THE SATANIC ATTACK ON GOD’S CREATIVE DESIGN

 Satan today is waging an all-out assault on God’s designed identity for each individual. In the Evil One’s onslaught upon God’s order and design, the enemy of all that is right and good hopes to destroy God’s authority and distort one’s divinely created identity. The distinction between manhood and womanhood is not just being blurred but is being obliterated. Males and females are told their biological identity is incidental, and one is encouraged to change one’s gender if one is so inclined.    Gender has become fluid, as one is encouraged to become other than what one was biologically created to be.  We are told using personal pronouns distinguishing between male and female is insensitive, biased and discriminatory.  As well, if one is born with skin color that is considered privileged one is told they need to loathe the color of their skin and apologize for the way one was created by God.

What we are witnessing today is a deliberate attack by Satan upon God’s authority and His creative acts. God created and designed each person a specific gender of either male or male, with a particular skin color, born in a certain location, each given certain gifts and talents, to fulfill a purpose that no one else can fulfill. We were created to add to the beautiful mosaic of life, and when we seek to be something other than what we were created to be we are calling into question the infinite wisdom of God in his creation and are basically saying, “You made a mistake in creating me the way you did and where I was born. I know more than you do so I will change your design of me to be other than who you created me to be.”  The Satanic attack we see on one’s identity is actually a rebellious assault upon God’s sovereignty, His authority, and His creative wisdom.

Secularism teaches that there is no Intelligent Designer, no Divine Creator, and our body and who we are, and where we were born was not in the designed plan of a sovereign God, but was simply the luck of the cards we were dealt. However, the Bible teaches just the opposite. We were marvelously created by God (Ps. 139:14) , our biological gender designed by God (Gen. 1:27), that He has a plan for each of our lives (Jer. 1:5), and that our bodies are to be temples of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:19).  We were not born into this world as a blank eraser board left to sketch-out our own gender or racial identity, but we were designed by a Sovereign Creator to give expression to the creative purposes for which He has gifted each of us. Each of us have been created in the Image of God and made to have fellowship with our Creator, and as we seek His divine wisdom there will be unfolded to us the plan, purpose, and path He has created for each of us. Ture fulfillment in life is not found in separating from our Creator, but surrendering to Him in order that the full expression of His creative design in us and for us can be realized.

Satan today, by sowing seeds of doubt regarding one’s created identity, is seeking to usurp the created order and authority of God and destroy the stable structures that make for an orderly society. Sadly, when one deviates from their biological identity and the gender roles as taught in the Bible, the outcome will be pain, frustration and brokenness and the missing of God’s plan for one’s life. In the destructive moral climate of today how should the Christian respond to Satan’s attack to destroy the divinely created order as found in the Judeo-Christian teaching  regarding our creative identity?

First, we should recognize that God has purposefully created and designed each individual. Psalms 139:14 reads, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Our biological gender, the color of our skin, where we were born, was not an accident or luck of the draw, but God purposefully designed our existence. We are who we are by Divine purpose. Created in God’s Image, humankind is the crown of His creation. In eternity past He knew us, He knew us in our mother’s womb  and created us with a purpose to fulfill. That purpose can only be fully realized as we in a relationship with our Creator, seek His face to discover the unfolding of His plan, purpose and path for our lives. To walk in the path of our created identity and in the purpose which we were created brings fulfillment in life. To disregard God’s creative design brings turmoil and disorder.

Second, we should understand the attempt to alter one’s created identity and dissolve the natural order of God in regard to one’s race and biological gender, is a ploy of the Devil to destroy all adherence to biblical authority and is direct rebellion against the God who created each individual.  When one abandons their created identity in search of another, chaos and confusion will result in one’s individual life and in society as a whole.  Disregarding the God who created us goes hand in hand with personal confusion and disorder. The Devil is working overtime today to dissolve and destroy God’s creative design.

Third, parents and the church must teach our children that they were created by God who makes no mistakes, to be the gender they are, the color of their skin, and that He has a purpose for their lives. Whether a boy or girl, regardless of the color of their skin, no  where they live, God has a purpose for their lives and they are designed by the Creator to have fellowship with Him and bring honor and glory to Him. If we don’t teach our children these fundamental truths, the world will seek to indoctrinate them otherwise, creating in them confusion. The Devil desires to destroy and capture the hearts of children with unbiblical teaching, so it is of utmost importance Christian parents and the church do not neglect their responsibility to teach them who they are and their gender are gifts from the God who created them.

Fourth, the Church must reach out in loving compassion to those caught up in the deceptive web  of Satan who seeks to distort and destroy one’s creative identity. Sin manifests itself in a variety of ways, and the result, no matter the sinful path taken, is brokenness. The Church must proclaim the hope that is found in Christ, who can change one’s heart, restore one to a relationship with Himself, and who leads individuals to embrace their God-given identity.

It is clear that today God’s creative order and one’s creative identity is under attack. As Christians we must boldly yet compassionately stand against this demonic assault on the values of the Word of God and His authority. We must maintain a high view of the sanctity of life and, as well, that God in His sovereign purposes and creative acts makes no mistakes as to our gender, the color of our skin, or where we were born. Satan seeks to sow seeds of confusion and chaos, but the Church must shine the Gospel light into the darkness  helping  others to fully realize God makes no mistakes and we are who we are by the Divine design of a loving God who Himself walked among us in Jesus Christ.  Let us be true to our creative identity, for in so doing we are being true to ourselves, to  humanity, and to the God who created us.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE GIVEN OVER TO A REPROBATE MIND?

We are living in morally depraved times. We are far removed from the Judeo-Christian morality   upon which this nation was founded. We have gradually sunk into a cesspool of moral degradation to where as a nation we are drowning in our own filth. There comes a time when a people can become so engrossed in their own vile affections that the Bible says, “For this cause, God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (proper)” (Romans 1:26-28).

Paul writes there can come a time when a people can reject and suppress God’s revealed truth (Rom. 1:18) until He turns one over to a “reprobate mind”  or a depraved mind (Rom 8:28). What is a reprobate mind? Before looking in depth at what it means, a reprobate mind refers to those whom God has rejected for their purposeful rejection of Him and their continual  embracing of their godless depravity,  and as a result  the Lord turns them over to the inevitable destructive consequences of their own vile affections and sin. In other words, those turned over to a reprobate mind will be left alone to  eventually be destroyed by their own moral depravity.  This can happen to individuals or nations.

