I am consistently struck during my travels how a bond is immediately created with other believers, regardless of the cultural, ethnic, and linguistic differences between us. In many respects, this bond is stronger than the biological bonds that exist between father and son, or mother and daughter. In face, Jesus plainly says that his advent will break such biological bonds, and if we are not willing to forsake these natural relationships when necessary, we have no business seeking a supernatural relationship with Christ. - Victor Kuligin
Freedom from sin is only granted to Christians. Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells believers that they have not been seized by any temptation that cannot be overcome. He is not talking to non-Christians, who Paul establishes elsewhere are controlled by the sinful flesh and cannot do anything spiritually pleasing to God (Rom. 8:7-8)...."...walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh..."(Gal 5:16-17). Again, this command is to Christians. Unbelievers cannot "walk by the Spirit." However, believers walking by the Spirit have the ability to "not gratify the desires of the flesh ." If this is true, that no temptation has ever come across a Christian that is not common to all, and that sin is nothing more than a Christian yielding to his fleshly desires, then how can addiction as commonly understood (i.e., uncontrollable urges and impulses) actually exist for believers? ......Granted, sin can certainly feel irresistible, but perhaps it feels that way because we capitulate to it far too readily. We have not built up the essential perseverance to repel it. We have repeatedly said yes, and like muscles that have atrophied from disuse, our spirit has become weak because we have not exercised the fortitude to resist temptation as we ought.
- Victor Kuligin
Quote from his book:
The Language of Salvation: Discovering the Riches of What it Means to Be Saved
As long as we treat
sin as a minor category, we will always question the atoning death of the
God-man to solve our problem. Show me a
person who questions the incarnation and you have shown me a person who takes
the categories of sin and God's holiness rather lightly…..The second step is to
belittle God. The biblical picture of
God banishing Adam and Eve from Eden for eating a piece of forbidden fruit is
replaced with a God who will basically put up with anything. He is a God more interested in sincerity than
holiness, content to tolerate anything we do because he has a love affair with
human free will.
….Once we have
neutered God of the attribute of his holy wrath and toned down talk of sin by
minimizing its dastardly effects - fashioning ourselves as good people who
occasionally err - we have effectively removed the requirement for atonement. It is then a short step to questioning the
incarnation. Why insist on God becoming
human and solving a problem we are quite capable of solving ourselves? The modern propensity to downplay the divinity of Jesus is tied to a
watered-down version of what constitutes sin, and a wishy-washy portrayal of a
God too tolerant and friendly to worry about it.
Quote from his book:
The Language of Salvation: Discovering the Riches of What it Means to Be Saved
The longing to see
Christ that burned in the breasts of those first Christians seems to have
burned itself out. All we have left are
the ashes. It is precisely the
'yearning' and the 'fainting' for the return of Christ that has distinguished
the personal hope from the theological one.
Mere acquaintance with correct doctrine is a poor substitute for Christ
and familiarity with New Testament eschatology will never take the place of a
love-inflamed desire to look on His face.
If the tender
yearning is gone from the advent hope today there must be a reason for it; and
I think I know what it is, or what they are, for there are a number of
them. One is simply that popular
fundamentalist theology has emphasized the utility of the cross rather than the
beauty of the One who died on it. The
saved man's relation to Christ has been made contractual instead of
personal. The 'work' of Christ has been
stressed until it has eclipsed the person of Christ. Substitution has been allowed to supersede
identification. What He did for me
seems to be more important than what He is to me. Redemption is seen as an across-the-counter
transaction which we 'accept,' and the whole thing lacks emotional
content. We must love someone very much
to stay awake and long for his coming, and that may explain the absence of
power in the advent hope even among those who still believe in it.
Another reason for
the absence of real yearning for Christ's return is that Christians are so
comfortable in this world that they have little desire to leave it. For those leaders who set the pace of
religion and determine its content and quality, Christianity has become of late
remarkably lucrative. The streets of
gold do not have too great an appeal for those who find it so easy to pile up
gold and silver in the service of the Lord here on earth. We want to reserve the hope of heaven as a
kind of insurance against the day of death, but as long as, we are healthy and
comfortable, why change a familiar good for something about which we actually
know very little? So reasons the carnal
mind, and so subtly that we are scarcely aware of it.
