Kentucky clerk Kim Davis is the canary in the mine. Wake up people.
Kentucky clerk Kim Davis is the canary in the mine. Wake up people.
In John 9:13-34 we see an amazing demonstation of the Lord Jesus Christ’s manifest deity as He literally and spiritually fashioned “new eyes” for a congenitally blind man. This was a miracle par excellence that was unheard of in all Israel and which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ was Lord and Messiah, the very light of the world. It’s also worth noting that Israel was arguably the most religious people group living in the world at that time just as the argument could be made that ultra-Orthodox Jews are the most religious people group living in the world today – outwardly religious that is.
The Jews of Christ’s day benefitted from having primary access to the very oracles of God (Romans 3:1-2), and thus they ought to have recognized Jesus as Messiah, yet the scripture record is clear and indisputable in its teaching of what the Jews thought of Christ.
They hated Him.
They feared Him.
They rejected Him.
They murdered Him.
As Christians we can understand that all these things constituted the unfolding of God’s own foreordained prophetic plan of the ages, and we rejoice in the fact that Jesus Christ was crucified, dead, buried, and resurrected on the third day as a propitiation for the sins of all those who would believe on Him by grace through faith alone, being thereby miraculously translated from spiritual death unto spiritual life to the praise of God’s magnificent glory forevermore! His resurrection is a sure and trustworthy promise of a future resurrection for those who are found in Him. His eternal life is the assurance of our future eternal life as we abide in Him. His glorification is our glorification as members of His mystical Body – the bride of Christ, the church invisible which is comprised of living stones that Jesus Christ has redeemed through His atoning work, bringing salvation to every kingdom, tribe, tongue and nation under heaven.
Yet why was He rejected by His own? Why did the vast majority of Jewry conspire and consent to murder their King? The short and ugly answer is UNBELIEF. From his study bible John MacArthur well said:
The story of the healing of the blind man in John 9:13-34 reveals some key characteristics of willful unbelief: 1.) unbelief sets false standards; 2.) unbelief always wants more evidence but never has enough; 3.) unbelief does biased research on a purely subjective basis; 4.) unbelief rejects the facts; and 5.) unbelief is self-centered.
Willful and fixed unbelief is the hallmark of the unregenerate heart. The unredeemed cannot and will not assent to the hard truths and hard commands of Jesus Christ. Through their a priori rejection of the truth claims of the Holy Bible and their stubborn hard heartedness unrepentant sinners will gladly commit epistemic suicide in order to avoid a confrontation with the One True and Living God of the Holy Bible, the infinite Creator and Judge of the universe. The unregenerate will allow for any number of explanations from the mundane to the wildly absurd, just so long as the explanation isn’t the God of Christian theism. The unregenerate will entertain ideas that man was placed on earth by a terraforming alien race, but they won’t accept the truth that they are morally accountable to a Holy and Righteous God. The unregenerate will allow for any number of deaf and dumb idols to be worshipped and adored, but they can’t tolerate the fact that they are in bondage to their own depravity and wickedness and that they abide under the wrath of God Almighty and are utterly hopeless apart from the finished work of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, upon a rugged and sinister Roman cross nearly 2,000 years ago.
The heathen rage and howl at these unspeakably glorious truths, but I fall down on my face in awe and praise before the King of Glory. What love is this? What God is this? What hope is this? It is the hope born in a heart that was once in unbelief. It is evidence that Jesus Christ rules and reigns from heaven, doing as He pleases that He would condescend to save a wretched lump of sin like me. My limited human capacity for words to describe what He has done in my heart fail me. I can’t sum it up and I can’t spell it out. I’m at a loss except to say that He is everything to me. He is my all in all. There is no desire He can’t fill, there is no grief He can’t comfort, there is no hope He can’t exceed, there is no want He can’t meet, there is nothing He can’t do and without Him I can do nothing.