Let us examine Romans 1:28 a little more closely and examine Paul’s play upon words in using the word “reprobate.” Though not retained in English, this play of words when understood shines great light upon the text. Again, verse 28 reads, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (proper).” Paul says those who have given themselves over to file affections “did not like to retain God in their knowledge.”  The words translated “did not like” comes from the Greek word “dokimazo” which means “to put to the test for the purpose of approving, to put one’s approval upon something or someone, to declare as worthwhile.” The word “dokimazo” was used to speak of testing metals or coins to see if they met the proper specifications and passed the test for approval. Paul says there are those who put the God of the Bible to the test as to whether or not He meets their specifications and meets their approval as to being a god of their liking. Since they would rather embrace their vile affections and depravity, they reject the Moral Law Giver of the Universe as not meeting the specifications which they have laid down for a god who would be of their liking. Since the God of heaven doesn’t meet their approval, they refuse to approve Him as worthy of submission, worship, or to retain Him in their knowledge. Since the Creator of the Universe doesn’t meet their liking, they reject him.

Paul goes on to say in verse 28 that those who determine that the Moral Lawgiver of the Universe doesn’t fit their approval and reject Him, He turns them over to a “reprobate mind.” The word “reprobate” is from the Greek word “adokimos.”  In the Greek language when an alpha (a) is put in front of a word it makes it a negative. So, the word adokimos means “unapproved, not meeting the test, not accepted; that is, that which is rejected because it is worthless.” The word adokimos came to be used to speak of that which was literally worthless or morally worthless. “Reprobate” means “tried and found wanting, and therefore cast away as worthless.” The play on words is clearly seen. Those who have given themselves over without restraint to vile affections, and have announced the Moral Law Giver doesn’t meet their approval or meets the test as to being a god of their liking, thus reject Him. As a result,  God gives them over to drown in their own moral corruption and are themselves in the end rejected as not meeting the approval of a holy God.

So when Paul begins verse 28 with the words “even as” he is saying just in like proportion you reject God because He doesn’t meet your approval as to be a God to your liking, in the end you will find you are rejected because you don’t meet His approval. The degree of God’s rejection corresponds exactly to the degree of man’s willful rejection of God. It is truly sad when an individual or a nation rejects God to the place they have become hardened in their sin “to do those things which are not convenient (proper)” (Romans 1:28).

It is abundantly clear we are living in such a time when as a nation our leaders have given themselves over “to do those things which are not proper” and are clearly contrary to the moral laws of the Moral Law Giver of the Universe.  Our current leaders continue to choose the path of moral depravity in regard to abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, gender identity, the dismantling of traditional marriage between man and a woman, pushing Equality Act, and moral perversion of every kind. By declaring the God of Judeo-Christian morality as to not meeting their approval as being the kind of god they would like, they are sealing their own fate and the fate of this nation. I wonder if is too late, for is it is not in the DNA of our current leaders to make any decision that favors Judeo-Christian morality, but every decision made results in us as a nation descending lower into the depraved cesspool of moral perversion.  The outcome is clear to those paying attention, if we continue on the moral path we are currently on we will be allowed to be washed away in our own flood of moral perversion.

The choice is open to us all. Either we retain God in our knowledge and commit ourselves to His will and ways, or we put Him out of our minds and are given over by Him to our depravity,  and receiving divine disapproval,  allowed to drown in our sin.  We cannot be neutral. The sands in the hourglass are running out quickly

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

DIVINE WRATH AND THE LOVE OF GOD

No one likes to talk about divine judgment/wrath. We would rather talk about God’s love, mercy and grace. However, when one reads through the Bible one discovers in the teachings of Jesus the element of judgment is clearly prevalent, actually being a sign of God’s love. For divine love doesn’t dismiss sin, but deals with it in judgment. Since the Bible teaches the reality of divine wrath, it behooves us not to ignore the subject.

It must be remembered that God’s purpose in executing judgment is redemptive. While in judgment sin is punished, in His holy love judgment seeks to eradicate sin and establish holiness. God’s wrath is holiness’ response to sin. Holiness is repulsed at sin and must deal with it. Judgment is God’s holiness in opposition to sin.  God’s love redeems in the midst of judgment to establish his holiness.  Divine wrath is anchored in holy-love. His love is so great He at the cross dealt with sin in his Son. At the cross we see judgment upon sin and the redemptive love of God from sin. The judgment of God is an aspect of His love. God’s judgment and love are not opposed to one another, for there can exist no true love without judgment on sin.  God is not passive in the face of sin, but is actively opposed to evil. God’s wrath against sin arises out of His nature of holy-love.

Even from a casual reading of the Bible one discovers the inspired text teaches that found in the character of God is the expression of wrath. One learns from reading the first few chapters of Genesis that man was placed in a perfect environment, the Garden of Eden, and walked in harmony with his holy and loving Creator. In time man, by his own choice, deviated from God’s moral order and sin entered the world. As result of man’s deliberate rebellion, division, disease, devastation, and death made their entrance upon the earth. Not only was man cursed by sin, all creation was thrown out of balance and groans in anguish (Romans 8:22).  Because God is holy and created man and all creation to function within His established holy and moral order, when that balance was violated the fall of man and a fallen creation resulted, and it threw our existence on earth out of kilter.

The widespread effect of the fallenness of humanity, resulted in the expression of God’s “wrath” being manifest against “fallenness.” How was/is God’s wrath expressed? While theologians may use different terminology and categorize the expression of God’s wrath differently, this writer for simplification divides the expression of Divine wrath into four categories: (1) wrath as cause and effect of violating of God’s holiness and moral order; (2) wrath in the character and nature of God who actively  opposes sin; (3) wrath as the consuming outpouring of God’s judgment upon unrepentant sin and sinners during the Great Tribulation; and (4) wrath in Christ’s great work on the cross.

First, wrath as cause and effect of violating of God’s holiness and moral order. God’s holiness is the standard of all that is morally right and wrong. Man has failed to give the Creator His rightful place in his life and has clearly defied His holiness and His moral order. When we violate God’s standards it sets in motion hostile consequences from the effect of human sin. C.H. Dodd and A.T. Hanson are major proponents of God’s wrath as the cause and effect of living contrary to divine law. They describe the wrath of God as “an inevitable process of cause and effect in a moral universe…. as the effects or consequences of sin” [1]

In other words, when we defy God’s holiness and moral order, adverse consequences inevitably occur.   When one lives in direct violation of God’s divine law, they will negatively experience the “inevitable process of cause and effect in a moral universe.”

