Not By Works

It’s dreadfully sad how quickly works-based gospel can creep into the thinking of committed Christians. I’ve really enjoyed reading some of the articles on ApologeticsPress.org. They’ve got some good apologetics articles. 

When I was reading their review of the movie, God’s Not Dead, I ran across this near the end of the article (WARNING – spoilers) :

Furthermore, the movie completely misrepresents how God has commanded people to be saved. The clearest example of this false teaching comes at the end of the movie. In a tragic accident, the atheistic professor is struck by a car and is about to die. It just so happens that a denominational minister is on the scene. The minister begs the atheistic professor to call on the Lord, say a version of the “sinner’s prayer,” and receive Jesus into his heart. Yet such teaching is never found in the Bible (Lyons, 2004; Jackson, 2014). God requires faithful obedience to the Gospel plan of salvation in order to receive the gift of salvation

 

After reading a little further into what Lyons considers the requirements for receiving the gift of salvation, he is apparently only including the obedience of baptism…not works as is sometimes understood.

In truth, it would be possible to go to any number
of verses and pick out a single thing that the verse says
saves a person. According to the Bible, love, repentance,
faith, baptism, confession, and obedience are but a few
examples of the things that save. However, it would be
dishonest, and poor Bible scholarship, to demand that
“only” repentance saves, or “confession alone” saves,
or that “baptism by itself” has the power to save. In the
same sense, one cannot (justifiably) pick the verses that
mention faith and belief, and demand that a person is
saved by “faith only” or “belief alone.”

Growing up, I went to a southern baptist church, and the idea of salvation was complete with confession, repentance, and faith in the saving sacrifice of Jesus. Baptism was seen as the first step of obedience of a new Christian. Now we attend an independent Christian church, and one of the central teachings is that water baptism is point at which a person receives the gift of salvation.

Scripture is clear on the issue of whether a person can be saved by works. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, so that no one can boast.”

So the question is whether baptism is part of “Calling on the name of Lord Jesus Christ” or is it the first step of obedience that a Christian does to publicly show that his faith is genuine. My own story is that I confessed and repented at age 10, but I was baptized at age 18 in recognition that it was part of my Christian obedience. 

While I’m not convinced that baptism is the saving action, it is clear that one cannot receive the gift of salvation by good works or by being good enough. 

 

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Jesus Was NOT a Good Man

History’s greatest character was not a good man. It is simply not an option. Jesus could not be a good man, because he claimed to be Almighty God. That’s a pretty big claim, and this assertion carries big repercussions with it. So did Jesus really claim to be God? Let’s see…

Who is Elohim (God)? Genesis 2:4 identifies the Creator God as Yahweh. In verse 7 and 22 of the same chapter, Yahweh created the first man and woman respectively along with the rest of creation. Yahweh is the Creator

Moses writes of his first encounter with God Almighty in Exodus 3. When at the burning bush, Moses asks the Almighty how the Israelites will know that Moses speaks on God’s authority, God replies, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you…Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors–has sent me to you.”

So, we’ve got a pretty good picture of who God is through the words of Moses. Moving forward 1500 years to Jesus’ claims in John 8:58, we read, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” The Jews knew that Jesus was identifying himself as the Creator God, and “they picked up stones to stone him.” Jesus didn’t just claim to be a prophet or rabbi or just a good man with good teachings. He claimed to be the same Elohim, who 1) created Adam and Eve, 2) made a covenant with Abraham, and 3) spoke to Moses. 

So the claim is there, and now there are only three options for us today. 

  1. We can believe that Jesus claims are true. He is the Creator God.
  2. We can believe that Jesus lied. Jesus knew he was not the Creator God, but he wanted other to believe it.
  3. We can believe that Jesus was loony. Jesus only thought he was the Creator God.

Jesus was NOT just a good man. He was and is the Creator God. He was either a liar or a lunatic, which would have made him unqualified as a good man…or he was the Creator God. Don’t get me wrong about his human form. He lived this earthly life as a man, and as a man he lived in perfect harmony with the Father. And as a man, he died the most cruel death in history. Living as a man was the only way that he could have served as a kinsman redeemer for mankind.

In the end, he validated his claim as the Creator God by coming back to life after being crucified. He fulfilled hundreds of old testament prophesies about his existence and life. He lived before Abraham, and he lives today in the lives of who invite him into their lives. Those who believe option one (John 3:16), who repent of their sin (2 Peter 3:9), and invite Jesus to be Lord of their life (Romans 10:9-10) will be saved from eternal death.

 

You Know What They Say About Assuming?

Have you heard that the earth is older than the Bible says, and scientists can prove it with ice cores drilled from Greenland and the Antarctic?

I’ve heard that too, but it appears that their proof is grounded in multiple assumptions.

Although uniformitarian scientists would acknowledge that their flow models implicitly assume an old earth, they would argue that this assumption is justified, partly because the ages assigned to the ice cores agree with the expectations of a popular theory for ice ages called the astronomical or Milankovitch theory

 

Because secular scientists assume the solar system is billions of years old, they believe they are free to extrapolate these motions backward hundreds of thousands of years into the supposed “prehistoric” past.

 

Although the astronomical theory is currently popular, it is actually a theory from the 1800s, has a number of serious problems, and was previously rejected by meteorologists long ago.

 

One of the many problems for those who would reject the Bible’s authority is that the depth of ice packs for Greenland and Antarctica are easily explained within a Biblical timeframe.

Even if one grants the assumption that average high-latitude snowfall rates have been roughly constant throughout time, the Greenland ice sheet would need (in the absence of melting) only about 5,000 years to form, and the Antarctic ice sheets would require only about 10,200 years.1 Although these numbers are greater than the roughly 4,500 years since the Flood, they are easily compatible with the biblical model that predicts much higher snowfall rates during the post-Flood Ice Age.

 

There’s no reason to reject Biblical authority in favor of assumptions, because you know what they say about assumptions?

Satire – Teaching Tool With Impact

People have different learning styles. Some are visual learners. Some can learn from others while another set of people need to experience things for themselves to truly learn. 

Satire is another learning tool that can help people to see the shortcomings of a strongly held position. 

I found this article from Creation.com that I thought would be interesting to share.

Now you don’t have to cross out all the parts of the Bible contradicted by modern science

Does modern science contradict the Bible, or is it the presuppositions of methodological naturalism that is contradictory to the scriptures?

The Bible is being compromised by well-meaning but deceived Christians at the expense of God’s Word. When the Guide for Christians is re-interpreted to accommodate godless myths, then you can end up with all kinds of compromises.