Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sorry Everyone

I told everyone a while back that I would do a podcast today about the young earth vs. old earth views. I am still planning to get that done I assure you, but I haven't had the time this week after all. I had a meeting this morning and then went to see some frineds with my wife, who just had their baby. And tomorrow I will be getting ready to leave on a trip with my youth group to Silver Dollar City. And then Thursday through Sunday I will be out of town. All that said, I hope to be able to try again next week, but I will just have to see.

Sorry everyone. But I am looking forward to this podcast and I want to do a good job representing both sides. Therefore I want to make sure I have proper prep time for the podcast. I'll get to it A.S.A.P.

In Him -Jacob

Monday, March 26, 2007

God's Sovereignty in Salvation: PART 2

"Unconditional Election"

When last I left you, in part 1 of this series, we discussed "Total Depravity." It is a necessary prelude to this second post in the series of God’s sovereignty in salvation, if you have not read it, please do so before you engage this post.

At the end of the first post I left with a very open ended question. The question in itself was one that make’s the soul in whom God is working despair. The question in essence was this: "If what Scripture teaches is true, and no one seeks for God and no one can choose God, and apart from God there is no salvation, what hope does mankind have?"

Scripture does clearly teach that this is the state of mankind. Lost, and hopeless to do anything about it. No amount of good works can save, because in God’s eyes "...No one does good, not even one." (Romans 3:12) If we were left alone to do what our heart desired, no one would ever choose to follow God. All would be lost.

So what hope do we as sinful humanity have? God’s Sovereignty is our hope of salvation. It is His free-will that He has, that saves those whom He chooses. God unconditionally elects, or chooses, those whom He will save.

Unconditional Election can be defined in this way:

"God has shown us in His word that from eternity past He has elected some sinners to be saved from the condemnation that is justly deserved by all, purely on account of His gracious mercy and love, not because of any foreseen merits in those sinners. Because of the fact of total depravity, salvation must originate with God, and we read in the Bible that it is God’s sovereign will alone that has determined the recipients of salvation."

Now, as always, let us turn our attention as well as our hearts and minds to the Scriptures, so that we can see that this is the teaching of God and not man.

Ephesians 1:3-12

"3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory."

What incredible language God uses here! "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world." This rules out any possibility that our works justify us before God. God chooses us before we had the chance to even exist. Let’s look at some more Scripture.

Romans 9:9-13

"9For this is what the promise said: "About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son." 10And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad--in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call-- 12she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

Romans 8:28-30

"28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified."

Clearly, it is the teaching of Scripture, that tells us it is God who is completely responsible for salvation. Look what Jesus says in John 6:44.

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day."

Is this not merely compatible with what Scripture teaches about mankind’s fallen condition because of sin? We do not want God, seek God, know God. Therefore, because we are unable to turn to God ourselves, God must draw the sinner to Him by His power and grace. Indeed this is what Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches.

"8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast."

Grace is a gift of God.

Salvation is a gift of God.

Faith is a gift of God.

None of these thing are our own doing, they come from God who is the "the founder and perfecter of our faith." (Hebrews 12:2)

If you accept the clear teaching of Scripture regarding the fall of man and the doctrine that has been called "Total Depravity" then you must see that this is the only way anyone could be saved. The doctrine of "Unconditional Election" is also very clearly taught in Scripture as I hope you have seen.

What about some common objections to this doctrine? For instance, often it is proclaimed that when Scripture talks about God foreknowing someone as in Romans 8:29, "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined...", that it means God looked into the future and saw that a person would accept Jesus as savior and so God predestined them to salvation.

Obviously, however, that cannot be the case. Why? Because man is depraved and no one seeks for God. If God simply let us do our thing and did not intervene, no one would choose Him, and no one would be "elect" if this were how God did things. The problem with this view is that it is man centered. Man likes to assume that he is in control of his life, and yet that is just not true. As we discussed in one post ( http://reformationinprogress.blogspot.com/2007/03/does-man-really-have-free-will.html ), man’s will is enslaved to either sin or to God, but it is never truly free.

So "foreknowledge" does not mean to know in advance what is going to happen. In fact if you do a word study here, you will find that the root word here "knowledge" is the Greek equivelant to that of the Hebrew word "yada" which also means know. Let’s look at a few places where this word is used in Scripture, both in the Hebrew and the Greek.

Genesis 4:1

"Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have gotten
a man with the help of the LORD."

Exodus 33:17

"And the LORD said to Moses, "This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name."

To quote from James White’s book "The Sovereign Grace of God", which you all should read by the way, and can buy it here: www.aomin.org, this is what Dr. White has to say about this same issue.

"Hence, we have seen that "to know" in Scripture, especially when it is God who is doing the "knowing" and when the object of this "knowing" is personal (a person, or a people, as in Israel), refers not to a knowledge of data and facts, but a personal relationship between God and the "knowee." With this concept in mind, let us now look at the concept of God’s foreknowledge in the New Testament." (White; 145)

Yes, let’s.

