good or bad, right or wrong. This inalienable right had been given to us in the Garden of Eden.

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” ~Genesis 2:16-17 NKJV

Man, in the garden, was given one mandate to uphold. One commandment to treeofgood&evilfollow and he could not even do that…DO NOT EAT THE FRUIT OF THIS TREE! Man, throughout history, has proven time and again that he cannot follow the simplest of tasks. And later when God was speaking with Cain, prior to the first murder, He did say – or warn:

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” ~Genesis 4:7 NKJV

WE, as the species of man, MUST rule over our carnal needs and base desires. This was the warning promoted and spoken by God Himself! Sadly, we are so far from the basest of times where we did truly love God and seek to follow Him, always, that we have become a modern day Sodom & Gomorrah. We are in such a huff to get what we want, when we want it…RIGHT NOW! If not 5-10 minutes ago.

But getting back to our original discussion…

Reason and logic should rule in these matters. God gave us reason and logic to aid us, He also gave us science to help us to understand, and He gave us philosophy and theology to aid us to explain.

man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. ~Genesis 2:24 NKJV

This is where the first marriage took place. While there was no other woman for man to seek out to wed, God presented Adam with a gift…woman. But this is what was referred to by Jesus as the intention of God for man and woman to wed. God intended man to be with woman in order to procreate, be fruitful and multiply, to increase society, to be in commune with another and not be lonely. Men cannot procreate with other men, nor can a woman procreate with another woman. They can commune and not be lonely, but their was never an intention on God’s part for a same sex union other than to have an intellectual meeting of the minds.

Consider the act of masturbation. In one manner of speaking “spilling your seed”, in other words placing your seed where it is certain to not be used as it was intended. While it was a different story for Ohnan, it was not the act of masturbation but the act of “spilling his seed” on the ground as it was his familial duty to carry on his brother’s lineage and he refused to do so. While you may not be killed by God in judgement for the “spilling of your seed” but there are other judgements that God can place upon you. Blindness…lol, yes, we were all taught that as young boys! But on a more serious side, consider this: If you show disdain, or have no value attached to your seed God could make you inactive in order to have any children. This can be done either through you, yourself, or as a couple. Will it happen? I cannot answer that as that is in God’s hands. These are just possibilities, especially consider the power of God and if you truly revere it – as well as, God Himself!

allpowerfulIf God is All Powerful and your truly believe this, He can do anything. Think about that…HE CAN DO ANYTHING, because of your wrongful act(s). To not believe so, is to limit God and His Power and Abilities.

As mentioned above, in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV, that our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit to dwell in. If that is the truth and the case, HOW can anyone truly glorify God, our Creator and Maker of heaven and earth, through an abortion? …through a gender reassignment surgery?…through the same sex unions? …through the act of materbation?How can any of these deeds bring glory to God Almighty?

Man is destined to do great things, sometimes these great things are You-were-destined-for-better-thingsaccomplished by those who are avidly evil. But we are reminded where Jesus spoke:

that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. ~Matthew 5:45 NKJV

Because, like it or not, those who are alive whether they follow Jesus, or not, are God’s children as well. They have the same opportunities as you to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved! And it is up to us to bring the message to the lost, this is the purpose of the Great Commission! But if you think that you can bypass all of the lost souls because they are so evil, think again, as written in the Book of Ezekiel:

When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. ~Ezekiel 3:18 NKJV

We are responsible for those around us, both the righteous and the unrighteous!

Until we meet again, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

I am no better, or no worse, than any other man…

I am no better or no worse than any other man…righteous or evil, good or bad, spiteful or loving, knowledgeable or ignorant!

no better

We each have the right to choose either the left or the right path at the fork in the road, the narrow or the broad path. Only you can choose for yourself and inform others. But they, too, must make that choice themselves at the time it is presented to them!

Time and again I have touted that the God given, inalienable, right to choose is man’s greatest blessing and greatest curse. We have a life filled with choices and unfortunately we also have a life full of wrong turns, misguided steps, Clarenceand bad decisions. But on a more positive note, we also have that same life filled with wonderful right turns in our time here on this earth. Good memories, fondness of loving moments, and an abundance of blessings that many other will never experience. We all, in the words of Clarence the wayward Angel (“IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE”), “have a wonderful life,” despite all of our misgivings, bad choices, wrong turns, and abundance of problems that we incur.

