Evidence for Christ

EvidenceForChrist

Sometimes, theology loses the simplicity that’s in Christ Jesus.

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3

Knowing Christ is the evidence for Christ. That’s not circular reasoning. It’s a little bit like saying, “Knowing your dad is proof of his existence.” or “Seeing my car in the driveway is proof that it’s in the driveway.” However, there’s a huge difference between observing or experiencing someone in the carnal and knowing Christ. There’s a huge difference between seeing and interpreting a mountain by the weakness of human capability and knowing Christ by Divine revelation. When human beings observe or experience, they interpret what they see, feel, hear, smell, taste, and otherwise experience. It’s impossible to observe anything without interpretation. Interpretation must add to the observation or diminish it. It’s common to interpret through the filter of the worldview. The worldview is a fake reality that appears more real, to the person who owns it, than real reality.

Knowing Christ isn’t like that. Christ reveals Himself to us. He is the creator of your human spirit, mind, and body. He’s well able to impart knowledge of Himself and His Truth. He’s well able to lead and guide.

We, on the other hand, have a problem in that we tend to interpret what He says. When we read Scripture, we tend to dip into our worldviews and come up with various interpretations. Often, we don’t even ask Christ to reveal the Bible to to us. Even when we ask, we tend to get in there to give Him our help. He doesn’t need our help. In the same way, scientists tend to use assumptions. Business professionals tend to resort to assumptions.

Yet, every observation and experience can become part of knowing Christ. If we acknowledge Him in all our ways, we will become more aware of His teaching and leading moment by moment in every situation. In this way, He can reveal reality to you, whether in the physical realm or the spiritual realm. In this case, it isn’t you doing the interpretation. You don’t try to exercise your fallen mind to understand the people that you know. You don’t try to lean on your own understanding (assumptions, stories, and worldview) to interpret scientific evidence. You ask God about it. You hear His Voice explaining how it all works. The Holy Spirit speaks through Scripture, by the way, and never contradicts Himself. Don’t add to His words. Don’t diminish His Words. Don’t make assumptions. Listen to Him.

This is a progressive progress from glory to glory. It’s not about gaining a bunch of knowledge about things or theology. It’s about coming to know Christ and His truth. Through submission to His Spirit, we are actually changed, transfigured, into His same Image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord.

A Secular scientist may think that this is quite different from the process of science. However, true science follows this process exactly. It’s progressive. It doesn’t get closure on theories that can’t be proven. A true scientist opens his or her mind to God to reveal the meaning of what they are looking at. A true theologian does the same when looking at Scripture. In both cases, current knowledge is to be held loosely since it’s imperfect, it’s incomplete, and it might be totally wrong. In both cases, the person who is looking for truth listens to the Voice of Jesus Christ.

“My sheep hear My Voice.” Jesus speaking in John 10:27

 

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Circular Reasoning – NOT Circular Reasoning

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The circular reasoning straw man is a favorite fallacy for Secularists. Is it possible that some Christians actually do use this kind of poor logic? I hope not. A follower of Christ never needs to be irrational. A Secularist can never be rational, since a Secularist must base every thought on made-up stuff. For every interpretation of any observation, any experience, or Scripture, a Secularist must use made-up stuff. The fallacy is known as “axiomatic thinking.” It includes all the various methods of using made-up stuff to reason. Most logical fallacies are simply smokescreens to cover up axiomatic thinking fallacies. There are only two types of fallacies in the most basic analysis: axiomatic thinking and smokescreen. Circular reasoning is a smokescreen to hide axiomatic thinking. In the image on the left, there are two Divine revelations that are being presented as if they were axiomatic thinking fallacies that are being hidden by circular reasoning.

Christians never need to use fallacies. However, there is no way that any Secularist can prove any premise true without using axiomatic thinking fallacies. They only way to avoid axiomatic thinking fallacies is to listen to God and avoid adding to what He says. Divine revelation is the only way to avoid committing fallacies.

When Secularists use the straw man, they’re the ones using circular reasoning. They pull the unsupported assertion, “There is no God,” from their worldview. Then they reason from that axiomatic thinking fallacy. Beginning with the axiom, “There is no God,” they conclude,”God can’t possibly reveal that the Bible is His Word, since He doesn’t exist.” Also, based on the same circular reasoning, God would not be able to speak through Scripture. That’s why you can clearly state, to the Secularist, your experience with Christ. The Secularist, blinded by his or her own worldview, translates that as the Secularist straw man fallacy you see in red to the left.

