Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Hebrews 6:4 Why is it impossible to repent?
Many keep coming down at alter calls to be "saved again" because of false teaching. I believe Hebrews 6 teaches that this is impossible; a person who has been saved, been partakers of the Spirit(born again) cannot repent of unbelief or dead works again for salvation. That foundation cannot be layed again, its there. A foundation is the beginning of something, no one keeps laying foundation on foundation, especially not the Creator of the universe. Some who are coming to the alter may be getting back into fellowship if they are confessing sin, but if they think they are being saved again or are being told they must be saved again, they will find no relief or peace, they are falling away from grace, it is impossible to renew them to repentance of unbelief again, you cannot believe in Christ for salvation again, they are crucifying the Son of God again to themselves and putting Him to open shame. False teaching’s take this very same passage to prove a believer is not eternally secure, when it actually says the opposite. In fact if losing your salvation is true, then this passage says you cannot be saved again.
This is a great trouble to many. I don't think God will permit a person to continue to call Him a liar by not believing His promise that he was saved when he believed in Christ alone the first time. He will end up like the children in the wilderness who through unbelief refused to go into the land promised to them. He will wander in the wilderness and bear thorns and thistles instead of entering God’s rest that Christ provided. He has everlasting life but his life on earth will not be abundant because he did not continue in His word and believe that Christ has set him free from the penalty of hell forever and therefore free to live an abundant fruit bearing life. His continuing unbelief in the promises of God has angered God and has set his soul to wander here on earth until his death separates his soul from his body. That’s why the writer says in Hebrews 6:3 “if God permits”. We cannot go on to maturity if we fail to believe God’s promised foundation in Christ.
Hebrews 10: 26-29 expounds on this. If we keep on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth of Christ by not believing God’s promise that our sin is forgiven at the cross, then all that remains is a fearful expectation of judgement. There is no remedy for sin other than Christ. The believer is trampling underfoot the Son of God and insulting the spirit of grace. I believe this angers God more than the vilest sin of the flesh a person can participate in. God will do to the believer, His child, the same has He did to His children He saved out of Eygpt and let them wander & die in the wilderness never knowing a life or land of milk and honey in the presence of God here on earth. God still loved the children of Israel, he continued to feed and care for them for forty years, but they didn’t inherit the promised land because of their unbelief.
These passages in Hebrews are a serious and grave warning from God. It is so sad that some miss-interpret these passages to destroy the foundation of Christ in the life of a confused believer while failing to warn them of the consequences of not believing the promises of God. In fact their mis-interpretation and false teaching is, in a way, the result of not believing God themselves. Many men who mis-interpret tough passages in Hebrews and other scripture are just repeating what someone else has put in a commentary. They should study more, get more opinions and commentaries, and then trust the Spirit who is in them to guide them to all truth.
If you are a believer, be assured that God will keep His promise of everlasting life to in Christ. But because He is one that will not lie, I believe He will not stand for anyone to call Him a liar by not believing His promises.
I would encourage anyone to read and re-read the book of Hebrews. It is one of the most re-assuring, and at the same time, rebuking, books inspired by the Holy Spirit there is for a believer.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Why do we renew our mind?
2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
How many of us have been taught to renew our minds to know what the will of God is for each us? This is true! We must renew our minds to know what is good and acceptable and perfect.
But I think we have missed something here. I was taught this and read these verses myself. What I am proposing here is that most of us stop here in verse 2 and not continue on with Pauls intended context here to understand what the renewing our mind reveals to us and what we should look out for.
3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
4For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,
5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
I think the Holy Spirit here is telling us that when our minds are renewed to know what is good and acceptable then we may have a problem. What is that problem? Well if we read on further it seems that the proper renewing of our minds will let us know what our part in the body of Christ is. That is our gift or gifts that God has given us to minister to each other. Once we know this we may fall into thinking that we are better than others with "lesser" gifts.
So some of us may have a gift or gifts that is "greater" than anothers gift. But this understanding of a "greater" gift is only according to our evil human understanding based on this world system. Remember Paul said don't be conformed to this world. This world system rewards and recognizes the most talented the most successful, the ones with the biggest churches, the ones who have great oral skills, the ones who give large sums of money. We belong to each other and each of us is no is less important in the body to minister in Jesus Name.
6Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;
7if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;
8or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
One of the things I have been missing here; is that one of the reasons and results of renewing our mind is to prove what the will of God is. If I read this correctly in context, part of the will of God is using the gift or gifts that He has given me. I think the church, at least the church and churches I have attended have missed the boat on this. Some us don't even know what our gifts are much less use them in the church we are a member of. To me knowing and using our gifts are one of the foundations of purpose in this life here on earth for every believer.
Would not it be great as a Christian to hear teaching of equality within the church according to our gifts and be taught to just relax by not being conformed to this world of performance for self-worth? Would it not be great to not feel pressured by guilt to do something in the church that is someone elses gift and not yours? Would it not be great to realize our purpose and worth serving others according our gifts?
I am a Southern Baptist and proud of our heritage as a bible believing church of Jesus Christ. But I think we are missing sound teaching that helps all believers who are members of His body in this denomination.
One of the biggest failures, if not the biggest, is constant preaching to all believers the command to witness by being involved in visitation or outreach programs. Don't get me wrong these things are good, I love to go on visitation and share the good news, but not all members of the Body are gifted or have a desire for this. And those who are not gifted this way are dying to be fed teaching on what their gift is and encouragement to use those gifts. Some if not many leave a SBC church for other churches because of discouragement and starvation by a constant battering from the pulpit to "witness" by whatever church "program" is in place. I've even heard messages that they should question their salvation if they don't want to or have desire to participate in visitation or witnessing programs. Hogwash!
It is just as important for some to encourage others, for some to serve others, for some to teach others, etc. Some share the good news, but others disciple and encourage and others desire to give recources because their gift of giving has given them this desire. Some have the gift of mercy to extend mercy to those who are the vilest of sinners. So those who don't have this gift should not look down with contempt on those who do and those who have the gift of mercy should not think themselves more righteous than those who don't. It's only the Jesus in each of us that is giving us different desires and gifts for different ministries for the body of Christ to function properly.
My point is that renewing the mind is not just knowing what is morally right according to God's word. Romans 12 teaches that not all have the same gifts and all are important. Important enough to realize PREACHER/PASTOR/SBC-LEADERS that the same ole baptist message of persuasion by guilt by assuming that every member's mind is renewed to the same gift you have is wrong. Preaching the same message is starving the different members of the same body. There are some believers out there who have a sense of what their gift is, but are not encouraged or even given the chance to use it because the only gift our leaders are concerned with are the gifts that they have and understand.
In my opinion we should preach and teach the great commission, but remember the body has many members with different functions. Preaching and teaching this is important for the church to be healthy, the church is not just a place for unbelievers to be saved only to become totally confused with guilt and lack of purpose for their new lives in Christ.
Why do we renew our mind?
To not be conformed this world system of accepting others and basing our self-worth according to what this world says is important. But it is also to know God's will for each one of us according to the gifts He has given us as members of Christ body. We need sound biblical leadership and teaching in our denomination that recognizes this and leaves the "man-made" traditions, church "programs" and teaching that has infected our leadership all the way to the local body. Many leaders may have renewed their minds to their opinion of moral goodness and certain doctrines, but are still trying conform our denomination by sending out teaching material and programs according this world system.