God’s Unassisted Bookkeeping

March 15, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Posted in Exodus | 4 Comments
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And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.

Exodus 32:31

Moses acknowledged the seriousness of the people’s sin, and he admitted that it was not just a vague general sin, but a specific breaking of God’s revealed law (“made them gods of gold”).

Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.

Exodus 32:32

He broaches the idea of forgiveness, but does not make excuses or rationalizations (“forgive their sin”), and he leaves this thought incomplete, because it is too amazing a thought that God would forgive sin, and because, really, what can we possibly offer as an exchange for God’s forgiveness? How can we “pay Him back?” Or bribe Him? We are bankrupt when it comes to righteousness.

Moses was forced to bring up the alternative: “if not…” And he then stated a desire to be judged with the people – to lose his own life. For all Moses knew, he could have been referring to eternal life. This reminds us of Paul’s statement in Romans 9:3: “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:”. As a missionary to the gentiles, Paul saw many converted, but his own people – the Jews – were for the most part rejecting the Gospel. He wished he could be accursed if it would mean salvation for Israel.

Moses referred, in Exodus 32:32, to “Thy book,” which lets us know that God keeps books. From the entirety of Scripture we can glean that God keeps at least four books: The Book of the Living; The Lamb’s Book of Life; a book of sins; and the Bible. (There is possibly also a book of works and rewards.)

This was a very pious and unselfish plea by Moses, and there is no reason to think he was not being sincere, but God set him straight:

And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Exodus 32:33

God is in charge of deciding who will and who will not be blotted out of His book. God also distinguished Moses’s relative innocence compared to the idolaters.

Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.

Exodus 32:34

God was telling him that it was time to get moving toward Canaan. Having the “Angel” lead the way was an invitation to see how people would react to having God’s presence somewhat removed from them. “The day” referred to a future time when God would allow the nation to be taken captive to Babylon. This was a yet-to-come judgment against the nation for its sin. Their immediate consequence was a plague.

And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

Exodus 32:35

People probably got sick and some may have died. In this plague even the bystanders were affected – not just the active participants in the idolatrous revelry – because passive onlookers who fail to speak out against their nation’s sin are sinners, too – just as the spectators of a violent crime who did nothing to help the victim would be next in line for punishment after the perpetrators.

Spiritual Arteriosclerosis

November 11, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Exodus | 10 Comments
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God said He would harden Pharaoh’s heart:

And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.

Exodus 4:21

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 7:3

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 14:4

Sure enough, God kept His Word.

And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

Exodus 7:13

And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.

Exodus 9:12

And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:

Exodus 10:1

But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.

Exodus 10:20

But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.

Exodus 10:27

And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

Exodus 11:10

And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.

Exodus 14:8

There are times when the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart is expressed passively, as though the fact that it happened is being emphasized more than the agency by which it happened.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.

Exodus 7:14

And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.

Exodus 7:22

Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

Exodus 8:19

And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

Exodus 9:7

And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.

Exodus 9:35

Sometimes the Bible says that Pharaoh is the one who hardened his own heart.

But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

Exodus 8:15

And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.

Exodus 8:32

And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.

Exodus 9:34

Here some things we can learn from these different categorical descriptions of Pharaoh’s heart:

1. His heart was hard.
2. Pharaoh and God both played a part in the hardening process.
3. God said it would happen.
4. It happened for a reason, not by chance.
5. Pharoah’s heart was not hard enough to stand in the way of God’s will.

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

Romans 9:17-23

Let’s think of it this way: Did God make Pharaoh’s heart hard? Yes. Disobedience to God is evil and sin. Did God create fresh evil in Pharaoh’s heart? No. He withdrew His gracious restraint and allowed Pharaoh’s own evil to have full reign. We need to be careful. That could happen to us too if we decide to barter and compromise with God. God’s greatest judgment against a person may be to let him have his own way. External influences on the human heart have different effects depending on the preexisting condition of the heart itself. The same sun that melts the ice also hardens the clay.

