Posted in Christian Faith

You Are Either With Him or You Are Against Him. There is No Middle Ground

The idea that a person can be neutral in regards to religion in general and Christianity in particular is wrong. Jesus taught you were either for him or against him (Matthew 12:30). It is a lie from the pit of Hell to believe you can be neutral toward Jesus. C.S. Lewis understood this point.

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” 

― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

There are no shades of meaning there.  As well, there is no common ground the Christian and the secularist can agree on about Jesus without one being fully for Him or fully against him. 

I have friend who officiated at a secular wedding a few years ago and, as he usually does, he worked as much of the Gospel into the ceremony as he could.  At the reception a guest he had never met before came up to him and said that he appreciated what he stood for and even offered to donate money to the ministry he ran. But he could not fully accept the whole Jesus thing, it wasn’t, he said, for him. 

I have heard this “just enough Jesus to be respectable but not so much as to be offensive, intolerant, or exclusive” a lot and it has always given me pause. 

Like the “I’m a Christian but…” video that was making its rounds online a few years ago. 

On the surface it sounds nice to say that you are a Christian but not the objectionable kind that no one likes.  But Jesus did not give us that option. 

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” 

                -Matthew 12:30 

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” 

-Luke 11:23

Either you follow Him, do what He says, and let your life be reordered by his teachings OR you are against him. Period.  Full Stop. 

The wedding guest, who was probably a nice person in most respects, might have sincerely believed he appreciated someone standing for Jesus.  But the reality is that he stood firmly against Jesus even if he was not overtly hostile toward Him. 

This same principal applies to all moral and social/political issues where people take a stand.

Either you are for homosexuality or you are against it. 

Either you are for transgenderism or against it. 

Either you are for abortion or against it. 

You can try to qualify your position to make it seem less rigid and more conciliatory, nuanced, or understanding but, like it or not, you are still taking a stand.  Take the libertarian “I personally don’t agree with homosexuality but I have no issues with gay people in general” position.  Sounds fine, in a worldly sense, but IT IS AN ENDORSEMNT of what God clearly calls sin.  And you cannot be for something God hates and be with God at the same time. Christians need to wake up. 

Same things goes for the all too common a “Christian case” for (insert anti-biblical teaching here) thing I see all the time. If you entertain ideas, teachings, or concepts that directly contradict what Scripture declares then you are not making a Christian case for something Christians should rightly consider, you are distorting the Truth of God and you need to pause, examine your heart, and try to figure out if you have a genuine saving faith at all or if you have just enough Jesus for “polite society” not to consider you a hater.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” 

-Matthew 7:21-23

Posted in Christian Faith, Fitness

How often do you take a day off from your workout routine, only to spend the day saddled with guilt?

It’s that time of year when almost everyone talks about or at least thinks about New Year’s Resolutions so…

…I guess I could start my “talking about” New Year’s Resolutions by answering the question in the title of this post.

I have taken the day off from my workout routine every single day since March of 2020 and I have not been saddled with guilt even once.

I mean, I’ve wondered how I went from going to the gym 3-5 times a week nearly religiously for better than 15 years to nothing in literally the blink of an eye. But guilt? Nah, not really.

Although I am getting too old to work out at the intensity I did a few years ago, I do need to get back to doing something.

But, exercise aside, what I really want to do is this.

Dear Lord,

Throughout the coming year I pray that I will thank you unceasingly for your precious gift of time. I pray that I will fully appreciate each of the over 31 million seconds 2023 has to offer and that I will not squander even one.

I pray, father, that every one of my goals, actions, words, and thoughts this coming year will line up with your perfect word and your divine will.

Lord, show me what you want from me in 2023 so I don’t begin yet another year with a collection of obligatory and insincere resolutions to simply do more of what’s good, less of what’s bad, or to improve myself in some earthly and eternally insignificant way.

Lord, instead of my own resolutions, I pray that you make me a humble servant who intentionally and deliberately seeks your will in everything I do and with every plan I make.

In Jesus name,

Amen!

Word for word, that is exactly the same prayer I have said I would continually pray all year long every year since at least 2015. And, here’s the thing, I haven’t done it and that does cause me quite a bit of guilt.

Do I thank God unceasingly for His precious gift of time? No.

Do I not squander even one second? There is a little bit of hyperbole in that part of the prayer because it would be impossible to not squander even a second. But I squander hours a day sometimes, I know when I am doing it, and I continue to do it anyway. Yeah, I’m busy with work, school, and life but, often, I am not quite as busy as I pretend to be.

Do every one of my goals, actions, words, and thoughts line up with God’s perfect word and will? Some do, of course, but not all, not even close.

Do I make insincere resolutions to do more of what’s good and less of what’s bad? Not counting it as a win, necessarily, but no, not really, because I know I won’t follow through, I never have.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that my Christian faith has consisted, mostly, of believing the right things and having good intentions but falling woefully short when it comes to doing the work. Or, to put it a better way since the Christian faith is not based on works, I have lived my life, to a large extent, like someone who looks at himself in the mirror and immediately walks away and forgets what he looks like (James 1:24).

So my resolutions this year are to get back to the gym and the same prayer I have prayed since 2015. And this time I mean it.

Posted in Christian Faith

Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof

Chapter 6


PARAGRAPH 1

Although God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof,1 yet he did not long abide in this honor; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the command given to them, in eating the forbidden fruit,2 which God was pleased, according to His wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to His own glory. 


1 Gen. 2:16–17 
2 Gen. 3:12–132 Cor. 11:3


PARAGRAPH 2

Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them whereby death came upon all:3 all becoming dead in sin,4 and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.5


3 Rom. 3:23
4 Rom 5:12, etc.
5 Titus 1:15Gen. 6:5Jer. 17:9Rom. 3:10–19


PARAGRAPH 3

They being the root, and by God’s appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation,6 being now conceived in sin,7 and by nature children of wrath,8 the servants of sin, the subjects of death,9 and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free.10


6 Rom. 5:12–191 Cor. 15:21–22,45,49
7 Ps. 51:5Job 14:4
8 Eph. 2:3
9 Rom. 6:205:12
10 Heb. 2:14–151 Thess. 1:10


PARAGRAPH 4

From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil,11 do proceed all actual transgressions.12


11 Rom. 8:7Col. 1:21
12 James 1:14–15Matt. 15:19


PARAGRAPH 5

The corruption of nature, during this life, does remain in those that are regenerated;13 and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and the first motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.14


13 Rom. 7:18,23; Eccles. 7:20; 1 John 1:8
14 Rom. 7:23–25; Gal. 5:17

From 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith

Posted in Blogging, Christian Faith

Would You Rather Sweat Your Butt Off When It’s 100 Degrees or Shovel Snow When it’s 30?

OK, still trying to get back into blogging but it’s a rainy day on a holiday week and, let’s face it, I don’t really feel like putting that much effort in so…

Anyway, I ran across that tweet a couple weeks ago and have few thoughts.

Seems like an easy enough question but, is it?

First off, I live in Lousiana where it either being or feeling like it is 100 degrees outside is not all that uncommon. And, here’s the thing, I don’t really mind all that much. Yes, it’s kind of oppressive, and yes, I start breaking a sweat if I do literally anything outside for more than 15 seconds. But the grass still needs to get cut and I have no issue doing it even if it means sweating completely through everything I have on including underwear. Also, and though it seems at this point as if I might chose mowing over shoveling, there is a little too much information missing me to say for sure.

For example. How big is the yard I am mowing? Is there any shade? Is it flat or hilly? Push or riding mower? Are there plenty of drinks? Am I in a rush? Have I worked all day, been to the gym, walked the dog?

As for shoveling. Is it a dry 30 degrees like a typical 30 degree day in Montana? Or is it a damp and cloudy 30 degree day like we get in LA sometimes when everyone feels like they are about to freeze to death? Because, I’ll tell ya, it matters quite a bit. And, is it windy and 30 or calm and sunny? I can walk around naked in 30 degree weather if the sun is shining and the wind isn’t blowing, and it would feel great. That is, as long as the humidity is low. So, what’s the humidity like, where isnrhwbsun, and what is the wind doing in this hypothetical Twitter shoveling situation?

And what about the snow itself? A few inches or a foot and a half? Is it the fo a for nothing dry stuff that just blows around all winter or the wet heavy stuff that’s good for making snowballs? Driveway, sidewalk, or both? Long driveway or short? And, am I shoveling in the dark after working all day or at my leisure on Saturday morning?

All that being said, I would rather shovel a fairly small driveway and sidewalk if there was less than six inches of good snowball snow after a few cups of coffee on a relaxing Saturday morning if it was sunny, exactly 30, with low humidity, and there was no wind. If any of those conditions were not met, I would rather do anything at all in 100 plus weather even if I have to take periodic breaks to wring out my underwear. And that includes stadium runs, burpees, and carrying 5 gallon buckets of cement.

Posted in Christian Faith

We Cannot Save Ourselves

Most people today have this vague belief that as long as they are “good” people who do good works and are sincere that these efforts will earn them a place in Heaven. The notion that we can save ourselves, referred to by theologians as autosoterism, may be popular but it is foreign to the Bible. Scripture very clearly teaches that “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isaiah 64:6) before a thrice holy God. Good works will profit those apart from Christ nothing in the day of judgment and will serve only as damning testaments against their self-righteousness.

Just as the Ethiopian cannot change his skin and the leopard cannot change his spots (Jeremiah 13:23), so we cannot deliver ourselves. Repentance from sin is not something a person can do on his own. Repentance unto salvation is in and of itself granted by God (Acts 5:30-31; 11:17-18; 2 Timothy 2:24-26). Saving faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross is also granted by God. The Apostle Paul writes,

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The “gift of God” in the Greek is grammatically neutral indicating that both grace and faith are divine gifts sovereignly given by God. If we could somehow gin up faith on our own then we would have reason to boast in ourselves. But such self-boasting is exactly one of the things from which the Gospel delivers us.

Reformation 21