Christians Who Are Over-Exposed & Underdeveloped

 

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

Today’s blog post is rather lengthy but well worth to be read.

“Christians are like old-fashioned photographs–over-exposed and underdeveloped.

Howard Hendricks (born 1924), professor, Dallas Theological Seminary

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“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.” 

Hebrews 6:1 NLT

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“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,”

Hebrews 6:1 ESV

Therefore – “Since, as was stated in the previous chapter, you ought to be capable of comprehending the higher doctrines of religion; since those doctrines are adapted to those who have been for a considerable time professors of Christianity, and have had opportunities of growing in knowledge and grace – as much as strong meat is for those of mature years – leave now the elements of Christian doctrine, and go on to understand its higher mysteries.” The idea is, that to those who had so long been acquainted with the way of salvation, the elements of Christianity were no more adapted than milk was for grown persons.

let us leave – Dismissing; intermitting; passing by the consideration of with a view to advance to something higher. The apostle refers to his discussion of the subject, and also to their condition. He wished to go on to the contemplation of higher doctrines, and he desired that they should no longer linger around the mere elements. “Let us advance to a higher state of knowledge than the mere elements of the subject.”

the elementary – Margin: “The word of the beginning of Christ.” Tyndale renders it: “let us leave the doctrine pertaining to the beginning of a Christian man.” Coverdale, “let us leave the doctrine pertaining to the beginning of a Christian life.”

You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.

Hebrews 5:12 NLT

The Greek there, indeed, is not the same as in this place, but the idea is evidently the same. The reference is to what he regarded as the very elements of the Christian doctrine; and the meaning is, “let us no longer linger here. We should go on to higher attainments. We should wholly understand the system. We should discuss and receive its great principles. You have been long enough converted to have understood these; but you linger among the very elementary truths of religion. But you cannot remain here. You must either advance or recede; and if you do not go forward, you will go back into entire apostasy, when it will be impossible to be renewed.” The apostle here, therefore, does not refer to his discussion of the points under consideration as the main thing, but to their state as one of danger; and in writing to them he was not content to discuss the elements of religion as being alone suited to their condition, but would have them make higher attainments, and advance to the more elevated principles of the gospel.

the doctrine – Literally, “the word” – λόγον logon – “reason, or doctrine of the beginning of Christ.” That is, the word or reason that pertains to the elements of his system; the first principles of Christian doctrine.

Of Christ – Which pertain to the Messiah. Either what he taught, or what is taught of him and his religion. Most probably it is the latter – what pertains to the Messiah, or to the Christian revelation. The idea is, that there is a set of truths which may be regarded as lying at the foundation of Christian doctrine, and those truths they had embraced, but had not advanced beyond them.

and go on to maturity- Let us advance to a higher state of knowledge and holiness. The reference is alike to his discussion of the subject, and to their advancement in piety and in knowledge. He would not linger around these elements in the discussion, nor would he have them linger at the threshold of the Christian doctrines.

to maturity- The word here is used, evidently, to denote an advanced state of Christian knowledge and piety; or the more elevated Christian doctrines, and the holier living to which it was their duty to attain. It does not refer solely to the intention of the apostle to discuss the more elevated doctrines of Christianity, but to” such an advance as would secure them from the danger of apostasy.” If it should be said, however, that the word “perfection” is to be understood in the most absolute and unqualified sense, as denoting entire freedom from sin, it may be remarked:

(1) That this does not prove that they ever attained to it, nor should this be adduced as a text to show that such an attainment is ever made. To exhort a man to do a thing – however reasonable – is no proof in itself that it is ever done.

(2) It is proper to exhort Christians to aim at entire perfection. Even if none have ever reached that point on earth, that fact does not make it any the less desirable or proper to aim at it.

(3) There is much in making an honest attempt to be perfectly holy, even though we should not attain to it in this life. No man accomplishes much who does not aim high.

Not laying again a foundation – Not laying down – as one does a foundation for an edifice. The idea is, that they were not to begin and build all this over again. They were not to make it necessary to lay down again the very cornerstones, and the foundations of the edifice, but since these were laid already, they were to go on and build the superstructure and complete the edifice.

Of repentance from dead works – From works that cause death or condemnation; or that have no vitality or life. The reference may be either to those actions which were sinful in their nature, or to those which related to the forms of religion, where there was no spiritual life. This was the character of much of the religion of the Jews; and conversion to the true religion consisted greatly in repentance for having relied on those heartless and hollow forms. It is possible that the apostle referred mainly to these, as he was writing to those who had been Hebrews. When formalists are converted, one of the first and the main exercises of their minds in conversion, consists in deep and genuine sorrow for their dependence on those forms. Religion is life; and irreligion is a state of spiritual death, whether it be in open transgression, or in false and hollow forms of religion. The apostle has here stated what is the first element of the Christian religion. It consists in genuine sorrow for sin, and a purpose to turn from it.

And of faith toward God – This is the second element in the Christian system. Faith is everywhere required in order to salvation, but it is usually faith “in the Lord Jesus” that is spoken of.

I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike–the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus. Acts 20:21 NLT

 

Here, however, faith “in God” is particularly referred to. But there is no essential difference. It is faith in God in regard to his existence and perfections, and to his plan of saving people. It includes, therefore, faith in his message and messenger, and thus embraces the plan of salvation by the Redeemer. There is but one God – “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;” and he who believes in the true God believes in him as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the Author of the plan of redemption, and the Saviour of lost people. No one can believe “in the true God” who does not believe in the Savior.

so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.