Second, wrath in the character and nature of God who actively opposes sin. While there is a sense in which all moral and natural calamities is an expression of God’s wrath in terms of the cause and effect of sin, His wrath is much more. God’s wrath can’t be reduced to simply the impersonal cause and effect of sin. The Apostle John tells us that God is love (I Jh 4:8). Can love and wrath reside together in God’s nature? The love of God and the wrath of God are not in contradiction, though there is a tension between them. For God is not just love, but holy-love at war with sin. The love of God will be seen as anemic unless seen in the light of God’s holiness and his hatred toward sin. Hanson says it well, “Absolute love implies absolute purity and absolute holiness: an intense burning light…. Unless God detests sin and evil with great loathing, He cannot be a God of Love.” [2]

The Bible clearly teaches God’s wrath is His expression of divine hostility to all that is sinful and opposes His holy-love. Seeing that sinful humanity abides under God’s opposition (wrath) to all that is evil which arises out of His very nature (John 3:36), P.T.  Forsyth insightfully writes, “The love of God is not more real than the wrath of God. If we spoke less about God’s love and spoke more about His holiness, more about His judgment, we should say much more when we speak of His love.” [3]  Forsyth continues, “There is no real intimacy with the gospel which does not bring a new sense of God’s holiness, and it may be long before we realize that the same holiness that condemns is that which saves. There is no new insight into the Cross which does not bring, whatever else come with it, a deeper sense of the solemn holiness of the love that meets us there.”  [4]

There can be no love of God that is not holy, His wrath being His revulsion to evil and all that opposes Him. God’s wrath is rejection of sinfulness and vindication of his holy nature. If one rejects God’s wrath, one cannot fully understand His love. An awareness of the wrath of God creates enhanced gratitude for Hs love. In wrath God is active in opposing everything that threatens His holiness, and He is active in His purpose to lead humanity to embrace the Holy. J.I. Packer has written, “God’s wrath is a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil.” [5] The active wrath of God against evil debunks moral relativism, and reveals to us that right and wrong objectively exists and points us to the consequences of our actions and need of repentance.

The Bible teaches us that God is actively involved in His creation and there are times when He brings about judgment and actively expresses His wrath through circumstances and situations in order to bring men to repentance. In such incidents God’s active wrath is an act of love to persuade men to repent of their sin which separates them from the His grace and mercy. God can and does use judgment in order to  bring wayward sinners unto Himself and bring about purposes which are beyond our finite minds to grasp.

Third, wrath as the consuming outpouring of God’s judgment upon unrepentant sin and sinners during the Great Tribulation. There are basically two Greek words used in the NT to denote God’s divine anger or wrath: θυμός (thumos) found 18 times in NT and ỏργή (orge) found 36 times. While there are times the two are used interchangeably, there seems to be a distinction between the two words. Some scholars deny there is a distinction [6], but orge speaks of God’s wrath as a present reality, a steadfast opposition against sin, while thumos refers more to eschatological judgment as found in Revelation (Rev 12:12; 14:8, 10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19; 18:3; 19:5). [7]   Orgē suggests a more settled or abiding emotion, a passionate yet controlled opposition to all that is evil (Jh 3:36); while Θυμός (thumos) speaks of a burning, blistering, boiling-over and fierce anger, a passionate wrath that spills over like a volcano, as seen in Revelation and speaks of God pouring out His righteous wrath in the Great Tribulation on unrepentant sin and sinners who have refused His grace and love. [8]

Even though such fierce judgements are experienced during the Great Tribulation, it says of many hardened in their sin, “They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds” (Rev. 16:11). Even in the outpouring of wrath (thumos), God’s fierce opposition to sin is an act of love for the redemptive purpose of restoring holiness and moral order in a fallen world.

Judgements that occur from the inevitable process of cause and effect in a moral universe as the consequences of sin are only a foretaste of events more horrific to come as revealed in the book of Revelation. The judgments of Revelation should arouse and alert our hearts to look for the return of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Fourth, wrath in Christ’s great work on the cross. In the Act of the cross God has provided for humanity a remedy for sin and holiness’ judgment upon sin. The cure is found in Jesus Christ, who on the cross bore the full weight of our sin and all our fallenness entails. Since divine holiness responds and reacts to sin in judgment, human sin requires an atonement. God has dealt with sin in Christ. Paul writes, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses [sins] to them” (2 Cor 5:19). On the cross God not only provided the Sacrifice for our sins, in Christ He was the Sacrifice. On the cross we see both God’s love and God’s wrath.  On the cross our sin was dealt with, and grace is extended to all who will come and kneel before the finished work of Christ and receive God’s redemptive provision. It is at the cross we grasp the horror of our sin and holiness’ judgment against sin, but in worshipful thanksgiving we see demonstrated the vastness of God’s loving grace in His provision for our sin.

While we are all fallen, broken, defiant sinners deserving of the wrath of God, but He in His great mercy performed a divine transaction whereby our sin was transferred to Christ who received the wrath of the Father which we deserved, so that those who repent of their sin can find free pardon and forgiveness. Now that is the Good News!

While man’s finite mind may find it difficult to reconcile God’s divine wrath and divine love, there is no need to reconcile two friends. Let us not reject but affirm the doctrine of God’s wrath, for if we do not, we strip God’s love of its Biblical balance and force. When sin and divine wrath are taken seriously, highlighted is the enormous cost God’s holy-love paid to secure our redemption. Understanding the two-siding coin of Divine love and wrath results in one exclaiming, “O, what a Savior!”

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

Footnotes

[1] C.H. Dodd, Romans, 1959, 22;  A.T. Hanson, The Wrath of the Lamb, 1957, 69,110,126,186,197.

[2] Hanson, The Wrath of the Lamb, 192-94.

[3] P.T. Forsyth, The Cruciality of the Cross, 1910, 73.

[4] Forsyth, The Soul of Prayer, “The Vicariousness of Prayer, Chapter VI,” 1916, 71-82.

[5] J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 1970, 151.

[6] D.E. Whiteley, The Theology of St. Paul, 1966, 69.

[7] Alan Johnson, “Revelation,” Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol 12, 1991, 476; Leon Morris, New Testament Theology, 1986, 63-64.

[8] Morris, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, 1965, 179-183; Rogers and Rogers, Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament, 1998, 636, 639, 641-42, 644, 646.

