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Friday, August 12, 2011

God is Trinity??? Contradiction or Fact???

God is Trinity

In the Christian journey, lover's of God's are enabled by God's grace to embrace his revelation of himself throughout the Holy Scriptures and throughout the very artistry of his hands (his creation). But what are the implications of embracing all that God is?
At the very fundamental level of Christianity is the belief that [God is Trinity], and the belief that  [God is Trinity] is one of the fundamental intersections in the Christian journey where we pause to ask ourselves,"What does [God is Trinity] mean? Does the belief that [God is Trinity] assume that we serve three God's? Does the belief that [God is Trinity] contradict the bible? Does the belief [God is Trinity] deceive Christians to believe [One God] when in reality the actually believe [Three God's]?" 

How can we as Christian's belief in the oneness of God, yet at the same time believe that Jesus and the Spirit are God? Does this not contradict the oneness we profess to believe?

Although, the word [Trinity] does not explicitly appear in the bible the scent of its presence flows all throughout its pages, 

1.) The baptism of Jesus (Jesus Himself  heard the Father's voice, and he saw the Spirit descending on them like a dove; Matthew 3:16-17), 

2.) Also this is seen when Jesus tells  the disciples to make disciples and baptize them into the name of the [In the Greek this Phrase is singular Father, Son, & Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)]. 

3.) Also, one should consider Peter's language that we have been chosen according to the forknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying  work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood ( 1 Peter 1:2)

Furthermore in Paul's prayer he prays that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit might be with us all (2 Corinthians 13:14).

In our expression of the [Trinity] there are three possible ways that can show the beautiful picture of the [Trinity] history, theology, and experience:

1. History

The idea of the trinity was not invented by dumb people. The apostle's were Jewish men who were brought up to believe in ONE GOD (in contrast the countries around them who believed in MANY GOD'S), Then these apostles met Jesus after spending time with him the believe that he is the Messiah and even more than Messiah! For he [forgave] people's sin and even claimed to be the [Judge] of the world. In other words thay knew that he [Jesus] was worthy of their worship in other words they knew that he was God, yet he was not the father for he prayed to the Father and He said that he [Jesus] would someday provide them with spirit of truth!

2. Theology

How in the world could Jesus be God, the Father be God, and The Spirit be God but remain one God not three Gods? Is there a contradiction in the bible if it affirms that the Son is God, & The Spirit is God?

"The LORD our God, The LORD is one" (Deuteronomy 6:4)

A.) If this passage is true then how can The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit be God? Are they all in all the same? (Is God the Father, God the Son, and God the God the Holy Spirit)

B.) Can it be that God the Son and God the Spirit are not God but gods?

In question A the mistake is that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are made to be all the same with no character! For example, when Jesus prays to the father then he is found praying to himself! After the resurrection Jesus does not really go away to be with the Father but he simply then transforms into the Spirit!

In question B the mistake is that God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are not really God, but they are god's where God the Father is the only God! This also would seem to contradict scripture (John 1, Colossians 1, Matthew 28:19 etc.)

Then what is the solution?

The Father then is God, The Son then is God, The Spirit then is God. They are not three but one each has his different personality (character) but they are one substance without contradicting their unity!

How do we affrim Jesus and the Spirit being God without falling into the trap of both A.) and B.) responses?

When talking about unity there are two types of unity mathematical unity [This type of unity can be described as something that is simply "one" which naturally we assume everything to be!] and organic unity [this type of unity is highly complex and may have many parts but it still remains one in substance. For example like a chair, a televison, and the human body]

For example, when the atom was discovered, scientist thought they had reached the basic unit of matter which could not be divided or broken down, yet only to discover that each atom in itself is a tiny universe.