Again, in these
times religion has become jolly good fun right here in this present world, and
what's the hurry about heaven anyway?
Christianity, contrary to what some had thought is another and higher
form of entertainment. Christ has done
all the suffering. He has shed all the
tears and carried all the crosses; we have but to enjoy the benefits of His
heartbreak in the form of religious pleasures modeled after the world but
carried on in the name of Jesus. So say
the same people who claim to believe in Christ's second coming.
"Snacking (on isolated verses in the Bible) hides things to be sure, but it also distorts the things it does show us. For example, ,the Snacking Bible is not great
news. It has gospel verses, but no gospel, because the gospel is the
announcement of a particular turn of events within an ongoing story. The gospel is not a sentence about
justification by faith or a verse reference on the forgiveness of my sins. The gospel is not the Romans Road. The gospel is not John 3:16. What the apostles Paul and John wrote - what
God's Spirit enkindled in them - was something entirely different than these
boiled-down reductions. Evangelist D. L.
Moody said he could write the gospel on a dime.
Well, Paul and John couldn't, and didn't."
We do have our favorites.
They tend to fall into the general category of Scripture
Encouragement. There are many sacred
words and they say many things, but it’s the Bible Balm that has caught our
eye. With a partitioned Bible preparing
so many options for us, you might think it would be hard to choose. But no.
The people have voted. The
customers know what they want.
· * Jeremiah 29:11
· * John 10:10
· * Philippians 4:13
· * Joshua 1:9
If you didn’t already know, the addresses direct us to
know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and
not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
·“I can do
everything through him who gives me strength.”
strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Good, positive verses all.
But the shocking news to most people is that there is a parallel
universe Bible. It is rarely talked
about and almost never explored. In that
other world every positive and negative is reversed. Every verse has its anti-verse. In the parallel universe Bible, the favorite
· * Deuteronomy 28:29
· * 2 Corinthians 2:16
· * Isaiah 49:4
· * Deuteronomy 28:65
What? You don’t know these?
You’ve never seen them on a scenic piece of Christian framed art? OK, well, here’s what they say:
be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and
robbed, with no one to rescue you.”
an aroma that brings death.”
labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all”
will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.”
The real revelation may be that these anti-verses too are in
the Bible (our Bible, in this universe).
They are set apart, numbered and included in the lineup just like all
the rest. It’s just that nobody ever
wants to use them. They aren’t ever
selected. They are more like bombs than
balm. But there they are. Why?
If they are unusable, why are they there? Do we need them for anything at all? (And why do I have a suspicion that anyone being
confronted with these verses will
suddenly develop a strong interest in the original context, so as to nicely
distance themselves from any unpleasant implications?)
- From "Saving the Bible from Ourselves" - By Glen Paauw
didn't treat these interruptions like intrusions, He let needy people elbow
into His life, even when His closest friends tried to block their way. In fact, one could argue that Jesus did much
of His work during moments of interruption.
We often grown annoyed at disruptions, feeling as if life has been put
on hold. When are we missing out on some
of life's holiest moments? - Apply The Word Study Bible
Writing specifically of the veil which Satan casts over the minds of men, F.C. Jennings states: 'He so weaves the course of this age: its religious forms, ceremonies, external decencies, respectabilies, and conventionalities as to form a thick veil, that entirely hides 'the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus,' which consists in righteous mercy to penitent sinners only. This veil is not formed by evil-living, depravity, or any form of what passes as evil amongst men; but by cold formality, heartless decency, proud self-complacency, highly esteemed external respectability, and we must add, church-membership - all without Christ. It is the most fatal of all delusions, the thickest of all veils, and the most common. It is the way that because it is religious, respectable, decent 'seems right unto a man but the end thereof is death'; for there is no Christ, no Lamb of God, no blood of Atonement in it' - From Lewis Sperry Chafer's Systematic Theology (section on Satan's motives)
When you look around and see the devil's vast empire and what a little spot of ground contains Christ's subjects - what heaps of precious souls lie prostrate under Satan's feet and what a tiny regiment of saints arch under Christ's banner of grace - perhaps you ask yourself, "is hell stronger than heaven? Are the arms of Satan more victorious than the cross of Christ?" But if you consider what I am about to tell you, you will wonder that Christ has any to follow Him rather than that He has so few.