HARDNESS OF HEART AND THE DANGER OF BEING HARDENED IN HARDNESS

Have you ever wondered why some people are bent on making wrong choices or why some national “leaders” seem to be incapable of making a decision that is anything other than a decision that embraces a culture of death or embraces abnormal morality?  It is as if the course they are on is unalterable or irreversible and they can do other.  As I heard a person once say, “I knew the choices I was making were wrong and harmful, but I could not alter the path I was on. The dye had been cast and I could not reverse my actions neither did I want, too.”

The story of God hardening Pharaoh’s heart has much relevance in regard to where we are in our nation today.  The story gives us an understanding of human responsibility and of God’s sovereignty, particularly as it relates to His work of hardening the hearts of those who continually harden their hearts against Him and suppress the truth.

We know the story all too well. Moses approaches the Pharaoh of Egypt with the request to let the Hebrew people go who had been in slavery for 400 years. Of course, Pharaoh refuses to do so, even though ten plagues are sent as judgments for his refusal to let the Hebrew children go. Only after the last plague, which resulted in the death of Pharaoh’s son, does Pharaoh reluctantly let them go. While the Scriptures clearly tell us God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, God’s hardening was solely a response to Pharaoh’s prior self-hardening.  The ultimate reason God hardened Pharaoh’s heart was that Pharaoh first hardened his own heart. God’s further hardening of Pharaoh’s heart was judicial in response to Pharaoh repeatedly hardening his own heart.

As one reads the account in the Book of Exodus the general flow of the narrative presents Pharaoh’s self-hardening mainly at the beginning and God’s hardening mainly at the end. God’s justice in hardening Pharaoh’s heart is in response to Pharaoh’s self-hardening.  We see both human responsibility and God’s sovereignty throughout the narrative.  There are many verses dealing with Pharaoh’s personal response to Moses’ request to let the Hebrew people go. Ex 7:13 Pharaoh’s heart become hard; Ex 7:14 Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; Ex 7:22 Pharaoh’s heart became hard; Ex 8:15 [Pharaoh] hardened his heart; Ex 8:19 Pharaoh’s heart was hard; Ex 8:32 Pharaoh hardened his heart; Ex 9:7 his heart was unyielding. Pharaoh continually hardened his heart until it set-up like concrete to where the course he was on became irreversible. It was then the sovereignty of God further hardened Pharaoh in his own sinful defiance.

Walt Kaiser observes the following concerning the hardening of Pharaoh: “In all there are ten places where ‘hardening’ of Pharaoh is ascribed to God (4.21; 7.3; 9.12; 10.1, 20, 27; 11.10; 14.4, 8, 17). But it must be stated just as firmly that Pharaoh hardened his own heart in another ten passages (7.13, 14, 22; 8.15, 19, 32; 9.7, 34, 35; 13.15). Thus the hardening was as much Pharaoh’s own act as it was the work of God. Even more significant is the fact that Pharaoh alone was the agent of the hardening in the first sign and in all the first five plagues. Not until the sixth plague was it stated that God actually moved in and hardened Pharaoh’s heart (9.12), as he had warned Moses in Midian that he would have to do (4.21).”

Yes, God sovereignly acted in hardening Pharaoh’s heart, yet we also see the clear responsibility of Pharaoh in the matter, as he hardens his own heart.   While Pharaoh was totally responsible for the hardening of his heart, the Bible teaches God’s justice often is meted out by Him further hardening man’s heart in his own hardness which he has chosen. When one continually suppresses the truth there comes a time when they are turned over to the consequences of their own hardened heart.

When we see those in “leadership” positions continually making decisions that radically go against, not only biblical teaching, but against commonsense, common moral decency, and centuries of proper protocol, and common consensus of what is morally right and wrong, we scratch our heads and say, “How can anyone make a decision like that?” It is because they have become hardened in their own morally bankrupt heart, so much so that the concrete has hardened in their suppression of the truth. In God’s sovereignty he has turned them over to their own hardened heart to where the course they are on is now set like a flint.

But let me add, in God further hardening Pharaoh’s heart, God revealed His own overriding master plan, by which He not only copes with man’s rebellion but turns it into an occasion for the Lord to display both His righteousness in judgment and his grace in redemption. Even in the hour in which we live when we see the hardened heart of man exercising evil edicts that further embrace a culture of death and a plunge society into deeper moral depravity, God in His  sovereign timing will display both his righteous judgment and His saving grace. Let us never forget the main reason for a hardened heart lies not with God, but with a rebellious heart that suppresses the truth in unrighteousness.

We are not responsible for the choices of others, but only our own. God called Pharaoh to humble himself and acknowledge the God of Heaven as Sovereign of the universe, yet he refused to do so and continually hardened his heart. Men today, like Pharaoh, may try to redefine good and evil, yet in their suppression of the truth they are hardening their own hearts and setting out on a path that will only find their hearts further hardened. That is the danger of a hardened heart, that it will become  hardened in its hardness.

Let us earnestly pray in the day in which we live that our hearts will be sensitive to hear the Lord’s voice and continually stay pliable to follow Him unreservedly. And not knowing where one who makes ill-advised choices and decisions are on in their march toward Accounting Day before God, let us pray the Lord will change their hearts before it is eternally too late.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

DOES REVELATION 3:5 TEACH ONE CAN LOSE THEIR SALVATION?

May I say at the outset, I believe that salvation is all of Divine grace (God’s unmerited favor to sinful, undeserving man) from beginning to end. In regard to the matter of salvation, the words of Jesus are emphatic, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28). Jesus who saved us possesses the power to keep us. Scripture clearly teaches that salvation is a work of grace, is dependent on God’s grace, and is secure in God’s grace. Now if it is possible for one to lose that which is of grace, then ultimately salvation is not of grace but is dependent on one’s works.  And the Scripture is clear, no man can be saved by works of righteousness which they have done (Titus 3:5). While fruit or works are proof of the genuineness  of one’s profession, works can never earn or secure salvation.

Those who contend it is possible to for one to lose their salvation, will often turn to the words of Jesus to the church at Sardis, found in Revelation 3:5, as a proof text that a saved person can have their name blotted out of the Book of Life even after it has been written there by the blood of Jesus. Jesus is addressing the believers at Sardis and assures the few who are remaining faithful that He “will not blot out [their] name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess [their] name before my Father, and before his angels.”  Now the question is, does Revelation 3:5 teach/imply that someone can lose their salvation? In other words, can someone be saved one day, have their names written in the Book of Life, and then at some future day have their name blotted out?