Fitted by God

October 28, 2011 at 10:28 am | Posted in Romans | 6 Comments
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Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Romans 9:4

The Holy Spirit here is answering the argument of those who say that it would mean that God is unfaithful to His promise of salvation to the Jewish people if He has given grace freely to all people. In other words, if Gentiles can be saved the same way Jewish people can be saved, what’s so special about being an Israelite?

The Holy Spirit’s response to this challenge is:

1. The Jewish people were adopted as “His people.”

2. He gave them the Old Testament covenants.

3. He gave them the privilege of having His glory dwell among them in the Old Testament.

4. He gave them the Law.

5. He saved them from among the nations, and delivered them from bondage in Egypt.

6. He made them special promises.

7. He caused Christ to come through their “family line.”

8. He gave them all the signs that pointed to Jesus being the Christ: the Messiah.

Even though they rejected Him, and crucified Him, God will remain faithful to His promises to Israel.

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

Romans 9:13-14

In the history of the Church and in Christian theology this has been a controversial passage of Scripture. People don’t like to think that God could “hate” anyone. Some theologians feel that this refers to “national election.” In other words, God “chose” the nation of Israel (Jacob’s descendants) over the nation of Edom (Esau’s descendants). Others feel that God “hated” Esau only in relation to Jacob. In other words, they say that God didn’t really “hate” Esau – He just really loved Jacob a lot, and therefore His great love for Jacob made His feelings for Esau seem like hatred in comparison. I have to say that I find very little warrant in Scripture for this second interpretation. It seems to come from the dogmatic assertion (and Christian cliche’) that God hates sin but loves sinners. This assertion, we might say, has “some truth” in it, but on its face it is contradicted by Scripture (Psalm 11:5; Psalm 7:11). Part of the confusion comes from a misunderstanding of hatred. Most people who are aware that God is love (I John 4:8) and know that God is immutable can not reconcile in their minds how God can be loving and hateful at the same time. What they fail to perceive is that love and hatred are not mutually contradictory, nor are they even opposites. The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. God is certainly not indifferent! It might surprise many modern evangelicals to learn that the Greek word translated as “hated” in Romans 9:13 means – quite directly – “hated.”

Now, let’s think about Esau for a second. He’s the one who made the decision to sell his birthright – his heritage as a primary heir of God’s covenant promise to the children of Abraham and Isaac. And even though Esau made this “decision” he was at the same time under the decree of God Who had predetermined that Jacob, and not Esau, would be the heir of the promise. The Holy Spirit brings up the example of Pharaoh to support the way God works out His sovereignty and providence in the affairs of men. Pharaoh hardened his own heart – in a sense – but the serious student of Scripture can not deny that God also hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Romans 9:17-18 (emphasis added)

Pharaoh made the decision to reject God and His mercy, but God was plainly ruling over this “decision.”

The Holy Spirit anticipates sinful man’s reaction to this revelation of God:

Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

Romans 9:19

How can God find fault in us for the way we are, when He made us that way?

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Romans 9:20-21

Does the clay argue or talk back to the potter? “You should have made me a dinner plate instead of a cup! I didn’t want to be a cup!” The potter had every right to make the clay into a cup instead of a plate. He could have made the clay into a toilet bowl if he wanted!

For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.

II Corinthians 5:12

God does not show favor based on His surprise at finding us “worthy” in our outward deeds or appearance. God is omniscient. He can’t be surprised. And He can’t “learn” anything. He makes some vessels unto honor, and some to dishonor. No vessel decides for itself with what it’s going to be filled. As living, breathing vessels, with souls and consciences and consciousness, God made us so that we can think and make decisions. Some vessels are “fitted” to destruction the same way that some spoiled and angry and rambunctious children are said to be “fit to be tied.” Whose fault is it that they need to be tied?

The Gentile vessels, compared to the Jewish vessels, did not have all the advantages outlined above. But God, in order to show His goodness and His longsuffering to the vessels who insisted on being filled with wrath, decided that those who are His vessels will be filled with mercy, instead of wrath.

I will not pretend that these truths are easy to explain. They get us into the sticky doctrines of election and predestination, which, by the way, are Bible terms. For a Christian teacher to say “I don’t believe in predestination” is to seriously call into question his view of Scripture and, therefore, his qualification for teaching. Some people believe God made us like wind-up toys, and that we are mindless puppets. That is not the teaching of Scripture. Others believe that God could not have chosen according to the good pleasure of His Own will to save some people from the penalty for their sin, and not others, because that would violate our “free will.” As finite creatures, we are not going to be able to grasp all the eternal decrees or wisdom of God. God is eternal and infinite, and His ways far above our ways. Here are some things we know for sure:

1. God is righteous, not unrighteous.
2. God is just, not unjust.
3. God is good, not evil.
4. God keeps His promises.
5. God tells the Truth in His Word.

Calling Witnesses (Part 2)

March 30, 2011 at 10:16 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Salvation | 3 Comments
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The first witness that I called to take the stand against the unconverted sinner was the True Christian.

SECOND WITNESSES: PRAYING PEOPLE

I now call to the stand Christians who are serious about prayer. Sometimes we call them “prayer warriors.” These are people who pray often, who pray long, who pray sincerely, who pray passionately – people who pray without ceasing.

Their testimony will not take long. I really have only one simple question for them: “Aside from your loving conversation with your Heavenly Father… aside from the time spent simply adoring and speaking forth the majesty of God in worship… what do you spend most of your time praying about?”

Their answer: “Why, unconverted sinners, of course.”

Does this surprise you? Did you think true Christians spent all their time begging God for new cars, new houses, new clothes, big piles of money? Certainly they spend a great deal of time in prayer for the sick, and for the concerns and cares of their fellow Christians, but number one in the “request” portion of their prayer time is spent not in begging, but in volunteering: they are asking God to use them to reach you with the truth of the Gospel. Their zeal is exemplified in the statements of that master soul-hunter, the Apostle Paul:

For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

Romans 9:3

For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

Philippians 1:23-24

Paul was almost willing to go to hell himself if it meant his family could be saved. And he was willing to delay going to Heaven if he could reach more souls.

THIRD WITNESSES: GODLY MEN AND WOMEN OF THE BIBLE

Some of these witnesses are even the inspired writers of the Holy Book itself – God’s explicit revelation of Who He is, what He has done, and who you really are. Can I call each one? Well, I could… the pages of the Bible are filled with them. But for time’s sake, I’ll let the person who has not trusted Christ choose.

Would you call Job? He lost everything in this temporal world that was dear to him except his life… but here is his testimony:

And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Job 1:21

Would you call Jeremiah? You may say that he would help your case, having devoted his life to serving God, but appearing from a worldly standpoint to be a failure. After all, he preached for years without a single convert. But here’s his testimony:

The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Jeremiah 31:3

Would you call David? He was persecuted, hunted, abandoned by his friends. Surely he would not recommend that you give your heart to the Lord! Yet here is what he said:

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man… O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 118:8, 29

Maybe you could find somebody more recent – ah, how about Stephen? In Acts Chapter 6 they made him a deacon, and in Chapter 7 they stoned him to death… talk about a witness against the Lord! But wait – here’s what Stephen had to say:

And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God… Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

Acts 7:56, 59

These men of the Bible have let you down… and they have hurt your case.

Next time, we will continue the parade of witnesses against the unconverted.

Ignoring the Obvious

March 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Romans | 5 Comments
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An overview of the middle chapters of the Book of Romans can seem like a little bit of a rollercoaster ride. In Chapter 7 the Apostle Paul is a “wretched man.” In Chapter 8 he is “more than a conqueror.” Then, in Chapter 9:

That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

Romans 9:2-3

Why did he have great heaviness and continual sorrowing in his heart? Why could he wish himself accursed from Christ? Because of his kinsmen.

Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Romans 9:4

The Holy Spirit used Paul to show that it was the Jewish people, not God, who were to blame for their rejection of His Messiah.