Acts 2:23.

"this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men."

This again is the exact same word as we saw in Romans 8:29. Let’s put in place here in Acts 2:23 the same meaning that many try to place upon Romans 8:29. If we were to do that, it would read something like this:

"This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan of God, well, definite that is, because God looked into the future to see what Jesus (who is God) would do and since He saw that Jesus would indeed be crucified, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men."

You see the problem? Foreknowledge is not God’s knowledge of future events. Foreknowledge is God’s decision to enter into a personal relationship with a person from before they exist. Or in Jesus’ case God has known Him (or Himself within the trinity) personally for all eternity.

Clearly God chooses on the basis of His own free-will, and not on the basis of anything we do, whom He will save and whom He will not. As for other objections to this doctrine here is what
God says through Paul in Romans 9:14-24.

"14What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 19You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" 20But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" 21Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? 22What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- 24even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?"

Ultimately it comes down to this. God is God and I am not. I am unable to save myself, so my only hope is that God will save me.

If you accept the clear Scriptural teaching of Total Depravity, you must accept the equally clear Scriptural teaching that God chooses people by His own free will, unconditionally, apart from what we do. That is Unconditional Election.

In Him -Jacob

Friday, March 23, 2007

God's Sovereignty in Salvation, debate over "Total Depravity"

If you go down to the first article in the series "God's Sovereignty in Salvation" you will see a discussion taking place there that might intrigue the theologically inclined. There is a comment there now that I will post a respnse to tomorrow, as I do not have the time right now, but I believe it needs answered.


Truth War

The folowing is a link to an article written by Scott Lamb entitled "John MacArthur Exhorts the Church to Be Engaged in the Battle for Truth" It was written in regard to Dr. MacArthur's new book the truth war. I'm looking forward to picking up the book. Here is one review of the book.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Crazy Week

Sorry I didn't get to post PART 2 of our series on God's Sovereignty in Salvation this week. Things have been busy with spring break and hanging out with the youth group guys as well as preparing for our Silver Dollar City trip next week. I promise to post part 2 "Unconditional Election" on Monday, and don't forget on Tuesday we will be doing a podcast on young earth views versus old earth views of the creation account.

In Him -Jacob

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Middle Earth?"

In response to a question from none other than my own dad, NO, in the next podcast we will not be discussing "Middle Earth" just "Young Earth" versus "Old Earth." See what to much Lord of the Rings does to a person?

I would however be interested in hearing from you who read this blog what stance you take and why, or even if you have given it any consideration. Feel free to leave a comment and your thoughts.

Not Going To Church

I just had to post this joke.

On a Sunday morning a mother knocks on her son's bedroom door and tells him it's time to get up and go to church. "I'm not going to church this morning," the son says. "You gotta get up and go to church", says mother. "No, I'm not." says the son. "Yes you are", says the mother. "No, I'm not, they don't like me and I don't like them." says the son. "Give me two good reasons why I have to go," says the son. "Number one, you're 55 years old and number two, you're the pastor!"

Next Week's Podcast

Next week on the podcast we are going to take up a very interesting issue. We will be looking at "Young Earth" vs. "Old Earth" views of the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2. I myself am a young earth proponent, but I will do my best to honestly present both views accurately and then explain why I believe Christians need to accept a young earth view. It's true that this doesn't affect core doctrines like salvation, or the deity of Christ, but we will discuss why it is so important, and what are the repercussions of taking an old earth view.

Also, hopefully tomorrow I will post Part 2 of our series, "God's Sovereignty in Salvation." We will be following up our look at the doctrine of "Total Depravity" with the next doctrine in the five points of Calvinism, "Unconditional Election."

As always feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment in regard to any show or post, as well as send questions and idea's for future topics. Also if you would like to be added to the mailing list so that your are sent a notice every time there is a new post or podcast, just send an e-mail with the phrase "add to list."

In Him -Jacob

E-mail: jacob@reformationinprogress.com

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sorry, No Podcast

I wont be doing a podcast this week. It's "Spring Break" after all. We'll get'r done next tuesday.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Dr. Mohler Responds to the Controversy

The following link is to an article by Albert Mohler in regards to the controversy of the article he hadwritten about homosexuality and the possibility of a genetic link.



Does Man Really Have "Free-Will"?

I have been reading as of late a book by Martin Luther called "The Bondage of The Will." As the title implies it addresses the issue of "free will" versus the "enslaved will." And thus is my question of the day to you, my readers. Is mans will really as free as most would like to think? I dare to say no, it is not.

Just a couple of posts ago on this blog we took up the issue of God's sovereignty in salvation and the first part of that series was on the Total Depravity of man. In that post I gave Scripture that conclusively taught that mankind is totally depraved, and in bondage to sin. Not only are we as people enslaved to sin, but we are incapable of doing anything about it ourselves.

