The Testator as Intercessor

January 20, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Posted in Eternity, Hebrews | 4 Comments
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Christ is God. He is greater than: the prophets, the angels, Moses, Joshua, Aaron, Levi, Abraham, and Melchizedek.

Why was it that the priesthood of Levi was not forever, but the priesthood of Christ after the order of Melchizedek is? Because the Law made nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19), but the bringing in of a better hope did. The Levitical priests received authority from the Law.

For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Hebrews 7:28

There was no provision for a priesthood from the tribe of Judah.

For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

Hebrews 7:14

That’s why the Law was not permanent; it was given to accomplish a purpose: to bring sinners to Christ. Its priests weren’t perfect, but the Priest of the New Testament IS perfect. He was commissioned by God’s personal oath.

And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

Hebrews 7:20-22

A testament is a document, or a system, or a set of principles, which takes effect upon the death of the testator (the will-maker). But Christ as Testator, empowered by the oath of God (Who cannot lie), died to make His Testament go into effect, and then proceeded to arise and live forever to probate the will as Intercessor before God – making intercession for Christians – His legatees (heirs) – those who inherit His promises and His salvation FOREVER.

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the UTTERMOST that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 7:25 (emphasis added)

As the old preachers like to say, Jesus saves from the “guttermost” to the uttermost.

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The Assurance of the Blood

December 28, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Eternity, Hebrews | 2 Comments
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Perhaps over the past year you have done some good works. Perhaps you have done God’s will. Perhaps you have even – dare we say it without sounding proud? – done some things which were not only PLEASING in the sight of the Lord, but which were WELLPLEASING to Him?

If so, we have Him and Him alone to thank for these accomplishments and blessings – since these types of deeds and activities would not be possible with anything less mighty, amazing, and all-sufficient than Resurrection power, perfectly good and great shepherding, and all-powerful blood which purchased and confirmed an everlasting covenant!

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 13:20-21

Perhaps you feared God more over the past year than you ever had before. If so, and if this fear was a holy and reverent fear given to you by God in His grace, then it is very likely that He has also caused you to grow in knowledge and wisdom. These things, too, were and are secured by His blood-bought covenant!

And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

Jeremiah 32:40

Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

Luke 22:20

Among the assurances that will keep you going as you face the trials, struggles, temptation, troubles, and battles that a new year will surely bring, I hope you will resolve to look to: (1) God’s own Word, preserved in the Holy Bible; (2) the seal of the Holy Spirit upon your soul; (3) the facts of the Crucifixion, burial, and Resurrection of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. But don’t forget this one, too: The everlasting Covenant – wholly the act of the Triune God – found in the shed blood of the Savior.

Partakers Overtake Undertakers

November 6, 2015 at 10:36 am | Posted in Eternity, Hebrews | 2 Comments
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In my opinion Hebrews 6:4-6 is one of the more difficult passages of Scripture in the Bible to understand.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Hebrews 6:4-6

I have encountered people with different views as to what it means:

1. Some people believe that this passage teaches that it is possible to truly trust Christ for salvation, receive eternal life, but then later willingly to turn from that salvation and voluntarily give it up. I disagree with this interpretation, though. In order to try to make Hebrews 6:4-6 fit into a doctrine that teaches that truly saved, born-again believers can make a mistake and lose their salvation, then the verses would also have to be teaching that, once this happens, these now-former believers could never get eternal life back again. Most of the people who deny eternal security instead teach that believers may lose it and get it back, lose it and get it back, many times. These verses teach just the opposite. They are saying that it would be impossible if someone were truly saved, and then could “fall away” out of salvation, to renew them again unto repentance.

2. I have also encountered the teaching that the people being described in Hebrews 6:4-6 were never really saved at all. Certainly there are some who profess to be saved and are really not, but that’s not who these verses are talking about. These folks are “once enlightened.” They “tasted” the heavenly calling, which means they actually experienced it, the way Jesus was said to have “tasted” death back in Hebrews 2:9. These people were “partakers” of the Holy Ghost. He had sealed them unto redemption. Verse 6 speaks hypothetically concerning what would happen if God’s seal could be broken, and it is clear that an unsaved person could not put the the Son of God “to open shame.” True Christians are His sheep. Wild goats don’t bring shame to the shepherd; they’re not in his care.

3. As indicated already, I believe the true meaning of these verses is that they are describing a hypothetical situation to prove the point that only true Christians can bring shame to our Savior by refusing to grow up, but can a baby stay a baby so long that his father is no longer his father? No, as true Christians, we’ve been “born again.” Once you’ve been born, any manner of things might happen to you, but you can never be “unborn.”

