Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lost Salvation?

Did Judas lose his salvation?

John 17:12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Reading this verse, which is the high priestly prayer of the Lord Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, it would seem that Judas initially had salvation, yet lost it when he betrayed Jesus. If true that he genuinely lost salvation, what confidence can any believer have that they are indeed saved? Though I don’t hand over the Lord for crucifixion, do I not still betray Him daily? The first question that needs to be answered here is whether or not Judas had a genuine salvation. Only after this can I determine the foundation for the confidence I’m called to have in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:11-12).

Who was Judas? I mean, he was one of the original 12 disciples; he kept the finances for Jesus’ ministry. Basically, he was a prominent figure, and by all human accounts, a “model” Christian. The Lord, however, is not fooled by our appearances, for He sees our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). Those who play a good game, but never actually believe in their hearts are in for a rude awakening to eternal judgment one day (Matthew 7:21-23). This is not the basis for our salvation. Even though Judas was playing this game of being one of Jesus’ closest friends, inwardly, where it mattered, he was described as the “son of destruction”, or the “son of perdition.” This is the same term used to reference the antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Since God is omnipotent, He either directly effects, or allows all events that pass. Since God is omniscient, He knows not only when every event will pass, but also the outcome. The Lord knew who Judas was from the beginning, even before Judas was born, yet he was chosen for his position on earth that the Scriptures might be fulfilled (Psalm 41:7). Jesus knew Judas was never a genuine believer; otherwise, Jesus would not have referred to him as the son of perdition. Also, this is evident in the dialogue Jesus shares with him at the Last Supper, indicating He knew (John 13:27) the plans of Judas and when they would happen. Judas didn’t likely even know the full ramifications of what he was doing! The disciples and the other townspeople were likely fooled by the guise of Judas, but conduct alone will never purchase one salvation. Judas was never one of the Lord’s children (1 John 2:18-19).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006



The Lord continues to daily increase my knowledge and my faith in Him, convincing me more completely of my need of Him.

I am learning that wisdom is different than I thought it was.

I am learning that when I begin to think I’m wise, I am not.
I am learning that what the world touts as wisdom is really foolishness to the Lord. He is recreating, in my mind, the picture I have of wisdom (to be conformed to His definition), and showing me how unique His wisdom is.

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

“Eloquent wisdom.”

Greek NT
1 Corinthians 1:17
Not for delegated me Christ to immerse but to tell good message, not in wisdom of word, that not might be emptied the cross of the Christ.

Paul makes a clear distinction between the wisdom of spoken words and the wisdom of God. This point is reiterated in v.20. The wisdom of the world, of spoken words is not true wisdom, though it appears to be (and it may still contain kernels of truth).

Romans 1:19-23 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

That the world has “exchanged the glory of the immortal God” is demonstrated in our society’s focus on the philosophy of humanism, or the celebration of the goodness of man. This is in stark contrast with Scripture (Romans 3:10-12), that says all men are inherently bad.

1 Corinthians 1:21-24 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Could the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God be any more diametrically opposed? The world says that goodness and wisdom are found in man, yet the Lord says that not only is goodness and wisdom not found in man, He says it is only found in the Lord.

To steadfastly cling to the wisdom of man is pride.

God opposes the prideful (James 4:6), without fail.

James 3:13-18 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Yes, I am learning that wisdom is different than what I thought it was.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Battling the Unbelief of Lust

Battling the Unbelief of Lust

These are the notes I took on a lecture from a series on unbelief taught by John Piper. More of these may be posted in the future, because it would be a good idea to work through the series sometime.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (1)Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. (2)For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. (3)For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; (4)that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, (5)not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; (6)that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. (7)For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. (8)Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Lust: sexual desire that dishonors its object and disregards God. It is a sexual desire, minus holiness and honor.

Translational Differences:

RSV v.4: that each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor,…

NIV v.4: that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,…

NASB v.4: that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,…

Greek NT v.4: to know each of you the of himself pot to acquire in holiness and value,…

Sexual desire is good, but it is meant to be regulated by holiness and honor. God established the covenant of marriage for the satisfaction of sexual desire, while still maintaining holiness and honor. To conduct yourself towards another person in a manner that says, “I want your body for my pleasure, but I don’t want you as a whole person” is lust, and is dishonoring to that person. Lust is sexual desire, minus a commitment to honor a person in covenant relationship.