Let us examine what Jesus is seeking to say to the Sardis Christians. Is Revelation 3:5 a verse which issues a warning about losing one’s salvation or does the verse set forth a promise that one’s salvation is secure?

The context and focus in Revelation 3:5 are not about one losing their salvation, but on the assurance one is secure in Christ!  In the Greek text it is a strong double negative meaning “I will  not, no never blot out…”  Also, it  is in a future tense, meaning it will not be blotted out in the future. The verse has nothing to do with the possibility of what one could lose, but it has everything to do with giving assurance that one’s name is secure in the Book of Life and will not be erased!

In the first century, Christians who were loyal and faithful to Christ were under constant threat of being branded political and social rebels of the Roman Empire. If they were branded as enemies and insurgents of the Roman state, they would then be stripped of their citizenship, their names being blotted out of the citizenry roles. In light of the fact that many in Sardis might lose their Roman citizenship because of their allegiance to Christ and have their names blotted from the rolls of earthly citizenry, the Lord assures them  their names will not be erased from heaven’s citizenship roll.  Christ offers the believers at Sardis an eternal citizenship in the everlasting kingdom without fear of removal. While one’s name could be removed from a cities registry roll of citizens for reasons deemed legitimate by that city or imperial authorities, Christ is giving those first-century believes assurance that for their loyalty to Him their names were permanently inscribed in the Book of Life. As Robert Thomas notes, ” The promise here is positive, that these [Sardis believers] will not in any way have their names blotted out.”

Revelation 3:5 is given to Christians going through difficult times as an assuring promise.  The promise is directed toward believers, assuring them of their security in their salvation. The verse does not indicate or imply that God blots out anybody’s name out of the Book of Life. One who is saved and counted righteous in God’s records, and one who is changed and made into a child of God, a partaker of God’s nature, can be assured their salvation is secure in Christ. Notice this verse promises that God will NOT blot out one’s name.   Christ in seeking to comfort those who are striving to overcome the spreading paganism and imperial worship of the day, promises He will NOT blot out the believers names. We must not read into the verse more than it says. We must not add to the Bible. God said what He meant. Had He meant more, He would have said more. God does not say and does not mean that He will blot out the name of any child of His from the Book of Life. The verse speaks to assurance for the believer whose name IS written in the Book of Life.

Philip Schaff succinctly writes, “What we are told in Revelation 3:5 is, not that some names shall be blotted out of the Book of Life, but that  names shall NOT be blotted out.”  A true believer’s name shall not be erased from the roll or register of the citizens of the Kingdom of God. A believers name was put into the Book of Life by grace and it will be forever secured upon the heavenly parchments by grace.

Albert Barnes adds, “The expression ‘I will not blot out’ means, that the names would be found there on the great day of final account, and would be found there forever. It may be remarked, no one can have access to that Book but He who keeps it; therefore, there is the most positive assurance that the salvation of the redeemed is secure.”

Knowing our names are secure in the Book of Life should bring us great joy, for Jesus said, “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Knowing we have received from Christ assurance that our names will NOT be blotted out of the Book of Life, should fill our hearts with such overflowing thankfulness. The verse is not a license to live as we please, but it should fill our spirits with such assurance we are compelled to live faithfully for Him in surrendered gratitude for His amazing saving grace.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

THE AMERICA I ONCE KNEW

I long for a return to the America I once knew, but it no longer exists. The America of today would find the America of my adolescent days to be a stranger. While they have some resemblances,   they don’t mirror one another. If you were acquainted with the America of my youth, you understand. If the America I once knew passed on the street the America of today, they would give each other a cordial nod and continue on their way. After all, their ideologies take them in  different directions.

The America  I once knew was where God was interwoven into the very fabric of the nation, while now belief in an Intelligent Designer is seen as a thread that must be removed from a “progressive” society.

It was an America where right and wrong was measured by a Divine standard, while now that which was once called good is now called evil, and evil is called good.

It was an America where the Bible was respected as a Book filled with principles that if adhered to would bless an individual’s life and bless a nation. Now it is seen as Book that is antiquated and hinders man from reaching his full potential.

It was an America where there was a universal belief in the sanctity of life, and a baby wasn’t terminated in the womb.  But from terminating life in the womb,  today’s America even snuffs-out the life of the newly born outside the womb.

It was an America where no one ever heard of or cared about “political correctness” but only cared about doing right.

It was an America where anyone who was offended at everything and everybody, was told to suck-it-up and get over it and move on with your life.

It was an America where it was understood that marriage was a sacred vow before God between a man and a woman, and two people of the same sex cohabitating was not a marriage.

It was an America where it was understood there were two genders, male and female.

It was an America where there was no confusion which gender one was, they could look in a mirror after showering  and figure it out.

It was an America where in sports boys competed with boys and girls competed with girls, and no one was confused as to who they were to compete with.

It was a day when everyone knew what restroom they were to use, while now there is bewilderment as a mule looking at a new gate as to where one should do their “business.”

It was an America where kids could attend school without fear of encountering violence, while now metal detectors greet kids each morning and law officers patrol the hallways.

It was an America where there were no participation trophies given, if you were awarded a trophy you earned it.

It was an America where political parties worked together to solve problems, not cut the others throat striving for power.

It was an America where the flag was respected and patriotism was exhibited, while now the flag is disrespected and patriotism is frowned upon.

It was an America where history was taught and pride was instilled in our nation’s heritage, now it has been either rewritten or erased.

It was an America where integrity and honesty flourished, while now it is rare as hen’s teeth.

It was an America where it was taught the ladder to success was through perseverance, while now success is seen as an entitlement without the perseverance.

It was an America where those who worked hard and burned the midnight oil were rewarded, while now those who don’t work are rewarded.

It was an America where communism/socialism was condemned and capitalism championed, now capitalism is condemned and socialism and communism is preferred.

It was an America where those who broke the law were punished, while now lawbreakers have more rights than the victims.

It was an America where a man’s word and a handshake was his bond, while now a man’s words and handshake are as worthless as  money from Venezuela.

It was an America that stood head and shoulders above other nations of the world and to no other nation did Old Glory dip, but now She seeks to blend in with other nations as She embraces globalism.

It was an America where law officers were respected, while now they are treated with disdain.

It was an America where the Judeo-Christian ethic pervaded the national conscience, but now each man is doing that which is right in his own eyes.

It was an America where the Church was seen as the best friend of an orderly society, while now the Church is seen as a scourge on a “progressive” society.

The America I  once knew has died and will never return. Glad my hope is in Jesus, for His Kingdom endures forever. The America I once knew has not endured. That America is no longer.

It is sad. Sad indeed.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

KEEP RUNNING STRONG INTO THE NEW YEAR

There are only a few days left in 2020. The finish line to the year is in clear sight. Reflecting upon the year ending, I am transported back in time half-a-century to the story behind the posted hazy photo. It was taken in 1970, my senior year of high school (Sanford Central High School). I was competing in the Southeastern 3A Conference Track Championships in Laurinburg, NC. I was attempting to win my third straight conference mile title. Standing in my way to a third gold medal was a runner from Raeford High School who, though he had never beaten me, always gave me a tough race every time I competed against him. I remember standing on the starting line beside him that warm spring day and looking at me and with fire in his eyes, he confidently said to me, “Today I am going to beat you.” I remember saying back to him with equal confidence, “All I can say to you is, ‘Good luck’!”

As the four-lap race unfolded, I was beginning to wonder if his prediction was going to come true. He stayed on my shoulder, never giving an inch and even briefly took the lead halfway through the race. We were both determined to beat the other. I could not shake him until the very end. Fortunately, I was able to outkick him in the last 150 yards for the win in a time of 4:31.3, my determined opponent only a long-stride behind in 4:32.4. As the photo reveals, the grimace on my face as I crossed the finish line is evidence he had taken me to the limit. While I was spent as I finished the race, I had gutted it out for the victory.

As 2020 comes to an end, it has extended us, taken us to the limit, but we are about to cross the finish line of this unprecedented year. The year may have dogged and pushed you to the limit, extended you to the edge of your endurance, and at times the grimace on your face looked as if you were going to suffer defeat, but you have made it. And as we gaze upon the starting line of 2021, it may declare to us, “I am going to defeat you.” But knowing you are gonna finish the tough race of 2020, look 2021 square in the eyes and confidently say, “All I can say to you is, ‘Good Luck’!”  With only a few yards left in 2020, may the Lord give you the strength to run the approaching race of 2021 with confidence and guts!  Keep running strong into the New Year.  In Christ “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37)!

To all, God’s best in the New Year.

Blessings,

Dr.  Dan

THE NECESSITY OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH

Many years ago I was serving on an Ordination Committee which was interviewing a candidate seeking ordination into the Gospel ministry. The meeting was convening near Christmastime, which gave natural rise to pose to the young man the question, “Do you believe in the Virgin Birth of Christ?”  The young man went on a rambling discourse of why the Virgin Birth was not necessary for Christ to be the Son of God!! All urgings by those on the committee for him to reevaluate his erroneous position were in vain, and he became resistant to what he called “an unnecessary doctrine.”     When it came time to discuss and vote whether or not to recommend the young man for ordination, the majority of committee objected to proceeding forward.  Why? For  if Christ was not born of a Virgin then one’s theology and doctrine of Christ is skewed from the outset.

Sadly, there are those within Christendom who, like the man who sought ordination, see the Virgin Birth as nonessential to the faith and irrelevant in understanding who Jesus was/is.  While the Church for the most part has been guilty of only focusing on the Virgin Birth at Christmas, it is the foundation on which other central doctrines of the Christian faith are built. To reject the Virgin Birth is to dismiss the truthfulness of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the sinlessness of His life, His being qualified to die for our sins, and a host of other related Christian truths related to Christ and the Christian faith.

Why is the Virgin Birth essential? Before we can answer that question let us define what is meant by the Virgin Birth. When the angel announced to Mary that she would bear the Christ Child, she responded, “How can this be seeing I have never known a man?” While she and Joseph were engaged, they had never had sexual relations. The angel told Mary that the birth of Jesus would not come about by the ordinary method of human generation, but by a totally unique action of God and the Holy Spirit. What was impossible with man was possible with God. Jesus was divinely conceived in the womb of Mary without the seed of a man. Mary conceived Jesus as result of the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit who overshadowed her (Matthew 1:20-21). The historical record clearly reveals that Joseph was not the earthly father, and matter of fact he wanted “to put her away” (Matthew 1:18-19). Told in a dream by an angel that the child in Mary’s womb was the long-promised Messiah, Joseph remained loyal to Mary and only had relations with her after Jesus was born.

So, the Biblical record is clear that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived in her womb by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

Having defined the Virgin Birth, why is it essential, important and necessary in our understanding as to who Jesus is and what He came to do? The Virgin Birth is a necessary Biblical doctrine for several reasons.

First, the Virgin Birth reveals the truth and accuracy of Old Testament prophesies. In Genesis 3:15 the Lord identified the coming Messiah, who would be born of woman, and who would deal a destructive blow to Satan, as “her seed.” The Scripture is clear to say “her seed” and not the seed of a male. The promised Messiah was not to have an earthly father, he was to be divinely conceived. He would have to be divinely conceived in order to bring a destructive blow to Satan.

In Isaiah 7:14, the Poetic Prophet prophesied that one of the signs in  identifying the coming Messiah was that he would be born of a virgin. Some critics are quick to point out that the Hebrew word is “almah” which means “young maiden” and can mean other than a virgin. While that is true, the word “almah” is used seven times in the OT to refer to an unmarried woman who is sexually pure. As well, in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of Hebrew OT, the Jews translated the Hebrew word “almah” into the Greek “parthenon” which clearly means virgin. So, the Jews themselves understood the prophecy in Isiah 7:14 referred to a virgin birth.

That Jesus was born of a Virgin verifies the truth, accuracy and inspiration of the OT prophecies.

Second, the Virgin Birth affirms the deity of Christ, that He is the God-Man. The NT teaches that man’s sin and guilt before a holy God is so great, that a Savior must come from outside of man’s efforts and works; the Savior being both human and divine. Since humanity cannot produce such a Redeemer, the heavenly Father in the Virgin Birth provided a Savior who was wholly God and Man.

The Bible is clear Jesus was both God and Man. John writes, “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word [Jesus] was God… 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14). Paul writes, “For in Him [Jesus] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).

The Virgin Birth was necessary to bring about the unique nature of Jesus. In His conception, humanity and deity were fused together by the Holy Spirit and Jesus came forth as the God-Man. He was not half man and half God, Jesus was 100% man and 100% God. We see Him as man when He grew weary, when He slept, when He wept, when He experienced pain, when He was thirsty and hungry. We see Him as God when He walked on water, when He cast out demons, when He spoke and the storms obeyed Him, when He fed the 5,000, when He healed the sick, and when He raised the dead.