I might also note the significance that Hebrews 6:4-8 use the pronouns “them,” “those,” and “their,” whereas the rest of Chapter 6 uses “us” and “we,” which is another indication that a hypothetical situation is being described.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

April 11, 2011 at 11:49 am | Posted in Common Expressions, Eternity | 1 Comment
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For some reason, two of our common expressions concerning chickens and eggs are in the form of warnings:

1. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

When you find an egg mentioned in Scripture it is usually a snake’s egg, like in Isaiah 59:5, or some other kind of bird, like a partridge in Jeremiah 17:11. There are even ostrich eggs:

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear; Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding.

Job 39:13-17

There is a reference to the cock crowing after Peter denied the Lord three times. I have a sister-in-law who is an expert in poultry science or veterinary poultry or something, so I should probably consult with her to make sure, but I’m fairly certain that a cock is a rooster, and that roosters don’t lay eggs. The only mention of chickens I could find in the Bible was:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Matthew 23:37
(Luke 13:34 is the parallel Verse.)

One of the reasons that people say not to put all your eggs in one basket is that, if you put them in the wrong basket (meaning if you depend on the wrong thing or put too many resources into what turns out to be the wrong choice), you could end up losing all of them. In other words, be careful, because there are no guarantees.

But Christians know that this is not true. We have the guarantee of God.

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 5:13

Another reason people say that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket is that the basket might get dropped, and then the eggs would all be broken. Mark Twain’s take on it was, “Put all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket!

But when it comes to our salvation, all our eggs are in one basket. We put all our faith, trust, belief, and hope in the grace of God manifested in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we put our eggs in that basket, we do not have to worry about the basket being dropped.

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…

Deuteronomy 33:27, emphasis added

The Bookends of Faith (Part 5)

February 23, 2011 at 11:00 am | Posted in The Bookends of Faith | 6 Comments
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The Bookends of Faith in the Deity of Jesus Christ: The first and last of the seven “I AM” statements in the Book of John

Last time we looked at two proofs of abiding as branches in the True Vine Who is Jesus Christ:

1. Pruning is proof.
2. Producing is proof.
Now we see that,
3. Proliferating is proof.

When the fruit of abiding is produced in our lives the principle of proliferation or multiplication goes into effect. Fruit has seeds. When your fruit starts to produce more fruit, better fruit, and much fruit, it is proof you are abiding.

One bookend is the Bread of Life. If you have partaken of the Bread of Life, you HAVE (present tense eternal) eternal life. You could lean all your books on that bookend, but, if you have ever tried to line up books on a bookshelf, you know that if you only have one bookend, eventually the books are going to lose balance. They will fall down or get pushed over. If you lean too hard on the first I AM statement to the exclusion of the last I AM statement, you will fall down. And falling down, you will live a defeated Christian life. The Lord has put this last bookend – I AM the True Vine – at the other end, lest we believe one of two fallacies:

1. The fallacy that the guarantee of eternal life is a license to sin.

2. The fallacy that a branch can stop being a branch.

One who is born again cannot be unborn. One who has eternal life can not have temporary life. We cannot work for our salvation, and no amount of works will seal our salvation. This bookend – I AM the True Vine and those branches who abide will bear fruit – draws the distinction between victorious Christian living and defeated Christian living – between the spiritual Christian and the carnal Christian. Branches that do not abide experience severe chastening (pruning), and, if they will not return to abiding they may be cast into the fire and burned. HOWEVER, this fire is not the fire of hell – not the fire of eternal damnation. These verses must not be used to teach that doctrine. Both bookends are equally strong, and they do not contradict the books in the middle. The “fire” into which non-abiding, unfruitful branches may be thrown is the most severe judgment the Lord administers to His Own children – it is the judgment of letting them have their own way. This fire is the physical, not the eternal, not the spiritual, death of a believer. It is the ultimate chastening due to disobedience. It is the “sin unto death” of which I John 5:16 – written to believers – speaks.

Destined for Victory

February 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Romans | 13 Comments
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For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Romans 7:14

The Law can not change us. Nobody can deny that the Law is holy and good and just, because it came from the holy God. The Law is good because it reveals God’s holiness and our unholiness – our sinfulness. But the Law cannot cure us – it makes the diagnosis.

According to Romans 7:15-21, our “members” – our arms, legs, and whole body – can be controlled by our flesh (carnal nature; old nature), or by the Spirit (new nature). It is okay for the believer to have a goal of not breaking God’s laws, but the believer has to realize that, like the Apostle Paul, we can not obey the laws in our own power. Nor does the Law itself provide the power for us to do good.