I see the discussion of "free will" finding its answers in the doctrines of grace and a proper understanding of the sovereignty of God. In my series on the sovereignty of God in part 4 which you may see here: http://reformationinprogress.blogspot.com/2007/02/sovereignty-of-god-part-4.html, we looked at how God is the mastermind behind all things. Everything that takes place, does so by the will of God.

From the above linked article:

"Here is an illustration that I find helpful. God observes His creation not as we do as temporal beings, but as the sovereign Lord over all creation. He is the painter, we are a part of the painting. God is not merely in the process of painting the picture, the picture is already complete. God views the past, present and future, complete and simultaneously. He asserts prophecy not because He is merely confident He can make it happen, but He asserts prophecy because it is already done.

Consider the following verses from Hebrews 2:6-96.

It has been testified somewhere, "what is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for Him? 7You made Him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned Him with glory and honor, 8putting everything in subjection under His feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to Him, He left nothing outside of His control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to Him. 9But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. (Emphasis mine)

Look at what Scripture tells us. It says that everything has (past tense) been put into subjection under the feet of Christ. It’s done, finished, complete. But Scripture also tells us that as of now we do "not yet see everything in subjection to Him.

We look at the world and say "there is evil all over the place" we don’t see that Jesus has all of this under His subjection, but He does. Why? Because God sees the future judgement of Satan, evil and sin as already completed. It is finished. We don’t see it now as temporal beings, but God has already won the battle in the future. He exist outside of time and the story is already over. This is part of why God knows all things, because it is already finished and done according to His will. Not that God would be incapable of seeing the future, but it’s a moot point, because God wrote the future."

For more about God's sovereignty I recommend that you read the whole article and 6 part series. But nevertheless, Scripture clearly teaches that the ultimate reason things happen the way they do is because God ordains them to happen as they do. God is in control.

That said, let me here ask, do we have truly "free" will? Since we ultimately do what God has ordained us to, the answer is no. However, here is where we will enter into the discussion of whether what we do is by compulsion, or by necessity.

Compulsion would refer to an outside source forcing its will upon us, making us do something that we did not really want to do. Does God make us do things we don't want to do? No, He doesn't force us to do anything against our "will."

What do I mean by that? Someone might say here "You just said that we don't have free will and then you say that God won't make us do something against our will. What are you smoking?" You can be sure, I meant just what I said. Let me quote Luther when discussing "necessity" versus "compulsion."

"I could wish, indeed, that a better term was available for our discussion than the accepted one, necessity, which cannot accurately be used of either man's will or God's. Its meaning is too harsh, and foreign to the subject; for it suggests some sort of compulsion, and something that is against ones will, which is no part of the view under debate. The will, whether it be God's or man's, does what it does, good or bad, under no compulsion, but just as it wants or pleases, as if totally free." (Luther, 81)

Let's talk this out for a bit shall we? Remember in the discussion of "total depravity" that we discussed how mankind loves its sin. We sin because we want to, and we have no desire on our own to stop sinning. God has ordained all that we do, but he has not forced us against our will, because we love what we are doing and we long for more of it. So man freely does what man wants to do, however they do so, not by compulsion but by necessity, for that was what God had predestined for them to do.

In the same way God does not force someone to love Him, but instead he takes out their heart of stone and gives them a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26,

"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."

God gives the sinner His Spirit making them a new creation who no longer wants sin, they want God. They have not been compulsed to do anything, they freely do just what they want, but they do it out of necessity because God ordained them to do so.

Ultimately it comes down to this, the will of man is enslaved either to Satan and sin or to God and righteousness, but regardless of which one it is enslaved to the will of man does its bidding not under compulsion but freely and gladly, and they do so because God has ordained it to be so.

Let's look at how Luther explains this in an analogy.

"So man's will is like a beast standing between two riders. If God rides, it wills and goes where God wills: as the Psalm says, 'I am become as a beast before thee, and I am ever with thee' (Ps. 73:22-23). If Satan rides, it wills and goes where Satan wills. Nor may it choose to which rider it will run, or which it will seek; but the riders themselves fight to decide who shall have and hold it." (Luther, 103-104)

I would note, as would Luther if anyone should question his meaning, that God always wins the fight when it is His desire to ride a particular beast.

I think this example wonderfully illustrates the position of mankind. Although I would add, again, that the beast is not being driven by compulsion with whips and spurs, but by a carrot or sugar cube in front of them, the beast pursues willingly the direction it is led.

So does man have free will? Ultimately the answer is no. But we carry on day to day, feeling as though our will is totally free, because we do only that which we desire most to do. And it depends upon whether our will is enslaved to Satan and sin or to God and righteousness as to what desires we have in our hearts.


Luther, Martin. The Bondage of the Will. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2005.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dr. Albert Mohler Takes Some Heat

At the end of this post there is a link to an article written on March 4th by Dr. Albert Mohler. Since writing this article, Dr. Mohler has received attack from both Christian conservatives as well as homosexual advocates. The article is called "Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It?"

