Breaching Reality

April 13, 2012 at 8:37 am | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, Biblical Violence, BiblicalSwimming, Uncategorized | 26 Comments
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You may have seen this on television. It is one of my favorite images from nature documentary footage. In the frigid waters off the coast of South Africa a great white shark (by some estimates weighing close to one and a half tons) comes bursting up through the water’s surface, breaching explosively with its torpedo-shaped body, clenching a terrified fur seal tightly in its razor-sharp serrated teeth and powerful jaws!

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The voice-over narrator goes on to explain that this “sneak-attack” method of predation is used by sharks to overcome the agility and elusiveness of the much-smaller seals. The viewer is left to ponder this question: “How in the world did the seal not see that coming?”

The answer lies in the seals’ inability to see what needed to be seen, and to hear what needed to be heard. A seal-lover, anticipating the attack, could scream at these fur seals, and even wave his arms frantically as a warning of what is coming from below, but it would do no good. Christians who share the Gospel with unbelievers can sometimes feel a little of the same frustration. Lost sinners know that they are sinning. Why can’t they grasp the danger of God’s impending judgment and wrath? Like fur seals, they are suffering from a type of sensory deprivation.

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

II Corinthians 4:4

According to Scripture, the little “g” god of this world, Satan, has blinded – not the eyes, but the minds – of unbelievers. They are swimming obliviously through a sea of worldly conformity, and no amount of screaming, gesticulating, logical reasoning, pleading, or emotional manipulation is going to convince them to swim immediately to the safe harbor of God’s love. What hope is there, then?

There is the same hope that we ourselves (born-again Christians) have experienced:

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 4:6

The only light bright enough to shine into the heart of a person whose mind has been blinded is the glorious light which God has placed in our own hearts, and which can shine like a spotlight on the crucified and resurrected face of Christ the Lord.

Some of us reading this were given our sight just in the nick of time to avoid – not a great white shark – but the place of the condemned before the Great White Throne of God’s judgment. Now, it’s our turn to aim the darkness-defeating, sight-giving light straight into the minds of the other seals. Their Satanic affliction is not a cause for frustration; it is an opportunity for God to get glory.

Temporarily Saved Is Not Really Saved at All

December 17, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Posted in Eternity | 9 Comments
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Slogans are of limited value.  In general, slogans speak to a timely issue, and give a simplistic “sound bite” which tries to address a complex idea in a few short words.  They have a way of becoming quickly anachronistic.  For example, shouts of “Let them eat cake,” and “No taxation without representation,” caused quite a stir in their day, but just do not carry quite the same impact all these generations later.  This bumper sticker was plastered on the door of my childhood bedroom:

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All these years later, I’m still not sure who put it there or what it means!  But it must have expressed some social value back in those days.

The same is true for “Christianized” slogans.  They may be clever, but they are often weak at expressing lasting truths.  When I see a bumper sticker that says, “Christians aren’t perfect; they’re just forgiven,” I wince a little.  Sure, Christians are not perfect, in the sense of being sinless, but, as a true Christian, I am a whole lot more than “just” forgiven.  The mighty work of redemption wrought on Calvary’s Cross by the King of Glory should never be minimized as “just” anything.  Or, how about the one that says, “God is my Co-pilot?”  I understand the sentiment, but let’s get real.  The sovereign Lord of all creation, Who rules over and controls every molecule in existence, is not anyone’s “co-pilot.”

In general, if we want to express a Biblical principle, we are better off just sticking with reciting Bible verses.  However, saying that slogans are of limited value is not the same as saying they are of no value.  Take the slogan, “Once Saved Always Saved.”  It is a slogan which does not appear verbatim in Scripture, but it states a principle which is abundantly true and clear throughout Scripture.

God’s desire is for people to be “saved.”

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

I Timothy 2:3-4

Not all people are saved, but, every one who is once saved, is in fact always saved.  The only fault in the slogan might be its redundancy.  Imagine a drowning man flailing in the sea.  A lifeguard swims out, and starts hauling him in to shore.  It looks as though the drowning man has been “saved,” but suddenly a great white shark slashes through the water, tears the victim from the lifeguard’s arms, and drags him to his death beneath the waves.  Obviously, it cannot be properly said that the drowning man was “saved.”  Such victims who avoid the sharks, get onto the beach, dry off, and go home, can properly be said to have been “saved” from drowning.  And, though they will one day die, we might say that they were “once saved, always saved from drowning.”

To say that once Jesus Christ “saves” someone they are “always saved,” is a repetitive statement, but it is nevertheless a true statement.  The only alternative (and, sadly, there are many who believe this way) is that Jesus Christ is an imperfect “Savior,” Who can only attempt salvation, never really knowing which of the recipients of His grace and mercy will make it all the way to Heaven.  Obviously, this is not the case.  Jesus Christ is the perfect, all-powerful Savior, so it is correct, although perhaps somewhat clumsy linguistically, to say that all those whom He saves are “once saved, always saved.”


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