Following Christ

There’s a basic difference between the person who’s following Christ and the person who isn’t following Christ. Both of them still sin. Both of them still have a sinful nature. The person who isn’t following Christ loves the sin, and takes the side of sin and oppose God. As a result, this person dreads God. The person who is following Christ takes God’s side against those sins.

We Christians sometimes get all mixed up on works. Some try to do works to please God–to earn salvation. Others try to do works to pay God back for the fact that God has forgiven them, yet, God says that those works are filthy rags–not much of a gift. Still others don’t think that works are important, since whatever sin they are doing is going to be forgiven anyway. Sometimes, they say that they have the righteousness of Christ imparted to them in a way that doesn’t show in their actions. God says, ”

“The difference between an unconverted man and a converted man is not that one sins and the other does not; but that the one takes part with his cherished sins against a dreaded God, and the other takes part with a reconciled God against his hated sins.” William Arnot

There’s a basic difference between the person who is following Christ and the person who isn’t following Christ. Both of them still sin. Both of them still have a sinful nature. The person who isn’t following Christ loves the sin, and takes the side of sin and oppose God. As a result, this person dreads God. The person who is following Christ takes God’s side against those sins.

We Christians sometimes get all mixed up on works. Some try to do works to please God. Others try to do works to pay God back for the fact that God has forgiven them. Still others don’t think that works are important, since whatever sin they are doing is going to be forgiven anyway. None of these is right.

Works must proceed from God. He must be the One Who initiates them. He must be the One Who does them. That is what happens by grace through faith. God tells us, through Scripture, that it is His grace that does the works. God tells us, through Scripture, that faith gives us access into this grace. God tells us, through Scripture, that faith comes by hearing God’s rhema. Rhema is a Greek word that means utterance. It’s the utterance of God. While Scripture is the utterance of God, Scripture also mentions several ways that God speaks to us. We call this being led by the Spirit. When we obey Christ, we are keeping pace with the Spirit. However, the only way that we can obey is to first acknowledge Christ and then yield to the Spirit of Christ so that God can do His works through us. We Christians do this all the time without really thinking much about what has happened. We pray about something. Suddenly, we know what we’re supposed to do. When we turn to do it, the doors open for us and we find a sense of having done the will of God. Yet, pride doesn’t flood in. We feel humbled and we feel as if we have yielded to the Spirit of God that that God deserves all the glory.” (1 John 3:7) Yet, Paul said that he didn’t frustrate the grace of God. What did Paul mean?

Works must proceed from God. He must be the One Who initiates them. He must be the One Who does them. That is what happens by grace through faith. God tells us, through Scripture, that it is His grace that does the works. God tells us, through Scripture, that faith gives us access into this grace. God tells us, through Scripture, that faith comes by hearing God’s rhema. Rhema is a Greek word that means utterance. It’s the utterance of God. While Scripture is the utterance of God, Scripture also mentions several ways that God speaks to us. We call this being led by the Spirit. When we obey Christ, we are keeping pace with the Spirit. However, the only way that we can obey is to first acknowledge Christ and then yield to the Spirit of Christ so that God can do His works through us. We Christians do this all the time without really thinking much about what has happened. We pray about something. Suddenly, we know what we’re supposed to do. When we turn to do it, the doors open for us and we find a sense of having done the will of God. Yet, pride doesn’t flood in. We feel humbled and we feel as if we have yielded to the Spirit of God that that God deserves all the glory.

We are saved from sin. We are saved to good works. Good works come from our good God. We are His yielded vessels through whom He can move and work. If we resist Him, He will forgive, but we must not resist Him. There are consequences. When God leads and then does His works through us, this is righteousness. It’s not our own righteousness. It’s the imparted righteousness of Christ. Righteousness leads to holiness. Holiness is a condition of being like Christ. It’s a condition of having Christ formed in you and in me. We are encouraged to build Christ up. As we build Christ up, we die to the old Adam, the fleshly person. The flesh has less influence. The Holy Spirit has more influence. Some of the old sins that so easily tempted us begin to drop away. However, the opposite is also true. If we willingly sin, we become more enslaved by sin. We are set free from the Holy Spirit. What good does that do us? Satan promises satisfaction, but he never delivers. “I shall be satisfied when I awake in Thy likeness.” Psalm 17:15

 

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Ever Learning

Realize that if what you think you know requires even a single assumption, you don’t know it. It’s a bare assertion.

2 Timothy 3:2-9 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

The Holy Spirit is sent from the Father and the Son to teach us all Truth. Jesus is Truth.

 

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Science is Knowledge

WeakestLink-Assumption2

The word, “science,” must be defined as “knowledge.” pseudo-science bases pseudo-knowledge on assumptions. It claims that “scientific” assumptions are somehow different from ordinary assumptions. However, assumptions are unknown things that are treated as known things. It’s easy to see that unknown things cannot be the basis of knowledge. It’s also easy to see that it’s irrational to claim that unknown things are known things–which is what assumptions do by definition.

