anti-itch meditation: Theological Word Of Today
Jeff of anti-itch meditation defines this word nicely.
It makes me sick that a Calvinist friend of mine who went to my church uses this word in a label to describe my beliefs in Christ's work on behalf of mankind. I am not Pelagian or Semi-Pelagian! If I must have a label, I think "Non-Calvinist" fits me better. *smiles*
Sméagol and Gollum - Dual Natured?
I recently watched the trilogy Lord of the Rings.
…again. It was during the time that I was writing the “Is the Christian Dual Natured”
series of thoughts.
Do you remember the scene when Sméagol is having a conversation with Gollum and Gollum is telling Sméagol how he saved their life when things were bad, how they survived
because of Gollum and his wiles? Gollum goes on to tell that Sméagol isn’t so innocent. After all, he is a liar and a thief … murderer!
Do you remember what happens next? Sméagol tells Gollum “Leave and NEVER come back!”
Sméagol repeats this phrase three times, and then, with a look of wonder, he seems to “realize” that Gollum is actually gone. He jumps for joy and shouts in that squeaky voice “Sméagol is freeeeeeeeee!”
Anyone who is as familiar with this story knows that Gollum is really not gone. He comes back and brings doom to himself and
When we first watched this movie with our kids, (yikes!) we had to keep explaining to them that they were wrong about their idea that Sméagol was the good guy and Gollum was the bad guy. We told them, “They are both bad.”
Still, since one monster seemed a bit cowering and the other was so fierce, they couldn’t get the good/bad idea out of their minds.
The whole scene reminded me of false religion. If we are not born-again as a result of the saving gospel of Christ who can cleanse us of all the lying, thieving and murdering … but we decide we want to shape up our life and “give religion a try”
… we will fail miserably. We are hypocrites in such a state, pretending to be something we are not. We could put off some of our sins and try to “be a better person,”
but underneath, skulking in the shadows, is our wicked self, who is much more powerful and sneaky than any attempt we can make at reformation. If this is who we are, we haven’t got a new nature, only a sad attempt at reshaping the old one, which can sometimes leave us in a worse situation than if we would have gone on as we were. Why is it worse? It is worse because we are deceived ... and Gollum will return."When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation." (Matthew 12:43-45)
Real change must happen from the Spirit of God. By seeing yourself for who you really are … a desperately wicked person who has no right to enter God’s presence, you have hope. Desperately wicked
doesn’t mean you catch fish with your bare hands and eat them “raw and wiggling.”
It means that you are not perfect. You are selfish, self-absorbed, you lie, you wish evil on others, you desire things that aren’t yours, you’re jealous etc …. For the purpose of entering God’s presence, (eternal life – Heaven)
only perfection will do … everything else is desperately wicked.
Therefore, as is, we will not be able to enter His presence without burning up (eternal death – hell.)
Here enters Christ. He becomes one of us, lives in sinless perfection and then goes to the cross. There, he takes on the sin of the whole world. (That means all your sin and mine too.)
If we receive Him by faith, we become born-again,
given His life in exchange for our sin that He had taken. Now … we have hope because the Holy Spirit, the very nature of God,
comes to live within us, regenerating us into a new man. This new man cannot sin.
He is not just a nicer
or more timid
version of the original you or me. He is a completely new man! Sméagol and Gollum had different dispositions and personalities, but both were wicked. If we are born-again, we have a new nature that is not just a take-off of our old. This is a new man that cannot sin and he will live forever with God!
The old man will pass away at our death. Before physical death, we can triumph through the Holy Spirit as we feed the new man with the Word of God, prayer and fellowship with other believers. Upon physical death, the wretched man (sin nature) will indeed leave and NEVER come back!Poor Sméagol!the END
Is the Christian Dual Natured? (part 3)
It seems that everyone who has read and participated here would agree with one of two views of the situation that the born-again Christian finds himself in. Either A)
we are dual natured … the person we were before salvation is still around, but there is a new creation beside him that is a spiritual creature with the divine nature as its source. Or … B)
The person that we were before we were born again is truly dead ... dead as a doornail ... and all that remains of him is the body, the flesh. This “flesh” also consisits of non-material “mind” because we can still have the thoughts that we once did and we can still remember the things that we did and thought etc … before we were saved. (Maybe there isn’t really such a difference between these two views, I am still not sure. It seems like it may be a matter of “semantics.”)
I gave my scriptural support for my belief that the old nature is still there, alive inside of me. I want to also present some scriptures that say that he is dead
and that it is only “sin that dwells in the flesh”
that causes the imperfection with Christians.Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. (Rom 7:17 )
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Rom 7:23-25)
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6: 4, 6, 11)
My dear brother likes to say that the old nature is truly dead because, “how can you survive crucifixion?”
Well, that is an interesting question. I would say that, no matter what some popular Hollywood movies have tried to suggest, a person can indeed NOT
survive that horrible process of execution. I sincerely don’t think the verse is to be taken literally. I believe it is saying that our sins were there with Christ when he died in our place ... not that we were actually crucified.
Is this not a literary device? However, I respect the person that sees it the way my brother does. I like the next verse and I think it explains the last passage:Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6: 11)
Doesn’t the word “reckon”
sum it up? We are supposed to think of
our old selves as dead to sin. We are to count
ourselves as “not made for sin”
anymore. Sin is not our life, it is not our purpose as a believer.
This is a Christian discipline that Paul is speaking of.
He speaks of this Christian discipline of the mind in other books also:Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. (Col 3:9-10)
For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Gal 6:8)
Then again, this passage could challenge my thinking:For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Rom 8:6-9)
Let me conclude with this verse:I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
That is such a beautiful verse of Scripture. Christ lives in us, having loved us and sacrificed himself ... having taken our sin out of the way. We should
reckon ourselves dead to that which crucified our Savior. Amen. the END
(pencil sketch of Joe by me)
Are there certain people from the past that really stick out in your mind? You know, ones that have made such an impression on you that you can’t help but go a week without being reminded of them in some way? I have someone like that. His name is Joe.
I will start posting things about this man now and then because he is etched on my memory. I learned a lot from him. A lot of it was very good. Some of it was not so good. Some of it was just odd. The most important thing about him to me is that he was the instrument God used to tell me of His great salvation. He was not saved himself until he was 37 years old. He had many years to develop some very strong opinions and strange conduct. Sometimes, I think as Christians we have a difficulty shaking off odd things from our personality; sometimes we are stubborn. Joe was that; he was really quite an eccentric character. I met him when he was 41. He was kind of like a father to me.
I am sorry to say that at the present time and for the last 13 years, he has not really been friendly or fatherly. I haven’t talked to him for about 10 years. I hope that one day our friendship will be restored, but this post is not about that. This post is about a phrase that he used all the time: Third Partying.
is when you are having a conversation with one person, like in a restaurant, and your real intent is for a “third party” to hear what you are saying. It would seem as though you are talking to one person, but you are really talking to a person that is not sitting there with you and that you are not directly addressing.
Is this a valid form of communication? Joe used to go around to many restaurants and drink coffee. If you haven’t already read about how I met him and the details of him witnessing to me, there is a small bit of it in “My Testimony” in the sidebar. I was actually a waitress at one of these restaurants serving him the coffee. When he told me of Christ, he looked me straight in the eye … there was no “third-partying.” However, over the few years that he and I were friends, he would use this tactic to “evangelize” and “convict people of sin.” It was really rather annoying and strange ... and even embarrassing at times. I thank God for him anyway. What a creative fellow?!
The Earnest Contender
My husband has been doing a series on the Baptist distinctives. He is right now discussing the role of "Pastor." It is intersting, especially some of the comments that he has been getting and the challenges about the "pastor" concept.
Tonight, he made a cow. Yes, he cooked. (This is a rarity). Our oldest son has taken to rejecting beef latley, because he likes cows. So, John said he would give him a different kind of cow to eat. It was a beautiful, delicious pizza! Who would have known?
Unashamed of Grace
I did my first post. I hope it will be edifying to anyone who reads it.
New Group Blog
I have accepted an invitation to join a group blog. The other members are Matthew, HK Flynn, Antonio,
A note to my Calvinist friends: for me, the phrase "Old-School Non-Calvinism" is very tongue-in-cheek. It makes me smile because of all the labels that people I know try to slap on me. This week I have been called a Gnostic (on-line), and a friend came into my office at church ... while we were talking, he told me I was Arminian. Another good friend likes to tell me my thoughts are Semi-Pelagian. They are wrong because I don't hold to the distinctives of those teachings. I really hate labels, so when someone comes up with a non-traditional label, like "Old-School Non-Calvinism," it makes me laugh and I enjoy that.
I am looking forward to getting to know the commenters/friends that the other members will bring with them and the new people that will come around and get to know us all. I hope to learn something from my experiences there, as I have learned a lot from doing this blog here. I have really enjoyed "Rose's Reasonings". That has a lot to do with you all that read and participate here. I enjoy you all.
I will continue this blog. One thing about being a member of a group blog, I do not have to be the sole provider of reading material. It is really a small commitment.
I have had the priveledge of designing the graphics for the new blog, and that was a lot of fun for me.
Blogging really has taught me a lot. I have learned some about theology, human beings, and on-line graphics. Web graphics are a lot different than, say, opening up an Adobe illustrator or a Photoshop file and moving things around, adjusting type to get the desired look. No, with on-line graphics, one must deal with html code! In other words, you go into a big mess of type and try to figure out what it means and how you can change the look of what is on the page by changing a word or a percentage etc ... It is very hard for me to learn! (I am sure many, many of you know what I mean.)
For that matter, theology is very hard for me to learn also, at times.
For that matter, human beings are very hard for me to learn, as well! I love the human beings who frequent here and I enjoin you all to read the new blog. I think the combination of people could be a good balance, temperament-wise. It should be a good place to learn and discuss things about the Bible. That is why I have decided to accept the invite and do it. That is my agenda - to learn more about living this life as a Christian, theology, and God's people.
Why not take a look? Love to all of you!Unashamed of Grace
The current post up on this other blog is really good for some comic relief. (Besides, I don't have time today to finish the next post on the nature of the Christian).
I have always enjoyed this kind of humor. It must be something sick inside of me. :~)
Is the Christian Dual Natured? (part 2)
… Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. (John 3:3)
Born Again? What does this mean? I remember when reading this the first time, it seemed like Nicodemus must have thought that this was a real oxymoron. How can I enter a second time into my mother’s womb?
Jesus explained to him that flesh gives birth to flesh and Spirit gives birth to spirit. What does that mean? If you are a born-again believer, think about yourself for a minute. Before you were regenerated, did you not have a mind? Yes. You were a person. You were not “just flesh” but you had a mind and a soul. Did this flesh die when you became a Christian? No. Just poke your finger with a needle and you can see that your flesh is very much alive. Why would we think that the mind died … or the soul?
I want to think about the incredible truth as to what has happened to a person who is born again. It is truly amazing what the Bible says about this.Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Pet 1:4)
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph 4:24)
The new man,
the new creation in Christ, is actually a partaker of the divine nature. Wow!
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (1 John 3:9)
This new person cannot sin.
This person is holy, untainted by sin. Does this represent everything about you? Does this represent our experience? Not as a whole. We know that we still are not all that God intended us to be … as a whole. This is because of the “old nature”.
You know – that other person that we were before we were saved. He is still around. We are attached to him until death. (The word death actually implies separation.) At that time, he will be burned up. Hallelujah!
This is the only explanation that is currently tenable for me of the born again Christian.
We are not in sinless perfection. The Bible says that the new creation is in sinless perfection. How can both be true unless there are two natures?
If we want to say that the old person is truly gone, then how is it that we can still access that person’s memories? How is it that we can still remember that person’s attitudes? How is it that we can still feel that person’s desires, hurts, longings?
He is not dead experientially. However, (and this is the joyous truth)
he is as good as dead
because of the cross.I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
This language is telling of the plan and program of God. If we set our minds and hearts on the truth in the above passage, we will minimize the old man.
eventually die. The chain of events has been set in motion and they will be completed. Nothing you or I do can separate us from the Divine nature that is now within us. As a whole, experientially, we haven’t arrived yet! However, in the mind of God, it is complete and Christ has won the victory.
… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philipians 1:6)
to be continued … What to do with the “old man” and … challenges to this doctrine.the End
Is the Christian Dual-Natured? (part 1)
The idea that the Christian is dual natured has been something that I have understood from my earliest days as a Christian. If I had a sinful thought, it was because of the “old nature.”
This really helps to explain what goes on in our lives as believers does it not? We are sinful people, born in sin, separated from the life of God. Then, the Spirit of God comes to dwell within us when we receive Christ and are given the life of God, eternal life, within our being. However, our minds, our hearts, are not suddenly free of all the sin that we have had from the moment of birth. We still struggle with sin (hopefully we struggle, fight it and not just indulge in it).
We still remember many of our past sins. We still have the “other person” that we once were, but now, we have a new person next to this one. We have a “new nature”
and an “old nature.”