Lust is the absence of holiness. Lust comes from not knowing God. Do you disregard the holiness of God with your sexual desires?

The world views lust as insignificant when there are problems of war, and famine, and political corruption, and crime. They argue that lustful thoughts/actions are what a person chooses to do in their personal time, and that we ought not tell a person what to do with that time. This is the reaction of a society who has forsaken a supreme regard for God.

v.6 God has a different viewpoint than the vast majority of the world. The Lord will avenge this unholiness. The consequence of this unholy, dishonoring conduct is vastly worse than the consequences of nuclear war, or terror attacks. The only reason to deny this is the result of unbelief in eternity. The only thing war can do is kill physical bodies. Jesus specifically speaks about this in Matthew 10:28.

Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Ponder the eternal danger of lust (Matthew 5:27-30), because it IS real. The way one chooses to handle lust is of utmost importance because it decides where you will spend eternity. The tendency of the average person who professes to be a Christian is to extract saving faith from every other aspect of their life, so that how they live has no bearing on their “eternal security.” Scripture repeatedly denies this errant belief, yet they remain blissfully ignorant, at least during their physical lives.

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Are we not saved by faith? We are, by persevering, in faith. 1 Timothy 6:12. The good fight of the faith IS the fight for purity in our hearts/actions, for the honor of God.

The false doctrine taught in many churches today is that justification is by faith, and sanctification is by good works. This makes sanctification optional, because faith is viewed as what actually gets you into heaven, while sanctification, or increasing holiness, is merely what determines the degree of reward once there.

The battle for obedience is absolutely necessary for salvation because it IS the battle against unbelief; it IS the fight of the faith. There is only one battle; they are not separate battles.

The root cause of lust is unbelief, implied by v.5, which says that those who do not know God behave differently, than those who do.

Mark 1:21-28 (21) And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. (22) And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. (23) And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, (24) “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” (25) But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” (26) And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. (27) And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” (28) And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

The demons know who the Lord is, so there must be a difference in how the demons know God, and the knowledge Paul is talking about in 1 Thessalonians 4:5. There clearly is no connection between mere head knowledge and the power of godliness. 2 Corinthians 4:6 speaks of this different, proper knowledge. It’s the knowledge of His greatness, His grandeur, His glory, His power, His wisdom, His truth. It’s the knowledge you don’t have when you grumble impatiently at the end of the church service while singing praises to God.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

This is the knowledge that liberates from unbelief.

1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. [emphasis mine]

This is serious.

Saturday, September 23, 2006



Romans 6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

We share in the death of Christ, and also in His resurrection to eternal life (Romans 6:3-5). This is symbolized by our baptism after we have become believers. The death of Christ was to conquer the binding power of sin, and His resurrection was to eternal life, only possible when sin is conquered. It is a wonderful thing that we share in this, if, in fact, we believe in the Lord (Romans 1:16-17).

I am being made more holy every day I walk with the Lord; this is sanctification. Sanctification is only possible for those who believe in the Lord. For the one who doesn’t believe in the Lord, that person is still enslaved to sin, and therefore unable to be “enslaved” to righteousness in the Lord.

Romans 6:20-23 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I can be confident that although I will not reach completed sanctification (which is glorification) on this side of heaven, I am still getting closer to this reality every day I live for the Lord. The Lord will complete this work in me with finality when I die, which is why Paul speaks of dying as gain (Philippians 1:21). I am encouraged because He promises to complete this in me (Philippians 1:6), even when I am persuaded to be discouraged because I know deep down what kind of person I really am.

God All Sufficient
O Lord of grace,

The world is before me this day,
and I am weak and fearful,
but I look to thee for strength;

If I venture forth alone I stumble and fall,
but on the Beloved’s arms I am firm as the eternal hills;

If left to the treachery of my heart I shall shame thy Name,
but if enlightened, guided, upheld by thy Spirit, I shall bring thee glory.