Every son of man is born in sin (51:5). So when the prince of this world first approaches a young soul with this or that wicked proposal, he finds the soul unarmed and in its natural state already familiar with his policies. Yielding to Satan's control will therefore not cause much of a stir in the naturally sinful heart. But when Christ campaigns for a soul, He proposes sweeping changes. And the selfish soul, which generally likes things as they are, answers Him with the same scorn as the rebellious citizens in the parable: "We will not have this man to reign over us!" (Luke 19:14). The vote is unanimous: All the lusts cast their ballots against Christ, and rise up like the Philistines against Samson, whom they called the destroyer of their country (Judges 16:23-24). If God's grace did not step in and override the veto, the whole world would be held in Satan's sway.
Satan's conquests are limited to itnorant, graceless souls who have neither strength nor strength to oppose him. They are born imprisoned to sin; all he has to do is keep them there. But when he assaults a saint, whose freedom was won at the Cross, once for all, then he is laying siege to a city with gates and bars. Sooner or later, he must retreat in shame, unable to pluck the weakest saint out of the Savior's hand. Doubt your own strength, but never doubt Christs's. In your gravest conflicts with Satan, trust Him to bring you out of the devil's dominion.
- William Gurnall (Daily Readings from: The Christian in Complete Armour)
You should find great strength and encouragement in the knowledge that your commission is divine. God Himself underwrites your battle and has appointed His own Son "the captain of [your] salvation" (Hebrews 2:10). He will lead you on to the field with courage, and bring you off with honor.......For bravery none compares with our Lord. He never turned His head from danger, not even when hell's hatred and heaven's justice appeared against Him. Knowing all that was about to happen, Jesus went forth and said, "Whom seek ye?" (John 18:4). Satan could not overcome Him - our Savior never lost a battle, not even when he lost His life. He won the victory, carrying His spoils to heaven in the triumphant chariot of His ascension. There He makes an open show of them, to the unspeakable joy of saints and angels. As part of Christ's army, you march in the ranks of gallant spirits. Every one of your fellow soldiers is a child of a King. Some, like you, are in the midst of battle, besieged on every side by affliction and temptation. Others, after many assaults, repulses and rallyings of their faith, are already standing upon the wall as conquerors. From there they look down and urge you, their comrades on earth, to march up the hill after them. This is their cry: "Fight to the death , and the City is your own, as now it is ours! For the waging of a few days' conflict, you will be rewarded with Heaven's glory. One moment of this celestial joy will dry up all your tears, heal all your wounds, and erase the sharpness of the fight with all the joy of your permanent victory." - William Gurnall from Daily Readings from The Christian In Complete Armour (William Gurnall)
A good or bad defense of the faith may be helpful or unhelpful, but in each case that is only corroborative. The Christian faith is not true because someone argues for it brilliantly, nor is it false because someone defends it badly. Christian faith is true or false regardless of anyone's defense of the faith. Faith's certainty lies elsewhere than in the rapier sharp logic or the sledgehammer power of the apologist. At the end of the day, full certainty comes from the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
- Os Guinness from his book: Fool's Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion
(On progressive sanctification)No, indeed, dearest, I shall not tell you that having Christ, and being therefore rich in hope, you can want nothing more. I know that when sure, quite sure of the pardon of sin, we do want more - we want to be rid of it. Such is the beautiful design of God. We are safe in being justified; but we are not happy, but in proportion as we are sanctified; the former satisfies our fears, but our desires are restless for the latter. As the former is the first act of divine love, it is naturally the first thing a believer seeks to be assured of; and when he has assured himself of pardon and justification in Christ, he very often fancies for a time that he has the whole of salvation, and is sanctified. But this does not last; he finds out as you do, that he wants more; he wants holiness and cannot be happy without it. But then what a comfort that the one is secure as the other, although a slower process; that the same blood which bought our justification, and bestows it at once, bought our sanctification - the other half of one and the same salvation, - and must bestow it ultimately.
Caroline [Fry] Wilson
From: An Autobiography and Letters of the Author of The Listener, Christ Our Law, Etc. (1849)