According to Romans 7:21-24, believers have been “redeemed.” We have been “set free” or “bought out of slavery.” But the Law can not set us free. The Law is like gravity. The more we struggle to jump up in the air, the more keenly we feel its weight drawing us down. The Law – when viewed as a burden of weight to carry – draws us down into sin. When the Apostle Paul calls himself a “wretched” man, he means “wretched” in the sense of someone who has been in a battle and is worn out and worn down. No matter how hard we struggle in the battle, we will wind up wretched unless we are delivered – delivered by the Lord Jesus.

According to Romans 8:1-4, as believers, we are not condemned by the Law. There is now (present tense eternal) no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (those who are saved). We owed a debt for our sins, but Christ paid it for us. Now, it has been paid in full – the Law can not claim that it is still owed.

According to Romans 8:5-17, as believers, we are destined for four specific victories:

1. God’s Spirit, which lives inside us, is stronger than our flesh. Therefore, we are destined for victory over the flesh.

2. We had physical life before we were saved, but were dead spiritually. Now, we have the victory of spiritual life, too.

3. Before, we were at war with God. Now, we have peace with God. The victory is chiefly His, but, in a sense, it is ours, too.

4. Before, we wanted to please ourselves. Now, we want to please God. We are destined for victory over self.

According to Romans 8:18-30, as believers, we do not have to feel frustrated. The suffering in the world was not “created” by God. It was created by Adam’s sin. The suffering of the believer is temporary. We long for the fulfillment of our hope, but, because we know it is coming, we shouldn’t be discouraged. Jesus feels our pain, and intercedes for us in prayer. We know that God’s plans are perfect.

According to Romans 8:31-39, as believers, we do not have to worry about God disowning us. We need to be focused on serving God as our King and Lord, but there is also a sense in which God is “on our side.” He proved it when Christ died for us. If He died for us while we were sinning against Him, how much more will He bless us, now that we are His children? God is not a double-minded hypocrite. Having justified us, He will not now accuse us. Not only does the Holy Spirit pray for us, but Christ does, too. Even when we fail God, He still loves us. It is not a conditional love. A child who disobeys his father is still that father’s child. No child, once born, can change the fact of who his father is. Nobody can go back and be “unborn.” NOTHING can separate the born-again believer from the love of God.

Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 4)

February 9, 2011 at 9:34 am | Posted in Eternity, Matthew | 5 Comments
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Objection: I believe that I can lose my salvation because Luke 8:13 says, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” To me this is going back to free will. We have the free will to walk away.

Answer to Objection: Luke 8:13 is not teaching that you can lose your salvation. You need to read the whole parable that Jesus is teaching. Some people hear the Word of God, but it lands on their stony heart. It is like seed on a rock. It can not send down roots. There may be a thin layer of soil on the rock, so that it looks for a little while like something is growing from the seed. But sunlight shines down on it (the heat of temptation), and it shrivels and dies and falls away. If it had roots, the heat would have made it grow, not die. These are people who look like they got saved until temptation came, and it was revealed that they never got saved to begin with. They did not “lose their salvation.”

Objection: But what about Deuteronomy 30:17-20: “But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

Answer to Objection: Deuteronomy 30:17-20 does not teach that you can lose your salvation. When God renewed His covenant with the people of Israel as they prepared to cross over into the promised land of Canaan, He told them that if they disobeyed, they would die. If they obeyed, they would live long and prosper. They could be blessed for obedience or cursed for disobedience. This is speaking about prolonging their days upon the land, and the “length of their days on the earth,” not eternal salvation. Eternal salvation is by grace through faith, not through keeping the Old Testament Covenant.

Objection: What about Matthew 5:13?

Answer to Objection: Matthew 5:13 is not teaching that you can lose your salvation. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Salt in Bible times could go bad or spoil, and then it would be useless for bringing out the flavor in food, and for preserving food. Jesus is saying that you are no good as a disciple if you won’t bring the truth of God’s Word to the people with whom you come into contact. We should cast people out of the church fellowship and positions of ministry if they are not acting as salt and light.

I have seen God convince some people of the truth of eternal security. Some people I have seen simply do not want to believe it. It is important that we do not try to find Bible verses that will fit into what we want to believe. There are whole ministries and denominations out there built around teaching that Christians can lose “their” salvation. These preachers think that people will just sin as much as they want to after they’re saved, and that we can’t trust God to get saved people to do what He wants us to do. But we must let the Bible tell us what is true even if we don’t happen to like it. I hope you will prayerfully consider that Jesus can not lie. If He has promised to take all those who have once been saved, and to keep them saved forever, what makes you think this is the one exception where He would lie? If you think you are keeping yourself saved, then you are giving yourself the glory, and you may be trusting in you, instead of trusting in Christ. But if God is keeping you saved, then He gets the glory, and you must put all your trust in Christ and not in yourself.

Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 3)

January 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Eternity | Leave a comment
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Objection: I know that I can lose my salvation because Lucifer once was in Heaven, and was cast out. There were also MANY angels created by God that chose to follow Lucifer to the fiery pit.

Answer To Objection: Lucifer being thrown out of Heaven has nothing to do with losing your salvation. Lucifer was never saved, so he could not “lose” his salvation.

Objection: Adam and Eve fell from God’s grace and favor and lost their eternity in the Garden.

Answer To Objection: When Adam and Eve were created in the garden they had not yet been “saved.” It was only after they sinned that they needed to be saved. God put them out of the Garden, but that is not “losing their salvation.”

Objection: If a Christian decides to walk away from God and live in sin he will surely die in his sin.

Answer To Objection: Do you mean die physically, or go to hell? Do you know any Christians who do not sin at least once every day? Is that “living in sin?” Do you know any Christians who have achieved sinless perfection? How many sins does a Christian have to commit before he or she “loses his salvation?” Why is most of the New Testament after Acts written to Christians telling them how to get the victory over sin, instead of telling them to get re-saved since they must have lost their salvation? Every Christian sins. We should not, but we do. God chastens His children for sinning. He does not kick them out of His family, or go back on His Word and take away His eternal salvation.

Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 2)

November 19, 2010 at 10:52 am | Posted in Eternity, Ezekiel | 4 Comments
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Objection: Ezekiel 3:20 teaches that you can lose your salvation because you have free will.

Answer to Objection: Ezekiel 3:20 is not teaching that a saved person can lose his salvation. “Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”

Please read the whole chapter – Ezekiel 3 – in context. It is teaching that people under a covenant with God must continue obeying, or else God will take their earthly life – especially after He has sent a “watchman” (a preacher) to warn them. It is also teaching that preachers must preach to disobedient people as though they were lost, even if these lost people claim to be righteous.

Objection: What about free will?

Answer to Objection: The question of “free will” was also brought up in my post on Objection 1. However, you need to remember that our wills are in bondage to our natures. And “free will” is not a reason for believing you can lose “your” salvation, unless you believe you were saved by your own free will. Let me show you that you were not saved by your own free will:

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:12-13, emphasis added

If you are truly saved, you were saved by God, not by your own will. Then, at the moment of salvation, you received a new nature, and a new will connected to that nature. Your old will could not love God or obey God. Only your new will can. That’s why Jesus says that Christians are people who have been “born again.” Babies are not born by their own will. And they can not “walk away” from having been born. They may get sick. They may die. They may fail to grow. They may deny that they were ever born to begin with. But they can never, ever be unborn.

Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 1)

November 11, 2010 at 10:44 am | Posted in Eternity | 9 Comments
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Objection: You can lose your salvation because God gave us free will, and if a Christian decides to walk away from God and live in sin, he will surely die in his sin.

Answer To Objection: The question is really not: “Can I lose MY salvation?” because it’s not really “mine.” Salvation is of the Lord. (Jonah 2:9) The question is, “Can Jesus lose those people that HE has saved and has promised to keep?”

One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to seal believers unto the day of redemption. Jesus paid for the sins of Christians once and for all on the Cross. Many people would sometimes like to think that Jesus did “most” of the work of salvation on the Cross, but we have to “be good,” too, in order to add to what He did, and to help Him keep us saved. The reason this belief makes me so sad is that it is a type of “works” salvation, and the Bible teaches that we are saved and kept saved by God’s grace through faith alone, and our works have no merit before God when it comes to salvation.

The Bible teaches that Jesus cannot lose those whom He has saved. If you believe that He can, then let me ask you this. Do you believe that saved people have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within them while they are saved? If you believe that, then what happens if they “lose” salvation and go to hell? Does the Holy Spirit go to hell with them? Surely you do not believe that. So, under your theory, what does the Holy Spirit do when a saved person “loses his salvation?” Does He leave that person? If you say yes, then you are calling Jesus a liar.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:16-17

I emphasized “abide with you for ever,” because that is how long the Holy Spirit abides with a person who has been saved. Not “until they sin.” Not “until they live in sin.” Not “until they walk away from God.” FOR EVER.

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