Some people teach:

“The highest authority is always circular in reasoning. For example, the Bible is the word of God. How do we know? Because the Bible reveals this about itself.”

God is the Highest Authority. He isn’t circular in His reasoning, though. He does appeal to His own authority, since there is no other authority. That’s not the same as circular reasoning. It’s also not a faulty appeal to authority fallacy, since this is the only possible valid appeal to authority. If a book has authority, as the Bible does, it only has authority because God wrote it, preserved it to us, and currently speaks to us through it.

Some Christians don’t believe that God is active and working in their lives. They believe that they just have to use their own fallen minds to figure things out. They believe in the Bible, but they don’t interact with the God of the Bible. They never experience His Presence, leading, or teaching. They’re born again, but they lean on their own understanding. I pray that they do reach out and touch the Lord. That they begin to experience Him with all their spiritual senses so that they can know the difference between their own minds and the mind of Christ.

 

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Saved To Good Works

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“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

“And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17

Only God can do good works. God has called us to this.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

For this reason, God does His Works through us by grace through faith.

Faith comes by hearing. He speaks. We acknowledge Him. He directs our paths. Faith comes and gives access to His grace. Grace does His Works. If we get involved, other than our responsibility to yield our members to His free gift of Righteousness, we would just frustrate the grace of God. God doesn’t need our intervention. He needs our submission, since He won’t force Himself on anyone.

Secularists are people who can’t deal with the reality of the righteousness of God. Because they love darkness rather than light, they reject God and His Righteousness. They then end up rejecting all Divine revelation. Without Divine revelation, pretending is the only other option for interpretation of Scripture, Creation, or experience. That may be a shock, especially to Secularists. It won’t be that much of a shock to any Christ-follower who has tried to reason with a Secularist.

Sound reason requires a true premise and a conclusion that follows from the premise. For a conclusion to follow from a premise, nothing can be added to or diminished from the premise on the way to the conclusion. The Secularist runs into a problem in trying to prove a premise true. Denying Divine revelation, the Secularist doesn’t have that option. The Secularist can simply declare the premise true based on his own or another human authority. This is the axiomatic thinking fallacy. That’s a fancy word for pretending and thinking that make-believe is real. The Secularist can use circular reasoning, infinite regression, personal attacks, or hundreds of other methods to make make-believe seem real.

However, the Secularist isn’t having an intellectual problem other than trying to establish human intellect as a god of some sort. The Secularist is having a righteousness problem. Salvation is to God’s Righteousness and from human sin. Secularists love darkness rather than light. Because all Righteousness must come from God, the Secularist’s human-righteousness is evil and filthy rags. Only repentance and turning to Christ can save them from their insanity.

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Secularists Can’t Prove Anything

FromGloryToGlory2

 

Educated Secularists have conceded this–the part about not being able to prove their beliefs. However, they are generally unable to deal rationally with the consequences. Since they are used to rationalizing everything rather than using sound logic, they just rationalize this problem away in the same way they ignore the Almighty Creator God when He reveals Himself and His Wisdom to them.

Under Secularistic thought restrictions, Divine revelation is disallowed. God must be ignored when He speaks. That leaves axiomatic thinking fallacies and smokescreen fallacies to cover up the axiomatic thinking fallacies as the only possible options for Secularist thinking to interpret observation and experience. Keep in mind that the Secularist is trying to convince himself or herself more than anyone else. Fallacies are the means. All fallacies fall into one of the two categories: axiomatic thinking or smokescreens. Axiomatic thinking is making stuff up.

Axiomatic thinking is pretending. It’s making believe.

The result of Secular thought would be humorous if it weren’t so sad. Generally, Secularists just try not to think about their irrationality. If they are forced to think about it, the pattern is something like the following:

The only way that Secularists can interpret any observation or experience is using make-believe (axiomatic thinking).

Therefore, they believe that pretending (axiomatic thinking) is the way to truth.

Alternately, they pretend that there is no truth.

In addition, they pretend that Divine revelation is also make-believe–and they must be dogmatic about this illusion. They often resort to proof by repetition fallacies, which are merely smokescreens to cover up the fact that they’re pretending.

When confronted with the fact that God is verifiable, that everyone who seeks Christ finds Christ and that knowing Christ solves their problem, the spiritual problem comes to the surface. They refuse to look at the evidence. They refuse to seek Christ.

In a recent discussion, I asked a dogmatic trolling Atheist to just test this and gave him a list of things to do, much like the detailed steps of a scientific experiment. Steps are required because Secularists who have fallen to the level of trolling are very resistant to God. If you ask them to merely ask Christ to make Himself real to them, they will play games with that. They have fallen to the point where every discussion is a mind-game. The object is to avoid God at all costs. In this case, it’s at the cost of rational thought.

