Is your light really darkness?

Luke 11:35 – Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness!

I’m inclined to think that there are many Catholics out there that consider themselves Christians; men and women  that think they love God and are not ashamed to tell you so. I personally know of such a Catholic. He prays daily, sometimes numerous times a day; he goes to mass religiously, and knows more about the bible than most of my protestant or evangelical friends. He reads the works of the esteemed men within the arena of his faith; men like Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine. He even manages to occasionally agree with some of the “protestant” propositions I’ve deduced from various passages of scripture, that is, until he realizes that his church has a different take on that particular conclusion then he simply retracts his affirmation and betrays his initial reasoning by trying to understand why he was wrong to agree with me in the first place. Lastly, he is steadfast in his devotion to the Roman Catholic church, meaning, no matter what problem you may point out to him regarding contradictions, lies or misunderstandings that his church has taught and committed, he seems able to live with these issues without any displeasure or uncertainty about his church’s doctrines or worldview. His most common line of defense is something like “We’ve had this conversation before so you are not going to convince me…etc”; so much for contending for the faith!

Anyway, what is apparent to me is that these devout Catholics do not understand Christ’s admonition in Luke 11:35. No matter how certain or confident you are about your worldview, shouldn’t we follow the bible’s advice that we:

  1. Test everything (against scripture) and abandon that which isn’t good (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
  2. Work (hard to rightly understand the propositions in scripture) so that we make our election sure (2 Peter 1:10)
  3. Study the scriptures so that you can learn how to rightly divide (understand and utilize) the bible (2 Timothy 2:15)
  4. Do not embrace or ignore false and evil doctrines but rather expose them (Ephesians 5:11)
  5. Demolish any argument that exalts itself above that which is found in scripture (2 Corinthians 10:5)

In Luke 11:35 Christ says that you may think that your faith is light when in reality it is really darkness. In Matthews 7:21-23, Christ says that these people call out to Him saying Lord haven’t we done [insert works here (i.e. church prescribed works)] but Christ’s response is: I never knew you (to be saved)! Thus, Christ says that there are people that flaunt his name but do not follow his teachings in scripture; these folks are not authentic Christians.
So, how would you know whether or not you fall in to this category of people who thought that they were saved but really weren’t? A church cannot perform this sanity check for us. The only light that we have available to us in this completely dark world is the bible. The Roman Catholic Church (nor any other church for that matter), the Pope, our parents, “Church fathers”, Augustine, Mary or Thomas Aquinas are not lights; they are merely sinners that are or were in need of the same salvation that we seek. They are fallible humans just like you and I. Mary’s close and personal relationship with Christ was of no use to her in terms of salvation, Christ said that those who hear His words and believe are His relatives, not those that were genetically closer to Him (Matthew 12:47-50, Luke 11:28).

Christ holds everyone accountable to know him; there is no such doctrine as Implicit Faith (i.e. believing in the Church which in turn believes in Christ on your behalf) anywhere in scripture. This warning is not to Catholics only, but to all people that call themselves Christians and yet embrace doctrines that are antithetical to scripture. I urge everyone who identifies themselves as Christians to make sure that the light which is in them is in fact light and not darkness! It would be a huge shame for these folks that call on the name of Christ to end up missing the Kingdom of Heaven; but, that is exactly what awaits them.

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Limited Atonement Killers

All without exception or all with distinction? This is the question that I have for the Calvinist.