Christ could not be the God-Man if He had not been born of a Virgin, if there had not been a miraculous fusing together by the Holy Spirit of both humanity and deity. If Jesus had been born of natural parentage, a biological father, and the biological mother, then his deity would be undermined.

Third, the Virgin Birth affirms the sinlessness of Jesus. Without the Virgin Birth one cannot account for Christ’s sinlessness, His perfect life. The Virgin Birth was necessary for Jesus to be pure from sin. All who are born into this world are born with a sinful nature.  Our sinful nature is derived  from our father, he got it from his father, and so forth and so on all the way back to Adam. If Jesus had had an earthly father, he would have inherited a sinful nature and He would have been no different from you and I. Because Jesus’ father was God the Father, not the seed of man, but the seed of a woman, there was no sin flowing in His veins. He was victorious over sin and Satan His whole earthly life (Luke 4, Hebrews 4:15).

Because Jesus was sinless, He was accepted as the spotless Sacrifice for our sins. God would only accept a Lamb without blemish (Num 19:2; Deut 17:1), if Christ ever committed one sin, He would have been disqualified from being “the Lamb of God that came to take away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). If Christ was not sinless, He could not have been the perfect Substitute for humanity. As the sinless God-Man, Christ took the hand of holy God and the hand of sinful man in order that the wall of alienation be removed whereby restored fellowship can be experienced. If Christ had not been born of a Virgin that would not have been possible.

Fourth, the Virgin Birth assures us of the supernatural. Skeptics reject the Virgin Birth as being impossible and contrary to natural reason. To accept the Virgin Birth is to affirm the supernatural, to affirm the miraculous. For us to have a supernatural Savior we need a supernatural intervention by God to bring it to pass. The Virgin Birth was God’s trumpet that He has done something extraordinary, He has done something that man cannot fully explain, that He has done something that could only take place as the result of a miracle. As the angel told Mary, “With God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:35-45). In the Virgin Birth God broke through the chain of human generation and brought into the world a supernatural Savior.

The God whose supernatural presence came upon Mary, continues to work supernaturally in the lives of those whose hearts have been awakened to the saving power of Jesus Christ. Because Christ was supernaturally conceived, He has the power to supernaturally save and forgive the sins of all who will sincerely come to Him in contrition and repentance. Salvation can only come to humanity through the supernatural power from a supernatural Savior who was conceived supernaturally. The miracle of the Virgin Birth assures us that the miracle of individuals experiencing the New Birth is possible.

As we find ourselves in the midst of the Christmas Season, there is no detail in the Christmas story more important than the Virgin Birth. If there is no Virgin Birth, if the conception and birth of Christ didn’t unfold as the Scripture records, then Christmas has lost its meaning and humanity has no Savior. Donald Macleod eloquently writes, “The virgin birth is posted on guard at the door of the mystery of Christmas, and none of us must think of hurrying past it. It stands on the threshold of the New Testament, blatantly supernatural, defying our rationalism, informing us that all that follows belongs to the same order as itself and that if we find it offensive there is no point in proceeding further”  (Macleod, The Person of Christ, InterVarsity Press, 1998, 37).

If one denies that Jesus is the God-Man, then the lights of Christmas grow dark and man has nothing to celebrate. But there is Good News, the miracle of the Virgin Birth assures us the lights of Christmas shine brightly and they shine upon the cross of Christ where humanity can find supernatural grace to pardon all our sins.

O, what a Savior!!

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

ALLEGIANCE TO CHRIST OR COUNTRY?

I have been a patriotic USA citizen all my life. I am unashamedly and unapologetically patriotic. I still get a lump in my throat and my eyes become moist when I stand for the National Anthem. I am one of those “deplorables” who thinks it is disrespectful to express contempt for the flag, and to not stand for the Anthem is dishonorable to all those who have sacrificed to see Old Glory fly. I must admit in my nearly 69 years, like many in the South, there has been at times a blending of Christian commit and love for country as almost being synonymous. American Christianity has been guilty of blurring the lines between Christianity and patriotism. The time has arrived that in regard to a Christian’s  allegiance between Christ and country, a clear distinction and choice must be made between the two.

With the announcement of a Biden-Harris administration soon to arise on a new horizon, the verse that has repeatedly come to mind is found in Acts 5. When the disciples were told by the Jewish authorities to stop speaking about Jesus, they replied, “We must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). It is my earnest prayer that Biden-Harris will not implement all they have vowed to do once in office.  However, just in case those promises materialize into reality, Christians must decide now which will be their number one allegiance, Christ or country?  As much as I love this country, if policies are enacted that go against the Word of God my first allegiance will be to obey Christ and the Word. That may be the one positive outcome of a Biden-Harris administration for the Church, is that it will result in the Christian Church elevating supreme allegiance to Christ over country…even in the face of penalty from the state.

Now it is my fervent prayer that the radical policies and Executive Orders that each have promised will not be enacted. However, if they are, the time to decide how as a Christian one will respond is not when those policies are implemented.  Our decision must be made before one is face to face with issues that challenge one’s faith.  Our first priority is not to please the kings of this world, but to please the King of kings and Lord of Lords. Like Daniel, Christians must be obedient  even if there consequences for defying laws that clearly oppose the Word of God.

Biden has pledged to sign legislation within the first 100 days  implementing the Equality Act which elevates LGBTQ rights over people of faith. What does this mean? The Equality Act will end the tax exemptions of Christian schools, churches, adoption agencies, food kitchens, homeless shelters, hospitals and any of its charitable services if they fail to conform to the LGBTQ “rights.”  Churches will no longer be able to hire someone based on their affinity with Christian beliefs, but you must hire someone even if their lives and beliefs are contradictory to the church’s beliefs.  The Equality Act will eliminate women’s rights, as all institutions, which includes churches, will have to allow “gender fluid” boys and men access to women’s restrooms and locker rooms.  Architects of the Equality Act want absolutely no religious rights or conscience protections left intact. Alliance Defending Freedom’s Sarah Kramer summed up the effects of the Act on people of faith by stating it plainly,  “Essentially, the Equality Act gives people of faith an ultimatum: Change your faith-based practices or face government punishment.”  Will the Church of Christ obey the law or unflinchingly obey God and defy such morally deviant orders regardless of the consequences?