Friend, do you know the true Jesus Christ as He has revealed Himself uniquely within the Holy Bible? Does your guilty conscience constantly wag an accusing finger at you crying out “GUILTY! GUILTY!! GUILTY!!!” wherever you may go or attempt to flee? If so, then hear the words of the Savior, the only One who can cure your fatal disease known as sin:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28
We often tend to have short memories, but many segments of the broader professing church have been slouching towards Sodom for many years.
Below is a sampling:
“I think we’re seeing acts of desperation by those who feel their way of life is slipping away,” the Rev. Ray Bagnuolo, the openly gay pastor of Janhus Presbyterian Church in New York City, said after the marriage vote. “Progress takes time. But to gay and lesbian people, it says their relationships, who they are, does not matter to this church. I don’t call that Christian or loving.” – Fox News
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. – Lev. 18:22
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. – Rom. 1:24-27
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” – Rev. 21:8
“The church was not yet ready to make a decision,” said 219th General Assembly Moderator Cindy Bolbach during a press conference following adjournment. “This kind of thing happens at every assembly.”
While many people will see the vote simply as winning or losing — “that’s human nature,” the Moderator said — Bolbach said more helpful thinking involves “trying to figure out where God is leading the church. Women’s ordination took us years and years to decide.” – PC(USA) News & Announcements
‘Christians and Jews’ paper referred back for more work; Christian-Muslim paper moves ahead, but calls for more study – PC(USA) News & Announcements
The full Assembly seemed quite satisfied with the deliberation in the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee as members needed just one hour to move through its business, including the two interfaith papers of which they referred one and approved the other.
With a vote of 529-135-9, the 219th General Assembly (2010), approved item 08-09, which referred “Christians and Jews: People of God” back to the Offices of Interfaith Relations and Theology and Worship.
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them [the Jews] is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. – Rom. 10:1-4
No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. – 1 John 2:23
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” – Rev. 3:17
Christ condemns the church at Laodicea for being lukewarm and self-deceived. The religious person thinks he is something when he’s not. Notice the contrast in verse 17 between “thou sayest” and “knowest not”: “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing ….” Does that sound like the statement of a Christian? Not at all. That’s the statement of a religious hypocrite. Verse 17 then says, “… [thou] knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” You say, “Couldn’t God have used just one of those words to cover the situation of the hypocrite?” That’s true, but He used them all to cover the scope of their lostness. – John MacArthur from “The Apostate Church”
Exposing error is most unpopular work. But from every true standpoint it is worthwhile work. To our Savior, it means that He receives from us, His blood-bought ones, the loyalty that is His due. To ourselves, if we consider “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,” it ensures future reward, a thousand-fold. And to souls “caught in the snare of the fowler”-how many of them God only knows-it may mean light and life, abundant and everlasting.
– Dr. Harry Ironside
“All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.” – Numbers 6:4
Nazarites had taken, among other vows, one which debarred them from the use of wine. In order that they might not violate the obligation, they were forbidden to drink vinegar of wine or strong liquors, and to make the rule still more clear, they were not to touch the unfermented juice of grapes, nor even to eat the fruit either fresh or dried. In order, altogether, to secure the integrity of the vow, they were not even allowed anything that had to do with the vine; they were, in fact, to avoid the appearance of evil. Surely this is a lesson to the Lord’s separated ones, teaching them to come away from sin in every form, to avoid not merely its grosser shapes, but even its spirit and similitude. Strict walking is much despised in these days, but rest assured, dear reader, it is both the safest and the happiest. He who yields a point or two to the world is in fearful peril; he who eats the grapes of Sodom will soon drink the wine of Gomorrah. A little crevice in the sea-bank in Holland lets in the sea, and gap speedily swells till a province is drowned. Worldly conformity, in any degree, is a snare to the soul, and makes it more and more liable to presumptuous sins. Moreover, as the Nazarite who drank grape juice could not be quite sure whether it might not have endured a degree of fermentation, and consequently could not be clear in heart that his vow was intact, so the yielding, temporizing Christian cannot wear a conscience void of offence, but must feel the inward monitor is in doubt of him. Things doubtful we need not doubt about; they are wrong to us. Things tempting we must not dally with, but flee from them with speed. Better to be sneered at as a Puritan than be despised as a hypocrite. Careful walking may involve much self-denial, but it has pleasures of its own which are more than a sufficient recompense.
“They weave the spider’s web.” – Isaiah 59:5
See the spider’s web, and behold in it a most suggestive picture of the hypocrite’s religion. It is meant to catch his prey: the spider fattens himself on flies, and the Pharisee has his reward. Foolish persons are easily entrapped by the loud professions of pretenders, and even the more judicious cannot always escape. Philip baptized Simon Magus, whose guileful declaration of faith was so soon exploded by the stern rebuke of Peter. Custom, reputation, praise, advancement, and other flies, are the small game which hypocrites take in their nets. A spider’s web is a marvel of skill: look at it and admire the cunning hunter’s wiles. Is not a deceiver’s religion equally wonderful? How does he make so barefaced a lie appear to be a truth? How can he make his tinsel answer so well the purpose of gold? A spider’s web comes from the creature’s own bowels. The bee gathers her wax from flowers, the spider sucks no flowers, and yet she spins out her material to any length. Even so hypocrites find their trust and hope within themselves; their anchor was forged by their own hands. They lay their own foundation, and hew out the pillars of their own house, disdaining to be debtors to the sovereign grace of God. But a spider’s web is very frail. It is curiously wrought, but not enduringly manufactured. It is no match for the servant’s broom, or the traveller’s staff. The hypocrite needs no battery of Armstrongs to blow his hope to pieces, a mere puff of wind will do it. Hypocritical cobwebs will soon come down when the besom of destruction begins its purifying work. Which reminds us of one more thought, viz., that such cobwebs are not to be endured in the Lord’s house: He will see to it that they and those who spin them shall be destroyed forever. O my soul, be thou resting on something better than a spider’s web. Be the Lord Jesus thine eternal hiding-place.
I think it’s appropriate to pause for a moment and reflect on why I do what I do here, which is to earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). While this passage may act as a sort of “mission statement” for Absolute Dominion, it’s nevertheless a command that is extended to each and every believer individually. Christians are to be “always ready with an answer for the hope that is in us with gentleness and respect“ (1 Pet. 3:15). Obviously there’s more to the Christian walk – and more to Absolute Dominion – than a one-dimensional end-all, be-all command to become full time apologists. Christianity is a fully-orbed, extremely demanding, and rigorous faith, even though this truth isn’t outwardly apparent when one surveys the barren, desolate landscape of modern-day churchianity.
This is where ministries like Absolute Dominion come into play. We seek to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior (Titus 2:20), and to expose the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11), while remaining faithful to the whole counsel of God which thing encompasses the “conversation of our lives” and ought to be exemplified by the beautiful, multi-faceted, Christ-like virtues which are borne out by the inner working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of all true believers body, soul, mind, and spirit. I think I can safely speak for all Christians by stating that we frequently and regrettably fall woefully short in our walk, but thanks be to God for His amazing and unmerited grace!
Nevertheless, such stumblings, failings, and fallings are not to characterize the “conversation of our lives” – the overall day-to-day patterns of our thoughts and behavior – but rather they ought to be the sad exceptions which remind us of the depths of our fallenness, and which send us flying to the cross of Christ in repentance and confession for washing and restoration (1 John 2).
It also must be said that earnestly contending for the faith is not the same thing as being earnestly contentious for the faith. There’s a world of difference! Christians are not to be marked by pugnacious, contentious, quarrelsome attitudes. In fact such attitudes are repugnant to the One true and living God as demonstrated throughout the text of sacred Scripture. The Bible frequently warns against sinful pride, and a haughty spirit. As with Satan himself, the father of lies, pride is often the tap-root for the most passionate, vehement disagreements. As believers in Christ we are to remain humble and treat even our worst adversaries with dignity while prayerfully striving to “snatch them out of the fire” and “show[ing] mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (Jude 1:23).