We are not promised a long lustrous life, nor one of pure heartache; a life of wealth and ease and comfort, nor of utter disdain and poverty; we are not promised a life of joviality and partying, nor one of utter boredom and doledrums. We are promised one human life…ONE. We are each handed a gift of life and sadly we tend to through it away by wasting our time on silly activities, when we could be increasing ourselves and our self worth; which would increasingly glorify God, you know YOUR MAKER? We tend to make terrible decisions because we would prefer to have received the winning POWERBALL NUMBERS! Face it, as it may very well be true. I know my life would be easier and in someways better if I had received such wealth. BUT in reality of it all, I would not have learned many lessons that I need to learn in order to become the best ME that I could possibly be. In my opinion, based upon my reading the Bible a time or two over the last (nearing) thirty years: God has a great plan for each and every one of us! (Both those who believe and those who do not.)

bigplans

No one has a greater plan for you, or I, outside of God. If we each will allow ourselves to be touched and indwelt by the Spirit of God, He will infuse in us all manners of workmanship as we need to carry out His plan. But this truly means that we each must unlearn much of the garbage we have picked up over the years! Unlearn old bad habits and re-learn good and new habits. (Yeah, it will be tough, but worth it in the long run!)

God could just give us things, wealth, and other forms of greatness, BUT how ah-hah-momentswould THAT show us that it was God who did it??? It would not! How would we learn the lessons that we so desperately need? We would not learn them! If we are to truly glorify God, our Creator, THEN we need to do those things that will aid us to learn all those necessary traits that will enable each of us to to do God’s will and live the example that Christ displayed for us. The only way we can do these things is to learn the hard lessons and truths that will, eventually, lead us to that epiphany…that AH-HAH moment!

But God, as any earth bound father or mother, will not grant the request of charlie-sigheach and every childish whim. Not because He is spiteful, but because we need to learn…many of us the hard way <<sigh!>>. Our parents, together, are the closest we have to understanding God. Our parents purpose is to teach us about God and prepare us for life. Sadly, many parents do not do a very good job of this, they tend to, now-a-days, be their children’s friend or they assert an aristocratic authoritarian command over their children as though they are teaching and instructing them. Instead you have a bratty friend, or end up with a child-like serf with a revolutionary mind set in order to over throw the parents, or they leave the household never to return. (Yeah, just a bit over the top, but I believe you get and see the point(s).)

Depression ScreeningWe can become better people through education and (YES!) through faith and guidance by God. Now when I speak of education, I am not necessarily leaning toward schooling, nor am I discounting it; however, we must learn and understand when we are being indoctrinated and MUST stand against such teachings! I have sat through many courses where the teachers/instructors were indoctrinating me with an agenda in mind. As Ben Shapiroacademicsuicide1 mentioned in some of his writings, you do not want to commit academic suicide by standing against the teacher because he/she is god with respect to your grade. Have you ever seen the movie “GOD’S NOT DEAD“? There are professors (portrayed by Kevin Sorbo) out there just like that, but many are far worse. However, it was a good depiction of some of the travesties of students in today’s colleges and universities. Keep in mind, though, that there are many far worse problems going on these days on college campuses where students are in desperate need of safe spaces because they cannot handle a word or presentation that some guest speakers have for them to hear. University of Chicago responded to such a thing in the proper manner. There was another university in it’s response where it suggested that if the student(s) needed a safe space, they should return home because they were not yet mature enough for the university atmosphere! But, I have digressed from my original premise.

ChristsExampleIt is through our constant and never ending growth in knowledge and wisdom that we can become better people; however, there is one more concern…we must stop measuring ourselves against one another. Stop comparing ourselves to our neighbors, our classmates from high school or college, our peers at work, etc. The best we can do is compare ourselves to the example in Christ!

Don’t get me wrong, competition can be a healthy thing for us but our competitive spirit can be a bad thing, as well. If our competitiveness brings us to the point of pridefulness and greed, that is when it becomes a bad and sinful thing in our life…and we must rid ourselves of it!