The Secularist loses the distinction between reality and make-believe.

The Secularist can’t offer any method by which the follower of Christ can verify the Secularist’s make-believe world. The follower of Christ can offer a method by which the Secularist can verify the fact that Christ is real and that He reveals Himself and His truth to anyone who persistently seeks Him in sincerity and respect with a desire to submit to Christ and to leave all thought, word, and actions that aren’t the leading of Christ. This requires yielding to the Spirit of Christ so that God can progressively bring righteousness and holiness. This is generally exactly what Secularists don’t want.

Just in case a Secularist does want to look at the evidence, here are the steps by which you can know. This is an explanation of what it means to seek Jesus and find Him. If you aren’t interested, perhaps some others who visit here may find this helpful.
1. Prepare yourself. You must be sincere. You must be prepared to be persistent. Your attitude is important to this process. You must be respectful.
2. Tell Him that you’re sorry for all the things that you’ve done that have been selfish and have violated His Love: not respecting Him, not responding to Him, not respecting authority that He has set, wanting things that He didn’t give you, sexual sin of any kind, hurting others with words or actions, or any such thing you might have done.
3. Ask Him to forgive you. He will.
4. Ask Him to be your Lord and to rule over your life. Make a commitment to follow His commands.
5. Ask Him to give you the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you moment by moment.
6. Follow your commitment.
7. Over time, the Holy Spirit will show you the truth of the Bible and the fallacies of your thinking that made you think that the Bible wasn’t accurate.
If you truly want to know the truth, you’ll do this. If not, you won’t and you’ll continue to brainwash yourself in dogmatic Secularism.

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If knowing depends on revelation, how do you determine who’s telling the truth when two people are claiming revelation?

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How do you tell who’s telling the truth, since it depends of Divine revelation? Can’t anyone claim Divine revelation then? That’s the intelligent question, and the question that God addresses as He speaks through Scripture. Consider the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and many others who claim Divine revelation. They don’t agree. They can’t all be right. Then, consider the various denominations with all of their various theologies all claiming to follow the plain revelation of God through the Bible. What’s going on?

The answer is quite simple once you realize the power of the Almighty God. When He reveals, He manages the process. We can reject what He’s saying, but He’s in charge. Jesus said that whoever asks for the Holy Spirit will receive the Holy Spirit, and He said many other things about this. It has to do with sincerity of the will. Speaking through the Apostle, James, God is telling us that a double-minded person will receive nothing. Jesus tied discernment to a sincere will to do the will of God. If you really want reality, God will see to it that you get it. Your fleshly nature, will, of course, begin to die incrementally in the process.

You may be wondering how to determine your revelation is actually revelation or a deception. This is especially an issue when two people claim revelation. Micaiah, the prophet, ran into this problem when called to prophesy to King Ahab. (1 Kings 22) Many other prophets came and gave King Ahab a good report. Micaiah told King Ahab that he would die in battle the next day. The other prophets ridiculed Micaiah, but Micaiah just said that if King Ahab were to return from battle, then God hadn’t spoken through him. Of course, Ahab was killed even though he took every precaution to stay as far away from the action as possible. Jeremiah had a similar problem, and God told Jeremiah that the false prophets were speaking a vision out of their own minds. Paul also dealt with false apostles. God warns us about false teachers, and He lets us know that they will come. So, how do you know who is telling the truth when there are so many today who claim to be the source of truth?

Part of the problem is the emphasis is on knowing things rather than knowing Christ. This kind of knowledge puffs up with pride. Knowing about Him or about things is different from knowing Him. If we all know Him, He will lead us in the same ways “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13) As of right now, “those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know.” (1 Co. 8:2) Yet, we can discern, though not completely yet, who is speaking by the Holy Spirit and who is speaking by a different spirit. “No one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Co 12:3) The real issue is, “How can you tell the difference between what comes from the human or demonic and what comes from the Holy Spirit.

How Can I Know God’s Will And Be Led By The Spirit Of God?

Yet, incorrect doctrine can cause devastating problems. Consider two people who are teaching about sexual perversions, heterosexual, homosexual, or others. One encourages people to engage in these perversions and says that the only sin is to point out that perversion is sin. The other points out what God is saying, through Scripture, about perverting sex. How you determine between these two people who have very different versions of what they claim to be truth. Let’s say that both are even claiming revelation believed to be given to them by God on this subject. How do you choose who’s correct or is it impossible to determine?

