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Why Does God Keep Secrets From Me?

20 Jun

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Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

In a discussion of where children go after death if they die before an age where they are conscious of God, we encountered the idea of God having secrets from us. The fate of unborn children and infants who die is one of those secrets. The Bible is silent on it.

We had to avoid arguing from silence and just say that God is absolutely good and absolutely just–that we can trust Him to do the right thing in those secret areas the Bible does not address.

Now sometimes some of us rebel against God reserving the right to keep secrets from us (even forever, if we can project forward from Deuteronomy 29:29).

Why do we rebel like that? I can think of three reasons.

1) In a crisis. If someone has just lost a baby, I totally understand her desire to know for sure her child is with God. That is not the time to have a deep theological discussion about arguing from the Bible’s silence. Just be comforting and keep the theological discussions for later.

2) Because we have control issues and resent the idea that God can fence off part of reality, including part of our own lives, and not let us have control over it. But . . . let’s face it. Even one devastating tornado in our neighborhood will prove to us that there is much in our own personal lives we do not and cannot control.

3) Because we have been hurt in the past by bad secrets and assume that secrets are inherently bad. That is where we make a huge theological error. Treating God like a monster because someone in our past has been a monster is just bad theology. God is not an exalted version of the most powerful human being we have known in the past. He is transcendent, meaning totally different from us in form and substance and everything else. The only reason we can ever hope to be like Him is because He is also immanent (become one with us) in Jesus Christ.

While I have all the compassion in the world for a child who was caught in a whirlpool of bad secrets, I cannot and will not form my theology from someone’s emotional state. This world is fallen. That will not change till later, when Christ makes all things new. But He remains God and is sovereign over this fallen world. We must trust Him to be as good as the Word says He is, and as wise and just as well!

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Why Does God Keep Secrets? (and can I trust Him when He does?)

20 Jun

Why Does God Keep Secrets? (and can I trust Him when He does?)

Not a perfect explanation of election (because it is a “God concept,” after all), but one that is workable . . .

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Book Review: “Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart” by J.D. Greear

19 Aug

Book Review: “Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart” by J.D. Greear

I totally believe in the perseverance of the saints. That means, in layman’s terms, that a truly saved person will still look truly saved in five years, in ten years, and at the end of her life (this is also known as “finishing well” in Biblical/theological language).

I am more than troubled by the number of people who walk the aisle for salvation on Sunday morning, then don’t return to church on Sunday night, nor Wednesday, nor the following Sunday morning . . .

I am not a legalist and I know it takes time to grow and become what Christ created us to be. But I balance with that the idea that a person totally in love with Jesus should show some signs of wanting to learn more about Him . . . (just a thought . . .).

We are not judges of other folks’ salvation, but we also should avoid the pitfall of assuring them (perhaps falsely) that because they walked the aisle once twenty years ago, they really are saved. What does their life look like since then? Any fruit of the Spirit in evidence?

Fact is, we can’t know for sure about anyone’s salvation except our own.

And that is the personal way J.D. Greear wrote his book. To help those who truly are saved but have assurance issues (like me, for years. There is a kind of OCD that can attach to the salvation issue and keep us from assurance, even as we show evidence of Christian growth). He also uses his book to help people diagnose themselves if they falsely believe they are saved due to saying the sinner’s prayer years ago, but have never subsequently shown any evidence of new life in Christ.

This is a good book. The title is a bit shocking, but the contents are theologically sound. I highly recommend it.

The Sinner’s Prayer Does Not Save Us

11 Jun

http://www.jdgreear.com/sinnersprayer

I am just finishing up J.D. Greear’s book “Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart” and want to write a book recommendation to express how good it is.

There are two reasons:

1. He addresses people, like me, who spend years getting to a sound, Biblically-based assurance of faith because we get hung up on the Sinner’s Prayer, whether we said it right, and whether we meant it 100% at the time we said it. We are usually genuinely saved, but lack assurance of that fact.

2. He addresses people who said the Sinner’s Prayer once, like a magical incantation, then returned to their regularly scheduled life, excluding God from it. They are usually not genuinely saved, yet feel very assured that they are, from shaky, non-Biblical sources.

God promised in I John 5:13 that we can know for sure we are born again. We can count on the finished work of Christ.

Those counting on anything more, or less, than Christ’s finished work cannot claim I John 5:13 for assurance of salvation. We either accept the whole counsel of Scripture or reject it all. We don’t get to pick and choose.

Just as God does not often bless it when people open their Bible in the morning and stick a finger somewhere in it to choose a devotional passage, because God is to be approached with more reverence than a fortune teller, so it is not God’s plan that we base our eternal security in a recitation of the Sinner’s Prayer. Yes, many of us say that prayer when we get saved, but the prayer does not save us. Christ’s finished work on our behalf saves us, by grace through faith.

This book is a real treat, as it takes us through God’s Word, rightly dividing it as it teaches the doctrines of salvation and the perseverance of the saints.

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A Trophy of God’s Grace: Rosaria Butterfield

27 May

A Trophy of God’s Grace: Rosario Butterfield

The story of Rosaria Butterfield’s conversion, and her journey from being a radical lesbian professor to being a Reformed theologian and homeschooling wife of her church’s pastor!

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Why I Believe in Total Depravity!

18 Mar

Why I Believe in Total Depravity!

When we lived in Germany, we had several German friends honest enough to say, “Of course, all Germans alive at the time of World War II knew what was going on with the Jews. They were disappearing from day to day. We just knew … But we also knew we could not ask questions and expect to be there to raise our own families!”

The Germans were no different from any other race. Hitler was not an anomaly among humans. We all have sin lodged deep in our hearts and need a desperate remedy.

What, short of our total depravity, would have put the Son of God on a cross to be tortured to death? Think about it.

He brings us very good news. There is a way out of our darkness. His name is Jesus Christ.

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Women’s Thursday: A Majority of the Human Race is Never Born

28 Feb

A Majority of the Human Race is Never Born

 

Writing about abortion, I have been running into statistics like those expressed in this chart about the miscarriage rate.  As you can see, it is estimated that 75% of pregnancies spontaneously abort before the mother knows she is pregnant.

Beyond that, be careful with interpretation.  The next statistic means that 10% of the 25% of pregnancies that survive the first few days will then go on to spontaneously abort in the next period.  Then 5% of the pregnancies that have survived the first two periods will spontaneously abort in the next one . . . and so on.

If we read that incorrectly and assume that 10% of the original pregnancies will spontaneously abort in the next period, then 5% of the original pregnancies in the next period after that, we end up with a chart that seems to imply that almost 100% of all pregnancies spontaneously abort.  Added to our 20-25% intentional abortion rate, that would make a birth rate of, say, 0%!!!

Now, for those of us who regard a fertilized egg as possessing an eternal soul from the moment of conception, there is a staggering thought here.

Take just a moment to contemplate that far more than half of the human race never gets to the birth process.

We pretty universally agree that those who have a soul and never reach the age of accountability go to heaven automatically.

So over half the human race will be in heaven without having ever taken one breath on this planet.  Without having made a choice to follow the God of the Bible.  In fact, He chose for them.

Now, I want us to dare consider another thought.  In the matter of election that can be so controversial, is it possible that God chose for the rest of us, too?

I know some Arminian folks are aghast at this idea.  Choice is very important to them.  They call it “free will.”

But is it as important to God as it sometimes is to us?  We love our choices, but does He see them the same way we do?

Especially the choice to be saved.

We willingly acknowledge that He knows who will be saved in the end.

Could He also have chosen them, chosen for them to come to the part of their life where they get saved?

It’s just a thought . . .

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