I am no better, or no worse, than any other man…I am just like everyone else in this world, but I can be a beacon of hope to others if I would just live and learn from the example Jesus left me!

Until next we meet, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

…the way, the truth, and the life…

There is but one way to enter in to heaven, and that is through Jesus the Christ!

oneway4

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ~John 14:6 NKJV

In the words of Dr. Michael Licona, or some variation as I recall, “If there is a true religion, then I owe it my allegiance. If there is the one true God, then I owe Him my true allegiance.”

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Now, there are great reasons to believe that Jesus is the true Son of the Living God. The historical aspect, archaeological aspect, textual reliance and other witness accounts, perhaps the witness accounts of those who are extra-biblical and non-Christians. Perhaps, in comparing the numerous different religions is enough for you and the claims. What of the numerous documentaries comparing Christ to those perceived and asserted other gods, which were supposedly risen from the dead in the same exact way and so on. Unfortunately, if you do the homework and make the comparisons yourself you will find that those assertions are false.

  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did not the Sanhedrin show His dead and mutilated body to the people?
  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did the Apostles preach the resurrection message to the people in Jerusalem? (Where the punishment was certain death by stoning.)
  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did the Apostles die cruel and inhumane deaths without denying their Lord and Savior?
  • There are those who believe in the “Swoon Theory,” but there is too much to discredit such a belief.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.~Romans 1:16 NKJV

So, what is salvation? According to Matt Slick, CARM.org, “Salvation is being saved from the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner…All who have sinned against God are under the judgment of God.  This judgment is known as damnation where God condemns to eternal hell all those who have offended Him by breaking His Law.” One allegorical representation of the weight of sin upon our soul is:

A Chinese evangelist was once preaching on salvation and the weight of sin. A heckler did what hecklers do best, attempt to shame or embarrass  the evangelist. The response was epic: “If you have a corpse lying in his coffin, will he feel a hundred pound weight on his chest any more than a fifty pound weight?” ~ROMANS, vol. 1, pg. 170, David Grey Barnhouse, (1989)

We are warned by the Apostle Paul for the benefit of our souls that, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NKJV) And at the same time we are promised eternal life being the gift of God, His gift of Salvation through His grace! All we have to do is ask for it and freely receive it. It is that simple, but people do not trust free or simple things. By considering the previously mentioned allegorical representation of sin upon our souls, this statement by the Apostle Paul should help solidify the matter. Our hearts should be weighted down AND we should be looking for the EXIT sign to get out of the cage/prison which we have cornered ourselves into, through every means of deceit, trickery, lying, deciding, etc. YES, we decided our way into a corner and must decide our way out of that very same corner. The decision should be easy and the solution is even easier! Accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, believing He is the Son of the Living God, that He died on the cross for our sins, that He rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven.

It is easy to accept, but rather hard to believe, isn’t it? That is why we must seek for ourselves…researching and studying the word of God. Because we were mandated to:

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ ~Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

Which means we are to love God all our essence and being and by loving Him with all our mind, we are to love Him NOT with blind faith but rather with well informed, studied and researched faith. Loving Him with all our logic and reason! Many people, not just Atheists, believe that to believe in God we give up our reason and logic for blind faith upon the word of the bible alone. That is just not true at all!

God destined us to determine for ourselves through free will to guide our own paths. That includes turning off the primrose path by making mistakes and sinning, because God desired us all to love and honor Him with all of our heart by our free will choice. We will never be perfect, until God makes us so. But we must keep living the life as though we can be perfect by modeling the life of Jesus the Christ. By ascribing ourselves to the word of God and by living our lives accordingly. Not by the law, as presented in the Old Testament, but according to the simple teachings of Christ as presented by His Apostles & Disciples. Those words in the New Testament give a great representation of who Christ was and how He lived. If we use Jesus as the model, how could we go wrong?