1. God is faithful: He kept His covenants with the Jews. He chose them as the people through whom He would bless the world and through whom the Messiah would come. Even when they tried to circumvent His plans, He honored His covenants.

2. God is righteous: The people who seem to have been chosen by God for dishonor are the ones who have willfully refused to acknowledge Him or repent.

3. God is just: The clay can not question the wisdom of the potter, nor can it claim that it wouldn’t have fitted itself for destruction if God had given it “free will.”

4. God is gracious: A sinner is never in a position to demand what he deserves.

The Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah were given specifically to the Jewish people. All these prophecies pointed to Jesus. The law which God gave to the Israelites was designed to be their schoolmaster to teach them the way to Christ. Christ came unto His Own people and they received Him not – they rejected Him.

Why would they reject Him? Because they didn’t believe they needed to be saved. Their attitude was, “Saved from what?” This was mirrored in Paul’s life. Before he was converted he believed the Gentiles were at enmity with God, but not the Jewish people. The Israelites believed they needed political salvation from Rome, but not spiritual salvation from their own sin – even though they were zealous for God.

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

Romans 10:1-2

They had banished idolatry in the temple and even forbidden Gentiles from entering the temple, but their “knowledge” wasn’t real knowledge. They were proud and self-righteous.

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Romans 10:3, emphasis added

“Establish” means to set down a foundation and make it secure. But the Jewish people had rejected the Cornerstone – the Head of the Corner. They had “set Him at nought.” They didn’t understand their own law. Paul cites Moses (from Deuteronomy 30:11-14) to show that the righteousness of the Law was meant to point the way to salvation. But those written commands were meant to have an effect on the heart. What is in the heart comes out of the mouth. What comes out of the mouth is the “word.”

But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

Romans 10:6-7

Is keeping the Law of God difficult? No, it’s not difficult – it’s impossible for everyone but Christ Himself. For a human being it would be like using our own physical abilities to go up to Heaven to find Christ – or to go down into the grave, the land of the dead, to find Him. It can’t be done.

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

Romans 10:8

The word of salvation was right there – in the heart – in the mouth – and that word was and is “faith.”

A Fake in the Grass

November 5, 2009 at 11:20 am | Posted in Genesis | 38 Comments
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Satan can disguise himself, even as an angel of light (II Corinthians 11:14). A while back there was a trend in pop culture whereby, when a person looked faint and started to keel over, an observer would jokingly say, “Whatever you do, don’t go into the light!” This was making fun of the commonality of so-called “near-death” experiences, where people come back to consciousness saying they saw a bright white light, which they believe represented the “after-life,” and that they felt drawn to it, but decided to “come back” for the sake of their loved ones or whatever. Knowing that Satan can disguise himself as an “angel of light,” maybe the warning not to go into the light is more prescient than most people realize.

In Genesis Chapter 3, Satan chooses to disguise himself as a serpent.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

Genesis 3:1-2

We might wonder whether Eve should have known that serpents can’t talk. Was this her first encounter with a serpent? When my wife makes a bad decision because I’m not with her (which almost never happens), I think about Adam, and say, “If Eve would have stayed close to her husband, he could have told her, ‘That’s not a parrot, let’s get out of here!'”

Seriously though, Satan is a counterfeiter. He has a counterfeit righteousness (Romans 9:30). He has counterfeit ministers (II Corinthians 11:13-16). He has counterfeit believers (II Corinthians 11:26). He has counterfeit churches (Revelation 2:9). He even has counterfeit mysteries (Revelation 2:24).

In Genesis 3:1 he first says, “Hey let’s discuss God’s Words – did He really say that?” He tricked Eve into following his example. Here is what God really said:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:16-17

Here is Eve’s subtle alteration:

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

Genesis 3:2-3

She subtracted from God’s Word. She added to God’s Word. Finally, she changed God’s Word. That’s what will happen every time we allow Satan to deceive us into questioning God’s Word.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

Genesis 3:4

Changes to God’s Word invariably become direct contradictions to God’s Word. Satan questioned God’s Word (Genesis 3:1). He denied God’s Word (Genesis 3:4). He made up his own word (Genesis 3:5).

