No! Non! Nein! Nyet! NO!

You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.

Pope Francis

I have a serious problem with this statement.  God is Just.  God MUST be just or He is not completely perfectly righteous.  If someone doesn’t believe in God and doesn’t seek the walk of faith, then they have no part in heaven.  It seems completely unfair since not everyone has a chance to hear the Gospel, but God is just.  His law is not negotiable, nor does it make special exceptions or exemptions for acts of good conscience.  You can not work your way into God’s grace and mercy because we are unrighteous, unholy beings and everything we do on our own is tainted by our sin-state.

This thinking that we have any say in our salvation aside from acceptance of and adoration for the Savior Himself is the essence of sin itself – it is selfish pride – that we can be good enough!

Ha!  If it came from someone lesser, it wouldn’t offend me as much… but still… I’m sorry if you like Pope Francis, but on this HE. IS. WRONG.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

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Grace Revisited

I originally wrote this in October 2012.  In light of my last two days’ writings, let’s revisit it.

Have you ever contemplated what grace really is?  Grace is not an abstract concept, but a fundamental reconstruction of mans’ relationship with the Almighty.

Imagine when you die and go to stand in judgment before God.  Your sins and shortcomings will be laid before you, down to very last.  The case against you is ironclad, even if you are a “good” person.

This is the point of the law – the Ten Commandments, the Levitical Law, all of the guidelines for living contained within the Bible – they are an ideal to strive for, but we ultimately will fail because we are human.  We are not holy, nor perfect, and we cannot approach God in any way because of even the tiniest sin.  God’s infinite righteousness and holiness would obliterate our very existence like a candle’s flame being blown out because we have sin in our hearts.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

Here is where salvation gets interesting.  You and your attorney (the Risen Christ, if you have Him as your Lord and Savior) will not plead for mercy.  Here is how I have heard this characterized.

God: “How do you plead?”

Christ: “The client pleads guilty your Honor.”

God: “The penalty is death then.”

Christ: “Your Honor, Father, the penalty has been paid.  I, Your Beloved Son, have paid it in full.”

God: “The Lord God is Just.  Since the penalty has been paid, no further debt is owed.  Your record is forever sealed and expunged.  Welcome good and faithful servant and enter your rest.”

(I’d like to think that, upon that announcement, the entire heavenly courtroom full of angels erupts into raucous cheers and celebration.)

God loves justice.  He said so directly in Isaiah.

For I, the Lord, love justice.

Isaiah 61:8

There must be justice for the actions you took as an enemy of God, as a sinner.  God will not show mercy at judgment, but rather He will exact full punishment on sin.

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

Romans 8:7

If the story stopped here, we’d all be royally screwed. Again, THIS is the point of the law in the first place.  The law shows us how we fall short, it shows us our need for forgiveness, for grace, for mercy, and for resanctification.

You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Galatians 5:4

We thankfully have a Savior.  He came, lived as one of us – fully God and fully human at the same time.  He surrendered His glory, His will, and His preeminence so that He could serve as the payment of debt for all sin.

We do not rely on the mercy of the Court, but on the fact that Christ already paid the debt you owe.  God is just.

What are you going to rely on?  Mercy or grace?

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:1-2

Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

1 Timothy 1:13-16

Christ has mercy on you.  He created you.  He came to reconcile His creation to Him.  You might be just a speck in the grand scheme of things, but the Creator of the universe paid your debt.  The payment is grace.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

John 1:1-4

The whole concept of the entire Bible, is to convey to us that we are recipients of grace, not mercy.  There will be justice in the end.  There has to be because God is just.

So what is it for you?  Grace and the chance to hear Christ stand up and say “I have paid his debt in full?” Or throwing yourself on the mercy of the court at the very end?

The reason I have such a problem with people picking and choosing what they want to believe out of the Bible is that they are trying to make themselves more comfortable. They are trying to remove the scary part of the grace equation from their consciousness, because to admit that you are as good as shit in a sewer and unable to emerge from it on your own is a scary, unpleasant place to be, and it is even scarier when you consider that every single person who ever lived, except One, was in the same place as you.  The good news is that the One reached down into that muck and all you have to do is take His hand.

That is grace, because

GOD   IS   JUST.

Yearning to Breathe Free

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless and tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Inscription on the Statue of Liberty

One of the first things people used to see when they emigrated to these United States of America for decades was the gleaming statue in New York Harbor.  What most people saw was the start of the new life.  They were close to the truth, and millions of men and women have looked on that statue and been reminded of the costs of liberty and the responsibility we all share to ensure that it never dies from this Earth again.