Two final caveats:

  1. If the Apostle Paul was changed so dramatically on the road to Damascus from a Christian hating and torturing Jew to become one of Jesus’ greatest Evangelists and Apologists…how can we doubt such a change? How can we doubt such a drastic and dramatic change?
  2. The deaths of the Apostles were gruesome and heinous, to say the least. But no one recanted their faith or belief that Jesus was, in fact, the One True Son of the Living God, the Messiah, whom the Jews had been awaiting. That is another factoid which we must keep in mind. (Consider when the Watergate Scandal was plaguing the Nixon Administration each each of the major players involved made a plea deal and received felony indictments. Each turned on their master.) It defies logic and reason to discount their sincerity!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

Some other things you may enjoy from great teachers:

Is Jesus the Only Way? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Is Jesus the only way to be saved? (CARM)

The Assurance of Salvation by Matt Slick (CARM.org)

I came across this site and article, which has changed my perspective on my belief in salvation. I had posted some time ago (Once Saved, Always Saved? Part 1 & Part 2; Aug-Sept, 2015) where I had a problem with the essential belief in “once saved always saved.” This article, along with others by Matt Slick, have through well thought out arguments have changed my mind (for the most part.) I still have certain concerns, however these are personal issues; perhaps, I am trying to hang on to the old in fear of the new, I do not know. Please enjoy…

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ORIGINAL ARTICLE<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The Assurance of Salvation

by Matt Slick

One of the more annoying problems in Christians’ lives is the issue of assurance of salvation. We’ve all been there.  We’ve all wondered if we are really saved or not.  We’ve looked at our lives and actions and thoughts and sometimes just said, “How can I be saved if I am like this?”  I’ve counseled many Christians who have doubted their salvation and who have worked themselves into a worry and sometimes even depression over the issue.  I’ve always thought that the solution was pretty basic.  I ask the person, “Why do you think you might not be saved?”  Almost always the reason is, “Because I have a sin in my life.  Because I can’t beat this one sin.  Because of my thoughts.   Because I keep failing.”  “Okay,” I say.  “So you know you’re supposed to be doing better than you are, right?”  “Yes,” they say.  “I am supposed to be doing better and I’m not.  This is why I doubt that I am saved.”  So, I give them this illustration.

Let’s say that we are on a 20 foot boat out in the ocean.  We are sailing along when we notice two men in the water.  There is no other boat around, so it is obvious these two men are in trouble. We take a life preserver, tie it to a rope, and throw it to them.  It lands just a few feet short.  We start yelling and yelling for them to grab the life preserver so we can pull them in.  “Come on,” we yell. “Grab it!  Grab it!”  One of the men, exhausted, reaches out his arm for the life preserver but falls short.  “Grab it!” we yell again.  He reaches again and his arm plops down in the water from fatigue. The waves slap his face, but he tries again.  The other man is simply floating face down in the water.  He isn’t struggling at all.  But, the first man is trying for that life preserver.  He is fighting against the ocean, the wind, and the waves, all which are greater than he is.  That is when I ask the person, “Which one of the two men in the water is alive?”  Always, the response is, “The one reaching for the life preserver.”  “Right,” I say.  “He is struggling for life.  Dead people don’t struggle for life…. and spiritually dead people do not struggle against their sin.  Only those who are dead, who have no life in them, do not struggle.  The fact that you are struggling against your sin is one very good sign that you are very much alive in Christ.  If you were not struggling at all, then it might be true that you weren’t saved.  But, since you war against your sins, then it sure sounds like you’re saved to me.”  Usually, the eyes brighten at this point.  I then keep going.

“Do you believe there is only one God in all existence, all places, and all times?”  “Yes,” they answer. “Do you believe in the Trinity, that God is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?”  Again, “Yes.”  I continue.  “Do you believe Jesus is God in flesh?”  “Yes.”  “Do you believe Jesus is the only way to salvation?”  Again, “Yes.”  “Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead three days later?”  Another, “Yes.”  “Good,” I say.

1 Cor. 2:14 says, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”  I continue by telling them that a natural man is someone who is not saved.  Now, these are absolutely, definitely spiritually discerned truths that they answered yes to above.  They are that there is only one God and that God is a Trinity, that Jesus is God in flesh, that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead three days later.  In other words, the fact that the person confesses these things and believes them is further, very strong evidence, that he is spiritually alive.  Usually, the person is encouraged even more.