John 5:23 NLT

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And this is the way to have eternal life–to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. John 17:3 NLT

He who supposes that he confides “in any other” God than the Author of the Christian religion, worships a being of the imagination as really as though he bowed down to a block of wood or stone. If Christianity is true, there is no such God as the infidel professes to believe in, any more than the God of the Brahmin has an existence. To believe “in God,” therefore, is to believe in him as he “actually exists” – as the true God – the Author of the great plan of salvation by the Redeemer. It is needless to attempt to show that faith in the true God is essential to salvation. How can he be saved who has no “confidence” in the God that made him?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this, thanks!

Source: Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez

PROVIDENCE: GOD GOVERNS THIS WORLD

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

I missed the last two days not blogging but I will make it up today by posting both of them as well as an update on my reading the Bible cover to cover in 90 days! Thanks!

Here we are continuing our discussion on J.I. Packer’s Concise Theology.

Understanding basic theological truths is important in the life of the believer. Again I reiterate what J.I Packer says,

theology is for doxology and devotion—that is, the praise of God and the practice of godliness. “

PROVIDENCE

GOD GOVERNS THIS WORLD

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

PROVERBS 16:33

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“God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions” (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q.11).

If Creation was a unique exercise of divine energy causing the world to be, providence is a continued exercise of that same energy whereby the Creator, according to his own will, (a) keeps all creatures in being, (b) involves himself in all events, and (c) directs all things to their appointed end. The model is of purposive personal management with total “hands-on” control: God is completely in charge of his world. His hand may be hidden, but his rule is absolute.

Some have restricted God’s providence to foreknowledge without control, or upholding without intervention, or general oversight without concern for details, but the testimony to providence as formulated above is overwhelming.

The Bible clearly teaches God’s providential control (1) over the universe at large, Ps. 103:19; Dan. 4:35; Eph. 1:11; (2) over the physical world, Job 37; Pss. 104:14; 135:6; Matt. 5:45; (3) over the brute creation, Ps. 104:21, 28; Matt. 6:26; 10:29; (4) over the affairs of nations, Job 12:23; Pss. 22:28; 66:7; Acts 17:26; (5) over man’s birth and lot in life, 1 Sam. 16:1; Ps. 139:16; Isa. 45:5; Gal. 1:15-16; (6) over the outward successes and failures of men’s lives, Ps. 75:6, 7; Luke 1:52; (7) over things seemingly accidental or insignificant, Prov. 16:33; Matt. 10:30; (8) in the protection of the righteous, Pss. 4:8; 5:12; 63:8; 121:3; Rom. 8:28; (9) in supplying the wants of God’s people, Gen. 22:8, 14; Deut. 8:3; Phil. 4:19; (10) in giving answers to prayer, 1 Sam. 1:19; Isa. 20:5, 6; 2 Chron. 33:13; Ps. 65:2; Matt. 7:7; Luke 18:7, 8; and (11) in the exposure and punishment of the wicked, Pss. 7:12-13; 11:6. (L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 4th ed.)

Clear thinking about God’s involvement in the world-process and in the acts of rational creatures requires complementary sets of statements, thus: a person takes action, or an event is triggered by natural causes, or Satan shows his hand—yet God overrules. This is the message of the book of Esther, where God’s name nowhere appears. Again: things that are done contravene God’s will of command—yet they fulfill his will of events (Eph. 1:11). Again: humans mean what they do for evil—yet God who overrules uses their actions for good (Gen. 50:20; Acts 2:23). Again: humans, under God’s overruling, sin—yet God is not the author of sin (James 1:13-17); rather, he is its judge.

The nature of God’s “concurrent” or “confluent” involvement in all that occurs in his world, as—without violating the nature of things, the ongoing causal processes, or human free agency—he makes his will of events come to pass, is mystery to us, but the consistent biblical teaching about God’s involvement is as stated above.

Of the evils that infect God’s world (moral and spiritual perversity, waste of good, and the physical disorders and disruptions of a spoiled cosmos), it can summarily be said: God permits evil (Acts 14:16); he punishes evil with evil (Ps. 81:11-12; Rom. 1:26-32); he brings good out of evil (Gen. 50:20; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; 13:27; 1 Cor. 2:7-8); he uses evil to test and discipline those he loves (Matt. 4:1-11; Heb. 12:4-14); and one day he will redeem his people from the power and presence of evil altogether (Rev. 21:27; 22:14-15).

The doctrine of providence teaches Christians that they are never in the grip of blind forces (fortune, chance, luck, fate); all that happens to them is divinely planned, and each event comes as a new summons to trust, obey, and rejoice, knowing that all is for one’s spiritual and eternal good (Rom. 8:28).

Source: Packer, J. I. Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993.

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Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez

Love That Reaches Down is Grace.

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

[FYI: Agape is greek for love :).  In Christian theology agape is related to the love of God or Christ for mankind. This word represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love.]

When you feel unloved, ponder the Cross.

If you are looking for a definition, don’t

look in the dictionary; look to Calvary.

-Gary Vanderet

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In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:10 (ESV)

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Love that reaches up is adoration.

Love that reaches across is affection.

Love that reaches down is grace.

-Donald Grey Barnhouse

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How Deep The Father’s Love For Us- Owl City (with lyrics)

Song written by Stuart Townend

Lyrics:
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasureHow great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to gloryBehold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocing voice,
Call out among the scoffersIt was my sin that helf Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I knoww that it is finishedI will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast inJesus Christ
His death and resurrectionWhy should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
(REPEAT)

-Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez