Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Condemnation

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not condemned; he who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
This is the condemnation: that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For every one who practices evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God" (John 3:16-21, emphasis mine).

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. ... For if you are living according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God" (Romans 8:1, 5-9, 13, emphasis mine).
Those who have not and will never believe in Christ Jesus have already been condemned. Past tense. It is not something that will happen in the future if they do not receive Jesus as Lord today; they are condemned where they stand—now. We are told precisely what their condemnation is and why they are condemned. They were condemned from the foundations of the world.

However, the same is not true of those who believe or will believe in Christ Jesus. We are told that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Since they were chosen in Jesus from the foundation of the world, they were already not condemned because they belonged to Him.

The unbeliever is condemned at this very moment while the believer is not condemned at this very moment. The future judgment will only reveal the position they already find themselves in.


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONDEMNATION AND CONVICTION
by Stephen Altrogge

Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” This scripture is a wonderful, freeing, life-giving promise for all Christians. But it raises the question: What is the difference between condemnation, which is wrong, and conviction of sin, which is good? Here are a few differences that I hope you find helpful:
  • Condemnation is either from Satan or our sinful hearts. Conviction is a gift from the Holy Spirit.
  • Condemnation causes us to turn away from God in fear, dread, and shame. Conviction causes us to come to God and freshly place our faith in the perfect life and death of Christ.
  • Condemnation causes us to wallow in despair and self-pity. Conviction leads to God-centered hope.
  • Condemnation leads us to believe that we’ll never change. Conviction gives us hope that, even though we sinned, God is still at work in us. (Condemnation paralyzes faith for change. Conviction bears the fruit of faith for change.)
  • Condemnation is inward, self-focused, and always dwelling on the fact that I have sinned. Conviction is outward, God-focused, and always dwelling on the fact that I have sinned against God.
  • Condemnation sees God as an angry judge who could strike at any moment. Conviction sees God as a loving Father who disciplines his children.
  • Condemnation can actually cause us to forget repentance because we are so inwardly focused. Conviction leads to quick (but not hasty) repentance.
  • Condemnation feels like a black, oppressive cloud. Conviction feels like a sweet, though often very painful, interaction with the Lord.
  • Condemnation is useless and sinful. Conviction is fruitful and pleasing to the Lord.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Christian's Motto

"Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold." Matthew 24:12

In a song by the Sidewalk Prophets, they pose these questions: "When did love become unmoving? When did love become unconsuming?" Who would have known that Tina Turner could have summed it up so perfectly? Today's Christians live by this motto, not only amongst the world but especially amongst themselves: "What's love got to do with it?"

Ahh... Words to live by.

Not in the least! In case you have not read it yet, might I suggest my blog entry Love Is the Law of the Christian Life? DC Talk said it plain and clear: "Love is a verb." Love is a verb. It is an action verb. It must be put into action. Love must be seen in our actions. It does not matter how much love you flavour your speech with if your actions contain not a drop of love. Remember the cliché? "Actions speak louder than words." It is true.

You see, your actions dictate what it is that you truly believe. If you say that you believe that we should be helping out the poor and needy, and yet you never lift a finger to do so when you are more than positionally capable of doing, your actions reveal the truth about you—that you could give a damn about the poor and needy. Your beliefs about God are the same. You can say you believe this and that about God all you want, but if your actions do not demonstrate that that is indeed what you believe, then you are a liar because you do not truly believe what you claim you believe. The truth about you will always be revealed in and by your actions—not your words.

It is bad enough that when unbelievers find themselves wandering into most churches in North America that their experiences are less than pleasant and they are left with a bitter taste of what Christianity is supposed to be. It is even worse when our Christian brothers and sisters experience this same unpleasantness and lack of Christian love. There is no excuse for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering to be largely ignored by us. When they are struggling to find work and pay their bills and put food on their table, why are we so stubborn, hard-hearted, and proud to even lift a finger to offer them aid? When they are suffering with things beyond this, why do we keep our distance from them?

I have read and heard many testimonies from Christian brothers and sisters who have had just such experiences inside the church. Uncompassionate and unloving. Is that the Jesus we follow? Much of what these Christians have experienced I can personally attest to from my own experiences during my struggles. The uncaring and unloving attitude of most Christians inside most churches in North America drives an individual to be proud and self-reliant in their struggles. Why should they share the struggles they are going through when their fellow Christians silently but loudly tell them with their actions, "We do not care about your problems"?

Why is it that the Christians who have the least and are struggling to get by are the most open, most sharing, and most giving? Why is it that those who have plenty refuse to lift a finger to help their struggling brothers and sisters? Their actions scream loudly, "It is not my problem," and they assume their favourite position aloft and judge the struggling brother or sister and their plight. Less than 1% of Christians in North America, especially those who are well-off, will lift a finger to help a struggling brother or sister in Christ. You know that we are indeed in the last days because our love has indeed gone cold.

In another song by the Sidewalk Prophets, they have this to say:

Passed by you today
Why is there a war between us?
Are you not my brother?
Are you not my sister?
Something’s got to change
Stood by you today
Why is there a wall between us?
Are you not my sister?
Are you not my brother?
Well something’s got to change
I confess that I’ve been blind
Open up this heart of mine
Show me how to love
Farther than this world I know
Take me where You want me to go
Show me how to love

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Boy Is the Only Thing God Can Use To Make a Man

It is my desire to present myself before God as a boy with child-like faith so that He can make me into the man He wants me to be, the husband my wife will need, and the father my children will need.

What is the significance of a boy?

As a boy, he wants to learn from his father and to become like his father. He trusts his father and looks to him for all fulfillment in life—protection, nourishment, love, strength, provision, etc. If something is too great for him to do, he knows his father is able to do it. A boy is willing to learn; not set in his ways. A boy likes to enjoy life, even amidst all the chaos. A boy is able to be humble and content. A boy believes.

These are the things that God desires in and of us. He desires implicit trust, a child-like faith that is utterly reliant in and upon Himself. God provides all our fulfillment in life. If something is too great for us, it is never too great for God. Those things which are not too great for us, God still desires us to look to Him and rely on Him. God wants us to learn from Him; He has much to teach us if we will listen. While God does not promise us an easy or comfortable life, He still desires that we enjoy life, especially with the ones we love. God wants us to be humble, and content with the things we have and where we are at in life; God has us here for a reason. God wants us to believe, just as Abraham believed and it was counted to him for righteousness.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Apostasy In Galatians

Galatians 5:1-5 is another passage that many individuals believe teaches that we can lose our salvation. Here is what it says:
"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness." Galatians 5:1-5
In order for someone to "fall from grace" you need a standard of measurement. The Bible repeatedly and clearly informs us of what we must do to be saved (Acts 16:30; John 3:16; John 1:12; Ephesians 2:8, etc.). However, the Bible never tells us what we can do in order to lose that salvation. Any standard for the loss of salvation has to be based on works:
"You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed [as] crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain--if indeed it was in vain? Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?" Galatians 3:1-5
The view that says we can lose our salvation also says, inadvertantly, that we must work to maintain our salvation. Paul calls this view "foolish"!
"Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, 'THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.'" Galatians 3:11
If no one is justified (saved) by keeping the law (being good enough), then no one will stay justified (saved) by keeping the law (being good enough). Being saved happens at one point in time and is an identifiable "crossing the line." If you can lose your salvation, how do you determine when you cross back over that line?
"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one [point,] he has become guilty of all." James 2:10
If failing to be "good enough" could determine that loss, then, according to James, we would lose it as quickly as we gained it. There is not a single minute of any given day where you and I are without sin, whether in word, deed, or thought (and the intentions of the heart). How do we know when we have "crossed the line" from saved to unsaved? The bottom line is: you cannot know. Scripture does not tell us, because it is not possible! If you can lose your salvation, and the Bible gives us no clear criteria for what constitutes that loss, how can you ever know that you have eternal life?
"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13

"For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end" Hebrews 3:14 (cf. 3:6)
Our perseverance in the faith shows our faith was genuine, or conversely, when one fails to persevere, it shows that their faith was not genuine:
"They went out from us, but they were not [really] of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but [they went out,] in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us." 1 John 2:19
"The faith that fizzles at the finish had a flaw at the first."

These verses clearly indicate that everyone who says at one time that they are saved, may indeed not be.
"Test yourselves [to see] if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?" 2 Corinthians 13:5
Look at Esther. It says "These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring" and "seal it with the king's signet ring--for no document written in the king's name and sealed with his ring can be revoked." God is much higher and much greater than any king. If He has sealed something, it is a done fact. The Holy Spirit serves as God's signet ring. Read Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; and 5:5.

Christians (genuine born-again regenerated converts) are triple-sealed. The Father, as explained in John 10:29; the Son, as explained in John 10:28; and the Holy Spirit, as explained in Ephesians 4:30. No one can break that triple seal of protection. If God has sealed us, you can be sure that we are indeed sealed and that there is nothing we can do to unseal ourselves, as these passages demonstrate and prove: When the Bible says "it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ" (2 Cor. 1:21), what does that mean? What does the Bible mean when it says "he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:6)? How about when it states "The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it" (1 Thess. 5:23-24)? How about "I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day" (2 Tim. 1:12)? Also, "To him who is able to keep you from falling..." (Jude 1:24).

God is responsible for our salvation, not us. God is responsible for the security of our salvation, not us. Our salvation is a completed event. "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24 - past tense, it's already a completed action). "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast" (Eph. 2:8-9 - "have been saved" is the perfect tense, which means it is a completed work). Romans 5:11 says we have "now received reconciliation." Now! Not "one day" or "eventually." "Received" is a verb that indicates a completed, past action. It is done. We are reconciled to God. We cannot be unreconciled from Him. Hebrews 10:14: "For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are [being] sanctified."

If you examine the four soils Jesus spoke about, this truth is made evident and perfectly clear. Only one of these soils is a genuine convert. Two are pretenders for a time until they fall away. Jesus' parables tell us that the kingdom will be filled with genuine converts and false converts. A profession of faith does not equate genuine faith. The loss of salvation group buys into the same lie that just because someone prays a prayer they must be saved. Praying a prayer does not save anybody. It tends to create a large number of false converts. That's what you need to realize and come to terms with. 1 John 2:19. They left because they never belonged; i.e., they were never saved. Justification is a past act. Sanctification is an on-going act. Don't confuse the two.

You see what genuine exegetical Bible study results in? Comparing Scripture with Scripture. Not isolating random verses or passages and twisting them to mean something they clearly do not teach. The nature of genuine faith is that it cannot become unfaithful. The faith that does so was never true saving faith to begin with. The reason the loss of salvation group interprets the Bible incorrectly is because they believe incorrectly. They believe that everyone who makes a profession, whether by praying a prayer or otherwise, is genuinely saved at that moment; and when those people do not bear fruit that evidences that salvation, rather than admit the truth that those people were false converts and never saved to begin with, they claim that those people were saved but that those people lost their salvation. When you err in one place, as the loss of salvation group has done with their understanding of salvation, it is inevitable that you will err in another place in relation to the first. Get your gospel straight and correct, and your understanding of salvation straight and correct, and your erroneous interpretations of loss of salvation will quickly disappear.

To say that we can lose our salvation says that we must work to maintain it, which has turned the grace of God into a works-based salvation. If you have to work to maintain your salvation, or even to effect it, you will never be good enough to earn that salvation and will find yourself in hell for all eternity, no matter how earnestly you believe the truths of Christ Jesus with your head. Love is the law of the Christian life, and this love fulfills the law. Drop all your spoon-fed spirituality and start studying the Bible for what it actually says and teaches—not for what you were told it says and teaches. Let the Holy Spirit be your guide—not men who have interpreted it in error.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Allowance of Sin

"It is equally important to know if the doctrinal debate either exalts Christ or belittles Him. The Holy Scriptures always seek to exalt Christ. Never do we see the Scriptures exalt man. Man is sinful by nature, and because of this fact, his best arguments will always fall short of its mark, if it is not marked by the righteous standard of God's truth. Therefore, no matter what worldview, religion, science, or philosophy he may hold to, if it comes short of the standard of God's Word, it is false; even if there is a lot of truth to it, if there is error to be found in it that causes us to depart from God's truth, even in the slightest degree, we must immediately reject it as false. Remember, the Devil loves to wrap up his lies in God's truth! (See John 17: 17; Acts 17: 11; 2 Tim. 2: 15; 3: 16-17; Phil. 1: 7, 17; Jude 3)." —Jerry Sheppard

"Whatever religion or doctrine condones or makes allowances for sin is not of Christ. The Doctrine of Christ everywhere teaches self-denial and mortification of worldliness and sin. The whole stream of the gospel runs against those things. Scripture emphasizes the "holy" and the "heavenly" (not the sinful and the worldly). The true gospel has not even the slightest tendency to extol corrupt nature, or feed its pride by magnifying its freedom and power. And it rejects everything that undermines and obscures the merit of Christ, or tries to give any credit to man, in any way. And it certainly never makes the death of Christ a cloak to cover sin, but rather it always speaks of it as an instrument that destroys it!" —John Flavel

"Stamp this statement upon any doctrinal debate you come across, and you will know which teaching is true and genuine, and which one is false and superficial. The one that is least condoning of sin, and most in favor of self-denial and mortification of the flesh; and least interested in promoting worldly pleasures and carnal pursuits, and the one that gives the most glory and credit to God over man—that will be the doctrine closest to the true doctrine of Jesus Christ" —Mark Kielar

"If the faith we profess is a faith that allows us to walk in the ways of this present evil world, in the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, in the fellowship and works of darkness, then our faith is mockery and deception. Repentance results in constant contrition. The broken spirit and contrite heart are abiding marks in the believing soul. Not one that we progressively get, but abiding. They are there from the beginning and they're ongoing. A new attitude. Not just about Jesus and who He is, but about our sin, who we are, what we deserve, and the hating of the things we used to love. Without it there is no salvation." —John Murray

"Meditate [be diligent] on these things; give yourself wholly to them, so that your progress may appear to all. Take heed [pay close attention] to yourself and them that hear you" (1 Tim. 4: 15-16) —The Apostle Paul

Monday, January 21, 2013

How Could I Sin?

by Julian Freeman

A prayer for growth in holiness:

Father, how could I sin?

Having seen your hatred for sin and your love for righteousness, how could I sin?

I have seen the fullness of your just anger borne by Christ for me. How could I be speak angrily to others?

I have seen your patience with me through decades of rebellion. How could I be impatient with others?

I have seen how you work the evil of others for good. How could I be bitter?

I have seen your seeking, adopting, pursuing, and wooing love. How could I turn a blind eye to those seeking love from me?

I have seen your mercy, compassion, and willingness to condescend to help me. How could I stand over others and judge?

I have seen Jesus, the King of Creation, receiving insults and mocking. How could I live for the approval of other people?

I have seen Jesus drinking a cup of wrath from your hand when all he deserved was worship from our mouths. How could I covet something better than what I’ve been given?

I have seen my dying Saviour, and in that moment, I saw what I deserved. How could I complain against your providence in my life?

I have seen the agony of your Son. How could I delight in what caused it?

I have seen in Christ that there is joy at your right hand that is worth dying to attain. How could I be so easily infatuated with the world’s trinkets?

I have seen how Jesus loved his bride to the end. How could I be frustrated with my wife?

I have seen your costly and lavish love in the giving of your Son and your Spirit. How then could I withhold generosity from those around me?

I have seen the empty tomb and I know that because he lives, I live to you, Father. How could I do the will of your enemy?

I have seen the grace of your Spirit changing my heart’s desires. How could I condemn others for not changing themselves?

Father, grant that the eyes of my heart would see and that I would be strengthened by the working of your Spirit to behold the immensity of your love for me in the death and resurrection of your Son, so that in beholding more of your love, I might love you more. Grant me such a view of Jesus — the crucified and coming King — that I might not sin against you.

Please fill my mind with thoughts of your love that sin becomes unthinkable.

Friday, January 18, 2013

So What's Really Up With Romans 7?

by Stephen Altrogge

I know, I know, I’ve been on this Romans 7 soapbox for a couple posts now. I’ve been ranting and raving, saying that Romans 7:7-25 is not about Christians at all. I promise I’ll get down after this post and the tendons in my neck will go back to normal levels, non-fanatical levels. But there’s one question that seems to linger in the air when I talk about Romans 7:7-25:

Why do so many people think the passage is about Christians?
I mean, come on, I’m disagreeing with John Piper, J.C. Ryle, John Owen, and a lot of other dangerously smart, godly guys. Yes I am. I humbly and respectfully think that they’re wrong. But I can understand why they, and so many others, think that Romans 7:7-25 is about the Christian.

First, in some ways, the passage seems to describe what we experience as Christians. When Paul describes, in the present tense (“didn’t Stephen’s mom ever teach him about grammar?”), the internal battle of wanting to obey God, yet finding himself disobeying, we can relate to that. The battle against sin is hard and feels like a struggle! Fighting against sin can be exhausting! We do fail and stumble. We all can relate at some level to the struggle that Paul is describing.

But does Paul speaking in the present tense mean that he is describing the Christian experience? I don’t think so. Gordon Fee helpfully says:
What Paul describes throughout is what it was like to live under the law; and whatever else is true of the Christian Paul, he did not consider himself to be under the law. What he describes from his now Christian perspective, is what it was like to live under law before Christ and the Spirit. The use of “I” and the present tense of the verbs only heighten the intensity of his feelings toward the utter helplessness of the law to do anything about the real problem of sin. (Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God, pg. 134)
The second reason so many people think this passage is about Christians is that we in the Reformed circles tend to lean pretty heavily on the Puritans, and nobody was more introspective about sin than the Puritans. I mean, seriously, they named their kids things like “Killing Sin” and “Fighting the Devil”.

John Owen, who was basically the Captain America of the Puritans, wrote some incredibly helpful things about the fight against sin. He believed that Romans 7:7-25 described the Christian experience and a portion of his writings flowed out of that perspective. His writings have shaped the way we Reformed folks think about the doctrine of indwelling sin.

Now, it’s quite possible that I could be wrong in my interpretation of Romans 7:7-25. After all, lots of ninja smart guys disagree with me. But I do think it’s important to sort through this question. If we interpret the passage as describing the Christian then it makes failure in our battle against sin much more acceptable. After all, if Paul felt this way, then surely I will too. But if it is describing a person without the Holy Spirit, it gives me much more faith that the Spirit will empower me in my battle against sin. As Paul says, I will be delivered from this body of death.

Okay, now I’ll step down.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Romans 7 Is NOT About Christians! Part Deux

by Stephen Altrogge

Yesterday I had the chutzpah (I love that word) to claim that Romans 7:7-25 was not about Christians. I ruffled a few feathers and bloodied a few theological noses, but overall everyone, including those who disagreed with me, was gracious and kind. Today I’ll give you a second reason why I think Romans 7:7-25 isn’t about Christians. As usual, please keep the comments civil, don’t make any references to Hitler, and please don’t use the words “logical fallacy”. Thank you.

The second reason I believe that Romans 7:7-25 is not about Christians is the content of chapters 6 and 8. If Romans 7 is about the Christian, then Paul must have had a serious mental meltdown (I wanted to say “brain fart”, but come on, that’s immature) while he was writing the chapter.

In Romans 6 Paul is celebrating the fact that we have died with Christ and been set free from the power of sin. In verse 14 he says these incredibly encouraging words:
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Sin will have no dominion over me! Why? Because I’m not under the law any more. I’ve died to the law of Moses. The law of Moses did not give me power to obey God’s commands, it only informed me of God’s commands. But I’m not under the law any more, I’m under grace, and God’s grace is pulsing with power. God’s grace at work within me ensures that sin will have no dominion over me.

Then, in Romans 7:6, Paul says:
But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
I am released from the law and I now serve in the new way of the Holy Spirit. The old written code (The Law of Moses) could not empower obedience, but the Holy Spirit does empower obedience. I’m released from the old code and I serve in the new way of the Spirit. Yes Paul, yes, I’m with you. I’m free, just like you!

Then the strangeness begins. In verse 7 Paul begins writing as one who IS under the law. He comes face to face with the Mosaic command “You shall not covet” and he suddenly finds himself unable to stop coveting. It’s like coveting takes over his life! He has the desire to do what’s right but he can’t carry it out (vs. 19). The commandment which was good actually ended up killing him (vs. 10)

In verse 25 he says:
So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
In other words, he desires to obey the law of God in his mind, but is simply unable to do it. He does not have the power to do what the law commands. He is “captive to the law of sin [note that phrase] that dwells in his members”. That sounds like the experience of a religious Jewish man seeking to obey God’s law, yet unable to do what he desires.

Then, in Romans 8:2-3, Paul says these wonderful words:
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin [have you seen this phrase before?] and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.
Wonderful, sweet, life-giving words! The law of the Spirit of life has set us from the law of sin that Paul mentioned in Romans 7. The law of sin, which captivated us, has been overpowered by the law of the Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit God has done what the law could not do: given us both the desire and the power to obey. We don’t serve the law of sin anymore, we serve with new life in the Spirit.

So why does Paul write Romans 7 in the present tense? Stay tuned…same Bat time, same Bat channel.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Romans 7 Is NOT About Christians!

by Stephen Altrogge

I used to think that Romans 7:7-25 was describing the Christian experience of the battle against sin. I don’t think that anymore. In fact, I don’t think the passage is talking about Christians at all, and in the next several posts I hope to show you why.

But before I rush headlong into this thorn bush of a passage, let me issue a few disclaimers. First, lots of Christians, including some ultra-smart (like, able to bend spoons with their mind kind of smart) believe that this is talking about Christians. So I’m in the minority here. Second, these posts are not going to be a place for theological cage fighting. I would love to hear your perspective and be sharpened by your thoughts, but there won’t be any comment bashing on this blog. If your comment stinks, I’ll probably delete it.

And, I realize that there are a lot of questions that this post and future posts will raise. I’ll try to answer them as they come up, but I can’t promise that I can answer every question.

Let me tell you right up front who I think Romans 7 is talking about (that’s a terribly constructed sentence, but it’s 9AM and the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet). Romans 7:7-25 was written to describe the experience of a pious Jew, possibly Paul himself before conversion, who is seeking to obey the law, yet finds himself unable to obey apart from Christ and the Holy Spirit. It is not written about a Christian trying to follow Jesus and constantly failing.

NO HOLY SPIRIT!

The first and primary reason I believe that this is not about Christians is the complete lack of any mention of the Holy Spirit in these verses. In Romans 7:6 Paul says:
But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
This pretty much sums up Paul’s thinking on pursuing holiness as a Christian. We serve in the new way of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in us, empowering us to overcome and to conquer sin. We are no longer slaves, we are sons. Under the law we were powerless to obey God and his commands, but under the new covenant we have the law written on our hearts.

In Galatians 5:16, Paul says:
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
There is such certainty in this verse! If we walk by the Spirit we absolutely will not gratify the desires of the flesh. We won’t be dominated by our desires, we will have victory over them by the power of the Spirit.

But in Romans 7:18-19, Paul says:
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
That statement simply does not line up with everything else Paul says about living the Christian life. As a Christian, he does have the ability to carry out the desire to what’s right. As a Christian, he does not have to keep doing the evil he does not want to do. He is a new creation in Christ, with the law written on his heart.

As Gordon Fee says regarding Romans 7:7-25:
The person here described never wins. Being under the helpless law, in the face of the more powerful flesh and sin, means being sold as a slave under sin, and thus incapable of doing the good thing the law demands. Such a description is absolutely incompatible with Paul’s view of life in Christ, empowered by the Spirit. (Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God, pg. 134)
Paul is not describing his life as a Christian. He’s describing what it was like to be a Jew who genuinely sought to obey the law of God, yet felt himself to be powerless apart from the Spirit.

The hard thing about this passage is that it describes many of our experience in the battle against sin. What are we to make of that? More on that later.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

7 Questions To Ask A Friend

by Stephen Altrogge

  1. Have you been consistently pursuing the Lord through Scripture reading and prayer?
  2. Have you diligently pursued your wife/husband this week?
  3. Have you seen any persistent patterns of sin in your life recently?
  4. Last week you confessed struggling with [insert sin]. Have you taken steps to fight it this week?
  5. When you gave into [insert sin], what were you believing about God in that moment? What were you believing about yourself?
  6. What is the truth that you need to believe in this situation?
  7. When you had the conflict with [insert person], what were you craving at that moment?

Monday, January 14, 2013

14 Questions To Ask Your Bible

by Stephen Altrogge

  1. Who is the author of the passage?
  2. Who were the recipients?
  3. What is the historical background of the passage?
  4. What is the outline/structure of the passage?
  5. Are any words repeated? Any significance to repetition?
  6. Are there any unusual words in the passage that call for more exploration?
  7. How does the passage fit into the surrounding paragraph? chapter? book?
  8. Why did the author place the passage here and not somewhere else?
  9. In one sentence, what is the main point of the passage?
  10. How would the original audience have been affected by the passage?
  11. How does this passage connect to the overall storyline of the Bible?
  12. How does this passage reveal Jesus as Saviour?
  13. How does God want this passage to function in my life?
  14. What kind of response does this passage call for?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Are You A Christian Band/Artist?

To Whom It May Concern,

What is the purpose of Christian music? In case you are not aware, the purpose of Christian music (music that is Christian in content and theme) is three-fold:
  1. to exalt (glorify) God,
  2. to edify (build up) the believers, and
  3. to evangelize the lost.
Romans 10:14 says, "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" Your music might be the only "Bible" that a lost person ever "reads" or listens to. You might be the only "preacher" they ever hear. Your music is your ministry, with which your first objective goal should be to glorify God. If your lyrics never speak of Christ Jesus and Him crucified, how can you call your music "Christian"? If I take your music and play it in a downtown club and nobody recognizes it as being "Christian," demanding that it be turned off, how can you call your music "Christian"? The world hates Christians. Christians will never be accepted by the world (John 15:18-19). There is a vast difference between being an artist who is Christian or a band of Christians doing music and being a Christian artist or Christian band. The latter seeks to glorify God while the former seeks acceptance and popularity with the world; and we all know what the Bible has to say about the former (1 John 2:15-17). To be an artist who is Christian or a band of Christians means that you may or may not be Christian, but whether or not you are, your music is not. To be a Christian artist or Christian band means that you are a Christian and your music reflects and reveals it. The term "Christian" characterizes both you and your music.

We can all agree that just because someone says that they are a “Christian” does not make it so. Likewise, just because something is labelled as “Christian” does not make it so. So how can we determine what is and what is not “Christian” music? For anything to be called “Christian”, it must follow these principles as set forth in God’s Word:
  1. Music must bring praise, honour and glory to God’s name (Ps. 9:2; 61:8; Heb. 2:12).
  2. Music must direct the listener toward God (Col. 1:18), both saved and unsaved.
  3. Music must be edifying to the listener and build the listener up (1 Cor. 14:26; Eph. 5:19-20; Col. 3:16) by drawing the listener closer to God.
  4. Music requires understanding (1 Cor. 14:15; Ps. 47:7) and must not be confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). In other words, its message must be clear and precise.
Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 do not define the style or mood of Christian music; they speak of the purpose and content of Christian music. Christian songs should help us focus our thoughts on God and God’s truth (scripture and scriptural principles). In other words, the content of Christian songs will speak about God, Christ Jesus, salvation, the Bible, Christian doctrine, our personal testimonies of how God saved us, and Christianity in general. For example, if a song says "I love my wife, I'll do anything for my family, we can make it...", you can easily identify it with biblical principles. Examine the hymns we sing and you will see that they follow these principles. The reason Petra was a great band, and the reason why rappers such as Cross Movement, Flame, Lecrae, Shai Linne, Timothy Brindle, Trip Lee, and Voice (to name a few) are great, is because their music follows these principles and they are not ashamed of Christ Jesus. Their music, while put to different tunes, resembles what we witness in our hymns. They proclaim Jesus and His truths boldly and clearly. To call yourself a Christian artist or Christian band and have obscure lyrics, desiring to be "main stream" by being acceptable to and popular with the world, reveals that you are ashamed of Christ Jesus (Mark 8:38).

If you are truly a Christian artist or a Christian band (as opposed to an artist who is Christian or a band of Christians), you should be putting the Word of God to music in order to edify the believer and evangelize the lost. Martin Luther once said, “Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through music.” That this is true is evident from Psalm 119:54: "Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage." We evidence this in our hymns, we evidence this in the music of Petra, and we evidence this in the music of such rappers as Cross Movement, Flame, Lecrae, Shai Linne, Timothy Brindle, Trip Lee, and Voice (to name a few). The Great Commission says to "Go and make disciples" (Matt. 28:19). How can you do this if your lyrics never mention Christ Jesus or speak of biblical principles?

When looking for genuine Christian artists or Christian bands, one should ask: Do they have a “look at me” or a “look at God” attitude? Do they appear to be seeking fame, money and self-glorification or do they glorify God and His Kingdom? Do they portray pride and arrogance or meekness and humbleness? Do they claim to know God but never sing about Him, His Kingdom and values? Is the artist pointing their life, ministry and performance to Christ? Anyone can say they are a Christian, know God and sing Christian songs, but does their life reflect Christ (1 John 2:6)? Hell will be full of people who honoured God with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him (Matt. 7:15-23; 15:8). If your life is not in step with the Holy Spirit and characteristic of what the Bible declares a Christian to be, then you are not a Christian artist or Christian band.

When listening to artists who are labelled as “Christian”, one should ask: What does the song say? Is the message clear? Can I understand it? Can I tell the group is singing about God and God’s truth (scripture and scriptural principles—God, Christ Jesus, salvation, the Bible, Christian doctrine, our personal testimonies of how God saved us, and Christianity in general)? Does it draw me into a closer relationship with God and provide a desire to know more of Him? If it is lacking in all of this, it clearly is not Christian music. If people cannot identify you as being Christian from your music, you are not a Christian artist or Christian band, although you may be an artist who is Christian or a band of Christians.

If you claim to be a Christian artist or a Christian band, then step up and man up. Preach Christ with boldness, conviction, and clarity, being unashamed. If you truly love Christ Jesus, then demonstrate it for all to see. Salvation is the greatest gift that you could have ever received, yet you feel the need to obscure this from the world. Quit straddling both sides of the fence and pick a side. If you want to be "main stream" and be accepted by and popular with the world, then put both feet in. Quit pretending to be a Christian while being in love with the world and the things the world has to offer. If you want to glorify Christ Jesus, then put both feet in. Let Him be proclaimed in your music so that both the saved and unsaved are directed toward Him. If I purchase a CD from an artist who labels themselves as "Christian", I expect to be hearing about Christ somewhere in the lyrics. If Christ and His truths are not present, it simply is not Christian music.

 To hear a song that has the same concerns I have, you can listen to it here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Land Promise

"And the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him." (Genesis 12:7)

"And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever." (Genesis 13:14-15)

"On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates" (Genesis 15:18)
Dispensationalists/Christian Zionists frequently tell us that these promises were made to the nation of Israel forever, but this is false. The nation of Israel was not in existence at this point, nor are they referenced anywhere in these passages. Eisegetical inference inserts Israel here. The land was promised to Abraham and his seed forever (the word translated "descendants" literally means "seed"). Remember what Galatians 3:16 teaches us?
"Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ."
The seed is Christ Jesus—not the physical descendants of Abraham (which would include the Arabs). Now, if you want to read the promise literally, it says "to your descendants forever." Abraham's descendants consist of both Israelites (Jews) and Ishmaelites (Arabs). After the Jews were scattered from the land yet again, the Arabs moved in. So the promise was still being fulfilled by Abraham's descendants. However, the land that Abraham looked forward to was not a patch of earth located in the Middle East—it was heaven.
"By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. ... All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16)
We are also often told that the nation of Israel never received the land God promised, but this, too, is false. Joshua, Solomon, and Nehemiah all confess that Israel received the land that God promised to give.
"So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war." (Joshua 11:23)

"All the cities of the Levites in the midst of the possession of the sons of Israel were forty-eight cities with their pasture lands. These cities each had its surrounding pasture lands; thus it was with all these cities. So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass." (Joshua 21:41-45)

"Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance; they were eating and drinking and rejoicing. Now Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt; they brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life." (1 Kings 4:20-21)

"Indeed, forty years Thou didst provide for them in the wilderness and they were not in want; Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell. Thou didst also give them kingdoms and peoples, And Thou didst allot them to them as a boundary. And they took possession of the land of Sihon the king of Heshbon, And the land of Og the king of Bashan. And Thou didst make their sons numerous as the stars of heaven, And Thou didst bring them into the land Which Thou hadst told their fathers to enter and possess. So their sons entered and possessed the land. And Thou didst subdue before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, And Thou didst give them into their hand, with their kings, and the peoples of the land, To do with them as they desired. And they captured fortified cities and a fertile land. They took possession of houses full of every good thing, Hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves, Fruit trees in abundance. So they ate, were filled, and grew fat, And reveled in Thy great goodness." (Nehemiah 9:21-25)
So who is right? Are the Dispensationalists/Christian Zionists? Or is the Bible? That is right. The Bible is correct—100% of the time. Sometimes finding an answer requires of us to do a little leg work and apply some elbow grease. The promises were spoken to Abraham and his seed; Christ Jesus and all those who would belong to Him by faith—Christians.
"Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham." (Galatians 3:7)

"And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." (Galatians 3:29)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Who Are God's Chosen People?

As if Galatians and Ephesians have not made it clear enough already, believers in Christ Jesus—both Old and New Testament saints—are God's chosen people. Not Israel! Romans 9:8 makes a pretty clear statement that "it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants." Galatians 3:26 and 29 continue by stating, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. ... And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." Peter states as crystal clear as it can get in 1 Peter 2:9-10, "But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY." These statements are made directly to and about Christians! Everything Peter quotes or alludes to from the Old Testament were promised to or spoken about Israel, yet Peter quotes them for and applies them to the Church. The Church—the one body of Christ Jesus—consists of both Old and New Testament saints. All who have the faith of Abraham are God's chosen people.

Let us take a look at what the New Testament has to say about the terms "children of God," "people of God," and "sons of God."

CHILDREN OF GOD
Because the terms "children of God" and "sons of God" are interchangeable, the passages under this heading in the KJV are: John 11:52; Romans 8:16, 21; 9:8, 26; Galatians 3:26; 1 John 3:10; and 1 John 5:2. In the NASB, they are as follows:
  • "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, [even] to those who believe in His name," John 1:12
  • "and not for the nation only, but that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad." John 11:52
  • "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God," Romans 8:16
  • "that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." Romans 8:21
  • "That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants." Romans 9:8
  • "that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world," Philippians 2:15
  • "See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is." 1 John 3:1-2
  • "By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother." 1 John 3:10
  • "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments." 1 John 5:2
John 11:52 sounds like it is speaking about the Israelites, but it is not. Read verses 51 and 52 together. When you read passages like John 10:16; Romans 9:8; Galatians 3:7, 26, and 29; and Ephesians 2:11-22 (among others), it makes it clear that the Gentile inclusion, which was prophesied in the Old Testament, is in view here. The children of God are scattered abroad. Some are Asian, some are African, some are Caucasian. They are located in every part of the world.


PEOPLE OF GOD
Hebrews 11:25 is the only verse here that actually refers specifically to the Israelites under Egyptian rule. Peter is applying his quotes from the Old Testament directly to Christians.
  • "There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God." Hebrews 4:9
  • "choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin;" Hebrews 11:25
  • "for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY." 1 Peter 2:10


SONS OF GOD
Because the terms "sons of God" and "children of God" are interchangeable, the passages under this heading in the KJV are: John 1:12; Romans 8:14, 19; Philippians 2:15; and 1 John 3:1-2. In the NASB, they are as follows:
  • "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." Romans 8:14
  • "For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God." Romans 8:19
  • "AND IT SHALL BE THAT IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, 'YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,' THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD." Romans 9:26
  • "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:26


Every single one of the above verses, with the exception of Hebrews 11:25, are speaking directly to and about believers in Christ Jesus—Christians; the Church; the one body of Christ; the bride of Christ, which is made up of Old and New Testament saints, Jew and Gentile alike. "[God the Father] chose us in [Christ Jesus] before the foundation of the world..."(Eph. 1:4). We, believers, are God's chosen people.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Are Jews God's Chosen People?

To claim that all Jews alive today, and who have entered Israel since it became a nation in 1948, are the natural descendants of Abraham, a Chaldean who lived some 3,000 years ago, is ludicrous and unreal. Since the Jews were scattered across the entire globe, they have married people who were not Jewish. Some have converted to Judaism while others have not. If a person's ethnic background (which gets farther removed the further you go back and the more ethnic introductions you find) is made up of one half Spanish, one quarter Dutch, one eighth English, one sixteenth German, one thirty-second African, one sixty-fourth Russian and one sixty-fourth Scottish, and that person was born in Australia, that person cannot call him/herself a Russian. That person's ancestors might have been Russian, and that person might have some Russian ancestry in him/her, but that person is not a full-fledged Russian. If you convert to Judaism, you have become Jewish. To be a Jew is to be a follower of Judaism, not a natural descendant of Abraham. There are people of every ethnicity and nationality who are Jews, and new Jews are being converted every day from every ethnicity and nationality. You might as well say that all Lutherans are the natural descendants of Martin Luther. That is how preposterous and nonsensical the statement that all Jews are the natural descendents of Abraham is. It simply is not true. Those who call themselves Jews today are no more the natural descendants of Abraham than those who call themselves Lutherans are the natural descendants of Martin Luther.

The Jews were the chosen people of God, but they are no longer the chosen people of God. Anyone who refers to Jews as God's chosen people today is ignorant of what their Bible teaches. "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" (1 Peter 2:9-10). These words are spoken to and about Christians. The quotes and allusions from the Old Testament in these verses were promises spoken to Israel, but Peter's use of them says that they find their fulfillment in the church. In fact, most of the quotes and allusions from the Old Testament found in the New Testament were promises to Israel that are used to state that they find their fulfillment in the church—the true, spiritual Israel (Romans 11:17-24; 2:28-29; 9:6-8; Galatians 3:6-14, 29; Ephesians 2:11-22).

The statements "I know that you are Abraham's descendants" (John 8:37) and "If you are Abraham's children" (John 8:39) contrast Abraham's natural and spiritual posterity. Israelites and Ishmaelites are the former, while Christians, "who are of the faith of Abraham" (Romans 4:16)—whether Jew or Gentile, Old Testament saint or New Testament saint—are the latter. "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ" (Galatians 3:16). The promises spoken to Abraham were not spoken for the Jews, but for Christ Jesus and all who belong to Him, whether Jew or Gentile. "And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendents, heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29). Ephesians 2:11-22 speaks more to this reality. The dividing wall that used to be in place has been destroyed. There are not two chosen peoples of God. Christians are the chosen people of God. If you are "of the faith of Abraham", then you belong to Christ Jesus, being God's chosen people. "Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham" (Galatians 3:7), just as the Sunday School song says: "Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had father Abraham; I am one of them, and so are you, so let's all praise the Lord."

Jews, as a chosen people, a chosen nation, are no more. They have been cast away. "And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:12; cf. Luke 13:28). The Jews are not a special people who get a pass on salvation merely because they are Jews. That makes salvation by "race" rather than by grace. Unless they accept Christ Jesus as their Saviour, they will perish in hell like every other unbeliever. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me" (John 14:6). They cannot get to heaven apart from Jesus. The Bible also makes it clear "there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Without faith in Christ, the Jews will find themselves in hell along with everybody else.

In 70 A.D., Jerusalem was destroyed. The temple was also destroyed, never to be rebuilt ever again (Matthew 23:38; Luke 13:35). God will never again dwell in buildings built by human hands. He now dwells in us, a spiritual temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:4 [this is a reference to the church, not the Jewish temple]; 1 Peter 2:5). The nation of Israel was scattered across the globe for the second time (as prophesied in the Old Testament). The land, now being up for grabs, was taken over by the Arabs (also being descendants of Abraham). We are often told that this land was promised to the nation of Israel forever, but this is false. The land was promised to Abraham and his seed forever (Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 15:18—the word translated "descendants" literally means "seed"). Remember what Galatians 3:16 teaches us? The seed is Christ Jesus—not the physical descendants of Abraham (which would include the Arabs). Now, if you want to read the promise literally, it says "to your descendants forever." Israel did not exist at that point. Abraham's descendants consist of both Israelites and Ishmaelites. After the Jews were scattered from the land once more, the Arabs moved in. So the promise was still being fulfilled by Abraham's descendants. However, the land that Abraham looked forward to was not a patch of earth located in the Middle East—it was heaven (Hebrews 11:8-10; 13-16). We are also often told that the nation of Israel never received the land God promised, but this, too, is false. Joshua (Joshua 11:23; 21:41-45 [esp. v. 43]), Solomon (1 Kings 4:20-21), and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 9:21-25) all confess that Israel received the land that God promised to give.

In 1948, that land was stolen from the Arabs and given to the Jews in a self-fulfilled prophecy by the Christian Zionists, which has kept the Middle East in war these last 60 plus years. God was not behind the Jews becoming a nation again. It is nowhere to be found in Scripture. The passages frequently cited are in regard to Israel returning to the land after their Babylonian captivity. Nothing more, nothing less. Read this testimony by Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson in regard to the state of the Middle East:
In 1970, I was working for Sen. Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon. He decided to take a trip to the Middle East. As governor of Ore­gon, he had visited Israel more than once, getting to know figures such as Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, Golda Meir, and others. But this time, he decided to visit a couple of Palestinian refugee camps in addition to meeting with political leaders.
When he returned, he shared with me the powerful emotional and political impact his visits to those refugee camps made on him. “There can never be peace,” he told me, “without addressing the issue of justice for the Palestinians.” So he decided to deliver a major speech on the Senate floor, and I began working on a draft. In that speech, he said, “Voices of moderation are diminishing and polarization is increasing. If voices that heretofore have been mollifying influences in the area are further alienated, chances for peace in a rapidly escalating confrontation will be severely curtailed.”
In the floor discussion that followed, Sen. Hatfield said, “We have found, as to the present problem in the Middle East, the attitude that if you are not for Israel, then you have to be for the Arabs; or if you speak favorably of the Arabs, then you are against Israel. We are being judged by these parties, in some instances, not by how much you are for them, but by how much we hate the other side.” “I fear for this kind of polarization within our nation,” Hatfield continued. “The United States has the power, the resources, the idealism ... to be a peacemaker. But if we are going to try to be a peacemaker there by standing purely on one side of the issue, with one group only, and say there is no cause and no justice on the other side of the argument, we totally eliminate the possibility of that peacemaker role.”
Sen. Hatfield was surprised, and so was I, by the attacks that followed. His exposure to facts, experiences, and relationships on the ground in Israel and Palestine collided with the standard political rhetoric around Israel and Christian Zionism at that time. He spoke clearly out of his experience and proposed what that might mean for U.S. policy. Today his measured words seem so painfully prophetic as we witness the tarnished and catastrophically discredited image of the U.S. as a peacemaker in the Middle East.
Christian Zionists have brainwashed individuals into thinking Jews are the good guys and Arabs are the bad guys. Everything Jesus condemned the Scribes and Pharisees for could be found in the Mishnah, an early version of the Talmud. Man's traditions over the commandments of God. Today, over 80% of Jews all over the world follow the teachings of the Talmud almost exclusively. The Talmud is just as bad as, if not worse than, the Qu'ran. In fact, I would not be surprised if the Qu'ran is largely based off the Talmud, but in retaliation (the Talmud attacks and puts down Christians, Muslims, and pagans whereas the Qu'ran attacks and puts down Christians, Jews, and pagans). Jews are just as bad as the Muslims. Both are anti-Christ. Both hate Christians. Go over to Israel and walk up and down the streets loudly proclaiming that you are a Christian and watch how many Jews come up to you and spit on you. During a particular holiday, every Christian stays in their home and locks their doors. You can imagine how bad it gets if they have to do that. The reason Jews are arrogant and think they are better than everyone else is because the Talmud says that non-Jews are not human and that they are dogs far below the Jew; that they do not have the same rights as a Jew. When we elevate the nation of Israel, we are saying that we agree that we are beneath them and that they are better than us. That is not what the Bible teaches! I do not support Israel because they are anti-Christ.

Let's stop elevating the nation of Israel to a position of godhood. The Bible is not Israel-centric—it is Christ-centric. All of biblical prophecy is not fulfilled in or by Israel—it is fulfilled in and by Christ Jesus. The entire Bible is not all about Israel—it is all about Christ Jesus, as He demonstrated on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13). Let`s stop worshiping Israel as a god and start worshiping Christ Jesus as God. The nation and people of Israel are nothing! Jews were supposed to be the representatives of God. Christians are the representatives of God. It is Christ and Christ's people—Christians, the church. It is not Israel or the Jews.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tolerance and Inclusiveness

You know, Post-Modern nonsense no longer surprises me when I hear it: "Nah, man. What's true for you is true for you; what's true for me is true for me. All truth is valid." Oh yeah? What if my truth states that your "truth" is a lie? Is it still valid? What if my "truth" says it is okay to beat my wife and children? According to Post-Modern logic, nobody is allowed to tell me that I am wrong for doing so. In fact, if they tell me that I am wrong for doing so, I can simply claim that I am offended by them telling me I am not allowed to beat my wife and children.

After all, being "offended" makes everything right, right?

I mean, everybody used to say "Merry Christmas" to each other because it was not about a "religion." It was about something that we, as a culture, thought was so valuable that we all did it together, even if I disagreed with the " religion" behind it, because it was good for all and not just me. Santa Claus has nothing to do with the "religion" and yet what does he say all the time? "Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!" The overuse of the word "offensive" is driving me out of my mind. "Excuse me, but which part is more offensive? The 'peace on Earth' or the 'good will toward all men' rhetoric?" It is a disingenuous argument; it is not real. There are a ton of holidays in February and nobody ever says "Happy Holidays" in February. They say what it is. "Happy Valentines!"

D'oh! Do you believe in love? I would not want to "offend" you if you do not believe in love.

What we are seeing today is the wussification of our nations. "Oh no! I hurt your feelings by correcting you and telling you that 2 plus 2 is 4 and not 68?  Whatever shall I do now?" I know! How about... "I don't care!" Man up! You are going to be wrong and corrected. There are people who are better than you... at a lot of things. It is not the end of the world. Sheesh! Contrary to what you have been told, everybody is not equal. Men are different from women. Women are different from men. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. That is life! Get used to it. We are only equal in terms of our worth as human beings.

What does truly amaze me is how so many people have no clue what an "opinion" actually is. If someone says 2 plus 2 is 68, and I correct them and tell them it is 4, that is not my "opinion." It is fact. If you correct them, they attempt to tell you that doing so is a form of "bullying." On what continent? In which century? So, apparently, when parents correct their children and teachers correct their students, they are actually "bullying" them. That is one of the most preposterous and stupid things I have ever heard in my life!

People in the 21st century need to use their God-given brain for once in their measly existence. I am getting fed up of dealing with ignorant individual after ignorant individual. Let us try and be adults and at least pretend that we have a backbone.

Political correctness is a cancer and it is destroying our nations. It forces you to self-censor yourself. It is also cowardly because you do not stand for something you believe in. People think Christians are not supposed to offend other people, and to a degree they are right. However, there is a difference between maliciously offending someone on purpose, and somebody being offended by Truth. If you are offended by the truth, that is your problem. I have no obligation not to offend you if I am speaking the truth. Truth is supposed to offend you; that is how you know that you do not have it. You have to speak truth, otherwise you have nothing. Do you want to know how you stop political correctness? You stop doing it. Quit playing their game. Someone says, "You've hurt my feelings," you say, "I don't care."

Game over.

I win.

If they are offended by truth, that is not your obligation. Your only obligation is to speak the truth. Speak the truth in love, yes; but do not apologize for speaking the truth. The old cliché is accurate: "Truth hurts." Truth is a two-edged sword. Truth is both your offensive (sword) and defensive (shield) weapon. It can defend against and/or cut down errors and lies.

People repeatedly accuse Christians of not being tolerant and inclusive, yet the irony of their accusations is their illogical hypocrisy. While they are claiming that Christians are not tolerant and inclusive, they themselves are not tolerant and inclusive of Christians and/or Christianity. You see, they have changed the definition of tolerance from "the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with" to "the acceptance of the beliefs and/or practices of others whether you agree with them or not." They are essentially saying that if Christians try to impose their truth on them, Christians are bad. However, the self-refuting ironic logic here is that by telling Christians they are not allowed to do that, they are themselves imposing their "truth" upon Christians.

Again, if all "truth" is valid, what if my truth says your "truth" is wrong? Is it still valid? Post-Modern people are killing themselves. They are inconsistent in their words and actions, which makes them hypocrites. This is the stupidity that Post-Modernism brings about; illogical statements that lack a shred of intelligent thought. These people want Christians to accept everyone and everything, yet they refuse to accept Christians. Why? Because after 2,000 years, Christ Jesus is still intimidating people. They hate Christ Jesus. He said "I am the Way..." and they want to "do whatever is right in their own eyes." They want to go their own way and do their own thing, and they think Christ Jesus should just have to accept it. Sorry, but Jesus is God and He makes the rules. He is holy and His character is just and righteous. He says what is good and what is evil, and homosexuality is an unnatural perversion and moral bankruptcy of both human and sexual nature.

Dan Cathy, President of the Chick-fil-A establishment, issued this statement recently:
"We are very much supportive of the family--the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that. We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."
The Mayor of Boston responded with these words:
"Chick-fil-A doesn't belong in Boston. You can't have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We're an open city, we're a city that's at the forefront of inclusion. That's the Freedom Trail. That's where it all started right here. And we're not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the #@&% the name is, on our Freedom Trail...If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult unless they open up their policies."
The Jim Henson Company issued this response:
"The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors. Lisa Henson, our CEO, is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chic-fil-A to GLAAD."
Talk about being morally depraved. Lisa Henson, and people like her, are just as twisted and corrupt as the homosexuals themselves. Maybe we should just let the murderers murder, and the rapists rape, and the pedophiles abuse children, and people who partake in bestiality continue doing so... After all, we would not want to "offend" them by telling them that they are wrong!!! That is what they choose for their "lifestyle," so who are we to say they are wrong in doing what they are doing? I mean, we would not want to "judge" them, would we? We might hurt their feelings.

Let us use a little common sense and logic here. The Mayor of Boston says they are an "inclusive" city, yet they are not inclusive of Christianity. They are inclusive of all religions and all people except Christians. Secularists, like Montel Williams, Rosie O'Donnell, Pierse Morgan, etc., spout that Christians need to be more "tolerant," yet they themselves are not tolerant of Christians. They have changed the definition of the word "tolerant" to mean something it has never and does not mean. Tolerance does not mean I have to accept your beliefs and/or way of life whether I agree with it or not. It means that I inform you that your beliefs and/or way of life are wrong (if they go against biblical principles), but if you want to continue believing/living the way you are, then I tolerate you in spite of everything else. The definition that secularists use is a false tolerance.

Have the words of Paul Washer ever been more prophetic?
"You will be isolated from society, as has already happened; anyone who runs for office who actually believes the Bible will be considered a lunatic; until finally we are silenced. We will be called things we're not and will be persecuted not for being followers of Christ but for being radical fundamentalists who do not know the true way of Christ, which, of course, is love and tolerance. You'll go down as the greatest bigots and haters of mankind in history. Persecution is always meant for evil, but God always means it for good. And is it not better to suffer in this life, to have an extra weight of glory in heaven... Your suffering will not be noble, so your mind must be filled with the Word of God when all people persecute you and turn on you. And if the Spirit of God and common grace pulls back and you see even your children and grand children tossing in the lot that you should die. This is no game. You want revival and awakening, but know this, for the most part great awakenings have come only preceding great national catastrophes or the persecution of the church. And it will be on us before we even recognize it."

Friday, January 4, 2013

False Tolerance

from the Josh McDowell Ministry

"Tolerance" is the buzzword and central theme for the homosexual movement. However, few people understand what they really mean by "tolerance" and how they have twisted its meaning to support their agenda. As a result, most do not recognize the threat it poses to us, our children and our freedoms.

"Tolerance" means simply to recognize and respect other's beliefs and practices without necessarily agreeing or sympathizing with them. However, when many homosexuals use "tolerance," they mean going far beyond respecting their rights; they also demand approval, praise and endorsement of their beliefs, values and lifestyle. What other group in this country could demand that? Their attitude and demands are neither fair, right nor constitutional.

Our children are being bombarded in school with the homosexual version of "tolerance." In other words, all beliefs are equal, all values are equal, all lifestyles are equal and all truth is equal. This is the basis upon which our children are being indoctrinated by the propaganda that their beliefs and values which they learned in their home are no different from those of a homosexual, or a pornographer, or someone involved in adultery or fornication, etc. Children are being taught that all truth is relative to the individual. Knowing right from wrong doesn't matter. To say something is right or wrong is not being tolerant. This is today's "tolerance" pushed by homosexual activists.

It is clear that the distorted definition of "tolerance" has many dangerous implications, and unless society stands up for what is right, we will increasingly find ourselves with fewer and fewer freedoms. First, if our young people are confused about truth and believe the definition of "tolerance" they are being subjected to, they will not be able to determine right from wrong. In fact, in a national study among youth, it was discovered that children who do not accept an objective standard of truth become: 36% more likely to lie to you as a parent, 48% more likely to cheat on an exam, 2 times more likely to physically hurt someone, 2 times for likely to watch a pornographic film, 3 times more likely to use illegal drugs and 6 times more likely to attempt suicide. It is clear that how our youth think about truth has a definite effect on their behavior and the choices they make.

Second, our freedom of speech is being taken away little by little every day. We see that happening throughout society. If anyone exercises their Constitutional right of free speech and disagrees with the homosexual agenda, they are met with intolerant hatred, shouted down and called names. Homosexuals attempt to justify their actions by claiming any view different than theirs is 'intolerant' (using their definition) and should therefore be repressed.

Third, with the twisted version of "tolerance" comes a double standard. A few years ago, an "art" show displayed a crucifix, a Christian symbol, suspended in a jar of urine. While it enraged people of faith, it was supported by the homosexual community and others as "art." However, why is it that displaying a homosexual symbol in a jar of urine would be considered a hate crime? Using the same criteria they use on others, then a crucifix in a jar of urine would also be intolerant and a hate crime.

The danger and hypocrisy of this distorted version of "tolerance" are clear. What they call "tolerance" is really persecution of anyone who disagrees with them. Our society is based on the free exchange of ideas and if any group is successful at taking that away and silencing the opposition, then we are all less free. What they are doing to others is exactly what they claim others are doing to them!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bow Down and Worship

In Daniel chapter 3, we read about Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. King Nebuchadnezzar had erected a statue of gold (v.1) and commanded that everyone should bow down before it and worship it (vv.5, 10, 15). Anyone who did not bow down and worship it was to be cast into a furnace of blazing fire (vv.6, 11, 15). Shadrach Meshach and Abed-nego refused to bow down and worship the gold image (v.12). King Nebuchadnezzar threatened that if they did not bow down and worship the golden image, he would cast them into the fire and no god could deliver them (v.15). Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego flattly replied, "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us... But even if He does not, we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up" (vv.17-18). King Nebuchadnezzar then has the furnace heated to seven times its usual heat (v.19) and casts Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego into the furnace (v.20). Yet they remained unscathed by the flames, not even having the smell of fire on them (v. 27).

I illustrate that story for a reason. In our day and age, homosexuality is that golden image. We are told, essentially, that if we do not bow down and worship it, we will be cast into a furnace of blazing fire. While our furnace of fire is not literal—yet, it is slowly getting dangerously close to that point. If your business stands for traditional family values, every homosexual and homosexual-supporting individual will boycott your business and drive it into the ground. If you work for a company, such as Pepsi, that forces all employees to attend sexual orientation and gender identity diversity training where they are taught to accept homosexuality, if you refuse or disagree you will find yourself without a job. If you speak out against homosexuality, you can be charged with imaginary and so-called "hate crimes." Homosexuals accuse Christians of "forcing" their beliefs on them, yet what do they turn around and do to those opposed to homosexuality?

When people say that the tide is changing and that more and more people are approving of and accepting homosexuality, they are right. On December 29th, there was apparently a segment on CBC Radio that stated in all future US Presidential elections, if a candidate is anti-gay he/she will be automatically disqualified from the running. Those who profess to be homosexuals are less than 3% of the population and yet they are squeezing the majority, forcing them to do their bidding. Homosexuality is that golden image and it is forcing everyone to bow down and worship it, despite God's clear condemnation against such practices. How much longer until we start seeing Christians put in concentration camps for taking a stand against homosexuality? Christians are being persecuted left, right, and center in countries that accept this abominable perversion as a way of life. Students are being flunked. Employees are being fired. Churches are being sued. The homosexual movement is basically like Islam: "If you don't convert to our way of thinking and system of beliefs, we'll kill you." Again, this is not yet literal but it is slowly getting dangerously close.

Homosexuals have adopted the following tactics with the goal of forcing their beliefs upon society:
  • eliminating free speech by harassing and attempting to silence anyone who disagrees with them;
  • preying on children by indoctrinating and recruiting them into their lifestyle;
  • imposing their beliefs on others through activist judges and lawmakers requiring that everyone actively promote homosexuality in every institution (schools, workplace, churches, etc.);
  • destroying marriage and undermining the traditional family in order to annihilate any moral standard of behaviour;
  • intolerance toward anyone who does not willingly submit to their agenda;
  • fighting for a discriminatory and unconstitutional double standard of justice by demanding that crimes against homosexuals be punished more severely than the same crimes against heterosexuals through "hate crimes" legislation; and
  • deceptively portraying homosexuality as a harmless and victimless behaviour.
The homosexual agenda is based on intolerance of anyone who disagrees with them, and is a well-coordinated, well-financed, wide-ranging, intensive effort to infiltrate and influence organizations and society at large in order to spread misinformation with the goal of recruiting children. If you do not think that this is the case, or that there is even a homosexual agenda taking place, you need to wake up and smell the coffee! Read the following article, "Gay Revolutionary," written by Michael Swift, first published in Gay Community News in February of 1987 and reprinted from The Congressional Record. Tell me if you do not see these exact words taking place today.
"We shall sodomize your sons, emblems of your feeble masculinity, of your shallow dreams and vulgar lies. We shall seduce them in your schools, in your dormitories, in your gymnasiums, in your locker rooms, in your sports arenas, in your seminaries, in your youth groups, in your movie theater bathrooms, in your army bunkhouses, in your truck stops, in your all male clubs, in your houses of Congress, wherever men are with men together. Your sons shall become our minions and do our bidding. They will be recast in our image. They will come to crave and adore us.

Women, you cry for freedom. You say you are no longer satisfied with men; they make you unhappy. We, connoisseurs of the masculine face, the masculine physique, shall take your men from you then. We will amuse them; we will instruct them; we will embrace them when they weep. Women, you say you wish to live with each other instead of with men. Then go and be with each other. We shall give your men pleasures they have never known because we are foremost men too, and only one man knows how to truly please another man; only one man can understand the depth and feeling, the mind and body of another man.

All laws banning homosexual activity will be revoked. Instead, legislation shall be passed which engenders love between men. All homosexuals must stand together as brothers; we must be united artistically, philosophically, socially, politically and financially. We will triumph only when we present a common face to the vicious heterosexual enemy.

If you dare to cry faggot, fairy, queer, at us, we will stab you in your cowardly hearts and defile your dead, puny bodies.

We shall write poems of the love between men; we shall stage plays in which man openly caresses man; we shall make films about the love between heroic men which will replace the cheap, superficial, sentimental, insipid, juvenile, heterosexual infatuations presently dominating your cinema screens. We shall sculpt statues of beautiful young men, of bold athletes which will be placed in your parks, your squares, your plazas. The museums of the world will be filled only with paintings of graceful, naked lads.

Our writers and artists will make love between men fashionable and de rigueur, and we will succeed because we are adept at setting styles. We will eliminate heterosexual liaisons through usage of the devices of wit and ridicule, devices which we are skilled in employing.

We will unmask the powerful homosexuals who masquerade as heterosexuals. You will be shocked and frightened when you find that your presidents and their sons, your industrialists, your senators, your mayors, your generals, your athletes, your film stars, your television personalities, your civic leaders, your priests are not the safe, familiar, bourgeois, heterosexual figures you assumed them to be. We are everywhere; we have infiltrated your ranks. Be careful when you speak of homosexuals because we are always among you; we may be sitting across the desk from you; we may be sleeping in the same bed with you.

There will be no compromises. We are not middle-class weaklings. Highly intelligent, we are the natural aristocrats of the human race, and steely-minded aristocrats never settle for less. Those who oppose us will be exiled. We shall raise vast private armies, as Mishima did, to defeat you. We shall conquer the world because warriors inspired by and banded together by homosexual love and honor are invincible as were the ancient Greek soldiers.

The family unit—spawning ground of lies, betrayals, mediocrity, hypocrisy and violence—will be abolished. The family unit, which only dampens imagination and curbs free will, must be eliminated. Perfect boys will be conceived and grown in the genetic laboratory. They will be bonded together in communal setting, under the control and instruction of homosexual savants.

All churches who condemn us will be closed. Our only gods are handsome young men. We adhere to a cult of beauty, moral and esthetic. All that is ugly and vulgar and banal will be annihilated. Since we are alienated from middle-class heterosexual conventions, we are free to live our lives according to the dictates of the pure imagination. For us too much is not enough.

The exquisite society to emerge will be governed by an elite comprised of gay poets. One of the major requirements for a position of power in the new society of homoeroticism will be indulgence in the Greek passion. Any man contaminated with heterosexual lust will be automatically barred from a position of influence. All males who insist on remaining stupidly heterosexual will be tried in homosexual courts of justice and will become invisible men.

We shall rewrite history, history filled and debased with your heterosexual lies and distortions. We shall portray the homosexuality of the great leaders and thinkers who have shaped the world. We will demonstrate that homosexuality and intelligence and imagination are inextricably linked, and that homosexuality is a requirement for true nobility, true beauty in a man.

We shall be victorious because we are fueled with the ferocious bitterness of the oppressed who have been forced to play seemingly bit parts in your dumb, heterosexual shows throughout the ages. We too are capable of firing guns and manning the barricades of the ultimate revolution.

Tremble, hetero swine, when we appear before you without our masks."
I'm not sure who said it, but it is worth quoting as it is entirely accurately:
"One of the demands of homosexuals is protected class status as a 'minority.' Although they want special protection and special rights, being homosexual isn't the same as being an ethnic minority. We choose our sexual behaviors, not our skin color. Find out why homosexuals are not a minority, but a powerful special interest group. In truth, to equate gays with any true ethnic group is a travesty of logic. Homosexuality can only be equated and compared with other sexual behaviors or fantasies, legal and illegal, like heterosexuality, sadomasochism, bestiality, necrophilia, rape and pedophilia. [And also pornography.] Why homosexual behavior should merit special treatment is a question gay extremists are hard-pressed to answer logically.

In addition, homosexuals make the claim that as an entire class they are seriously "oppressed." However, that conclusion cannot stand when seen in light of marketing studies done by gays themselves that show them to be enormously advantaged relative to the general population, and even more so when compared to truly disadvantaged minorities."
One of the last things to become common place in the Greek and Roman empires before their fall (and many other great civilizations) was the acceptance, approval, and practice of homosexuality. If you read about what was taking place just before their fall, you would swear you are reading about us today and our predicament. But instead of being isolated to a particular empire, which was then destroyed to thwart this perversion and provide a clean start, today we see it on a grand scale across the entire globe. This has never happened in the history of man except prior to the flood. This lets us know that Jesus' return to judge the world in sin and righteousness is imminent.

God, if He so chooses, will deliver us from this furnace of fire, Christians. Do not bow down and worship this golden image known as homosexuality. Stand firm in your faith. Do not budge from the truths of the Word of God. Persevere to the end. God will judge homosexuality, and every other sin, and justice will be met.