The new creation
is one who is inclined toward the things of God. This child of God can “get something”
out of the Bible. Before believing, the Bible would be foolishness to him. Once a person has become this new creation, having the Spirit of God within them, that new nature doesn’t see the Bible as foolishness. That born-again believer needs to grow and develop. That spiritual being, born of the Spirit of God, doesn’t want to sin, but wants to please God.
However, the other person, the “old man”
is still there too. He doesn’t want to abstain from sin, does he? He wants to continue in sin. He doesn’t desire the things of God. He relates to the world. The “old nature”
is just as it was. If I am right, a born-again Christian is like two people in one.
This presents quite a struggle, doesn’t it? A WAR WITHIN! (Although with God's Spirit on the "NEW MAN's"
side, it is a very winnable war!)Coming soon: The scriptures that support this doctrine and the scriptures that a brother has recently brought to me to challenge me on this. the END
Why am I Fatigued?
Today we drove one hour and 15 minutes to look at cottages on some different lakes in Indiana. We really want to rent a place right on a lake for a week this summer. It is the best family vacation, IMHO. I don't like to rent something sight-unseen though, so it requires some inconvenience. It was quite a lot of time for our whole family to spend in the car, especially since we didn't find what we are looking for. I got my ideas of possible places from the internet. We may drive up to lower Michigan next weekend, into the irish Hills area. There are a lot of lakes there.
Tonight we went to a Valentine dinner with our Adult Bible Fellowship. There were about 12 couples there. It was fun. We played a game that is supposed to detect how well you know eachother by a series of questions asked when the spouses are in another room. John and I came in 4th, I think. Last year we won! Regression?the END
The Earnest Contender
My husband, the Earnest Contender has posted again. Hopefully, he will continue on a more regular basis.
This is me when I was a freshman in high school. I was only known as "Rosie" back then. (It wasn't until I was 17 that I started to go by the name "Rose"). That is a Catholic School unifirom I am wearing. (weird, huh? As long as the "pattern" or "shape" of the dress was correct, the fabric could be whatever you choose).
I was not saved until I was 20, so in this picture I was ... well, ... lost.
I have started a new profile and blog
with this persona. You will see her around commenting when I want to offer a different perspective - the perspective of one who doesn't know Christ. If you see "Rosie"
pop up on a blog, be nice to her.
I was inspired to do this when I was thinking about a post, (or maybe a series of posts) on this question:Does the Christian have a Dual Nature?
Who stands in the gap?
I read Ezekiel 22
today. I was amazed at how, when God describes to the prophet, all the things that he disdains about the practices of Jerusalem, how much it sounds like what is going on in our “modern” society.He says that this is what was going on in Jerusalem:
They treat father and mother with contempt (v. 7)
They mistreat the fatherless and the widow (v. 7)
They despise my holy things and desecrate my Sabbaths (v. 8)
They are slanderous men bent on shedding blood (v. 9)
They commit lewd acts (v. 9)
They dishonor their fathers' bed (v. 10)
They violate women (v. 10)
In you one man commits a detestable offense with his neighbor's wife
another shamefully defiles his daughter-in-law,
and another violates his sister, his own father's daughter (v. 11)
They accept bribes to shed blood (v. 12)
They take usury and excessive interest and make unjust gain from their neighbors by extortion (v. 12)
They devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows (v. 25)
The priests do violence to my law (v. 26)
The officials are like wolves tearing their prey (v.27)
They shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain (v. 27)
The prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. (v. 28)
They say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says'-when the LORD has not spoken. (v. 28)
The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery (v. 29)
They oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice (v. 29)Something new.
The Lord says a lot of interesting things in this chapter. I love the following verse:When you have been defiled in the eyes of the nations, you will know that I am the LORD (v. 16)
It seems that He is saying that after all the abuse that Jerusalem takes, then, they will finally “know that I am the Lord.”
It made me think of the fountain of Zechariah 13:1 and the looking and mourning of Revelation 1:7.
The chapter ends this way:I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 22:29-31)
Isn’t that sad that there was no one to “stand in the gap?” The ultimate gap filler is the Messiah. Some day they will see who He really is. I am so excited for this. But for now …… you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign LORD. (v. 12)the END
The Strange Work of God by J. Vernon McGee
If the structure of the Book of Revelation is followed, it will prevent you from going off into fanaticism and sensationalism. It ought not to terrify you. Actually, it ought to be a comfort to you. I thank God that He is going to judge this world that is running wild today. The way that mankind has blundered and gotten this world into a mess makes it look like it is filled with madmen. I thank God He is going to judge it, and He is going to judge it rightly.
People often urge me to speak out on my radio broadcast against certain things that are taking place. It is not my business to get on radio and denounce every wrong. My business is to give out just the Word of God, and that is what I am going to do. He is going to straighten this world out someday. I wouldn't have that job for anything in the world. I am glad it is His job.
Maybe you don't like the fact that the gentle Jesus is going to judge. The wrath of the Lamb will be terrifying to those on earth. My friend, when you talk about the gentle Jesus, you had better get acquainted with Him. He died for you, He loves you, and He wants to save you, but if you will not have Him, I tell you, there is waiting ahead of you a terrifying judgment. My beloved, judgment is coming on this earth.
I say, "Hallelujah!" I am glad that it is coming and that God is not going to let the world go on like it is now. It has gone on long enough. Do not lose sight of the fact that Revelation presents Him in His glory as the Judge of all the earth. We are also going to see the wrath of the Lamb some day. Men are not lost because they are sinners; they are lost because they have rejected Jesus who died for them. Even if you go into a lost eternity and have not accepted Christ, He died for you, and you simply made His sacrifice for you of no avail. You have trodden underfoot the blood of Christ when you take that kind of attitude and position toward Him.And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. (Revelation 8:1)
This is a very solemn scene. The Lord Jesus Christ orders a halt on all fronts: heaven, hell, and earth. Nothing can move without His permission. For a brief moment, there is a lull in judgment activity; there is a heavenly hush. It is the lull before the storm.
Why is there this strange silence? God's patience is not exhausted. When the sixth seal was opened and nature responded with a mighty convulsion, brave men weakened for a moment. Christ gave them opportunity to repent. But like the Pharaoh of old who, when the heat was taken off, let his willful heart return to its original intention, many men will go back to their blasphemous conduct when there is a calm. This, my friend, is the lull before the storm. As someone has said, "The steps of God from mercy to judgment are always slow, reluctant, and measured." God is reluctant to judge for He is slow to anger.
What is strange about God? That He judges–that He is a God of love, judging His creatures. "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD…" (Ezekiel 18:32).
This silence marks the transition from grace to judgment. God is waiting; He is waiting for you today if you have not come to Him. You can come to Him, for He is a gracious Savior.From Edited Messages on Revelation by J. Vernon McGeethe END
10 years ago,
John became a father and I, a mother. Wow, has time flown. We have a great son. He is very smart and sensitive. He likes to read, he believes himself to be a superhero ... and he wants to be a toy inventor when he grows up (among other things.)
When I think about the day that he was born, 10 years ago, I can’t help but think of something that happened on the way to the hospital that was so special. Let me back up and tell you that during the pregnancy, John had been singing me the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” every day.
Actually, he had been singing the hymn to me and to our child. (You know, the cute way that expectant fathers sometimes direct their eyes to the swollen abdomen of the mother-to-be, when they are talking, or … singing, in this case.)
On our way to the hospital that cold February morning, (it was only a 10 minute drive),
we were both pretty nervous and anxious, having never done this before. We were nearly there, when I clicked on the radio. Guess what song was playing? Yes, it was “Be Thou My Vision.”
We both cried tears of joy that this song would play. It was a very special moment. We had a sure sense
of the eyes of God on us.
The delivery was long, but everything came out OK! We named our son a name that means “Jehovah is my God.”
It is the Gaelic form of the name “Elijah.” (Does anyone know the name I speak of?) This boy has been a blessing to us for 10 years now! Praise the Lord!
(this is a page from a scrapbook, that is why it looks a little strange.) :~)
Anatomy of 9-11
I watched a TV show the other night on A&E called Anatomy of 9-11.
It was quite an interesting show. The next day, I was with my mother and brother. I was telling them about the program. There were things that happened that day in the Twin Towers that I had not heard of before. I was lamenting the whole terrorist exercise, when my mother sadly said, “Well, it must have been the will of God.”
Somehow this struck me as wrong.
Is terrorism the will of God?
I think not.
I had learned that God has a permissive will
and a perfect will.
Then ... I entered the Christian blogosphere. (!)
I have read where some say that this is not the case. They say that God has only one will.
According to this view ... and my mother’s ... terrorism is
the perfect will of God, since it is happening ... so is murder ... so is adultery, and so on.
The way I have understood these things (since I came to care about them)
was that God allows
evil, but it is not His perfect will,
thus the permissive will
and the perfect will.What think ye?the END