…Either Christ died for everyone or he didn’t die for everyone.  Either God wants everyone in heaven and offers full salvation freely to all who will believe and receive it, by his grace, from his hands through Christ or he does not want everyone to be saved and he has predestined multitudes from before the foundation of the world, before they were ever born, they were predestined to go to hell to be tormented forever and there’s nothing they can do about it, nothing you and I can do about it, because [it’s] no good to preach the gospel to them.  They can’t even believe the gospel.  They can’t even make a decision to receive Christ because they are totally depraved and God must regenerate them, miraculously, sovereignly regenerate them before they can even believe the gospel and receive Christ.  Now either God does not love all mankind; does not want everyone saved or he does…God’s mercy is over all of his creation.  He is merciful, long suffering, he pleads with Israel, “Repent I don’t want to judge you and yet he really wants to judge them?  And all the appeals in the scripture, “Choose you this day whom you will serve,” and so forth…all the expressions of God’s love and mercy are turned around to somehow explain it away.  For example, when it says he would have all men to be saved.  Well the Calvinist says well that doesn’t mean all without exception, it means all without distinction.  By that they mean, all kinds of men, some old, some rich, some poor, some Aborigines, some educated and so forth.  It doesn’t mean all without exception, it means all without distinction.
Okay.  If I have a store and I put a big ad in the paper, “all merchandise 50% off”, you come to my store and you want this piece of merchandise—no, no that’s not 50% off, that’s full price.  But you advertised ALL merchandise 50% off.  Well, I didn’t mean ALL without exception, I meant all without distinction.  I am not distinguishing between this item and some of this and some of that and some of that. – Dave Hunt (http://www.thebereancall.org/node/1082)

The following passages in scripture are presented with commentary to demonstrate the non-scriptural nature of the Limited Atonement Doctrine:

1)  Romans 5:18
Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

– In logic, when a term is used two different ways within an argument the author of the argument is charged with committing the fallacy of equivocation. In Romans 5:18, “all” cannot in the first proposition cannot refer to “everyone without exception”, while in the second proposition refer to “everyone without distinction”. The parallelism in this argument does not allow for Calvinists to redefine the word ‘all’ to mean ‘some.’ Since the condemnation came upon all individuals that are children of Adam then the free gift must also come upon all children of Adam for this verse to work as a literary structure.

2)  2 Peter 2:1
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Interestingly, if someone argues election from 2 Peter 2, they inadvertently trample “limited atonement” (the “L” in T.U.L.I.P.). Verse 1, in context speaking of the false prophets, reads, “But there were false prophets also among the people…who…shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” So much for “limited atonement.” The price for redemption (the death of Jesus, who “bought them”) was paid even for those who would ultimately reject Him and His provision. – Dave Hunt (http://www.thebereancall.org/node/8778)

3)  1 Timothy 4:10
For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

– This verse makes no sense unless the reader understands that a distinction is made between all men (i.e. the whole world) and those that believe (i.e. the Christians). The remarkable point of this distinction is that Christ is the Savior of both groups and not just one. He is the Savior of all men in the sense that He has already paid the penalty for all of men’s sin. The only thing God requires is that men believe. Some will and some won’t but there is no longer an impediment to reaching God.

4)  1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

-Once again we see that a distinction is made between the sins of Christians (not for ours only) and the sins of the whole world. Also, again we see that Christ’s atoning sacrifice made it not only possible for the reconciliation of Christians but actually of the entire world.

5)  1 John 4:14
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

– One cannot say that Christ is only the Savior of the elect (as the Calvinists assert) and also the Savior of the world as 1 John 4:14 asserts. This is a contradiction. Someone is in error and it isn’t the scriptures!

6)  2 Corinthians 5:14
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead

– I might add that if one died for all, then all are eligible to partake in the fruits of His death, namely, reconciliation with God at the bargain price of FREE. Christ thus died for all sins whether they be sins of the elect or sins of the condemned. If there was only one sinner living on earth wouldn’t Christ still have to die? So what’s the point of limited atonement?
A common counter question raised by the Calvinist is: If Christ died for all men then how come some men will end up in hell? Shouldn’t the fact that Christ died for all men mean that all men are saved? My response to the Calvinist is: No. To be saved means to attain a righteousness that is acceptable to God. The book of Romans, in the 10th chapter outlines only two modes of righteousness: (1) righteousness that comes by the law and (2) righteousness which is by faith. There is no third righteousness which comes by paying for one’s sins since it is impossible to do such; the bible states that we have nothing with which to pay with that is acceptable to God (Isaiah 64:6 – all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags). Therefore, the fact that Christ paid for everyone’s sins doesn’t automatically make anyone righteous. Righteousness by the law is a dead end since no one has ever kept the law without error (Ezekiel 33:13). The only way anyone attains to righteousness which is by faith is through belief in Christ and the penalty He paid on the cross; this is what is meant by obeying the gospel.