It never will.  That statue welcomed those immigrants in days past as a beacon of hope at the end of a long journey.  Read that inscription again, but instead of Lady Liberty saying it… imagine them as the words of Christ.  In fact, He often said much the same things…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:17

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Luke 19:10

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless and tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.

Thomas Jefferson

The Death of the Republic: Action

It is time to act.

It is time to reject apathy.

It is time to reject ambivalence.

It is time to reject passivity, tolerance, and fairness.

It is time to embrace liberty.

It is time to ensure justice.

It is time to take a stand – to set in stone what you believe and prepare to vigorously defend it regardless of the cost to you personally.

How do we as a country solve this problem?

How do we conquer the attitude of “it doesn’t affect me?”

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

Ephesians 4:25

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

1 John 3:11

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 13:34

It all affects you.  Every. Single. Last. Thing.  The change that must be made comes from within.  If you are not willing to stand up next to your brother, next to your neighbor, next to your fellow citizen against all evils and in every time of need, we will fall. We must change how we behave personally.

We must be a bulwark against tyranny, not for our own sake’s, but for our fellow citizens, our neighbors, our brothers, and our families.

We must passionately take up the standard of liberty, the Constitution, and the Word of Almighty God as the foundations of liberty – unshakeable, immovable, and eternal.

We must stand on fact, highlight truth, and shout it from the mountaintops for all to hear or the beacon of freedom in the world will be extinguished.  It may very well be extinguished one day, but the truth will never be extinguished as long as one man or woman has it on their lips.

We must take seriously Christ’s command to love God and love our neighbors.  We can say we love God, but if we do not take action to prove that love, what good is it?  We can say we love our neighbors, but if we do not act on their behalf even when they do not want or do not think that they need it, then we have not fulfilled the command.

We must display our passion for our ideals more than ever, and our willingness to not only take up arms to defend liberty, justice, equality, and freedom, but to lay down our lives ultimately if necessary for them.

We must, through our actions, through our voices, and through our lives – how we live and how we die – express with no reservations that there are some things worth giving it all to attain and preserve.

Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.

Leviticus 25:10

I hope to one day tell me sons that their father did not stand by indifferent and ambivalent about the future of their country and of earthly liberty.

I will one day stand in judgment before my Creator, and I will answer for whether when the time came whether I stood or sat idly by.

I will stand.

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.

Martin Luther

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Symptoms and Birthpains

I have struggled with speaking up on this issue.  My struggle was not one where I thought my positions were contrary to the Word of God.  It wasn’t because it was a difficult topic to address because if you have read this for any length of time, you’ll know that I am willing to say the harsh truth if necessary.  My struggle wasn’t with any person or group.  My struggle was with my own guilt – I am a sinner, and as I have written before, if you have broken God’s law once, you have broken all of it.

I hesitated to wade into this issue because I was clouded with anger over it, but I have recently realized that my angry was misplaced.  My anger was not wrong or sinful and I believe it was and is still a righteous anger.

What issue could have me so hesitant and angry all at once?

What issue would the world tell me I’m not allowed to have a valid opinion about because I lack the necessary anatomy to fully understand it from the right perspective?

Abortion.

Don’t stop reading now though. I am not going to wax for pages on this as others have already well-worn the Biblical arguments against it. I just want to ask a few simple questions.

Has abortion-on-demand had a cultural impact since it’s nationwide legalization and inception in the 1970s?

Has that impact been a cheapening of the value of life within our society?

Could that lessened value have a negative impact as the generation that is in the thirties or below have not known a country without such “convenience” at terminating life that does not fit into one’s “plans?”

Could that very loss of value that life has historically had within Western Civilization be the causal reason why men like Kermit Gosnell and Douglas Karpen feel that they can get away with the wholesale slaughter of viable infants, including those born alive, not in an act of surgical birth control, but of mass murder of the worst degree – infanticide?

How can the world say that I cannot take a stand against evil – against murder?

How can I not burn with righteous anger as the horrors of the Gosnell abortion case came to light?

Now what should we do about it?

There are some that believe we should picket outside of abortion providers’ offices.

Some believe that we should fight this battle in the legislature and judiciary.

Some believe that we should fight this battle in the court of public opinion.

I believe that while those tactics have their valid places, they will not succeed in the face of one simple fact.  The houses of horror that they are designed to counter will not be swayed by such temporal, human weakness.

Are you ready for the answer?

I wasn’t.

Love.

Not human love though as our love is tainted with selfishness, pride, and jealousy.

We must ask God to pour into us His love.  We must shine the light of Christ, the infinite, forgiving, all-consuming love of our Creator and our Savior on these clinics, on these men and women corrupted by the pervasive evils that they perform day in and out at the behest of women that are afraid.  They fear the consequences of past actions. They fear future encumbrances because they believe that they are entitled to something, whatever it may be.

You cannot fight evil with evil. You can only fight it with love, specifically the pure love of God.  You cannot fight evil with man’s laws, man’s protests, man alone cannot stand against evil.  If man tries to fight evil by himself, he will be undone because you cannot fight evil without exposing it to good.  The only source of good is God.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:7-12

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?”They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

John 8:3-11

Oil and Water

Why does sin require death?

Why does sacrifice require blood?

How does Christ’s death satisfy the debt of sin?

All three are deep theological questions and the answers to each can open up new questions.  Before I dive in, question why something is a certain way is not wrong in any way.  Questioning and even arguing with God is not wrong, but ultimately obedience is what is demanded by the Creator whether we understand fully or not.

Some people are not satisfied with blind obedience though.  As a liberty-minded patriot, I have expressed my disdain for blind obedience before.  That obedience that I have a problem with is directed toward fallible men however, not an infallible God.  So if you have faith in God and obey God absent full and complete theological understanding, that is great for you and it will be credited to you I am certain.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:29

So how do you answer the questions I posed above.  Do you feel the need to answer them?  Do you trust God and love the Lord enough to not need them answered?

There is no wrong answer… just food for thought.

 

 

Definitions

What is cold?  Is cold a measurable thing?

Hardly.  Cold is a word that use to indicate an relative absence of heat.  Heat is a measurable thing.  It represents existential energy as it affects matter and excites it in order to resonate energy thermally, rather than as magnetic attraction, electricity, or kinetically.  Cold is merely the absence of heat.  There is a scientific law that states that absolute zero is the complete absence of heat (we measure this as zero degrees Kelvin, -273.15 degrees Celsius, or -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit).  We have scientifically never reproduced this absence of heat, although we can come pretty close (the world record is one picoKelvin).  Cold by itself is immeasurable as it merely a definition of a word reliant on our understanding of thermal energy, or heat.

If you really want to throw your mind for a loop, consider this – as temperatures (thermal energy) decrease, molecular interactions begin to slow down.  This continues until you begin to approach that absolute zero point and a complete lack of thermal energy, and then molecular interactions and electron travel inexplicably expands and accelerates to far greater than their normal “range” of interactions.  These interactions introduce energetic releases that begin to heat the molecules again.  It appears to be impossible to remove all heat from even a single atom.

Mankind can split the atom, but the neutrons, protons and electrons are not destroyed.  Mankind can try to manipulate matter to a point where, theoretically, all electron motion should cease and the atom itself would self-terminate through neutralization, but as we get close, that fundamental building block of the entire universe rebels against us.

What is darkness?  Is darkness measurable?  Can it be quantified?

Absolutely not.  Darkness is the absence of light.  In the absence of light, we say that we have darkness, but really all we have is nothing.  What about something painted black? Even when shined on with a light, it remains black.  To the human eye, yes.  To a thermal camera, no.  Photons are absorbed by the black colored item and converted from photonic energy (light) into thermal energy (heat).  This is something anyone with a black car on a July day knows all too well.

Just like cold, darkness is a relative concept that must be tied to light in order to have meaning.  It is a term that must be defined based on it’s polarity in relation to it’s opposite, but it’s opposite is not reliant on it for it’s definition.

Even in a dark room, complete devoid of all internal and external light sources, there is light as chemical interactions generate photons (light) as part of the energy exchange.

Now here’s a question for you to ponder now.

What is death, but merely the absence of life?

What is evil, but merely the absence of good?

In the worst moments in our life, where we find ourselves at the bottom of a pit, buried beneath pain, sorrow, depression, regret, hate, and fear there is hope.

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

John 12:46

The answers to all of the questions of this world point to Him, but only if you open your eyes to see.

 

 

 

 

Light

An interesting thought occurred to me this morning.  It revolves around the concept of being light.  I plan on asking about this when I finally get a chance to sit down with my Creator face-to-face because my human mind is having a hard time wrapping itself around this one.

You are the light of the world.

Matthew 5:14

At creation, God created light first.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:3-4

God separates the light from the darkness.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

Ephesians 5:8-13

So if God separates the light from the darkness and we are instructed as Christians to have “nothing to do” with darkness and to expose and illuminate what is concealed, is this an act of of our own will or an act of God?  Or has God already separated the light (Godly and righteous) from the dark (sin) once for all eternity?  Did God foreshadow Christ’s sacrifice within the first few words of the Bible?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans 12:2

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

1 John 2:15

Put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Romans 13:12

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

Plato

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