It’s usually pretty easy to determine, but not if you don’t want to do God’s will. For instance, sin, particularly sexual sin, ruins the consciences. It sears the conscience as with a hot iron. The spiritual ears become calloused and a person in this condition can’t discern reality from make-believe. A person like this can’t discern God’s Voice from what is being made-up by the human mind or by a demon.

To answer this question, we’ll have to go into the weakness of the human mind, the Münchausen trilemma, and the power of Divine revelation.

God speaks through Scripture and every means mentioned in Scripture. Everyone who follows Christ is led and taught by Christ moment by moment. Those who truly want to do His will and who allow Christ to work through them are gradually transformed so that their senses are more keen to discern between what God is saying and what’s coming from other sources. Disobedience destroys this discernment.

Generally, one of the first things that the Holy Spirit teaches is that God speaks through Scripture and that the Scripture is without error. The Holy Spirit directly instructs Christ-followers to search the Scriptures regarding claimed Divine revelation.

Divine revelation takes different forms. Consider the example of people who do or don’t believe in the three persons in one God. That’s a matter of God defining Himself. There’s also Divine revelation regarding leading. Leading is quite different in that God doesn’t specify who a Christ-follower is supposed to marry or which job a Christ-follower is supposed to take through Scripture. The Holy Spirit may bring a Scripture to mind for personal leading, but He may also just speak through other means. In the case of something like the doctrine known as trinity, God speaks through Scripture. In the case of defining morals, God speaks through Scripture. God has a lot to say about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as He is speaking through Scripture. God has a lot to say about sexual morality. However, human worldviews can act as a veil to keep Christ-followers from ever hearing God’s Voice.

I’ve never heard anyone claim extra-biblical revelation as the basis for either belief or disbelief in godhead doctrines. As you look at the form of the arguments presented, there is no difference in form between interpretation of the Bible, Creation, or experience. God speaks through the Bible, Creation, and experience. It seems that people who are convinced of doctrines of all kinds that go beyond Scripture are convinced that God is telling them, through the Bible (or through Creation, or thought experience), whatever their interpretation is. In the case of the Bible, you can look at Scripture and see that the text doesn’t contain the doctrines being claimed. The conclusion requires assumptions and fabrications. In the case of scientific speculation, you can look at the observation and see that the observation doesn’t contain the conclusion. The conclusions require assumptions and stories. You can try to point this out, but, if the doctrine has been internalized, and if it has become part of the person’s worldview, that person can no longer hear God’s Voice regarding the issue. Only the Holy Spirit can correct the person. The problem is that the person is probably resistant to the Holy Spirit. For you and me, why don’t we just pray that God give us a soft heart toward the Holy Spirit to receive His correction? God will answer a sincere prayer like that. We can lay our doctrine at the foot of the cross, and God will return to us what is real.

I would like to address unreal expectations. The human ego wants to know everything. It likes to be told that it’s right. For this reason, human beings tend to rush to judgment and jump to conclusions. They think that coming to know all truth is like flipping a switch. Some say that they now have all truth. Really! Such an attitude makes it difficult for the Holy Spirit to lead such a person who knows all things already. The human mind is deceptive and desperately wicked to the point that we can’t know our own minds. This is a process that God is managing in His time. There’s no quick fix. For the Secularist, there is no hope unless he or she abandons dogmatic Secularism. For us, we have hope, and we make daily progress provided that we’re faithful.

There’s no conflict in what God is saying. There’s conflict when someone adds even a single assumption. Assumptions and stories add to God’s Utterances or diminish God’s Utterances. God doesn’t take that lightly. It’s a form of lying. Lies are abominations to God.

Assumptions are often hidden–even from the person making the assumptions. They are often presupposed. Usually, assumptions are consistent with worldviews and are confirmed by worldviews. Worldviews are merely conceptual inner fake realities that seem more real than real reality.

I’ve heard people rationalize from Scripture, adding in assumptions and presuppositions. That’s where division enters. However, I’ve not yet heard anyone claim extra-biblical revelation for this. There may be some false prophets out there who claim extra-biblical revelation of some sort, but I haven’t seen such a thing. Since the Holy Spirit is teaching and guiding us to search the Scripture, the Holy Spirit is able to expose the false prophet using Scripture. However, there is also the peace of God that comes when something is right. God imparts His peace when we’re in His will. That’s more than just a feeling, although there is usually a feeling of peace. It involves all the spiritual senses and it’s a certainty that something is right and good. God works with multiple witnesses. He will often show the same thing confirmed through His Creation. He sometimes sends an angel messenger. I’ve never had that, but others have. And, He uses every other means mentioned in Scripture. There are many of them.

Some people think that Divine revelation means omniscience. What we are able to receive as Divine revelation is always partial and progressive. It goes from glory to glory by the Holy Spirit. That’s part of why knowing Christ is more important than knowing anything else. God is omniscient, but He only tells us what we need to know. The rest belongs to Him. There’s much about the Godhead that we don’t know. God hasn’t revealed it. There’s a unity and relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that goes beyond our understanding. Those things that God reveals are ours. Those that He hasn’t revealed belong to Him. People get into trouble when they try to rationalize beyond what God is saying.

Concepts are not reality, but they can give the illusion of reality. Theologies are conceptual in nature. They aren’t real. They are models of something real. Anyone who models reality must remember that the models are not the reality. They’re only abstractions. Sometimes, theologies are taught as if they were reality. That’s a mistake. Jesus is the Reality. Jesus is the Truth. All teaching should point to Him rather than to human intellect.

I know what God has revealed to me through Scripture about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The word, “trinity,” represents a concept, but it may well be that the term means different things to different people. I know what God has revealed to me through Scripture, conscience, Creation, and experience about sexual morality. The revelation is known. The theology that goes beyond that is mere concept. There are places in my own mind where theology becomes confused with revelation. You probably have the same problem. That’s why we need to hold our theology loosely and we need to hold tightly to Jesus. The Holy Spirit is here to lead us into all truth.

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Is Faith the Same as Making Believe?

AcknowledgeGodWhenHeLeadsYou

Faith is a gift from God, whether we are discussing the charisma gift, the fruit of the Spirit, or the faith that is in the heart of everyone who follows Christ. It comes. We don’t self-generate this kind of faith. There is a kind of faith that people are able to self-generate. It’s called “make-believe.” People make themselves believe things all the time. They believe the things they want to be true. Real faith isn’t like that. We don’t make-believe that God exists. God speaks. If we will listen and acknowledge Him, faith comes. He allows us to reject Him. He doesn’t force Himself on anyone. He doesn’t believe for us, but imparts His certainty. Make-believe can never be certain. It’s mere concept and has no substance. The faith of God has substance. It’s the substance of things hoped for. It is certain. It’s the evidence, the certain proof, of things not seen. This doesn’t remove human will. We can reject Him when He speaks. We’re warned not to harden our hearts when He speaks. We can harden our hearts. We can harden our hearts and reject the faith that gives access to grace to be born again. We can harden our hearts after we’re born again and we can reject the faith that gives access to grace to do the righteousness of God.

This type of article can be very unnerving to a person who leans on his or her own understanding and is used to a rationalized, make-believe, faith. However, no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reveals Christ, Christ’s will, Christ’s intimate leading, and Christ’s teaching to every person who is following Christ. We don’t always acknowledge Him, though.

Warning!

Some theologians teach that you don’t have a will or that God determines who will believe and who won’t. They teach that God has made some people for the purpose of putting them in Hell forever and ever. They teach that those people have no choice. They teach that the choice was made for them before the worlds were made. To believe such a thing requires adding some hidden assumptions to Scripture. In other words, these theologians are adding to God’s Words. God asks us not to add to His Words or to diminish His Words. Some may even claim that they have extra-biblical revelation regarding this. With a claim like that, the day will disclose it.

GotQuestions.org gives this answer:

Question: “Where does faith come from?”

Answer: Faith is the avenue or the instrument God uses to bring salvation to His people. God gives faith because of His grace and mercy, because He loves us (Ephesians 4—5). Faith comes from God in the form of a gift (Ephesians 2:8).

A gift is not earned by some good deed or kind word, and it is not given because the giver expects a gift in return—under any of those conditions, a gift would not be a gift. The Bible emphasizes that faith is a gift because God deserves all of the glory for our salvation. If the receiver of faith could do anything whatsoever to deserve or earn the gift, that person would have every right to boast (Ephesians 2:9). But all such boasting is excluded (Romans 3:27). God wants Christians to understand they have done nothing to earn faith, it’s only because of what Christ did on the cross that God gives anyone faith (Ephesians 2:5, 16).

By knowing our saving faith comes from God alone, it should encourage Christians to “not think of yourself more highly than you ought,” but remember God decides the measure of faith each one receives (Romans 12:3). http://www.gotquestions.org/where-does-faith-come-from.html

This issue of faith, whether it is of God or of man, has been argued for a long time. At the risk of causing more confusion, here are some of the commentaries’ opinions. Remember that human opinions are not to be compared to Divine revelation. As with all subjects, the fullness of this subject has not yet been fully revealed. If anyone thinks that he or she knows anything, that person doesn’t know

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers

And that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.—This attribution of all to the gift of God seems to cover the whole idea—both the gift of salvation and the gift of faith to accept it. The former part is enforced by the words “not of works,” the latter by the declaration, “we (and all that is in us) are His workmanship.” The word here rendered “gift” is peculiar to this passage; the word employed in Romans 5:15-16; Romans 6:23, for “free gift” (charisma) having been appropriated (both in the singular and plural) to special “gifts” of grace.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
The goodness of God in converting and saving sinners heretofore, encourages others in after-time, to hope in his grace and mercy. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass by any thing done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out. All is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by his power.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

And that not of yourselves – That is, salvation does not proceed from yourselves. The word rendered “that” – τοῦτο touto – is in the neuter gender, and the word “faith” – πίστις pistis – is in the feminine. The word “that,” therefore, does not refer particularly to faith, as being the gift of God, but to “the salvation by grace” of which he had been speaking. This is the interpretation of the passage which is the most obvious, and which is now generally conceded to be the true one; see Bloomfield. Many critics, however, as Doddridge, Beza, Piscator, and Chrysostom, maintain that the word “that” (τοῦτο touto) refers to “faith” (πίστις pistis); and Doddridge maintains that such a use is common in the New Testament. As a matter of grammar this opinion is certainly doubtful, if not untenable; but as a matter of theology it is a question of very little importance.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

and that—namely, the act of believing, or “faith.” “Of yourselves” stands in opposition to, “it is the gift of God” (Php 1:29). “That which I have said, ‘through faith,’ I do not wish to be understood so as if I excepted faith itself from grace” [Estius]. “God justifies the believing man, not for the worthiness of his belief, but for the worthiness of Him in whom he believes” [Hooker]. The initiation, as well as the increase, of faith, is from the Spirit of God, not only by an external proposal of the word, but by internal illumination in the soul [Pearson]. Yet “faith” cometh by the means which man must avail himself of, namely, “hearing the word of God” (Ro 10:17), and prayer (Lu 11:13), though the blessing is wholly of God (1Co 3:6, 7).

Pulpit Commentary

And that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Which of the two things is meant – salvation or faith? The grammatical structure and the analogy of the passage favor the former view, “Your salvation is not of yourselves,” though many able men have taken the latter. The apostle is so anxious to bring out the great distinguishing doctrine of grace that he puts it in all lights, affirms it positively, contrasts it with its opposite, and emphasizes it by repetition. It is a gift, not a purchase; a free gift, without money and without price; what would never have been yours, but for the generosity of God. It is very usual in the New Testament thus to represent salvation; cf. our Lord’s words to Nicodemus (John 3:16); to the woman of Samaria (John 4:14); St. Paul’s “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15); “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23); and 1 John 5:11, “God gave unto us eternal life, and the life is in his Son.” This usage confirms the view that it is not merely faith, but the whole work and person of Christ which faith receives, that is meant here as the “gift of God.”

Bengel’s Gnomen

Ephesians 2:8. Τῃ—χάριτι) τῇ has a relative meaning, in reference to Ephesians 2:5, χάριτι.—γὰρ, for) He does not say, therefore, but for, because he concludes [infers] from the effect to the cause.—διὰ τῆς πίστεως, by faith) which arises from the resurrection of Christ, chap. Ephesians 1:19,[23] [whence it is not at all mentioned in Ephesians 2:5, but for the first time in Ephesians 2:8. See Colossians 2:12.—V. g.] The antithesis is, not of works; an antithesis of the same kind as that between grace andboasting [“lest any man should boast”].—καὶ τοῦτο) and this, namely, believing, or faith, is not of yourselves. The antithesis is: this is the gift of God alone.

[23] Which passage implies, not merely that faith believes in Christ’s resurrection, but that also it is the same Spirit, which raised Jesus, which raises the spiritually dead and creates in them faith.
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The question is largely occasioned by the construction of the Greek, in which “that” (neuter) does not agree with “faith” (feminine).—Many great expositors, Calvin at the head of them, accordingly take “that” to refer to the main previous idea, and “through faith” to be a separate inserted thought. Alford, who takes this view, states the case for it briefly and well. Nevertheless we recommend the other explanation, and for the following simple reason: the phrase “and that” (lit., “and this”) is familiar in N.T. Greek to introduce an addition of thought, enforcing or heightening what has gone before. See 1 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 6:8; “and that before the unbelievers;” “and that, your brethren;” Php 1:28; Hebrews 11:12, (A.V., “and him, &c.”). But if it here refers only to the general previous idea, gratuitous salvation, it is hard to see what new force of thought it adds to the words “by grace.” If on the other hand it refers to the last special statement, “through faith,” there is a real additional point in the assertion that even the act of believing is a gift of God; for thus precisely the one link in the process where the man might have thought he acted alone, and where therefore, in St Paul’s sense, he might claim to “boast,” is claimed for God. Let the clauses, “and that, not of you; God’s is the gift,” be taken as a parenthesis, and the point of the interpretation will be clear; while the Greek amply admits the arrangement.

That “faith” is a matter of Divine gift is clear from e. g. 2 Corinthians 4:13; Php 1:29. Not that a new faculty of trust is implanted, but gracious manifestations—of the soul’s need and the Saviour’s glory—prevail upon the will to choose to repose trust in the right Object. The “gift” of faith is but one phase of the Divine action which (Php 2:13) “worketh in us to will.” And it may be said to be one aspect of the “gift of repentance” (Acts 5:31; 2 Timothy 2:25), for repentance is no mere preliminary to faith; it is the whole complex “change of mind” which includes faith.

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Axiomatic Thinking

AntiDivineRevelationAxiomaticThinking2

While there are hundreds of logical fallacies, the axiomatic thinking fallacy is the only operative fallacy. That’s easy to understand. Axiomatic thinking is just making stuff up. We all know about making stuff up. Everyone does it at some point. Many things we all believe is simply make-believe.

Axiomatic thinking takes many forms. Assumptions are things that aren’t known but that are treated as if they were known. Unsupported assertions, such as,

“Evolution is a fact.”

are statements that are made without any evidence. In the case of the statement,

“Evolution is a fact.”

you can be pretty sure that the person who said it is using an equivocation fallacy as a smokescreen to cover the blatant axiomatic thinking fallacy. The illusion that is created is, “The story about molecules turning into people over long periods of time is a fact.” The word, “evolution,” is given the definition of “the story that molecules turned into people over long periods of time.” This story isn’t a fact, though. So, the smokescreen is to insist that the word, “evolution,” means both “the story that molecules turned into people over long periods of time,” and “minor adaptations within kinds of living things.” We can observe the minor adaptations within kinds of living things. We can’t observe the story that molecules turned into people over long periods of time. These are two totally different concepts, but the evolution-believer is using the same word, “evolution,” for these different concepts. That creates confusion in thinking. It’s known as “equivocation.” Schools train people in this kind of irrationality, and it becomes so ingrained that graduates find it impossible to be rational.

By the way, the only way around the axiomatic thinking fallacy is Divine revelation. God speaks through Scripture and through every means mentioned in Scripture. When we add to His Utterances or diminish them, we have one tool to do this. It’s the axiomatic thinking fallacy. We make assumptions. We use bare assertions. We use outright lies. Then, we use smokescreens, such as circular reasoning or infinite regression to hide our axiomatic thinking fallacies.

In conclusion, the only operative fallacy is axiomatic thinking. All other fallacies serve the purpose of giving the illusion that the axiom is part of reality.

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Sin Violates Love

EveryViolation

This subject confuses Christians. God clarifies this through Scripture, and yet Christians are confused. The purpose of this post is to try to set things straight. Love is tied to reason in that sin makes us callous to God. Love fulfills the Law. Sin is breaking the Law. When we’re callous toward God, discernment decreases. Without discernment, it’s impossible to tell the difference between reality and make-believe. Submission to the Holy Spirit will result in increasing discernment from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord. It results in a mind that is made new, as Romans 12:1-2 mentions.

There are two main distortions of God’s love among Christians. One tries to self-generate love. This is equivalent to trying to self-generate God. It is also equivalent to trying to self-generate righteousness. Self-righteousness frustrates the grace of God. God gives His grace, His free gift of righteousness. When we jump in and try to help, we defile His righteousness with our fleshly efforts. We start with extra-biblical forms, rituals, doctrines, laws, rules, and that sort of thing. We go on to try to do great works for God. We speak visions out of our own hearts (innermost minds). We show contempt for anyone who won’t go along with our foolishness. I say, “we,” because I’m just as guilty. May the Holy Spirit deliver us both.

The second distortion is the target of this meme. There is the notion that “God is love, so God doesn’t care what we do.” It’s the notion that “a loving God doesn’t mind sexual sin, covetousness, stealing, or any other sin that people think will make them happy.” Sometimes, sex outside of marriage is given the false label of “love.” God created sex holy for a specific relationship in a specific order that’s fully defined in Scripture. Distorting sex in any way is not love. It’s the lack of love. When a man and woman violate this by sexual thoughts, speech, or action outside of a life-long commitment of marriage between one man and one woman, it’s not love. It’s the absence of love. It’s spiritual wickedness that enslaves them to Satan. It destroys the order of the home as God designed it. The order of the home is the basic unit of the Church, so it hurts the Church. It’s very destructive. It even destroys countries and societies. The sins people think will make them happy only make them addicted to those sins. They become increasingly ensnared and enslaved. They lose the ability to know the difference between right and wrong. They can’t tell the difference between reality and make-believe. They can’t reason or sense the Holy Spirit’s leading any more. Sin brings death and judgment. Salvation is salvation from sin and to righteousness.

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” 1 John 3:7

Notice that He warns us not to allow anyone to deceive us. The reason that God warns us in this way is because someone is going to try to deceive us. Imputed righteousness is real righteousness. It’s God thinking His thoughts, speaking His Utterances, and doing His Works through you by His Grace, which is accessed through real Faith, which comes to us as we hear His Voice and yield ourselves to Him. That’s what righteousness is.

Righteousness is walking on the Path or the Way. Christ is the Way. He speaks the Truth to us, which He is. When we walk in the Way, we are walking in the Life of the coming Age, a Life which He is. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Truth is reality. It’s what’s really real.

We walk in this way by hearing and acknowledging the leading of Christ. We can’t self-generate righteousness, but we can will to do His Will rather than our own wills or the wills of other people or the wills of demons. There are many who would like to lead us, including our own minds. Christ may speak through other Christians to lead us. God speaks of that in 1 Corinthians 12. He says that God isn’t like an idol that’s incapable of articulate speech. He’s not dumb, unable to talk. Then, He says that no person can call Jesus accursed by the Holy Spirit and no one can say that Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit. Then, He goes on to name the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit that make Christ visible in His Body of believers. In other Scripture, He explains how those gifts are imparted by the laying on of hands and prophecy of the presbytery.

Sin is stepping or slipping off of this way. Sin is listening to our own leading, turning our will inward toward our own fleshly minds or generating visions out of our own hearts. Sin is listening to those who aren’t speaking by the Spirit of God, ungodly counselors or Christians who are following their own intellects. Sin is listening to the leading of demonic powers by exposing ourselves to that which is filthy, violent, or sensual. This may be conversations where we try to fit in with the ungodly. This may be various forms of media, magazines at the checkout counter, Internet images, TV shows that are increasingly violent and increasingly promote perversions of sex. It includes every misrepresentation of the Good News about what Jesus Christ is doing in and through His Church.

 

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Receiving Revelation

TheHumanMindIsCapableOf ReceivingOrRejecting

The human mind is capable of receiving or rejecting revelation. God is capable of imparting it. God asks us not to add to it or diminish it.

There’s a philosophy, known as “Rationalism,” that claims that the human mind (at least certain minds of people who are labeled “intellectuals”) are capable of self-generating knowledge without the benefit of either Divine revelation or observation. There is no evidence for this philosophy. Some Christians also accept this philosophy, at least in practice. These are the ones who lean on their own understandings and divide the Church.

 

The human mind can’t self-generate knowledge. Even the Atheists and Skeptics know that, but they then say that nothing can be known–or that, since nothing can be known, basing everything on assumptions is just OK and can somehow yield a proximate knowledge–which is nonsense. That’s why discussions with them are so frustrating unless you realize that they’re just making the whole thing up.

When the human mind tries to pull knowledge out of itself, it has to make things up. When communicating this vapor, fallacies are the vehicle to give the illusion that the made-up stuff has substance. Everywhere you see a theological argument, you will find made-up stuff presented as if it had substance. However, Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It’s the evidence, absolute certainty, of things not seen. And it only comes by hearing, that is, hearing the rhema (Utterance) of God. In other words, we need Divine leading, teaching, and guiding.

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Forgive one another

WaitingForSomeoneToAskForForgiveness

Forgiveness is a miracle. It takes the Christ living in you and working through you. The carnal mind isn’t capable of it. The benefits are wonderful. Failing to forgive is wearing a weight that will slow or stop your spiritual progress.

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