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

John 8:44

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Romans 1:25

Note the singular in Romans 1:25 – this is A lie and it is THE lie: you shall be like God. The “New Age” movement is not really “new.” It started in the Garden of Eden.

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Genesis 3:24

God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden for their own protection. For them to eat of the Tree of Life after disobediently eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil could have been disastrous.

The categories of sin set forth in I John 2:16 are all present in mankind’s first sin:

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, [the lust of the flesh] and that it was pleasant to the eyes [the lust of the eyes], and a tree to be desired to make one wise [the pride of life], she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:6 (Bracketed phrases added.)

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:7

Even their very first attempt at self-righteousness – as useless as it was – was counteracted by the grace of God’s plan going into motion. I heard an illustration once of a tree being stripped of its leaves by two people. God’s original plan for trees did not include stripping the leaves to make clothes. This stripped tree grows into a Cross. The sinners cower in fear, trying to cover themselves.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:8

The sinners are trying to hide from God, which is useless. Aren’t all attempts at self-righteousness really attempts to hide from God that which cannot be hidden?

Now, picture Christ going up on this leafless tree – meant by men to be a symbol of death. He is crucified upon it. He makes an instrument of torture into a bridge of everlasting salvation, so the frightened ones can come to Him and be forgiven.

Notice that God is the One Who comes looking for Adam and Eve – not the other way around.

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

Genesis 3:9

Billy Sunday used to say that sinners can’t find God for the same reason criminals can’t find policemen – they’re not looking for them.

Here we see the first instance of blame-shifting:

And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Genesis 3:10-13

There are three questions in Genesis which many of us need to be asking ourselves:

1. Where are you? (Genesis 3:9)
2. Where is your brother? (Genesis 4:9)
3. Where is your wife? (Genesis 18:9)

Professing Atheists Are Incapable of Being “Good”

February 24, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Posted in ProfessingAtheists | 2 Comments
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Professing Atheist: Of course intelligent atheists read scripture, just like intelligent believers do. How else are atheists to debate with believers if not from a position of knowledge? I was a fundamentalist once, so I know how things look from where you are.

Christian: I am always encouraged when people read the Bible, so I appreciate your comment. I’m not sure if I’m a “fundamentalist.” We might disagree on what that term means. If it means trying to obey the fundamental principles of the Bible, and agreeing with many of the traditional fundamental tenets of the Christian faith, then I suppose you could call me a “fundamentalist.”

But it seems unlikely that you know what things look like to me, because I am holding fast to the Bible as the inspired Word of God (Hebrews 4:14; 10:23; II Timothy 1:13). I do not mean this to be insulting, but it appears that you did not “hold fast” to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and they have slipped from your hands.

Professing Atheist: You challenge me to continue reading scripture. I will. Similarly, I challenge you to read the books written by Dawkins, Hitchens and others, so that you can understand for yourself where atheism is coming from. When I hear Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, the music invariably moves me to tears, even though it’s now about 629 times that I have heard it, and even though I reject the Holy Spirit (yes, you read that right).

Christian: You might profess to having rejected the Holy Spirit, but whether the Holy Spirit is still dealing with you is up to God, not you (Genesis 6:3; Romans 9:18).

Professing Atheist: Atheists do not have horns. We help old ladies across the road. We have loving and happy families. We do good because it is simply better for us all.

Christian: I am also glad you help elderly ladies cross the street. Many Christians do likewise, and then afterward offer to share the Gospel message with them. If they refuse to hear it, they help them cross again next time, anyway. Perhaps you give them a copy of a Hitchens or Dawkins book, perhaps not – I have no way of knowing. But there will come a day when many of the works which “seemed” good to men will be tried by fire, only to be burned up as hay, wood, and stubble. Some of the works of Christians, which were thought to be nothing more than debating techniques, will have eternal value, and will last (I Corinthians 3:11-14).


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