Be thou my arm to support,
my strength to stand,
my light to see,
my feet to run,
my shield to protect,
my sword to repel,
my sun to warm.

To enrich me will not diminish thy fullness;
All thy lovingkindness is in thy Son,
I bring him to thee in the arms of faith,
I urge his saving Name as the One who died for me.
I plead his blood to pay my debts of wrong.

Accept his worthiness for my unworthiness,
his sinlessness for my transgressions,
his purity for my uncleanness,
his sincerity for my guile,
his truth for me deceits,
his meekness for my pride,
his constancy for my backslidings,
his love for my enmity,
his fullness for my emptiness,
his faithfulness for my treachery,
his obedience for my lawlessness,
his glory for my shame,
his devotedness for my waywardness,
his holy life for my unchaste ways,
his righteousness for my dead works,
his death for my life.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I am rich, but am I content?

I headed down the airplane aisle to find my seat. I am very tired from a busy, but wonderful week spent with the woman my heart loves like no other. Missing her immensely, my thoughts are inwardly focused, and selfish. It's all about me, isn't it? I reach my seat, 4B (aisle), to see a very fat lady sitting in 4A (window), She is large enough that her fat is crawling over the armrest, and in fact, under it as well...over into my seat area. I am unable to use the armrest on my left side, and even with my arm not on it, her fat still presses against me. I get situated quickly into my seat, click the seatbelt tight, and try to get comfortable, since the flight is about 2-2.5 hours. I can never get completely comfortable on these planes; the seats are not comfortable, or spacious. Though my knees clear the seat in front of me by several inches, it still seems there isn't enough leg room. The seat reclines back just enough to tease me with the prospect of reclining for a nap, but not actually being able to do so enough to be useful. Really, could I complain any more? Anyway, I sat there complaining to myself, when I began to notice and observe the lady sitting next to me, who was snoring already (we were still sitting at the gate). Her legs are stuffed down into the floorboard, with her knees pressing firmly into the seat in front of her, Her hips do not have enough room to fit in her seat -- she is kind of "packed" into it by force. She has no room to put her arms down to her sides. All of this -- yet she sleeps -- snores even -- I know she probably can't be very comfortable, even though she seems to be, since she's sleeping so soundly.

As I sat there selfishly, I began to realize how "rich" I was -- I really had no legitimate reason to be pitying my situation, especially when compared to the lady next to me. I had plenty of room compared to her, yet I acted as though I had none. The Lord humbled me right then and there -- He showed me what it means to be content in all situations. My heart felt compassion on this lady next to me. She must deal with this every time she travels -- no seats are ever big enough, or comfortable; no passengers want to sit next to her because she crowds their seats. Does anyone show, outwardly, this negative impression of her? I'm sure she experiences it not uncommonly. She slept soundly the entire flight, so we never spoke, but she humbled me. I prayed for her...mostly because I was ashamed of myself. I prayed also for myself: to have contentment in all situations. I wish I could sit here and write that my initial response was different; that my thoughts were initially, reflexively holy, but they weren't. I pray the Lord would replace my worldly eyes, that only see a lacking, with spiritual eyes that only focus on heavenly things, that look everywhere with love, fully content with the present situation the Lord has provided. God is so good, to show me through daily life, the lessons in holiness He wants me to learn. He shows me how far below the mark I am, that I would not be proud -- that I would continue to realize my complete need of Him. I am richly blessed indeed.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rest for the weary

Rest for the weary

Isaiah 28:12-13 This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose; yet they would not hear. And the word of the Lord will be to them, precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

Weary, from trying, day after day, to seek rest and security apart from the Lord. Striving to satisfy desires by our own pursuits will be most unfruitful, and will only leave us weary and distant from our Lord. The Lord certainly offers rest to his people, Israel in this verse. Still, the truth is equally valid for the believer, who has been engrafted into the olive tree, his children. He openly offers rest to His children, yet many times we are unwilling to hear. The offer is made, though it falls on willingly deaf ears. These ears are prideful, for they ignore the rest He offers, because this person claims they know whatever they are in pursuit of will really satisfy. This person will have a tortured conscience, because he strives to be wise and happy without God.