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Once the Train of Reason has Left the Tracks

WhereTruePremise

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Whoever is on the side of truth listens to Me. ~ Jesus

Once the train of reason has left the tracks, it can go anywhere. Consider that logic requires a true premise. Where can a Secularist find a true premise?

Truth is absolute by nature. When Secularists pull out a premise, how do they know the premise is true? They need a premise for the premise. How do they know that the premise for the premise is true? They need a premise for the premise of the premise. This problem has no end for the Secularist. It is infinite regression.

Only Divine revelation solves this problem. God speaks truth into our hearts (innermost minds) through Scripture or the various means of Divine revelation mentioned in Scripture. It seems that He generally gives this Divine revelation by several means each confirming the other, the Scripture being among the various means and having the most reliable authority. One of the means is often a brother or sister speaking by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12).

The human mind does want to get in here to interpret Scripture (in preference to what the Holy Spirit is saying through Scripture) or as an alternative to the Holy Spirit’s leading, but Christ’s sheep know His Voice. We never have an excuse when we are drawn away by our own lust. The Secularists are also without excuse, since God has revealed Himself to them through the things that He has created.

Yet, all Secularists have the same problem. They wander without a known true premise. Sometimes, they have true premises, since God reveals things to them. They think those premises are assumptions, since they refuse to acknowledge God. They think that the Divine revelation you receive from the Holy Spirit is assumption. They think that you believe the Bible is God’s Word without error because you are using circular reasoning. If you tell them that God revealed this to you, they assume that what you call “Divine revelation” is mere assumption. Everything, to them, seems to be assumption, since they are intent on denying God’s existence and they are refusing to acknowledge Him.

The sad state of the Secularist is that God turns them over to their own reprobate mind to think their own self-generated thoughts that have no basis in truth. They can’t have a premise that they can know true. They can have a true premise; they just can’t know that it’s true. It’s not that God stops revealing things to them. If God did that, they would be dead in a week. They would step in front of buses, walk off cliffs, eat poison, or do other things that would end their lives. Secularists know things. They just can’t tell the difference between Divine revelation and assumption. Assumptions consist of made-up stuff. Secularists will insist they their own assumptions are better than that–more reliable. They will “prove” their assumptions with other arguments that are based on assumptions. The Divine revelation they receive is reliable. In Christ is hidden all wisdom and knowledge. God’s rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. However, without the ability to acknowledge Christ, the Secularist loses the ability to know the difference between what the Secularist makes up (assumes) and what God reveals as truth. The Secularist can’t tell the difference between reality and make-believe. For the Secularist, every conclusion comes from made-up stuff. This is the upshot of the Münchausen trilemma.

All fallacies fall into one of two categories. First is made-up stuff. Here’s a partial list: hypostatization, bare assertion, reasoning from a presupposition, ipse dixit, outright lie, bold-faced lie, half-truth, blind authority, and hypothesis contrary to fact. Second is smokescreen. Smokescreens attempt to hide the fact that everything is being made up, that reason has left the tracks, that there’s no true premise. Here’s a partial list of smokescreens: false appeal to authority, red herring, circular reasoning, flawed evidence, coercion, false bravado, infinite regression, message control, fallacies of choice, false comparison fallacies. Of course, there are hundreds of these two types of fallacies. The point is that these two types of fallacies are the only options for Secularists. They have no other options. They’re forced to live in a land of fantasy. And, they project their fantasies on you. If God gives you something as simple as, “God is good,” they project their fantasy on that and claim that you are assuming this to be true.

It’s not just conscious thinking by the Secularist that is a problem. The human mind has several parts. There is the will. There is the conscious reasoning part. There is the part of which we are seldom aware, the heart, innermost mind, conscience, or reins. I don’t know all about this part. I don’t know whether these are all the same thing exactly, but they seem to be at least closely related. And they seem to be the place where the worldview resides. The worldview is a total representation of the entire Universe in each person. Books have been written about the limiting problem of paradigms. Every technological advance has come by someone breaking out of the paradigm. Peer review was brought in to find a way out of the problem of paradigms/worldviews, but peers are limited to those who agree, and the result is even worse than having no peer review. Now, the illusion of reality is made stronger. The confirmation bias is a group effort. Group-think takes over. Strongholds are built in individual minds and in the group consensus. These strongholds contain truth and lie all mixed together so that they are humanly impossible to sort out. Only the Holy Spirit can free us.

The worldview is a total representation of the entire Universe in each person. Books have been written about the limiting problem of paradigms. Every technological advance has come by someone breaking out of a paradigm. Peer review was brought in to find a way out of the problem of paradigms/worldviews, but peers are limited to those who agree, and the result is even worse than having no peer review. Now, the illusion of reality is made stronger. The confirmation bias is a group effort. Groupthink takes over. Strongholds are built in individual minds and in the group consensus. These strongholds contain truth and lie all mixed together so that they are humanly impossible to sort out. Only the Holy Spirit can free us.

Did I mention that we all have worldviews? Each of us has one. Denominations are built around the same sort of confirmation bias that the Secularists use. The only way out is to allow the Holy Spirit to minister truth to us. We must stop resisting the Holy Spirit. When we read Scripture, for instance, our attitude ought to be that of allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us and show us where our understanding is incomplete or in error. When we limit the Holy Spirit to only showing us those things that we already think that we know, we also confirm our bias. When we fail to acknowledge Him, we lose the ability to know the difference between reality and make-believe. He has power to tear down our own strongholds, but the Holy Spirit doesn’t force Himself on anyone–not even on us as Christians.

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The Basis of Creationism versus Evolutionism

The anti-Creation side asserts that the following assumptions are necessary for science, even claiming that not accepting these assumptions makes science or engineering impossible to do:A thought chain is as strong as it's weakest link. Add one assumption and you can prove anything.

  • the assumption that assumptions are necessary for scientific conclusions (the conclusions can be based on assumptions).
  • the assumption that we can use assumptions to establish knowledge
  • the assumption that there’s no difference between knowledge established by direct observation and knowledge established by arbitrary assumptions,made-up stories, plus direct observation so long as a majority of scientists accept the assumptions and stories
  • the assumption that anyone who won’t accept the anti-Bible assumptions can’t do science or engineering
  • the assumption that anti-Bible assumptions aren’t arbitrary like all other assumptions but are based on “experience”
  • the assumption that there’s no Creator God enforcing all the natural laws, but rather random chance–Naturalism, and the laws of nature just happen to be the way they are for no particular reason
  • the assumption that God didn’t create but everything just happened
  • the assumption that the big bang happened even though we don’t know how nothing could have caused everything
  • the assumption that God sent no worldwide, catastrophic Flood (the arbitrary assumption of Uniformitarianism as opposed to Catastrophism)
  • the assumption that the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story is science and to question it is unscientific
  • the assumption that all the thousands of other arbitrary assumptions and stories that are needed in order to keep big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man alive are valid and to be accepted as true without any evidence
  • the assumption that science will eventually find ways to explain how matter could have created itself, how information could be added to cells, how the first self-replicating life could have formed, where the laws of nature came from, and all the other unanswered questions (mysteries) that seem to indicate that the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story is just a lie

The Creation side asserts that the following revelation (which God speaks through the Bible and through personal experience with Jesus Christ) is the necessary for science, since not accepting this revelation results in science based on arbitrary assumptions:

  • the revelation that assumptions are arbitrary and not a valid basis for conclusions
  • the revelation that when we go beyond what can be observed or what God has revealed through Scripture, we ought not to be dogmatic
  • the revelation that God is the source of all the laws of science and the reason that we can know that those laws will be faithfully upheld
  • the revelation that God created the Heavens and the Earth and everything in them in six days
  • the revelation that mankind fell into sin, and having been given dominion over the Earth, brought Creation into the Fall
  • the revelation that the curse of death and sorrow is the natural consequence that followed from the Fall into sin
  • the revelation that God sent the worldwide, catastrophic Genesis Flood as the consequence of sin
  • the revelation that God caused the confusion of languages because of the rebellion of mankind
  • the revelation that mankind was, and is, not able to fulfill righteousness by obeying rules
  • that God came to Earth in the form of Jesus to save us by paying the price of sin and God’s plan to remove sin from anyone who will come to Him
  • the revelation that God will ultimately judge of every person according to His wisdom and holiness
  • the revelation that part of science is logic. If logic is used in a way that creates the illusion of being able to know something when the thing claimed isn’t really known, then logic is useless. It’s a fallacy. It’s a lie.
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Why Depend on Assumption?

God tells us to acknowledge Him and not to lead on our own understandings. He tells us not to add to His Words, yet we try to interpret Scripture using assumptions. Why, when we have the Infinite Creator of the Universe dwelling within to lead and guide us moment by moment?

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Works by Grace through Faith

Only by grace can we do any works that aren’t filthy rags. In fact, grace does the works of God. We access grace by faith or through faith. Faith is a gift of God. We can’t work it up from ourselves. It comes when we hear the rhema of God. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of God.” Romans 10:17 “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 “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on (literally into) him whom he hath sent.” John 6:28-29

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Sola Scriptura

The discussion has shifted from when Martin Luther asserted Sola Scriptura. Now, the discussion is not whether Scripture is the authority. The discussion is concerning the scope of that authority and the interpretation of Scripture. Oh, there are some who declare (by unsupported assertion) that the Bible is not authority, but they aren’t credible. Their arguments aren’t rational. Making the matter more difficult, most people don’t realize that interpretation, by its very nature, adds to Scripture. There are three ways to interpret Scripture. Scripture can be interpreted by the human mind. It can be interpreted by demons. It can be interpreted by the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, Jesus promised that no one who asks for the Holy Spirit will receive anything else. God tells us, through Paul’s writings, that we only know in part and that, if we think we know anything, we don’t know as we ought. That means, we need to hold our interpretations loosely enough that the Holy Spirit will be able to correct us.

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Sola Scriptura

Sola Scriptura: “Scripture alone as authority.” “Scripture alone is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, not the traditions of men or even the Church.”

Some have twisted sola Scriptura to mean that the Scripture is the only way that God speaks. However, Scripture doesn’t say that Scripture is the only way that God speaks. God, speaking through Scripture, tells us that Scripture is not the only way that God speaks. In fact, we can’t know that Scripture alone is the inspired, inerrant Word of God unless God reveals this to us, and God doesn’t specifically say this in Scripture. He says that Scripture cannot be broken. He says that 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. Some have implied that this means that Scripture is they only way that a servant of God may be equipped for every good work. That would be to leave Christ out of the matter. In this way, a dedicated Atheist who studies Scripture so he can claim that God doesn’t exist is being equipped for every good work. If Scripture is all that is needed, that would be the result. It’s true that no one can read Scripture or hear it being read without interacting with the living Christ, but rejection is also an interaction. Acknowledgement of the Christ must occur, not just acknowledging that the Bible exists. The Holy Spirit revealed which books belong in the cannon of Scripture and He has revealed that Scripture alone is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, not the traditions of men or even the Church.

Sola Scriptura is one of five solas that Martin Luther received by the Holy Spirit. None of the solas stands on its own. The solas are interdependent. For instance, if we declare that Scripture alone holds the key to knowing certain things, we need to know why Scripture alone holds the key. If Scripture is the foundation, what is the foundation of Scripture. The foundation of Scripture is the Writer of Scripture, the Triune God. He is the One Who wrote Scripture. He is the only One Who can interpret Scripture. He tells us, through Scripture, that Scripture can be falsely interpreted by Satan or by the human mind. It can be twisted.

It seems that every person who has a strongly held opinion about a certain interpretation of Scripture considers his or her opinion to be the right opinion. That person will consider any other interpretation to be a form of twisting Scripture. Some twisting of Scripture is obvious. Often, you end up with two theologians each accusing the other of twisting Scripture. Both of them have added to Scripture through interpretation. Interpretation, by it’s very nature, must add to Scripture.

This is a quote from a theologian:

But the Bible says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, emphasis added). This means the man of God needs no outside help to mature. The Bible alone is sufficient for faith and practice. By it alone we can know what Jesus desires of us.

Adding to God’s words goes like this: God said A. This means B. B is not A. B is a modified version of A.

In this case, adding to God’s words goes this way. God says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, emphasis added). This means “The man of God needs no outside help to mature. The Bible alone is sufficient for faith and practice. By it alone we can know what Jesus desires of us.”

Let’s test this. Suppose that a young person is considering two different careers. One is the career as a Java programmer. The other is a career as a Dot Net programmer. Where, in the Bible, do you look for the answer? You aren’t allowed to pray to God for guidance in the issue, remember. Remember what the theologian has said. “By it (the Bible) alone we can know what Jesus desires of us.”

Some people solve this by saying that there are many things God just doesn’t care about. You can do whatever you want. When choosing a wife or husband, there’s no need to ask for guidance. Just read your Bible. Write down the criteria and pick someone who meets the criteria in the Bible. Don’t add to the Bible at all.

Well, the human mind tends to interpret Scripture. It tends to add to Scripture through interpretation. That’s a big part of why we have denominations, divisions, in the Church. My own interpretation appears to be pure Scripture to me. Your own interpretation appears to be pure Scripture to you. You can’t understand how I get my interpretation when your own interpretation is obviously correct. That’s because interpretations are filtered through worldviews. Worldviews appear to be reality. However, worldviews are not reality. They are concept. They are not accurate. Yet, they seem to be reality. Second Corinthians chapter three mentions this problem, referring to a veil through which Scripture is seen.

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Ever Learning, Never Knowing

Whenever we look at things in the present and try to extrapolate into the past, everything we dream up by such a process should be held very tentatively. If the evidence is considered selectively, we are in even more danger of being wrong. If we are trying to conform to the world, we have even more reason to seek God concerning our thinking. If there is a financial or ego-based incentive, we are even more likely to be deceived. The human mind is evil and deceitful. However, the Holy Spirit is our teacher. If we are walking in the Spirit, we are learning to hear His voice and to respond in obedience and submission. He promises to teach us all things. Alternatively, we can lean on our own understanding, ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth.

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