7)  Titus 3:4-5
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared

-Thus this kindness and love that God demonstrated on the cross has appeared to everyone and not just to the elect!

8)  1 Timothy 2:4,6
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

– All men period, not all types of men. Can you imagine how contrived verse 6 would sound if it read: Who gave himself a ransom for all types of men… ? Of course, if God really meant “all types of men” in verse 4 & 6, then we must conclude that He has a problem communicating His thoughts clearly; but, we know that God is not the Author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).

9)  Titus 2:11
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

– Not all types of men but rather ALL MEN. Amen

10)  Isaiah 45:21-22
21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

– Here, God compels everyone (all the ends of the earth) to look unto Him for salvation not just the elect.

11)  John 1:29
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

– Christ can’t take away the sin of the world and only the sin of the elect at the same time.

12)  John 3:15-17
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 ¶ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

– The world, through Christ’s sacrifice, are eligible for salvation. That is what these verse above say!

13)  Revelation 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

– The word ‘whosoever’ allows all men within its semantic range, not just all types of men.

14)  Luke 13:34
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

Here we see God expressing a desire to save persons that have refused Him and that are going to hell. This doesn’t sound like a God who withholds saving grace from the non-elect to me?

15)  Hebrews 2:9
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man

– We see that Christ partook of death for EVERY MAN not every type of man!

16)  Hebrews 2:1-3
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

– If it is possible to neglect the great salvation that Christ won for us on Calvary then at least two propositions follow from this premise:
(1) Christ’s atonement is not limited; for even non-believers can neglect it and in order to neglect it, salvation must be in scope and accessible
(2) The grace of God is not irresitable for here the scriptures posit that it is possible to neglect the great salvation that was offered by God’s grace

17)  John 6:51
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

– If Christ gives His flesh for the “life of the world” then it can hardly be said that His flesh was simultaneously sacrificed for only those that will believe

18)  John 12:32
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

– If Christ’s promise is to draw all men unto Himself then it follows that His sacrifice must have been meant for all men.

19)  Isaiah 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

– Despite the clear context, some Calvinist like to play word games with the Greek words for: world (kosmos) and all (pas); so, I have included an old testament verse in which the Hebrew word for all (kole, kole) does not allow for the Calvinistic interpretation (i.e. all types of men)

20)  Romans 3:21-23
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested…to all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

– There is a juxstaposition here between all persons and all persons that believe. This is followed by the declaration that there is no diffference between both groups in that all persons (whether believers or unbelievers) have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Consequently, we must conclude that the righteousness of God (which is by faith of Jesus Christ) has been manifested to both the elect and the lost.

“Where does it say in the bible that when we are born we are children of the devil?”

A friend and I were conducting a church service at a Juvenile Detention Center when in response to a controversial and provocative answer given by my friend (a fellow Gideon), one of the participants in the audience (apparently out of amazement) challenged us by asking , “where does it say in the bible that when we are born we are children of the devil?”

I answered the question by referring the audience to the 3rd chapter (verse 19) of John’s gospel where I pointed out that Christ condemns us for innately (innate because of Adam’s sin nature that we inherit as his offspring) preferring darkness over light because we are inclined to choose evil; obviously this is an unexpected criticism for someone that is born as a child of God. I also took the audience to Romans 3 to establish the fact that:

…There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. [We] are all gone out of the way, [We] are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. [Our] throat is an open sepulchre; with [our] tongues [we] have used deceit; the poison of asps is under [our] lips: [Our] mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: [Our] feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in [our] ways: And the way of peace have [we] not known: There is no fear of God before [our]  eyes. (Romans 3:10-18)

Once again, I pointed out that these aren’t exactly the attributes that you would expect from people that were born as children of God. When I got home that evening, I re-read the handout that my friend had prepared for our service and realized that one of the verses he included on the handout provided another answer to the “children of the devil” question. In the verse included on the handout (John 8:46-47) Christ says:

Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.

This verse definitively pronounces that we are not God’s children since only those that are born believing in God (i.e. none of us) can claim that they belong to God.

To be sure, there is no one verse in the bible that states specifically that “when man is born he is a child of the devil”; however, this truth is a good and necessary consequence that follows from numerous propositions in scripture. Let’s look at a few of them:

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
(1 John 3:8-10)

This seems to be the most conclusive of the verses in scripture that portray us as who we really are (that is before believing in Christ): children of the devil. Since we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and any one that committeth sin is [born] of the devil (1 John 3:8), then it follows by good and necessary consequence that we are all born children of the devil.

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:
(John 1:12)

As the verse above implies, we do not become children of God until we receive (or believe in) Him.

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
(Ephesians 1:5)

If we were born as children of God then we wouldn’t need adoption into God’s family. The fact that we must be adopted demonstrates that we are not born as God’s children.

I will end this article by quoting my pastor, Lon Solomon. He  preached a sermon on this very topic (back in 2005) in a series called: Jesus’ Most Outrageous Sayings. Incidentally, I highly recommend this series; in fact, in my opinion, it is his best series to date. The sermon entitled “You are of your father the devil” established from the scriptures why we are not all God’s children in contrast to the popular notion held and uttered by many.

In this sermon, among other things, Pastor Solomon proclaims: “To be a child of God is a privilege that is reserved exclusively to those that place their personal faith and trust in Jesus Christ and what He did for them on the cross, it’s then and only then that we enter into a family relationship with God… then we become God’s children and He becomes our heavenly Father.”

Two reasons why Isaiah 57:1-2 corroborates the Rapture

Isaiah 57:1-2
The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.  (2)  He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.

As a followup to the Isaiah 26 post as a proof-text for the rapture, it is interesting to see the same theme appears later on in Isaiah particularly in Isaiah 57:1-2. The following are two reasons why these verses as well provide ample reason to believe in the doctrine of the Rapture (also see Have we forgotten about the Rapture):

1. God’s will is that the righteous are spared from the judgment that He sends for the ungodly(1 Thessalonians 5:9).  Many times in scripture we have seen Him carry out this goal:

  • saving Lot’s family from the Sodom and Gomorrah Judgment (Genesis 19:16)
  • saving Noah and his family from the Flood (Genesis 7:1)
  • saving the first born of the Israelite from the plague sent to kill all firstborns (Exodus 12:23)

The Rapture is the ultimate realization of God’s goal to alleviate believers from the wrath (the Great Tribulation which culminates in the Great and terrible day of the Lord) to come because it will serve as the most pungent act of earthly judgment ever to happen. The bible describes this period as the worst to ever occur in all of human history (Matthew 24:21).

Dr. Henry Morris of the New Defender’s Study Bible adds the following:
57:1 taken away. The definitive event of being taken away from the evil to come will be the future rapture of the church, at which time both living and dead believers will be caught up to meet Christ just prior to the great tribulation. See I Thessalonians 4:15–5:10; II Thessalonians 2:1-4, with the associated footnotes. However, the principle may well be applied also in many cases when a believer’s life is taken at a relatively young age. This is at least a possibility that could be considered when no other apparent reason seems to exist.

2. Once again (see prior reference in the Isaiah 26 post) we encounter a verse that reminds us of Christ promise in John 14:2 of the many mansions that are prepared and awaiting us. The imagery of beds is certainly not out of place with the mansions (John 14:2) and chambers (Isaiah 26:20) of protection and rest spoken of in other parts of scripture.