The unity of God is not mathematical but organic! within the complex mystery of the infinte God are three eternally distinct personalities the Father, the Son, the Holy Sprit

3. Experience

There are many things in life which cannot explain fully, yet we still fully experience them! We experience love, hate, and sadness; therefore although we cannot understand the [Trinity] does not suggest that it is not true! Everyday we pray we enjoy access to the Father through the son by the Holy Spirit and even when we say the Lord's prayer we recite [God is Trinity]. For it is our heavenly Father who gives us daily bread, it is Jesus who died for our sins that we can be forgiven, and it is through the inward power of the Holy Spirit that we can overcome temptation and be rescued from evil!

[Trinity] is all around us! In our homes, workplaces, and relationships! [Trinity] bleeds out of our hearts it is who we are, yet if [Trinity] defines the "reality" all around us then why cannot [Trinity] define our Creator?

All Creation displays the brushstrokes of the creator! Glory be to God Amen!

15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these [a]vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM. 16 [b]In the generations gone by He permitted all the [c]nations to go their own ways; 17 and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, [d]satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:15-17)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Saved by Faith Alone?

Here is an article that I have read and have found to be very interesting and insightful. This article is written by pastor Kevin DeYoung. You can check out his blog on the gospel coalition sight! 

Is Sanctification By Faith Alone?

The short answer is no. it is not correct to say “sanctification is by faith alone.”

That requires some explanation.

In saying sanctification is not by faith alone, I’m not saying the work we do is somehow owing to us and not to God. He works in and we work out. But if we say sanctification is by faith alone, aren’t we severely reducing what we mean by saying justification is by faith alone? If in trying to honor justification by faith alone we provide the same formula for sanctification, we are destroying the former as much as the latter.

Faith that Worketh

It’s true that we are sanctified by faith–both by believing in Christ’s complete work on our behalf and by trusting in future grace. Faith continues to play a crucial role in sanctification, but not in the exact way it does for justification.

Listen to J.C. Ryle:

Moreover, the Scriptures nowhere teach us that faith sanctifies us in the same sense and in the same manner that faith justifies us! Justifying faith is a grace that “worketh not,” but simply trusts, rests, and leans on Christ (Rom. 4:5). Sanctifying faith is a grace of which the very life is action: it “worketh by love,” and, like a mainspring, moves the whole inward man (Gal. 5:6). (Holiness, xviii).

Sanctification is a gift just as justification is (a double grace, or duplex gratia, as Calvin called it). Both are the gift of God, ours by virtue of union with Christ. Both are found in Christ alone. Both are necessary for salvation–justification being the root and sanctification being the fruit. As is often said: faith alone justifies, but the faith that justifies is never alone.

So we must never separate justification and sanctification. The former can’t help but produce the latter, and the latter must flow from the former. And yet we should not be afraid to talk about justification in a different way than we talk about sanctification. One calls us to rest; the other to fight. One reckons us righteous; the other makes us righteous. One allows for no increase or degrees; the other expects progress and growth. One is a declaration of God about us, the other a work of God in us.

Consider this paragraph from the Westminster Confession of Faith:

Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will and to do, of His good pleasure: yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them. (16.3)

This paragraph summarizes what I’ve been trying to say in this series of posts and what I find some Christians reticent to say. In sanctification, we don’t just fight to believe (though everything flows from faith). We actually will and do.  We don’t just dive deeper into our justification, we perform a duty. We must be diligent to stir up the grace of God that is in us. This sort of language—willing, doing, perform, diligence—has no place in talking about justification. But if we do not use this language in talking about sanctification we have missed the language of the Bible.

If the words mean all that we want them to mean with regard to justification, then “faith alone” is not the right phrase for sanctification.

One Final Thought

The Bible is a big book with a lot in it. As such, the Christian has a lot of tools in his sanctification tool belt. Are we sanctified by remembering our justification? Yes. But God also motivates us by a sense of duty, by gratitude, by threats, by promises, and by the fear of the Lord. We are told to follow the Lord’s example and to live out our union with Christ. We’re also exhorted to make our calling and election sure. So while we never move past justification. We can do more than revisit our justification to grow in our sanctification.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Response to Last Weeks Blogpost

After writing the blog last week one of my friends asked me these following questions, "Do you believe that all the different denominations are causing divisions within the body of Christ? Are doctrinal differences overlooking the "Pure Gospel"? How do we reconcile the differences?" Here is my response to these questions!

First question do I believe that all the different denominations are causing divisions within the body of Christ?

Within the Body of Christ (The Church Composed of believers from all time and all nations) it is easy to make the conclusion that the church is divided since there are so many denominations within the Church, yet I do believe that this conclusion is wrong. Why? The very foundation of the Christian message is "The Gospel" (the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus Christ) This is the message that by Gods grace we believe and are declared righteous, and this is the message that by Gods grace we are being made righteous and are enabled to live righteously. 

The Gospel is the message that unites and defines all followers of Jesus Christ throughout history. This message should not change with any denomination (for if anyone is to preach a different gospel besides Christ [his death, burial, and resurrection) as the means by which one is redeemed, restored and reconciled he is adding and distorting it's message. 

Also, unity does not imply uniformity but unity has diversity, yet amidst of the diversity there is a common point of agreement that is foundational to hold together unity!

Are doctrinal differences overlooking the "Pure Gospel"?

I guess if I were to re-phrase your question it would sound like this "Does doctrine matter?" Of course doctrine matters! for doctrine represents the outflow of our hearts to worship God properly. Good doctrine is never decisive, for good doctrine always points to God and his redemptive work for us through Christ. Although there may be differences in opinion upon non-salvific (not able to save) issues within doctrine, good doctrine always submits to Christ and his "good news" for it only has the power to redeem, reconcile and restore all things [this is the message that saves]. The purpose of doctrine is to point to Christ!

How do we reconcile the differences?

We reconcile these differences through embracing the "gospel" given by God through Christ as the only possible means to redemption. For at the end of the day the gospel is the only message that can redeem us. Within our differences we can unify on the very foundation of Christianity the "Gospel" (The gospel is the key to reconciliation).

I am not saying that doctrine does not matter (it does), but all good doctrines submit to Christ, for doctrines that are Christ-less are doctrines that are useless. I wholeheartedly believe that all followers of Christ should study doctrine within a local community of believers. I believe that we should be constantly measuring these doctrines up to scripture, for it has the final absolute authority. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

What? Diversity??? (Part Two)

What? Diversity???

In our zealous and honest attempts to define Christianity, I have found that it is very easy to lose track of what really matters. At times it seems as though we focus so hard upon the secondary issues of doctrine (which simply means ["teaching"]) that does not save us, rather than focusing upon the central message of the Bible  "The Gospel" where the glory of God is displayed in Christ Jesus. By no means am I saying that doctrine does not matter, yet the foundation of all "doctrine" is the "Gospel" (the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus) given to us from God in Christ and applied to all believers by way of the Holy Spirit.

Does Christian Unity Exclude Denominational Diversity? By no means! For the "Gospel" is the message that redeems, reconciles, restores and unites all believers together throughout all time. Therefore, among believers the questions that we ask should not be whether one has a Priest or an Pastor, whether one is Baptist or Reformed, Pentecostal or Anglican, Catholic or Lutheran, Methodist or Episcopalian, black or white, Mexican or Asian, but the question that we should ask is "Jesus [Savior] (the one has has redeemed us through  his death and resurrection) and [Lord] (the king who we submit our lives too and who's Kingdom Reigns in our lives)."

Although different denominations may have different perspectives on certain points of doctrine, yet the doctrine that has supremacy over all other doctrines is the "Gospel" for it only has the power to redeem, restore, and reconcile all people unto himself. The "Gospel" is the bridge point among all the differing perspectives within doctrine, for the "Gospel" is the message that unites us all in one mission.

As Christians We Can all Agree Upon This Message:

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

*Please see video on next post titled: "What? Diversity??? (Part Two)"

Monday, June 13, 2011

Destroyed or Renewed?

One Wednesday evening as I was preparing music for Sunday morning, I came across these lyrics in the beautiful contemporary arrangement of Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone):

"The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine,
But God who called me here below,
Shall be forever mine."

After reading through these lyrics a couple of times I could not bring myself into agreement with the message that it portrays, for the lyrics portray a day when the "earth" will be destroyed completely and created again! However, in contrast to that perspective I imagine a day when the earth will be radically transformed (dramatically renewed) instead of destroyed.

For example, someone can metaphorically describe earth like a piece of glass that has been divinely shattered into millions of pieces by sin, yet through Christ all creation will be and is being dramatically renewed (put back together) so that we remember not the "old" way of life but we enjoy fellowship in the "new" way of life with God throughout all eternity. 

Paul argues this thought for our resurrected bodies in 1 Corinthians 15:35-44 saying:

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of [k]something else. 38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown [l]a perishable body, it is raised [m]an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.   

In this respect I do not see the earth being destroyed; however, I see the earth being drastically renewed from that which is in the present, for example: as a kernel or a seed differs from a full-grown plant, thus "new" is something renewed in a radical form. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Oh My Goodness

As I was talking with a friend the other day, my friend said to me "Justin,  Christians are not the only good people in the world, for I know many leaders, friends, and family members that aren't Christian but are exceptionally honorable people. So how can these "good" people be exempt from the promises of the Christian life? They do not hurt people neither do act unjustly towards their fellow neighbors, but they enjoy life, they enjoy people, and they seek the justice for all. Therefore, how can these "exceptionally good people" be without the promises of God's people that are only experienced through the proclamation of Jesus as both "Lord" (the king who God's people submit too), and "Savior" (the redeemer, and restorer of all creation) of our lives? 

I can agree with my friend, for I too believe that there are incredibly noble individuals in the world who sincerely seek the well being of all creation, and as a follower of Christ I am deeply grateful to God for their good and gracious efforts. But as I sit and I think to myself, I am deeply amazed by those acts of goodness, for even those acts of goodness display the brushstrokes of God in his crafting of man in his image. However, as Christians we have to come into terms with the other reality of ourselves, for although we were created in God's image we have broken and distorted the image of God deeply by our sin (Genesis 3). 

John Stott quotes in his commentary on Ephesians 2, 

"Death, Slavery an condemnation: these are three concepts which Paul brings together in order to portray our lost human condition. Is this too pessimistic? Well, we must agree that this is not the whole truth of mankind. He says nothing here about the image God in which human beings were originally created and which - now grievously damaged- they retain, although he certainly believes it and speaks of our redemption in terms of recreation in Gods image...the biblical doctrine of total depravity means neither that all humans are equally depraved, nor that anyone is capable of any good, but rather no part of any human person (mind, emotions, conscience, will, etc.) has remained untainted by the fall. Nevertheless, despite this necessary qualification which affirms the continuing dignity of man on account of the divine image which he has not altogether lost, Paul's diagnosis remains. Outside of Christ man is dead because of trespasses and sins, enslaved by the world, the flesh and the devil, and condemned under the wrath of God. It is the fault or corruption of the nature of every man that is naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is far gone from original righteousness, and his own nature is inclined to evil, so that he lust always contrary to the spirit; therefore every person in the world deserves God's wrath and damnation" 

Is man in nature good? Yes, "why"? Because man is created in the image of God, but that image has be deeply corrupted rendering man dead and incapable spiritually from knowing Him that is ultimately "good" through Jesus Christ. Man now is naturally inclined to evil, enslaved to the world, flesh, and the devil condemned under the wrath of God.

"Nevertheless, despite this necessary qualification which affirms the continuing dignity of man on account of the divine image which he has not altogether lost, Paul's diagnosis remains. Outside of Christ man is dead because of trespasses and sins, enslaved by the world, the flesh and the devil, and condemned under the wrath of God. It is the fault or corruption of the nature of every man that is naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is far gone from original righteousness, and his own nature is inclined to evil, so that he lust always contrary to the spirit; therefore every person in the world deserves God's wrath and damnation"  -John Stott