In regard to religious liberty, it is no secret Harris has in the past been an outspoken opponent of religious liberty. Her contention is that it is ok to believe what you want to believe; however, the free exercise of religion is a right created by manmade statutes – not God – and is a “personal” thing that should be kept in an “inner sanctum.”  In other words, you are free to believe what want, you just aren’t free to practice it, as government mandates are more authoritative. Harris uses the term “freedom to worship,” but the First Amendment guarantees the “free exercise” of religion in public life, which is much more expansive than mere “worship.”    When more censorship and controls are enacted upon the Church, when preaching the moral precepts of the Bible are labeled as hate speech and subject to fines and/or imprisonment, will Christians acquiesce to such anti-constitutional and anti-biblical mandates or will we obey Christ rather than man regardless of the consequences imposed by the state?

When LGBTQ curriculum is expanded for the purpose of indoctrination of schoolchildren, and the nationwide push to legalize pedophilia and other deviant behavior becomes a reality, what will the Church do? Will the Church be accepting of  such perversion or will there be unwavering obedience to Christ and refusal to cooperate with governmental mandates?

Biden has stated the he supports legislation making nationally taxpayer-funded on-demand abortion mandatory throughout the entire gestational cycle.  Harris is also a radical  pro-abortionist,  believing every institution or business, regardless of its religious faith, should be forced to  pay for contraceptives in their health care coverage.   Biden has stated, “If I am elected, I will restore the Obama-Biden policy that existed before the Hobby Lobby ruling: providing an exemption for houses of worship and an accommodation for nonprofit organizations with religious missions,”   Such policies totally disregard conscience protection. What will the Christian do, put allegiance to country first and  embrace mandates that uphold a culture of death or hold supreme allegiance to Christ and the Word of God know penalties are forth coming?

While I fervently pray the Lord will change their hearts and they will not follow through with such destructive promises, these are just some of the issues the Church will more than likely be facing and needs to prepare for coming to pass. As a Christian our loyalty must first be to Jesus Christ and His Word. Now is the time to decide where you will stand. Now is the time to decide, will our love for Jesus Christ trump our love for country? When faced with a choice, will we obey the Lord who gave His life for us or knuckle under to governmental pressure? Will our allegiance be unwaveringly to Christ even if it means taking an opposing position held by authorities that are contrary to God’s Word?

I pray each Christian will vow with Joshua, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

DIVINE JUDGMENT ANCHORED IN HOLY-LOVE

When is the last time you heard a sermon on divine judgment?  It is probably been awhile, yet the Bible speaks of it and it should not be ignored.  What is God’s purpose in executing judgement? God’s purpose in judgment is redemptive. While in judgment sin is punished, in His holy love judgment seeks to eradicate sin and establish holiness. God’s judgment is holiness’ response to sin. Holiness is repulsed at sin and must deal with it and destroy it. Judgment is God’s holiness in opposition to sin.  God’s love redeems in the midst of judgment to establish his holiness.  Divine judgment is anchored in holy-love. His love is so great He at the cross dealt with sin in his Son. At the cross we see judgment upon sin and the redemptive love of God from sin. The judgment of God is an aspect of His love. God’s judgment and love are not opposed to one another, for there can exist no true love without judgment on sin. As Leon Morris says, the judgment of God is “a strong and settled opposition to all that is evil arising out of God’s very nature…. God is not passive in the face of sin. God is implacably and vigorously opposed to every evil.”

His action to judge demonstrates His redemptive love at work to deliver us from sin which seeks to destroy and damn us. In judgment God, like a surgeon ridding the body of a destroying cancer, surgically removes the cancer of sin to bring about the health of His holiness. Love that doesn’t demonstrate hatred for what seeks to destroy and that which is an enemy of all that is right and holy, is not love but only sentimentality. God’s judgment upon sin is not capricious or unpredictable, but is provoked by the evilness of sin. God’s judgment is not to be viewed like the vindictiveness of man, but God’s judgment is vindicative of His holy nature. Divine judgment needs to be seen more than retribution, but the establishing and the securing of eternal righteousness and holiness. Judgment is more than the consequences of sin in  a moral universe, more than an impersonal process of cause and effect, but it is God actively being involved in his creation to restore His holiness in a creation that has been cursed by sin.   The judgment of God strikes a blow to moral relativism by revealing that right and wrong are true and the expanse of divine holiness is the goal of creation.

Failure to hate evil implies a deficiency in understanding God’s love. The love and judgment of God is fully understood only in the light of the cross. In the Christ of the Cross God vindicated His holiness through holy-judgment, assuring humanity His holy-love can be trusted. Liberalism dismisses divine judgment and speaks only of God’s love. P.T. Forsyth insightfully writes, “If we spoke less about God’s love and more about His holiness, more about His judgment, we should say much more when we did speak of His love” (Forsyth, The Cruciality of the Cross, 1909, 73).  There is dualism in holiness and love. Emil Brunner states it well, “The objective aspect of the Atonement…consists in the combination of inflexible righteousness, with its penalties, and transcendent love. The love of God breaks through the wrath of God”  (Brunner, The Mediator, 1967, 520). The only complete satisfaction that can be made to a holy God from the sinful side is the sinner’s restored obedience, his return to holiness. Jesus completed that satisfaction in our stead!

The love of God will always be seen as weak and anemic, unless we hold it up in the light of God’s hatred toward sin and love of holiness. There is no love of God that is not holy and no holiness of God that is not loving. To reject the divine love of the Creator as found in Jesus Christ, who in the cross dealt with sin making it possible for man to be redeemed, is to turn one’s back on the only hope for redemption and to seal one’s own fate of incurring  divine judgment.

Thomas F. Torrance has eloquently written, “God loves you so utterly and completely that he has given himself for you in Jesus Christ his beloved Son, and has thereby pledged his very being as God for your salvation. In Jesus Christ God has actualised his unconditional love for you in your human nature in such a once for all way, that he cannot go back upon it without undoing the Incarnation and the Cross and thereby denying himself. Jesus Christ died for you precisely because you are sinful and utterly unworthy of him, and has thereby already made you his own before and apart from your ever believing in him. He has bound you to himself by his love in a way that he will never let you go, for even if you refuse him and damn yourself in hell his love will never cease. Therefore, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.” (T. F. Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, 1994.  94)

One can only be eternally justified by faith in a God who justifies Himself as so holy that He must set up His holiness in human history at any price, and that  price was allowing judgment to fall upon His own beloved and eternal Son.

Oh, what a Savior.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan