TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

PUFFED UP CARNAL

You who sit in the pews—who keep GOD from knowing you—commit two evils.  You are more evil than the prodigal son, who committed only one evil by forsaking Me.  But you commit two evils; you forsake Me and fashion Christianity to your choosing.

“The curse of a godless man can sound more pleasant in God’s ears than the Hallelujah of the pious” Martin Luther (ref#28, p9).

“Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me…” (Jer 2:22 ESV).

“…Their lives are perpetual fashion shows…” (Matt 23:4-7 MSG).  “…they make confident assertions” (1 Tim 1:7 ESV).  “These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it.  They act like they’re worshiping me, but they don’t mean it.  They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy” (Matt 15:3-9 MSG).

“…Christians are too puffed up by a sense of what they suppose they are doing for God, to earnestly study what God has promised to do for and in His people.  They are so occupied with their fleshly efforts to ‘win souls for Christ’ that they feel not their own deep need of the Spirit’s anointing” A.W. Pink (ref#269. P6).

“…a Christian is a person who has faced realistically the problem of his own personal sin…Christianity is…a sinner’s religion” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p4).

FATHER, we all are so susceptible to being caught in doing instead of being.  The enemy urges us toward “Christian service” projects and human nature jumps at the chance to “serve.”  This is a classic example of the cart before the horse.  Putting ourselves in relationship with You must come first.

“Whatever does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the Holy Spirit, is unquestionably of the flesh” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

CARNAL – NOT YET FULL OF THE SPIRIT

“There is a notion today that people can walk up an aisle, pray a little prayer, and do God a favor by making their decision…” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p17).  “It will not do to say merely, Christ died but now lives, and therefore I shall live also.  There must be a vital union between our souls and him by faith or we must assuredly perish” Charles Ross (ref#241, p103).

“Because of the lack of clear and spiritual views of the freeness of the atonement—the perfectly unconditional bestowment of the blessings of pardon and justification—many are kept, even among those “called to be saints,” from entering fully into the liberty and peace of the gospel.  They have been convinced of their need of Christ; they have been made to hunger and thirst for pardon and acceptance; they may have been brought through a deep law work of the soul to stand as on the very borders of the land that flows with milk and honey; but looking more to themselves, and less to Christ,…waiting for some condition to be performed, some fitness to be experienced, or some price to bring, they are kept back from those rich and untold blessings which a closing in with Jesus the Savior of sinners would assuredly bring into their possession” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 18th).

“…if…we desire to enjoy…the Spirit’s power and blessing, we must give Christ the throne of our hearts and crown Him the Lord of our lives” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p45).

“The…mark of the carnal state is a man’s inability to receive spiritual truths….We give…men spiritual teaching, and they admire it, and understand it, and rejoice in such ministry; yet their lives are not practically affected….we dare not say they are spiritual men, full of the Holy Spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p14).

“Therefore, I say that I must never attempt by any means or method to get to know God or to try to make myself love God except in and through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I must avoid every other direct approach to God…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 26th).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

CARNAL-LIKE CHRISTIAN VS. A SOUND CONVERT

“…the carnal state is a state of continual sinning and failure…sins…are the sign that we are not living a healthy life…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p12).

“A biblical Christian is one who has wholeheartedly complied with the terms for obtaining God’s provision for sin….True faith is permeated with repentance, and true repentance is permeated with faith….a believing penitent and a penitent believer” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p15).

“The unsound ‘convert’ takes Christ by halves.  He is all for the salvation, but not sanctification.  He is all for the privileges, but neglects the person of Christ.  He divides the offices and benefits of Christ….They desire salvation from suffering, but do not desire to be saved from sinning.  They would be saved and keep their lusts; they are content to destroy some sins, but cannot leave the lap of Delilah….” Joseph Alleine (ref#301, Aug 26th).

“The sound convert takes a whole Christ without exceptions, without limitations, without reserve.  He is willing to have Christ upon any terms.  He is willing to have the dominion of Christ as well as deliverance” Joseph Alleine (ref#301, Aug 26th).

“You see a mark of the carnal state not only in unlovingness, self-consciousness and bitterness, but in so many other sins.  How much worldliness, how much ambition among men, how much seeking for the honor that comes from man—all the fruit of the carnal life—to be found in the midst of Christian activity” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p12)!

“…spiritual men were not called so because there was no flesh in them but because the Spirit in them had obtained dominance…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p14).

“…let us beware lest the blessing God gives us in our work deceive us and lead us to think that because He has blessed us, we must be spiritual men.  God may give us gifts that we use, and yet our lives may not be wholly in the power of the Holy Spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p14).

“The sincere convert accepts a complete Christ.  He loves not only the reward, but labour.  He seeks not only the benefits, but the burden of Christ.  He takes up the commands, yes, even the cross of Christ” Joseph Alleine (ref#301, Aug 26th).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

A TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX? – YOU DECIDE

A series of posts from 8/30/2021 to 12/31/2021.

PREREQUISITE ON THE SUBJECT

I have a special tenderness toward people who do not oppose Christianity outright, yet are not experiencing the joy that true Christians have.  I carry an obligation to present the Gospel Truth in a forthright, organized way that readers may make an informed choice to move ahead in Christianity or regress into denying it altogether.

“There are many matters concerning which total ignorance and complete indifference are neither tragic nor fatal….few…can explain all the processes by which a brown cow eats green grass and gives white milk…some matters, however, concerning which ignorance and indifference are both tragic and fatal…..One must not make the assumption lightly that he or she is a true Christian.  A false conclusion at this point is tragic and fatal” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p3).

These blog posts are to urge all of us to continue our pursuit of CHRIST’s fellowship.  To stop or to go backwards is to our peril.

The thief on the cross had only to believe to gain eternal life.  But we who live on this earth day after day need to add effort to make our eternal life sure (Phil 3:12,13).

“…’Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man….The one who conquers will have this heritage…But as for the cowardly, the faithless…their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire…” (Rev 21:3,7-8 ESV).

In all seven churches JESUS speaks to in the book of Revelation, He ends by saying, “to the one who conquers” (Rev 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21).  Blessings go to the one who conquers.  Being a Christian is work.

It is human nature to arrive at a place of comfort and attempt to maintain it.  We do this with our Christian faith.  It is a kind of treading water.  But we cannot keep ourselves afloat forever by treading water.  Eventually we sink or have to swim.  It is “tragic and fatal” if we convince ourselves that we are okay with GOD and fail to swim ahead with Him.

FAITH

FAITH IS

“To believe, in the language of the New Testament, is simply to trust….Every one that believes on the Son of God, and trusts his soul to Him, is at once pardoned, forgiven, justified, counted righteous, reckoned innocent, and freed from all liability to condemnation” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p181).

“…doing something by relying on the strength which God supplies simply means doing it by faith” John Piper (ref#220, p245).  “…it is simply going out of yourself and taking up your rest in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 22nd).

“A true faith includes more than a mere belief; it is accepting the gospel…It is something more than a mere assent of the understanding, because it is called obeying the gospel…(1 Pet 4:17)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p93).

“…anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:35 ESV).

“…faith is trusting God and responding to him” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2104, [Acts 10:35]).  “Faith consists in two things: in being persuaded of the promises and in embracing them…(Heb 11:13)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p94).

“True belief in Christ is the unreserved trust of a heart convinced of sin, in Christ, as an all-sufficient Saviour.  It is the combined act of the whole man’s head, conscience, heart and will” J.C Ryle (ref#273, p183).  “The belief of an individual involves ‘the mind, emotions and the will’” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p4).

“Faith is likened to looking to Christ, and following Christ, and fleeing to Christ….Faith brings nothing to Christ but an empty hand, by which it takes Christ and all that is in Him” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p18).

“Faith is the ceasing from all nature’s efforts, and all other dependence; faith is confessed helplessness casting itself upon God’s promise, and claiming its fulfillment; faith is the putting ourselves quietly into God’s hands for Him to do his work” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p83).

JESUS

SIN’S REMEDY

FATHER, You have put us all in the prison of sin.  We all start out in identical conditions (Rom 3:9).  Then You invite all to come to the cross of CHRIST.

“The cross of Christ triumphs only in the hearts of believers over the devil and the flesh, over sin and wickedness, when they lift their eyes to behold the power of the resurrection” John Calvin (ref#313, p82-83)

“…God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone”(Rom 11:32 NLT).

“Sin is every human being’s core disease.  It is completely beyond the power of any human being to escape it.  It separates you from God, for whom you were created. It damages every aspect of your personhood.  It makes it impossible for you to be what God created you to be and to do what God designed you to do.  It robs you of inner contentment and peace, and it puts you at war with other human beings. It renders you blind, weak, self-oriented, and rebellious.  It reduces all of us to fools, and ultimately it leads to death.  Sin is an unmitigated, almost incalculable disaster…you and I have no ability whatsoever to escape from the hold that sin has on us.  It is the moral Vice-Grip that has held the heart of every person who has ever lived” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 29th).

“It is the cross of Christ that brings us all down to the same place. ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’ The differences between nations and groups within them and individuals are nothing when you look at the cross of Christ.  We are all miserable, helpless, hopeless sinners” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 15th).

“…the eternal Word Who became man, uniting a true human nature to his divine nature…the two natures joined in the one Person forever….if your personal problem of sin is ever to be remedied in a biblical way, it will be remedied only as you have personal dealings with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Such is the unique stand of the Christian faith: the sinner in all his need, united to the Savior in all the fullness of His grace; the sinner in his naked need, and the Savior in His almighty power, brought directly together in the gospel.  That reality is the glory of God’s good news to sinners” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p10-11)!

JESUS

APPEASING WRATH

 “…the cross is the monumental display of how God can be just and still pardon guilty sinners.  At the cross, God, having imputed the sins of His people to Christ, pronounces judgment upon His Son as the representative of His people.  There on the cross God pours out the vials of His wrath unmixed with mercy until His Son cried out, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p12).

“He is treating His Son as a criminal.  He is causing Jesus to feel in the depths of His own soul all of the fury of the wrath that should be vented upon us” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p12).

“We begin to take seriously that we have dared to defy the God Who consigned angels to everlasting darkness when they rebelled against Him” Albert N. Martin (ref#221. p13).

“The cross of Jesus displays the most awful exhibition of God’s hatred of sin and, at the same time, the most impressive manifestation of His readiness to pardon it….The death of Jesus was the opening and emptying of the full heart of God; it was the outpouring of that ocean of infinite mercy that longed for an outlet; it was God showing how He could love a poor guilty sinner” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 29th).

FATHER, You used Your own Son to propitiate Your wrath toward us.  “propitiate– to cause to become favorably inclined; win or regain the good will of; appease or conciliate…” (ref#110, p1079).  May I daily contemplate CHRIST’s suffering for my sins and offer thanks for such love from Him and You.

JESUS

THE DIVINE REMEDY FOR SIN

“A biblical Christian is one who has seriously considered the one divine remedy for sin….all of our true help comes down from above and meets us where we are” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p9).

FATHER, I lose my way around the Bible if I take my eyes off JESUS (Alistair Begg). When GOD first spoke of evil in Gen 3:15, He announced His remedy to defeat the now prince of the power of earth’s air, satan.  A descendent of Adam would crush his head.  Throughout the Old Testament, I see glimpses of GOD working out His plan until finally JESUS, born of a woman (Adam’s descendent) comes to earth.  The entire Bible presents GOD’s plan to redeem men back to Him.  It portrays a loving GOD’s effort to save a people for Himself.

There are few passages that capture the disaster of sin and what it does to people made in God’s image better than Genesis 6:5-6:

“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” (ESV)

“Note two things from this passage.  First, the affect of sin on people was deep, heart deep.  Sin is not just a matter of bad behavior.  It is a condition of the heart.  That’s why you cannot free yourself from it.  Second, the effects of sin on you and me are comprehensive. Note the words ‘every intention’ coupled with the words ‘only evil continually.’  But the passage tells us more.  God was not satisfied leaving us in the disaster of sin.  The disease that infected the heart of every human being produced sorrow in his heart.  But his sorrow was not just the sorrow of remorse or the sorrow of judgment; it was the sorrow of grace.  The words of Genesis 6:8—‘But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD’—tell you that Genesis 6 is not the end of the story.  God would not just punish sin; he would raise up a nation out of which his Son would come to live and die to deliver us from it.  The cross of his Son stands as a lasting reminder of just how desperate our need is for the grace that that cross represents” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 29th).

“…’there is no condemnation’ to a poor soul that shelters itself beneath the cross of Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 5th).