And finally, I tell them that Jesus gives us eternal life (John 10:27-28) and He does not fake us out when we ask to be forgiven and for Him to be Lord of our lives.  He said in Luke 11:10-13, “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. 11Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?  12“Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?  13“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” In other words, you get what you ask for from the Lord (except for sinful and selfish things, of course); He does not bait-and-switch.  If you ask for eternal life from Jesus, that is what you get–no matter how you feel, no matter how your emotions may mislead you.  The truth is that God’s Word tells us that the Father will give the Holy Spirit to us if we ask.  The Holy Spirit only indwells believers.

We all have our struggles and we all need to take into account the fact that we are still sinful and we are going to struggle with our sin.  But, if you begin to doubt your salvation because you don’t “feel” saved, then stop trusting your feelings and start trusting God at His Word.  Ask yourself if you are struggling against your sin.  If you aren’t, maybe you aren’t saved.  But, if you are, then that is a sign of life.  Ask yourself if you believe in the Trinity, that Jesus is God in flesh, and that He died and rose from the dead.  If you do, that is a sign of spiritual renewal.  Ask yourself if you believe what Jesus said about Him not faking you out, about Him giving to you the Spirit if you ask. If you do, then that means you are believing Him at His Word.  Take your eyes off your feelings and failures and put them on Christ, His Word, and His sacrifice.  Trust in Him and Him alone…. not what you feel, not at what you fail.  He didn’t save you because of your works or your “goodness.”  He did not save you because of what is or is not in you. He saved you because of what is in Him: love and truth.

Matt Slick

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

…what I hate, THAT I do

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. ~Romans 7:15-20 NKJV 

Hate1

Talk about a recipe for disaster, eh? The Apostle Paul describes here to us that even he has problems staying on the straight and narrow road to God’s righteousness. And he was an Apostle, though some may differ in their opinion on that. This just goes to show us, layman or common men of God, that we are susceptible  to sinfulness and sinful thoughts. We are men, we exist, therefore we think. There was sometime ago I posted that the average man thinks approximately 70,000 thoughts per day; however, based upon further searching that is a bit high…it is more like 20,000 thoughts. In either case, we are constant thinking creatures, as well as deletion creatures. We delete many of these thoughts because of what we tend to focus on at any given time.

Since this topic is the sinful nature of man:

the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” ~Genesis 8:21 NKJV

When we sin, many, not all men, will tend to dwell upon what they have done. The old adage that we are our own worst critic, is quite true in this respect. We will, those of us that think on our actions and sin, will dwell upon them and mull over them for what seems to be an eternity. So much so that we will whip ourselves into a frenzy of despair or even depression. We all have those moments of disdain toward ourselves. The circular questions which lead us nowhere but to an blocked road without an exit.

  1. Why do I keep doing this?
  2. Why can’t I get past that?
  3. What the hell is wrong with me?
  4. When will this madness stop?
  5. Why do I keep failing God?
  6. Why do I keep failing myself?
  7. Why do I keep failing my wife?
  8. Why do I keep failing my family?
  9. Why do I keep failing my kids?

And the list if never ending dismay can continue until the end of eternity. So of ten we are so focused on the problem that we fail to look toward any solutions. Start asking different questions. More empowering questions. Such as:

  • What can I do to make better use of my time?
  • How can I avert further problems with THIS particular sin?
  • What can I do to glorify God?

The list of how to stop sinning list and the circular questioning list each can go on and on. The fact is that we sin, our imaginations are evil in nature (this we were told in Genesis 8:21 NKJV), but Jesus gave us an out from this problem. Yes, He did touch on the subject with His own  followers (i.e., the Apostles) where He said, in Luke 22:46 NKJV, “Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”” We can follow Jesus’ lead and suggestion to steer away from sin through prayer!

However, many of us do this wrongly. What I mean is that when we pray, we need to pray to God for the Spirit of understanding, wisdom, knowledge and workmanship in order to do something that will essentially glorify God in the long run. Unfortunately, many of us tend to pray not to do something (i.e., to not sin in this or that way again and again.) What we need to do is to pray to glorify God by doing His will, through knowing and understanding His word and gaining the necessary wisdom. Face it, we have all done it as some point in time. BUT now is the time to stop doing things the wrong way. When we gain the wisdom, the knowledge, the understanding, and the Spirit of workmanship to do so, we need to pass that on to those around us. Those who also are potentially having the same problem of what I call a “prayerful rut.” A “prayerful rut” Is much like mis-attributed quote to Einstein’s definition of insanity:

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Well most of us tend to pray to God in Jesus name to not do “x” or not do “y”. YOU-ARE-WHAT-YOU-THINKWell, guess what? When you do so you first place what you do not want to at the forefront of your mind and, thereby, keep it close in your thoughts.