I took the time to read this article and I wanted to weigh in on the subject. There is no doubt that Dr. Mohler took on something that is to say the least "controversial." However, did he say anything wrong? Did he defy the word of God? Let's look at what was said that has everyone in such an uproar.

In the opening statement of the article we are tolde all that we need to hear in order to know that this article will certainly get some people talking.

"What if you could know that your unborn baby boy is likely to be sexually attracted to other boys? Beyond that, what if hormonal treatments could change the baby's orientation to heterosexual? Would you do it? Some scientists believe that such developments are just around the corner."

I'll let you read the article for yourself. You should indeed do that if you want to have and state any opinion over the matter of what Dr.Mohler actually said. I will however offer my synopsis of what I think Dr. Mohler was trying to do.

Let's say that scientist were to somehow conclusively prove that there is a link between homosexuality in human beings and genetics. Would that or should that change the position of the church on the issue of homosexuality? No.

Mohler rightly points out that we live in a fallen world that has been effected and infected by sin every way. Could this not have effected our biological makeup to the point where anomolies are caused in the formation of an infant in the womb? Of course. We see that there are all kinds of birth defects today. We also see that there are those whom seem to be more easily addicted to alcohol and drugs than others.

Dr. Mohler rightly points out that regardless of whether science can prove a genetic link or not, homosexuality would continue to be a sin. Why? Because God says so. We are sinners not on the basis of our temptations but our indulgence of our temptations. We are all born in the "flesh" and are drawn naturally to sinful desires to do all kinds of things, but we are condemned not upon our nature but our acts.

Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 "9Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

Regardless of whether someone is born with a disposition towards homosexuality or not, they are held accountable to their actions. As is the one who has a disposition to addiction. Perhaps we could prove that those who steal or murder have a disposition from birth that urges them to do so, should we really just say that it's not sinful?

So I would have to say that I think that this is a wise, preemptive strike by Dr. Mohler, not saying that there is scientific proof that homosexuality is linked to genetics, but that if it were proven, it would not change the Christians view of homosexuality as a sin that needs to be avoided, repented of and abstained from while turning to Christ alone for salvation by God's grace through faith, relying on God for strength to not sin in this manner. All Christians must rely on God for strength to stop sinning.

The other issue that was brought up was whether or not we should alter the fetus as it grows to prevent a child being born with a homosexual bent. Some scientist have said that they think through hormonal treatment of the child while still in the womb that this could be corrected. Dr. Mohler did say if that were possible then it should be done. I'm hesitant to agree or disagree.

We do give children medications all the time that alter their personality. Drugs for depression and ADD or ADHD. So it's not a new idea to treat a child with medication in order to correct their behaviour, but here we are talking about hormone treatment while the baby is still developing. It is no doubt a difficult issue to think through.

On one hand if there is a genect defect in a developing baby that can be cured without harm to the baby or the mother, should we not persue fixing the problem?

On the other hand, there is a dangerous line that we approach when we start to tamper with the unborn to alter this or that. Obviously we should not alter children just to our liking and pick their eye color and hair color. But if we can keep a child from developing a serious disease, are we not obligated to treat the unborn?

There is one thing certainly not in question for Dr. Mohler and anyone else who believes in Christ Jesus, life is precious. Regardless of whether or not it is possible that a person could be born with a disposition that makes homosexuality more likely or not, we must never endorse abortion, but correcting unbalanced hormones in the development of a child? Maybe.

I would be remiss if I left out one other facet of this conversation. I have known and even ministered to a number of people who are homosexual, or have at some point dabbled in homosexual acts. As far as those whom I personally have encountered, they all come from broken homes, or homes with one overbearing parent and one distant parent, and things of that nature. Not healthy, loving, Christ centered homes. I mentione this only to say, that I do think that largely homosexuality is still a choice. Perhaps there could be a genetic malfunction that makes some people more inclined, maybe. But regardless, I think if even it were proven to be scientific fact, even if it were proven able to be cured, even if that cure were applied to every child in the womb, I still think we would have homosexuality in the world. Because I honestly believe that though it could, maybe, possibly be that there are those who might be genetically more drawn to homosexuality, that there is a large group of homosexuals who have chosen that lifestyle and their upbringing and various life situations have pushed them to choose that lifestyle.

What do you think. I think, good for Dr. Mohler for making us think.

Dr. Mohler's article: http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_print.php?id=891

A secular view of Dr. Mohler's article: http://news.aol.com/topnews/articles/_a/furor-over-baptists-gay-baby-article/20070315023809990001?ncid=NWS00010000000001

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

God's Sovereignty in Salvation: PART 1

The Doctrine of Total Depravity

The doctrine of "Total Depravity" is sometimes called "Total Inability" or "Radical Depravity." No matter what title it is given, the meaning is the same. We will use the title "Total Depravity" as it is the traditional title first used for the doctrine.

Total Depravity may be defined in this way:

"Because of the effect of sin that came upon all of mankind at the fall in Genesis 3, all people have been seriously affected by sin in every part of their being, mind, body and soul. Sin has rendered mankind unable to understand spiritual things and unable to know or love God in our own strength. Because of the effects of the fall, mankind is enslaved to sin and does it’s bidding not under compulsion, but freely chooses to do so because mankind loves it sinful actions. Mankind is incapable of freeing themselves from the effects of sin."

One thing that should be cleared up about this doctrine, and this is often a misconception of what is taught by it, is that total depravity does not teach that mankind is a evil, or sinful as it could possibly be. Even though everyone is born totally depraved we pass opportunities for evil all the time. Even Hitler probably walked on by an opportunity to kick a puppy out in front of a truck one time. Everyone could be more sinful, that isn’t the point. The point is that sin has effected every part of every person, totally.

Where shall we start in showing what Scripture says about this? Well I think it’s always best to start the story from the beginning, Genesis 3.

I trust that anyone with even a passing knowledge of Scripture knows the basic story of the fall. God creates His perfect creation including Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve rebel against God and sin by eating the fruit of the tree of which they were commanded not to eat. And because of this rebellion against God, sin enters creation.

This now brings us to Genesis 3:16-19.

16To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."

17And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,'cursed is the ground because of you;in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Let’s look at some of sins effects upon creation.

1.We see that sin increased pain in giving birth to children. So sin has changed things in a physical bodily sense.

2. We see that relationships between men and women, husband and wife are affected by sin. Even though God created women to be a helpmate to men, now because of sin the natural tendency is for the woman to control her husband and lead even though that is the husbands duty, and in turn the husband because of sin often rules over his wife unlovingly.

Note the word desire is the same Hebrew word in Genesis 4:7.

"7If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it."

Clearly "desire" is equated with taking control.

3. We see that due to sin the very earth itself has been effected. Before the fall plant life grew with ease but due to sin now any farmer can testify that it is a struggle to produce healthy crops free of weeds and thorns. It take much work, and now days money, to produce good crops.

4. And then finally we see that due to sin, mankind now eventually dies. The body decays and eventually gives out.

Most importantly however is the loss of relationship with God that mankind suffered when sin took hold of creation.

Genesis 3:22-24.

"22Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever--" 23therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life."
The Garden of Eden was where man and God literally walked together, and enjoyed fellowship that we can now only imagine. And because of sin, mankind was cast out from the garden, and cast out of the direct presence of God.

Literally thousands of years went by between the time of the fall of man and the New Testament times, but was man able to break free from the grip of sin? No. Just look at what Paul writes in Romans 1:18-32.

"18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For 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. 21For 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. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."

Man has done nothing to slow the effects of sin. Man is incapable of doing so, nor does man desire to do so. Mankind does not only murder, slander, gossip, boast, etc.,etc., but we also "give approval to those who practice them."

Think of the ethnic cleansing that continues to go on today. Think of the abortion that thrives in our own country today. And what do you see... people cheering on murder. You may say, "well I do not approve of such things", but many do, and you are not so righteous yourself. Maybe you’ve never murdered anyone, but you’ve lied, you’ve probably stolen, you have certainly disobeyed your parents, you’ve gossiped, you’ve slandered, and much more, you sin every single day as do I! Do not play the self justification game, you’ll lose.

If anyone should think that they don’t fit the categories given in Romans 1then they should look at Romans 3:10-18.

10as it is written:"None is righteous, no, not one; 11no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." 13"Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.""The venom of asps is under their lips." 4"Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." 15"Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16in their paths are ruin and misery, 17and the way of peace they have not known." 18"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

No one who believes the Bible to be the word of God can escape the grasp of this passage. Words and phrases like "none" and "no one" and "all" pretty well nail us all to the truth, that every man, women and child, is totally depraved. Our hearts are naturally bent upon sin. We love sin, it’s what we do best. We are good at it. We don’t want to know God, we serve our own gods that serve our own purposes. We are natural born liars and murderers at heart. "There is no fear of God before their (our) eyes."

1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us that "14The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned."

We all enter this world as "natural" people. None of us on our own "accept the things of the Spirit of God." We ride them off as folly, foolishness. Even more we are told that those who are natural and in the flesh are hostile to the things of God.

Romans 8:7-8.

"7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

We are incapable as sinners to submit to God’s law, His word, His truth. We cannot please God as depraved sinners, nor do we want to.

When the serpent said to the woman in the garden of Eden, "surely you will not die" he knew something very well. They did not physically die that day when they rebelled against God, but the died spiritually at that very moment, and now everyone in mankind is born spiritually dead from the womb.

Romans 5:12.

"12Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned."

What does God promise for those who rebel against Him and continue in their sin? "... it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment." (Hebrew 9:27) And 2 Peter 3:7 says "But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly."

Look at 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10.

"5This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering-- 6since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed."

God requires holiness in order for us to fellowship with Him. God says in 1 Peter 1:16 "...You shall be holy, for I am holy." But as Scripture has very clearly shown, man is not holy. Man is evil and bent on doing evil, they love their sin and sin rules over them.

So let me leave you today with this one very important question.

If God requires perfect holiness/righteousness as a prerequisite for fellowship with Him. If we must be righteous to enter the kingdom of God on judgement day, what hope do we have?
Some will rightfully say, Jesus. But understand, we have been told that the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit. We have been told that those who are in the flesh cannot please God. We are told that no one seeks for God. Our natural inclination is to forsake God. Our nature allows nothing else but to deny God and His son Jesus Christ. Is that not what Scripture has so clearly said?

So if we are incapable of doing anything pleasing before God, and we naturally reject spiritual things and therefore naturally choose to reject the Son of God who is the only hope of salvation, and God requires perfect righteousness for salvation, what hope does mankind have?

The answer is in God’s word, and we will look at that next time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Today on the podcast the issue of the resurrection is discussed. How vital is it to the Christian faith? Can there be Christianity without the resurrection of Christ? No, there cannot be. It is one of the stand or fall points of our faith. It is ranked up there with the deity of Christ.

Also claims of Jesus' bones being found are refuted. Below are articles mentioned on the podcast, I encourage you to read them, they aren't very long.

You can listen to today's podcast and past podcasts here: http://reformationinprogress.mypodcast.com

Two articles by Christians theologian Albert Mohler which quote non Christian critics of James Cammeron's claims: http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=898 and http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=897

An Article by Christian evangelist and apologist Ray Comfort: http://www.thechronicleonline.net/content/view/391/502/

IN HIM -Jacob

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Doctrines of Grace

I will hopefully get started this week looking at the 5 points of Calvinism a.k.a. the doctrines of grace. I suggest that if you have not read the series on God's Sovereignty that you might go back into the archives and read those as they will be helpful as we look at God' Sovereignty in His work of salvation which is really what Calvinism teaches, God is in control of salvation, not man.

It will be a great study!


Tomorrow's Podcast

Tomorrow on the podcast I'll be discussing the issue of the ressurection and it is crucial importance to genuine Christianity. And through the discussion we will look at the recent claim that the bones of Jesus have been found and reasons why we can most assuredly say that the claim is as empty as Jesus' tomb... very empty.

Looking forward to it. If you haven't checked out any of the podcasts yet or at least the most recent one on the Sufficiency of Scripture, I invite you to do so!


In Him -Jacob

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Embryo's are BABIES ... wake up people!

This morning I was watching Good Morning America, ABC's national morning news program. One story on the show this morning was a story about a couple who did genetic testing on their first child in order to make certain that the child would not carry the gene for colon cancer that her father is a carrier of. This gene that is carried in the Kingsbury family has led to colon cancer that has killed numerous people in the Kingsbury family.

Chad Kingsbury, the father of the child Chloe who is now a beautiful young toddler, himself has about an 85% chance of contracting colon cancer due to the gene that he carries. Chad and his wife Colby before they had any children new that there was a real chance, about 50%, that their children would contract this dangerous Gene from Chad. The Kingsbury's made a desicion that they themselves called difficult, however they did decide to run a relatively new test called "preimplantation genetic diagnosis" or "PGD."

The process involves harvesting some of Colby's eggs and then fertilizing them with Chads sperm. A process that is known as "invetro fertalization." The eggs once fertilized then become an embryo and start to grow and duplicate cells. Once the embryo has dublicated to about 8 cells, then scientist remove one cell and run tests upon that cell to determine whether or not the embryo is carrying the dangerous gene. When an embryo is found to be "healthy" then it can be implanted back into the mother and they can hope it will attach to the uterine wall and then the pregnancy would continue from that point on as usual.

Obviously the couple has succesfully done this once and have, as I have said, a beautiful young daughter. But they have also recently gone in for round two in hopes of another child.

Now at first this may sound like a great thing, but there are a number of concerns that Christians should hold, indeed reasons why we should say "NO WAY!"

First of all, each time this process is done there are numerous embryo's that are created. Each is then tested for the dangerous gene and then the ones that are considered "healthy" are approved to be put back into the mother. However, there may have been 8 or more embryo's created, and let's say that even just 4 are found to be free of the dangerous gene. In the case of the Kingsbury family only two embryo's were put back into the mother with hopes of conception.

So what about the other 6? Well, they are frozen. If the first to don't take, then they can try the other two "healthy" embryo's. But wait. What about the other 4? Those that have the gene known to lead to colon cancer? Well I guess they are just doomed to be frozen until they die and be used for embryonic stem cell research.

Has anyone caught on to the problem yet? We as Christians often cry "life begins at conception." But Science has deemed the term "conception" to mean when the embryo implants itself in the uterine wall, not when the sperm and egg engage and become an embryo. But from the very moment that the sperm and egg come together, there is instantaneous life! It become a child and starts to develop.

Invetro fertilization is a method that helps many couples have children that might not otherwise be able to do so, but at what cost? The death and mistreatment of numerous human lives for the production of one or sometimes more.

And now we have this new science that can test these invetro embryo's to see if their little life is even good enough for a shot at being born! These children that carry a dangerous gene are labelled "unhealthy" and not worthy of birth. Well I'm sorry but isn't Chad Kingsbury a full grown man who is cancer free with a family and good life? So what if he has a high risk of cancer? Think of all of the millions of women who have had or are at a high risk of breast cancer, should they have not been born? Are they unhealthy merely due to the chance of developing cancer?

Who gets to be the judge on where this stops anyway? What is the standard that children should have to meet to qualify being born? It's not going to stop at dehibilitating disease you know. Eventually people will chose there kids hair color, eye color, potential height and things of that nature too!

I remember at one time watching a show about a man who was wheelchair bound, could barely speak understandably and by the worlds eye was seriously dehibilitated. But, by the way, he was one of the very few people in the world who was able to read sanscrit, a dead and ancient language. Incredible what a scholar this man is! But he would be unworthy of birth by many people who would utilize such technology.

How scary and dangerous is what this area of science we are embracing today! What disregard we have for human life, and it just keeps degrading!

It's too bad Hitler didn't have this technology, or maybe he would have already worked all the kinks out of us foolish humans by now. After all this is exactly what Adolf Hitler was trying to do.

We as Bible believing Christians must be loud about this because these children cannot speak for themselves!


Psalm 139:13-16

13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.

Here is a link to a written article about the Kingsbury family and the above described procedure: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2932593&page=1

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Jesus of Suburbia? I don't think so.

Last night there was a report on ABC about a man who claims to be the second coming of Christ. This man whose real name happens to be "Jose De Jesus" claims not only to be the second coming of Christ, but also that he is the anti-christ. In his mind the anti-christ is merely the Jesus the second time around.

In a report by Jim Avila of ABC news written on March 6, 2007 Avila writes:

"A few weeks ago, in a tattoo parlor in the hip art deco district of Miami Beach, people were lining up to get "666" tattooed on their bodies, and then smiling through their pain. But these are not devil worshipers. They see themselves as devout followers of Jesus Christ. But the major difference that separates them from other Christians around the world is that the Jesus Christ they worship is alive and well — and living in the suburbs of Houston. These people belong to a new movement devoted to a man who calls himself the Second Coming of Jesus, and also claims the title of Antichrist, which to him is the next incarnation of Jesus on earth, not an evil being. To show their devotion, some followers ink themselves with "666." One follower said, "I just want to make sure it's visible, that everyone knows my life belongs to the man." Another said, "I want everyone to know I'm one of the antichrists."

I watched this special report last night during ABC's prime time report in utter disgust. While interviewing some of the children who are being raised in this so called "church" one boy told the reporter that there parents smoke, drink and party and it's OK because so does God (referring to this so-called 2nd coming of Jesus).

People have literally given this man entire fortunes believing that He is Jesus the Lord and God of the Bible, and as we have already seen are marking themselves with the number of the beast "666". Which leads us to ask, what has made this false prophet so enticing to so many people?

Well, it is the message that this fool preaches. He teaches that after Christ died and rose again that sin was done away with. Let me be clear, he says that there is no such thing as sin. We merely suffer from cause and effect. If you murder, you go to jail because you broke the law, but it is not sin and God does not disapprove. There is, therefore, no such thing as Hell or Satan for that matter. This man claims that Paul is the only New Testament writer that got it right because Paul supposedly preached that there was no sin.

Has this guy read Romans? Give me a break. Romans 3:10-20 says,

"10as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; 11no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." 13"Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.""The venom of asps is under their lips." 14"Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." 15"Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16in their paths are ruin and misery, 17and the way of peace they have not known." 18"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

19Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin."

This teaching is antinomianism to the fullest claiming that Christ paid for sin so sin no longer exists. Is that what Scripture says? Romans 6:15-16 says,

"15What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?"

Clearly sin is still quite real and ignoring its reality is just another form of sin. Sin has not been abolished at the cross as this man claims, clearly sin is still keeping many out of heaven. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says,

"9Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Hell is a real place where God sends people who do not place their trust in His son Jesus Christ. Matthew 10:28 says,

"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."

This man is a deceiver and agent of the devil and will stand in serious judgement before the Lord. When my wife and I were watching this news report last night and looking at all the little children being brain washed to literally worship this false prophet we both immediately thought of the same verse, Matthew 18:5-6.

5"Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."

As sad and sickening as it is to see this pathetic sight of a false teacher leading astray thousands, it should not surprise us. The true and living Christ warned us of people like this man in Matthew 24:4-5.

"4And Jesus answered them, "See that no one leads you astray. 5For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray."

and again Jesus told us in Matthew 24:23-26,

"23Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25See, I have told you beforehand. 26So, if they say to you, 'Look, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it."

The Scripture assures us that there will be no mistaking the second coming of Christ, we as believers will not have any question when we see our triumphant risen Lord coming on the clouds. Look at Matthew 24:27, 29-31.

"27For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

29"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

What makes this mans claims different from actual Christianity is not that "Jesus is a live and well", we believe that most assuredly. What makes a difference is that we believe what the Bible teaches, and sin is real, Satan is real and Hell is real. And we believe Hell is reserved for people such as this who profane the great and glorious name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus is alive and He is holy and righteous and his wrath burns against sin and those who love their sin and Christ is jealous for his name. He does not wear Rolex watches and drive BMW's. Our Lord will return and I'd hate to be this fool when He does.

Praise God that Jesus died to save the elect and if you recognize the Christ preached in Scripture and believe on Him and Him alone for salvation you will avoid the wrath of God and enjoy the joyous wonders of Christ for all eternity.

I pray that this man too might be convicted by the Spirit of God and repent of his heinous deeds.

Here is the link to the full article by Jim Avila of ABC News:


In Him -Jacob

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Sovereignty of God: Part 6

Let us go ahead and finish the definition that was originally given for the sovereignty of God. The last part of the definition that remains yet to be explained is the following:

"God is Holy, perfect and sinless and is Himself the author of truth, the standard of good.
Anything that pleases God to do, He does. Nothing can hinder the plans and /or the will of God."

So let’s start with "God is Holy, perfect and sinless" and go from there. It would take forever to cite all the verse that teach the holy perfection and sinlessness of God, but here are just a few to make the point.

Leviticus 11:44

"For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground."

Psalm 77:13

"Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?"

Psalm 99:9

"Exalt the LORD our God,and worship at his holy mountain;for the LORD our God is holy!"

Next we see that God is "perfect" in all his ways.

Deuteronomy 32:3-4

"3For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! 4"The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he."

2 Samuel 22:31

"This God--his way is perfect;the word of the LORD proves true;he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him."

And now we come to God is "sinless."

Speaking of Jesus the Scripture says in Hebrews 4:15

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin."

The holiness and perfection of God really defines the fact that He is sinless. In fact it is this that leads us to the next part of our definition. God " is Himself the author of truth, the standard of good."

It is because God is the creator and that He is perfect and Holy that He Himself defines what sin is. Sin is anything that is contrary to law of God. And since God makes the law and it is against His nature to break His own law, God is sinless.

God as creator is the one who says what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is false, what is holy and what is sinful, it is His right to set such parameters and His alone as sovereign creator. God’s person, nature and word as revealed in Scripture, is the standard for truth and good. No one else can lay claim to this. Truth and that which is good is objective and comes from the creator.

If I were to make up a rule and say it was true and good, what authority would I have to do so. My opinion is subjective. However God as the creator of this universe is the only one who can set parameters on truth, and goodness. His opinion is objective. He created the law of gravity which is true whether we like it or not and He created the law in Scripture which is true whether we like it or not.

Next in our definition we see "Anything that pleases God to do, He does."

Psalm 115:3

"Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases."

The final part of our definition is this "Nothing can hinder the plans and /or the will of God."

Daniel 4:35

"all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,and he does according to his will among the host of heavenand among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his handor say to him, "What have you done?"

Who could blame God of wrong doing? No one, God is God and can do as He pleases. God is the standard of good and therefore He is just in all His actions even when we cannot understand them. Who can stop God from fulfilling His plans? No one, God is almighty, no man can hold Him back.

This concludes our study on the definition of the "Sovereignty of God." This was of course just a prelude to discussing the "Doctrines of Grace" a.k.a. the five points of Calvinism. I encourage you to review all 6 parts of the Sovereignty of God series before you jump into the discussion of the 5 points because it will inform you as to God sovereignty in the salvation of man.
God bless and we’ll get to the "Doctrines of Grace" very soon!

New Podcast

Today's podcast I discussed the issue of the sufficiency of Scripture for all that the believer needs to know God and live a godly and pleasing life before Him, versus continued revelation the common thread of cults.

To listen to the show, go to: http://reformationinprogress.mypodcast.com.

Here is the link I mentioned on the podcast if you want to read the full article by Mark Dever:


In Him -Jacob

Monday, March 5, 2007

Tomorrow's Podcast

Tomorrow on Reformation in Progress I will be discussing the issue of the sufficiency of Scripture versus continued revelation.


Ordination Service

I just wanted to announce to everyone that this Sunday March 11th at 5pm, I will be officially ordained as an minister of the word of God, here at Celebration Baptist Church. I would like to invite anyone who can come and wants to, to do so!

God Bless -Jacob

Please Welcome Our New Author

I would like to announce that a new author has been added to the blog ministry of Reformation In Progress. Please welcome David Blissett to the ministry.

David and I became friends via the blogosphere, and have developed a strong brotherly bond in Christ as preachers and teachers of God's word. David is a Master's of divinity student at MoodyBible Institute in Chicago, IL. and therefore is a busy guy like myself and will post whenever the opportunity arises. I'm excited about what David can bring to the table here at Reformation In Progress.

David also author's a blog called "Get Out of the Boat" which you can check out here: www.getoutoftheboat.blogspot.com.

In Him -Jacob