Like Dr. Robert Schuller spoke, you are what you think about all day long. If that is so, why not think about what you want to, or choose to, do? Eh, what a concept! We need to look at what we desire to become along with praying about becoming such a person, and we need to envision ourselves becoming such a person at all times throughout our day. In so doing, you place those thoughts, as well as, those pictures at the forefront of our minds. By doing this you have a much better chance of becoming what you seek to become than by focusing on what you desire not to do. Also, since our minds work with pictures far more efficiently that with words, prayers, and inanimate thoughts, our minds focus on the pictures and images.

We all have that tendency to do what we desire not to do and not do what we ought to do. But we can change that by focusing on how to better handle and control our sinful natures. I hope this post was helpful to you all! All my prayers to you and the for the betterment of this country, as a whole!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

The law of the Lord is perfect


The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. ~Psalm 19:7-11
Then I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of holiness, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done. This also is vanity. Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God. ~Ecclesiastes 8:10-13

The law of the Lord is perfect. That is an observation on my part. Why would I say such a thing, despite the fact that I do not have an eternal mind, with an eternal memory of all things, as well as an everlasting and all-knowing knowledge of all things?

Firstly, God created me. I did not come to such a conclusion lightly, but through much deliberation and through much thought and research. IF God did create me then He has a right, and an obligation, to guide me. Leading me through prayer and the Holy Spirit and through His eternal word, the Bible.

Secondly, if we should follow logic and if we are created by something external to us and is not bound by the laws of physics and nature (which also was created, presumably by the same eternal being, which I will call God,) then  such a being is permitted, possibly mandated, to guide and teach us what is right and what is wrong.

Consider a clay jar. If you make a clay jar, you as it’s creator can do with it as you please. You can use it for any one of a number of intended purposes. You can stow it away and never use it. You can smash it and trash it as you please.

The beauty about God, our Creator, is the fact that he forces nothing upon us. We are taught right from wrong and we are promised one human life. BUT we are not forced to make all the “right” decisions. We are granted the gift of choice. We can each choose to make the right choice based upon God’s Word, or we can choose to make the inappropriate choice and turn toward sin. We choose! And therefore, when we are judged by God at the end of our days, we are judged on those choices that we have made all along the way. That is why God did not create drones who just acknowledged Him and said yes all of the time. God desired US, each of us to choose His ways and to follow Him, willingly! And we should desire to do so and to please our maker, because we are blessed to have what we have. The breath of life, our health, a home to live in, a family, etc. It is not all about money and things, though we tend to go off the rails a bit and think so.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple ~Psalm 19:7 NKJV

Assuming that the One who created each and every one of us is perfect, then it would stand to reason that His very word and His law (which is based upon His word) are both also perfect. Perfect because it is external to us and is, therefore, objective with respect to us. The laws put forth are guides for us to glorify our creator and to fulfill our perfect purpose and His will for us. Throughout the Old Testament there were 613 individual laws for us to follow. King David pared that down to approximately 15 laws for we all to follow. Malachi widdled that down to 3 laws or commands to follow and Jesus further cut the commands down to 2 commandments of God in order to keep true to the laws of God.

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”~Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

The Commands of God for us to follow and show ourselves to be the beacons of Christianity, Hope, Love, and portray the love of Christ to all. All we need to do is follow what Jesus spoke to us and mandated us to show all others on this earth the way to Him. If we truly show our love to God with all our heart, soul, and mind and follow on with loving our neighbors as if we were showing love to ourselves, or as we would like to be treated. It was said that Mother Theresa loved everyone. When she looked into the face of others she was looking into the eyes of Christ with each and every person.

“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.”

Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers

That is quite a subservient position to take as a Christian, as a servant of Christ.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD